Sunday, September 01, 2013

My Program from Ball Aerospace is Reignited

WISE reactivated to hunt for asteroids

(2009-08-05) New Pics 039I worked on this spacecraft during my years at Ball as the Mission Assurance Manager. That’s me with WISE on the right.

The spacecraft will assist in efforts to identify the population of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects, as well as those suitable for asteroid exploration missions.

 

This artist's concept shows the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft in its orbit around Earth. In September of 2013, engineers will attempt to bring the mission out of hibernation to hunt for more asteroids and comets in a project called NEOWISE.

Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer

A NASA spacecraft that discovered and characterized tens of thousands of asteroids throughout the solar system before being placed in hibernation will return to service for three more years starting in September, assisting the agency in its effort to identify the population of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects, as well as those suitable for asteroid exploration missions.
The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) will be revived next month with the goal of discovering and characterizing near-Earth objects (NEOs), space rocks that can be found orbiting within 28 million miles (45 million kilometers) of Earth’s path around the Sun. NASA anticipates WISE will use its 16-inch (40 centimeters) telescope and infrared cameras to discover about 150 previously unknown NEOs and characterize the size, albedo, and thermal properties of about 2,000 others, including some that could be candidates for the agency’s recently announced asteroid initiative.
“The WISE mission achieved its mission’s goals and as NEOWISE extended the science even further in its survey of asteroids. NASA is now extending that record of success, which will enhance our ability to find potentially hazardous asteroids and support the new asteroid initiative,” said John Grunsfeld, NASA’s associate administrator for science in Washington, D.C. “Reactivating WISE is an excellent example of how we are leveraging existing capabilities across the agency to achieve our goal.”
NASA’s asteroid initiative will be the first mission to identify, capture, and relocate an asteroid. It represents an unprecedented technological feat that will lead to new scientific discoveries and technological capabilities that will help protect our home planet. The asteroid initiative brings together the best of NASA’s science, technology, and human exploration efforts to achieve President Obama’s goal of sending humans to an asteroid by 2025.
Launched in December 2009 to look for the glow of celestial heat sources from asteroids, stars, and galaxies, WISE made about 7,500 images every day during its primary mission from January 2010 to February 2011. As part of a project called NEOWISE, the spacecraft made the most accurate survey to date of NEOs. NASA turned most of WISE’s electronics off when it completed its primary mission.
“The data collected by NEOWISE two years ago have proven to be a gold mine for the discovery and characterization of the NEO population,” said Lindley Johnson, NASA’s NEOWISE program executive in Washington, D.C. “It is important that we accumulate as much of this type of data as possible while the WISE spacecraft remains a viable asset.”
Because asteroids reflect but do not emit visible light, infrared sensors are a powerful tool for discovering, cataloging, and understanding the asteroid population. Depending on an object’s reflectivity, or albedo, a small light-colored space rock can look the same as a big dark one. As a result, data collected with optical telescopes using visible light can be deceiving.
During 2010, NEOWISE observed about 158,000 rocky bodies out of approximately 600,000 known objects. Discoveries included 21 comets, more than 34,000 asteroids in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter, and 135 near-Earth objects.
The WISE prime mission was to scan the entire celestial sky in infrared light. It captured more than 2.7 million images in multiple infrared wavelengths and cataloged more than 560 million objects in space, ranging from faraway galaxies to asteroids and comets much closer to Earth.
“The team is ready, and after a quick checkout, we’re going to hit the ground running,” said Amy Mainzer from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “NEOWISE not only gives us a better understanding of the asteroids and comets we study directly, but it will help us refine our concepts and mission operation plans for future space-based near-Earth object cataloging missions.”

By Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. — Published: August 22, 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Letter to President Obama on Surveillance and Freedom

Copyright by http://benlog.com

Posted on August 19, 2013 by benadida

I fully agree!!!!!

=============================================

Dear President Obama,

My name is Ben Adida. I am 36, married, two kids, working insnowden Silicon Valley as a software engineer with a strong background in security. I’ve worked on the security of voting systems and health systems, on web browsers and payment systems. I enthusiastically voted for you three times: in the 2008 primary and in both presidential elections. When I wrote about my support for your campaign five years ago, I said:

In his campaign, Obama has proposed opening up to the public all bill debates and negotiations with lobbyists, via TV and the Internet. Why? Because he trusts that Americans, when given the tools to see and understand what their legislators are doing, will apply pressure to keep their government honest.

