November 2013 Archives

What goes around, comes around - 00000000

You think that some newsies would do some simple fscking research.

From the November 29, 2013 London Daily Mail:

Dial 00000000 for Armageddon. US's top secret launch nuclear launch code was frighteningly simple
For nearly 20 years, the secret code to authorize launching U.S. nuclear missiles, and starting World War III, was terrifyingly simple and even noted down on a checklist.

From 1962, when John F Kennedy instituted PAL encoding on nuclear weapons, until 1977, the combination to fire the devastating missiles at the height of the Cold War was just 00000000.

This was chosen by Strategic Air Command in an effort to make the weapons as quick and as easy to launch as possible, as reported by Today I Found Out.

From my own Blog entry for November 10, 2005:

Whoops -- bad choice for a combination...
I had heard of this before but here it is on the web so it must be accurate!

From DamnInteresting:
I've Got the Same Combination on My Luggage!

America's gaggle of "Minuteman" long-range nuclear missiles went on line for the first time during the Cuban missile crisis in 1960. But the world was supposedly protected from mutual assured destruction by the "Permissive Action Links" (PALs) which required an 8-digit combination in order to launch. Robert McNamara, then the U.S. Secretary of Defense, personally oversaw the installation of these special locks to prevent any unauthorized nuclear missile launches. He considered the safeguards to be essential for strict central control and for preventing nuclear disaster.

But what Secretary McNamara didn't know is that from the very beginning, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) in Omaha had decided that these locks might interfere with any wartime launch orders; so in order to circumvent this safeguard, they pre-set the launch code on all Minuteman silos to the same eight digits: 00000000.

For seventeen years, during the height of the nuclear crises of the Cold War, the code remained all zeros, and was even printed in each silo's launch checklist for all to see. The codes remained this way up until 1977, when the service was pressed into activating the McNamara locks with real launch codes in place. Before that time, the the lack of safeguards would have made it relatively easy for a small group of rogue silo officers or visitors to implement an unauthorized nuclear missile launch.
They provide links to the source material.

The DamnInteresting link is still up and running fine. It also has comments that link to some debunking from SNOPES as well as comments from airmen who explain that this was just the entry code and the actual eight-digit launch code had to be entered in a separate step. Eight years is a long time in a 20-something "journalist's" life but a judicious bit of Googling would have been appropriate for anything published. For the London Daily Mail to fail to catch this is shameful...

A fun day - Black Saturday

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Went into town today - Michael's was having a three-for-one sale on mounted canvasses so Lulu stocked up. Ran some other errands and then stopped for lunch at a friends place. Back home. Next up is revamping an older computer for a specific task (loading Windows XP to run an older piece of software) and then dinner (leftover turkey).

The pronunciation is like Hockey-Harbor-Rah! and you drop the first "H". From The Japan Times:

Legendary Akihabara Radio Store closing its doors after six decades
The Akihabara Radio Store, the shopping center of small merchants that pioneered the development of Tokyo's Akihabara neighborhood as the world's largest commercial district for electronics, will be open for the last time this Saturday.

Facing a decline in customers, the owners decided last year to throw the off-switch on the mall's 64-year history.

The Akihabara Radio Store opened in 1949 after merchants selling radio components in the area were forced to discontinue street trading under the orders of the Allied Occupation. Ten merchants joined hands to reopen their businesses on the current site.

In the decades that followed and as the "Electric Town" grew up around it, only one of those founding companies withdrew from the business, while the other nine, together with Akihabara Radio Store company, which has managed the building, soldiered on.

I had the pleasure of spending a month in Japan (my GF was teaching English there) and visited Akihabara a few times.

The first impression was not that great -- a row of small cluttered storefronts occupying the face of a city block. And then you realized that between every 2 or 3 storefronts, there was a deep alleyway that went through the entire square city block and that along these alleyways were hundreds of other small cluttered storefronts occupying the entire floor of the city-block sized building.

And then you looked up to the other five floors. The place was a true force of nature and a mecca for geeks everywhere.


End of an era -- sad really...

From The Seattle Times:

Washington, Alaska senators pave way for 4 new icebreakers
The four U.S. senators from Washington and Alaska are seeking to authorize construction of as many as four new heavy-duty icebreakers, vastly expanding the Coast Guard's beleaguered Seattle-based icebreaker fleet.

But with a price tag of $850 million or more per vessel, the odds of Congress going along seem about as good as a snowball's chance in the warming polar climate.

The amendment to the 2014 Defense Authorization Act would allow the Navy to immediately sign multiyear contracts to procure the icebreakers and related systems. The Navy then would transfer the vessels to the Coast Guard, which operates and maintains the current fleet of three icebreakers, one of which is inactive.

That language was inserted by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who has long pushed to expand the nation's capabilities to deal with commercial and scientific exploration opening in the melting Arctic regions.

The polar north is increasingly becoming a battle ground among China, Russia and other nations eager to tap its deep reserves of oil and gas. That changing geopolitical reality prompted the Pentagon last week to issue its first Arctic Strategy to protect American national interests.

It is funny to see the naked bias in the Times' writing. The Earth is getting warmer, this ice is melting but we need a bunch of new icebreakers. No mention of the 17 year period of lower temperatures, the quiet sun and the failure of all the long-range climate models to hind-cast successfully. I think the best explanation of melting icecaps is this one from Tiny Tim from his 1968 album: "God Bless Tiny Tim"

Obamacare explained with a parable

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And the reasons it gives simply do not add up -- from Barbara Hollingsworth writing at CNS News:
State Dept. Blames Closing of U.S. Embassy at Vatican on Benghazi--And Need of U.S. Gov't to Save Money
The U.S. State Department is blaming its decision to close the U.S. embassy to the Vatican on the Benghazi terrorist attack, saying that the embassy is too much of a security risk for U.S. diplomats.

"Security is our top priority in making this move," the State Department said in a statement sent to by department spokesperson Nicole Thompson.
Gotta watch out for those rogue fundamental Catholics. The Embassy is not located inside the Vatican grounds, it is at Villa Domiziana, Via delle Terme Deciane 26, 00153 Rome. The US Embassy to Italy is at a different location - Via Vittorio Veneto 121, 00187 Rome. Data from here and here. About two miles apart as the crow flies. If they were planning to consolidate those two, they should have announced it as such. This is a slap in the face to the Vatican as these are two distinct sovereign entities. If we closed the German embassy and merged it with the French embassy, there would be an uproar. This is the same thing. To claim a similarity between that and Embassy compound in Benghazi is insane. The second reason:
As a secondary reason for closing the U.S. embassy at the Vatican the State Department cited the need of the U.S. government to save money.

"This move will also save the U.S. government money," said the department's statement. "The Embassy to the Holy See will move into unused space on the U.S. government compound in Rome, eliminating the lease costs being paid for its current location and maximizing use of space in a building that we own. It will also reduce operating costs, as our Embassy to the Holy See will be able to share guard and other services. We reject any suggestion that this decision, made for security and administrative reasons, constitutes a downgrading of our relations with the Holy See."
Well, the former ambassador begs to differ:
Former U.S. Ambassador to Vatican Jim Nicholson does not see it that way. He blasted the State Department�s move, saying he has �zero doubt� that the 165 counties with whom the Vatican maintains diplomatic ties will view it as �a reflection of the diminished role the State Department and this administration have for this very important diplomatic post.�

�If you diminish the stature, you diminish the influence,� Nicholson, who served as U.S. ambassador to the Vatican for four years, told

�And the stature of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See is critical for its moral suasion, particularly for a country like ours that prides itself on protecting civil rights, stopping human trafficking, fighting for religious freedom and feeding the world. If you diminish that influence, you seriously jeopardize those goals,� he added.
Stupid is as stupid does...
From the Bellingham Herald:
Bellingham, Whatcom County move toward new emergency center
Whatcom County and the city of Bellingham are taking the first steps toward creating a single emergency operations center inside a Port of Bellingham building near the airport.

The building at 3888 Sound Way was overhauled by federal agencies for use as an emergency operations center during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. Now, local governments hope they can take advantage of the federal investment in the 24,000-square-foot space.

The creation of the new emergency center requires city and county councils and port commissioners to approve a 10-year agreement, effective January 2014, that spells out terms of a lease on the building.

That agreement calls for city and county to split an annual lease payment of about $134,000 to the port.

County Executive Jack Louws said the port is a participant in the project and will contribute by charging less than market rate for the building.
Used by the Feds in 2010 so that means that it will already have the communications infrastructure -- antenna mounts, radio rooms, network wiring, phone lines, etc... Even if the Feds took all the computers, radios, phones, etc... with them, the cost of installing new equipment will be a fraction of if the facility had never been prepared. The current facility for the Emergency Communications group is tiny. The new location is good for radio too. Not like we don't have anything to worry about -- volcanoes, earthquakes, land slides, tsunamis, oil spills, refinery accidents, windstorms, ice/snow, bridges. And that is just a short-list.

That Climate meeting in Poland

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A wonderful post mortem on the 19th Conference Of Parties meeting in Warsaw, Poland. From The Pointman:
COP19 � the grubby truth behind it all
It must have been a weekend because I was about. The kids rushed in and I had the �Dad, Dad, he�s hurt� and their miniature hands plucking at me like a flock of birds pecking and pulling me urgently out of the house sideways. They do that, you know it�s important because in their sub three-foot world, they always know when it�s time to kick a biggie problem over to the grownups.

I got there quick and the kid was unconscious. Nine, ten year old boy. Airways clear, breathing good, pulse good, pupils responsive so someone at home in there, a clean blood check and no breaks that I could feel. I sent a runner back to tell my wife to call an ambulance. While we wait for it to arrive, I try to find out what happened but they�re all too excited and scared to get any sense from. I think he just might have fainted or perhaps it was an epileptic episode. It don�t matter, he�s stable.

The ambulance arrives and the professionals start having a look at him. The Mum waddles up in no great hurry and accompanied by a posse of kids. Unkempt, untidy, overweight and a mouth breather. At a glance, fifth generation welfare class. She does all the wrong things, by which I mean she doesn�t do a single one of the right things. She doesn�t go near him, try to touch him or even try to talk to him. Just stands around flat-footed like the rest of the spectators, maintaining a social distance and gawking at the action. Instead, as they get him into the vehicle, she fixes me with a stare and tells me she came out of the house so quickly, she didn�t bring any money. How was she ever going to get home from the hospital?

You�re on the receiving end of that extended pause, that slightly eyes wide stare, that silent smug expectation that you�ll dig into your pocket and give them money, just to get out from under that social pressure and you tell them � �You can always walk home, you look like you could do with the exercise.� You�ve never seen a face go from a lazy approximation of needy martyrdom to raw naked hate so fast. The ambulance jockeys, two clued up guys who�ve been keeping an eye on the proceedings, snigger and after confirming the kid�s name and address, and as she�s no real interest in travelling to hospital with him, depart.

In a lovey dovey, climate conferency sense, the exact equivalent of that was precisely what happened in Warsaw at the recent climate conference.

As predicted by all but the most deluded pundits, it actually was a complete waste of time and taxpayer�s money. It was never going to result in a Warsaw Pact. Nothing of any significance was signed up to except where the next one is to be held. However, some very important decisions were made, whether the climate alarmists refuse to acknowledge it or not.

The first one was that the developed countries, all rhetoric aside, were not going to sign on the dotted line to some unlimited and continuous liability to pay the conniving sharpies of the developing world for damages caused by emitting carbon dioxide. Did they really expect the all growed up countries to hand them a book of blank cheques like that? Sorry maties but nobody is actually that stupid.

The next proposition they went after was an immediate contribution of thirty billion Yankee dollars with an ongoing annual contribution of one hundred billion per annum in climate damage reparations. The bottom line of two weeks of earnest negotiation about those ideas was they were told to Foxtrot Oscar by the grown ups. In response, they stormed out of the supposed negotiations, led by China. What happened next was truly stunning.

Nobody came chasing after them.
Heh -- the more these petty kleptocrats are shown for what they are, away from the protective 'aura' of the United Nations, the sooner we can return to doing real work. Pointman is a good writer -- his site is a weekly check-in for me.
Stuff is showing up on the cameras. Way too early to have a definite answer but will know more tomorrow and Saturday.

Food coma

Lulu is upstairs asleep. Dinner was a lot of fun -- our third Thanksgiving together.

Watching Pawn Stars on TV and will surf for a bit.

Nothing planned for tomorrow (except digestion and maybe some more eating)...

Well crap - comet ISON disintegrates

People were hoping that comet ISON would be the next big display but it disintegrated on its orbit around the sun.

Anthony has links to some video of the event.

Oh well, Halley's makes its next appearance on July 28, 2061

An interesting look from United Press International:
Much of Venezuela's Russian arms said to be faulty
Russians arms inventories in Venezuela are blighted by widespread malfunction, breakdown and an endemic lack of operational readiness, opposition critics said.

Amid data indicating Venezuela is now Russia's largest weapons customer in Latin America, thanks largely to deals reached before former President Hugo Chavez died of cancer in March, the Venezuelan military is having to cope with useless military hardware on a large scale, El Universal reported, citing opposition critics.

There was no immediate official comment from the administration of President Nicolas Maduro. independent verification of opposition claims on the parlous state of Venezuelan military is hard to come by.

"Shadiness is the key word when referring to the information on the weapons sold to Venezuela by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's government," El Universal said.

Russia will continue military-technical cooperation with Venezuela regardless of who takes over power in the Latin American country after Chavez's death, RIA-Novosti said in March.

Throughout 2012, Chavez actively shopped for Russian tanks, helicopters and air force aircraft, Russian and Venezuelan news media reported at the time.

El Universal said the late president's orders to buy Russian weaponry have been followed. "The Bolivarian Armed Forces equipped themselves with rifles, tanks, aircraft, armored vehicles and artillery systems to such an extent that [Venezuela] became Moscow's top buyer," El Universal said, in a reference to Chavez's Bolivarian Revolution that Maduro has vowed to continue.

"Have they been appropriate purchases? Is such equipment able to operate as intended when the time comes?" El Universal asked. "It does not seem so: some alarming information has just been leaked and we have already seen helicopters fall."
You get problems like this when you confuse the cult of personality with true leadership. There is a big difference and Venezuela is so far into the weeds that they cannot see this.

Some interesting demographics

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From Newsbusters:
CNN and MSNBC Lose Almost Half Their Viewers in One Year
It's been a tough year for the liberal cable news outlets.

Data released Tuesday show CNN shedding 48 percent of total viewers since last November and MSNBC dropping 45 percent.

The numbers were even worse in the all important demographic of people aged 25 to 54 as CNN's ratings dropped 59 percent and MSNBC's 52 percent.

In an off-election year, and with last November's numbers skewed higher as a result of the presidential election, it should be expected for ratings to decline.

However, Fox News didn't see close to these losses. In total day, FNC is only down 18 percent since last November and 30 percent in the demo.

As you might imagine, prime time numbers were also down.
People are getting fatigued by the constant disconnect between the reported news and the reality. Leaving the liberal media camp a lot more than the conservative one.


