Wednesday, July 31, 2019

CalTopo: iOS Open Beta + New Android Release

CalTopo: iOS Open Beta + New Android Release: Better late than never, CalTopo's iOS app is now available for beta testing via TestFlight.  The Android beta has also gained significan...

SDR Multi Balloon Tracking

Echo to Hillgard fastpack by Brian Story

Celebrating a fine day near the summit of Dutchman.
Leah and I were able to get out together for a weekend in the high peaks of the Southern Madison range.  By going light, we were able to summit Echo, Dutchman, and Hilgard peaks with overnight packs without too much slogging.  After a casual late morning start, the first day went smoothly.  We easily walked up to Expedition basin, climbed Hilgard and Dutchman, and dropped to a high camp above Dutchman lake.  I over estimated how long the trip would take, and we had extra time to relax and enjoy the evening.  By bringing a few exciting dinner foods and enough warm clothes, we also slept in relative comfort.  The next day we easily summited Hilgard and made the standard egress out the Avalanche creek trail.  The only hiccup of the trip came when Leah unexpectedly sliced her leg on a sharp rock, but we were able to close the wound with a series of band aids and tape, and it didn't derail the trip.  I had a great time.  It was pretty magical to spend a few days in such a beautiful place with such a special person.
Crossing Expedition basin.  Photo: Leah
Leah climbing Echo.
Nice plateau walking on the South side of Echo.
Starting the climb up Dutchman.
Sunset at camp.
Leah enjoying a frosty morning.
Traversing the Lake Eglise basin with Hilgard behind.
Last climb out of the Lake Eglise basin.
Thoughts I think fastpacking an underrated way to explore the mountains.  It is an efficient way to spend a lot of time up high, and the few trips I have done feel like a magical respite from reality.  I have been a little turned off by the gear requirements to get into ultra light backpacking, but it has worked well to just kind of leave everything unnecessary at home.  Will try to keep doing a fastpack trip or two a year.

Pepi’s Tire Noodle Inserts Save Rubber and Rims, Boost Sidewall Stiffness By Brian Gerow

Pepi’s Tire Noodle (PTN) inserts were tested and approved by Nino Schurter’s tech team, alongside nearly every other insert in the puncture-prevention business. Schurter found that PTN inserts offer the least rolling resistance and best flat protection of any insert they tested. The inserts also add sidewall stiffness, allowing the world champ to run lower pressure without his tires becoming a mushy mess beneath him.
Why do we need tire inserts now, after so many years without them? Riders and racers are hitting the rocks faster, aboard more capable bikes than they were five to ten years ago, and high pressure isn’t enough to prevent snakebites. Additionally, high pressure makes for a harsh ride and poor traction with most modern tires.
I met with Pepi at the Riva Bike Festival in northern Italy, where he shared the story of Schurter’s analysis, and the process he has gone through to develop his namesake noodles. In short, he has spent several years testing and refining the product to come up with an insert that doesn’t absorb tire sealant, protects rims and rubber, and adds performance to the overall wheel system. He has recently added new models to the lineup and will continue to innovate until he finds the perfect balance of performance and protection.
Peip’s Tire Noodles fit tightly against the rim, pressing out on the tire’s sidewalls for a more supported ride feel.
After our chat, Pepi handed me a pair of his new gravity-focused inserts to test, which are a bit heavier and sturdier than the red “race only” version Schurter uses. Mounting the inserts up wasn’t any more of a hassle than other models, which is to say it was frustrating and required all of my available leverage and hand strength. I put together some tips on mounting inserts that should make things go a little more smoothly for your first try, or you can let the wrench at your local bike shop sort it out.
The insert weighs roughly the same as it did before banging rocks in two different tires, and the yellow casing around the foam remains unscathed.

On the trail

This is the sealed “seam” in the insert’s casing. The PTNs don’t add weight with tape or zip ties like most inserts, so there is no need to rebalance your wheel with weights after mounting these up.
I tested the PTN in my rear tire alone, as I am quite particular about how my front end traction feels, and I rarely pinch flat the front tire. I have heard from a few other riders that the PTN works great in the front as well, and if I give it a shot in the future I will add some notes to this review.
The PTN in my rear tire has endured a few enduro races, two tire changes, and a wheel swap without issue. The foam remains firm and supportive, and somehow there are no cuts in the casing, despite numerous audible rim strikes. One strike, in particular, put a 3cm gash through all but the last thin layer of a Maxxis Aggressor tire, with a downhill casing, and the noodle kept doing its protective thing.


