I haven’t been back to this blog for quite awhile. But a new technical problem drew my attention, so I thought I’d check back through the various posts and see what I had here.
To my surprise, the first post was on 22 August 2014, almost 5 years ago to the day, back when I set up the blog to promote my books (all two of them eventually) (see Book tab above for what I’m talking about). It seemed appropriate to honour this month, five years later, with an update post.
I saw in earlier posts that I was deep into Nanowrimo participation. What a great motivator for writing. If you don’t know what that is, look it up. If you are a writer or a wannabe writer, it’s a superb activity for getting words out of your head, with lots of motivators online as well as in person. I believe 2014 may have been the last time I participated, but can’t be sure without looking it up and right now, I’m pressed for time because….. Interested? https://nanowrimo.org
Two years ago, I volunteered to do something different with writing – I’m running a Creative Writing Workshop for Casey U3A, a group of about 10 people, give or take who is on holidays in Queensland for the winter, who are excellent writers who deign to show up twice a month to work on new writing tools. They are motivating and really keep me on my toes. I was a bit creaky in the first year, but I think I’ve found my stride. Here’s what we do.
On the first Tuesday of the month, we discuss and I present thoughts about a particular writing component, for example character development or worldbuilding, you know the ones. Then for two weeks later, they complete an assignment that provides an opportunity to practice that area for improvement, either with a story they have already written, or to try something new. Last month we worked on the concept of Time – when a story is set, how that is expressed to the reader, and even time travel. The goal: make your brain hurt! And they all reported that by the time they completed the ‘homework’, their brains were truly challenged. In about 45 minutes, we will be working on Backstory.
Speaking of 45 minutes, time for me to get off the sofa and ready for class.
First, I must apologize if you’ve been getting strange behaviour when visiting my blog, like CPU spikes being one. I’ve spent the better part of two days digging to the bottom of it, adding site security, all sorts of ugly stuff you don’t want to know about. I *think* I’ve found the problem and am working very hard to fix it, but I’m not quite there yet.
Cross fingers this is the issue and all will be back to relative normality shortly.
UPDATE: last scan of the site shows all clear. So I think we’re good to go!
The Avery case of Making a Murderer fame is being dissected from many different angles as more and more primary documents have been released. If you haven’t found it yet, you can read the trial transcripts, investigative reports from two of the involved law enforcement agencies, and much more at this site:
This week the Calumet County Sheriff’s Office released their report. That has led to new answers to outstanding questions, but also completely new, unknown information and questions about the investigation. One of these is the Radandt Deer Camp which is located due west of Steven Avery’s trailer off of a cull de sac called Kuss Road. The report has also revealed that the dogs searching for human remains got a hit leading that direction. Another person on the Reddit subreddit for MakingAMurderer, https://www.reddit.com/r/MakingaMurderer/ , said that Earl Avery said there were connections between the Avery yard and Kuss Road. Kuss Road also interlinks to the Radandt Quarry south of Averys (rightward in these photos) where supposedly another burn area and bone fragments were found. We also learned that a FIFTH burn barrel was collected from the Deer Camp.
Those bits of information sent me looking at photos once again. And here is what I found from different photos, both from the exhibit files taken at different stages in the investigation, and also from a TV program, Investigation Discovery, which focused on this case. What do you think? Could the remains found in the burn pit have come in this way? Check these out:
On 15 February, I sent an email to the Minister for Regional Communications, Regional Development and Rural Health, Senator Fiona Nash. These portfolio responsibilities could almost translate to NBN – National Broadband Network – in terms of who would benefit most from an operational an infrastructure. The content of my email related to a person who posted their disgust with how the NBN is failing them in Tasmania, a place that was touted to be the first state to have the best NBN services. But hey, our current government has really stuffed things up because the Prime Minister himself thinks he knows better than network engineers and technology specialists. So the system is now a joke.
Here is a smattering of my original email and the included content from the complainant (I don’t have permission to post the whole message, so I’ll just include a snippet and a link so you can go read the whole thing yourself if you’re on Facebook).
