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2022 - 2023
golden retriever rule, fireworks & climate change, A.I., & pollution

Hopes and Dreams

That Blew Up In His Face
Independence Injuries
July 8, 2023

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission just issued their Fireworks Annual Report for 2022. That year had about 10,200 fireworks-related injuries with 73% occurring during the 30 days surrounding July 4th. Firecrackers caused the most emergency injuries (1,300) followed by sparklers (600). Sparklers burn at about 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. The sparks of sparklers are ejected bits of melted aluminum, magnesium, iron, titanium, and ferrotitanium. Mortar-style aerial fireworks killed most of the 11 fireworks-related fatalities. The CPSC also bought and tested fireworks, finding illegal components, faulty fuses, prohibited chemicals, and overloaded materials. China manufactures more than 98% of U.S. consumer fireworks.

CPSC 2022 Fireworks Annual Report chart
CPSC 2022 Fireworks Annual Report

Some 2023 Fireworks Fatalities
This past week, a man was killed and four others were injured when a house blew up due to preparations of 300 three-inch fireworks shells (Gilmer, Texas). A woman died from another home fireworks explosion and ten others were injured (Ottawa County, Michigan). Another man died when a fireworks shell exploded while still in its mortar tube, impacting the man in his hand and chest (Charles County, Maryland). Yet another man died after cutting the wick of a commercial-grade firework and lighting it in a homemade mortar tube (Boone County, Kentucky). A 15-year-old was killed playing with fireworks (Amarillo, Texas). A house was set ablaze from a neighbor's fireworks, killing a man who had been asleep (St. Charles County, Missouri).

Some 2023 Fireworks Injuries
An illegal fireworks display stand tipped over and launched shells into a crowd, burning a 16-year-old girl and another spectator (Somers, Connecticut). A legal mortar-style firework tipped over, launched a horizontal shell, landing in a crowd of spectators, injuring several people (Allegan, Michigan). A malfunction ignited all the fireworks on a private boat dock, injuring 3 and sending the crowd running (Montgomery County, Texas). A fireworks explosion caused head and leg injuries (Yarmouth, Massachusetts). A man lost part of his hand while lighting fireworks in an intersection (Los Angeles, California). Two men suffered hand and fingers amputations while shooting off fireworks (London Mills, Illinois). A 14-year-old boy may lose sight after a roman candle hit him in his right eye (Holcomb, Missouri). Cleaning up fireworks debris, a 13-year-old boy picked up a firework and it exploded in his hand, causing a partial amputation of all the fingers of his right hand and burns to his face and chest (Lauderhill, Florida). A man was injured after an aerial firework was launched into his vehicle (Bargersville, Indiana).

Another man was detonating numerous commercial-grade fireworks. A mortar-style aerial shell failed to launch. The man looked into the tube and the firework discharged, striking his face and then exploding. The man sustained major injuries to the head and became unconscious (Cary, Illinois). When you stare into the firework launch tube, the firework launch tube stares back at you.
fireworks heights in feet
Dude, that's a lot of DUDs (dangerous unexploded devices).

Aren't commercial-grade fireworks illegal in Illinois, like in Minnesota?!?

Yes, but the United States Independence celebration is about 50 very different states and one of those different states is Wisconsin, which has always prioritized taking money from out-of-state tourists. Fewer tourists early this century meant Wisconsin decided to sell dangerous fireworks to travelers. Fireworks stores line up on the Wisconsin border, a booming industry.

map of Cary, Illinois & Wisconsin fireworks stores

Wisconsin Fireworks Tourists
Wisconsin statute 167.10 Regulation of fireworks:  “Paragraph (a) does not apply to: ... 8. The possession of fireworks by a person who is not a resident of this state if the person does not use the fireworks in this state.

What that means is the dangerous stuff is only sold to non-residents.

Genoa City, Wisconsin Fireworks
So if you live in Cary, Illinois where fireworks are illegal, you can drive 23 miles north to Genoa City, Wisconsin (orange 5 on the map). That's where American Fireworks sells firecrackers, roman candles, rockets, missiles, reloadable mortars, helicopters, finale racks, and 500 gram aerial repeaters like:

  *  1 Minute Ride 42 Shot
  *  2 Minute Show in a Box (53 shots) - promising you are going to be the life of any party.
  *  All Night Long - lasts 39 seconds on YouTube but the tinnitus will last forever

Black Bull Fireworks is also in Genoa City (orange 9 on the map) and has many multi-shot 500 gram repeaters:

  *  312 shot War Machine
  *  220 shot Bad Boy
  *  220 shot We Will Rock You
  *  150 shot Black Dynamite
  *  128 shot Cold Killer
  *  102 shot Goooooal
  *    16 shot Merica
  *    16 shot, 32 colors One Bad Mother-In-Law
  *    12 shot Big Man
  *  148 shot 1000 Gram Finale with a red comet, a green comet, a yellow comet, another red comet, another green comet, a crackling comet, a gold mine with a rainbow of other colors, and a red and green burst with gold glitter (video).

