Huge Methane Leak You’ve Probably Don’t Know About

Big problems in Los Angeles after an underground containment system failed and started spewing Methane at an incredible 110,000 pounds an HOUR!  Even worse, containment efforts have failed and it’s estimated the leak won’t be stopped for months.

More info here and here.

What We’re Reading/Watching/Buying in December

It’s been a busy month and Christmas is less than a week away (so is a much-needed week off work for yours truly).  As I get older the years just keep speeding up & I don’t know of any way to slow them down!  It’s just the opposite feeling from when I was a kid where the years dripped slower than that bear bottle full of honey.

The Great Cord Cutting Project of 2015 is going better than I could have ever expected & there’s no going back.  I’m spending some of that old evening TV time trying to keep up on the articles I’m always collecting via Pocket.  Some items recently clipped include:

pcq8qzR9iThe Kindle is getting a workout too with several books being read in parallel.  Just depends on what I’m in the mood for.  Stephen King’s 11/22/63 and Andy Weir’s The Martian are both fighting for my attention.
I’ve also taken the opportunity to really dig into what’s available on the streaming services I subscribe to, particularly Netflix and Amazon:

  • The Man in the High Castle (Amazon) is an alternate history story that has the Germans and Japanese wining WWII and taking control of the USA.  It’s a pretty dramatic series that’s full of twists and turns.
  • Narcos (Netflix) depicts the story of Pablo Escobar and the DEA agents assigned with bringing him to justice.  I’m not going to lie, you have to pay attention to this show.  Mainly because it’s 90% Spanish with subtitles.  And a Gringo like me needs them.  No Sprecken la Espanola

belkin-be-F5L171tt-1I’ve been helping keep USPS, FedEx and UPS in business with lots of holiday purchases for friends and family.  Along with those items I picked up a new Keyboard/Case for myself and my iPad Air 2.  The Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro is a great replacement to the Logitech keyboard cover I was using with the last iPad.  It’s a little pricy $150 but It’s currently on sale now for $130.  I’m working on a review but let’s just say that after a few days using it I’m a fan.

25475-inset13After a glowing review from a co-worker I also ordered the Hamilton Beach Breakfast Electric Sandwich Maker.  Seriously, I did!  I’ve see this gadget before but didn’t think it would be any good, especially costing under $30.  Well I’m told this thing really works so I had to see for myself.  When I happen to eat breakfast the egg and cheese (with various meats) is my regular go to.  Delivery is scheduled for Monday so we’ll see how it goes Tuesday morning when I fire that baby up and make my first sausage, egg and cheese muffin.

No matter your religious preference (or not) I hope everyone is gearing up for a fun holiday season with friends and family.  If you get any good tech gadgets or kitchen toys let me know!  I’m always looking for ways to give Amazon more money.

The TSA’s Response to Its Master Key Scandal Is Priceless

us-tsa-master-lock-keys-leak-online-have-already-been-3d-printed-491580-2“Scandal” might be too strong a word. But you’d think the TSA would have been ashamed when hackers released 3D-printer files for its master keys, which can open any any TSA-recommended luggage lock. Does the TSA feel ashamed? Not even close. – Source: Gizmodo

SO, Mr. Traveler, that fancy TSA Approved lock you picked up at the luggage store is just giving you a false sense of security.  It didn’t help that the Washing Post ran an article with a clear picture of every type of key.  All it took was someone with the right 3D Printer software to mock-up a sample & release the templates to the world.

Another thing to add to the list of why flying sucks…

Submarine Cable Map

I love maps, especially old paper maps.  But when I came across this on the Internet I wanted to give it a good look.  The Submarine Cable Map website is a comprehensive and regularly updated interactive map of the world’s major submarine cable systems and landing stations.

Submarine-cable-map-625x405

Why do I find this interesting?  This is how the majority of the worlds communications systems are connected and the Internet would not be what it is today without this kind of infrastructure.  What amazes me is the sheer number of undersea cables throughout the world.  There used to be copper cables under the Atlantic from North America to Europe but those have all been replaced by fiber optic cables which can carry more information over greater distances.

Here is a short video from the “How It’s Made” series that shows how fiber optic cables are made.  It’s a pretty interesting process and you can imagine how much effort it takes to make a cable with hundreds of fiber strands that stretches thousands of miles in a hostile underwater environment.

At one time there were issues with Sharks and other marine creatures damaging the cables.  Changes in manufacturing and installation has helped resolve much of this.  Outages still occur as a result of commercial fishing and the occasional anchor.

So next time you’re watching an NFL game in London or playing an online game with someone in Spain remember how that signal is probably getting to you and the effort it took to make it happen.