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 June  2016 

 

 

 

 

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Background Image: Looking east towards The Old Schoolhouse

Wednesday June 1st 2016

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

Today Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers late this afternoon with risk of a thunderstorm. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 early this afternoon. High 24. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers early this evening and risk of a thunderstorm. Clearing late this evening. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. Low 8.

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

Today was overcast and windy, so I didn't get outside until later in the day.  I cut a bit more grass and went back in.

Most from the day was spent in computer work and letter-writing.

Here is an interesting guy with interesting ideas.  Of course he is ridiculed by many  establishment scientists, but not all. Banned TED Talk: The Science Delusion

He asks some interesting questions.  Are constants constant?  What about before and during the Big Bang -- and afterwards?  Why do we believe that? All science is necessarily based on assumptions.  Are those assumptions sound?  What if they are not?

n science, you don’t just get to cherry-pick the parts that justify what you were going to do anyway.
That’s religion. You’re thinking of religion.
Science is by its nature imperfect, but it is hugely important.
And it deserves better than to be twisted out of proportion and turned into morning show gossip.
John Oliver

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Thursday June 2nd 2016

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

Today Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon with risk of a thunderstorm. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 21. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers early this evening and risk of a thunderstorm. Clearing late this evening. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low 7.

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I  had to take Benadryl to overcome my allergy to the dust from mowing in order to get to sleep, then slept fairly well. I weigh 221 this morning.  I haven't been particularly watching my intake and am holding more or less steady. I think I'll get back to work on reducing.

I notice the Mayo Clinic recommends 1400 calories for a person my age and height to lose weight and 2000 for weight maintenance (or 2200 if "Active" and 2600 if Very Active").

That is far below what Fatsecret recommends -- 2000 if sedentary, 2300 if "Low Active", 2600 if "Active", and 3200 if "Very Active".

The difference calculates out to 600/3500=0.17 lbs/day or 1.2 lbs/week!

Is exercise the answer to weight loss?  Check out these videos!

 

It's not that I don't want to listen to people.
I very much want to listen to people.
I just can't hear them over my talking.
 Paula Poundstone

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Friday June 3rd 2016

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

Today Mainly sunny. Wind northwest 20 km/h. High 26. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind becoming west 20 km/h gusting to 40 this evening. Low 9.

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I slept in again and spent the morning tidying and doing deskwork.  My weight is coming back in line.

This is Cruise Weekend in Three Hills, and I went to the website to find out details.  There are almost none.  That is Three Hills for you. The assumption is that everyone who needs to know knows, so why explain anything in detail? We sometimes get flyers in the mail that don't even mention the town, but assume that we would know the location is Three Hills. Where I live, it could be any of four nearby towns.

The fact is that I don't know, and can't decide whether to go.  My Marquis is twenty-four years old.  Is that vintage?  Should I wash the car and go up?  Dunno.  I looked online to see what a "classic" car is and there is no real consensus.  Same with  "antique".  I can get antique plates here in Alberta for a twenty-five year old car.  Some places, that number is twenty.  By some definitions, my car is on the cusp.

We used to go to Cruise Night back when it was just that -- a one-night affair and only in Three Hills.  Now, apparently the cars all drive up to Trochu and back.

Persevering, and thanks to Google, I found more info about the cruise event, not much, but it was buried on a back page on one of the sites, with no links from the front page!  Oh, and the cruise has a site on Facebook, too. No one place has what I need and between the three I still have to guess.

The day went by, doing books.  I cannot get myself interested in bees.

I decided to drive up to the cruise.  Information was scarce, but I understood the the "Meet and Greet" was at Anderson Park and that the cruise went from there, so I found Anderson Park and followed traffic to the entrance -- and was waved on past.  I asked what was happening and they said that they were only parking the hot rods there, not classic cars (I guess they counted mine as classic) with no explanation of where to go. Behind me I saw old, non-hot rods being waved in. Go figure.

Wondering, and felling a bit rejected, seeing as I did not get any explanation or instructions, I drove downtown and bought groceries, then met up with Fen and Maddy at the hotel. From there, we went to The Bell 720 restaurant for supper.

I had not liked the place under previous management, but figured the patio would be okay.  Walking in, to the entrance, past the patio, I saw a perfect table, but at the door we were told the patio was full.  I mentioned that I saw an empty table as I walked by and we were led to the patio where we had supper.  I still don't like this place.

