Stage Doesn’t Collapse – But It Could Have

In this time of year when everybody is having some sort of fair and providing entertainment, we’ve come to expect to see accidents. Well, I’m very happy to report that in this case, there wasn’t an accident. The potential for one was clearly there – between poor staging and the possibility for bad weather – but this time somebody used their smarts and made the right choice!

This particular event was actually last week, but some more details have been released since then. I’m certain that you’ll be surprised to see who actually made the decision in this. So, I won’t keep you any longer.

In a message from Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo:

A MESSAGE FROM PAT AND SPYDER REGARDING THE POSTPONEMENT OF OUR CITRUS COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS SHOW

To clear up what happened tonight and to put to rest any and all rumors…

Deborah Nader, the promoter for the Citrus Fairgrounds charity fundraiser show, failed to meet the contractual obligations for safety.

Our crew arrived first thing this morning to find substandard staging and unsafe conditions…and Nader was nowhere to be found until approximately 3pm!

Despite the repeated attempts of our representatives insisting that the infrastructure of the stage be fixed, by approximately 5pm the situation was still not resolved and it was deemed not safe to put one single piece of our equipment on that stage. We even had an independent structural engineer called in to assess the situation. He concluded that the stage was indeed unsafe and required that it be “modified” before anyone would be permitted to perform on it.

Read their message in its entirety here.

Pat and Spyder also released some photos to the Celebrity Examiner of the substandard staging with this statement:

Neil and I regret that we had to postpone last Friday night’s show in Florida. The safety of our fans, crew, and band must always come first. With the tragedy at the Indiana State Fair a few years ago, staging and production requirements are at an all-time high. The production and staging requirements were unacceptable. There simply was no option. We apologize to everyone who came to see us. But safety is paramount. We are working to reschedule the performance. In the meantime, all monies have been set aside until the show can be played. Thank you to all who support these three great charities.

Under stage bracings Credit: Benatar & Giraldo

Under stage bracings
Credit: Benatar & Giraldo

Photo of Stage at WalkerFest in Florida Credit: Benatar & Giraldo

Photo of Stage at WalkerFest in Florida
Credit: Benatar & Giraldo

You can read the entirety of the Celebrity Examiner’s report here.

Thankfully, this time around we can all breathe a sigh of relief and hopefully learn something more from this non-event.

Thanks to Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo and to the Celebrity Examiner!

Stage Collapse in Phuket, Thailand – One Dead, One Injured

Unfortunately, a stage roof has collapsed in Phuket, Thailand due to a huge windstorm that blew through and tipped over the stage.  From a post at English language station Phuket Wan:

PHUKET: Wild winds toppled part of the structure supporting the stage at Saphan Hin public park in Phuket City tonight, killing one person and injuring a second person.

The death occurred on the final night of the Phuket Prison Fair, at which furniture and other goods from jails across the south of Thailand are on sale.

Phuketwan carried a report earlier today warning of severe winds that ripped Phang Nga, tearing the roofs off at least 20 homes around Phang Nga Town.

The structure around the stage on Phuket toppled about 7.40pm on the final night of the fair.

Officials at the Phuket-based Southern Meteorological Centre (West Coast) were forecasting gusts of up to 60kmh and warning small boats to stay ashore tomorrow.

Predictions give Phuket a 60 percent chance of rain over the next few days. The weather is expected to worsen on Friday and Saturday.

So far Phuketwan is the only English-language news outlet to report the dangers posed by the severe weather and to record tonight’s death.

My guess is that no one planned on the storm happening, and there was definitely no safety officer on the scene to clear people out.

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Part of the larger stage, a green-room type tent covering:

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phuket-stage-collapse-4

As quick as it went through, it was gone.

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No news yet on the actual number of injured, but the once person killed seems to be from a solid source across multiple outlets.

People, be careful out there.  Mother Nature doesn’t care where we decide to do a show, she’s coming whether we like it or not.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a concert or a jail show like this one — safety first, last, and always.

Illinois Gives Good Wind – Fourth in the Nation for Wind Power Generation!

wind-power-JOL

I had a chance to drive through some of the great wind fields of Illinois over the last month — Laura and I have ostensibly been vagabonding here in the US since there’s no work.

I put together a quick video on Illinois wind power — check it out, wouldja?  Share it with your friends!  Illinois, a state that sent 4 of its last 7 sitting governors to prison for corruption, is the fourth largest wind producer in the United States!  I guess you go, Illinois still works?

Illinois gives good wind!

…and on Vimeo, in case you like it there better (I have to admit I love their interface…)

Illinois Gives Good Wind! from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

A Random Snowstorm Video to Break Up the Summer Heat

from http://media.trendland.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/simon-beck-snow-art-2.jpg

from http://media.trendland.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/simon-beck-snow-art-2.jpg

It was hot as hell this week here in Ohio. You know those mornings when you wake up feeling like you just worked a whole night loading in a show because it was so hot and humid the night before?

