Falcon Heavy Live Stream

Space X’s Falcon Heavy rocket is now scheduled to test launch at 3:45 PM EST. The Falcon Heavy is three Falcon 9 rockets bundled together in a new configuration from the regular Falcon 9s. The main rocket has a payload attached with two Falcon 9s as boosters. The Falcon heavy has 27 engines and generates more than 5 million pounds of thrust at lift off.

Musk has given it just a 50% chance of actually lifting off for its test flight without blowing up.

Here’s a live feed to watch it.

Open thread!



North Carolina Man Loves His Donuts!

You have to appreciate the commitment to one’s craft!

Charlotte Observer, take it away!

A North Carolina man who made headlines when he was caught for break-ins after winning a doughnut-eating contest has been arrested again. And this time he’s accused of stealing from a doughnut shop.

The Virginian-Pilot newspaper reports 27-year-old Bradley Hardison of Elizabeth City was charged Thursday with stealing from a Dunkin’ Donuts in November.

An Elizabeth City Police Department statement says he’s charged with felonies including breaking and entering and larceny. It wasn’t clear if he helped himself to any doughnuts.

A phone listing for Hardison rang disconnected.

Obligatory:

Stay frosted!

Open thread.



Floriduh Iguana! Wait, What?

Beware the falling iguanas in South Florida.

When temperatures dip into the 30s and 40s, people from West Palm Beach to Miami know to be on the lookout for reptiles stunned — but not necessarily killed — by the cold. They can come back to life again when it warms up.

Iguanas, which can be as long as six feet, are not native to South Florida. They have proliferated in the subtropical heat, causing headaches for wildlife managers — and occasionally popping up in toilets. It took a prolonged cold spell to significantly reduce their population in 2010. (The same cold snap also resulted in the deaths of many invasive Burmese pythons.)

Iguanas climb up trees to roost at night, said Ron Magill, communications director for Zoo Miami.

“When the temperature goes down, they literally shut down, and they can no longer hold on to the trees,” he said. “Which is why you get this phenomenon in South Florida that it’s raining iguanas.” (Including on windshields.)

The larger the iguana, the greater its chance of survival, Mr. Magill added.

“Even if they look dead as a doornail — they’re gray and stiff — as soon as it starts to heat up and they get hit by the sun rays, it’s this rejuvenation,” he said. “The ones that survive that cold streak are basically passing on that gene.”

And they have a plan!

He suspects that, within a couple of decades, iguanas will creep north because they will be able to withstand colder climates.

More at the link.

Stay frosty, unless you’re experiencing bombogenesis, then stay toasty! And beware of falling iguanas!

Open thread!

Also, no iguanas were harmed in the writing of this post.



Amusing Christmas Traditions: The Most Senior Ranking Jewish American Military Officer Is In Overwatch In Support Of Santa’s Deliveries

Yes, you read that right Gen David L. Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force and the most senior Jewish American officer in the US Military, is supervising this year’s tracking of Santa by NORAD.

This US Air Force tradition of tracking Santa began back in the 1950s when a typo in an advertisement led a call to Santa to go awry and wind up on the line of Col. Harry Shoup, of Continental Air Defense Command, now known as North American Aerospace Command (NORAD).

Shoup’s children, Terri Van Keuren, 65, Rick Shoup, 59, and Pam Farrell, 70, recently visited StoryCorps to talk about how the tradition began.

Terri remembers her dad had two phones on his desk, including a red one. “Only a four-star general at the Pentagon and my dad had the number,” she says.

“This was the ’50s, this was the Cold War, and he would have been the first one to know if there was an attack on the United States,” Rick says.

The red phone rang one day in December 1955, and Shoup answered it, Pam says. “And then there was a small voice that just asked, ‘Is this Santa Claus?’ ”

His children remember Shoup as straight-laced and disciplined, and he was annoyed and upset by the call and thought it was a joke — but then, Terri says, the little voice started crying.

