Wednesday, May 12, 2021

It is Fragile


We do not realize it on a daily basis, but our cyber infrastructure is fragile and potentially full of holes.

The ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline highlights the point. But that is not the first. Baltimore City suffered under a ransomware attack for months and have potentially lost millions of dollars. 

Theoretically, hackers could turn off home appliances and some automobiles. Think of what we have connected to the internet. Our watches, even, which allow us to know the time. It is proverbial train-wreck waiting to happen. Wait, it already has. 

The things we depend upon are connected to a fragile network which is being exploited and can be shut-off during times of crisis. 

I'm not writing this to scare, but rather to prepare for the inevitable: Life without the internet. It will happen at some point unless we become smarter about how we connect to and employ the internet. 

It is fragile!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Mid-May Cool Down

 It seems as if the region is experiencing a mid-may cool down. 

I have turned the heat back on in the house. 

Morning temperatures are in the mid-40's and the afternoons are not making it to even 70 degrees. 

This is not May weather. 

We will not see a 70 degree afternoon until Thursday. And then it is forecast to make it to only 70 degrees.  

When will it finally become warm?

I am looking forward to heading off to Houston this weekend to enjoy some warm temperatures. And of course I did get a few days in Florida with 80 degree temperatures last month. 

The heat and humidity will be here soon enough, I am sure. And I know that many people will complain--but, really? It is no fun to swim in a pool when the air temperature in below 80! I hope it warms up for Memorial Day!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 10, 2021

Monday Musings - May 10, 2021


1. It is the second Monday of May--but the weather makes it feel more like March. There are three Mondays remaining in the month.

2. The temperatures have been in the 40's overnight. The arrival of Brood X of the 17 year Cicadas has apparently been delayed due to the cold temperatures.

3. There is a chlorine shortage for residential pools developing. Chris and I were able to secure enough chlorine tablets for the entire pool season. 

4. Dogs get on a very regular schedule. I no longer need an alarm clock in the morning. Makayla wakes me so she can go out and get fed.

5. The light is returning in the morning. By 6 AM it is light enough to see. I believe that I will be playing racquetball in the mornings again, soon. 

6. Today in History. On May 10, 1869, the presidents of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet in Promontory, Utah, and drive a ceremonial last spike into a rail line that connects their railroads. This made transcontinental railroad travel possible for the first time in U.S. history. No longer would western-bound travelers need to take the long and dangerous journey by wagon train.

‘Why Do We Deserve to Die?’ Kabul’s Hazaras Bury Their Daughters.‘Why Do We Deserve to Die?’ Kabul’s Hazaras Bury Their Daughters. - The New York Times

Consumers Feel the Pinch as Prices Rise - The Wall Street Journal

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

The economic challenges faced in the southern half of this hemisphere appear as monumental as those in the political arena. Yet there's reason for hope. For the three decades after the Second World War, substantial economic progress was made in Latin America. Growth rates, in fact, matched those in the industrialized democracies and improved the standard of living of a significant proportion of the population. At the same time, however, a rapid increase in the population strained resources and left many in dire poverty. The leap in energy prices and the onset of global recession in 1979 was felt the world over. Few places experienced more pain than Latin America and the Caribbean.

While coping with worldwide economic currents must be the primary responsibility of each country, we're doing what we can to help. We increased by over 50 percent the level of bilateral economic assistance over the previous administration. We've continued to support contributions to the World Bank, the Inter-American Bank, and IMF programs, all of which are vital to Latin America. Discreetly, with much care and consideration for political, social, as well as economic consequences, we worked with leaders in government and the private sector to encourage the refinancing of international debts. And your cooperation has been indispensable in this effort.

Remarks at a Meeting of the Council of the Americas, May 8, 1984

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Mother's Day 2021


Mom and Chris
‎⁨Letchworth State Park⁩,  ⁨NY
June 26, 2020

Happy Mother's Day

To all of the Moms out there--this is your day. Enjoy it.

To my Mom--I'll see you next week for the first time in almost a year.

To my wife--Happy Mother's Day.

What a different time we find ourselves in this year. Last year we were reeling from the coronavirus and everything was shutting down. 

Mom and Me
Hunt, NY
February 14, 2020
Chris and I made a trip to New York in June, but that was the last time I visited with her. After that trip, things got really bad and travel quarantines were imposed which effectively cut off travel. We are only just now beginning to move about the country now that we are vaccinated.

I am looking forward to heading off to Houston next weekend to visit Mom and enjoy some warm temperatures. Ugh, it was 45 degrees here this morning. 

Happy Mother's Day 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Bursting with Blooms

Lilac in the Yard
Elkridge, MD
May 8, 2021

The lilac bush just off the end of our porch is bursting with blooms. Not only does the bush provide something beautiful to look at, but the fragrance from the blossoms greets me each time I enter of depart the front door. 

This may truly be the best time of the year. 

Enjoying the spring flowers and smells is very exciting. 

At the end of a long day at work, it is great to arrive home to the multi-sensory impact of the lilac bush.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 7, 2021

The Sky is Falling

People watch a Long March 5B rocket, carrying China's Tianhe space station core module,
as it lifts off from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in southern China's Hainan province on April 29, 2021.
Getty Images

 It promises to be a spectacular show somewhere in the world as an expended Chinese rocket body makes an uncontrolled reentry to the planet form space this weekend. 

It has raised a lot of attention here in there U.S. and I have read storied in almost every major news paper including The New York Times and The Washington Post. 

This morning, however, I am going once again to Scientific American for their view on the problem. 

Falling Uncontrolled from Space, Giant Chinese Rocket Highlights Risk of Orbital Debris

First though, this is not as new problem. As Scientific American points out debris has been falling from space for years. And some of it is big and actually does make it to the surface of the planet. The problem is described below from the article:

“It really isn’t about this one rocket body … because every rocket body in Earth orbit is uncontrolled,” explains T.S. Kelso of CelesTrak, an analytical group that keeps an eye on Earth-orbiting objects.

The true magnitude of the problem can be identified by a quick check on CelesTrak.

“It shows there are 2,033 rocket bodies in Earth orbit … at least those that we have orbital data for, as there may be more classified ones. Of course, every one of them is uncontrolled. Of the 2,033, 546 belong to the U.S. and only 169 belong to China.

“Maybe we all need to be more responsible and not leave uncontrolled rocket bodies in orbit,” Kelso told Inside Outer Space.

But the U.S. isn’t even the worst offender in terms of orbiting booster debris. That would be Russia, with 1,035 rocket bodies.

“There are another 66 rocket bodies in Earth orbit that we have no data for, because they are classified,” Kelso noted. That is, there are no “where are they?” orbit elements available. “Most we have no idea what orbit they are in, so they could re-enter or just run into something else in orbit, pretty much without any warning.”

One of those is from a 1967 launch, and eight are from launches in the 1970s, Kelso added.

For the most part, we, living on the planet have been lucky. Most of the rocket bodies that make it back crash harmlessly in the ocean. Every so often, big pieces, like this one, generate some concern and then after nothing bad happens we quickly forget about the problem. That needs to change and all of the space-faring nations of the planet need to work together to remedy the growing space junk situation.

A good site to track the progress of the Chinese rocket deorbit is It could be a spectacular show somewhere on the Earth.

The sky really is falling, Chicken Little.

-- Bob Doan, ELkridge, MD

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Orioles Write History


John Means Throwing Complete Game No Hitter
Seattle, WA
May 5, 2021

It happened yesterday in Seattle--John Means threw the first no hitter of the 21st Century for the Orioles. 

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first non-perfect no-no in Major League history that didn't include a walk, a hit by pitch or an error. This marked the first career complete game for Means, who tied a career high with 12 strikeouts. (MLB.COM)

What kept the game from being a perfect game was a batter reaching base on a dropped third strike who was subsequently thrown out attempting to steal second. 

There have been 10 no hitters in Orioles history--6 since moving to Baltimore for the 1954 season. There is even a no hitter in Orioles history where the two pitchers combined for a loss. The last no hitter was thrown during the 1991 season.

Last evening, the Orioles won over Seattle, 6-0.

The Orioles are sitting one game under .500 and 3 games out of first place!

Congratulations to John Means on the game of his life!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Cinco de Mayo

 It has arrived again. My favorite foreign holiday. OK, maybe it is a foreign inspired holiday. 

I have written about the historical significance of Cinco de Mayo in previous blogs. 

This year, I offer the deeper view of why Cinco de Mayo should be celebrated more widely in the U.S. It is a article titled, How Cinco de Mayo Helped Prevent a Confederate Victory in the Civil War. It makes good reading and helps to demonstrate the global interconnectedness that we live every day--even back in the mid-1800's. It is impossible in the modern world to become isolationist.

Following on from yesterday, which was May the 4th Be With You, today is also Revenge of the 5th, or Star Wars Day 2. 

And so there is a lot to celebrate and enjoy as this Month of May begins. Coming up there are celebrations for Victory in Europe Day on the 8th and 9th, and then don't forget Mother's Day on Sunday the 9th. 

In my mind--everyone loves a celebration!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Just in Time, Isn't

New Ford F-150 pickup trucks were unableto be sold because of the global
 shortage of semiconductor chips
From the Wall Street Journal

Tuesday taunts me.

As I wake in the morning, Tuesday says to me, I am not Monday and I am not Wednesday--what are you going to do today? 

I struggle with that. 

This Tuesday is seems that the auto industry is struggling with something that the U.S. military did away with a decade ago--Just in time logistics. 

According to an article in this morning's The Wall Street Journal titled, 

It doesn't work during wartime because there are too many things that need to be controlled for it to work. 

COVID-19 has exposed the weakness in the system and that in resulting in production problems for manufacturers. From the article:

The hyperefficient auto supply chain symbolized by the words “just in time” is undergoing its biggest transformation in more than half a century, accelerated by the troubles car makers have suffered during the pandemic. After sudden swings in demand, freak weather and a series of accidents, they are reassessing their basic assumption that they could always get the parts they needed when they needed them.

“The just-in-time model is designed for supply-chain efficiencies and economies of scale,” said Ashwani Gupta, Nissan Motor Co.’s chief operating officer. “The repercussions of an unprecedented crisis like Covid highlight the fragility of our supply-chain model.”

It is fascinating to watch manufacturing giants relearn what they thought they knew as the global economy becomes more entwined. 

The manufacturers are moving to a hybrid system where the most critical parts are stockpiled. Toyota, according to the article, is stockpiling a 4 month supply of some of its critical parts. 

"Just in time" is used by other corporations as well and the pandemic coupled with the Texas weather event is forcing a rethinking of how supplies should be stockpiled. 

Maybe "just in time" is finally becoming "in the right amount." Just a thought.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 3, 2021

Monday Musings - May 3, 2021


1. The first Monday of May has arrived. Wow. The year is 1/3 complete. There are five Mondays in May culminating with Memorial Day on May 31st. 

2. Friends and family make the weekend enjoyable. Chris and I enjoyed a great weekend.

3. The pool is open! The temperature went from 55 degrees to 64 degrees in one day. 

AL East Standings as of Games through May 2, 2021
4. My New York Times Sunday paper was delivered without a front section yesterday. How does that happened. It worked out though because I called the circulation desk and they gave me 50 percent off for the next 24 weeks. That works out to less than the listed price on the paper. Plus I still get full-time digital access.

5. With the loss yesterday, the Orioles manages to find sole possession of the cellar of the AL East. The good news is that they are only 2 games below .500 and they did win the series on Oakland, even with the loss. 

6. The weather has been great. I am guessing that we will get a bit of rain this week, but we need it. The pool is open, however, bring on the 80's and 90's.

7. Today in History. On May 3, 1469, the Italian philosopher and writer Niccolo Machiavelli is born. A lifelong patriot and diehard proponent of a unified Italy, Machiavelli became one of the fathers of modern political theory.

Machiavelli entered the political service of his native Florence by the time he was 29. As defense secretary, he distinguished himself by executing policies that strengthened Florence politically. He soon found himself assigned diplomatic missions for his principality, through which he met such luminaries as Louis XII of France, Pope Julius II, the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, and perhaps most importantly for Machiavelli, a prince of the Papal States named Cesare Borgia. The shrewd and cunning Borgia later inspired the title character in Machiavelli’s famous and influential political treatise The Prince (1532).

Biden’s Proposals Aim to Give Sturdier Support to the Middle Class - The New York Times

At Least 4 Die After Human-Smuggling Boat Hits Reef Near San Diego - The New York Times

Police officers’  hesitancy to get coronavirus vaccine poses  safety risks - The Washington Post

How the global chip shortage might affect people who just want to wash their dogs - The Washington Post

Record Lumber Prices Lift Sawmills as Homeowners, Do-it-Yourselfers Pay - The Wall Street Journal

Biden, Republicans Set Talks Over Competing Infrastructure Plans - The Wall Street Journal

India’s COVID-19 cases near 20 million, peak seen nearingIndia - Reuters

EuropeGerman police make arrests over massive child pornography website - Reuters

Ronald Reagan quote for the Week

We went to China to advance the prospects for stability and peace throughout the world. And we went to illustrate, by our presence, our sincere desire for good relations. We went to meet again with the Chinese and review our concerns and our differences. And we went to China to further define our own two countries' relationship -- and, by defining it, advance it.

And I feel that we have progress to report. I had long and thoughtful meetings with the Chinese leadership, comprehensive meetings. We each listened carefully to what the other had to say. We discussed and agreed to cooperate more closely in the areas of trade, investment, technology, and exchanges of scientific and managerial expertise. We concluded an important agreement on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. We agreed that in this imperfect world, peace in its most perfect form cannot always be reached -- but it must always be our goal. And we, the people of China and the United States, must make our best efforts to bring greater harmony between our two countries.

It's a good thing for the world when those who are not allies remain open to each other. And it's good to remember that competitors sometimes have mutual interests, and those interests can make them friends.

Remarks Upon Returning From China, May 1, 1984

-- Bob Doan Elkridge, MD

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