Yeah. I was on a summer tour where our bus driver kept forgetting to reset the air conditioner after plugging into shore power. It was July. Those mornings SUCKED!

In my quest to get all of this old video processed, here’s a few minutes of a snowstorm from Denver that I must have grabbed back in 2009… enjoy its cold frostiness!

A Random Snowstorm in Denver, 2009 from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

Saturday Sustainability News

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It’s Saturday again, which means that there are lots of people waking up on either A) the hung-over side of the bed, B) someone else’s side of the bed, or C) the well-rested side of the bed, which is where I woke up this morning!

This morning brings some sustainability news stories, covering solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal power wherever possible.  There’s only one reason why we can’t take ahold of sustainable and renewable energy sources right at the time when we need to develop them the most, and that’s because not enough people are stepping up.  I can’t be the only person who believes that we could all live on a planet that is consuming less power than we can generate, and where there’s enough of everything for everybody…

…or can I?

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Sustainability News

  1. The Ivanpah Solar project is over 90% complete, nearing a total of 173,500 heliostats!

  2. First Solar has 400 million in cash from their most recent stock offering…  How will they spend it?

  3. University of Florida added some solar panels to University apartment carports.  Brilliant move, UF!

  4. German community-owned solar arrays!

  5. Flattening peak and base energy prices – Analysis

  6. Conergy says Australian solar markets will grow 20% a year until 2015

  7. Goldman Sachs plans to invest in an offshore wind farm in Japan

  8. US solar market grew 76% in 2012…!!!

  9. The US leads Clean Energy mergers and acquisitions (M&A’s), Solar stays in the lead

  10. Italy reaches clean energy budget cap, stops offering tariffs on new clean energy installs

  11. Geothermal energy starts the list of US Army’s nearly ready power purchasing agreement binge

  12. Renewable energy investments focus on developing nations

  13. Solar tracking systems gain some public footing

  14. Are solar panels as inexpensive as paint nowadays?

  15. California needs 3 BILLION to finish its Energy Storage Plan

  16. New ideas for a power plant — that lives at the bottom of the ocean

  17. Ladies and Gentlemen, the first artificial photosynthesis nanosystem

  18. Solar in California breaks the 2 Gigawatt output mark!

  19. Making cheaper and more flexible silicon crystalline wafers for Solar

  20. The coming US distributed solar boom

  21. Big Coal in India takes a nibble of Solar investment

  22. Solar plane makers shows what it takes to build a solar airplane

  23. MECASOLAR from Spain leads a huge EU research and development project into Solar

  24. A strategic agreement has been met to create deployable solar panels

  25. Comcast’s “Connected Home” has smart light bulbs, web-programmable thermostats

Have an awesome sunny Saturday, everyone!

PHISH! New Video Clips of the Hampton Coliseum Reunion Shows from March 2009

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I started digging my way through the 2 terabytes or so of uncut, backlogged video I have to process.  Behind every folder is something I have forgotten that I filmed, and I am uncovering some really fun stuff!

Here’s a handful of clips from when Greggity and I flew the famous mockingbird from Columbus, OH to Hampton, VA for the Phish reunion shows on March 6-8, 2009.  The clips I had sitting in a folder were, in order:

Army of One
Wilson
Down with Disease JAM
Contact
Tweezer Reprise

Enjoy! Also check out Greg and I chatting with Chris Kuroda, Phish’s lighting designer, during the Hampton 2009 run, all four parts:

Part 1:
http://www.jimonlight.com/2009/03/23/interview-with-chris-kuroda-lighting-designer-for-phish-part-one/

Part 2:
http://www.jimonlight.com/2009/03/24/interview-with-chris-kuroda-lighting-designer-for-phish-part-two/

Part 3:
http://www.jimonlight.com/2009/03/25/interview-with-chris-kuroda-lighting-designer-for-phish-part-three/

Part 4:
http://www.jimonlight.com/2009/03/26/interview-with-chris-kuroda-lighting-designer-for-phish-part-4/

Ready?  Get your coffee, have a seat, and rock out!

PHISH! 2009 Hampton Coliseum Reunion Shows from JimOnLight.com! from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

Crazy Friday Science: New “Dua’s Layer” Discovered in Human Eyes, Ophthalmology Changed Forever

From May 28, 2013 onward, the study of the human eye will forever be changed.  A doctor named Harminder S. Dua, Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Nottingham has discovered a new layer of cells that lies just above Descemet’s Layer of the cornea and the corneal stroma.  Like so:

duas-layer

“Now hold on there cowboy, what’s the cornea?!”