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Got the bird in the brine for a couple of hours -- it goes into the oven at 1PM Fixing a key lime pie and next will be rendering some bacon to do oven-roasted brussels sprouts with bacon.

Secure your cargo

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From gCaptain

A matter of a small mistake

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Great story from writer Simon Winchester in Lapham's Quarterly:
My First Mistake
The victim of the first big mistake I ever made was a gentleman to whom I had never been properly introduced (and whose name I still do not know) but who was possessed of three singular qualities: he was alone in a room with me, he was without his trousers, and he was very, very dead.

Some context might be useful. It was the winter of 1962. I was eighteen years old and had taken a year off before going up to Oxford University. I also had a girlfriend far away in Montreal, and in the superheated enthusiasm of my puppy love, I had promised to visit her. The fact that I then lived in London and she three thousand miles away meant that fare money had to be amassed: I had to get a job, and one that paid well enough to allow me to get away to Canada as quickly as possible.

London had two evening papers back then, the News and the Standard. It was in the classified columns of one that I spied the advertisement: �Mortuary Assistant required,� it said. �Eleven pounds weekly.� The bar to entry was hardly Himalayan. �Some basic knowledge of human anatomy an advantage, though not essential. Telephone Mr. Utton, Whittington Hospital, Highgate.�
Mr. Winchester is a wonderful storyteller and this is a very funny story.

1888, 2013 and 81,056

Those numbers? The calendar years that Thanksgiving (last Thursday of November) and Hanukkah fall on the same date. Technically, Hanukkah began tonight at sudown but tomorrow is the first full day.

Gearing up for tomorrow

Going to be spending a bunch of time in the kitchen tomorrow -- turkey, sides and pie. Love to cook so looking forward to this.

Doing prime rib with Yorkshire Pudding for Christmas.

How about that treaty agreement - Iran

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From the Washington Free Beacon:
Iran Announces Development of Ballistic Missile Technology
A top Iranian military leader announced late Tuesday that Iran has developed �indigenous� ballistic missile technology, which could eventually allow it to fire a nuclear payload over great distances.

Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the lieutenant commander of Iran�s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), made the critical weapons announcement just days after Iran and the West signed a deal aimed at curbing the country�s nuclear activities.

Salami claimed that �Iran is among the only three world countries enjoying an indigenous ballistic missile technology,� according to the state-run Fars News Agency.
Just what they need to launch those nuclear power plants into orbit...

Just wonderful - our EPA

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From The Daily Caller:
EPA preparing to unleash a deluge of new regulations
Happy holidays from the Obama administration. Federal agencies are currently working on rolling out hundreds of environmental regulations, including major regulations that would limit emissions from power plants and expand the agency�s authority to bodies of water on private property.

On Tuesday, the White House released its regulatory agenda for the fall of 2013. It lists hundreds of pending energy and environmental regulations being crafting by executive branch agencies, including 134 regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency alone.

The EPA is currently crafting 134 major and minor regulations, according to the White House�s regulatory agenda. Seventy-six of the EPA�s pending regulations originate from the agency�s air and radiation office, including carbon-dioxide-emission limits on power plants.
And it's not just CO2 (the gas of life) they are after:
�The EPA�s draft water rule is a massive power grab of private property across the U.S. This could be the largest expansion of EPA regulatory authority ever,� Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith. �If the draft rule is approved, it would allow the EPA to regulate virtually every body of water in the United States, including private and public lakes, ponds and streams.�
Our local county is going after wells and other drinking water sources. Push back twice as hard -- these people work for us, not the other way around...

Graphic arts and logos

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When 'branding' a business, a logo is key. Some designers don't bother to be original. Just ran into this site: LogoTheif The gall of some people...

A social media experiment

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Be careful what you post...

Internet Explorer Eleven - sucks...

I was having some problems with Internet Explorer and remembered that MSFT had pushed an "upgrade" on me last night. Checked and I now have IE11 installed.

Having major cut/paste issues where the highlighted text bears no reality with what I told it to do.

No apparent way to uninstall either -- this sucks big-time. Running this site in compatibility mode but if the browser was well designed, a compatibility mode should not be necessary...

About that Global Warming

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The East is getting hit hard -- from AccuWeather:
Storm to Cause Major Thanksgiving Travel Chaos Wednesday
A major storm with heavy snow, rain and high winds will hit Thanksgiving travelers hard on Wednesday in the Northeast with ripple effects for flights elsewhere in the nation.

The timing of the storm could not come at a worst time with AAA projecting 43.4 million travelers during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Comet ISON - update

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Great video shot by the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) satellite located at L4
Also, The Planetary Society is doing an excellent job of covering ISON news.

Comet ISON

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I have been quiet about Comet ISON for the last couple of months. It is inbound and will pass close to the sun on November 28th (Thanksgiving). IF it re-emerges relatively intact, it has the potential to be a glorious display for the next couple of months. Two good resources are Spaceweather and EarthSky Crossing my fingers...
From Texas Instruments:
Chronos Black Friday Deal!
You may have even seen it as 1 of 10 Cool Connected Watches in Forbes! You might have even checked out some of the coolest applications it has inspired. It is back by popular demand and is the eZ430-Chonos, a wireless development tool in a watch!

In recognition of the Black Friday shopping sales, we will be selling the Chronos for only $29.99 + free shipping on the TI eStore all week! There will only be a limited number available each day, but this deal will be live for 10 days! So if you try one of the coupon codes below and it isn't working, remember to check back on the following morning.
Limited number for each day. The full price of the kit is $58 -- still a screaming deal but getting it for close to half price is even sweeter...

About those polar bear attacks in Vermont

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Bunch of clueless New Yorkers getting PWNED
From The Motley Fool:
Solar Energy Is Dominated by Waste
The numbers are in and the verdict is out: Much of the money that governments spend subsidizing solar energy is wasted.

So argues author and Copenhagen Consensus Center director Dr. Bjorn Lomborg in the pages of The Wall Street Journal earlier this week. He points out that Spain, for example, spent more money subsidizing its conversion to solar power than the country spent on its entire system of higher education last year, and that here in the U.S, we spent $14 billion subsidizing renewable energies in 2010 -- $16.5 billion if you count nuclear energy. That was more than four times the $4 billion spent on tax breaks for the entire, more energy-rich, fossil-fuels industry.

All of which may be true, but we're not talking about wasted tax dollars, today. Today, we're talking about waste, period.

Cash from trash
Specifically, we're talking about Waste Management, America's biggest trash hauler by revenues -- and apparently, nearly as big an energy producer as the nation's entire solar industry.

Through a variety of alternative energy projects, from burning trash in incinerators to generate electricity ("waste-to-energy"), to capturing waste "landfill gases" for refinement into clean natural gas, Waste Management generates the energy equivalent of 9.8 gigawatts, or GW, of electricity. In contrast, every solar energy company in the nation -- combined -- generates only a little more than 10 GW. One area of particular growth at Waste Management is the use of landfill gases to power trucks that run on compressed natural gas.

Today, Waste Management has the ability to produce the equivalent of 680 megawatts worth of electricity from methane and other gases produced at its dump sites. That's enough energy to power nearly half a million U.S. homes annually.

And as big as Waste Management is already, it aims to get even bigger.

Last month, Waste Management announced a plan to build a plant in Fairmont City, Ill., that will convert gases generated by its Milam Landfill into pipeline-ready natural gas that can power compressed natural-gas-fueled trucks. Waste Management estimates that this single landfill will produce enough gas daily to run 400 large CNG-fueled trucks. The project is expected to be up and running by late summer 2014.

Once it is running, it will be the third such plant that Waste Management operates for this purpose. And even those represent just a small fraction of the 130-plus projects the company has in operation around the country, using landfill gas to produce natural gas fuel, or burning gas on-site to produce electricity. Over time, the company aims to keep adding projects until, by the year 2020, it's generating enough renewable energy to power more than two million U.S. homes -- up from 1.2 million currently.
And the natural gas is available 24/7 -- it is a true baseline energy source unlike solar.

The Smart Grid

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From M Simon at Classical Values:
Former CIA director James Woolsey calls the Smart Grid a stupid idea. He says it would be a hacker�s dream. He talks about a hacker in Shanghai. I think what he really means is Unit 61398 of the People�s Liberation Army operating out of Shanghai or some similar Chinese government/military organization.
This is going to make the troubles we have had with SCADA look downright picayune by comparison. More here and here. Google SCADA security if you want more -- lots of incidents out there. The smart grid is going to be SCADA times ten...

This will stop them

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Check out Historic Naval Ships Association Download such gems as cookbooks (here, here and here) Tools and fabrication (here, here) And much much more -- lots of stuff on submarines, sail, firearms, ships, firefighting, torpedoes, electronics (radio, radar, sonar, etc...), Standards and References, Training courses, and a lot more. This website is broad and deep -- even though some of these materials date back to the first World War, the underlying principles do not change and the presentation is designed to get you up to speed, at your speed in the least amount of time. These were the materials that educated 18-year-old boys and taught them the skills that allowed them to win a war, come home and enjoy a profitable career, raise a family, etc. The Classic American Dream. Very good stuff!
Turns out they are also the ones behind the investigation of the West Texas Fertilizer Explosion and Fire from April of this year. Investigation is not complete but lots of reading at their website here: West Fertilizer Explosion and Fire
They are finally setting some standards for operations like this. This video gives an overview of what was being done and what happened:
When they talk about high pressures and temperatures, they mean 30,000 PSI and 700�F. Since NDK essentially ignored all recommendations, their insurance company is declining payment of their claim -- good on them. A perfect case of where bad management trumps good engineering. More at the U.S. Chemical Safety Board website. The final report (PDF) is here: NDK Crystal, Inc., Belvidere, IL - High-Pressure Vessel Rupture. Makes for sobering reading.

Now China is acting up

From gCaptain:

Regional Stability at Stake as China Makes Bold New Claim Over East China Sea
China on Saturday bolstered its claim to islands that Japan says it owns, warning that it would take �defensive emergency measures� against aircraft that failed to identify themselves properly in airspace over them.

Ties between the Asian powers have been strained for months by the dispute over the islands in the East China Sea, called the Diaoyu by China and the Senkaku by Japan, which are believed to be surrounded by energy-rich seabed.

China's government-run Xinhua news agency published a map and coordinates for the newly established "East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone", which covers most of that sea including the disputed islands.

It also released Defense Ministry identification rules for aircraft in the area.

"China's armed forces will adopt defensive emergency measures to respond to aircraft that do not cooperate in the identification or refuse to follow the instructions," Xinhua said.

Xinhua said the rules came into force on Saturday and the Chinese air force conducted its first patrol over the zone. The patrol included early warning aircraft and fighters, it said.

Japan scrambled fighter jets on Saturday afternoon against two Chinese reconnaissance planes over the East China Sea, the Japanese Defense Ministry said.

A ministry spokesman declined to comment on whether there was any connection between the Chinese patrol activity and the two reconnaissance planes. He said one of the aircraft, a TU-154, came as close as 40 km (25 miles) to what Japan considers its airspace above the disputed islands.

Just wonderful...

J. F. Kerry - it's Bush's fault

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Unreal -- from Joel B. Pollak writing at Breitbart:
Kerry on Iran Deal: Blame Bush
Secretary of State John Kerry, defending the Geneva agreement on Iran's nuclear program, told ABC News' This Week that despite the deal's flaws, it was, at least, better than what the Bush administration had done:
In 2003, Iran made an offer to the Bush administration, that they would, in fact, do major things with respect to their program. They had 164 centrifuges. Nobody took--nothing has happened. Therefore here we are in 2013, they have 19,000 centrifuges, and they're closer to a weapon. You cannot sit there and pretend that you're just going to get the thing you want while they continue to move towards the program that they've been chasing.
So, to the extent that the new Iran deal is bad, it is Bush's fault, according to Secretary Kerry.

Here are some facts Kerry conveniently leaves out. First, Iran slowed its nuclear program temporarily after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. That was the context of Iran's "offer." Second, It has almost always responded to the threat of military action, and almost never abided by international agreements. Third, the Bush administration did not just "sit there." It succeeded in pushing UN Security Council resolutions that banned all nuclear enrichment by Iran. That set the stage for the increased international sanctions on Iran, for which the Obama administration takes credit but which it has tried to slow down ever since taking office. If anyone has just "sat there," it has been the Obama administration, which watched as France took the lead in pushing for a slightly tougher deal that would do a little more to protect Western interests and American allies.
More at the site.

I wish this was a parody but...

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From the New York Post:
De Blasio gets policing advice � from ex-cons
Forget Ray Kelly, Bill de Blasio is getting his policing advice from the real experts � hardened criminals.

A group of 50 ex-cons, junkies and chronic vagrants gathered at a Manhattan �Think Tank� Thursday to describe what they thought the NYPD should be doing to make their lives easier.

The felonious forum outlined a clear �get-soft-on-crime� vision.

�I like the idea of ending stop and frisk. That was the first thing that was totally there for me,� opined Mikell Green-Grand, a 49-year-old former jailbird who has convictions for grand larceny and identity theft.

Arthur Castillo, 38 � who has been convicted for possessing stolen property and assault � said he would be much obliged if the cops just left him alone to do his thing.

�Cops won�t leave us alone!� he said. �Newly released prisoners are watched by the police and a lot of us don�t feel we have an opportunity to readapt to normal life because we are treated as criminals even though we are free.�

The event, which was held in Morningside Heights, was hosted by an advisory group called Talking Transitions, run by liberal billionaire investment magnate George Soros.
Sheesh... Don't the people in NYC remember what it was like under other liberal mayors? There is a reason that New York had conservative mayors for the last 24 years. It will be interesting to see the crime rates start to spike upwards...

More on Iran

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Glenn Reynolds has this to say:
So true...

Cool documentary: Transgenic Spidergoats

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Synthetic Bio Documentary: Transgenic Spidergoats Brief from Field Test Film Corps on Vimeo.

Some wonderful applications -- ligament and tendon repair. Strength and elasticity.
From The Blaze:
Now AP Is Reporting that the Obama Administration Held Secret Direct Talks with Iran for the Past Year
On the heels of an Israeli television report last week that President Barack Obama�s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett has been holding secret talks with Iran, the Associated Press reported Sunday after a nuclear deal had been struck that the U.S. and Iran indeed engaged in secret face-to-face talks over the past year that were personally approved by Obama.

The talks were �kept hidden even from America�s closest friends, including its negotiating partners and Israel� until just two months ago, according to the AP.

�President Barack Obama personally authorized the talks as part of his effort � promised in his first inaugural address � to reach out to a country the State Department designates as the world�s most active state sponsor of terrorism,� the AP reported.
Valerie Jarrett -- where to begin. She has been the 'helicopter mom' to Obamas entire political career. She was born in Iran to American parents. She worked closely with convicted mobster Tony Rezko (remember Obama's own house 'deal' scandal?) and controlled large developments of public housing in Chicago -- basically a slumlord. For her to be put in this type of sensitive position without the Constitutional system of checks and balances is illegal. If this administration was working in the private sector, they would have been put behind bars many years ago...

