May 2014 Archives

We saw this commercial tonight:

Something triggered a memory and I looked it up. Notice the external ear flap on the "Seal" in the commercial. Likewise, the size and placement of the flippers.

From the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's website:

What's the difference between seals and sea lions?
Have you ever wondered about the main differences between seals and their "second cousins," the sea lions?

Both seals and sea lions, together with the walrus, are pinnipeds, which means "fin footed" in Latin.

But seals' furry, generally stubby front feet — thinly webbed flippers, actually, with a claw on each small toe — seem petite in comparison to the mostly skin-covered, elongated fore flippers that sea lions possess.

Secondly, sea lions have small flaps for outer ears. The "earless" or "true" seals lack external ears altogether. You have to get very close to see the tiny holes on the sides of a seal’s sleek head.

Third, sea lions are noisy. Seals are quieter, vocalizing via soft grunts.

Fourth, while both species spend time both in and out of the water, seals are better adapted to live in the water than on land. Though their bodies can appear chubby, seals are generally smaller and more aquadynamic than sea lions. At the same time, their hind flippers angle backward and don't rotate. This makes them fast in the water but basic belly crawlers on terra firma.

Sea lions, on the other hand, are able to "walk" on land by rotating their hind flippers forward and underneath their big bodies. This is why they are more likely to be employed in aquaria and marine shows.

Heh - Thompson's Water Seal Sea Lion, you are sooo busted.

 

Dr. Daniel B. Botkin's bio is here:

“Daniel B. Botkin, a world-renowned ecologist, is Professor (Emeritus), Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, UC Santa Barbara, and President of The Center for The Study of The Environment, which provides independent, science-based analyses of complex environmental issues. The New York Times said his book, Discordant Harmonies: A New Ecology for the 21st Century is considered by many ecologists to be the classic text of the [environmental] movement.” His Environmental Science, now in its Sixth Edition, was named 2004′s best textbook by the Textbook and Academic Authors Association.”

So the guy knows a little bit about Climate Science. He gave testimony to a Congressional Committee hearing "Examining the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Process" a few days ago on the 29th and had this to say:
(the full 29 page report can be found here)

WRITTEN TESTIMONY TO THE HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, SPACE, AND TECHNOLOGY. MAY 29, 2014
Since 1968 I have published research on theoretical global warming, its potential ecological effects, and the implications for people and biodiversity. I have spent my career trying to help conserve our environment and its great diversity of species. In doing so I have always attempted to maintain an objective, intellectually honest, scientific approach in the best tradition of scientific endeavor. I have, accordingly, been dismayed and disappointed in recent years that this subject has been converted into a political and ideological debate. I have colleagues on both sides of the debate and believe we should work together as scientists instead of arguing divisively about preconceived, emotionally based “positions.” I hope my testifying here will help lead to a calmer, more rational approach to dealing with not only climate change but also other major environmental problems. The IPCC 2014 report does not have this kind of rational discussion we should be having. I would like to tell you why.

Dr. Botkin makes 22 points and provides links to support his claims.  His 20th point is something I have felt for a long time:

The extreme overemphasis on human-induced global warming has taken our attention away from many environmental issues that used to be front and center but have been pretty much ignored in the 21st century. The Terrestrial report in a sense acknowledges this, for example by stating: “Climate stresses occur alongside other anthropogenic influences on ecosystems, including land-use changes, nonnative species, and pollution, and in many cases will exacerbate these pressures (very high confidence).”


Nine Environmental Issues that need our attention now

  • Energy
  • Fresh water
  • Phosphorus and other essential minerals
  • Habitat destruction
  • Invasive-species control
  • Endangered species
  • Pollution by directly toxic substances
  • Fisheries
  • Forests

He also cites a list of ten items titled: What has gone wrong, and how to fix it

Here are the first two:

1. Rather than focus on key, specific and tractable aspects of climate-change science, the long-term approach throughout the 20th century was to try to create de nova a complete model of the climate.

2. This approach has been taken despite a lack of focus on monitoring key variables over time in statistically and scientifically valid ways, e. g. carbon sequestering by forests; polar bear population counts. As a result, there is an odd disconnect between theory and observation. The attempt to create complete models of every aspect of climate has meant that many factors had to be guessed at, rather than using the best scientific methods. Too many guesses, too little checking against real, observed effects.

Bingo - an over-reliance on models and no real boots-on-the-ground measurement. These "scientists" need to get out of their offices and into the field.

Great car review

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From the New York Times:

It’s Cheap, but Is It Overpriced?
TESTED 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage
WHAT IS IT? A subcompact four-door hatchback.
HOW MUCH? Base DE, $13,805; ES as tested, $16,890.
WHAT’S UNDER THE HOOD? A full 3 cylinders of mumbling misery, making 74 tortured horsepower.

A bit more:

Low expectations don’t guarantee happiness, but at least there isn’t much disappointment. The reborn Mitsubishi Mirage lowers expectations, strangles them and buries their remains in a deep unmarked grave. If this car wasn’t disappointing, it wouldn’t be anything at all.

And a bit more:

Car and Driver magazine measured the Mirage crawling to 60 m.p.h. in 10.9 seconds. It’s the sort of acceleration that adds terror to every highway entrance and daring to any passing maneuver. A sense of peril is your constant driving companion.

The lack of speed is a benefit to the Mirage, because the suspension tuning is awful. The body seems to flit along, making random movements unrelated to the road. Stab at the brakes and the nose dives while the tail unloads and wags disconcertingly.

The steering is numb, the front tires lose their grip in corners, and there’s no driver engagement. Parole hearings are more entertaining, and prison bunks may be more comfortable.

I would hate to be a Mitsubishi dealer after reading this...

Quite the eruption - from the London Daily Mail:

Pictured from a passenger plane: Menacing 12-mile-high ash cloud looms over Indonesia's 'Mountain of Spirits' after volcano erupts
This is incredible moment a huge volcano known as 'Mountain of Spirits' erupted in Indonesia, sending ash spewing an estimated 12 miles into the sky.

The powerful explosion took place at Mount Sangeang Api in the Lesser Sunda Islands - an area that plays host to 129 active volcanoes - and sent a distinctive spaceship-shaped ring of pyroclastic smoke high into the air.

The photographs were taken by professional photographer Sofyan Efendi during a commercial flight from Bali to the fishing town of Labuan Bajo in West Nusa Tenggara province.

Scores of farmers who work but do not live on the island were ordered to leave and not return until the volcano has finished erupting, said Muhammad Hendrasto, head of Indonesia's National Volcanology Agency. There are not believed to have been any deaths or injuries as a result of the eruption.

Authorities have had Mount Sangiang Api on high alert for almost a year, he told China's Xinhua news agency.

The article has a couple of great photographs - here is one of them:

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The Environmental Protection Agency is a perfect example of 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.

Another Federal organization - The Office of Inspector General - took a good look at the EPA and they just published this report (22 page PDF):

EPA Has Not Implemented Adequate Management Procedures to Address Potential Fraudulent Environmental Data
The EPA lacks a due diligence process for potential fraudulent environmental data. The agency has three policies and procedures that address how to respond to instances of fraudulent data, but they are all out of date or unimplemented. Our survey of EPA regional offices disclosed that a majority of respondents were unaware there was a policy, and approximately 50 percent expressed the need for such policies and procedures. The EPA plans to issue revised policy by fiscal year 2017. Until then, unimplemented and out-of-date policies and procedures—and lack of EPA staff awareness of those policies that do exist—create risk that EPA staff will fail to properly communicate the information regarding fraudulent data to appropriate program offices and data users; review and analyze the data for potential impacts to human health and the environment; or review and amend, if possible, past environmental decisions that were based on fraudulent data. According to staff of the federal agencies and states we contacted in this evaluation, they also do not have formal, written due diligence processes.

Further, the EPA does not consistently notify the states when laboratory due diligence activities can begin during or following a fraud investigation that affects state environmental programs. The agency does not have a policy on communicating case information with the states and other regulating parties during investigations, due to the sensitive nature of investigations which could be jeopardized, and because rights of innocents could be threatened  and suspects could be unfairly maligned in an ongoing fraud investigation. As a result, laboratory fraud cases may not include a due diligence review. In such cases, potentially negative impacts to human health and the environment due to fraudulent lab data could go undetected.

Recommendations and Planned Corrective Actions
We recommend that the agency incorporate a process to respond to instances of fraudulent data into its current policy until the revised policy is issued. We also recommend that the agency state the details of a laboratory fraud due diligence process in its new policy. Further, we recommend that the agency develop guidelines outlining the response when fraudulent laboratory data is discovered in ongoing criminal investigations. We recommend training on laboratory fraud due diligence processes and procedures for all relevant staff. The EPA agreed with our recommendations and we agreed with the EPA’s proposed corrective actions.

Looks like someone is reading the writing on the wall and instituting some culpability. They have been operating on ideology and political agenda and not Science for the last twenty years.  Time to get back to their core competency.  It would not hurt to have them defunded by 80%.

Quite the auction in July

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From Auctions America:

The Littlefield Collection
The Jacques M. Littlefield Collection is perhaps the largest and most historically significant private collection of historical military vehicles in the world. Join Auctions America July 11-12, 2014 in Portola Valley, California as we offer over 100 vehicles plus a day of parts and accessories from this world renown collection, nearly all without reserve. 100% of hammer from this auction will benefit the Collings Foundation of Stow, Massachusetts. Click here to sign up for email updates about this auction. 

Just wow. I could see riding around the farm in one of these:

20140530-sherman.jpg

The neighbors already think I am a bit strange - this would convince them...

Heh - a new product

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20140530-cheese.png

95 years ago today, observers watched a total eclipse of the sun and confirmed Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

Medium has a great writeup.

Difficult to excerpt so just go there and read the post.

Growing the leviathan - from the Washington Examiner:

New federal database will track Americans' credit ratings, other financial information
As many as 227 million Americans may be compelled to disclose intimate details of their families and financial lives -- including their Social Security numbers -- in a new national database being assembled by two federal agencies.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau posted an April 16 Federal Register notice of an expansion of their joint National Mortgage Database Program to include personally identifiable information that reveals actual users, a reversal of previously stated policy.

FHFA will manage the database and share it with CFPB. A CFPB internal planning document for 2013-17 describes the bureau as monitoring 95 percent of all mortgage transactions.

Now what can possibly go wrong?

Jumping ship

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Two resignations in Washington.

First - from the New York Times:

White House Press Secretary Resigns
Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, is leaving his post as the public face of the administration, stepping down after shifting from two decades of reporting to politics at the highest levels, President Obama said on Friday.

Must have been hard to represent a man who lies so much.

Second - from The Washington Post:

Shinseki resigns amid VA scandal over veterans’ health care
Eric K. Shinseki resigned Friday as secretary of veterans affairs, taking responsibility for a scandal in the VA health-care system over excessive waiting times and coverups of what he called “systemic” problems.

President Obama announced that he accepted Shinseki’s resignation after agreeing with his embattled VA secretary that he had become a “distraction” as the department struggles to deal with a huge increase of veterans in need of care after more than a decade of war overseas.

Obama knew about the VA problems as early as 2008 - the use of the "secret" lists was endemic to the organization, not just the Phoenix, AZ branch.

Food prices are an excellent indicator of inflation. If I purchased a loaf of bread for 75¢ back in 1970, according to the Consumer Price Index, that same loaf should cost me $4.58 today (511% inflation over the last 44 years).

Looks like we are in for a spike due to the contracting economy - from Mac Slavo writing at Doug Ross:

FOOD PRICES SURGE AGAIN: Is the Inflation Genie Out of the Bottle?
While government statisticians claim robust growth, recent data points suggest otherwise. Consumers are quickly running out of money, home sales have collapsed and hit their biggest drop in three years, there are more Americans out of the labor force than ever before, and one third of adults under the age of 35 are living with their parents because they can no longer afford to pay their own mortgage.

By all accounts, the reality is that we are now factually in a recession, a point further emphasized by the recent revelation that American companies are experiencing near zero percent earnings growth.

But that’s just the beginning. As we warned earlier this year, food prices would see a steady rise through 2014 because of increased global demand, drought and continued degradation of the U.S. dollar.

The Producer Price Index made available by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics this morning has now confirmed those fears. Consumers are seeing an immediate impact to their wallets in the form of food price inflation and in all likelihood the trend will continue going forward.

Lulu and I have expanded our garden and are buying some foods in bulk. Going to be a long hard ride until we get some adults in control in Washington...

The future is here - teleportation

Data only - no physical teleportation as yet. From the New York Times:

Scientists Report Finding Reliable Way to Teleport Data
Scientists in the Netherlands have moved a step closer to overriding one of Albert Einstein’s most famous objections to the implications of quantum mechanics, which he described as “spooky action at a distance.”

In a paper published on Thursday in the journal Science, physicists at the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at the Delft University of Technology reported that they were able to reliably teleport information between two quantum bits separated by three meters, or about 10 feet.

Quantum teleportation is not the “Star Trek”-style movement of people or things; rather, it involves transferring so-called quantum information — in this case what is known as the spin state of an electron — from one place to another without moving the physical matter to which the information is attached.

Classical bits, the basic units of information in computing, can have only one of two values — either 0 or 1. But quantum bits, or qubits, can simultaneously describe many values. They hold out both the possibility of a new generation of faster computing systems and the ability to create completely secure communication networks.

More faster please!

RIP - Ken Schram

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He was a Seattle television reporter with a refreshing zero-bullshit style.

From Seattle station KOMO:

Longtime KOMO commentator, reporter Ken Schram dies at 66
KOMO has lost one of our greats.

Ken Schram was a part of the KOMO family for 35 years working as a reporter, commentator, host, and radio personality before retiring two years ago. He passed away Thursday afternoon at the age of 66 with his family by his side.

Ken had been battling an internal infection for the past several months. His wife Sandi was at his side night and day since he fell ill. Ken told her every day of their 44 years together that she was the love of his life.

Ken was brash and opinionated. He was a devilish practical joker, known for his nicknames and his no-holds-barred sense of humor.   And that was only the beginning.   There is a 4th floor deck outside the news director's office at KOMO. It's against the rules to smoke there. Everybody knows that.

And for that reason alone, it was Ken Schram's favorite place to light up. He was like that.

When it was time for him to record his final commentary, we decided to give him an audience. He got all warm and cuddly on us.

"Bull----! Get the hell out of here!" he said.

Way too young.

The ruling elite in France had this brilliant idea -- let's raise the taxes on the rich people.

Never heard of the Laffer Curve and events played out as you can well imagine. From Mary Katharine Ham writing at Hot Air:

Bad news: France in $14b euro hole after overestimating the haul from that swell 75% millionaire tax
Overly sunny tax revenue predictions are not a problem unique to socialists, but you can see how those who adhere to an ideology that refuses to admit to basic human nature and the economic downsides of ludicrous tax rates might fall more dramatically than most. Timber:

The French government faces a 14bn-euro black hole in its public finances after overestimating tax income for the last financial year.

French President Francois Hollande has raised income tax, VAT and corporation tax since he was elected two years ago.

The Court of Auditors said receipts from all three taxes amounted to an extra 16bn euros in 2013.

That was a little more than half the government’s forecast of 30bn euros of extra tax income.

The Court of Auditors, which oversees the government’s accounts, said the Elysee Palace’s forecasts of tax revenue in 2013 were so wildly inaccurate that they cast doubt on its forecasts for this year.

It added the forecasts were overly optimistic and based on inaccurate projections.

Unintended consequences writ large. If you cut the taxes, business owners will invest more money and the economy will skyrocket. This has worked every time it has been tried.

iDevices at risk

Just wonderful - from Symantec:

Apple IDs Compromised: iPhones, iPads, and Macs Locked, Held for Ransom
Many users in Australia and New Zealand have had their Apple IDs compromised. We are seeing reports on Apple’s support community and social networks that their Apple devices are being remotely locked and held for ransom by someone claiming to be Oleg Pliss, a software engineer at Oracle, who the attackers randomly chose to pin this attack on.

What happened to my Apple device?
Based on initial feedback, a number of Apple IDs have been compromised and used to lock iPhones, iPads, and Macs. It remains unclear exactly how the Apple IDs were compromised, but possible explanations include phishing attempts, weak passwords, or password reuse. A separate breach involving emails and passwords used to login to Apple and iCloud could have facilitated the compromise of the Apple IDs.

Once an Apple ID is compromised, attackers can access the Find My iPhone feature in iCloud. This feature is used to locate your devices if they have an internet connection and turn on the Lost Mode feature. Once Lost Mode is turned on, the attacker can remotely play a sound, lock the device, and display a ransom message.

And people keep saying that Apple products are safe because they never get hacked.  Silly user...

13 out of 13

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Fun little quiz with the exception of Question 12 - they forgot water vapor

Check out the Pew Research Center Science and Technology Knowledge Quiz

Our president at work

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From the always reliable news source The People's Cube:

Obama 'Madder Than Hell' After Accident Triggers WWIII

President Obama told a press conference today that he is "madder than hell" and "no one is angrier than I am" after a routine test of new $100 billion software intended to allow him to play computer-simulated golf rounds accidentally triggered World War III.

The president told the assembled journalists he only found out about the war while watching the news on TV. The inadvertent conflict is expected to kill upwards of one billion people.

The president once again denied accusations that the golf software project had suffered from incompetence and mismanagement since it first began 5 years ago, saying "ICBM silos mysteriously go on red alert status all the time, there was no reason to think virtual putting was connected to any of it."

As far as the rumors that the lights at SAC HQ went out every time the golf software crashed, Mr. Obama remarked "it was just a coincidence."

Continuing his prepared statement, the president vowed to "get to the bottom of this" and toward that end, announced he was seriously considering forming a blue ribbon panel consisting of experts from the consulting company that created the software, as well as their families and friends, to investigate the problem and get back to him no later than six months from now. The president said he would make a final decision on the blue ribbon panel after returning from vacation.

A bit too close to reality...

Blog fun

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Trying out a new editor and screwed up the layout of the last month's postings...

It looks to be easy to restore but still, a royal pain.  I really like the older version of the blogging software.  Thinking about switching to WordPress but with over 18,000 entries, this will need to be a simple and automated task...  Fun fun fun...

It was Global Cooling all along

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The warming that we see on Earth is the result of our leaving a period of glaciation. This is a good thing.

It seems that the next Ice Age may well be very very overdue.

From William McClenney writing at Watts Up With That:

Glacial Inception
I used to think there was only one known substitute for intelligence – stupidity. I have since realized that left out evil (see Hitler et al). I have also come to the conclusion that the difference between confidence and arrogance is competence. Keep those thoughts in mind as we take a tour de force through the peer-reviewed literature regarding the climatic “madhouse” also known as glacial inception. It would be one thing if we were to become concerned about Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), say in the middle of an interglacial. It’s quite another altogether to get all worked-up over it at a probable end extreme interglacial.

A very long but impeccably documented article with screen-caps of papers, links to corroborating data.  A wonderful read!

A matter of perspective

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Words to remember from Yevgeniy Feyman writing at City Journal:

The Golden Age Is Now
Bjørn Lomborg is well-known as a climate “skeptic.” He has frequently voiced concerns that money spent battling climate change could shift scarce resources away from more urgent global problems, such as malaria and HIV/AIDS. But the most recent book by the self-proclaimed “skeptical environmentalist” does more than just voice concern; it attempts to evaluate the damage caused by a variety of problems—from climate change to malnutrition to war—and project future costs related to these same issues. In How Much Have Global Problems Cost the World?, Lomborg and a group of economists conclude that, with a few exceptions, the world is richer, freer, healthier, and smarter than it’s ever been. These gains have coincided with the near-universal rejection of statism and the flourishing of capitalist principles. At a time when political figures such as New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and religious leaders such as Pope Francis frequently remind us about the evils of unfettered capitalism, this is a worthwhile message.

A bit more - and the numbers for climate change:

Of course, problems remain. As Lomborg points out, most foreign aid likely does little to boost economic welfare, yet hundreds of billions of dollars in “development assistance” continue to flow every year from developed countries to the developing world. Moreover, climate change is widely projected to intensify in the second half of the twenty-first century, and will carry with it a significant economic cost. But those familiar with the prior work of the “skeptical environmentalist” understand that ameliorating these effects over time could prove wasteful. Lomborg notes that the latest research on climate change estimates a net cost of 0.2 to 2 percent of GDP from 2055 to 2080. The same report points out that in 2030, mitigation costs may be as high as 4 percent of GDP. Perhaps directing mitigation funding to other priorities—curing AIDS for instance—would be a better use of the resources.

Much cheaper to deal with than to do anything effective (and costly). Crops will certainly grow better with the higher CO2 concentration and the IPCC models do not include the facts that
#1) - our sun is a variable star and
#2) - it is entering a cool and quiet phase.

Are we in line for another Maunder Minimum?

Prince Charles is unfit to be King. Here is his latest from the UK Telegraph:

Prince Charles: reform capitalism to save the planet
Prince Charles has called for an end to capitalism as we know it in order to save the planet from global warming.

In a speech to business leaders in London, the Prince said that a “fundamental transformation of global capitalism” was necessary in order to halt “dangerously accelerating climate change” that would “bring us to our own destruction”.

He called for companies to focus on “approaches that achieve lasting and meaningful returns” by protecting the environment, improving their employment practices and helping the vulnerable to develop a new "inclusive capitalism".

What a maroon!

Paul B. Farrell? He is the author of this article at the Wall Street Journal:

GOP science deniers threaten U.S. national defense
I’m mad as hell. The GOP used to be the party of national defense. No more. What happened? In 2003 Bush launched the Iraq War to “defend our freedom.” Flash forward: Last week 227 of 231 GOP members of the House voted to turn the Pentagon into climate-science deniers, a decision certain to weaken national security. That’s about as absurd as telling Silicon Valley they can’t use technology.

 Seriously, the Republicans just passed an amendment to the $607 billion National Defense Authorization Act funding the Pentagon in 2014. Yes, 227 members of the GOP-dominated House just voted to limit the Pentagon’s ability to defend America, by preventing military planners from using any strategic research the military’s been gathering for years about threats to national security. Listen:

“None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this act may be used to implement the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order.”

Get it? The Republican Party is now officially on record as the party of climate-science denialism. These research programs, ongoing and widely used by the Pentagon in strategic national defense planning for many years, could, if the Senate agrees, become illegal to use.

This is not and has never been about climate-science denialism. This is about climate science and how it has been hijacked by a small group of ideologues. The ideologues never -- to a man -- willingly publish their data or research methods, their computer models always show the same outcome but they cannot forecast or hindcast and their models are at complete odds with observed conditions for the last 17 years. The Earth is cooling. Besides, if the science was as "settled" as everyone says, why are there so many different models floating around. If the science was settled, there would be one model. (set snark=on) and it would work (set snark=off) Developed nations are spending billions of dollars on this rat-hole, a few people are getting very rich off our tax dollars and there is nothing real being done. People of Paul B. Farrell's ilk should be tared, feathered and run out of town. He is an utter tool...

More media

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Lulu and I watched Gravity a few days ago. I remembered that the company Bot & Dolly had done the special effects (they were spectacular). This is the Bot & Dolly's "brag reel" from a few years ago.

A big night for television

Been watching the History Channel series on The World Wars. A few very minor continuity issues but overall -- very well done.

Next up, FARGO -- my current favorite show evah!!!

After that, (writing this during a commercial break) The Americans. Four hours of really well done television. I love Ernie Kovacs comment:

Television: A medium. So called because it's neither rare nor well done.

Today's 32 seconds of cute -- from the Smithsonian National Zoo 

As for Mr. Respighi - WikiPedia. I like his music.

Downright scandalous but we expect no less from our political betters - from The Washington Times:
(caution, self-loading video on page)

Retired officers poised to profit after Pentagon’s alarmist climate change report
Retired military officers deeply involved in the climate change movement — and some in companies positioned to profit from it — spearheaded an alarmist global warming report this month that calls on the Defense Department to ramp up spending on what it calls a man-made problem.

The report, which the Obama administration immediately hailed as a call to action, was issued not by a private advocacy group but by a Pentagon-financed think tank that trumpets “absolute objectivity.” The research was funded by a climate change group that is also one of the think tank’s main customers.

A lot more at the article -- the author names names and has followed the money to George Soros and the Tides Foundation. Both are huge progressive one world government types. Once again, CO2 is not a pollutant -- without it, there would be no plant life on this planet.

From Reason Magazine:

Sriracha CEO Compares California to Communist Vietnam
David Tran is the founder and CEO of Huy Fong Foods, the maker of the famously tasty Sriracha hot sauce. Grappling for months with regulators and politicians in southern California about the spicy scents that his factory emits, Tran recently compared meddlesome government to that of a communist country.

It might sound hyperbolic, but he does know a thing or two about living under the nightmarish bureaucracy of a red utopia. NPR explains that Tran "escaped" Socialist Republic of Vietnam and "its many intrusions" three decades ago to start a new life in The Land of the Free.

"Today, I feel almost the same. Even now, we live in [the] USA, and my feeling, the government, not a big difference," Tran said on Monday from his factory outside of Los Angeles.

And this is an interesting turn of events - I bet Texas would be good for his company:

Tran has received offers from public officials throughout the country that want to court Huy Fong Foods. Texas, which is far more business-friendly than California, has made the biggest push. But, because his peppers are grown locally, Tran said he won't move the current operation. He did indicate that he may open another factory elsewhere to meet the growing demand for the sauce.

There is a large Ukrainian population near here and the people there are very concerned about the path our government is taking. They left to get away from socialism. They do not want it here.

Talk about betraying a trust -- from the Miami Herald:

Staff at a Miami-Dade prison tormented, abused mentally ill inmates, former worker says
Mentally ill inmates at Dade Correctional Institution have been tormented and abused for years, according to three former employees at the psychiatric unit, one of whom filed a complaint last month with the U.S. Department of Justice.

In his complaint, George Mallinckrodt, a psychotherapist assigned to the unit from 2008 to 2011, related a series of episodes, including the death of inmate Darren Rainey. The 50-year-old was placed in a small, enclosed, scalding-hot shower by guards and left unattended for more than an hour. He collapsed and died amid the searing heat, suffering severe burns when he fell, face up, atop the drain.

A bit more:

Mallinckrodt said he filed a variety of complaints with the prison and the Department of Corrections’ inspector general about the abusive treatment, but never received a response. He said he also took his concerns directly to Warden Jerry Cummings.

Mallinckrodt contacted the Herald after reading its Sunday report on Rainey’s death. That article was based largely on the account of inmate Harold Hempstead, bolstered by heavily censored documents from the state’s investigation of the incident. A burglar serving a decades-long sentence, Hempstead repeatedly wrote to the inspector general about Rainey’s death, but said he was never interviewed by the department.

A bit more:

The three past employees said they were continually warned to keep quiet about the abuse in the unit or they would be deprived of the protection of guards when dealing either one on one or in a group setting with inmates. They said they were also told they would be fired.

That’s what happened to Mallinckrodt, who was employed by Corizon Health Inc., the outside company contracted to provide mental health services at the prison.

Two months after reporting the beating incident, he was discharged. He said the company told him he was being let go because he took long lunches and too many breaks.

I get it - prison is not supposed to be fun. The inmate is there to be punished. What happened here though is beyond the limits of human decency. These guards need to spend at least ten years behind these bars for their sins...

From Cliff Mass: Cliff writes:

Here is a notice released by the Seattle National Weather Service office:

 .CLIMATE...THE RAINFALL TOTAL AT SEATTLE-TACOMA AIRPORT WAS 0.22
 INCHES SUNDAY. THIS MAKES THE RAINFALL TOTAL SINCE FEBRUARY 1ST
 22.87 INCHES. THIS BREAKS THE RECORD FOR THE WETTEST FEBRUARY 
THROUGH JULY IN SEATTLE. THE OLD RECORD WAS 22.81 INCHES SET IN 
1972. FELTON/MCDONNAL

 You knew this was a wet late winter/spring, particularly mid-February through mid-March. But to beat the Feb-July record in MAY is really notable.

The grass is happy -- was raining all through this weekend.

Ebola on the move

Now it is in Sierra Leone -- from the Toronto, Canada The Globe and Mail:

Five dead as Sierra Leone records first Ebola outbreak
Five people have died in Sierra Leone’s first confirmed outbreak of Ebola virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday, signalling a new expansion of the disease which regional officials said had been brought under control.

Ebola, a haemorrhagic fever with a fatality rate of up to 90 per cent, is believed to have killed some 185 people in neighbouring Guinea and Liberia since March in the first deadly appearance of the disease in West Africa.

And there is this cheery little note:

Ebola is endemic to Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Uganda and South Sudan, and scientists initially believed that Central Africa’s Zaire strain of the disease was responsible for the infections in Guinea and Liberia.

However researchers later published a study saying the West African outbreak was caused by a new strain of Ebola.

Just wonderful -- get a medical protocol for treatment and the disease changes on you...

Our administration at work

From The Washington Post:

White House mistakenly identifies CIA chief in Afghanistan
The CIA’s top officer in Kabul was exposed Saturday by the White House when his name was inadvertently included on a list provided to news organizations of senior U.S. officials participating in President Obama’s surprise visit with U.S. troops.

The White House recognized the mistake and quickly issued a revised list that did not include the individual, who had been identified on the initial release as the “Chief of Station” in Kabul, a designation used by the CIA for its highest-ranking spy in a country.

You think that someone would have thought about security -- run the list past the CIA. But they do not worry about stuff like this - tyrants are never held accountable for their actions...

Iran steps up to the plate

Something just shifted in Iran's external politics. They are becoming more outwardly belligerent.

From The Daily Caller:

Iran’s Supreme Leader: Jihad Will Continue Until America is No More
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, all but said on Sunday that negotiations over the country’s illicit nuclear program are over and that the Islamic Republic’s ideals include destroying America. 

“Those [Iranians] who want to promote negotiation and surrender to the oppressors and blame the Islamic Republic as a warmonger in reality commit treason,” Khamenei told a meeting of members of parliament, according to the regime’s Fars News Agency.

Khamenei emphasized that without a combative mindset, the regime cannot reach its higher Islamic role against the “oppressors’ front.”

“The reason for continuation of this battle is not the warmongering of the Islamic Republic. Logic and reason command that for Iran, in order to pass through a region full of pirates, needs to arm itself and must have the capability to defend itself,” he said.

I bet that they have assembled a bomb. There has been no indication (seismic) of a test but I am betting that is what happened. If not that, they have something -- a viable bio-weapon or people in place and a plan of action. Something evil is brewing and it will be within a year... Looks like the Hudna is over.

From the Washington, DC CBS affiliate:

‘Black Eye’ Memorial Day: American Legion Says VA Scandal Sullied Holiday
The American Legion says the VA scandal has left a “black eye” for veterans this Memorial Day.

Verna Jones, director of veteran affairs and rehabilitation at the American Legion National Headquarters, tells CBSDC that veterans are hurt by the ongoing scandal.

More:

The inspector general at the Veterans Affairs Department says 26 VA facilities nationwide are under investigation, including the Phoenix hospital at the center of allegations about treatment delays and secret waiting lists intended to hide delays in care.

The fact that VA hospitals around the USA are having the same policies in place (the secret lists and denying our Veteran's prompt aid) shows that this was set in place at the highest levels of our administration. Absolutely unacceptable and it is disgusting that some piece of trash bureaucrat would implement such a program. The people responsible need to do ten years behind bars -- and not at a 'country-club' jail either.

Back when giants walked this Earth

I have no doubt that a new crop of Patriots are waiting in the wings but I grow weary of what passes for morals and backbone in Washington these days.

Lazy day today

It has been a busy couple of weeks so we are taking today off with nothing planned.

Lulu served in the Coast Guard so we wished each other a good Memorial Day.

I'll be spending the day surfing and working in the music room - still moving things over from the DaveCave(tm) and setting that up. Nice to finally have a space where everything is set up and ready to play and record at a moments notice...

Done for the day

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Ski to Sea) was a lot of fun -- this was my first time running the radios all the time.

I had announced for the prior two events but not been in charge of the radios. We handled over 420 teams in three hours.

The weather was cool and rainy - typical northwest spring. Everyone was having a good time except for one canoe that capsized - nobody injured though.

Taking tomorrow off - holiday. More posting later -- need to unpack the trailer and put the radio equipment away.

Counting down the hours

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Meeting in town tonight for the Ski to Sea updates.

Cleaning the truck out and getting the last bits of radio stuff assembled -- generator fired up, battery backup, etc...

Tomorrow starts at 6:00AM so don't expect too much posting -- got other stuff to do...

No joy last night

I looked out last night at midnight and saw nothing but skyglow from the cities of Abbotsford and Chilliwack, 20 miles to my north reflecting off a high cloud layer. The meteor display was [less than predicted](http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/observing-news/first-reports-camelopardalid-shower-disappoints/) with observed meteors running about five to ten/hour. Oh well...

Hold my beer and watch this

Meet the Camelopardalids - tonight!

From [Sky and Telescope](http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/observing-news/mays-surprise-meteor-shower/): > **Ready for May’s Surprise Meteor Shower?**
Most skygazers are familiar with the usual "biggies" among meteor showers, such as the Perseids and Geminids. But if the calculations of celestial dynamicists are correct, we could experience a terrific meteor shower that virtually no one's ever heard of: the Camelopardalids. > Don't blame yourself for not knowing about this one — historic records show little evidence that the "Cams" have ever made an appearance before. They are bits of dust cast off from periodic comet 209P/LINEAR, an obscure, dim comet that orbits the Sun every 5.1 years. It's much too faint for naked-eye visibility (13th magnitude as of May 22nd). > What's got dynamicists excited, however, is that Earth might might pass right through relatively dense streams of debris shed by the comet long ago. This could create a strong burst of "shooting stars" on May 24th. > The sky cleared up an hour ago so looking forward to the event. Got the wide-angle lens on the camera and tripod ready (25-40 second exposure to minimize star trails) - photos if I get something of interest...

On the air

Got the radio equipment set up and programmed. Since I want this to be as easy as possible, I cut a piece of wood to fit a tote and mounted the radios to the wood. That way, everything is connected and I only need to put it on the table to have my operating position. That and a laptop and we will be good to go for the event. Should be fun -- I really enjoyed the last two years and it should be "interesting" to be running the show this year... I'll post photos.

alt.energy - the real price

Some sobering facts about a major alt.energy installation. From Benjamin Zycher writing at The American:

California’s New Solar Plant: Burning Up Taxpayer Money, Land, and Wildlife
The Ivanpah capital cost is $2.2 billion for 392 megawatts (MW) of gross generation capacity (potential power output per hour). (That 392 MW is a number not comparable to 392 MW of, say, gas-fired capacity, because of a sharply lower “capacity factor,” discussed below.) Accordingly, the nominal capital cost per kilowatt (kW, one one-thousandth of a MW) of capacity for Ivanpah is about $5600, a figure that ignores some costs that are important but hidden.

In comparison, the Energy Information Administration publishes estimates of the capacity costs per kW for coal, combined-cycle natural gas, nuclear, and on-shore wind capacity: respectively about $2700, $885, $4800, and $2075. For solar thermal plants in general, the EIA estimate is about $4750. (Bear in mind that these figures are for capacity costs only; they exclude fuel, operations and maintenance, and other costs.) The per-kW capacity cost of Ivanpah is well over twice that of wind power, which cannot compete economically without the federal production tax credit, guaranteed market shares, and other subsidies.

A lot more at the site -- this is a well written article and really shows how out of touch the alt-energy people really are. The plant is an environmental disaster located in a very fragile environment and the cost of the electricity it generates is among the highest of any technology.

From [Financial Times](http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/e1f343ca-e281-11e3-89fd-00144feabdc0.html#axzz32Z08Ouqt): > **Piketty findings undercut by errors**
Thomas Piketty’s book, ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’, has been the publishing sensation of the year. Its thesis of rising inequality tapped into the zeitgeist and electrified the post-financial crisis public policy debate. > > But, according to a Financial Times investigation, the rock-star French economist appears to have got his sums wrong. > > The data underpinning Professor Piketty’s 577-page tome, which has dominated best-seller lists in recent weeks, contain a series of errors that skew his findings. The FT found mistakes and unexplained entries in his spreadsheets, similar to those which last year undermined the work on public debt and growth of Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. > > The central theme of Prof Piketty’s work is that wealth inequalities are heading back up to levels last seen before the first world war. The investigation undercuts this claim, indicating there is little evidence in Prof Piketty’s original sources to bear out the thesis that an increasing share of total wealth is held by the richest few. > > Prof Piketty, 43, provides detailed sourcing for his estimates of wealth inequality in Europe and the US over the past 200 years. In his spreadsheets, however, there are transcription errors from the original sources and incorrect formulas. It also appears that some of the data are cherry-picked or constructed without an original source. > > For example, once the FT cleaned up and simplified the data, the European numbers do not show any tendency towards rising wealth inequality after 1970. An independent specialist in measuring inequality shared the FT’s concerns. > Heh -- shades of [Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arming_America). The author -- Michael A. Bellesiles -- was highly praised because the conclusions in his book fit into the academic political worldview so well. It won the Bancroft Prize. Only later when people started digging did the errors surface. The Bancroft Prize was [recinded](http://hnn.us/article/1157), Bellesiles resigned his professorship at Emory Wonder how long it will take for Piketty to go down in flames...

Give me a break

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It has been seven years. Get over it. From the [Washington Examiner](http://washingtonexaminer.com/nancy-pelosi-blames-george-w.-bush-for-veterans-affairs-scandal/article/2548784): > **Nancy Pelosi blames George W. Bush for Veterans Affairs scandal**
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., repeatedly put the blame for the Veterans Affairs scandal on former President George W. Bush, while arguing that her party has worked hard for veterans in recent years. > Pants on fire...

