ABOUT ME

T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia survivor since November 2008. Allogeneic stem cell transplant survivor since June 2010. Leukemia can be successfully treated. I'm proof!
Use the links and labels in the right-hand column to navigate this blog or click on "I Beat Leukemia" above to read the latest post.


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Scientist Reveals Probable Cause of Childhood Leukemia

I found this very interesting article relating to possible causes of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), the same disease I was diagnosed with.

One thing that's mentioned in the article that really got my attention is the theory that leukemia can be triggered by a sickness or infection. About a year before I was diagnosed, I caught a nasty case of bronchitis. I didn't go to the doctor to get treated for it, and it took almost two weeks to go away. Yes, I am very stubborn when it comes to going to the doctor. This stubbornness, however, could have very likely caused my leukemia. The first noticeable symptom of the leukemia, the difficulty in talking, was caused by a mass in my chest (mediastinal.) This mass could've very well been related to that bout of bronchitis I had.

Click to read article:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180521131746.htm

Click here for more leukemia articles:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/news/health_medicine/leukemia/

Click here to read more leukemia treatment articles I've posted on this blog:
Leukemia Treatment Blog Posts

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Iconic Tampa Mall's Sears Is Still Alive...For Now


Dark clouds loom over Sears


More Sears stores are closing soon (63 total) according to this article: Sears Announces More Store Closings

The company continues to bleed money with huge quarterly losses, and there appears to be no end in sight. Despite the trouble the company's in, the Sears store at University Mall in Tampa, is going to stay open.

The last time I visited the store it looked a little rough on the outside. The eastern parking lot was quite empty, shrubs and landscaping look unkept, and the exterior needed some maintenance. I was worried about its future. But, as soon as I went inside, I was somewhat surprised. It looked like it was still thriving. There were quite a few customers inside. The store was clean. Most sections looked somewhat well-stocked. Others didn't. But, I was still impressed. The store's second floor was still open, and its original escalator (which I used to love to ride as a kid) was still running. Things didn't seem that much different from when I came to the store as a kid in the late 70's and 80's (except some of the brands of merchandise.) It's like I traveled back in time.

I don't think the store will be closing anytime soon, as I believe it is one of Sear's more profitable stores. There are three things that will help keep this store alive, in my opinion. One is its location. It is close (within walking distance) to one of Tampa's largest lower-income areas. It is also close to University of South Florida's campus. So, the store is appealing to those who have to be tight with money. The second thing that will help keep the store open is the closing of its western neighbor in Citrus Park. I'm surprised that store is closing because it's been in operation for a lot less time than University's Sears. The sales must have been terrible. The third thing is that the store is going to be included in some major changes coming to the mall. Read on for more....



University Mall Is About To Be Transformed...Big Time!

I feel a certain connection to University Mall because it was being built the same year I was born, 1973. I do care about it and want to continue to see it stay open and thrive. It's definitely not the busy mall I remember from the 70's and 80's (when it used to be University Square Mall.) Due to declining traffic, they remodeled it in the 90's changing the name to University Mall, adding a food court, and adding a second level along with a movie theater. The Sears store is the only original part of the mall still in existence since my visits in the 70's and 80's. A lot has changed over the years!

Click here to read the mall's history: http://skycity2.blogspot.com/2011/02/university-square-mall-tampa-fl.html

The improvements helped, as they attracted more mall traffic, but the mall seems to be going downhill again. The Macy's anchor store closed a few years ago, and the Dillard's became an outlet store. However, the new Grand's store did open recently. I doubt, though, it will be profitable for the mall in the long-term because the store seems to appeal to only one customer base. Also, the last time I visited the mall (in late 2017,) I saw many vacancies as I walked the entire length of it and back. In 2015, it was announced the west end of the mall (the former JC Penney's store) would be converted into an open-air shopping/dining area. When I visited the mall last year, I saw that no work on that end had been done at all.

Recently, I found out why. I was shown this article that announces some major changes coming to the mall. Click to read: Goodbye University Mall Hello Uptown


Developers are planning to turn the traditional enclosed mall into a "a multi-story, open-air, development showcasing retail, entertainment, hospitality, education, medical, office, and residential uses." In plain English, the mall is going to be turned into a super multi-use commercial complex. Since the property management wants to include Sears in this visionary concept, it could mean more business for the store. It could very well stay open for a few more years if Sears Holdings doesn't go out of business.

Still, though, it's sad for me today to see the store not doing as well as it used to. I remember in the 70's and 80's that Sears and the mall were packed whenever I went there. It was hard to find a close parking space! It was THE place to shop back then. I am impressed that this Sears store is still open today and seems to be doing well. The question is how long is this going to last? Regardless of how well the store is doing, if the company has finally had enough and goes out of business, an iconic Tampa store will be gone forever.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Unusual Florida Mileage Signs

This blog has several posts of my Florida road interests. But, I haven't posted anything on one of those interests: Mileage signs.

I am fascinated with signs that have mileages for faraway cities. Two signs I found in Tampa include mileages for Fort Myers and Lake City.



Taken near Spring Hill





I think these signs were remnants of the pre-I-75 era. The bottom two are on U.S. 41 (the top one is on 56th Street which becomes U.S. 41 at I-4.) Before I-75 existed, U.S. 41 was the main road between these cities. The control cities of Ft. Myers and Lake City remained as the signs were replaced over the years. I expect them to be replaced soon this time with closer control cities (Ruskin instead of Fort Myers on the first one, Land O' Lakes instead of Lake City on the second sign, and Inverness instead of Lake City on the third sign.)

I used to have these signs on my Flickr account, but I closed it because I got tired of dealing with all the ungrateful lurking assholes on it.

I found more signs on Google Streetview that I hope to get photos of soon. One is a Tallahassee mileage sign in Ocala. Another is a Miami mileage sign just south of Leesburg, and one is a West Palm Beach sign in Lakeland. Check back for those photos.

