Citizens

Xcel Energy Rate Case — taxes & xmsn rider

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 6:09pm

Really!  Xcel Energy has paid less than $1 million in federal income taxes in the 7 years from 2009 through 2015!

This is from the Direct Testimony of Nancy Campbell, Department of Commerce DER:

Campbell_DER_Direct Testimony_20166-122243-04

Here’s the Exhibit she refers to, scroll down to “NAC-20” at the very end, where you’ll find Xcel’s answer to IR 1171:

Campbell_Direct_Attachments1_20166-122249-01

I’m looking into whether any intervenor or state agency is looking at the Xcel Energy proposal to take transmission out of CWIP rate adjustments and put into general rates. What they’re asking is:

and:

(this paragraph is is repeated a few times).  This Transmission Cost Recovery plan can be found by searching the Xcel Energy Rate Case Application (PUC Docket 15-826):

1_Application_201511-115329-01

But this transmission cost recovery is at a rate that is FERC approved MISO rates, challenged at FERC, and greatly reduced in the FERC ALJ’s Order — note Xcel Energy’s “DCF result” is 8.40%, a long way from 12.38% (on the very last page):

FERC EL-14-12-002_ALJ Order

The issue, per the ALJ:

Here’s a more detailed look at the issues in the Complaint:

And cost apportionment for these projects is spread out in MISO Schedule 26A (updated every year).  This is how they’re apportioning costs among the utilities handling the many zones in MISO:

Yeah, it’s impossible to read — here’s the Excel spreadsheet (2014 version, this is updated annually):

Exhibit B_Schedule 26A Indicative Annual Charges_02262014

There’s lots of testimony in this rate case, including from the “Minnesota Large Industrial Group” (note Minnesota large industrial customers pay lower per kw cost than us regular residential customers!), and so digging through this is just the beginning…

And remember, this is the case where the ALJ denied Overland and No CapX 2020 intervention, saying:

Further, the Petition states that purposes for which No CapX 2020 was “specifically formed” (fn 22 omitted) was to participate in dockets which are now closed, raising the question of why No CapX 2020 continues to exist.

Really, that’s what the judge said!

Denial #2_Overland-NoCapX Intervention

Why No CapX 2020 continues to exist?  Perhaps to raise issues that no one else is raising?!?!  Oh, well, they can’t have that, can they…

Speaking of Xcel Energy, they’re in the news:

Large Outflow of Money Witnessed in Xcel Energy

Categories: Citizens

Building a LibX Edition for Primo

Pegasus Librarian - Iris Jastram - Thu, 06/23/2016 - 8:18pm

As of yesterday, we’re a Primo library. So for the last couple of days we’ve been working to change all the things that need changing after you get a new catalog. One librarian is doing most of the work to change all of our links to our old catalog or items in the catalog in all of our LibGuides. Meanwhile, I took on trying to get LibX to recognize our new catalog.

The LibX thing turned out not to be the least bit straightforward, so I thought I’d post what I did in case a) you want to try this and can benefit from my hours of fumbling, or b) you are good at this and can help me make what I did better. I was helped to get this far by a librarian from the LSW.

Start an Edition

In the Edition Builder, it might be a good idea to first search for the Carleton College edition and copy that to use as a base, or you can click “Build a New Edition” on the right of the page.

From here, there’s one confusing thing that will help for the rest of the time. To find your edition and edit and test it, you’ll click on the “my editions” tab. Then click on the edition name on the lower left side. THEN click on the revision you want to work on in the list of revisions that shows up to the right of the “Select an Edition” box. THEN, if you don’t see a “Revision x is being worked on” notification, you’ll have to either click “Open Revision x (modify)” or, if you have a live revision that you want to modify you’ll have to click “Copy Revision x Forward.” At this point you’ll end up with tabs across the top to configure the various different functions of the LibX extension.

Configuring your Primo instance with LibX

You’ll need the Web Developer extension (chrome or firefox) to find the variable names LibX asks for. Once you’re armed with that, click on the “Catalogs & Databases” tab in the LibX Edition Builder for your new Edition.

I tried to get LibX to auto-detect my catalog’s settings, but it kept saying that it couldn’t do it, so I had to resort to manual set-up. So under “Manual Configuration” I chose ExLibris Primo and then clicked “Add Catalog.” After this you’ll need to add information to both the “Required Settings” and the “Optional Settings” for the catalog (my edition didn’t work at all until I added some things to the “optional” settings… so apparently they aren’t terribly optional).

The URL you need is JUST the base URL up to the .com. All the other parameters that ExLibris puts into Primo URLs have to be added in other spots.

Then you’ll need to find things that LibX calls “Advanced Search Choice Variable 1,” “Advanced Search Mode Variable 1,” etc. Fire up the Web Developer “Inspector” tool and point it to the boxes I’ve labeled here:

When you click the Inspector tool on the Advanced Search Choice Variable 1 (the first search box), you’ll find the variable name in the Web Developer browser pane:

Put that value into the corresponding field in LibX, finding and entering each of the variable names in the required fields in LibX.

