September 2014 Archives

Quote of the month

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Real science doesn’t make you feel smart. Fake science does.
--Daniel Greenfield writing at Sultan Knish

The rest of the post is just as awesome:

Science is for Stupid People
Every ideology needs to believe in its inevitability. Religions get their inevitability from prophecies; secular ideologies get theirs from the modernist fallacy.

The modernist fallacy says that history is moving on an inevitable track toward their ideology. Resistance is futile, you will be liberalized. Marxism predicted the inevitable breakdown of capitalism. Obama keeps talking about being “on the right side of history” as if history, like a university history curriculum, has a right side and a wrong side. All everyone has to do is grab a sign and march “Forward!” to the future.

The bad economics and sociology around which the left builds its Socialist sand castles assume that technological progress will mean improved control. Capitalism with its mass production convinced budding Socialists that the entire world could be run like a giant factory under technocrats who would use industrial techniques to control the economic production of mankind in line with their ideals.

The USSR and moribund European economies broke that theory into a million little pieces.

Some more and the money quote: 

Biblical fake prophets were often preferred to real prophets because they made rulers feel comfortable about the future. The modern technoprophet assures a secular elite that it can effectively control people and that it even has the obligation to do so. It tells them that “science” is on their side.

The easy way to tell real religion from fake religion is that real religion doesn’t make you feel good. It doesn’t assure you that everything you’re doing is right and that you ought to keep on doing it.

The same holds true for science. Real science doesn’t make you feel smart. Fake science does.

No matter how smart you think you are, real science will make you feel stupid far more often than it will make you feel smart. Real science not only tells us how much more we don’t know than we know, a state of affairs that will continue for all of human history, but it tells us how fragile the knowledge that we have gained is, how prone we are to making childish mistakes and allowing our biases to think for us.

Science is a rigorous way of making fewer mistakes. It’s not very useful to people who already know everything. Science is for stupid people who know how much they don’t know. 

Spot on. Explains today's political and scientific 'scene' - especially with global warming.

Tip of the hat to Gerard for the link.

Yesterdays big ka-boom

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Here are three photos from yesterday's accident:

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Here is how we ended up - both vehicles in the oncoming left lane (two-lane highway) I was face down in the ditch and couldn't see anyone. Someone came and knocked on my door.

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Here we are hauling my truck out of the ditch - the bumper was chewing into the tire but the tow people were able to pull it away with a chain.

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Damage done - considering how the other car looked, there is something to be said for the saying Built Ford Tough. No word yet on the health of the other driver but they should be OK. Up to the lawyers and insurance companies now.

Two people write a piece titled: Race and the Modern GOP - and yes, I did read the entire thing...

Here is a screen-cap from the Politico website:

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Slight problem - the moke in the doorway resisting integration is Democratic Governor George Wallace. From the WikiPedia entry for Stand in the Schoolhouse Door:

Attempting to block integration at the University of Alabama, Democratic Governor George Wallace stands defiantly at the door of the Foster Auditorium while being confronted by Deputy U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach.

We need to remember that Dr. Martin Luther King was a Republican. So was Malcom X. The Democratic party was the party of racism and it is continuing its tradition by killing the modern black family and keeping them down on the plantation by giving them free government cheese in exchange for votes. Now that the focus is shifting to illegals, the blacks are going to be thrown under the bus - the next twenty years will be "interesting" to say the least.

A big ka-boom!

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Monday is the usual store shopping run and I was heading home this afternoon when I got into an accident.

I was heading out the Mt. Baker Highway - weather was overcast but dry and the road surface was dry. A car in front of me displayed their right turn signals and started to slow down.

Since there was no oncoming traffic, I put on my turn signals and moved into the other lane to pass.

Ka-boom. The driver made a sudden left turn and I hit them in the drivers door panel. As I was swerving to avoid them, I landed in the opposite ditch at a 45° angle.

The other driver was banged up but seemed coherent - she was taken to the local hospital for observation.

The people in back of me were kind enough to stop and corroborate my story. Also corroborating it was video from the dashcam I purchased a couple months prior.

I am fine - just still a bit rattled.

I'll post photos tomorrow - truck is going to need more than a bandaid - the front right corner is crunched and the front passenger door will not open. There is a slight crease across the hood - hope the frame is not torqued...

I'll be surfing for a bit but posting will probably be a bit light.

The joys of waterboarding

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Had our monthly Water Board meeting tonight. We generally spend about 30 minutes on business and another 30 on community gossip. A lot of fun.

Pure water is an essential component to life and we take pride in running a clean system. Bad water can happen anywhere - Mercer Island outside of Seattle is home to serious money and mansions. It is probably the wealthiest per sq. mile of any property in Washington State. The residents are having to have their household staff boil their water for them.

From the WA State Drinking Water Alerts website:

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Mount Ontake update

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From The Japan Times:

Four Mount Ontake climbers confirmed dead after eruption
Police confirmed Sunday night the deaths of four of the 31 people found unconscious near the peak of Mount Ontake earlier in the day, one day after the eruption on the Nagano-Gifu prefectural border.

The remaining 27 are all feared to be dead, though officials have yet formally confirmed the deaths of any of them.

The 31 were found in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest when rescue operations resumed Sunday morning. At least another 40 people were injured during Saturday’s sudden eruption.

Facing poisonous gases and fearing another eruption, rescue workers were able to transport just four of the 31 victims to the foot of the mountain by Sunday night. The four were officially pronounced dead when they arrived at the bottom of the mountain.

A bit more:

While data had shown evidence of volcanic quakes in the area in mid-September, there were few other indications that an eruption might be in the offing, making it difficult to predict, according to the Meteorological Agency.

Japan is habituated to periodic volcanic eruptions, being one of the world’s most seismically active nations, but they have caused no fatalities since 1991, when 43 people were killed by a pyroclastic flow at Mount Unzen in Nagasaki Prefecture.

Happened at just the wrong time - amazing that not more were killed.

Bear McCreary

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Lulu and I were talking about the music for the television show Outlander. Just for the hell of it, I Googled it and it turns out that the composer - Bear McCreary - not only grew up in our fair Bellingham but is also composer of DaVinci's Demons and of Battlestar Galactica - two other favorite shows of ours.

Here is one of his video blogs from his website:

 

 He studied under Elmer Bernstein - one of my top five favorite cinema composers.

Gorgeous day today

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Working in the garden and the equipment barn today - just in for a bite.

Rain is due tomorrow for a few days but there is a high-pressure zone lined up to follow.

From Tyler Durdin at Zero Hedge:

Russia Discovers Massive Arctic Oil Field Which May Be Larger Than Gulf Of Mexico
In a dramatic stroke of luck for the Kremlin, this morning there is hardly a person in the world who is happier than Russian president Vladimir Putin because overnight state-run run OAO Rosneft announced it has discovered what may be a treasure trove of black oil, one which could boost Russia's coffers by hundreds of billions if not more, when a vast pool of crude was discovered in the Kara Sea region of the Arctic Ocean, showing the region has the potential to become one of the world’s most important crude-producing areas, arguably bigger than the Gulf Of Mexico. The announcement was made by Igor Sechin, Rosneft’s chief executive officer, who spent two days sailing on a Russian research ship to the drilling rig where the find was unveiled today.

Well, one person who may have been as happy as Putin is the CEO of Exxon Mobil, since the well was discovered with the help of America's biggest energy company (and second largest by market cap after AAPL). Then again, maybe not: as Bloomberg explains "the well was drilled before the Oct. 10 deadline Exxon was granted by the U.S. government under sanctions barring American companies from working in Russia’s Arctic offshore. Rosneft and Exxon won’t be able to do more drilling, putting the exploration and development of the area on hold despite the find announced today."

Which means instead of generating billions in E&P revenue, XOM could end up with, well, nothing. And that would be quite a shock to the US company because the unveiled Arctic field may hold about 1 billion barrels of oil and similar geology nearby means the surrounding area may hold more than the U.S. part of the Gulf or Mexico, he said.

For a sense of how big the spoils are we go to another piece by Bloomberg, which tells us that "Universitetskaya, the geological structure being drilled, is the size of the city of Moscow and large enough to contain more than 9 billion barrels, a trove worth more than $900 billion at today’s prices."

More on Exxon's possible non-involvement:

Sadly, said bonanza may be non-recourse to Exxon after Obama made it quite clear that all western companies will have to wind down operations in Russia or else feel the wrath of the DOJ against sanctions breakers. Which leaves XOM two options: ignore Obama's orders (something which many have been doing of late), or throw in the towel on what may be the largest oil discovery in years. 

Or, it could engage in a business deal with some other non-US oil company - say, one of these - and move it's headquarters from Texas to Alberta. This worked quite well for Burger King. There are a lot of potential basins off the Canadian coast as well.

What Peak Oil?

Itchy - or why I hate old fiberglass insulation

Taking a break from the wiring to clean out the equipment barn (very close to pulling wire - planning on taking a couple days off next week to finish).

I love to go to auctions and a lot of times, the auctioneer will bundle a really nice item in with a bunch of crap and you must bid on the entire lot.. Finally getting around to triage - rented a 4 cubic yard dumpster and have filled it three times and just now starting to see a dent in the piles of stuff.

There was also a lot of old fiberglass insulation that the original owner left behind. Most of it is now in the dumpster and I am heading upstairs for a nice long shower and some clean clothes. The stuff itches like hell...

Grilling some tri-tip tonight for dinner tonight - baked beans and a garden salad.

Say hello to Cliodynamics

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From their website:

Cliodynamics: History as Science
Empires rise and fall, populations and economies boom and bust, world religions spread or wither... What are the mechanisms underlying such dynamical processes in history? Are there 'laws of history'? We do not lack hypotheses to investigate - to take just one instance, more than two hundred explanations have been proposed for why the Roman Empire fell. But we still don't know which of these hypotheses are plausible, and which should be rejected. More importantly, there is no consensus on what general mechanisms explain the collapse of historical empires. What is needed is a systematic application of the scientific method to history: verbal theories should be translated into mathematical models, precise predictions derived, and then rigorously tested on empirical material. In short, history needs to become an analytical, predictive science (see Arise cliodynamics).

Cliodynamics (from Clio, the muse of history, and dynamics, the study of temporally varying processes) is the new transdisciplinary area of research at the intersection of historical macrosociology, economic history/cliometrics, mathematical modeling of long-term social processes, and the construction and analysis of historical databases. Mathematical approaches – modeling historical processes with differential equations or agent-based simulations; sophisticated statistical approaches to data analysis – are a key ingredient in the cliodynamic research program (Why do we need mathematical history?). But ultimately the aim is to discover general principles that explain the functioning and dynamics of actual historical societies.

The community of researchers working on mathematical history and cliodynamics has been rapidly growing in recent years. We now have our own journal, Cliodynamics: the Journal of Theoretical and Mathematical History. Although this web page is primarily devoted to my personal research, I also try, as much as possible, to reflect the most significant developments in the field as a whole.

