The Dutch provincial elections of Wednesday yielded unexpected, strong results for Thierry Baudet’s far-right Forum for Democracy (FvD) party.
The Green Left party did very well too, though, but their support is strongest in the urban areas and among highly educated voters. (A familiar theme in western liberal democracies, not?).
Spring has arrived here in the North.
We experienced freakishly warm spring temperatures here in the city yesterday and today: 79 °F (26 °C).
A supermoon tonight coincided with the start of spring, the third and final supermoon for the year. (A supermoon is called a perigean full moon by astronomers. It occurs when a full moon reaches its closest point to the Earth in its elliptical orbit, making it appear unusually bright and large).
The ‘worm’ in the moon’s description refers to little creatures like worms that resume squirming out of the ground, along with the leaves and flowers that start budding in spring.
There is increasing chatter on cable news here in the US, and among watchers of the Mueller Investigation, that the investigation is wrapping up and that its report is imminent. Several high-profile Mueller team members have departed from the investigation. Trump’s weekend tweet storms seem to become increasingly unhinged.
House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi has taken a Trump impeachment (with what we know now), off the table. She’s right that it’s no use that the House vote to impeach him, only for impeachment to die in the Senate (2/3 majority needed).
Senate Republicans used to stand for decency, for law and order, and for upholding the Constitution. Now they are all Trumpsters, and they belong to the Trump Party.
I went out to the annual book sale of the Seattle Public Library on Saturday. Part of the attraction for me to the sale, is just the browsing through all the books – not so much the cheap prices.
There was a long line to get in to the cavernous hall at Seattle Center, and all the while people were leaving with armsful and roller bags full of books. Will there be any left? wondered those of us in line. But once we got in, there were still plenty to choose from.
Sunday was St Patrick’s Day, all over the Western world.
From Wikipedia: Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, “the Day of the Festival of Patrick”), is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland.
I made it down to Belltown and Pike Place Market on Thursday to check out some of the Alaskan Way Viaduct demolition, from up close.
It’s going to be another 6 months before all the demolition work is done.
From Wikipedia: The number π (/paɪ/) is a mathematical constant.
Originally defined as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, it now has various equivalent definitions and appears in many formulas in all areas of mathematics and physics. It is approximately equal to 3.14159. It has been represented by the Greek letter “π” since the mid-18th century, though it is also sometimes spelled out as “pi”. It is also called Archimedes’ constant.
I was sitting at my desk this morning, when I heard a very loud pop outside my house – BOOF!!
Wow, I thought – maybe a pole-mounted transformer had exploded.
But no, my neighbor just saw a big flash on the power line, and we found a dead squirrel on the ground right there, with its fur scorched.
Squirrels that scamper onto utility poles and power lines, sometimes touch an energized component (the transformer) and a grounded piece of equipment simultaneously, thereby completing the circuit. This does not end well for the poor squirrel – but the short-circuit does not necessarily cause an outage. As soon as the dead squirrel drops to the ground, the interference is eliminated, and the regular flow of electricity should resume.
A second Boeing 737 Max 8 was involved in an Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday by Addis Ababa, killing all 157 on board. And the causes of the Oct 2018 Indonesian crash are still under investigation .. but that tragedy revealed that Boeing and the FAA had not felt it necessary to tell pilots about updates to the 737 Max 8’s flight control system.
So I wondered today, what I would have done, if I had a flight scheduled on a Boeing 737 Max 8. I would probably have tried not to think about it too much, and fly anyway. I did the same shortly after 9/11, since I needed to fly for work. And is that not what we do every time we fly, anyway?
Tue 3/12: On Tuesday, news came that the European Union’s aviation regulator had grounded all MAXes in the EU, and prohibited them from even entering the airspace of 28 nations. This airspace stretches from the Azores Islands in the Atlantic, to the Russian border. At this point I would definitely have changed my travel plans, if I were to board a Boeing 737 Max 8.
Wed 3/13: Even Canada grounded its Max 8 planes. The FAA finally issued an emergency order that grounded all Boeing 737 Max 8’s, worldwide. Who knows what exactly, transpired behind the scenes, yesterday & today between the Boeing CEO, Trump, and the acting FAA administrator. They don’t inspire confidence.
I walked by the Nexus condominium tower today, to check on its progress from November.
The tower’s construction is about to be officially topped off, with occupancy expected by late 2019. Some 28 (of the 389) units are still available.
We watched ‘Behind the Curve’ tonight: a Netflix documentary about Flat Earthers. For these people, no ‘conspiracy’ is too big to discount. They say that NASA lies and has conspired for decades to portray Earth as round. They find each other on Facebook groups and Youtube videos, and at conferences, prominent Flat Earthers are treated as celebrities that advocate for ‘the truth’. (The conferences are more about commiserating with each other for being outcasts, than they are about explaining the logical basis for saying that Earth is flat).
One of the main protagonists in the movie is from Whidbey Island, a stone’s throw from Seattle. (Dude. We don’t know you, but stop embarrassing us!). The documentary makes the case that Flat Earthers should not be dismissed & shamed outright, since that will entrench their kooky views even further, and completely marginalize them. The problem is that one cannot use reason to argue with a cultist.
This conspiracy theory mindset bleeds into all kinds of other areas. We have people in the United States that believe that 9/11 and Sandy Hook were perpetrated by the US government, and that mass shootings are staged with ‘crisis actors’. People don’t vaccinate their children. We had a recent case here in Oregon with an unvaccinated boy that almost died from tetanus. It took 57 days in hospital and $800,000 to treat him. His parents took him home and still refused to get him vaccinated.
I read everywhere that we all need to eat more lentils and beans.
So when I saw this recipe (New York Times account needed for link) for a vegetarian shepherd’s pie made with French green lentils, I went for it.
It was a bit of work, but my efforts paid off nicely in the end!
Here is what the Rainier Square Tower in downtown Seattle looks like now. (See this post from November).
Amazon was to lease all 722,000 square feet (30 floors) in the new building, but announced last week that it would not do so anymore. It will look to sub-lease the space to other companies instead. This announcement came 10 months after Amazon had threatened to pull out of the building if the city were to impose a new business tax (which the city then backed away from).
We had completely blue skies here in Seattle on Sunday and Monday. A superdry air mass is just sitting over the area.
With no cloud blanket, it gets really cold at night. A record low of 16° F (−9°C) for Mar 4 was measured in Olympia this morning.
Check out the hippopotamus that I had bought at the craft market in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.
It is only one animal in a whole catalogue of beautiful ceramic artwork, offered by Porcupine based in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa.
It was a long day of traveling, but I made it home. I took the Sprinter train from Rotterdam Centraal station to Schiphol airport (24 mins), an Icelandair Boeing 757 from Schiphol to Keflavik (3 hrs), and another Icelandair Boeing 757 from Keflavik to Seattle airport (7 hrs). Oh, and then the Seattle Light Rail & No 10 bus to get home!