Dear Minister Nash
Here is something you can possibly attend to or push someone in your new area of responsibility to attend to. This sounds like a right stuff-up.
You’re stuck with a dud system. Perhaps you can influence some improvements.
From the facebook person, in a message that was sent to me:
> Today is day 21 with a failed NBN connection for us. We live in Port
> Huon, Tasmania, in the beautiful rural Huon Valley.
> We have had one occasion where an NBN technician has turned up, the
> day before a scheduled appointment because the technician was in the
> street doing another job. We were not at home.
> Since then there have now been four scheduled appointments to which no
> NBN technician has shown up. Excuses, via the ISP from NBN have
> included – ‘We didn’t have all the correct information” which is
> incorrect. “They weren’t home, so we left a card in the post box”
> which has never happened. “We went to the wrong address” which is
> unverifiable, oh and my favorite “We don’t often go down there.” Which
> is clearly correct. I await with interest the excuse for the no show
> on Friday, appointment 4, perhaps ” The dog ate my Purchase
> Order/IPhone/Car Keys?”
Then it just gets worse. The person asks for help and direction how they can actually get what they have been promised.
Today, I received a reply from the Minister. Well, not from her, exactly, but from one of the minions in the Department of Communications and the Arts, which is the department responsible for this fiasco of a project. It’s a doozy. They seem to think I am the person with the problem. Who knows if they bothered to go to the Facebook user and reach out to them. Well, you can read it yourself. The letter is available here (hope this file access works for you):
“When an Assistant Director replies for a Senator, it’s a brush-off.” He doesn’t even make the directory listing for the department. Not even the title makes the list.
If you are an NBN victim, maybe the address provided for assistance can help you, family, friends. Unfortunately, the PDF I received has the link embedded and it can’t be copied directly from it easily, nor clicked on to activate. On top of that, there is no ability to reply to the email I received because it is an noreply “service”. Anyone know how to get in touch with I’m sure the lovely person named Jason Sleeman? I guess I could write him a PAPER letter and post it to Canberra. This is from a COMMUNICATIONS department!
Back to the NBN, I’m one of the “lucky” ones with NBN nowhere in sight for my area, and I’m 35 minutes from the city of Melbourne. I don’t think I’ll need that policy address soon. I despair for the person with the actual installation problems.
We do live in crazy times. I’m not so sure they’re interesting any more. Just infuriating.
I’ve circled where it was found on 5 November. Can you see it? I can’t. In fact, there look to be fewer cars in that area than had been there later. Looks to be lots of gaps between them.
It would be worth contacting NBC to see all of their aerial footage on whatever day that was. Was it stock footage? Or was it shot at the time of the search? Maybe they have the original that can be enlarged?
Those who are examining the evidence in the Halbach murder case as depicted in the Making a Murderer program from Netflix (Dec 2015) have probably come across two elements that come into the story after initial searches: the magic bullet and the RAV4 valet key. I have tweeted about both of these as well as posted on the subReddit. I’d like to expand a bit, showing some of the images I’ve looked at as trial evidence has been released.
[see new image below – used with permission; Thanks, Smash.]
[NEW new image below – used with permission; Thanks, tuckerm33]
[oh DEAR – another visual analysis. I feel like a yoyo.; Thanks, magilla39 (I think)]
The Magic Bullet
Something’s been bothering me about the Steve Avery garage search and the ‘magic bullet’ found days later in that mess of a garage. Turns out, the spot that the flattened bullet at marker 23 was in plain sight. So how was it in one photo there wasn’t a bullet under, sort of, the green air compressor next to the red tool shelf stand, but amazingly there it is later when it’s magically found? Did Andy Colbert shake the tool shelf ‘violently’ as well? And the bullet ‘happened to fall out’ and roll under the green compressor? See what you think. Here are a series of photos from the trial evidence:
[and when you get through this, there is a surprise update at the end – WORTH IT!]
First is Evidence photo 266.
Unfortunately, the resolution isn’t very good. A magnifying glass would help. However you can get a relative position of the found bullet by observing the discoloration on the cement floor.
