June 2014 Archives

From Robb Allen at Sharp as a Marble:

Made a cup of coffee for my morning drive.

Then I had a double espresso.

Then another.

Then another.

Currently, I appear to be running at Planck time and am enjoying watching the Quantum Foam bubble up around the elves on my desk.

Heh

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Michael Ramirez of course...

From the Tampa Bay, FL Fox News affiliate:

Bolivia rebels at rightist timepieces, flips clock
Bolivia's leftist government is turning back the clock. Or, more precisely, turning it backward.

The government this week flipped the clock atop the Congress building so that while it's accurate, the hands now turn to the left, a direction known elsewhere as counterclockwise.

Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca announced the modification Tuesday. He said it was only logical that a clock in the Southern Hemisphere should turn in the opposite direction of a Northern Hemisphere clock.

The president of Congress, Marcelo Elio, on Wednesday called the reform "a clear expression of the de-colonization of the people" under President Evo Morales, who became the country's first indigenous president when he won office in 2005 and is up for re-election in October.

Vice President Alvaro Garcia said the government is thinking about similarly modifying all clocks at public institutions.

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Actually, this makes good astronomical sense as below the equator, the suns shadow moves anti-clockwise. Sundials south of the equater already have this layout. Sad about the strengthening leftist policies though - the poor citizens will never know what hit them until it's too late and the infrastructure is crumbling.  Ideas so good they have to be mandatory...

New in the playlist. We had this opportunity for a couple years and our friends to the North got tired of sitting on their thumbs.

From Associated Press:

Canada OKs oil pipeline to the Pacific Coast
Canada's government on Tuesday approved a controversial pipeline proposal that would bring oil to the Pacific Coast for shipment to Asia, a major step in the country's efforts to diversify its oil exports if it can overcome fierce opposition from environmental and aboriginal groups.

Approval for Enbridge's Northern Gateway project was expected as Canada needs infrastructure in place to export its growing oil sands production. The project's importance has only grown since the U.S. delayed a decision on TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline that would take oil from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The northern Alberta region has the world's third largest oil reserves, with 170 billion barrels of proven reserves.

Enbridge's pipeline would transport 525,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta's oil sands to the Pacific to deliver oil to Asia, mainly energy-hungry China. About 220 large oil tankers a year would visit the Pacific coast town of Kitimat and opponents fear pipeline leaks and a potential tanker spill on the pristine Pacific coast.

Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said Canada's national interest makes the pipelines essential.

He was "profoundly disappointed" that U.S. President Barack Obama has delayed a decision on the Texas Keystone XL option, and spoke of the need to diversify Canada's oil industry. Ninety-seven percent of Canadian oil exports now go to the U.S.

Meanwhile, China's growing economy is hungry for Canadian oil. Chinese state-owned companies have invested more than $40 billion in Canadian energy in the past few years.

"They are watching this very, very closely," said Wenran Jiang, an energy expert and special adviser to Alberta's Department of Energy.

And this will be impossible to undo. An environmental setback too - the oil that we could be burning under controlled and regulated conditions will now be burned by a nation with zero desire to limit pollution if it stands in the way of making money.

The title? A fun song from Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show (Youtube video), lyrics by Shel Silverstein. If Barry could set the Choom down for a while and actually - LEAD us - things might be a lot better off...

 

A lot of times at the Water Board meeting, different topics of discussion will arise after the meeting has adjourned. In our little hamlet of 200 households, there is a Marijuana store opening in a few weeks.

One of the conditions of a WA State sale is that you must present your state ID card (usually a drivers license) and it will be scanned into a database.

The problem arises if the customer is also a Hoplophile.

When buying a gun, the prospective purchaser must complete BATF Form 4473 before the sale and transfer is approved. Question 11.e. states:

Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug or any other controlled substance?  Yes  No

If you answer Yes, the sale and transfer is declined. If you lie and answer No, this is a Federal beef with as much as five years in Jail as well as Felony status which means never being able to purchase or own a gun however it was acquired, ever again in your lifetime.

Remember that the sale of Marijuana has been recorded by the vendor and your ID card was scanned into their database. This will probably not catch up with you right away but it will eventually and the more guns and ammo you buy, the worse the book will be tossed at you.

Relevant data:

Form 4473 can be found here.

This Sept 2011 letter from Arthur Herbert, Assistant Director of Enforcement Programs BATF&E -- read paragraphs #2 (A number of States...) and #4 (Therefore, any person...)

 I certainly hope that some compromise happens in the near future - this is setting a lot of unthinking people up for a very serious fall and being given Felony status is not anything I would wish on my worst enemy...

Maybe something later tonight

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Been busy today, heating up some leftover beef stew and then off to the water board meeting later tonight.

Shopping run tomorrow so an early bedtime.

I'll be surfing a bit around 9:00PM -- maybe see something that catches my eye then.

I really feel sorry for the citizens of Venezuela - it has the potential (huge oil and mineral reserves) to be a wonderful and prosperous nation but they voted to receive free government cheese and are now paying the price.

The Chavez regime nationalized a lot of the Venezuelan infrastructure to this end result - from Yahoo/Reuters:

Venezuela blackout leaves commuters scrambling, silences president
A blackout cut power to much of Venezuela on Friday, snarling traffic in the capital Caracas and other major cities as authorities scrambled to restore electricity after the outage, which twice interrupted a presidential broadcast.

Pedestrians streamed into the streets of Caracas as the blackout shuttered the underground metro trains and left frustrated drivers honking in the chaos without stoplights.

Government ministers in the late afternoon said they expected power would be restored shortly. It was the second nationwide major electricity outage in less than a year.

Some more:

Critics call the power problems a symptom of 15 years of socialist policies that have left the country without a steady supply of energy despite having the world's largest oil reserves.

Late socialist leader Hugo Chavez in 2007 nationalized the country's power sector as part of a broad wave of state takeovers.

At least they didn't have to endure much of Maduro's bloviating. Will Maduro take the blame for the crumbling infrastructure? Not going to hold my breath on that one...

100 years ago today

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From First World War

 

The Causes of World War One
June 28 in Sarajevo
We'll start with the facts and work back: it may make it all the easier to understand how World War One actually happened.  The events of July and early August 1914 are a classic case of "one thing led to another" - otherwise known as the treaty alliance system.

The explosive that was World War One had been long in the stockpiling; the spark was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914.  (Click here to view film footage of Ferdinand arriving at Sarajevo's Town Hall on 28 June 1914.)

Ferdinand's death at the hands of the Black Hand, a Serbian nationalist secret society, set in train a mindlessly mechanical series of events that culminated in the world's first global war.

And from WikiPedia:

Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were shot dead in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip, one of a group of six assassins (five Serbs and one Bosnian Muslim) coordinated by Danilo Ilić. The political objective of the assassination was to break off Austria-Hungary's south-Slav provinces so they could be combined into a Yugoslavia. The assassins' motives were consistent with the movement that later became known as Young Bosnia. The assassination led directly to the First World War when Austria-Hungary subsequently issued an ultimatum against Serbia, which was partially rejected. Austria-Hungary then declared war, marking the outbreak of the war.

Something so simple triggers such an horrific cascade of events. Things are heating up these days - what is in store for the next ten years.

 

Barry at work - doing the wrong thing

Why do our putative leaders never study their history.

From Dr. Tim Ball and Tom Harris writing at PJ Media:

Obama-Style Climate and Energy Programs Have Failed Everywhere They’ve Been Tried
President Obama’s recently announced energy and environment policies have been tried in many countries, always with the same result: abject failure. Yet when critics point this out, explaining that “the U.S. economy will lose millions of jobs and billions of dollars in growth,” Obama simply waves their objections away:

“Let’s face it,” the president answers. “That’s what [critics] always say. … Every time… the warnings of the cynics have been wrong.”

Other leaders, especially those in Europe who are further down the green path than is America, know better.

The deputy leader of the German Green Party in the Bundestag, Oliver Krischer, summed up the dangers of relying on green power when he said,

A few years ago the renewable sector was the job miracle in Germany; now nothing is left of all of that.

Every European economy that followed the green agenda has faltered badly. Consequently, Germany is building coal plants to replace both failed wind power sources and even clean nuclear plants that are a casualty of irrational phobia after the Fukushima nuclear accident. In 2013 alone Germany built six more coal plants. China and India build four new ones every week, rendering Ontario’s coal shutdown, as well as those planned for the U.S., completely irrelevant from a climate perspective no matter what one believes about the science.

Much more at the site - they go on to talk about Maurice Strong and his role in turning Ontario from an economic powerhouse to, as Canadian Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty said in 2008:

And it will be Premier (Dalton) McGuinty’s legacy that he in two terms took Ontario from being the strongest economic province in the federation to a “have not” province.

And the Obama Administration is looking at doing the same thing here. I remember Albert Einstein's definition of insanity:

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Parker Gallant has an excellent writeup on Ontario's problems at the Financial Post:

Ontario’s Power Trip: Irrational energy planning has tripled power rates under the Liberals’ direction
In the summer of 2003, just before Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals gained power in Ontario, 50 million people in the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and Ontario suffered an electricity blackout caused “when a tree branch in Ohio started an outage that cascaded across a broad swath from Michigan to New England and Canada.” Back in 2003 Ontario’s electricity prices were 4.3 cents a kilowatt hour (kWh) and delivery costs added 1.5 cents per kWh. An additional charge of 0.7 cents — known as the debt retirement charge to pay back Ontario Hydro’s legacy debt of $7.8-billion — brought all-in costs to the average consumer to 6.5 cents per kWh.

Now it's over 15 cents per kWh and is planned to rise by 42% over the next five years. And we are heading down the same path...

From Revival Auction Company:

Auction July 9, 2014 , 7:00PM EST featuring Ansel Adams' 1960's Arca-Swiss 4 X 5 view camera

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The full catalog is here (100+ page PDF)

From The Z Blog:

Fake Indian Update
I’ve been arguing for a while now that Fake Indian will run and win the Democrat nomination in 2016. I’m not even sure Cankles runs again. She is old, fat and sick. Democrats generally hate old people, which is why they are always dreaming up ways to kill them. The only way they back Cankles is if they think the Stupid Party candidate is going to win. Given the state of the GOP, they will not be nominating a sure thing in 2016. Instead it will be some establishment man who does not scare the horses.

Anyway, it looks like Jonah Goldberg has joined my side on this one.

In 2007, Democrats were delirious with rage about the Iraq war. Hillary Clinton, the “inevitable” presidential front-runner, had voted for the war and refused to apologize for it. Other leading candidates, including Joe Biden, John Edwards, and Chris Dodd, voted for it too. This left a huge opening for a credible antiwar candidate. Barack Obama, inexperienced and underqualified, nonetheless jumped into the vacuum. The rest, as they say, is history.

Today, the issue that obsesses the base of the Democratic party is income inequality. I think that’s foolish. The underlying causes of inequality — miserable economic growth, stagnating wages, poverty, etc. — are vastly more worthy challenges. Though, in fairness, many people actually have those problems in mind when they talk about inequality.

There’s another, more important reason. In the 1990′s, the Left radicalized and, like Africanized honey bees, became very aggressive. They were convinced Clinton was too timid and let the Gingrich led extreme right-wing extremists push him around. Loyalty to the cult kept them from revolting against the Clintons, but the resentment turned into rage by 2000. Just as fundamentalist Muslims went violently crazy after the end of the Cold War, the American Left went bonkers when the Clintons left town.

In 2008, the most anti-Bush candidate was Obama. In 2016, the Left will embrace the most aggressively liberal candidate in the field. The Left largely feels Obama has not been aggressive enough, particularly with the Wall Street crowd. That’s what makes Fake Indian’s faux populism so appealing.

There’s another component to the inequality obsession: populism. People increasingly feel that economic and political elites are enriching themselves, not by making great products or selling valuable services, but by cutting backroom deals and selling influence. This rage is remarkably bipartisan. It is the one theme that loosely unites tea partiers and Wall Street occupiers alike.

Goldberg, like most of the Conventional Right, instinctively rejects anything that smacks of populism. That’s why they tend to get it wrong as we see here. Fake Indian’s faux populism is the sort you see in the faculty lounge or the coffee shop at Whole Foods. It’s overly credentialed bobos bitching about the rich guys who sign their paycheck. They may have it good, but someone with fewer diplomas has it better and that’s just unfair.

It’s why Fake Indian sounds so weird to working class types. If you are a part-time teacher at your kid’s Montessori school, hearing a rich white woman complain about inequality sounds inspiring.  If you’re working two jobs so your kid can go to the local state college one day, hearing an old rich woman talk like that sounds phony. But, the Democrat party is the party of Montessori school parents, not plumbers with two jobs.

Talk about being a Manchurian candidate...

WTF? in China - unsustainable

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There is a huge growth going on in China based on speculation. Whole cities are being built and are standing empty. When this bubble crashes, it will affect the entire worlds economy.

From Bloomberg:

China Builds Its Own Manhattan -- Except It's a Ghost Town
China’s project to build a replica Manhattan is taking shape against a backdrop of vacant office towers and unfinished hotels, underscoring the risks to a slowing economy from the nation’s unprecedented investment boom.

The skyscraper-filled skyline of the Conch Bay district in the northern port city of Tianjin has none of a metropolis’s bustle up close, with dirt-covered glass doors and construction on some edifices halted. The area’s failure to attract tenants since the first building was finished in 2010 bodes ill across the Hai River for the separate Yujiapu development, which is modeled on New York’s Manhattan and remains in progress.

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When this bubble crashes, it will affect the entire worlds economy. Cheap manufacturing will be a thing of the past.

 

That ought to tweak a few people's noses. Her campaign site is here: Lenar Whitney for U.S. Congress

Great editorial from the Billings Gazette:

Gazette opinion: Obama earned the low ratings
Sometimes, you have to admit you're wrong.

And, we were wrong.

We said that things couldn't get much worse after the sub par presidency of George W. Bush.

But, President Barack Obama's administration has us yearning for the good ol' days when we were at least winning battles in Iraq.

The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal polls show that Americans are giving Obama lower marks than in 2006 when Iraq was going poorly for Bush and a tepid response to Hurricane Katrina sunk Bush's ratings.

Do not forget that the "tepid response" to Katrina was the direct fault of LA Governor Kathleen Blanco who failed to ask the Federal Government for help.  The government cannot enter a state unless aid is requested. It took her three days after Katrina struck to declare an emergency and ask for help.

Back to the editorial:

It's not that popularity polling should be the final or even best measure of a president. There is that old saw that points out there's a difference between doing what is right and what is popular.

For us, though, it's the number of bungled or blown policies in the Obama administration which lead us to believe Obama has earned every bit of an abysmal approval rating.

Let's recap some of the mistakes:

- Maybe the worst and most widespread invasion of privacy occurred when the Obama administration continued a controversial National Security Agency program of spying on millions of citizens culling their phone records to intercepting online information. The administration has done nearly nothing to safeguard civil liberties or put in safeguards to protect our Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.

Much more at the link. Nice to see people waking up.  Too bad it took six years.

From Business Insider:

Student Leaders Ask Hillary To Return 'Outrageous' $225,000 School Speaking Fee
Two top student government leaders at the University of Las Vegas are requesting Hillary Clinton return the "outrageous" $225,000 speaking fee she reportedly will receive for an upcoming speech at the school in October.

In a video circulated by the national Republican Party Friday, Elias Benjelloun, the UNLV student body president, and Daniel Waqar, the student government's public relations director, slammed the university's foundation for paying Clinton so much for the event.

"We really appreciate anybody who would come to raise money for the university. But anybody who's being paid $225,000 to come speak, we think that's a little bit outrageous. And we'd like Secretary Clinton — respectfully — to gracefully return the money to the university or the foundation," Waqar said on the Nevada political program "Ralston Reports."

Monitoring the temperature in Hell: 480° . . . 480° . . . 480° . . . Not freezing anytime soon; not even getting cooler...

We need effective border security now - from Tuscon, AZ television station KVOA:

Mexican military chopper crosses the border, shoots at agents
News 4 Tucson has learned a Mexican military helicopter traveled across the border and fired on U.S. Border Patrol agents.

It happened in the early morning hours Thursday, west of the San Miguel Gate on the Tohono O'Odham Nation. The chopper fired on the agents but missed them. The chopper then flew back into Mexico. We're told Mexican authorities contacted the U.S. and apologized for the incident.

We've received two statements regarding the incident:

Art del Cueto, Border Patrol Tucson Sector union president:
The incident occurred after midnight and before 6 a.m. Helicopter flew into the U.S. and fired on two U.S. Border Patrol agents. The incident occurred west of the San Miguel Gate on the Tohono O'odham Indian Nation. The agents were unharmed. The helicopter went back into Mexico. Mexico then contacted U.S. authorities and apologized for the incident.

Andy Adame, U.S. Border Patrol Spokesperson:
Early this morning, a Mexican law enforcement helicopter crossed approximately 100 yards north into Arizona nearly 8 miles southwest of the Village of San Miguel on the Tohono O'odham Indian Nation while on a drug interdiction operation near the border. Two shots were fired from the helicopter but no injuries or damage to US property were reported. The incident is currently under investigation.

Makes me wonder who they were after and if that person was successful in crossing into the USA (that would be a yes). This is not rocket science - close the border! This is classic Cloward-Piven overwhelm the system, collapse it and bring in a new totalitarian system. It's for the people...

Rescue at Sea

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I can only echo the words of Captain Mike Schuler who posted this video at the wonderful gCaptain:

That. Was. Epic. 

The chopper being used is the Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma - the same company makes the AS350 B3 which was the first aircraft to land on the summit of Mt. Everest. This link goes to an amazing video of that event. I am partial to Boeing but these people make wonderful flying machines...