A lot of the thought is that there are repeating cycles in history - here is one that I have seen coming (although I did not know what it was) and it worries me:

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A 50 year minor cycle and a 100 year major cycle. We are heading to 2020 in short order...

From Reuters:

Japanese volcano kills one, over 30 seriously injured
A Japanese volcano popular with hikers erupted on Saturday, killing one woman and seriously injuring more than 30 people, officials and media said.

The mountain draws walkers who come to admire the autumn colours on the trees.

"It was like thunder," a woman told public broadcaster NHK of the first eruption at the volcano in seven years. "I heard boom, boom, then everything went dark."

The Japan Meteorological Agency said the volcano, Mount Ontake, which straddles Nagano and Gifu prefectures 200 km (125 miles) west of Tokyo, erupted just before midday and sent ash pouring down the mountain's south slope for more than three km (two miles).

Reports of more than 250 people stranded on the peak. This was a very popular hike, especially now with the fall colors. Really surprised that there was no prior detected seismic activity.

 

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Priorities - the National Education Association

Talk about misplaced priorities and scope creep - from The Washington Free Beacon:

Labor Giant Puts Politics, Pay Over Serving Teachers
The nation’s largest teachers union spends three times as much money on politics, overhead, and union administration as it does on serving its membership, according to federal labor filings.

The National Education Association (NEA) headquarters spent nearly $45 million on “political activities” in 2013, about $500,000 more than it spent on membership services classified as “representational activities,” such as negotiating collective bargaining agreements and helping members with employment grievances. The labor giant spent an additional $90 million on overhead costs and union administration—more than double the total spent on individual members. The union’s expenses on staffing, administration, and politics accounted for about 40 percent of its total expenses for the year.

Typical bureaucratic waste - a dinosaur in the modern world.

Amazing resource - American Radio History

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Check it out here: American Radio History

Over two million pages of radio and television history scanned and placed online. The scanning was OCR'd so it is text searchable.

Broadcasting magazines and periodicals, books, audio and recording magazines, teachnical books and papers, consumer electronics, computers, science.

This puppy is deep!

Anyone want some chicken?

I cannot imagine what this must be like up close. From the Missoula Montana FOX affiliate KWYB:

35,000 Pounds of Chicken Rot At Missoula Truck Stop
Missoula county sheriff's officials say a man driving a tractor-trailer carrying $80,000 worth of frozen chicken wouldn't finish the drop off until he got some money.

Missoula city-county health officials hope to clear the mess in a day or two.

"It doesn't seem like it was really well planned out," said Paige Pavalone, the spokeswoman for the Missoula County Sheriff's Office.

It's not a typical kidnapping. The driver came from Nampa, Idaho making a delivery for Dixie River Freight. Pavalone says the truck was reported stolen about a month ago.

"This is pretty unusual, not only is it disgusting, but it's a huge waste of food and resources and this is a huge felony theft case right now," said Pavalone.

Now the health department has to figure out a way to get the rotten meat to the landfill. They're working with Dixie River Freight's insurance company. It looks like the best plan now is to wrap and plug up the trailer and take the chicken to the dump in its original casing.

"You want to get rid of that potential for there to be pests flying around, disease vectors, the flies, but in and of itself it's not a hazardous material," explained Shannon Therriault, the environmental health supervisor for the Missoula City-County Health Department.

The other question is what to do with the truck. It's hard to toss something worth tens of thousands of dollars in the garbage, but it will take a lot of work to get it back in working order, even if it's not used for food anymore. The decision is up to the insurance company.

"I don't think… it'll be up to them whether they want to bury the whole truck, but I don't think that's what they're planning to do," said Therriault.

I don't know what that driver was thinking. Talk about being unclear on the concept.

Living on one end of the bell curve. And do not forget the lovely scenes like this one that they left in their wake:

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Environmentalists - riiigggghhhht....

Life in the restaurant business

Our president at work. From The Week:

Emeril Lagasse: 'I have nowhere to go, really — other than broke'
Chef Emeril Lagasse shot to fame as the host of a popular Food Network show that encouraged amateur chefs to try their own hands in the kitchen. But despite being one of the most recognizable celebrity chefs in the country, Lagasse's outlook on his future as a restaurateur — and the restaurant industry in general — is fairly grim. "I have nowhere to go, really — other than broke," said Lagasse at a recent event promoting his upcoming TNT reality series On the Menu.

"It's becoming a very challenging industry to become a very successful average restaurateur," continued Lagasse. "I can't charge $300 a person in my restaurant or I would not be in business. Am I using any different ingredients? Not really. Am I using any caliber of service staff? I don't think so. I think our service is as good or better than most places."

"And then you add all the Obama nonsense to what it's become in the last several years. I don't have anything against Mr. Obama. I'm just saying the way that, you know... the government should stay out of things. [...] Pretty soon, they're going to wipe a lot of the middle restaurateurs and restaurant cooks. [...] If it continues, then watch: you're going to have high-end, and you're going to have fast food, and you're going to have chain restaurants."

Lagasse went on to lament that the areas in which he operates restaurants — including New Orleans, Las Vegas, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania — have been hit particularly hard by the problems in the economy. "Somebody having a $12.99 meatball and pasta dish at my restaurant means a lot to them," he said. "That's like a special occasion."

Restaurants target disposable income and are one of the first business to decline when the economy goes south. I bet that when the honest numbers are finally published that this depression will be as great as the 1930's depression. Obama has done nothing tangible to turn this around.

Slow day

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Something has been niggling around the edges of my immune system and just felt like sleeping in today. Showed up at work around noon instead of the usual 10:00AM.

We both took some elderberry tonic - what with school being back in session, there has been a lot of flu-like crap floating around...

Inequality in Israel

Those poor Palestinians Hashemite Jordanians - from The Times of Israel:

Palestinians better off working in settlements, says PA daily
The Palestinian Authority’s official daily newspaper praised conditions for Palestinians working for Israelis in West Bank settlements, while decrying the low salaries and lack of benefits for those workers employed by Palestinians.

The September 21 Al-Hayat Al-Jadida article, translated by Palestinian Media Watch, said that “whenever Palestinian workers have the opportunity to work for Israeli employers, they are quick to quit their jobs with their Palestinian employers – for reasons having to do with salaries and other rights.”

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida interviewed a group of Palestinian workers for the piece, and found that those with Israeli bosses earned much more than those working for Palestinians.

Workers employed by Palestinians all said they do not have medical insurance, which is not mandated by Palestinian law, and do not receive stipends for transportation. Israeli employers usually pay for workers’ transportation in both directions, the newspaper found.

Israeli employers can also be relied upon to pay salaries.  “The only cases in which a Palestinian worker does not receive the salary his Israeli [employer] determined for him are those cases in which the middleman is Palestinian,” said Muhammad Hassan, an agricultural worker. “This is because he employs the workers at his own expense, and he is the one who pays their salaries, which puts the worker at risk of being exploited or having his wages withheld.”

“I work 10 hours a day and receive a monthly salary of not more than 1,900 shekels, and we have no additional rights like yearly vacations, travel expenses and so on,” said Fuad Qahawish, a waiter in a Palestinian restaurant. “My colleagues who do the same work for Israelis receive 4,000 shekels a month for the same number of hours.’


And we all remember that the "Palestinian" people are a myth invented in the 1950's by the Russian KGB and brought to life by their Egyptian stooge, Yasser Arafat. The Russians were worried about the oil deposits and wanted to destabilize the area.

Word...

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Swiped from Denny

Visiting the ocean


No special effects - camera angles and freediving skills. From The Ocean Brothers.

Good riddance - took long enough

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The guy is just plain incompetent. From FOX News:

Holder resigning as attorney general, officials say
Attorney General Eric Holder plans to announce Thursday that he is resigning from the Obama administration, officials confirmed to Fox News. The decision would cap a tumultuous six-year term for the nation's top law enforcement official. 

A bit more:

"Eric Holder is the most divisive U.S. attorney general in modern history," House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a statement. "By needlessly injecting politics into law enforcement, Attorney General Holder's legacy has eroded more confidence in our legal system than any attorney general before him." 

Holder was held in contempt of Congress by the Republican-led House in 2012 for failing to provide key information about the botched Operation Fast and Furious program. He is the only sitting Cabinet member to have been held in contempt of Congress. 

A partisan hack - I am surprised he lasted this long. A well documented list of his Sixteen Scandals can be found at RedState.

Running Linux?

Patch your BASH shell - from Ars Technica:

Bug in Bash shell creates big security hole on anything with *nix in it
The Bash vulnerability, now dubbed by some as "Shellshock," has been reportedly found in use by an active exploit against Web servers. Additionally, the initial patch for the vulnerability was incomplete and still allows for attacks to succeed, according to a new CERT alert. See Ars' latest reportfor further details, our initial report is below.

A security vulnerability in the GNU Bourne Again Shell (Bash), the command-line shell used in many Linux and Unix operating systems, could leave systems running those operating systems open to exploitation by specially crafted attacks. “This issue is especially dangerous as there are many possible ways Bash can be called by an application,” a Red Hat security advisory warned.

The bug, discovered by Stephane Schazelas, is related to how Bash processes environmental variables passed by the operating system or by a program calling a Bash-based script. If Bash has been configured as the default system shell, it can be used by network–based attackers against servers and other Unix and Linux devices via Web requests, secure shell, telnet sessions, or other programs that use Bash to execute scripts.

Because of its wide distribution, the vulnerability could be as wide-ranging as the Heartbleed bug, though it may not be nearly as dangerous. The vulnerability affects versions 1.14 through 4.3 of GNU Bash. Patches have been issued by many of the major Linux distribution vendors for affected versions, including:

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (versions 4 through 7) and the Fedora distribution
    • CentOS (versions 5 through 7)
    • Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, 12.04 LTS, and 14.04 LTS
    • Debian

A test on Mac OS X 10.9.4 ("Mavericks") by Ars showed that it also has a vulnerable version of Bash. Apple has not yet patched Bash, though it just issued an update to "command line tools."

A heads up... Running CentOS on a few machines at work and home.

to all...

A bit of music history - from 1968: Silver Apples

 

Their first album - Silver Apples. This technology predates any of the commercial synthesizers - Simeon was playing a collection of homemade oscillators, tape decks, reverb machines and guitar effects.

As Trebuchet Magazine says:

Silver Apples are THE electronic group of all time…
Silver Apples are to electronic music what Thomas Edison is to Facebook."

Website here: Silver Apples

This post at Dangerous Minds brought up the subject and prompted some digging. Funny how close their sound is to current EDM and trance music.

On the heels of the idiotic food composting fine, now we have this from The Seattle Times:

Sawant wants Seattle City Light to flatten rates, help residents
Seattle residents pay a higher average electricity rate than businesses, and that’s not fair, says City Councilmember Kshama Sawant. So she will ask a council committee Wednesday to consider a radical change in how City Light charges for power.

Businesses should pay more or there should at least be only one rate class, Sawant says.

Mayor Ed Murray declined to comment, while City Light said there are good reasons for setting the rates the way they are now.

City Councilmember Sally Clark expressed concern over Sawant’s proposal.

