John Kerry in the news

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I think that the only reason Obama went from Hillary as Secretary of State to John Kerry as SecState was to make Hillary look good by comparison. The guy is an utter clueless ninny.

From the Washington Examiner:

Kerry: Refrigerator chemicals are just as bad as ISIS
Air conditioners and refrigerators pose as big a threat to "life on the planet" as the threat of terrorism, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday.

Kerry was in Vienna negotiating a global climate deal to phase out chemicals used as refrigerants in basic household and commercial appliances such as air conditioning and refrigerators, called hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs. The chemicals are a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions that many scientists blame for contributing to global warming.

Kerry made the remarks as part of a pep talk for negotiators working through the weekend to amend a 1987 treaty called the Montreal Protocol to deal with the chemicals.

Hey moron - HFCs have absolutely nothing to do with Global Warming. The concern with Freon was that it was reacting with sunlight in the upper atmosphere and bonding with the oxygen. This depleted the layer of Ozone gas that shields us from the sun's short-wave ultra violet light (it is the long-wave UV light that tans us). We switched over to the hydrofluorocarbons and, 20 years later, the Ozone hole is going away. End of story.

What makes Kerry's deranged ramblings even more of a joke is that Freon is not a hydrofluorocarbon. It also contains Chlorine and is called either a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) or, alternately, a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC). There is a big difference chemically between a hydrofluorocarbon and a hydrochlorofluorocarbon.

Seriously, the guy is dumb as a box of rocks.

Now that was a lot of fun

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Tonight's presentation was great. The guy has written several other books about the history of this area but tonight's talk was concentrating more on the small communities and businesses.

I already knew that a railroad had run through my property but I found out who it was and what it was carrying (limestone for concrete as well as the timber that I already knew about). There was a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in between Maple Falls and Glacier (it is now a bible camp). He also showed some photos of a large limestone mine on the West side of Red Mountain - the vein of stone was several hundred feet thick and over 1,000 feet wide but it was at the top of a 3,500 tall mountain. They built a series of tramways to haul the ore down to a rail car.

He has a book on the subject coming out - something to carry at the store.

From the WikiLeaks website:

Today, Friday 22 July 2016 at 10:30am EDT, WikiLeaks releases 19,252 emails and 8,034 attachments from the top of the US Democratic National Committee -- part one of our new Hillary Leaks series. The leaks come from the accounts of seven key figures in the DNC: Communications Director Luis Miranda (10770 emails), National Finance Director Jordon Kaplan (3797 emails), Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer (3095 emails), Finanace Director of Data & Strategic Initiatives Daniel Parrish (1472 emails), Finance Director Allen Zachary (1611 emails), Senior Advisor Andrew Wright (938 emails) and Northern California Finance Director Robert (Erik) Stowe (751 emails). The emails cover the period from January last year until 25 May this year.

These are from her private email server that was so secure.

DNA testing in the news

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Great story from the Chicago CBS affiliate:

Half-Eaten Burger Comes Back To Bite Chicago Man In Robbery Spree
A half-eaten hamburger led authorities to a Chicago man who acted as the getaway driver in a series of bank robberies in western Michigan over the last two years, federal prosecutors said.

Dominick T. Johnson, 34, was sentenced Wednesday to 72 years and eight months in prison for the heists he carried out with his 24-year-old half-brother Nathan Benson, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Prosecutors say Johnson was the brain and the wheels behind the three successful bank robberies that happened between May 2014 and January 2015 in Kalamazoo County, about 150 miles northeast of Chicago.

And the burger:

While speeding away from one robbery in Oshtemo Township, Johnson apparently tossed “a partially eaten hamburger” from the vehicle, and investigators were able to pull his DNA from it, prosecutors said.

Best DNA story I ever heard was a suspected rapist who was riding a motorcycle. There was a police car following him but he was obeying all traffic laws and didn't have anything outstanding. At a traffic light, he leaned over and spat on the ground. Light turned green and the cop rolled up and took a sample of the spit and got a positive match.

It has been four years and...

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From The Guardian of September 17, 2012:

Arctic expert predicts final collapse of sea ice within four years
One of the world's leading ice experts has predicted the final collapse of Arctic sea ice in summer months within four years.