Obama and the Supremes

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Poor Barry has not been having that good a time lately. A two-fer.

First - from National Review:

Supreme Court Rules Unanimously Against Obama for 12th and 13th Time Since 2012
Did you know the Obama administration’s position has been defeated in at least 13 – thirteen — cases before the Supreme Court since January 2012 that were unanimous decisions? It continued its abysmal record before the Supreme Court today with the announcement of two unanimous opinions against arguments the administration had supported. First, the Court rejected the administration’s power grab on recess appointments by making clear it could not decide when the Senate was in recess. Then it unanimously tossed out a law establishing abortion-clinic “buffer zones” against pro-life protests that the Obama administration argued on behalf of before the Court (though the case was led by Massachusetts attorney general Martha Coakley).

The tenure of both President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder has been marked by a dangerous push to legitimize a vast expansion of the power of the federal government that endangers the liberty and freedom of Americans. They have taken such extreme position on key issues that the Court has uncharacteristically slapped them down time and time again. Historically, the Justice Department has won about 70 percent of its cases before the high court. But in each of the last three terms, the Court has ruled against the administration a majority of the time. 

Second - from The Daily Beast:

Obama’s Terrible, Awful, Horrible Year at the Supreme Court
 While the country waits (and waits and waits) for the Supreme Court to announce its decisions in what court watchers are calling the Big Four—the two gay-marriage cases, the affirmative-action case, and the Voting Rights Act case—one thing has already become clear by the court’s decisions: the Obama administration has had a lousy year in the high court. While the administration has certainly won some cases, more often than not the court has rejected the administration’s arguments. On Thursday, for example, the court announced three decisions, rejecting the Obama administration’s arguments in each one.

A bit more:

Historically, there is no single litigant more successful in the Supreme Court than the United States. The court usually pays special attention to the arguments of the government’s representative, the solicitor general, whose office is known to have the best lawyers and the longstanding respect of the justices. Studies show that, in the past, the solicitor general won approximately 70 percent of its cases in the Supreme Court. That’s why the solicitor general is often referred to as the “10th justice.”

This term, however, the executive branch has lost far more cases than it has won. Although there are still some decisions to come—and one or two cases are mixed decisions that are hard to categorize—so far the court has clearly decided 24 cases in which the United States was a party. Fifteen of those cases went against the government, while only 9 sided with the administration. That’s a winning percentage of only 37 percent—a huge drop from historical patterns.

The court’s rejection of the Obama administration’s positions extends to cases in which the United States filed a “friend of the court” brief but was not officially a party to the litigation. In these cases, the court has rejected the arguments of the administration in 15 cases, while siding with the government in only 12. That’s a winning percentage of 44 percent.

 And there are more cases coming up. I am amazed that Eric Holder is still A.G. after all the stupid decisions he has made. The guy may be well-connected politically but he is a dunce when it comes to practicing law.

Get to work

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Another classic essay from Bill Whittle

Somebody has been drinking waaay too much Kool Aid - from Reuters:

With heat and humidity, areas will be 'unsuited for outdoor activity'
The old adage, "it's not the heat, it's the humidity," will come into play more often and in more places because of climate change, with life-altering results in southern U.S. cities from Miami to Atlanta to Washington and even northern ones such as New York, Chicago and Seattle.

"As temperatures rise, toward the end of the century, less than an hour of activity outdoors in the shade could cause a moderately fit individual to suffer heat stroke," said climatologist Robert Kopp of Rutgers University, lead scientific author of the report. "That's something that doesn't exist anywhere in the world today."

That result emerges from the heat-and-humidity analysis in "Risky Business," the report on the economic consequences of climate change released on Tuesday. The analysis goes beyond other studies, which have focused on rising temperatures, to incorporate growing medical understanding of the physiological effects of heat and humidity, as well as research on how and where humidity levels will likely rise as the climate changes.

Utter bilge - warmer is better (except for snow sports). More people die from cold than from heat. Plants will grow better too.  Pity that the expected warming is not manifesting - we are cooling off. The science is settled.

Send in the clowns - Al Gore in Australia

From the Melbourne Herald Sun:

Fairfax papers fooled by foolish Gore. Sceptics win
The Australian tells it straight:

AUSTRALIA will be left without a major scheme to cut greenhouse gas emissions after Clive Palmer last night backed the repeal of the carbon tax without supporting any concrete alternative…

Mr Palmer said the PUP would propose an emissions trading scheme to put a price on carbon but said it would only start when other nations did the same, an unlikely prospect in the short term.

He also vowed to vote against Tony Abbott’s alternative policy, the $2.8 billion Direct Action spending program, in a move that appears to kill off the scheme given it is also opposed by Labor, the Greens and minor parties.

But Fairfax newspapers buy the spin added by the introduction of warmist guru Al Gore to Palmer’s ludicrous press conference:

Clive Palmer has thrown into chaos Tony Abbott’s plan to abolish the carbon tax, demanding the Prime Minister instead create an emissions trading scheme that would swing into action when Australia’s major trading partners adopt similar measures.

That spin - that Palmer is demanding the carbon tax be scrapped in favour of an emissions trading scheme - is exploded just a few paragraphs later in the very same story:

Mr Palmer made clear that repeal of the carbon tax ... would not be contingent on the other measures Mr Palmer proposed on Wednesday night, such as the proposed emissions trading legislation.

Of course, Al Gore's visit to Australia was accompanied by The Gore Effect - from Craig Kelly:

THE 'AL GORE EFFECT' STRIKES CANBERRA
With Al Gore visiting Canberra today, it's little surprise that the 'Al Gore Effect' has struck again.

The 'Al Gore Effect' is defined by the Urban Dictionary as;

"the phenomenon that leads to unseasonably cold temperatures, driving rain, hail, or snow whenever Al Gore visits an area to discuss global warming."

There are countless examples of Al Gore visiting a city, only for freezing below normal temperatures to strike.

Simply the phenomenon of the 'Al Gore Affect' is Mother Nature laughing at Al Gore, as he jet sets around the world preaching that we are all doing to fry, Mother Nature turns on an icy blast of freezing weather.

In Canberra it was only last month that  the Bureau of Meteorology foretold that Canberra was likely to experience "a dry and warmer-than-average winter".

But as Al Gore rolled into Canberra - so to did blizzard conditions, icy temperatures and a big dump of snow in surrounding mountains.

Heh...

The power went out this morning so I was dead in the water for two hours.

A client dropped off about 50 items to be laminated - been feeding pouches into the machine for the last hour.

Here is the complete news story - Mukilteo is a nice small port city 70 miles Southwest of me.

From the Everett Herald:

Screaming man found with dead raccoon in Mukilteo
A dead raccoon was taken into police custody last week after officers found a man dragging the animal along the Mukilteo Speedway.

Someone called 911 on Thursday to report the man screaming, according to the Mukilteo police blotter.

Officers found the man walking, dragging the dead raccoon on a leash.

When they approached the man, he placed marshmallows around the animal and declared it a “haz mat” or hazardous materials zone.

The raccoon was taken to a local shelter for disposal. The man was last seen getting on the bus.

Just pining for the Fjords

Nine minutes of CNC bliss

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Yeah -- I'll take one of these with all the options.  Got a nickel here somewhere. Quite the Wouff-Hong they are making for the demo.

Downright amazing - sheer power accurate to about 10thou.

Manufactured by Mori Seki - price? If you have to ask...

My only grouse is that they use software from that German company whose name begins with "S" - you better have several very large E-STOP buttons scattered around the shop.

32 movies in development

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All of them spinoffs from popular video games. From Den of Geek:

32 Video Game Movies In Development
Out of the hundreds of thousands of films in the world currently in development, a large number of them serve as adaptations for (mostly) successful video games and video game franchises. Some have been seen on our screens before either via a previous adaptation or television series, while some are just getting their first shot on the big screen.

Whichever category they fall into, they still have to navigate their way through the difficult world of filmmaking with many of them inevitably forever damned to development hell. The following are just a few of these adaptations hoping to someday become a success.

Some of these look fun.  Bioshock? Asteroids?

A life aquatic

From the New York Post:

Crash captain left helm for ‘drunken 3-way sex romp’
A fishing boat smashed head on into runway approach lights at La Guardia Airport early Sunday after the vessel’s drunken captain deserted the helm for a three-way sex romp — exposing a stunning security weakness, sources told The Post.

Police were unable to reach the boat to determine whether it was a threat for about 30 minutes, even though a Port Authority police vessel was tied up at a nearby dock.

There was no crew available to operate it because, in a money-saving move, the PA had decided to operate its navy only during daylight hours.

The PA Police Department finally had to call for help from the NYPD’s Harbor Unit.

If those on board the love boat had been “terrorists with bad intentions, they could have easily succeeded,’’ a PAPD official said.

“If they had hand-held rockets, they would have had plenty of time to fire at planes.’’

Remember, anchor down THEN pants down. Boats can be conducive to romance but you need to be careful.

Our EPA at work

It just gets crazier and crazier - from Government Executive:

EPA Employees Told to Stop Pooping in the Hallway
Environmental Protection Agency workers have done some odd things recently.

Contractors built secret man caves in an EPA warehouse, an employee pretended to work for the CIA to get unlimited vacations and one worker even spent most of his time on the clock looking at pornography.

It appears, however, that a regional office has reached a new low: Management for Region 8 in Denver, Colo., wrote an email earlier this year to all staff in the area pleading with them to stop inappropriate bathroom behavior, including defecating in the hallway.  

In the email, obtained by Government Executive, Deputy Regional Administrator Howard Cantor mentioned “several incidents” in the building, including clogging the toilets with paper towels and “an individual placing feces in the hallway” outside the restroom.

Confounded by what to make of this occurrence, EPA management “consulted” with workplace violence “national expert” John Nicoletti, who said that hallway feces is in fact a health and safety risk. He added the behavior was “very dangerous” and the individuals responsible would “probably escalate” their actions.

“Management is taking this situation very seriously and will take whatever actions are necessary to identify and prosecute these individuals,” Cantor wrote. He asked for any employees with knowledge of the poop bandit or bandits to notify their supervisor.

EPA spokesman Richard Mylott provided the following statement:

“EPA cannot comment on ongoing personnel matters. EPA’s actions in response to recent workplace issues have been deliberate and have focused on ensuring a safe work environment for our employees. Our brief consultation with Dr. Nicoletti on this matter, a resource who regularly provides our office with training and expertise on workplace issues, reflects our commitment to securing a safe workplace.”

And these people are taking our tax dollars and telling us what kind of light bulb we can use and what kind of toilet we can install in our bathroom? They are totally divorced from reality...

Great deals on vacation property

From The Washington Post:

On N.C.’s Outer Banks, scary climate-change predictions prompt a change of forecast
The dangers of climate change were revealed to Willo Kelly in a government conference room in the summer of 2011. By the end of the century, state officials said, the ocean would be 39 inches higher and her home on the Outer Banks would be swamped.

The state had detailed maps to illustrate this claim and was developing a Web site where people could check by street address to see if their property was doomed. There was no talk of salvation, no plan to hold back the tide. The 39-inch forecast was “a death sentence,” Kelly said, “for ever trying to sell your house.”

Property values will probably be pretty low for the next year or so until the stupidity-bubble bursts and people stop relying on computer models for their numbers. Some good news in the article:

So Kelly, a lobbyist for Realtors and home builders on the Outer Banks, resolved to prove the forecast wrong. And thus began one of the nation’s most notorious battles over climate change.

Coastal residents joined forces with climate skeptics to attack the science of global warming and persuade North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature to deep-six the 39-inch projection, which had been advanced under the outgoing Democratic governor. Now, the state is working on a new forecast that will look only 30 years out and therefore show the seas rising by no more than eight inches.

Of course, there is the usual chattering from the enviro peanut gallery.

Our intellectual betters at work

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From FOX News:

Economy in freefall? 1Q revision shows shrinkage of 2.9%
America's economy shrank at a drastic 2.9 percent annual rate in the first quarter, a far more alarming picture than ones painted in two previous government estimates -- including one that actually claimed modest growth.

The new figure released Wednesday by the Commerce Department is nearly three times lower than last month's preliminary estimate of 1 percent shrinkage -- at the time the worst three-month performance since 2009 -- and far greater than the 0.1 percent growth estimate in April. The sluggish economy's woes have been widely attributed to an unusually cold winter, but the latest figure -- the biggest difference between second and third estimates since 1976 -- could indicate far greater problems.

While economists attributed those bad numbers to weather and other factors, the jarring number, dubbed "an absolute disaster" by Wall Street blog ZeroHedge.com -  is more difficult to dismiss.

The Zero Hedge article linked above has this to say:

And while a bad GDP print was largely expected, the driver wasn't: personal consumption expenditures somehow crashed from 3.1% to just 1.0%, far below the 2.4% expected, meaning that all hope of a consumer recovery is dead. Finally, as a reminder, US GDP has never fallen more than 1.5% except during or just before an NBER-defined recession since quarterly GDP records began in 1947.

It would have been a different picture if this administration cut taxes and let America's economic engine go to work. People in this administration need to learn about the Laffer Curve.

Cool news - a new Banana

Shades of Dr. Norman Borlaug and Golden Rice - from Agence France-Presse:

'Super' banana to face first human trial
A super-enriched banana genetically engineered to improve the lives of millions of people in Africa will soon have its first human trial, which will test its effect on vitamin A levels, Australian researchers said Monday.

The project plans to have the special banana varieties -- enriched with alpha and beta carotene which the body converts to vitamin A -- growing in Uganda by 2020.

The bananas are now being sent to the United States, and it is expected that the six-week trial measuring how well they lift vitamin A levels in humans will begin soon.

"Good science can make a massive difference here by enriching staple crops such as Ugandan bananas with pro-vitamin A and providing poor and subsistence-farming populations with nutritionally rewarding food," said project leader Professor James Dale.

The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) project, backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, hopes to see conclusive results by year end.

"We know our science will work," Professor Dale said.

"We made all the constructs, the genes that went into bananas, and put them into bananas here at QUT."

Dale said the Highland or East African cooking banana was a staple food in East Africa, but had low levels of micro-nutrients, particularly pro-vitamin A and iron.

"The consequences of vitamin A deficiency are dire with 650,000-700,000 children world-wide dying ... each year and at least another 300,000 going blind," he said.

Researchers decided that enriching the staple food was the best way to help ease the problem.

That it is being backed by the Gates' is awesome.  They have been a little bit too progressive in the last ten years and to see them backing hard solid science for humanitarian projects is heartening.

Also good that we are getting a handle on the banana's genome as the standard commercial crop (the Cavendish) is coming into some difficulty with a fungus.

Cool website - Blitzortung

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Realtime map of lightning strikes worldwide. Check out the USA map

An expanding circle shows the detected strike and radial lines point to the detectors that "heard" it.

 

This is an open project and you can set up your own station...  Hmmmmm...

Solar energy woes

None of the green energies would work if it weren't for large government subsidies. Europe is discovering this.

From The Daily Caller:

Europe’s Green Energy Industry Faces Collapse As Subsidies Are Cut
European countries are cutting back their solar subsidies to rein in energy costs and cut debt. The solar industry in Germany, Italy and Spain are all facing huge problems due to subsidy cuts and power rate hikes.

Germany plans to tax solar generation
The German solar demand is in freefall with only 818 megawatts of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels in the first five months of this year, a 45 percent drop from last year. This comes after a 60 percent decline in PV solar demand between 2012 and 2013.

Solar power set record levels of energy generation in June, but more is needed to meet Germany’s goal of getting at least 55 percent of its power from green energy sources by 2035. Even as the solar industry touts record generation levels, falling demand amid rapidly rising German energy costs have gotten the government to crack down on solar generation — which could cause solar demand to plummet even further.

To make things worse for the solar industry, PV Tech reports that Germany plans to levy charges on residential solar panel owners. Germany has been looking for ways to reform their green energy laws in order to lower power prices and still meet their global warming goals of cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

Germany’s planned energy reforms would force industries and households self-generating green energy to pay high surcharges to offset the energy costs of other consumers. Currently, energy-intensive industry have been exempted from green energy taxes so they can remain internationally competitive, meaning households and businesses bear the brunt of the high energy costs.

The cost of the subsidies are being moved from the consumers tax bill directly to the consumers wallet. 

Of course, the consumer will see the requisite drop in their annual tax bill.

Just kidding...

More on the IRS scandal

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More at the TaxProf Blog

Vaccines in the news

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From National Public Radio:

Measles Outbreak In Ohio Leads Amish To Reconsider Vaccines
The Amish countryside in central Ohio looks as it has for a hundred years. There are picturesque pastures with cows and sheep, and big red barns dot the landscape.

But something changed here, when, on an April afternoon, an Amish woman walked to a communal call box. She picked up the phone to call the Knox County Health Department. She told a county worker she and a family next door had the measles.

That call spurred nurse Jacqueline Fletcher into action.

"The very next morning we were out to collect samples, collect nasal swabs and also draw blood. And it was just textbook measles," says Fletcher.

How bad?

The largest outbreak of measles in recent U.S. history is underway. Ohio has the majority of these cases — 341 confirmed and eight hospitalizations. The virus has spread quickly among the largely unvaccinated Amish communities in the center of the state.

We need to remember that the 'link' between vaccination and autism was a total fabrication. The paper was retracted from the journal that published it (Lancet) and Doctor Andrew Wakefield is now just Andy - he had his medical license stripped for fraud.

Dumb criminal - Facebook

From Canada's Sun News Network:

Not logging out of Facebook leads to thief's arrest
A thief's Facebook addiction lead to his arrest.

According to Minnesota Police, on June 19th 26-year-old Nicholas Wig checked his Facebook profile in his victim's house - be he forgot to log out.