I gushed about how you supported transparency as broadly as possible, to enable better decision making, to empower individuals, and to build a better nation.

Now, I’m no stubborn idealist. I know that change is hard and slow. I know you cannot steer a ship as big as the United States as quickly as some would like. I know tough compromises are the inevitable path to progress.

I also imagine that, once you’re President, the enormity of the threat from those who would attack Americans must be overwhelming. The responsibility you feel, the level of detail you understand, must make prior principles sometimes feel quaint. I cannot imagine what it’s like to be in your shoes.

I also remember that you called on us, your supporters, to stay active, to call you and Congress to task. I want to believe that you asked for this because you knew that your perspective as Commander in Chief would inevitably become skewed. So this is what I’m doing here: I’m calling you to task.

You are failing hard on transparency and oversight when it comes to NSA surveillance. This failure is not the pragmatic compromise of Obamacare, which I strongly support. It is not the sheer difficulty of closing Guantanamo, which I understand. This failure is deep. If you fail to fix it, you will be the President principally responsible for the effective death of the Fourth Amendment and worse.

mass surveillance

The specific topic of concern, to be clear, is mass surveillance. I am not concerned with targeted data requests, based on probable cause and reviewed individually by publicly accountable judges. I can even live with secret data requests, provided they’re very limited, finely targeted, and protect the free-speech rights of service providers like Google and Facebook to release appropriately sanitized data about these requests as often as they’d like.

What I’m concerned about is the broad, dragnet NSA signals intelligence recently revealed by Edward Snowden. This kind of surveillance is a different beast, comparable to routine frisking of every individual simply for walking down the street. It is repulsive to me. It should be repulsive to you, too.

wrong in practice

If you’re a hypochondriac, you might be tempted to ask your doctor for a full body MRI or CT scan to catch health issues before detectable symptoms. Unfortunately, because of two simple probabilistic principles, you’re much worse off if you get the test.

First, it is relatively unlikely that a random person with no symptoms has a serious medical problem, ie the prior probability is low. Second, it is quite possible — not likely, but possible — that a completely benign thing appears potentially dangerous on imaging, ie there is a noticeable chance of false positive. Put those two things together, and you get this mind-bending outcome: if the full-body MRI says you have something to worry about, you actually don’t have anything to worry about. But try convincing yourself of that if you get a scary MRI result.

Mass surveillance to seek out terrorism is basically the same thing: very low prior probability that any given person is a terrorist, quite possible that normal behavior appears suspicious. Mass surveillance means wasting tremendous resources on dead ends. And because we’re human and we make mistakes when given bad data, mass surveillance sometimes means badly hurting innocent people, like Jean-Charles de Menezes.

So what happens when a massively funded effort has frustratingly poor outcomes? You get scope creep: the surveillance apparatus gets redirected to other purposes. The TSA starts overseeing sporting events. The DEA and IRS dip into the NSA dataset. Anti-terrorism laws with far-reaching powers are used tointimidate journalists and their loved ones.

Where does it stop? If we forgo due process for a certain category of investigation which, by design, will see its scope broaden to just about any type of investigation, is there any due process left?

wrong on principle

I can imagine some people, maybe some of your trusted advisors, will say that what I’ve just described is simply a “poor implementation” of surveillance, that the NSA does a much better job. So it’s worth asking: assuming we can perfect a surveillance system with zero false positives, is it then okay to live in a society that implements such surveillance and detects any illegal act?

This has always felt wrong to me, but I couldn’t express a simple, principled, ethical reason for this feeling, until I spoke with a colleague recently who said it better than I ever could:

For society to progress, individuals must be able to experiment very close to the limit of the law and sometimes cross into illegality. A society which perfectly enforces its laws is one that cannot make progress.

What would have become of the civil rights movement if all of its initial transgressions had been perfectly detected and punished? What about gay rights? Women’s rights? Is there even room for civil disobedience?

