Americans Retiring Later, Dying Sooner, Sicker In-Between

❝ The U.S. retirement age is rising, as the government pushes it higher and workers stay in careers longer.

But lifespans aren’t necessarily extending to offer equal time on the beach. Data released last week suggest Americans’ health is declining and millions of middle-age workers face the prospect of shorter, and less active, retirements than their parents enjoyed.

❝ Here are the stats: The U.S. age-adjusted mortality rate—a measure of the number of deaths per year—rose 1.2 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the Society of Actuaries. That’s the first year-over-year increase since 2005, and only the second rise greater than 1 percent since 1980.

At the same time that Americans’ life expectancy is stalling, public policy and career tracks mean millions of U.S. workers are waiting longer to call it quits. The age at which people can claim their full Social Security benefits is gradually moving up, from 65 for those retiring in 2002 to 67 in 2027.

Almost one in three Americans age 65 to 69 is still working, along with almost one in five in their early 70s.

Mail me a penny postcard when you’re confident either of the TweedleDee and TweedleDumb political parties we’re allowed is going to do a damned thing about this. To make it better, that is.

Meanwhile, read the rest of the article. Then go find some independent organization that tries from the grassroots on up to change this crap situation for the better. Hint: it probably won’t be someone with the word “Party” in the last half of their name.

For $1,000, anyone can track your location and app use


Begin and end a morning commute. Red dots = standing still over 4 minutes.

❝ Privacy concerns have long swirled around how much information online advertising networks collect about people’s browsing, buying and social media habits — typically to sell you something.

But could someone use mobile advertising to learn where you go for coffee? Could a burglar establish a sham company and send ads to your phone to learn when you leave the house? Could a suspicious employer see if you’re using shopping apps on work time?

❝ The answer is yes, at least in theory. New University of Washington research, which will be presented Oct. 30 at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society, suggests that for roughly $1,000, someone with devious intent can purchase and target online advertising in ways that allow them to track the location of other individuals and learn what apps they are using…

❝ “Because it was so easy to do what we did, we believe this is an issue that the online advertising industry needs to be thinking about,” said co-author Franzi Roesner, co-director of the UW Security and Privacy Research Lab… “We are sharing our discoveries so that advertising networks can try to detect and mitigate these types of attacks, and so that there can be a broad public discussion about how we as a society might try to prevent them.”

Mail me a penny postcard when the advertising industry and our plastic, fantastic lawmakers take this seriously.

Who Would Pay to Hear Mike Pence? Not Many Republicans

❝ The Colorado Republican Party has slashed prices for Pence’s keynote address by 45 percent after failing to sell enough of the $275 tickets to the October 26 speech in Denver…

❝ The Party said…that the Vice President will still draw “our expected attendance of 400 supporters,” but spun the ticket price cut as a tip of the hat to low-level campaign workers.

❝ Colorado GOP officials maintain that Trump enjoys broad support in the state, but it is unclear if that’s the case. Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton beat the president 47 percent to 42 percent in the state in 2016. And Barack Obama crushed Mitt Romney in the state in 2012 in a 51 to 47 percent vote. The demographics of the state have been changing for decades; Hispanics now comprise 21.3 percent of population, up from 17 percent in 2000…

But, then, Republican statistics have depended for a long time on [1] declining voter turnout across the board to go along with their voter suppression efforts – and [2] Democratic Party unwillingness, inability to do a damned thing about [1].

First floating wind farm – built by an offshore oil company BTW – starts delivering electricity


Click for a short video

❝ The world’s first floating offshore wind farm began delivering electricity to the Scottish grid last week.

The 30MW installation, situated 25km from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, will demonstrate that offshore wind energy can be harvested in deep waters, miles away from land, where installing giant turbines was once impractical or impossible. At peak capacity, the wind farm will produce enough electricity to power 20,000 Scottish homes.

❝ The installation, called Hywind Scotland, is also interesting because it was built by Statoil, a Norwegian mega-corporation known for offshore oil drilling. Statoil has pursued offshore wind projects in recent years, using the company’s experience building and managing infrastructure in difficult open sea conditions to its advantage.

❝ Hywind Scotland began producing power in September, and on the 18th it started delivering electricity to the Scottish grid. Now, all that’s left is for Statoil and its partner company Masdar to install a 1MWh lithium-ion battery, charmingly called “Batwind,” on shore. Batwind will help the offshore system regulate power delivery and optimize output.