I don't like restaurants generally.  Restaurants serve food that is bad for me at high prices.  It is always unpredictable what the item will look like or how big or small the portions will be, and then at the end, a tip is expected.  Why the restaurants don't just pay their staff properly in the first place is a mystery to me.  Nobody tips me.

By then, it was approaching 8 PM and we had learned the cruise around town and up to Trochu was to start then, so we drove to the Park to see what was up.   As we approached, a parade of old cars and novelty cars and hot rods approached, so we pulled over and watched them pass, then joined in at the end.

The parade went around town once, out onto the highway and up to Trochu.  Police directed traffic at intersections, but the group straggled out somewhat since some stopped at stop signs and some did not and some let other traffic, unaware of the event, in to the stream.

We circled through Trochu and waved at the turnout, which was much larger than the curbside turnout in Three Hills, then returned to Three Hills.  I dropped Fen and Maddy at the restaurant as we passed so they could recover their car.

The flier said that the cruise would continue around Three Hills until midnight, but after one circle, there were few left cruising.  A cabaret was planned for 2100, so I guess that trumped driving around.  I left and drove home.

Speaking of cars and driving around, the video at right is a blast.

I would go without shirt or shoe sooner than lose for a minute the two separate sides of my head.
 Rudyard Kipling

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Saturday June 4th 2016

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

Tonight Clear. Low 9.

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I slept in and then had breakfast.  After, Zippy and I drove to Three Hills to see the Show and Shine. 

The main Street was full of cars and people.  I wandered around for a few minutes.  At one time, I would have known many of the people, but have not kept up with the changes in population.  People come and people go.  Kids grow up.  People die. 

After a bit of that, I decided to head home and drove back to Swalwell.  there were drag and stock car races at the airport, but they really don't interest me.

I did odds and ends for the rest of the day.  I was tired. 

I had bought a bottle of red wine the night before and consumed it. I know better.  Sometimes I can drink a bottle of red wine, sleep well, and feel great the next day, but sometimes, I react, sleep badly , and am tired the next day. This was one of those times.  I really should quit drinking entirely, but that is easier to say than to do, it seems.

I still can't get interested in bees. I got a a call, however, from a woman who bought bees from me last year and she needs supplies, so she came over.  Hard to say no. 

When we chatted, it was clear that she could benefit from some instruction, but she had four youngsters along, so we agreed she would come back tomorrow with a bee suit and no kids and we'd look at some hives.  That is a good thing and will break me out of my aversion to working on them.  Maybe once I start I'll get enthused again.

I have gotten off into other things, but I suspect that in the back of my mind I fee the bees have let me down. I put a lot of effort into them last year and did everything right, but lost far more than I like.  Maybe I split too much, but the varroa levels seemed high and maybe I got a bad batch of Apivar?  I'll never know.

There is also far more to do with the bees and stacks of stuff and sheds than I care to do and I have not come up with a solution.

Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen,
even so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind
 Leonardo da Vinci

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Sunday June 5th 2016

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Clearing late this morning. High 28. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight Clear. Low 11.

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

 I'm energetic today and have to be ready for my hive work at 1300.

I washed the kitchen floor this morning.  It has been a long time, and I did not realise how dirty it had become. The floor really needs another coat of paint.

Sera came over and we worked through all the hives and found that I have 16 alive, not the 12 that I had previously estimated, and that I have had a swarm.

Why did I have such bad wintering -- 22?% success?  I don't know.  Several factors could be at play.  We saw high varroa levels in late summer and pulled the honey early and put in strips.  The hives plugged up with honey, possibly restricting the queen and reducing winter populations.  maybe I split too much and too late in the summer. Maybe the varroa did enough damage to cause issues.  Maybe I had nosema.

Maybe we got a pesticide kill.  Pesticide kill would account for the reduced populations I saw.  So would varroa damage, plugging, nosema, and excessive splitting. I'll never know and it does not matter.  All are known causes.

It could be something else, and the big question now is why the survivors -- except for two or three -- are a month behind the normal build-up in spite of adequate food ands space and a good spring.

Pesticides?

The hives are about a month behind, and they are all plugged with honey because we pulled supers early last year to treat for varroa, so I reversed the best of them and found some empty comb for the worst cases. The hives are all in two or more boxes, with some in four.  My intention is to split the best hives before I go away. 

As for sales, I find dealing with people and meeting deadlines to be a nuisance.  People expect me to know what nature will do and I don't.  They also want hives earlier than I have them ready, then worry about prices.  I have promised hives to a few people, but turned most enquiries away.  I'll see who wants hives when I see what I have at the end of the month.