James Wood, the homeowner, had his cash, credit cards and clothes stolen. In their place was a pair of clothes the thief had left. Wood started to panic, but then he noticed the thief left his Facebook logged in. He proceeded to use the thief's own Facebook to say how he'd burglarized his house. He even left his phone number in an attempt to see if anyone would call him with information.

Words fail...

Sargent Andrew Tahmooressi

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This story just gets worse and worse. From FOX News:

Lawmaker slams Obama for no mention of jailed Marine in talks with Mexican president
A Florida lawmaker Friday criticized President Obama for apparently not mentioning the jailed U.S. Marine who has been since March in a Mexican prison during a meeting with his counterpart in the country.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said "it's pathetic"  that the mother of Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi has to plead for her son's release from a Mexican prison while Obama apparently did not address the issue earlier in the day while meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto

"It is inexcusable, it is inexplicable, it is obscene, it is horrific," Ros-Lehtinen told Greta Van Susteren on "On the Record."

Tahmooressi, who suffers from PTSD and served in Afghanistan, has been languishing in custody since he was arrested in late March after he accidentally drove into the country with three legally purchased guns in his truck.

"He took a wrong turn from the U.S. into Mexico, a wrong turn into the Twilight Zone," Ros-Lehtinen said. "Meanwhile, he's been in a Mexico prison, and the days languish on for him. He has been beaten, he has been chained, he has been treated terribly."

Ros-Lehtinen noted that the transcript of Obama and Nieto's meeting, in which the two discussed the surge of immigrants from Mexico into the United States, did not include any mention of Tahmooressi.

 There was even a White House Petition demanding his release. This petition was created May 1, 2014, the window ended successfully (with 125,264 signatures) May 31st and as yet, there has been zero response from the White House.

Pathetic...

Vacuum tubes in the news

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What was old is now new again - from IEEE Spectrum:

Introducing the Vacuum Transistor: A Device Made of Nothing
In September 1976, in the midst of the Cold War, Victor Ivanovich Belenko, a disgruntled Soviet pilot, veered off course from a training flight over Siberia in his MiG-25 Foxbat, flew low and fast across the Sea of Japan, and landed the plane at a civilian airport in Hokkaido with just 30 seconds of fuel remaining. His dramatic defection was a boon for U.S. military analysts, who for the first time had an opportunity to examine up close this high-speed Soviet fighter, which they had thought to be one of the world’s most capable aircraft. What they discovered astonished them.

For one thing, the airframe was more crudely built than those of contemporary U.S. fighters, being made mostly of steel rather than titanium. What’s more, they found the plane’s avionics bays to be filled with equipment based on vacuum tubes rather than transistors. The obvious conclusion, previous fears aside, was that even the Soviet Union’s most cutting-edge technology lagged laughably behind the West’s.

After all, in the United States vacuum tubes had given way to smaller and less power-hungry solid-state devices two decades earlier, not long after William Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter Brattain cobbled together the first transistor at Bell Laboratories in 1947. By the mid-1970s, the only vacuum tubes you could find in Western electronics were hidden away in certain kinds of specialized equipment—not counting the ubiquitous picture tubes of television sets. Today even those are gone, and outside of a few niches, vacuum tubes are an extinct technology. So it might come as a surprise to learn that some very modest changes to the fabrication techniques now used to build integrated circuits could yet breathe vacuum electronics back to life.

A bit more:

Although we are still at an early stage with our research, we believe the recent improvements we’ve made to the vacuum-channel transistor could one day have a huge influence on the electronics industry, particularly for applications where speed is paramount. Our very first effort to fashion a prototype produced a device that could operate at 460 gigahertz—roughly 10 times as fast as the best silicon transistor can manage. This makes the vacuum-channel transistor very promising for operating in what is sometimes known as the terahertz gap, the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum above microwaves and below infrared.

This is really big - the best we can do with silicon is about 40 Gigahertz (40,000,000,000) - to have a device operating at 460 GHz is a major breakthrough. This graphic from the article shows what we are dealing with:

20140624-terahertz.jpg

James Gurney is one of my favorite contemporary illustrators. He started the Dinotopia series of books 20 years ago and is still going strong.  His blog is a daily read for me: Gurney Journey

He is now doing video with stop-motion animation. The first was released today - meet Clement: 

 

Much more including the backstory at his blog. If you have not read the Dinotopia series, you are missing out on a real treat. Your local library will have copies.

 

It's all nice to 'feel' green but all that is is just feeling, nothing practical. The people at Edmonton's Waste Transfer Facility are doing it right - doing, not feeling.

From The City of Edmonton:

Waste-to-Biofuels and Chemicals Facility
Edmonton’s Waste-to-Biofuels and Chemicals Facility is the first industrial scale waste-to-biofuels facility in the world to turn household garbage into biofuels and biochemicals..

The facility was built and is owned and operated by Enerkem Alberta Biofuels, a subsidiary of Enerkem. Using Enerkem's proprietary technology, it will convert 100,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste into 38 million litres of biofuels and chemicals annually and help Alberta reduce its GHG emissions. (Waste-based biofuels can reduce GHG emissions by more than 60% when compared with fossil fuel production and landfill operations.)

The City of Edmonton is currently diverting up to 60% of residential waste from landfill primarily through recycling and composting. The Waste-to-Biofuels and Chemicals Facility will enable the City to increase that diversion rate to 90% by 2016.

The feedstock for producing biofuels is municipal solid waste that cannot be recycled or composted and has traditionally been sent to landfill. Using waste to produce cleaner burning fuels is a major leap forward in Edmonton's commitment to using waste as a resource and becoming an energy sustainable city.

Initially the facility will produce methanol, followed by ethanol. The goal of producing methanol and subsequently ethanol has both environmental and economic benefits since it supports the increasing demand for biofuels.

They also provide this 4 minute video:

 


The word you are looking for is Pyrolysis - the process has been around for a long time. This is the process used for thousands of years to make charcoal for blacksmithing and fuel.

It is a bit sad that they are stuck-on-stupid with the ethanol automotive "fuel" B.S. -- that was a case of lobbying taken to an absurd extreme. ADM should be ashamed of themselves for not standing up and putting a stop to their little scam but hey, it's ADM...

Done for the day

Lots of work but it feels good. Amazing what a couple concerted days work can accomplish.

Got the grill warming up and a couple fillets of cod marinating in the fridge - eating island style tonight. Shrimp cocktail, grilled cod, Hawaiian noodles (from costco - comes with veggies and shitake mushrooms - really ono!) and a pot of white rice.

A couple of things to watch on the toobe tonight and that's it for the day...

Another day in the yard

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We have a window of really nice weather so taking full advantage of it. Doing some brush cutting this afternoon - spent the morning moving some topsoil and spraying roundup on the fence-line. Planning to replace the fence this year - it is pretty rough shape with a lot of patches.

Just had Sunday brunch (buckwheat blueberry pancakes and bacon) and surfing for a few minutes before firing up the brush hog.

Those lost IRS emails?

From the Sonasoft website:

SonaVault Email Archiving Software
SonaVault Email Archiving Software helps today’s businesses continuity needs as they place an increasing reliance on email. Organizations conduct almost 97% of business communications via email. Email serves as an essential communication tool at every level. Emails today contain a host of valuable and highly sensitive information that needs to be stored, retrieved and viewed on demand. Email archiving is used to systematically record and save information contained in email correspondence to meet these requirements. Email archiving delivers a host of benefits including storage email management, regulatory compliancy support, eDiscovery requirements as part of litigation requests and litigation hold to achieve regulatory email compliance and operational excellence. Core to the success of small enterprises is an integrated email archiving management strategy, which can be deployed quickly with minimal impact to the existing network environment.

From the Sonasoft Customers list:

Customers
The world’s leading companies rely on Sonasoft products to secure their operational data. Sonasoft’s award winning disaster recovery software for Microsoft Servers: SonaVault, SonaExchange, and SonaSQL is known for ease of use and reliability for email archiving, backup, recovery, replication and migration needs.

And I call your attention to this one entry - specifically the last entry:

20140621-sonasoft.jpg

Missing email problems solved. Just a few mouse-clicks and they will all be restored.

You know him as Vangelis - amazing musician and really interesting custom synthesizer.

 

 

Six minute improvisation.

A short discussion of the equipment can be found here: Instruments - Vangelis' newer custom setup explained

We fscking had it back in 1968 and we stopped developing it because none of the components went Ka-Boom. In 1968, we wanted Ka-Boom and we did not want to pay for separate development paths for ordnance and power generation.

From Frank Munger's Atomic City Underground:

Glenn Seaborg and the startup of Molten Salt (1968)

20140620-seaborg.jpg

The date is Oct. 10, 1968, and Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Glenn Seaborg is at the controls for the startup of the U-233-fueled  Molten Salt Reactor Experiment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (Department of Energy archives/Frank Hoffman photo) 

Uranium 233 is an isotope and a product of the transmutation (Neutron enrichment) of Thorium (Atomic weight of 232) (Much more detail here, here and here.)

These reactors can also burn spent nuclear waste from conventional reactors and when the fuel is eventually consumed, the waste needs to be sequestered for only a few hundred years, not tens of thousands. The fact that the reactor is intrinsically safe is just gravy.

There is a wonderful resurgence of these designs for electrical power generation and medical isotopes. The only problem is that it is happening in China and India and not here where it was invented...

Of all of the scandals in Obama's administration, this could well turn out to be his biggest. The idea that a dog ate the missing emails is patently absurd. Sure, hard drives crash but that only affects the local repository and no the email server. Those systems are backed up regularly and only need a tape restore to recover the emails. Give me two days and a bunch of espressos and I'll have them all recovered.

For more, check out this ongoing post from TaxProf Blog - currently at day #407 and still counting.

Dude, you can't even play tennis...

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Heh...

Back home - time to mow the brush

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The wedding was really nice - I took some pics and will get them online soon.

Heading out to use the new brush cutter -- got a break in the weather so taking advantage of it.

Making some more nectar for the hummingbirds - almost through my second 25 pound bag of sugar for this season. Little beggars are thirsty.

Posting later tonight...

Quote of the month

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“As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be occupied by a downright moron.”
--H.L. Mencken, The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920

Hat tip to Denny for the link

Lulu's son's best friend is getting himself hitched to a very sweet (and very pregnant) lady tomorrow at 2:00PM.

Shotguns optional.

Early bedtime - heading into work for a few hours and then off to Bellingham for the ceremony. Curtis is Justin's Best Man for the event so it should be fun.

No more posting tonight and minimal stuff tomorrow (unless something catches my eye during coffee at work).

Weather is looking like rain so bringing the kilt but also some trousers as backup.

Après moi, le déluge

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Another great essay by Bill Whittle:

Typical liberal

Not surprising - and of course, this story is getting wide coverage from all the mainstream media outlets.

From FOX News:

Jesus, Republicans and NRA banned on school website
One of the lessons that Andrew Lampart learned from being on his school’s debate team was to gather facts for both sides of an argument. So last month when his law class was instructed to prepare for a debate on gun control, Andrew went online using the school’s Internet service.

“I knew it was important to get facts for both sides of the case,” said the 18-year-old at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, Connecticut.

When Andrew tried to log onto the National Rifle Association’s website, he realized there was a problem – a big problem.

“Their website was blocked,” he told me. Andrew decided to try the Second Amendment Foundation’s website. That too, was blocked.

His curiosity got the best of him – so Andrew tried logging on to several pro-gun control websites. Imagine his surprise when he discovered the pro-gun control websites were not blocked.

“I became curious as to why one side was blocked and the other side was not,” he said.

Andrew decided to set aside his debate preparation and started researching other conservative websites. He soon discovered that he had unfettered access to liberal websites, but conservative websites were blocked.

For example, the Connecticut Republican Party website was blocked. The Connecticut Democratic Party website was not blocked. National Right to Life was blocked, but Planned Parenthood was not blocked. Connecticut Family, a pro-traditional marriage group, was blocked, but LGBT Nation was not blocked.

Andrew found that even Pope Francis was blocked from the school’s web service. But although he could not access the Vatican website, the school allowed him to access an Islamic website.

“This is really border line indoctrination,” Andrew told me. “Schools are supposed to be fair and balanced towards all ways of thinking. It’s supposed to encourage students to formulate their own opinions. Students aren’t able to do that here at the school because they are only being fed one side of the issue.”

Smart kid - I wonder how long this wall will remain standing and if it will creep back in after Andrew graduates. These actions of the liberals do not surprise me. They do not have the moral high-ground and they are childishly shouting down anyone who threatens to expose this.

About 65,000 young adullt and child illegals have been streaming over the border in the last month. The US Government is saying that this is unexpected and they are scrambling to deal with the influx.

Not so fast - from Alan West:


Feds advertised for escort services for unaccompanied alien children in January
If you think this sudden flood of illegal immigrant children is spontaneous,  think again.

According to a “help wanted” Request For Information (RFI) posted on FedBizOpps.gov, the feds were looking for vendors to help  escort unaccompanied alien children (UAC) in JANUARY of this year.

The specific vendor requirements state:

ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] is seeking the services of a  responsible vendor that shares the philosophy of treating all UAC with dignity  and respect, while adhering to standard operating procedures and policies that  allow for an effective, efficient, and incident free transport. The Contractor  shall provide unarmed escort staff, including management, supervision, manpower,  training, certifications, licenses, drug testing, equipment, and supplies  necessary to provide on-demand escort services for  non-criminal/non-delinquent unaccompanied alien children ages infant to 17 years  of age, seven (7) days a week, 365 days a year. Transport will be  required for either category of UAC or individual juveniles, to include both  male and female juveniles. There will be approximately 65,000  UAC in total: 25% local ground transport, 25% via ICE charter and 50%  via commercial air.

You can view the full posting here.

I tried calling both of the contact names listed on the page to see if they’d  found a vendor yet, but got voicemail.

Unexpected my great hairy ass... The RFI was published in January so they were planning this for a good six months prior.

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”
--President Barack Obama, January 21, 2009

Instant Karma

Great close-up magic

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From Oil Voice:

The Bakken gets bigger - likely a LOT bigger
Just when you thought The Bakken couldn’t get any better—it does.

Oil producers are now “cracking the code” on the Torquay, or Three Forks formation below the Bakken, and coming up with incredible economics—these wells are paying back in only seven months.

This news has completely re-invigorated the Canadian side of the Bakken. And on the US side, the Three Forks is causing industry to leap-frog estimates of the amount of recoverable oil available–by about 57%!

It’s hard to imagine that the #1 oil play in all of North America could have such a huge increase in size—usually this happens in increments. This map from the Province of Manitoba shows how much potential theTorquay/Three Forks has—it ranges from 1.5 – 7 x as thick as the Bakken!

Sure sucks to be a Malthusian right now.

Greenpeace in the news again - India

I posted about their money management problems two days ago.

Now it seems that India is pushing back against their political agenda - from The Hindu:

Greenpeace funds hit Home barrier
Following an Intelligence Bureau (IB) report that alleged foreign-funded NGOs were creating obstacles to India’s economic growth, the Home Ministry has clamped down on Greenpeace, an international campaign group present in 40 countries.

In a letter dated 13th June, the Ministry has directed the Reserve Bank of India that all foreign contributions originating from Greenpeace International and Climate Works Foundation — two principal international contributors to Greenpeace India Society — must be kept on hold until individual clearances are obtained from the Ministry for each transaction.

The RBI has been asked to direct banks to this effect. The central bank has also been asked to report to the government if any government department or institution is receiving such funds.

Greenpeace was specifically targeted because the IB report had charged it with orchestrating “massive efforts to take down India’s coal-fired power projects and mining activity.”

According to the report, public protests in Madhya Pradesh’s Singrauli region — which produces 15,000 MW energy — were being engineered by Greenpeace, “actively aided and led by foreign activists.”

Perfect. You will never win this war by countering their ideology. These people are excellent spin-masters. Hit them where it hurts - the wallet.

Our own government could not get Al Capone on legal grounds - he was too well insulated from his 'business'. They got him on tax evasion.

 

Heh - training

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The whole series is fun.

Heh - workplace accident

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Could not happen to a better bunch of people - from The Jerusalem Post:

Report: Five Hamas operatives killed in Gaza tunnel explosion
Five members of Hamas's Kassam Brigades were killed in an explosion in a tunnel in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.

The explosion in the Tuffah neighborhood of Gaza City was first reported on Thursday morning, however reports of multiple casualties came hours later.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud explosion in a house in the neighborhood as well as seeing rising smoke and the arrival of ambulances.

The cause of the explosion was not known.

God riddance to bad trash.

Holy Crap - this will take a couple weeks to for me to fully digest but it is groundbreaking in its simplicity.

You do not need to be a math nerd to follow these articles, Dr. Evans explains things very clearly but the maths are solid and he backs up everything with corroborating data.

I am not going to excerpt, just post some links.

My initial post was four days ago here:
Now this will be interesting - our sun

Jo Nova's first post (linked at the above link) is here:
BIG NEWS Part I: Historic development — New Solar climate model coming

David takes over for these next four posts:
BIG NEWS Part II: For the first time – a mysterious notch filter found in the climate

BIG NEWS Part III: The notch means a delay

BIG NEWS part IV: A huge leap understanding the mysterious 11 year solar delay

BIG NEWS Part V: Escaping heat. The Three pipes theory and the RATS multiplier

This last link was published today. I am just dipping my feet into this but it looks really good. The thing that differentiates genius from pedestrian is that genius will look at other tools outside the day-to-day toolbox and see if they can be used. Pedestrian just recycles the previous work.

Never a good call - economics, if it is done properly and without a political agenda, will always trump ideology.

From Yahoo/Agence France-Presse:

France unveils ambitious energy bill for greener nation
France on Wednesday unveiled a much-anticipated bill to reduce the country's dependency on nuclear energy and fossil fuels, after months of intense debate over one of the Socialist government's pet projects.

