Author Archive for JOHN ADAMS

Daily Bread for 9.17.23: Twilight Paddle on the Upper Yahara River

 Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will see morning showers and afternoon sunshine with a high of 69. Sunrise is 6:37 AM and sunset 7:00 PM for 12h 23m 09s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 5.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1787, the United States Constitution is signed in Philadelphia.

Twilight Paddle on the Upper Yahara River:

Gridlock and Confusion: On the Road With Spanish Rescuers in Morocco:

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Daily Bread for 9.16.23: Weed-Killing AI Drones May Be the Future of Farming

 Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with evening showers and a high of 77. Sunrise is 6:36 AM and sunset 7:02 PM for 12h 26m 01s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 2.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1959, the first successful photocopier, the Xerox 914, is introduced in a demonstration on live television from New York City.

 Weed-killing AI drones may be the future of farming:

Combating weeds in a sustainable way is more urgent than ever. Global warming is supercharging their growth as they compete with crops for nutrients, and every drop of chemical sprayed comes with an environmental cost. Now startups like Precision AI are trying a new approach, including an AI-enabled crop-spraying drone that reduces chemical use by up to 90%.

Meet the Green Bay Packers historian:

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Daily Bread for 9.15.23: UW-Whitewater Projects Enrollment Increase

 Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 77. Sunrise is 6:35 AM and sunset 7:04 PM for 12h 28m 54s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 0.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1835, the HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin aboard, reaches the Galapagos Islands. The ship lands at Chatham or San Cristobal, the easternmost of the archipelago.

  There’s good news for UW-Whitewater and our city as preliminary enrollment figures show gains year-over-year. Kimberly Wethal reports UW System enrollment projected to hold steady, with some universities rebounding:

University of Wisconsin System enrollment is projected to stay relatively flat this fall overall, as a handful of universities’ gains outweigh slight decreases elsewhere.

The System expects to have 540 more students this fall over last, a 0.3% increase over last year’s final enrollment of 160,782, according to data the System released Thursday. UW-Platteville, UW-Whitewater and UW-Stevens Point all anticipated gains of about 3.4% — a few hundred more students on their campuses this fall.

Of all of System schools with growth, UW-Madison and UW-Green Bay had the smallest percentages, around 1.2%.

The estimates are based on first-day registration figures and are expected to differ from the official 10th-day count the System reports to the U.S. Department of Education.

Much of the System’s enrollment stability can be attributed to a 3% increase in freshman enrollment across universities, excluding UW-Madison.

See also the System press release Enrollment up, and steady, across the UW System (“Five universities show overall increases: UW-Madison, UW-Green Bay, UW-Platteville, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Whitewater”).

An Epic Boat Battle…On Land?:

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Film: Wednesday, September 20th, 1:00 PM @ Seniors in the Park, The Empire of Light

Wednesday, September 20th at 1:00 PM, there will be a showing of The Empire of Light @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin Community Building:


Rated R (sexual content, language)

1 hour, 55 minutes (2022)

Our last Wednesday art film of the summer is a British homage to the movie palaces of a bygone era. Coastal England, 1980. A middle-aged, unmarried cinema manager (Olivia Coleman) struggles to save a dying, chain movie theatre. Her loneliness and depression, compounded by a lecherous boss (Colin Firth), takes a turn when an energetic trainee (Micheal Ward) brightens her perspective on the business and life. Nominations included Best Cinematography (Oscar), Best Actress Film (BAFTA), and AARP Best Grownup Love Story.

One can find more information about The Empire of Light at the Internet Movie Database.

Friday Catblogging: FDNY Firefighters Rescue Kitten Trapped in Wheel Well



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Good news from the Big Apple, as Tom Shea reports FDNY firefighters rescue kitten trapped in underside of car:

Unfortunately, getting the frightened feline out wasn’t as simple as reaching in and picking it up. Firefighters broke out their tools and were able to get the wheel off — but the difficulties didn’t stop there.

They needed help from an unlikely source.

“There was some kind of bar pinning it down and keeping it from getting out so we used Dawn dish soap and lathered him all up and eventually I was able to pull the kitten out,” said Caliendo.

Video showed Caliendo pulling the kitten out from where it was stuck, as others stood by to help out.