#Florida Roads

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Another Great ALL Resource

Check out this website: Lifey Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

It is a great resource for patients of Acute Lymphocytic (or Lymphoblastic) Leukemia and their friends and families. Lifey.org is also a very valuable resource for other medical conditions.


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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Florida Renewable Energy

This is an editorial blog post about renewable energy in Florida.

I am very interested in renewable, or clean, energy in the production of electricity. If I can survive potential complications from my leukemia treatment, I would like to start a new career in that lucrative field. Before I begin, I want to reveal a MAJOR pet peeve that I have on renewable energy. First, it is scientifically immoral to use the word energy in that context. Anyone who has taken a basic physics class knows that energy can not be created or destroyed. I can't stand to see the phrase "create energy" in a renewable energy article. For the remainder of this post, I will be referring to renewable energy as clean "electricity."

Every day I read and study topics of clean electricity from all over the world, not just the U.S. and Florida. I enjoy reading stories of new solar plants, wind farms, hydroelectric plants, or anything that doesn't involve releasing carbon into the atmosphere. In addition to clean electricity, I enjoy reading articles on carbon capture and new methods of removing CO2 (carbon dioxide) from the air. As a result of keeping current with developments in these fields for years, I have become fairly knowledgeable of what is "good" and "bad" in those new developments.



Solar PV Plant Near Orlando. (Bet you can't guess exactly where it is!)



First,  I am positively certain that to stop rising CO2 levels and the resulting effects on the climate two things must be implemented: Stop taking carbon from under the ground, and remove the excess from the atmosphere and put it back in the ground. Easier said than done, but not impossible.


Fifty Years From Now?

I believe our use of fossil fuels, mainly natural gas and oil, will not change within the next fifty years at minimum. However, I do believe that the use of coal to produce electricity will stop well before then for two reasons. The U.S. government is gearing toward mandating new coal power plants to have carbon capture systems. These are very expensive right now. In order for power companies to continue to use coal in the future, these systems will have to get cheaper or the companies will have to stop using coal.  Another reason coal use will stop is that natural gas is highly abundant and dirt cheap right now. Power companies, thinking of their profit margin of course, will choose this type of fuel instead of coal, as a result. Additionally, I expect China, which is also a heavy coal user, to possibly stop all coal burning within the next fifty years, as well. This article explains my reasoning:

http://e360.yale.edu/feature/with_trump_china_stands_along_as_global_climate_leader/3057/

Read this also:
http://e360.yale.edu/feature/why_us_coal_industry_and_its_jobs_are_not_coming_back/3059/

Automobiles will continue to run on gasoline for at least another fifty years until electric and alternative-fuel vehicles finally take over. Other industries that require fossil fuels such as steel, plastics, concrete, etc. will also continue to release carbon dioxide well into the future.

So, high amounts of CO2 from human activity will continue to be released into the air for many years. That's not going to change. Our society and economy is too reliant on fossil fuels. The only logical thing to concentrate on now, in reversing the effects of rising CO2 levels, is to develop alternative fuels to replace fossil fuels and develop cheap and effective methods to capture CO2 and put it back in the ground. Biomass, organic material from plants and animals, could do both.


Biomass Could Reduce CO2 Levels "Drastically" If Managed Correctly

Biomass from plants is one effective method to capture CO2 and lock it up. One way of utilizing biomass for carbon capture involves planting trees and lots of them. The trouble with this method is that it takes years, even decades, for them to have any effect on CO2 levels. Another form of plant biomass which is being researched vigorously is algae. More on that later.

Biomass is also considered an alternative fuel. One form of  "environmentally-friendly" electricity is to burn plant biomass in power plants. This method would only "recycle" CO2, not get rid of it. Trees, plants, algae, etc. could absorb large quantities of CO2 during their lifetime.  However, when it is burned in power plants, most of that CO2 goes right back into the atmosphere. This is why biomass is called "carbon neutral." Biomass can reduce our usage of fossil fuels, though, and that could ultimately reduce new CO2 emissions. Two reasons explain further. One is that biomass does not take carbon from under the ground and add it to the atmosphere like fossil fuels do. The second one is that for more biomass used, the less fossil fuels have to be consumed to produce the same output. Now if, by some miraculous scenario, we stopped using fossil fuels and started solely using biomass for power and biofuel production, it would have a profound impact on lowering CO2 levels in the air. This is because no carbon would be taken out of the ground anymore, and the natural processes of removing CO2 from the air, in excess of biomass, would start to lower atmospheric CO2 levels dramatically. I'm not saying this scenario is likely, I just wanted to clarify my reasoning. See this diagram, also:



Florida Is Getting Better!

So, what's the story of clean electricity in Florida? Well, it's about to improve drastically, especially in the solar field. Florida does have some large solar plants, and three electric utilities in the state are about to build more, a lot more. Florida Power and Light (FPL) and Duke Energy Florida are planning to add 2,000 megawatts each in the next ten years. Tampa Electric is about to add 600 megawatts (see my other post on this.) This means that close to 4,600 megawatts of clean electricity will soon be added to Florida's electric grid! Florida could very well rival California's solar. Florida receives more sunshine during the cooler months of fall and winter than any other time of year. Also, photovoltaics are more efficient in cooler weather. Florida can produce a massive amount of photovoltaic solar electricity between the months of October and April. As far as the warmer months of May through September, Florida could still produce solar power, but the frequent afternoon clouds and storms in the summer, the reduced efficiency of photovoltaics in hot weather, and the supply/demand fluctuations from air conditioning makes solar photovoltaics unreliable as a major power source. Solar thermal would be more effective and practical in warm weather. One such plant, owned by FPL, already exists in Martin County, and it's operating fairly well. I would like to see more solar thermal plants built.