In what he calls a "global disaster" now unfolding in northern latitudes as the sea area that freezes and melts each year shrinks to its lowest extent ever recorded, Prof Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University calls for "urgent" consideration of new ideas to reduce global temperatures.

In an email to the Guardian he says: "Climate change is no longer something we can aim to do something about in a few decades' time, and that we must not only urgently reduce CO2 emissions but must urgently examine other ways of slowing global warming, such as the various geoengineering ideas that have been put forward."

A perfect example of a forecast from a computer model - Prof. Wadhams is using a flawed model and he does not check his result with actual data.

First, here is some of that pesky data. The gray line is the average extent from 1981 through 2010. 2016 is the blue line. The width of the gray line represents the value of two statistical standard deviations. The 2016 data looks pretty normal to me - a little bit on the low side but we just had a very large El Niño event and that always affects the Arctic Ice.

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Second, remember this story from two days ago: Global Warming Expedition Stopped In Its Tracks By Arctic Sea Ice

And it seems that the good Professor needs to be soundly mocked and driven into the ice-free sea. From the UK Independent of June 4th, 2016:

Arctic could become ice-free for first time in more than 100,000 years, claims leading scientist
The Arctic is on track to be free of sea ice this year or next for the first time in more than 100,000 years, a leading scientist has claimed.

And who is saying this?

Professor Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University, told The Independent that the latest figures largely bore out a controversial prediction he made four years ago.

What a buffoon in the truest sense of the word!

Quote of the day

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"The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it."
--P.J. O'Rourke

Larry's daughter just left with some dirt from under a favorite tree. Heading out to the store to get some things for dinner and then to the presentation.

New fault discovered in Bangladesh

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From CNN:

Bangladesh: Hidden fault could trigger major quake
The Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers are critically important, life-giving rivers for hundreds of millions of people living in India and Bangladesh. But the millions of tons of sediment that pile up in the delta region of these rivers, a large portion of Bangladesh, could be hiding the biggest natural disaster the region has ever seen.

According to recently released research from a team of scientists led by Dr. Michael Steckler from Columbia University, buried under miles of sediment lies a locked and loaded megathrust fault that could unleash an earthquake up to 9.0 magnitude in one of the most densely populated regions of the world.

Megathrust faults occur at subduction zones, where Earth's tectonic plates are colliding with each other and one plate is moving (or "subducting") under another. These faults produce the largest earthquakes, reaching and even exceeding 9.0 magnitude, with recent examples being the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, as well as the 2004 Banda Aceh earthquake and resulting Indian Ocean tsunami.

Crap - we have one of these off our coastline and the damage it could cause is well known. It would take six months for services to be fully restored if our fault produces a 9.0 quake. I cannot imagine what the loss of life would be like in Bangladesh. No building codes.

Another terrorist attack - Munich

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From the London Daily Mail:

'Boom boom boom - he's killing the kids': Gunman shouting 'Allahu Akbar' executed children in Munich McDonald's before rampaging through mall killing NINE with police now hunting three attackers
A gunman shouting 'Allahu Akbar' opened fire at children in McDonald's before rampaging through a shopping mall, killing at least eight people.

Munich is in lockdown tonight, as a major police operation is ongoing around the city's Olympic Park, with the force warning people to stay in their homes and avoid public spaces.

For a list of all terrorist attacks in the last thirty days, check out this page: List of Islamic Terror: Last 30 Days

This is part of the list of Islamic terror attacks maintained by TheReligionofPeace.com.

During this time period, there were 158 Islamic attacks in 29 countries, in which 1417 people were killed and 2057 injured.

Time to isolate them - no electricity, no internet, no automobiles, no radio, no modern medicine. They want to live in the 8th century - let them.

Did I listen to the same speech?

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Various pundits weigh in on Donald Trump's speech last night - from Newsbusters:

Networks on Trump: A ‘Dark Speech’ From a ‘Vengeful’ ‘Demagogue’
The three networks on Thursday night immediately derided Donald Trump’s “dark speech” as one coming from a “vengeful” “demagogue.” On NBC, Tom Brokaw allowed that “some” will see Trump as on a “white horse who will lead them to some kind of sanctuary and then pull the drawbridge up.” But he sneered, “Others looking in are going to see someone they will only think as a demagogue of some kind.”

Chuck Todd labeled, “I thought it was an extraordinarily dark speech.” Republican operative Nicolle Wallace lamented, “We are now represented as a party by a man who believes in protectionism, isolationism and nativism.”

Over on CBS, Evening News anchor Scott Pelley immediately dismissed, “It was a loud voice, more vengeful than hopeful. More hyperbole than details.” CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose huffed that the address had “little appeal to the better angels.” 

Not that I ever listen to what these people have to say but this really shows the bias. They are counting on their listeners not hearing the speech for themselves. I did and thought it was an excellent speech.

Dumb-ass of the day

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Some people take gullibility to a new level - from the London Daily Mail:

Man sues escort agency after claiming he was stood up after paying millions for 'sexual services' with actresses and supermodels like Megan Fox and Candice Swanepoel
A Chinese businessman claims he paid an escort agency $3.7 million to have sex with supermodels and A-list actresses.

Yu 'Martin' Xu alleges he paid Sydney-based agency Royal Court Escort for 'sexual services' from Hollywood actress Megan Fox, Victoria's Secret model Candice Swanepoel and Independence Day actress Angelababy but was stood up.

Mr Xu said an agent told him that the agency would provide 'female escorts of international standing for the provision of sexual services', according to documents filed in the NSW Supreme Court.

He said the company agreed to facilitate the meeting anywhere in the world if he paid $3.7 million, as well as the costs of transport and accommodation.  

What is that line about a fool and his money?

An oldie but goodie

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I love a good limerick - ran into this one today:

A bather whose clothing was strewed
By winds that left her quite nude
Saw a man come along And, unless I am wrong,
You expected this line to be lewd!

Quiet day today

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One of the children of the guy who built the house I live in is coming out today to get a shovelful of earth from around his favorite tree. Larry died a few year ago but the family is just getting around to burying his ashes and they wanted some earth from his home.

Heading out for coffee and then working on some projects around here. There is an interesting lecture being given this evening - a local historian and writer is talking about Kendall and Maple Falls. Should be an interesting evening.

Life in our little hamlet

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Was looking up something else and ran into this. Here is the seismic design map for our area (PDF file) from the US Geological Survey. Not the worst (Seismic Design Catagory E) but just one step removed (Seismic Design Catagory D2) Seattle and areas south are solid E - an excerpt:

20160721-seismic.jpg

The coast is toast but we have some significant danger here too. Gets better once you get over the Cascade mountain passes. Downright quiet in Eastern Washington and Idaho.

Peter Thiel's speech

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Listened to this tonight too - quite the stemwinder - the Republicans have some good people speaking for them:

Theil? Billionaire - co-founded PayPal and was one of the first investors in Facebook.

I ♥ President Trump

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Just finished listening to his acceptance speech - really well written. The next couple of years are going to be fun!

Worst case scenario? He will be gone in four years. Best case? We will have Loki in office and he will shake shit up.

Looks like the new British Prime Minister is doing her best to channel Margaret Thatcher. I guess the stars do align every once and a while.

Life in Bernie-land

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From Burlington, VT station WCAX:

2 Vermont DNC delegates excluded due to gender
A complaint to the Democratic National Convention says two male Vermont delegates were replaced by women in the name of "gender balance" and without adequate due process.

The complaint, filed by 21 Vermont Democrats, says the national party this month ordered the state party to replace Vermont Sen. Tim Ashe and party stalwart Ken Dean although Dean and Ashe were elected June 11.

Maybe Tim and Ken should just proclaim that they identify as women.

UPDATE at the bottom of the page:

This is disgusting - from The Washington Times:

Clinton invites families of blacks killed by police to speak at Democratic convention
Philadelphia’s police union is blasting Hillary Clinton for inviting relatives of victims of police shootings to speak at the Democratic National Convention next week, but failing to include relatives of slain police officers.

John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, said the union was “shocked and saddened” by the planned choice of speakers at the convention, which opens Monday in Philadelphia.

