mellowtigger: (gardening)
I was planning to attend the Science March anyway (more on my reasons in a different post on another day), but this march was unusual in that my employer was also participating as an official Partner. So I got to join my coworkers on the march. The weather cooperated, and it was a beautiful day. The count of how many people attended is under dispute. Even the earlier Kids' March had over 800 RSVPs, so you'd expect the main march to be heavily attended. The count showing up in local newspapers is only 10K people (with some great photos at that article). The march organizers, however, are estimating 48K people. If they were the ones operating the drone at the march staging area, they should have some good evidence for their estimate.

I made a sign to carry on the march. It didn't occur to me that I wouldn't be able to easily take photos. That oversight has consequences: fewer photos, poor quality photos/videos, and getting separated from my group for a long time so I could steal "a moment" to take photos.

Here's the pre-crowd assembling early for the march.

ScienceMarch St.Paul premarch at churchScienceMarch St.Paul droneScienceMarch St.Paul street gathering

We even had a band playing appropriate Earth Day music.

(embedded video is breaking the post, so here is the YouTube link)


I joined my coworkers for the march, and I even made it into their Twitter posts.  These 3 photos are not my own, of course.

ScienceMarch StPaul the whole TNC groupScienceMarch StPaul poster TNC united by nature guided by scienceScienceMarch StPaul me taking a photo

I eventually left my group to climb a bridge wall to try to get a video of the massive crowd. I never could see all of it at once, so the attendance was much higher than what you can see here.  After I took these photos, it probably took me 20 minutes to find my group again, even with multiple phone calls and texts.  I had the same disorganization leter while trying to find my former landlord and his group amongst the throng.

ScienceMarch StPaul crowd 1ScienceMarch StPaul crowd 2


(embedded video is breaking the post, so here is the YouTube link)

Then I got down from the fence that I was standing on. I'm a klutz, though, even on a good day, and I was wearing new glasses from 2 days earlier, so my depth perception is very bad. I ended up meeting the pavement harshly. Much later, I made my way to the Nurse station at the rally. They said I was their biggest accident so far. Typing this post on Sunday, my leg is still bleeding a bit. I won't be doing the gardening today that I had planned.

ScienceMarch StPaul my injured legScienceMarch StPaul nurse station

The rally was attended quite well. I could never get close enough to the capitol steps to hear the speakers well. I never did spot a single news station van or camera (although local stations did have coverage on the 10pm news). I also never saw one of the portable overhead 360 cameras that the police use.  It was the state capitol, after all, so maybe they already have plenty of security cameras everywhere.  It seemed like every third person carried a sign, so the crowd was very engaged. It was also unusually "pale", even for Minnesota. Where are we losing our minority kids in the science classrooms?

ScienceMarch StPaul rally at capitol stepsScienceMarch StPaul dinosaur costume
ScienceMarch StPaul woolly mammoth contraption side viewScienceMarch StPaul woolly mammoth front view


The woolly mammoth was an impressive mechanical contraption.

(embedded video is breaking the post, so here is the YouTube link to video 1 and video 2)


And, in no particular order, a collection of the few posters that I was able to capture on my sunscreen-smudged cell phone camera.


ScienceMarch StPaul poster Blinky SimpsonsScienceMarch StPaul poster Rosie the Riveter
ScienceMarch StPaul USA flagScienceMarch StPaul poster future scientist
ScienceMarch StPaul poster good science makes good judgementScienceMarch StPaul poster no science no beer
ScienceMarch StPaul poster resist ignorance
ScienceMarch StPaul poster science isn't liberal pollution isn't rightScienceMarch StPaul poster science lab labrador
ScienceMarch StPaul poster quote Carl Sagan science is a way not to fool ourselvesScienceMarch StPaul poster stand with Data Star TrekScienceMarch StPaul poster science is important muppets
ScienceMarch StPaul poster science based policy not policy based science

I think it was an Earth Day well spent.

#ScienceMarch #ScienceMarchMN #MarchForScience #NatureUnitesUs
mellowtigger: (changed priorities)
I'm feeling hopeful that the USA can address its climate, economy, infrastructure, healthcare, and especially its democracy (not an oligarchy).

So many people RSVPd that organizers had to move the event to a larger venue. It still wasn't large enough. I got there just a few minutes early, but thousands and thousands of people were streaming for several city blocks in each direction waiting to get inside. We didn't all fit. I got to see inside only via this tweet on the right from Bernie Sanders. 

My thoughts when I first arrived were interesting. They occurred to me in this order:
  1. Wow, this is a lot of people.  I'm not going to get an indoor seat.
  2. This location is ideologically appropriate. It's at the Minneapolis American Indian Center, across the street from the Community University healthcare (where I went for dental work 4 years ago), at a metro bus stop.
  3. This early crowd is quite old-and-white. 
  4. Minnesota is an awesome state.  How unusual that this older crowd would be so enthusiastic for a democratic socialist.  I picked a good place to move nearly 20 years ago.
As I walked block after block to find the end of the western line (another line trailed eastward), the crowd grew progressively younger, and I saw a few non-white faces too.  The doors soon opened, and the lines moved quickly as the indoor area filled up. The lines moved even faster when the only remaining space available was outdoors in the stadium area.  The staff had loudspeakers available, so we could still hear Bernie speak.  Here's my pan of the outdoors crowd, or as well as I can get with an old, cheap, basic cell phone.  Bernie's tweeted pan video is better quality.

pan1pan2pan3pan4pan5

I hung around for an hour outside before I decided that I had my fill of both crowds and standing. (My leg will never be back to normal after the injury and blood clot 2 years ago.)  I went back home to complete this post before driving to Nebraska for a week-long conference for work.