In addition to solar, Florida does have some other major clean electricity producers. There are a few large biomass plants, including one in Gainesville and one in South Bay, two small hydroelectric plants in the panhandle, and several waste-to-energy incinerators throughout the state. There are many smaller biomass and landfill gas plants as well. With more solar plants in the works, all of this clean electricity is going to add significantly to Florida's power mix. It's about time!

Even with new solar plants in the works, Florida could still do better supplementing this clean power mix with a more practical and reliable type of clean electricity: Biomass. Biomass plant and animal feedstock (trees, algae, forest/logging waste, citrus waste, sugar waste, urban yard waste, sawmill waste, human/animal waste, etc.) is plentiful throughout most of the state. Other than being directly burned, biomass can be used to produce biofuel oil, gas, even hydrogen. One form of biomass with a huge potential in Florida is algae.


Algae


This news story reveals the amazing reproductive capabilities of algae:

http://www.wptv.com/news/region-martin-county/emergency-declared-over-algae-in-martin-st-lucie-counties


Algae can be a cheap, quick, and effective form of biomass, and it can absorb CO2 quite effectively.  Algae farms can be sited near fossil-fueled power plants to capture carbon from those plants' emissions. A facility near the farms can then process the algae into biofuel, where it can either be turned into oil or turned into a gas similar to natural gas. This gas can be used for co-firing in those same fossil-fueled power plants. The CO2 is, therefore, recycled over and over. Algae could also be used to produce oxygen. The oxygen, in a purer form, could be used in a power plant boiler to increase combustion efficiency dramatically. Both biogas and oxygen produced from algae would significantly decrease the use of fossil fuels in those plants while still producing the same amount of electricity.  The algae facility, when built, will require an initial power input that is provided by fossil fuels. But once the facility is producing, biofuel from the algae can take over and power the facility. Solar power can even help power it, as well. Algae, in my opinion, is a great type of renewable fuel because of the fact it can recycle CO2 quite rapidly. However, biomass from trees or other plant waste, is not so great, unless it can use a type of plant that grows extraordinarily fast.  This could be done using invasive plant species...


Invasive Plants for Biomass?


Air Potato Vine


Elephant Ear


Paper Mulberry Trees With A Few Months Growth After Being Cut To The Ground




One thing I would like to see in the future of Florida biomass is the use of existing invasive plant species. Off the top of my head I can think of a few species that could be very effective in recycling CO2 in a short time span. They are melaleuca trees, bamboo, air potato vine, kudzu, paper mulberry trees, elephant ear, water hyacinth, hydrilla, and Australian pine trees. All of these plant species thrive in Florida with minimal or no care. They also grow fast and are capable of absorbing large quantities of carbon dioxide in a short period of time.  Farms could be developed to cultivate these plants as long as strict controls are in place (to avoid allowing them to spread off site.) The machinery used to cultivate and process the biomass can be powered by biofuel produced from that biomass (electricity and vehicle fuel.) Solar power can also help power the equipment. Some of the invasive plants I mentioned above could also be used to treat water discharged from sewage treatment plants. The nitrates and phosphorus in that water would cause the plants to grow even faster. When harvested, the biomass could then be turned into a cheap, carbon-neutral biofuel. Read this article of an innovative way that sewage treatment discharge water is handled:
http://www.cityoforlando.net/wetlands/history/


Animal and Human Waste

Florida's large agricultural industry also includes livestock (beef, dairy, pork, and poultry.) Dairy, poultry, and pork farms create a large amount of manure which creates methane. Depending on how large the farm is, this methane could be efficiently processed and burned to create a substantial amount of electricity. Sewage treatment plants also create methane which could be used to produce electricity to power the facilities. Trash in landfills, also considered a form of human waste, creates methane, too. Several large landfills in the state already capture landfill gas and use it to produce electricity. However, if all sewage treatment plants and landfills in the state were mandated to use the methane they produce to generate electricity, a substantial amount of renewable electricity would be added to the grid. This would, possibly, prevent a new fossil fuel plant from being built in the future. Burning methane from waste is not carbon-free, obviously. But, using it instead of fossil fuels for generating electricity reduces new carbon emissions. Furthermore, the methane has to be burned anyway. It can not just simply be released into the atmosphere, so why not use it for something constructive like creating electricity.


Pyrolysis 

Burning biomass directly is better for the environment than burning fossil fuels. That much is clear. But, biomass could be even more environmentally-friendly if it's turned into a liquid fuel by the use of pyrolysis. Pyrolysis heats biomass to extreme temperatures that extract gas and liquid fuels from the biomatter. The remaining solid components, which are almost pure carbon, remain after the fuel is extracted. These solid components could be buried or turned into a useful soil additive (carbon is an excellent fertilizer.) Also, if biomass is to be directly burned, it must be dried, which is a long and energy-intensive process. Pyrolysis does not require dry matter. It is energy intensive like direct burning, however it could be more energy-efficient by using waste heat from power plants or other sources. Solar thermal energy could even be used with pyrolysis!

The implications for biofuel use in Florida is huge! It could be used to create electricity, carbon-neutral crude oil and fuel, and numerous environmentally-friendly consumer products all while reducing the use of fossil fuels and cutting the amount of CO2 released to the atmosphere.


What About Sending Biomass To Europe or Burying It?

Biomass produced from waste or invasive plants in Florida could be processed into chips or pellets and exported to Europe. The market for wood chips in Europe is very favorable now because they're burning more and more wood/biomass instead of coal to produce electricity, especially in England. This could be a very positive contribution to Florida's economy. Also, if the equipment and transportation used in the chips/pellets' processing is powered by biofuel or another "green" fuel, this method of biomass use could become 100% carbon-neutral.