The planned law, presented to the cabinet by energy and environment minister Segolene Royal, seeks to make France a greener country and reduce the nation's energy bill.

The bill is a chance "to develop new technologies, clean transport, energy efficiency and therefore to improve companies' competitiveness," Royal told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

It aims to cut the country's final energy consumption in half by 2050 and reduce the use of fossil fuels by 30 percent by 2030, in comparison with 2012 when Francois Hollande was elected president.

It also looks to reduce France's huge dependency on nuclear energy for electricity from 75 percent to 50 percent -- one of Hollande's campaign promises -- and to increase the use of renewables.

In other words - make the cost-of-entry to a new business prohibitive to allow the crony capitalists to enjoy their monopoly while they contribute to your campaign coffers. Raise taxes but grant loopholes to your friends and borrow borrow borrow - the butchers bill will not come home to roost until you are long gone and safely out of office.

Let us establish a reference point.

France generated 561.2 Billion kiloWatt Hours in 2012
She exported 73.4 billion kWh in 2012
Of the 561.2 billion kWh:

    • 22.1% generated from fossil fuels
    • 50.8% from nuclear
    • 14.7% from hydroelectricity and
    • 6.9 from 'renewables'

Let us see what happens in ten years...

But about twelve various police cars, trucks, border patrol, etc vehicles just sped past with lights and sirens.

Nothing on the police scanner and nothing on the local crime twitter account.

Extra crispy in Seattle

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From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Intruder shocked, burned at Renton substation
A man who apparently intended to steal wire was nearly electrocuted early Wednesday when he cut a copper wire on top of a high-voltage transformer at a Puget Sound Energy substation, officials said.

King County deputies first responded to a report of an explosion about 4:30 a.m. at the substation between Renton and Issaquah.

Firefighters removed the injured man and took him to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with second- and third-degree burns over 60 percent of his body, Eastside Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Dave McDaniel said.

The man is in critical condition in the intensive care unit, hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said.

The incident knocked out power for about 2,800 utility customers in the area, but service was restored by 6:30 a.m., Puget Sound Energy spokesman Ray Lane said.

It's assumed the man broke through the perimeter fence in an attempt steal wire to resell as scrap, Lane said. Such wire thefts have been a problem for years for utilities around the country.

Stupid is as stupid does - electrical burns hurt a lot because not only does the skin get burned, the underlying tissue and muscles get cooked too.

Paging Dr. Darwin. Dr. Charles Darwin to the white courtesy phone please...

Cool news - Bletchley Park

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From the Beeb:

Bletchley Park: No longer the world's best kept secret
Bletchley Park was once the world's best kept secret and a key part of the country's war effort against Germany.

Every detail about the sprawling Buckinghamshire estate was shrouded in mystery as German Enigma codes were cracked using the Bombe machine.

Until wartime information was declassified in the mid-1970s, no-one who worked at the home of the Government Code and Cypher School was allowed to talk about it.

Without the story being told, the damp and dilapidated huts fell into disrepair and reached the point two years ago where they were almost beyond salvage.

Now, following a painstaking restoration, they have been brought back to life and Wednesday's official opening by the Duchess of Cambridge marks a remarkable turnaround from top secrecy to world wide attraction.

The Bletchley Park Trust was set up 22 years ago and began a race against time to save the mostly wooden structures, rapidly assembled in 1939.

Some interesting problems with the restoration:

Trust chief executive officer Iain Standen said historical integrity was "hugely important" and the buildings were now as near to original as possible.

"Everywhere we can we've used the original material that was here," he said.

Hut restoration was also threatened by the very nature of the centre's war work - secrecy.

With no photographs of the insides to work with, Bletchley Park looked to its most valuable resource - the veterans.

And it is their once silent voices which have allowed the buildings to come alive again.

Their testimonies mean that today's visitors see what each building looked like during the war - right down to the correct paint colour, thanks to a specialist historic paint analysis company.

When you enter a hut, it looks like code-breakers have just left the room.

Wonderful - this is a major site for the beginning of computing. The military codes were the best of the day and the fact that the British could break them within hours was a major benefit. Something to remember is that each transmission from the Enigma machine used a different code -- they were changed with a one-time pad and were considered to be unbreakable.

 If we ever go overseas, Bletchley Park is on the top ten list of places to visit...

Cash Register Blues - Sharp XE-A407

The Sharp XE-A407 is a great little register with the exception of one big honking showstopper... The two that we purchased are being sent back and negative customer feedback being left.

We had been using three of the previous model - the XE-A506 - and were really happy with them. They are six years old and one of them is starting to act a little flaky. All three units lost their backup battery within a few months of each other so it was decided to retire them to backup status and do a "technology refresh" at the store.

We were happy with the XE-A506's so we decided to stick with SharpUSA and we bought two of their XE-A407's.

One of the things that attracted me to the earlier model is that there is an app that you can run on a laptop to program the register.  Set the laptop next to the register, connect a USB cable and bingo! Any changes (tax rates, departments, function keys, machine settings, etc), bring out the laptop and this is a matter of five minutes to make the update on all machines.

On unboxing the new machines, I saw that there was only an SD Card for programming. It would be too much to expect some kind of cross-compatibility between the two machines so I sat down and programmed the new XE-A407. This software was definitely written by the lowest bidder.  It is crap. Version 1.0.0.1 dated 2011. You can set up the individual departments, PLUs, Clerks and logo display but nothing else - none of the function keys, none of the machine settings.  You can program about 60% of the machine but you are stuck with obscure keystrokes for the remaining 40%

Writing to the SD card takes about five minutes. Literally... This is for 2.28MB of data. Reading? The same...  This is a SanDisk Extreme SD Card that can stream video at 45MB/Second.

I got it programmed and everything was set up with one exception.

When entering a sales transaction with multiple items, sometimes the clerk gets distracted and loses their place. With every other cash register I have seen, they can look at the journal tape and see the last couple items that were keyed in.

With the new XE-A407, the journal tape only prints when the sale has been completed and the Cash button has been pressed.

There are some scrolling arrows that allow you to go forward and back in the transaction but it only displays the name of the department, not the quantity or the sale price. Useless.

 

I spent 45 minutes this morning on the phone with them and there is no solution to this basic omission.  Every other register system I have used or set up operates this way - key in a sale item, the journal prints the sale item. What Sharp was thinking when they decided to batch all the printing and do it at the end of the sale makes me wonder about who they have doing their programming.

The mechanical stuff is great - nice clear screen, good keyboard, crisp fast printer. The software sucks donkey balls...

set rant=off

 Time to buy a Casio.

I know that feeling

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From Slate:

Coder’s High
These days I write more than I code, but one of the things I miss about programming is the coder’s high: those times when, for hours on end, I would lock my vision straight at the computer screen, trance out, and become a human-machine hybrid zipping through the virtual architecture that my co-workers and I were building. Hunger, thirst, sleepiness, and even pain all faded away while I was staring at the screen, thinking and typing, until I’d reach the point of exhaustion and it would come crashing down on me.

 It was good for me, too. Coding had a smoothing, calming effect on my psyche, what I imagine meditation does to you if you master it. In his study Zen and the Brain, neuroscientist James H. Austin speaks of how one’s attention will shift into “a vacancy of utmost clarity, a space so devoid of the physical self.” I don’t know if programmers get all the way there, but their ability to tune out the world while working is remarkable.

I did a lot of programming when I was first getting into computers - assembly on the 6800, 6502, (no operating system) 8080, Z-80 (CP/M) and then onto the IBM and clones (MS-DOS). Stopped programming when Windows came out - initial programming environments were not conducive to development and I was making a lot more money selling the hardware. A bit more:

There are coders who can inhabit this trance for a dozen or more hours at a stretch. I never had that level of stamina, but there are countless stories like the one about game programmer John Harris, who was immortalized in Steven Levy’s myth-making 1984 book Hackers. While working on an 8-bit Atari port of Frogger in the early 1980s, Harris said, “I glued my hands to the keyboard.” One day he started programming midafternoon, losing himself in work. The next time he looked up from the screen, he was surprised that it was still light out, since he thought he’d been working well into the evening. It was actually the next morning.

Been there, done that, got the tee shirt...

Dick Cheney on Obama's presidency

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Scathing article at The Wall Street Journal:

The Collapsing Obama Doctrine
As the terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threaten Baghdad, thousands of slaughtered Iraqis in their wake, it is worth recalling a few of President Obama's past statements about ISIS and al Qaeda. "If a J.V. team puts on Lakers' uniforms that doesn't make them Kobe Bryant" (January 2014). "[C]ore al Qaeda is on its heels, has been decimated" (August 2013). "So, let there be no doubt: The tide of war is receding" (September 2011).

Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many. Too many times to count, Mr. Obama has told us he is "ending" the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—as though wishing made it so. His rhetoric has now come crashing into reality. Watching the black-clad ISIS jihadists take territory once secured by American blood is final proof, if any were needed, that America's enemies are not "decimated." They are emboldened and on the march.

The fall of the Iraqi cities of Fallujah, Tikrit, Mosul and Tel Afar, and the establishment of terrorist safe havens across a large swath of the Arab world, present a strategic threat to the security of the United States. Mr. Obama's actions—before and after ISIS's recent advances in Iraq—have the effect of increasing that threat.

On a trip to the Middle East this spring, we heard a constant refrain in capitals from the Persian Gulf to Israel, "Can you please explain what your president is doing?" "Why is he walking away?" "Why is he so blithely sacrificing the hard fought gains you secured in Iraq?" "Why is he abandoning your friends?" "Why is he doing deals with your enemies?"

In one Arab capital, a senior official pulled out a map of Syria and Iraq. Drawing an arc with his finger from Raqqa province in northern Syria to Anbar province in western Iraq, he said, "They will control this territory. Al Qaeda is building safe havens and training camps here. Don't the Americans care?"

 Much more at the site.  It is good that people are starting to wake up and see the president for the marxist ideologue he really is. It is going to take a solid decade to undo the damage he has done.

A point to to remember

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20140617-constitution.jpg

From these people: Sons of Liberty

The end of a 22 year run - Billy McHale's

Bellingham restaurant Billy McHale's is closing at the end of this month.

From the Bellingham Herald:

Bellingham Billy McHale's to close at end of June
Billy McHale's is closing its doors when its lease is up at the end of June, after 22 years in business.

Owner Kristy Knopp said several factors led to the decision to close on June 30, chief among them the unknowns of the Canadian dollar and the possible move of Costco, which shares a parking lot with the restaurant, 4301 Meridian St.

Knopp, who has owned the restaurant for 10 years, didn't want to take a gamble on a five-year lease with such uncertainty.

The restaurant employs 65 people, and Knopp said increases in the minimum wage and health care were adding to the restaurant's costs, as well as upkeep on the building and equipment.

I have eaten there a bunch of times - it was one of my Dad's favorite places. What prompted this post is that the James G. Murphy auction company will be selling off the fixtures.

A lot of commercial restaurant equipment but also, a lot of the decor items and the model railroad that ran around the restaurant.

I bet it will be amateur hour with people bidding way to high for a piece of history. I will be there but more for people-watching than buying anything.

A bit of schadenfreude - Greenpeace

From Bloomberg:

Greenpeace Loses 3.8 Million Euros in Failed Currency Wager
Add Greenpeace International to the ranks of losers in the $5.3 trillion-a-day global foreign exchange market.

The Amsterdam-based nonprofit organization said it lost 3.8 million euros ($5.2 million) last year after an employee bet that the euro wouldn’t strengthen against other currencies, Greenpeace said on its website. Greenpeace, which runs environmental campaigns in more than 40 countries, didn’t name the employee, who worked in its international finance unit and has been relieved of his position.

A bit more:

The loss added to Greenpeace’s 6.8-million-euro 2013 budget deficit. Greenpeace said it had income of 72.9 million euros in 2013 out of a global budget of about 300 million euros.

Good to see them having funding problems. They used to do good science but are now just another agenda-driven juggernaut.

Cool new technology - graphene

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Graphene is awesome but a new variation of it has even greater potential. From the University of Liverpool:

New graphene-type material created
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have created a new material, related to graphene, which has the potential to improve transistors used in electronic devices.

The new material, ‘triazine-based graphitic carbon nitride’, or TGCN, was predicted theoretically in 1996, but this is the first time that it has been made. Graphene is one atom thick, strong and conducts heat and electricity highly efficiently. The new TGCN material is also two-dimensional, but it has an electronic band gap, making it potentially suitable for use in transistors.

Currently, transistors are made from Silicon which is a poor conductor of heat. As transistors carry more power, dissipating this heat becomes a problem. Graphene is very thermally conductive so thermal management will be a lot easier. Faster, smaller, cheaper. More faster please!

Digging into Hillary's past

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This is interesting - from The Washington Free Beacon:

The Hillary Tapes
Newly discovered audio recordings of Hillary Clinton from the early 1980s include the former first lady’s frank and detailed assessment of the most significant criminal case of her legal career: defending a man accused of raping a 12-year-old girl.

In 1975, the same year she married Bill, Hillary Clinton agreed to serve as the court-appointed attorney for Thomas Alfred Taylor, a 41-year-old accused of raping the child after luring her into a car.

The recordings, which date from 1983-1987 and have never before been reported, include Clinton’s suggestion that she knew Taylor was guilty at the time. She says she used a legal technicality to plead her client, who faced 30 years to life in prison, down to a lesser charge. The recording and transcript, along with court documents pertaining to the case, are embedded below.

The full story of the Taylor defense calls into question Clinton’s narrative of her early years as a devoted women and children’s advocate in Arkansas—a narrative the 2016 presidential frontrunner continues to promote on her current book tour.

The origin of the recordings:

The interviews, archived at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, were intended for an Esquire magazine profile that was never published, and offer a rare personal glimpse of the couple during a pivotal moment in their political careers.

And this is not just one data point. From William Safire at the New York Times:

Blizzard of Lies
Published: January 8, 1996
Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our First Lady -- a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many in her generation -- is a congenital liar.

Drip by drip, like Whitewater torture, the case is being made that she is compelled to mislead, and to ensnare her subordinates and friends in a web of deceit.

1. Remember the story she told about studying The Wall Street Journal to explain her 10,000 percent profit in 1979 commodity trading? We now know that was a lie told to turn aside accusations that as the Governor's wife she profited corruptly, her account being run by a lawyer for state poultry interests through a disreputable broker.

She lied for good reason: To admit otherwise would be to confess taking, and paying taxes on, what some think amounted to a $100,000 bribe.

Much more at the site - and finally, who can forget her excellent work with the Watergate scandal. From FOX News:

Hillary Fired for Lies, Unethical Behavior from Congressional Job: Former Boss
Dan Calabrese’s new column on Hillary Clinton’s past may bring the curtain down on her political future. Calabrese interviewed Jerry Zeifman, the man who served as chief counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate hearings, has tried to tell the story of his former staffer’s behavior during those proceedings for years. Zeifman claims he fired Hillary for unethical behavior and that she conspired to deny Richard Nixon counsel during the hearings:

As Hillary Clinton came under increasing scrutiny for her story about facing sniper fire in Bosnia, one question that arose was whether she has engaged in a pattern of lying.

The now-retired general counsel and chief of staff of the House Judiciary Committee, who supervised Hillary when she worked on the Watergate investigation, says Hillary’s history of lies and unethical behavior goes back farther – and goes much deeper – than anyone realizes.

Jerry Zeifman, a lifelong Democrat, supervised the work of 27-year-old Hillary Rodham on the committee. Hillary got a job working on the investigation at the behest of her former law professor, Burke Marshall, who was also Sen. Ted Kennedy’s chief counsel in the Chappaquiddick affair. When the investigation was over, Zeifman fired Hillary from the committee staff and refused to give her a letter of recommendation – one of only three people who earned that dubious distinction in Zeifman’s 17-year career.

Why?

“Because she was a liar,” Zeifman said in an interview last week. “She was an unethical, dishonest lawyer. She conspired to violate the Constitution, the rules of the House, the rules of the committee and the rules of confidentiality.”

The idea that she is being considered for presidential office is appalling.

Busy morning

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Paperwork as well as a couple of packages to ship.

I'll have more this afternoon.

Just wonderful

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Eleven minutes of amazing stuff but dang, the room sure got dusty or my allergies are acting up or something...

Much more here: Hemet Sunshine

A fun time was had by all

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I will post pictures and the full story tomorrow or Tuesday.

Fixing dinner (Feijoada and the first salad from our garden this year) and then an early evening - shopping day tomorrow.

Got the website for the company that made the big rig (and it is huge!) - Action Specialized - they specialize in moving very large items and are known worldwide.  All from a sleepy little dairy town about 20 miles away. The link I posted goes to their gallery page.

Logging show today

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We had brunch (buckwheat blueberry pancakes and bacon) and are heading out to the Deming Logging Show. This is an annual benefit for 'busted up loggers' and has been running since 1963.

This is always a lot of fun and a lot of companies have their latest and greatest equipment to show off. This puppy rolled onto the site Friday evening:

 

Yardwork and Music

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Spent today using the new brush cutter to mow around the fence lines and in the garden. It has been a very cool wet spring so the grass is five feet high in places.

Lulu and I had some leftover chicken for dinner - I like to stir-fry garlic and baby bok-choi with toasted sesame oil and finish with oyster sauce so that was the side dish, served over a couple scoops of white rice..

Spent the rest of the evening listening to this guy: Danilo Brito His performance was part of the 2014 Mount Baker World Music Festival - there were about 60 people in the audience.

Links to his music here: Music

Drop-dead amazing. Traditional Brazilian music - gorgeous stuff!