“The Fraternal Order of Police is insulted and will not soon forget that the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton are excluding the widows and other family members of police officers killed in the line of duty who were victims of explicit and not implied racism,” Mr. McNesby said in a statement.

He said it’s “sad that to win an election Mrs. Clinton must pander to the interests of people who do not know all the facts, while the men and women they seek to destroy are outside protecting the political institutions of this country.

“Mrs. Clinton, you should be ashamed of yourself, if that is possible.”

I love the last line. The thing to remember is that each and every one of the black people shot by police officers were shot while actively resisting arrest. "Hands up don't shoot" is a baldfaced lie corroborated by witnesses and video.

Hillary bringing these parents of criminals to her convention is pandering to the wrong crowd.

UPDATE: Donald Trump had this to say tonight:

On Monday, we heard from three parents whose children were killed by illegal immigrants Mary Ann Mendoza, Sabine Durden, and Jamiel Shaw. They are just three brave representatives of many thousands. Of all my travels in this country, nothing has affected me more deeply than the time I have spent with the mothers and fathers who have lost their children to violence spilling across our border.

So on Monday 18th, the Trump campaign brings these parents of children murdered by illegal immigrants to speak at the convention. Today, Hillary's campaign decides to showcase the parents of criminals who were killed while resisting a legitimate arrest.

Coming to the big screen in about one year. IMDB and link to a video with 20 second advertisement

From the French 1967 comic series Valérian and Laureline and directed by Luc Besson

I am stoked - this will be epic.

I had a hip replacement eight years ago and love it - the joint was bone on bone and I tried alternative healing but nothing worked. Acupuncture was great for pain management but the medicines did nothing to regrow the joint. Titanium is the metal of choice for replacement joints - it is bio-compatible and bone tissue will grow on it so after a month or two of healing, the joint is as strong as the original. Now this - from Rice University:

Titanium + gold = new gold standard for artificial joints
Titanium is the leading material for artificial knee and hip joints because it’s strong, wear-resistant and nontoxic, but an unexpected discovery by Rice University physicists shows that the gold standard for artificial joints can be improved with the addition of some actual gold.

“It is about 3-4 times harder than most steels,” said Emilia Morosan, the lead scientist on a new study in Science Advances that describes the properties of a 3-to-1 mixture of titanium and gold with a specific atomic structure that imparts hardness. “It’s four times harder than pure titanium, which is what’s currently being used in most dental implants and replacement joints.”

Morosan, a physicist who specializes in the design and synthesis of compounds with exotic electronic and magnetic properties, said the new study is “a first for me in a number of ways. This compound is not difficult to make, and it’s not a new material.”

In fact, the atomic structure of the material — its atoms are tightly packed in a “cubic” crystalline structure that’s often associated with hardness — was previously known. It’s not even clear that Morosan and former graduate student Eteri Svanidze, the study’s lead co-author, were the first to make a pure sample of the ultrahard “beta” form of the compound. But due to a couple of lucky breaks, they and their co-authors are the first to document the material’s remarkable properties.

The paper can be found at the AAAS Science Advances: High hardness in the biocompatible intermetallic compound β-Ti3Au

A definition - fascisim

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Sobering definition from Chuck Anesi:

“Fascism is a form of political and social behavior that arises when the middle class, finding its hopes frustrated by economic instability coupled with political polarization and deadlock, abandons traditional ideologies and turns, with the approbation of police and military forces, to a poorly-defined but emotionally appealing soteriology of national unity, immediate and direct resolution of problems, and intolerance for dissent.” (Chuck Anesi, 2008)

Chuck also shows the historical precident for the rise of European Fascisim in the 1930's

20160721-fascism.jpg

Much more at Chuck's website.

Glass cracking in slow motion

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From 28,000 to 343,915 frames per second:

To give you an idea of the speed difference, when they were filming at 343,915 frames per second, they shot for 5.1 seconds. If that was played back at normal speed (30 fps), it would take over ninteen hours to watch.

I want one of these cameras but they are still way too expensive for casual use. These are great but not great enough: Edgertronic Time to sit back and let the technology evolve for another ten years or so...