If using biomass solely for carbon capture becomes a more preferred method in the future, it can be easily done by burying it. If fast-growing plants, like the ones I mentioned earlier, could be harvested and buried deep in the ground on a daily basis, it would provide an instant, cheap method of carbon capture. The material could be shredded at the farm and either be buried on site, transported a short distance to another site and buried, or buried in old phosphate mines/pits. If buried deep enough, the biomass would not have access to oxygen, thus preventing the creation and release of carbon dioxide. Burying biomass will create methane, however, so the sites where it is buried will have to have collection systems installed. This methane could be used to generate clean electricity, offsetting fossil fuel use. Another method of carbon sequestration that could work in Florida is to sink bulky woody material (logs and stumps) from fast-growing plants into large lakes, the Atlantic Ocean, or the Gulf of Mexico. The carbon from that dense woody mass would remain in the water for centuries. In addition, the woody material would provide new shelter and habitats for fish and other marine life.


Final Thoughts

Biomass, along with more solar, could make Florida an enormous clean electricity state. The value of biomass could potentially be extensive and could help Florida's economy greatly. If utilized properly and efficiently, it could help reduce the release of CO2 significantly and keep more fossil fuels in the ground. After all, the main goal of preventing climate change is to keep carbon in the ground. The methods of biomass usage I've mentioned could be used throughout the world, not just Florida. If more governments, companies, and people would be willing to develop these methods, it could drastically cut CO2 levels in the future before the effects on Earth become more extreme.

The ideas and opinions I have posted here are copyrighted and are my personal property.
#Florida #Renewable Energy #Biomass #Florida Solar #Florida Biomass #Florida Renewable Energy

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Possible New Leukemia Treatment

Microscopic image of Acute Myeloid Leukemia cells


This article from Science Daily describes a possible new treatment for acute myeloid leukemia, and it may become useful for my disease, as well (acute lymphoblastic leukemia.) Click to read.

Bolstering fat cells offers potential new leukemia treatment

#acute myeloid leukemia treatment #new leukemia treatments #new cancer treatments

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tampa Electric Installing 600,000 Kilowatts of Solar Power

My electric utility, Tampa Electric, is planning to have 600 megawatts of solar power online by year 2021. Two other utilities in Florida, Duke Energy and Florida Power and Light, are planning to add 2,000 megawatts each in the same time frame. This means that Florida will be producing at least 4,600 megawatts of new solar in the next few years (one megawatt powers about 700 homes and businesses.) This will likely make Florida the second largest solar power producing state in the country. IT'S ABOUT TIME! All of this solar power will significantly decrease power plant carbon emissions in the state, especially in the cooler months of fall and winter when solar PV cells are most efficient. Not only that, but these new solar installations will likely prevent new fossil-fueled plants from having to be built in the future, cutting carbon emissions even further. Click on link to read the article:

Tampa Electric To Increase Solar Generation

#New Solar Power Plants
#Solar Power in Florida
#Tampa Electric

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Originally 230 Kilovolts, then 138 KV, now 69 KV: A Historic Power Line In Tampa

Long time Tampa residents living near Rowlett Park, Busch Gardens, and USF may remember a high voltage power line built on wooden H frame and single wooden poles that cut through neighborhoods. This line ran from the Gannon Station power plant to the transmission substation on Juneau Street south of Waters Ave. It brought power to the developing areas north of downtown Tampa in the 1950's. Originally, it was a 230 kilovolt line that ran north along with a steel lattice power line from the Gannon plant then jogged west over the Hillsborough River just south of Fowler Ave. Many wooden H frame structures still stand on the portion that ran north, and a few H frame structures still stand where the line (now 69 kilovolts) runs through a neighborhood south of Fowler Ave.

2008 Streetview pic showing original H frame pole where the line crossed 56th Street just south of Fowler Ave. Courtesy Google


The line paralleled Fowler Ave. with the H frame wood poles to 30th St. near the Schlitz Brewery. The line then briefly jogged south along 30th St., crossed over, and went west along 113th Ave. as a single pole transmission line (see pic below.) At 22nd St. the line jogged to the south then went west along Bougainvillea Ave. It then went south along Ola Ave. then west again on Linebaugh Ave. It then went south along Albany Ave., went across Busch Blvd., then briefly east to Jones Ave., then south to Waters Ave. It then went briefly west on Waters Ave. then crossed over to the substation on Juneau St. The line looked like this:

Original single pole structure where the line traveled along 22nd Street. This pole was recently replaced in April 2017


Some time later, perhaps in the late 70's or early 80's, most of the line was downgraded to 138 kilovolts, and part of it (where it ran along 22nd St., 113th Ave., and south of Fowler Ave.) was downgraded to 69 kilovolts. The other part of the line (still 138 kv) was rerouted at Bougainvillea Ave. just west of 22nd St. as a new transmission line. It went briefly south then east across 22nd St. It then went south along 26th St. and across Busch Blvd. (near the Sea Wolf Restaurant.) It continued south through Rowlett Park and across the Hillsborough River below the dam. It continued further through eastern Ybor City to the Gannon power plant (see pics below.)

What the line looked like where it crossed Busch Blvd.

This pic is shown again to show what the line looked like where it crossed Rowlett Park, I-4, and the Eastern Ybor City area.


Around 1995, the entire 138 kv line (from Juneau St. to Gannon) was demolished, and upgraded to a higher voltage line. It caused controversy in several Tampa and Temple Terrace neighborhoods because of the big unsightly steel poles. Residents were upset that the local power company upgraded that line without giving them any notice, and the residents took legal action. If you drive and look carefully along some of the streets I mentioned earlier in this article, you can still see some of the original wood poles that carried this historic transmission line. This article and its pics are posted in accordance with the Fair Use Act for educational and historical purposes and is not a homeland security threat.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

God Gave You Common Sense. Use It When Browsing The Web!; Anti-Virus Software Is A Waste Of Money; Plus Tips To Keep Your PC Clean

Years ago, I was obsessed with keeping my PC protected with anti-virus software. I got excited when it found a virus, and I would take pleasure at removing it. I even used to enjoy working on my neighbor's PC because their kids would put viruses on it from using music download sites (Anybody remember Kazaa?) I would get a thrill removing these viruses from their PC because there would be a lot of them, and it would run much better.