“And Dad realized that it wasn’t a joke,” her sister says. “So he talked to him, ho-ho-ho’d and asked if he had been a good boy and, ‘May I talk to your mother?’ And the mother got on and said, ‘You haven’t seen the paper yet? There’s a phone number to call Santa. It’s in the Sears ad.’ Dad looked it up, and there it was, his red phone number. And they had children calling one after another, so he put a couple of airmen on the phones to act like Santa Claus.”

“It got to be a big joke at the command center. You know, ‘The old man’s really flipped his lid this time. We’re answering Santa calls,’ ” Terri says.

“The airmen had this big glass board with the United States on it and Canada, and when airplanes would come in they would track them,” Pam says.

“And Christmas Eve of 1955, when Dad walked in, there was a drawing of a sleigh with eight reindeer coming over the North Pole,” Rick says.

“Dad said, ‘What is that?’ They say, ‘Colonel, we’re sorry. We were just making a joke. Do you want us to take that down?’ Dad looked at it for a while, and next thing you know, Dad had called the radio station and had said, ‘This is the commander at the Combat Alert Center, and we have an unidentified flying object. Why, it looks like a sleigh.’ Well, the radio stations would call him like every hour and say, ‘Where’s Santa now?’ ” Terri says.

“And later in life he got letters from all over the world, people saying, ‘Thank you, Colonel,’ for having, you know, this sense of humor. And in his 90s, he would carry those letters around with him in a briefcase that had a lock on it like it was top-secret information,” she says. “You know, he was an important guy, but this is the thing he’s known for.”

“Yeah,” Rick says, “it’s probably the thing he was proudest of, too.”

It says something important that a whimsical tradition, born of a moment of empathy at the start of the Cold War, is now being overseen and promoted by the highest ranking Jewish American military official. That despite all the meanness and smallness and pettiness of the past year there is still resilience left in American civil society.

For those celebrating Christmas tonight: a very Merry Christmas to you. For those that aren’t:

Merry Christmas! And Happy Holidays! Drive safe, be safe, and enjoy!

Open thread!



Pet Rescue Bleg: Columbus, OH Area

Pogonip put up a comment yesterday about a cat hoarding tragedy in the Columbus, OH area. Apparently someone in Gahanna, OH had collected, for lack of a better term, 166 cats.

GAHANNA, OH (WCMH) –Wednesday, more than 160 cats were taken out of a Gahanna home.

“We did remove 111 alive cats, 55 deceased unfortunately,” said Kerry Shaw with Columbus Humane, formerly called the Capital Area Humane Society.

Columbus Humane said it’s one of the worst cases of animal hoarding it has ever seen.

“The cats were in deplorable conditions and some have serious health risks right now, serious health conditions,” said Shaw.

Unfortunately, this has overwhelmed the Columbus Humane Society’s capabilities right now.

Columbus Humane, which operates a shelter at 3015 Scioto Darby Executive Court on the Far West Side, was so overwhelmed with the cats from Gahanna that they had to shut down operations to the public Wednesday, Shaw said.

Veterinarians were examining the 111 live cats to evaluate their health, gather evidence and determine their future, Shaw said.

Pogonip was hoping that any of you all in the area might be able to help out. Specifically:

Hello, I remember from reading this site before that readers would organize to help pets all across the country.

I lived in Columbus, Ohio for years and still keep up with their news. Earlier this week, in suburban Gahanna, one hundred eleven cats were rescued from a collector. The local shelter is so overwhelmed they’ve had to stop accepting turn-ins. They can use all the help they can get. Details and updates can be found at dispatch.com and nbc4i.com.

So if you live in the area and were considering adopting,  from the Columbus Humane Society, now might be a good time to consider doing so from the Columbus Human Society to ease their sudden overcrowding problem.

Open thread!



If You Ink It You Better Mean It

This happened in Florida, but it isn’t your usual Florida Man story:

There’s  a letter in The New England Journal of Medicine, faccompanied by this photograph of the ink in question (h/t Ars Technica):

What would you do, faced with an unconscious, unaccompanied and unidentified person with this on their chest?