  • Small – Suitable for tire width 50mm / Rim width 23-32mm
  • Medium – Suitable for tire width 60mm / Rim width 27-38mm
  • Large – Suitable for tire width 70mm / Rim width 35-48mm
I was stoked to use the PTN insert while testing carbon rims. I am confident that it has saved me from at least one cracked hoop, and likely a few tire punctures.
My bike’s overall ride feel with the PTN in place was improved by allowing lower pressure, and maintaining a consistent sidewall rigidity. I prefer lower pressure than a lot of fellow gravity-gulpers for two reasons: I became accustomed to it while racing cross country in the mud, where low pressure significantly improves traction, and because I like how a slightly squishier tire takes the edge off of harsh trails.
This insert allowed me to run 22psi without fretting punctures or dented rims, while it kept the tire’s casing far firmer than it would be with a flat insert like the Tyreinvader from Effetto Mariposa. The firmer sidewalls were most noticeable when braking hard into bermless turns, where the tire would have started to fold and squirm under the bike without that extra support.
Pepi has two different valves that work with the PTN system. The cutout and holes at the base of the valve press the insert out of the way so that air can pass through smoothly. The black alloy valve has about a third the weight of a traditional tubeless valve, while the chrome option tips the scale like any other.
Nino Schurter leading the 2019 World Cup short track race in Les Gets France.

Border Patrol Chief: 5,800 'Fake Families' Discovered at the Border

Kamala Harris Wins the Big-Spender, Free-Stuff Primary July 31, 2019 by Dan Mitchell

The invaluable John Stossel has an entertaining and informative video that estimates how many handouts are being promised by Joe BidenPete ButtigiegKamala HarrisBernie SandersDonald Trump, and Elizabeth Warren.
Wow, how depressing.
When I wrote about about the “dangerous seduction of free” a month ago, I apparently underestimated the problem. We have politicians completely divorced from fiscal reality (the “Green New Deal” being a frightening example).
But the key question is whether the American people are actually getting seduced.
It’s not looking good on the Democratic side. Joe Biden is presumably part of the Democratic Party’s anti-socialist wing, which is encouraging. But all the other leading candidates are hard-core big spenders.
And it’s not looking good on the Republican side, either. Trump may not have crazy proposals for new spending, but in practice he’s been profligate. Indeed, I’m guessing he will wind up with a worse record on spending than Obama.
The bottom line is that the public sector already is too large in the United States. Yet we have politicians who want it to become an even bigger burden. In some cases, much bigger.
That has very serious economic consequences. Especially if it coincides with an erosion of societal capital.
For instance, I think some European countries have already reached a “tipping point” because of a dependency mindset.
Historically, the United States has been insulated from that problem because of a belief in personal responsibility. But ever-growing levels of dependency suggest that this advantage is dissipating.
I’ll close with a final observation about the candidates – Sanders, Warren, and Harris – who were identified in the video as advocating trillions of dollars of new spending.
How do they plan to finance this orgy?
  • Sanders has a plethora of new taxes, including class-warfare tax increase and middle-class tax increases, so he definitely wants to put our money where his mouth is. In terms of fiscal policy, think of him as Sweden.
  • Warren supports a bunch of new taxes, mostly on the rich, most notably a huge wealth tax, which surely would backfire but theoretically is a big source of money. In terms of fiscal policy, think of her as France.
  • Harris has some class-warfare tax hikes but is mostly promising a free lunch since there’s a huge mismatch between what she wants to spend and the new taxes she has embraced. In terms of fiscal policy, think of her as Greece.
For what it’s worth, I’m waiting for the Hong Kong candidate.

