Literature, Fiction & Non

Here’s the few that made their way to the top of the legendary Great Pile of Books™. One of my data science projects is to create a MySQL database of the 1500+ volumes and put in on the web. I’ll be glad when I can access style sheets using WordPress.

image_graphix_book_witches image_graphix_book_doerr_all_the_light_we_cannot_see
Meyerson, Michael I. Scott, Sir Walter.
image_graphix_book_bissell_apostle Morrison, Toni.
image_graphix_book_peterson_guide_insects_north_america Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio.
image_graphix_book_oord_uncontrolling_love_God Schiff, Stacy.
image_graphix_book_the_crucified_God Camus, Albert.
Stegner, Wallace. Storr, Anthony.

BelPres Christ & Culture Book Discussion Group

Many Tuesday mornings starting at 6:30a I attend a book discussion group at Bellevue Presbyterian Church. We cover a wide variety of works of fiction and non-fiction, most of which I most likely would not have read on my own. Makes for interesting discussion.

The current selection is: Roland H. Bainron’s Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (ISBN: 978-0-452-01146-5) first published in 1950. This year 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Luther’s publication of the Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, an event most experts mark as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. It will be interesting to contrast Luther with Calvin, as well as gain better insight into Luther’s disputes with another 16th Century theologian, Erasmus.


Previous favorites include:

Under Construction


CoCoRaHS, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network


I recently became an active member in CoCoRaHS, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network sponsored by the National Weather Service. CoRaHS began at the Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University in response to a damaging flood in Fort Collins, Colorado in 1997. Having installed the Official CoCoRaHS Gauge and set up the requite web account to report my daily readings, at 7am sharp each morning I take a reading of rainfall, temperature, and record information about clouds. How CoCoRaHS is pronounced is a question often asked; it’s “KO-ko-rozz”

My CoCoRaHS Station Name is Bellevue 1.1 SE and Station Number is WA-KG-231. I see an active number of participants on the Eastside (King County, Washington).

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” – Matthew 5:45 (KJV)

Virulence of Varroa mites in Managed Honey Bee Colonies

Varroa mites (Varroa destructor) and common apiary practices are examined in an article posted in Nature on 15 May 2017.

The varroa mite (shown sitting on honeybee hairs in this scanning electron microscope image) is honeybee parasite that can spread viruses. Credit: Erbe & Pooley/USDA/ARS/EMU
The varroa mite (shown sitting on honeybee hairs in this scanning electron microscope image) is honeybee parasite that can spread viruses. Credit: Erbe & Pooley/USDA/ARS/EMU

Natural swarming suppressed in domesticated bees and hives placed close together enable infected forager bees to spread the mites more quickly. In an 11-month study of 120 commercial colonies, Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman at the US Department of Agriculture in Tucson, Arizona, and her colleagues found that, although hives had been treated with chemicals to control the mites, 55% of treated hives were still lost.

A model that simulated varroa populations and bee interactions showed that natural swarming, which is suppressed in domesticated bees, keeps varroa populations down. Swarming bees carry the mites away from hives, thus depleting their food supply, and the infected forager bees that raid other hives can quickly spread the mites when hives are placed close together.

Find the article at Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, Fabiana Ahumada, Henry Graham; Are Dispersal Mechanisms Changing the Host–Parasite Relationship and Increasing the Virulence of Varroa destructor (Mesostigmata: Varroidae) in Managed Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Colonies?. Environ Entomol 2017 nvx077. doi: 10.1093/ee/nvx077

Next up … Bioethics! … again …


In mid-April the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University (GeorgetownX) began a revised Introduction to Bioethics (PHLX101-03x) course on the edX platform. I attempted the first release and found some of the supplementary material lacking. Confronted with time constraints I decided to set the course aside (unenroll) and complete the archived version when I wasn’t so pressed for time. Having had now the chance to gain more insight on the topic through independent reading and lectures of Greg Dr. Greg Sadler.  I think I’ll probably get much more out of the course. I’ve decided to add David VanDrunen’s Bioethics and the Christian Life: A Guide to Making Difficult Decisions  to enrich my understanding of the coursework

In a nutshell, Introduction to Bioethics will cover five major themes, each lasting two weeks and divided into two units:

  1. Respecting Autonomy: The first theme explores one of the founding issues of modern bioethics: the importance of respecting the autonomy, or self-determination, of patients and research subjects. Why is it so important? What are its limits? And what about the autonomy of doctors and nurses? In Unit 1, we will look specifically at patient autonomy. Unit 2 is about provider autonomy.
  2. Bioethics and the Human Body: The second theme explores issues concerning the human body. Unit 3 will ask us to think hard about what disability – and “normal” – really means. Unit 4 will look at fascinating questions around enhancing the body.
  3. Bioethics at the Beginning of Life: In Unit 5, we’ll look at the fascinating world of “collaborative reproduction” – new ways of creating babies and building families, and some of the ethical issues they raise. In Unit 6, we’ll explore the important and difficult issue of abortion. Good and reasonable people disagree on this topic: we’ll be exploring different views to help all of us think more deeply about it.
  4. Bioethics at the End of Life: The fourth theme explores the other bookend of human life. Unit 7 looks at the end of life for those who can no longer speak for themselves – those in a persistent vegetative state, for instance. What parameters should guide our decision making here? And what is the definition of death, anyway? Unit 8 takes on a critical issue that is hotly debated right now: for those who can speak for themselves as they approach death, does the right to autonomy include the right to request help in hastening one’s death
  5. Global Bioethics: The fifth and final theme explores a variety of bioethical issues in an increasingly globalized world. Unit 9 will take on the urgent and complex issue of climate change: what does the perspective of Environmental Justice add to our understanding of the ethics? Unit 10, the final unit, surveys three issues of emerging growth: medical tourism, outsourcing medical research to developing countries, and ensuring food security in the 21st century.

This is GeorgetownX’s fourth iteration of the course and it is interesting to watch as MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) such as this morph over time Changes in subject matter (issues in bioethics) as well as pedagogical advances (improvements in presenting the subject material and assessing student learning) are apparent in going over past syllabi for this course. Introduction to Bioethics also offers Facebook and Twitter social media for student / instructor interaction as well as the standard edX platform discussion forum. Sounds like it will be an interesting 10 weeks.

Johnson Creek Science Symposium

Johnson Creek Science Symposium
Thursday, 26 May 2016 @ 1p – 6p

Reed College, Performing Arts Building 320
3203 S.E. Woodstock Blvd.
Portland, Oregon  97202

The 2nd Annual Johnson Creek Science Symposium will be held on Thursday, 26 May 2016 at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. The Johnson Creek Watershed Council was formed in the mid-1980s in response to long-term water quality issues and an endemic degradation of the riparian corridor. Several local government agencies had tried unsuccessfully to solve the flooding problems, prescribing top-down engineering solutions which ultimately failed. The Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) was formed in 1995 fostering the nascent stewardship ethic in the watershed.

Johnson Creek flows 26 miles from its headwaters near Boring, Oregon to where it joins the Willamette River, passing through a diverse topography of forests, farms, golf courses, parks and natural areas, industrial stretches, alongside trails and through residential communities. The corridor serves as home for a number of threatened and native fish and wildlife, including steelhead and cutthroat trout, coho and Chinook salmon, as well as red-legged frog, painted turtles, salamanders, pileated woodpeckers, and great blue herons.

My involvement with Johnson Creek started quite by accident. While at the National Park Service, I developed an interest in water quality issues. I had the opportunity to participate in river restoration coursework at OSU and, seeking to learn new computer programming skills, had joined the PDX R User Group in Portland. With more of a naturalist background then one in computers, I was asked to give a talk on local water quality issues and chose nearby Johnson Creek. The USGS (United States Geological Survey) and NWS (National Weather Service) both provide excellent historical water quantity and quality data, and I was able to do a basic statistical study of water flow in the Johnson Creek basin.

The R User Groups draw an interesting cross-section of participants, and as it turned out there was a professor from Reed College in attendance who took an interest; Johnson Creek is adjacent to the campus and he had been studying formally and informally for a number of years. Several meetings (and beers) later, I had come to appreciate this “case study” in riparian restoration.

This annual gathering of academic, jurisdictional, non-profit, and community partners is focused on sharing current science around the Johnson Creek Watershed. This year’s event will feature talks and posters about water conditions, restoration, and wildlife. While I most likely won’t be able to attend, I retain my affinity for Johnson Creek, its restoration and preservation.

The Science Symposium directly precedes the Johnson Creek Annual Celebration and fundraising dinner. Short talks will be given from 1pm – 5pm followed by a poster session from 5p – 6p. The event is free and open to the public. Space is limited to 100 attendees so early registration is recommended. Register soon at

1:00 – Introduction
1:10 – Restoration presentations
2:10 – Water conditions presentations
3:10 – Coffee and snack break
3:40 – Wildlife presentations
5:00 – Poster session in Kaul Auditorium

For further information please contact Emma Eichhorn, Symposium Coordinator, Johnson Creek Watershed Council at (971) 235-6361

Sponsors for the Symposium include, Riverview Community Bank, Oregon RFID, Otak, City of Gresham, Aquatic Contracting, Brown and Caldwell, Otak, Kern-Thompson, Metro, and ESA Vigil-Agrimis.


Klondike Gold Rush NHP’s Seattle Solar Panel Array

As a part of a National Park Service initiative to demonstrate the feasibility of generating electricity via solar power, in 2010 a 3kW (kilowatt) solar panel array was installed on the roof of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park visitor center at the Cadillac Hotel (1889), located in the Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.


An undated photo of the Cadillac Hotel in the Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. Its current occupants include the National Park Service and the Klondike Gold Rush – Seattle Unit.

A 2007 study estimated GHG (green house gas) emissions – including emissions from park and visitor activities – within the Park totaled 187 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCO2E). In contrast, the combined emissions from park operations and visitor activities within the park are roughly equivalent to the emissions from the electricity use of 16 households each year.  The 2010 Climate Friendly Parks Action Plan for the Klondike calls for a reduction of GHG emissions from park operations to 5% below 2007 levels by the year 2016. It further calls for reductions in the park operations energy use emissions to 5% below 2007 levels by 2016. Combined with improvements to the museum’s lighting systems, insulating the building envelope, and optimization/replacement of the HVAC, the rooftop solar array will enable the Park to meet its GHG reduction goal.


EAST: 12 REC210AE-US solar panels make up the KLSE Solar Array at the Cadillac Hotel.
The panels produce a maximum 3kW.


Detail of a 12 REC210AE-US solar panel. 12 panels make up the KLSE Solar Array at the Cadillac Hotel.


Detail of a 12 REC210AE-US solar panel. 12 panels make up the KLSE Solar Array at the Cadillac Hotel.


Specifications for REC Solar Panels (REC210AE-US)


A SMA “Sunny Boy” Solar Inverter SB300US (above) and a SMA DC-DISCONU-21 Disconnect Switch (below)

No substantial modifications to the building were necessary; to preserve the historic character of the Cadillac Hotel the solar panel array set back on the roof to avoid being seen from the street. On a normal sunny day in Seattle the panels produce and average 2.3 kW per hour while on cloudy days averaging about 300 W/h (watts per hour).

Note: Duke Energy So what is a Kilowatt-Hour?”