Thursday, May 13, 2021

Where Are They?

 They were supposed to be here by now.


The 17-year Cicada Brood X. Originally scheduled to emerge about a week ago, the cold weather has apparently delayed the arrival of trillions of the noisy cicadas. 

So, are the Brood X cicadas coming or not? Below normal temps pushed the emergence back

Cicada Larvae Holes
ELkridge, MD
May 12, 2021

The Cincinnati Enquirer, in the above article, suggests that the colder than normal weather we have been experiencing has delayed their much expected arrival. 

That is a good thing, right? 

Not really. 

Chris and I walked the yard last evening and finally identified hundreds of small holes--sure signs that the emergence is about to happen. The holes, I am told, appear a few days before the cicadas emerge to perform their 17 year mating cycle.

No, the sky is not falling, but we may go deaf before it is over. 

Some reports are suggesting that the cicadas may be with us through Independence Day. I remember the last emergence--it was something to behold and also something to forget. 

They will be here soon, Be afraid, be very afraid!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD 

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

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