You’ll find your VID in the standard URL for your catalog. I’ve bolded our VID in our URL here: http://carleton-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo_library/libweb/action/search.do?vid=01BRC_CCO

In the Optional settings, you’ll need to fill in 5 of the fields, as far as I can tell:

  1. In “Path” put “/primo_library/libweb”
  2. In “Search Function” put “search”
  3. In “Basic Mode Variable” try putting in “vl(1UIStartWith0)” — you may have to adjust this, but it’s worth a try.
  4. In “Tab Variable” put “default_tab”
  5. And in Title Search Mode put “contains”
Beyond the Catalog

The thing I use LibX most for is the added right-click context menu in my browser that allows me to reload the page through my library’s off-campus access, so I highly recommend putting your proxy information into the “Proxy Access” tab on the LibX Edition Builder.

You can also add your Open URL base url to the OpenURL Resolvers tab. If you do this and select a logo, then that logo will appear next to citations online, allowing you to click on the logo and check for library access. (You can add your own logo in the “File Management” tab.)

Testing your Edition

Back in the “My Editions” page, click on the Revision you’ve been working on and then click the link that appears below it called “revision test page.” If you can search your catalog through the test page, congratulations! If not, I don’t have a lot of advice beyond asking around and maybe trying to have the LibX folks help you out (you can click “help me with x edition” in the “Select an Edition” box to the left of the list of revisions).

Go Live

Once things are ready, click on the revision you’ve been perfecting and then click “Make Revision x Live.”  Now people will be able to download the LibX extension for Chrome or Firefox, tell it which library they want, and start using it.

 

Categories: Citizens

Adventures in CSS: Changing the way LibGuides gallery boxes display

Pegasus Librarian - Iris Jastram - Thu, 06/23/2016 - 7:21pm

We weren’t happy with the default way that LibGuides displayed labels and captions on the images in Gallery boxes, so I started tinkering with the CSS. We didn’t want the labels and captions to be white, and we didn’t want them to be on top of the images in the gallery. And we didn’t like the font sizes. So I fired up the Web Developer extension and started poking away, figuring out how the original CSS worked and what I could over-write to make some changes.

I don’t know that I would have made it too far without help from people who responded to my plea for help from the Library Society of the World, but in the end a few lines of CSS shifted the label and caption fields down below the images, and shifted the navigation buttons up above the images where they could be in a consistent spot no matter what size the image.

If you’d like to do something similar, go into the Custom CSS area of LibGuides and add the following:

<style>

.carousel-caption {position: relative; text-align: left; left: 2%; color: #5C5757 !important; text-shadow: 0 0px 0px rgba(0,0,0,.6); padding-top: 20px; padding-bottom: 0px;}
.carousel-caption h4 {font-size:16px;}
.carousel-caption p {font-size:12px; margin-bottom: 1px;}

.carousel-indicators {position:relative; margin-top: 20px; margin-bottom: -10px;}
.carousel-indicators .active {background-color: #5C5757;border: 1px solid #fff;}
.carousel-indicators li {background-color:#fff; border: 1px solid  #5C5757;}

.carousel-control.right {background-image: none;}
.carousel-control.left {background-image: none;}
.carousel-control {color: #000; margin-top: -25px;}

</style>

And if you come up with great ideas for tweaks beyond this, I’m all ears!

Categories: Citizens

Video: learning to jump from Phil Kmetz, part 1

Mountain Bike Geezer - Wed, 06/22/2016 - 10:57pm

 

See Phil Kmetz’s blog post titled How To Jump A Mountain Bike

 

 

The post Video: learning to jump from Phil Kmetz, part 1 appeared first on Mountain Bike Geezer.

Categories: Citizens

Minnesota Garden Tour Season Begins!

My Northern Garden - Mary Schier - Tue, 06/21/2016 - 11:10am

The joke about Minnesota, largely true, is that it has two seasons: Winter and road construction. For gardeners, however, there is another season to look forward to: Garden tour season!

From late June through early August, there are dozens of garden tours around the state. You can find a large list of tours at the MSHS website, and I’m still picking out which tours to attend. In the past, I’ve attended great tours put on by the Hennepin County Master Gardeners, Tangletown Gardens, and lots of great local garden club tours. Last year, my garden was even part of the Northfield Garden Tour, which gave me a renewed respect and appreciation for gardeners who open their yards and gardens to visitors.

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has wonderful containers. Behind this one is the Morgan Terrace, where tour goers will enjoy a post-tour meal.

One tour I’ve not attended yet, but plan to soon, is the Minnesota Landscape Auxiliary Private Garden Tour, which will be held Sunday, July 10, and Tuesday and Wednesday, July 12-13. There are three departure times each day for this annual bus tour to some amazing private gardens in the Twin Cities.

This year, the four gardens on the tour include, according to the arb’s press release “a beautiful shade garden with 20 garden beds and ponds on almost an acre; a restored shoreline that is a natural habitat featuring native plants, a rock garden and shady woodland area; a colorful collection of gardens from decorative to kitchen plots that includes a special chicken house; and an environmental garden created to attract birds, mammals, amphibians and bees that showcases water features, fine art and natural wooden sculptures.”

The tour costs $60 or $55 per person (depending on the day) and includes travel on air-conditioned motor coaches and a delicious brunch on Sunday (champagne included!) or a garden-inspired lunch on the weekdays, served on the Morgan Terrace at the arb. Reservations are limited and half of the ticket price is tax- deductible, with proceeds benefiting the Auxiliary’s work at the arboretum. You can register (before June 30) either online or by calling 612-625-9865.