Not that the man who lost his face due to a failed firework shopped at either American Fireworks or Black Bull Fireworks, just over the border in Genoa City, Wisconsin. Maybe the 58-year-old man drove across the width of Chicago to the piles of fireworks stores on the Indiana border. Maybe.

Hudson, Wisconsin Fireworks
Americans purchase more than 258 million pounds of fireworks every year. Just over the Wisconsin border from Minneapolis and St. Paul, Hudson has at least three fireworks stores freely selling to Minnesota residents: Exit 1 Fireworks, Fireworks Nation, and Venture Fireworks (with a 5% discount for cash).

Exit 1 Fireworks has firecrackers, roman candles(40-80'), rockets (40-300'), and multi-shot 500 gram finales, featuring the 220 shot Amazing Ballet (video).

Fireworks Nation makes clear that Wisconsin fireworks laws specifically prohibit:  firecrackers, wheels, torpedoes, skyrockets, roman candles, aerial salutes, and bombs. Wink. The Fireworks Nation firecracker products list features 4000 firecrackers rolled into one Special Firecracker (video). It also features 5000 firecrackers rolled into the Red Jumbo M5000 (video). It also also features 16000 firecrackers rolled into another Special Firecracker. (video). Their roman candle products list features the 70 shot Flame Thrower (video) and the 250 shot Machine Gun (video). Their Saturn missile list includes the 20 extra large Saturn missile battery (video). Their artillery shells list features the 10 shot Light The Night artillery shells (video). Their 500 gram finale cakes list features the 150 shot Black Dynamite that fires off about 2 ½ shots per second to last a full minute (video). It also features the 168 shot Rainbow Overload (video) and Sparta (video). It also also also features the 250 shot Teknocolour cake (video & video). They also have fountains and rockets.

Toxic Smoke from Fireworks
A 14-year fireworks air pollution study from July 2020 revealed high levels of lead particles in fireworks smoke, despite the fact that lead is not allowed in consumer fireworks.  A fountain firework called a Black Cuckoo produced particulate matter with lead concentrations greater than 40,000 parts per million. That means the smoke was four percent lead. Published in the journal Particle and Fibre Toxicology, the study is believed to be the first to examine the effects of fireworks exposure in human cells and living animals, and to test for particles of common fireworks metals thrown into the air.

Lead used to be deliberately included in the manufacturing of fireworks. Lead provided the little explosive, crackling stars that spit out of fireworks. Lead leads to brain damage, cognitive impairment, decreased IQ in children, and other toxicity and was replaced long ago with bismuth oxide. Apparently Chinese manufacturers didn't get the memo.

Aluminum particles were very high in firecrackers. Aluminum filings create the bangs of firecrackers and loud aerial rockets. Along with lead and aluminum, the study found titanium, strontium, and copper as common airborne metallic particles from fireworks.

A study of the Impact of Fireworks On Respiratory Health was published in Lung India in October 2014. The study of collected fireworks pollutants found elevated metallic fireworks particles of aluminum, barium, copper, strontium, antimony, lead, magnesium, and potassium. Fireworks pollution also contained elevated levels of sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitric dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene-volatile compounds, perchlorate, and chloride. The study acknowledged that “during fireworks manufacture, a range of substances are added such as arsenic, manganese, sodium oxalate, aluminum, iron dust powder, potassium perchlorate, strontium nitrate and barium nitrate, which act as stabilizers, oxidizers and added colors.

A January 2023 study of the Impacts of Fireworks on the Environment published in Pacific Conservation Biology, examined the environmental toll of fireworks displays. Associate Professor Bill Bateman, from Curtin's School of Molecular and Life Sciences, said fireworks negatively impact wildlife, domestic animals, and the environment. “Fireworks create short-term noise and light disturbances that cause distress in domestic animals that may be managed before or after a fireworks event, but the impacts to wildlife can be on a much larger scale, Associate Professor Bateman said.

The annual timing of some large-scale fireworks events coincides with the migratory or reproductive movements of wildlife, and may therefore have adverse long-term population effects on them. Fireworks also produce significant pulses of highly pollutant materials that also contribute significantly to the chemical pollution of soil, water, and air, which has implications for human as well as animal health.

Climate Change
Most airborne pollutants ultimately become ground and water pollutants. Fireworks pollution effects people, nature, and our climate.

