Chicken Tax and the Subaru Brat

Learned something new today about how Lyndon Johnson in 1963 created a 25% import tax on trucks that is still on the books today! He created the law to counter a tax put on frozen USA chicken in Germany- The tax is named after that as the “chicken tax”.

This tariff has allowed Domestic trucks to dominate the market since the 60’s resulting in the Ford F-150 as the most popular truck on the planet. Some foreign automakers have tried to get around the law, the most famous is the Subaru Brat. It was so popular even Ronald Reagan owned one to tool around his ranch. After he was elected, he was never photographed riding it because of the “optics”. but the Brat was only around a few years because the Fed’s finally caught up to Subaru and forced them to pay back taxes.
Reagan’s BRAT!

I learned all this from a great podcast from NPR called planet money. Excellent podcast with amazing info that will make you look smarter then you are. Also here is good story from Wired Magazine also talking about the tax.

Polar Plunge 2017


On March 4th I was part of the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics. I raised over 500 dollars for the cause and all I had to do was jump into the 18F water!

The photo above proves I did it! And it was extremely cold that day – winds that drove the temperature down to around 0F!


My article on Improper Gasketed Joints

This month I co-wrote an article I have been wanting to write about a terrible industrial accident that happened in Anacortes Washington back in 2010. This accident had some major loss of life and was a multitude of errors regarding heat exchanger sealing. I feel one of the biggest issues was a poorly designed seating stress of the gasketed joints of the heat exchanger. The mistakes that are highlighted in the Chemical Safety Board’s report on this accident reads like what not to do with dealing with leaks.
You can see my paper here:

Here is a good video from the CSB describing the accident.

The man in the Arena

A few months ago in a book I was reading I first saw this incredible part of a speech by Teddy Roosevelt called “The man in the Arena”. Not only did it talk about fighting the fight inside the arena it talked about how people who have not done anything will criticize you. The “critics” are people who have never fought for anything and will never feel the thrill or winning or the agony of defeat. It also really made me look at life and are you living it or criticizing it.

This is a quote that I really love and will cherish about getting stuff done.

ESPN studios

Back in June of 2011, my friend had someone who worked at ESPN studios in Bristol Connecticut and got us on a list ot get a “special” behind the scenes tour. I had been a fan of ESPN going back to when I was in school in the 80’s so this was a real treat. It was everything I thought it would be and more. Steve’s friend was a graphic artist who could render images over live television to make the item move – like a goal post with the words “Gameday”.

This photo was as we were walking around the main studio building and had these real college football helmets hanging from the walls. Amazing!

This was Steve and I in front of the old ESPN news studio – right where the anchors gave the latest updates on NFL, NBA, and all sports! A few years ago they got rid of this channel and now show almost 24 hour sportscenter.

We were able to look from a window into the editing bay for the SportCenter studio. It was amazing how everything comes together in this place.

This was in the NFL Live studio that also doubles for Baseball Tonight also. On the left behind us is an area for interviews and a mini football field / Baseball diamond.

Early days of API-622 testing

Was looking back at some photos from November 2008 when I had for the first time a chance to put my hands on the API-622 rig. This one was built by Yarmouth Research in Maine where we were working on getting a full understanding of what would become the gold standard of emissions valve sealing.
Now almost 9 years later the way this one test has forced packing manufacturers move the needle to make LowE valve sealing a realty. Back in these photos the national limit at most plants were 10,000 ppm compared to 100 ppm today. My favorite analogy is if the Cafe requirements for cars would of changed that drastically you could drive from Boston to Los Angeles on one gallon of gas.

Website security warnings from Chrome and Firefox

Recently a common website I need to log into starting having this warning from Chrome and firefox that stated “This site in not safe”. After i looked into it a bit I realized it was because the site was a login page and not encrypted- meaning it was not an HTTPS site and still a HTTP site.
This warning is quite alarming and first you think the website is hacked or something. My daughter had to to the site recently and said it was trying to steal her secrets. Recently a magazine’s website was getting this warning and complained to Firefox telling it to stop showing the warning. They were surprised to realize it was not a bug but a feature! Here is a good article about it.

This is serious when you realize that as you are logging on to the site your username and password are in “the clear” ~ someone can grab it out of the network traffic and read it because it is not encrypted. Think about it if you were at a coffee shop and someone sitting at the other table with some basic tools can grab your info to login to your site.
Here is a great video showing how to sniff this info using this thing called a pineapple. This guy is great and has a great website called hak5

Peak Minutes Goal and Google embedded Graphs

A 2017 goal/New Years resolution is focusing less on Steps and more on peak heart rate minutes per week and month. I decided I would have a monthly goal that would increase by 5 minutes per month – starting with 15 minutes for January and ending at 70 in December.

This has been alot harder goal then I thought – my body likes to get to Peak heart rate and then come back to cardio while i start to cool down. It is really hard unless I keep sweating to keep my heart rate up. it has been a challenge but I am working on it – and as of today (end of March) i am meeting my goal.

The second thing I realized today is you can make a graph using Google Doc’s and insert it into wordpress (like this blog) and it will update it graph as the data changes in the google doc’s spreadsheet. I thought this was amazing!
Below is a graph of my weekly process:

And here is the average for the month.

I made a page specifically to keep me honest on this goal here.

Trip Review: 91 Vilnius, Lithuania


Back in May of 2004 I was asked to go to Lithuania to work with our new distributor. It was an interesting time in the country since it had focused on oil production and just joining NATO. The country had invaded by many counties including Russia only a few decades before.

This was the plane I flew on – they still had at that time government owned Lithuania airlines.


One afternoon outside our hotel we saw kids walking down the street marching in a band.


The local McDonald’s had a walk-by window.

This was the famous cathedral in the city center. We walked through it and it was amazing. some of the things I remember about the country is everyone was dressed so perfect everyday. Also I remember working with their computers and driving to the refinery on the other side of the country. It was a beautiful drive and everyone was very nice.

Fridjof Nansen’s Farthest North Book

Fridjof Nansen is the real life Indiana Jones that I have ever found – he was a man that never stopped doing the impossible. Besides being a world class explorer in his later years, he became a great statesman including winning the Nobel Peace prize for his humanitarian work that included his invention of the Nansen passport. This passport saved 450,000 refugees throughout the world.

His book, “The farthest north” chronicles his adventures with a custom build ship he designed to handle the ice in the arctic ocean as he tried to cruise to the north pole. He did not succeed but his adventure is a story that needs to be told! I expect his story to be made into a movie that would just amaze the world with fighting polar bears and Narwhals.

I read the 2 volumes of his book on the adventure for the north pole. It is a book that come directly from his notes he took every night on the trip. Even though it was written over 100+ years ago it seems so vivid like you were right there.

This is the ship that Nansen designed to handle the crushing force of the arctic ocean. The boat was a reflection on himself with a great study to read books while on this 3 year journey. Also it was outfited with a windmill to power a battery to read in teh darkness of the winter.



He brought a camera on board of the Fram and this is one of the photos of his crew. He handpicked everyone with high standards to handle the enormous challenge to being at sea for so long.

First learned about him from podcast “things you missed in History class”. it really gave me a flavor for such a man who did big things to change the world. Also it should be noted that he was a scientist – a degree in zoology and studied wildlife.
Some great quotes from him: “Never stop because you are afraid – you are never so likely to be wrong.”
“The difficult is what takes a little time; the impossible is what takes a little longer.”