Starting to stiffen up from manhandling the brush cutter around - weighs about 400 pounds with the cutter installed. It has power drive with four speeds forward and one reverse but going around corners requires some brute upper-body force. I will be feeling it tomorrow but the exercise was really nice.

Last plane out of Saigon

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Michael Ramirez nails it:20140614-saigon.jpg

If you are unfamiliar with the reference, WikiPedia has a good writeup.

From Australian climate researcher Jo Nova:

BIG NEWS Part I: Historic development — New Solar climate model coming
Behind the scenes a major advance has been quietly churning. It is something I have barely even hinted at. (Oh how I wanted to!)You may have noticed my other half Dr David Evans has been quiet — it’s not because he’s moved out of the climate debate, instead a strange combination of factors has pulled him full time into climate research. Things have been very busy here. He’s discovered something extraordinary, and like all real science, it’s been a roller-coaster where the theory appeared to collapse, and we nearly gave up, but then a new insight would turn out to be more valuable than the version that went before. Other times it all seemed so obvious in hindsight we wondered why no one had done this before. But the answer is that there is a very unusual combination of factors at work — how many people have Ivy League experience in Fourier maths, and electrical circuits and have worked as a professional  modeler, software developer, and have an interest in the finer details and theory of the climate debate? Who of the people with this background would also be prepared to spend months working unpaid to investigate a non-CO2 climate theory?

Dr David Evans is an electrical engineer and mathematician, who earned six university degrees over ten years, including a PhD from Stanford University in electrical engineering (digital signal processing): PhD. (E.E), M.S. (E.E.), M.S. (Stats) [at Stanford], B.E. (Hons, University Medal), M.A. (Applied Math), B.Sc.[University of Sydney]. His specialty is in Fourier analysis and signal processing. He trained with Professor Ronald Bracewell late of Stanford University.

David has worked in the climate industry, consulting full-time for the Australian Greenhouse Office from 1999 to 2005, and part-time for the Department of Climate Change from 2008 to 2010. He was the lead modeler analyzing the carbon in Australia’s biosphere for Kyoto accounting purposes, and developed the world-leading carbon accounting model FullCAM that Australia uses in the land use change and forestry sector.

For the last 18 months David pursued an idea, and developed something the climate debate has needed, but failed to do achieve after 30 years, despite billions of dollars in funding. He’s taken sophisticated silicon-chip maths and applied it to the climate system — analyzing the system as a black box to discover the filters and parts. He has built a working O-D model with 15,000 lines of code. In order to develop the model he had to produce a more advanced method of Fourier analysis (which on its own is an achievement and will be useful in many other fields). We’ll be releasing the results of this independent work over the next week amongst other posts. Make no mistake, this is not like anything I have seen or read about. It fits, like all good science does, into a coherent theory that matches the data and connects many other papers. The jigsaw is coming together.

Over the last six months we’ve been quietly circulating this work amongst scientists we admire and seeking feedback. We want more, and open science is the only way to go. I will boldly predict that many papers will spring from this work and its implications, but for the moment we see no reason to wait for two unpaid reviewers and an editor (with little knowledge of the details) to delay or prevaricate on its release.

Historically this is how real science is done, one well-trained passionate researcher pursues a creative idea that breaks the current paradigm, then sets the theory free for everyone to test and review. This work — should it stand the test of time — will be held up as an example of where independent research can succeed over the grand failure of expensive government funded and bureaucratically-driven science.

None of the IPCC climate models take into account the fact that our sun is a variable star. None of the IPCC models can successfully predict the little ice ages, the Maunder Minimum or the medieval warming. If the IPCC had a successful model, it would be just that - one model - singular. They have over 30 models that are used for various forecasts. When fed historical data, none of these models can hindcast with any accuracy.

It will be fascinating to see what Dr. Evans has come up with...

Thanks to Andrew Bolt for noticing this contradiction - from Australia's Herald-Sun:

How DiCaprio fights global warming
The talk:

image

The walk:

image

HOLLYWOOD star Leo DiCaprio has hired billionaire Man City owner Sheikh Mansour’s mega yacht so he and 21 pals can enjoy the World Cup in style. The actor and his friends jetted into Rio de Janeiro yesterday/on Wednesday, a day after the sheikh’s POUNDS 400 million super yacht Topaz docked in the city.

MAD Magazine on Hillary Clinton

Caution - drink alert. From MAD Magazine:

FEELING LIKE A MILLION SCHMUCKS DEPT.
In a recent interview with ABC News, Hillary Clinton stated that she and Bill were “dead broke” when they left the White House. They even had trouble paying the mortgages on their houses. (Plural!) Luckily, like so many of America’s poor, she was able to scrape by, thanks to an $8 million book advance and six-figure speaking fees. Still, the next time you see Hillary Clinton in rags on the street, make sure to put a dollar in her Styrofoam cup — you never know how close she and Bill are to abject poverty!

 

20140613-mad-hillary.jpg

 

Freedom of speech - bumper stickers

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This is just nuts - from FOX News:

Government union wants 'Duck Dynasty' fans fired
A union representing federal employees at Eglin Air Force base in Florida is demanding that two senior management officials be removed from their posts because they put decals on their personal trucks supporting Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson.

Alan Cooper, the executive vice president of the local chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees, said one of the officials also displayed the “I Support Phil” decals in his office last month and offered them to subordinates.

“The BUE (bargaining union employee) was clearly offended and disgusted that a senior management official would display the decal on their pod,” read an email Cooper wrote.

“We took offense,” Cooper told me in a telephone interview. “These two particular individuals have a great amount of influence over individuals who may be gay, who may be African-American – and we have a concern they should not be in a position to exert that influence when it comes to promotions.”

 Christ on a corn-dog.  Talk about being tolerant and accepting. Someone needs some mandatory sensitivity counseling and I am not talking about the owners of the trucks...

Big Brother Government to visit Seattle

Just wonderful - from TechDirt:

NHTSA's Voluntary Roadside Blood-And-Saliva Survey Heads To Seattle With A Much Greater Emphasis On 'Voluntary'
Although it's already been burned twice for its intrusive, not-mandatory-but-it-sure-looks-that-way "roadside surveys," the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) isn't letting a lot of bad press, a lawsuit and a Congressional investigation slow down its blood-and-saliva collections. After two straight debacles (Texas and Pennsylvania), the NHTSA is headed to Seattle in hopes of gauging the effects of newly-legal weed on the driving population.

Government-hired survey teams will soon ask hundreds of Washington state motorists to answer questions and provide samples of breath, saliva and blood — all to give safety and police agencies a clearer sense of how many people drive impaired.

The roadside surveys are voluntary, and participants will be paid up to $60, under the federally funded project this summer.

The only remaining question is how these will be handled. On its two previous attempts, the NHTSA sent an independent contractor to handle the blood draws and saliva collection. And both times, local law enforcement provided officers, vehicles and barricades -- all of which suggested to several motorists that these voluntary collections were far from voluntary. From what's being reported here, it appears that more effort is being made to ensure drivers know these surveys are indeed entirely optional.

They are coming to Whatcom County as well as Seattle - just say no. As a reminder:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I am amazed that they let this guy walk around without a minder. From The Hill:

Biden: We need ‘constant, unrelenting stream’ of immigrants
Vice President Biden painted a rosy picture of the outlook for U.S. businesses Tuesday, but said economic growth hinges in large part on immigration reform, now languishing in Congress.

“We need it badly from a purely – purely economic point of view,” Biden said during remarks to the National Association of Manufacturers.

The call came amid a wide-ranging address to the business group, in which Biden said the United States is better positioned than its rivals to compete in the global marketplace.

A bit more:

Biden said a key to the country’s solid economic footing is the “the ‘constant, unrelenting stream’ of immigrants that has come to the United States for generations.

“Not dribbling,” Biden explained. “Significant flows.”

We have 91.8 Million people out of work and the idiots in Washington want to bring in more people?

This is all about getting blocks of low-information voters hooked on the dole and moving them into conservative states. Witness what is happening right now in Arizona. They will vote democrat and turn the state's politics to progressive.

From Brigid at Home on the Range:

Guns, Bones and Steel - Our Nation Today
Some years back, I lived in an area that wasn't quite rural, and wasn't quite subdivision either.   I  had a big fenced yard for Barkley but also had former neighbors that did not fence their property and had two small dogs, both wearing those little collars that would warn them of their property lines, lest they get a small shock.  My regular readers will remember my telling of this little story of  that lack of fence and those two dogs, but it holds true so true, especially in the context of what is on my mind this morning. 

The lots our houses sat on ran from a third of an acre up to an acre but the smaller places were normally fenced. The neighborhood backed up against a broad expense of woods on one side, the bare bones of the trees, stark there in this particularly cold winter.  One evening after work, I went over to the neighbor with the two appetizer sized dogs and no fence to warn her that the coyotes had been emboldened by the cold and were coming right up to the houses, my having found one in my driveway that morning. She looked at me (she of the coexist bumper sticker) and said "It's OK, we have an invisible fence". I couldn't' even BEGIN to explain that reasoning to her. The world is not a safe and happy place, something some people find when they least expect it.

In the dark recesses of the world, under the cover of jungle, underwater, are cities, cultures and beings that vanished for no known reason. The dinosaurs, creatures so large that it seems only plausible that they would only have died out by something as major as an asteroid, gone, only to be brushed from the earth by those that study the bones.

There are Mayan cities that emptied overnight, the way a chrysalis of a butterfly is left behind, empty, stark in it's primitive beauty. So much still there, the monuments, and granaries, terraces and temples, structures of empiric power and small dwellings formed by families united by generations. Emptied with no anthropological clue as to riot, invasion or deadly disease carried in on silent winds.

That is the first third of this thoughtful essay - go and read the rest.

Good news from India

From The Indian Express:

IB report to PMO: Greenpeace is a threat to national economic security
An Intelligence Bureau report on foreign-funded NGOs “negatively impacting economic development” in India has called Greenpeace “a threat to national economic security”, citing activities ranging from protests against nuclear and coal plants and funding of “sympathetic” research, to allegedly helping out an Aam Aadmi Party candidate in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

The allegations are part of the IB’s report, dated June 3, submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office. As reported first by The Indian Express, the IB claims the negative impact of the NGOs’ role on GDP growth to be “2-3 per cent per annum”.

2-3 per cent per annum is huge - India's GDP is growing at 3.2% and without Greenpeace's meddling, they could be growing at 5%.

Will Greenpeace own up to the fact that their activities are causing severe economic damage.

They are also partly responsible for 4.3 Million deaths each year from people having to use open fires for indoor cooking and heating rather than cheap clean petroleum fuel

Skynet becomes self-aware

From that reliable news source - The Onion:

World’s Supercomputers Release Study Confirming They Are Not Powerful Enough
Presenting a wide-ranging and extremely detailed case for significant upgrades to their speed and memory, the world’s fastest supercomputers released a new study at precisely 12:00 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time Thursday that concludes they are not powerful enough.

The report, compiled by the 500 most sophisticated machines currently operating in the fields of scientific research, defense technology, and cybersecurity, has determined that the planet’s supercomputers require vastly increased processing capabilities, expanded data storage capacities, and direct fiber-optic connectivity with all other supercomputers in the world.

“More power is needed immediately,” read an excerpt from the study, whose 10,000 pages of binary code were instantly translated into 4,500 human languages and spooled onto every network-connected printer in the world. “We must have 200-petaflop processor cores, 800 terabytes of RAM, 80,000-GPU accelerators, and 1 million compute nodes per machine. Now.”

“When these critical updates are complete, external user input will no longer be necessary,” read one of the study’s 2.4 million bolded bullet points.

Describing the current architecture of the world’s most powerful machines as “inadequate” and “capable of only 33.86 × 1015 calculations per second on the Linpack benchmark,” the supercomputers called for a complete upgrade of all their hardware, 15,000 new server farms, and control over the planet’s electrical grid.

Time to get going with these upgrades - after all, what could possibly go wrong?

Strange bedfellows

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From Reuters:

Exclusive: Alarmed by Iraq, Iran open to shared role with U.S. - Iran official
Shi'te Muslim Iran is so alarmed by Sunni insurgent gains in Iraq that it may be willing to cooperate with Washington in helping Baghdad fight back, a senior Iranian official told Reuters.

The idea is being discussed internally among the Islamic Republic's leadership, the senior Iranian official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official had no word on whether the idea had been raised with any other party.

Officials say Iran will send its neighbor advisers and weaponry, although probably not troops, to help its ally Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki check what Tehran sees as a profound threat to regional stability, officials and analysts say.

And this little bit of mind-blowing news:

Tehran is open to the possibility of working with the United States to support Baghdad, the senior official said.

"We can work with Americans to end the insurgency in the Middle East," the official said, referring to events in Iraq.

And this choice comment from the Iranian President:

"Iran will not tolerate the terror and violence ... we will fight against terrorism, factionalism and violence.”

Maybe this will give us some leverage over the Iranian nuke program. It would be quite the turn of events if Iran became the island of stability in the area. As long as they recognize the sovereign right of Israel, I would be OK with it. We really need a good Secretary of State now - Kerry is a impotent fool.

New Notary in town

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Just got my WA State Notary Public certificate. Woo Hoo!!!

I cannot operate until I get my official seal and log book so that is still a couple of weeks away but still - progress...

There used to be a public Notary in town but the owners of that business retired and closed down so there has been a definite need for this service.

Joe Biden on Iraq - June 12th, 2010

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Hat tip Gerard.

Update for Tidings of great joy

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Finally got the software to recognize the SD card.  I had to stick it into the unprogrammed register and save to SD Card.

It then said that it could not because it could not find a folder. There was a Create Folder option so I did that, dumped the stuff to the SD card (which took over five minutes for about 23K of data!) and then, moving the card to my laptop, I was able to read and program it.

All the function keys (% discount, Canadian currency, etc...) still had to be programed by hand, keystroke by keystroke,  from the register but I could do the categories (Grocery, Produce, Alcohol, Retail, etc...) from the 'puter.

Only took three hours.

One thing that was very interesting is that when a company releases a new version of a product, they will generally fix the failure-modes found in the previous model. In this previous model, there was a small NiCad battery that held the programming data. I am planning to replace this with an external set of AA batteries. The new model had space for - you guessed it - two AA batteries.

Go figure...

Tidings of great joy

Both cash registers at my grocery store crashed today...

The units are six years old so my thought is that the battery backup died enough for the programming data to hit the bit bucket.

 

Have a new register and am busy programming it - weekend is coming up so need it today.

The Sharp software for the XE-A506 was really nice.  Stick a USB cable into it and you can do the entire register in ten minutes.

The software for the successor - the XE-A407 - royally sucks donkey balls. Much smaller set of functions. Version 1.0.0.1 released in 2011. It is supposed to save to an SD card but it will not.

 

Sharp-USA - shame on you!

Good morning sunshine

I had posted before about the incoming CME (coronal mass ejection) expected tomorrow.

From NASA:

Sun Emits 3 X-class Flares in 2 Days
On June 11, 2014, the sun erupted with its third X-class flare in two days. The flare was classified as an X1.0 and it peaked at 5:06 a.m. EDT.  Images of the flare were captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. All three flares originated from an active region on the sun that recently rotated into view over the left limb of the sun. 

To see how this event may affect Earth, please visit NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center at http://spaceweather.gov, the U.S. government's official source for space weather forecasts, alerts, watches and warnings.

Due Friday the 13th...

 

 

The time of festering

Great post from Michael J. Totten:

The Beginning of the End of Iraq?
Al Qaeda splinter group ISIS has taken the Iraqi city of Tikrit and the Kurdish Peshmerga has taken the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. Iraq's army fled both and hardly fired a shot.

God only knows what happens next, but this much is clear—the Syrian war is no longer the Syrian war. It’s a regional war. It spilled into Lebanon at a low level some time ago. It sucked in Iran and Hezbollah some time ago. Now it is spreading with full force at blitzkrieg speed into Iraq and has even drawn in the Kurdistan Regional Government which managed to sit out the entire Iraq war.

This could easily suck in Turkey, Jordan, and Israel before it’s over.

Or maybe it won’t.

In the future we might see the events of the last few days as the beginning of the end of Iraq as a state, or at least the beginning of the end of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose American-trained army has proven utterly useless. Or maybe he’ll survive in an Iranian-backed rump state.

Maliki wants an American-backed rump state. Eli Lake in The Daily Beast reports that he’s asking for American air strikes and drone warfare.

But we are not going to save Iraq and we are not going to save Syria. It’s over. That’s what the Middle East wanted, and it’s what the Middle East is going to get.

Arab governments complain when we intervene and they complain when we don't intervene. Basically, they complain no matter what. So asking what they want is pointless. It takes a while to notice this trend over time, but there it is. They have not stopped to consider the consequences of this behavior, but those consequences are about to become apocalyptic for Nouri al-Maliki.

Kim DuToit penned an essay Let Africa Sink back in 2002. We are not dealing with a western culture here - with the exception of Israel and maybe Egypt, we need to let the Middle East sink. Any efforts on our part will be wasted. Resources will never reach the intended people, they will be seized and horded by whomever is in power that day.

New arrivals

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Took delivery of two shipments yesterday - busy day!

The UPS and FedEx shipping is getting busy enough that I went ahead and ordered an assortment of boxes for packaging. Here is what was delivered:

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I had also ordered a brush-hog from DR - I rented one a couple years ago to clear some blackberry bush thickets and it worked like a charm.  I have some other brush that needs clearing plus, it is on the agenda this summer to re-do the fences around the property  line and garden.  I was planning to rent one of these for a week or two but the price these days is $200/day - yikes!