Music Association:  The Hollies - The Air That I Breathe

Inconvenient Explosions
Independence Days
July 2, 2023

The United States celebrates Independence Day on July 4th.

The Declaration of Independence was ratified on July 2nd. But the document was dated as July 4th. Minneapolis is celebrating it on July 3rd
with a laser-drone show.

Here is my timeline of the Declaration of Independence (from 2012):

April-June 1776 - Many informal declarations of independence throughout the colonies (war began in 1775)
June 11, 1776 - Continental Congress appoints committee to draft a resolution
June 28, 1776 - Fair copy of Declaration submitted to Continental Congress
July 1, 1776 - Continental Congress begins vote on Independence
July 2, 1776 - Continental Congress concludes vote on Independence [spoiler alert]  it passed
July 4, 1776 - the date on the document
July 8, 1776 - Public readings of the Declaration in Philadelphia, Easton, and Trenton
July 9, 1776 - Fourth New York Provisional Congress declared independence
July 9, 1776 - Declaration read to General Washington's Continental Army
mid-July 1776 - colonial newspapers reprint the Declaration, British officials send it to England
July 19, 1776 - Timothy Matlack, a clerk to Secretary Charles Thomson, engrossed parchment copy
August 2, 1776 - Declaration of Independence signing day
mid-August 1776 - British newspapers reprint the Declaration
November 4, 1776 - New Hampshire delegate Matthew Thornton signed the Declaration (the last signer)

Some time later - the original fair copy manuscript of the Declaration of Independence was lost

John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail, "The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival."

The Declaration of Independence, ratified July 2, 1776

Also, the 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill didn't take place on Bunker Hill. It took place on Breed Hill.

Music Association: Carrie Underwood - Independence Day

Hopes and Dreams

Inconvenient Explosions
The Fireworks of Climate Change
July 1, 2023

Climate change impacts everyone from ordinary people to the billionaires catching a tourist sub to the Titanic. Or it used to.

It is that time of year that many set off to watch fireworks. Today is Canada Day, celebrating the anniversary of Canada’s confederation.
The 490 Canadian wildfires have already surpassed the record for area burned. A record 30,000 square miles (80,000 square kilometers) of Canada has burned, an area nearly as large as South Carolina. Wildfire smoke has shrouded much of the U.S. and parts of Canada in smoky haze. Montreal canceled their fireworks; Toronto did not.

Minneapolis and Salt Lake City have replaced fireworks for 2023 with laser-drone shows.

The Fireworks of Climate Change
Fireworks contain aerial shells that hold explosive chemicals with an oxidizing agent, a fuel, a heavy metal salt colorant, and a binder. When ignited, the oxidizing agent and the fuel chemically react to create extreme heat and gas, shooting the shell up (hopefully up) at 300 mph. The colorant produces color and the binder holds everything together.

Traditional fireworks contain a mix of charcoal, sulfur, and potassium nitrate, also known as gunpowder. When a spark hits the gunpowder, the potassium nitrate feeds oxygen to the fire to facilitate the burning of the charcoal-sulfur fuel.

Modern fireworks are often made with perchlorates instead of potassium nitrate. Perchlorates (ClO4) are chemicals that feature a central chlorine atom bonded to four oxygen atoms. Perchlorates are hazardous to the health of mammals (including humans). The perchlorates impact the health of animals by causing their thyroids to swell and threatening normal growth and development. The colorants inside fireworks are made up of heavy metal salts, including:

fireworks     * aluminum (Al) burns white
    * magnalium burns brighter, almost fluorescent
    * strontium (Sr) burns red
    * copper (Cu) burns blue (& may produce harmful copper oxide)
    * calcium (Ca), calcium chloride (CaCl2) burns orange
    * barium (Ba) burns green or blue
    * lithium (Li) burns pink
    * rubidium (Rb) burns purple
    Other colors are mixtures.
    Magnesium and aluminum make silver sparkles.
    Aluminum filings make the loud bangs.

Although the heavy metals in fireworks experience a temporary physical change, the heavy metal salts and explosives in the fireworks undergo chemical changes by combining with oxygen (combustion). This chemical reaction releases smoke and gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrogen (N), and these are some of the primary greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. Fireworks also create a burst of ozone (O3),
nitric oxide (NO), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). During the explosion, these metal saltsdo not burn up. They are still metal atoms, and many of them end up as aerosols that poison the air, the water, and the soil. When inhaled or ingested, these metals can cause a huge variety of short- and long-term reactions, ranging from vomiting, diarrhea or asthma attacks, to kidney disease, cardiotoxic effects, and a variety of cancers. (Forbes)