Though we want our laws to reflect morality, they are, at best, a very rough and sometimes completely broken approximation of morality. Our ability as citizens to occasionally transgress the law is the force that brings our society’s laws closer to our moral ideals. We should reject mass surveillance, even the theoretically perfect kind, with all the strength and fury of a people striving to form a more perfect union.

patriots

Mr. President, you have said that you do not consider Edward Snowden a patriot, and you have not commented on whether he is a whistleblower. I ask you to consider this: if you were an ordinary citizen, living your life as a Law Professor at the University of Chicago, and you found out, through Edward Snowden’s revelations, the scope of the NSA mass surveillance program and the misuse of the accumulated data by the DEA and the IRS, what would you think? Wouldn’t you, like many of us, be thankful that Mr. Snowden risked his life to give we the people this information, so that we may judge for ourselves whether this is the society we want?

And if there is even a possibility that you would feel this way, given that many thousands do, if government insiders believe Snowden to be a traitor while outsiders believe him to be a whisteblower, is that not all the information you need to realize the critical positive role he has played, and the need for the government to change?

the time to do something is now

I still believe that you are, at your core, a unique President who values a government by and for the people. As a continuing supporter of your Presidency, I implore you to look deeply at this issue, to bring in outside experts who are notinvolved in national security. This issue is critical to our future as a free nation.

Please do what is right so that your daughters and my sons can grow up with the privacy and dignity they deserve, free from surveillance, its inevitable abuses, and its paralyzing force. Our kids, too, will have civil rights battles to fight. They, too, will need the ability to challenge unjust laws. They, too, will need the space to make our country better still.

Please do not rob them of that opportunity.

Sincerely,

Ben Adida

Monday, August 12, 2013

Jason Becker: Rock star at 16, ALS at 19

Jason Becker cut an album with David Lee Roth. The same year, he was diagnosed with ALS and given 3-5 years to livejbecker_s640x427 Photo: jasonbeckerguitar.com
Monday, August 12, 2013 - Steps to Authentic Happiness via Positive Psychology by Paul Mountjoy

Jason Becker: Guitar phenom, writer and ALS survivor

WASHINGTON- AUGUST 11. 2013 — Jason Becker became a guitarist at the age of five. At the age of 16, he started a band called Cacaphony with lifelong friend and future guitarist for Megadeth, Marty Friedman. At age 19, Becker cut an album with David Lee Roth of Van Halen fame. Also at 19, Becker was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Becker was given three to five years to live.

ALS slowly robs every aspect of your physicality piece by piece until the only moveable parts are your eyes. For most, death happens within three to five years from diagnosis because ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that is very aggressive. ALS affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord but does not affect what is known as the involuntary body functions such as the heart and digestive system but may cause death from respiratory failure. Complete paralysis is unavoidable.

The cause of ALS in unknown and the experience with this disease varies from one person to the next and there are clinical trials that hold promise yet there are 5,600 new cases of ALS every year and can strike anyone at any time. Becker is among the five percent that lives beyond 20 years with this disease.

Today, Becker is 44 years old.  He recently released a documentary called Not Dead Yet and currently writes music with his eyes on a system developed by his Father. The Washington Times caught up with the busy Becker who took time to discuss his life with ALS:

Paul Mountjoy: You noticed your first symptom at age 19. What as it?

Jason Becker: My folks had gone away for Mother’s Day. I was sleeping with my girlfriend and a really painful cramp in my left leg woke me up. I jumped out of bed and tried to work it out. It never quite went away no matter how much I exercised it. It became a lazy feeling in my leg.

SEE RELATED: Jason Becker: Guitar phenom, writer and ALS survivor

PM: What was the progression and time frame?

JB: That’s a little tough to remember. I went on tour with Cacaphony the following summer (1989) and I was feeling a little bit tired. Yet I thought it would go away. Sometimes my left toes would drag the ground. I did not go to the hospital to check it out until I moved to LA in November to play with David Lee Roth. I was getting tired of tripping on myself. I was diagnosed with ALS that same month.