Under City Light’s current rate structure, customers are grouped into classes, with all residential customers in one class and businesses separated into different classes according to their size and location.

Each class is charged based on what City Light needs in order to recover the cost of providing electricity to them, and the average residential rate is the highest. The 2014 average residential rate is 9.04 cents per kilowatt hour, while the rate for very large businesses outside downtown is 5.89 cents. The proposed 2015 residential rate is 9.35 cents, an increase the council’s energy committee is expected to approve Wednesday.

What Ms. Sawant fails to grasp is the economics of scale. If my business needs a 4,000 AMP service at 4,400 Volts, this is going to be a lot cheaper for Seattle City Light to deliver and maintain than if it has to serve the equivalent load of 400 homes. That is a lot more miles of cable, pole transformers, meters, etc... Of course, the cost per household is going to be more expensive.

The unintended consequence to which she is blind will be the departure of large businesses (jobs) from Washington State. The last time this happened was when Boeing suffered under the recession of 1971 (title of this post) and went from 100,800 employees in 1967 down to 38,690 in April of 1971. President Nixon was able to pull us out of that recession at great cost in August of 1971 by rendering the Bretton Woods system inoperable and getting the US Currency off the Gold standard and making it a fiat currency. Very favorable in the short term but toxic as hell in the long term. Now that the Dollar is no longer linked to its equivalent of Gold bullion, the Dollar is free to inflate.

If Seattle implements this rate change, it will lose several tens of thousands of jobs over the next ten years. The cost of groceries is going to rise (lighting and refrigeration). The cost of employment is going to rise (fewer jobs and lower starting salary). 

Does Ms. Sawant take all this into account? Thought not.

Drones in the news

Very interesting post from Reuters:

Drone delivery: DHL 'parcelcopter' flies to German isle
Logistics firm DHL is using a drone to fly parcels to the German island of Juist, in what it says is the first time an unmanned aircraft has been authorized to deliver goods in Europe.

The company, owned by Germany's Deutsche Post, joins the likes of Amazon.com and Google in testing the potential for drones to deliver parcels and packages.

Its drone - the "parcelcopter" - can fly at up to 65 km (40 miles) an hour. It will deliver medication and other urgently needed goods to the car-free island of Juist, off Germany's northern coast, at times when other modes of transport such as flights or ferries are not operating.

If the trial is successful, the craft could be used to deliver such packages to other remote areas or in emergencies.

Very cool use of the technology. If the weather is crappy enough to ground a helicopter, the drone is expendable and several of them can be sent until the package arrives. This opens the way for mountain search and rescue and all sorts of medical emergencies. Getting things that last mile is often a real problem.

The person calling for assist has a cell phone with GPS so the coordinates can be uploaded into the drone's navigation. Infrared sensors can be used for warm-body avoidance so the chance of accident is minimal.

Worth 1,000 words - Detroit

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Seattle's Finest

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Not so surprising news from the Seattle Post Intelligencer:

Leaked memo: SPD ignoring most N. Seattle burglaries
A confidential memo leaked to KOMO/4 News contains a bombshell admission by the city's police department. The document says North Precinct detectives are too short-staffed to investigate most burglaries.

A police source said that unless burglary detectives have a suspect's name, evidence photos or surveillance footage, and complete witness interviews, it's unlikely a case will even get worked, let alone solved.

Pete Rogerson works with Seattle police through the North Precinct Advisory Council, where he offers citizen input on police operations. Rogerson said in all his years in that role, he's never seen anything like this memo.

"I think this memo is very troubling," he said.

The memo is marked confidential and not for public display, but what it says about burglary investigations could trouble anyone.

"It's very surprising," Rogerson said. "I cannot believe this is the case."

The memo says at one point, 14 detectives worked burglary, theft and juvenile cases for the North Precinct. Today it's down to two detectives and an on-loan patrol officer, even though the memo says cases have climbed to 1,500 a month. The memo concludes, "misdemeanor and even many felony crimes can no longer be investigated except on a very rare, case by case basis."

This is nothing new to me...

Back in 2008, my parents were living in Seattle in the Windermere area (very tony - houses in the million+ range). I was visiting for a blacksmithing conference and was planning to pick up two pieces of artwork they had in their garden.  They were there when I drove down but when I went to pick it up at the end of the conference, they (and a number of other pieces) were gone. The garden was in the back of their house and not visible from the street. My guess is that it was one of the work people they hired - at their age, they were not careful about checking credentials of people who knocked at their door.

I called 911 and explained the loss to the officer and they did not even offer to send anyone out or ask for a description of the pieces. One of them was over 100 years old (bronze sculpture) and was valued around $10K. I got zero response from them.

My impression of the Seattle police was not good then and it is not good now. All P.R. and show - a careful management of appearances instead of the appearance of careful management...

Zombie apocalypse?

Bizarre bit of news from All Africa:

Liberia: Dead Ebola Patients Resurrect?
Two Ebola patients, who died of the virus in separate communities in Nimba County have reportedly resurrected in the county. The victims, both females, believed to be in their 60s and 40s respectively, died of the Ebola virus recently in Hope Village Community and the Catholic Community in Ganta, Nimba.

But to the amazement of residents and onlookers on Monday, the deceased reportedly regained life in total disbelief. The NewDawn Nimba County correspondent said the late Dorris Quoi of Hope Village Community and the second victim only identified as Ma Kebeh, said to be in her late 60s, were about to be taken for burial when they resurrected.

Ma Kebeh had reportedly been in door for two nights without food and medication before her alleged death. Nimba County has had bazaar news of Ebola cases with a native doctor from the county, who claimed that he could cure infected victims, dying of the virus himself last week.

News of the resurrection of the two victims has reportedly created panic in residents of Hope Village Community and Ganta at large, with some citizens describing Dorris Quoi as a ghost, who shouldn't live among them. Since the Ebola outbreak in Nimba County, this is the first incident of dead victims resurrecting.

99% this is a folk-tale or just a bad diagnosis. Still, not giving up my shotguns (and chainsaw and other toys...)

Clear thinking in South Africa

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Rather than toss money down the alt.energy rathole, South Africa is going Nuclear.

From Nuclear Street:

South African Agreement With Rosatom Paves Way for 8 New Reactors
Russia's Rosatom plans to build 9.6 gigawatts of new nuclear power generation in South Africa under a framework signed Monday on the sidelines of an International Atomic Energy Agency conference.

The agreement lays the groundwork for future contracts to procure eight units over the next decade at a cost of $40 billion to $50 billion, most likely with Russian financing. Russian news agency ITAR-Tass quoted the head of Rosatom as saying the company would also help South Africa build a domestic nuclear power industry, potentially including fuel cycle facilities and joint projects in other countries.

South Africa currently operates a single French-built nuclear plant with two reactors at Koeberg. An environmental impact assessment begun in 2006 studied additional sites at Thyspunt, Bantamsklip and Duynefontein, with a draft report in 2010 favoring Thyspunt, according to the World Nuclear Association. For several years, the country's energy plans have called for substantial expansion of nuclear power, although past efforts have been hampered by a lack of financing. Should the Rosatom reactors envisioned in Monday's agreement come to fruition, they will meet the entire 9.6 gigawatts of new nuclear generation that South Africa's integrated resources plan envisions developing by 2030, according to The Times of South Africa.

 It would be nicer if they went with Thorium reactors but still, conventional is a proven technology and when Thorium gets advanced in the marketplace, the waste storage problem will be solved.

This would clean up a lot of problems. From PhysOrg:

Researcher shows that black holes do not exist
Black holes have long captured the public imagination and been the subject of popular culture, from Star Trek to Hollywood. They are the ultimate unknown – the blackest and most dense objects in the universe that do not even let light escape. And as if they weren't bizarre enough to begin with, now add this to the mix: they don't exist.

By merging two seemingly conflicting theories, Laura Mersini-Houghton, a physics professor at UNC-Chapel Hill in the College of Arts and Sciences, has proven, mathematically, that black holes can never come into being in the first place. The work not only forces scientists to reimagine the fabric of space-time, but also rethink the origins of the universe.

"I'm still not over the shock," said Mersini-Houghton. "We've been studying this problem for a more than 50 years and this solution gives us a lot to think about."

For decades, black holes were thought to form when a massive star collapses under its own gravity to a single point in space – imagine the Earth being squished into a ball the size of a peanut – called a singularity. So the story went, an invisible membrane known as the event horizon surrounds the singularity and crossing this horizon means that you could never cross back. It's the point where a black hole's gravitational pull is so strong that nothing can escape it.

The reason black holes are so bizarre is that it pits two fundamental theories of the universe against each other. Einstein's theory of gravity predicts the formation of black holes but a fundamental law of quantum theory states that no information from the universe can ever disappear. Efforts to combine these two theories lead to mathematical nonsense, and became known as the information loss paradox.

A bit more - the mechanism:

She and Hawking both agree that as a star collapses under its own gravity, it produces Hawking radiation. However, in her new work, Mersini-Houghton shows that by giving off this radiation, the star also sheds mass. So much so that as it shrinks it no longer has the density to become a black hole. 

Very cool! It resolves a major conflict between classical gravitational mechanics and quantum mechanics.

One of those genius ideas that are so simple, they are obvious and we wonder why no-one ever thought of it before...

A bit of cooking

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I love to cook and am very much into all aspects of photography.

Lulu sugested that I might want to try a cooking video:

 

 

 The quiche came out OK but I flubbed a couple notes on the guitar...

Fall is here

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Was outside at 7:45PM and it was dark. Not full-on night but well past nautical twilight. And we are still on Daylight Savings.

Raining softly but there is an unseen weight behind it - this is not some passing fancy, we are due for several days of constant water.

We will probably have a couple more weeks of Indian Summer but this is something to be surprised by, not something to count on.

Lulu went into town this afternoon, her son is playing at one of Bellingham's night clubs - open mic.

Barry salutes his Marine Guard

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Absolutely disgusting. He shows them zero respect even though he is their Commander in Chief:

 

 Hat tip to The Gateway Pundit for the link.

First it was mandatory recycling. Now its composting. From the Seattle's KING-5 TV (self-loading video):

Food scraps in the trash? You could be fined for it
Be careful throwing away those extra food scraps. Seattle could soon fine you for it.

In a 9-0 vote, Seattle City Council members agreed to pass a new ordinance that could fine you for not composting. The new program is an incentive to help Seattle reach its goal of recycling 60% of everything by 2015.

The new law is expected to generate an additional 38,000 tons of compost material every year. The fine is $1 for each violation at a residence and up to $50 for a business or apartment complex.

Seattle Public Utilities estimates 30 to 50% of what goes into the trash should be composted or recycled.

The new ordinance goes into effect next year. Fines are not expected to be issued until mid-year.

A 9-0 vote - not surprised. Don't they know that the whole recycling/composting regime is based on bullshit?

Got 30 minutes? Watch this:

 

 

 And yeah, recycling aluminum is actually really effective but anything else? Naaaa....