(ETA: I guess the tattooed signature is an identifier.  But I’m guessing they mean formal ID, and one that might lead them in a timely fashion to the necessary records.)

The Florida hospital staff seems to me to have got it right this time.  Here’s how the patient came to them:

Paramedics brought an unconscious 70-year-old man with a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes mellitus, and atrial fibrillation to the emergency department, where he was found to have an elevated blood alcohol level. The staff of the medical intensive care unit evaluated him several hours later when hypotension and an anion-gap metabolic acidosis with a pH of 6.81 developed.

Remember: no ID, no family to ask, and a patient unable to speak on his own behalf.  The ER tried to get him to the point where he could tell them his intentions, but he never reached that point. What to do?

We initially decided not to honor the tattoo, invoking the principle of not choosing an irreversible path when faced with uncertainty. This decision left us conflicted owing to the patient’s extraordinary effort to make his presumed advance directive known; therefore, an ethics consultation was requested.

While they deliberated, the patient received not-terribly intrusive treatment, but treatment.  Then…

After reviewing the patient’s case, the ethics consultants advised us to honor the patient’s do not resuscitate (DNR) tattoo. They suggested that it was most reasonable to infer that the tattoo expressed an authentic preference, that what might be seen as caution could also be seen as standing on ceremony, and that the law is sometimes not nimble enough to support patient-centered care and respect for patients’ best interests. A DNR order was written.

The patient died that night.  Later (after his death, I think, though the letter isn’t entirely clear) the patient was identified and his written DNR order was found in Florida Dept. of Health files.  The takeaway?

This patient’s tattooed DNR request produced more confusion than clarity, given concerns about its legality and likely unfounded beliefs1 that tattoos might represent permanent reminders of regretted decisions made while the person was intoxicated. We were relieved to find his written DNR request, especially because a review of the literature identified a case report of a person whose DNR tattoo did not reflect his current wishes.2

In other words:  Don’t Get The Tat If It Ain’t Where You’re At!

Open thread.








Washington Man: Getting Freaky On the Highway Edition!

ELBE, Wash. (KOMO) – A naked man and woman were having sex in their car, while driving on State Route 7 with their baby in the back seat, when they crashed Wednesday night near La Grande, according to the State Patrol.

The crash happened around 6 p.m. in the 48400 block of Mountain Highway.

Troopers said the man was driving when he missed a curve, went off the road and crashed into a tree.

Witnesses told troopers both the man and woman were naked when they got out of the car. Troopers said they were also both impaired.

You’d expect this type of behavior to take place in Florida, and, historically, you’d be correct:

A couple seen having sex while driving on Interstate 95 followed a couple in another car who was watching them, eventually pulling a gun during a confrontation at a business, according to the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said Louis Carr was in a car with his girlfriend and 3-year-old son driving north on I-95 at the Airport Road exit about 3:30 p.m. Sunday. They had left the Jaguars game early, and that’s when they say they saw Suzanne Welker giving Ernest Gonzales oral sex while Gonzales was driving a SUV.

“I pointed to my old lady. She looked across me about that time, she jumped up in the seat bare butt, mooned us through the window,” Carr said of the suspect.

While the couple was watching the suspects, they said Welker was trying to climb Gonzales’ lap, and she was naked and could be seen clearly by everyone in the area, deputies said.

Also, Wisconsin, wait, what?

A Wisconsin couple wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of their good time. Not even the beam of a police flashlight.

The man and woman were arrested Monday after being caught having sex in their car — and then refusing to stop.

According to the police report, Officer A. Westpfahl was called to Adams St. to investigate a report of someone suspiciously looking into cars. He didn’t find anyone, and began walking up to the home of the person who’d called 911 to talk to her.

As he approached her home, he said suddenly heard “what sounded like someone moaning.” Suddenly, the 911 caller called out from an open window on the second floor and said there were two people in front of her home having sex in a car.

At least the couple in Wisconsin were in a parked, though obviously not completely stationary, car.

Anyone else? Chicago, IL come on down! So to speak.

This whole thing gives new meaning to the term double airbags, 5th gear, and cruise control!