And there was a happy ending for the feline as well: A member of Engine 311, which shares the firehouse, adopted the kitten.


Daily Bread for 9.14.23: Allowing Prior Sexual Assaults as Evidence at Trial

 Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 72. Sunrise is 6:34 AM and sunset 7:06 PM for 12h 31m 46s of daytime. The moon is new with 0.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1994, the rest of the Major League Baseball season is canceled because of a strike.

  Henry Redman reports Wisconsin Supreme Court hears arguments in case on allowing prior sexual assault as evidence:

The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard arguments in the first criminal case of its new term Wednesday, weighing if prior sexual assaults should be allowed to be used as evidence in sexual assault cases. 

The case, Wisconsin v. Seaton, involves a man accused of sexually assaulting his 17-year-old friend after she had been drinking. The man had also previously been accused of sexually assaulting a different 17-year-old girl after she had been drinking. 

The Waukesha County prosecutors in the case had filed a motion to have the prior assault admitted as “other acts evidence,” which allows previous actions by a criminal defendant to be admitted as evidence. The rules regarding other acts evidence are generally strict to avoid prejudicing juries against someone; with certain exceptions they generally limit the courts to consider only the evidence for the crime the defendant is charged with in that specific case. 

The Waukesha County judge trying the case denied the prosecution motion to admit the prior assault, which led prosecutors to file the appeal that the Supreme Court heard on Wednesday. The state is asking the Court to change the rules regarding the admissibility of other acts evidence and to allow incidents that would serve to bolster a victim’s credibility when there isn’t any physical evidence of the assault. 

(Emphasis added.) The key issue before the court is that the requested admissibility addresses a victim’s credibility. 

As Redman accurately reports, “[c]riminal appeals before the Court often result in unique coalitions among the justices, as the issues can’t be interpreted in ways that neatly align with their typical ideological alignments.” That’s right: it’s impossible to predict how the court will rule on a case like this, and relying on the general ideological disposition of the justices will get one nowhere.

See State v. Morris V. Seaton, 2021AP1399-CR.

James Webb Space Telescope captures Saturn’s changing season:

Imagery of Saturn captured by the James Webb Space Telescope in Nov. 2022 is superimposed over an image captured by Hubble. “Yellows represent bright and warm parts of Saturn’s atmosphere, while the purple areas are cooler and darker,” according to NASA. 

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Daily Bread for 9.13.23: Who Holds the Leash?

 Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 66. Sunrise is 6:33 AM and sunset 7:07 PM for 12h 34m 37s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 2.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1948, Margaret Chase Smith is elected United States senator, and becomes the first woman to serve in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

  Consider a dog that yelps, barks, snarls, and (too often) drools. People would have reason to see the dog as ill-natured and untrained. (The measure of nature and nurture might be hard to determine.) 

Sensible people, however, would wonder: Who holds that dog’s leash? The foul canine, after all, wears a collar, the collar is attached to a leash, and the leash is in a person’s hand. 

While the dog is the proximate cause of yelping, barking, snarling, and drooling, it’s the person who allows the dog to behave that way who is the root cause of the dog’s behavior. 

As it is with dogs and their owners, so it is with yelping, barking, snarling, drooling politicians and the special interests who hold their leashes. 

Whitewater has a problem with a politician or two like this, but the problem does not end at the tip of their snouts, so to speak. The problem extends all the way up to the hands of the local special-interest men who hold the leash. 

This Startup Buries Carbon Dioxide in the Ground:

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Daily Bread for 9.12.23: Lifetime Learning

 Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 69. Sunrise is 6:32 AM and sunset 7:09 PM for 12h 37m 30s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 5.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

There will be a meeting of the Public Works Committee at 6 PM

On this day in 1958, Jack Kilby demonstrates the first working integrated circuit while working at Texas Instruments.

 Those who enjoy, even love, a pursuit return to it when time allows. Learning is like this. The best motto the Whitewater Unified School District had was every graduate an engaged lifelong learner.’ See The Whitewater Schools’ Motto, ‘Some College, No Degree’ Isn’t Whitewater’s Problem, and Whitewater School-Related Posts Since March [2023]. 

