Democratic rule on the ropes.

Taiwan is now the last bastion of democracy in China. We seem to have failed Tibet and now Hong Kong. If we don’t stand here, what comes after Hong Kong, Taiwan? This is a struggle that can no longer bear further retreat. What makes it close to home is knowing students who are on the front lines in their struggle against this totalitarian rule. Those in Hong Kong have either fled or, if caught, are subject to life in prison without a trial.

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The Incredible World of Sound.

Vector Sound Wave. Colorful sound waves for party, DJ, pub, clubs, discos. Audio equalizer technology. Vector illustration

Sound is amazing. The world would be very quiet if there was no sound. Here are some fun facts about sound.

Basics of Sound

Sound Waves

 There are two types of sound waves, transverse and longitudinal. The difference is longitudinal-the wave are traveling parallel (like wiggling a string back and forth) and transverse-when the wave vertically points perpendicular (light or radio waves).

graphic representations of a sound wave

Graphic representation of a sound wave

Figure 1: Graphic representations of a sound wave. (A) Air at equilibrium, in the absence of a sound wave; (B) compressions and rarefaction that constitute a sound wave; (C) transverse representation of the wave, showing amplitude (A) and wavelength (λ). Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Wave Altitude

The height of the wave measured in volume or energy.

Wave Frequency

You have to see how many waves occur per second.


A measurement that measures from peak to adjacent peak or a trough to adjacent trough.

Relationship between frequency and wavelength

As frequency increases wavelength decreases.

Pulse wave is a wave form that includes square waves and similarly periodic waves.

Harmonic waves are a variation with position at one time.

Wave Absorption and Transmission

Wave absorption goes through a medium such as water, the sound gets absorbed, so then it is harder to hear the sound anymore, like noise cancelling headphones except this is water.

Wave transmission you can hear because it has more vibrations than water so you can hear better when the sound is transmitted rather than absorbed.

Speed of Sound in Various MaterialsIllustration showing wavelength variations in air, water and steel.

How do you determine the speed of sound?

The peaks or the speed of any single point on the wave shape to figure out a formula for the velocity of sound.

Speed = wavelength * frequency

Speed of Sound

Speed of sound =767 miles per hour

You have to break the sound barrier to go into space. The first person on earth to break the sound barrier was Chuck Yeager on October 14, 1947 in an airplane he named after his wife.

The speed of sound has to be the wavelength of the wave divided by the period of the wave. The speed of sound means the rate at which the disturbance is moved through the air molecules.Sound - The science of waves, how they travel, how we use them400 × 400

Changing the Speed of the Sound

To change the speed of sound, you will have to change the temperature or the density of the room you are in.

The wave has to overlap the initial shape after the period because the molecule has to be back where it started after one period.

Displacement of air molecules

We can see as the wave travels, the shape travels to the right in the picture below.

“Seeing” Sound

Voices produce sound wave. As an example, the picture here is the sound wave of me saying my full name. You can see that there is only one place where there is no sound, so my first and middle name run together.

Saying my name.

Here is an audio recording of me saying the Pledge of Allegiance.

Here is the picture of what that looks like.

What saying the Pledge of Allegiance looks like

Notice how they are all different shapes. If we could see sound, then we would probably see this everyday because we say the Pledge everyday.


This is how amazing Sound can be. You can use sound for many things. But don’t use it too brutally.



Our notes from class

Ultrasonics – Sound – Effect of Speed of Sound on Wavelength


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Coronavirus Lockdown Day 25

As I sit in my game room, which has now become my office there are so many changing emotions as we reach day 25 of lockdown. This all started with a notice from the New Mexico Governor’s Office on the 19th of March that she was going to lock down the state, so we left Phoenix where we were spending time with family, lost about $600 on the final night of the house we had rented and headed back home to Roswell. We made it back in the state within 24 hours of her announcement and since we have not left Roswell. We have gone out for exercise for what had to be done at work and to get groceries and household supplies. We have ordered delivery a few times, but mainly we have hung out around the house and gone through lots of old boxes, planted some things and had a good time with family. I don’t know what will come out of this long term, but in the short term it has been a bit of a reset. Before this lockdown event we were planning a March trip to Germany, but that eventually changed to the UK, a May trip to visit family in California, a June trip to go camping and a July trip to visit family in Kansas City. We moved our UK trip to June, met halfway to visit the family from California and we are still planning to go to Kansas City in July. The future travel plans have changed a bit. I don’t know when we will head off the continent again after our June trip, and likely plan more discoveries in North America for the foreseeable future. Maybe when my kids get to high school or college in 2-6 years from now we will rethink (or if we get a crazy cheap fare) then we may consider other options, but aside from that I think this continent is enough for me.



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1 Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!
2 Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!
3 Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where’s thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!
4 Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
5 Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!
6 King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!

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Kindness still matters.

I was perusing my e-mail inbox today and came across a tragic story of a dementia patient who was killed due to paranoia surrounding this outbreak. Here is the link to the story that outlines how an 86 year old woman died after grabbing hold of another patients IV pole to steady herself, but in so doing broke various social distancing mores. She was pushed by the patient, fell and hit her head and later died.

This story strikes home with me on so many levels. My father died of complications from Berylliosis, which caused many health issues finally including early onset Alzheimer’s and dementia. He wandered too. Mom would find him driving having found a set of keys somewhere after we took them all away…once that loophole closed, she would find his bike missing…finally he started just walking. Its not something you can control and everyone around does their very best to keep any sort of dangerous things away and watches all the time. Finally their bodies get to the point that they can’t roam…shortly thereafter death likely approaches. To say I feel sorry for both of these victims is an understatement. I know how shocking it can be to have someone invade your personal space and start talking two inches from your face. In any circumstance it is surprising. As most things in life, its all in how you deal with it. As we ramp up our fear of this enemy, lets not lose our humanity. A moment of kindness would have saved two lives.

Lets sow love, not hate…grace, not judgement…and caution, not fear. The virus is one unseen and largely uncontrollable enemy. However, we control how we respond. Be kind, be calm, LIVE, LIVE, LIVE…even in this time. Self-control, particularly in times of adversity, is one of the most challenging things to build as a person. However, if you can’t control yourself when times are tough, then there is no way it gets any better when your situation improves.

Be good…

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Christmas 2019

Sometimes I try to gra2018-12-16 21.09.08.jpgb hold of a moment in time and its almost possible. Tickling my ‘tweenage’ daughter who isn’t really interested in being tickled anymore leads to a walk along the Riverwalk with her under my arm like she was five…but of course she is now standing at the level where she can walk under my arm, it’s a moment to cherish. Wrestling with my son until he cries ‘uncle’ and as soon as he is loose he says, ‘NO UNCLE!’ and we go again, but he’s getting stronger… I remember Christmas Day 2016 and 2017 as they were the last ones that had real magic. Both of my kids were believers and there was magic all around. Those are moments to cherish.

We survived 2018 and 2019, but not at some cost. February 2018 saw the loss of Grampy and Christmas 2018 saw hospital beds and a whole world turned upside down. In what was a moment in time that is forever etched in the memories of five of my family members, my daughter found out. We had worked really hard to2018-12-24 23.54.10.jpg make Christmas as special as possible and make sure that everything was just as it should be. Christmas morning came and Santa had visited, he had brought all sorts of cool things and two little bears to boot! It was great and the kids enjoyed a moment’s reprieve, then we made the journey to the city t2018-12-25 13.15.28.jpgo go out to lunch (a new ‘tradition’, but not one that has ever taken hold though its happened more than once) and then on to the hospital. Lunch was delicious and we made our way to the hospital for a visit. Grandpa was wheeled out by Grandma and we had brought a small tree and a few gifts.

He hadn’t been here long as only a week before we were set to go on a vacation to the UK that had been planned for almost two years. A few days before we departed he went to the doctor and found out that his trip would be to KU Med instead 2018-12-25 14.20.17.jpgof to Europe. The weeks that followed were filled with doctor visits, hospital stints and a short trip home that wasn’t to last.

As the gifts we2018-12-25 14.03.04.jpgre opened, fun ensued as kids seem to make almost any place you have Christmas magical. Then something happened, the look on my daughters face was puzzled and I looked around to see what had happened. I noticed that two bears had been given from Grandma and Grandpa that looked oddly similar to the ones that the guy in the red suit had brought that morning. In what seemed like an eternity…that lasted probably 10 seconds…she realized that something was not as she thought it was. I couldn’t believe2018-12-25 14.16.46 it was happening and was so pronounced, but as I looked around I could see that her mom, Aunt Barbara, Uncle Brandon, Aunt Brooke and I were all seeing the same thing, the glass of the magic of childhood was at first damaged, but much like a rock hitting the windshield, repairable. However, before we could manage to fix the first chip, the spiderweb started to crack across her mind and soon there was no stopping the inevitable. In this Christmas that was already tough, apparently new lessons had to be learned. So, I said, ‘C’mon sweetie’ and we walked and talked. When she came back to sit down she was forever changed, although the hints of what she knew had been there for the months leading up to that morning. We had now survived not only this Christmas, but a tough lesson in real life.

