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An Independence Day Story – Events Leading Up to The Gettysburg Address

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Something about Independence Day strikes a cord and inspires me to watch and/or read about that day in history. This year I put my feet up and took a break from prepping for our arriving guests. I discovered  a visually interesting documentary, “The Gettysburg Story“. Quoting the Amazon.com video description “Stunning aerial drone and time-lapse cinematography with dynamic 3D maps dramatically show the exact ground that changed history.” All though there is no blood and gore, battle photos etc. it was quite unique to see the aerial footage and where the various battles took place.

“Armistead at Gettysburg” by Keith Rocco

Also interesting was a subplot on the relationship between Lewis Armistead (Confederate) and Winfield Scott Hancock (Union Army). They were good friends who ended up on opposite sides of the battle and facing off with each other. If this subject interests you at all, I recommend reading “The Tragedy of Friends at War; Lewis Armistead and Winfield Scott Hancock on Cemetery Ridge” on Padre Steve’s blog for detail on their story.

And finally, I close with President Abraham Lincolns Gettysburg address.

 

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal.”

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow, this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

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The Holiday For All Americans

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Fireworks over the Washington Monument

July 4th, also known as Independence Day, is the one holiday everyone in America can celebrate. Put religion and modern politics to the wayside and enjoy some good ole’ American traditions, like backyard barbecues and fireworks (just be careful in California and don’t burn my house down). I put my flag out and I am proud and thankful to be American. Fred Wilson, a blogger I follow, wrote a post today that aligns perfectly with how I feel. I’ve quoted it below.

For many Americans, this one included, the last eight months have been hard. We are not showing the world the side of our country that we love and are proud of. We are showing the world the side of our country that embarrasses us.

But even with the recognition that America has an ugly side, I still am incredibly proud to be a citizen of this great country. Warts and all, the United States of America is a land of opportunity, hope, and freedom. You can be who you want to be and what you want to be here. I am proof of that.

So Happy Birthday America. Let’s wave our flags and be proud today.

So, if you’re in the United States of America right now, happy 4th!

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I’m ready for wireless power transfer – Electronic Products

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Image source: PowerSphyr.

I’m so ready for an efficient solution to wireless charging. “SkyCurrent is a series of products for PowerSphyr’s multi-mode wireless technology. Designed as a power hub to be the focal point of the room it resides in, it can be placed on your desktop or counter and will support the Amazon Echo Dot. It’s capable of recharging mobile devices, wearables, and any gadget with a built-in receiver to accept wireless power. Simply put, PowerSphyr’s looking to cut the cord to the traditional method of recharging.”

 

Source: New solution combines near-field and far-field technology for wireless power transfer – Electronic Products

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Going Cold Brew – Sweet and Smooth Sensations

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I must admit, I feel a bit foolish having never tried cold brewed coffee. Last week it was recommended to me. So, I ground up one of my daily favorite beans, Philz – Jacobs Wonderbar and prepared my first cold-brew. I was astonished in two ways.

1. Wow was it smooth and sweet.

2. It literally tastes like a different bean, and this is a bean I know well.

So, after consuming my wonderful Wonderbar beans I moved on to another favorite, Pete’s Major Dickason’s Blend®. Again, astonished how much sweeter it was, absolutely zero bitterness and like a totally different coffee.

I use a Bodum 34oz french press. For Jacobs Wonderbar I grind my bean medium to medium fine with a ratio of 60 grams (weighed on a scale) to about 34oz of water (the Bodum container isn’t completely full).

I slowly add cold filtered water, via a cup, used as a transfer device; study Integral Principles of the Structural Dynamics of Flow by Leslie Claret for this process, from my refrigerator and carefully stir with a spoon or chopstick. This is usually occurring between 8 and 10PM at night.

When I wake in the morning I plunge the French press, pour it into my coffee cup and nuke it in the microwave for 2 minutes. I use a big coffee cup, so 2 minutes isn’t scorching, but I do still like my coffee warm.

I’m looking forward to trying many more of my favorite beans as it seems it’s like a new whole world of taste sensations! My buddy Mike Terry, whom I often discuss such endeavors with, recommends I now try “Nitro-brewing”. I’ll have to look into that…

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Deepmind’s WaveNet Composes Original Piano Piece

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“WaveNets” Borrowed from WaveNet

   

WaveNet by Deepmind and/or Alphabet, Inc. and/or Google has created a very impressive audio signal modeling system.  Although Adobe’s Voco is cool, my feeling is WaveNet is much further along in development, it’s just missing the flashy live video demonstration that went viral from Adobe.

A quick summary of what WaveNet is capable of.

They trained WaveNet on a dataset of classical piano music. This dataset was generated by modeling the raw waveforms of the classical music pieces, one sample at a time with approximately 16,000 samples per second. They did not provide a musical score, structured sequence, or order, they simply allowed WaveNet to generate it’s own musical compositions based on what it learned from the music dataset. Then WaveNet takes all those many thousands of tiny audio soundwave samples and reconstructs it own compositions. Really quite amazing.

Without further ado, here’s WaveNet’s original piano compositions.

Track 1:

Track 2:

Track 3:

Track 4:

Track 5:

Track 6:

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Joe Doyles’s Star Chart Inspired by Polynesian ‘Stick Charts’

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Had a conversation with Joe Doyle today, always a pleasure talking with and hearing about what inspired some of his work. I’ve been fortune enough to acquire a few of his Abstract Illusionism pieces with plans to continue.

During the conversation we spoke about some of his earliest work, one being “Star Chart” featured in galleries and a number of publications in the late 70’s. Though never specifically written about in any publication I can find, the real inspiration for the piece came from Polynesian navigation charts sometimes referred to as “stick charts”.

Joe Doyle’s “Star Chart” 1975

Star Chart (1975) acrylic on canvas 72”x 72”

Star Chart (1975) acrylic on canvas 72”x 72”

According to Tegan Mortimer

“These are deceptively simple grids made from small sticks and coconut fronds, which represent the major ocean swells in the South Pacific, with small shells showing the location of islands. The charts showed how the swells interacted with the island shores, the undersea slopes, and currents coming from different directions. While the stick maps were easy to construct, it took many years of study to be able to accurately interpret the real ocean dynamics which they represented.”

Here’s an example stick chart.

Polynesian navigation device showing directions of winds, waves and islands.jpg
By S. Percy Smithhttp://www.nzetc.org, Public Domain, Link

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