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Monica McGee (Monicks)
Lives in This Pale Blue Dot
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Monica McGee (Monicks)

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What disqualifies a Priority Mail flat-rate envelope?

A USPS Priority Mail flat-rate envelope will ship for a fixed price, regardless of its weight, "up to 70 pounds". Neat. But hold on: seventy pounds? How much can those things hold?

I checked the Domestic Mail Manual. You are allowed to reinforce the seams and the seal with tape, but unless the envelope is slim enough to seal with its own adhesive, it is ineligible for flat-rate service. So what's the maximum volume you can fit in there?

I estimated with a stack of copy paper. The envelope will close around a 1.9cm stack. Any more than that, and it's too thick. But Priority Mail envelopes are slightly longer than a sheet of copy paper. As a rough (but generous) estimate, if you are constrained to a rectangular prism, you can maybe fit something that is 1.9cm x 22cm x 30cm into one. That's 1250cc, or 0.00125 cubic meters.

That's 0.00125 m^3 that is allowed to weigh 32kg, mind you. That means that the item you are mailing can have a density of 25,600 kilograms per cubic meter and still be permissible.

So I turned to, copied the alloy density table, pasted it into Google Sheets, and sorted it.

A slab of solid aluminum has a typical density of 2712 kg/m^3. But forget that. Aluminum is light.

How about steel? 7850 kg/m^3. That's more than a factor of four.

Copper? 8940 kg/m^3. Still a factor of four.

Fine, let's pull out the big guns. I want to mail you a slab of lead in a Priority Mail envelope. That would be 14kg, or 31 pounds.

Gold? A hefty 53 pounds, but it's illegal to mail gold.

Let's scroll to the bottom. There we go: iridium! I want to mail you a 1.9cm x 22cm x 30cm slab of prone-to-shattering iridium in an unpadded cardboard-and-plastic-tape envelope. So I go out and pay the seventeen thousand dollar spot-price for a slab of iridium, stick it in a Priority Mail envelope, add some packing tape (better safe than sorry), insure it for the maximum $500 (because I'm not an idiot, obviously), and take it to the Post Office. They place it on the scale. And it would weigh ... under 62 pounds. It's mailable. I could even include a little thank-you-for-your-business note and it wouldn't take it over the seventy-pound mark.

So watch your mailboxes. It's possible that you'll be getting a seventeen thousand dollar slab of iridium in a Priority Mail envelope from me.

I mean, it's not likely. But it's definitely possible.

#science   #math   #usps  
You can mail a Priority Mail Flat-Rate envelope for a fixed price if it weighs less than 70 lbs. Is it possible for it to weigh that much, though?
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Joshua McGee's profile photoMark Hall's profile photoRace Vanderdecken's profile photoEric Hansen's profile photo
I think osmium is denser than iridium.
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Bush pilot and family man Tom Stokes is about to face the worst day of his life. On a clear winter morning he sets out in his Cessna 180 to do some repairs on a remote hunt camp, leaving his five year old son and very pregnant wife snug in their beds.

On the return trip, a squall forces him into an emergency landing and he winds up—quite literally—in the lap of petty criminal Dale Knight. Dale, now a fugitive from the law—and worse, from a merciless drug lord who just happens to be his brother—draws Tom into a web of mayhem and treachery that puts not only his life at risk, but the lives of his wife, son…and unborn child.

SQUALL is a fast-paced, darkly-comic tale of murder and gang-style retribution that grabs the reader on page one and simply does not let go.

Squall by Sean Costello:

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You will pay less to mail letters, postcards, and small packages via the United States Postal Service starting today, and the face value of your "Forever" stamps will decrease.  

#USPS #mail #postalservice  #postoffice #postage  #CollectPostmarks
Exigent USPS First-Class price increases of 2014 were rolled back on April 10, 2016, resulting in an average 4.3% price drop.
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Run from the past. Run from the future. Run for your lives.

He’s a novice time traveler in a big universe.

Ben just wants time with the scientist’s daughter who got him into this, but when he’s rooked into competing in a chronothon–an Amazing Race through time–getting the girl means he’ll need to make the finish line. When he finds out this competition is more than just a sprint through history, winning takes a back seat to surviving. To save the people he loves, he’ll have to conquer the real dangers hidden in the shadows of the chronothon.

The world of time travelers expands in this next installment of the In Times Like These time travel series. Fans of book one will find more to love, but new readers can jump right in and enjoy this stand-alone time travel novel. Expect action, adventure, and romance on this journey through past and future. Fresh dangers will arise for Ben and company in a quest for the finish line, where failure to keep up will cost more than just a shot at glory—it could mean the end for them all.

