Very curious - from Scientific American:

The Case of the Disappearing Quasars
Astronomers peering across the universe think they’ve caught a dozen quasars—extremely bright and distant objects powered by ravenous supermassive black holes at the centers of ancient galaxies—in a disappearing act. Or at least transitioning into their quiescent and dimmer counterparts: galaxies with starving black holes at their cores. The surprising find has astronomers asking whether these objects are shutting down permanently or simply flickering out for the time being.

Last year Stephanie LaMassa from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (then at Yale University) discovered the greatest change in luminosity ever detected in a quasar. She was digging through data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey when she found that a quasar had dimmed in brightness by a factor of six in just 10 years. Its spectrum changed, too, from that of a classic quasar to a regular galaxy.

The article continues to cite a bunch of theories but nothing concrete. Curious indeed!

I am reminded of the great Arthur C. Clarke short story: The Nine Billion Names of God

Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.

So... Who do we know is running a modified Mark V Automatic Sequence Computer?

Finally, I do not know if there has been a shift in the Scientific American management but it is nice to see them doing a 'hard science' article instead of the fscking puff-pieces they have been doing for the last fifteen years or so. I used to subscribe but dropped it when they shifted from real science to politically correct talking points. I could go on quite the tirade here but will not.

Cooking up a storm

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Got the Wellington prepped and into the fridge for its rest. I should have done it yesterday (power outage) to get the meat fully chilled but I will pop it in the freezer for an hour before the final assembly - should come out just fine.

I did the duxelle layer a bit differently - used roasted hazelnuts instead of chestnuts and added some shallots to the mushrooms. It was a bit wet but I cooked it in the same pan I used to sear the meat so that should pick up some nice flavors.

Tomorrow, wrap with prosciutto, filo dough and then puff pastry. Oven roasting some brussels sprouts and yukon potatoes for a side and a big salad with the last of the garden carrots.

Trimmed enough off the tenderloin that there will be a couple of very nice small steaks - wrap them in bacon and grill lightly.

Finishing off a bowl of left-over beef-barley soup and then out for a beer or two...

Clock Boy

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Just wonderful:


How to ski

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From our friends to the North - Mountain Equipment Co-op

Good morning!

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Actually woke up rested and rarin' to go - that cold took a lot out of me!

Heading out for coffee and then home to start on the Beef Wellington for tomorrow's dinner...

More faster please

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I would sooo sign up for a trip if it was under $20K - rocket footage is real, launched and landed yesterday (Nov. 23rd). Capsule with people is animated - not doing that quite yet.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is in back of this company.


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Fun parody of a well known action camera video:

Fun and games this morning

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Forecast was for high winds and this usually means power outages. Boy howdy! Power went out around 9:00AM, back on at 10:00AM, back off at 11:00AM and stayed off for the rest of the day.

Hung out here until around 4:00PM and then headed into town to get some more fixings for Thanksgiving dinner and dinner in town.

Just got back and the power has been on for about two hours - house is chilly but not bad considering it is below freezing outside.

Surf for a bit and then an early bedtime...

From Bob Gorrell - not familiar with his work but will be following him from now on - he knows his history:


History? This photograph by Elliot Erwitt taken in 1950 in North Carolina:


We came so far and some fools decided to drag us right back to the 1960's again so that they could get a little more power and a little more 'ME!!!' time in the news. Fscking pathetic.

Thank you Bob - you speak Truth to Power

Hey Ahmed Mohamed - I do hope that you enjoy the rest of your life as a narcissistic pariah unemployable in any civilized nation.

The 15 year-old 'clock boy' just cratered his potential for any kind of engineering career in a very spectacular fashion.

From the UK Independent:

Ahmed Mohamed demands $15m compensation and written apology for homemade clock arrest
The family of Ahmed Mohamed, the Texan schoolboy who was arrested after taking a homemade clock to school, has demanded $15m in compensation and written apologies from the local mayor and police chief.

In letters sent on Monday, the lawyers said if the City of Irving and Irving School District did not agree to the apologies and compensation, they would file a civil action.

“Ahmed never threatened anyone, never caused harm to anyone, and never intended to. The only one who was hurt that day was Ahmed, and the damages he suffered were not because of oversight or incompetence,” said the letter to the city authorities.