❝ After a number of small demonstration projects, the five 6MW turbines are the first commercial turbines to lack a firm attachment to the seafloor. They’re held in place using three giant suction anchors, which are commonly used in offshore oil drilling. Essentially, an enormous, empty, upside-down “bucket” is placed on the seafloor, and air is sucked out of the bucket, which forces the bucket downward, further into the seafloor sediment.

RTFA for greater understanding of why Statoil invested the funds and effort into a technology – that unsurprising – hasn’t a ROI greater than the average pilot plant.

Hint! Eventually, it will.

America’s economy rocks — if you live in a blue county


Click into the article for largerLazaro Gamio/Axios

❝ Economic prosperity is concentrated in America’s elite zip codes, but economic stability outside of those communities is rapidly deteriorating.

❝ U.S. geographical economic inequality is growing, meaning your economic opportunity is more tied to your location than ever before. A large portion of the country is being left behind by today’s economy, according to a county-by-county report released this morning by the Economic Innovation Group, a non-profit research and advocacy organization. This was a major election theme that helped thrust Donald Trump to the White House…

Not that he has a clue or inclination about repairing any of this.

❝ The fastest growing western cities (such as Gilbert, Ariz., and Plano, Texas) and “tech hubs” (Seattle, San Francisco, Austin) dominate the list of the most prosperous cities in the country. Cities that were once industrial powerhouses in the Midwest and Northeast are now more likely to be on the distressed end of the spectrum, like Cleveland and Newark.

“Today’s jobs are going almost exclusively to people with education beyond high school, and those jobs are going to thriving communities,” said John Lettieri, co-founder of EIG. “It’s a self-reinforcing cycle.”

RTFA. Click through to the article – use the link under the map. Conclusions are wishy-washy. The sort of political analysis that illustrates American dedication to sophistry. But, hey, that’s how the Establishment got to limit the whole political process to two Tweedledee and Tweedledumb parties.

Arboreal Halloween Costume

Ursa was leaving the library, today, in Portland – when she saw and snapped this evergreen tree wearing leaves that have fallen from a nearby deciduous tree. The recent windstorm & rainstorm helped shape the decorations.


Click to enlarge

Thanks, UrsaRodinia

Amazon patents drones wirelessly charging your electric car while driving — Who? Wha?


Click to enlargeReuters/Brendan McDermid

As countries around the world are putting more electric vehicles on the road, they’re also struggling to power those engines. For now, countries are focusing on adding charging stations, but in the future there may be a more mobile option available to drivers: flying drones that come to you.

In early October, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted Amazon the patent for developing a drone that can connect to transfer electricity to a car in motion. Amazon filed the application in 2014, the patent document showed…

How cool is that?

In a nutshell, when the vehicle is low on battery, it will contact a central server, which communicates with the car to figure out the amount of energy needed for its intended destination before sending out an unmanned flying machine with some form of battery to service the car. Several authentication steps would be required to prevent malicious use, according to the filing. The new patent might go well with an earlier Amazon application that envisions recharging stations on top of public street lights for flying drones to use themselves.

So, if you’ve been wandering around the countryside in your full-electric AWD Ford Watanabe checking out new fishing spots – and weren’t paying attention to your car’s charged level – the car will do it for you. A new level of Amazon Prime service may be required. And sounds useful to me. If I was still living my life on the road.

Bodies Of Dead Climbers On Everest Serve As Guideposts


Prakash Mathema

❝ Mount Everest holds the impressive title of ‘tallest mountain in the world,’ but many people don’t know about its other, more gruesome title — the world’s largest open-air graveyard

❝ The top portion of the mountain, roughly everything above 26,000 feet, is known as the “death zone.”
There, the oxygen levels are only at a third of what they are at sea level, and the barometric pressure causes weight to feel ten times heavier. The combination of the two makes climbers feel sluggish, disoriented and fatigued and can cause extreme distress on organs. For this reason, climbers don’t usually last more than 48 hours in this area.

The climbers that do are usually left with lingering effects. The ones that aren’t so lucky are left where they fall.

❝ Standard protocol is just to leave the dead where they died, and so these corpses remain, to spend eternity on the mountaintop, serving as a warning to climbers, as well as gruesome mile markers.

Truly interesting article. At least to me. I’ve spent a fair piece of outdoors life with serious climbers in the US, Switzerland and France, Scotland and elsewhere. Known a number of successful athletes at this pursuit. A few who died along the way.

RTFA for questions unique to the life and death of high altitude climbing.