What the hell did they just do?

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Woke up to multiple stories on our "new" agreement with Iran. From Ben Shapiro at Breitbart:
Worse Than Munich
President Obama�s cowardly deal with the Iranian regime � a regime dedicated to the destruction of Israel, pursuing nuclear weapons in violation of multiple United Nations resolutions, and the persecution of Christians � marks the most ignominious moment in western foreign policy in decades. The easy comparison is to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain�s appeasement of Hitler in Munich in 1938, when he signed allowed Hitler to consolidate his gains in the Sudetenland on the bare promise of no further aggression in Europe.

There are indeed similarities. A war-weary west is being played by a terroristic and fascistic regime bent on regional domination. The deal buys time for further armament by the enemy regime, under the guise of international approval. The leader of the western bloc, President Obama, is being widely hailed as a master diplomat.

But in truth, the west�s appeasement of Iran is significantly worse than its appeasement of Hitler in 1938, for a variety of reasons. First, as of 1938, Hitler had not yet made clear his plans to exterminate European Jewry. He was still attempting to ship European Jews out of Europe; the Final Solution was not formally adopted until 1941. Iran has made clear its desire to wipe Israel off the map. Its current leader, supposed moderate Hassan Rouhani, has refused to acknowledge the Holocaust as historically accurate, participated in a rally calling for Israel�s destruction, and according to Iranian press reports, stated, �The Zionist regime is a wound that has sat on the body of the Muslim world for years and needs to be removed.� Yet the Obama administration wants to pretend he is a moderate.
From Yahoo News/AFP:
Israel blasts Iran nuclear deal as 'historic mistake'
Israel on Sunday lashed out at the Geneva nuclear deal brokered by world powers as being heavily stacked in Iran's favour, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling it a "historic mistake."
And this excerpt from the New York Times:
In return for the initial agreement, the United States agreed to provide $6 billion to $7 billion in sanctions relief.
Seriously, WTF? Are there any adults in the room over there?

Now this is downright classy

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From BoingBoing:
Prisoners return to Philippines jail after escaping home to help their families
When Super Typhoon Haiyan ripped the roof off of Leyte Provincial Jail and filled the cells to neck height, 600 prisoners swam to the wall-tops and walked away. Now, nearly half of them have returned, including prisoners facing charges as serious as murder. The men went home and helped their families cope with the damage to their homes and towns, then came back to prison because (in the words of returned prisoner Danilo Tejones) "I want my case to be finished so that I can get free legally."
Abrea said the guards were themselves sheltering from the howling wind and powerful rains, so did not notice the mass escape.

But he said 251 prisoners had come back, and were now being housed in a section of the complex that suffered minor damage.

Returnees interviewed by Agence France-Presse said their immediate concern after escaping was to check on or help loved ones, and that they came back because they did not want to ruin their chances of being exonerated at trial.

"I returned because I want my freedom to be legal," said Renato Comora, 47, who is on trial for murder.
That is a perfect example of personal honor. I hope these people get 50% taken off their sentence. Those that do not return in the next month, add 50% to theirs. Maybe offer more sentence reduction if the prisoners have a trade and can help with the rebuilding. Offer free training if they do not have a trade and want to learn one. Karma -- it is always watching...

A bad technology manifesto

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Excellent words from Karl Denninger over at The Market Ticker:
Why You Should NEVER Buy Anything With...
... with a non-user-replaceable battery.

Especially if it's expensive and something you actually need to be engaged in something you like (or worse, need) to do.

The reason? You're buying something that has a pre-determined self-destruct built into it.

I've said this before but I also have broken this rule in the past.

Maybe you can learn from my $1,800 mistake.
The only thing I have without a user-friendly replaceable battery is my WalMart $19.99 TracFone cell phone. After about a year, the battery is not holding a charge for more than a few hours of idle so I keep it plugged into the car and only unplug it when I am in Bellingham at a store or something. Karl's experience is about a technical diving decompression computer -- something that should be 110% bulletproof and user serviceable. I can not imagine what it would have been like to be at 400 feet and have the thing go out on you. At least he discovered the dead battery when he tried to recharge it in his house. Comments are worth reading -- links to some "interesting" stories...

Greenpeace's comeuppance

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An excellent essay from Fred F. Mueller writing at Watts Up With That:
Is Greenpeace facing its Warsawgrad?
In large-scale wars, there are sometimes prolonged periods of fierce clashes with neither side being able to place the decisive blow that will ultimately tilt the balance in its favor. Then all of a sudden, certain events occur that mark the decisive turning point where one side definitely loses the strength to continue posing a threat to its opponents. From that decisive moment on, it will lose the initiative, being largely confined to defensive actions and hoping to be able to force its opponents to accept a peace agreement instead of having to face the enormous costs of a prolonged war. One of the most famous turning points in World War II was the battle for Stalingrad, where the seemingly unstoppable German onslaught could finally be brought to a standstill. The outcome is well known: Hitler's annihilation a few years later.

Switching to our times, one might well get the impression that in the decades-long war of Greenpeace, WWF and their countless NGO brethren for control of the public opinion about the so-called global warming threat allegedly caused by human CO2 emissions, such a turning point has been reached. The UN meeting in Warsaw (Poland), where further measures to curb these emissions should have been laid on keel, has seen a number of leading countries bluntly refusing to continue supporting the scam while many others stayed on the sidelines, paying lip-service to the noble cause of saving the climate and the planet while abstaining from any sizable commitments. Maybe historians wanting to highlight the real dimensions of the blow dealt to the CO2 alarmists might coin the word Warsawgrad later on. Having failed to reach any substantial accord on the main question, the focus of the event has instead shifted to financial aspects, with third world countries trying to extort as many billions as possible from developed nations under the pretense that they should be held liable for each and any natural disaster happening on their territory. Upon seeing the related list, one wonders why they haven�t come up with claims to include asteroid impacts, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcano eruptions as well. But there might still be room for improvement�
Much more at the site -- an interesting analysis of how organizations like Greenpeace shift their talking points when their primary focus turns out to be irrelevant. It was always about money and power, never about the environment. Started off differently but Jerry Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy took control relatively soon.
Jerry Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy:
Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people":
First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.
The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.
Writ large in Washington, D.C. these days.

Do as I say, not as I do

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Outgoing NYC Police Commissioner is a buddy of Mayor Bloomberg and a staunch anti-gun activist. From DNAinfo:
Ray Kelly Wants 6 Detective Detail When He Leaves Office
Outgoing Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly wants to take half a dozen detectives to protect him and his family after he leaves the NYPD, DNAinfo New York has learned.

Citing the fact that he will remain a �high profile target� after he leaves office, Kelly informed insiders at Police Headquarters that he will request the contingent of detectives � each will remain on the city payroll making about $120,000 a year � to shepherd him around town and protect him and his family during their travels, sources told �On the Inside.�
Now six times $120,000 is $720,000 -- the good taxpayers of New York are going to have to shoulder this cost for someone who no longer works for them. The 80+ comments are a fun read...

Seeing climate change for what it is

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From Investors Business Daily:
Climate Change Alarm Is A U.N. Extortion Racket
Shakedown: Reports out of Warsaw, Poland, say that 132 nations walked out of the United Nations climate conference Wednesday. Are they upset over global warming? No, they just want more money from rich countries.

As the U.N. Conference of the Parties droned on toward the end of its two-week meeting, "representatives of most of the world's poor countries" staged a walkout, the British Guardian said, over a "compensation row."

More specifically, they quit because they felt the rich countries weren't pouring enough money into their treasuries � from where it typically ends up in the hands of a kleptocratic ruling class.
A bit more:
The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change does not exist to save the planet, foster environmental sustainability or protect man from himself.

The IPCC exists to move wealth from rich countries that earned it through free or almost-free markets to poor nations that can't reach prosperity because their governments are run by socialists, statists and assorted tyrants.

Of course the IPCC exists in part to provide top-dollar jobs, and positions of influence and power for political functionaries and the well-connected who aid them.

But such a group needs a "mission" to justify its being.
And thank God for Australia -- may we profit from her example:
But one wealthy nation's government actually gets it.

Australia's representatives have treated the U.N. meeting with the irreverence and contempt that it so richly deserves. We wish others, including our own, would act as rationally.
Indeed -- time to reclaim the valuable real estate currently occupied by the United Nations in New York City. Let them move their headquarters to some place more deserving -- Zimbabwe comes to mind...

Busy couple of days

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Got back from Canada late yesterday evening -- long line at Customs. Finally deciding to get a Nexus card -- we only go to Canada a few times/year but the waits at Customs have just been getting longer and longer. Bought a chair and desk for the new business and spent today putting them together. Opening in a week or two... Going to light a fire and get dinner on the grill (chicken) - time to surf later.

Heading North

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Lulu and I are heading up to Canada today. There is an Ikea store about 20 miles from the border crossing. Since Lulu is of Swedish heritage, we need to get a Swedish Meatball fix every few months. Turned out to be a gorgeous day -- got down to 16.5�F last night.

Too cute

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Cccccccold - update

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Got down to 19.6�F last night. Here I am sitting down to surf, look at the temp and it just happens to be 19.6�F with several hours more cooling to go. Have the water running lightly to keep the pipes from freezing. Forecast is for a long cold period so if the pipes freeze, they will not thaw again for up to a week -- got to stay on top of stuff like this in the country...
From the Mt. Baker Ski Area website:
With the 10 additional inches of new snow from yesterday, we can officially announce that Mt Baker will begin DAILY OPERATION, THURSDAY NOVEMBER 21st at 9:00 am!

We really lucked out yesterday, with most of the warmup heading further south to the other passes. The snow base is variable around the ski area, with approximately 43 inches of snow on top of Pan Dome and approximately 37 inches at Heather Meadows. The forecast looks good, with cooler temperatures on Thursday then moderating temperatures and clearing skies through the weekend.

We will be operating BOTH THE WHITE SALMON AND HEATHER MEADOWS BASE AREAS with at least 7 chair lifts and MAIN RUNS ONLY open. Discounted midweek prices will be in effect Thursday and Friday. Stay tuned to this report for updated pricing information Friday.

Please note there is EARLY SEASON SNOW COVERAGE and you need to ski and ride with extra caution because there are sudden terrain changes and features, rocks, sticks, stumps, sudden drop-offs and patches of thin coverage around the ski area. The bottom of Chair 5 area has very low snow conditions so go slow and use extra caution in that area.
The time from when school starts to the time that Mt. Baker opens is the slowest time of the year -- no more vacationers and no skiers. Glad to see that is coming to an end...

Murray Carter

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Carter from Cineastas on Vimeo.

Lulu, Curtis and I had the great pleasure of meeting Murray at the Blacksmithing conference at Mt. Hood last August. We had a great chat.

Yikes - the end of an era

WinAmp is a versatile media player and has been around for fifteen years.

They are closing their doors on December 20, 2013. From their website: and associated web services will no longer be available past December 20, 2013. Additionally, Winamp Media players will no longer be available for download. Please download the latest version before that date. See release notes for latest improvements to this last release.
Thanks for supporting the Winamp community for over 15 years.

Been using their free versions forever -- downloading their Pro version now -- $20 -- a nice way of saying thanks!

Obamacare - a three-fer

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First - CBS is one of the mainstream media outlets that are in the tank for Obama and his policies. They released results of a recent poll and 57% of people disapprove of Obama's work and 61% disapprove of Obamacare. Second - from the Miami, FL CBS affiliate:
HHS Secretary Sebelius Visits South Florida To Meet With Healthcare Navigators
Seven weeks to the day since the troubled website was launched, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in Miami, meeting with so-called �navigators� who are helping the public get signed up for coverage.

Sebelius is a member of the President�s Cabinet. With all the suits, security and cameras following her, you would have thought that President Obama was visiting Tuesday afternoon in what was clearly a highly orchestrated media event to focus on the positive, after so many negative media reports about the Obamacare sign-up process.
At a second table, the secretary met Carmen Salero who was trying to sign up online. As the secretary and Salero made small talk, CBS4′s Brian Andrews noticed the site crash on the lap top in front of them.

�The screen says I�m sorry but the system is temporarily down,� Andrews pointed out. �Uh oh,� responded the secretary.
Heh... Third - from FOX News: �may already have been compromised,� security expert says
Not only is at risk, it may already have been compromised, a security expert testified before the Senate.

�Hackers are definitely after it,� said David Kennedy, CEO of information security firm TrustedSEC before a House Science, Space, and Technology committee hearing on security concerns surrounding the problematic website.

�And if I had to guess, based on what I can see � I would say the website is either hacked already or will be soon.�

Kennedy told he based this on an analysis revealing a large number of SQL injection attacks against the website, which are indicative of "a large amount" of hacking attempts.

"Based on the exposures that I identified, and many that I haven�t published due to the criticality of exposures � if a hacker wanted access to the site or sensitive information � they could get it," he told

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, which runs the nation's new healthcare website, did not immediately respond to a request to for more information.

One key problem facing is that security wasn�t built into the site from the very beginning, he said -- an opinion shared by both Kennedy and Fred Chang, the distinguished chair in cyber security at Southern Methodist University.


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Got down to 19�F last night. Got a couple clear days and nights ahead -- the four cords of firewood are looking really sweet right now...

Looooong day today

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Did some stuff at home and then ran into town for a doctor's appointment. My finger is healing nicely -- both the physical therapists and the doc have released me telling me to keep up the exercises and call if anything changes. I have a lot better range of motion than when I had the accident so pretty happy with the outcome. Stayed in town, had dinner and then went to a 6PM class on weather spotting. I am now a card carrying member of the NOAA SKYWARN network complete with sooper secret phone numbers and ham radio frequencies. We get heavy weather out here couple times/year and the nearest "official" weather station is about 30 miles away. There are a couple amateur stations but the more the merrier...


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Explains a lot

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When SNL goes after Obama like this, that is marking a big shift. 'Bout time...
A few weeks ago, the Seattle Times did a huge puff-piece about how Carbon Dioxide (the gas of life) was harming the oceans. Now that the enviros can no longer pin it to global warming, they are casting about for other reasons to limit it and drive their Marxist narrative. It was a gorgeous spread with photos of good looking scientists working at the edge of creation trying to figure out what was happening. The "facts" that were presented were a different matter entirely. From Cliff Mass:
Coastal Ocean Acidification: Answering the Seattle Times
A few weeks ago, I blogged about the Seattle Times series on coastal ocean acidification, which dealt with supposedly �lethal,� �corrosive� coastal waters that were killing oyster larvae in some commercial hatcheries a few years ago.

The ST suggested that mankind�s emission of CO2 was having profound effects today on shellfish in Northwest waters. I argued that the ST story was exaggerating the current impacts of CO2 increases and neglected a key point: that the short periods of lowered ph (a measure of acid/base ) were predominantly caused by natural variability. The truth is that mankind's CO2 emission is actually a very minor player in the current problems at local oyster larvae hatcheries.