Stormy weather

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Got some interesting weather forecast - from the Whatcom County Unified Emergency Management website:

Rough Weather Could be Ahead
Flash flooding, small hail, and gusty winds up to 40-45 mph possible with any thunderstorms on today and this evening. Gusty winds up to 30-35 mph expected tonight. Several hours of moderate rain tonight in combination with gusty winds blowing leaves into storm drains may cause an increase in flooding concerns tonight into early Wednesday.

That rain tapers off early tomorrow morning as well with a most dry day expected…just a spotty shower during the afternoon. Tomorrow night looks dry. Occasional showers are expected on Thursday before tapering off Thursday night. Showers look fairly isolated on Friday and should mainly be for the afternoon and evening hours and mainly near the foothills. Looks dry this weekend, but still some uncertainty there.

Cliff Mass weighs in:

The weather turns....
Mother nature must be watching her seasonal clock very carefully, because as we officially transition to fall today, a major storm has moved into our offshore waters and rain has returned to the Northwest.

He follows up with weather maps and forecasts - it is going to be wet through the weekend. Great for the salmon.

A modest proposal

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Denny nails it:

A Simple Solution
Here’s a good plan by yours truly.  Announce to CAIR and all of those other Islamic front groups that from now on we will treat Islam the exact same way that Islam treats Christians and Jews in the country that is the headquarters of Islam, Saudi Arabia.  In Saudi Arabia it is a crime to possess a Bible.  From now on in the United States it’s a crime to possess a Koran.  How do you like them apples Mooslimes?  There are no churches or synagogues allowed in Saudi Arabia.  Fine.  From now on there should be no more mosques allowed in the United States.  Close them all.  I’m tired of these goat boinkers moving here from their shitholestans and telling us we have to be like the countries they moved from.  GFY!  Tolerance should be a two way street.  With Islam it is not even close.

And while we’re at it, let’s institute Mexico’s immigration policy.  Let’s treat our southern border the same way they treat their southern border.  Point that out to them the next time they lecture us on our immigration problem.

I cannot think of anything wrong with this plan. The exploding hippie heads that will result is pure gravy on top.

The upcoming elections in November

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We have the chance to clean house -- and Senate. Vote the bums out!

A climate two-fer

First - from the Associated Press:

Obama: No nation has 'free pass' on climate change
In a forceful appeal for international cooperation on limiting carbon pollution, President Barack Obama warned starkly on Tuesday that the globe's climate is changing faster than efforts to address it. "Nobody gets a pass," he declared. "We have to raise our collective ambition."

Second - from the Los Angeles Times:

West Coast warming linked to naturally occurring changes
Naturally occurring changes in winds, not human-caused climate change, are responsible for most of the warming on land and in the sea along the West Coast of North America over the last century, a study has found.

Thereby showing the difference between climate agenda and climate science. One of these is good. The other of these is a craven political power grab.

Ebola by the numbers

Shit is getting serious. From the New York Times:

Fresh Graves Point to Undercount of Ebola Toll
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — The gravedigger hacked at the cemetery’s dense undergrowth, clearing space for the day’s Ebola victims. A burial team, in protective suits torn with gaping holes, arrived with fresh bodies.

The backs of the battered secondhand vans carrying the dead were closed with twisted, rusting wire. Bodies were dumped in new graves, and a worker in a short-sleeve shirt carried away the stretcher, wearing only plastic bags over his hands as protection. The outlook for the day at King Tom Cemetery was busy.

“We will need much more space,” said James C. O. Hamilton, the chief gravedigger, as a colleague cleared the bush with his machete.

The Ebola epidemic is spreading rapidly in Sierra Leone’s densely packed capital — and it may already be far worse than the authorities acknowledge.

But the bodies pouring in to the graveyard tell a different story. In the last eight days alone, 110 Ebola victims have been buried at King Tom Cemetery, according to the supervisor, Abdul Rahman Parker, suggesting an outbreak that is much more deadly than either the government or international health officials have announced.

Yeah - there are official numbers and then there are real numbers. Wishful thinking is a hell of a way to run an outbreak. The more people know, the better they can take care of their own.

Overheard at market

I did the shopping run into town today and my final stop was at a local grocery store for some personal items.

I got a coffee at their in-house espresso stand and overheard the manager of the produce section telling a friend of theirs that, a few hours previous, a full wedding party complete with photographer came into the store, the bride and groom donned life-sized horse head masks and they proceeded to feed each other carrots.

My guess is that this is where the happy couple first met - dang! Would have loved to have seen that. Wonder if any surveillance video will surface on YouTube...

Happy equinox

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A few minutes ago, the sun crossed the celestial equator heading south. The crossing marks the beginning of fall in the northern hemisphere--a.k.a. the autumnal equinox. Equinox means equal night. With the sun near the celestial equator, we experience equal amounts of daylight and darkness, 12 hours of each. Moment of demarcation was 02:29 UT - it is now 2:54 - 19:54 PDT.

It has been a full summer but not quite ready for it to end - are we ever...

"Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government."
--Milton Friedman

Rot at the top

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Could have figured this out - get a cadre of cronies running things and the administrative abilities fall apart.
From The Washington Post:

Top-level turnover makes it harder for DHS to stay on top of evolving threats
An exodus of top-level officials from the Department of Homeland Security is undercutting the agency’s ability to stay ahead of a range of emerging threats, including potential terrorist strikes and cyberattacks, according to interviews with current and former officials.

Over the past four years, employees have left DHS at a rate nearly twice as fast as in the federal government overall, and the trend is accelerating, according to a review of a federal database.

The departures are a result of what employees widely describe as a dysfunctional work environment, abysmal morale, and the lure of private security companies paying top dollar that have proliferated in Washington since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The department’s terrorism intelligence arm, for example, has cycled through six directors during the Obama administration, decimating morale and contributing to months-long delays in releasing intelligence reports, according to interviews and government reports.

Six directors in six years? I may not be a big-time CEO (and would refuse the job if it were offered with the exception of a few companies) but I know how to run a business and have a track record that backs me up. This is downright juvenile. We need some adults in the room STAT!

More:

With the country facing a crisis of unaccompanied minors crossing the southwest border in recent months, the pair of DHS agencies responsible for tackling this problem have been hindered by turnover of top officials. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, for instance, has had six commissioners under President Obama, four of them in a caretaker role because they were not confirmed by the Senate.

And at the Transportation Security Administration, a DHS agency created after 9/11 to enhance airport security, the hemorrhaging of both senior and junior personnel has “had a tremendous effect,’’ said Kenneth Kasprisin, a former acting TSA head who left the agency in May.

And this was a crisis that this current administration fully manufactured and put into place. The problem started happening in spring. The Federal Government was publicly advertising for shoes, caretakers, housing, etc... in January.

Much more at the site and over 300+ comments.

Processing pickles

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Just finished a dozen pints of pickles. About 1/3 through today's picking. Making a big tupperware container of quick refrigerator pickles and processing the rest tomorrow.

Back to work outside and busy day tomorrow...

Back to work

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Taking a break from wiring to do some heavy landscaping. I had goats for a while and they were a lot of fun but 100% destructive to some trees. Girdled them and they died.

Using Buttercup the tractor to pull them out and transfer them to a burn pile. Lulu has some native shrubs ready to plant there so it will look really nice in a year or two.

Also going to be pickling a bunch of cucumbers in the next day or so - took a while to get going but we have a bumper crop. Been eating out of our garden for most of this summer.

And still no real work is being done. From Paul L. Caron writing at TaxProf Blog:

The IRS Scandal, Day 500
Wall Street Journal: Stonewall Koskinen: The IRS Commissioner Was Supposed to Clean Up the Mess. Instead, He's Running Interference, by Kimberley A. Strassel:

Nine months have passed since President Obama installed John Koskinen as IRS Commissioner, charged with unearthing the agency's targeting scandal and restoring its credibility. It's about nine months past time to acknowledge that Mr. Koskinen is the problem, not the answer.

The 75-year-old former Fannie Mae executive on Wednesday put in another superficial appearance before House investigators, spent another two hours dodging questions, jabbing at investigators, and excusing the misdeeds of the least-trusted organization in America. This from the guy brought in to clean up the mess—a man presented in confirmation as a "turnaround artist" and "reformer."

The Koskinen fail is now becoming a central political focus, as Republicans and even some Democrats question his tenure. Mr. Obama had declared him someone who "knows how to lead in difficult times, whether that means ensuring new management or implementing new checks and balances." Where are the sweeping changes? Where's the accountability? When the best the IRS commissioner can promise America is that "whenever we can, we follow the law"—we're in worse shape than nine months ago.

The only thing Mr. Koskinen has seemed remotely interested in turning around is his agency's ugly story-line. He has yet to even accept his agency did anything wrong, spending a March hearing arguing that the IRS didn't engage in "targeting" and claiming the Treasury inspector general agreed. This was so misleading the Washington Post gave Mr. Koskinen "three Pinocchios, " noting the IG had testified to the exact opposite.

 Dr. Caron has been faithfully reporting on this since it first became known:

 All the way back to his first article: IRS Admits to Targeting Conservative Groups in 2012 Election (May 10, 2013)
And our government?

 

. . . crickets . . .

Wonderful story

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From Australian Magazine:

The secret ingredient in Geoff Beattie’s rich dark fruit cake
He shuffles away from the living room table and for a moment it seems his secret ingredient must be in the ­pantry by the old farmhouse pots and pans that he uses to make his prize-winning jams, pickles and cakes. But his secret isn’t there.

He passes the kitchen and for a moment it seems the secret behind the slow-walking, crook-backed 68-year-old dairy farmer’s peculiar culinary genius must be locked away in the sky-blue 1960s trunk resting on his dining table, holding the 3082 blue and purple ribbons and gold medals awarded to him throughout 24 years of show cooking. But his secret isn’t there.

He moves to an antique dark brown hardwood chest of drawers, left to him in his late mother Lily’s will. There are pictures and ­messages and keepsakes adorning it: a black and white photograph of his dad, Robert, in his World War II uniform; a framed daily reminder to himself that reads, “Anyone can be a father but it takes a special person to be a dad.” But his secret isn’t there.

Then he looks up at the wall above the chest of drawers to a framed portrait of a woman in a wedding gown, clutching a bouquet of flowers. “My wife,” he says. It’s her. It’s always been her.

“E …” the farmer says. “El …”

His heart and his memory won’t let him voice her name. His lips tremble and he puts a fist to his mouth as tears fill his eyes, fixed on that beautiful face in the frame. Elaine.

Read the rest - a wonderful story.  It's getting a bit dusty here - got something in my eye...

More wiring

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In for a bite to eat - Lulu is in town for an art meeting.

Getting the shop wired up - about 50% done...

Light posting tonight

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Probably nothing more tonight - received a piece of test equipment from Amazon today and will be checking it out.

When testing audio gear, it is useful to be able to feed it with a controlled and reproducible signal. Normally, you would use an oscillator of some sort.

About 20 years ago, waveform generators started appearing where you could use not only the usual sine, square or pulse waveforms but also arbitrary ones that you could load into the unit. These were a lot better but priced accordingly in the $4K range ($4K in 1990 = $7K today).