My current choices (in this order) for presidential candidate are listed below.  I reserve the right to change my mind up until the election.  If Bernie doesn't win the Democrat Party nomination, then my options shift to third parties.  Bernie was determined to avoid throwing the election by running as a third-party candidate himself, but I'd rather vote my conscience than vote for oligarchy.
I stated long ago that I won't be voting for Hillary, even if she gets her party's nomination. She'll need to be filling sports stadiums if she has any hope of defeating Bernie Sanders in the Democrat Party's primary.  If for some odd reason she wins (I'm convinced Bernie has a good chance at winning both the nomination and the presidency), then probably I'll be voting either Green or Transhumanist.

#BernieSanders #Sanders2016 #Election2016
mellowtigger: (Saturn vortex)
Cities in the diagonal stretch from Minneapolis to Fargo experience a greater range of temperatures than anywhere else in the United States.  This spring is proof enough of the short-term variability that we experience.

March started out with -21C (-7F) followed a few days later with 17C (63F) temperatures.  It was a very strange transition.  The snow had already melted away from the landscape, which was unusual enough so early in the year.  On the day with high temperatures, though, I was driving down the road rolling down the windows because I was feeling too warm in the car, then I looked to the side and saw that the ponds were all still completely frozen over with ice.  Hot and cold at the same time.  The landscape hadn't adjusted to the warm air.

snow 2015 March 23 MondayWe went back down to sub-freezing temperatures again.  Then we saw some more snowfall on March 23rd (photo at right).  It didn't last long, though.  Temperatures went back up, and the snow melted away quickly.   The next week or two saw temperatures fluctuate some more, but not as widely.

snow 2015 April 10 FridayOn Friday morning of last week, we actually had snowfall for a few minutes (photo at left).  It only lasted about 10 minutes, but there were some large snowflakes in that downpour.  By Saturday, though, we were back to 20C (68F), and I was out in the garden planting seeds already.

If our growing season keeps lengthening, then maybe one of these years I'll finally be able to grow some carrots for 2 years in a row.  That duration is important, because carrots do not produce seeds in their first year.  So far, all my carrots have died during the winter when the soil freezes.

Spring has finally arrived in Minnesota, though.  I'm cautiously optimistic for 2015.
mellowtigger: (Green Lantern)
I'm a happy camper.  I voted today, and in only 2 cases did I vote for either of "the big two" political parties.

We're so lucky here in Minnesota to having a thriving democratic process where lots of different political parties appear. I looked into the candidates for each race and selected my favorite based on their positions.  Apparently, I like the Independence Party here in Minnesota (who gave us Jesse Ventura as governor many years ago), because that's who the majority of my candidates were representing.  Who knew?

The Independence Party got 4 of my votes.  They were offering interesting candidates for state offices: Hannah Nicollet (for Governor), Bob Helland (Secretary of State), Patrick Dean (Auditor), and Brandan Borgos (Attorney General).  Their party got my votes for all of Minnesota's "big offices" that were up for election this term.

The Democratic Party got 2 of my votes.  One is for Keith Ellison for U.S. Representative.  I'm a progressive (which the Democratic Party isn't), but Keith has always been on the right side of every voting issue that's been important to me.  He also happens to be Muslim, which I keep hoping will shame those feed-and-clothe-the-poor-Christians into voting for candidates that actually work to feed and clothe the poor... but I keep being disappointed by them instead.  I also voted for Carolyn Laine for my Representative in the state congress.  There was only one third-party candidate, but Tim Utz was a scarier proposition than either of the big two party candidates.

The Libertarian Party got 1 of my votes.  We have Al Franken as the incumbent Democratic candidate, but he voted on the wrong side of the SOPA/PIPA issue 2 years ago, so I was determined to vote against him.  I'm not really a fan of the Libertarians, but the only alternatives were either a Republican or a former Tea Party Republican.  So a vote for Heather Johnson it became, since she was the least bothersome of the 4 choices.

I voted for a new city mayor here in Columbia Heights.  I liked the stated positions of Chris Beskar better than the incumbent.  We don't have political party affiliations for any of our city offices, I think.

For all of the contested county Judge seats, the challengers were all scary people so I voted for the incumbent for each of the races.  The other judges (7 in the Court of Appeals and 17 in the 10th District Court) were all uncontested races, so I voted for the only name available for each seat.  It's sad too that so many county offices were uncontested: Commissioner District 4, Sheriff, Attorney, and Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor District 4).

Maybe I should consider taking up a political career for the next election?  I care about politicians actually serving the interests of the people.  I can't see myself doing a worse job than anyone else on the ticket.  Except maybe Keith Ellison.  I think he's a good politician.  He actually gets involved in the community throughout the years, not just during an election cycle.  I haven't seen the like since Ann Richards was governor of Texas.

I hope you voted.  And, like me, I hope you found many candidates you could support who were not from "the big two" parties.  I am happy with my vote this year.

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