The response of the Seattle Times to my blog was rapid and pointed. They put up a page on their glossy �Sea Change� web portal saying that my blog �ignores the science� (see above for a sample) and refused to allow me to submit a response that would also be available on their site.

Unfortunately, none of their response to my blog dealt with the scientific questions I raised, rather their defense was that they had talked to the experts. I had a nice interchange with Danny Westneat, one of the few ST staffers with a science background (B.S. Chemistry). But he wasn't interested in talking scientific details either. Just process.

Over the past weeks I have done extensive additional research, including talking to UW specialists in coastal oceanography and ocean acidification, as well as several individuals in the local shellfish industry. I have received nearly 50 emails and comments and more than a dozen calls. Many, including academic researchers and industry insiders, told me I got the facts right. The additional information I have secured has solidified my conclusion that the ST article strayed from key facts and avoided mentioning information that did not fit well with their �story.� The true story is far more complex and nuanced than the ST article suggests.

In this blog, I will go substantially beyond my previous note, with more technical detail and scientific evidence. You judge for yourselves where the truth lies.
Cliff goes into some wonderful detail -- here is just one excerpt that sums up the level of research that went into this post:
To put it another way, the �lethal� waters described in the Seattle Times article are found here:
And NOT here:
That puts a different edge on the issue, doesn't it? As I will discuss later, the oyster larvae factories (located on Washington and Oregon coastal bays) no longer have a problem with oyster larvae death. The problem has been essentially solved. And let me say this again: the shellfish industry is using a non-native oyster species that can�t reproduce successfully here in the NW because our waters are too cold. That is why they have to artificially hatch the larvae in warmed waters in commercial plants.
It is fun too that he brings up Aragonite levels -- if someone wants to grow corals in an aquarium, they will use a Calcium Reactor to boost Aragonite levels. The sole input to the Calcium Reactor? Our dear old friend CO2...

Alpha Cine auction - update

A week ago, I posted about one of Seattle's major media houses closing and being put up for auction.

I checked the listing website today and they now have lot descriptions and some photos. It looks like much of the major equipment has been privately sold before calling the auctioneers -- no KEMs or Steenbecks (PDF).

It is delightful to find that Steenbeck is still very much in business making parts for their older decks as well as new designs -- analog filmmaking is still very much a force.

Still, there are a lot of things listed with more to come in the next week or so. Planning to drive down and attend.

Pick up a trinket or two for old times sake...

Under my bus

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Heh -- spot on.

Bubble bubble, whose go the bubble?

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From CNBC:
US stocks resume rise with Dow clearing 16,000; S&P 500 above 1,800
U.S. stocks gained on Monday, with the S&P 500 and Dow industrials at or near record highs, as Wall Street weighed a measure of builder sentiment coming in below expectations against the potential implications for the Federal Reserve's monetary policy.

Underlying gains that took the Dow above 16,000 for the first time and the S&P 500 above 1,800 is ongoing optimistic about stimulus from the Fed. "The market is very Fed oriented," said Paul Nolte, managing director at Dearborn Partners.
Emphasis mine -- talk about understatement. What happens when the days of little or no interest come to an end and the market adjusts? Interest on our Chinese loans skyrocket and the stock market comes crashing down. Bobbles like these have the same problems as Ponzi Scams -- there is no graceful exit strategy. What the Fed is doing is just kicking this can down the road with the intent of letting the next administration deal with the toxic residue. This illustration makes it all very clear:
From Chip Bok.

Own a piece of history

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From eBay: national nc2001 atomic clock Description:
national nc2001 atomic clock made in 1954 it was the first cesiun beam clock made by national radio co. this one came out of the national bureau of standards . it is not working now but repairable . it is complete except for 4 missing handles .t5his unit weighs 850. pounds pick up only or you arrange for shipping
Asking price is $2,500. The Cesium tube would have been custom made so rotsa-ruck finding a new one. Consider it to be nothing but a hugely over priced boat anchor with a cool history.

Bad weather in the Midwest

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A nasty storm front with tornadoes are hitting the Midwest today. From The Blaze:
Developing: Tornadoes Sweep Through Midwest, NFL Game Suspended
Severe weather, including intense thunderstorms and tornadoes, swept across the Midwest Sunday appearing to level at least part of one town and forcing the temporary suspension of the Chicago Bears game.

The National Weather Service has confirmed several tornadoes have touched down in Illinois.

A Washington, Illinois spokesperson told the Weather Channel that �several neighborhoods [have been] damaged� and �many homes flattened.� According to the spokesperson, �several minor injuries� have been reported thus far, but �no fatalities.�

�Red Cross is working with the county is [sic] opening up shelters tonight�for those affected,� the spokesperson added.
Three photos (more at the link):


Anthony has some more at Watts Up With That:
Severe weather likely to hit plains today
Particularly Dangerous Situation Tornado Watch in effect until 4:00 PM CST this afternoon for portions of eastern Iowa, Illinois, northwest Indiana, northeast Missouri, southeast Wisconsin, and Lake Michigan. For additional details, please see
Anthony also offers this word of advice:
You can bet that if there are tornadoes produced from this we�ll see claims along the lines that �tornadoes in November are unusual� (They aren�t, see graph below) and that this is another �signature of global warming� (the science shows it isn�t, see IPCC SREX report).
These storms are not common but happen regularly. They go by the name of November Witch -- one of these was what sunk the Edmund Fitzgerald. More here: 35 years ago: The Witch of November Come Stealin and here: Great Lakes Storm of 1913 It is not global warming, it's just the weather...

Great news on the energy front

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I had written about the Bakken oil fields before in 2008. They have subsequently been developed and are slated to pump over one million barrels per day. From Next Big Future:
Energy Information Administration estimates Bakken will produce over 1 million barrels per day next month
The latest monthly update of estimated crude oil production in the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana shows total wellhead output topping 1 million barrels of oil per day (bbl/d) in December, 2013. The update appears in the most recent issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Drilling Productivity Report (DPR).

The Bakken region now accounts for a little over 10% of total U.S. oil production and is expected to be the fourth region (along with the Gulf of Mexico, Eagle Ford, and Permian basins) producing more than 1 million bbl/d in the nation in December.

North Dakota produced 932,174 barrels of oil per day in Sept, 2013.
That's about 30 years capacity at current levels of consumption. And don't forget we have a deposit just as big in Monterey, California. Drilling would have to happen in the ocean so the current regime is not going to grant a permit anytime soon. All the discovery and production is happening on privately owned land.

Obamacare hits hard

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The irony - it burns. From Campus Reform:
Students at historically black college complain Obamacare has left them uninsured
Students at Bowie State University assailed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Thursday after administrators cancelled a low cost school-wide health care plan due to new regulations in the law.

Many students told Campus Reform that the now cancelled plans, which provided coverage for just $50 per semester, were the only insurance they could afford.

"I can't afford anything right now," one said. "I can't even afford my loans."

"We don't have that money," said another. "We can barely afford books."

Several students said that they felt they had been let down.

"It's stupid and it's Obama's fault," one said. "You haven't done anything, Obama, and I'm disappointed in you."

"What it was hyped up to be, was that it was supposed to solve a lot of problems and help a lot of people, and its not really doing that," said another.
Barry's popularity -- nay, the entire Democratic Party's popularity is hitting rock bottom. Let's hope that people remember the burn in 2016. Time to get some adults in the room...
From Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit:
In Weekly Address Obama Takes Credit for US Oil Boom �That He Had Nothing to Do With
In his weekly address, President Obama took credit for the booming energy sector in the country.
From the White House:
One area where we�ve made great progress is American energy. After years of talk about reducing our dependence on foreign oil, we are actually poised to control our own energy future.

Shortly after I took office, we invested in new American technologies to reverse our dependence on foreign oil and double our wind and solar power. And today, we generate more renewable energy than ever � with tens of thousands of good, American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than anyone � and nearly everyone�s energy bill is lower because of it. And just this week, we learned that for the first time in nearly two decades, the United States of America now produces more of our own oil here at home than we buy from other countries.

That�s a big deal. That�s a tremendous step towards American energy independence.
However, the truth is that Barack Obama actually cut oil and gas permits since he came into office. In fact he has the worst record on granting permits than any president in recent years.
Jim then cites data from the Institute for Energy Research that directly contradicts what Obama is saying. Jim also cites the Energy Information Administration which reports that the total fossil fuel production on federal lands is at a ten year low. Pants on fire...

A cool map

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Realtime display of US Power Grid frequency. Check out FNET Web Display From their ABOUT page:
About FNET
Operated by the Power Information Technology Laboratory at the University of Tennessee, FNET is a low-cost, quickly deployable GPS-synchronized wide-area frequency measurement network. High dynamic accuracy Frequency Disturbance Recorders (FDRs) are used to measure the frequency, phase angle, and voltage of the power system at ordinary 120 V outlets. The measurement data are continuously transmitted via the Internet to the FNET servers hosted at the University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech. The Power IT Lab has developed several applications which use the FNET data to study the power system, including:
  • Event detection and location
  • Oscillation detection
  • Animations of frequency and angle perturbations
  • Integration of renewables into the power grid
  • Detection of system breakup or islanding
  • Prediction of grid instability and reduction of blackouts
  • Providing grid control input signals
Very cool technology -- they derive precise time measurement from the GPS satellites.

A big dig - Bering Strait tunnel

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Back in 2007 I posted about an announced construction project. The Russians were proposing to build a road and rail tunnel through the Bering Strait from Russia to Alaska. Turns out it is still a very active project. From the Project Website:
The project will actually involve construction of three parallel tunnels under the Bering Strait connecting the U.S. and Russia, along with sections of railway linking to the rail systems on each of the two continents.

■ Both of the two main tunnels (each not less than 54 feet / 16.5 meters outside diameter, 49 feet / 15 meters inside diameter) will accommodate two-way traffic between Alaska and Russia. Both tunnels will also include two levels of traffic: the bottom part will have a railway for slower moving cargo and passenger traffic; an upper level will include space for magnetic levitation trains, one or two lanes for automobiles, and additional space for a future Airless Maglev Tube Transport system (at speeds of up to 4,000 miles per hour). Still other space at the right and left "corners" of the bottom level will be used for water, gas and oil pipelines plus electrical and fiber optic cables.

■ A third tunnel (23 feet / 7 meters outside diameter, 18 feet / 5.5 meters inside diameter), built between the two main tunnels, will provide emergency access corridors to each main tunnel at regular intervals along the entire route. It will also house a road for use by emergency and maintenance vehicles.

■ The length of each tunnel will be about 74 miles / 132 kilometers or more, which includes the width of the Bering Strait (64 miles / 103 km) plus a distance not less than 5 miles / 8 kilometers inland on each coast. This will result in better access for trains utilizing the tunnels.
There is also a Wikipedia entry. Very cool -- take the train from Bellingham up through the Trans Siberian Express...

The first 2016 bumper sticker appears

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Swiped from Gerard.

Great news from England - capitalism

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From England's The Daily Mirror:
David Cameron calls for capitalism lessons in schools to celebrate profits in the classroom
David Cameron has called for capitalism to be taught in schools.

The Prime Minister said he wanted a �fundamental change� in attitudes to money making � with profits celebrated in the classroom.

Speaking at the Lord Mayor�s banquet in the City, he called for a culture �that values that typically British, entrepreneurial, buccaneering spirit�.

He said the Tories would make sure business was �promoted in schools. Taught in colleges. Celebrated in communities�.

Mr Cameron also signalled that austerity would drag on under the Tories.

He said: �We need to do more with less. Permanently.�

The PM�s remarks will be seized on by Labour as a further sign that he was dragging the Tories to the right ahead of the election in 2015.

But Mr Cameron said Britain needed to �support, reward and celebrate enterprise� to pay for public services.

He said: �That requires a fundamental culture change in our country.

�A culture that�s on the side of those who work hard, that values that typically British, entrepreneurial, buccaneering spirit, and that rewards people with the ambition to make things, sell things and create jobs for others up and down the country.

�That�s what this government is on a mission to bring about.�

Mr Cameron said to put business �at the heart� of the government�s economic policy.
Glad to hear that they are backing away from the abyss.

Banning cigarettes - at home.

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Say hello to Berkeley, CA's latest power grab -- from the San Francisco Gate:
Berkeley's next smoking ban may hit home
Berkeley, where residents take pride in exercising their personal freedoms and resisting government intrusion, is the site these days of a much different kind of movement - one to ban cigarette smoking from single-family homes.

A City Council member says a proposal to ban cigarette smoking in apartments and condos, where smoke can waft through ventilation systems, is not tough enough or fair. Councilman Jesse Arreguin says his fellow council members should consider expanding the proposed ban to include single-family homes where children, seniors or lodgers are present.

Cigarette smoking is already prohibited in Berkeley's commercial districts, parks and bus stops, and within 25 feet of any building open to the public, and the council plans to extend the ban to all apartments, condominiums and other multiunit buildings where secondhand smoke can spread.

But if Berkeley is really serious about protecting nonsmokers, it should ban smoking in the specified single-family homes as well, Arreguin argues in a proposal to toughen the proposed law.
And of course, nobody remembers that the initial EPA report on second hand smoke was based on cherry-picked data and junk science. All of the campaigns against second hand smoke are based on this initial 1993 paper and therefore flawed. Read more here and here.

Now this will be fun - Impeach Eric Holder

From Conservative H.Q.:

Impeachment of Holder Now Official
Representative Pete Olson (TX-22) has now made the impeachment of Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder official by filing H.Res 411, a Resolution impeaching Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.

In a statement announcing that he had officially introduced the Articles of Impeachment, Representative Olson said, "For nearly five years, Attorney General Holder has systematically deceived Congress and destroyed the credibility of the Justice Department in the eyes of the American people. During his tenure, Mr. Holder refused to cooperate with a congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious and the resulting death of a Border Patrol agent, refused to prosecute IRS officials who unlawfully disclosed private tax records to third party groups, and misled Congress about his involvement in the investigation of a journalist."

Congressman Olson further noted that, "Last year, the House voted to hold Mr. Holder in contempt of Congress, making him the first sitting cabinet member to ever hold this dubious distinction. Still, he continued mislead and thwart congressional efforts to bring the truth to the American people. Mr. Holder has failed to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed and continues to act in a manner unbefitting of a cabinet official. I urge my colleagues to join me in beginning this process by cosponsoring this measure now. The American people deserve answers and accountability."

Good. The article gives the four charges and I can only say: guilty, guilty, guilty and guilty.

Venezuela sinks lower

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From Yahoo/AFP:
Venezuela parliament backs Maduro rule by decree bid
Venezuela's legislature gave initial backing Thursday to a measure granting extraordinary powers over the economy to President Nicolas Maduro, following his controversial attempt to forcibly cut consumer prices.

Maduro's supporters, who hold the majority in the National Assembly, approved the measure which would allow him to govern by decree, without having to seek parliamentary approval.

The measure garnered 99 votes in the 165 member chamber -- precisely the three-fifths vote needed for approval.

The leftist leader requested the special powers last month, saying he needs them to fight corruption and combat opponents who are waging "economic warfare" against his government.