Will necessarily skyrocket

Remember this little quote:
From [Associated Press](http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_POLLUTION_RULES_POWER_PRICES?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-05-21-14-16-31): > **Cleaner air could mean higher electric bills**
Electricity prices are probably on their way up across much of the U.S. as coal-fired plants, the dominant source of cheap power, shut down in response to environmental regulations and economic forces. > Some more: > Coal is the workhorse of the U.S. power system. It is used to produce 40 percent of the nation's electricity, more than any other fuel. Because it is cheap and abundant and can be stored on power plant grounds, it helps keep prices stable and power flowing even when demand spikes. > > Natural gas, which accounts for 26 percent of the nation's electricity, has dropped in price and become more plentiful because of the fracking boom. But its price is on the rise again, and it is still generally more expensive to produce electricity with gas than with coal. Also, gas isn't stored at power plants because the cost is prohibitive. That means it is subject to shortages and soaring prices. > > During the brutally cold and snowy winter that just ended, utilities in several states struggled to secure natural gas because so much was also needed to heat homes. Some utilities couldn't run gas-fired plants at all, and power prices soared 1,000 percent in some regions. > And more: > To meet high demand this past winter, American Electric Power, which serves 5 million customers in 11 states, needed to run 89 percent of the coal plants it will soon have to shut down, says AEP CEO Nick Akins. > > This raises concerns that the power system soon won't have enough wiggle room to handle extreme weather, making blackouts more likely. > > "It's a warning of what may be to come," Moeller says. > And once shut down, it will be expensive to re-start. This administration is doing physical damage to the structure of this nation.
Didn't feel like cooking so went out for a bite to eat. Smoking a brisket tomorrow so doing that for this weekend's meals. Need to do an early run into town tomorrow so surfing will be minimal tonight. Have an org meeting tomorrow evening for S2S and then Sunday is race day. Taking Monday off -- most of our vendors are closed so moving the shopping day up to Tuesday.

Now this is just wonderful

Without comment. From [The Atlantic](http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/05/when-viruses-escape-the-lab/371202/): > **Scientists Are Creating New, Incurable Diseases in Labs**
Swine flu, or H1N1, had been dead for 20 years when it suddenly re-emerged in 1977 with a curious twist. The new strain was genetically similar to one from the 1950s, almost as though it had been sitting frozen in a lab since then. Indeed, it eventually became clear that the late-70s flu outbreak was likely the result of a lowly lab worker’s snafu. > > Lab accidents like that are extremely rare. Still, two scientists are now arguing that it’s not worth continuing to create new, transmissible versions of deadly viruses in labs because the risk that the diseases will escape and infect the public is too great. > More: > That worries people like Marc Lipsitch and Alison P. Galvani, two epidemiologists who [write in a PLoS Medicine editorial today](http://www.plos.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/plme-11-05-Lipsitch.pdf) that creating these types of new infectious agents puts human life at risk. They estimate that if 10 American laboratories ran these types of experiments for a decade, there would be a 20 percent chance that a lab worker would become infected with one of these new super-flus and potentially pass it on to others. > > “The concern is that you're making something that doesn't exist in nature and combines high virulence for people with the ability to transmit efficiently,” Lipsitch told me. > > Accidents involving lab-grown pathogens aren’t just the stuff of sci-fi movies. A Singaporean lab worker was [inadvertently infected with SARS](http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/24/world/lab-infection-blamed-for-singapore-sars-case.html) in 2003. In 2004, a Russian scientist died after accidentally sticking herself with a needle contaminated with Ebola at a Siberian lab. In April, [Paris’ Pasteur Institute lost 2,000 vials](http://www.france24.com/en/20140416-paris-sars-samples-institute-pasteur/) containing the SARS virus. And in March, the Galveston National Laboratory in Texas [lost a vial](http://abcnews.go.com/Health/galveston-texas-biolab-loses-deadly-guanarito-virus/story?id=18809363) containing [Guanarito virus](http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8166352), which causes "bleeding under the skin, in internal organs or from body orifices like the mouth, eyes, or ears.” > Just lovely

Ouch - 85' yacht sinks at launching

Fast forward to 2:30 for the good stuff. This happened in Anacortes, WA, about 40 miles South of Bellingham. Tip of the hat to [gCaptain for the link](http://gcaptain.com/video-emerges-10m-yacht-launch-fail/).

BUSTED!

James O'Keefe goes undercover again and films Hollywood execs agreeing to accept Middle Eastern oil money to produce an anti-fracking/anti-American movie because, you know, it hurts their bottom line. O'Keefe was the guy who busted ACORN.

From the Capitol City Project:

Hollywood hypocrisy caught on tape in undercover ‘anti-fracking’ sting video
A newly released undercover video from James O’ Keefe’s Project Veritas shows Hollywood celebrities willing to help with an anti-fracking movie backed by “Middle Eastern oil interests”, and even hide where the money is coming from.

“This latest investigation shows the dark side of Hollywood’s environmental movement. Hollywood is willing to take and conceal money from Middle Eastern oil interests in order to advance their cause of destroying American energy independence,” O’ Keefe said. He will be independently premiering “Expose: Hollywood’s War on US Energy” in Cannes, France Wednesday.

Within the video, actor Ed Begley Jr., an outspoken environmental activist and current Governor on the board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, Golden Globe and Oscar-nominated actress Mariel Hemingway, and liberal producer and director Josh Tickell are approached by an undercover reporter posing as a member of a Middle Eastern oil dynasty named “Muhammad” and his “ad executive” Steven Sanchton in the Beverly Hills Hotel located in Los Angeles, California. The pair offer $9 million in funding to American filmmakers to fund an anti-fracking movie.

“If Washington D.C. continues fracking, America will be energy independent and then they won’t need our oil anymore,” Muhammad states within the video. The “ad executive” accompanying him to the meeting later follows up, “Knowing where the money comes from..” At this point, he is interrupted by Hemmingway, who assures him none of the information regarding where the money is coming from to produce the movie will leave the table.

“Washington and Hollywood are a lot alike; illusions, special effects, smoke and mirrors,” Begley says of the relation between the two entities. Hemingway agrees. Both actors seem eager to help with the endeavor.

Hollywood gets some really cushy tax breaks -- this action is clearly anti-American so maybe those breaks need to be reviewed. It is not like they are a fledgling industry that needs a bit of startup help...

His book The Population Bomb? Total failure. Any Malthusian prediction? Total failure When all you have is failure, keep plugging along -- from [Newsbusters](http://newsbusters.org/blogs/sean-long/2014/05/22/alarmist-paul-ehrlich-predicts-need-eat-bodies-your-dead): > **Alarmist Paul Ehrlich Predicts Need to ‘Eat the Bodies of Your Dead’**
The zombie apocalypse is nigh! The zombie apocalypse is nigh! > > Well, no it isn’t. In fact, it’s probably as likely to occur as the rest of Paul Ehrlich’s predictions. > > Ehrlich, a Stanford University biologist famous for his widely debunked book “The Population Bomb,” doubled down on his climate change and overpopulation fear-mongering with HuffPost Live on May 21. Ehrlich warned host Josh Zepps that the dangers of overpopulation are growing, blaming Republicans and the media for failing to take action. While hawking a new book called “Hope On Earth,” Ehrlich’s co-author Michael Tobias praised Ehrlich’s older, outrageously wrong predictions and said they underestimated the problem. > > Ehrlich, after falsely predicting human “oblivion” 46 years ago, told Zepps humans must soon begin contemplating “eat[ing] the bodies of your dead” after resources are depleted (fava beans and a nice Chianti optional, apparently). > > Despite the fact that this “oblivion,” never came about, he still pushed alarmist predictions. Ehrlich claimed that scarcity of resources will get so bad that humans will need to drastically change our eating habits and agriculture. Instead, we will soon begin asking “is it perfectly okay to eat the bodies of your dead because we’re all so hungry?” He added that humanity is “moving in that direction with a ridiculous speed.” And clearly, this man knows “ridiculous.” > The Population Bomb was published in 1968 -- how he ever got tenure, let alone at Stanford, beggars the imagination. Erlich was also promoting the coming Ice Age along with Obama science czar John Holdren. More [here](http://www.masterresource.org/2009/09/the-global-cooling-scare-revisited/) and [here](http://www.climatedepot.com/2009/10/06/dont-miss-it-climate-depots-factsheet-on-1970s-coming-ice-age-claims-2/). These people are absolutely gobsmackingly clueless.

Absolutely brilliant

20140522-logo.jpg
Flexibility? Remember this story: [During missile defense talk, Obama tells Medvedev he'll have 'more flexibility' after election](http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/03/26/obama-tells-medvedev-hell-have-more-flexibility-after-election-during-missile/) Paying off in spades -- from [Yahoo/Reuters](http://news.yahoo.com/russia-may-build-eight-nuclear-reactors-iran-134635604.html): > > **Russia may build eight nuclear reactors for Iran**
Russia plans to sign a contract with Iran this year to build two more nuclear reactors at its Bushehr power plant as part of a broader deal for up to eight reactors in the Islamic state, a source close to the negotiations told Reuters on Thursday. > And Iran is sitting on pools of oil so this is not for electrical power generation. What other reason could they have?

Prince Charles - unfit to lead

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It is no wonder that Queen Elizabeth is holding on to the Throne for so long. Her son is a royal prat. From [The Telegraph](http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/prince-charles/10849118/Russia-Prince-Charles-Hitler-remarks-outrageous-propaganda.html): > **Russia: Prince Charles 'Hitler' remarks 'outrageous propaganda'**
> Russia responded with fury this morning to the Prince of Wales' claim that President Putin is "like Hitler", saying his remarks are "outrageous" and unworthy of a future monarch. > > In a scathing response, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said the remarks, if accurate, are “unacceptable” and part of a “propaganda campaign” against Moscow. > > The Russian deputy ambassador in London will today meet senior Foreign Office officials after the embassy demanded an explanation as to whether the remarks amounted to an “official position”. > > On a visit to Canada, the Prince told a woman who lost relatives in the Holocaust: “And now Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler.” > Talk about being an self-centered asshat. At least the grandkids have their heads on straight...

Politics - a Star Wars metaphor

20140522-Politics.jpg

Swiped from Peter who swiped it from here - more images, worth clicking to see...

Look up this Saturday

From NASA Science News:

A New Meteor Shower in May?
The head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, Dr. Bill Cooke, often lets cameras do his sky watching for him. He and his colleagues operate a nationwide network of automated fireball observatories that capture anything that burns into Earth’s atmosphere.

On the morning of May 24th, however, he plans to go out in person.

"There could be a new meteor shower, and I want to see it with my own eyes," says Cooke.

The shower is the May Camelopardalids, caused by dust from periodic comet 209P/LINEAR. No one has ever seen it before, but this year the Camelopardalids could put on a display that rivals the well-known Perseids of August.

"Some forecasters have predicted more than 200 meteors per hour," says Cooke.

Auroras Underfoot (signup)Comet 209P/LINEAR was discovered in February 2004 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research project, a cooperative effort of NASA, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, and the US Air Force. It is a relatively dim comet that dips inside the orbit of Earth once every five years as it loops around the sun.

Two years ago, meteor experts Esko Lyytinen of Finland and Peter Jenniskens at NASA Ames Research Center announced that Earth was due for an encounter with debris from Comet 209P/LINEAR. Streams of dust ejected by the comet mainly back in the 1800s would cross Earth's orbit on May 24, 2014. The result, they said, could be a significant meteor outburst.

Other experts agreed, in part. There is a broad consensus among forecasters that Earth will indeed pass through the debris streams on May 24th. However, no one is sure how much debris is waiting. It all depends on how active the comet was more a century ago when the debris streams were laid down.

The best time to look is during the hours between 6:00 and 08:00 Universal Time on May 24th or between 2 and 4 o'clock in the morning Eastern Daylight Time. That's when an ensemble of forecast models say Earth is most likely to encounter the comet's debris. North Americans are favored because, for them, the peak occurs during nighttime hours while the radiant is high in the sky.

Very cool. This is a once in a lifetime event. Remember that 2:00AM on Saturday the 24th is very late that Friday evening. 11:00PM Friday evening through 1:00AM Sunday morning Pacific Daylight Time for those of us out here.

An interesting list of quotations

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An oldie but a goodie -- who said it? > 1) "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
A. Karl Marx
B. Adolph Hitler
C. Joseph Stalin
D. Barack Obama
E. None of the above

2) "It's time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the few, by the few, and for the few...... And to replace it with shared responsibility, for shared prosperity."
A. Lenin
B. Mussolini
C. Idi Amin
D. Barack Obama
E. None of the above

3) "(We).....can't just let business as usual go on, and that means something has to be taken away from some people."
A. Nikita Khrushev
B. Joseph Goebbels
C. Boris Yeltsin
D. Barack Obama
E. None of the above

4) "We have to build a political consensus and that requires people to give up a little bit of their own ... in order to create this common ground."
A. Mao Tse Dung
B. Hugo Chavez
C. Kim Jong II
D. Barack Obama
E. None of the above

5) "I certainly think the free-market has failed."
A. Karl Marx
B. Lenin
C. Molotov
D. Barack Obama
E. None of the above

6) "I think it's time to send a clear message to what has become the most profitable sector in (the) entire economy that they are being watched."
A. Pinochet
B. Milosevic
C. Saddam Hussein
D. Barack Obama
E. None of the above > Click on the "*Continue reading An interesting list of quotations*" below for the answers:

Not like he doesn't have a staff of people preparing briefing papers each and every morning. Here is Barry's schedule for this past week:

Wednesday 14th
10:00 am The President and Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
1:20 pm The President and First Lady depart the White House en route Joint Base Andrews
1:35 pm The President and First Lady depart Joint Base Andrews
2:30 pm The President and First Lady arrive New York
3:25 pm The President delivers remarks on infrastructure
5:00 pm The President attends a DNC event
7:05 pm The President delivers remarks and answers questions at a DSCC event

Thursday 15th
9:40 am The President and First Lady tour the National September 11 Memorial & Museum Memorial Hall and Museum, New York
10:00 am The President delivers remarks at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum Foundation Hall, New York
11:20 am The President and First Lady depart New York
12:15 pm The President and First Lady arrive Joint Base Andrews
12:30 pm The President and First Lady arrive at the White House

Friday 16th
10:00 am The President receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
2:00 pm The President and Vice President meet with Secretary of the Treasury Lew
3:00 pm The Vice President ceremonially swears in Terrell McSweeny as a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission
5:15 pm The President meets with families of the plaintiffs of Brown v. Board of Education and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund

Monday 19th
12:30 pm The President and the Vice President meet for lunch with Combatant Commanders
7:30 pm The President delivers remarks and answers questions at a DCCC event

Tuesday 20th
10:45 am The President drops by a meeting with business leaders
5:00 pm The President meets with Secretary of Defense Hagel

Wednesday 21th
10:00 am The President meets with Secretary Shinseki and Rob Nabors
10:45 am The President delivers a statement
11:35 am The President participates in an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony
12:45 pm Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
2:10 pm The President honors the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks
4:10 pm The President delivers remarks on the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument Designation

The opening of the 9/11 museum is a legitimate trip -- no foul there. The rest of his schedule is way to light for the responsibilities resting on his shoulders. He only had two Presidential Daily Briefings. The rest of his time was spent hanging out with the Seahawks and schmoozing (and fund-raising) with his constituents.

Fun and games with SCADA systems

SCADA? Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition Sounds boring?

No it is not -- this is the backbone of all large industrial process control and these systems were never designed with security in mind. The software predates then internet and was never intended to be networked to anything but the machines in a factory and operator consoles.

When the internet came into being, people started connecting them to the net so the home office in Buffalo could see how extruder #124C was performing. Unfortunately, these machines then became exposed to every hacker out there and problems started manifesting.

I have written about this before -- here is a collection of posts: SCADA in the news again

Fast forward twenty years and we are still having serious problems. From Yahoo/Reuters:

U.S. utility's control system was hacked, says Homeland Security
A sophisticated hacking group recently attacked a U.S. public utility and compromised its control system network, but there was no evidence that the utility's operations were affected, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

DHS did not identify the utility in a report that was issued this week by the agency's Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team, or ICS-CERT.

"While unauthorized access was identified, ICS-CERT was able to work with the affected entity to put in place mitigation strategies and ensure the security of their control systems before there was any impact to operations," a DHS official told Reuters on Tuesday.

A clueless idiot:

 "Internet facing devices have become a serious concern over the past few years," the agency said in the report.

BZZZZTTT!!! Make that twenty years. More:

Last year ICS-CERT responded to 256 cyber incident reports, more than half of them in the energy sector. While that is nearly double the agency's 2012 case load, there was not a single incident that caused a major disruption.

They are probing. They are seeing how fast we detect them and patch the holes. They are waiting for a time when the attack will be launched and the USA power grid could potentially be taken down for weeks. This is asymmetric warfare and the US Government is a senile blind fool -- Kerry for Sec. State? Really?

Shades of George Orwell's 1984 - back in 2008, General Motors published a list of 69 words that should never appear in print.

From the Wall Street Journal

The 69 Words You Can’t Use at GM
As the WSJ reports today, GM will be fined $35 million — the maximum possible — and admit to breaking auto-safety laws, as part of a settlement with the U.S. government over its bungled recall of millions of cars with faulty ignition switches.

In documents released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as part of the settlement, we get a colorful look into GM’s internal workings. The documents include a company presentation from 2008 explaining aspects of the recall process to engineers, including how to document faults and engineering issues.

The list is on page 60 of this 67 page PDF report. Here is a small screen-cap:

20140521-gm-word-list.gif And here's the list of all 69:

always, annihilate, apocalyptic, asphyxiating, bad, Band-Aid, big time, brakes like an “X” car, cataclysmic, catastrophic, Challenger, chaotic, Cobain, condemns, Corvair-like, crippling, critical, dangerous, deathtrap, debilitating, decapitating, defect, defective, detonate, disemboweling, enfeebling, evil, eviscerated, explode, failed, flawed, genocide, ghastly, grenadelike, grisly, gruesome, Hindenburg, Hobbling, Horrific, impaling, inferno, Kevorkianesque, lacerating, life-threatening, maiming, malicious, mangling, maniacal, mutilating, never, potentially-disfiguring, powder keg, problem, rolling sarcophagus (tomb or coffin), safety, safety related, serious, spontaneous combustion, startling, suffocating, suicidal, terrifying, Titanic, unstable, widow-maker, words or phrases with a biblical connotation, you’re toast

Considering that until recently, We the People owned a good chunk of General Motors and we lost over 10 Billion Dollars on the deal. If GM had been allowed to go through bankruptcy, it would have emerged a leaner stronger company. Now it is just bloat as usual. I still love my Ford pickup truck!

A political three-fer

Our government doing what it does so well...

First -- from The Daily Caller:

Dem Congressman: ‘We’ve Proved That Communism Works’
Democratic Florida Rep. Joe Garcia — fresh off being caught eating his own earwax on camera — was caught red-handed (or is it yellow-fingered?) in another gaffe this week, claiming that low crime rates in border cities with lots of federal immigration workers is proof that “Communism works.”

Second -- from The Blaze:

Howard Dean Went on Another Tirade…Calling Republicans ‘Not American’
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean at a rally in Colorado last week railed against the Republican Party, saying that it’s members are “not American” and that they would be “more comfortable in the Ukraine or Russia.”

“This is a Republican party that has decided they like power so much that they think it’s okay to win by taking away the right to vote,” Dean said in an address that only recently attracted the attention of many news sites.

Taking away the right to vote??? What the #uck is this guy smoking???