The first “Cold War” Legionnaire

The first “Cold War” Legionnaire: Michigan's Eric Bartlett, who served in the U.S. Marines from August 1985 to June 1989, will become the first member to join under the LEGION Act.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah (Live In London)

Frequently Asked Questions From RV Owners About Listing with RVshare By Jamie Cattanach

Thinking of listing your rig for rent on RVshare?
Becoming part of our trusted network of owners is a great way to put some extra money in your pocket to help fund your own adventures, or pay off the loan you’ve got on that rig extra quick. But, of course, it can also be nerve-wracking — your RV is your baby, and you’re going to hand the keys over to total strangers?!
Fortunately, our secure platform and verification methods make it easy to rent your motorhome or travel trailer worry-free… yes, even if you consider yourself a worry wart at heart.
In this post, we’ll tackle some of the frequently asked questions we hear from RV owners about listing your RV, from insurance coverage to commissions to service fees and more.

RV Owner FAQ

Without further ado, here’s our RV owner Q&A checklist.

1. How do I get started with RVshare?

Getting started with RVshare is quick and easy! All it takes is a few snapped pics, a few quick clicks, and you’re ready to start earning extra money in a flash.
Our step-by-step on-screen prompts make it simple to get started, and you’ll have full control over everything about your RV rental listing, including how strict you want your cancellation policy to be, how much you want to charge per night, and whether or not to enable Instant Book. (More on that in just a moment, but we highly recommend you do!)
Of course, the RVshare rental market is competitive, and in order to make your rig stand out from the crowd and earn you as much extra moolah as possible, it’s important to take the time and effort to make your listing shine! Here are some posts we’ve published on the RVshare blog to help RVshare owners get the most out of their cottage RV rental business.

2. What is Instant Book and why should I use it?

Instant Book is a unique feature we’re proud to offer for our owners! It can help you earn more RV rental business by making it easier for your renters to solidify their plans — and since you have control over how soon before a rental period an Instant Book reservation can be made, you still maintain total control over who rents your rig and when. Furthermore, Instant Book-enabled rigs get priority treatment on our search sorting algorithms, so enabling the option can put your RV rental listing in front of more eyeballs.
Enabling Instant Book on your listing is simple! Just log in to your RVshare dashboard, navigate to the listing in question, and click “Edit Listing.” Under the “Listing Info” box, you’ll see an option for “Instant Book.” Click the little switch over to the “on” position, which will display green, in order to enable the feature.
Still want to know more about Lightning Book? Check out this RVshare blog post on the topic!

3. How does RVshare commission work?

Hey, you’re in this thing to earn money, right? So how exactly does that work?
RVshare doesn’t charge a fee to create a rental listing. Instead, you’ll only pay a small commission fee when your rig is actually booked, which helps us keep the lights on here and provide the secure platform and service that makes this whole RV rental business thing so much easier.
Commission is calculated as a percentage of the rental price and fees that are charged at time of booking (not including tax), as well as any overages or fees that are not direct out-of-pocket expenses to you as the owner. These may include mileage overages or cleaning and dumping fees — but out-of-pocket expenses, such as damages, gas, or missing items, are not charged commission, and instead, the renter is charged an additional 10% processing fee.
Curious what your commission fee pays for? Here’s a short list!
  • Access to the RVshare platform
  • Secure payment processing and direct deposit
  • Marketing your RV on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, and more
  • Phone and email support for owners and renters

4. What is the RVshare service fee?

The RVshare service fee is a small charge that’s billed to the renters in order to cover the cost of maintaining our site and providing our services. It does not affect your reservation charge or commission fee, and is instead charged solely on the renter side.

5. How does RVshare’s insurance coverage work?

Want some great news? Our RV rental owner insurance is offered at no cost to you and carries a $1,500 deductible that’s payable from the renter’s security deposit — so you really have absolutely nothing to worry about when you send your precious rig off with some brand-new people.
Our A-rated policies offers $1,000,000 in liability coverage, as well as comprehensive and collision coverage for the value of their RV up to $200,000.
Your renters will be covered in all 50 states as well as Canada, and the coverage also includes “Acts of God,” such as hailstorms, earthquakes, floods, vandalism, fire. And best of all, once again: this coverage is offered at *no* cost to you, the owner, but is instead assessed to the renter as a part of the fee they pay upon reservation. It’s automatically included in your RV rental price quotes!