A second vote to give final passage to the measure has been scheduled for Tuesday.
Emphasis mine -- he does not need opponents, his own policies and those of Chavez before him are directly responsible for the economic downfall. Any time you fix prices, you guarantee shortages. Say hello to another Cuba at its heyday...
From Project Veritas:
Obamacare Navigator Fraud Continues
Project Veritas caught Obamacare Navigators counseling applicants to lie on their applications, which is cheating the federal government, the American taxpayer, and the countless families who truly need quality health care.

But critics are saying the video wasn�t in context and it was just an isolated incident. Certainly, our encounters might have been isolated, so we decided to visit with even more Navigators (who are funded by your hard-earned tax dollars).

And what did we find? Watch the video below and see for yourself!
Even worse, we learned that many agencies will have access to your private records after you submit your application.
James O'Keefe is the same guy that did the videos of fraud that brought down ACORN. His tactics on the Obamacare Navigators is the same. Release a single video, wait for that to be disclaimed as an isolated incident and then, keep releasing video after video from different cities until it can no longer be swept under the rug. Awesome work -- this is video two and shows a lot of fraud. Well worth watching.

From the New York Times:

C.I.A. Collects Global Data on Transfers of Money
The Central Intelligence Agency is secretly collecting bulk records of international money transfers handled by companies like Western Union - including transactions into and out of the United States - under the same law that the National Security Agency uses for its huge database of Americans'  phone records, according to current and former government officials.

The C.I.A. financial records program, which the officials said was authorized by provisions in the Patriot Act and overseen by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, offers evidence that the extent of government data collection programs is not fully known and that the national debate over privacy and security may be incomplete.

Some details of the C.I.A. program were not clear. But it was confirmed by several current and former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter is classified.

The data does not include purely domestic transfers or bank-to-bank transactions, several officials said. Another, while not acknowledging the program, suggested that the surveillance court had imposed rules withholding the identities of any Americans from the data the C.I.A. sees, requiring a tie to a terrorist organization before a search may be run, and mandating that the data be discarded after a certain number of years. The court has imposed several similar rules on the N.S.A. call logs program.

Several officials also said more than one other bulk collection program has yet to come to light.

"The intelligence community collects bulk data in a number of different ways under multiple authorities," one intelligence official said.

Emphasis mine -- just wonderful. Think of the duplication of effort simply because each agency wants to "own" as much as they can and they do not share. No interagency communication. Another example of why a large centralized government is such a fantastic idea...

Very smart move for Sears

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From Data Center Knowledge:
Ubiquity Eyes Turning Sears Auto Centers into Data Centers
One of America�s retail pioneers may build a brand for the new economy, housing servers where it once changed your oil.

Ubiquity Critical Environments, the data center unit of Sears Holdings, is considering a concept to build a chain of IT facilities by converting Sears Auto Center stores into data centers. It is working with Schneider Electric, a leading provider of data center equipment and services, on a proposal to build and operate mission-critical facilities in a number of markets around the country.

The data center initiative is one of several options being considered as Sears pursues a strategy for its fleet of Sears Auto Centers. On Oct. 29, Sears said it would evaluate �strategic alternatives� for the auto centers, saying they offer �a unique national footprint that can be leveraged to create significant value.� Much of the speculation has focused on a sale or spinoff of the auto center business.

The proposal marks an evolution of Ubiquity�s mission to repurpose Sears� real estate holdings to capitalize on demand for data centers. Ubiquity was created by Sears to convert the retail icons of the 20th century into Internet infrastructure to power the 21st century digital economy. Farney initially explored converting old Sears and Kmart retail stores and warehouses into huge data centers. But it turned out that many of the most promising facilities were located near existing data center hubs, where Ubiquity would compete with existing providers.
Very smart move going for the lesser served, smaller markets. There is one of these auto centers in Bellingham -- wonder if this is slated to be transformed.
Click here So familiar -- I ran a multi-line BBS for ten years and this brings back memories...

Coming out of the virtual darkness

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The last two days have seen a major test of the electrical infrastructure of this nation. Known as GridEx this exercise is run by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. From their website:
The objectives of the NERC Grid Security Exercise (GridEx) series are to utilize simulated scenarios (with NO real-world effects) to exercise the current readiness of participating Electricity Sub-sector entities to respond to cyber or physical security incidents and provide input for security program improvements to the bulk power system. GridEx is a biennial international grid security exercise that uses best practices and other contributions from the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

NERC conducted the first sector-wide grid security exercise, GridEx 2011, on November 16-17, 2011. The exercise was designed to validate the readiness of the Electricity Sub-sector to respond to a cyber incident, strengthen utilities� crisis response functions, and provide input for internal security program improvements. The GridEx 2011 after-action report is below.
The 2011 report is here (PDF) Fun stuff for us preppers...

A quick infographic - Iran

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This infographic sums up perfectly what John Forbes Kerry was going to accept from Iran and what the French (Thank you from the bottom of my heart!) torpedoed:

Another one bites the dust

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Another example of sterling financial management in California - from Yahoo/Reuters:
Another U.S. city mulls bankruptcy due to soaring wages and pensions
A resort town in California warned on Tuesday that it will run out of money by March due to burdensome salary and pension costs and could join other U.S. cities that have recently filed for bankruptcy protection.

A bankruptcy filing by Desert Hot Springs, a city of 26,000 about 110 miles east of Los Angeles, would make it the third California city along with San Bernardino and Stockton to seek court protection from creditors.

San Bernardino and Detroit - the biggest U.S. city to seek Chapter 9 protection - are likely to set precedent on whether retirees or Wall Street bondholders suffer the most when a city goes broke.

The problems in Desert Hot Springs came to light last week when a new finance director reviewed the city's records and discovered a $3 million shortfall in its budget of $13.5 million. Amy Aguer, the interim director of finance, did not have details on how the shortfall occurred but said it was the result of higher-than-expected pension and salary costs, especially in the police department, and overly optimistic estimates of revenue.
And this is not a new thing:
Desert Hot Springs, which is near Palm Springs, filed for bankruptcy in 2001 after losing a multimillion dollar lawsuit and still servicing $9.7 million of bond debt issued to fund its exit from Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
And just how expensive is their police force?
Aguer said nearly 70 percent of the city's budget was consumed by police costs, most of which were spent on salaries and pension payments to the California Public Employees' Retirement System, or Calpers.
Ho. Li. Crap. 70% for pensions? They should have privatized their force back in 2001

Call it for what it is

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An interesting move from Russia - from The Washington Times:
Russian lawmaker wants to outlaw U.S. dollar, calls it a Ponzi scheme
Predicting the imminent collapse of the U.S. dollar, a Russian lawmaker submitted a bill to his country�s parliament Wednesday that would ban the use or possession of the American currency.

Mikhail Degtyarev, the lawmaker who proposed the bill, compared the dollar to a Ponzi scheme. He warned that the government would have to bail out Russians holding the U.S. currency if it collapses.

�If the U.S. national debt continues to grow, the collapse of the dollar system will take place in 2017,� said Mr. Degtyarev, a member of the nationalist Liberal Democrat Party who lost in Moscow�s recent mayoral election.

�The countries that will suffer the most will be those that have failed to wean themselves off their dependence on the dollar in time. In light of this, the fact that confidence in the dollar is growing among Russian citizens is extremely dangerous.�
Our Dollar certainly seems to be heading in that direction -- we are about five years behind Greece and ten behind the workers paradise of Argentina.

Heading South for the day

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Heading to Costco's Business Center to pick up some things. It's like a regular Costco but they also sell a bunch of office and restaurant hardware -- Cash Registers, Signage, Security equipment, etc... Probably have dinner on the road so posting will be light today.
From Anthony Watts:
50,000 attend rally with speech against climate agenda in Poland
As more than 50,000 enthusiastic Poles gathered in downtown Warsaw on Monday to celebrate National Independence Day, with millions more watching on live television, CFACT president David Rothbard was invited to the stage to deliver an impassioned address celebrating freedom and warning against the dangerous and oppressive climate agenda of the UN.

See video, CFACT warns 50,000+ against UN climate agenda:
Before what was one of the largest audiences to ever hear a speech denouncing UN global warming policies, Rothbard said he was honored to stand with the Poles in a �new battle for freedom against those who would use environmental and climate alarmism to steal away our liberties and give international bureaucrats control over our energy sources, our daily lives, our prosperity, and our national sovereignty.�

The address was carried live on national television and covered by a large number of international media outlets. It took place just as the UN was kicking off its COP19 climate conference a few kilometers away.

Rothbard noted that at last year�s COP meeting, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said that what the UN was undertaking is �a complete economic transformation of the world.�

�This is not good news for those who love freedom, and it is not good news for Poland,� Rothbard asserted.
Push back twice as hard. These 'masterminds' need to know that we will not stand for what they are trying to implement. They are our servants, they are not our masters.

Typhoon Haiyan - an observation

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Cliff Mass has an excellent point on his blog regarding disaster responses:
Deploy Resources on Forecast, NOT on Disaster
Haiyan represents another human tragedy caused by severe weather. And it highlights again the weakness in the way mankind responds to such disasters.

Days before Haiyan's landfall, the forecast models showed the threat. Uncertainty was low as the best models honed in on the solution. Some warnings went out, but the major players waited until death and destruction occurred before initiating a major response. The storm hit, victims were injured and desperate, and help did not begin arriving in force until 3-5 days after the event. Many die, others sicken, looting begins, and the situation deteriorates until the second week after the storm.

Sounds familiar? This kind of scenario is SO familiar, from Katrina to Haiyan and a many storms in between.

We can do much better. Mankind, and particularly the U.S., needs to deploy on forecast, not deploy on disaster. We can do this now for the simple reason that weather forecasts are hugely better than even a decade ago. Sandy was a good example of our increased prediction prowess, and there are many more. So why begin to deploy relief AFTER the disaster strikes, but before? And have the capability to move in with massive resources immediately after the storm passes.
Excellent point. I would beg to differ with Katrina as the state must request federal aid before FEMA and other agencies can do so and it took Governor Kathleen Blanco three days to request the aid. Cliff goes on to present the forecasts and all of them nailed it -- major typhoon hitting the Philippine Islands square on. There was several days warning which could have been spent moving assets in to hunker down through the storm and then immediately begin rescue, triage and aid. It took the USA three days to begin to move an aircraft carrier it had in Hong Kong and it will take another two to three days to arrive. They could have been there when needed, not a week later. Worst case scenario -- the storm broke up and dissipated -- this could be considered a good training mission...

Holy Crap - first ProLab and now Alpha Cine

I had blogged about my attending the ProLab auction in Seattle back in April of 2008. I have done photography for about 50 years and was able to pick up a couple of fun pieces (more and photos a the link above). When I used to live in Boston (before moving out to Seattle), I was very much into filmmaking (still regret selling my Bolex H-16 REX-2 with electric motor drive and 12-120 Angenieux lens) and did a little bit of work with other people when I first moved out here. The lab to use was Alpha-Cine. I had mentioned auctions before -- I really love to go to auctions held by the James G. Murphy Auction Company. This is a family-run business on their third generation. They run a good clean auction and are a lot of fun. They do not employ shills and it is pure theater to watch two or three people who really really want a $10,000 piece of equipment being played by the auctioneer. I check their listings page every few days to see the upcoming auctions and it was a moment of shock to see Alpha Cine slated for early December:
Crap. Looks like I will be driving down to Seattle on December 2nd...

Heh - first phone call

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Got my first phone call at the new business. It was a junk call. Hope this is not an omen...

And nothing has changed

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Valid in 2009 Valid today Time for some Hope and Change

Nothing much today

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Did the usual buying run into town. Today was Veteran's Day but also Remembrance Day for our Canadian friends to the North. Since Bellingham is so close to the Canadian border, we get a lot of people coming down to shop. Costco was about as busy as I had ever seen it with checkout lines extending a good thirty people in length. Picked up a roti-chicken from Costco and we had it with baked potatoes and some steamed veggies. Surfing for a bit but heading upstairs for an early bedtime -- could not get to sleep last night until about 3AM so got a late start to the day.

An email

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From Doug Powers writing at Michelle Malkin's website:
The mess in historical perspective
Yesterday, Fox News� Bret Baier read this letter on the air:
Putting things in perspective:
March 21st 2010 to October 1 2013 is 3 years, 6 months, 10 days
December 7, 1941 to May 8, 1945 is 3 years, 5 months, 1 day

What this means is that in the time we were attacked at Pearl Harbor to the day Germany surrendered is not enough time for this progressive federal government to build a working webpage.

Mobilization of millions, building tens of thousands of tanks, planes, jeeps, subs, cruisers, destroyers, torpedoes, millions upon millions of guns, bombs, ammo, etc. Turning the tide in North Africa, Invading Italy, D-Day, Battle of the Bulge, Race to Berlin � all while we were also fighting the Japanese in the Pacific!!

And in that amount of time � this administration can�t build a working webpage.
Amazing, isn�t it?
Amazing does not even begin to cover this...

Ho Li Crap - dominoes

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Main video:
Bloopers and extras:
Hevesh5 and Millionendollarboy, three months, 25,000 dominoes

Team Rubicon goes to the Philippines

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I have long been a fan and a supporter of Team Rubicon. They are a group of military veterans and medical professionals who go into disaster area to provide triage and emergency medical services. They formed on January 17th, 2010 in response to the horrible earthquake in Haiti and the dithering and delay of the traditional "relief" agencies. They have been serving ever since. They are headed to the Philippines -- from their blog:
We�re Launching Operation: Seabird
We�re going up against one of the largest storms ever recorded � Super Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines Friday with massive force. Tomorrow, a team of 15 specially qualified TR volunteers from across the country along with three members from Making Change, a veterans-based relief organization in Norway, will board flights to Manila.

The primary objectives of Operation: Seabird are facilitating search and rescue efforts and providing medical triage for a full-scale field hospital in Tacloban. The field hospital can handle up to 100 patients at a time and will be managed by Mammoth Medical Missions, who�s standing up a surgical team of 17.

We�re in the process of outfitting volunteers with PPE and preparing packs so they remain self-sufficient for several days after arrival. The team will also be transporting medical response kits supplied by Direct Relief. We�ll continue to assemble intel gathered over the last 48 hours and adjust our strategy based on conditions reported from the ground.

This is TR�s first international mission since deploying to Burma to provide medical aid for ethnic Karen refugees in October 2012. Volunteers for Operation: Seabird were vetted and hand-selected based on a number of criteria, including medical and search & rescue certifications, past TR deployment history, and availability. We ask others to consider supporting our response and keep the people of the Philippine Islands in your thoughts as the death toll is feared to be very high.

Guns - a two-fer

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First - from the Indianapolis, IN ABC affiliate RTV6:
Gun sales surge after recent home break-ins
The recent increase in home break-ins and robberies has led to a surge in gun sales.

The owner of Indy Trading Post said more people are buying guns, applying for carry permits and signing up for gun safety courses.