I started feeling the weakness in my left hand while recording “A Little Ain’t Enough” with Roth in Vancouver I was having trouble with an easy part. I looked at my hand and noticed the muscle between my thumb and first finger was practically gone. I was able to finish the album but I could not go on tour because I was getting too weak in my whole body.

PM: What did you think when the doctors told you of ALS and your 3-5 year prognosis?

JB: I didn’t think much. I thought “Can I go now?” I have to go play guitar and practice with Roth now. You must understand how strong I am. I will get rid of this annoying little inconvenience.

PM: Had you heard of ALS before?

JB: No, I hadn’t and I didn’t even look it up. My folks did but I told them not to tell me anything when the doctors told me I had three to five years to live, I didn’t believe them at all.

PM: Were you frightened?

JB: I don’t remember being frightened, but I’m sure I was scared somewhere inside me. I just tried to keep it out of my mind. I had music to make! Also, I didn’t want my family to worry. I wanted them to see me happy. I was very happy, but if I got sad, I hid it.

PM: How did those around you act?

JB: My parents freaked out. They tried to hide it from me but whenever I was out, they constantly cried. They helped me with everything but they were dying inside. My friends were great. They were chill (sic) yet supportive. I think my Mom cried every day for ten years. Steve Hunter (Alice Cooper guitarist) had my back in Vancouver. He would give me B-12 shots between joking around, recording and having a blast. Roth offered his Dad, who was a doctor, to do anything I needed. Everyone was awesome; even the stripper I was hanging out with offered to be ‘on the bottom’.

PM: What point are you at now and what are your expectations?

JB: I am relatively stable. Can’t move S**t except for some of my face and a couple other muscles and my sex life is fine! I try to not get sick because it could make me weaker.

I don’t have any expectations. I just want to do my best with whatever I am given. If they find a cure, awesome but if not, that is OK. I have had a great life.

Hey, when I finally do croak, I forbid anyone to be sad. Everyone should celebrate a cool life! I had a blast!

PM: Being that Steven hawking has had ALS for 50 ears, does this give you hope?

JB: Oh, I guess. I don’t think about that much. I am too busy doing other stuff.

PM: Do you sleep alright?

JB: Usually great.

PM: As many do with such when struck by such disease, do you dream of walking or running?

JB: Yes. I never dream I am sick. I am always totally healthy. All of my family, friends and ladies always dream I am healthy or at least becoming healthy. Only one woman dreamed she was having sex with me in this situation. That was really cool, actually.

PM: You are musician with unlimited potential. Do you feel more fortunate than those without such potential and do you advise folks to find a potential and work it?

JB: HMMMMM- Good question. I don’t think like that. I feel very lucky to be passionate about music but that isn’t everyone’s thing. It is definitely awesome having a passion and I wish that for everyone. I don’t feel qualified to give much advice but if I did, that would be great advice.

PM: Aside from your limitations, would you say you are happy?

JB: Mostly, definitely yes, even with my limitations. I get depressed, sad and angry sometimes, too.

PM: What would you advise others in your situation?

JB: Well, there is more to life than just moving, but it depends on how much help and love you get. I couldn’t continue if I didn’t have help form people no matter how much I wanted to. People who know someone with ALS should help them as much as they can.

PM: Any stem cell hope?

JB: Sure! Fans often send me updates of possible treatments from all over the world.

Jason Becker is a remarkable man. His personality is a primary reason he is so popular among his loved ones and fans. His parents are devoted and give Jason all they can. He is surrounded by love and appreciates every minute of it and takes nothing for granted. It seems these traits were constructs of his personality before he contracted ALS.

Any time anyone has a reason to be lazy and unproductive, just think: “I know Jason would love to able to do this chore, goal or whatever,” then get to it. He inspires and motivates us all.