In the photo above: pay attention to the WHITE stuff near the yellow evidence marker. IT’s VERY IMPORTANT.
[old UPDATE – keep reading below this next photo]
‘Smash’ on the Reddit discussion of Making A Murderer took me on regarding these images and produced this, showing the angles if you moved the red tool chest around. In this image manipulation, it appears the bullet could actually be behind the wheel of the air compressor. It’s hard to know, given that many items could have been moved out of position, including the tool chest, by the time the bullet find happened. I could be convinced either way. There are no landmarks for the red chest position in the latter photos.
UPDATE January 2017
Well, things are emerging. Here’s another photo of the same area, comparing not the surrounding moveable items, but something that is UNmoveable: the WALL.
Why does that matter? Because there is NO DUST ON TOP OF THE BULLET. The bullet was placed there after the jack hammering the day before. Go ahead, slide back up this page and look again. The bullet is sitting on TOP of the CEMENT DUST.
The key found on the floor of Avery’s bedroom wasn’t found until several days after the initial search. It appears on the floor beside a bookcase across from the side of the bed, near the doorway to the room. It as Lenk who spotted it, not Colborn or the Calumet County investigator, Kuscharski. K was sitting on the bed, the key was straight in front of him, according to his testimony.
Several items on the top of bookcase are in their same positions. Note the position of the white pieces of paper near the remote control. And yet, Colborn’s testimony was that he shook the bookcase and the key fell out, somehow. You might say he pulled the bookcase forward (note the electric cable is a slight different angle) and it separated the back of the bookcase from the main structure (the cable extended into the bookcase to a charger I believe). Yes, the case had been searched, the loose items removed before. So why now? and how did the key end up so far away from the supposed source?
Finally, who moved the slippers and when? Lenk and Colborn were both working in that area according to K. Lenk points from the doorway: look there’s a key.
There is an uproar that began this week in Australia when the head of the top national research organisation, CSIRO, decided we don’t need no steenking climate change modeling. Those scientists and staff can change to engineers and start figuring out how to ‘mitigate’ the risk.
It didn’t take long until the worldwide climate science community came out in force to tell the ‘venture capitalist’ Marshall that he’s got it wrong.
– explaining to yourself that their outcry is because ‘they’re not going to want to change’. Sir, good science is completely about change. I see you’re an engineer and physicist by background. That explains much about your misunderstanding. You worked in a static discipline. You’ve been working in finance and business. You are being very condescending to those who are telling you that you are wrong.
– change as your justification. **Inclusion** of mitigation is, in my opinion, a good thing. We are at risk. It is important to assist those whose lives will be affected by the impact of extreme climate change — coastal areas, food production, energy use, building construction to name a few. However, it does not mean the models are static and complete. What if we had stopped developing and observing 30 years ago? Our models today would be wrong. How would we understand what is happening now? It’s not just about continuing to collect data. It’s about interpreting it, feeding it into the scientific community, testing hypotheses, and identifying the areas where mitigation is going to be required.
– equating the reaction to ‘religion’. ““In fact it almost sounds more like religion than science to me. “ On the contrary, you are hearing from professionals — worldwide — who are pointing out you are making a grave error. This is not a group of religionists, sir. These are some of the best minds in the world. I suggest you consider they may know a bit more than you about this area.
In closing, I don’t want you to take any time in responding to this email. What I ask you to do instead is to ramp up a bit of your own humility, think about the expertise of the people in the scientific community most involved in this discipline, and step back from this ill-thought-through decision.
The Case Against Adnan Syed documentary from HBO has shown a possible option: concrete grinding tools. The diamonds do not overlap in the harlequin pattern, though. But maybe the abstract shape we have been working from isn’t correct.
After doing additional web searching, I found a site that supplies them. It’s still not clear that this is what caused the marks, but an interesting fact: the man who found Hae’s body was known to polish/grind concrete. The private investigators are still working on this.
Here is the website if you want to look for yourself. I won’t put a photo this time.