Either book in the series may be enjoyed independently.
#AmazonFreebies #amazon #AmazonDeals #free #FreeBooks #Books #Freebies #KindleFreebies #BookLover #eBooks

Monica McGee (Monicks)

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"Great Smoky Mountains" has always sounded more to me like a setting in a J.R.R. Tolkien Lord of the Rings novel and less like a National Park straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. So when the Rochester Philatelic Association's ROPEX Stamp Show offered a Great Smoky Mountains pictorial postmark, I thought I would present a bit of Middle Earth postal history.

My cover shows a stamp from Mordor with Mount Doom – Sauron the Great's Smoky Mountain – in all its fiery glory. Sauron himself is pictured prominently in the center of the stamp (like tyrants everywhere, he insists that every stamp bears his portrait). Per postal union regulations, the stamp bears the wording "MORDOR", and the stamp is denominated "1" – the currency of Mordor being, of course, the "ring".

More at the link.

#philately   #cover   #covers   #lordoftherings   #lotr   #greatsmokymountains  
Humorous cover by Joshua McGee depicting Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings saga as "Sauron the Great's Smoky Mountain"
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The complete series in one volume is free today!

To solve a high-profile abduction, one former-police officer must confront a dark past.

A child’s abduction leads to a frightening pattern within a South Florida town where nothing is as it seems. Amidst the vast wetlands, suburban sprawl, and tropical heat, the Lee County police department knows what to expect on any given day. But when a serial child predator stakes his claim in the area, there is no knowing when and where he will strike. The parents of the latest victim are baffled to receive no ransom demands, given their wealth and influence. And the town is in an uproar as the girl marks the fifth child to vanish.

#AmazonFreebies #amazon #AmazonDeals #free #FreeBooks #Books #Freebies #KindleFreebies #BookLover #eBooks

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A series of mass shootings, all on the same day, all claimed by a group named Crowbar, sets the world buzzing with fear. Also released is a threat: wide spread bombings, unless Joe Taverner is killed. And Joe doesn’t know until the attacks begin. Running from everyone, Joe tries to find answers before he’s out of time.

Remember it is free only today.

#free #book #amazon 
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A cool, zoomable mosaic made up of lots of small square images. Check it out!
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Pearl Jam has cancelled their North Carolina show, planned for 4/20, from a moral objection to HB2.  They have our full support.  Bravo, guys.

#PearlJam #PJFam #NorthCarolina #HB2 #LGBT #GLBT #LGBTQ


Full band statement:

It is with deep consideration and much regret that we must cancel the Raleigh show in North Carolina on April 20th.

This will be upsetting to those who have tickets and you can be assured that we are equally frustrated by the situation.

The HB2 law that was recently passed is a despicable piece of legislation that encourages discrimination against an entire group of American citizens. The practical implications are expansive and its negative impact upon basic human rights is profound. We want America to be a place where no one can be turned away from a business because of who they love or fired from their job for who they are.

It is for this reason that we must take a stand against prejudice, along with other artists and businesses, and join those in North Carolina who are working to oppose HB2 and repair what is currently unacceptable.

We have communicated with local groups and will be providing them with funds to help facilitate progress on this issue.

In the meantime we will be watching with hope and waiting in line for a time when we can return.

Perhaps even celebrate.

With immense gratitude for your understanding,

Pearl Jam
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Strange how all these cancellations are at the same arena.
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Have her in circles
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I am an atheist guided by reason, instructed by science, motivated by kindness - I'm also kinda nice. Atheist, Freethinker, Humanist, Blogger, Activist.
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Other names
@Monicks, Monica Salcedo McGee
I am Monica (Salcedo) McGee, known for being a fiercely outspoken atheist, on, on Twitter (@Monicks), and here on Google Plus. I am a humanist, a freethinker, a rationalist, and an egalitarian. I am married to Joshua McGee, (@McGeekiest). I also occasionally write over at

I am an atheist guided by reason, instructed by science, motivated by kindness - and I'm also kinda nice. 

I am a secular humanist. I rely on reason to understand the world, and compassion guides my effort to apply my knowledge ethically. 

I behave decently to everyone without any expectation of rewards or punishment after I'm dead.

Want to know more? 

tl;dr? @Monicks

If I added you, it probably means I find something you do or said interesting, or most likely I think we have similar interests. If I'm right, and you feel so inclined, you can add me yourself, if not, just feel flattered and carry on.
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This Pale Blue Dot
Monica McGee (Monicks)'s +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend. Free Pearl Jam bootlegs and radio. For fans, by fans. Legally. Pearl Jam Bootlegs. By fans, for fans. Legally. Collaborative serial storytelling

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Home · About · Advertise on The Quill · Contact · Content License · Dual Land Chooser · Find Me On Social Networking Sites · Free U.S. Stamp


Home · About · Advertise on The Quill · Contact · Content License · Dual Land Chooser · Find Me On Social Networking Sites · Free U.S. Stamp

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