For more on Jason Becker, go to jasonbeckerguitar.com

Read more: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/steps-authentic-happiness-positive-psychology/2013/aug/12/rock-star-16-als-lou-gehrigs-disease-19/#ixzz2bouwDvPE
Follow us: @wtcommunities on Twitter

Saturday, July 06, 2013

ALS: Misfolded TDP43 Appears to Spread

ALS: Misfolded TDP43 Appears to Spread

In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, abnormal clumps containing the TDP43 protein may originate in one part of brain or spinal cord and spread to other parts

Article Highlights:27.b

  • A study of brain and spinal cord tissues taken from people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) suggests that the disease may spread through interconnected regions of the brain and spinal cord in a sequential pattern the investigators divided into four stages.
  • Affected areas are marked by the presence of protein clumps containing toxic TDP43 protein.
  • Spread of the toxic TDP43 protein from one region to another appears to occur by cell-to-cell transmission via nerve-cell fibers (axons).
  • If confirmed, the findings may point toward new strategies for treatments aimed at halting the spread of the disease.
To learn more, read the full ALS News Online article.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Struggles with Nursing and Care Costs $$$$


Originally by Milton D. Carrero, Of The Morning Call

Former Northwestern Lehigh High School football standout Brett Snyder has been fighting Lou Gehrig's disease for the past decade, but that's not his only challenge.

He recently underwent a tracheotomy and needs a ventilator, which means that speech as he once knew it is now another one of his memories. The 35-year-old communicates through a machine that detects his eye movements. He blinks to type his thoughts into a keyboard. That is still not his greatest challenge.

His greatest challenge is that NURSINGhe needs 24-hour nursing care, and his main obstacle seems to be government bureaucracy and laws that make it harder on the middle class.

"The biggest problem is care," Snyder says. "The care we qualify for we can't get, and the care we need we don't qualify until we go bankrupt."
» The latest on traffic, delays and road construction delivered to your mobile phone. Click to sign up to receive text alerts!

The Macungie family is not wealthy enough to afford a full-time nurse to help with his daily physical and medical needs. And the program that provides assistance to pay for these services says they earn too much to qualify.

Sound familiar? Welcome to what Snyder's wife Carissa calls the American health care black hole, which increases an already immense burden.

"I love my family," Snyder says. "Every morning when I wake up, I can't wait to see my wife and son. But at the same time, I see the burden that I am putting on them. Not having enough caretakers is awful."

It puts an additional stress on everyone in the family.

"When a family goes through something like this," Carissa Snyder says, "it's so overwhelming, all-encompassing, that it takes every ounce that you have just to cope."

She laments not having more time to advocate for changes in the criteria used to qualify for government health assistance programs.

Time is a valuable asset for this couple, and enduring the impact of a debilitating disease is burden enough.

"I won't give up," Snyder says. "I am also very grateful for the love and support of my friends and family, and my wife has been my angel."

This couple need a few angels in Congress to change the laws. In the meantime, if you think you can help this family, contact http://www.facebook.com/prayforbrett

 

NEW BLOGS TO FOLLOW


Living with ALS by Tom Swift

No More Nursing Home Blues

http://livingwithalsbytomswift.blogspot.com/2011/08/no-more-nursing-home-blues.html


Medicare to Cover More Home Health Services

Posted by Rambling Man of ALS on February 8, 2013 in ALS, ALS - Research, Did You Know, Political

http://ramblingmanofals.com/2013/02/08/medicare-to-cover-more-home-health-services/

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Stephen Hawking Visits LA Stem-Cell Lab

Stephen Hawking toured a stem cell laboratory Tuesday where scientists are studying ways to slow the progression of Lou Gehrig's disease, a neurological disorder that has left the British cosmologist almost completely paralyzed.

After the visit, the 71-year-old Hawking urged doctors, nurses and staff at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to support the research.

Hawking recalled how he became depressed when he was diagnosed with the disease 50 years ago and initially didn't see a point in finishing his doctorate. But his attitude changed when his condition didn't progress quickly and he was able to concentrate on his studies.

"Every new day became a bonus," he told a packed room.

89761022Cedars-Sinai received nearly $18 million last year from California's taxpayer-funded stem cell institute to study the debilitating disease also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. ALS attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control the muscles. People gradually have more and more trouble breathing and moving as muscles weaken and waste away.

There's no cure and no way to reverse the disease's progression. Few people with ALS live longer than a decade.

Diagnosed at age 21 while a student at Cambridge University,blog-BigBangTheory-StephenHawking Hawking has survived longer than most. He receives around-the-clock care, can only communicate by twitching his cheek, and relies on a computer mounted to his wheelchair to convey his thoughts in a distinctive robotic monotone.