Third -- from the Miami, FL CBS affiliate:

Miami VA Whistleblower Exposes Drug Dealing, Theft, Abuse
When asked why he would risk his job and speak publicly, Detective Thomas Fiore considered the question carefully before answering.

“People are dying,” he finally said, “and there are so many things that are going on there that people need to know about.”

Fiore, a criminal investigator for the VA police department in South Florida, contacted CBS4 News hoping to shed light on what he considers a culture of cover-ups and bureaucratic neglect. Among his charges: Drug dealing on the hospital grounds is a daily occurrence.

“Anything from your standard prescription drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, and of course marijuana, cocaine, heroin, I’ve come across them all,” he explained.

Even inside the hospital, he says he was stopped from doing his job – investigating reports of missing drugs from the VA pharmacy. When the amount of a particular drug inside the pharmacy doesn’t match the amount that the pharmacy is supposed to have, a report, known as a “discrepancy report” is generated. Normally it was his job to investigate the reports to determine if they were the result of harmless mistakes or criminal activity. But all that changed, he said, about two years ago.

“I was instructed that I was to stop conducting investigations pertaining to controlled substance discrepancies,” he recalled.

He said he was personally told to stop investigating them by the hospital’s chief of staff, Dr. Vincent DeGennaro.

“I have no idea why,” he said. “He’s the chief of staff he doesn’t have to tell me why.”

DeGennaro declined our request for an interview. A spokesman for the VA wrote CBS4 News: “The Miami VA is required to monitor all controlled substances and resolve inventory discrepancies within 72 hours. Any unresolved discrepancies are reported to the Miami VA Healthcare System Director and Controlled Substance Coordinator, VA OIG, DEA and VA Police for independent investigation.”

The culture of corruption in the Veterans Administration is disgusting. That nest of vipers needs to be flushed, people need to spend time behind bars and the administration needs to reorganize and streamline that bureaucracy. Hire a CEO from a successful American Corporation to manage -- the head should be hired (and compensated) on merit - it should never, ever be a political appointment.

The thing to consider here is that if this administration is allowed to act with such disregard to people who have served our Nation, imagine what they will do to us when we ask for treatment under Obamacare. Do you really think that there will be any difference?

About that 97% consensus

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One of the major memes in the Global Warming camp is the 97% consensus of scientists. This number comes from one paper published by John Cook at Australia's University of Queensland about a year ago. Although the paper was publically funded, Cook has not released the raw data for other people to check his thesis. Brandon Shollenberger has been curious about this and was able to find some data - the exact content is not known - publically available on a website. Now the University is trying to claim that Shollenberger 'hacked' into a secure server and is [threatening to sue](http://hiizuru.wordpress.com/2014/05/18/a-direct-challenge/) if the data is released. Today, Brandon talks about [the definition of Consensus](http://hiizuru.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/a-re-analysis-of-the-consensus/): > **A Re-Analysis of the “Consensus”**
Hey guys. I’ve been mulling over an idea I had, and I wanted to get some public feedback. What would you think of a public re-analysis of the Cook et al data set? > > A key criticism of the Cook et al paper is they didn’t define the “consensus” they were looking for. There’s a lot of confusion as to whether that “consensus” position is weak (e.g. the greenhouse effect is real) or strong (e.g. humans are the primary culprits). The reason for that is Cook et al tried to combine both definitions into one rating, meaning they had no real definition. You can see a discussion of that [here](http://rankexploits.com/musings/2013/climate-science-p0rn/). > > I think it’d be interesting to examine the same data with sensible definitions. Instead of saying there’s a “97% consensus,” we could say “X% believe in global warming, Y% say humans are responsible for Z% of it.” That’d be far more informative. It’d also let us see if rating abstracts is even a plausibly useful approach for measuring a consensus. > > My current thinking is to create a web site where people will be able to create accounts, log in and rate a particular subsample of the Cook et al data. I’m thinking 100 “Endorse AGW” abstracts to start with should be enough. After enough ratings have been submitted (or enough time has passed), I’ll break off the ratings, post results and start ratings on another set of abstracts. > > The results would allow us to see tallies of how each abstract was rated (contrasted with the Cook et al ratings). I’m thinking I’d also allow raters to leave comments on abstracts to explain themselves, and these would be displayed as well. Finally, individual raters’ ratings could be viewed on a page to look for systematic differences in views. > I love it -- crowd-sourced analysis. Bring it on!

A cool tool

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I love to build electronic stuff and have been doing it since the age of six when my Dad taught me how to solder -- over fifty years ago. One of the hassles is drawing a schematic circuit and having to go an edit it later. There are software apps for this but they are not selling millions of them so the price to license is proportionally high -- a good EDA and PCB suite can run several thousands of dollars. Fortunately, the free market wins out here -- a major electrical component vendor, DigiKey, has developed their own web-based application. Check it out at [SchemeIt](http://www.digikey.com/schemeit) Nice library of parts and when you double-click on an item, it calls up a window that allows you to search for the appropriate DigiKey catalog entry. It then develops your BOM (Bill Of Materials) so you can turn around and order the components. There is no sign of being able to generate a circuit board or being able to export in any of the formats used for that purpose (just PDF and PNG) but for generating a quick schematic for a project, this is a decent tool. If you are looking for something with more features and a little bit more robust, check out the [gEDA project](http://www.gpleda.org/) [Fritzing](http://fritzing.org/home/) looks interesting but I run [KiCAD](http://www.kicad-pcb.org/display/KICAD/KiCad+EDA+Software+Suite) at home.
Fun!

Our mainstream Media

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Sums it up nicely: 20140520-media.jpg

An excellent observation on Socialism

Wonderful essay from E.M.Smith writing at Musings from the Chiefio:

Respect, Lies, and Power Politics
I was pondering the question of “What is the basic value difference between them and me?”

It isn’t as big a question as it seems. I’ve often wondered about “them” and “me”.

But it has been clear to me most of my life that I’m not like “them”. “They” are different.

In this particular case I was wondering about some recent events. Obama and his recent pronouncements on “Climate Change”. He has no clue what so ever about the underlying science nor the history of the process. He can’t. Not enough time, and certainly not enough technical training and skill. So at best he is duped, at worst he is using it ‘for effect’. Ukraine and how they are being ‘played’ by Putin. Obama and his new ability to ‘be more flexible’ for Putin now that he is no longer standing for election. The list goes on.

What is THE core value that is different between “that sort” and me? (And folks ‘like me’ on these points)

After a fair amount of pondering, I think the answer comes down to one word: Respect.

Some more:

I would speculate that Socialism does not respect the people. They are just tools to be used by the “intelligentsia” to advance the social narrative. You see this theme throughout the Communist, Marxist, Socialist, Progressive, whatever-name-today power politics. It assumes that the ‘special’ folks who make it into the government know better what to do than the ‘average guy’. That they are fodder for the government machine to mould. That they do not deserve self determination nor the respect that comes with it.

Much more at the site -- well worth the five minutes to read...

Land Grab

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The Federal Government owns 27.7% of all the land in the United States (this is [2012 data](https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42346.pdf)). It owns 34.7% of the state of New Mexico. It now just gained another half-million acres (0.64%) -- from [The Washington Times](http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/19/obama-designate-national-monument-new-mexico/): > **Obama seizes N.M. land for national monument in Bundy-like showdown**
President Obama on Wednesday will declare a national monument in southern New Mexico, delivering a win for environmentalists but angering ranchers and local law enforcement, who say the land restrictions will end up creating a safe haven for drug cartels to operate within the U.S. > > Mr. Obama will declare about 500,000 acres as the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. About half of that land is expected to be set aside as wilderness, meaning it will be closed to vehicles and construction. > > Local ranchers say it’s a land grab that will interfere with their grazing rights, and border security advocates said the move will make it tougher for federal agents and local police to patrol the land, leaving a security gap that Mexican smuggling cartels will exploit. > > “This is about opposing so many thousands of acres that is going to create nothing more than a pathway for criminals to get into this country to do their criminal acts,” Dona Ana County Sheriff Todd Garrison told The Washington Times in a telephone interview Monday. > Time to get some adults in the room...

How about that war on terror

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From [The New Yorker](http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2014/05/were-at-greater-risk-q-a-with-general-keith-alexander.html?utm_source=www&utm_medium=tw&utm_campaign=20140515): > **“We’re At Greater Risk”: Q. & A. with General Keith Alexander**
Since Edward Snowden’s revelations about government surveillance, we know more about how the National Security Agency has been interpreting Section 215 of the Patriot Act and Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. We’ve learned some new words —“bulk metadata,” “selector,” “reasonable articulable suspicion,” “emphatic-access restriction”—but we don’t really know how much of this works in practice. > > The intelligence community isn’t used to explaining itself in public, but over the past few months, with much prodding by Congress and the press, it has taken some small, tentative steps. Last week, I spent an hour with General Keith B. Alexander, who retired in March after eight years as the director of the N.S.A. The forces pushing for omnivorous data collection are larger than any one person, but General Alexander’s role has been significant. We met on Wednesday morning, in the conference room of a public-relations firm in the Flatiron District. He is a tall man with a firm handshake and steady eyes who speaks rapidly and directly. > The money quote: > *So you’re saying that the probability of an attack is growing.* > > The probability is growing. What I saw at N.S.A. is that there is a lot more coming our way. Just as someone is revealing all the tools and the capabilities we have. What that tells me is we’re at greater risk. I can’t measure it. You can’t say, Well, is that enough to get through? I don’t know. It means that the intel community, the military community, and law enforcement are going to work harder. > And we still do not profile, our borders are a fscking joke and we wonder why things are so bad. We need to remember that these people are probing us continually -- [here is but one example](http://synthstuff.com/mt/archives/2014/01/al-qaeda-is-on.html)

A new lens coating

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Getting crud on your lens is the bane of photographers everywhere. Nikon just stepped up to the plate with a new fluorine coating:
No further information as yet but this looks really cool.

Supercell in Wyoming

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Gorgeous video -- would have loved to been there:
From [Slate](http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2014/05/19/time_lapse_formation_of_a_supercell_in_wyoming.html): > **Time-Lapse: Spinning Up a Supercell Over Wyoming**
Yesterday, while I was enjoying relatively clear skies in Colorado, just one state north of me the weather was just a tad more dramatic. A group of stormchasers who call themselves [Basehunters](https://www.facebook.com/basehunters) took a drive from Wright to Newcastle, in northeast Wyoming, and [got seriously jaw-dropping footage](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoO89cqDgJU) of a [supercell](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercell) forming right in front of them. > Just wow!

The rules are for thee - not for me

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There is a wonderful website called [Not Always Right](http://notalwaysright.com/) that chronicles failure in customer service. Read [this one](http://notalwaysright.com/sorry-please-chai-again/37166) today and noticed the origin: > **Sorry, Please Chai Again**
Coffee Shop | Olympia, WA, USA | At The Checkout, Food & Drink, Liars & Scammers

(*I am working in a new coffee shop on campus that is very busy at certain times of the day. We start to notice a professor pulling a scam on us at our peak times. Every day she waits until we are really busy. She waits with her friend in line but does not order anything. Then, after ‘waiting’ a while, she demands to know where her drink is. Several students are pulling this scam as well. We put up a sign that says you have to present your receipt, and make sure we tell everyone that orders. All the scams stop, except one.*)

**Professor**: *slamming her hand over and over on the pickup counter* “Where is my chai!? Where is my chai!?”

**Coworker**: “Do you have your receipt?”

**Professor**: *indignant* “No.”

**Coworker**: “Then you don’t have a chai.”
(*She never tried to pull the scam on us again!*) > Olympia, WA is home to Evergreen College. To paraphrase Ben Kenobi:
"Evergreen State College. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and progressivism. We must be cautious."
From [Anthony Watts](http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/05/20/antarcticas-ice-losses-on-the-rise-with-a-sanity-check/) comes this breath of fresh air. There is a much publicized news story about how the Antarctic Ice is melting at a rate of 159 billion tons per year: >**Antarctica’s ice losses on the rise – with a sanity check**
From Geophysical Research Letters and the University of Leeds: > > >***Three years of observations show that the Antarctic ice sheet is now losing 159 billion tonnes of ice each year — twice as much as when it was last surveyed***. See below for some sanity check calculations on why 159 billion tonnes really isn’t much more than a flyspeck in the scheme of things. > > > First of all: > They used measurements collected by the European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 satellite mission, which carries an altimeter specially designed for this task. > > In sharp contrast to past altimeter missions, CryoSat-2 surveys virtually all the Antarctic continent, reaching to within 215 kilometres of the South Pole and leading to a fivefold increase in the sampling of coastal regions where today’s ice losses are concentrated. > The new satellite is looking at a much larger area -- of course, the numbers are going to be higher. Second and final - the sanity check: > If one cubic kilometer of water (i.e., one gigatonne of water) is spread evenly over the entire 361 million square kilometers, the thickness of the new layer of water will be given by: > >
1 km³ / 361 x 106 km² = 2.78 x 10-6 meters = 2.78 microns
> > Or, in terms of gigatonnes: > >
1 Gt x (1 km³/Gt) / 361 x 106 km² = 2.78 x 10-6 meters = 2.78 microns / Gt
> > That is, one cubic kilometer of water (i.e., one gigatonne of water) will add less than 3 millionths of a meter to the oceans! > Sure, there is melting going on -- the antarctic ice will be all gone in 169,811 years. And this is all you have? This is your crisis?

More tomorrow - I promise

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It has been a busy couple of days. Was in town today for the store buying run. I was also prepping for this weekend's race ( as well as future work) so spent another two hours running these errands: visiting strange places and filling out reams of paperwork... Tonight will be the usual -- surf for a bit and then to bed. Tomorrow will be spent at the new business working on stuff for a couple clients so I will have time to read the entire internet at least two times before I quit for the day. More posting then.

That is it for the evening

Busy weekend, busy tomorrow and busy week leading up to the Ski to Sea race next Sunday. Doing a lot though and it is all fun so zero complaints. Just wish I had a couple more "*free*" days in each week...

Evolution in action

A clip from the great Idiocracy

So true - hat tip to Mostly Cajun

Happy 100th Birthday - ARRL

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ARRL? The Amateur Radio Relay League was founded 100 years ago on today, May 18th, 1914. Their website is running very very slowly as there is a lot of traffic on this day but the home page is here: [ARRL](http://www.arrl.org/) This has been the leading group for promoting Amateur Radio and they have been very instrumental in keeping our frequencies open and available for amateur use while commercial interests have been lobbying for them. This is not just a hobby, this is also the last link in emergency communications when disaster strikes. The CERT meeting last night covered a bit of that -- I am a licensed ham and have a small station here at the house as well as a portable rig that can go into my truck.

Because - SCIENCE

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Sadly, so true: 20140518-science.jpg

Training session

The CERT session went very well -- a combination of review of existing processes and procedures as well as what new stuff is coming over the horizon. CERT was developed about 30 years ago and is continually evolving and improving. We are trying to organize a local CERT group out here and were expecting about 15-20 people but only six people showed up. A beginning anyway as everyone here was well motivated.

We are at the end of a very long and fragile supply chain and our county has a high level of dangers - Earthquake, Fire, Flood, an active Volcano, Landslides - quite the shopping list.

I love living out here but these dangers cannot be ignored...

One wonderful takeaway was becoming aware of the QuickSeries publishing company. Their pocketbooks have distilled Disaster Preparedness into a small, well produced booklet printed on very durable stock. Something that you can stuff into a pocket and take into the field. They also offer versions for download to your iOS or Android device.

I am getting these two to start: CERT Field Operations Guide and Incident Command System (ICS).

The role I envision for myself is Communications and Logistics so the ICS booklet will be a great place to start. Pricing is really reasonable too -- under $15 for each of them. Good stuff!

First from [CNS News](http://cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/gallup-only-25-satisfied-direction-country): > **Gallup: Only 25% Satisfied With Direction of Country**
A new poll shows that one-in-four Americans, 25%, are satisfied with the direction of the country at this time but 74% expressed dissatisfaction. > > In the [survey](http://www.gallup.com/poll/169295/satisfaction-direction-remains.aspx), which Gallup has done regularly since 1979, Americans were asked this question: “In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time?” > Second from [CNS News](http://cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/barbara-boland/poll-67-approve-congress-creating-special-committee-benghazi): > **Poll: 67% Approve of Congress Creating Special Committee on Benghazi**
Two-thirds (67%) of Americans approve of Congress' creation of a special committee to investigate the incidents surrounding the Benghazi attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens, according to a new [Fox News poll](http://www.foxnews.com/politics/interactive/2014/05/14/fox-news-poll-what-voters-think-obama-benghazi-scandal/). Only 28% disapproved of the probe. > > Fully 72% also said they thought that the Obama administration deserved the blame for the security failings that led to the death of the four Americans in Benghazi, with half of those assigning "a great deal of blame" and half only "some" blame. > > Those polled were asked whether they thought the Obama administration had been "honest with the American people about the events surrounding the Benghazi terrorist attacks or has it tried to deceive people?" While 54% of people said they thought that the administration has tried to deceive people, 38% said that they though the administration was honest. > Sounds like the groundswell is building -- November will be interesting to say the least. People are fed up with the incompetence and gaslighting...

Big day today

Got a bunch of people coming over to the house at 5:00PM for CERT training.

There is a big pot of chili in the slow cooker, getting some chairs and tables set up in the living room and borrowed a video projector from our Chamber of Commerce.

Should be fun but posting will be very light today -- maybe a couple drive-by's but that's it...

The Schoolbus crash

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Here is a [link to the Bellingham Herald article](http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/05/16/3647502/high-school-bus-crashes-into-car.html?sp=/99/100/&ihp=1) on what I saw today. No real information as yet.

Long couple of days

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Did the store buying run today to cover for an employee who was out of town. Also checked out a couple garage sales and two Craigslist sales (both of those were sweet scores). Came back to find a bad schoolbus accident on the main highway. The bus had struck the rear of a car with sufficient force to crumple the rear and it had been pushed into the opposite ditch with a lot of rubber tire-marks. Emergency responders were already on the site so I didn't stop. Here at the new business until 6:00PM and then home for dinner and preparing the house for the CERT training session tomorrow afternoon. Cooking up a big pot of vegetarian chili and rice. Lulu is fixing spaghetti and a salad with some watermelon for dessert. Yum! Looking forward to sleeping in Sunday...


Excellent as always. From [Wikipedia](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslighting): > **Gaslighting**
Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity. > And this: > Psychologist Martha Stout states that sociopaths frequently use gaslighting tactics. Sociopaths consistently transgress social mores, break laws, and exploit others, but are also typically charming and convincing liars who consistently deny wrongdoing. Thus, some who have been victimized by sociopaths may doubt their perceptions. > Sums up what the current administration has been doing to a tee...