It seems the financial crime movie - the Wolf of Wall Street - was financied by financial crime. From the New York Daily News:

‘Wolf of Wall Street’ ironically financed by $3B web of Malaysian money-laundering malfeasance, Justice Department says
It was crime infiltrating art imitating life.

Federal officials charged a $3.5 billion Malaysian money-laundering scheme helped finance the Leonardo DiCaprio movie “Wolf of Wall Street” — the Hollywood tale that parallels the corruption charges.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak vowed Thursday to “fully cooperate” in the ongoing international probe that stands as the largest U.S. Justice Department asset recovery action in history.

A bit more:

U.S. officials seek to recover $1.3 billion of the missing funds, including profits from the Martin Scorsese-directed movie that earned five Oscar nominations.

The conspirators used some of their illicit cash to fund Scorsese’s tale of “a corrupt stockbroker who tried to hide his own illicit profits in a perceived foreign safe haven,” said U.S. Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell.

Emphasis mine - including profits? Ouch!

Great writeup by Ari Halperin on the AAAS Consensus Letter:

Ooops! Not all 31 scientific societies actually signed the AAAS ‘consensus’ letter
Recursive Lies and “Scientific Consensus” Letters

The ”Consensus” Letter on Climate Change (06/28/2016), allegedly signed by leaders of 31 scientific organizations and published on the websites of the AAAS, AGU, AMS, and others, was signed only by some of the participating organizations. This is contrary to the letter itself, the press release and the accompanying article. This sham was revealed by some routine fact-checking and the events triggered by it, and is described in a short paper The Solved Riddle of the 2016 Climate Change “Consensus Letter”, edited fragments from which follow.

Timeline of Events
In early morning of July 6th, I sent fact-checking emails to the CEO of the AAAS and to the top officials and/or media contacts of the 30 other organizations. Appendix B of the paper contains the email exchange with AAAS. The emails asked only about signing the letter, not about its content. Specifically, my email asked whether the letter in question was signed by the listed organizations or their leaders, and asked for an opportunity to see the actual signatures. In its reply, AAAS changed the published allegation that the letter was signed to “reflect the participation of leaders of each of the 31 named scientific societies” (Fact #1). My follow up letter, asking AAAS to confirm that the letter was actually signed, went unanswered.

What follows is a trainwreck of epic proportions. The article linked above only covers the highlights - Ari's paper (PDF) gives it up in wonderful detail. There is no consensus of scientists. There were only a few signatures and the AAAS is trying very hard to obfuscate and cover up.

Heading out for coffee, check in at the store and then back home to put up some storage cabinets and shelving.

The forecast is for a couple days of nice weather so I will be spraying some herbicide around the fence-line and garden beds too. Everyone keeps ragging on Monsanto and Glyphosate but I can not find anything wrong with it when used properly. It is just a simple soap based on Phosphorus a opposed to Sodium. The supposed cancer report comes from something from the World Heath Organization but I tried to find the original paper and cannot - an example of a lie repeated so many times that it becomes "fact".

The ultimate programmers keyboard

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I am loving my new Cherry mechanical keyboard (thanks Amazon Prime Day!) but this is totally insane:

20160720-binary.jpg

A One, a Zero and an Enter key. More here and here. Someone is either on to something amazing or needs to seriously up their meds...

From the Seattle Times:

Four-year-old Dollar Shave Club sold for $1 billion to Unilever
Dollar Shave Club, one of the most recognizable brands to emerge from Los Angeles’ startup scene, set out to overhaul the razor-blade business four years ago with an online subscription service for affordable blades.

Now the company is joining forces with the kind of corporate giant it aimed to undermine.

Unilever, the London-based consumer goods and food behemoth, is paying $1 billion to acquire Dollar Shave Club.

About the company:

Born out of a holiday-party conversation in 2010, Dollar Shave Club was launched by founder Mike Dubin two years later. Since then, it has amassed 3.2 million subscribers and expanded with a line of men’s hair and skin products as well as wet wipes.

And the deal:

Dollar Shave Club will remain largely independent to build its brand, which was made famous by a series of tongue-in-cheek viral videos starring Dubin. The company also will get to retain all 190 of its employees, Dubin said.

