[blank renku] promises

 at the end of day;
the unexpected happens; 
promises not kept;

Developer with good intentions writes.
He codes until the end of day, or more,
and wanting more than just to do his job,
he promises to get things done for you.

Paul Guernsey, © 2019

[1blank renku – a form of linked verse, written by one or multiple authors in alternating collaboration. Blank renku differs from renku in that stanzas alternate between haiku form, and blank verse. The shortest blank verse stanza would be a couplet. The longest would fill a Post It note, the original (fictional) medium of blank renku, as invented for The Blank Verse Mystery. Variations are expected.

Blank renku can be played as a game, in the original spirit of renku. It merges poetry from East and West. Writers can choose to write in their stronger form or in their weaker one, and in this way it is similar to the game of THUD.[2]

[2THUD –  [see also Terry Pratchett’s 34th Discworld novel Thud!] “Thud is a strategic [board] game based on the ancient struggle between Dwarf and Troll…Players take turns to play the fast moving Dwarfs as they attempt to trap Trolls in a carefully constructed ambush, then take the part of the fearless Trolls who lumber slowly yet powerfully around the board. You can learn to play in a matter of minutes, and no two games are ever the same.” – discworldemporium.com

Refrigerator magnets 023 Bunsen Burner

But why does Bunsen get all the credit? What about Desega and Farady?

Bunsen burner, device for combining a flammable gas with controlled amounts of air before ignition; it produces a hotter flame than would be possible using the ambient air and gas alone. Named for 

  • Robert Bunsen, the German chemist who introduced it in 1855
  • (from a design by Peter Desdega, who likely modified
  • an earlier design by Michael Faraday), …

Encyclopaedia Britannica

Back to School: To Learn? To Teach? To Do?

Drafty Integrated GIS MS Thesis
2018/12/09, 2019/10/20
Paul Guernsey

Remembering Mr. Carroll and Mr. Clarke, Cass City High School teachers, mid 1970’s

101 Years at C.C.H.S.

“The six most familiar teachers at C.C.H.S. have a combined total of 101 years of teaching experience… Mr. Carroll has spent 7 years teaching driver education to students during the summer, while Mr. Clarke has spent his 23 years at Cass City sponsoring Future Farmers.”
[Cass City High School year book, “Perannos”, 1976]

“Lyle Clarke sponsored Future Farmers of America and is knows as ‘Dad’ to all of his Ag. students. Richard Carroll braved another year of driver’s training students after a year of typing and booking classes.”
[Cass City High School year book, “Perannos”, 1978]

Let me be frank. Mr. Carroll was the singularly most uninspired teacher in Cass City High School for generations before and since. His students assigned him many names, none as respectful as “Dad.” YET, he imparted to me and my classmates one skill that advantaged us profoundly for the rest of our working and non-working lives: the ability to type (also to drive, but that is a different story [link to future post]). Typing was considered an academic pursuit back then, reserved for the college bound, or for secretaries under the service of some lofty executive, lofty enough to be above such things as keystrokes. Little did we know that Bill Gates had other uses for our typing. Little did I know that my programming career would be built upon the noisome activities of Mr. Carroll’s room, the clicking of keys, the shhhhunk-ding of the carriage as it returned home to its left margin stop.

Will spatial data and GIS be as ubiquitous and proufoundly useful to future workers as typing has been for our generation? I do not know.

I did not live on a farm, so was a “city kid” in the culture of the Thumb of Michigan. I never knew Mr. Clarke, but I have known and studied under educators to whom “Dad” or “Grandpa” would have been keenly apt. There is no substitute for the kind of enthusiasm that rubs off certain teachers and dusts the student mind with spores of interest. I am not a teacher, but I believe that spatial data and maps are fascinating. We have only just begun to leaverage the tools recently made available in this field. I believe that for today’s students, stepping into an age of drones and the remote sensing of data, maps will become more and more useful for communication and persuasion. The required knowledge scales heights far beyond the biomechanics and muscle memory needed for typing. We have a great deal to teach our youth to prepare them for that kind of workplace. I have only begun to learn myself, but we all begin from this place of darkness, seeking light.