A new coal-burning airplane

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From [Aerospace Technology](http://www.aerospace-technology.com/projects/e-fan-electric-aircraft/): > **E-Fan Electric Aircraft, France**
E-Fan, a two-seat experimental electric aircraft developed by Airbus Group and partners, was unveiled and made its first public flight demonstration at Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport in France in April 2014. The training aircraft is intended for flying clubs and schools, and can be used for training professional pilots. > > Flight tests on the E-Fan 2.0 prototype are currently underway, while development of the production version is expected to begin in June in a production facility near Bordeaux Airport. BpiFrance Public Investment Bank will partially provide finance for the development. The aircraft is expected to enter into service by 2017. > Specs are not that bad: > The E-Fan aircraft has a takeoff speed of 110km/h, cruise speed of 160km/h and maximum speed of 220km/h. Its endurance ranges between 45 minutes and one hour. > All in the name of reducing carbon emissions. And where does the electricity come from -- 80% is generated by coal and less than 2% comes from renewables.

Meet Titan and Hydro

From the Wall Street Journal:

IBM Research Discovers New Class of Industrial Polymers
Scientists from IBM Research have successfully discovered a new class of polymer materials that can potentially transform manufacturing and fabrication in the fields of transportation, aerospace, and microelectronics. Through the unique approach of combining high performance computing with synthetic polymer chemistry, these new materials are the first to demonstrate resistance to cracking, strength higher than bone, the ability to reform to their original shape (self-heal), all while being completely recyclable back to their starting material. Also, these materials can be transformed into new polymer structures to further bolster their strength by 50% - making them ultra strong and lightweight. This research was published today in the peer-reviewed journal, Science, with collaborators including UC Berkeley, Eindhoven University of Technology and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), Saudi Arabia.

Polymers, a long chain of molecules that are connected through chemical bonds, are an indispensable part of everyday life. They are a core material in common items ranging from clothing and drink bottles (polyesters), paints (polyacrylics), plastic milk bottles (polyethylene), secure food packaging (polyolefins, polystyrene) to major parts of cars and planes (epoxies, polyamides and polyimides). They are also essential components in virtually every emerging advanced technology dating back to the industrial revolution -- the steam engine, the space ship, the computer, the mobile phone.

However, today's polymer materials are limited in some ways. In transportation and aerospace, structural components or composites are exposed to many environmental factors (de-icing of planes, exposure to fuels, cleaning products, etc.) and exhibit poor environmental stress crack resistance (i.e., catastrophic failure upon exposure to a solvent). Also, these polymers are difficult to recycle because they cannot be remolded or reworked once cured or thermally decomposed by heating to high temperatures. As a result, these end up in the landfill together with toxins such as plasticizers, fillers, and color additives which are not biodegradable.

Now this will be interesting - some more from Mashable:

Scientists Discover First New Polymers in 20 Years
The world welcomed two new polymers on Thursday, codenamed Titan and Hydro, both of which came from the same reaction. One is rigid; it could become part of the next generation of computers. The other is a gel, so it it could be included in water-soluble nail polish.

IBM researcher Jeannette M. Garcia was among a team of nearly a dozen scientists and researchers who worked for more than a year on this discovery, and they are now submitting their findings to the peer review journal Science.

Some more:

Titan is, naturally, the stronger one. According to IBM, it has bone-like strength (its measurements were similar to the organic material that frames our bodies) and roughly one-third of the tensile strength of steel. When IBM researchers combined Titan with 2% to 5% carbon nanotubes, however, they found they could make a material three times stronger than the polyamides sometimes used on current aircrafts.

Hydro is mostly liquid and quite flexible. It can also "self-heal"; according to Garcia, if you cut a blob of the polymer in two and then place the pieces next to each other (but don't force them together), they will combine back into one blob. One application could be for a powerful-on-contact adhesive.

This will take a couple years to reach commercial development but will result in a whole new crop of products. Kudos to the research team.

An interesting app - Electric Sheep

Heard about this on the radio -- you sign up and when your computer is idle, it participates in the generation of some gorgeous (and mundane) screen animations.

Check out Electric Sheep):

Electric Sheep is a collaborative abstract artwork founded by Scott Draves.

It's run by thousands of people all over the world, and can be installed on any ordinary PC, Mac, Android, or iPad.

When these computers "sleep", the Electric Sheep comes on and the computers communicate with each other by the internet to share the work of creating morphing abstract animations known as "sheep".

Anyone watching one of these computers may vote for their favorite animations using the keyboard. The more popular sheep live longer and reproduce according to a genetic algorithm with mutation and cross-over. Hence the flock evolves to please its global audience.

You can also design your own sheep and submit them to the gene pool.

The result is a collective "android dream", blending man and machine to create an artificial lifeform. Learn more about it.

Here is one of their animations:

Siggraph 2014

Siggraph (Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Technologies) is the worlds best conference for Computer Generated graphics - emerging technologies and pure raw computing power. It is being held in Vancouver, BC this August -- might be a good time for a road trip! Here is the trailer for this years conference:

Remember the [announcement two days ago](http://synthstuff.com/mt/archives/2014/05/conflict-of-int.html) that VP Joe Biden's son was appointed head of legal affairs at Ukraine’s largest private gas producer? The White House is spinning it. From the [Washington Examiner](http://washingtonexaminer.com/jay-carney-joe-bidens-son-accepted-position-with-ukrainian-gas-company-as-private-citizen/article/2548379): > **Jay Carney: Joe Biden's son accepted position with Ukrainian gas company as 'private citizen'**
> Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, has accepted a position with Ukraine's largest private gas producer, but that in no way means the White House signed off on or endorses his hiring, presidential spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday. > > Burisma Holdings announced Tuesday that Hunter Biden, Biden's youngest son, would serve on the company's board of directors. > > The company in a news release on its website said Hunter Biden will be in charge of the Burisma's legal unit and will “provide support” among international organizations. The Moscow Times first reported the news Tuesday. > > Asked about the hiring by a reporter Tuesday, Carney referred questions about it to the vice president's office and noted that it did not indicate that Obama was involved or approved of it. > > “Hunter Biden and other members of the family are obviously private citizens and where they work is not an endorsement by the president or vice president,” he said. > Nothing to see folks -- move along...

Sasquatch in the news

An interesting find to our North -- from The Vancouver Sun:

Mask associated with sasquatch lore returned to B.C. First Nation
Hunting for an elusive sasquatch mask revered by a British Columbia First Nation has been a 16-year journey for James Leon, taking him through London, Boston, New York and Ottawa.

In the end, all it took was a question to the lady sitting next to him at a Vancouver event that led him to his nation's Sasq'ets mask that vanished 75 years ago.

Leon was at a repatriation event for another First Nations artifact held by the Vancouver Museum when he asked the lady sitting beside him if she knew of the ape-like mask partially covered in bear fur.

"Her eyes lit up and she said 'We were just looking at that mask the other day.' And they were gracious enough to go get it for me," he said with a chuckle.

The mask disappeared in 1939 from Sts'ailes First Nation, near Harrison Hot Springs in B.C.'s Fraser Valley.

Community elders told Leon that the mask had been taken by J.W. Burns, a teacher at the Chehalis Indian Day School, and a man obsessed with the sasquatch legend.

Burns, who is often credited for bringing the word "sasquatch" into common use, donated the mask to the Vancouver Museum. Beautiful work:

20140515-sasquatch.jpg And if you happen to sight a Sasquatch?

While the more recent stories of bigfoot are enough to produce nightmares, Leon said his people consider spotting a sasquatch good luck.

"There are certain things that happened to us when we see one," he said. "They call it gifts that come with seeing one, like I'd be a good speaker or a good hunter."

There's an even better endowment — a golden gift — if the sasquatch sees you, he explained.

Interesting that there seem to be two populations. The Pacific Northwest and the Atlantic Northeast. Lots of megapod stories in Maine and New Hampshire.

Monoculture farming

Not a good thing and for just this reason - from Popular Science:

Has The End Of The Banana Arrived?
Two weeks ago, at a conference in South Africa, scientists met to discuss how to contain a deadly banana disease outbreak in nearby Mozambique, Africa. At fault was a fungus that continues its march around the planet. In recent years, it has spread across Asia and Australia, devastating plants there that bear the signature yellow supermarket fruit.

The international delegation of researchers shared their own approaches to the malady, hoping to arrive at some strategy to insulate Mozambique and the rest of Africa: a continent where bananas are essential to the lives of millions. They left the Cape Town-based meeting with an air of optimism.

Only days after the meeting, however, a devastating new survey of the stricken Mozambique farm was released. Scientists at the conference assumed that the fungus was limited to a single plot. The new report suggested the entire plantation was infested, expanding 125 diseased acres to more than 3,500. All told, 7 million banana plants were doomed to wilt and rot.

“The future looks bleak,” says Altus Viljoen, the South African plant pathologist who organized the conference. "There’s no way they’ll be able to stop any further spread if they continue to farm.” Worse, he says, the disease's rapid spread endangers banana crops beyond Mozambique’s borders.

And this is not the first time for Bananas:

The most astonishing thing is that this has happened before, with a breed of banana introduced to America and Europe in the early 20th century. Called the Gros Michel, it was entirely different from the kind of banana we enjoy today and made the fortunes of Chiquita and Dole. These companies created an agricultural business model based on monoculture, whose singular focus resembles the fast food industry more than traditional farming.

The “Big Mike” cultivar soon began succumbing to a variant of Fusarium now known as “Race 1.” By 1960, the breed was functionally extinct. Its replacement is today’s supermarket banana, called the Cavendish. From the start banana marketers considered it an inferior product — less flavorful and more perishable. Yet facing bankruptcy in the wake of the Gros Michel’s disappearance, they adopted it at the last minute to save their industry.

And of course:

The best solution, banana scientists have told me, is variety. Turning the commercial banana crop from a monoculture (in which every Cavendish plant is essentially a clone) to one with multiple resistant breeds would help insulate plantations against disease and also bring some really delicious fruit to consumers. The Cavendish, I can tell you from experience, is a lousy tasting banana compared to just about everything else; in India, where 600 banana varieties are grown, Cavendish is derisively called “the hotel banana.”

The next five years will tell... When visiting Hawaii, I love the Apple bananas but they are too perishable to ship commercially.

Checking it twice

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Unreal - from Washington, DC radio station [WTOP](http://www.wtop.com/109/3622318/Broken-elevators-frustrate-Monument-visitors): > **Broken elevators at Washington Monument frustrate visitors**
Two days after the Washington Monument reopened to the public, elevator problems forced tour delays and frustrated hundreds of visitors. > > With tickets in hand, Kathy Nadherney, of Arlington, says she wanted to take advantage of the monument being open and bring her friend and her 4-year-old son Jacob to see the views. > > But almost as soon as her tour began, problems with the elevators put a stop to it. > > "We were let in the bottom and we were getting ready to get in the elevator when the first elevator stopped. And there were people stuck at the top so we waited an hour and a half at the bottom of the monument," Nadherney says. > You would think that the elevator company would check the system out throughly, especially since this is such a high-traffic location...

Fractal Landscapes

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Cool website generates fractal landscapes with only 130 lines of code. Landscape (hit your browser's refresh button to draw a new one) is here: [Terrain Demo](http://www.playfuljs.com/demos/terrain/) Code and analysis here: [Realistic terrain in 130 lines](http://www.playfuljs.com/realistic-terrain-in-130-lines/) Hat tip [BoingBoing](http://boingboing.net/2014/05/14/fractal-terrain-generation-in.html)
Just got back from town -- had to run in for a client so figured I would grab a bite to eat on the way back. Feeling tired so surf for a bit and then off to bed. Long day tomorrow too - the [new business](http://www.mtbakerbusinesscenter.com/) is picking up nicely...

Whoppers

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20140514-burgerking.jpg

Now this is interesting...

From the Minneapolis, MN Star-Tribune:

Mayo Clinic trial: Massive blast of measles vaccine wipes out cancer
Stacy Erholtz was out of conventional treatment options for blood cancer last June when she underwent an experimental trial at the Mayo Clinic that injected her with enough measles vaccine to inoculate 10 million people.

The 50-year-old Pequot Lakes mother is now part of medical history.

The cancer, which had spread widely through her body, went into complete remission and was undetectable in Erholtz’s body after just one dose of the measles vaccine, which has an uncanny affinity for certain kinds of tumors.

Erholtz was one of just two subjects in the experiment and the only one to achieve complete remission. But the experiment provides the “proof of concept” that a single, massive dose of intravenous viral therapy can kill cancer by overwhelming its natural defenses, according to Dr. Stephen Russell, a professor of molecular medicine who spearheaded the research at Mayo.

“It’s a landmark,” Russell said in an interview last week. “We’ve known for a long time that we can give a virus intravenously and destroy metastatic cancer in mice. Nobody’s shown that you can do that in people before.”

Until now. More Faster Please!

The Evolution Of Visual Effects

Great collection.

Could have told you. From Real Clear Science

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity May Not Exist
In 2011, Peter Gibson, a professor of gastroenterology at Monash University and director of the GI Unit at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, published a study that found gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley, to cause gastrointestinal distress in patients without celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder unequivocally triggered by gluten. Double-blinded, randomized, and placebo-controlled, the experiment was one of the strongest pieces of evidence to date that non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), more commonly known as gluten intolerance, is a genuine condition.

By extension, the study also lent credibility to the meteoric rise of the gluten-free diet. Surveys now show that 30% of Americans would like to eat less gluten, and sales of gluten-free products are estimated to hit $15 billion by 2016 -- that's a 50% jump over 2013's numbers!

But like any meticulous scientist, Gibson wasn't satisfied with his first study. His research turned up no clues to what actually might be causing subjects' adverse reactions to gluten. Moreover, there were many more variables to control! What if some hidden confounder was mucking up the results? He resolved to repeat the trial with a level of rigor lacking in most nutritional research. Subjects would be provided with every single meal for the duration of the trial. Any and all potential dietary triggers for gastrointestinal symptoms would be removed, including lactose (from milk products), certain preservatives like benzoates, propionate, sulfites, and nitrites, and fermentable, poorly absorbed short-chain carbohydrates, also known as FODMAPs. And last, but not least, nine days worth of urine and fecal matter would be collected. With this new study, Gibson wasn't messing around.

And the upshot:

37 subjects took part, all confirmed not to have celiac disease but  whose gastrointestinal symptoms improved on a gluten-free diet, thus  fulfilling the diagnostic criteria for non-celiac gluten sensitivity.** They were first fed a diet low in FODMAPs for two weeks (baseline), then were given one of three diets for a week with either 16 grams per day of added gluten (high-gluten), 2 grams of gluten and 14 grams of whey protein isolate (low-gluten), or 16 grams of whey protein isolate (placebo). Each subject shuffled through every single diet so that they could serve as their own controls, and none ever knew what specific diet he or she was eating. After the main experiment, a second was conducted to ensure that the whey protein placebo was suitable. In this one, 22 of the original subjects shuffled through three different diets -- 16 grams of added gluten, 16 grams of added whey protein isolate, or the baseline diet -- for three days each.

Analyzing the data, Gibson found that each treatment diet, whether it included gluten or not, prompted subjects to report a worsening of gastrointestinal symptoms to similar degrees. Reported pain, bloating, nausea, and gas all increased over the baseline low-FODMAP diet. Even in the second experiment, when the placebo diet was identical to the baseline diet, subjects reported a worsening of symptoms! The data clearly indicated that a nocebo effect, the same reaction that prompts some people to get sick from wind turbines and wireless internet, was at work here. Patients reported gastrointestinal distress without any apparent physical cause. Gluten wasn't the culprit; the cause was likely psychological. Participants expected the diets to make them sick, and so they did. The finding led Gibson to the opposite conclusion of his 2011 research:

“In contrast to our first study… we could find absolutely no specific response to gluten."

 About what I figured. Fads come and go.

This is unreal - from Hot Air:

Billion-dollar ObamaCare contract pays people to do … nothing?
What kind of business could possibly survive by simply hitting refresh buttons every 10 minutes while no business comes across their desks? If you guessed public sector, congratulations, and claim a bonus for specifying ObamaCare. St Louis’ KMOV News looked into an ObamaCare contractor with a billion-dollar contract after hearing employee complaints that the well-motivated workforce is getting paid to do nothing — a whole lot of nothing (via Daniel Halper):

 “A billion dollar government contract involving hundreds of local workers at an Obamacare processing center … But now employees on the inside are stepping forward, asking, Is this why we’re broke? Some of them claim to spend most of their day doing nothing,” reports a local St. Louis reporter.

The contractor is called Serco and local reporter discovered that, despite there not being any work to be done, the government contractor is still hiring.

"The company is still hiring,” says a local reporter. “A current employee wonders why … After providing proof of employment, this Serco employee agreed to speak through the phone with their voice altered. The employee says hundreds of employees spend much of the day staring at computer screens, with little or no work to do.”

The reporter asks the employee, “Are there some days where a data entry person may not process one single application?”

“There are weeks when a data entry person would not process an application,” the employee responds.

The reporter explains, “The facility is one of three Serco locations that process paper applications, people seeking to qualify for insurance.”

“It’s no secret, the rollout for the website was a mess. But now that the website is running, this employee says the paper applications are trickling in less and less. Our employee doesn’t appear to be the only one complaining. On April 16, a person claiming to be a former Serco employee posted this online, ‘This place is a JOKE. There’s nothing to do–NO WORK.’”

And this is just one location of one government agency. How much money do these people have to piss away before We the People get ticked off enough to clean house...

Sure -- let's pay unskilled workers $15/hour. What can go wrong? From [CNet News](http://www.cnet.com/news/mcdonalds-hires-7000-touch-screen-cashiers/): > **McDonald's hires 7,000 touch-screen cashiers**
"Welcome to McDonald's . My name is HAL 9000. May I take your order?" > > McDonalds recently went on a hiring binge in the U.S., adding 62,000 employees to its roster. The hiring picture doesn't look quite so rosy for Europe, where the fast food chain is drafting 7,000 touch-screen kiosks to handle cashiering duties. > And the process starts. A location that would normally hire 12 people will now only need five or six. Less once the robots move into the kitchen.

A nice bunch of people

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From [The Washington Times](http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/12/feds-released-hundreds-immigrant-murderers-drunken/): > **Feds released hundreds of immigrant murderers, drunk drivers, sex-crimes convicts**
Immigration officials knowingly released dozens of murderers and thousands of drunken drivers back into the U.S. in 2013, according to Obama administration statistics that could undercut the president’s argument that he is trying to focus on the most serious criminals in his immigration enforcement. > > Among the 36,000 immigrants whom U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released from custody last year there were 116 with convictions for homicide, 43 for negligent manslaughter, 14 for voluntary manslaughter and one with a conviction classified by ICE as “homicide-willful kill-public official-gun.” > > The immigrants were in deportation proceedings, meaning ICE was trying to remove them from the country and could have held them in detention but released them anyway, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, which published the numbers Monday. The Washington Times also obtained the data. > Just wonderful. Here is the bumper-sticker of the day: 20140514-prison-break.jpg From [here](http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2014/05/14/bumper-sticker-of-the-day-803/).

On the surface, it sounds like Generac is being patriotic and returning its manufacturing business to the United States from China but there is an aspect to this that does not bode well for the workforce.

First, the story from the Los Angeles Times:

After decades of exodus, companies returning production to the U.S.
In 2001, Generac Power Systems joined the wave of American companies shifting production to China. The move wiped out 400 jobs in southeast Wisconsin, but few could argue with management's logic: Chinese companies were offering to make a key component for $100 per unit less than the cost of producing it in the U.S.