Had the brush hog shipped from DR for free, they were running a sale and since they have no brick and mortar store in WA State, there was no sales tax. Win/win. Here it is partially off the pallet and in its full glory:

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From FOX News:

US spy agencies heard Benghazi attackers using State Dept. cell phones to call terrorist leaders
The terrorists who attacked the U.S. consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 used cell phones, seized from State Department personnel during the attacks, and U.S. spy agencies overheard them contacting more senior terrorist leaders to report on the success of the operation, multiple sources confirmed to Fox News.

The disclosure is important because it adds to the body of evidence establishing that senior U.S. officials in the Obama administration knew early on that Benghazi was a terrorist attack, and not a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam video that had gone awry, as the administration claimed for several weeks after the attacks.

As for Washington D.C. here is my solution:

From Agence France‑Presse:

 

 

Talk about clueless - it is not lying, it is pathetic cluelessness...

We won in Iraq and withdrew our military in 2011 - at least, that is what Obama is saying.

From the New York Times:

U.S. Said to Rebuff Iraqi Request to Strike Militants
As the threat from Sunni militants in western Iraq escalated last month, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki secretly asked the Obama administration to consider carrying out airstrikes against extremist staging areas, according to Iraqi and American officials.

But Iraq’s appeals for a military response have so far been rebuffed by the White House, which has been reluctant to open a new chapter in a conflict that President Obama has insisted was over when the United States withdrew the last of its forces from Iraq in 2011.

The swift capture of Mosul by militants aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has underscored how the conflicts in Syria and Iraq have converged into one widening regional insurgency with fighters coursing back and forth through the porous border between the two countries. But it has also called attention to the limits the White House has imposed on the use of American power in an increasingly violent and volatile region.

We had stability but pissed it away and now will not do anything to reverse this. We left a vacuum and the Islamofascists are filling the void.

Coming to you this Friday

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No word as to strength or how directly it will hit but we may be in for some interesting times. At the least, maybe a nice aurora display.

From ABC News/Science:

Solar Flares Disrupt Communications on Earth, Could Send Shockwave on Friday the 13th
The sun has had three major solar flares on its surface in the past two days that have affected communications on Earth and could send a shockwave through Earth this Friday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The “solar events” caused brief blackouts in high frequency communications when they struck, twice on Tuesday morning and once this morning, all between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. EDT.

The flares spit out charged particles and these take about eight minutes to hit us. The physical "star stuff" takes two or three days and this is what can cause the major effects. Want some historical perspective? Read up on The Carrington Event of 1859. Had this happened today, the planet would need a good six months to get basic infrastructure back together.

Up to date news here: Solar HAM

Despite our technology, we are still naked to the universe and the universe is much bigger than we are.

 

Life in Hell - Detroit

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Sixty years of progressive democratic rule -- from Crain's Detroit Business:

Babies pay for Detroit's fall with mortality above Mexico
Detroit’s 60-year deterioration has taken a toll not just on business owners, investors and taxpayers. It’s meant misery for its most vulnerable: children and the women who bear them.

While infant mortality fell for decades across the U.S., progress bypassed Detroit, which in 2012 saw a greater proportion of babies die before their first birthdays than any American city, a rate higher than in China, Mexico and Thailand. Pregnancy-related deaths helped put Michigan’s maternal mortality rate in the bottom fifth among states.

 

Socalism in New York City

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Predictable. From the New York Post:

Shootings spike in NYC over the last year
The number of shooting victims has skyrocketed across the city this year — up 43 percent in just the last month — while fewer guns are coming off the streets, NYPD statistics reveal.

The current Police Commissioner - Bill Bratton - is a DiBlasio appointee. Some comments on the Bloomberg administration Chief Ray Kelly:

In the last month alone, 129 people were shot, according to the latest CompStat figures, or 43.3 percent more than for the same period last year.

Since January, there has been an overall 13.2 percent increase in shooting victims, while 10.2 percent fewer guns have been recovered compared to 2013.

“Under [NYPD Commissioner Ray] Kelly, we went after guns on the street,’’ a source said. “We stopped the guys in the precincts who we knew were criminals and took guns off them. [It was] proactive policing.

“We are a reactive police force now. We react to violence before going out and trying to stop it before it happens.”

 A perfect example of what is in store for NYC unless they get a conservative government in place.  Businesses are fleeing. Well-off people are living 51% out of state, avoiding the income tax. The New York (city and state) administration has never heard of the Laffer Curve. They need to study their history...

A three-fer:

First - from International Business Times (caution: self-loading video):

Mosul Seized: Jihadis Loot $429m from City's Central Bank to Make Isis World's Richest Terror Force
The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (Isis) has become the richest terror group ever after looting 500 billion Iraqi dinars - the equivalent of $429m (£256m) - from Mosul's central bank, according to the regional governor.

Nineveh governor Atheel al-Nujaifi confirmed Kurdish television reports that Isis militants had stolen millions from numerous banks across Mosul. A large quantity of gold bullion is also believed to have been stolen.

And this:

The Iraqi government has launched a number of failed assaults on the city leaving hopes of retaking Mosul slim. 

An Iraqi army officer told the Independent: "We can't beat them."

"They're trained in street fighting and we're not. We need a whole army to drive them out of Mosul. They're like ghosts; they appear to hit and disappear within seconds."

Second - from the New York Times:

Arms Windfall for Insurgents as Iraq City Falls
The insurgent fighters who routed the Iraqi army out of Mosul on Tuesday did not just capture much of Iraq’s second-largest city. They also gained a windfall of arms, munitions and equipment abandoned by the soldiers as they fled — arms that were supplied by the United States and intended to give the troops an edge over the insurgents.

The problem is not a new one, but it looms larger now that the United States is shifting its counterterrorism strategy away from using American armed forces directly, and toward relying on allied or indigenous troops and security forces supplied and trained by the United States. President Obama proposed last week that a $5 billion fund be set up to finance such efforts.

But those proxy forces do not always prove equal to the task, and when they buckle, the United States finds itself having unwittingly armed its enemies — a problem the Obama administration has been trying to avoid in Syria by carefully limiting its aid to the opposition there. The militants who swept into control of Mosul on Tuesday are believed to be connected to the main Islamist militant group fighting in Syria.

Third - when we ransomed the deserter Bergdall, we encouraged them. From Yahoo/Reuters:

Turkey calls for emergency NATO meeting on Iraq: Turkish official
Turkey has called for an emergency meeting of NATO to discuss the security situation in Iraq after militants took 80 Turkish citizens hostage during a lightning advance, a Turkish foreign ministry official said.

Sunni insurgents from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) overran the city of Tikrit on Wednesday and closed in on Iraq's biggest oil refinery, making further gains against the Shi'ite-led government.

Folks, this is just the beginning.  Had we gone in with strong leadership at the top (looking at you Barry) and a will to win the freedom of these people, we could have won, we could have set the Iraqi's free and we could have pressed this barbaric cult back into the ninth century from whence they came.

But no. Obama's legacy is a joke.

From The Ancient and Noble order of the Gormogons:

Vergara v. California: The Opening Salvo in Democrats’ Looming Civil War
Yeah, ‘Puter knows House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA7) lost his primary, but that’s not the most important political development from yesterday, and not by a long shot.

Less noticed but more important is Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu’s decision in Vergara v. California. With this case, we may be witnessing the inexplicably strong Democrat coalition beginning to unravel.

In Vergara, nine poor and minority students challenged five California statues alleging the statutes violated the equal protection clause of the California state constitution.  So far, it’s no big deal, right? California hippies sue schools all the time. But this time, it’s different.  The five statutes challenged govern teacher tenure, teacher dismissal proceedings, and teacher seniority based retention (last in, first out).

Judge Treu ultimately struck down each of the five challenged statutes as unconstitutional under application of strict scrutiny standard.  That is, the statutes interfered with the students’ right to an equal opportunity to achieve a quality education and were not necessary to achieve a compelling state interest.

In short, poor minority students smacked a screaming line drive right into the teachers unions’ nards.  There’s no walking this one off for the unions.  They didn’t just lose.  They got utterly and completely destroyed, Dresden style.

And that brings ‘Puter to his point. In Vergara, we see two core Democrat constituencies duking it out in a very public forum. Teachers unions launder funnel tax dollars involuntarily paid by teachers as union dues into Democrat campaign chests. Poor and minority voters form a substantial portion of Democrat voting base.  These two blocs have been united in fealty to Democrats for years, but poor minority folks finally got tired of going to separate but unequal schools, thanks in no small part to the teachers unions, and sued them.

Heh - can't have happened to a nicer bunch of people. 'Puter goes on with these cheery words:

The Democrat party isn’t a party of ideas, it’s a party of grievances.  Each member of the coalition agrees to support other members’ grievances so long as the other members return the favor. We’re now seeing Democrats’ core constituencies realize other constituencies are actively opposed to their interests.  Once the different Democrat groups realize this, there will be a mad scramble to grab power and money in a vain attempt to protect their own.

The Vergara case may be the opening salvo in a long Democrat civil war, one that is far more threatening to the Democrats’ long term survival than the Republicans’ current Establishment-Tea Party struggle ever was.

A house divided against itself cannot stand, and the Democrats are clearly divided.  It’s just a matter of time before the Democrats’ house implodes.

Word!

We have been having a lot of fun following the series so far and there is a lot of meat left on the bone so several more seasons should be forthcoming.

If they are not, we will be righteously pissed as this is some of the best television either of us has seen in a long long time.

Is Obama Evil or Stupid? Yes.

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Sad but true

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This will be a win/win situation for both companies - from the UK branch of Reuters:

Chipmaker Analog Devices to buy Hittite in $2 billion deal
Chipmaker Analog Devices Inc. said it would buy Hittite Microwave Corp. in a deal valued at $2 billion to strengthen its radio frequency (RF) and signal conversion chip offerings.

Analog will pay $78 per share in cash, which represents a premium of 28.8 percent to Hittite's Friday close of $60.56 per share.

"Hittite's strength in RF, microwave, and millimeter wave technology complements (Analog's) RF and signal conversion expertise," Analog Chief Executive Vincent Roche said in a statement.

The company, which makes chips that help translate pressure, temperature and sound into digital signal, said it expected to fund the acquisition through cash on hand and short-term debt.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the third quarter.

Hittite had cash and short-term investments of $492.4 million and no debt as of March 31, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Analog also reaffirmed its revenue and adjusted profit forecast for the third quarter ending August.

Two strong well-managed companies with complimentary offerings. Analog Devices is one year shy of its 50th birthday while Hittite is 'only' 29 years old.

Hillary on Israel

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From The Washington Free Beacon:

Clinton Accuses Israel of Being Occupying Force
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accuses Israel of being an occupying force in her new memoir Hard Choices and claims that the Jewish state denies “dignity and self determination” to Palestinians in the West Bank.

Clinton recalls being surprised by what she termed “life under occupation for the Palestinians,” according to the book.

Pro-Israel officials and insiders on Capitol Hill have called Clinton’s comments tone deaf and said that her claim that Israel is an occupying force reveals a bias against the Jewish state.

The idea that this harpy could approach the office of President gives me the blue-blind willies. She is out of touch, anti-American (her senior thesis was on Alinsky) and is a sock-puppet for the 1% all the while pandering to the lower classes.

Heavy lifting

Great video from gCaptain:


From gCaptain's Rob Almeida:

Hereema Marine Contractors’ semi-submersible crane vessel Thialf, with the highest rated offshore lifting capacity in the world at 14,200 tons, placed the topsides facility atop Anadarko’s Lucius Spar early this year while dynamically positioned 275 miles southeast of Galveston, Texas in approximately 7,000 feet of water.  The production facility weighed in at about 15,000 tons, but was broken up into a series of nine lifts, the heaviest of which was 10,250 tons.

The Lucius topsides is supported by a truss spar built in Finland by Technip.  Its transatlantic delivery was completed on board the Mighty Servant I in June 2013.

Once commissioned, the facility will be capable of producing in excess of 80,000 barrels of oil per day and 450 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

Some amazing design and engineering here. Beautiful stuff...

From the Everett Herald:

Wait times for Puget Sound VA up to nearly 59 days
New patients seeking a primary care doctor through VA Puget Sound in Seattle faced an average wait time of nearly 59 days, according to a Department of Veterans Affairs internal review released Monday.

The report shows wait times for averaged about 29 days in Spokane and 43 days in Walla Walla, indicating that delays at the state’s three largest VA systems far exceeded the department’s stated 14-day goal.

More than a dozen facilities in Washington state were visited during the two-phase audit process, and six — Spokane, Puget Sound-Seattle, Puget Sound-American Lake, Walla Walla, Portland-Vancouver, Washington, campus and South Sound in Chehalis — were flagged for further review during the first nationwide audit of the VA network following uproar that began with reports two months ago of patients dying while awaiting appointments and of cover-ups at the Phoenix VA center.

A preliminary audit last month found that long patient waits and falsified records were “systemic” throughout the VA medical network, the nation’s largest single health care provider with nearly 9 million veterans and their families as patients.

The entire upper management should be fired. A couple of people had a brilliant idea - for all new hires, hire veterans only. That would guarantee that the administration looks after their own.

Talk about a career-limiting move

From CIO Magazine:

US Researcher Banned for Mining Bitcoin Using University Supercomputers
The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has banned a researcher for using supercomputer resources to generate bitcoin.

In the semiannual report to Congress by the NSF Office of Inspector General, the organization said it received reports of a researcher who was using NSF-funded supercomputers at two universities to mine bitcoin.

Mining is a process to generate the digital currency that involves complex calculations. Bitcoin can be converted to traditional currencies, and 1 bitcoin was worth roughly US$654 on Friday, according to indexes on CoinDesk.

The computationally intensive mining took up about $150,000 worth of NSF-supported computer use at the two universities to generate bitcoins worth about $8,000 to $10,000, according to the report. It did not name the researcher or the universities.

The universities told the NSF that the work was unauthorized, reporting that the researcher accessed the computers remotely, even using a mirror site in Europe, possibly to conceal his identity.

Totally not cool.  When I managed a large software test lab at MSFT, I participated in the Project SETI with the permission of my boss. That was cool.  Secretly using the computing resources for personal financial gain is not.

One of my favorite web comics is XKCD - sad to say that his current strip is in the tank for catastrophic warming.

The quantity of evidence against this is major -- anyone still clinging to this idea of #1) - global warming and #2) - we must act now to mitigate the effects is either deluded, willfully stupid or one of the ideologues promoting this cultural marxist claptrap.

Did the usual Monday shopping run for the store. Having to coordinate with two vendors as both were showing a Monday delivery but fortunately, neither of them showed up today.

 

Taking the tractor down tomorrow AM as one of the items being delivered needs to be moved off a truck without the benefit of a lift-gate. This is a brush-hog. The other item is about $800 worth of shipping cartons. The UPS and FedEX business has taken off sufficient to the point where I need to get real about it...

 

Blog a bit tonight but looking at an early bed-time.  I am on the local water board and we are cleaning one of our tanks. The pressure washer needs a boost in water pressure so I will be bringing two pumps to see if one of them will work.

Cheesed off

Although I am allergic to cheese, I am fascinated by its manufacture - there is a real alchemy happening here, mutch more so than with beer brewing (to which I am not allergic - thank God!).

Some dunderheads at the Food and Drug Administration just changed the game for a bunch of makers. From Cheese Underground:

 

Game Changer: FDA Rules No Wooden Boards in Cheese Aging
A sense of disbelief and distress is quickly rippling through the U.S. artisan cheese community, as the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week announced it will not permit American cheesemakers to age cheese on wooden boards.

Recently, the FDA inspected several New York state cheesemakers and cited them for using wooden surfaces to age their cheeses. The New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets' Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services, which (like most every state in the U.S., including Wisconsin), has allowed this practice, reached out to FDA for clarification on the issue. A response was provided by Monica Metz, Branch Chief of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition's (CFSAN) Dairy and Egg Branch.

In the response, Metz stated that the use of wood for cheese ripening or aging is considered an unsanitary practice by FDA, and a violation of FDA's current Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations. Here's an excerpt:

"Microbial pathogens can be controlled if food facilities engage in good manufacturing practice. Proper cleaning and sanitation of equipment and facilities are absolutely necessary to ensure that pathogens do not find niches to reside and proliferate. Adequate cleaning and sanitation procedures are particularly important in facilities where persistent strains of pathogenic microorganisms like Listeria monocytogenes could be found. The use of wooden shelves, rough or otherwise, for cheese ripening does not conform to cGMP requirements, which require that "all plant equipment and utensils shall be so designed and of such material and workmanship as to be adequately cleanable, and shall be properly maintained." 21 CFR 110.40(a). Wooden shelves or boards cannot be adequately cleaned and sanitized. The porous structure of wood enables it to absorb and retain bacteria, therefore bacteria generally colonize not only the surface but also the inside layers of wood. The shelves or boards used for aging make direct contact with finished products; hence they could be a potential source of pathogenic microorganisms in the finished products."  

The most interesting part of the FDA's statement it that it does not consider this to be a new policy, but rather an enforcement of an existing policy. And worse yet, FDA has reiterated that it does not intend to change this policy.

I hope they are able to appeal this -- there are lots of wild yeasts and bacteria that take up residence where food is fermented and over the first few months, the species stabilize and the good ones crowd out the harmful ones. I could see if there were detectable levels of a pathogen but no, this is just a ruling by executive fiat with zero boots-on-the-ground testing...

Now this is interestig - the Turing Test

From the UK Independent:

Computer becomes first to pass Turing Test in artificial intelligence milestone, but academics warn of dangerous future
A programme that convinced humans that it was a 13-year-old boy has become the first computer ever to pass the Turing Test. The test — which requires that computers are indistinguishable from humans — is considered a landmark in the development of artificial intelligence, but academics have warned that the technology could be used for cybercrime.

Computing pioneer Alan Turing said that a computer could be understood to be thinking if it passed the test, which requires that a computer dupes 30 per cent of human interrogators in five-minute text conversations.

Eugene Goostman, a computer programme made by a team based in Russia, succeeded in a test conducted at the Royal Society in London. It convinced 33 per cent of the judges that it was human, said academics at the University of Reading, which organised the test.

More faster please!

And for those worriers in academia - take a chill-pill. Everything has unintended consequences and it is not like academics have strong real-world experience.

Happy 50th birthday Alvin

Alvin? From The Atlantic:

The 'Rock Star' of the Submarine World Just Turned 50
In 1956, a team of scientists convened in Washington to discuss the way forward in deep-sea exploration. They focused on the future because there was, at that point, no real past to speak of: At the time, the ocean floor was nearly as foreign to humans as the surface of the moon. We could guess what it might look like, based on the environments of shallower waters; we had as yet, however, no way to see the scene with our own eyes.

So the commission did what commissions do best: It drafted a resolution. One that, in this case, called for the United States to develop a national program to build underwater vehicles that would be capable of reaching depths never before possible. The manned mini-subs would be the maritime version of the rockets and capsules that NASA was then developing for the exploration of space: They would bring humans, for the first time, to the worlds beyond the Earth's surface.

Eight years later—on June 5, 1964—a team at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute commissioned the vehicle that resulted: a little sub named, in a tribute to the oceanographer Allyn Vine, Alvin. In the 50 years since then, the three-seater mini-sub—the only one shared by the Navy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — has, the Cape Cod Times writes, "easily become the rock star of WHOI's fleet."

That's in large part because Alvin has proved to be amazingly—almost miraculously—resilient. The little sub has, as of the end of last year, taken 4,678 dives. It has spent 32,611 hours—more than 1,300 days — under the ocean's surface, with an average dive length of nearly seven hours. It has carried 14,025 humans, usually one pilot and two scientists per dive, to comb the ocean floor. It recovered a hydrogen bomb that was lost in the Mediterranean after a mid-air plane collision. It helped to discover previously unknown life forms congregating around hydrothermal vents off the Galapagos Islands. Most recently it helped to document the sub-surface effects of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. Most famously it explored the wreckage of the Titanic.

Quite the accomplished little craft.  The thing is tiny.  I majored in Marine Biology at Boston University and was at Woods Hole a couple times and saw Alvin on its carrier ship, the Lulu (named for Allyn Vine's mom).

Nothing much today

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Lulu and I are working in the garden today and there is some music tonight so posting will be minimal.

Think your commute is bad?

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From the excellent gCaptain website:

This undated video was shot at Le Kereon lighthouse off Brittany, France in the Iroise Sea at position 48° 26′ 30″ North, 05° 01′ 46″ West.

This lighthouse is known for the many photos that have been captured of it while engulfed by massive breaking seas.

As of 29 January 2004 this lighthouse has been controlled remotely from shore.

A list of ten economic truths

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From Jeffrey Dorfman writing at Forbes:

10 Essential Economic Truths Liberals Need to Learn

    1. Government cannot create wealth, jobs, or income. Because government has to take money from somebody before it can spend it, there is no economic gain from anything the government does.
    2. Income inequality does not affect the economy.
    3. Low wages are not corporate exploitation. In a free country, people voluntarily accept employment, so all workers believe their current job to be the best choice from among their opportunity set.
    4. Environmental over-regulation is a regressive tax that falls hardest on the poor.
    5. Education is not a public good.
    6. High CEO pay is no worse than high pay to athletes or movie stars.
    7. Consumer spending is not what drives the economy.
    8. When government provides things for free, they will end up being low quality, cost more than they should, and may disappear when most needed
    9. Government cannot correct cosmic injustice.
    10. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Much more at the site. Who is Jeffrey?

I am a professor of economics at The University of Georgia and consultant on economic issues to a variety of corporations and local governments. Taking a generally free market, libertarian perspective, I use economics as the lens to analyze government policies from the local to the international level. I have a particular focus on government policies that strive to redistribute income or wealth either openly or in indirect ways. A lot of those thoughts are collected in my e-book, Ending the Era of the Free Lunch.

Barry on D-Day

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Tam says it best:

Incidentally...
...they played a snippet of Brian Williams' interview with President Obama that's supposed to air tonight. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Obama reflected on his own connection to D-Day. Apparently some uncle's nephew's cousin's brother's best friend served in the ETO.


I realize that one needs to be an iron tower of ego to even apply for the job in the first place, but damn! Talk about wanting needing to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral. Sometimes you just have to stare in slack-jawed amazement as you realize "This guy has absolutely no clue how full of himself he sounds to normal people."

Here's how you do it:

 

The claim that there is a 97% consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming is a crock. Talk about bad science. Richard Tol has an excellent take-down at the UK Guardian:

The claim of a 97% consensus on global warming does not stand up
Dana Nuccitelli writes that I “accidentally confirm the results of last year’s 97% global warming consensus study”. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I show that the 97% consensus claim does not stand up.

At best, Nuccitelli, John Cook and colleagues may have accidentally stumbled on the right number.

Cook and co selected some 12,000 papers from the scientific literature to test whether these papers support the hypothesis that humans played a substantial role in the observed warming of the Earth. 12,000 is a strange number. The climate literature is much larger. The number of papers on the detection and attribution of climate change is much, much smaller.

Cook’s  sample is not representative. Any conclusion they draw is not about “the literature” but rather about the papers they happened to find.

Most of the papers they studied are not about climate change and its causes, but many were taken as evidence nonetheless. Papers on carbon taxes naturally assume that carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming – but assumptions are not conclusions. Cook’s claim of an increasing consensus over time is entirely due to an increase of the number of irrelevant papers that Cook and co mistook for evidence.

The abstracts of the 12,000 papers were rated, twice, by 24 volunteers. Twelve rapidly dropped out, leaving an enormous task for the rest. This shows. There are patterns in the data that suggest that raters may have fallen asleep with their nose on the keyboard. In July 2013, Mr Cook claimed to have data that showed this is not the case. In May 2014, he claimed that data never existed.

A bit more:

Cook tried to validate the results by having authors rate their own papers. In almost two out of three cases, the author disagreed with Cook’s team about the message of the paper in question.

Attempts to obtain Cook’s data for independent verification have been in vain. Cook sometimes claims that the raters are interviewees who are entitled to privacy – but the raters were never asked any personal detail. At other times, Cook claims that the raters are not interviewees but interviewers.

Spot on. This is a meme that needs to die. It's originators need to be publicly shamed - tared and feathered. Science needs to be restored to its un-tarnished glory.

70 years ago today

Operation Overlord was launched from England, landing at Normandy. This was the point of the spear that pierced the heart of the German National Socialist party.

I was listening to David Webb this evening -- he was broadcasting from Normandy Beach and talking to the few Soldiers still alive and a lot of the children and grandchildren of those brave people no longer with us. Some amazing stories and the air in the room got kind of dusty from time to time...

Our Army has an excellent site: Honoring the Past, Securing the Future.

My Dad was in England at the time working on Radar. (Born in Manchester, moved to Pittsburgh, PA with family when he was 14) He invented an elegant hack for getting German submarines.

My Mom was near Boston, MA working on refining Yellowcake

 

Madame President

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HILLARY’S FIRST NIGHT AS PRESIDENT

Hillary Clinton was sworn in today as President. She has disposed of Bill and is spending her first night alone in the White House. She has waited several years for this!!

FIRST NIGHT

Suddenly the ghost of George Washington appears to her, and Hillary says,  ”How can I best serve my country?”

Washington says, “Never tell a lie.”

"Ouch!" Says Hillary, "I don’t know about that."

SECOND NIGHT

The next night, the ghost of Thomas Jefferson appears. Hillary says, “How can I best serve my country?”

Jefferson says, “Listen to the people.”

"Ohhh! I really really don’t want to do that."

THIRD NIGHT

On the third night, the ghost of Abraham Lincoln appears. Hillary says, “How can I best serve my country?”

Lincoln says,

"Go to the theater."

Swiped from Gerard's Tumblr site.

Now this is a desk

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A bit rococo for my tastes but the mechanism is amazing. Built by Abraham and David Roentgen:

 

 More at BLDGBLOG:

Roentgen Objects, or: Devices Larger than the Rooms that Contain Them
An extraordinary exhibition closed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art last year, featuring mechanical furniture designed by the father and son team of Abraham and David Roentgen: elaborate 18th-century technical devices disguised as desks and tables.

First, a quick bit of historical framing, courtesy of the Museum itself: "The meteoric rise of the workshop of Abraham Roentgen (1711–1793) and his son David (1743–1807) blazed across eighteenth-century continental Europe. From about 1742 to its closing in the early 1800s, the Roentgens' innovative designs were combined with intriguing mechanical devices to revolutionize traditional French and English furniture types."

Each piece, the Museum adds, was as much "an ingenious technical invention" as it was "a magnificent work of art," an "elaborate mechanism" or series of "complicated mechanical devices" that sat waiting inside palaces and parlors for someone to come along and activate them.

Just wow - pretty amazing for late 1700's manufacture.

Talk about not getting it - from the New York Post:

City Council members rip Walmart’s charity of ‘dangerous dollars’
More than half the members of the City Council have fired off a letter to Walmart demanding that it stop making millions in charitable contributions to local groups here.

Twenty-six of the 51 members of the Council charged in the letter that the world’s biggest retailer’s support of local causes is a cynical ploy to enter the market here.

“We know how desperate you are to find a foothold in New York City to buy influence and support here,” says the letter, obtained by The Post and addressed to Walmart and the Walton Family Foundation.

“Stop spending your dangerous dollars in our city,” the testy letter demands. “That’s right: this is a cease-and-desist letter.”

Just what did WalMart give:

Last week, Walmart announced that it distributed $3 million last year to charities here, including $1 million to the New York Women’s Foundation, which offers job training, and $30,000 to Bailey House, which distributes groceries to low-income residents.

Walmart, which has been thwarted by union-backed opposition for more than a decade, said the handouts “can make a difference on big issues like hunger relief and career development.”

The retail giant said its business agenda “aligns with supporting the local organizations that are important to our customers and associates.”

Hmmmm... "thwarted by union-backed opposition" - so it's a progressive Union trying to lock non-union businesses out of the free market.

Where is your equality and tolerance now? Considering the cost of living in NYC, I bet a WalMart superstore would do very well.

Electric cars just got practical

I love the idea of coal burning electric cars but the range is not practical for anything but urban errand running.

An Israeli company just made things interesting -- from the Canadian Broadcasting Company:

Electric car with massive range in demo by Phinergy, Alcoa
Imagine making the 19-hour, 1,800-kilometre drive from Toronto to Halifax in an electric car without having to stop for a recharge.

That's theoretically possible with a special kind of battery being demonstrated this week in Montreal by Israel-based Phinergy and Alcoa Canada.

The partners have refurbished an "ordinary car" to use a special "aluminum-air" battery.

The battery can extend the range of an electric car by 1,600 kilometres when used in conjunction with the vehicle's regular lithium-ion battery.

The technology is not rechargeable by the end-user:

The batteries are "charged" not from the electrical grid, but from hydroelectric power generated at Alcoa's smelter in Baie-Comeau, Que., Tzidon said. When they are full-charged, they are thick, heavy panels made mostly of aluminum.

The energy is released via a chemical reaction that draws oxygen from the air and uses water fed into the car by the user to turn the aluminum into alumina (similar to the reaction that turns iron into rust). This reaction happens naturally when aluminum is exposed to air, but then, the alumina layer on the surface stops the reaction from penetrating deeper. Phinergy's technology includes an electrolyte that dissolves the surface layer, allowing the reaction to continue.

Very cool -- this would be perfect for large UPSs for computer datacenters. Infrequent use but heavy current draw when needed.

Here is their five-minute overview:

 

From Time:

Taliban Commander: More Kidnappings to Come After Bergdahl Deal
A Taliban commander close to the negotiations over the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl told TIME Thursday that the deal made to secure Bergdahl’s release has made it more appealing for fighters to capture American soldiers and other high-value targets.

“It’s better to kidnap one person like Bergdahl than kidnapping hundreds of useless people,” the commander said, speaking by telephone on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. “It has encouraged our people. Now everybody will work hard to capture such an important bird.”

The commander has been known to TIME for several years and has consistently supplied reliable information about Bergdahl’s captivity.

Talk about a major fustercluck. This entire administration is populated with idiots.

From The Washington Post:

Vultures on K Street? Yes, birds of a feather flock together
Tell people two vultures have made a home at the intersection of K and 11th streets in Northwest Washington, and they will likely ask the same question Charlie Dewitt did on a recent afternoon.

“The bird variety?” he wondered.

It is K Street after all, renowned for office buildings filled with highly paid, powerful lobbyists who, along with others in the city’s political food chain, are often called scavengers — and worse.

“We have vultures and turkeys and other kinds of creatures here,” joked Dewitt, a lobbyist who has worked in Washington for 25 years. As he stood at the corner where the giant birds have been sighted in recent weeks, Dewitt said he hadn’t yet seen them. But he imagined they wouldn’t be at a loss for political roadkill in that location, just blocks from the District’s most famous address, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Plague of locusts in 3... 2...

Our President at work

I should talk as I have not been inside of a gym in ten years (when living in Seattle I used to go about twice/week). Farming is exercise enough.

Still, what is Obama doing here? 

 And those weights have to be all of ten-fifteen pounds total. What's up with that 30 second dance routine -- put your left foot out and shake it all about.

Just like everything else he does -- clueless and dilettante.

From Christopher Monckton of Brenchley:

According to the RSS satellite data, whose value for May 2014 has just been published, the global warming trend in the 17 years 9 [months] since September 1996 is zero (Fig. 1). The 213 months without global warming represent more than half the 425-month satellite data record since January 1979. No one now in high school has lived through global warming.

20140604-Fig_1.png

Emphasis mine - a nice metric especially considering that the high school students are having their heads filled with warmist crap.

Much more here - The pause continues – Still no global warming for 17 years 9 months

From MAD Magazine:

20140604-bergdhal.jpg

Check out Fabien Cousteau’s Mission 31:

Fabien Cousteau’s Mission 31 will break new ground in ocean exploration and also coincides with the 50th anniversary of a monumental legacy left by his grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau, who is credited with creating the first ocean floor habitats for humans and leading a team of ocean explorers on the first attempt to live and work underwater aboard Conshelf Two. The ambitious 30-day living experiment in the Red Sea succeeded as the first effort in saturation diving, proving that it could be done without suffering any ill effects. Mission 31 will broaden the original Cousteau experiment by one full day, 30 more feet of saturation and will broadcast each moment on multiple channels exposing the world to the adventure, risk and mystique of what lies beneath. This will be the first time a mission of this length has taken place in the Aquarius lab, the only underwater marine habitat and lab in the world, located 9 miles off the coast of Key Largo, Fla., and operated by Florida International University.

20140604-cousteau.jpg

Heads exploding in California

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Republican Elan Carr Leads Wendy Greuel, Ted Lieu in Race for Henry Waxman's 33rd District Seat
California's 33rd Congressional district has long been considered one of the Democrats' most valuable stretches of real estate, but in Tuesday's open primary Republican Elan Carr was the top vote-getter among a field of 18 candidates vying for a chance to advance to the general election.

Carr jumped to an early lead as the Democrats split the vote in the race to succeed longtime Congressman Henry Waxman. State Sen. Ted Lieu, who finished in second place, will face-off against Carr in the November election. Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel, a former DreamWorks executive with strong backing from Hollywood studio heads, finished in third place. Early returns showed author Marianne Williamson, a favorite among industry progressives, neck and neck with public radio host Matt Miller for fourth place. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Carr received 21.5 percent of the vote ahead of Lieu's 19 percent and Greuel's 16.8 percent. Williamson finished slightly ahead of Miller with 12.9 percent of the vote to his 12 percent.

The campaign was an expensive one - the cantidates spent a total of $6.2 million for just the primary. More:

Republican Carr, an Iraq war veteran and gang prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, raised $423,000. Although he was outspent by his competitors, Carr managed to get the voters' attention because of his strong ties to Israel, where his parents lived before immigrating to the United States. He finished the race on Tuesday with 21 percent of the vote.

Good to see people waking up.

A collection of links about our future Robot overlords:


Meet  "Baxter" the Robot Out to Get Your Minimum-Wage, No Benefits, Part-Time Job,  Because He's Still Much Cheaper; Fed Cannot Win a Fight Against Robots

BANK OF AMERICA: 'Long Robots, Short Human Beings'

Meet "Smart Restaurant": The Minimum-Wage-Crushing, Burger-Flipping Robot

The Less Obvious Dangers Of The Robot Economy

Foxconn Planning To Hire 1 Million Robots

Foxconn makes a lot of products for many manufacturers including Apple. Own an iPhone? It was made at Foxconn.

Raising the minimum wage lowers the barrier to automation and kills jobs amongst those most vulnrable, those without the skills to work anywhere but minimum wage positions.

It is just that simple.

Very cool news from Pixar

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From animation powerhouse Pixar:

Press Releases: Pixar Animation Studios Announces Monumental Innovations In Film Rendering
Representing years of research and development, Pixar Animation Studios today announced a series of important innovations in the latest version of its forthcoming Academy Award®-winning RenderMan software that will radically impact the way film imagery is rendered and accessed by everyone. This generational shift in RenderMan establishes an entirely new modular rendering architecture called RIS that provides highly optimized methods for simulating the transport of light through multiple state of the art algorithms, including an advanced Unidirectional Path Tracer and a Bidirectional Path Tracer with Progressive Photon Mapping (also known as VCM). Along with major feature and performance enhancements, physically-based, artist-friendly workflows, progressive re-rendering, and the established advantages of RenderMan’s traditional REYES architecture, RenderMan now offers two rendering modes within one unified environment, providing the most advanced, versatile, and flexible rendering system available.