6. What happens if a renter gets a ticket or has a toll?

Your renters agree to be charged for any traffic violations or tolls as part of the Rental Agreement they sign in order to confirm their reservation, which means you don’t have to worry about paying auxiliary costs of travel like tickets or road fees. If you receive an invoice for a violation within the 72 hour period following the end of the reservation, you may include the fee with a photo of the invoice to the Checkout Form.
We understand that you may not receive the invoice until several weeks after the end of the reservation, and do accept requests for reimbursement if submitted in a timely manner after the receipt of the initial invoice. These requests can be emailed to with the Reservation ID, photo of the violation, and the amount that needs charged.

7. How do taxes work?

You’ll be able to set your own tax rate — and choose whether or not to collect taxes at all as part of your rental fee. We recommend consulting with a tax specialist to determine the appropriate rates and whether you should collect tax on your rentals.
When it comes time for you to file your taxes for the year, we recommend consulting a tax professional for proper treatment of your RVshare-related earnings. You will receive a 1099 from us if you earn over $20,000.00 and have over 200 completed reservations through us in a single year.

8. How do I manage my notification preferences?

As an RVshare owner, you’ll be kept constantly up-to-date about bookings, renter contact requests, and more — but you maintain control over how and when those notifications come through!
To change your personal notification preferences, log into your RVshare dashboard and navigate to “Account” and then “Notifications.” Once there, you’ll see a few different options with boxes next to them which you can check or uncheck to note whether or not you would like to receive an email or text.

9. How can I reach RVshare?

Still have questions? Don’t worry — we’re here to help! Our support team is always standing by to make your RV rental experience easy-breezy.
We are available via email 24 hours a day, seven days a week; inquiries can be sent to us directly at 
You can also have a conversation with us on our live chat option – this is available on our Help CenterHow It Works, and Insurance pages. Chat is available 8am-6pm EST Monday through Friday, and 9am-5pm Saturday.
If you would like to talk to one of our agents, our phone support is live Monday through Friday from 8am-6pm EST at 1-888-482-0234.
Please keep in mind that the availability of our phone and chat support may be affected by holidays.
Becoming an RVshare owner is an exciting business venture, and in many cases, the start of some beautiful friendships. We can’t wait to count you among our network of trusted RVshare owners soon!

Can you See Me Now? Portable Operation From a Web Cam from Paul Signorelli

There are now thousands of web cams operating around the world and they make great portable operating locations. The stations who work you can watch you on their computer as you talk to them.
When I am at a web cam site I post the web cam link on my page and then stations who contact me can then click and watch. I usually have a big sign that shows up on the web cam. Even DX guys who can’t hear me can watch me operate.
Many web cans are now live streaming; they give you fast refresh rates and real time video. Other bandwidth limited cams refresh at slower rates and may give only 1 frame every minute.
The HD Pikes Peak Panoramic Cam that I frequently use has a revolving 1 minute refresh rate., I am standing right above the ‘RW’ sign.
The remote Independence Pass, Colorado, Web Camera is a solar powered wireless camera with a 1 minute refresh rate, I am standing just to the left of the tree. This camera is down and won’t be back on line until July.
The Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument had a camera that was directed at a flag pole that i used as a reflector when I was pedestrian mobile. I ask guys who see me to send me Screen Shot and made a QSL Card out of it later.
Paul, W0RW

Ham Radio - Which toroid is better for HF, type 2 or type 43? Comparing ...

Socialists Want To Destroy the Family

Socialists Want To Destroy the Family

AntiGravityGear Stratum 55 Top Quilt Review by Greg Pehrson

The AntiGravityGear Stratum 55 Top Quilt ($69) is a no-frills, lightweight, and inexpensive backpacking quilt stuffed with 800 fill power down and rated to 55*F, for those nights when it’s too chilly to just sleep in your clothes or a sleeping bag liner, but too warm for a 3-season quilt. It can stand alone as a summertime quilt or be combined with other insulation as part of a cold-weather sleeping system.