Now, however, Generac has brought manufacturing of that component back to its Whitewater plant — creating about 80 jobs in this town of about ‎14,500 people.

The move is part of a sea change in American manufacturing: After three decades of an exodus of production to China and other low-wage countries, companies have sharply curtailed moves abroad. Some, like Generac, have begun to return manufacturing to U.S. shores.

Second - OK - 400 jobs lost, 80 returned. What happened? Automation became cheaper and better. Simple as that.

Those 80 people will be standing around feeding parts into rows of machines. They are custodians, not machinists. They will be earning close to minimum wage, not the $40+ a trained machinist would earn.

In addition, that $100 advantage the Chinese offered shrank bit by bit. The Chinese are not stupid and they knew that there was a lot of cream in that $100 that could be skimmed. They got a little bit too greedy and the numbers did not pan out after a while.

The world is full of unintended consequences...

Finally, I am betting that they are getting a sweet tax break -- States often offer tax breaks to companies planning to move to that state.

Bill Whittle - Time to go

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Watch and send to your friends. The link for the video on YouTube is [here](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgA5GtiKtU0&feature=player_embedded).

There is a lot of doom and gloom about the Antarctic Ice Pack "collapsing" -- check out this one at The Guardian

Western Antarctic ice sheet collapse has already begun, scientists warn
Two separate studies confirm loss of ice sheet is inevitable, and will cause up to 4m of additional sea-level rise.

Or this one at the New York Times:

Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans From Polar Melt
A large section of the mighty West Antarctica ice sheet has begun falling apart and its continued melting now appears to be unstoppable, two groups of scientists reported on Monday. If the findings hold up, they suggest that the melting could destabilize neighboring parts of the ice sheet and a rise in sea level of 10 feet or more may be unavoidable in coming centuries.

Global warming caused by the human-driven release of greenhouse gases has helped to destabilize the ice sheet, though other factors may also be involved, the scientists said.

Excuse me for a moment - got something in my throat. cough-cough-BULLSHIT-cough There, much better.

Our own National Snow & Ice Data Center has this:

Antarctic sea ice at record extent
In the Southern Hemisphere, autumn is well underway, and sea ice extent is growing rapidly. Antarctic sea ice extent for April 2014 reached 9.00 million square kilometers (3.47 million square miles), the largest ice extent on record by a significant margin. This exceeds the past record for the satellite era by about 320,000 square kilometers (124,000 square miles), which was set in April 2008.

Following near-record levels in March, a slightly higher-than-average rate of increase led to a record April ice extent, compared to the satellite record since 1978. During April, ice extent increased by an average of 112,600 square kilometers (43,500 square miles) per day. Ice extent on April 30 was a record for that day; record levels continue to be set in early May.

The infographic: 20140513-antarctic-ice.jpg

Antarctic sea ice extent for April 2014 was 9.0 million square kilometers (3.5 million square miles).
The magenta line shows the 1981 to 2010 median extent for that month.
The black cross indicates the geographic South Pole.

What melting?

Conflict of interest?

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This does not sound good -- from [The Moscow Times](http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/son-of-us-vice-president-biden-joins-ukraine-gas-company/500062.html):
> **Son of U.S. Vice President Biden Joins Ukraine Gas Company** > > The youngest son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, has been appointed head of legal affairs at Ukraine's largest private gas producer — a move he said would benefit Ukrainians and the country's economy. > > In a statement published Monday on its website, Burisma Holdings announced Hunter Biden would join its board of directors and head the company's legal unit. > > "As a new member of the board, I believe that my assistance in consulting the company on matters of transparency, corporate governance and responsibility, international expansion and other priorities will contribute to the economy and benefit the people of Ukraine," Hunter Biden said in the statement. > Given all that is going on in Ukraine and Russia, I would consider this to be a major conflict of interest. Anyone else think so?

RIP - H.R. Geiger

From Swiss Info:

‘Alien’ creator H.R. Giger is dead
The renowned Swiss artist H.R. Giger has died at the age of 74, as a result of injuries sustained in a fall. Giger, who passed away in a Zurich hospital, was most famous for the alien monster he created for the movie of the same name.

The terrifying creature and sets he created for Ridley Scott’s film earned him an Oscar for special effects in 1980. In the art world, Giger is appreciated for his wide body of work in the fantastic realism and surrealistic genres.

His talent for scaring movie audiences was repeated in Poltergeist 2 (1986), Alien 3 (1992) and Species (1995). Computer game fans were able to enjoy his work in Dark Seed in 1995.

Film work was just one of his talents. Giger is also known for his sculptures, paintings and furniture. The H.R. Giger Museum, inaugurated in the summer of 1998 in the Château St. Germain, is a four-level building complex in the historic, medieval walled city of Gruyères. It is the permanent home to many of the artist’s most prominent works.

Gorgeous work - his museum is here. Loading very slowly -- probably a lot of traffic right now.

So true - sign at a gun shop

20140513-guns.jpg Heh...
From the [Weekly Standard](http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/geithner-white-house-wanted-me-lie-sunday-shows_791273.html):

> **Geithner: White House Wanted Me to Lie on Sunday Shows**
Timothy Geithner, the former secretary of the Treasury Department, says the White House wanted him to lie in scheduled appearances on the Sunday TV talk shows. As Geithner writes in his new memoir:
“I remember during one Roosevelt Room prep session before I appeared on the Sunday shows, I objected when Dan Pfeiffer wanted me to say Social Security didn’t contribute to the deficit. It wasn’t a main driver of our future deficits, but it did contribute. Pfeiffer said the line was a ‘dog whistle’ to the left, a phrase I had never heard before. He had to explain that the phrase was code to the Democratic base, signaling that we intended to protect Social Security.”
> Of course, Geithner would not have been the only official from the White House to have misled the American people on the Sunday talk shows. [Susan Rice famously](http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/susan-rice-lays-all-blame-intel-community-her-misleading-american-people_663860.html) came under fire for blaming a terrorist attack on a YouTube video in appearances on the shows. > Well isn't that just one big surprise -- NOT!

Six - and then three more

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For your consideration:
1. America is capitalist and greedy – yet half of the population is subsidized.

2. Half of the population is subsidized – yet they think they are victims.

3. They think they are victims – yet their representatives run the government.

4. Their representatives run the government – yet the poor keep getting poorer.

5. The poor keep getting poorer – yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.

6. They have things that people in other countries only dream about – yet they want America to be more like those other countries.
And three more:
1. We are advised to NOT judge ALL Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics, but we are encouraged to judge ALL gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics. Funny how that works.

2. Seems we constantly hear about how Social Security is going to run out of money. How come we never hear about welfare or food stamps running out of money? What’s interesting is the first group “worked for” their money, but the second didn’t. Think about it…

3. Why are we cutting benefits for our veterans, no pay raises for our military and cutting our army to a level lower than before WWII, but we are not stopping the payments or benefits to illegal aliens.
Hat tip to Denny at [Grouchy Old Cripple](http://grouchyoldcripple.com/2014/05/a-vent-15/)

A culture in decline

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Fascinating essay by Michael Smith at [American Renaissance](http://www.amren.com/features/2014/05/confessions-of-a-public-defender/): > **Confessions of a Public Defender**
I am a public defender in a large southern metropolitan area. Fewer than ten percent of the people in the area I serve are black but over 90 per cent of my clients are black. The remaining ten percent are mainly Hispanics but there are a few whites.

> I have no explanation for why this is, but crime has racial patterns. Hispanics usually commit two kinds of crime: sexual assault on children and driving under the influence. Blacks commit many violent crimes but very few sex crimes. The handful of whites I see commit all kinds of crimes. In my many years as a public defender I have represented only three Asians, and one was half black.

> As a young lawyer, I believed the official story that blacks are law abiding, intelligent, family-oriented people, but are so poor they must turn to crime to survive. Actual black behavior was a shock to me.

> The media invariably sugarcoat black behavior. Even the news reports of the very crimes I dealt with in court were slanted. Television news intentionally leaves out unflattering facts about the accused, and sometimes omits names that are obviously black. All this rocked my liberal, tolerant beliefs, but it took me years to set aside my illusions and accept the reality of what I see every day. I have now served thousands of blacks and their families, protecting their rights and defending them in court. What follow are my observations.

> Although blacks are only a small percentage of our community, the courthouse is filled with them: the halls and gallery benches are overflowing with black defendants, families, and crime victims. Most whites with business in court arrive quietly, dress appropriately, and keep their heads down. They get in and get out–if they can–as fast as they can. For blacks, the courthouse is like a carnival. They all seem to know each other: hundreds and hundreds each day, gossiping, laughing loudly, waving, and crowding the halls.

> When I am appointed to represent a client I introduce myself and explain that I am his lawyer. I explain the court process and my role in it, and I ask the client some basic questions about himself. At this stage, I can tell with great accuracy how people will react. Hispanics are extremely polite and deferential. An Hispanic will never call me by my first name and will answer my questions directly and with appropriate respect for my position. Whites are similarly respectful.

> A black man will never call me Mr. Smith; I am always “Mike.” It is not unusual for a 19-year-old black to refer to me as “dog.” A black may mumble complaints about everything I say, and roll his eyes when I politely interrupt so I can continue with my explanation. Also, everything I say to blacks must be at about the third-grade level. If I slip and use adult language, they get angry because they think I am flaunting my superiority. > Trial: > The Constitution allows a defendant to make three crucial decisions in his case. He decides whether to plea guilty or not guilty. He decides whether to have a bench trial or a jury trial. He decides whether he will testify or whether he will remain silent. A client who insists on testifying is almost always making a terrible mistake, but I cannot stop him.

> Most blacks are unable to speak English well. They cannot conjugate verbs. They have a poor grasp of verb tenses. They have a limited vocabulary. They cannot speak without swearing. They often become hostile on the stand. Many, when they testify, show a complete lack of empathy and are unable to conceal a morality based on the satisfaction of immediate, base needs. This is a disaster, especially in a jury trial. Most jurors are white, and are appalled by the demeanor of uneducated, criminal blacks. > Much more at the site. This is not a matter of race, this is a matter of culture. Moreover, a culture destroyed by the likes of Lyndon Baines Johnson with his Great Society that will have the ***Ni..ers voting Democrat for 200 years*** (a direct quote). Dr. Martin Luther King was a conservative Republican, so was Malcom X. These great souls are spinning in their graves. We have the liberals to thank for perpetuating this. This is a perfect example of a situation where there is no graceful exit strategy and the longer this is let to go on, the bigger the crash at the endgame.

NAMM Oddities 2014

Every year, the National Association of Music Merchants hosts a big tradeshow and companies or individuals hoping to bring a new instrument to market rent a booth and display their great ideas.

A few months later, Barry Wood compiles his list of some of the stranger finds and publishes them as his annual NAMM Oddities -- the list for 2014 was just released:

Welcome to the 2014 edition of the NAMM Oddities
Another NAMM, another late edition of the NAMM Oddities. This year the Oddities were again delayed by an unexpected influx of work, which was good for me but not so much for fans of the Oddities. One of he delay-causing bits of work was being part of the sound crew for a documentary shoot in Ireland with an Academy Award-winning director. I can think of many things that suck more than that.

As you may have already noticed, there are two products featured on the right. This year I've decided to award two products the distinction of being Oddities of the Year.

The Aerodrums fall into that rarified category of technology that I consider magic. While I can see that it works, the fact that is does is simply magical.

While the Aerodrums are not much to look at, there's no denying the striking visual appeal of the PianoArc.

 Make sure you check out the videos I shot for these two products.

-Barry

Very cool stuff -- here are three that caught my eye:

20140511-mix-table.jpg Cool coffee table 20140511-hohner.jpg Talk about an accordion 20140511-drumstatic.jpg Drum stand with integrated microphone attach points - nice piece of metalworking!

From [Politico](http://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/obamacare-cost-failed-exchanges-106535.html): > **$474M for 4 failed Obamacare exchanges** > Nearly half a billion dollars in federal money has been spent developing four state Obamacare exchanges that are now in shambles — and the final price tag for salvaging them may go sharply higher. > Each of the states — Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and Maryland — embraced Obamacare, and each underperformed. All have come under scathing criticism and now face months of uncertainty as they rush to rebuild their systems or transition to the federal exchange. > The federal government is caught between writing still more exorbitant checks to give them a second chance at creating viable exchanges of their own or, for a lesser although not inexpensive sum, adding still more states to HealthCare.gov. The federal system is already serving 36 states, far more than originally anticipated. > This is downright insane. The Federal website could have been written by Amazon, Google, Microsoft, SAP, or any other enterprise-level software company for under ten million and it would have worked from day one -- the Feds had three years heads up and still failed horribly. Now we find that our tax dollars went to these states as well. We need to nuke the entire system from orbit and start over again.

Quote of the year - our federal leviathan

What with all that is happening with our Federal Government grabbing centralized power and fomenting a division between the institutionalized poor and the middle class, it is wise to remember the words of someone who has been through all this before:

And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation.
--Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn
The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation (Volume One) page 13, footnote 5.

Heading South for the day

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**UPDATE below**: Going down to the hospital in Mt. Vernon to visit with Sage, Josh and their new baby boy. Back in a couple hours with photos. **UPDATE** Well that was a bust. We showed up around 1:15PM to discover that they had already checked out. This was going to be a surprise visit so we did not let them know we were coming. Had lunch at a [diner](http://www.acme-diner.com/) on our way back. Fries were good but the pulled pork was way too greasy. You should not have fat seeping out of the meat as it sits on your plate. A very nice drive though and a gorgeous day.
Kevin is from here: [Museum of Discovery](http://museumofdiscovery.org/) in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Not much this afternoon

Working on some stuff (ham radio and music studio) around the house. One of my employees just had a baby boy so we are going to head down tomorrow to visit her in the hospital (delivery was via C-section). More surfing this evening...

A new series on AMC:

In 1983 Texas, three rebels reverse engineer an IBM PC and shake up the booming computer industry in AMC’s new original series Halt and Catch Fire.

In the initial stages of computing, there were no real high-level languages that would compile down to assembly code to run on your machine. You would first have to boot your machine and then load your BASIC interpreter and then load your BASIC program. Versatile but s...l...o...w...

If you wanted to create a program that would just run and run efficiently, it had to be written in assembly language. This is the base-level of operation of the CPU chip in your computer. In order to not have to remember all of the ones and zeros for each command, Operational Codes were assigned to each command.

Therefore, issuing a 10001010 to a Z-80 CPU would make it ADD the contents of the Accumulator to the contents of Register C with a Carry if there was any overflow.

This was notated as 8A in Hexadecimal notation (base 16) and as ADC as its OpCode

You could then input ADC xxxx (where xxxx is your number) into a line in your assembler program and it would output the correct binary numbers to be fed to your Z-80.

Better assemblers would also check for syntax and make sure you weren't trying to use non-existent OpCodes or memory locations.

As OpCodes came into wide use, so did other kinds of OpCodes. Here are a few examples from this canonical list collected by Bryan Dunlap at Ohio State University:

AAC Alter All Commands
AAD Alter All Data
AAR Alter At Random
ACQT Advance Clock to Quitting Time
BAF Blow All Fuses
BDC Break Down and Cry

One of the more famous ones was HCF - Halt and Catch Fire.

Glad to see that someone on the staff had enough of the history to use that for the show title -- looking forward to watching it.

From the BEEB:

Scorching El Nino event could scupper England's World Cup
England's bid for World Cup glory in Brazil this summer could be undone by a much-feared weather phenomenon.

Climate researchers at the University of Reading say there is a 60% chance of an El Nino event hitting the country.

The scientists say the complicated meteorological system is likely to cause extremely dry and sunny weather in June and July.

Teams from the British Isles have traditionally struggled to cope with these types of conditions.

El Nino is part of a cycle that occurs every two to five years and is characterised by a rise in sea-surface temperatures in central and eastern parts of the Pacific ocean. However, it has implications for the whole world.

Excuse me. Brazil is in the Southern Hemisphere and it will be winter down there for the World Cup. Any dry and sunny weather will be welcome and not a cause for doom and gloom handwringing...

I am fascinated by the history of commercial radio and television broadcasting and just stumbled across this website: American Radio History

The website says: Two million pages of AM FM & TV Broadcasting history online and I am inclined to believe them.

Old catalogs, magazines, engineering and repair documents -- this puppy is deep!

24 years ago, when Saddam Hussein was invading Kuwait, the United Nations put in place sanctions -- Security Council Resolutions 706 & 712 that allowed the sale of Iraqi oil in exchange for food.

Needless to say, this was violated from day one and one of the major offenders was UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, specifically his son Kojo who was "employed" by Cotecna Inspection S.A. while Cotecna was hired by Annan to oversee the administration of the program. That is just the tip of the iceberg. All this was completely out in the open, these people were operating brazenly with no oversight and with no fear of censure from the mainstream media. It is happening again.

From Bloomberg:

Iran Oil Minister Rejects Export Limit From Nuclear Deal
Iran will export crude oil at the maximum level possible, regardless of restrictions imposed in an interim deal that offered the country some relief from sanctions over its nuclear program, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said.

Iran shipped about 1.37 million barrels a day of crude on average during the first three months of the year, according to data from the International Energy Agency. Under an interim accord aimed at curbing the country’s nuclear program in return for easing some sanctions, Iran should limit exports to an average of 1 million barrels a day in the six months through July, the U.S. said in November.

“We don’t accept any figure or number that is told to us in terms of a measure for our own exports,” Zanganeh told reporters at an energy exhibition in Tehran today. “Iran will set Iran’s export level, and we will export at the maximum level possible.”

They are laughing at us and we do not realize it. We refuse to get into their minds for fear of appearing to be politically incorrect. The islamist culture is a primitive one. Christians had the same problem but we went through a reformation in the 1500's -- they have not and this is seriously overdue.

Package Delivery

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Nothing much today

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The person that does our Friday buying run is out of town for two weeks. Had to wake up early, do the shopping run into Bellingham and then come out and finish the day at the new business. Working on some stuff for a client too. Busy; which is a good thing!

Pissing off SteveB

From Linux Voice:

How Munich switched 15,000 PCs from Windows to Linux
Hirschgarten, in the west of Munich, is one of Europe’s biggest beer gardens, with over 8,000 places to sit. It’s a spectacular sight in summer: hundreds of benches as far as the eye can see, trees providing some shelter from the heat, and a vast number of people relaxing and enjoying the city’s famous beers.

But while 8,000 is an impressive number, it’s not as impressive as 15,000. That’s how many people the Munich city council has switched from Windows to Linux over the last decade. Migrating workers of Germany’s third-largest city was no easy task and there were plenty of hurdles along the way, but by and large the project has been a storming success.

We’ve been following the progress of LiMux (Linux in Munich) for years, and now that the project is effectively complete, we decided to visit the city and talk to the man in charge of it. Read on to discover how it all started, how Microsoft tried to torpedo it, and whether other cities in the world can follow Munich’s lead… 

Great story -- this really stimulated the local economy too because a lot of the applications needed tweaking and local programmers did the work because they had the source-code to refer to instead of having to ship this task off to a developer in a different country. SteveB is hoist by his own petard:

In May 2003, the city council was due to vote on whether to make the big switch to Linux. But Microsoft didn’t stand still: Steve Ballmer, the infamously loud CEO, flew over to speak with Munich’s mayor, Christian Ude. But this had an adverse effect, as Peter explains:

“Steve Ballmer tried to convince our mayor that it would be a bad decision to switch to open source, because it’s not something an administration can rely on. But some members of the city council said: what are we, if one member of a big company simply comes here, and he thinks he can just switch our opinions?”