Will this course of study lead me to teaching or just to different levels of my own career? I do not know what I will decide later on, but I do know where my interests lie at this moment and these I will pursue. Beyond that, I choose to defer judgement until I have more ability to judge, but I did have some thoughts about GIS and education, so I include them, here. I had originally considered this an initial draft of my Masters Thesis, but I really don’t know what one of those looks like.


The earlier a subject is introduced, the more likely students are to connect with it on a passionate level.

Kids naturally want to contribute in a meaningful way back to their parents and communities who have given them so much.


The purpose of my Thesis is to

  1. Provide an answer to the question, “How are we going to keep them down on the farm…?” Let’s start turning “down on the farm” into “up on the farm,” the place to stay for a high-tech, high-reward, high-quality life.
  2. Provide a satisfying and lucrative career for myself with more time outdoors and less time sitting at a keyboard.

Drones are superior to satelites for spatial resolution. Pixel size is “30 meters for Landsat 4-5 TM and Landsat-7 ETM+”, while a typical drone pixel represents as small an area as 6 sq cm. [3] While drones are too expensive for widespread use at the moment, this is just a manufacturing problem. Drone price and supply will very soon not be a significant factor in the ag geospatial market.

Given the approaching ubiquity of low cost drones, how can we put Michigan in the center of the Ag GeoSpatial map,” metaphorically speaking?

To me this is neither a hardware, nor a software issue, but an educational one. Regardless of how cheap drones become, nor how sophisticated or user friendly software becomes, someone still needs to launch the aircraft, upload and process the photos into GIS data, analyze and understand the results. Furthermore, the results need to be meaningful in terms that matter most to the Farmer: Crop Yield. And who better to do this than the tech savvy, video game controller wielding farm (and farm town) kids, the kids being educated now in our rural secondary schools?

“The purpose of a UAS [6] is to help you look at a particular challenge from a different angle – literally. The more information you have at your fingertips, the better informed decisions you make.” [7]

“In the next 10 years, farmers will have to have successfully managed the areas listed above while dealing with more regulations and a population that understands production agriculture less and less. We will have to educate our end user better.” [8]


[1] A Real Farmer on Drones in Farming

[2] Misconceptions about UAV-collected NDVI imagery and the Agribotix experience in ground truthing these images for agriculture

[3] UAV Imagery vs. Satellite

[4] Best Drones For Agriculture 2018: The Ultimate Buyer�s Guide

[5] Measuring Vegetation (NDVI & EVI)
Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)

[6] UAS – Unmanned Aerial System

[7] Meet Matt Barnard, Founder of Crop Copter
Successful Farming, issue
[], 2015/08/19, by Laurie Bedford
© 2018 Meredith Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

[8] ibid.

Back to School index

A Real Farmer on Drones in Farming

An IM [instant messaging] conversation with A Real Farmer in the Thumb of Michigan concerning the use of drones in farming
2018/11/26 08:06

[Paul] Kris, I have a Farming / Education question. Figured you’d be a great person to ask.

[Kris] I will try. I can always tap a few resources nearby.

[Paul] Ha! I did not expect such an immediate response!

[Kris] Snow day today ….you remember lol

[Paul] I have been accepted into Michigan Tech’s Integrated GIS Masters Program.
There is a company near you, Thumb Drone Works. I keep thinking of using GIS technology on farms, but I also keep thinking about teaching GIS in high school.
I am wondering if I am just being a dreamer. Is any of this really needed on a farm?
GIS should interest the students. Drones and stuff. I also think it would be a bridge between farm kids and city kids, if that is a thing any more.

[Kris] I would say yes drones are needed and used. Mike will have more insight. I will have him add information at lunch time. Sounds like a great direction to be headed in.

[Paul] OK. i will look forward to MIke’s input, and for more of yours. I’m off to work. Happy Snow Day!

2018/11/26 13:14

[Mike] Hi Paul, Mike here. That is an interesting question and one that I have taken some time to consider for our farm. Drones as an in season scouting tool are priced a little out of the market in my opinion(satellite images are cheaper). They both accomplish essentially the same thing. They both do an effective job of capturing variability within a field.
That being said a yield monitor in a combine does the same thing. At the end of the day yield is what matters. Knowing that in season is interesting but oftentimes by the time a plant is showing stress it has already lost yield potential.
Our experience has been they show us where the sandy or wet spots are, that is not of a lot of value to us (We already know where they are) and we can see that on a yield map at the end of the season.
They may be a point in the future where we can target applications to specific points within a field I just do not think the technology is there yet on the application side.

2018/11/26 23:16

[Paul] Mike, Thank you for your candid analysis. I will do my best to temper my GIS studies with this kind of reality. I will also do my best to discover how to use the technology to actual advantage. I will do so with your words in mind. Perhaps when I have more knowledge I might ask you more specific questions. Thanks, again.

Back to School index

MTU Entrance Essay: Statement of Purpose

The Statement of Purpose [3000 char] should:

  • demonstrate a student’s passion for and knowledge of the intended plan of study using the language of the field;
  • specify the intended program, area of study, research interest(s), and desired advisor (if applicable);
  • describe any professional and/or presentation experience; and
  • for research-based graduate degrees, describe research, enterprise, and/or publication experience.

Students are also encouraged to review the research interests of Michigan Tech faculty before writing the Statement of Purpose.

mtu.edu.Statement of Purpose.txt
Integrated Geospatial Technology – MS
Paul Guernsey Player, October 2018

My love of maps began at least as early as my introduction to the sport of Orienteering as an exchange student in Sweden. It often astounds me how much data a simple map can convey. My career has taken me to mostly flat areas, where contour maps and orienteering have little use, but I remain more comfortable with a folded paper road map than relying on my phone’s GPS app. Even the lowly road map is saturated with information. I love a good legend.

The tools of GIS have blossomed. In my college FORTRAN class, we generated text-based maps of Lower Michigan’s Houghton Lake region, plotting areas more or less suitable for a solid waste landfill, with data points previously collected by our instructor. Since then, I have been professionally immersed in databases. SQL Server is a beautiful tool, but in combination with geospatial data and a GIS framework, plain old queries present so many options never before imagined. Stories can be told with maps succinctly and compellingly, and with an ease we hardly dared imagine back in my FORTRAN days.

My current employer would seemingly have had little need for mapping its data. It is primarily a sales company and most of its attention is directed toward individual interactions between our sales reps and prospective customers. Nevertheless, I decided to present the idea to management, partly as an effort to help the company, partly to satisfy own curiosity for the ArcGIS framework. I downloaded the SDK and got to learning.

My goal was to present a map of our customers in Italy, generated from data extracted from one of our on-prem databases. The first task was to convert our addresses into geospatial data and save these back into each customer row. I found the appropriate API call, got a unit test working and turned my attention back to the db. How would I store the geometry? A bit more research uncovered the SQL Server Geometry data type. I wrote code to convert the API result to this type and wrote methods to populate this new column. Back to the ArcGIS SDK and its user guide. One weekend’s worth of work later and I had my map looking good enough to present to my boss, who showed it to his boss. The word back from the CEO: “That is bad to the bone!!!”

The CIO was curious about how this could be implemented in our environment. I explained that it would require the addition of just a single column to the customer table and that the SDK came in various flavours (.Net, Silverlight, JavaScript), and that address changes would require a refreshing of the geometry column from the ArcGIS API. Now, we have an official medium priority task on the schedule to incorporate a map of our Italian sales reps into one of our apps.


  • continue working full time remotely for my current employer
  • learn GIS technology in a comprehensive way;
  • learn to gather my own data;

mtu.edu.Student Statements.guidelines

As part of the Graduate School application process, students are required to complete two student statements, a Statement of Purpose and a Personal Statement. Each statement provides unique perspectives and insights for reviewers. These statements are required to be completed through your MyMichiganTech application checklist and should not to be uploaded as supplemental documents. Students should pay careful attention to this section of the application, as many departments place strong emphasis on these statements.
Programs commonly have areas of interest associated with them. A current listing is provided at Areas of Interest List to aid students in completing this section of the application.

More [than 3000 char] On my Purpose

Back To School Index Page

MTU Entrance Essay: Personal Statement

This statement allows applicants the opportunity to tell their story and reflect upon the experiences that have shaped their lives.

The Personal Statement [2000 char] should

  • give details on what is unique and distinctive about the applicant;
  • provide information on overcoming personal obstacles or hardships (financial, physical, or familial);
  • identify and address gaps or discrepancies in the application;
  • articulate how a graduate degree will help to achieve future personal, professional, and career goals.

mtu.edu.Personal Statement.txt
Integrated Geospatial Technology – MS
Paul Guernsey Player, October 2018

Not a stereotypical computer programmer, I have raised children, worked in businesses as well as helped to run my wife’s practice. I play music, and write poetry, as well as computer code. I have completed an IronMan distance triathlon [#NeverAgain] and recently rediscovered Nordic skiing, which my father and I introduced to Michigan’s Thumb back in the 1970’s.

It’s time to learn something new, and valuable. Bouts of “retooling” have been a mainstay in my career. They have kept me interested in coding and kept me employable, even during economic downturns. One skill of the successful developer is the ability to select from many emerging technologies ones that will survive long enough to be worth learning. I have been fairly good at this, though not perfect. GIS is the next on my list, because I believe its growth potential is strong, and because I enjoy maps.

But I am not putting all my marbles into one rabbit skin pouch. While I have been a loyal Microsoft developer, I am also investigating the Aurelia framework, and Tim Berners-Lee’s new open source “Solid” project. I am really interested to see how I can integrate the ArcGIS SDK with that one!

I enjoy coding, but I plan to especially enjoy coding data onto maps. Since earning my first degree in 1983, my continuing studies have been mostly self-directed. I am looking forward to learning in a university setting again. I intend to take full advantage of both my professors’ knowledge and my fellow students’ enthusiasm. I hope for the new skills I am about to learn to provide me employment opportunities anywhere in the world.

mtu.edu.Student Statements.guidelines

As part of the Graduate School application process, students are required to complete two student statements, a Statement of Purpose and a Personal Statement. Each statement provides unique perspectives and insights for reviewers. These statements are required to be completed through your MyMichiganTech application checklist and should not to be uploaded as supplemental documents. Students should pay careful attention to this section of the application, as many departments place strong emphasis on these statements.
Programs commonly have areas of interest associated with them. A current listing is provided at Areas of Interest List to aid students in completing this section of the application.

Back To School Index Page

Cutting the Strings, My First RC Plane

My teenage self refilled the tank of my tethered control line model airplane. The gas “glow” engine was powerful enough to easily remove fingers and it burned hotter than hot. I did not just respect that plane. I feared it.

We knew when any neighbor within half a mile flew one of these things. Unmistakable was the distinctive whine of the engine as it powered the plane through tight little circles around the pilot. The Doppler effect raised and lowered the apparent pitch every few seconds: RRRrrreeeooowwwwWWW, RRRrrreeeooowwwwWWW, RRRrrreeeooowwwwWWW, over and over into the early dusk of the summer night. Here is an example: Cox PT-19 Day: Flying the classic Cox PT-19 control line trainer on a nice Sunday evening.

Pitch, nose up or down (not the sound), is the only aspect of such a plane’s attitude under the pilot’s control. The engine has one speed, full throttle, and you fly until you crash or run out of fuel. By rotating his wrist, the pilot makes the plane climb or descend. His feet spin his body to keep the plane from wrapping the control lines around him. It is possible to perform loops [and other fancy stuff: CONTROL LINE FLIGHT FROM A WORLD CHAMPION!!], though I did not become so proficient in my two, possibly three flights with my 1970’s aircraft.

“Aircraft,” in my opinion, is too lofty a word. While they technically fly, the activity more closely resembles flying a stunt kite, where you live on the surface of a hemisphere described by the radius of the strings. This dimensional limitation, combined with the exhilarating experience of starting that engine with my very own tender young fingers are the factors that drove me from the sport in such a short time.

Radio controlled model airplanes had always seemed beyond my abilities to afford, and my skills to fly. Enter the wonders of 21st century design and circuitry. The sport* of flying model airplanes is now approachable for the masses. Beginner Mode is a beautiful thing. It uses on-board electronics to stabilize the plane against sudden forces, be they wind or pilot induced. For just over one hundred dollars you are in the club, figuratively speaking. If you want to join an actual club, which I am seriously considering, that will cost you another hundred.

Type “learn to to fly RC plane” into a YouTube search box and you will find videos featuring my first RC plane of choice, the Sport Cub S, made by Horizon Hobby. This plane is ultra light, relatively slow, and completely non-threatening. I bought mine a few weeks ago at Jackson Brothers Hobby Center Plus in Clearwater.

My Horizon Hobby Sport Cub S, after repairs. Flying is not the only skill to learn in this hobby!

The inevitable career ending crash happened while flying the plane in the vacant lot north of the office where I work. Over eager, as always, I was flying in winds rated too strong for the aircraft. According to the instruction manual, “Fly your aircraft outside in no greater than light winds (0 – 5 mph).” The flag at American Power and Gas was blowing significantly out from the flagpole. The wind blew the plane off course toward the parking lot, despite my attempts to keep it close to the ground. Close to the ground, I thought, would mean out of the strongest winds, but it also meant flying at my car’s door level. The head-on crash unseated the motor mount from the plane and was followed by the equally inevitable, but desperate and clumsy, fat-fingered attempts at repair.

My first mistake was to mis-comprehend the play I was observing in the motor mount, and assume the only real problem was the cracked cowl. Sure there was a bit of extra vibration when I tried to fly, but it was not “bad” if kept it below half throttle. I liked flying slowly, anyway. I would just repair the cowl, and that would be fine.

Back to YouTube. Of course, I was not the first to cause and repair this particular type of damage. My first question, “What type of glue should I use?” was answered fairly quickly. The options included a readily available type available at the hardware store or super market. White Gorilla Glue does not require a special trip to the hobby store, and the RCGroups.com forum recommend it. The instructions on the box caution, “DO NOT OVER APPLY GLUE. A little goes a long way. While curing, glue will expand 3-4 times, creating an incredibly strong bond line. Be careful of squeeze out.” 3-4 times? Are they exaggerating? Squeeze out? Yeah, yeah, standard warnings. I applied the glue in the Ace Hardware parking lot. The glue, I planned, could cure on the way to the soccer field where I would be flying.

But wait. When I lifted the plane from its box at the field, the glue was doing something “unexpected.” It seemed to have oozed out from beneath the motor and was seeping into the tiny gears that drive the propeller. The shaft was becoming immobilized with “an incredibly strong bond.” Ahhhh! Some quick work with my pocket knife while the glue was still pliable saved the day. I was able to pick and etch all the glue out of the spinning parts. Not a terrible result. I could still fly.

But a couple of windy night flights and several hard nose dives later, and the engine mount was too loose to fly, at all. In addition, the elevator was not longer responding to the stick, at all. This was it. The plane was toast, and my newly revived flying career would have been over, were it not for YouTube publisher FishyComics. His “Hobbyzone Sport Cub S motor Mount repair tutorial” video made the process seem way less daunting than I had been making it out to be. Fortunately, I was not as bad off as some. This guy, who started his first repair with plastic model glue is now on his second plane. #disaster #melting

But what to do about the elevator failure? I waited for my son, Eli the Observant and Calm, to visit before opening up the plane for any further repair. Sure enough, Eli noticed that the elevator’s disconnected state could be easily fixed. “Looks like there is a connection tube and you just fit those two rods together through it.” Two rods? I had seen only one, and the tube was not resolved at all by my eyesight, even with glasses. That’s My Boy! I was back in business. After one failed glue job on the motor mount (I over compensated and used too little glue) and some extra-curricular experiments with the foaming stuff, I was back in the air, honing my skills again, back in Beginner Mode.

How did the Wright Brothers do it?

On the way home, I pulled over and texted my son to tell him the good results of our RC plane surgery. I told him of a newly found Vacant Lot, much better for flying than the soccer field. I had run through 4 batteries and flew for nearly an hour. I had even switching out of beginner mode, flying for several seconds in Intermediate without immediately crashing, as usual.

A few seconds is good. 🙂,” Eli responded. “The Wright bros only got a few seconds.

😮 They had no beginner mode, just crashes. With Orville or Wilbur in the plane!” I responded. “But they made a wing, and it lifted them, and my wing is hardly changed from theirs.”

Yeah! That’s totally amazing,” Eli said.

No longer confined to the surface of a half-dome, I have experienced the ability to fly in 3 dimensions, maybe more. Within the range of my radio transmitter, I decide in which direction, how high, and how fast to go. Ultimately, it will be these successes which fuel my continued progress in the sport of radio controlled planes – successes fueled by a fantastically easy to fly (and repair) new breed of plane, and the freedom experienced when flying them. And lest you think these abilities and freedoms trivial, remember this. The Wright brothers’ passion for aviation was sparked by a model helicopter made of cork, bamboo and paper and powered by a rubber band that their father had given them in 1878, and we all know what this led them to do between then and 1903. We launch our dreams from the shoulders of dreamers who came before.

Paul Guernsey Player © 2019/02/03


*sport. Is RC flying a sport or a hobby? I’m going with sport, because of the physical skills required. Does that mean that wood carving is also a sport, because that certainly requires physical skill? No, carving is a form of sculpture, which is art. I am open to suggestions here.

[review] DeWalt Carbon Fiber Composite Staple Gun

Best in class
Criteria for purchase:
1. [✓] Must not rust itself away. #CarbonFiber
2. [✓] Not made in China. #MadeInTaiwan
3. [✓] Shoots multiple sizes of staples. 1/4 – 9/16
4. [✓] Shoots brads. 1/2, 5/8
5. [✓] Lifetime Guarantee 5. [✓] Makes me happy to use. #SuperLightWeight
6. [✓] Makes me happy to see hanging in my shop. #gorgeous #looksLikeAGlock

User Experience:
Amazingly light to carry; light trigger, easy to squeeze; center line on nose makes targeting easy; loading ends with a secure and satisfying CLICK;

Purchased from Ace Hardware, Dunedin, Florida

[photo] I stapled these twin 2×2 forms for pouring concrete pedestals to support new arbor posts. #Easy #LooksNice

[tanka] raster of pixels

raster of pixels
all in motion | frozen still
breaking it all down

reality abstracted
our furrowed field of vision

Paul Guernsey Player, © 2018/11/25


picture element; a single element of a picture, where the picture is considered as a grid (having been sliced into a fixed number of rows and columns); each resulting location within the grid is a unique element representing the color of that element. (see raster)

[PIX (pic., picture) + EL (element)]


(word coined in 1934 by German electrical engineers while inventing the television; originally, a screen frame of a television picture, and later used more generally as one method for represent a still image on a video monitor.)

a method of representing a picture (image) on an electronic device (TV, computer monitor) by breaking the image into a fixed number of rows and columns and assigning a single color to each element. Each picture element or PIXEL contains the average color for that area of the grid. By increasing the number of rows and columns, the size of each PIXEL is reduced and the accuracy of the image increased. Pixelation is a condition of a raster image which has fewer pixels than required for an accurate representation of the object. Pixelation can be exaggerated to render an image (or section of an image) unrecognizable. (same as BIT MAP)

[from German RASTER, grid; from Latin RASTRUM rake or plow with 2-6 blades]