Flash forward to today and sitting on my bench in the Radio Room is a Siglent SDG800 Function/Arbitrary Waveform Generator. Under $300 at Amazon. There is a USB port on the back that connects to a computer for control and data storage. There is another USB port on the front and you can use a thumb drive to store the waveforms you want to use for testing. The functions available are huge - all sorts of pulse and gating options, remote triggering - this puppy blows the 1990's technology out of the water for 1/20th the cost (and it only weighs six pounds).

Checking this puppy out...

A matter of self-defence

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Memo to self - when running an anti-gun group, check the victim out before holding a vigil.

From An NC Gun Blog:

Is North Carolinians Against Gun Violence holding a vigil for a convicted felon?
Check out this Facebook post on NCGV’s Facebook page.

FelonVigilNCGV

Seems pretty normal, until you do a search for the victim’s name in the Department of Corrections database.

Victim 1

Oh, dear.

It’s not like the victim’s name is a common one which would lead to some chance of mistaken identity. He’s been convicted of Assault with a Deadly Weapon Inflicting Serious Injury. But wait, there’s more.

A fight nearly broke out between two families Thursday in Durham County Superior Court when a defense attorney claimed that her client killed a man and permanently wounded another in self defense.

Much more at the site. All of the people involved had records - it is downright stupid that the Bloomberg funded "North Carolinians Against Gun Violence" organization did not do their homework beforehand... 

Hat tip to Peter Grant at Bayou Renaissance Man for the link.

Signs of weakness

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Our nation is being gutted from within and other nations are smelling the blood. From The Washington Free Beacon:

Russian Nuclear Bombers Buzz Alaska, N. Europe
Russian strategic nuclear bombers carried out air defense zone incursions near Alaska and across Northern Europe this week in the latest nuclear saber rattling by Moscow.

Six Russian aircraft, including two Bear H nuclear bombers, two MiG-31 fighter jets and two IL-78 refueling tankers were intercepted by F-22 fighters on Wednesday west and north of Alaska in air defense identification zones, said Navy Capt. Jeff A. Davis, a spokesman for the U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command. Two other Bears were intercepted by Canadian jets on Thursday.

“The group of Russian aircraft flew a loop south, returning westward toward Russia,” Davis told the Free Beacon.

A day later two more Bear bombers were intercepted by Canadian CF-18 jets in the western area of the Canadian air defense identification zone near the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska, he said.

The Russian bombers did not enter U.S. airspace but flew within 63 miles of the Alaskan coast and 46 miles of the Canadian coastline, Davis said.

Seriously W.T.F. A real president would have been on the phone immediately. We should have sent long-range spy drones over some Russian military sites.

This should be front-page news, instead, the media is blathering on about the football scandals. These are bad but they pale in comparison to all the others - Benghazi, the IRS, Veterans Administration, etc...

There's a new boss in town

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Say hello to The Open Atmospheric Society:

From their About page:

Welcome to The Open Atmospheric Society, known as “The OAS”
The OAS is an international membership society for the purpose of studying, discussing, and publishing about topics in atmospheric related earth sciences, including but not limited to meteorology, hydrology, oceanography, and climatology. The OAS wss designed to be an alternative to organizations like the AGU, AMS, AIP, and ACS, NAS, and AAAS that have become more political than scientific in the publication of climate position statements, publication gatekeeping, and media editorializing .

    • Our motto: verum in luce means“truth in the light”.
    • Open science— a transparent online peer review process. Publishing peer reviewer comments (not names), will illuminate the process.
    • Open membership— Associate members, anyone who has an interest in atmospheric science, can join at a basic rate, providing interdisciplinary membership. Professional full voting members, will require a degree in atmospheric sciences or related earth disciplines, or three published papers in these subjects. Student members get a reduced rate, similar to associate members with option to full member elevation.
    • Open journal— The Journal of the OAS will be free to read by the public.
    • Author account—each author and co-author will have accounts for collaboration, submitting papers , making edits, and responding to reviewers.
    • No other journal asks this upfront: strict OAS Journal submission requirements—technical submissions to the Journal by members must include all source data, software/code, procedures, and documentation to ensure reproducibility of the paper’s experiment or analysis by external reviewers.
    • Emphasis on reasonable publication turnaround, 3 months or less.
    • Press releases will be sent with each publication.
    • Video production assistance for authors to explain papers and post to the journal page with your paper.
    • Organizational activity will be conducted entirely online – This means no costly brick and mortar infrastructure, no costly postal mailings journals, and no need for warehousing paper files and publications.
    • Online meetings conducted via Skype for organizational purposes.
    • Nomination/Voting for officers and other issues conducted online.
    • Monthly email newsletters and special online webcasts.

Signing up today - don't have a degree or published papers but I have a strong interest. 

Now this will be interesting to follow

From The American Interest:

Pay Attention to this Gas Deal
Israel is fast becoming a serious regional energy player. If it wasn’t clear before, it became clear earlier this month with the announcement of a $15 billion gas deal with Jordan. According to the Times of Israel, the deal is the largest energy collaboration with Jordan to date, and it makes Israel Jordan’s chief supplier.

Over the past five years, Israel’s energy fortunes have transformed dramatically, a development that has the potential to shift the region’s geopolitical and geo-economic landscape. Israel’s Prime Minister Golda Meir once only half-joked that Moses led the Children of Israel to the one spot in the Middle East that had no oil. This turns out not to have been true: over the last decade, Israel has found major oil and gas reserves just off its coast.

The entire global landscape for energy is changing, and the Middle East is a key part of this change. Traditional producers in the Gulf are becoming consumers as their populations demand a lifestyle that is more energy intensive, and traditional consumers like Israel are emerging as new producers through scientific and technological innovation. Discovered offshore in deep water near Haifa in 2009, Israel’s Tamar field holds an estimated 8-9 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gas. Israel began commercial production in 2013. The Leviathan deep-water gas field could hold as much 19 Tcf and is expected to begin producing in early 2017. Oil & Gas Journal estimated that, as of January 2014, Israel’s proven oil reserves are 11.5 million barrels, a fivefold increase from what was thought just a few years ago. The country’s potential reserves are likely substantially higher. In the last couple of years, Israel’s natural gas production more than doubled, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Although these numbers don’t put Israel into the top quartile of the world’s energy producing states, Prime Minister Netanyahu has estimated that $60 billion will accrue to Israeli coffers as a result and the new finds will dramatically improve Israel’s energy security for the next forty years, at least.

Israel is already the intellectual powerhouse of the middle-east. Now, it could become the financial powerhouse as well. The arabian fields are pretty much played out.

One of my employees is taking care of a family member so I took over their buying run today. Just got back in from town.

Do not forget that today is international talk like a pirate day.

 

What kind of beer do pirates drink?  P.B.Rrrrrrrrrrr

Tractor time

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Came home from work (busy day) and needed to move some things around. I used Buttercup the tractor for lifting and dragging some old wire fencing as well as moving a furnace from the back of my truck to the shop.

There is something so profoundly relaxing about rigging and driving a tractor. I could charge people to come out here and de-stress.

There is an old saying that you never see a Harley parked outside a Psychiatrists office - same goes for a tractor.

The furnace is for heat treating knives - I had been using a commercial toaster oven but it had its limitations so sprung the $$$ for a unit with an automated control.

Lulu is in town tonight so heating up some leftovers for dinner. I have a half-gallon of Sauerkraut bubbling away in the pantry and it is time (day four) to take it out and try it.

More later...

Gang Green and the Government Staff Infection

Bill Whittle talks about the tie-dyed tyrrany in our own Washington State:

 

Heh...

I am trying to get rid of 30 pounds (down 10 already) and am doing so by cutting carbohydrates - a difficult task as I love pasta and rice and beans - these are a staple of my diet.

I have also been following research in gut flora with great delight - proactivley maintaining a good culture and have seen marked improvements in my health and well-being. I used to suffer from Acid Reflux and that has gone away completely. I am also sleeping a lot better. What drove this point home is that I recently had to take a course of antibiotics for a wound on my foot and the reflux came right back.

Also, switched to diet sodas (Aspartame) and now it turns out that these can cause problems. From Ars Technica comes word of this new paper at Nature (paywalled):

Artificial sweeteners may leave their users glucose intolerant
People who are watching their weight will often opt for a diet soda, reasoning that the fewer calories, the better. But the availability of drinks and foods made with artificial sweeteners like saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame hasn't seemed to help much with our booming obesity levels. Now, some researchers might have identified a reason for this: the sweeteners leave their users with elevated blood glucose levels. But they don't seem to act directly on human metabolism. Instead, the effects come through alterations in the bacterial populations that live inside us.

The paper that describes this work, which was performed by a large collaboration of researchers from Israel, is being released by Nature today. The researchers note that epidemiological studies about the effects of artificial sweeteners have produced mixed results; some show a benefit, while others indicate that they're associated with weight gain and diabetes risk. Given that human populations haven't given us a clear answer, the researchers turned to mice, where they could do a carefully controlled study.

And the experiment and findings:

The authors wondered whether the gut bacteria might be acting as intermediaries between the artificial sweeteners and the glucose response. Their first test of this idea was simply to wipe out the bacteria with a heavy dose of antibiotics. When they did so, the difference between the animals getting glucose and the animals getting artificial sweeteners vanished. To really nail down the case, the authors obtained fecal material from the mice given artificial sweeteners and transferred it to mice that had been treated with antibiotics. The mice receiving the transplants showed reduced tolerance to glucose.

Could this really be relevant to human health? To get a hint, the team got seven healthy volunteers to start consuming high levels of saccharin (the FDA's recommended maximum daily dose). At the end of a week, four of them ended up with a reduced insulin response. Again, the researchers took stool samples and gave them to germ-free mice. Fecal transplants from those who had a poor insulin response transferred this response to the mice; fecal transplants from the ones who were unaffected by the saccharine had no effect.

There is a nice discussion in the 190+ comments - seems a lot of people are checking out this pathway.

Backpedaling

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Obama is not the magic negro anymore - from the Chicago Tribune:

Mayor: New high school won't be named after President Obama
Chicago's newest selective enrollment high school will not be named after President Barack Obama, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel had announced with much fanfare when unveiling the high profile school project.

In a statement this morning, Emanuel said he would look for other possible names.

“Over the last few months, my team has listened to questions and concerns from the community, ranging from location of the building to the naming of the school. We take that community input seriously, which is why – as we continue to look for a thoughtful way to honor President Obama – we will look for other possible names for this future school," Emanuel said in a statement.

There are schools named after Obama in other parts of the country, and when Emanuel announced the new school near Goose Island on the near North Side in April, he said the president was aware it would bear his name. "I'm not going to put words in his mouth, but he knows about it, and he's excited about it," Emanuel said then.

Geezzz - when Obama loses Chicago. Someone pointed out in a comment that it should be named for George W. Bush - that way, when it fails...

A day in history

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Today, the people of Scotland are voting whether to remain under United Kingdom rule or to become an independent Nation.

Polls are close - I can see a lot of economic reasons to stay linked with England but the Scott in me treasures independence far more.

My prayers to them!

Nature's Poisons

Just stumbled across this wonderful medical/chemistry blog regarding the various toxic brews that Mother Nature serves up.

Check out Nature's Poisons - from the About page:

About
My name is Justin Brower, and I’m a Forensic Toxicologist. It’s not quite like CSI – we’re not all beautiful people wearing sunglasses. But it’s still pretty cool.

I earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry.  Organic chemistry for those that care, so I have a fondness for chemical structures. I started out in Big Pharma . . . OK, it was more like Micro Pharma. I then transitioned to a career in postmortem forensic toxicology. It is fascinating to see how people kill themselves and others. No two cases are the same. I started this blog for several reasons, one of which was to push myself to learn more. So I took my love of chemical structures and things that kill people and morphed them into this.

So why Nature’s Poisons? Methadone and Oxycodone have been done to death. To death, get it? What I’m not likely to see in my job is someone dead from Taipoxin. There’s just not too many Australian Inland Taipan snakes in my neck of the woods. Thank goodness, I hate snakes. So I can at least write about it. I also like plants and gardening, and seeing how there are thousands of plant based poisons, there’s no shortage of material.

Justin will be a weekly read for me. Need to update the blogroll and add this site.

Lots of Knots

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Great list of knots and bends at Wikipedia

A knot involves one line, a bend involves two or more.

ISIS - a two-fer

First - from Jammie Wearing Fools:

As Part of Sharia Crackdown in Syria, ISIS Now Covering Up Goat Genitalia
The temptation must be too much for some jihadis.

Next - I present for your consideration: 

 

 Heh...

Power plant destroyed in Lughansk, Ukraine

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A few hours ago - over one million people without power.

More as I get it - this from an email.

The EPA on carbon dioxide

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What with the EPA's war on coal, power generation capacities in the US are being strongly impacted by closing coal generation plants and blackouts could be a common thing of the future.

Case in point - from Bryan Preston at PJ Tatler:

EPA Official Explains Agency’s Plan to Curb Carbon Emissions…and Then This Happened
The US energy industry has been warning for years that the Obama EPA’s caps on carbon emissions will lead to several bad outcomes for Americans, including skyrocketing energy prices and even brownouts and blackouts.

The EPA’s Janet McCabe was testifying in the House today on the agency’s plan to cap carbon emissions. And then the power went out.

 

Heh - could not have scripted this any better. Same as Hansen and Wirth's presentation to Congress in 1988

Global Warming realities

Great editorial taking a pragmatic look at our efforts to combat Global Warming and its impact on everyone.

From Pravda but written by Viv Forbes from The Carbon Sense Coalition:

Climate-cooling policies threaten food supplies
A warmer, wetter climate with more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would undoubtedly produce more plant growth and more food.

However climate-cooling policies that claim to prevent global warming by throttling the use of carbon fuels will definitely reduce food supply and increase food prices.

The promotion of ethanol for motor fuel is anti-food. This "food for fuel" program has absorbed significant quantities of corn, soy beans, sugar and palm oils. Consequently prices for ethanol crops are higher than they would otherwise be, encouraging farmers to convert land currently devoted to grazing animals and other food crops to growing more profitable crops for ethanol.

Extreme greens also practice plant discrimination, favoring more trees at the expense of natural grasslands and open forest that support many grazing animals. These polices take many forms including planting carbon credit forests, banning regrowth clearing, anti-development zoning and blanket tree protection reserves. All such policies reduce food production from grasslands.

Climate-cooling policies also aim to decrease demand for carbon fuels, including coal, oil, gas and refined motor fuels, by increasing their costs and prices. Modern food production is totally dependent on low-priced carbon fuels for all farming activities. Diesel fuels are needed for cultivation, planting, harvesting and transport; and coal/gas powered electricity for irrigation, processing and distribution. Higher prices for carbon fuels will send some marginal farms out of business. The same policies will reduce profits and production in the fishing industry. All of these policies are anti-food.

Much more at the site. Wake up and smell the cappuccino guys...

Let the public speak - from FOX News:

Curtain, reviews come down on taxpayer-funded climate change musical
The curtain has come down on Climate Change: The Musical and reviews of the taxpayer-funded play about global warming are downright icy.

The play, which is actually entitled "The Great Immensity," and was produced by Brooklyn-based theater company The Civilians, Inc. with a $700,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, ended its run early amid a storm of criticism from reviewers and lawmakers alike. It opened a year late, reached just five percent of its anticipated audience and likely fell short of its ambitious goal of informing a new generation about the perceived dangers of man-caused climate change. 

Plus, it apparently wasn't very good.

A bit more:

The play, which featured songs and video exploring Americans’ relationships to the environment, opened in New York in April with a three-week run before going on a national tour that was supposed to attract 75,000 patrons. But it stalled after a single production in Kansas City, falling short of the lofty goals outlined in a grant proposal. It was envisioned as a chance to create "an experience that would be part investigative journalism and part inventive theater,” help the public "better appreciate how science studies the Earth’s biosphere” and increase “public awareness, knowledge and engagement with science-related societal issues.”

Heh - who was it talking about putting lipstick on a pig?

Fortunately, this has not gone unnoticed:

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, said the dramatic debacle was a waste of public money.

“There is no doubt that the Great Immensity was a great mistake,” Smith told FoxNews.com. “The NSF used taxpayer dollars to underwrite political advocacy dressed up as a musical. And the project clearly failed to achieve any of its objectives.” 

In a statement to FoxNews.com, the NSF said it is too soon to tell if the grant funds were wasted.

“This particular project just concluded in August and the final report has not yet been submitted to NSF,” the statement said. “Final reports are due to NSF within 90 days following expiration of the grant. The final report will contain information about project outcomes, impacts and other data.”

And how many more projects like this are getting funded from our tax dollars...

Building a nation from the ground up - ISIS

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Nice bunch of people - from CNN:

ISIS bans math, social studies for children
In swaths of Syria now controlled by ISIS, children can no longer study math or social studies. Sports are out of the question. And students will be banned from learning about elections and democracy.

Instead, they'll be subjected to the teachings of the radical Islamist group. And any teacher who dares to break the rules "will be punished."

Great for short-term propaganda gains but lousy for long-term stability and prosperity. This is straight out of the communist playbook and that only killed 160,000,000 people.

Handy 'puter tools

I had already posted about SystemRescueCd (website here)

Just ran across Ultimate Boot CD

Looks pretty handy - another tool for the box. UBCD is more DOS oriented with a bunch of tools for dealiing with older machines.

SRCD is a bootable Linux distribution with disk tools.

Cool thing with UBCD is that you can run Floppy disk utilities without have a floppy disk in the machine under test.

Nikon woes continued

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This new camera body is cursed...

I had written yesterday how I had received a new camera body from Amazon on Friday only to find that it was a used re-pack. My guess is that an Amazon employee "borrowed" it for a few days, shot a couple hundred photos, scratched the side and then re-packed it while forgetting one of the cables. The employee tried to slip-stream it back into the "new" inventory.

Amazon was amazing about sending out a new body that Saturday and I received it yesterday.

There is a known flaw with earlier versions of this body - bright spots appearing on long-exposure images. Since I love doing time-lapse photography, this is very germane.

I checked the serial number and BINGO! My new camera body is one of the earlier units and has the flaw. I will be shooting a time-lapse tonight and then boxing it up and shipping it off to Nikon tomorrow.  Arrrrggghhh!!!

That being said, I really love the new body (D810) - the image quality and sharpness is outstanding.

Ebola at Ro=1

Damn bad news - this is a critical threshold and not a good one. From Maryn McKenna writing at Wired:

The Mathematics of Ebola Trigger Stark Warnings: Act Now or Regret It
The Ebola epidemic in Africa has continued to expand since I last wrote about it, and as of a week ago, has accounted for more than 4,200 cases and 2,200 deaths in five countries: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. That is extraordinary: Since the virus was discovered, no Ebola outbreak’s toll has risen above several hundred cases. This now truly is a type of epidemic that the world has never seen before. In light of that, several articles were published recently that are very worth reading.

The most arresting is a piece published last week in the journal Eurosurveillance, which is the peer-reviewed publication of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (the EU’s Stockholm-based version of the US CDC). The piece is an attempt to assess mathematically how the epidemic is growing, by using case reports to determine the “reproductive number.” (Note for non-epidemiology geeks: The basic reproductive number — usually shorted to R0 or “R-nought” — expresses how many cases of disease are likely to be caused by any one infected person. An R0 of less than 1 means an outbreak will die out; an R0 of more than 1 means an outbreak can be expected to increase. If you saw the movie Contagion, this is what Kate Winslet stood up and wrote on a whiteboard early in the film.)

The Eurosurveillance paper, by two researchers from the University of Tokyo and Arizona State University, attempts to derive what the reproductive rate has been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. (Note for actual epidemiology geeks: The calculation is for the effective reproductive number, pegged to a point in time, hence actually Rt.) They come up with an R of at least 1, and in some cases 2; that is, at certain points, sick persons have caused disease in two others.

She concludes with the following:

I’ve spent enough time around public health people, in the US and in the field, to understand that they prefer to express themselves conservatively. So when they indulge in apocalyptic language, it is unusual, and notable.

When one of the most senior disease detectives in the US begins talking about “plague,” knowing how emotive that word can be, and another suggests calling out the military, it is time to start paying attention.

Wise words.

Oopsie - a small error for a canal

From Mike Schuler at gCaptain:

This Commemorative Suez Canal Stamp Has One Glaring Error

20140916-suez.jpg

The Egyptian postal service had the best intentions when issuing a series of stamps to commemorate the Suez Canal and its multi-billion expansion project, only there was one glaring error: the stamp showed a picture of the rival Panama Canal (for those of you who don’t know, Suez Canal has no locks).

I wonder how many millions were printed before anyone noticed. It would be bad enough if they were similar but the Suez has no locks at all. Quite a difference!

Just go away

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Great rant from Don Surber:

Go away, Hillary
The big news in the Upper West Side Times was that Hillary Clinton and her national disgrace for a husband were in Iowa on Sunday trying to rustle up support among the Trotskyite rubes who make up the underbelly of the Democratic Party.

Go home, Hillary.

You have nothing to offer this country, except eight more years of divisiveness.

You have no talent except for lying, and you are terribly poor at that.

William Safire was kind when he described you as a "congenital liar" because it is not in your DNA but rather it is the result of some sort of pact with a demon, a demon whose magic was inferior to the one who granted the power of fabrication to your husband. If you made a pact with the Devil then he shortchanged you.

Incompetence in lying does not make you any less loathsome. Thurl Ravenscroft recorded in 1966 a song that would best describe your adult life.

Your blind ambition and savage pursuit of power would give pause to Lucrezia Borgia. If people believe that it is too harsh to liken you to a power-hungry murderess from 600 years ago, let them go to Benghazi. What difference does it make now, right?

Don is just warming to the task. Go there and read.

A tip of the hat to Denny for the link.

From Sharyl Attkisson writing at The Daily Signal:

Benghazi Bombshell: Clinton State Department Official Reveals Details of Alleged Document Review
As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story.

At the time, Maxwell was a leader in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, which was charged with collecting emails and documents relevant to the Benghazi probe.

“I was not invited to that after-hours endeavor, but I heard about it and decided to check it out on a Sunday afternoon,” Maxwell says.

A bit more:

“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisers.

“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’ ”

The most transparent administration ever...

History repeating itself - Vietnam to ISIS

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Great essay by Gary Anderson at the Small Wars Journal:

If You Liked Vietnam, You’ll Love the War With the Islamic State
Vietnam analogies are often overused, particularly by people who want to stay out of a proposed war or get us out of one we are fighting. Although I agree that the Islamic State, or whatever it is calling itself this week, must be dealt with militarily; the strategy with which the Obama administration is going about it is deeply disturbing and its basic elements bring vividly to mind the War in Vietnam which began in earnest when I was in the Tenth Grade; American involvement did not end until I was a senior Marine Corps First Lieutenant in 1973. I am not yet senile enough to have forgotten key details.

President Obama is repeating three key strategic mistakes that President Johnson made in Vietnam. First, he has embarked on an open ended commitment; there was no measurable end state. In a similar manner, President Obama throws around the words degrade, defeat, and destroy as if they are interchangeable. Degradation and defeat are things that have to be accomplished before an enemy is destroyed. In some cases, the aim of a conflict is only to defeat the enemy as it was in ejecting Saddam Hussein from Kuwait in DESERT STORM. Degrade is something you do to his command and control along the way to defeating him.

It is nearly impossible to completely destroy a movement as we have seen with al Qaeda for thirteen years. It is possible to destroy the armed forces that allow the enemy to occupy territory and protect his seat of power. The president did not make it clear which goal he has in mind. If he cannot clearly define the end state, we will have a conflict every bit as open ended as Vietnam.

We did not heed the French when they pulled out of Vietnam. We have not been truthfully seeing the conditions in the middle-east for the last thirty years and this is coming home to roost.

Fox photo

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Please excuse the image quality - this is hand-held, 200mm lens and a severely cropped image. The 'lil guy was about 100' from me and pouncing on rodents.

20140916-fox.jpg

I will definitely be keeping the camera handy during breakfast.

From The New York Times:

U.S. Pushes Back Against Warnings That ISIS Plans to Enter From Mexico
Militants for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have traveled to Mexico and are just miles from the United States. They plan to cross over the porous border and will “imminently” launch car bomb attacks. And the threat is so real that federal law enforcement officers have been placed at a heightened state of alert, and an American military base near the border has increased its security.

As the Obama administration and the American public have focused their attention on ISIS in recent weeks, conservative groups and leading Republicans have issued stark warnings like those that ISIS and other extremists from Syria are planning to enter the country illegally from Mexico. But the Homeland Security Department, the F.B.I. and lawmakers who represent areas near the border say there is no truth to the warnings.

“There is no credible intelligence to suggest that there is an active plot by ISIL to attempt to cross the southern border,” Homeland Security officials said in a written statement, using an alternative acronym for the group.

If there is no credible intellegence, why are we finding Islamic debris on the border? From the Examiner:

Korans, Islamic prayer rugs found at Texas-Mexico border
With tens of thousands of illegal aliens swarming across the Rio Grande into Texas, certain items are washing up to the riverbank that normally aren't associated with Central American children fleeing the ultra-violent MS-13 drug gang as many on the left have been asserting. As reported by the Independent Review Journal news portal and also by the right-of-center The Blaze, both on July 14, 2014, various Islamic sacramentals as well as various cultural accoutrements relating to Pakistan and Afghanistan are beginning to make their appearance known in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

As reported, South Texas rancher Mike Vickers has found a rather out of place textbook on his property - an Urdu to English dictionary and phrasebook. Despite rather sizable minorities in Central America speaking ancient tongues such as Tz’utujil and Ch’orti’ as well as the vast majority of the populace speaking Spanish, a dictionary for the language mostly spoken in Pakistan and Afghanistan appearing on the American side of the border is raising more than a few eyebrows among law enforcement officials.

We are so screwed. Our putative 'leaders' are living in a fog of cluelessness.

Fox again - a different one

Lulu and I spotted a fox again. This one looks a bit different than the one we had seen earlier

Took some photos and I'll bring them into work and see if I got any good ones - used the new camera body so it should be a good test.

Wondering if there might be a den nearby. Again, the dogs will go balistic for a deer or coyote but they didn't raise a peep for these guys...

Massive devastation in Mexico's Baja Peninsula with Cabo San Lucas being hard hit when Odile was a Cat4 storm.

The UK Telegraph has good coverage including these photos (lots more at the site):

20140915-odile-01.jpg

On track to centerpnch Cabo San Lucas

20140915-odile-02.jpg

Residential area - this used to be a wonderful small fishing village with a few 'tourist' attractions but was developed massively in the last 20 years.

20140915-odile-03.jpg

Taking shelter in a stairwell - the designated "shelter" was severely damaged with flying window glass and parts of the ceiling falling down on people.

Had the great pleasure of sailing into Cabo three times in the 1980's - gorgeous small town. Very friendly - invited to parties every night. There was a large fishing and sea salt industry for a while but the environmentalists killed those. They then opted for tourism and a few people became very very rich.

Business opportunities everywhere

Even in disaster areas - from Market Watch comes this press release from Lakeland Industries:

Lakeland Industries Announces Global Availability of Hazmat Suits for Ebola
Lakeland Industries, Inc. LAKE, +5.84% a leading global manufacturer of industrial protective clothing for industry, municipalities, healthcare and to first responders on the federal, state and local levels, today announced the global availability of its protective apparel for use in handling the Ebola virus.  In response to the increasing demand for specialty protective suits to be worm by healthcare workers and others being exposed to Ebola, Lakeland is increasing its manufacturing capacity for these garments and includes proprietary processes for specialized seam sealing, a far superior technology for protecting against viral hazards than non-sealed products. 

"Lakeland stands ready to join the fight against the spread of Ebola," said Christopher J. Ryan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lakeland Industries.  "We understand the difficulty of getting appropriate products through a procurement system that in times of crisis favors availability over specification, and we hope our added capacity will help alleviate that problem.  With the U.S. State Department alone putting out a bid for 160,000 suits, we encourage all protective apparel companies to increase their manufacturing capacity for sealed seam garments so that our industry can do its part in addressing this threat to global health.

Emphasis mine - seriously, W.T.F. 160,000 suits? What are they not telling us.

Back home from town

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Just pulled in from the shopping run. We are doing a Costco roti chicken with oven roasted potatoes and a garden salad.

Just had a vary curious and excellent transaction with Amazon.  I had ordered a new camera body (time for a technology refresh after four years with a D90).

The new body arrived sans one cable. Hmmm... Didn't think that much of it and proceeded to mount a lens and take some photos. At this time, I noticed two rather obvious gouges on the right side of the body.

Whenever a Nikon camera takes a photo, it stores a lot of other information in the photos file, one of which is the number of shutter actuations. For a new body, this should be about five - definitely under ten.

This puppy was just under 800 shutter actuations.  My guess is that someone at Amazon 'borrowed' it for a weekend of shooting, failed to repack it properly and damaged it. They thought they could slip-stream it back into the inventory without anyone being the wiser. Bzzzzztttt!!!

Anyway, this was Friday, I used the website to get a return and exchange, wrote a short note outlining what had happened and was pleasantly surprised to get a nice email in reply that Saturday saying that  new body had been shipped out for Monday delivery.

It was waiting here for me when I got back today. Amazon seriously rocks...

And I can not say that I blame them. From the Canadian Broadcasting Company:

American shakedown: Police won't charge you, but they'll grab your money
On its official website, the Canadian government informs its citizens that “there is no limit to the amount of money that you may legally take into or out of the United States.” Nonetheless, it adds, banking in the U.S. can be difficult for non-residents, so Canadians shouldn’t carry large amounts of cash.

That last bit is excellent advice, but for an entirely different reason than the one Ottawa cites.

There’s a shakedown going on in the U.S., and the perps are in uniform.

A bit more:

It usually starts on the road somewhere. An officer pulls you over for some minor infraction — changing lanes without proper signaling, following the car ahead too closely, straddling lanes. The offence is irrelevant.

Then the police officer wants to chat, asking questions about where you’re going, or where you came from, and why. He’ll peer into your car, then perhaps ask permission to search it, citing the need for vigilance against terrorist weaponry or drugs.

What he’s really looking for, though, is money.

 And more:

The officer will probably produce a waiver, saying that if you just sign over the money then the whole matter will just disappear, and you’ll be able to go on your way.

Refuse to sign it, and he may take the cash anyway, proclaiming it the probable proceeds of drugs or some other crime.

Either way, you almost certainly won’t be charged with anything; the objective is to take your money, not burden the system.

You’ll have the right to seek its return in court, but of course that will mean big lawyer’s fees, and legally documenting exactly where the money came from. You will need to prove you are not a drug dealer or a terrorist.

It might take a year or two. And several trips back to the jurisdiction where you were pulled over. Sorry.

Of course, no actual names, dates and numbers but I am inclined to believe that this goes on more than we know.

By voting for people like Senator Reid and President Obama, the people indicated that they wanted bigger government. This is bigger government. Enjoy the fruits of your labor...

Northwest meteorologist Cliff Mass has a nice article on this phenomenon:

Huge daily temperature range hits the Northwest
Often during the late summer and early fall, a huge daily temperature range is observed at Northwest stations, particularly those away from the water.

Here in western Washington for example, stations like Olympia have risen into the 80s during day, but drop in the mid-30s at night.

 And some locations in eastern Oregon have dropped below freezing!

 Clear night skies and longer nights promote radiation cooling while we have the warm dry air in the daytime. Gorgeous weather - cool nights (great snuggle weather) and still wonderful warm Indian Summer days (although this is scheduled to go away mid next week).

Last night it got down to 38.8° and up to 80°. Last Thursday night it was 32.8°

Nice guy - Ali Muhammad Brown

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From the Seattle FOX affiliate Q13:

COPS: Self-styled jihadist admits to killing 4 people, calls it ‘vengeance’ for U.S. actions in Mideast
A man accused of shooting to death two men in Seattle on June 1 and a man in New Jersey later that month was charged Wednesday with gunning down a 30-year-old in the Skyway area in April — all, he allegedly told police, as “vengeance” for U.S. actions in the Mideast.

Ali Muhammad Brown, 40, is quoted in charging documents as saying that he they were “just kills” and that he was “just doing my small part” as a self-styled jihadist.

He was charged Wednesday with aggravated first-degree murder by the King County Prosecutor’s Office  for the slaying of Leroy Henderson, 30 in the unincorporated King County area of Skyway on the night of April 27.

Henderson had been shot 10 times in the back as he was walking home.

I hope they fry the guy - shooting someone in the back. His last meal should be a ham sandwitch.

