Monday, January 31, 2005

Dads & Daughters Minneapolis Proclamation!

Dads & Daughters book on How to Inspire & Support Daughters

Sunday, January 30, 2005

'Seiche' phenomenon hits often, sometimes kills

"'Seiche' phenomenon hits often, sometimes kills
Sunday, January 30, 2005
By Jeff Alexander

Thousands of tourists crowded the scenic beach to enjoy a long holiday weekend, unaware of the approaching tidal wave that would sweep them into a deadly natural disaster.

That was the scene one month ago, when a killer tsunami raced across the Indian Ocean and killed more than 225,000 people in South Asia.

It also was the scene on July 4, 1929, at Grand Haven State Park, when killer waves swept 10 people to their deaths on one of the deadliest holidays in West Michigan history."


Saturday, January 29, 2005

Another good article on bias against men

Is There Bias Against Fathers?
(provided by Eric C. Nelson, Esq.)

Often times fathers come into my office thinking that a fight for custody is futile because of bias. Conversely, mothers often make the mistake of thinking that an award of custody to the mother is virtually guaranteed. Neither is true.

Legally, there can be no discrimination based on the sex of the parent. For a father willing to bear the time and expense of the contest, chances for custody are more or less equal to those of the mother, all else being equal. Having said that, I do think there is some lingering bias, even though judges and custody evaluators and guardians ad litem will always deny it. Often I do not believe it even occurs on a conscious level. Yet there is a gut feeling one gets, representing a father, that the job is just a little more difficult.

I'll give a common situation as an example. The father wants joint physical custody. The mother wants sole physical custody. The parties agree more or less on the parenting time schedule, so the custody label is more about child support than anything else. In this situation, it always seems to be the father who is blamed for seeking the joint physical custody label solely to reduce child support, rather than the mother who is blamed for seeking the sole physical custody label solely to increase child support.

In conclusion, my advice to fathers is that they should not despair. If the children would be better off in the father's custody, that is worth fighting for, and is winnable. I have gotten many fathers custody, even in the most dismal of predicaments. For mothers, my advice is to take nothing for granted. Against a determined father, the loss of custody is a very real possibility which you should take very seriously if custody is important to you.

Information provided by:
Eric C. Nelson, Esq. located at

The Divorce Support Page: Divorce, Child Custody, Alimony, Support, Family Law

The Importance of the Physical Custody Label in Minnesota
(provided by Eric C. Nelson, Esq.)

Physical custody is defined as "the routine daily care and control and the residence of the child." In practical terms, it generally refers to who maintains the "home base" or "primary residence" of the children, and who has the children most of the time, particularly during school. Like legal custody, physical custody can be sole or joint. Joint physical custody means that "the routine daily care and control and the residence of the child is structured between the parties." (1) Unlike joint legal custody, joint physical custody is uncommon, and is generally only granted if both parties agree to it. However, in the past few years, it has become more common ‹ though still not the norm ‹ and is sometimes ordered even over both parties' objections.

Judges often tell litigants not to argue over the physical custody "label." They often say that it is not important. That, however, depends on your priorities and not the Court's. Major consequences can result depending on whether parties to divorce share joint physical custody, or instead have sole physical custody with one parent and visitation (a/k/a "parenting time") with the other. The most important of these has to do with child support, and the standard for removal of the children from the state.

When one party has sole physical custody, child support is typically awarded pursuant to the Minnesota Child Support Guidelines, without consideration of what percentage of time the non-custodial parent. When the parties share joint physical custody, a Child Support Guidelines are applied using a "cross-support" method, commonly referred to as the Hortis/Valento formula (2), pursuant to which each party pays the other Guideline child support for the percentage of time the other party has the children in his or her care.

The other important implication arising out of the determination of sole versus joint physical custody has to do with the standard to be applied when a parent seeks to move the residence of the child out of the state of Minnesota. Regardless of who has custody, a parent may not move the residence of the child outside the state of Minnesota without the Court's approval or the other parent's consent.

If one parent has sole physical custody, however, it is presumed that the out-of-state move is appropriate and should be granted. (3) In order to overcome this presumption and prevent the move, the non-custodial parent bears the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the proposed move is intended to interfere with visitation, or that the proposed move is not in the best interests of the child and would endanger the child. (4) Proving that a proposed move is intended to interfere with visitation is almost impossible to do. With respect to the endangerment standard, while it is arguable that this standard only applies in cases which would otherwise necessitate a change of custody because the custodial parent has no choice but to move, there is no clear precedent specifically so holding. In sum, when one parent has sole physical custody and seeks permission of the Court to move the children out of state, it is extremely difficult to prevent it.