And it just got worse for Microsoft’s boss. “Our mayor was preparing for a meeting with Steve Ballmer, and because English is not his native language, he asked his interpreter: ‘What shall I say if I don’t have the right words?’ And the interpreter replied: ‘Stay calm, think and say: What else can you offer?’ Later on during the meeting, our mayor was quickly at the point where he had nothing to say to Ballmer, except for ‘What else can you offer?’ several times. Years later, he heard that Ballmer was deeply impressed by how hard he was in negotiations!”

Dance monkeyboy dance!

A National Shortage

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From Smithsonian comes news of [this tragic shortage](http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/were-drinking-through-whiskey-supplies-faster-distillers-can-make-more-180951390/?no-ist): > **We’re Drinking Whiskey Faster Than Distillers Can Make More** > > Bourbon lovers, you'd better stock up. A day of reckoning is quickly approaching, warns Buffalo Trace, one of the oldest distilleries in the country. A whiskey shortage may soon be upon us. > > While bourbon producers have seen this problem coming for more than a year, its impacts are just now beginning to hit the market and will likely only worsen. [Here's Buffalo Trace](https://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/sites/default/files/Buffalo%20Trace%20Updates%20Bourbon%20Inventory%20Shortages%205-8-14%20FINAL.pdf) with more on the problem: > > >> Despite the increase in distillation over the past few years, bourbon demand still outpaces supply. The overall bourbon category is experiencing 5% growth, but premium brands are up nearly 20% from last year. Bourbon must be matured in new oak barrels and Buffalo Trace ages many of its barrels for eight to ten years, and some over two decades. That’s a long time to wait for a bottle of bourbon. Not to mention, with the amount of bourbon lost to evaporation over time, barrels are half empty after ten years. The increase in sales, coupled with the aging process and evaporation loss, leads to a shortage with no end in sight. > > A shortage of wood necessary to create whiskey barrels, the Spirits Business adds, also seems to be exacerbating the problem. Yikes -- I love a good single malt. Don't drink it very often but when the time is right, nothing else comes close.
Great rant on time-keeping from Tom Scott at Computerphile:
Tom's YouTube channel is here: [Tom Scott](http://www.youtube.com/user/enyay) Good stuff -- a lot more than just computer rants... Post [title](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vY_Ry8J_jdw&feature=player_embedded)? The good [Doctor](http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Timey-wimey_detector).

Climate Change Disruption

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Michael Ramirez nails it: 20140508-weather.jpg

Oil trains

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With the uptick in domestic oil production, railroad accidents have been in the news.
From the [San Francisco Chronicle](http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Feds-issue-emergency-order-on-crude-oil-trains-5460995.php): > **Feds issue emergency order on crude oil trains** > > The Transportation Department issued an emergency order Wednesday requiring that railroads inform state emergency management officials about the movement of large shipments of crude oil through their states and urged shippers not to use older model tanks cars that are easily ruptured in accidents, even at slow speeds. > > The emergency order requires that each railroad operating trains containing more than 1 million gallons of crude oil — the equivalent of about 35 tank cars — from the booming Bakken region of North Dakota, Montana and parts of Canada provide information on the trains' expected movement, including frequency and county-by-county routes, to the states they traverse. The order also requires that railroads disclose the volume of oil being transported and how emergency responders can contact "at least one responsible party" at the railroad. > > Much of the oil from the region is being shipped across the U.S. and Canada in trains of 100 cars or more that accident investigators have described as "moving pipelines." The trains traverse small towns and big cities alike. Local and state officials, fire chiefs and other emergency responders have complained that they often have no information on the contents of the freight trains moving through communities and their schedules. Nor are they able to force railroads to provide that information, they say. > The accidents: > There have been nine oil train derailments in the U.S. and Canada since March of last year, many of them resulting in intense fires and sometimes the evacuation of nearby residents, according to the NTSB. The latest was last week, when a CSX train carrying Bakken crude derailed in downtown Lynchburg, Va., sending three tank cars into the James River and shooting flames and black smoke into the air. No one was injured, but the wreck prompted an evacuation of nearby buildings. > > Concern about the safe transport of crude oil was heightened after a runaway oil train derailed and then exploded last July in the small town of Lac-Megantic in Canada, just across the border from Maine. More than 60 tank cars spilled more than 1.3 million gallons of oil. Forty-seven people were killed and 30 buildings destroyed in resulting inferno. > If there was only a simpler way to transport the oil - a pipeline perhaps? Oh. Wait. Railroads make a lot of money for Obama's BFF and major contributer Warren Buffet. Got to keep that crony capitalism chugging along. A quick refresher:
Crony capitalism = evil
Free-market capitalism = good
From [Slate](http://www.slate.com/blogs/atlas_obscura/2014/05/08/kola_superdeep_borehole_is_the_world_s_deepest_hole.html): > **Beneath this Metal Cap is the World's Deepest Hole** > > 20140508-kola.jpg > > How will you be celebrating on May 24, the 44th anniversary of when drilling of the world's deepest hole began? > > Until 1970, geologists could only theorize about the composition of the earth's crust. That year, Soviet scientists engaged in a subterranean version of the Space Race, and went all-out to beat the USA in a journey to the center of the earth. > > While American researchers faltered with Project Mohole, a dig off the coast of Mexico that ran out of funding in 1966, their Russian counterparts took a more determined approach. From 1970 to 1994 their drill on the Kola Peninsula burrowed through layers of rock, reaching an ultimate depth of 7.5 miles. (The distance to the center of the earth is around 3,950 miles, but the continental crust is a mere 22 miles thick.) > > The most intriguing discovery made by the Kola Superdeep Borehole researchers was the detection of microscopic plankton fossils four miles beneath the surface of the earth. Usually fossils can be found in limestone and silica deposits, but these "microfossils" were encased in organic compounds that remained surprisingly intact despite the extreme pressures and temperatures of the surrounding rock. > > Drilling at Kola stopped in the early 1990s when scientists encountered prohibitively high temperatures. The Superdeep Borehole is still the superdeepest human-made hole on the planet. You can visit the now-abandoned site, but unfortunately you won't be able to peer into the fathomless abyss — there's a hefty metal cap covering the hole. The Kola Core Repository in the nearby town of Zapolyarny displays rock samples obtained during the drilling operation. > Fascinating bit of scientific history - Wikipedia has a [good writeup](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kola_Superdeep_Borehole), the wonderful [English Russia has some photos and hints at some of the stories](http://englishrussia.com/2009/07/22/the-kola-superdeep-borehole/) and Wikipedia also has a debunking of the [Well to Hell hoax](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Well_to_Hell_hoax)

Pipelaying

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How do you lay a pipeline onto the ocean floor?
4:09 of maritime zen... Hat tip [gCaptain](http://gcaptain.com/watch-laying-big-pipe-allseas-audacia/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Gcaptain+%28gCaptain.com%29)

Fortran in the news - no really!

The programming language that would not die.

I learned it back in 1972 at Boston University on their IBM System 360. I would hand in a deck of punch-cards and the operator would wish me good luck and tell me to come back the next morning. Interactive timesharing was developed ten years earlier but I didn't get to use it for another three years.

The same year as the Altair article in Popular-Electronics.

From Ars Technica:

Scientific computing’s future: Can any coding language top a 1950s behemoth?
Take a tour through the research laboratories at any university physics department or national lab, and much of what you will see defines “cutting edge.” “Research,” after all, means seeing what has never been seen before—looking deeper, measuring more precisely, thinking about problems in new ways.

A large research project in the physical sciences usually involves experimenters, theorists, and people carrying out calculations with computers. There are computers and terminals everywhere. Some of the people hunched over these screens are writing papers, some are analyzing data, and some are working on simulations. These simulations are also quite often on the cutting edge, pushing the world’s fastest supercomputers, with their thousands of networked processors, to the limit. But almost universally, the language in which these simulation codes are written is Fortran, a relic from the 1950s.

Wherever you see giant simulations of the type that run for days on the world’s most massive supercomputers, you are likely to see Fortran code. Some examples are atmospheric modeling and weather prediction carried out by the National Center for Atmospheric Research; classified nuclear weapons and laser fusion codes at Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Labs; NASA models of global climate change; and an international consortium of Quantum Chromodynamics researchers, calculating the behavior of quarks, the constituents of protons and neutrons. These projects are just a few random examples from a large computational universe, but all use some version of Fortran as the main language.

It handles large numbers really well and there is a huge set of well-known libraries available. Definitely the lingua franca of scientific grunt-work and a real speed-daemon when properly optimized. Most computer (and chipset - Intel) manufacturers release their own versions optimized for their hardware. The article also goes into some of Fortran's contemporaries as well as potential successors.

Forget who it was but I remember someone saying that their definition of Hell would be having to write a word-processor in Fortran. Each language has its strengths and weaknesses.

Also, Fortran stands for FORmula TRANslator...

FARGO

This show just keeps getting better and better. They tied in some stuff from the original movie.

Going to get the DVDs for the store. if only to re-watch them myself...

The Al Sharpton blooper reel

Wait - it's normal broadcasting and not the blooper reel? Make that Al Not-So-Sharpton... Hat tip [Vanderleun](http://americandigest.org/sidelines/2014/05/).

Talk about having a bad day

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20140507-squirrel.jpg Now this is a bad day...

Unclear on the concept - Harry Reid

Harry Reid is a perfect example of someone who has overstayed his welcome. He needs to retire and spend time with his family. From [Politico](http://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/harry-reid-koch-brothers-climate-change-106441.html): > **Reid: Kochs ‘main causes’ of climate change** > > Charles and David Koch are one of the “main causes” of climate change, charged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on the Senate floor. > > “While the Koch brothers admit to not being experts on the matter, these billionaire oil tycoons are certainly experts at contributing to climate change. That’s what they do very well. They are one of the main causes of this. Not a cause, one of the main causes,” Reid said. > The guy is a partisan hack. Warren Buffet is doing more to create global warming than ten of the Koch brothers. Does Reid dis' Buffet? Is Buffet a contributor to the Democratic Party? I'll let you connect the dots.

Mr. Rogers recants

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20140507-fr.jpg So true...

Ping Pong meets The Matrix

Swiped from Peter at [Bayou Renaissance Man](http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-matrix-meets-ping-pong.html)

From the [Washington Examiner](http://washingtonexaminer.com/fec-chair-warns-conservative-media-drudge-hannity-face-regulation-like-pacs/article/2548163): > **FEC chair warns that conservative media like Drudge Report and Sean Hannity face regulation --- like PACs**
> Government officials, reacting to the growing voice of conservative news outlets, especially on the internet, are angling to curtail the media's exemption from federal election laws governing political organizations, a potentially chilling intervention that the chairman of the Federal Election Commission is vowing to fight. > > “I think that there are impulses in the government every day to second guess and look into the editorial decisions of conservative publishers,” warned Federal Election Commission Chairman Lee E. Goodman in an interview. > Some more: > All media has long benefited from an exemption from FEC rules, thereby allowing outlets to pick favorites in elections and promote them without any limits or disclosure requirements like political action committees. > > But Goodman cited several examples where the FEC has considered regulating conservative media, including Sean Hannity's radio show and Citizens United's movie division. Those efforts to lift the media exemption died in split votes at the politically evenly divided board, often with Democrats seeking regulation. > > Liberals over the years have also pushed for a change in the Federal Communications Commission's "fairness doctrine" to cut of conservative voices, and retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has delighted Democrats recently with a proposed Constitutional amendment that some say could force the media to stop endorsing candidates or promoting issues. > Unreal. The Democrats have tried "progressive media" and it has failed commercially. Remember Air America? $20 million in funds raised all the way down to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The "Progressives" are unable to compete in the market place so they seek to legislate against conservative media.

Interesting company - Widgetco

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Have not done business with these people but it looks like an interesting company. Check out [Widgetco](http://www.widgetco.com/)

From Bonhams Auction House:

HISTORIC MARINE CHRONOMETER THAT ACCOMPANIED CHARLES DARWIN ON THE SECOND VOYAGE OF HMS BEAGLE
An important two-day marine chronometer from HMS Beagle, the legendary Admiralty survey ship that took Charles Darwin on an epic five-year voyage to South America and the Galapagos Islands, has surfaced at Bonhams. It will be offered in the 9th July Fine Clocks sale at New Bond Street, London with an estimate of £30,000-50,000.

The previously unrecorded marine chronometer, dated 1825 and signed by William Edward Frodsham, was one of 22 that were on board HMS Beagle. Until now, only two other recorded chronometers from the ship are known to have survived, both of which are owned by the British Museum.

Just wow - it is gorgeous! 20140507-darwin.jpg

About 60% through our own Tytler Cycle

Tytler Cycle? Meet Alexander Tytler. A small bio and few quotes copied from the web pages I am about to link to:

Alexander Tytler was a Scottish historian who lived at the time of the American founding fathers. Tytler stated:

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship."

“The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

  • From bondage to spiritual faith;
  • From spiritual faith to great courage;
  • From courage to liberty;
  • From liberty to abundance;
  • From abundance to complacency;
  • From complacency to apathy;
  • From apathy to dependence;
  • From dependence back into bondage”

This will be a long four-part read starting from a post from 2009 but it is absolutely worth it. We are going through a critical time in our Nation's history and we need people with the vision to get it back on the right track.

Please read here, here, here and here.

Cool news on the Hoplophile Front

Bellingham has several branches of a large local retail chain store - Fred Meyer. One of the old-school department stores -- everything under one roof. Founded in Portland, Oregon (1922) it has been going strong ever since. The branch I frequent is on Bakerview and has been undergoing a major renovation.

Yesterday, I read a Letter to the Editor regarding the addition of firearms sales to this store during its renovation. Had to go into town this afternoon, stopped by and checked and yes, they have quite the nice beginning. About 20 feet of shelved display cases nicely stocked and about 10 feet of rifles displayed at the back of the counters. They are out of .22LR but what else is new...

The poor ninny who authored the Letter to the Editor conflated commercial retail gun sales with gun violence without being aware that the majority of guns used in violent acts were obtained illegally, either through theft or unauthorized sales.

Anyone purchasing a firearm at Freddie's will undergo a thorough background check as they have to fill out a Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives form 4473

Oh yeah - Hoplophile? I love the cultural bias dripping out of this definition: Urban Dictionary

Irrational love of, or fetish for indeed!

The "I" in TEAM

Motivational speakers are fond of pointing out that there is no "I" in the word "TEAM"

Of course there is -- it's in the A-Holes: 20140502-a-hole.jpg

So I can do typographically correct en and em dashes - & --, spiffy quotation marks "" and much much more... Now to work on getting the blogroll back. The sidebar used to allow you to simply add content in HTML. Now, everything is "managed" so there is a bit of a learning curve. This will make future changes really easy but getting it set up correctly in the first place is a bit of fnu.

Watch out for those 'rogue crosswalks'

No. Seriously. From the Seattle, WA station KING:

Tacoma to prosecute anyone making 'rogue crosswalks' 
The City of Tacoma plans to prosecute anyone caught making a rogue crosswalk after five popped up recently. 

The group behind them, “Citizens for a Safer Tacoma,” believes breaking the law is a risk it’s willing to take to save lives.

According to Tacoma police, traffic incidents have spiked in the area. At least 15 members of the group have been hit by cars. They went to the city to ask for help, but say they were turned away and are now taking matters into their own hands.

“If the city does nothing, we will,” said a spokesman, who wouldn’t go on camera because he didn’t want to be targeted.

More:

Each time a rogue crosswalk shows up, the city spends up to $1,000 to get rid of it. In addition to the costs, the city claims they create a safety issue.

And more:

The cost to install a crosswalk is up to $1,000, but they first must meet federal guidelines. "federal guidelines" - why federal guidelines? This should be a city issue; at most a county one.

She's back in the news - Monica Lewinsky

This will be some interesting reading - from Vanity Fair:

Exclusive: Monica Lewinsky Writes About Her Affair with President Clinton

Monica Lewinsky writes in Vanity Fair for the first time about her affair with President Clinton: “It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress.” She also says: “I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton. Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.”

After 10 years of virtual silence (“So silent, in fact,” she writes, “that the buzz in some circles has been that the Clintons must have paid me off; why else would I have refrained from speaking out? I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth”), Lewinsky, 40, says it is time to stop “tiptoeing around my past—and other people’s futures. I am determined to have a different ending to my story. I’ve decided, finally, to stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past. (What this will cost me, I will soon find out.)”

Story comes out on May 8th and May 13 in print.

Engineers needed in Colorado

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And I would expect that Washington State will feel the need as well. From the Associated Press:

Hash oil explosions rise with legalized marijuana

The opening months of Colorado's first-in-the-nation recreational marijuana industry have seen a rise in fiery explosions and injuries as pot users try to make the drug's intoxicating oil in crude home-based laboratories.

Since Jan. 1, when sales began, the state's only certified adult burn center has treated 10 people with serious injuries they suffered while making hash oil, compared with 11 in 2013 and one in 2012.

A bit more:

Hash oil is typically made by packing the castoff leaves and stems of pot plants into a pipe and pouring highly flammable butane through it. The concoction is heated to make the potent oil for far cheaper than it can be purchased in stores.

The golden mixture can be up to 80 percent THC, marijuana's intoxicating chemical, and devotees say one or two drops can produce a more euphoric high than an entire joint. It can also be infused into baked goods or vaporized.

You can also use other solvents but these are a lot nastier than butane. Butane requires very careful handling though - once you load the pipe, you need to maintain constant pressure throughout the entire operation.

Some numbers:

Firefighters in the state have raced to at least 31 butane hash oil explosions this year, compared with 11 last year, according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, an agency that has only recently started tallying cases.

The data represents only reported and confirmed cases, and the actual number of explosions could be higher, said Kevin Wong, an intelligence analyst for the agency. "This is just the tip of the iceberg," Wong said.

I am surprised that no-one has developed an open-source kit for this. They could sell the components but also spec them out so people could scrounge if they wanted. The details on how to build would be open-source and freely available. You could even do a forum where people could submit ideas, upgrades or new sources/vendors for the components...

Getting this puppy whipped into shape

Got the archives back to where they should be -- no 404's at least...

Spending some time tomorrow restoring the original template for the main page and getting the blogroll back again and trimming down the extraneous fluff that is showing up to your right.

I am liking the new software. It is the old users lament: They moved everything around on me!

I will be doing some serious work and posting tomorrow -- town was fine but feeling really tired. We did a turkey dinner and the tryptophans are hitting me like a ton of bricks...

Mmmmmm... Bricks and gravy!

Doesn't look too bad

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I installed one of the default themes and it looks OK.

Still, the main column of entries clips any images over 580 pixels or so and I don't need/like the two sidebars on the right.

I am in town today but will work on this tonight and tomorrow -- worst case scenario, I have the backup from the original install and I can re-write the theme template.

Off to Bellingham!