I did not see a lot of varroa in drone brood, but there were a few in the drone opened when separating boxes.  We did one alcohol wash and found 2 mites in 150 bees. 

2 mites per 150 bees is more than I like to see and means some control measures will be needed by fall.

I was careful to sample bees found on open brood for accurate results.  This is essential since bees elsewhere in the hive will have far fewer -- as much as 90% fewer -- than brood bees.  Fish where the fish are.

I hate to take too many since these are the most valuable bees. The standard is to take 300 bees, but for a ballpark estimate, IMO, 150 is enough to know whether there ios problem and that is all I needed to know. If I had found nothing, I would have done more samples, but 2 mites tell me I have a problem.

We did a sugar shake on the same hive and found none.  The sugar shake is not as sensitive. 

I treated all the hives with oxalic acid drizzle and inserted Apistan in some.

Yes, Apistan.  I had a box around for at least ten years and figured it can't hurt.  Although the mites became resistant to fluvalinate a long time ago, that resistance fades over time and Apistan may now work as well as or better than Apivar.   It seems that Apivar let me down last year and  -- at least from what I can learn -- anyone having success with Apivar now seems to be using a strip or two more than the label amount.

Here is an article I wrote a long time back

The article includes links to the Alberta label and one thing of note is the instruction to smoke the bees down.

In my reading and experience, I am surmising that the issue with drizzling is that -- contrary to what we might expect -- the benefit of drizzling does not come through bees consuming the syrup.

Contrary to expectation, it seems that the benefit comes from the OA adhering to bees and being distributed around the combs, and, further, ingesting the acid-laced syrup is slightly harmful to the bees.  That harm is much less than the harm done by mites, but it can be enough to kill or weaken hives if conditions or methods are wrong.

Ingesting the OA syrup can reduce the lifespan of the bees a bit.  This is much less noticeable in spring and summer when bees live shorter lives, but is more obvious in winter and the reason that only one fall drizzle treatment is advocated. 

In contrast, there is no real limit to how often OA evaporation (AKA sublimation, vapour, etc.) methods can be used.

Why smoke? Smoking causes the bees to gorge and IMO therefore to be less likely to ingest the OA syrup, or they will have honey to dilute it in the gut if they do.  Smoking could be especially important at times of dearth when the bees are not full of nectar the way they are during a flow, so be sure to do it.  In fact, I am thinking one should smoke the whole hive at least a minute or two in advance of drizzling.

For those who are inclined to think of changing the formula, be aware that after decades of experimentation, there is little doubt that this sugar syrup mixture is the best possible mixture tried so far.  The sugar is essential, this concentration works best, and there is evidence that other proportions of sugar, water and acid can be harmful.

Here are a few articles on oxalic acid drizzling.  As always, people read things differently and some are overly cautious while others are cavalier, so use your common sense.  The product requires the same consideration as strong bleach, gasoline, and other common chemicals.

Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good.
Luckily this is not difficult.
Charlotte Whitton

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Monday June 6th 2016

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

Today Mainly sunny. Wind becoming south 30 km/h gusting to 50 this morning. High 31. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind southeast 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low 14.

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I slept well and am planning to get outside, but the wind is already blowing at 13 MPH and the day is predicted to reach 31 degrees C.

It was a hot, windy day and I stayed in for most of the day.

I spent the day doing odd jobs at the desk and went for the one-mile walk at the end of the day.

If I look confused, it's because I'm thinking.
Samuel Goldwyn

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Tuesday June 7th 2016

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 60 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms late this afternoon. Wind becoming northeast 20 km/h gusting to 40 this afternoon. High 32. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight Partly cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms this evening. Clearing overnight. Wind northeast 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low 15.

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

Today promises to be less windy, but hot, so I plan to get out early.  First tasks are 1.) change the van spark plugs, then 2.) work on the pool.

I began by ordering two 128 MB SD cards ( 1 ) ( 2 ) to expand the computer memory on one of  laptops and an old netbook.  Yesterday, I ordered a 128GB high speed mini USB thumb drive. Between them all, one or two should do the job.

These devices are getting cheap. Speed or heat may turn out to be an issue.  We'll see.  The USB device is fast, but reviews suggest that it may overheat.  The SD cards are slower, but should be reliable.

When I was in the computer business back in the early eighties, they said if it can't be done in 8K, it can't be done.  My first hard drive was 5MB and the size of a large lunch box.

I recall when Bill Gates thought that 64 MB was the maximum memory anyone would need and Windows operating systems were constrained until fairly recently by that design limitation.

People also were quite certain that designing a memory chip larger than 64 MB would prove impossible due to the effect of cosmic rays, which are random and occasionally will reset a bit in a chip.  We have long since passed that supposed limitation by a factor of 1000+.  

I plan to go to town at some point to buy groceries and drop files at the accountant's.

The van has 175,000 km on the clock and I doubt the plugs were ever changed, so I bought plugs the other day and undertook the job today.  It is not simple, since the intake manifold has to come off.

In all, the job took two hours, or more if we count the time researching how to do it.  The plugs cost almost seventy dollars, too, up for the twelve or so per set I recall from years ago. Back then, though, the plugs had to be changed every 20,000 miles.  These ones should have been changed quite a while ago from the look of them and may explain the 'cylinder six misfire' code I saw on the reader the other day.

I hoped the van would start right up with no roughness or codes, and it did start right away and run smoothly, but the CEL  (Check Engine Light) came on, so I found my OBDII dongle (right) and pushed it into the socket and called up Torque on my phone to see what the issue is. 

Apparently the input air sensor is reading high voltage (low temperature -- screenshots below).  I had had problems connecting and disconnecting some plugs on the electrical harness, and the sensor plug was one of them, so I'll have to check. 

             

A high reading indicates a short to voltage, though, so maybe I damaged the sensor.  The sensor is the little black thingy with the small white score mark on the rubber intake hose in the picture above.  It is 45 degrees up and right of the "-10°C" mark and just above the gear clamp screw. 

We'll see.  This error will not affect performance in  any way.

Back to the salt mine.

I went back out and wiggled the plug a few times and the temperature reading changed to plus 33°, so I guess it was just a bad connection.  The CEL is still on, but the app shows no codes, so I imagine the light will go out in a while.

*   *   *   *   *

While working on the van, I remembered that I have not claimed for the rabbit damage to my van that happened back on Feb 13th in Idaho.  I did not initially think there was much damage and figured that I would be able to fix it myself -- until I looked more closely.

Today, on closer inspection I could see that the damage might well be quite a bit more than the deductible, and not something I could repair convincingly, so I looked up my policy to find that I have comprehensive coverage that covers animal collisions, and called the insurance company.  Not only is the bumper shattered at the bottom, but the air dam is, too.

Of course, now, I am sitting here on hold and being subjected to blasting, distorted 'music'.  Who thinks that 'music on hold' is a treat for clients? Not me.

Eventually, I told my story, and my claim was approved.  Animal hits don't affect my claims record.  Apparently such events are always the animal's fault, and apparently I had a whole year in which to claim. 

After the claim was approved, I drove to the body shop in Linden that the insurance company recommended and was told the cost would probably be $1,100 to $1,500.  I'm glad I bought comprehensive coverage with a $250 deductible and made the claim!

From there I went to Three Hills and bought groceries and gasoline for the mower and returned home.

As I sit here at 1845, I hear loud thunder.  I think I'll go outside anyhow.  I have cleanup to do, and the pool.  With 32° temperatures, I could have used the pool today.

I went out and unloaded the gasoline, looked at the pool and assembled the items I'll need to clean and fill the pool tomorrow. It is getting late for that tonight.

I am fairly happy with the Windows 10 laptop I bought the other day, so got out the old netbook I bought it on the way home form the Ellicottville EAS in 2009 and which I used for a few years as my travel machine.

It came with Vista and I upgraded it to Win 7 with a key I had around from the MSDN program.  That worked well for a while, then the GUI slowed to the point where the machine was unusable from the keyboard and mouse.  I could not cure the problem.

Although the user interface was almost frozen, in the the background the system was apparently running fine and I could access the shares at decent speeds by wireless connection.

I turned it on from time to time and one day back when Win 10 was first released and when I was not looking, it 'upgraded' itself to Win 10.  I was disgusted and had put it away until now.

This evening, since I have capitulated and bought the new Win 10 machine, and have decided that since Google has full access to private data through Android and Chrome and searches and DNS, Microsoft is probably no worse, I logged onto the netbook again and signed in with my MS credentials. After the machine updated, I found it runs a bit slow, but acceptably well.

I then tried to activate Windows, but none of my keys worked and because the original OS was Vista, the machine does not qualify for a free update to 10.

Remembering that keys are often sold online, I searched and found lots of cheap keys for Win 10 Pro (Interesting!), but none for 10 Home.  I figure 10 Pro is too much for this limited device and kept looking. 