In contrast, when the parties share joint physical custody, and the out of state move would be tantamount to a modification to sole physical custody, then the party seeking to move the children out of state has as difficult a time obtaining permission to do so, as the non-custodial parent would have preventing it sole physical custody scenario.

(1) Minnesota Statute section 518.003, Subdivision 3(d).

(2) See Broas v. Broas, 472 N.W.2d 671 (Minn.Ct.App. 1991) [citing Valento v. Valento, 385 N.W.2d 860 (Minn. Ct. App. 1986) and Hortis v. Hortis, 367 N.W.2d 633 (Minn. Ct. App. 1985).

(3) Silbaugh v. Silbaugh, 543 N.W.2d 639, 641 (Minn. 1996) [citing Auge v. Auge, 334 N.W.2d 393, 397 (Minn.1983) and Gordon v. Gordon, 339 N.W.2d 269, 271 (Minn.1983)].

(4) Silbaugh v. Silbaugh, 543 N.W.2d 639, 641 (Minn. 1996) [citing Sefkow v. Sefkow, 427 N.W.2d 203, 214 (Minn.1988); Minn. Stat. § 518.18(d)(iii) (1994); and Minn.Stat. § 518.175, subd. 3 (1994)].

Information provided by:
Eric C. Nelson, Esq. located at

Man Says Goat Moves In, Won't Move Out

Fri Jan 28, 9:26 PM ET

VENETA, Ore. - So far nobody has gotten Randy Cox's goat. But Cox wishes someone would. Cox found the affable brown-and-white male in his detached rec room when he came home from work Thursday, and the goat shows no sign of wanting to leave.

He found the animal communing with his dog, Dandy, and both seemed to be hitting it off.

Cox said he had seen the goat in his neighborhood, but doesn't think it lives there. Calls to the authorities didn't help much.

"I called animal control. They told me to call the sheriff. The sheriff said call animal control. Then they gave me an emergency number for loose livestock," he said.

Nobody answered.

Cox's land isn't fenced, and he worries the goat may get hit by a vehicle.

Mike Wellington, manager of Lane County Animal Regulation Authority, said the call came when nobody was available to help.

The authority doesn't normally do goats, but Wellington says they get calls like that from time to time.

"I feel bad about it," Wellington said. "Normally we'll pick up the slack and do what we can, but we just had nobody available."

That left Cox with a goat following him around and chewing on his jacket Thursday evening.

He's friendly, as long as you don't turn your back on him, Cox said.

"But he did butt my truck," he said.

And the goat-dog camaraderie ended when Cox started petting the goat and Dandy started barking.

"I think he's jealous," Cox said.


Information from: The Register-Guard,

Thursday, January 27, 2005

What is an Ion Drive?

"SMART-1's Ion Drive: From Fiction to Fact
By Bill Christensen

posted: 19 November 2004
06:43 am ET
SMART-1, the European Space Agency craft currently in orbit around the moon, makes use of a technology that was pure science fiction until the 1960s - the ion drive. An ion drive is a method of propulsion that uses electricity to create charged ions and then accelerate them with a magnetic field, pushing them out the rear of a spacecraft.

The ion drive was first described in 1947 by Jack Williamson in a short story published in Astounding Science Fiction called 'The Equalizer.' In the story, the spacecraft achieves a significant fraction of the speed of light, returning decades later due to time dilation.

George Lucas makes use of ion drives in Star Wars: the old Empire makes use of T.I.E. Fighters as small, manuverable spacecraft. T.I.E. is an acronym for Twin Ion Engines:

The hexagonal solar panels supply power to a unique propulsion system. Microparticle accelerators propel Ionized gasses at a substantial fraction of lightspeed...
(Read more about T.I.E. Fighters)

US astronaut Edward Gibson published Reach in 1989; this novel features a spacecraft with an ion drive that accelerates atoms of mercury to one percent of the speed of light before sending them out the rear of the craft.

SMART-1 has a stationary plasma thruster using xenon gas with 1190 watts of power available, giving a nominal thrust of 68 mN. The spacecraft contains 48 liters of xenon gas at 150 bar. The lifetime of the thruster is 7,000 hours at maximum power. The thrust is equivalent to two pennies resting in the palm of your hand.

SMART-1's Ion Drive

If this seems like a propulsion system that is a bit short of 'warp speed,' you're right. However, in the frictionless environment of space, even a gentle acceleration like this can produce real velocity if applied constantly over a long enough"

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Hitachi Deskstar 250GB, 7200RPM, Internal ATA Hard Drive -

A very nice price on a very nice drive!