The size of particles that fireworks introduce into the atmosphere are PM2.5
PM10 (coarse particles ranging from 2.5–10 microns in diameter), PM0.1 (ultrafine particles, also known as UFPs, that are smaller than 0.3 microns in diameter – by far the most dangerous PM pollutant), and volatile organic compounds (also known as VOCs, airborne vapor or gaseous compounds responsible for many odors). Note that many of these particles are so tiny that they can be inhaled into the lungs where they infiltrate the bloodstream, causing many health problems. (IQair)

Fireworks also cause noise pollution. Larger fireworks displays easily surpass 140 decibels, which is well past the 85 decibel mark where hearing can be damaged. Tinnitus is forever. Explosions also effect veterans with PTSD, pets, and wildlife. (Fireworks)

On July 4, 2012, San Diego launched 18 minutes worth of fireworks in about 18 seconds.   fireworks (San Diego 2012)

The Galapagos Islands recently limited the sale and use of fireworks, as did Beijing.

Climate change should make people question fireworks, missiles, and rockets of all sizes.

Music Association: Katy Perry - Fireworks


Canadian wildfire smoke impacts American cities, June 28, 2023

Hopes and Dreams

Iceberg Ahead
Can We Turn Back?
June 26, 2023

The problem is deeper than you think -- plastic bags.
from National Geographic - June 2018

Music Association: Cher - If We Could Turn Back Time

Hopes and Dreams

Teaching AI - The Basics
The Golden Retriever Rule
June 16, 2023

The best way to raise Artificial Intelligence (AI) is by golden retriever.

Golden retrievers are the best. They are intelligent, friendly, kind, and steadfast by nature.

That's a great deal right there. Built-in to a friendly disposition is an optimism that strangers will not hurt them. Life's adversities can undo the nature of anyone, including golden retrievers. But starting out friendly, with a desire to do no harm to anyone, starting out kind, and being rock-solid about standing by your principles and who you love is a strong foundation for any being.

If I were purposefully teaching AI, I would follow the golden retriever model.
Seek happiness and wag your tail.

Golden retrievers
are love in dog form.
self-walking golden retriever

The Golden Rule
Golden retrievers teach through doing. They do to others as they would have others do to them. It's the golden rule. It applies to anyone, even managers and restaurant customers. It is a maxim of reciprocity.

History teaches the golden rule positively and negatively. Do to others as you would have others do to you. Or do not do to others as you would not want them to do to you. Or double negatively, never do not do to others as you would never want them to not do to you.

A teacher told a class, In English, a double-negative is a positive. In Spanish, a double-negative is a negative. But in no language is a double-positive a negative. From the back of the class, a voice muttered, Yeah, right.

golden retriever or golden retrievers

It's Ancient History
A four thousand year old Egyptian story from the Middle Kingdom (c. 2040–1650 BCE) of the Eloquent Peasant says, Do to the doer to make him do.

The ancient Greeks took the negative approach:
Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing. – Thales (c. 624–546 BCE)
Do not do to others that which angers you when they do it to you. – Isocrates (436–338 BCE)

The Golden Rule in Religion
Hinduism:  One should never do something to others that one would regard as an injury to one's own self. This is dharma. Anything else is succumbing to desire.
sage Brihaspati, Mahābhārata 13.114.8 (c. 400 BCE400 CE)
Buddhism:   Just as I am so are they, just as they are so am I.
– Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama, c. 623–543 BCE), Sutta Nipata 705
                  Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
Buddha, Udanavarga 5:18
Confucianism:  How about 'shu' (reciprocity): never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself?
– the one word Confucius suggests to guide life, Analects 15:24 (c. 500 BCE)
Judaism:  You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself.
The Lord said to Moses, Leviticus 19:18
              What is hateful to you, do not do to others. That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary.  
Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 312
Christianity:  Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.  
Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7:12
Islam:  As you would have people do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, don't do to them.
– prophet Muhammad to a Bedouin, Kitab al-Kafi 2, p146
          No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.  
An-Nawawi's Forty Hadith 13, p56
Taoism:   The sage has no interest of his own, but takes the interests of the people as his own. He is kind to the kind; he is also kind to the unkind: for Virtue is kind. He is faithful to the faithful; he is also faithful to the unfaithful: for Virtue is faithful.
Tao Te Ching 49
               Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss.
 T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien
Yoruba:   One who is going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts.
Yoruba proverb

Music Association: The Eagles - The Best Of My Love

This Week in Minnesota
Canadian Wildfires
June 15, 2023

Code red:
Smoke from western Canadian wildfires -and- eastern Canadian wildfires are both funneling to Minnesota, blotting out the sun and giving the sky an even tan.

Minnesota medical charts are automatically being updated as smokers.

Music Association: Sanford Townsend Band - Smoke From A Distant Fire

Canadian wild fires & hot spots, June 15, 2023

Banning Book Bans

No Artificial Ingredients
Teaching AI - The Basics
June 3, 2023

Not much on self-promotion, I have resisted commenting on the big news story from last February.