The cornea is the covering for the iris, pupil, and the anterior chamber  – basically the spot in front of the eye’s lens.  It’s one of the body’s most nerve-filled tissues, and it’s filled with fluid for light transmission.  Check this out, it’s an excellent visual description of the cornea, anterior and vitreous chambers — for reference, Dua’s Layer is right between the rear edge of the cornea (closest to the iris) and the middle of the cornea:

Three_Main_Layers_of_the_Eye

 

What Dr. Dua has discovered is a layer within the cornea that seems to have something to do with failures in the cornea where misshaping takes place.  These kinds of diseases are thought to be caused by water becoming waterlogged within the cornea itself, perhaps caused by a tear in this new Dua’s Layer.  They give the person afflicted a cone-shaped cornea that can be corrected with glasses, contacts, or in extreme cases, corneal surgery.  I’ve never seen anything quite like this before, so I’m guessing you haven’t either:

Keratoconus_eye

keratoconus-eye

from http://thesclerallenscenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/IMG_8964.jpg

Dua’s Layer is the new tissue discovery that is thought to cause things like this crazy degenerative keratoconus, which looks very annoying and painful to me.  Keratoconus causes pretty awful headaches and eye strain for people afflicted, which nobody wants.  But, this discovery is being heralded as a potential game changer for corneal diseases and degenerative conditions.  From Sci News:

“This is a major discovery that will mean that ophthalmology textbooks will literally need to be re-written. Having identified this new and distinct layer deep in the tissue of the cornea, we can now exploit its presence to make operations much safer and simpler for patients,” said Dr Harminder Dua, Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Nottingham and lead author of a paper published in the journal Ophthalmology.

“From a clinical perspective, there are many diseases that affect the back of the cornea which clinicians across the world are already beginning to relate to the presence, absence or tear in this layer.”

The human cornea is the clear protective lens on the front of the eye through which light enters the eye. Scientists previously believed the cornea to be comprised of five layers, from front to back, the corneal epithelium, Bowman’s layer, the corneal stroma, Descemet’s membrane and the corneal endothelium.

…and from Science Daily:

The scientists proved the existence of the layer by simulating human corneal transplants and grafts on eyes donated for research purposes to eye banks located in Bristol and Manchester.

During this surgery, tiny bubbles of air were injected into the cornea to gently separate the different layers. The scientists then subjected the separated layers to electron microscopy, allowing them to study them at many thousand times their actual size.

Understanding the properties and location of the new Dua’s layer could help surgeons to better identify where in the cornea these bubbles are occurring and take appropriate measures during the operation. If they are able to inject a bubble next to the Dua’s layer, its strength means that it is less prone to tearing, meaning a better outcome for the patient.

The discovery will have an impact on advancing understanding of a number of diseases of the cornea, including acute hydrops, Descematocele and pre-Descemet’s dystrophies.

The scientists now believe that corneal hydrops, a bulging of the cornea caused by fluid build up that occurs in patients with keratoconus (conical deformity of the cornea), is caused by a tear in the Dua layer, through which water from inside the eye rushes in and causes waterlogging.

This is the first time I am ever researching Keratoconus — I have a good friend who has Retinitis Pigmentosa, another degenerative disease of the eye (in that case the retina), but the conical cornea is quite an odd phenomena.  Have you ever had or know anyone who has had this disease?  I found some information at WebMD on Keratoconus on diagnosis and treatment:

Keratoconus changes vision in two ways:

  • As the cornea changes from a ball shape to a cone shape, the smooth surface becomes slightly wavy. This is called irregular astigmatism.
  • As the front of the cornea expands, vision becomes more nearsighted. That is, only nearby objects can be seen clearly. Anything too far away will look like a blur.

An eye doctor may notice symptoms during an eye exam. You may also mention symptoms that could be caused by keratoconus. These include:

  • Sudden change of vision in just one eye
  • Double vision when looking with just one eye
  • Objects both near and far looking distorted
  • Bright lights looking like they have halos around them
  • Lights streaking
  • Seeing triple ghost images

To be sure you have keratoconus, your doctor needs to measure the curvature of the. cornea. There are several different ways this can be done.

One instrument, called a keratometer, shines a pattern of light onto the cornea. The shape of the reflection tells the doctor how the eye is curved. There are also computerized instruments that make three-dimensional “maps” of the cornea.

How Is Keratoconus Treated?
Treatment usually starts with new eyeglasses. If eyeglasses don’t provide adequate vision, then contact lenses may be recommended.  With mild cases, new eyeglasses can usually make vision clear again. Eventually, though, it will probably be necessary to use contact lenses or seek other treatments to strengthen the cornea and improve vision.