A Cedars-Sinai patient who was Hawking's former student spurred doctors to invite the physicist to glimpse their stem cell work.

"We decided it was a great opportunity for him to see the labs and for us to speak to one of the preeminent scientists in the world," said Dr. Robert Baloh, who heads the hospital's ALS program.

During the tour, Hawking viewed microscopic stem cells through a projector screen and asked questions about the research, Baloh said.

Cedar-Sinai scientists have focused on engineering stem cells to make a protein in hopes of preventing nerve cells from dying. The experiment so far has been done in rats. Baloh said he hopes to get governmental approval to test it in humans, which would be needed before any therapy can be approved.

Renowned for his work on black holes and the origins of the universe, Hawking is famous for bringing esoteric physics concepts to the masses through his best-selling books including "A Brief History of Time," which sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. Hawking titled his speech to Cedars-Sinai employees "A Brief History of Mine."

Saturday, March 16, 2013

My Top 18 Drummers List

“My” Top 10 turned into 18+ Drummers List and I still don’t have it right…. except for the top 4!

I played from age 10 to 41 before ALS forced me to quit. One of the hardest things ever for me to lose! More than driving, skiing or sometimes even speech. First I played trashcans and buckets in 1975. Then, I had a 1977 red sparkle set and later Pearl, Tama, Paiste and Zildjian kit which expanded to 5 cymbals and 6 drums over the years through 1989. Then in 2005, I bought a Roland V-Drum TD-20 kit. My son has now been playing for 7 years using acoustics, but mainly the electronic set. He’s playing to music with headphones on just like I did 30+ yrs ago…


#1 Neil Peart

My drumming IDOL !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffbopIER3ks at 5:20 in


#2 Buddy Rich

http://youtu.be/9esWG6A6g-k

This is probably the best drum solo by Buddy Rich (or by anybody) when he was 53

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53cxGeeGFAU


#3 Mike Portnoy

Dream Theater

 

Mike Portnoy Drum Solo

Rush YYZ cover - Mike Portnoy


# 4 Thomas Lang

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rT_mqPKVvA


#5 Chad Smith

Red Hot Chili Peppers
Red Hot Chili Peppers


#6 Dave Grohl

Blink 182

also: http://youtu.be/Z2qUO6k0F34


#7 Vic Firth


#8 Dylan Elise

Dylan Elise is a 16 year old drummer

also… http://youtu.be/ElYCb6G7gSk


#9 Alex Van Halen


#10 Virgil Donati


#11 Gene Krupa & Louie Bellson

Gene Krupa vs. Buddy Rich drum battle

http://youtu.be/BZ5B7yqDYbA

Drum Duel - Buddy Rich vs Louie Bellson

http://www.youtube.com/watchNR=1&v=CYSeHscZJPQ&feature=endscreen


#12 Taylor Hawkins

Foo Fighters



#13 Stewart Copeland


#14 Mike Mangini

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wou5tOt2vp8


#15 John Bonham

Led Zeppelin


#16 Mike Terrana


#17 Jimmy Chamberlin
of the Smashing Pumpkins

#18 Travis Barker



Or you choose

Drummers Compilation #1
Drummers Compilation #2

---------------

Just had to add a few more…

“Playing Drums with Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater”

Dream Theater "Mike Mangini Drum Solo"

“Guitar Center Drum-Off 2012 Finalist - Aric Improta”

Guitar Center Drum-Off 2012 Champion Juan Carlos Mendoza

“GoPro: Dave Matthews Band's Carter Beauford Drum Solo”

Friday, March 08, 2013

Comet PANSTARRS and Astronomy with my Boys

Everything you need to know about Comet PANSTARRS

Update

comet-panstarrs-march-2013


The long wait is nearly over. Northern Hemisphere skygazers haven't seen a bright comet with a long tail since Comet Hale-Bopp graced the night sky in 1997. But if predictions hold, Comet PANSTARRS (C/2011 L4) should be a nice naked-eye object and look impressive through binoculars after sunset starting in the second week of March. Stay tuned to www.astronomy.com/panstarrs for complete coverage, including finder charts, observing tips, videos, photos, and more. Read more.

my astrophotography pics here…  (yes, I took them all!)

I Viewed Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997 with a 1 year old Connor on my hip from our home in San Diego. I remember the Heavens Gate Cult all killing themselves to catch a ride on it…. LOL.. Idiots

Comet Hale-Bopp of 1997

Comet Hyakutake   Comet_Hyakutake1                        

  Comet McNaught of 2010   Comet McNaught of 2010

  My Comet Telescope Photographs from colorado in 2007!

11-10-07_Rog_Astros-Comet Holmes

Professional photo of Holmes 17PComet 17P-Holmes


Here I was with all my gear back in ‘03 – ‘05.

I’ll create a slideshow of all my astrophotography pics here…  (yes, I took them all!)

DSC00484

Astronomy Camping with boys ‘04 – 2009

Deer Trails Telescope nightDSC03847DSC03848DSC00985

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Van, Garage & Home Wheelchair Access

Proper Vehicle & Transportation

This was something I had to “learn” and by that, I mean, “the hard way”! See my post about what can happen HERE!

Getting’ out and having fun…

We were able to borrow a nicely outfitted Permobil C300 for about 1 1/2 yrs. from ALSA. It worked great and we used it at the mall, out to dinners and to walk the dog even though I could still walk. It ensured I would save my energy and wouldn’t fall. Even now I can still get around and do stairs (down being steadied and up without help). But, we still didn’t have a way to get it in the house and it leaked oil.  I felt much safer in the house on carpet or near couches, but even this was becoming slow, more difficult and dangerous.

I hated the thought of needing a chair, but by being a burden for someone to hold up, fear of falls and people starring thinking I was drunk, I quickly began to love the chair. People really don’t give me a second look. Winking smile

2012-07-21 11.29.43

Even though the chair was transportable, it was too much work and I knew one day the transitions wouldn’t work anyway. I heard stories of it taking 20 minutes getting ready to go anywhere…. that would NOT work for me!

We knew a ramp van was needed, but at $68,000 new, $22,000-$42,000 used, cost was an issue! http://www.braunability.com/wheelchair-minivans/

http://www.themobilityvanstore.com/2011_Honda_Odyssey_Lakeland_FL_135142468.veh2013-01-09 16.16.44

We got lucky and found a nice Dodge Caravan with Braun mobility ramp for only $11,600. I used to own new cars, Porsche & Audi… but now life is different …. I finally don’t give a shit about 108,000 miles. Open-mouthed smile  It’s insured as a recreational use <5000 mi./yr and added only $18/mo. in insurance. (+ I’ll drive million dollar Ferraris upstairs)

Now I roll out of the house, remotely opening the door and ramp, get latched in and on the road in under 4 minutes. when we arrive, I’m 2013-01-09 16.17.34usually out of the van and already headed into the store before it’s locked and the rest of the family is following behind me.  No falls and total independence.  I can usually stay out & about with less fatigue than anyone around me.

 

 

New Permobil M300

We also recently took delivery on an awesome new Permobil M300. I chose silver, height adjustments, easy triggered “hands-free” wheelchair 1power and mode, customized 4 profiles, air cushioned 22” seat, attendant controls, increased torque, wrap around head rest, ventilation fabrics throughout, concaved/swivel arm rest and softer suspension. We added the dog walking leas and cup holder.

wheelchair 5   wheelchair 2  

wheelchair 4  wheelchair 3

Home Access

At first I was going to use our same 8’ ramp to get into the house but quickly realized that it would be too steep and unsafe. I also didn’t want a ramp to stick out into the driveway (unsightly and in the weather) or to be taking up an entire side of the garage. We found a used Bruno lift on Craig’s List that was a fraction of a new one. It was a top of the line model with battery backup for power outages and complete with extra safety interlock gate and dual switch controls.

chair lift photo 2

The lift is very quiet, cushioned door closure with foam,  magnetic latch -almost no force to open -auto closing with a spring ... I use foot, elbow or head to push the 4" x 5 " rocker switch up & down... so far no help needed.photo 4photo 2

photo 3

check out all the options at http://bruno.com/index.html – Get out! Don’t sit around the house all day!  LFTM !

Comedy

Why not?