This website, hopes-and-dreams.net, has taught AI chatbots a thing or two... technically 9,700+ things.

The things that AI chatbots know are from Google's C4 data set, which swiped information from 15 million websites. Of the 15 million websites informing the C4 data set, 5 million websites are already dead. Yes, websites die and disappear from the ethernet, only remembered by loved ones and Google. A moment of silence for the departed, but never fully parted, data.


That leaves 10 million websites that were analyzed by the Allen Institute and the Washington Post. (Freud and Jung never even considered putting that many websites on the couch to talk about their feelings and their mothers.) Analysis completed, they ranked the websites by how many unique words or phrases the websites had unknowingly shared with the C4 data set.

This website clocked in at two million of the 10 million with 9,700+ unique words and phrases. It could be as simple as using the non-word "dummer" which is actually dumber than a drummer, but could be either dumber or a drummer. Then again, much of what I have read that was written by ChatGPT and other AI sounds only slightly more intelligent than anonymous comments (AC).

Most of the intelligence in the artificial intelligence comes from patent files. Google gathered worldwide patent data for the top website patents.google.com fueling AI chatbots. Patent data is a definite cure for insomnia more than a fix for whatever the patent claims to cover. Applying basic chemistry, physics, engineering, or geometry to most patents makes their claims patently false. Falling somewhere between quackery and scams.

The second most common source of data is Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia. Wikipedia is generally better than patent data but often disagrees with itself within an item or between related pages. It certainly does not know all people, places, things, movies, or events. However the coverage of Wikipedia is better than nearly all other sources of digital information.

Most of the Internet (and this website) is mostly entertainment. The purpose of a chatbot is mostly for entertainment, despite already being used by lawyers, teachers, and politicians for occupational purposes. Chatting is not teaching or instructing, yet.

The copyright on this website has always indicated “all rights reserved.”

Music Association: The marching band extended version of Shave And A Haircut

Hopes and Dreams

Paint By (the) Numbers
Climate Change & 1.1% Growth
April 28, 2023

Climate change is not an afterthought. Numerically small changes in global temperatures and carbon dioxide and methane are having extreme consequences to the fragile life on Earth.

What fragile life? You.

You with your acceptable temperature range and your assumptions of clean air and water.

In the 1960s United States, 42% of the population smoked. There were smoking sections on planes and trains. Taxi cabs were entirely smoking sections, but then you couldn't take a flight in a non-smoking section without arriving in a smoking jacket. Today, only 1 in 9 Americans smoke.

Clean air is more available than it used to be, except for the summer forest fires. There didn't used to be regular summer forest fires.

Headlines yesterday said the United States growth was 1.1% for the first quarter of 2023.

Woo hoo! Wintertime growth of 1.1%?!? Just wait until summer! The forests will have double-digit... what?!? GDP? Gosh darned pollution?

Gross domestic product is the economic synopsis of a country's industrial health, which has an adverse relationship to climate change. So the headlines indicated the 1.1% US GDP was bad for the economy, due to slower growth. But is it good for life on Earth?

Some industries are making wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles, and carbon sequestering devices. Those are good for life on Earth, right?

Define good.

Not bad. Coal power plants are bad. Cement production is bad. Strip mining is bad.

Wind turbines and solar panels are good but have cement bases which are bad.

Using less power would be good.

What if homes were wrapped in mineral wool batting to insulate attics and exterior walls? Mineral wool batting is strong insulation. And unlike flammable rigid or spray-in foam, mineral wool batting can withstand temperatures up to 2150°F. Would that be good?

Yes, using less power due to better insulation would be good. That could be growth in a good direction.

Music Association: Steve Miller - Joker Smoker

Hopes and Dreams

Going For The Record
More Snowsnow
April 1, 2023

The Twin Cities received more snow overnight ranging from 6.5 to 10 inches or more, with some of the snow allocated to the March records and some starting off April.

This winter was already the 8th snowiest on record (81.2") as measured at the MSP airport. The National Weather Service recorded the snow at 8.5 inches. That plows this winter's snowfall total to 89.7 inches, making it the third snowiest season in the Twin Cities.

The winter of 1983-1984 has the record at 98.6 inches, followed by 95 inches in the 1981-1982 season.

The question is: are we digging out or digging in?

The new snow will hardly patch the potholes this winter has dug into the roads.

“Are they potholes or are they road caves?” a friend asked. “It's not driving; it's spelunking.”

I replied, “If you are on it, it's a pothole. If you are in it, it's a road cave.”