A last resort is a cornea transplant.  This involves removing the center of the cornea and replacing it with a donor cornea that is stitched into place.

Congratulations to Dr. Harminder Dua and his team at the University of Nottingham for this amazing discovery!
Keep up the excellent game-changing work, good sir!

dr-harminder-dua

Check out the abstract at the journal Ophthalmology.

keratoconus-normal

from http://www.centralohioeyecare.com/user-files/PageImage206991.jpg

Thanks to Wikipedia on Keratoconus, Dua’s Layer, Traffic Shaper!

Quick Video Shot – Supercell Storm Traveling Over Illinois That Slammed Oklahoma The Day Before

Editor’s Note:  I have about 2 terabytes of video content I’ve taken over the last year, and I’ve started going through it backwards in chronological order. This bit of video is of the huge storm that killed 24 people, destroyed 1,150 homes, and tallied up $2 billion in damages – but as it traveled the day after through Illinois.

May_20,_2013_Moore,_Oklahoma_tornado

from the article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Moore_tornado

May 21, 2013 — my wife and I took the afternoon to drive out to film some wind turbines outside of Carlock, Illinois.  The sky was fine going to the wind turbine field, but as we were returning back to Peoria it just became black, dark, and sirens were going off everywhere.  It wasn’t until the radio did the Emergency Broadcast System noise that I decided to hit the side of the road, where I was able to get about 90 seconds of video of the storm front as it moved across the cornfields.

My video below is not a really dramatic video, but it shows the enormity of this squall line even after slamming into Oklahoma the day before.  That storm was moving fast, and it was huge:

A team of “storm chasers” that call themselves Fast Unit 53 captured some footage of the actual EF5 tornado, and their footage was used on KOCO.  Their footage is quite stunning, they were literally in front of the cell.  The term brass cojones comes to mind…

Be careful out there, amateur storm chasers.  Seriously.  Tim Samaras, his son Paul, and coworker Carl Young were killed on May 31, 2013 while chasing a tornado in El Reno, Oklahoma, and they were seasoned experts.  I know quite a few people who are thrill seekers who think they’re storm chasers.  Be smart, give yourself lots of room between you and the twister.  From an article at the Associated Press:

Tim Samaras, his son Paul and colleague Carl Young died Friday night when an EF3 tornado with winds up to 165 mph turned on them near El Reno, Okla. After years of sharing dramatic videos with television viewers and weather researchers, they died chasing a storm that killed 13 in Oklahoma City and its suburbs.

“It’s something we’ve done countless times in the past and have done it successfully and safely,” said Tony Laubauch, who was working with Tim Samaras’ chase team Friday night. “And, you know, whatever happened on this one, it’s just horrible beyond words.”

The men’s deaths in pursuit of the storm are believed to be the first among scientific researchers while chasing tornadoes, the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said.  “They put themselves in harm’s way so that they can educate the public about the destructive power of these storms,” said Chris West, the undersheriff in Canadian County, where the men died.

Tim Samaras, 54, of Bennett, Colo., had a reputation for being safe but was trapped on the highway with his son, Paul Samaras, 24, also of Bennett, and Young, 45, who taught geology at Lake Tahoe Community College in South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

“I don’t know if I would say I worried about it because one of the biggest things he stressed was safety,” said Tim’s brother, Jim Samaras, who confirmed the deaths to The Associated Press. “He knew what to look for. He knew where not to be and in this case, the tornado took a clear turn toward them.”

Tim Samaras and his Twistex tornado chase team produced material for the Discovery Channel, National Geographic and meteorological conferences.

“He looked at tornadoes not for the spotlight of TV but for the scientific aspect,” Jim Samaras said. “At the end of the day, he wanted to save lives and he gave the ultimate sacrifice for that.”

The Oklahoma storm that killed the three chasers developed right in front to them. Tim Samaras tweeted a photo of clouds rising through a volatile atmosphere and noted: “Storms now initiating south of Watonga along triple point. Dangerous day ahead for OK — stay weather savvy!”

It was his final tweet.

 

It’s James Clerk Maxwell’s Birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, James Clerk Maxwell!!!

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There’s a guy we all have everything to thank for, and his name was Maxwell…  JAMES CLERK MAXWELL, to be precise!  Today is the birthday of Mr. James Clerk Maxwell, the man who pretty much discovered the laws that drive our physical universe.  When we talk about “let there be light,” we’re talking about Mr. Maxwell.

I wrote a post on Maxwell’s accomplishments, check it out — and Happy Birthday, James Clerk Maxwell!!!  If you weren’t already dead, you’d more than likely have a different hairdo today:

db_James_Clerk_Maxwell_standing31.jpg

 

But then again maybe not, the hipster/Steampunk thing seems to be working for you.

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