Why Pay For Anti-Virus Software? I've Gone Three Years Without Buying It!

I have purchased and used both Norton and McAfee, both reputable and effective anti-malware programs. With all the time those two brands were on my PC, though, hardly any threats were ever found. I'm talking several years! I used to download software from shady websites and visit illegal websites where you could watch TV shows and movies for free. Once in a while, a threat would be detected and removed. However, most of the time it seemed like the antivirus I had on my PC did nothing. I then started to think if I should stop spending money on something that I don't really need.

Today though, PCs are much different, and I believe that I no longer need to buy anti-virus software. Computers built today have better firewalls and a greater ability to block malware from your PC. In addition, most have automatic updates and security scans that fight viruses and malware, as well. For example, Microsoft offers a free anti-virus scanner with Windows 10. There are also reputable companies that offer free trial versions, like Malwarebytes and Kaspersky. These anti-malware and anti-virus services are virtually identical to the ones you pay for (as far as quality and ease of use,) but you don't have to pay for them. Plus, with some, you can delete the cookies off your computer and/or reset your internet IP address, then reinstall the trial versions when they run out.

I have gone nearly three years without buying anti-virus software. You may think I'm stupid for not having it, but my PC is clean, plus I have had absolutely zero incidents with identity theft or financial fraud. I have also saved a lot of money!

Identity Theft Is Easier To Fix Now

Today, if a malware infection compromises your personal information, it's much easier to fix! Financial institutions offer more effective safety measures and alerts now to deter identity and financial theft. Some banks also offer protection insurance, and if you report a suspicious transaction and can provide proof that you didn't make it, the institution will almost always reverse it.

I was a victim of identity theft in 2005. I had high dollar fraudulent transactions appear on a credit card, and it scared the shit out of me. However, since I checked my statement often, I detected the fraud, reported it to the credit card company, and the charges were reversed. So, they WILL help you out if you cooperate and give them the information they want.

All three credit bureaus offer free yearly credit reports plus methods to block fraudulent activity. You should get a copy of your credit report from all three bureaus once a year and review it thoroughly. Additionally, you can detect and prevent fraud by checking your account statements once a month. It's also a good idea to go online and check your accounts AT LEAST once a week. You need to take the time and effort to do this. I know it's a pain in the ass, but it could be well worth the trouble. The sooner a fraudulent transaction is detected, the easier it is to get it reversed and the less likely you'll have to eat it.

Do you get credit card or loan consolidation offers in the mail? Stop them! If you regularly get these, it increases your chance of identity theft and fraud. You can go to this website to opt out of receiving these offers: www.optoutprescreen.com . Remember this expression: Don't call me, I'll call you.

Lastly, it's a good idea to change your online passwords AT LEAST every three months.

Back Up Your Files!!!!

You may be worried about malware infecting your computer and ruining it. I will have to say that these occurrences are getting rarer now. But, even without malware, it's possible for a hard drive to malfunction or a power surge to destroy the entire PC.

Everyone who owns a computer should back up its files at least every six months. If you lose a hard drive, it's not the end of the world if you backed up your files and saved your PC's installation media. You can even fix it yourself if you know how to replace a hard drive. However, if you don't back up your files and you've lost your installation media, you should just go ahead and get a new computer. You would be better off just getting a new one instead of buying replacement software and a hard drive to repair your old PC. The costs (hardware, labor, and inconvenience) wouldn't be that much different. Remember that computers depreciate rapidly, so it may make more sense to not put money into repairing your old one. Use that money instead in purchasing a new PC.

A last thought about backups: If you had precious photos, scanned copies of documents, financial records, etc. on a hard drive that failed, there is a very high chance that they will be lost. Back them up regularly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Use Common Sense And Be Careful When Browsing The Web! 



You can take some common sense measures yourself to prevent viruses or malware from invading your PC.

First, stay away from ALL free porn sites or sites, like Myvidster or Veoh, that link to free porn or dangerous sites. If you can't control your urge to watch porn, then make sure you do it on a PC that you won't use to access your financial or personal information. In other words, don't watch it on the same PC that you use to login to your online banking. Also, if you can't go without watching porn, then install Firefox and use it to browse those sites (see below for more on Firefox.)

Next, on websites you're not familiar with or trust, be very careful not to click on any advertisements or subscription links. Many of the links on suspicious websites or websites that are not well-known have executable files that install and run automatically if you click on them. Some of them contain malware and spyware and even go into your PC and make unauthorized changes to your computer's settings.

If you want your web browsing to be ad-free and safer, then install and use Mozilla Firefox, and install the "Adblocker Plus" and the "Ublock Origin" add-ons. They do an excellent job at blocking most ads (if the ads aren't there, you can't click on them!) Ublock also does a good job at blocking dangerous and malicious websites.

Read this carefully: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER click on or fall for any pop-up boxes that say things like "Your PC is infected with a virus, click here to remove it" or "Your browsing history is being tracked right now, click here to remove it." or the dreaded "We have detected illegal download activity on your computer, call this number now to avoid arrest" or the "Windows Error, call this number" messages. Reputable firms and government agencies will NEVER put up messages like that on your PC. If the government wants to get in touch with you for a serious offense, they will be knocking on your door not sending you little messages to your PC. Use common sense people!

Third, when you do a web search to buy music or software for your PC, don't automatically click on the first results that show up on your search. Research the website(s) in the search results, and make sure they are reputable (like Microsoft.com, itunes, Bestbuy.com, Dell.com, etc.) Never download software from generic websites who have addresses like software.com, windowsupgrade.com, freeantivirus.com, etc. Most websites like those will almost always have malware and spyware that may get on to your PC. Again, use common sense!