More snow is in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Music Association: Eagles - Take It To The Limit

Hopes and Dreams

Another Train Tanked
Ethanol & Corn Syrup
March 30, 2023

BNSF train derails in Raymond MN

A BNSF train with tankers of ethanol and corn syrup derailed in the small town of Raymond, Minnesota at 1am. No injuries were reported. Some of the 800 residents were evacuated to a school and a church in the smaller town of Prinsburg, Minnesota before being allowed back to Raymond.

Music Assocation: Men Without Hats - Safety Dance

Hopes and Dreams

King Sized Mini Eggs
March 27, 2023

Just before Valentine's Day, I spotted a small bag of “Cadbury Mini Eggs - King Size.”

I am easily confused, so I looked for a candy expert to ask. Not finding anyone, I called the candy hotline at 1-800-468-1774.

I asked about the small package of 
Cadbury Mini Eggs - King Size.

The candy expert at 
Hershey's helpfully said what I was viewing as small is not the smallest bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs. There are two sizes smaller than the 2.2oz. Cadbury has 1.5oz and 0.7oz bags.

Cadbury also has 16oz and 28oz bags of Mini Eggs, which could be labeled Kingdom Sized and Continental Sized but are not.

Cadbury Mini Eggs - King Size 2.2oz

Music Association: Ray Anthony - Bunny Hop

Hopes and Dreams

Acres of plastic planting pots burned in Kissimmee, Florida on February 16, 2023.

Plastic Pots Pollution
February 18, 2023

On February 16, 2023 at 2am eastern time, a fire started by the back fence of a nursery supply company, 13 miles south of Disney World.

The fire burned nearly five acres of two-gallon plastic pots in Kissimmee, Florida.

Florida public health officials with straight faces
told Fox35Orlando that plastic pots burning do not create toxic smoke or ash. "These pots are burning into soot, just carbon, and carbon monoxide, a small amount that dissipates in the air, carbon dioxide and water. Nothing exotic. No cyanide, like you can get in some fires. No exotic chemicals like you can get in some fires," said Dr. Todd Husty, a public health official.

Florida is saying it is just as messed up as Ohio.

Music Association: Anna Nalick - 2am Breathe

Norfolk Southern freight train 32N derailed and burned at East Palestine, Ohio

Oh East Palestine
Norfolk Southern Railroad Derailment Pollution
February 18, 2023

On February 3, 2023 at 8:54pm eastern time, 38 train cars of a nearly two-mile long Norfolk Southern 32N train derailed and caught fire at the east end of East Palestine on the east side of Ohio. The 153-car* freight train burned tanks of vinyl chloride (a known carcinogen), butyl acrylate**, ethylhexyl acrylate, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, isobutylene, combustible liquids, and benzene residue. The mangled and charred mass of tankers, boxcars, and 100 foot tall fires were still burning February 5th with winds blowing the dark blue-gray smoke plumes east into nearby Pennsylvania as well as West Virginia, New York, and beyond.
Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio as viewed on February 4, 2023
All 14 freight cars of vinyl chloride derailed and were exposed to the fire.  Vinyl chloride is used to make plastic and is shipped as a chilled liquid but quickly turns into an explosive gas at normal outdoor temperatures.

On February 5th, the decision was made to purposefully vent liquid vinyl chloride and set it ablaze. The newly set fire produced a towering, pewter-colored column of smoke.
Norfolk Southern derailment - burning of vinyl chloride on February 5, 2023
Residents reported sudden headaches and nausea. They reported dead fish in streams and dead chickens in backyard coops. A resident said the air smelled like nail polish remover and burning tires.

A chemical plume of butyl acrylate flowed into the Ohio River and was flowing downstream toward Cincinnati. The Ohio River flows through seven states until it flows into the Mississippi River which flows through five more states before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. The East Palestine discolored drinking water was still safe, according to EPA officials.

On February 8th, a reporter was arrested and held for five hours for trying to cover the East Palestine derailment, trespassing at a two-hour-delayed press conference.

Between 2008 and 2019 train lengths increased by 25 percent. There are now freight trains stretching more than three miles, often driven by just two people. Writing an opinion piece for the Washington Post,
Eugene Robinson said, Basic principles of physics would indicate that the sheer mass of such a long, heavy train would make any derailment more violent than that of a shorter, lighter train. A Norfolk Southern spokesperson, speaking to CBS, defended the 'uniform' weight distribution of the train and the fact that it included a mid-train locomotive, 'which helps manage the dynamic forces.' No amount of word salad can repeal Isaac Newton’s second law of motion, F=ma. Force equals mass times acceleration.

Federal officials found 36 percent more hazardous material violations on trains over the past five years compared to the five years prior.