'Scuuuuuse me - he took the clock from class to class and plugged it in in each classroom. He was asked by one teacher to unplug it and put it away. He refused. The alarm went off startling the teacher. And, there are priors:

From Breitbart:  Ahmed’s Sister Admits School Suspension for Alleged Bomb Threat 3 Years Earlier

From ArtVoice: Reverse Engineering Ahmed Mohamed’s Clock… and Ourselves

From National Review: Ahmed Mohamed Didn’t Build a Clock — and Other Niggling Problems in the Story of Dallas’s Whizkid-of-the-Week

From The Blaze: Before Clock Incident Made Him a Celebrity, Ahmed Mohamed ‘Racked Up Weeks of Suspensions’ and Clashed With Authority

The little punk is basically unemployable from now on - nobody in their right mind would hire an attention-seeking asshat like this regardless of what their GPA is (and in Mo's case, I suspect it is just not that high).

Welcome to Western civilization - we have something called personal responsibility that makes us what we are - great. To bad your culture does not measure up.

#hashtag diplomacy

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Something Barry Frank Junior seems to excel at:


From Michael Ramirez

And while we are on the subject of Fatherhood - who is Chelsea Clinton's real father? Despite all of Bill's philandering, he has no offspring. Webb Hubbell is an interesting possibility - certainly in the right place at the right time (here, here and here).

Back from town and stuffed

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Back from town - shopping for thanksgiving dinner. Ate at the local new restaurant and the food was excellent as always.

Doing a Beef Wellington for dinner on Thursday - starting the prep tomorrow - salt crust, rinse, dry, sear, hot mustard/horseradish coating, duxelles layer, prosciutto layer and finally a filo dough layer.

Wrap in poly and refrigerate for 24 hours minimum. Unwrap, rewrap with a sheet of puff pastry and into a 425°F oven for 25 minutes or so. The beef will be chilled from the fridge holding it back to medium rare while the puff pastry browns nicely.

Salivating as I type...

Off for coffee and then into town

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Paying some bills and doing a bit of banking.

Also picking up some parts to make a 2-meter ham radio antenna. Want to work without depending on a repeater so building a directional antenna (cubical quad).

Heh - in more ways than one

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From Breitbart:

The Democratic National Committee Is Broke
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is financially insolvent heading into the 2016 election year, Breitbart News has learned.

Federal Election Commission records reveal that the DNC is millions of dollars underwater and running up a deficit each month, lagging far behind its financially savvy counterpart, the Republican National Committee.

Just last month, the DNC turned a nearly million-dollar debt, marking the fourth month in a row that the DNC spent more money than it took in. In fact, the committee chaired by Debbie Wasserman Schulz took a loss in seven of the last ten months.

The DNC raised $4,456,789 in the month of October, according to its most recent filing. But the committee spent $5,254,928, for a net loss of $798,139.

And they think that they can do a better job of managing our money? What is the National Debit these days - eighteen trillion and climbing?

Time to get some adults in the room for a few years - clean the whole place out top to bottom - both parties.

Bleach - lots and lots of bleach...

Police wearing body cams - a good thing

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Keeps everyone honest - from Knoxville, TN station WBIR:

Body camera helps discredit accusation against Knox deputy
A Knox County deputy's body camera helped prove his innocence after he was accused of fondling a woman during a traffic stop.

On Nov. 8, a KCSO deputy pulled over Margaret Ellen McElhinny under suspicion of driving under the influence.

Three other deputies came to the scene. During the stop, they began to question her.

McElhinny later accused one deputy of fondling her once she left her car for a sobriety check. Three of the four deputies wore body cameras, including the one she accused.

Investigators reviewed the recordings from the body cameras and found the deputy in question did nothing wrong.

A bit more about the perp:

McElhinny was arrested and faces multiple charges, including DUI, criminal impersonation and false reports. During the traffic stop, she also lied about her name. Reports show she used the name Catherine McElhinny.


She has a criminal history that stretches to 2007 in Knox County, records show. It includes multiple public intoxication convictions. McElhinny also has multiple DUI offenses in the state of Texas.

Even with her record, without the body cameras, she could have destroyed that officers life and family. Good use of technology.