Sweet! Unilever is smart enough to recognize that corporate culture is vitally important not only to the customers but to the employees morale and productivity. If they tried to come in with their own pointy-haired bosses, it would kill the business.

Embedded systems

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I had done development work with embedded systems a lot back about 20 years ago. Got to know the Intel 8051 chip really well.

Got a couple projects I want to play with and it was time to fish or cut bait. The two popular systems today are Arduino and Raspberry Pi. The Arduino is oriented towards makers and artists and has its own proprietary programming language. Lots of code already written out there so no need to reinvent the wheel. The Raspberry Pi runs Linux out of the box and is programmed using standard Windows or Linux based development tools (assembly and C+) with a bit of Lua or Python to glue stuff together.

Being more of an old-school guy, I am going with the Pi - I like using standardized languages and not being locked to one proprietary set of hardware. I needed to get some additional little bits to breadboard out my first idea and when on Amazon ordering the Pi's (I bought a couple as at least two will be locked in a box running for long periods of time - one as a timekeeper (here and here) and one as a WSPR beacon)

I saw this little kit of fun stuff: Elegoo Upgrade Electronics Fun Kit w/ Power Supply Module, Jumper Wire, Precision Potentiometer, 830 tie-points Breadboard and this one: Elegoo Electronics component pack with resistors, LEDs, Switch, Potentiometer. Got one of each - $25 total outlay and I am stocked with enough components to build anything I want. Lots of jumper cables to connect between my stuff and the Pi board. A nicely thought out collection.

Back home - feeling a bit tired

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Woke up a bit earlier than usual this morning so feeling a bit tired - came back home.

I'll stay up as long as possible - want to start bringing my sleep schedule more in line with the rest of the world again.

Off for a couple of pints of cider

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Heading out for an hour or two - couple pints of cider and read for a while.

Our reptilian overlords

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It is true after all - here is a photo of Jeff Bezos (Amazon CEO) out of costume:

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Actually, he has a bit part in the new Star Trek movie - from the London Daily Mail:

Jeff Bezos's big break: Billionaire Amazon founder offers first glimpse of his alien character in Star Trek Beyond
Amazon founder and self-described Star Trek superfan Jeff Bezos has shared with the world a Vine video depicting him in heavy alien makeup during his cameo in the latest installment of the popular sci-fi franchise.

The six-second clip, which the billionaire tech mogul posted on his Twitter page on Wednesday, shows an unrecognizable Bezos sporting elaborate prosthetics on his face and head enjoying a meal, presumably during the filming of Star Trek Beyond.

The short video also shows the high-powered 'Trekkie' washing down his dinner with water from a plastic bottle sipped through a straw.

I hope his character gets to laugh on screen - Bezos' laugh is wonderful. Our reptilian overlords? Here, here, here and here for a start.

The reality hits home

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From US News and World Report:

RNC Protests Rage, but Anti-Trump Organizers Ask: Where Is Everyone?
Activists marched illegally down streets, fought with one another and defied a downtown tennis ball ban Tuesday during the second day of the Republican National Convention. But as the excitement unfolded, some activist leaders wondered where the crowds were.

Cleveland has seen far smaller protests than those at other recent conventions, despite the nomination of Donald Trump eliciting a rage from progressives that rivals or exceeds their hatred of former President George W. Bush. In a further distinction, it has also seen very few activism-related arrests.

“Look, I’ll say this: It’s not a good thing people aren’t here in a bigger force when an openly fascistic candidate is being nominated,” says Noche Diaz, who served as spokesman for the day’s highest profile march, which promoted revolutionary communism and the jailing of “killer cops.”

“Why? I don’t know all the reasons, you’ll have to ask them,” Diaz said after the hourlong march by about two dozen protesters, a greater number of reporters and likely even more law enforcement officers, who rode bicycles alongside and behind the group.

It is simple really - these useful idiots have nothing to offer. All they do is fling poo - there is no dialog, no dialectic and waaay too much rhetoric. They got people's attention and the people decided that there was nothing there beyond the chanting and giant papier-mâché puppet heads.