Finally, don't install add-ons or software that downloads and saves videos from Youtube, porn sites, or other video sharing sites to your computer. You run a VERY HIGH risk of downloading and installing malware and spyware on your computer. Not only that, but keep in mind that if you save those videos to your computer and reupload them to your video sharing site as your own videos, you are committing theft and video piracy. Government authorities can easily detect and track this type of behavior if a copyright owner makes a claim. Remember, your computer and high-speed internet both have an IP address that's easily traceable by police agencies! Also, most videos have secret identification numbers to prove copyright ownership and fight theft. Authorities can use that number to prove the theft and prosecute you.

Clear Your Browsing History Regularly

It's a good idea to delete your web browsing history at least every three months. All websites put tracking cookies on your computer. Not only can those cookie files use up hard drive space and computer memory, but some of them can be malicious if you happen to browse a shady or dangerous website. They can cause background programs to run without your consent, they can record and send information about your PC's usage (even what you type on your keyboard,) and they can run "bot" programs that can connect to other computers on the internet and run malicious or tracking programs on those PCs. I regularly delete my web browsing history, and it actually does make my PC run better and smoother. It can cause some inconvenience because any websites that you stay logged in to (like Youtube or Yahoo) will require you to sign in again when you delete your history. But, it's worth it if it makes your PC run better and safer.

That's it

So, is it really necessary now to buy anti-virus software? I no longer think it is, and I will never buy it again. Save your money. Just use the free services I mentioned above, use Firefox to browse the web, and use common sense when visiting websites and clicking on things. I believe your PC will be fine.

#Safe Browsing #Paid Antivirus Software Is Unnecessary #Norton Antivirus #McAfee Antivirus #Common Sense Web Browsing #Money Wasting

Monday, September 4, 2017

Twin Peaks Has To Have A Fourth Season Or Another Movie!

Updated 4/12/18:

Well, the third season is done. Overall, it kicked ass and was very well directed and produced. I kept my eyes glued to the T.V. during every episode. Most of the characters and actors were brilliant as well! The exceptions, however, were the following actors/actresses who played these characters: the young man and woman in the New York building (I was glad to see them hacked up!), the Hastings couple, the police and dimwits in Ruth Davenport's apartment building and the Buckhorn Police Department, the women sitting in the Road House booths (except Shelly,) and FBI agent Tammy Preston. Those people DO NOT belong in acting AT ALL!  Going back to brilliance: David Lynch, as always, did an excellent job dishing out headaches while viewers struggle to analyze each episode.

Credit Showtime


Everyone was counting on a complete resolution and explanation of all events in this cult of a T.V. show. It didn't happen, and you should've figured that out when you read the title of this post. I don't think there will ever be a concrete explanation of Twin Peaks. I believe Lynch and Mark Frost want to keep it that way, so we will use our imaginations and come up with our own resolutions. I was happy, however, to see a few mysteries explained in Season Three: We finally found out where Bob comes from, we finally know what "Judy" is, and we get a better understanding of the "tulpas" and doppelgangers which may have been presented to us as far back as The Pilot.

One major piece of advice to help us understand Twin Peaks was given to us in the first episode of Season Three: "Listen To The Sounds" 

This is very important if you want to link events with others and if you seek explanations for those events. Lynch and Frost brilliantly selected sounds and music cues to help us in that respect. Also, you should watch Twin Peaks either in the movie theater or with a home theater surround sound system for the best sound experience. Watching it on a regular TV or computer won't give you that full experience, and you'll miss out on some things. To understand Twin Peaks better, you have to have an appreciation for the sound cues and music.

Getting back to the finale, I want to discuss the scene at the Great Northern Hotel which is very interesting and has me going back to the previous classic seasons of Twin Peaks. The scene I'm talking about is when Cooper goes to the Great Northern Hotel basement (where he had to use his old room 315 hotel key.) As soon as Cooper unlocked the door and went in, he was met by Mike who chanted the Fire Walk With Me poem. While watching that scene, I was somehow reminded of the Owl Cave map that I have studied at length. Interestingly, the map shows the fire symbol next to the waterfall, which seems to be the same spot where the Great Northern is.

Andy's drawing of the Owl Cave map. Note that there are eleven trees at Glastonbury Grove. I think that this was a production goof. Image courtesy of Lynch/Frost Productions and CBS.

Original Owl Cave map seen in Season 2 Episode 19. Note that there are twelve trees at Glastonbury Grove, and also note with the two humanoid figures that the one to the right looks like a woman. More about this below. Image courtesy of Lynch/Frost Productions and CBS.

Connection note: While Cooper was in the purple ocean building with Naido in Episode Three, the numbers 3 and 15 were present on the electrical socket portal. The number 15 appeared on it first before Cooper and Naido went outside the building. When Cooper came back in without Naido, the number 3 appeared on it. I also noted another interesting connection: 15:00 is military time for 3:00 PM. I'm unable to come up with an explanation, but it can't be a coincidence with Cooper's motel room number. Cooper then followed Mike to the "convenience store" and the Dutchman's where he met Jefferies. You know the rest.

Another tie-in to the special 3:00 PM time I mentioned previously is toward the end of Season Two Episode Nine ("Arbitrary Law".) When Cooper, Truman, Hawk, Major Briggs and the rest all meet at The Road House, the clock shows that it's 3:00 PM. Cooper then has his vision of the Fireman, gets his ring back, and finds out that Leland killed Laura (as Bob.) 3:00 PM is very significant in the Twin Peaks universe, and it has to be the designated time that the two "worlds" meet. 