Specs at a Glance

  • Temperature Rating: 55*F / 12.8oC
  • Weight: 17.2 oz / 488 g
  • Quilt Dimensions: 74″ long x 46″ wide (at the top, the quilt’s widest point)
  • Stowed Dimensions (in stuff sack): 10″(length) x 5″ (diameter)
  • Shell Material: 46% Nylon / 54% Polyester
  • Contents: 800 Fill Power Down with “10% +” Overstuff
  • Pad attachment: None
  • Drawcords: None
  • Footbox: Sewn closed

No Frills Design

The AntiGravity Gear Stratum 55 Top Quilt is about as simple as a quilt can be. The only design feature is a sewn footbox. This means you can’t open it up and lay it flat like a comforter, which is nice in hot weather, but it’s easy to kick your feet out from the Stratum’s footbox if you get too hot. There are no snaps, straps, pad attachments, or drawcords anywhere on the quilt, resulting in light weight and ease of use. This simplicity translates especially well to hammock use. On a night in a hammock that started in the eighties and dropped to the sixties (Fahrenheit), I was able to grab the Stratum from where it was balled up at my feet, find the footbox by feel, and pull the quilt up over me, without having to turn on my headlamp.
The Stratum comes with a simple stuff sack with a surprisingly thick cord and big cordlock. When stuffed, the package is compact at 10 inches long by 5 inches wide (diameter), almost exactly the size of my 12-ounce hooded puffy jacket in its stuff sack. The quilt does not come with a large breathable storage sack, which you’ll want to purchase to preserve the loft of your quilt for the long haul while at home. AntiGravityGear sells one separately, as do a number of other vendors, or a cotton laundry bag works just fine.
A three-dimensional sewn footbox is the Stratum’s only feature

Quilt Dimensions

With a shoulder girth of 46″, the Stratum 55 is a relatively narrow quilt, best used in a hammock and by people with a slim build. For example, when ordering a pre-made, non-custom top quilt, most quilt vendors sell 50″ wide quilts for hammock users and 55″ wide quilts for ground users.
If you’re in doubt about the shoulder girth you need and whether the Stratum 55 would suit you, measure the circumference of your shoulders with your arms hanging loosely by your side. If you sleep on your back in a hammock and don’t toss and turn at night, then the Stratum will fit you if your girth is equal to or less than 46″. If you thrash and roll around at night, sleep curled up on your side, or sleep on the ground, add 5″ to your shoulder girth measurements to get an indication of the top quilt width you require.
The Stratum uses a sewn-thru quilting construction in a grid pattern.

Fill and Construction

The AntiGravityGear Stratum 55 Top Quilt is stuffed with 800 fill power down with approximately 10% overfill (AGG calls it “10% +”). Overfill is extra down beyond what would be expected for a specific temperature rating, and it serves two purposes: it helps make the temperature rating more conservative (recognizing that warmth is highly subjective.) On warm weather quilts with less down, the extra fill can prevent the down from shifting and causing cold spots with no insulation. The Stratum has a sewn-thru quilting construction that also serves to keep the down in place. Sewn-thru construction is simpler and less expensive than the box-baffled design found on colder-weather quilts and sleeping bags, but some heat can escape at the seams. However, for a quilt made for the summer, a sewn-thru design makes sense.
The combination of these two design elements resulted in a quilt that felt loftier than I would have expected from its temperature rating. Each of the boxes in the quilted grid pattern felt plumply stuffed.

Use as part of a cold-weather sleeping system

The quilt’s simple design makes it ideal to use as a liner or insulating filler inside a multi-bag or multi-quilt cold-weather insulation system. Stacking quilts and sleeping bags is an effective way of pushing the gear you have into colder temps without purchasing single-purpose, very expensive cold-weather sleeping bags. The Stratum can be used as a liner with cold-weather quilts or sleeping bags with lots of girth to add another 15* or so of warmth. Practice this on low-intensity, easy-to-bail-from trips or backyard winter experiments before trying it out in the backcountry.
The Stratum 55’s no-frills construction makes it easy to use in a hammock,


If you find you consistently roast in your current bag on summer trips, the AntiGravityGear Stratum 55 Top Quilt is a low-cost way of increasing your comfort and decreasing your pack weight, provided that you have a slim build can fit into its narrow dimensions. The Stratum 55 also provides a good way to experiment with multi-bag layering systems when used as a cold-weather liner bag. We’d also like to see AntiGravityGear offer a shorter length version of the quilt for shorter adults, teens, and scouts, who we feel are underserved by existing top quilt manufacturers.
Disclosure: AntiGravityGear provided the author with a quilt for this review.