Eventually, I found the offer (below and right) and ordered. I figured at around $20 CAD it is cheap enough compared to $119 for a key from MS.  The way the deal works is to use the valid and eligible Win 7 key from a dead scrapped machine for a free upgrade to 10. We'll see if it works.

I played around with computers and watched some video, then went to bed very late, at 0100.

I have learned to use the word 'impossible' with the greatest caution.
Wernher von Braun

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Wednesday June 8th 2016

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 60 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms late this afternoon. Wind becoming south 20 km/h gusting to 40 this afternoon. High 28. Humidex 29. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Partly cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms this evening. Clearing near midnight. Wind south 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light late this evening. Low 13.

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I slept well.  Seven hours. My weight is dropping again, but slowly.  It took two weeks to gain, but I did not lose that gain in the next two weeks.  I weighed 218 when I went west and am now still two pounds above that, two weeks after returning.

Today promises to be a good day for outdoor work.  It'll be a hot after lunch, but I need to split hives and tidy before I go away.

The Windows 7 key arrived by email and I spent the morning trying to get the key to work on Windows 10 on the netbook.  It did not, so I asked for a refund. 

The seller asked me to try another, then several more keys, so I did -- and finally got one to work so now the netbook has an activated version of Win 10 running.

Was it worth the hassle?  I don't know. I now have four working laptop computers.  Why?

After that, I went out and washed out the pool.  I had drained it for winter, but leaves and algae had collected in the bottom over fall and winter, so I pressure-washed it and then vacuumed it clean.

I had intended to work on the bees and had promised Sera a frame with young larvae seeing as her hive seems to be queenless and has no brood,  If this is the case, trying to introduce a $40 purchased queen is likely to be problematic, especially for a beginner.

She had thought the hive was doing well, judging by flight activity, but after working on m y hives with me the other day, she had returned home and checked it, only to find no brood and less honey than she expected.

Beginners have a difficult time with out having experience or anything to compare. I'm thinking I should start a local beekeeping group that gets together in my bee yard and looks at hives every week or two.

Putting in a frame of young larvae will soon tell if the hive is queenless. If it is, the cell will provide a laying queen in about three to four weeks with 80% probability and if there is a queen of some sort, adding a purchased queen would result in wasted money.

I did not much feel like it and the bees were cranky due to the wind and lack of flowers, but I went out and split four hives. I hope there is enough of a flow that this will work out.  The bees are not robbing, and there is nectar around the brood, so I guess there is something coming in. Ideally walkaway splits should be made when the bees are feeling prosperous.

After supper, Sera came and got the frame and will put it into her hive tonight.

I was up late playing wit5h computers and watched a bit of video.  Did not get to sleep until after 0200.

Where there is no hope, it is incumbent on us to invent it.
Albert Camus

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Thursday June 9th 2016

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

Today Sunny this morning then a mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon. Risk of a thunderstorm this afternoon. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 this afternoon. High 25. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low 11.

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I slept well, but only five hours. When I sleep less at night, I have an afternoon nap and that seems to work.

Today promises to be a good day for outdoor work. I have plants to water and maybe company for supper.  We'll see...

Yes!  I'm having a barbecue, so have to get hustling.

Mid-afternoon, I drove to town and bought groceries.  For a barbecue, I needed hamburger and beef chunks for shish kabobs and a few other items.  I don't eat much meat these days, and a barbecue is mostly meat. At the checkout, I discovered that meat is really expensive compared to the things I usually eat.  I guess I knew that, but just the same...

 Before supper, a thundershower came through and dropped a fair bit of rain, which was much needed as things were getting dry, but by supper, the sun was out and the grass had dried out.  We could have sat outside, but everyone liked it indoors, so I cooked outside and we sat inside at the table.

No one had though to bring wine, and I had nothing, so it was a dry meal, which was actually a pleasant change.   I'm not sure wine adds much to a gathering.

Everyone left by 2100 and I cleaned up, did some computer work, watched video, then went to bed around midnight.  For whatever reason, I seem to sleep better if I go to bed late.


Tell me to what you pay attention, and I will tell you who you are.
Jose Ortega y Gasset

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   "If I make a living off it, that's great -- but I come from a culture where you're valued
not so much by what you acquire but by what you give away,"
-- Larry Wall (the inventor of Perl)
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© allen dick 1999-2014. Permission granted to copy in context for non-commercial purposes, and with full attribution.

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