Michael Roth writes today in the New York Times of The Value of an Education That Never Ends (link is open):

Ultimately, the true student learns freedom by developing curiosity, judgment and creativity in the service of one’s own good and the good of their communities. This flourishing is different from being trained by an instructor to do a task or earn a badge, and it is different from the satisfaction one gets through acquiring objects or experiences in the marketplace.

On campus, students do learn specific tasks and they do enjoy experiences, of course, but as students they are doing something more fundamental and more open-ended. They are learning freedom by learning who they are and what they can do (including how they might think). This almost always happens in concert with others. Students flourish in discovering and developing their capacities together.

That’s why it’s such a challenge to be a perpetual student — as our society becomes atomized and polarized, the informal educational spaces for adults to learn from people who have different points of view are fewer and farther between. And it gets harder to exercise the intellectual humility that being a student requires when one is supposed to have the authority, the certainty, of adulthood. Yet some people manage it at various points in their lives by finding fellow learners. This can happen in book clubs, online classes, Bible study or simply in stimulating interactions with co-workers.

There is a hunger for this. Roughly 200 people join my online Great Books humanities class each week on Coursera. During the pandemic, the number was more than 1,000, and millions around the world find other classes via Khan Academy and edX. The desire for learning is also a desire for connecting. It is not just the desire for a prize or a diploma.

For perpetual students, learning (as opposed to training) has no end. As they reach the end of one path of inquiry, they find themselves already on another. These paths develop their capacities and can’t be delimited in advance of the opportunity for exploring them.

What a shame that Whitewater, with both a high school and a college, finds herself enmired in lesser institutional matters, preoccupying some but inspiring none. 

Kilauea Volcano Erupts in Hawaii for the Third Time in 2023:

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Daily Bread for 9.11.23: The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s ‘Point of No Return’ Was Years Ago

 Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be rainy with a high of 67. Sunrise is 6:31 AM and sunset 7:11 PM for 12h 40m 21s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 10.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

There will be a Whitewater Common Council and Whitewater Unified School District joint meeting at 7 PM

On this day in 2001, the September 11 attacks kill 2,996 people using four aircraft hijacked by 19 members of al-Qaeda. Two aircraft crash into the World Trade Center in New York City, a third crashes into The Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, and a fourth into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

 In the Journal Sentinel, Jessie Opoien writes Can the Wisconsin Supreme Court overcome its fractured relations? Observers fear a point of no return:

“So many harsh, terrible things have been said. It’s going to be very hard, I think, for them to sit at a table and to be able to find common ground and to be able to compromise on whatever they need to compromise on,” former Justice Janine Geske said. “There are a lot of layers to this, somebody’s going to have to work through, and I think it’s going to be hard for them to be able to do it. … I don’t know that it can be done.”

Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, recently likened the dynamic of the court to a “food fight.” Marquette University Law School professor Chad Oldfather calls it “a mess.”

“My guess is that (the conflict) just furthers the sense that has been growing for a while … that they’re just political actors — that there’s no difference between what they do and what members of the Legislature do. And that’s a problem because they’re not supposed to do the same job,” Oldfather said.

Opoien knows that dysfunction is not new

The disagreements among justices continued over the next decade [the 2010s], including a physical altercation between Ann Walsh Bradley and Prosser, and an exchange during which Prosser called Abrahamson a “bitch” and said she would be “destroyed.”

(Emphasis added.) 

See Prosser admits touching Bradley’s neck; she says she suffered no harm.

This court isn’t ill because it has a new justice; it suffers from pre-existing conditions.

See Hurricane Lee in this amazing time-lapsed view from space:

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Daily Bread for 9.10.23: Wisconsin Fall Color Report

 Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 78. Sunrise is 6:29 AM and sunset 7:13 PM for 12h 43m 12s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 17% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1846, Elias Howe is granted a patent for the sewing machine.

 The Wisconsin Department of Tourism publishes a Fall Color Report each year:

The northern portions of the state are today below peak color, with areas closer to Whitewater showing even less fall color. (The report currently estimates our fall color in Whitewater peaking in the third week of October.)