Now that’s a great sounding tour! Let me know which garden tours you like to attend each year. I go on several each year to look for gardens to profile in Northern Gardener.

Related posts:

  1. Home and Garden Show Season Begins Thursday the Minnesota Home and Patio Show opened at the...
  2. Northfield Garden Tour Ideas Despite heat and humidity Saturday and intermittent storms Sunday, attendance...
  3. Garden Tour Take-Aways This past month, I have been really lucky to attend...
Categories: Citizens

Dairyland’s Q-1D South Environmental Assessment

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 5:35pm

Dairyland Power Cooperative’s transmission through Onalaska and La Crosse is something to see…

Dairyland Power Cooperative and USDA’s Rural Utilities Service has released the “Q-1D South” Environmental Assessment, open for Comment until July 1, 2016:

Q1-South_Environmental Assessment (BIG FILE)

And from Dairyland’s site:

Briggs Road to La Crosse Tap (Q-1D South) – Environmental Assessment

Comments are due July 1, 2016 — send to:

USDA’s Dennis Rankin:  dennis.rankin@wdc.usda.gov

(I’d also cc DPC’s Chuck Thompson:  cat@dairynet.com)

By U.S. Mail:

Dennis Rankin

Environmental Protection Specialist

USDA Rural Utilities Service

1400 Independence Avenue S.W.

Mailstop 1571, Room 2242

Washington, DC  20250-1571

What’s to comment on?  I see two issues that should be sufficient to stop this project in its tracks — the debt load of Dairyland Power Cooperative and the physical setting of the project which too near and right over people’s homes.

Debt load — Dairyland Power Cooperative’s debt is excessive and should prohibit taking on more debt:

Dairyland Power Cooperative’s Annual Meeting was last week.  One purpose of an organization’s Annual Meeting is to discuss its financial status and approve plans going forward.

Dairyland depends on federal USDA/RUS loans to pay for its transmission expansion, such as the Q-1 transmission upgrades, including Marshland-Briggs Road and now the stretch from Briggs Road to North La Crosse south of I-90. Another USDA/RUS loan paid for Dairyland’s share of the CapX La Crosse line now blighting the bluffs. Dairyland will also be part owner of the MISO Hickory Creek to Cardinal line from Iowa to Madison. That’s a lot of transmission and loans.

Dairyland recognized this financial risk and lopsided debt/equity position, and in 2012 sought help from FERC_(DPC_Request4DeclaratoryOrder), requesting a hypothetical capital structure of 35 percent equity and 65 percent debt when its actual capital structure was 16.5 percent equity and 83.5 percent debt, and FERC did grant this relief in an Order for DPC for CapX 2020 (see FERC Docket, go HERE and plug in docket EL13-19-000).  That Order, and the 83.5/16.5% debt/equity ratio was prior to the present Q-1 D South project and the MISO MVP Hickory Creek to Cardinal transmission line.  Dairyland requested a “hypothetical” (bogus) debt/equity ratio to preserve its credit rating and enable low cost loans. The true debt level makes DPC a higher risk.

Are Dairyland members aware of the 83.5%/16.5 % debt/equity ratio and reliance on loans for major transmission projects? What’s the debt level where new projects are included? This new transmission enables increased power marketing and sales, a private purpose. Is this highly leveraged position for new transmission in the best interests of Cooperative members?

Physical setting of the project — it’s just too close!

The map way above is what the transmission system in the area looks like theoretically, according to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, but here’s what Dairyland’s Q-1 South line looks like on the ground:

Really… Here’s what it looks like from a satellite with the lines drawn in, on the far south:

Here’s what it looks like further north — look at all those homes:

And here’s what the Wisconsin PSC Code says about clearances in PSCW 114.234:

(2) Transmission lines over dwelling units. [Follows NESC 234C1b, p. 119] (Addition) Add the following paragraph c: c. Transmission lines over dwelling units. No utility may construct conductors of supply lines designed to operate at voltages in excess of 35 kV over any portion of a dwelling unit. This provision also applies to line conductors in their wind-displaced position as defined in Rule 234A2. Note: It is the intent under s. SPS 316.225(6) that the public not construct any portion of a dwelling unit under such lines. Note: The term “dwelling unit” has the meaning given in ch. SPS 316, which adopts by reference the definitions in NEC-2008. Note: See s. SPS 316.225(6) Clearance Over Buildings and Other Structures, which refers to ch. PSC 114 regarding clearance of conductors over 600 volts and the prohibition of dwellings under or near overhead lines. So look what Dairyland says about these clearance problems, first on page 3-3 of the Q1-South_Environmental Assessment in its discussion of alternatives, specifically joining with Xcel Energy, which has a similar line right through the community over homes and through yards on the other side of the highway: Though there’s no case law about this, Dairyland states, “This provision likely applies to Xcel as a public utility but not DPC as a cooperative.”  That’s pretty presumptive, with no basis for the presumption, DPC!  And they wiggle around again, claiming the code doesn’t apply to them 10 pages later: Do you buy that argument???  First, they don’t even cite the correct PSCW section, using “PSCW 114.234(a)(4)” rather than PSCW 114.234(a)(2).  Note they state that “public utilities may seek waivers of any rule expanding upon NESC requirements…”  But if they’re saying the code doesn’t apply to them, why would this apply to them and they can seek a waiver?  Under their argument that the PSC Code doesn’t apply to them because they’re a cooperative, then if that applied, then this would not apply to them either.  Or is it the opposite, that the Code does apply to them, they cannot rebuild the line under  and have to apply for a waiver to the PSC?  Which is it, Dairyland?  Oh, but wait, I thought part of why you’re doing it the way you are, applying to local governments, in this short segmented version of your Q-1 line, was that you don’t want to have to go to the PSC, that you’re trying to get around it… Segmenting, particularly segmenting to avoid environmental review, is not OK, Dairyland… Remember, comments are due July 1, 2016 — send to:

USDA’s Dennis Rankin:  dennis.rankin@wdc.usda.gov

(I’d also cc DPC’s Chuck Thompson:  cat@dairynet.com)

By U.S. Mail:

Dennis Rankin

Environmental Protection Specialist

USDA Rural Utilities Service

1400 Independence Avenue S.W.

Mailstop 1571, Room 2242

Washington, DC  20250-1571

Categories: Citizens

#ImWithHer ? Ummmm…

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 1:59pm

I keep seeing #ImWithHer everywhere.  Somehow this is the hashtag adopted by Hillary supporters, maybe even promoted by Hillary Clinton herself.

Given the common use of “I’M WITH STUPID” to the extent that “I’m with…” will be invariably not end well for Hillary, why is this being used?

And it also opens her up to such obvious funnin’!

 

How stupid can they be?

Categories: Citizens

New Publication: "Encounters in the Fairy Hill"

Rob Hardy - Rough Draft - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 10:59am
The Spring 2016 issue of The Bottle Imp, the online journal of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies, is devoted to Naomi Mitchison. Included in the issue is my essay "Encounters in the Fairy Hill," exploring the connections between Mitchison's children's book The Fairy Who Couldn't Tell a Lie (1963) and her memoir of becoming an honorary member of the Bakgatla tribe in Botswana, Return to the Fairy Hill (1966). It's about imagination and encountering difference.

My two earlier essays on Mitchison—“Naomi Mitchison: Peaceable Transgressor" (New England Review) and "'Real and Not Real': Naomi Mitchison's Philosophy of the Historical Novel” (Readings)—were recently reprinted in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, vol. 327, edited by Lawrence J. Trudeau (Gage/Cengage Learning 2016). 
Categories: Citizens

Adding some instruction to a weekly youth group mtb ride

Mountain Bike Geezer - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 10:31am

I’m co-leading CROCT’s Monday night youth group ride again this summer.  And now that I’ve got my MTB instructor certifications (IMBA ICP Level 2 and PMBI Level 1), I’m planning to add a little group instruction each week at the start of the ride.

At our first session, we did a quick braking assessment and I was surprised to see how much trouble the kids (approximate ages 6-13) had trying to come to a stop between a set of cones on a gentle slope.

For an assessment of their ability to select a gear for climbing, we had them pick their own ‘Goldilocks’ route up a grassy slope — not too easy, not too hard.  Unsurprisingly, many of the kids were clueless about how to shift to an easier gear to get up the slope.

So in the coming weeks, we’ll add some instruction, drills and games that incorporate braking and gear choice.  Some photos from week 1:

The post Adding some instruction to a weekly youth group mtb ride appeared first on Mountain Bike Geezer.

Categories: Citizens

Sitting Pretty In Bemidji

My Musical Family - Joy Riggs - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 11:47pm
If you are in or near Bemidji this Saturday, June 18, please consider yourself invited to my presentation at the Beltrami County Historical Society (BCHS), 130 Minnesota Avenue SW. It is free and open to the public, and there will be music!

Sunset over Lake BemidjiStarting at noon, the Bemidji High School Marching Band will kick things off by performing “Night Watch” outside the museum, which is located in the restored railroad depot. Following the performance, we will likely move things inside to the conference room, where I will give a talk about my great-grandfather’s tenure as Bemidji's city band director from 1919 to 1923. The BCHS will conduct a brief meeting following my talk, to elect officers for the next year.


The official title of my talk is: Sitting Pretty in a Pretty Little City: The Story of G. Oliver Riggs and his Remarkable Bemidji Boys’ Band. It will be a pretty casual affair. I will show some photos of the band, explain the highlights of the Riggs family’s musical adventures in Bemidji, and read an excerpt from Chapter 12 of my book-in-progress, which covers the Bemidji years (the chapter title Sitting Pretty in a Pretty Little City comes from a popular song from 1923).

The Bemidji Boys Band at the 1922 Minnesota State FairOne of the highlights was the trip by the boys’ band to the Minnesota State Fair in September 1922. While at the Fair, the 78-member band was declared “The best boys’ band in the world.” That may have been hyperbole, but the boys definitely put Bemidji on the map with their week of performances in St. Paul and Minneapolis. The attention they received led St. Cloud businessmen to attempt to lure G. Oliver away to their city to organize an even bigger band.

If you want to know more about how that turned out, I recommend that you show up on Saturday!
Categories: Citizens

<a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/

The Children's House - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 1:54pm

The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Categories: Citizens

Selecting a Sample of Papers to Assess for Information Literacy

Pegasus Librarian - Iris Jastram - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 10:47am
Here at Carleton we’re getting ready to do our next ILSW reading. It’s my first time coordinating the project (the amazing Heather Tompkins who coordinated in the past has moved on to another institution), and I’m working with our fantastic Institutional Research folks to select a sample of papers, but I’m also curious to know any ideas or advice you, gentle reader, might have about the sample selection process. We select our papers from the campus-wide Sophomore Writing Portfolio, where every sophomore has to submit 3-5 papers for rating by the Writing Program and faculty and staff volunteers (which is actually going on as I type). We typically select 100 portfolios (sometimes a little more), creating a representative stratified sample… and of course the first big question is “representative of what.” In the past we’ve used gender and portfolio reader score for this first selection, making sure that we read portfolios from about the same proportion of men and women as we have on our campus, and reading proportional numbers of portfolios that were given a Pass, Needs Work, and Exemplary score. This year we’re also balancing proportional U.S. White, U.S. Student of Color, and International Student portfolios. Once the portfolios are gathered, we then run at least one more pass to select individual papers from those portfolios (we read one paper per student). We have the option of balancing out papers based on:
  • What the Writing Program calls “Gen Ed:” Science, Reasoning, Social Inquiry, Arts Practice, Humanistic Inquiry, Lit/Art Analysis
  • Characteristics the students identify about each their submitted papers, choosing from: reporting an observation, analyzing complex information, interpretation (of data, text, art, etc), documenting sources, articulating and supporting a thesis driven argument. (Papers can fall into more than one category but must fall into at least one category).
  • Department housing the course for which the paper was written (History, Biology, etc)
  • “Overlay” (A Carleton thing where faculty have the option of saying that their courses are Writing Rich, enhance Quantitative Reasoning, Intercultural Domestic Studies, and International Studies)
The big questions, of course, are how far we want to control the sample given our relatively modest sample size, and exactly what controls matter to how we’re thinking about our reading and our results. If you were faced with these choices, what might you use to select that single paper from the full portfolio? And are there other demographics that you would use to select the portfolios themselves?
Categories: Citizens

Admiral Rockbar gets an extension: Piedmont remains atop the heap of Minnesota’s technical trails

Mountain Bike Geezer - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 9:00am

If you like difficult technical riding, the COGGS Piedmont trail in Duluth is Minnesota’s Crème De La Crème and one of many reasons that Duluth is an IMBA Gold-level Ride Center, one of 6 in the world. Here’s a 2015 map of Piedmont:

I’d heard rumors earlier this year that one of Piedmont’s X segments, Admiral Rockbar, was extended recently to include some rock drops and a long rocky uphill.

I was at Spirit Mountain last weekend for the PMBI Level 1 instructor course (more on that to come) and I was eager to ride Rockbar before I left town. I saw COGGS Board Member and Ride Coordinator Dave Cizmas there and when I asked him about it, he told me he’d helped on the planning and route selection for the extension and that he’d managed to clean the uphill once. I was even more intrigued.

But with the heavy rain on Sunday, all COGGS trails were still closed. on Tuesday morning. I texted Dave and he said he thought Rockbar would be fine to ride, as long as I didn’t ride anything else at Piedmont.  When I saw COGGS Board Member/Fundraising Coordinator Pam Schmitt at Duluth Coffee Company on Tuesday morning she ‘deputized’ me to go have a look at it since other COGGS crew members were unavailable to check it out. I felt honored. A reconnaissance mission!

I parked in the small lot along Haines Rd where there’s quick access to the Admiral Rockbar segment without having to ride the other portions of Piedmont that were too wet to ride.

The dirt portions of Rockbar were damp but hard-packed. The rocks were somewhat slippery from the mist and heavy fog. I sent Pam a text that I thought Admiral was fine to ride.

Since I was by myself and the rocks were moist, I decided to hike-a-bike down the tricky downhill section along the Haines Rd cliff (for which I won a Camelbak Enduro Hydration pack last year, details here):

I also carried my bike down the biggest of the new drops:

No cajones? Not so much in the spring. More so in late fall when I have all winter to heal.

I concentrated instead on the uphill portion of the new extension. I spent about an hour sessioning its three tricky spots:

  1. long initial climb:

2. switchback:

3. shorter final climb:

I never came close to even getting up the up the end of the initial long climb in 6 attempts, let alone cleaning it. After a handful of attempts on the switchback and final climb, I did manage to clean each a couple times.

I’m eager to return when the rocks are dry for another go at it. I’d love to be able to clean the entire uphill section without stopping… and of course, session the big drop.

Props to the COGGS crew of volunteers who worked on this new extension of Admiral Rockbar, including Dave Cizmas, Erik Blow, Adam Sundberg, Rudy O’brien, Justin Martin, Erik Olson, Andy Keinitz, and possibly others.

Here’s a 34-second video of some of my attempts:

http://mountainbikegeezer.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/COGGS-admiral-rockbar.mp4

Thank you, COGGS. I’ll be back.

 

The post Admiral Rockbar gets an extension: Piedmont remains atop the heap of Minnesota’s technical trails appeared first on Mountain Bike Geezer.

