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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Maps: Where LA And OC Families In Need Can Get Food While Schools Are Closed via LAist

March 20th, 2020 Comments off

Schools around Los Angeles and Orange counties have closed in an effort to prevent further spread of coronavirus.

As LAUSD officials pointed out, that wasn’t an easy decision, because many families depend on schools for meals, child care, and services for students with special needs.

“Our schools provide a social safety net for children,” schools Supt. Austin Beutner said at a Friday press conference. “The closing of any school has real consequences beyond the loss of instructional time.”

We are compiling this list of resources for families who may need help, and we will update as we hear more. In many cases, particularly when it comes to school districts, meals will only be given to individuals 18 or younger who are there in person.

My Call for Cal Poly Pomona to Move to Online Instruction – Letter to CPP President, Soraya Coley

March 11th, 2020 Comments off

I just sent this letter to Cal Poly Pomona President Soraya Coley and would encourage you to send something similar to whatever CSU you may be affiliated with as a parent, spouse, faculty or staff member. — Douglas

President Coley,

As a CPP parent and spouse of a CPP instructor, I am writing to implore you to move CPP to an online education footing immediately.

  • The Novel Coronavirus is a high-impact and sometimes deadly infection and large gatherings of people are highly likely to spread the virus.
  • Dormitories, like all mass housing, are especially prone to spreading the disease.
  • Using the current Italian situation as a guideline, we are quickly approaching the deadliest phase of this infection.
  • Many students and faculty live with immuno-compromised relatives and preventing the passing of the virus to them could be a matter of life and death.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said just this morning that …
  • “I can say we will see more cases, and things will get worse than they are right now,” Fauci said. “How much worse we’ll get will depend on our ability to do two things: to contain the influx of people who are infected coming from the outside, and the ability to contain and mitigate within our own country.”
  • Many of your nearby UC counterparts have already moved to online instruction in an effort to mitigate the transmission of the virus
  • Many experts in the field are calling on all of use to #FlattenTheCurve of infections to help reduce the impact on our healthcare system


We are trying to our best to mitigate the effects of this infection and I feel that CPP should also be doing the most possible by using online education to reduce physical interaction between students, faculty, and staff.

I call on you to make this determination IMMEDIATELY as we are on the cusp of the worst part of this crisis and lives depend on your decision.

Douglas E. Welch 
CPP Parent and Spouse

Boeing Employes Just Doing Their Job

January 9th, 2020 Comments off

“Would you put your family on a Max simulator trained aircraft? I wouldn’t,” one employee said to a colleague in another exchange. “No,” the colleague responded.” — New York Times

This behavior is the height of selfishness. They wouldn’t risk their own family’s lives, but they have absolutely no problem with risking the lives of thousands of others. Horrifying!

This is what corporate life allows us to do — deny any responsibility for our actions. “It wasn’t me, it was the company’s fault. I was only doing my job.” They ARE responsible, though. Companies are made up of people. People who need to empathize with those who might be harmed or killed by their inattention.

Categories: News, Opinion Tags:

On the Hunt for National Treasures With America’s Archive Detective via Atlas Obscura

October 15th, 2019 Comments off
An amazingly interesting article on the lost treasures of the National Archives and the hunt to return them. — Douglas

Mitch Yockelson knows what’s missing by heart. There’s an arsenal of diamond-encrusted daggers, swords, and scabbards gifted to Harry Truman by a Saudi prince and the Iranian shah—all stolen from his presidential library in 1978. There’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s official White House portrait. It went missing in a move. And there’s a batch of Abraham Lincoln’s telegrams that just up and vanished.

Yockelson, the investigative archivist for the U.S. National Archives, is unlikely to find any of these priceless historical treasures in a fluorescent-lit hall on the Maryland state fairgrounds. The annual Maryland Antique Arms Show brings together hundreds of dealers peddling all types of military antiques and ephemera. There, men toting bayonets for sale peruse table after table of old uniforms, yellowed discharge papers, and bowls of ammunition. Yockelson attends shows like this two or three times a year, in addition to scouring online auctions and following tips, on the hunt for lost Americana that rightfully belongs to the U.S. government.