The Great Northern has got to be more than a hotel. Could it be another portal to the lodges or could it be another "Dutchman's?"  Earlier I said that this scene had me going back to the previous seasons. Here are some past scenes, all at The Great Northern, to explain why. The first scene is from Season Two Episode Seven (the episode where Maddy is killed) when Mike reached for his arm, cried out, and looked up at the ceiling. The next scene is from the Season Two episode when Josie dies and Cooper sees Bob and the Man From Another Place on her bed. The next scene is in Season Two Episode 20 when Ben Horne is startled by the sudden ringing noise in his office plus something behind him. Right after that, Pete Martel sees Josie's face in the Great Northern Lobby. You can also hear ominous music during the scenes of the Great Northern in that episode (which is also called "The Path To The Black Lodge.") I'm wondering also if the frequent waterfall shots in seasons one and two have to do with the location of the Great Northern in reference to the Owl Cave Map.

Other than The Great Northern, Twin Peaks does have a lot of hotel references. Others in the series include the motel which Philip Gerard was staying in Season One, the Red Diamond motel in FWWM, Philip Jefferies hotel in Argentina (FWWM Missing Pieces,) the motel where Evil Cooper, Darya, and Chantal were staying in Season Three, the supernatural motel or the Dutchman's in Season Three, and the motel Cooper and Diane stayed in after "crossing over" in the Season Three finale. There is definitely a "motel/hotel" theme going on in this series, and I need to figure out what it means.

There are still lots of questions I have with this series and some of them are sort of "cliffhangers" to a possible fourth season:


How did Dougie's wedding ring end up in Major Briggs' stomach?

I know that the Major didn't have an appetite for gold rings, but how did it get in there and why? I also find it curious that the Owl Cave ring is on Dougie's ring finger (when we first see him with Jade) instead of his wedding ring. Why would Dougie keep the Owl Cave ring on his finger instead of his wedding ring? Who gave the Owl Cave ring to him?
 

Why did Cooper's tulpa, Dougie Jones, live in Las Vegas?

I still can't figure out what significance Las Vegas has in the series. Was it just a random place for Dougie to inhabit after he was created? We learned that Janey-E, who lives in Las Vegas, is Diane's half sister, so that may have something to do with it. It should be noted that the sex scene between Dougie and Janey-E in their house is very similar to the sex scene between Cooper and Diane in the motel. So, there is a definite correlation between Janey-E and Diane.


   What is the significance of Buenos Aires and the black box that turned into a bead?

I do remember in the "Fire Walk With Me Missing Pieces" film, that Philip Jefferies asked if a "Miss Judy" was staying at his hotel in Buenos Aires. I also remember his disappearance and reappearance that caused the "shit to come out of the bellhop's ass." Could the fact that he asked about "Judy" in Buenos Aires get the lodge spirits' attention and they took him to the convenience store? Here are some Jefferies quotes from "Missing Pieces" to contemplate:  "Well now, I'm not going to talk about Judy, in fact we're not going to talk about Judy at all, we're going to leave her out of this." "Judy is positive about this." "I found something in Seattle at Judy's." He then moaned "The ring, the ring." I would have liked to have learned more about this place in Seattle. Could it have been a place similar to Judy's restaurant in Odessa, Texas?

I've read in other blogs that Evil Cooper manufactured the mysterious black box located in Buenos Aires, and it was used to coordinate communications with his "employees" and hit men. Also, we learn that Evil Cooper had a mansion in Argentina, so it makes sense that he created that device.


 Is Judy "The Experiment?"

We now know what Judy is. But, we never saw it in the flesh. I believe it is "The Experiment." Gordon Cole did call Judy an "extreme negative force." This obviously means that it was evil. (Why am I calling it an "it?" The name Judy doesn't necessarily mean that it's a female. Gordon stated the original name for this extreme negative force was pronounced Jouw-Day, which eventually became Judy over the years.) Moving on, we saw where Bob, a force of pure evil, came from in Episode 8, so Judy and the Experiment are very likely the same. But why is this entity called the Experiment? The first atomic bomb test at White Sands, New Mexico was considered an experiment. Therefore, the naming of this entity may be appropriate because the Experiment could be a representation of the bomb itself. The nuclear fission process in the bomb released fire. The Experiment released a substance that is later shown to be fire or a hellish substance. I think that Bob and the speckled egg escaped that "fire" by accident. This may have been what prompted the Fireman and Senorita Dido to take action (by creating the Laura Palmer orb.) The movie screen did freeze on the Bob orb when the Fireman levitated and started creating Laura's orb. The material ejected from the Experiment's mouth could also be "garmonbozia." It looks a lot like it. This whole topic is going to require much more thought. I have more about it in the Sarah Palmer section below.



Anyone remember the monkey whispering "Judy" at the end of FWWM? Also, do you remember the monkey behind the mask during the convenience store scene? I believe the monkey represents Judy in some way, but how and why?



Is the Fireman's house, the building above the purple sea, the White Lodge?

I think it is highly likely. When Evil Cooper is brought there from Jack Rabbit's Palace, he is in some sort of cage in the theater room probably because he is evil, and evil is not allowed to roam free there (if it's really the White Lodge.) Also, Major Briggs' head was seen floating in the theater room. Since the major is destined to reside in the White Lodge (because of his good nature,) I believe the Major's spirit was in that room. The White Lodge and the Fireman's house, therefore, are very likely the same. One final thought: I believe the Fireman never went by the name "The Giant." He has likely been known as the "Fireman" for his entire existence, and it's very likely that he's good. Remember, a fireman puts out or fights "fire."

Evil Cooper could have been put in that cage for another reason. The picture on the theater screen first showed Jack Rabbit's Palace then the Palmer House. The Fireman then "swipes" the picture now showing the area next to the Twin Peaks Sheriff's Department. I think Evil Cooper was wanting to teleport to the Palmer House perhaps to find Judy. The Fireman wouldn't allow it and instead sent him to the Twin Peaks Sheriff's Department so that he would get killed and sent back to the Black Lodge.

What was Senorita Dido?