Categories: Citizens

I’m now a PMBI Level 1 MTB instructor

Mountain Bike Geezer - Wed, 06/15/2016 - 9:28am

I took another MTB instructor certification course over the weekend, the Professional Mountain Bike Instructor Association (PMBI) Level 1 course. It was held at Spirit Mountain in Duluth, MN.

Photos of our two groups (10 women, 4 men – we all passed) and the excellent instructors, Luc and Ross:

The post I’m now a PMBI Level 1 MTB instructor appeared first on Mountain Bike Geezer.

Categories: Citizens

Making amends

Duck Fat and Politics - Mon, 06/13/2016 - 8:53am
Americans rightly look at the Eighteenth Amendment (prohibition) as social engineering gone awry, and discussions about amending the Constitution are likely to be dismissed. However, changing the Constitution is both American and constitutional. The framers of the Constitution wrote Article V for that reason, and in the past 200-plus years the Constitution has been amended twenty-seven times, a not-insignificant number.

Many Americans who oppose rational gun control do so in the name of the Constitution, waving before a disbelieving and frustrated public a copy of the Constitution, arguing that any law that attempts to regulate guns infringes on a right guaranteed by the Constitution. More specifically, the gun lobby so manipulates public sentiment about the Second Amendment that our country is now tied up in knots over sensible gun control laws, and we are unable to move forward.

It should be illegal for a person to be able to walk into a store and buy enough weapons and ammunition to undermine our democracy.

I need a prescription from a licensed doctor that can only be filled by a licensed pharmacist in order to buy anti-motion sickness medicine, but almost anyone can walk into a store (or go online) and buy as much ammunition as they can afford.

Americans who oppose gun legislation have many legitimate arguments and a lot of data to back them up. But, it is also clear that gun ownership should not be equated with opposition to gun regulations. However, the NRA and others who oppose any restrictions on gun ownership exacerbate the differences of public opinion about gun safety by putting all types of gun ownership in the same category. It is disingenuous to continue to put hunting and personal safety and protection in the same argument as unfettered access to guns and ammunition.

If we amended the Second Amendment, several objectives could be achieved. First, we could clarify the conditions in which a citizen may lawfully own a gun; for instance, many Americans have long-wondered about the relationship between the right to bear arms and what it means to “maintain a well-regulated militia”. Second, the manufacture, distribution, and sale of guns and ammunition could be regulated and controlled in a much more stringent manner. The Constitution is silent on this issue, and an amended Constitution could create a regulatory framework for an unknown future that recognizes advances in weaponry and ammunition. And, to honor the Americans whose interpretation of the Constitution is based on our Founding Fathers, all late 18th century weapons could be grandfathered in to any new regulations.

While the American public and Congress may have erred on one amendment, we have also moved our country forward through Constitutional amendments. Constitutional amendments have abolished slavery, given women the right to vote, lowered the voting age, and have codified the evolution of American jurisprudence with laws that reflect our maturation as a democracy.

I support a 28th Amendment.
Categories: Citizens

Boats and Ferries and Bridges, Oh My!: Digital Humanities support models

Pegasus Librarian - Iris Jastram - Sun, 06/12/2016 - 4:32pm

This morning my coworker Sarah Calhoun and I presented again at the Oberlin Digital Scholarship conference, “Building a Distributed Collaborative Model for Digital Scholarship Support at Liberal Arts Institutions: A Mixed Metaphor Salad.” Our other co-presenter, Austin Mason, couldn’t make it to the session, but he gets the credit for finding and bringing to us the metaphor that drove the session. He’d attended a session by Liz Milewicz of Duke University and gotten permission to reuse her metaphor. And the metaphor in question? Various methods of crossing water from one shore to another. Here’s how we used it.

“Automobile crossing rope bridge. 1923.” Photograph made accessible by the Field Museum Library. http://www.flickr.com/photos/field_museum_library/4462494439/

On occasion, supporting the digital humanities can feel an awful lot like trying to drive a car across a rope bridge. Either the infrastructure is inadequate for the project, or the project chose the wrong infrastructure to use to get across the river.

In an attempt to avoid this unfortunately pairing of project and infrastructure as much as possible, we propose thinking carefully about the infrastructure we put into place, and also about how to communicate clearly with researchers and with ourselves. We want researchers to find and use the right resources for the job, and we want to prevent siloed services that may duplicate effort or cause turf wars. And one way to think through these issues is to map out what’s happening on your campus.

Most campuses will have brave DIY-ers, who cross the river in daring ways using found objects (fallen logs) or special skill/access (base jumpers). These are important parts of creative research on our campuses, but they are not very repeatable or scaleable. They are not a great plan for a support model.

“Simple cable ferry, Gee’s Bend, Alabama, 1939” by Marion Post Wolcott.

One of the low-barrier, low-overhead, repeatable methods of crossing might be a rope ferry. These work quite well either solo or with a ferryman, but they may not be terribly stable over time. Perhaps various semi-ephemeral things like free blogs or social media fit here, where researchers can get information up online, but it may not be stable over time if the researcher or the service move in new directions.

“Venezia – Ferry-boat Lido di Venezia”

Or perhaps there are more modern ferries available. These are larger, more powerful, and require less effort on the part of the researcher. Maybe something like an institutional subscription to Omeka or WordPress fit here. They were for a lot of people interested in doing a lot of different kinds of things, and support can be pretty standard on campus.