Read On the Hunt for National Treasures With America’s Archive Detective via Atlas Obscura

* A portion of each sale from directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 1

An interesting link found among my daily reading

Event: California Native Plant Sale – Oct 22 & 23, 2016 – 10am-3pm

September 26th, 2016 Comments off

Click for larger images


OCTOBER 22 & 23, 10AM TO 3:00PM

Sepulveda Garden Center, 16633 Magnolia Blvd., Encino (near Hayvenhurst)

MEMBER PRE-SALE AT 9:30am-10am Saturday only


With over 1000 plants of over 50 California native species, there is a plant that can fill your garden’s needs — from hot and dry to moist and shady. Many native plants can survive quite well with natural rainfall once they get established. Sale items include seeds, irises, mints, sages, berries, hummingbird and butterfly plants, shrubs, perennials, and trees. Wildflower seeds will be available for purchase. Also for sale are natural history and native gardening books, activity books for children, field guides, and posters. Refreshments and lunch will be available for purchase.

During the sale, experienced CNPSers can assist you in selecting plants that are suitable for your garden! Proceeds from the plant sale help support the activities of the Los Angeles / Santa Monica Mountains Chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

Featuring FREE Native Plant Gardening Talks:

Saturday – Noon Wild Suburbia – Learning to Garden with Native Plants Barbara Eisenstein Thinking of getting rid of the lawn or simply improving your existing landscape? This talk will present practical approaches to transitioning from traditional resource-intensive yards to more natural, interesting and fun gardens featuring low water-use native plants. Barbara will present information from her new book, Wild Suburbia – Learning to Garden with Native Plants. Ample time will be left for discussion and book signing.

Sunday – Noon Designing a Native Garden in a Limited Space Steve Gerischer Garden design, particularly for a small space can be challenging. Some of the best strategies are counter-intuitive. Thinking ‘small’ can result in a garden that isn’t working at its best. Learn a few ideas for designing in confined spaces using our beautiful native flora.

More information at the Los Angeles/Santa Monica Chapter of the California Native Plant Society Web Site

Learn more about California Native Plants with these books

* A portion of each sale from directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 

Event: A Bintel Brief – A New Musical by Ken LaZebnik and Leslie Steinweiss – Sunday, July 10, 2016 @ 3 pm

July 7th, 2016 Comments off

Event: A Bintel Brief - A New Musical by Ken LaZebnik

Continuing his post-high school theater work, our son, Joseph Welch, will be appearing in this staged reading of our friend’s latest play, The Bintel Brief.

“100 years ago, Jewish immigrants to America sent letters to The Daily Forward’s column “A Bintel Brief)” (a bundle of letters), seeking advice about everything from labor disputes to romantic troubles. The editor, Abraham Cahan, responded as a kind of a Yiddish Dear Abby, offering advice and reassurance. The letters in “A Bintel Brief” remain a vivid and moving document of what it means to be newly arrived in America.

The new musical A Bintel Brief dramatizes those letters and the immigrant experience, which is universal and unchanging. Our cast represents the diversity of the immigrant experience: the letters may have been written in Yiddish, but the joys and sorrows are the same in any language.”

A Bintel Brief – A New Musical

Sunday, July 10, 2016 at 3 pm

The Pico- Union Project
1153 Valencia Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Takata Air Bag Crisis Hits Our Home [News]

June 30th, 2016 Comments off

The long-running and widely reported problems with Takata air bags in a variety of Japanese vehicles has be on-going for a long time now and as owners of 2 Honda vehicles, we have been dealing with it for over a year. We were lucky enough to get replacement air bags for our 2004 Honda Element, although to took several trips to the service department, over several months, to get them all replaced.

We recently traded in a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid, which didn’t have any air bag recalls with a 2014 Honda Insight Hybrid. Unfortunately, we recently received a recall notice for this new vehicle and tried to get it into service. What has happened, though, would seem ludicrous if it didn’t involve injury or death from a malfunctioning Takata airbag.


Our service department was unable to get any replacement air bags for our vehicle and recently offered us an option. First, they would take the vehicle into their storage lot and offer us a full paid rental car for the full time required to receive and install new air bags. Unfortunately, the dealer’s service storage lot was completely full with other vehicles awaiting air bag replacements. Instead, the dealer agreed to provide the free rental and told us to simply park the car at home and not drive it.

We waffled a bit on doing this, as it seemed odd to just have a car sitting around, even if we would get a replacement vehicle. I had heard how dangerous the air bags could be, though, so my wife and I finally relented and picked up a rental car about 2 weeks ago. It still seemed silly, but better safe than sorry, we thought.