"We've seen a large increase in people coming in that have been in those areas where the home invasions have taken place," owner Brian Ludlow said.

Ludlow stressed the importance of firearms education and safety, but he believes having a gun could prevent somebody from becoming a victim.

"These guys aren't coming in being nice about it. Most of these criminals are armed when they come in. So by arming yourself you are evening out the playing field," Ludlow said.

Annette Pierson said she was concerned about making sure her family was protected.

"I've been a gun owner, but I'm exercising it more with the training, the education and becoming skilled with it," Pierson said. "I will be taking their class. Their last class was full. So I'm definitely going to be taking their class, my daughter-in-law, my children, my family, we all believe in our right to bear arms and protect our families."

Classes are already full for November and are filling up quickly for December, but private lessons are still available. A two-hour lesson will cost about $80.

State police records showed a steady increase in gun permit requests over the last year.

In the third quarter of the year alone, more than 60,000 people in Marion County have applied for a gun permit.
I would question the 60,000 number as the 2010 Census puts the population of Marion County at 38,894. The number may be referring to the population of Illinois proper which was 12,875,255 in 2010. Second - from Breitbart:
Gonzaga Students Threatened with Expulsion for Using Gun to Fend Off Intruder
Two Gonzaga University students are facing expulsion for using a handgun to defend themselves when a six-time felon broke into their home.

In late October, Erik Fagan and Dan McIntosh were in campus housing located off the main campus when John Taylor pushed through their door and entered the dwelling. Taylor had "six prior convictions" and was "arrested later that night on an unrelated charge."

According to the Daily Mail, Taylor said he was looking for money so McIntosh pulled a handgun when he entered the dwelling. Upon seeing the gun Taylor left the premises.

Said McIntosh: "I drew on Mr. Taylor and [he] fled immediately." He added: "[Mr. Taylor] did not stick around to see if I was serious or not, [but] I was completely serious with that man."

Because of the presence of the gun in the dwelling, Gonzaga's board began taking steps to expel both McIntosh and Fagan on November 7. At the same time, administrators are reviewing the school's firearm policy.

The two students should learn their fate during the coming week.
I hope that Gonzaga does the right thing and praise the two students for their action.

Our EPA at work

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This government agency really needs to have its funding cut by 80% or so. They started out doing good work but when they ran out of projects that were needed, they started inventing work and seriously meddling in areas where they have zero jurisdiction. Case in point -- from Off The Grid News:
EPA Bans Most Wood-Burning Stoves
Wood-burning stoves offer warmth and enhance off-grid living options during cold weather months, but the tried-and-true heating devices now are under attack by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA has banned the production and sale of the types of stoves used by about 80 percent of those with such stoves. The regulations limit the amount of �airborne fine-particle matter� to 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air. The current EPA regulations allow for 15 micrograms in the same amount of air space.

Most of the wood stoves currently nestled inside cabins and homes from coast-to-coast don�t meet the new environmental standard. The EPA launched a �Burn Wise� website to help convince the public that the new regulations were needed.

Trading in an old stove for a newer stove isn�t allowed.

�Replacing an older stove with a cleaner-burning stove will not improve air quality if the older stove is reused somewhere else,� the website says. �For this reason, wood stove change out programs usually require older stoves to be destroyed and recycled as scrap metal, or rendered inoperable.�

In some areas of the country, local governments have gone further than the EPA and banned not just the sale of such stoves, but the usage of old stoves � and even the usage of fireplaces. That means that even if you still have a stove or a fireplace, you can�t burn it for fear of a fine. Puget Sound, Washington, is one such location.
Like I said in an earlier post, we just got a delivery of four cords of firewood and we will be having a fire tonight. Curtis is out in the DaveCave(tm) and there is smoke rising from that chimney. There is a wood-stove in the equipment barn shop area and I use it when I am not running the forge. Fortunately, these are all grandfathered in. I would hate to have to buy and maintain a "modern" wood stove...

Australia to the United Nations - stuff it!

From Joanne Nova:

Australia says 'No' to UN wish list of billions - will 'not support socialism masquerading as environmentalism'
The UN wants $100 billion from wealthier countries (about $2.4 billion from Australians or $100 a person). The Australian government has produced a position statement for the Warsaw UNFCCC conference. It is unusually brutal. I don't think I remember seeing the phrase about socialism 'masquerading as environmentalism' in an official statement before. (I'm sure readers will correct me). It's good to see some recognition that the science has become less clear, and that it may become more so.

Essentially, the new Australian government's message to the UN is: we are reducing CO2, but we're not giving you a cent. Furthermore, if the science becomes muddier, we might drop it. We don't think this UN meeting is remotely important and we have better things to do. And when it comes to wealth transfer through the UN the answer is No. Thank. You.
The Australian has seen part of the document and it declares that, while Australia will remain 'a good international citizen' and remains 'committed to achieving the 5 per cent reduction' by 2020 of the 2000 levels of emissions, it will not sign up to any new agreement that involves spending money or levying taxes.
--The Australian

Excellent move -- the United Nations only gets power when nations contribute money to it. The USA needs to reclaim the valuable Manhattan real estate and let some other nation play host to these kleptocrats for a while. Some of their smaller agencies do good work but the various councils are useless...

Very cool news from Louisiana

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From the Baton Rouge, LA newspaper The Advocate:
Jindal moves to strip food stamps from abusers
The Jindal administration vowed late Wednesday to strip food stamp benefits from recipients who misled retailers about their spending limits during a technical malfunction.

Recipients who walked away with groceries that exceeded their food stamp balances face losing their benefits for a year, two years or permanently depending on how many prior infractions they have. Exactly how many stand to be punished is unclear. More than 12,000 transactions generated insufficient funds notices once the electronic benefit transfer, or EBT, system came back online Oct. 12 and retailers could process stored transactions.

However, retailers might have repeatedly run transactions through in an attempt to get payment on groceries sold when the system was down.

Suzy Sonnier, secretary of the state Department of Children and Family Services, said the Jindal administration will start with the most egregious cases first.

�We must protect the program for those who receive and use their benefits appropriately according to the law. We are looking at each case individually, addressing those recipients who are suspected of misrepresenting their eligibility for benefits or defrauding the system,� Sonnier said in a prepared statement.
Excellent move for Governor Jindal. The chattering classes will squawk to high heaven that their 'natural rights' are being infringed upon but the events of October 12 was theft pure and simple and needs to be prosecuted as such.

Typhoon Haiyan photos

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The Boston Globe's The Big Picture feature has a set of photographs from Typhoon Haiyan showing the extent of devastation. They also got the wind speed numbers correct. From The Big Picture:
Typhoon Haiyan
A massive typhoon, reported as one of the strongest storms on record this year, came ashore in the central Philippines today. The storm packed sustained winds of 147 miles per hour and forced more than 700,000 people from their homes, killing at least four. -- Lloyd Young ( 19 photos )

A Filipino resident stands on a roof of a home with a backdrop of a cloudy financial district in Manila, Philippines, Nov. 8.
The most powerful cyclone in three decades battered the Philippines, killing at least three people and displacing over 718,000, disaster relief officials said.
Typhoon Haiyan was packing maximum sustained winds of 235 kilometres per hour (kph) and gusts of up to 275 kph as it made five landfalls
over the eastern and central provinces of Eastern Samar, Leyte, Cebu and Iloilo, the national weather bureau said. (Francis R. Malasig/EPA)
Eighteen more at the site.
This is a very major storm and there has been awful damage and about 1,200 people dead or unaccounted for. That being said, a lot of people are looking at Haiyan's intensity as proof positive of Anthropogenic Global Warming, saying that this was the most intense storm ever recorded. A look at the current facts and the historical record are in order. From Anthony Watts and Paul Homewood at Watts Up With That:
Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda � another overhyped storm that didn�t match early reports
Here is the sort of headlines we had Friday, for example this one from Huffington Post where they got all excited about some early reports from Andrew Freedman:
Super Typhoon Haiyan Could Be One Of The Strongest Storms In World History
Super Typhoon Haiyan � which is one of the strongest storms in world history based on maximum windspeed � is about to plow through the Central Philippines, producing a potentially deadly storm surge and dumping heavy rainfall that could cause widespread flooding. As of Thursday afternoon Eastern time, Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Super Typhoon Yolanda, had estimated maximum sustained winds of 195 mph with gusts above 220 mph, which puts the storm in extraordinarily rare territory.
Ah those estimates, they sure don�t always meet up with reality later � Anthony
More from Paul:
Sadly it appears that at least 1000 1200 lives have been lost in Typhoon Yolanda (or Haiyan), that has just hit the Philippines. There appear to have been many unsubstantiated claims about its size, though these now appear to start being replaced by accurate information.

Nevertheless the BBC are still reporting today:
Typhoon Haiyan � one of the most powerful storms on record to make landfall�� The storm made landfall shortly before dawn on Friday, bringing gusts that reached 379km/h (235 mph).
Unfortunately we cannot always trust the BBC to give the facts these days, so let�s see what the Philippine Met Agency, PAGASA, have to say. Here are the surface wind reports:




So at landfall the sustained wind was 235 kmh or 147 mph, with gusts up to 275 kmh or 171 mph. This is 60 mph less than the BBC have quoted.

The maximum strength reached by the typhoon appears to have been around landfall, as the reported windspeeds three hours earlier were 225 kmh (140mph).

Terrible though this storm was, it only ranks as a Category 4 storm, and it is clear nonsense to suggest that it is �one of the most powerful storms on record to make landfall�
Paul then looks back at the historical record of 1964 and 1965 when there were no less than eight super-typhoons of Category Five strength. Paul also points to news articles where people confuse Kilometers/Hour with Miles/Hour -- 1mph = 1.6kph Yes, a great tragedy but not a 'superstorm' by a long shot. Again, donations can be made here: Philippine Red Cross


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The Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer or GOCE Satellite is deorbiting and will fall to earth sometime this weekend. Nobody knows when or where. Live tracking here: REAL TIME SATELLITE TRACKING As of this moment, it is over the Pacific Ocean just East of Japan at 100 miles altitude and losing about 50 feet per second. More from this article at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:
1-tonne GOCE satellite falls to Earth Sunday night
A one-tonne European satellite is expected to disintegrate in the atmosphere and fall to the Earth�s surface in pieces Sunday night.

The European Space Agency�s Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation satellite, launched into orbit in March 2009, ran out of fuel in October and has been dropping slowly out of orbit ever since.

On Friday, the ESA predicted that GOCE would re-enter the atmosphere and break up into pieces overnight between Sunday and Monday, when it has dropped to 80 kilometres above the Earth's surface. Earlier Friday, GOCE was about 170 kilometres above the Earth�s surface � around 50 kilometres lower than when it ran out of fuel, and was expected to drop another eight kilometres over the course of the day, the ESA said.

The space agency said most of the satellite will disintegrate in the atmosphere, but some smaller parts are expected to reach the Earth�s surface.

Obamacare - a two-fer

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Both from The Heritage Foundation First - security:
Exclusive: Users Warn of Security Risk, Breach of Privacy
Justin Hadley logged on to to evaluate his insurance options after his health plan was canceled. What he discovered was an apparent security flaw that disclosed eligibility letters addressed to individuals from another state.

�I was in complete shock,� said Hadley, who contacted Heritage after becoming alarmed at the breach of privacy.

Hadley, a North Carolina father, buys his insurance on the individual market. His insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, directed him to in a cancellation letter he received in September.

After multiple attempts to access the problem-plagued website, Hadley finally made it past the registration page Thursday. That�s when he was greeted with a downloadable letter about eligibility � for two people in South Carolina.
Second - schadenfreude:
Health Policy Expert�s Insurance Gets Canceled by Obamacare
As a health policy expert, Hadley Heath has warned about the problems with Obamacare for years. Now, like so many other Americans, she�s facing the real-life consequences of the law.

Speaking to Fox News�s Greta Van Susteren, Heath said her current health care plan is no longer an option. The $113 per month she pays for that plan includes hospitalization, preventive care, immunization, X-rays, and �all the basic things that someone might want in a health insurance plan.� Her deductible was $2,700 per year.

But because of Obamacare, Heath said the most affordable plan available to her now through the Washington, D.C., exchange would double her insurance premium, and her new deductible would be about $3,500 per year.

�I can�t believe that would be better for me or something that I would choose to do on my own,� Heath said. �That�s why I imagine they have a mandate making this mandatory.�

Heath, who is a senior policy analyst with the Independent Women�s Forum, warned Obamacare will hit young people hard.

Obamacare is about redistributing costs and, in this case, it�s from younger, healthier people onto people who utilize the health care system more,� she said.

Heath added: �I think my experience is representative of the experience of what will be millions of people who buy their own health insurance, especially young Americans. I�ve seen studies that estimate that women�s premiums might double and young men�s might triple.�
Emphasis mine - BINGO! This is not about making healthcare more accessible and affordable, it is about redistribution of wealth. Redistribution of wealth is based on Karl Marx's stupid brain-dead moronic theory that: #1)- there is a fixed pool of capital and #2) - all of the world's problems are based on an inequitable distribution of said capital. What trust-fund baby Marx (who never worked a day of his life) failed to grasp is that capital is fungible -- it can be created, it can be destroyed. In 2008 when the bankster bubble was collapsing, where were the trucks? When a bank failed, where did the money go? Where were the trucks hauling it away? Conversely, there was a single mom in Scotland that created a multi-billion dollar business out of nothing.

In the doghouse

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I did a pot-roast tonight -- experimented with the seasonings a bit and it came out really well -- put a 2" chunk of cinnamon stick and some Garam Masala along with minced garlic, salt and black pepper and about a quarter cup of brown sugar (this for a five pound chuck roast and a half-gallon of beef stock (made with Better Than Bouillon from Costco -- fantastic stuff!) Next time I will try a bit of dark chocolate and some coffee -- not so that you can taste it -- these spices are like Tarragon. If you can identify the spice, you used too much but a little bit adds a lot of complexity to the flavor profile. Did a Roux and made gravy from the pan juices. Anyway, the three of us ate our way into a food coma. We were sitting watching American Pickers and hear a crash from the kitchen. Grace went shopping. She immediately fled into the living room but stayed as far away as she could from us. She knew what she did was bad. We shunned her for the rest of the evening -- Curtis is now out in the DaveCave(tm), Lulu is to bed and I am surfing for a little bit. I think that Grace learned a life lesson tonight. Dang -- I was really looking forward to another night of pot-roast and then some beef noodle soup but am now thawing out a ham steak and will be doing Ham and Bean soup for tomorrow's dinner. Happiness is a full freezer...

Astronomy photo of the day?

What celestial bodies are these?
Actually, these are the bottoms of some frying pans as photographed by Swedish Photographer Christopher Jonassen.

Iran - a three-fer

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We are letting this one get away. Iran is set to become a nuclear power and we are working towards this goal instead of against it. First - from The Daily Beast:
Exclusive: Obama�s Secret Iran D�tente
The Obama administration began softening sanctions on Iran after the election of Iran�s new president in June, months before the current round of nuclear talks in Geneva or the historic phone call between the two leaders in September.

While those negotiations now appear on the verge of a breakthrough the key condition for Iran�relief from crippling sanctions�began quietly and modestly five months ago.

A review of Treasury Department notices reveals that the U.S. government has all but stopped the financial blacklisting of entities and people that help Iran evade international sanctions since the election of its president, Hassan Rouhani, in June.
So we are easing up on the sanctions but not demanding dismantling of the centrifuges. Idiots. Second - from the UK Weekly Standard: Transcript of this video:
Netanyahu: 'This Is a Bad Deal--a Very, Very Bad Deal'
I met Secretary Kerry right before he leaves to Geneva," said Netanyhau. "I reminded him that he said that no deal is better than a bad deal. That the deal that is being discussed in Geneva right now is a bad deal. It�s a very bad deal. Iran is not required to take apart even one centrifuge. But the international community is relieving sanctions on Iran for the first time after many years. Iran gets everything that it wanted at this stage and it pays nothing. And this is when Iran is under severe pressure. I urge Secretary Kerry not to rush to sign, to wait, to reconsider, to get a good deal. But this is a bad deal--a very, very bad deal. It�s the deal of a century for Iran; it�s a very dangerous and bad deal for peace and the international community.
Third - from NBC News:
Kerry making unplanned visit to Geneva for Iran talks
Secretary of State John Kerry will make an unplanned trip to Geneva Friday afternoon � where intense nuclear negotiations are underway � to meet with Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, multiple sources including U.S. officials tell NBC News.

Nuclear talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 nations � U.S., Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany � resumed in Geneva Thursday morning.

Word of Kerry's impending arrival is the strongest sign so far of an agreement on a first step toward a comprehensive final deal.
John Forbes Kerry may have great hair but #1) - he has no balls and #2) - he simply is not that intelligent. He will fold, Iran will get the bomb and Israel will have to act alone against the muslim world. This is a black stain on the history of this once-great Nation.

Our prayers go out to the Philippines

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Typhoon Haiyan is wreaking destruction over there. Worst storm in a long long time with sustained winds of 195 mph and gusts to 235. Donations can be made here: Philippine Red Cross

This is not how to build a website

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From Computerworld:
'War Room' notes describe IT chaos at
On the morning of Oct. 1 in Washington, temperatures in the low 80s were expected, the Republican-engineered federal shutdown was in its first day, and a "War Room" team gathered for a meeting. They kept notes.

Many federal offices were empty that day due to the shutdown-caused furloughs of federal employees. But Oct. 1 was also the day of the launch of the Affordable Care Act's Website, the main portal to sign up for insurance under the new law. Trouble tickets quickly piled up, and wait times for help desk responses grew to as much as five hours.

At some points in the days immediately following the launch, there were 40,000 people in virtual "waiting rooms" because capacity had been reached. Some were waiting 15 to 20 minutes in these rooms.

The War Room notes, 175 pages in all, were released Monday by U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. (PDF War Room notes) Issa, a critic of the health care law, is using the notes to draw attention to the limited number of insurance sign-ups so far. Just six people signed up on the first day.

The War Room notes also catalog IT problems -- dashboards weren't showing data, servers didn't have the right production data, third party systems weren't connecting to verify data, a key contractor had trouble logging on, and there wasn't enough server capacity to handle the traffic, or enough people on the help desks to answer calls. To top it off, some personnel needed for the effort were furloughed because of the shutdown.
First of all, this would never have happened in the private sector. Team management tools and design standards are too firmly entrenched for a fustercluck of this proportion to ever happen. Building an enterprise-level website is not an impossible task. People shop at Amazon and use Google all the time. Only a centralized government can create something this bad. This should be taken down and a professional company be brought in to rewrite it from scratch. There is no saving this pig.

Michael Ramirez on Obamacare

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Michael publishes at the Investors Business Daily

Very cool technology - 3D printed gun

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This isn't just a plastic receiver that falls apart after a few firings. (The receiver is the part that holds the serial number and is the single component that constitutes a "gun") You can also print with sintered metal. These printers use a laser to fuse the metal powder and are a lot more expensive than the home-brew RepRap machines.
Very cool!

Firewood in - stacking tomorrow

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The guy was about an hour late delivering the firewood. Big dump-truck with four cords of wood. Looks really good. Curtis and I will be stacking tomorrow (and Saturday). 70% chance of showers. Wunnerful...

Very cool technology for automobiles

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The companies website is here: Disappearing Car Door I can see this being fantastic for disabled people.


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Inordinately pleased by the smallest things... Had to go to town today and when I came back, the broadband was up and running at the new storefront. 12.5 Mbps download and 0.91 Mbps upload -- perfect and about double the download speed from what I have at the house. Unloading and heading home -- have four cords of firewood being delivered later this afternoon...

On the perception of sound

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Very cool -- I am into audio and this 5:44 video covers a lot of ground. A big tip 'o the hat to Gerard for the link...

Great resource for older electronics equipment

Several hundred manuals and schematics for older Military Electronics -- radios, antennas, test equipment, etc...

Check out Radionerds

Not required to ask

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Stupid rules in Obamacare -- from The Washington Examiner:
Health care law allows hiring convicted felons as Obamacare navigators
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a Senate panel Wednesday that there are no safeguards in place that would prevent convicted felons from becoming "navigators" for the new health care law implementation.

"That is possible," Sebelius told Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who asked her about felons being hired for the job.

Health care navigators are certified counselors hired to help consumers and small businesses with the application process for, the health insurance exchange website.

Navigators, according to, are trained to help consumers complete eligibility and enrollment forms, which include sensitive personal information including Social Security and financial information.

Under current law, there is no federal requirement for a background check, though states can require it, Sebelius said.

"So a convicted felon could be a navigator and could acquire sensitive personal information from an individual, unbeknownst to them," Cornyn asked Sebelius during the hearing.

"That is possible," she answered.
They would never do it -- what with the public opinion being so low -- but they should toss the entire thing out on its ear and re-write it, website and all. I hope the people in San Francisco will remember Pelosi's comment about "having to pass the bill before we can find out what's in the bill".

Obamacare by morning

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Fun bit from the Country Music Awards this year:

It is because her son and heir, Prince Charles, is a stupid twit and unfit for the Throne. She is hoping that Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge leapfrogs over Chuckles in succession to the Throne.

A perfect example can be found at the UK media network ITV:

Charles warns of climate change at Islamic forum
The Prince of Wales used his keynote speech at the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum in London this evening to warn of the political and economic dangers of climate change, and used Syria as a "terrifyingly graphic" example of the adverse effects of climate change on vulnerable populations.

Opening the forum, Prince Charles said drought, poor food security and rapid urbanisation contributed to the social tension that ignited into the 2011 uprising.

"The tragic conflict in Syria provides a terrifyingly graphic example, where a severe drought for the last seven years has decimated Syria's rural economy. Driving many farmers off their fields and into cities where, already, food was in short supply.

"This depletion of natural capital, inexplicably, little reported in the media, was a significant contributor to the social tension that exploded with such desperate results."

It is the first time the World Islamic Economic Forum has taken place in London.

Emphasis mine -- when you decimate something, you only cut ten percent of it's size.

Interesting when there is evidence that he is if not a convert to Islam, deeply sympathetic. A three-fer:

First: Is Prince Charles a Convert to Islam?
Second: 'Follow the Islamic way to save the world,' Prince Charles urges environmentalists

The last is a transcript of a speech he gave in 1993 on the occasion of his visit to the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.

Bone-chilling to read -- these people are waging war on the West and we cozy up to them as if nothing was wrong.

The sooner Charles removes himself from the political landscape and goes back to his estate and plays with his grandkids, the better. The man has no place on the world stage.

The joys of rural living

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Got the phone lines in along with the internet for the new venture. The guy got the phone lines in, hooked up the DSL modem, saw the correct blinkey-lights but was unable to get service. Hmmm... He spent about 40 minutes on the phone with the other end of the fiber and they couldn't find anything wrong. We were talking about this when someone from a neighboring business walked in asking if the internet was down. Turns out that an interface card in the DSLAM was bad and it took 32 customers offline. Oops... Should be up and running tomorrow.

Very cool CNC turning operation

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Uses a rotating cutterhead synced to the spindle rotation to turn a polygon:
Audio is a bit loud so be sure to lower your speaker levels before playing...
Doing some HTML coding for the new venture.
From The National Institute of Standards and Technology's Tech Beat for November 5, 2013:
NIST�s New Compact Atomic Clock Design Uses Cold Atoms to Boost Precision
Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated a compact atomic clock design that relies on cold rubidium atoms instead of the usual hot atoms, a switch that promises improved precision and stability.

Described in a new paper, the heart of the prototype clock (the vacuum chamber containing the atoms) is about the size of a coffee mug, 150 cubic centimeters, set in a small table of lasers and electronics. This is about 10 times larger than NIST's chip-scale atomic clock packages�for now. But when miniaturized and improved, NIST's new clock design has the potential to be about the same size and 1,000 times more precise and stable than chip-scale atomic clocks over crucial timespans of a day or more.

By achieving this goal, the cold-atom clock could also match the performance of commercial cesium-beam atomic clocks, common laboratory instruments, but in a smaller package.

"We're trying to push ultraportable clocks to higher performance levels," NIST physicist Elizabeth Donley says. "The aim is to make a clock that does not even need calibration."
And in ten years, when these hit the surplus market, we will be able to buy some amazing clocks for pennies on the dollar.

Fun time to be a beachcomber

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From the London Daily Mail:
Island of debris the size of TEXAS from 2011 Japanese tsunami is headed straight for the U.S.
A floating island of debris the size of Texas has been crossing the vast Pacific Ocean to the western shores of the Americas since a devastating tsunami inundated Japan in 2011, says a new study.

Five million tons of wreckage - the remains of homes, boats, and other remnants of shattered lives in eastern Japan - were swallowed by the ocean that day in March, and more than one million tons of flotsam continues to head towards the west coast of the US.

While the first documented debris from the tragedy has already been found in California, scientists fear these new findings mean there could be a lot more to come and it might arrive all at once.
Holy crap -- that is going to be a bear to clean up...

Obamacare - compare and contrast

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Ever spinning

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Now that the news of hundreds of thousands of people losing their medical insurance are flooding in, Obama is backpedaling as hard has his little stompy-feet can take him. From The Daily Caller:
Obama denies �you can keep it� videotaped promises
President Barack Obama told his enthusiastic supporters Monday night that he never promised what video recordings show him promising at least 29 times.

The videos show Obama promising 300 million Americans that �if you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health-care plan, period.�

But that�s not what he really said, Obama announced Monday in a speech to about 200 Organizing for Action supporters, gathered at the St. Regis hotel in D.C.

�What we said was you could keep it if it hasn�t changed since the law was passed,� he told Obamacare�s political beneficiaries and contractors.

That claim is not supported by his videotaped statements, which don�t include any mention of his new �if it hasn�t changed� exception.

But the newly-revealed exception is justified by a higher-priority promise in Obamacare, Obama declared.

�If we had allowed these old plans [to continue]� then we would have broken an even more important promise � making sure that Americans gain access to health care that doesn�t leave them one illness away from financial ruin,� he announced.

�So the bottom line is, is that we are making the insurance market better for everybody,� he declared, prompting loud applause by supporters eager to ignore his three years of fraudulent statements.

Obama�s higher promise is now causing the cancelation of insurance policies chosen by at least 3.5 million Americans.
Pants in fire. This legislation is going to increase the cost of medical insurance for everyone. My own policies for Lulu and me went up a few months ago.

Woooo Hoooo

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First blogpost from the new office More in a few days -- got to paint and put up some shelving first...

The new healthcare website

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Check it out here -- Keep clicking...

Heh - Michelle and Chewbacca

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Swiped from Grouchy Old Cripple

And it starts...

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From Columbia, SC's WISTV:
Midlands man has personal information compromised on
About a month ago, attorney Tom Dougall logged on to to browse for cheaper insurance for him and his wife.

On Friday, the last thing he expected to hear on his voicemail was a man from North Carolina who says he can access all of Tom's personal information.

Dougall says he thought it was a scam until he realized his privacy had been breached.

"I believe somehow the ACA, the Healthcare website has sent me your information, is what it looks like," said Justin Hadley, a North Carolina resident who could access Tom's information on "I think there's a problem with the wrong information getting to the wrong people."

In a telephone interview, Hadley said he simply put in his username and password when Dougall's information appeared.

"The next page that came up was a page that prompted that I have a marketplace eligibility information to download. And that's when I clicked download and Mr. Dougall's information came up in a PDF document," said Hadley.
Fortunatley, Hadley was a White Hat. I hate to think of the number of Black Hats out there quietly hacking away -- the damages could be in the millions and there would be zero recourse.

Simon's Cat

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His offering for Halloween.

Gun grabbing in the Nanny State

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From The Buffalo News (note: a big red 'registration' screen will pop over the article. Look at the top right edge of this screen and click on the very tiny "x" to make it go away):
Man ordered to surrender permit, handguns
A Lockport man who found himself at the center of controversy two weeks ago when he was charged under an unpopular section of the SAFE Act, limiting ammunition in a magazine, has been ordered by a Niagara County judge to hand over his pistol permit and all his handguns.

Paul A. Wojdan, 26, of Parkwood Drive, was a passenger in a vehicle pulled over by Lockport police Oct. 12, when he was charged after surrendering a loaded semiautomatic handgun in a holster retrieved from the glove compartment.

Although the gun was legal, the ammunition wasn�t. He had 10 rounds of 9 mm ammunition in the magazine, violating the new law, which limits a magazine to seven rounds. He was charged with unlawful possession of an ammunition feeding device, a misdemeanor.

Last weekend, Niagara County sheriff�s deputies were sent to Wojdan�s home to confiscate his pistol permit and handguns.

Wojdan told deputies he had received a �notice of objection� from the Niagara County Pistol Permit Office. Handguns seized included a Glock 9 mm pistol, a Walther .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol, a Springfield 40-caliber semiautomatic pistol, a GSG .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol and an Iver Johnson .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol.
Of course, NY State offers no way to reduce the capacity of the magazines (a plug or bolt); they pass an arbitrary law and expect everyone to know about it and to act on it.

Back from town

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Did the usual Monday store run but spent an hour at our credit union setting up the account for the new business venture. Opening day is getting close -- spending tomorrow and Wednesday painting and moving equipment. Have a P.T. appointment for the finger tomorrow too so another busy day. Got down to 24�F last night -- cold clear evening. Stock tanks have a layer of rime on them in the morning to time to get the floating heaters out in the next day or two. Fixing dinner and then surf for a bit...

Sarah Palin v/s Piers Morgan

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Piers Morgan was spreading a nasty and untrue story about Sarah Palin. From Breitbart:
Piers Morgan Spreads Fake Story Trashing Palin
The Daily Currant is a satire site, but that didn't stop CNN primetime anchor Piers Morgan from gleefully tweeting out a Currant story attacking Sarah Palin, without noting that the story was untrue. Moreover, nothing on the page indicates the article is satire. The fake story ridiculed Palin for something she did not do: Claim that Christ celebrated Easter before his death.
Sarah's reply was pure classy -- from her Facebook page:
Oh dear Piers, thank you so much for all your invitations to appear on your shambolic show, including the adoring message you sent. But is it still any wonder why I've politely responded that I'm too busy doing, um, er... pretty much anything to accept the invite? (At least I didn't tell you to "get stuffed".) And to all our British friends: we ask, what did your friends across the pond ever do to you to deserve your Piers?

Overreach - trying to ban prepaid cell phones

This is ridiculous -- from the Huffington Post:

Prepaid Cell Phone Ban? Terrorism Cited By Senate Lawmakers
Alarmed by the use of hard-to-track prepaid cell phones by terror suspects, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and Texas Sen. John Cornyn have introduced legislation requiring consumers to produce identification before buying such phones.

The bill has been praised by law enforcement and has bipartisan support, even as civil liberties groups have raised privacy concerns and some terror experts say it won't deter bad behavior.

They want you to show ID to buy a phone but you can vote as often as you want, get Medicaid, get public housing, get food stamps, etc... without having to provide anything. A bit more:

Prepaid phones can be a lifeline for people with limited incomes or poor credit, allowing them to purchase a device and a limited amount of calling time without committing to a costly contract. Phone companies sold $16 billion worth of prepaid cell phones last year, and the devices are hugely popular in both the U.S. and countries around the world.

They are also a wonderful alternative for those people who do not use the phone as their primary means of communication. Where I live, I used to get Nextel service but when Nextel got assimilated into the Verizon borg collective, I had no options. Now I use a $20 TracPhone for when I am in town. $20 for the phone and $20 for each block of 120 days is a great deal.

Ho Li Crap - Ender's Game

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Saw this on an IMAX screen and it was incredible. Well thought out plot (original author Orson Scott Card was brought in to work with the movie). Wonderful scripting and casting, very believable story arc and the space ships and 'zero' G scenes were flawless. There was a bit of an issue with faster than light communications and travel but it was mostly a case of a I will not raise the subject if you do not agreement between the filmmakers and the audience. Well worth seeing on the big screen if you are into science fiction/space opera.

What scandal?

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Bob: "Did you hear about the Obama administration scandal?"
Jim: "You mean the Mexican gun running?"
Bob: "No, the other one."
Jim: "You mean SEAL Team 6?"
Bob: "No, the other one."
Jim: "You mean the State Dept. lying about Benghazi?"
Bob: "No, the other one."
Jim: "You mean voter fraud?"
Bob: "No, the other one."
Jim: "You mean the military not getting their votes counted?"
Bob: "No, the other one."
Jim: "The NSA monitoring our phone calls, emails, and everything else?"
Bob: "No, the other one."
Jim: "You mean the drones in our own country without the benefit of the law?"
Bob: "No, the other one."
Jim: "Giving 123 Technologies $300 Million and right after it declared bankruptcy and was sold to the Chinese?"
Bob: "No, the other one."
Jim: "You mean the president arming the Muslim Brotherhood?"
Bob: "No the other one."
Jim: "The IRS targeting conservatives?"
Bob: "No, the other one."
Jim: "The DOJ spying on the press?"
Bob: "No, the other one."
Jim: "Sebelius shaking down health insurance executives?"
Bob: "No, the other one."
Jim: "Giving SOLYNDRA $500 MILLION DOLLARS and 3 months later they declared bankruptcy and then the Chinese bought it?"
Bob: "No, the other one."
Jim: "The president's ordering the release of nearly 10,000 illegal immigrants from jails and prisons, and falsely blaming the sequester?"
Bob: "No, the other one."
Jim: "The president's threat to impose gun control by Executive Order in order to bypass Congress?"
Bob: "No, the other one."
Jim: "The president's repeated violation of the law requiring him to submit a budget no later than the first Monday in February?"
Bob: "No, the other one."
Jim: "The 2012 vote where 115% of all registered voters in some counties voted 100% for Obama?"
Bob: "No, the other one."
Jim: "The president's unconstitutional recess appointments in an attempt to circumvent the Senate's advise-and-consent role?"
Bob: "No, the other one."
Jim: "The State Department interfering with an Inspector General investigation on departmental sexual misconduct?"
Bob: "No, the other one."
Jim: "Clinton, the IRS, Clapper and Holder all lying to Congress?"
Bob: "No, the other one."
Jim: "I give up! ... Oh wait, I think I got it! You mean that 65 million low-information voters who don't pay taxes and get free stuff from taxpayers and stuck us again with the most pandering, corrupt administration in American history?"
So true...

Say goodbye for a good long time

Talk about busted - from the Arizona Daily-Star:

Trucker on Facebook at time of deadly Arizona crash, records show
The driver of an empty fuel tanker was using his cell phone to look at photos of women on Facebook when he crashed into three police cars and two fire department trucks on Interstate 8 in May, killing an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer, records obtained by the Star show.

Officer Tim Huffman was killed in the May 6 wreck on eastbound Interstate 8 in Yuma County. The truck driver, Jorge Espinoza, is charged with second-degree murder and other crimes.

The investigation report was made public today after an Arizona Daily Star public records request.

Espinoza was driving 65 mph with the cruise control on when the crash happened. He initially told investigators he didn't see the police cars because he was looking in his mirror at a passing truck. He also said he never uses his phone while driving because it is against company policy, the police reports show.

Yeah right -- a bit more:

However, information taken from the phone shows Espinoza was using the internet at the time of the crash, according to the reports.

He was in Facebook looking at "photographs of several women in provocative positions, wearing little clothing," "photographs of a woman in a low cut dress," and photos of a man "smoking something," according to the reports obtained this morning.

Espinoza had also used his phone to look at Facebook, YouTube, female escort web pages, porn sites and social networks on other occasions when he was logged in as driving, investigators said.

A camera on the dashboard of his truck shows his Samsung Galaxy 3 phone fly out of his hand in the crash, although he had apparently tried to cover the camera with his wallet, police say.

I hope he rots in prison. Doing this while driving is downright stupid.

Well this sucks

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From the London Daily Mail:
Now Europe wants to make it harder to clean your carpets with new rules BANNING powerful vacuum cleaners
Bureaucrats in Brussels are trying to make it harder to clean your home by banning the sale of powerful vacuum cleaners, it emerged today.

New European Commission rules will outlaw any new machine with a motor that exceeds 1,600 watts from next September to make them more energy efficient.

Currently the average vacuum cleaner on the market has a wattage of 1,800, but by 2017 that figure will have to fall to 900W.
Christ on a corndog. There is a direct correlation between power consumed and work done. Some designs can tweak efficiency 10% or 20% by dealing with turbulent flow and filter efficiency but you cannot save any more than that. The basic physics of these machines states that if you go from an 1,800 Watt unit down to a 900 Watt unit, you will have to operate the 900 Watt unit at least twice as long to remove the same amount of dirt. Where is the savings? You are doubling the vacuum's running time and cutting it's life in half.

Oink - flap - oink - flap

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From Yahoo News/Associated Press:
Experts say nuclear power needed to slow warming
PITTSBURGH (AP) � Some of the world's top climate scientists say wind and solar energy won't be enough to head off extreme global warming, and they're asking environmentalists to support the development of safer nuclear power as one way to cut fossil fuel pollution.

Four scientists who have played a key role in alerting the public to the dangers of climate change sent letters Sunday to leading environmental groups and politicians around the world. The letter, an advance copy of which was given to The Associated Press, urges a crucial discussion on the role of nuclear power in fighting climate change.

Environmentalists agree that global warming is a threat to ecosystems and humans, but many oppose nuclear power and believe that new forms of renewable energy will be able to power the world within the next few decades.

That isn't realistic, the letter said.
A bit more:
The letter signers are James Hansen, a former top NASA scientist; Ken Caldeira, of the Carnegie Institution; Kerry Emanuel, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Tom Wigley, of the University of Adelaide in Australia.
All major anti-development and anthropogenic global warming scaremongers. For them to see the light on nuclear is an absolute delight. The old-school nukes are not as efficient as the new designs. We need to develop the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTR ('lifter')) as soon as possible. Thorium is a common element in the Earth's crust, it doesn't go Ka-Boom like some isotopes of Uranium and Plutonium. The reactors can burn a lot more of their fuel (PBWRs can only burn about 5% of the Uranium fuel before it gets contaminated, LFTRs are more like 80%). The LFTRs can even be configured to burn the nuclear waste of the older reactors. China is building them, so is India. We need to step up to the plate...

Heading into town in a bit

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Celebrating my 63rd Birthday today. Lulu, Curtis and I are heading into town to drop off Curtis' girlfriend (she was at the farm for the last week) and then we will see Ender's Game and have dinner out. Tomorrow, I do the store shopping run and handle a couple other things in town. Tuesday, I go in for more physical therapy on my finger and Wednesday, the telephone people come out to get my new business venture connected to the outside world. Fun times...


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Woke up to the first big snow of the season. We had a dusting around 5,000 feet a few weeks before but Black Mountain has a solid layer at the 2,500 foot mark. No word from the Mt. Baker Ski Area yet but the whole community is holding their collective breaths...

Brilliant idea - sensors in sewers

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The residues of most bomb making materials are chemically very active. This story makes a lot of sense -- from Slashdot:
Forget the Internet, NSA: EU Security Sniffs Sewers for Bombs
Talk about the Internet of Things (in unsavory places): The National Security Agency may never wean itself from its digital-data habit, but security agencies in Europe have found a whole new way to identify and approach bombmakers and other potentially dangerous radicals.

The only problem with the approach is that it stinks. Literally.

Researchers in a European-Union funded project called Emphasis are developing chemical sensors that can be embedded in networks of underground sewage tunnels to sniff the air and phone home at the first hint of chemical residue from the manufacture of bombs.

Using remote sensors might be effective because the liquid- and gas byproducts of bomb production � and manufacture of many drugs as well � leak, seep or are poured into sinks and toilets to get rid of the evidence, according to Hans Onnerud, an analytical chemist with the Swedish Defense Research Agency.
Very smart idea -- they do not need that many sensors, they just have to place them in the major sewer lines. The chemicals will be persistent and the bomb-making activity will take more than a day or two. A simple application of binary search and you narrow down several hundred sewer lines into 20 search locations. Narrow it down to the city block - gas chromatography for the house and room number.

A bit of downtime

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Noticed that the internet was down. Waited an hour and still down. Called Frontier and was greeted by a voice recording saying that they were having problems... California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho Came back to life a couple hours later -- no word as to what happened but someone, somewhere is taking a shower and putting on a nice clean pair of undies.

Heh - Kathleen Sebelius PWND

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Web Sites for Dummies indeed! Swiped from Irons in the Fire.

Containership in high seas

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Great video of the under-deck of a containership in 25 foot seas. The video is sped up by 16X to show the motion.
From the article at gCaptain:
Watch: Containership�s Structure Visually Flexing in Heavy Seas
The above video shows the elastic flexing of the containership MOL Excellence underway.

As the MOL Comfort disaster clearly showed, there is a point at which the load on a ship�s structure exceeds the breaking strength.

One might say the vessel was brought �beyond the environment� or perhaps �outside the environment�� but those would be an incorrect assessments.

The steel structure of a vessel is made up of a complex arrangement of transverse (sideways) and longitudinal (lengthwise) plates and beams with precisely measured cross sections that contribute to the overall �section modulus� of the vessel, a measure of the overall bending strength of a given structure. In the case of the MOL Comfort, the vessel fractured in a transverse fashion because the stress on the structure of the vessel eventually exceeded the fracture point of the sum of the individual steel components.
Fascinating. Skyscrapers are built this way too -- if they were completely rigid, they would snap in the mildest of winds.

Winter's first snowfall

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Not that cold outside -- 42�F and raining but some snow seems to be headed our way. From the National Weather Service:
The National Weather Service in Seattle has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for elevations above 2500 Feet for Snow, which is in effect from Noon PDT today to 4am PST Sunday.

* Some affected locations, Mount Baker, Stevens Pass, Snoqualmie Pass, White Pass, Paradise on Mount Rainier.
* Accumulations, 6 to 11 Inches.
* Timing, Snow Levels will be around 7000 Feet this morning, then fall rapidly to 3500 Feet this afternoon And 2500 - 3000 Feet this evening. Accumulating snow will start at the higher volcanoes and passes this afternoon with all locations getting accumulations tonight. The period with the heaviest accumulations for most spots will probably be this evening.
* Impacts, Winter Weather Driving Conditions are likely.

Precautionary/preparedness actions
A Winter Weather Advisory for snow is issued When 6 to 11 inches is likely to fall in 12 Hours.
Very sweet -- the sooner Mt. Baker opens, the better for the local economy...

Very cool - SR-72

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I am a big fan of the SR-71 Blackbird. That plane is so perfectly engineered that it is iconic. A while ago, I saw a video about its making and the engineers were asked if they would change anything from when it was first designed 30 years previous, they said that they would change nothing. Say hello to the SR-72 -- from Aviation Week:
Exclusive: Skunk Works Reveals SR-71 Successor Plan
Ever since Lockheed�s unsurpassed SR-71 Blackbird was retired from U.S. Air Force service almost two decades ago, the perennial question has been: Will it ever be succeeded by a new-generation, higher-speed aircraft and, if so, when?

That is, until now. After years of silence on the subject, Lockheed Martin�s Skunk Works has revealed exclusively to AW&ST details of long-running plans for what it describes as an affordable hypersonic intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike platform that could enter development in demonstrator form as soon as 2018. Dubbed the SR-72, the twin-engine aircraft is designed for a Mach 6 cruise, around twice the speed of its forebear, and will have the optional capability to strike targets.
Very cool - of course, these are just the published specs...

Another clueless Executive Order

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Someone needs to take Barry's pen away. From The Washington Times:
Obama orders government to prepare for impact of global warming
President Obama issued an executive order Friday directing a government-wide effort to boost preparation in states and local communities for the impact of global warming.

The action orders federal agencies to work with states to build �resilience� against major storms and other weather extremes. For example, the president�s order directs that infrastructure projects like bridges and flood control take into consideration climate conditions of the future, which might require building structures larger or stronger � and likely at a higher price tag.
This after seventeen years of first stagnant temperatures and global cooling for the last ten years. This with the possibility of another Maunder Minimum (little ice age) starting us in the face.

Back from the road-trip

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About 340 miles but I scored big-time. The auction items were at the WA State surplus warehouse. There are a lot of items for general sale on the floor as well as their online auctions so I picked up a large five-drawer lateral file cabinet for $50, four really nice office chairs for $20 each and some other stuff (electric stapler, desk stuff, file folders, etc...) as well as the printer. Seattle is getting to be a big city - you used to be able to drive on I-5 at 3PM without too much hassle but it was clogged solid today. Fixing some dinner and then surf for a bit.

Heading south

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Driving down to Olympia, WA to pick up a printer I won at auction a few days ago. The diesel will cost more than my winning bid but it will be a good thing to have. Back home in a few hours...

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