“Brooklyn Bridge Manhattan”

But if you have a ferry running the same route over and over and over, and if you also have some money and staff for new construction, maybe it’s time to build a bridge. Some schools, for example, have a whole unit or a Center dedicated to supporting digital humanities. Some of these Centers are even iconic, like the Brooklyn Bridge. And I think that depending on the school, a massive, multi-lane bridge with tons of on-ramps and off-ramps might be a wonderful thing.

However, bridges really do require upkeep, they can become bottlenecks, they often have height and weight restrictions, and they may not serve all needs. Researchers are creative beings who may need to start in a different spot, end in a different spot, or get across in unusual ways. So at this point it becomes a matter of project portfolio management.

Vinopal, Jennifer, and Monica McCormick. ‘Supporting Digital Scholarship
in Research Libraries: Scalability and Sustainability.’ Journal of
Library Administration 53, no.1 (January 1, 2013): 27-42. doi:10.1080/01930826.2013.756689.

Jennifer Vinopal (who was also this conference’s keynote speaker, though we’d planned to site her even before we knew that), and her colleague Monica McCormick wrote a fantastic piece on “Supporting Digital Scholarship  in Research Libraries: Scalability and Sustainability” in the Journal of Library Administration. In it they recommend having an infrastructure such that the majority of project can use standardized tools that are well-supported on campus. Then allow for creativity by building in support for projects that can mostly use those standard tools but with some standardized consultation services, or with a bit of custom tweaking. But reserve some capacity for a few truly custom projects that will require a lot of support (and try to make sure that these project can be “first of a kind” rather than truly one-off projects).  So perhaps you have a couple of docks for some ferries not far from your bridge, or a landing area for your base jumpers, but there’s communication and vetting involved in committing resources to these special projects.

And no matter your solution, close communication between support and coordination folks will prevent boating collisions, or the building of duplicate bridges. To mix metaphors quite wildly, at Carleton we think of our coordinating folks as a three-legged stool: Library, Humanities Center, and Academic Technology. Representatives from these areas try to make sure that things move forward in a coordinated fashion even when the actual support and work of digital scholarship happens in all kinds of places on campus. We’re calling it a “coordinated distributed model,” and it is still in its infancy. We are currently tackling the question of what infrastructure to build and for whom, which tools will be our standard and which will we cut loose, who will be involved and to what extent, and how will we make sure that people who need us will find us?

Exploring these questions, we handed out blank maps to participants and asked them to depict their campus’ current models, talking in small groups about how things work on their campuses, and comparing with others to find trends and themes.

Feel free to use this map or make your own. I just drew this sketch of a map on my iPad.

One fascinating thing was that there were three participants from one college, and all three drew different maps. Others drew people drowning in the river, or people standing on one shore and gazing longingly at the distant shore. But one thing that became clear was that whatever infrastructure an institution adopts, it has to fit the local context. There’s no sense sinking a ton of money in a massive bridge if there’s no demand, or just because another school did it. And on the other hand there’s no sense leaving researchers to fend for themselves on campuses where lots of people have a similar need.

Then we handed out new blank maps and asked participants to think about an ideal infrastructure for their campuses over the next 5-ish years. There were so many interesting and useful responses. One person drew a crew of happy inner-tubers (beer implied), and someone at a different table drew one big inner tube. Most had more than one method of getting across. Others had thought about setting up villages or resorts on one side or the other to show the community that would be important, or close communication, or the bringing together of units that are currently separate. The creativity and thoughtfulness in the room was so inspiring!

At the end we asked participants what one thing they wanted to take back or change first at their institutions. My own answer was that I want to hand out blank maps to the people I work with on campus and see what we each think the current model looks like, and where we each hope it might go.

Categories: Citizens

50 dead in anti-gay shooting in Florida

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sun, 06/12/2016 - 1:12pm

This is the worst hate crime in U.S. history.

50 Dead in Nightclub Shooting: ‘An Act of Terror and an Act of Hate’ What Happened at the Orlando Nightclub Shooting Mass Shooting At Orlando Gay Nightclub: What We Know Omar Mateen Had Concealed Carry License and Security License in Florida Orlando Shooter Legally Bought Guns Despite Previous Flags by FBI

And on the other side of the country today:

Man with weapons and explosives arrested; was going to LA Gay Pride parade, police say

The spin of much of the reporting and comments focuses on the religion of the shooter, and that’s misplaced and deceptive.  This is a hate crime.  The shooter’s father has reported that his son was very upset over seeing two males kissing recently:

Orlando nightclub shooter inspired by gay hate according to father

Many media outlets are reporting this with an anti-Muslim spin, which is off point.  And those using this spin are avoiding the anti-gay aspect, and that’s off point too.  But given the anti-gay hatred being spewed by so many “Christians” (C-I-N-Os in my view, there’s nothing Christian about hatred), it’s no surprise.  Franklin Graham is a good example, and he’s coming soon to Minnesota:

Franklin Graham’s detestable anti-gay statements

Franklin Graham’s effort to blacklist LGBT-friendly companies…

There’s so much anti-GLBT vitriol, consider the bizarre “Bathroom Brigade Brouhaha” with laws passed and inciting weird incidents of people being tossed out of bathrooms across the country (shouldn’t the concern be about straight male pedophiles?), particularly where in this Minnesotan’s memory, it’s the Sen. Larry Craigs of the world that demonstrate bathroom issues!

