The Civil War


This trip has been for planned two years. It was originally set for 2021, but Covid closed all the national parks and many campgrounds, so I headed west that summer.

I had visited the Civil War “Western Front” in 2020 — along the Tennessee, Cumberland and Mississippi rivers — Forts Donelson and Henry, Shiloh, Corinth and Vicksburg. This trip will pass through the Eastern front with stops at battlefields from Savannah to Gettysburg.

A Bit of Background

My maternal grandfather was born in the summer of 1863 in Louisiana. His father, a confederate soldier, was home on a 30-day furlough in 1862, and the following summer, while great-grandfather was fighting at Vicksburg, grandfather was born.

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IPFS, WEB 3 & Decentralization – Part 2

NFT’s, Blockchain & Copyright


Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFT’s are unique digital asset that is verified and stored on a blockchain network. While cryptocurrencies are interchangeable and can be divided into smaller units, NFTs are one-of-a-kind and cannot be divided, thus non-fungible. They can represent ownership of a specific asset, such as digital art, music, or other collectibles. More on this later.

I think NFT’s are pretty dumb. The majority are forms of useless artwork, some no bigger than the icons on a windows desktop that sell for hundreds of $’s. The “Pudgy Penguin #4066” shown to the right is priced at $8000. I don’t know anyone who would pay that for a digital cartoon, but obviously there must be many who will. Nor do I know what one would do with it since, unlike “Starry Night” and all “real” art that can hang on a wall, it exists as only bits. (My kids would point out that I am not the right demographic.)

`But then I considered that there may be other uses for NFT’s as an alternative, or adjunct to copyright, so I decided to give it a bit more study. Indeed, many NFT’s can be designed to transfer copyrights, but it turns out “ownership” it is not so simple. Here’s why.`

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IPFS, WEB 3 & Decentralization – Part 1

Evolution of the WEB(s)

This is the first of a series of posts on the evolution of internet services along with some comments on where things might go in the next few years. 
My primary goal is to combine things from my experience with new understanding, and if all goes well, a bit of insight.
As I always do, I will try to avoid detailed explanations and present enough for the reader to gain a basic understanding, and then pursue a deeper knowledge on their own.

The Web is not the Internet. In the beginning there was only the ARPAnet, a collaboration network of universities and some government departments running packet-switching protocols. There were no passwords. You could open a telenet session on a time-sharing computer, and work your way to all manner of interesting places by opening telenet on the next computer in the chain, and so on. In the mid 80’s I was able to connect to the catalog of a library in the USSR. It did not do me much good, but I could do it!

Between 1989 and 1991, Tim Berners-Lee created the HTML protocol, the first website at CERN, and a web client, “WorldWideWeb” (all one word, later named Nexus), built in Objective-C on a Next computer. You can browse it here.

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IPFS, WEB 3 & Decentralization – Part 3

The Blockchain, Smart Contracts & DeFi


In the previous post on Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT’s) I took a skeptical view of their value in the real world. This was based on the observation that the most common use of NFT’s is for digital artwork and other intellectual property, and the fact that people were paying a lot of money for “the pride of ownership.”

However there are other uses for blockchain technology that have real potential value. Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is a primary goal of blockchain technology – the ability to transfer funds and ownership without the participation of banks, credit card companies, or similar institutions. Here are a few.

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Precision Ag at Desert Claim Farms

2002-07-24

I left Portland on the 17th, and after a couple of stops found myself on US Highway 2 crossing the continental divide at Marais Pass south of Glacier National Park. US-2 parallels the Canadian border from Seattle to the Michigan UP. I would follow it as far as Duluth. Local residents call it the High Line.

This is the golden triangle of the Montana High Desert and is mostly flat and filled with thousands of square miles of wheat, barley, hay and other crops that can grow without irrigation.

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Scouts Rest Ranch

2022-05-27

After riding for the Pony Express, serving in the Union Army, scouting for the western military, gaining fame as an “indian fighter”, killing thousands of American Bison for the Kansas Pacific Railroad, and trying his skills as an actor on the Chicago stage, William F. Cody founded his Wild West Show in North Platte in 1983. The show toured the US and Europe until about 1909, and made Cody wealthy.

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A Night in the Bakken Oilfield

I spent a night in the middle of the Bakken oil field – or more accurately, in the Walmart parking lot in Williston North Dakota – which really is in the middle of the oilfield. To remind you, Williston is/was the boom town that more than doubled in size in a few months when energy companies started exploiting the oil shale deposits. Oil was to be found everywhere. Prices went through the roof. Oil workers were sleeping anywhere they could find a bed. Investors built thousands of apartments.

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Right Here in River City

When I was in high school I was enamored by broadway shows – Carrousel, Oklahoma, Sound of Music, but in redneck southern Illinois I never got to see one. But topping them all was the Music Man, and I got a copy of the movie soundtrack when I was a college freshman. I played it over and over, fell in love with Marian and even knew the “Trouble” monologue. I have not thought about it in years.

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