Private Firefighting

Considering the United States is plagued with a privatized police force and military it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are private firefighters as well. Private firefighters were dispatched by insurance companies to protect select groups of homes in both the Boulder Fourmile Fire and the Colorado Springs Waldo Canyon Fire.

When firefighter Eric Morris shows up at wildfires across the West, locals battling the flames sometimes look at him and wonder who sent him.

The answer isn’t a public agency. It’s an insurance company.

Morris is among a group of private firefighters hired in recent years to protect homes with high-end insurance policies. In a wildfire season that is one of the busiest and most destructive ever to hit the region, authorities and residents say their help is welcome.

…For insurers, hiring them is worth the cost. They spend thousands on well-equipped, federally rated firefighters, potentially saving hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars to replace a home and its contents.

The forest fires this summer in Colorado have been horrible. I’m happy that Private firefighters are able to benefit the insured by providing the extra manpower that lets public firefighters divert their attention elsewhere. It’s also nice to see that insurance companies are using a form of “preventative care” that benefits everyone. One can only hope this sort of thing may someday crossover into the healthcare industry.

Security For The 2012 London Olympics Is Nuts

I’m a lover of sport. I also really enjoy the Olympics on several levels. But reading this “Welcome To Lockdown London” article in the Guardian makes me hope that the Olympics are never held in a place I live. Security has simply reached a point where it’s no longer comforting and, frankly, has become scary.

In addition to the concentration of sporting talent and global media, the London Olympics will host the biggest mobilisation of military and security forces seen in the UK since the second world war. More troops – around 13,500 – will be deployed than are currently at war in Afghanistan. The growing security force is being estimated at anything between 24,000 and 49,000 in total. Such is the secrecy that no one seems to know for sure.

During the Games an aircraft carrier will dock on the Thames. Surface-to-air missile systems will scan the skies. Unmanned drones, thankfully without lethal missiles, will loiter above the gleaming stadiums and opening and closing ceremonies. RAF Typhoon Eurofighters will fly from RAF Northolt. A thousand armed US diplomatic and FBI agents and 55 dog teams will patrol an Olympic zone partitioned off from the wider city by an 11-mile, £80m, 5,000-volt electric fence.

It makes me proud that Denver was the first and only city to ever reject hosting an Olympiad after being selected. The movement against hosting the 1976 winter games was based largely on environmental and financial issues. I can only hope that Colorado’s vote in 1972 will prevent it from ever being the U.S. nominee as the host site. However, there are now talks of Denver exploring a potential bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

via Boing Boing (which is doing a great job of covering the craziness that has become the Games of the Summer XXX Olympiad).

Map Of Panem

Hunger Games: The Most Accurate Maps Of Panem

Bloggers aimmyarrowshigh and badguys have created this exceptionally accurate map of Panem, the world created by Suzanne Collins in her series “The Hunger Games“. Panem is described being a North America that has been ravaged by war and geological catastrophes.

“The result was Panem, a shining capitol ringed by thirteen districts, which brought peace and prosperity to its citizens. Then came the Dark Days, the uprising of the districts against the Capitol. Twelve were defeated, the thirteenth obliterated.”

Map Of Panemimage courtesy of badguys and aimmyarrowshigh
Click the map. It’s massive. And well thought out. Its creators took into consideration all sorts of information from the books, including:

  • The Capitol is in Denver.
  • D12 is Appalachia.
  • D11 shares a border with D12, is one of the largest districts, is South of D12, and is primarily used for growing grain and produce.
  • D10 is primarily used for raising livestock. They do NOT process the livestock in D10. However, to feed an entire nation, D10 is likely another very large District.
  • D9 processes food for the Capitol and the tesserae; therefore, it likely shares borders with the food production Districts (D4, D10, D11).
  • D8 produces and treats textiles and is a factory District. It is POSSIBLE to reach D12 from D8 on foot over a course of weeks/months. Therefore, it does not cross a large body of water.
  • D7 specializes in lumber. It’s probably large. It has no role in food processing or manufacture.
  • D6 works closely with the Capitol in the research and manufacture of drugs (morphling, medicines). It likely has close ties to D5 in the production of mutts.
  • D5 is entirely dependent on the Capitol, so it’s probably somewhat nearby, and specializes in genetic research and manipulation. Because of the necessity of creative thought and intellect, it’s most likely a smaller District so that it’s easier to monitor and control.
  • D4 is the ocean. It does have a role in food production. It’s very large. It is a Career District, so it likely is near the Capitol and has some self-sufficiency, but not enough that it doesn’t engender loyalty. (Aside from that, D4 = perfect.)
  • D3 has extremely close ties to the Capitol and works with electronics and technology. It is likely small, the Capitol can closely monitor its scientific minds. It has no role in food manufacture or processing.
  • D2 specializes in weaponry, is the most loyal District (because the Capitol needs to keep its weapon specialists happy, non?), and has no role in food production. D2 also works in some minor Mining elements and trains Peacekeepers. The Panem railroad is easily accessible in D2.
  • D1 produces luxury goods for the Capitol — INCLUDING having a diamond mine. Kelsey Lake Diamond Mine is a defunct diamond mine in Colorado, USA. It is located in the State Line Kimberlite District, near the Wyoming border.
  • D13 specialized in nuclear power, shares a border with D12, is both visible and reachable from D12 by foot, and is North of West Virginia. Three Mile Island was in New York Pennsylvania, and probably remained a nuclear reactor or was co-opted again as a reactor. D13 is small but mighty and is surrounded by Wilderness. It is self-sufficient.

This information was combined with some speculation about the results of future cataclysmic natural disaster in order to reach the maps final result. Of course, to me, the most interesting aspect of the map is the Capitol is located in what is now Denver, Colorado. I like the idea of Denver being the future capital of the post-apocalyptic dystopia.

Additionally, I would be remiss to not include Nerd Friday’s version of the Panem map shown below. This arguably more accurate map places the Capitol near Grand Junction, Colorado. More information about Nerd Friday’s creation process can be found in the bibliography and referenced works as well as the frequently asked questions section.
Map of Panem

Jim Gernhart: Colorado’s Living Corpse

Jim Gernhart

In 1951 Burlington, Colorado farmer James Nelson Gernhart pulled a variation of the old “Tom Sawyer” and held a rehearsal of his own funeral. The trial run consisted of eight pallbearers carrying a casket from his home to a waiting hearse, they then attended it to the local armory, where almost half of Burlington, Colo., turned out for a funeral sermon by the Rev. S.H. Mahaffey. The local newspaper also published Jim’s obituary. Jim Gernhart continued to gain fame by holding annual funerals drawing even more attention from the media. His “last” funeral was held in 1980 after his death at the ripe old age of 103.


“Real nice funeral, ain’t it?” Gernhart once remarked. “Does a man good to see so many people out to bury him.”

This Ain’t No Cowtown Volume 1

“This Ain’t No Cowtown” (A Colorado Comp) is a celebration of Colorado artists in compilation form. Consisting twenty-two Colorado based bands, “This Ain’t No Cowtown” is being offered on a pay-what-you-want basis with all proceeds going directly back to the artists. Thanks to ZetaKaye House for putting this comp together.

Bands included on the comp: