Fear Induced Tyranny

by Terry 8/12/2008 8:10:00 AM

This morning I read on Robert Bruce Thompson’s web site his comments [ttgnet.com, MakeZine.com] on an article in the Worcester, Massachusetts, Telegram; Chemist allowed to go home, sans his lab. Apparently, Mr. Deeb, a retired chemist had a chemistry lab in his basement, conducting experiment possibly in support of patents he owns. His lab was seized after fire-fighters responded to an unrelated call.

Pamela A. Wilderman, Marlboro’s code enforcement officer, said Mr. Deeb was doing scientific research and development in a residential area, which is a violation of zoning laws.

“It is a residential home in a residential neighborhood,” she said. “This is Mr. Deeb’s hobby. He’s still got bunches of ideas. I think Mr. Deeb has crossed a line somewhere. This is not what we would consider to be a customary home occupation. … There are regulations about how much you’re supposed to have, how it’s detained, how it’s disposed of.”

Mr. Deeb’s home lab likely violated the regulations of many state and local departments, although officials have not yet announced any penalties.

Because Mr. Deeb is being cooperative, he is not being charged. Not yet.

The comment, “I think Mr. Deeb has crossed a line somewhere”, is pure fear and ignorance.

You see, we ain’t sure if he’s done wrong, but we’s sure can’t let him have this stuff. It may be dangerous and we don’t think he’s qualified.

So, without apparent warrant, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has executed some hidden authority to dismantle and dispose of Mr. Deeb’s personal property and, while doing so, look for possible violations of some regulation or zoning law.

To my understanding, typically a zoning violation is met with a request to become compliant before the authorities step in. Stepping in and looking for violation is disturbing at best.

Whether this is tyranny or not, I cannot say for sure, as I do not have all the facts. Greg Laden contrasts this in his comments. At the very least, it is a slippery-slope case; once the powers-that-be step on this slope, the slide down begins.

Karen, my wife, suggested, strongly, I should at least discuss my desire to build a lab in my garage with the local fire department. I am glad I did so. I met with a couple of firemen and the fire chief for half an hour discussing my plans, providing the list of chemicals and quantities I would likely have an storage plans. They were encouraging and supportive. I accepted and implemented their recommendations. Meeting with the fire department gave me some sense of relief that my local fire department and officials are still sane.

I certainly do not want to have what happened to Mr. Deeb happen to me. But I will not bow to fear.

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chemistry | Opinion | Policy | Snoqualmie

Snoqualmie Deer Induced Traffic Jam

by Terry 6/17/2008 9:23:00 AM

I am had a delayed yesterday morning. There were two week-old fawns stuck in the school yard across the street from my house. One got separated from its mother when the school kids were being dropped off for class. The momma deer somehow got outside the fence and wondered back and forth down the street trying to coax the fawns to the gate and freedom. Traffic backed up in all directions, people started honking. People were watching or getting frustrated with the traffic jam, but no one seemed to take any action. Then the kids arriving to school realized they could get a close-up look at deer. I stepped up and chased away some 20 kids from the fawns before school started and tried to keep people away from the fawns and momma deer.

Finally, the momma deer worked her way back into the school yard and collected one of her young, but the other got spooked and bedded down in front of my house, still in the school yard. Momma did not want to wait around any longer. She took the one fawn slowly down the street to the forest a block away. I kept watch over the lone fawn. People kept asking me if I would pick it up and carry across the street to the momma, suggesting I wrap it in a blanket. I elected to leave it alone. Deer have been separated from their young before and I figured the momma would know what to do. Besides, I don’t like getting kicked by hooves, big or little.

Karen called the wildlife department for a little advice. They said it could be a couple of days for the momma to come back. I hoped it would not be that long. The deer live nearby and make weekly and sometimes daily visits on my street. The adults are comfortable walking the sidewalks and eating flowers from gardens. I have more than once opened my front door to find a deer on my porch looking at me. So, I worked with my laptop from the front porch keeping the people and dogs away from the bedded fawn. The school traffic subsided and the streets became quiet again.

Apparently, according to the wildlife department, if a fawn this young is touched or fed by people, it will be abandoned by its mom. Leaving it be was a good choice. After about twenty minutes, a police officer drove by. (The police station is a couple blocks from my house. Oddly, I was not surprised it took an officer that long to show up.) I describe what happened and told him I would hang out for a few hours to keep an eye on the fawn. He said thanks and drove off. I talked with the school staff and they closed the playfield during recess so the kids would not try to play with the fawn.

A school staff member walked by and said that Animal Control was being contacted by the Snoqualmie Police. I found that interesting, as the officer said nothing about it to me.

Things were quiet for about two hours. And then, quietly, momma trotted back down the street. She was alone, so I presumed she stashed the first fawn in a safe place to wait. As soon as the fawn saw momma, it made one little bleating sound. Momma walk through the gate and baby sprang up, ready to nurse for a few a minute. Momma then led the way back out of the playfield. I took a few pictures from my yard, and then stopped the few cars on the street as momma led the week-looking fawn slowly across the street into my neighbor’s yard and to the woods. The local drama ended.

The police officer stopped by again at this time, I told him momma collected the fawn a few minutes earlier. He said if the fawn was still there he was going to pick it up at take it down the street to the woods and let it go. I mentioned what the wildlife department people told Karen. He shrugged and drove off; interesting. I called the school to let them know the outcome, they were relieved. I sat on the porch for another hour in the sun to work, and then packed in my mobile office to return upstairs to my more comfortable desk, somewhat delayed but otherwise pleased with the day. It was a pleasant change of pace.

Deer_returns_1_web.JPG (160 kb)

Deer_returns_3_web.JPG (117 kb)

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Personal | Snoqualmie

Blu-Ray is kind of blue

by Terry 5/1/2008 11:09:00 AM

Demise of HD DVD hasn't helped Blu-ray player sales
<snip>"When we surveyed consumers late last year, an overwhelming number of them said they weren't investing in a new next-generation player because their old DVD player worked well and next-generation players were too expensive."</snip>

I am not surprised by this. I have a 37” HDTV. I like it. I have a reasonable DVD player. It up-scales to the HD resolutions, but it is just a plain DVD player otherwise. I have watched HD Blu-ray movies at a friend’s home. I was not impressed enough to replace my DVD player.

If I were inclined to get a Sony Play Station (PS3), I would do that then buy a Blu-ray player. The costs are such that it would make some sense. I have no want or need for a PS3 or any other game controller in my home.

Karen did like the Wii. We almost purchased one a month or two ago. It turns out that the local pub, Finaghty’s, has one that we can play, and kids are allowed in the pub until mid-evening, and a few friends have Wiis too. This fills our needs more than enough and is a lot less costly for my single income.

Then there is the higher cost and smaller selection of Blu-ray movies to choose from.

So, I am not surprised that Blu-ray is not exploding with growth. This is not a replacement for DVDs like DVDs were a replacement for VHS.

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Opinion | Snoqualmie

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About Terry Losansky

Terry Dee Losansky

I am a software architect, actively practice and teach martial arts and live in Snoqualmie, Washington. I have an amazing daughter who is the jewel of my life.

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