From The Daily Caller:

Global Warming Expedition Stopped In Its Tracks By Arctic Sea Ice
A group of adventurers, sailors, pilots and climate scientists that recently started a journey around the North Pole in an effort to show the lack of ice, has been blocked from further travels by ice.

The Polar Ocean Challenge is taking a two month journey that will see them go from Bristol, Alaska, to Norway, then to Russia through the North East passage, back to Alaska through the North West passage, to Greenland and then ultimately back to Bristol. Their objective, as laid out by their website, was to demonstrate “that the Arctic sea ice coverage shrinks back so far now in the summer months that sea that was permanently locked up now can allow passage through.”

Schadenfreude. What warming?

About that $15 / hour minimum wage

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We have machines for hamburgers, check out this robot chef for Bratwurst:

Tip of the hat to Popular Science for the link.

Farming and cooperative sales

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Great news for independent farmers from the Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund:

Courts Vindicate Amish Farmer for Fourth Time
If at first you don’t succeed at harassing a farmer out of business, try again…and again…and again. That has been the tack the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Hopewell Township have taken since 2012 against Amish farmer and FTCLDF member Chris Zook. Four times either the Commonwealth or the Township have brought a court action for alleged violations of either the local zoning code or the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code against Zook; each time the farmer has emerged victorious, FTCLDF General Counsel Gary Cox has represented Zook.

All four actions against the farmer have stemmed from Zook’s building of a new barn on his farm to replace the original one that had been destroyed in a 2011 fire. Hopewell Township issued Zook a permit to rebuild his barn, but both the Township and the Commonwealth objected to Zook using part of the barn as a retail store. Zook is a farmer member of Community Alliance for Responsible Eco-farming (CARE), a private food buyers club, and only sells products to CARE consumer members at his store.

Barns are exempt as agricultural buildings from the Pennsylvania construction code, but both the Township and the Commonwealth have contended that since there is a retail store in the barn, it is actually a commercial building subject to local zoning requirements and the Commonwealth Uniform Construction Code (having to comply with the construction code would cost Zook thousands). The courts have rejected this argument in each of the four actions.

Good - overbearing regulation is the bane of our civilization. Didn't used to be this way and doesn't have to continue - all it does is entrench unelected officials in power. The regulatory fees they charge allow them to build an empire. This was not a retail store, this was a buyers club and should be left alone.

The new Philippine President

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I am liking this guy - first he institutes draconian reprisals against known drug dealers and now this - from Breitbart:

Philippines: Duterte Says No to ‘Stupid,’ ‘Absurd’ Climate Change Deal
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has stated he will not abide by the Paris Agreement, an international climate change pact, calling the deal “stupid” and “absurd,” and accusing developed countries of “imposing” on less wealthy states after having committed their own share of environmental atrocities.

Duterte was addressing the Philippine Olympic team at the presidential palace in Manila, sending them off to Rio de Janeiro to compete in next month’s games. He told an anecdote of an unnamed ambassador questioning whether the Philippines will be able to keep its carbon emissions low as per the climate change pact signed in December. The question, Duterte admitted, made him want “to kick him.”

“I said, ‘No. I cannot tell. … You don’t do it that way, Mr. Ambassador. [Your country] had reached the apex [of industrialization] and along the way put a lot of contaminants and emission and went ahead in destroying the climate,’” Duterte said he responded to the ambassador.

“We have not reached the age of industrialization. We’re now going into it. But you are trying [to] stymie (our growth) with an agreement that says you can only go up to here,” he added, calling abiding by climate pacts “stupid.”

And of course, this has the communists' knickers in a bunch:

Environmentalists urged Duterte to engage in a dialogue with them. “Climate change is a complex political issue that requires reflection from the point of view of climate justice. As such, since climate change was largely caused by rich countries, fairness dictates that they shall have a larger share of the responsibility in solving the problem,” Naderev “Yeb” Saño, a climate change activist, told the Philippine outlet Rappler.

In other words, we have zero data and we want free government handouts so we are going to appeal to emotion and not science because... handouts.

Rappler notes that “highly industrialized countries like China, the United States, Japan, India and other oil-producing Gulf nations account for almost 70% of the greenhouse gas emissions in 2011.”