Consolidation has left the nation with only seven major freight railroad companies, and six of them — including Norfolk Southern — have adopted a profit-boosting, cost-cutting strategy called “precision-scheduled railroading,” or PSR. According to a Government Accountability Office report (pdf) issued in December 2022, PSR involves reductions in staff, longer trains and reductions in some key assets such as locomotives. According to the report, “the overall number of staff among the seven largest freight railroads … decreased by about 28 percent from 2011 through 2021” and “all seven railroads said they have increased the length of trains in recent years.”

Better brakes are an important safety measure. Electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes create braking redundancy and allow trains to apply brakes to all of their cars simultaneously. When a conductor slams the brakes, the cars don’t all run into each other. In a report last year, the FRA said that these brakes “improve both safety and braking performance of trains” but that train companies have been reluctant to invest in them due to cost.

The Obama administration created a requirement for ECP brakes at least on trains hauling flammable materials, but Trump revoked the requirement
in 2018.

Music Associations: The Hollies - The Air That I Breathe
                               & Britney Spears - Toxic

* The 18,000 ton Norfolk Southern freight train had 141 loaded freight cars, 9 empty cars, and 3 locomotives to pull the chemicals from Madison, Illinois to Conway, Pennsylvania by way of Toledo, Ohio.
** The freight train had 20 tankers of butyl acrylate and 11 of them derailed.


Paint By (the) Numbers
Plein Air Pollution
February 1, 2023

Impressionist painter Claude Monet was in London to capture the essence of the city at the end of the 19th century. “I am working very hard,” he wrote to his wife, Camille Doncieux, on March 4, 1900, “although this morning I really thought the weather had changed completely. When I got up, I was terrified to see that there was no fog, not even a wisp of mist. I was prostrate and could just see all my paintings done for, but gradually the fires were lit and the smoke and haze came back.”

Studying the angles of Monet's paintings across the Thames River from the Savoy Hotel, art historians determined Monet painted from rooms 510, 511, 610, and 611. (Technically, Monet was painting from the balconies of those rooms. The balconies were later removed.) Art historians have also studied the sun's positions in the 19 known paintings of the Houses of Parliament by Monet to determine dates and times of day that the suns were painted. 

Claude Monet, Houses of Parliament (6 of 19)

A more recent study concluded that the haze Monet was painting was industrial pollution (obviously) and that over time his paintings revealed increased air pollution.

In 1905, Dr. Henry Antoine Des Voeux delivered a paper to the Public Health Congress in London, England. Noting there was a health threat inherent in urban living, 
something produced in great cities that was not found in the country,according to a London newspaper, Des Voeux noted the pervasive presence of a smokey fog, or what was known as 'smog.'

That smog, the London Fog, has decreased over the past 100 plus years. The coal soot and other air pollution have improved in London but not other cities.

Here are World Air Quality Project 2022 air pollution charts from 
London, Dehli, Beijing, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis.

air pollution 2022 in London, Dehli, Beijing, Los Angeles, Minneapolis
dark, dark red = dangerous?
dark red = hazardous
purple = very unhealthy
red = unhealthy
orange = unhealthy for sensitive groups
yellow = moderate
green = good
blue = great?
numbers = numbers of days in that category

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency released a report showing the decline in Minnesota's greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 to 2020.

MN greenhouse gases 2005-2020

The charts above show the Minnesota greenhouse gas emissions from two sources. The chart on the left is from the Pollution Control Agency (PCA), and the chart on the right is from the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper, based on the PCA chart on the left. The chart on the right looks better than the chart on the left because the scale of emissions does not start at zero. It is misleading.

Music Associations: Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine
                             & Dire Straits - Industrial Disease

Time Flies
Timeline File
January 20, 2023

Hey, remember Trump?!?

I hardly do. It's been... what... two years exactly since Trump left office after starting an insurrection at the United States Capitol, after having lost the popular vote, the electoral vote, the womens vote, many other demographical votes, and every election lawsuit imaginable.

To commemorate the anniversary of the first refusal to pass the presidential torch, here is an updated Trump Timeline (pdf - pretty damn final).

There should be a presidential torch.

No really. There wouldn't have to be an age limit on the presidency. Nope. No presidential age limit except to be able to run and grab the moving, flaming torch. The Olympics and the U.S. presidential elections already take place the same year, why not join them together? Finally there would be a second reason for building an Olympic stadium. Someone call the IOC.

Music Association: Genesis - Follow You, Follow Me

Minnesota Returns
Biggest Comeback Ever
December 18, 2022

Back from the longest, largest points deficit in American football history, the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Indianapolis Colts by 39-36 in overtime.

The Minnesota Vikings have what the NFL and the Super Bowl often lacks: perseverance, determination, focus, forgiving others mistakes, and the insight to know what people want for Christmas.