UPDATE: Just discovered that the links to all of the archive files are wrong. Got to do a bit of editing here...

This is what the blog software uses to format the page to show the blog-roll, and any other information on the right sidebar as well as the header and basic overall style.

I have the backup but it is at work. I am going to play around with some of the templates to see if I find something I like and take it from there. Back to the original Tuesday if I do not. (Shopping run is all-day Monday.)

Fun fun fun!!!

Well that was interesting...

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Still trying out the new editor and something seems to have gone

Boiiiing!

with the blog.

It is getting close to dinnertime so will pause here and resume later tonight when Lulu goes to bed (her circadian cycle is about four hours earlier than mine).

Testing 1... 2... 3...

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Is this thing on?

 

Trying out a new editor for the blog software. See if this works: "quote"

Say hello to 2014 HL129

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From SPACE.com:

Bus-Size Asteroid Buzzes Earth, Comes Closer Than the Moon

A small asteroid about the size of a city bus zipped by Earth at a range closer than the moon early Saturday (May 3), but posed no threat to our planet.

The newly discovered asteroid 2014 HL129 came within 186,000 miles (299,338 kilometers) of Earth when it made its closest approach on Saturday morning, which is close enough to pass between the planet and the orbit of the moon. The average distance between the Earth and moon is about 238,855 miles (384,400 km).

What makes this interesting is the following:

Saturday's close shave by asteroid 2014 HL129 came just days after its discovery on Wednesday, April 28, by astronomers with the Mt. Lemmon Survey team, according to an alert by the Minor Planet Center, an arm of the International Astronomical Union that chronicles asteroid discoveries. The Mt. Lemmon Survey team scans the night sky with a telescope at the Steward Observatory atop Mt. Lemmon in Arizona's Catalina Mountains.

Emphasis mine -- there is little we could do to minimize damage from the impact of something like this so early warning would just induce panic. Still, if we had several years warning, some measure of evacuation could be planned.

A couple of gun stories in the news

First - from Miami, Florida station WPLG:

Miami police hold gun buy-back in Little Haiti
The Miami Police Department and the Miami mayor hosted a gun buy-back program Saturday.

Aaaaaand:

Miami police said three shotguns, two rifles and a handgun were turned in Saturday.

Second - from The Firearms Blog:

Ammo Prices: 5/02/2014
So, I’m not sure why but The Sportsman Guide has 500rds of .380 ACP for less than half of the other vendors with availability. It *is* Wolf, but still…

Also, there are a lot more vendors selling .22LR this week. Prices are still a bit “gougy”, but there are some at $0.13/rd (or less; which I realize is still hideous).

7.62X39 is about 21¢ in 1,000 quantity. I still have some so will put off ordering for a while.

Finally, from The Washington Post comes this editorial:

Framing the danger of guns as a public health risk will change the debate over gun control
When Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed his state’s so-called guns everywhere law, it marked the latest in a string of legislative defeats for gun-control activists. Since the December 2012 Sandy Hook murders, 20 states have loosened gun laws . Georgia has now upped the ante with a bill that allows people to carry concealed weapons into bars, churches, schools and airports and prohibits law enforcement from requiring someone to show their gun owner’s license .

To be sure, there have been meaningful successes for gun-safety advocates. But since Sandy Hook, the majority of gun laws passed in state legislatures around the country have loosened restrictions. How did this happen? Why did the nation respond to such a heinous crime by relaxing gun laws?

For progressives, there’s an easy answer — the money and lobbying clout of the National Rifle Association. This has an obvious appeal and even a modicum of truth. But as a Democratic strategist who looks at the relationship between public opinion and political reality, I fear that this answer has become a crutch: a comforting story progressives tell ourselves to avoid facing the fact that the country trusts the NRA more than us on this issue. After Sandy Hook, advocates expected a mighty backlash against legislators standing in the way of common-sense gun laws. But the opposite has happened: Only those legislators supporting stricter gun laws are at risk.

The problem is that supporters of new gun restrictions have traditionally approached the issue of gun violence as a political problem to be answered by changing laws. Instead, we need to start looking at guns as a public health problem to be answered by changing minds and habits. Until we change how we frame the debate through our messaging and strategy, the landscape for common-sense gun laws will only become increasingly hostile.

About the author:

Danny Franklin is a partner at Benenson Strategy Group, a strategic consulting firm, and a member of its team advising the White House on public opinion and communications.

So Danny is part of a team advising the Obama White House. He is dismayed by the fact that more and more people are considering guns to be useful tools and not inherently evil and something to be closely managed. They are finding that they cannot package and sell gun grabbing from a legal standpoint. Now they are regrouping and selling it as a public health issue all the while ignoring the basic truth.

The basic truth is More Guns = Less Crime.

The numbers prove it and the 'average citizen' understands this.

Cool news for Linus Torvalds

From the IEEE Computer Society:

Linus Torvalds Named Recipient of the 2014 IEEE Computer Society Computer Pioneer Award

Linus Torvalds, the principal force behind development of the Linux kernel and overseer of open source development for the Linux operating system, has been named the 2014 recipient of the IEEE Computer Society's Computer Pioneer Award.

Torvalds, a native of Helsinki, Finland, began working on the Linux kernel in 1991. An avid computer programmer, he authored many gaming applications in his early years. He did his early work on an Intel 386 CPU, using Minix, an Unix-inspired operating system created by Andrew Tanenbaum for use as a teaching tool. After Torvalds formed a team of volunteers to work on the Linux kernel, V1.0 was released in the spring of 1994.

I remember Minix very well and played around with Linux when it first came out. Windows 3.1 had been out for a year and had not gained the market saturation that it has now. There were several competing desktop solutions - DesqView, GEM and several ports of the X Windows system.

The curious case of nothing

From Ars Technica:

Forget the Higgs, neutrinos may be the key to breaking the Standard Model
Some physicists are surprised that two relatively recent discoveries in their field have captured so much widespread attention: cosmic inflation, the ballooning expansion of the baby universe, and the Higgs boson, which endows other particles with mass. These are heady and interesting concepts, but, in one sense, what's new about them is downright boring.

These discoveries suggest that so far, our prevailing theories governing large and small—the Big Bang and the Standard Model of subatomic particles and forces—are accurate, good to go. But both cosmic inflation and the Higgs boson fall short of unifying these phenomena and explaining the deepest cosmic questions. “The Standard Model, as it stands, has no good explanation for why the Universe has anything in it at all,” says Mark Messier, physics professor at Indiana University and spokesman for an under-construction particle detector.

To go beyond the models we already have, beyond the confines of the Standard Model, we need some results that we don’t foresee. And when it comes to unexpected results, we expect them from one entity: neutrinos. These particles are abundant, ineffably light, and very weird, but they consistently deliver.

Ethereal as they are, neutrinos could make hefty changes to our understanding of the universe if physicists could answer four main questions: How does regular matter affect neutrinos? What causes neutrinos to have mass? Do antineutrinos live different lives from normal neutrinos? And even odder, are these ghostly particles their own antiparticles?

The Standard Model, which physicists have populated since the 1950s with quarks, leptons, and force-carrying particles, does not hold the answers. But major neutrino experiments in the US, Japan, and Europe are collecting data while undergoing expansion and construction, and they are gearing up to address these problems. These initiatives could not only unravel the mysteries of the ghostly particles, but the research might lead into larger questions about the nature of all things.

The next ten years will be really interesting - a bit more:

Neutrinos are the second most abundant particles in the Universe (after photons), but they carry no charge and are puny. Neutrinos are at least a million times lighter than an electron, though no experiment has been able to definitively measure their mass. They also barely interact with any matter. They are generated in distant supernovae and travel unhindered through the debris. Neutrinos zip through planets in a single bound without leaving a trace. Billions and billions of them are streaming from the Sun as you read this, blowing through your screen—and through you—without a care. They travel extremely close to the speed of light; so close, in fact, that a tiny error in an experiment designed to measure them was enough to make it appear that they were going faster than that in 2011.

But perhaps the neutrino's strangest property is that they don’t necessarily finish their travels with the same identity that they started it with.

In 1998, the 11,000 phototubes submerged in Japan’s Super-Kamiokande underground detector verified that neutrinos coming down through the atmosphere and up through the Earth had different ratios among their identities. Somewhere along their journey from the Sun, they changed type among their three flavors. This oscillation indicated they indeed had mass. If they didn’t, there wouldn’t be anything to switch between.

And this wonderful quote:

“Every time we were able to measure a property of neutrinos, we were surprised by it,” says Patrick Huber, a neutrino theorist and associate physics professor at Virginia Tech.

Indeed...

Maybe that will confuse the general public enough that they will get excited again. From the AAAS Science journal:

Let's Call It 'Climate Disruption,' White House Science Adviser Suggests (Again)

First there was “global warming.” Then many researchers suggested “climate change” was a better term. Now, White House science adviser John Holdren is renewing his call for a new nomenclature to describe the end result of dumping vast quantities of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into Earth’s atmosphere: “global climate disruption.”

“I’ve always thought that the phrase ‘global warming’ was something of a misnomer because it suggests that the phenomenon is something that is uniform around the world, that it’s all about temperature, and that it’s gradual,” Holdren said yesterday at the annual AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy in Washington, D.C. (AAAS publishes ScienceInsider.) “What could be wrong with that?”

As though Carbon Dioxide was a bad thing. Just another silly Malthusian.

And not to forget that Holdren has been trying this crap for almost five years. From this September 16, 2010 FOX News article:

White House: Global Warming Out, 'Global Climate Disruption' In

From the administration that brought you "man-caused disaster" and "overseas contingency operation," another terminology change is in the pipeline.

The White House wants the public to start using the term "global climate disruption" in place of "global warming" -- fearing the latter term oversimplifies the problem and makes it sound less dangerous than it really is.

White House science adviser John Holdren urged people to start using the phrase during a speech last week in Oslo, echoing a plea he made three years earlier. Holdren said global warming is a "dangerous misnomer" for a problem far more complicated than a rise in temperature.

What a putz -- he is not a scientist, he is an activist pushing a political agenda.

Wind fraud in California

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Great article at the San Diego County, California East County Magazine:

WAS IT FRAUD? EXPERTS RAISE SERIOUS QUESTIONS AFTER LOW FIRST-YEAR ENERGY PRODUCTION AT OCOTILLO WIND PROJECT
An international wind energy expert has concluded that Pattern Energy appears to have defrauded the federal government in order to obtain lucrative tax subsidies for a wind energy development in southern California that has failed to live up to the developer’s claims.

“I believe we have a clear case for the False Claims Act,” Nicolas Boccard told East County Magazine, after reviewing full first-year wind production data for the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility on U..S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public land. The project produced only about half of the energy that Pattern claimed it would produce—far below levels deemed viable for a wind project, a second expert confirms.

These dismal results are no surprise to Boccard, who predicted in a report written before construction of the project was completed that Ocotillo lacks sufficient wind speeds to sustain a viable wind energy project.

So were Pattern's lofty wind speed claims nothing more than spin?

Boccard, an international energy expert and assistant professor of economics at the University of Girona, Spain, has written and published in Energy Policy prior reports exposing exaggerated wind production claims made by energy companies in Europe. The Ocotillo report authored by Boccard was commissioned by the Desert Protective Council but its findings have since been independently validated by multiple experts.

Concerned tribal leaders, environmentalists and residents initially kept the Boccard report on Ocotillo confidential, but did share copies only with their public officials-- members of Congress and the Legislature, who failed to take action to prevent the project from being built—with one exception; one Congressman sent a letter to the U.S. Treasury Department asking that funds for the project be halted pending an investigation of wind speeds, but the agency failed to act. The other political leaders appear to have done nothing to investigate the fraud allegations before the project was built. Confronted with the year-end wind speed data, however, a second Congressional member has now taken action, asking the U.S. Department of Energy to investigate fraud claims.

It is fitting that the first researcher was from Spain. The Spanish Government spent about fifteen years seriously bankrolling alt-energy and concluded in 2009 that green energy was a unreachable myth and that government subsidies of development were a total waste. The 52 Page Report can be found here: Study of the effects on employment of public aid to renewable energy sources. A few bullet-points from their list of 24:

2. Optimistically treating European Commission partially funded data we find that for every renewable energy job that the State manages to finance, Spain's experience cited by President Obama as a model reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about jobs lost for every 4 created, to which we have to add those jobs that non-subsidized investments with the same resources would have created.

7. The study calculates that since 2000 Spain spent € 571,138 to create each "green job", including subsidies of more than € 1 million per wind industry job.

8. The study calculates that the programs creating those jobs also resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy, or 2.2 jobs destroyed for every "green job" created.

10. Each "green" megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy: 8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.27 by wind energy, 5.05 by mini-hydro.

The article is a great read -- lots of data and citations to back it up.

Busy Saturday

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Went into town today to return the dehumidifiers to the rental place. The supposed handyman cost me over $700 for the rent but they did the trick and the Minister is pleased with the work so that is good.

Got a few things at Costco and the Feed Store and back home. Working on getting the music room set up -- building more cables. As soon as we get a dry patch, I'll be moving some of the signal processing and synth units over. I have these rack-mounted so the teardown and setup will take some time but it makes things really nice from an operators point.

Upgrades

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Spent some time today upgrading to version 5.2.9 -- user interface is a lot better than 4.381 but I still prefer 3.15 - concise and fast.

4.381 (this was the last of the 4.nnn releases) was a pig with lipstick and I abjectly apologize to all of the wonderful (and tasty) pigs out there.

5.2.9 is a lot nicer. Movable Type's upgrade path was not as smooth as I would have liked. There are a lot of archived posts that display odd formatting and lots of those little black diamond question marks wherever there used to be an MDash or a nice quotation mark. We should have had the option to strip out custom formatting and replace it with standard during the upgrade. Here is a recent post that shows what I am talking about: The Left's fondness for Global Warming

Moot for a new customer but when you have over ten years of posts and over 17,000 entries, this becomes a bit of a hassle.

I do have the full backup of the site back to 3.15 so I may tender some options if they are offered but not holding my breath...

Someone made one:

Sweet - 9mm plus 12 gauge. More here.

A local lottery

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From the Bellingham Herald:

State posts list of Whatcom County businesses that could get pot retail licenses
The Washington state Liquor Control Board has posted a list of businesses in Bellingham and unincorporated Whatcom County selected by lottery to possibly receive retail marijuana licenses.

At 42, the total is still well above the number of retail stores the state allocated for the region, according to 2010 population data. Whatcom County was allowed 15 total retail licenses — six in Bellingham, one each in Ferndale and Lynden, and seven others countywide.

And what makes this interesting is the first entry in the list for Whatcom County:

1. Green Stop, 7461 Mount Baker Highway, Ste. 90, Maple Falls

This happens to be the address of a local restaurant that has seen some hard times in the last ten years. The original family-run restaurant was a big hit but the principal passed away and the son is an absentee landlord and is charging way to much for rent.

I wish them well but it will be interesting to see the impact on the community.

Programming sucks

Great rant - from Peter Welch at Still Drinking:
Just an excerpt:

Programming Sucks
Imagine joining an engineering team. You're excited and full of ideas, probably just out of school and a world of clean, beautiful designs, awe-inspiring in their aesthetic unity of purpose, economy, and strength. You start by meeting Mary, project leader for a bridge in a major metropolitan area. Mary introduces you to Fred, after you get through the fifteen security checks installed by Dave because Dave had his sweater stolen off his desk once and Never Again. Fred only works with wood, so you ask why he's involved because this bridge is supposed to allow rush-hour traffic full of cars full of mortal humans to cross a 200-foot drop over rapids. Don't worry, says Mary, Fred's going to handle the walkways. What walkways? Well Fred made a good case for walkways and they're going to add to the bridge's appeal. Of course, they'll have to be built without railings, because there's a strict no railings rule enforced by Phil, who's not an engineer. Nobody's sure what Phil does, but it's definitely full of synergy and has to do with upper management, whom none of the engineers want to deal with so they just let Phil do what he wants. Sara, meanwhile, has found several hemorrhaging-edge paving techniques, and worked them all into the bridge design, so you'll have to build around each one as the bridge progresses, since each one means different underlying support and safety concerns. Tom and Harry have been working together for years, but have an ongoing feud over whether to use metric or imperial measurements, and it's become a case of "whoever got to that part of the design first." This has been such a headache for the people actually screwing things together, they've given up and just forced, hammered, or welded their way through the day with whatever parts were handy. Also, the bridge was designed as a suspension bridge, but nobody actually knew how to build a suspension bridge, so they got halfway through it and then just added extra support columns to keep the thing standing, but they left the suspension cables because they're still sort of holding up parts of the bridge. Nobody knows which parts, but everybody's pretty sure they're important parts. After the introductions are made, you are invited to come up with some new ideas, but you don't have any because you're a propulsion engineer and don't know anything about bridges.

Read the whole thing -- it is so true...

From the Portland, OR station KPTV:

Mount St. Helens magma re-pressurizing
First things first: There are no signs of an impending volcanic eruption on Mount St. Helens.

But scientists with the Cascades Volcano Observatory said the volcano remains active and is showing "long-term uplift" and earthquake activity.

Ever since the sudden reawakening of Mount St. Helens in 2004, scientists have been monitoring the subtle inflation of the ground surface and the minor quake activity.

From 2004 to 2008, more than 35,000 Olympic swimming pools worth of lava erupted onto the crater floor. That period of eruption, however, didn't produce much in the way of explosive events.

Now, USGS experts said they're seeing volcanic behavior reminiscent to what happened after the 1980 to 1986 phase of eruptions.

The scientists said their analysis shows the magma reservoir beneath Mount St. Helens has been slowly re-pressurizing since 2008 and that it's likely caused by the arrival of a small amount of magma beneath the surface.

The re-pressurization of a volcano's magma reservoir can continue many years without an eruption, and the USGS says the latest analysis "does not indicate that the volcano is likely to erupt anytime soon."

Fortunately, the Cascade range is one of the more closely monitored volcano ranges so we will get decent advanced notice.
I live about 40 miles from Mt. Baker which is still classified as active...

Back online and website mostly done

Finished for the day at the new business. Been working on the website for it -- the basic framework is here:

Mt. Baker Business Center, Inc.

Real simple but HTML5 compliant and should work on iPhones and the like.

Fixing dinner and will surf a bit later...

Hello World!

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The last time I typed these words on this blog was back in October of 2003.
That was my first post.

I have now upgraded from Version 3.15 to Version 4.381 and will be here for a while as I learn the new system. I will probably be playing with the themes and plugins a bit.

More spew later tonight -- working on the website for my new business today. Spending the day online...

Kind of quiet around here...

Woke up yesterday and went to sign in to the blog. Got a really counterintuitive and funky error message.

Contacted my hosting service and was told that they had upgraded to php 5.4 and sql 5.5 that morning.

I have been running the same version of blog software for more than ten years. I was using 3.15 and they are now at 6.something.

Got the blog upgraded and am proceeding to bring it up to the current version. Posting will be minimal for today and tomorrow.

June 2017

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Environment and Climate
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the Air Vent
Tom Nelson
Watts Up With That?


Science and Medicine
Derek Lowe
Junk Science
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You Drive What?


Business and Economics
The Austrian Economists
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Gone but not Forgotten...
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