A bit of a bust to our South

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Outside of Eugene, Oregon - from Portland's The Oregonian:

Washington woman arrested after 24 pounds of hidden meth discovered in car
A traffic stop Friday night turned into an arrest after an Oregon State Police trooper and a drug detection dog discovered almost 25 pounds of crystal meth in a hidden compartment.

At 10 p.m. on Nov. 20, Teri Baker, 55, of Kent, WA was stopped in her 2003 Honda Pilot for speeding on Interstate 5 near milepost 195 in Eugene.

According to a press release from the Oregon State Police, the trooper "observed signs of criminal activity," and with the help of a Springfield Police Department drug detection dog, discovered a hidden compartment inside the vehicle holding approximately 24.4 pounds of crystal meth.

Good news - meth is a nasty drug and the more taken off the streets the better. We have a problem with it up here too - no opportunities for work and people get bored.

From Russia Today:

Gangs of New York: Sicilian mafia offers Big Apple protection from 'psychopathic' ISIS
The son of a New York mob boss has given Islamic State a stark warning, saying if they are planning any attacks in New York, they will have to contend with the Sicilian mafia. The notorious crime syndicate say they want to do their bit to protect locals.

Giovanni Gambino, the son of a key figure in the Gambino mob organization, says the mafia is in a much better position than security bodies, such as the FBI or Homeland Security, to give New Yorkers the protection they need.

They often act too late, or fail to see a complete picture of what's happening due to a lack of ‘human intelligence,’” he said in an interview with NBC News, as cited by Reuters, adding that the mafia’s knowledge of individual movements and interaction with locals gives it the upper hand, even compared to the latest surveillance technologies.

A bit more

"The world is dangerous today, but people living in New York neighborhoods with Sicilian connections should feel safe," he said. "We make sure our friends and families are protected from extremists and terrorists, especially the brutal, psychopathic organization that calls itself the Islamic State,”

Gambino Jr, who was brought up in Torretta, a mountainous area overlooking Palermo, the capital of Sicily, says that Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL) fear the Sicilian mafia, and this has been one of the main reasons why they have not tried to set up any underground cells in Sicily.

If those were my two options, I would sign up with the Mafia in a heartbeat. They have a sense of honor and you always know where you stand with them. Daesh are just complete nutjobs hiding behind a ninth-century false prophet...

Tone Lizard

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Excellent website for vacuum tube guitar amplifiers, tube testers, design and construction and general music and electronics fun.

If any of the above are of interest, this place will keep you occupied for hours.

Tip of the hat to The Silicon Graybeard for the link.

Busy day today

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Taking care of the last pre-winter chores at the farm. Transitioning the horse, mule and llamas over to hay for the winter - the grass has lost all nutrient value after a couple hard frosts.

I had Buttercup the tractor down at the store and community garden to load some mulch for people - just brought her back a few minutes ago. It is cold outside!!!

Fixing some beef short-rib/barley soup for tonight.

Surf for a bit...

Danger, Will Robinson!

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Fun news from Entertainment Weekly:

Netflix is developing a Lost in Space remake
Space’s first family is flying back. Netflix is remaking the cult ’60s series Lost in Space, executive producer Kevin Burns confirmed to EW. Legendary TV’s remake, which has yet to garner a straight-to-series order, is being written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (Dracula Untold) and produced by Game of Thrones vet Neil Marshall, who’s in line to direct.

“Am I thrilled? Yes,” Burns tells EW. “We’ve obviously been developing Lost in Space for a long time, and we’ve had a couple of false starts. Just speaking for myself, we really felt that we had learned a lot from not only what we did, but what other people did and did wrong.”

The original series, which lasted three seasons and 83 episodes, is set in a futuristic 1997 and follows the Robinson family’s space exploration. After the villainous Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris) sabotages the navigation system, they become helpless and, yes, lost. (The robot tasked with protecting the youngest child, the precocious Will, utters “Danger, Will Robinson!” — a phrase that still tortures this reporter.)

I am hoping that the remake will elevate the show the same way that the Battlestar Galactica remake elevated its progenitor. The first shows were schlock entertainment - fun but nothing much. BSG-II was amazing. Hoping the same for LIS-II.

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