Here’s the scoop on anti-gay hate crimes:  FBI statistics in a 2014 report on 2013 hate crimes, as above, show that 21.3% of hate crimes (reported & deemed) are crimes based on the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of the victims.  That’s 1,262 reported crimes identified as “hate crimes” in 2013.  Looking for more current numbers…

On the other hand, this is what our country is about, an expression of American values, people lining up to donate blood:

Bloodbanks at capacity, donors urged to return in coming days

Make America Love Again!

Categories: Citizens

Data Management and the Humanities

Pegasus Librarian - Iris Jastram - Sat, 06/11/2016 - 4:31pm

Humanities Data: Document fragments from church archives in Cuba

This morning my colleagues Kristin Partlo and Sarah Calhoun presented with me on data management plans (DMPs). The session itself was mostly a conversation about some example DMPs from the collection of successful DMPs that was recently released by the National Endowment for the Humanities followed by conversations about how we might talk to faculty (using this DMP template as food for thought). But from this conversation a few themes crystalized for me.

Why would humanists care?

I think we often hear that “sharing the stuff of my research with the world” isn’t a huge motivator in the humanities. I’m not sure how broadly true that is, but it’s true enough with enough people that it bears thinking about. And I have heard skepticism, usually in the form of “nobody else will care about this stuff I’ve collected,” so how do we address that?

Sometimes I think maybe it’s a matter of vocabulary, so talking about creating “an archive” or “a digital collection” might capture imaginations where “manage/share your data” won’t. Even talking about how a bibliography is a described dataset can be useful because humanists are very familiar with practices of collecting, organizing, and sharing bibliographic information, usually at the ends of articles, books, and syllabi, but sometimes independently. Humanists have actually been doing data management since forever when you think about bibliographies. In this context, we care about versions (editions), standardized and encoded “data fields” (so that other researchers know if you’re referring to a title of a chapter, article, or book, for example), durable URLs whenever possible… Bibliographies are rich with descriptive and preservationist practices that can help inform management and sharing of files and information more broadly.

I think another aspect of why Humanists might care involves thinking about sharing with the sympathetic collaborator that is your future self. Your future self will forget the ins and outs of where you put or how you named your image files, or what the columns on your spreadsheet actually mean. Our computers are chalk full of the stuff of our research — PDFs, draft versions, images, audio, video. Knowing where all of those things are requires management of all of that data just so that you can find things again later.

Learn through analogy with the known

Kristin talks about how the monograph is largely self-describing. It has title, author, and publisher information in predictable spaces. There’s the table of contents, often an index and bibliography, and things like introductions and conclusions that describe the book for you.

Then there are style guides and formal or informal glossaries that people adopt, and these serve to help make your data (“data” writ large) understandable and consistent for other readers.

These are things that are familiar, so it’s easier to point to these things and remind ourselves that we’ve already seen the usefulness of self-describing units of scholarship and of somewhat standardized best practices. Now we just need to apply it to the digital stuff we’re working with more and more these days.

And in the past, libraries and archives were the main places that managed the sharing of shareable humanities data (primary and secondary sources), but the sharing involved researchers traveling to those collections (humanities “datasets”) to use them. Now individual researchers can create collections, or use collections without physically traveling from dataset to dataset. But this also means that researchers now have more responsibility to do some of the description and standardization that libraries, archives, and publishers formerly did a lot of. So yes, the work feels different, but it’s built on the same principles that humanists already value.

Formal vs informal data management

One of the interesting themes of our session and all the other data-related sessions I attended is that people talk a lot about the data management requirements of grant-funded projects. Meanwhile, I haven’t supported that work at all, but I have helped quite a few people manage their own individual or collaborative non-grant-funded projects. And I really think that data management becomes much more alive and broadly useful if I think about how the best practices identified and codified by grant funding agencies help us think about best practices for regular, every-day digital life, right down to the daily action of naming and putting a file into a folder on my computer. For me and for the people I’ve worked with so far, formal DMPs are alien things that don’t intersect with my life and research. But the spirit and practices reflected in those DMPs? THOSE I care deeply about. So perhaps shifting language from compliance to best practices, and shifting focus from grants to every day organizational practices, perhaps these things can help make data management less of an alien object that only scientists and social scientists ever touch.

Categories: Citizens

CA – Sanders picking up counties as votes counted

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sat, 06/11/2016 - 10:41am

Click for larger view.  This is from the California Secretary of State site, where they’re tallying the votes as the 2.5 million uncounted votes are counted.  Keep an eye on THIS page!  And compare with the LATimes CA Primary page, where they are NOT updating.  Letter-to-the-Editor sent to LA Times!

Bernie has picked up THREE COUNTIES — Glenn County up north, and San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara to the south.  This is just the beginning.  Makes sense that there are such shrill calls for Bernie to drop out.  No.  This is a contested nomination, and it is not over until it’s over.  And from the counties flipping, with 2.5 million votes to count, it looks like calling a winner is premature.  As is so much in this race.

Keep at it, California, count those votes!

Categories: Citizens

Bookmark and Share

Syndicate content