Exploring the Great Mysteries of Consciousness and Free Will With Annaka Harris

Exploring the Great Mysteries of Consciousness and Free Will With Annaka Harris: In the latest episode of Singularity University Radio’s the Feedback Loop, Annaka Harris discusses the mysteries of the mind and her new book 'Conscious.'

Inside Sklar Bikes -

Inside Sklar Bikes - We passed through Bozeman, Montana, recently and stopped in to visit with Sklar Bikes, see a few beautiful rigs, and chat with owner/builder Adam Sklar...

Adam Savage Talks about His Hearing Loss!

The Quest for 250-Part 2-Warren Peak-Pintlers Posted by dmglue

A week passed following my last attempt that left me 1300 feet short of my goal.  I tried to come to grips with not completing a goal, but being a very goal driven individual I could not shake the disappointment.  Even though it was a silly goal that meant absolutely nothing it irritated me that I would let almost 8 months of working towards an outcome fall short by less than a percent of the end goal.  I had to see it out.

I set a day on the calendar and I was going no matter what.  Luckily my good friend Cody was up for a day in the Mountains and was excited to join me on my final attempt.  We decided with a reasonable forecast to head out to Warren Peak in the Pintlers.   This would prove to be a fitting place to get one last day in for the season.  I was obsessed with Warren Peak many years ago and finally rode it with Cody the year I met him on our third tour that season.  To this day it was still one of my fondest memories in recent years.  Setting a goal of riding a peak and finally getting to experience the satisfaction of pulling it off.   It only seemed fitting to make the final attempt in this location with a good friend on almost the 5 year anniversary of our first successful trip.

Big ole' Warren was just as impressive as it always is,  countless good memories flooding my mind as we approached.  This would mark the first time I have ventured back to the area since the burn a few years ago, and this new scenery, although different than I remember, opened up beautiful views to the peak on the approach that previously did not exist.  The back basin and the boot up the north wall are still beautiful, engaging moments in the alpine that I really should make an annual event.  After our previous outing, front pointing firm icy snow through the pinch, we both opted for double axes.  Although much softer than the last time we rode it, the ice axes made for a faster more enjoyable climb of the run.  Looking back at the scenery for time to time we were both smiling ear to ear during the climb.

Eventually topping out we made a quick run up to the summit and enjoyed a beautiful, warm, wind free moment looking at all the surrounding peaks, quietly plotting other adventures for the future.  It was so nice to be in the alpine with such nice weather after so many rough outings this spring.  I felt incredibly lucky to be experiencing it.

We eventually made our way back to our boards, strapping in to drop the steep ramp into the run.  The snow was in great shape and just as engaging as a remember as we descended down to the beautiful unnamed lake in the tight cirque.  What a great run and a hell of a way to end a season.

On top of the euphoria of getting such a classic run in that day, I was also stoked to have reached my goal.  All of the struggles and doubt melted away like the snow on the rocks we sat on looking back at our signatures on the mountain.

At the end of the day the tour and experience far outweighed the goal, and honestly I did not think about vertical accent the entire day.  I mostly thought of how fun it was to be skiing in such a beautiful place with a good friend on such perfect day.

This marked my final tour for the 2018-2019 season bringing an end to my vertical ascent goal and leaving my season total at 252,708 vertical feet.     

What I learned is that although challenging at times having a goal got me outside more even when my motivation was low.  Skinning through rain, questioning my sanity,  I was always happy after making a few turns and thinking to myself without a goal I likely would not have skied today.  It made me get more creative with my tours.  Going to areas I would not have before, and squeezing in an enjoyable tour in a time slot I may not have considered before.  I learned that access and personal free time become large limiting factors and in the end you flat out need the time to skin.  If one had endless amounts of free time I think any goal could be achieved, however at a certain level I think it would become monotonous and mentally draining. The key is keeping it fun.  I thought after this season I may set another goal next season but I am unsure that I will.  I think perusing a larger goal may take away some of the enjoyment of the sport and the reasons why I head out, which in the end is for the experience and excitement.  Going skinning just to skin sometimes takes you away from that want to go feeling and turns it into that gotta go feeling. In the end it was a great personal experiment and experience that I took a lot away from and will never forget.