Off the top of my head, I'm curious how many people have jokingly called her Senorita Dildo😁. We still don't know what Senorita Dido was. But, I'm pretty sure she was a good spirit, maybe an angel? Going back to the "Fire Walk With Me Missing Pieces" film, I remember the hotel clerk handed Philip Jefferies an envelope and said that "The Senorita left this for you." I wonder if this was Senorita Dido. I also went back to the Owl Cave map for another interesting thought. The large and small humanoid figures at the top left could be the Fireman and Senorita Dido. The Fireman is tall. Senorita Dido is short. In Season 2, Agent Cooper thought they were the Giant and Little Man (Man From Another Place.)  I think he was half wrong. See the original Owl Cave map image I posted above.


What's going on with Audrey Horne?

No explanation was ever given with what happened to her in Episode 16. I think she was either still in a coma or dead from the bank explosion in Season Two, and the woman we saw in this season was a tulpa. In Episode 13, she started panicking and said "I'm not me." That's a solid indication that she was a tulpa. The question now is what has happened to the real Audrey, and why was her tulpa "manufactured." It's very likely that Evil Cooper visited Audrey in the hospital, raped her, and created her tulpa. But, what for what reason? Also, did the real Audrey die after giving birth to Richard Horne?


Who is the guy drooling blood in the jail cell?

I would've liked to have known who the bum with the bleeding mouth was in the Twin Peaks jail cell across from Deputy Chad. Because he repeated things that people said, I believe he was a manufactured double just like Dougie was manufactured. He repeated things just like Cooper (as Dougie) did. But, who was it that was duplicated? Maybe Billy? But, who is Billy?


Why does Cooper not do anything when he sees the dead man in Carrie Page's house?

Seriously, the guy had a hole blasted into him, and I don't understand why Cooper doesn't take any action. Cooper probably knows that it's supposed to happen or doesn't want to interfere for some reason. This may be part of what the Fireman told Cooper at the beginning of the season (two birds with one stone?)


Laura is still lost. What happened to her?
 Carrie Page may be Laura's tulpa.

Even though Laura Palmer's murder is prevented, we don't know what happened to her and why Cooper remembers her after things were "changed." A big shock at the end of the final episode is the Palmer house's owners are different (they are now the Chalfonts and Tremonds from Season Two and FWWM.) This is an interesting tie-in to the other Twin Peaks seasons and FWWM. Furthermore, I'm reminded of a scene from Season One Episode Two, "Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer," when Leland danced with Laura's picture and went ballistic. Sarah came in and tried to get the picture away from him. After Leland broke down crying, Sarah screamed "What is going on in this house?" Interesting.

I'm wondering about something else, also. Does Laura's doppelganger have anything to do with what happened to Laura? I'm surprised that this hasn't been discussed anywhere online. Also, I believe Carrie Page is Laura's tulpa. This may explain why the "430" reality is NOT so alternate (Cooper is still an FBI Agent and remembers Laura and Sarah Palmer.) Hmm...interesting.



What the heck is inhabiting Sarah Palmer? 

Courtesy Showtime

Saving the best for last, a major question that remains unanswered is: What's happening with Sarah Palmer? At first, I thought that maybe The Experiment was inhabiting her. I now think that's unlikely. In Sarah's last scene, she (or the entity possessing her) seems really pissed about Bob's destruction and the prevention of Laura's murder. She stabs Laura's portrait profusely. If there's any solid indication that Sarah was not herself, the scene of her destroying Laura's picture was it. Sarah's possessor could also be enraged that Laura was sent by the Fireman and Senorita Dido to defeat Bob and was successful. This next tidbit of information should shed some light on what's happening with her...She is definitely the 1956 teenage girl from Episode Eight. This was confirmed in a recent interview with Mark Frost. Read what he said here:  http://www.digitalspy.com/tv/twin-peaks/news/a842386/twin-peaks-the-final-dossier-book-what-happened-laura-palmer-annie/ . Assisted by the Woodsman, the "bug" that crawled inside her created an obvious possessive force spawned by The Experiment. But for what purpose? In the episode showing the trucker's throat getting mauled, Sarah appears to be removing "two masks." One is her original face. The next is The Experiment's face. So what's behind the Experiment's face?

Something else is also very curious. If you go back to the scene in Episode Eight where the "smoke" came out of the Experiment's mouth, you can see the Bob orb and the speckled egg come out at almost the exact same time. We know that Bob will eventually inhabit Leland Palmer, and after Mark Frost's interview, we know the bug from the speckled egg inhabits Sarah Palmer. Later, Laura Palmer will be born from an obvious procreation of Leland and Sarah. What is the purpose of all this? It seems more questions are brought up then answered. Maybe I'll watch the entire season about a hundred more times, and pray hard that a fourth season will be proposed.

Conclusion

So, with the examples I mentioned above that weren't resolved, I believe it is highly likely that David Lynch and Mark Frost will either add another season to the series or make another movie or BOTH! Season Three kicked ass and had a lot of viewers. The question will be whether or not it made the big wigs lots of money. That's another factor that will determine if there will be a fourth season. I will say this, though: If Season Four does happen and/or another movie is produced, their premier will have MANY more viewers than Season Three's!

I'm certainly not done with this post. I will be adding more thoughts and analyses in the coming days after I finish digesting the season finale. Follow this blog and check back.



#Twin Peaks Season 3
#Twin Peaks Season 3 Finale
#Twin Peaks The Return Finale


Thursday, August 31, 2017

First 'Living Drug' For Tough Childhood Leukemia

This is a revolutionary and exciting drug that can possibly treat relapse of all leukemias. The drug could also be a treatment option if a patient is unable to get a stem cell transplant. Additionally, it could be used to treat other stubborn cancers, besides leukemia, in the future. Click to read the press release from Novartis, the producer of the drug:

https://www.novartis.com/news/media-releases/novartis-receives-first-ever-fda-approval-car-t-cell-therapy-kymriahtm-ctl019