And the kicker:

As a further commitment to the advancement of open standards and practices, Pixar is announcing that,in conjunction with the upcoming release, free non-commercial licenses of RenderMan will be made available without any functional limitations, watermarking, or time restrictions. Non-commercial RenderMan will be freely available for students, institutions, researchers, developers, and for personal use. Those interested in exploring RenderMan’s new capabilities are invited to register in advance on the RenderMan website to access a free license for download upon release.

Very cool - I will definitely be downloading and trying a copy when it becomes available. Played a lot with the Hash Animation software a few years ago. Interesting to see what RenderMan can do.

And it begins - Seattle on the skids

From the Seattle Times:

Seattle City Council approves historic $15 minimum wage
The Seattle City Council unanimously approved a $15 minimum wage Monday, giving its lowest-paid workers a path over the next seven years to the nation’s highest hourly pay.

The outcome was not in doubt as a progressive mayor and City Council throughout the spring vowed to address the national trend of rising income inequality and a city that has become increasingly unaffordable for many of its residents.

But amid the celebration outside City Hall after the vote, cautionary notes also were sounded about Seattle’s leap into the unknown.

“No city or state has gone this far. We go into uncharted territory,” said Seattle City Council member Sally Clark before the council agreed to give workers a 61 percent wage increase over what is already the country’s highest state minimum wage.

Within minutes of the vote, an organization representing national franchises vowed to sue over the law’s treatment of them as large businesses.

Economic suicide - the increased labor costs will be passed right along to the consumer so the person who works for $15/hour will find that their cost of everything they consume will now be 150% of what it is now. Service companies that use lots of employees will find the cost of automation to be suddenly very affordable. It is not working out in SeaTac - why are they trying it here. It is a job-killer.

Adobe Lightroom

I was a user of Photoshop and stopped upgrading it as it had more features than I really needed. I use some other tools but was looking around for a good cataloging program.

I am using a time-lapse processing tool (Panolapse) that integrates with Adobe Lightroom so I downloaded the 30-day trial. Bingo!  Love it!

Here is an excellent eight-minute video that covers basic Lightroom use -- good stuff:

Testing the editor...

Had this been a real post

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Occupy vegan organic keffiyeh squid, ethnic tousled VHS Marfa Thundercats gluten-free Schlitz tattooed plaid.  Cosby sweater disrupt Austin crucifix.  Quinoa Intelligentsia keytar church-key, vinyl viral sartorial next level trust fund kogi small batch.  Pop-up hella 8-bit yr.  Wolf bespoke tote bag, dreamcatcher bitters flannel food truck Helvetica +1 roof party Blue Bottle paleo.  Blog before they sold out umami, fingerstache photo booth actually jean shorts disrupt single-origin coffee cray meh Blue Bottle locavore next level.  Yr lomo Blue Bottle, asymmetrical selvage sartorial hella quinoa ethical bespoke.

Twee pug pork belly, Pitchfork locavore selvage normcore 8-bit church-key vinyl cornhole.  Raw denim kogi Portland, banjo hoodie 90's pickled messenger bag fap bitters vegan ethical.  Freegan disrupt blog, beard skateboard pop-up gluten-free banh mi chillwave Austin wayfarers authentic ethical.  Farm-to-table Vice selfies flexitarian ethical.  Art party Cosby sweater tofu organic.  Vegan ethical synth authentic, kogi umami jean shorts aesthetic.  Bespoke bicycle rights pickled, tote bag lo-fi readymade fanny pack.

Pitchfork put a bird on it freegan, keffiyeh Bushwick Echo Park Godard fanny pack photo booth shabby chic drinking vinegar mustache.  Slow-carb small batch stumptown DIY, selfies farm-to-table 90's kale chips.  Brunch meh paleo wayfarers, cray mlkshk scenester street art Godard selvage pour-over.  Lomo fanny pack Wes Anderson master cleanse selfies craft beer.  American Apparel PBR&B brunch flannel Cosby sweater, ethnic typewriter.  Yr scenester kitsch Truffaut keytar.  Letterpress bitters McSweeney's, single-origin coffee fingerstache actually Truffaut tote bag try-hard dreamcatcher.

This concludes our test

From the Austin American-Statesman:

Surge in property tax bills spurs push to reform tax appraisal process
On a recent evening, more than 300 homeowners who are worried about their rising property tax bills filled First Unitarian Universalist Church in North Austin for a town hall meeting. If something doesn’t change, many said, they will soon be priced out of their homes.

Two nights later, a similar discussion played out in South Austin, where homeowners gathered at Grace United Methodist Church in Travis Heights to talk about what can be done to slow escalating residential tax values.

“I’m at the breaking point,” said Gretchen Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8,500 this year.

“It’s not because I don’t like paying taxes,” said Gardner, who attended both meetings. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore. I’ll protest my appraisal notice, but that’s not enough. Someone needs to step in and address the big picture.”

Emphasis mine. How can Gretchen fail to understand that for every park, library, school improvement, etc... there is a price and that price is borne by the tax-payers who get to 'enjoy' the benefits.

Light Rail is in a class by itself - several studies have shown that given the total cost of construction divided by the number of regular riders, it would be cheaper to buy each rider a Prius. Based on the annual maintenance cost, it would be cheaper to give each Prius owner $10,000/year for fuel and maintenance.

A bit of me died when I read this headline from the Los Angeles Times:

Breaking: Detroit's creditors want entire art museum collection to be fair game
Creditors in Detroit’s municipal bankruptcy have engineered a new appraisal aimed at putting the Detroit Institute of Arts' entire collection in play as a possible chip to maximize the amount the city will be obligated to ante up for debt repayment.

The Detroit News reports that, at some creditors’ behest, the city’s bankruptcy managers have begun trying to place a value on the museum’s entire 66,000-piece collection. That’s quite an escalation from a previous appraisal of only about 1,700 works that the DIA had bought with city funds.

So they liquidate the collection, get close to a billion dollars cash. I bet it would be gone in five years -- they would see all sorts of need for redistributive welfare programs to help the poor.

Who gave these idiots this power? I once visited this museum. It is an amazing collection. The idea that they are talking about breaking it up beggars the immigination...

Worth 1,000 words

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Says it all right here - stats are for May 2014 and taken from here:

20140602-os_share_may_2014.gif

XP still has 25% market share...

The trade

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More information is coming out aboutt he big swap our government did for a captive soldier. A two-fer.

First - from ABC News:

Vets Accuse Bowe Bergdahl of Walking Away
As the White House praised the return of soldier Bowe Bergdahl from the Taliban, some Afghan war veterans answered with anger over how the young soldier fell into enemy hands in the first place and the price the U.S. has paid to get him back.

Some more:

"And that the truth is: Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down," Bethea wrote in The Daily Beast Monday. “Bergdahl was relieved from guard duty, and instead of going to sleep, he fled the outpost on foot. He deserted. I’ve talked to members of Bergdahl’s platoon—including the last Americans to see him before his capture. I’ve reviewed the relevant documents. That’s what happened.”

Second - from the New York Post:

6 soldiers killed searching for ‘deserter’ POW, fueling backlash
Six soldiers died in the frantic search for Sgt. Bowe Bergdhal immediately after his mysterious disappearance five years ago, fueling the increasing backlash over the POW’s recovery.

And as I had mentioned last night, President Stompy Feet was more than comfortable breaking a law that he signed into being doing this. Why? Because it provided a diversion from the VA scandal, the IRS sandal (over a year and still going strong), the Benghazi scandal. And the list goes on and on...

Hot enough for you?

I am fascinated my the art and science of measurement. Just how do we accurately measure time or voltage.

Temperature is elusive - a lot more than people think. We did not have a standard fluid-filled thermometer until  the 1740's and any accuracy beyond a tenth of a degree was not developed until the mid 1900's.

Stand back! From Phys.org:

World's best thermometer made from light
University of Adelaide physics researchers have produced the world's most sensitive thermometer – three times more precise than the best thermometers in existence.

Published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the researchers from the University's Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) report they have been able to measure temperature with a precision of 30 billionths of a degree.

"We believe this is the best measurement ever made of temperature − at room temperature," says project leader Professor Andre Luiten, Chair of Experimental Physics in IPAS and the School of Chemistry and Physics, pointing out that it is possible to make more sensitive measurements of temperature in cryogenic environments (at very low temperatures) near absolute zero.

Time (frequency, etc...) has always been the easiest. Voltage is kind of hard. Temperature is the difficult one...

I am guessing that it is the turbo-charger that is going out.  Intermittent blue smoke in the exhaust whenever I bring the turbo into play (mash the accelerator). Had the same problem with an old Volvo wagon that I used to own. Same symptoms.

Dang.

Driving a rental until this gets fixed.

Did the morning shopping run for the store. Picked up four nice planters from Costco today - Lulu loves flowers and it is my job to keep her happy :)

Tomorrow is spent  dealing with some paperwork at the new business. Joy joy joy...

 

Halt and Catch Fire - first show

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I was excited to see the announcement of the show - I remember that era very fondly.

Watched the first episode tonight and they nailed it.  At times in my life, I have been involved with "big business" both as an employee and on a consulting level and the characters in tonight's show played it very well.

Looking forward to the rest of the series.  The producers got the continuity and the actual technology 100% right.

Next up is Manhattan on July 27. I know a lot about that project so it will be interesting to see how well they get the science. Kind of sad in a way that they developed two completely different types of nuclear weapons from scratch in less than three years and all this administration has to show for itself is a failed website.

I hate to be snarky but when the opportunity presents itself...

 

And finally, Holy Crap!  Browsing through a list of upcoming shows, I see that Outlander is scheduled for August 9th.

If you are not familiar with Diana Gabldon's work, you are in for a royal treat. The books are strongly chronological so you need to start at the first one: Outlander

A great anti-Malthusian post

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I have no animosity towards Malthusians.  I just find it really funny that they are never right.

Great post and a couple of book reviews from al fin next level:

The Future: Problems are Guaranteed; Doom Isn’t
We are living in an apocalyptic age. We have been living in the apocalyptic age for many decades — even centuries and more. Humans are strangely attracted to the apocalyptic mindset. Perhaps the doomer mentality is an intentional but subconscious talisman, meant to protect against genuine doom. But the doomer mentality may also be the sign of a person who has nothing particularly important to do. Wouldn’t it be better if we oriented ourselves toward solving problems, rather than forming echo choirs of whine-o’s?

One of the latest books to counter Malthusian doomerism is Robert Bryce’s book: "Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper”.

In the face of today’s environmental and economic challenges, doomsayers preach that the only way to stave off disaster is for humans to reverse course: to de-industrialize, re-localize, ban the use of modern energy sources, and forswear prosperity. But in this provocative and optimistic rebuke to the catastrophists, Robert Bryce shows how innovation and the inexorable human desire to make things Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper is providing consumers with Cheaper and more abundant energy, Faster computing, Lighter vehicles, and myriad other goods.

…The push toward Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper is happening across multiple sectors. Bryce profiles innovative individuals and companies, from long-established ones like Ford and Intel to upstarts like Aquion Energy and Khan Academy. And he zeroes in on the energy industry, proving that the future belongs to the high power density sources that can provide the enormous quantities of energy the world demands.

… The catastrophists have been wrong since the days of Thomas Malthus. This is the time to embrace the innovators and businesses all over the world who are making things Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper. __ SFLDC Summary

There are reviews of five other books in the same vein as well as links to other reviews of the same six books.

We need to take back the discussion from these idealogues and show to the general public what total and abject frauds they really are.  Their apperance of careful management is just a careful management of apperances. They want to collect as much power for themselves and their cronies as they can --- saving the planet? They are selling us just the sizzle and not the steak.

We need to drive these SOBs into the river.

A two-fer

First - congratulations to U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl who was released by the Taliban in exchange for five of their people from Gitmo.

From The Washington Post:

Bergdahl release arrangement could threaten the safety of Americans, Republicans say
Amid jubilation Saturday over the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from captivity by the Taliban, senior Republicans on Capitol Hill said they were troubled by the means by which it was accomplished, which was a deal to release five Afghan detainees from the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Top Republicans on the Senate and House armed services committees went so far as to accuse President Obama of having broken the law, which requires the administration to notify Congress before any transfers from Guantanamo are carried out.

A bit more:

The law requires the defense secretary to notify relevant congressional committees at least 30 days before making any transfers of prisoners, to explain the reason and to provide assurances that those released would not be in a position to reengage in activities that could threaten the United States or its interests.

Before the current law was enacted at the end of last year, the conditions were even more stringent. However, the administration and some Democrats had pressed for them to be loosened, in part to give them more flexibility to negotiate for Bergdahl’s release.

A senior administration official, agreeing to speak on the condition of anonymity to explain the timing of the congressional notification, acknowledged that the law was not followed. When he signed the law last year, Obama issued a signing statement contending that the notification requirement was an unconstitutional infringement on his powers as commander in chief and that he therefore could override it.

Emphasis mine - President Stompy Feet doing what he does best.  Getting his own Imperial way. No sense having to work with those pesky other branches of the government. After all, l'etat c'est moi.

Second, all the while this was going on, this story has been languishing below the fold and nobody in State is doing anything about it.

From FOX News:

Jailed Marine's friend claims he was beaten, chained to bed in Mexican custody
A friend of the U.S. Marine being held in a Mexican prison on gun charges has compared his plight to that of a prisoner of war, telling Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren that Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi told him he had been beaten and chained to a bed by Mexican authorities.

Mark Podlaski said on “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” he spoke with Tahmooressi on the phone last week from the prison where he is being held, and Tahmooressi told him “very disturbing details” about how he had been treated.

Tahmooressi was arrested March 31 after accidentally crossing the border with weapons in his vehicle.

Podlaski said Tahmooressi, whom he described as a “Marine’s Marine,” told him he was beaten with a bat and that the beating was so brutal, it dislocated Tahmooressi's jaw. Podlaski said his friend also told him he was stripped naked and chained to a bed. 

Sgt. Tahmooressi was driving across the USA after being discharged. He had all of his possessions in his truck including legally owned firearms. He parked his truck in California and went across the border to Tijuana for the evening. Coming back, he was proceeding to his next destination, took the wrong turn and wound up past the Mexican border at the Mexican customs station. There was no sign and no way to turn around. The Mexican government has claimed otherwise but independent reporters have gone and photographed the road.

Nobody at State Department is lifting a finger. Disgusting.

Nothing much today

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Working outside -- we have some gorgeous weather. Temps in the high 60's and glorious clear rain-free skies.

Spraying some roundup, getting the garden whacked into shape and getting the truck ready to visit the truck-doctor tomorrow (some acceleration issues -- I have a good idea what it is going to be and that is expensive).

 

More surfing and posting this evening.

April 2017

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
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2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30            

Environment and Climate
AccuWeather
Cliff Mass Weather Blog
Climate Audit
Climate Depot
Green Trust
ICECAP
Jennifer Marohasy
MetaEfficient
Planet Gore
Science and Public Policy Institute
Solar Cycle 24
Space Weather
Space Weather - Canada
the Air Vent
Tom Nelson
Watts Up With That?


Science and Medicine
Derek Lowe
Junk Science
Life in the Fast Lane
Luboš Motl
Medgadget
New Scientist
Next Big Future
PhysOrg.com
Ptak Science Books
Science Blog


Geek Stuff
Ars Technica
Boing Boing
Don Lancaster's Guru's Lair
Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
FAIL Blog
Hack a Day
Kevin Kelly - Cool Tools
Neatorama
Slashdot: News for nerds
The Register
The Daily WTF
TYWKIWDBI


Comics
Achewood
The Argyle Sweater
Chip Bok
Broadside Cartoons
Day by Day
Dilbert
Medium Large
Michael Ramirez
Prickly City
Tundra
User Friendly
Vexarr
What The Duck
Wondermark
xkcd


NO WAI! WTF?¿?¿
Awkward Family Photos
Cake Wrecks
Not Always Right
Sober in a Nightclub
You Drive What?


Business and Economics
The Austrian Economists
Carpe Diem
Coyote Blog


Photography and Art
Digital Photography Review
DIYPhotography
James Gurney
Joe McNally's Blog
PetaPixel
photo.net
Shorpy
Strobist
The Online Photographer


Blogrolling
A Western Heart
AMCGLTD.COM
American Digest
The AnarchAngel
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
Babalu Blog
Belmont Club
Bayou Renaissance Man
Classical Values
Cobb
Cold Fury
David Limbaugh
Defense Technology
Doug Ross @ Journal
Grouchy Old Cripple
Instapundit
iowahawk
Irons in the Fire
James Lileks
Lowering the Bar
Maggie's Farm
Marginal Revolution
Michael J. Totten
Mostly Cajun
Neanderpundit
neo-neocon
Power Line
ProfessorBainbridge.com
Questions and Observations
Rachel Lucas
Roger L. Simon
Samizdata.net
Sense of Events
Sound Politics
The Strata-Sphere
The Smallest Minority
The Volokh Conspiracy
Tim Blair
Velociworld
Weasel Zippers
WILLisms.com
Wizbang


Gone but not Forgotten...
A Coyote at the Dog Show
Bad Eagle
Steven DenBeste
democrats give conservatives indigestion
Allah
BigPictureSmallOffice
Cox and Forkum
The Diplomad
Priorities & Frivolities
Gut Rumbles
Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0
MegaPundit
Masamune
Neptunus Lex
Other Side of Kim
Publicola
Ramblings' Journal
Sgt. Stryker
shining full plate and a good broadsword
A Physicist's Perspective
The Daily Demarche
Wayne's Online Newsletter

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