Mount Sutro: An Electronic Periodical

117052021
0653Hours EDT

The Steel Aurora

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
Photo Credit: David July — Aurora Steel Products Co. metal cabinet in a laboratory (Widescreen Edition), National High Magnetic Field Laboratory Applied Superconductivity Center, Shaw Building, 2031 East Paul Dirac Drive, Tallahassee, Florida, 23 October 2010 I made the widescreen edition of this photograph because I thought it would make a nice desktop wallpaper. Unfortunately, there is not much information online regarding Aurora Steel Products Co. of Aurora, Illinois. They operated at the address on the cabinet, 153 Third Street, from 1956 to 1973 if not longer. I was unable to locate corporate filings with the State of Illinois but at some point, the 130-year-old Richards-Wilcox, Inc. purchased ASP and continues to manufacture some Aurora-branded products.
Photo Credit: David July

The Magnetic Flux Density

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
Photo Credit: David July — "Laser In Use Do Not Enter" sign at the Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry lab, National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 West Paul Dirac Drive, Tallahassee, Florida, 23 October 2010 The past few days have been quite enjoyable and filled with an interesting array of activities. Erik and Lauren drove down from Alexandria, Virginia on Thursday so he could attend the Southeast Regional Society for Photographic Education conference. Staying with me along with them is Duchamp, possibly the world's most relaxed dog. I worked on Friday but we met up for lunch at Essence of India. After work, we got together with Erik's brother Thomas and his girlfriend Alice to check out the opening reception for HyperReal world: landscape as commodity at the Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibition featured some nice photographs and as an added bonus, we arrived early enough for the wine. It also gave Erik and Lauren a chance to chat with some art school professors they know. Afterward, we went to Wells Brothers Bar and Grill (formerly Monk's) and enjoyed beer and dinner on their back patio. Saturday morning, we all met up again for breakfast at The Lunchbox (formerly Jenny's Lunchbox) before driving to the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL or Mag Lab) for our private tour. I have twice attended and enjoyed the annual open house the Mag Lab holds. However, the popular event draws large crowds and decent photography is near impossible. Photo Credit: David July — Valve A control and gauge on the HE-43 Dri-Lab glove box, National High Magnetic Field Laboratory Applied Superconductivity Center, Shaw Building, 2031 East Paul Dirac Drive, Tallahassee, Florida, 23 October 2010 Photo Credit: David July — Equipment in the sample preparation laboratory, National High Magnetic Field Laboratory Applied Superconductivity Center, Shaw Building, 2031 East Paul Dirac Drive, Tallahassee, Florida, 23 October 2010 Photo Credit: David July — Conductivity experiment equipment power, arm and fire control panel, National High Magnetic Field Laboratory Applied Superconductivity Center, Shaw Building, 2031 East Paul Dirac Drive, Tallahassee, Florida, 23 Octob Photo Credit: David July — Red alert light at the 45 Tesla Hybrid magnet in the DC Field wing, National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 West Paul Dirac Drive, Tallahassee, Florida, 23 October 2010 Photo Credit: David July — Microscope stations and laboratory, National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 West Paul Dirac Drive, Tallahassee, Florida, 23 October 2010 Photo Credit: David July — Cardboard boxes, black fence and "Danger High Magnetic Fields" sign, National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 West Paul Dirac Drive, Tallahassee, Florida, 23 October 2010 Photo Credit: David July — Oxygen deficient atmosphere alarm controls in the DC Field wing test cell corridor, National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 West Paul Dirac Drive, Tallahassee, Florida, 23 October 2010 Photo Credit: David July — Test equipment in a laboratory, National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 West Paul Dirac Drive, Tallahassee, Florida, 23 October 2010 Since Thomas works at the Mag Lab, he was able to provide us with a customized walk-through highlighting his own workspaces and some of the laboratory's more interesting equipment. There were no other people at the Shaw Building, our first stop and home to the NHMFL Applied Superconductivity Center (ASC). The ASC conducts focused research in the areas of bismuth strontium calcium copper oxide (BSCCO) high-temperature superconductors, coated conductors, grain boundaries, low temperature superconductivity and the recently discovered magnesium diboride superconductor. It was interesting to see the work Thomas and the ASC are doing, even if much of it is over my head. We then drove to the main Mag Lab building, a 370,000-square-foot complex housing the 45 Tesla Hybrid, 900 MHz NMR and four other large-scale magnets. Passing through offices and pipe-filled corridors along the way, we encountered a few scientists working on projects as we surveyed the site. It was a lot of fun to be able to shoot the laboratories, equipment, signs and control panels with hardly anyone around. In the evening, we went downtown to the Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science and the opening reception for APPETITE: Expressions of the Politics Encircling Food. There were many more pieces than the MFA show but like it, this exhibition featured some cool work. Although there was no wine, there were 50 pizzas plus salad and vegetable trays on hand for the event. Before visiting with Claire, Ashleigh, Scott, Amanda and Drew, Lauren, Erik and I took Duchamp to San Luis Mission Park just north of the Mission. I have always enjoyed this place and the wooded trails available right in the middle of the west side. We were surprised to see the extremely low water level of the nearby lake, over which you can walk on a wooden boardwalk. Right now the boardwalk is over dry land, the edge of the water some twenty feet away. In the end, the past four days can be summarized thusly: great friends, fun activities and perfect weather—what more can you ask for?
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July

The House Always Wins

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
Photo Credit: David July — Over the past few months, several new specialty businesses have opened in Tallahassee. With names like Sands Internet Café and Dino Dino Internet Café, one might conclude these new shops are catering to people without home internet access or those telecommuting to work. The primary business, however, is a new form of gambling becoming popular in Florida and other states: the computer-based sweepstakes. After purchasing time on a computer, patrons can play casino-like games and win prizes including cash. Since the prizes are awarded to predetermined sweepstakes winners and not by chance, these establishments take advantage of a loophole in many jurisdictions' gambling laws. As they become more prevalent, the sweepstakes cafés are not going unnoticed by some local officials. Mike Carmolingo, City Commissioner in Deltona, Florida, recently oversaw the unanimous passage of an ordinance prohibiting new internet cafés from opening for six months. "What they really are is gambling houses," he told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. He is hoping the Deltona ordinance will eventually lead to an outright ban, like in North Carolina where internet cafés become non grata on 01 December 2010. Earlier this year the Independent Weekly gathered information on the demographics of sweepstakes cafés in that state. Their research revealed that many of the burgeoning cafés exist in low-income minority neighborhoods of Durham, Raleigh and Burlington. Senator Floyd McKissick, Jr. (NC-D) expressed his concern about gaming rooms masquerading as internet cafés saying, "...we need a way to identify businesses that are exploiting vulnerable populations who are using their limited resources on gambling." Not all public officials are against the new ventures. Three months ago in Fall River, Massachusetts, City Councilor Leo Pelletier opened the New England Internet Café or "Leo's Place." It is apparently one of the few sweepstakes cafés in the state, having garnered little if any negative attention. Says customer Diane Zumuda, "We come here, go on the Internet, play some games, hang out. It's a fun thing to do." Photo Credit: "Florida" at Urban Tallahassee — Sweepstakes/internet cafe in the Tallahassee area Back at home Pat Fowler, Executive Director of the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, says the businesses are "hitting the state in huge numbers," which is of concern to the group. Fowler told the Tampa Tribune they have seen a sudden increase in calls over problem gaming to which they attribute the proliferation of sweepstakes cafés in the Sunshine State. In Hernando County, for example, at least fourteen have opened in recent months. There are at least four here in Tallahassee. The first to catch my attention was Sands Internet Café at 4176 Apalachee Parkway. Formerly the location of Smokie's Barbeque, Sands appears to have the typical setup including "internet café" and "sweepstakes" signage outdoors. I do not know their hours of operation, but I drive past Sands every Sunday morning between 0200–0400 and the parking lot is always busy. A mile west is Dino Dino Internet Café, 3618 Apalachee Parkway, occupying the former Gas Mart convenience store. Within walking distance of that, a new sweepstakes banner recently went up at NYK Internet Café, 3404 Apalachee Parkway. Finally, someone at the Urban Tallahassee forum reports the opening of Lucky Hit Internet Café last month at 3839 North Monroe Street. So just where do these businesses stand legally? In May 2010, the New York Times reported the Florida Attorney General's position "that while it considers sweepstakes cafés to be in violation of state law, it is up to local law enforcement