Friday, January 21, 2005

Critical Lessons

Corporate Lesson #1
A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower when the doorbell rings. After a few seconds of arguing over which one should go and answer the doorbell, the wife gives up, quickly wraps herself up in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbor.
Before she could say a word, Bob says, "I'll give you $800 to drop that towel that you have on." After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob. After a few seconds, Bob hands her 800 dollars and leaves.

Confused, but excited about her good fortune, the woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets back to the bathroom, her husband asks from the shower, "Who was that?"

"It was Bob the next door neighbor," she replies. "Great!" the husband says, "Did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?"

Moral of the story:
If you share critical information pertaining to financial matters with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

Corporate Lesson #2
A priest was driving along and saw a nun on the side of the road. He stopped and offered her a lift, which she accepted. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to open and reveal a lovely leg.

The priest had a look and nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg. The nun looked at him and immediately said, Father, remember Psalm 129?"

The priest was flustered and apologized profusely. He forced himself to remove his hand. Changing gear, he let his hand slide up her leg again. The nun once again said, "Father, remember Psalm 129?"

Once again the priest apologized, "Sorry, Sister, but the flesh is weak."
Arriving at the convent, the nun got out gave him a meaningful glance and went on her way. Upon his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to retrieve a bible and looked up Psalm 129.

It Said, "Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory."
Moral of the story:
If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.

Corporate Lesson #3
A sales representative, an administration clerk and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out in a puff of smoke. The Genie says, "I usually only grant three wishes, so I'll give each of you just one."

"Me first! Me first!" says the admin clerk. "I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world." Poof! She's gone.

In astonishment, "Me next! Me next!" says the sales rep. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of piña coladas, and the love of my life." Poof! He's gone.

"OK, you're up," the Genie says to the manager.
The manager says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch."
Moral of the story:
Always let your boss have the first say.

Corporate Lesson #4
A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day. A small rabbit saw the crow and asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?"

The crow answered: "Sure, why not?"
So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow and rested. All of a sudden a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story:
To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Corporate Lesson #5
A turkey was chatting with a bull. "I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree," sighed the turkey, but I haven't got the energy."

"Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?" replied the bull. They're packed with nutrients."
The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree.

The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch.
Finally, after a fourth night, there he was, proudly perched at the top of the tree. Soon he was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot the turkey out of the tree.

Moral of the story:
Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.

Corporate Lesson #6
In Africa, every morning a gazelle awakens knowing that it must outrun the fastest lion if it wants to stay alive.
Every morning, a lion wakes up knowing it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.
Moral of the story:
It makes no difference whether you are a gazelle or a lion: When the sun comes up, you had better be hauling ass.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Jumbo Squid Wash Onto California Beaches

"NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - Hundreds of giant squid are washing up on Orange County beaches, creating a scene more akin to '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' than 'The O.C.'

The bug-eyed sea creatures, believed to be Humboldt squid, normally reside in deep water and only come to the surface at night. Why approximately 500 of them began washing up on the sands of Laguna Beach and Newport Beach on Tuesday isn't clear. "

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Aurora Forecast for your region.

Aurora Predictions - Custom longitude maps for your location

Because of the large X class flares lately, we should all be able to see something if the skies are clear!

Daughter Found 3 Weeks After Tsunami

"In the chaos of flash floods, as the family scrambled toward the roof of their home, a utility pole fell, separating Putri from her mother. 'We went to the roof and I couldn't find her,' said the mother, Hernini. Like her husband and many others here, she has one name.
The waters had barely receded when the family began its search for Putri, checking first among the corpses in the streets of their city, Lhokseumawe. "

Sunday, January 16, 2005

SkyWatch Astronomy News

Sunspot 720 has now grown roughly to the size of Jupiter and can be easily
seen with only modest modification. Please see the previous message for
instructions on how to safely view the Sun.

A Coronal Mass Ejection (an ejection of solar plasma from the surface of the
Sun) has been emitted from the area of Sunspot 720 which might trigger
auroral activity (the Northern Lights) over the next day or two even in
moderate latitutdes.

Ed Ehrlich - SkyWatch - The Astronomical Alarm Clock
Jerusalem, Israel
© 2004 SkyWatch

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Sunspot 720

A large sunspot called Sunspot 720 can now be seen The sunspot's width
is 7 times that of the Earth.

Sunspot 720 is so large that it can possibly be seen with even primitive
equipment. If you wish to observe the Sun PLEASE read the following. It's
from the SkyWatch SkyTour which is sent regularly to SkyWatch Lite and
Extra subscribers, but is being sent today to all SkyWatch subscribers in
interest of safety.

CAUSE BLINDNESS. Looking directly at the Sun through binoculars or a
telescope is even more dangerous. This warning is generally given to
someone who wishes to observe a solar eclipse, but it is no less true for
someone staring at the Sun during other times. There are filters available
observing the Sun, but the safest way to look at the Sun is to do so

The usually method is creating a "pin hole camera" by making a small hole
one side of a shoe box, aiming it towards the Sun and observing the image
created on the opposite wall of the box. It works but creates a very small
and unsatisfactory image.