This Spanish Festival Is a Funeral for a Fish:

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Daily Bread for 9.9.23: Bugs

 Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 74. Sunrise is 6:28 AM and sunset 7:14 PM for 12h 46m 03s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 25.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1947, it’s the first case of a ‘computer bug‘ being found: A moth lodges in a relay of a Harvard Mark II computer at Harvard University:

The term “bug” to describe defects has been a part of engineering jargon since the 1870s and predates electronics and computers; it may have originally been used in hardware engineering to describe mechanical malfunctions. For instance, Thomas Edison wrote in a letter to an associate in 1878:

… difficulties arise—this thing gives out and [it is] then that “Bugs”—as such little faults and difficulties are called—show themselves.

Baffle Ball, the first mechanical pinball game, was advertised as being “free of bugs” in 1931. Problems with military gear during World War II were referred to as bugs (or glitches). In a book published in 1942, Louise Dickinson Rich, speaking of a powered ice cutting machine, said, “Ice sawing was suspended until the creator could be brought in to take the bugs out of his darling.”

Isaac Asimov used the term “bug” to relate to issues with a robot in his short story “Catch That Rabbit“, published in 1944.

The term “bug” was used in an account by computer pioneer Grace Hopper, who publicized the cause of a malfunction in an early electromechanical computer. A typical version of the story is:

In 1946, when Hopper was released from active duty, she joined the Harvard Faculty at the Computation Laboratory where she continued her work on the Mark II and Mark III. Operators traced an error in the Mark II to a moth trapped in a relay, coining the term bug. This bug was carefully removed and taped to the log book. Stemming from the first bug, today we call errors or glitches in a program a bug.

Hopper was not present when the bug was found, but it became one of her favorite stories. The date in the log book was September 9, 1947. The operators who found it, including William “Bill” Burke, later of the Naval Weapons Laboratory, Dahlgren, Virginia, were familiar with the engineering term and amusedly kept the insect with the notation “First actual case of bug being found.” This log book, complete with attached moth, is part of the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

(Citations omitted.) 

 Of all the kinds of bugs, however, this is — without doubt — the most formidable (indeed, unstoppable): 

Dolphin pod performs for beachgoers:

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Daily Bread for 9.8.23: Land Purchase Nearly Doubles State Wildlife Area Near Whitewater

 Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 69. Sunrise is 6:27 AM and sunset 7:16 PM for 12h 48m 54s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 33.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1974, President Ford signs the pardon of Richard Nixon for any federal crimes Nixon may have committed while in office.

“Prince’s Point Wildlife Area consists of approximately 2,000 acres of primarily bottomland hardwoods and open water marsh. It is located off County Highway D, 3 miles northeast of Whitewater.” Photo via WI DNR website.

 Our area is about to add 1,800 acres of state wildlife area. Danielle Kaeding reports Land purchase nearly doubles the size of state wildlife area in Jefferson County:

A $3.6 million land purchase in southeastern Wisconsin will nearly double the size of the roughly 2,000-acre Prince’s Point Wildlife Area in Jefferson County, expanding key habitat for waterfowl and public access.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources acquired 1,830 acres around three miles northeast of Whitewater in May from a private landowner that’s currently managing the property as a muck farm. It’s a type of farming where wetlands have been drained, and the remaining soil is typically used to grow vegetables like beans, potatoes and onions.

The DNR is partnering with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Ducks Unlimited on several wetland restoration projects on the property that could begin this year or in 2024.

Rachel Barker, a DNR wildlife biologist, said the work will add four wetland ponds or impoundments that are intended to provide diverse habitat for birds and wildlife.

“By restoring it to a wetland, it’s going to put the water back in the system and help create that really organic, nutrient-rich soil that is good for all the plants, forage for wildlife, and just kind of restoring that system and all the benefits of the wetland,” Barker said.

Hungry otter eats $125,000 worth of koi fish from hotel pond:

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Film: Tuesday, September 12th, 1:00 PM @ Seniors in the Park, Asteroid City

Tuesday, September 12th at 1:00 PM, there will be a showing of Asteroid City @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin Community Building:


Rated PG-13

1 hour, 45 minutes (2023)

Written and directed by Wes Anderson (“Moonrise Kingdom,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “French Dispatch”), this esoteric film features an ensemble cast including Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Margot Robbie, Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Ed Norton and Willem Dafoe. A family of astronomy fans travels to a youth stargazing event in Asteroid City. Quirky, odd and fun

One can find more information about Asteroid City at the Internet Movie Database.