BZZZZTTT!!! Wrong - 70% of the CO2 emissions come from natural sources - plant decay, the oceans, volcanoes.

Our military readiness - missles

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Not so much - from the Los Angeles Times:

U.S. missile defense system is 'simply unable to protect the public,' report says
The system designed to defend American cities and towns against a nuclear attack by North Korea is “simply unable to protect the U.S. public” and will remain ineffective unless Congress exerts rigorous oversight, according to a new report.

The report, to be released Thursday by the Union of Concerned Scientists, recommends that the Obama administration halt the expansion of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, known as GMD, until its technical problems have been solved.

“The story of this system is a cautionary tale about how the lack of appropriate oversight of a politically charged missile defense program has led to a system in tatters,” said the report, written by three physicists with expertise in missile defense.

“Despite more than a decade of development and a bill of $40 billion, the GMD system is simply unable to protect the U.S. public,’’ the authors wrote.

The testing process is rigged to produce favorable results:

The report notes that in “heavily scripted” flight tests that are “set up for success,” GMD interceptors have often failed to hit mock enemy warheads. In the seven most recent tests, interceptors destroyed their targets just three times, the report says -- a finding consistent with conclusions of the Pentagon’s operational test and evaluation office.

Personnel conducting the tests know the speed, location and trajectory of the target ahead of time, as well as when it will be launched – information they would not have in a real attack.

Emphasis mine and they still failed four out of seven times. The worse thing is that they will not just launch a missile from North Korea and try to nuke a West coast city. If they wanted to cripple us, all they would have to do is get a container ship within a hundred miles or so of the coast and fire their missile straight up. No time for defense and the goal would be an EMP, not an explosion. A nuke detonating at 300 miles altitude would kill the power grid over much of the continental United States - each substation would need new equipment and it would be six months minimum to get electrical power restored.

Fun times at FOX News

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One of the reporters at FOX News had her show cancelled due to poor ratings. Gretchen Carlson countered by saying that FOX News CEO - Roger Ailes - made sexual advances towards her. Now, FOX Anchor Megyn Kelly is claiming the same thing and asking owners Rupert Murdoch and sons to fire Ailes.

This just in from Breitbart:

Exclusive — Fox News Stars Stand With Roger Ailes Against Megyn Kelly, More Than 50 Fox Contributors, All Primetime, Willing To Walk
All of Fox News’ primetime lineup is willing to walk out of the network with chief executive and chairman Roger Ailes if he is pushed out by Rupert Murdoch and his family, Breitbart News has confirmed.

Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren, Shepard Smith, Bret Baier, Eric Bolling, Neil Cavuto, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Laura Ingraham, Geraldo Rivera, Juan Williams, Jeanine Pirro, Bo Dietl, Monica Crowley, all of the Fox and Friends hosts, and at least 50 Fox News contributors are willing to depart the network if Ailes is ousted, and leave with him to form a new network, one of the network’s anchors told Breitbart News late Tuesday.

All of them stand against Megyn Kelly, and all of them stand with Roger Ailes.

Quite the A-List - FOX would be reduced to a smoking crater if even half of these people left. If they formed a new network, I would switch from watching FOX just to see what was up. Talk about making the rubble bounce. A bit more on Ms. Kelley:

“If Fox wants to become the ‘all about Megyn Network,’ that’s fine,” one top Fox News host said. “We stand with Roger. And real anger has emerged that the so-called Megyn incident happened 10 years ago. The consensus among the hosts and contributors is: ‘Why didn’t she say anything then? Really, the same woman that posed half naked in GQ? The same woman on Howard Stern saying what?’”

Much more at the site including the whole kerfuffle over the Iowa debate which Trump skipped when he found out it would be hosted by Kelly. The lady is a slow-motion train-wreck. Time for a bowl of popcorn and just sit back and watch.

That is it for the evening

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Nothing really catches my eye out there. Just the usual political crap-show.

Cotton Candy machines

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Ever wonder where these come from? It looks like Gold Medal has a lock on the market - they also do popcorn, nut roasting, pizza and hot dog machines, snow cones, etc...

Some of the things you run into when reading the entire internet every day.

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