I prefer using a pair of binoculars. Cover one of the lenses of the
with its lens cap and point the binoculars towards the Sun while focusing
the image on a sheet of white paper on the floor. DO NOT LOOK THROUGH
THE BINOCULARS. This makes the process of aiming the binoculars more
difficult but with a bit of maneuvering you will succeed. Ideally the paper
be in a shaded part of the room. The binoculars can create a very good
image of the Sun on the sheet of paper, which will easily show the Sun's
larger sunspots. You might want to rig up some sort of stand to hold the
binoculars in place so that your hands are free and so that you can more
easily look at the focused image.

Ed Ehrlich - SkyWatch - The Astronomical Alarm
Jerusalem, Israel
© 2004 SkyWatch

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Opportunity Spots Curious Object On Mars

NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover has come across an interesting object -- perhaps a meteorite sitting out in the open at Meridiani Planum. Initial data taken by the robot’s Mini-Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES) is suggestive that the odd-looking “rock” is made of metal.

The curious-looking object stands out in the parking-lot like landscape of Meridiani Planum.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Employees first, Customers second!

Yahoo! News - Wegmans Tops Fortune's Best-Employer List: "ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Wegmans Food Markets, a grocery chain whose motto is 'employees first, customers second,' topped Fortune's eighth annual list of the best 100 companies to work for in America, the magazine said Monday."

Yahoo! News - 'Extremely Critical' Flaw Threatens Internet Explorer Users

Yahoo! News - 'Extremely Critical' Flaw Threatens Internet Explorer Users: "Technology - NewsFactor

'Extremely Critical' Flaw Threatens Internet Explorer Users

Mon Jan 10, 2:40 PM ET Technology - NewsFactor

Ed Raymond,
Security experts are warning of a new and highly critical security flaw in Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT - news) Internet Explorer, when running under Windows XP (news - web sites) SP2. "

Monday, January 10, 2005

This freakish weather!!!

RADIO FREE EUROPE/ RADIO LIBERTY: "so fierce that Sweden had to turn off two nuclear power stations, leaving tens of thousands of people without electricity. At least 11 people died and others are missing."

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Officials Capture Wandering Kangaroo

Yahoo! News - Wis. Officials Capture Wandering Kangaroo: "DODGEVILLE, Wis. - A kangaroo that went on a walkabout in frigid Wisconsin was captured Wednesday. But where the marsupial came from remained a mystery.

Sheriff's deputies cornered the 150-pound kangaroo in a barn after receiving calls for days from shocked residents who had seen it.
Officials from Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, about 45 miles away, planned to pick it up and take care of it.
Zoo director Jim Hubing said the kangaroo would not have survived long in the Wisconsin winter. Temperatures in the animal's native Australia generally do not drop below the 30s. "

Yahoo! News - Iowa Deputies Capture Wandering Kangaroo

Iowa Deputies Capture Wandering Kangaroo: "DODGEVILLE, Wis. - A kangaroo's frigid walkabout in Iowa County came to an end Wednesday after authorities tracked down the marsupial.

Sheriff's Department dispatcher Jim Harrington said deputies corralled the kangaroo in a barn after a resident spotted the brownish-red, 150-pound animal.
Officials from the Henry Vilas Zoo were en route to collect the kangaroo and transport it in a crate to Madison, where they planned to care for the animal.
Zoo director Jim Hubing said the kangaroo, which is native to Australia's bush country where temperatures generally do not drop below the 30s, couldn't survive long in Wisconsin's January temperatures.
'The combination is not good,' he said.
Several people spotted the kangaroo Monday night in rural parts of the southwestern Wisconsin town of Dodgeville, and officials have been unable to determine where the animal may have come from, Harrington said. "

Yahoo! News - Wis. Police Search for Wandering Kangaroo

DODGEVILLE, Wis. - Iowa County sheriff's deputies have searched in the past for the occasional wandering emu or bobcat but never a kangaroo, until now.

Several residents called the sheriff's department Monday night to report seeing a kangaroo along some rural highways in the southwestern Wisconsin Township of Dodgeville.

'The people that reported it were quite apprehensive to report it because they didn't want to be made a fool of,' Sheriff Steve Michek said Tuesday.
His department is taking the calls seriously because of the number of people who saw the animal. Deputies are trying to determine whether someone was transporting the animal and it escaped.

In the meantime, the sheriff's department is urging residents to stay on the lookout for a brownish-red, 150-pound animal with large hind legs and a mean kick. "