It looks like it was a good idea, though, as today the US Department of Transportation has issued a press release that “…urged owners to stop driving the “unsafe” cars until they have been fixed.” (U.S. Warns Honda and Acura Owners to Replace Airbags, New York Times, June 30, 2016) I had seen previous stern warnings like this for other affected vehicles, but this was first one I had seen specifically for Honda. What’s interesting, though, is that these recall warnings only seem to address 2001-2003 vehicles, but ours is much newer, so there must still be large issues involving vehicles made up to the 2015 model year. You should check this article (Takata Airbag Recall: A Complete List of Affected Vehicles, Daily News, June 3, 2016 ) and with your dealer to see if your newer vehicle is affected.

Based on this new warning, I would urge you to immediately call or visit your dealer’s service department, confirm that your vehicle is under recall, and then take advantage of whatever programs they provide for replacing your vehicle until it can be repaired. This situation has clearly reached a crisis point where car dealers realize that the potential legal exposure of not replacing the vehicles far outweighs the cost of providing rentals to affected vehicle owners. As several of the related articles said, the very next trip of your vehicle should be to your dealer for repair and nowhere else.


Categories: News, Opinion, Technology Tags:

California Wildfire Information 2016 – A collection of resources for the 2016 fire season and beyond

June 23rd, 2016 Comments off

(All links confirmed as working – June 23, 2016)

As is common, we are in a drought again, here in California, and this makes the occurrence of wildfire more likely and also increases the damage that wildfires can do in the landscape and in populated areas. In an effort to stay in touch with the wildfire situation here in California, I have collected a set of resources to keep me informed when fires break out. While I live in the middle of the San Fernando Valley and fairly free from the direct danger of wildfire, fires in the surrounding areas can cause large problems with evacuations, smoke plumes, and ash and also directly affect friends and family who live in or near wildlands

I noticed this year that 2 major map-based information sites are no longer available. This is a big loss, as they tried to show active burn locations, fire perimeters and more for each incident and provided a large amount of easily interpreted data. I hope that they come back online before too long (as one web page suggests.) They were great resources.

Cal fire banner

CAL FIRE is a State agency responsible for protecting natural resources from fire on land designated by the State Board of Forestry as State Responsibility Area (SRA). CAL FIRE also manages the State Forest system and has responsibility to enforce the forest practice regulations, which govern forestry practices on private and other non-federal lands. Two major themes are attendant to the CAL FIRE mission. One is the protection of the State’s merchantable timber on all non-federal lands from improper logging activities and the other is the protection of the State’s grass, brush, and tree covered watersheds in SRA from wildland fire. CAL FIRE is a “conservation agency” with origins stemming from the “Conservation Movement” of the last century.”

Cal Fire provides a number of online resources:

Cal Fire Incident Google Map with perimeters

Inciweb Wildfire Information

“InciWeb is an interagency all-risk incident information management system. The system was developed with two primary missions:

Provide the public a single source of incident related information
Provide a standardized reporting tool for the Public Affairs community
A number of supporting systems automate the delivery of incident information to remote sources. This ensures that the information regarding active incidents is consistent, and the delivery is timely.”

InciWeb Resources: Fire Information Fire Infomation

Join us for Arduino NIght at Hackerspace LA! – Wed, June 8, 2016

June 4th, 2016 Comments off
I’ll be at this upcoming Hackerspace LA meetup showing off what I’ve learned about Arduino in the last few months. Join me for demos and discussion. Bring your own projects to share!

Join this free meetup as we learn about more and tinker with the Arduino electronic microcontrollers and learn about building all types of circuits. Arduinos are small electronics boards that can be used to create easy to sophisticated circuits with wires and sensors. Bring your own laptop, Arduino and bread board.  This is for anyone, at any level, to come and have some fun tinkering, learning, and showing off your own projects.

RSVP for Arduino Night via Meetup
RSVP for Arduino Night via Eventbrite

500 YouTube Subscribers! Thank You All!

May 16th, 2016 Comments off

500 Subscribers on YouTube! Woohoo!

Thanks to all those people who like what I do enough to take the time to subscriber and watch. It is greatly appreciated!

Youtube 500


Watch my latest YouTube videos in this playlist

Recent uploads

Categories: Announcement, New Media, News, Podcasting, YouTube Tags: