I am working on the template of this blog today in order to chase down some problems that have developed with my template and widgets.

Macon County Commissioners

Coverage of the meetings of the Macon County Board of County Commissioners.

Franklin Town Board of Aldermen

Coverage of the meetings of the Franklin Town Board of Aldermen.

Macon County School Board

Coverage of the meetings of the Macon County School Board.


Photos from my photoblog.

nullspace for future use

nullspace for future use


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Agenda for the 11-05-2012 Franklin Aldermen Meeting


The Franklin Town Board of Aldermen will be meeting on the eve of the 2012 election at 7pm. I plan on being there to cover the meeting. It may be a day or two before I can release the video of the meeting because I will be a poll observer from the time the polls open until they close the next day for the Romney Campaign and I intend on getting a full night's sleep.

Here is a sneak peek at the agenda for the meeting:

Agenda Packet 110512

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Edge of Space

The Universe - Edge of Space

Edge of Space - incredible video touching on space diving, space tourism, and the issues and dangers involved in expanding our possibilities in orbit - for science, industry, and some amazing recreation.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Review of Franklin TDA Meetings:
From July 2012 to October 2012

TDA Bureaucracy

I've been covering the meetings of the Franklin Tourism Development Board from the beginning of this fiscal year in July, and since things are about to get much more interesting with this board in the coming months, I thought it was pertinent to post the videos of the meetings that have been recorded so far so you can see exactly what has been taking place...

July 9, 2012

Link to my blog post

Jul 25, 2012 Special Called Meeting

Link to my blog post

July 31, 2012 Continuation of Special Called Meeting

Link to my blog post

August 13, 2012

Link to my blog post

September 10, 2012

Link to my blog post

October 8, 2012 Board Retreat

Link to blog post 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Monster Mash Block Party in Franklin on Friday

StreetFest Monster Mash Poster

Venture Local Franklin is promoting another event to assist businesses in the Downtown area this Friday night with a Halloween-themed block party that will culminate with a movie (Ghostbusters) being shown in the Town Hall parking lot (bring a blanket or lawn chair to sit in the grass and watch it) after it gets dark.

Even though this grassroots group of local business owners and entrepreneurs have faced growing opposition from some people in the town bureaucracy, it is continuing to grow and get better each time.

From the event page on Facebook:



What's a Costume Crawl? You can go in each store to register to win a prize. There will be a WINNER at each participating merchant! could win more than once! All ages are invited to enter and costumes are optional (but encouraged).

So come on out and make use of that costume you want to wear. Show off your creative side! Just come to have fun!

Shop. Dine. Entertainment. Music.Movie
Instead of a 'Festival'.. think of StreetFest as a BLOCK PARTY!

Come to downtown Franklin NC for a celebration of locally owned businesses on Main Street! We want to encourage you to come prepared to smile, laugh with friends and spend some $$ with our local merchants!!!

What can you expect?

- Shops will be open much later than usual
- Street music from local bands and musicians
- Fresh made foods
- Street Entertainment

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mark Meadows and Hayden Rogers Debate at WCU

WCU Debate Title Card 10-23-2012

Last night, I covered the NC11 debate at Western Carolina University that took place between Mark Meadows and Hayden Rogers, both vying for the seat of the retiring Congressman Heath Shuler.

Russ Bowen, of WLOS-TV, moderated the debate that was sponsored by the Political Science and Public Affairs Department and the Public Policy Institute at Western Carolina University.

In case you were unable to attend or watch the debate online at WLOS, here is my recording of it that I  took:

It was a spirited debate and I think it contrasted the two candidates for congress very well. In two weeks, one of these men will be the Congressman-elect for our district.

NC-11 Outline

Monday, October 22, 2012

Watch the Third of Three Presidential Debates

**7.12am** The live player has been replaced with a recorded video.

The third of three debates between President Obama and Governor Romney takes place tonight at 9pm. I have embedded a live player below for the debate and will replace it with a recorded video soon after the event.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The 16th Annual Pumpkinfest is Today

One of my favorite annual festivals, the Pumpkinfest, is taking place today in Franklin, NC. The festival is in it's 16th annual iteration and will be a fun way to spend a glorious fall day in town.

I have a schedule of events below, and you can visit the Pumpkinfest website to see more information about what will be going on this year.

2012 PumpkinFest Schedule of Events

(Historic Downtown Franklin) 9:00am to 4:00 pm

9:00 am - Pumpkin Roll Registration Begins
10:00 am - Live Entertainment - 5 O’Clock Shadows
10:00 am - Roving Street Performances
10:30 am - World Famous PUMPKIN ROLL Begins
11:00 am - Live Entertainment - Sweet Tater Band
11:30 am - Screaming Contest - Sponsored by DNET (located near Pumpkin Roll)
1:00 pm - Costume Parade
1:15 to 2:30 pm - COSTUME CONTEST
3:00 pm - Pumpkin Roll Winner Announced
3:00 to 4:00 pm - Live Entertainment - Macon Grass
*schedule subject to change

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Things I Saw on October 19th, 2012

I had an interesting day today. I got caught in a traffic jam. I saw the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives give a brief talk at a local restaurant and I got to see a dust plume arrive in western North Carolina all the way from the plains states. The obligatory slide show of that is below.

Early Voting Statistics for North Carolina
Votes Cast by 10/18/2012

One Stop voting started yesterday in North Carolina, and I will be tracking the progress of the voting statistics daily on this blog. I hope it will serve to motivate you to do your civic duty and vote.

Here are the stats from yesterday:

North Carolina

Votes Cast 223,385

By Party

DEM - 105,659 - 47.3%
GOP - 77,677 - 34.77%
UNA - 39,677 - 17.76%
LIB - 382 - 0.17%

Ballot Type

One Stop - 150,872
By Mail - 67,599
Overseas - 2,520
Military - 2,394

11th Congressional District

Votes Cast - 21,888

By Party

DEM - 7,823 - 35.74%
GOP - 9,161 - 41.85%
UNA - 4,863 - 22.22%
LIB - 41 - 0.19%

Ballot Type

One Stop - 15,509
By Mail - 6,138
Overseas - 135
Military - 106

Macon County

Votes Cast - 1,255

By Party

DEM - 371 - 47.3%
GOP - 614 - 34.77%
UNA - 268 - 17.76%
LIB - 2 - 0.16%

Ballot Type

One Stop - 806
By Mail - 440
Overseas - 5
Military - 4

Millshoal Precinct

Votes Cast - 127

By Party

DEM - 38 - 29.92%
GOP - 60 - 47.24%
UNA - 29 - 22.83%
LIB - 0 - 0.00%

Ballot Type

One Stop - 90
By Mail - 37
Overseas - 0
Military - 0

Source: NC Vote Tracker, a project of the John W. Pope Civitas Institute.

Macon County Planning Board 10-18-2012

The Macon County Planning Board met yesterday for the October 2012 meeting in the conference room of the Macon County Health Department. The video and agenda are below.

The above video is still uploading and is expected to go live sometime after 10.30am this morning.

DATE: Oct. 18th 2012


- Review agenda, revise if necessary.




- Public input is always appreciated, we ask that comments be limited to 4 minutes and refer to a current topic the planning board is discussing.

- Discussion on compaction and fill heights
- Discuss 159.56 and GS 47-30

- L. Sprinkle: Additional Comments
o Discussion on cash bonds/letters of credit
o Grandfather existing roads that serve existing dwellings
o Elimination of minimum square footage requirement for lots on municipal
water and sewer.
o Discuss parent tract vs. lot in a subdivision

Additional announcements:
-Next Meeting Date & Location: November 13, 2012 at 4pm in the conference room of the Macon County Health Department.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

ISS Startrails - TRONized by Christoph Malin

Here is a creative video using photos taken from the International Space Station in style of the old Science Fiction movie Tron. A movie, believe it or not, that I have never seen.

ISS Startrails - TRONized from Christoph Malin on Vimeo.

Do you remember 1982's "TRON" movie? The plot: A computer programmer (epic: Jeff Bridges) is digitized inside the software world of a mainframe computer, where he interacts with various programs in his attempt to get back out. Including light cycle races and strange solar wind ships...

Back in the real word the ISS is in a way one of these solar ships, constantly rotating around us. A tiny white spot, as it can be seen racing over the sky from time to time, when illuminated by the sunset (and sunrise ;).

This Video was achived by "stacking" image sequences provided by NASA from the Crew at International Space Station, see also These "stacks" create the Star Trails, but furthermore make interesting patterns visible. For example lightning corridors within clouds, but they also show occasional satellite tracks (or Iridium Flashes) as well as meteors - patterns that interrupt the main Star Trails, and thus are immediately visible.

The many oversaturated hot pixels in some of the scenes are the inevitable result of high ISO settings the Nikon D3s in ISS-use are pushed to for keeping exposure times short (owed to the dramatic speed the ISS travels). As there are no dark frames or RAW data currently available, hot pixels are not easy to remove.

After the initial stacking, all images have been sequenced with Apple Motion and the Video cut and edited with Final Cut Pro X. Stacked with the StarStaX app, get it here:

All sequences and images courtesy "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth", Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center,

Closing sequence © Christoph Malin / / filmed at Cerro Paranal.

Thanks a lot to my favourite bad Astronomer, Phil at BadAstronomy for first posting the film ( and many many thanks to Vimeo for the Staff Pick!

Great minimal soundtrack "Eileen" by Lee Rosevere (, and a short clip of "Window #3" by Two Bicycles ( VIMEO MUSIC STORE ROCKS!

A truckload of thanks go out to NASA astronaut Don Pettit ( and his colleagues for taking these images, and making films like this one reality!

Finally, please also be aware of Light Pollution ( one can see in many of these scenes! In the US join for preserving the night skies for our children!!

Always believe in your dreams and make it possible!

All the best,
Christoph Malin

PS: At about 1:42 you see Comet "Lovejoy" rising...!/christophmalin

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Short Rant About Political Calls

The worst thing about election season is the phone calls that come from parties/organizations and/or candidates that reveal these organizations don't have a clue when it comes to political organizing for getting out the vote (aka GOTV). They seem to think that having a list of phone numbers and volunteers is the answer, much like the morons who paint the roads with yard signs.

If these people had done the tiniest amount of research in order to target their calls, they'd know that I am someone who votes at every opportunity and am someone who is active online (and offline) promoting conservative candidates. My name would be stricken from all but lists involved with reminding me to vote, and once I had indicated I had voted (or my name showed that I had voted this cycle), remove it from their call lists as well.

I am especially looking at the Republican National Committee and NC Victory 2012, who are the most egregious offenders of these shotgun calls that are a total waste of resources.

I'll save my rant about yard signs for another day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2012 Presidential Debate: Round Two of Three

Here is the video of the second of three Presidential Debates for this election cycle.

Here are more options for watching the debate, along with some reaction:

CSPAN Pre-debate Coverage

Washington Post Video

ABC News and Yahoo!

WGRZ-TV Buffalo, NY

ABC NEws Post Debate Analysis

Green Party ticket arrested outside Presidential Debate

Candy Crowley explains her fact checking

Dick Morris Analyzes the debate

Video of the Sylva Candidate Issues Forum

Here is the video I shot last night in Sylva, NC of a candidate forum that was sponsored by a coalition of local groups and a newspaper.

Candidates (by race) that participated were:

NC Senate 50th District

Senator Jim Davis
John Snow

NC House District 119
Representative Joe Sam Queen
Mike Clampitt

Jackson County Commissioner District IV
Commissioner Mark Jones
Marty Jones

Candidates that did not participate:

US House of Representative District NC11
Mark Meadows
Hayden Rogers

Congressman Heath Shuler is the retiring incumbent in this race.

I would like to thank Ron Haven, Kathy Hildreth and the Macon County Republican Party for providing me transportation to this event after my truck experienced mechanical problems.

Here are some of the photos that I took:

Downtown Sylva

Check out the scale of the Community Room
The candidates
The view from the back of the room
Senator and Mrs Jim Davis
The Jackson County Library after dark

Monday, October 15, 2012

Candidate Issues Forum Tonight in Jackson County

There will be a candidate forum in Sylva that will be hosted by three progressive groups and a progressive newspaper tonight. I plan on being there to record this event and would appreciate it if we had some Republicans attend this event so the Republican candidates won't be completely outnumbered.

Per the Community Calendar on Smoky Mountain News:

Candidate Issues Forum, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 15, Community Room, Jackson County Library, Sylva. Participating will be WNC candidates Mark Meadows, Hayden Rogers, Mike Clampitt, Joe Sam Queen, Marty Jones and Mark Jones. 

Moderator and a panel member from League of Women Voters-Macon County, The Canary Coalition, Occupy/WNC, and Smoky Mountain News.

Mitt Romney Rally in Asheville

Last Thursday, the Mitt Romney Campaign visited what I call the heart of darkness...the progressive stronghold of Asheville, NC...and managed to attracts thousands of people. The following video was filmed and produced by Fremont Brown III. So, if you were unable to attend, or were unwilling to visit Asheville (as I was), here is the rally:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Red Bull Stratos Sunday Jump Attempt
Updated with Photos and Video

**3.40am** The jump in numbers per Jenny Winder:

Exit altitude: 128,100ft; 39,045m
Total jump duration: 9'03"
Freefall time: 4'20"
Freefall distance 119,846ft; 36,529m
Max velocity: 833.9mph; 1,342.8km/h; Mach 1.24

**3.02am** Here is a highlight reel from Red Bull of the jump that includes footage from the jumper's perspective:

**3.16pm** Video of the jump...

**2.28pm** Felix has jumped and landed safely. Here is a slideshow of some of the sceenshots I took of the coverage of the event:

In a few hours, Felix Baumgartner will step out of a capsule that is 120,000 feet above the ground and jump.

He is expected to reach 700 mph on his way down, and if all goes well, he will open a parachute and land some five minutes later.

This event may or may not take place this morning, and is dependent on the velocity of the winds aloft. I will replace the live player with a series of recorded videos as soon as they become available and if the jump takes place.

From the website:

Red Bull Stratos, a mission to the edge of space, will attempt to transcend human limits that have existed for 50 years. Supported by a team of experts Felix Baumgartner plans to ascend to 120,000 feet in a stratospheric balloon and make a free fall jump rushing toward earth at supersonic speeds before parachuting to the ground. His attempt to dare atmospheric limits holds the potential to provide valuable medical and scientific research data for future pioneers.

The Red Bull Stratos team brings together the world's leading minds in aerospace medicine, engineering, pressure suit development, capsule creation and balloon fabrication. It includes retired United States Air Force Colonel Joseph Kittinger, who holds three of the records Felix will strive to break.

Joe's record jump from 102,800 ft in 1960 was during a time when no one knew if a human could survive a jump from the edge of space. Joe was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and had already taken a balloon to 97,000 feet in Project ManHigh and survived a drogue mishap during a jump from 76,400 feet in Excelsior I. The Excelsior III mission was his 33rd parachute jump.

Although researching extremes was part of the program's goals, setting records wasn't the mission's purpose. Joe ascended in helium balloon launched from the back of a truck. He wore a pressurized suit on the way up in an open, unpressurized gondola. Scientific data captured from Joe's jump was shared with U.S. research personnel for development of the space program. Today Felix and his specialized team hope to take what was learned from Joe's jumps more than 50 years ago and press forward to test the edge of the human envelope.