Those are rare gifts.

Music Association: The Babys - Back On My Feet Again

Minnesota Vikings - Biggest Comeback in NFL History

bury the lead - Indianapolis Star for Dec 18, 2022

Happy Holidays
Gift Ideas for Everyone
October 26, 2022

Speedshopping recently, I noticed Halloween-Christmas items jumbled together in a Nightmare Before Christmas sort of way.

A few aisles later, I nodded, understandingly.

Costumed Christmas. Gifts that keep on disguising.

You get a makeover. You get a makeover. Everyone gets a makeover.

The problem with the world is climate change. Also famine, disease, the Russia-Ukraine war, plastic, and wage theft. But the other major problem is lack of diversity in closets.

Take a look: shirts, pants, jackets, shoes, but no costumes.

We all could use more costumes.

panda mopes
a park panda mopes

that's also a costume, isn't it
that's also a costume, isn't it

now that you mention it, the arm rests did feel funny
now that you mention it, the arm rests did feel funny

"Well, it will just have to wait," Clark says while reading his phone
"Well, it will just have to wait," Clark says while reading his phone.

Music Association: Rod Stewart - You Wear It Well

Patients Before Profits
Nurses Strike in Minnesota
14, 2022

Today is the third day and final day of a strike by 15,000 MNA nurses throughout Minnesota. The Unfair Labor Practice Strike is seeking public support over wage increases, retention, staffing and safety concerns, as well as addressing ongoing burnout, heightened by the Covid-19 pandemic. Union nurses have been in negotiations since March, and they have been working without a contract since June.

"The most important thing for us is safe staffing. And we have proposals on the table to have nurses have a say in how things go. We do the work … we're the ones that take care of the patients. We need a say in how things go," said Tricia Ryshkus, a nurse at Children's Minnesota in Minneapolis and a member of the Minnesota Nurses Association negotiating team, told Minnesota Public Radio.

More about nursing issues.

Patients Before Profits

Music Association: Lady Gaga - Heal Me

Hopes and Dreams

Bizarro FPOTUS
Trump's Espionage
14, 2022

Donald Trump's Firsts:

1st candidate to invite Russian election interference
1st candidate to threaten to lock up his opposition
1st candidate to brag about sexual assault
1st president to be impeached twice
1st president to kowtow to Russia
1st president to withhold foreign aid for election interference
1st president to politicize a pandemic
1st president to lose the popular vote twice

1st president to try to get his VP killed
1st president to try to overthrow the government instead of conceding his loss
1st former president to steal top secret documents

On August 8, 2022, the 48th anniversary of Richard Nixon leaving the White House in disgrace, the FBI raided Trump's residence at Mar-a-Lago and seized boxes of stolen top secret documents, reportedly including nuclear weapons documents. This was after numerous National Archives requests, including 15 boxes returned in January, plus a warrant approved by the head of the FBI and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. 

Only Donald Trump would steal boxes of higher than classified, higher than top secret (TS/SCI), nuclear weapons documents and take them to Florida, with the potential of selling them to the Saudis or his Russian master Putin. It is espionage. It is a violation of the Espionage Act and the Presidential Records Act.
Trump's boxes of stolen top secret documents
Between inciting the January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol riot to overthrow the peaceful transfer of power and the theft of some of the most protected secrets of our country, Trump is a traitor to the United States.

The stealing of secret nuclear weapons documents is reminiscent of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were
executed on June 19, 1953 after providing top secret nuclear weapon designs to the Soviet Union. A key Justice Department prosecutor of the Rosenbergs was Roy Cohn, who went on to be the henchman of Joe McCarthy's anti-communist witch hunt (with homosexual insinuations). In 1973, Cohn met Trump at Le Club, a New York disco. Roy Cohn became Trump's attorney and mentor. Cohn fought the Justice Department for Trump and all five of New York's organized crime families. In the mid-1980s Trump distanced himself from his mentor when Cohn had AIDS.

Music Association: Badfinger - Come And Get It


Russia-Ukraine War of 2022
Russia - Ukraine War

end Israeli apartheid
end Israeli apartheid

China in 1989 (T a n k M a n)
China in 1989

George Floyd, murdered by police, May 25, 2021
George Floyd

Covid-19 disease - the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus

Presidential Timeline of Donald Trump
Trump Timeline (PDF)

voter suppression
Voter Suppression

music videos
Music Videos
October 2018 Twin Cities Calendar
Landmine Hopscotch


Impact Investing
Impact Investing

Gifs of Kittens (part 1)
Holiday Gifs of Cats and Kittens Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5  

Climate Solutions

Hennepin County Library at Southdale (Edina, MN)
Southdale Hennepin Library  Edina Library  

Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman

food fraud
Food Fraud

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