to decide whether illegal gambling is indeed taking place." The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services regulates sweepstakes, which by definition in Chapter 849 Florida Statutes cannot have an associated purchase or entry fee requirement. The statute also requires agency notification of prizes greater than $5,000, meaning this is likely the highest possible winnings amount at these cafés. Furthermore, as devices that accept coins and paper currency are expressly prohibited, players exchange cash for electronic points and cards used for gaming. Photo Credit: Bob Self/The Times-Union — Customer Lou Andino from East Arlington plays one of the electronic sweepstakes games at Royal Times Sweepstakes, Jacksonville, Florida As more state legislatures take up the issue, some local law enforcement agencies have been reluctant to act while others are taking active measures. Casselberry, Florida Chief of Police James C. Ruf cites the lack of "clear direction from anyone" as one of his frustrations in trying to deal with the new businesses. Meanwhile, police in Roanoke and Virginia Beach, Virginia as well as Lynn, Massachusetts have raided and closed businesses citing violations of promotional sweepstakes laws. At the same time, poker rooms at Florida pari-mutuel facilities are seeing record revenues due in part to the July 2010 law that eliminated buy-in limits and increased the permissible hours of operation. Legal wagering of this type is allowed at the several horse tracks, dog tracks and Jai Alai frontons operated statewide as well as at all seven Seminole casinos. In April 2010, Governor Charlie Crist signed the Seminole Tribe Gaming Compact into law, which in addition to pumping $1 billion into the state's coffers, grants exclusive rights to operate slot machines, blackjack and baccarat games at some of their facilities. Back in North Carolina, the Chadbourn Town Council is leaving nothing to chance. They will hold a public hearing in early December on an ordinance regulating gaming cafés, just in case the statewide ban is later overturned. It is an uncertain future for the likes of Sands and Dino Dino. Until state or local officials decide their fate, it looks like the house will continue to win. We can only hope that the proprietors of these businesses will encourage responsible play and not blindly enable those experiencing tough financial times to flush what little they have away, all for the chance to "win it big."

The Capital Sanctuary

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
Photo Credit: David July — Abraham Lincoln (1920) marble sculpture by Daniel Chester French at the Lincoln Memorial (1922), Lincoln Memorial Circle, District of Columbia, 01 November 2008 Remember the scene in Logan's Run where Logan and Jessica, played by Michael York and Jenny Agutter, wade through the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool believing they have arrived at Sanctuary? The entire area has returned to nature. Familiar sights like the United States Capitol and Lincoln Memorial, long since forgotten by the people, are covered with sprawling vines and brambles. Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer — Logan's Run (1976) It was the only thing I could think of earlier today when I saw the image broadcast from a traffic camera at Blair Stone Road and Park Avenue. It certainly looks like the roadway has been completely overwhelmed by post-apocalyptic foliage. Photo Credit: City of Tallahassee — Traffic Camera 001 at 1549 EDT, 16 October 2010 While I am on the subject of Logan's Run, be sure to check out Keith Goldman's fantastic LEGO recreations of scenes from the 1976 film.
Photo Credit: David July
Logan's Run © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Photo Credit: City of Tallahassee