Grandma had been living at the hospital with Grandpa, so neither of them had been home, so she went one by one to greet all of the Grandkids. This had been an incredibly tough episode, so seeing the kids made all the difference and provided a momentary reprieve from reality.

Now to be clear, if anyone was ever going to spoil the magic of Christmas, my wife was sure it wouldn’t be her Hallmark loving, Christmas tradition following, Uber Christmas family…it was bound to be mine, with older nieces and nephews who hadn’t believed in a very long time. When Grandma made it to my daug2019-02-02 19.54.09.jpghter she could tell that something was wrong. For a moment we attempted to fake it and said nothing was wrong, but its Grandma, so it came out that she had just found out. Then in an unexpected and valiant effort to help her feel better about the whole thing Grandma said, “Well…you know it’s just like the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny”…wow. From the look of shock on my daughters face I could see the entire sheet of glass collapse into fragments. In looking around the room there was no help, all of us were just as surprised at the outcome and after taking a vow (required by the family as a pre-nup) to never break the spirit of Christmas, I wasn’t quite sure how to recover.

Later that week the kids and I would see Grandpa for the last time. He told them to be good and was frustrated as ever by a rambunctious boy, but took time to deliver a message that he seemed to have known was his last to them. As we drove away, the tears flowed. Abie made it back a couple of times in the interim, but it wasn’t long until the call came that she needed to get there quickly. We put her on a plane and then we hit the road.

The call came when we were in Shamrock, Texas. We were filling up and the phone rang…the kids were inside and without any words I could tell from Abie’s silent sobs that he had moved on. In so many ways I try to say tha2019-02-05 09.49.04.jpgt no year is tougher than another. That its all how you take it, but for these two little ones who had lost one Grandpa in February of 2018, to lose the other in January of 2019 had rocked their worlds. As Grammy and I stood there and prayed with them in the parking lot there were lots of tears, then questions…then silence.

Today I look forward to Christmas as it is in this very moment, soaking up every instant. Sharing it with family and friends who I truly value, maybe more than I ever could have before. I hope I have been better at supporting my friends and family as they lose those they love. I have attended more funerals, to be there in support and delivered more meals. As a kid I could never understand why we had to make a meal for everyone, taking food around and visiting folks I didn’t know…now I get it. Its a moment in time that is indelibly marked in your memory and those family and friends that are there for you who make the moment easier to bear. There is healing in the process of death and of grieving if we look for it…friendships I have renewed because of their support and those who have always been there, but maybe I took for granted.

Today I have high hopes for Christmas 2019 and the memories that will be made today. Inevitably there will be new stories to tell that become a part of the fabric of 2018-12-31 22.19.27.jpgthe families we are lucky enough to share it with. Getting back to ‘normal’ the Christmas magic is scheduled to start at 0700  and inevitably some small fry will cause that to change and adjust and just maybe today we will see that as  a bonus…as any delay stretches this moment out just a touch more.



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O Me! O Life! By Walt Whitman

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The Tenacity of Hope

As I walked down the hallway I heard the pastor say, “Hey, kiddo that was the most amazing pumpkin bread ever!” Tears welled up in my eyes as I walked out of the church and got in the car. They couldn’t have known that earlier in the day she had led her parents through her parent-teacher conferences for the first time as mom and dad struggled to not to interject (with nominal success). Growing up is tough and sixth grade is definitely hard on kids, but WOW, what a transition for parents! We had realized the day before that while we could help her check homework, that our days of helping her get everything together and her teachers at school helping her get everything in had passed. The reality had changed and we had to grow as parents while she grew into a young adult.

As that first fall long ago passed with her heading off to pre-school and I wanted to go every moment to see my baby girl. Once I finally got used to the process of Tadpoles Childcare, then our son was born and again I had to get used to sending our precious bundle off. However, they were well cared for by folks I am still friends with today. Then came kindergarten and again my nerves were a wreck as we dropped her and then him off at kinder. Now we hit sixth grade and all of the sudden like a ton of bricks I realize that while my knowledge can still help her in many areas, I can’t understand all she has to get done. In reality, would I want to? Sixth grade and junior high is really tough. I remember my time in junior high and I constantly felt behind the eight ball and out of sync. You know though, in remembering those days I now wonder if the ‘weirdness’ of junior high isn’t necessary for us to find success later on. We have to learn how to work with multiple teachers, get to class, write down our assignments, do our homework, advocate for ourselves and ultimately to take responsibility for the outcomes. That is all new and happening at junior high. That is where it belongs, helicopter parents beware!

To find future success, we have to let them fly and invariably when they fly they will have some struggles. Today my daughter chose to step up, take control of her studies and be an adult for the first time. I am so very proud of her for her tenacity. Tonight, though the reality of her kindness, which is a life skill that isn’t contained in a book, shone through as she was thanked, loved and praised for her awesome pumpkin bread and the kindness she showed in baking it and sharing with others. For all the lessons for her this week, I am most proud of this one. For the lessons mom and dad learned this week, its okay to let them fall, invariably they are tenacious and they fix their eyes on the hope of a better tomorrow and work hard to make it a reality.


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Christmas by Dad.

4:54 on Christmas morning 1984, I’m 8 and I’m up! Santa has been to my house and he left a new train set that smokes, lots of candy and as always an orange at the bottom of the stocking. I check it out, and immediately go wake up my brother and sister who have to be as excited as I am to see the magic that has happened in the living room!! They aren’t interested quite yet, so I run in and tell mom and dad about it…yes, yes…isn’t that wonderful? I go back into the living room and start setting up my train set. Then they all trickle in little by little and the magic is repeated. Never so much as when you are a child at Christmas is magic so alive…so much a part of your life.

Fast forward five years and part of my Christmas was late. It was the day after Christmas and all was done when my dad walked in and handed me a box. It was cold outside and he had a cup of coffee in these  little convenience store coffee cups he always used. I could smell the cold coming from his clothes and I saw the sunlight beaming in the door behind him. He turns to talk to someone else and I open the box. It is all so vivid in my memory as I opened the box with the Panasonic alarm clock with green numbers that I had seen in the Sears catalog and mom and dad had ordered for me. I looked up and he was talking to someone else, but he and mom got a hug and I was off to set up the clock.

Thirty years on and its 4:54 am. I’m still the first one up…not sure if that is a blessing or a curse, but you can accomplish an awful lot before anyone else stirs…the magic is about to happen. Our kids are safe and sound, asleep in their beds and it is my daughter who will be the first one up. She will go and tell the other kids about the magic that has happened in the living room. She will try to get everyone to come and see and slowly we will all trickle in. We will see what Santa brought and open our gifts. It will be magical again.

The spirit of Christmas lives on in each child and we get a glimpse as it flashes through them. The magic of the morning isn’t in the stuff, it isn’t in the snow, it isn’t in the tree or the traditions. The magic of the morning is the great gift that we have received. The grace that comes from receiving the greatest gift we could in a totally unexpected form, the grace that comes from a father willing to sacrifice immeasurably for his children, knowing that they couldn’t understand it and wouldn’t ever truly appreciate the sacrifice.

As I look back in what will be the first Christmas day I have ever spent without my dad on the planet, I think about the other side of the Christmas. The 1980s when we were broke with every other farmer in the country and mom and dad struggled to make Christmas happen. The years where he lost his parents, the days when he struggled, the moments where he was hurt by me and the moments where things he said and did hurt me. I realize now that I didn’t see all of the trials and tribulations that he was going through. The tough days that you try to avoid and the moments where you finally appreciate the beauty of the gifts your father gives. Today I realize that its not an alarm clock, a toy train or any other tangible item. The gift is the day that your dad tells you, “We’re burnin’ daylight”. The gift is the moment where you realize its time to stand up to him for the first time. The gift is the moment where he pushes too far and you have to push back. That tenacity, that fighting spirit, that sheer will is crucial to getting through tough days like today. When I thought he was being a jerk, now I know he was preparing me for today.

I didn’t always appreciate my dad while he was here. I couldn’t understand and wouldn’t ever truly appreciate his sacrifice. But we loved each other. In the tough lessons he never left. In the hard times he kept working. In the desperation of $10,000 in medical bills and a crop that was bountiful, but the price was pitiful…he pushed forward. That is what I take from my fathers legacy. Just keep going.

Dad-You are loved, you are appreciated…and now you are free.

Christmas 2018 is gonna be different, lets do it!


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