This comment sums up the entire problem:

Has there been an outcry denouncing his actions from the Muslim community? If not, their silence speaks for them.

More wiring

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Hanging more conduit today. Since I am upgrading the first section, I started wiring from the final outlets back toward the breaker box.

The solid state disk drive on the music computer is amazingly fast - Windows boots in a few seconds and my main music app in under ten. Only problem is that somewhere, when I was permanently installing the SSD, the computer stopped working. I would turn it on just fine but it would not even POST to the monitor.

I'll look around for a loose wire later today.

Outlander

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Just keeps getting better and better as the characters are fleshed out. Blackjack Randall is a perfectly depicted classical sociopath.

The quality of acting is superb. If you get the Starz network, this is one show to watch - they are re-running previous episodes so it should be pretty easy to start from the beginning.

Lulu had some allergies today so she took a Benadryl and is upstairs sawing Z's - I am working on some stuff in the music room.

Doing a little technology refresh to my music computer and adding a solid state disk drive. The system is five years old and is still perfect for my needs but hard drives do break (five years is a good run)  and the performance of the new SSDs are amazing. Picked up a nice one for under $220 at Amazon.

In for the day

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Got the Feijoada cooking on the stove and a pot of rice going. Feijoada is usually served with greens so Lulu is out picking a bunch of chard - sauté down and squeeze some lemon juice in at the end.

Outlander is on the boob-tube at 6:00PM tonight (Starz channel) - excellent series. If you are interested in european and american history of the last 200 years and have not read Diana Gabaldon's series, you owe yourself the chance to check it out. The books are strongly chronological so start with the first: Outlander

Doing a bit of a change in the shop wiring - was getting too many wires in the first run of conduit so bumping up to 2" diameter from 1.5". This work is "on the books" with the county so I need to dot every "T" and cross every "I"

A Trip Thru Liberalville

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 Hat tip to Andrew Wilkow for the link.

Lunch break

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Wiring the shop - about 40% there (big project)

Finished with lunch and got a ham steak thawing out for Feijoada tonight.

Back to work...

Aurora in Maine

We missed a display here but folks in Maine got a nice eyefull:

 20140913-aurora-maine.jpg

 Hat tip to Spaceweather.

And that would be a No-rora

Heading up to sleep in a bit.

There was a good chance that we could have seen a display of Aurora Borealis this evening but the near-full Moon is starting to rise and there was a bit of a cloud cover earlier. Both are major buzz-kills...

At least, we do not have to worry about losing power or internet or anyt&87yoI&6bIbi98unOi7Oin98nP98N98LoijmLKp09
NO CARRIER

Be sure to look up tonight - Aurora Borealis

There is a good chance of seeing an Aurora display tonight in the northern latitudes.

Look up after dark - be sure to check every hour or so. Get your cameras set up beforehand - high ISO, wide angle lens and wide opening. Turn off autofocus (if this is an option) and manually focus to infinity while it is still light. A piece of blue painters tape will hold the setting. 10 second exposure to start.

You are what you eat

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Seafood from Asia? No.

 More here, here, here and here.

Yeah but that's shellfish. Surely something like Tilipia from Mexico is OK - not so much. From Virtual Mirage:

Crunching Down Tilapia
I like to eat most fish. However, I draw the line at tilapia. Yes, I know that it's popular. It's a type of fresh water perch (like the popular Blue Gill game fish) that grows quickly and is very hardy. Usually they are farmed in the tropics since they thrive in warmer climates.

 According to the National Fisheries Institute, the mild fish has climbed to become the fourth most eaten seafood in the U.S., behind only shrimp, salmon and canned tuna. They're easy to farm and they are inexpensive to buy.

 I recently went out to dinner and everyone at the table ordered tilapia except me. They challenged me and I kept silent, suggesting that my ribeye (cooked to perfection over burning mesquite) was simply a choice in the face of the "healthier option". I usually avoid dinner table gross-outs. So it's going up here on the blog instead. Crunch those tilapia down with gusto after you've read my experiences -- I dare you.

 The writer goes on:

While working in Mexico I found that some Beltran Leyva Cartel types were feeding people they killed to farmed tilapia in the Puerto Vallerta area to hide the bodies. Other disturbing reports indicated that the Arellano-Felix Cartel people were doing it in Northern Mexico as well to get rid of their rivals. Apparently tilapia enjoy the meal and grow even more rapidly with the steady supply of protein.  

Most of these fish find their way to tables in Mexico and to tourist destinations along the Mexican Riviera, so buying and eating them in the US is likely cartel-influence free. Personally I've been put off on eating them.

Santiago “El Pozolero” (The soup maker) Meza Lopez became famous for the “El pozole” (Mexican meat soup), that he made of dead people, killed by the Arellano-Felix Family and later for the Sinaloa Cartel.

“El Pozolero” became famous because he was in charge of getting rid of the bodies of the war that was being fought in Tijuana over the drug routes towards the United States. Some of those bodies ended up being dissolved in caustic chemicals. Others made their way to the tilapia ponds because caustic chemicals cost money and the cartel owned tilapia ponds and could solve two problems at once.

I'm not suggesting that all Mexican tilapia are farmed using bodies of dead people as food. I'm not suggesting that even a small percentage of the tilapia raised in Mexico are farmed in that way. I'm simply saying that I refuse to eat ANY tilapia and that's why.

 I like knowing where my food comes from. A tip of the hat to Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man for the links...

Heh - sucks to be you

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Fun news from the UK Telegraph:

Al-Qaeda India branch’s first attack ends in dismal failure as jihadists 'raid wrong ship'
Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, the new group announced last week by   Ayman al-Zawahiri to bolster his flagging fortunes, suffered a setback when   three of its fighters were killed and seven arrested in its first ever terror attack.

Heavily armed militants attacked a naval dock in Karachi's sea port on   Saturday night and targeted what they believed was an American aircraft   carrier, but instead found a Pakistan Navy frigate and were overwhelmed   before they could cause any damage, investigators said.

Three jihadis were killed in the attack, four were captured and another three   arrested the following day on information from interrogations. Two Pakistan   Navy guards were wounded in the fighting.

"It was a complete failure, they did not do any kind of damage, some were   captured and we caught more, seven so far and may be more to come. They were   well-equipped and came with the intention of taking a ship into their   custody but they were caught in the initial stages," a senior source   close to the investigation told the Telegraph.

 The sooner these morons fade into the dustbin of history, the better.

A thorn in their side

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a thorn in the side of the Obama administration because he firmly believes in secure borders, the 10th amendment and punishing all wrong-doers and not just the politically incorrect ones.

The Obama administration is cutting him off from the gravy train - from Phoenix, AZ station KTAR:

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office dropped from US military surplus program
The federal government dropped the Maricopa County Sheriff's  Office from the program that funnels surplus military equipment to police  departments because the Arizona agency cannot account for some weapons, Sheriff  Joe Arpaio said Thursday.

The sheriff, whose agency patrols unincorporated areas of the county that  includes most of the Phoenix area, said he recently received termination letters  from the U.S. Defense Department and the program's coordinator for Arizona.

Arpaio's agency was suspended from the program in 2012 because it was missing  eight handguns and one M-16 rifle from among the hundreds of weapons it received  through the program. Arpaio said his office tried but failed to locate the  missing weapons, including checking whether retired deputies had them.

Eric Holder lost over ten times that many weapons (along with people's lives on both sides of the border) with his Fast and Furious gun-running debacle.

The 30+ comments are a fun read...

Busy day today

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This little business is growing up - lots of customers today and a couple projects in the works.

Light posting for now...

So true - our gravest threat

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Obama's administration is falling apart - latest polls for him and for congress are in the proverbial toilet.

 

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The fine folks at The Hockey Schtick link to an interesting paper in Advances in Space Research:

New paper predicts Dalton-like solar Grand Minimum by mid-21st century
A paper published today in Advances in Space Research finds the current solar cycle has "an unprecedented solar minimum long duration 2006-2009 that led to a prolonged galactic cosmic ray (GCR) recovery to the highest level observed in the instrumental era." The authors believe a long-term decrease in solar activity is underway to a Dalton-like Grand Minimum in the middle of the 21st century.

"These happenings affected our empirical predictions for the key parameters for the next two sunspot cycles (they may be progressively less active than [current] sunspot cycle 24) but it enhanced support for our prediction that solar activity is descending into a Dalton-like grand minimum in the middle of the twentyfirst century"

If so, and if man-made CO2 has any significant warming effect, we ought pump out CO2 as fast as possible to offset a potential 2nd Little Ice Age in the mid-21st century. 

If Svensmark's cosmic ray theory theory of climate proves correct, this will further amplify the global cooling effect of low solar activity, due to increased cloud nucleation from increased galactic cosmic rays.

Dalton Minimum? Here:

20140911-dalton.jpgThe chart shows the observed sunspots but sunspots are an excellent proxy for solar flux. From the above link:

The Dalton Minimum was a period of low solar activity, named after the English meteorologist John Dalton, lasting from about 1790 to 1830[1] (solar cycle 4 to solar cycle 7). Like the Maunder Minimum and Spörer Minimum, the Dalton Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average global temperatures. During that period, there was a variation of temperature of about 1°C.[2]

The precise cause of the lower-than-average temperatures during this period is not well understood.

Wikipedia's pro-AGW bias is shining through loud and clear - the low temperature is very well understood. The sun was not putting out as much heat.

Great list from Anthony at Watts Up With That:

Updated list of 52 excuses for the 18-26 year ‘pause’ in global warming (compiled by WUWT and The HockeySchtick)
An updated list of at least 29 32 36 38 39 41 51 52 excuses for the 18-26 year statistically significant ‘pause’ in global warming, including recent scientific papers, media quotes, blogs, and related debunkings: 

1) Low solar activity

2) Oceans ate the global warming [debunked] [debunked] [debunked]

3) Chinese coal use [debunked]

4) Montreal Protocol

5) What ‘pause’? [debunked] [debunked] [debunked] [debunked]

6) Volcanic aerosols [debunked]

7) Stratospheric Water Vapor

8) Faster Pacific trade winds [debunked]

9) Stadium Waves

10) ‘Coincidence!’

42 more at the site. As they scramble to keep their cushy jobs and research grants...

Now this is interesting - crystallized light

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From Science Blog:

‘Solid light’ could compute previously unsolvable problems
Researchers at Princeton University have begun crystallizing  light as part of an effort to answer fundamental questions about the physics of  matter.

The researchers are not shining light through crystal – they are transforming  light into crystal. As part of an effort to develop exotic materials  such as room-temperature superconductors, the researchers have locked together  photons, the basic element of light, so that they become fixed in place.

“It’s something that we have never seen before,” said Andrew  Houck, an associate professor of electrical engineering and one of the  researchers. “This is a new behavior for light.”

The results raise intriguing possibilities for a variety of future materials.  But the researchers also intend to use the method to address questions about the  fundamental study of matter, a field called condensed matter physics.

“We are interested in exploring – and ultimately controlling and directing –  the flow of energy at the atomic level,” said Hakan  Türeci, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and a member of the  research team. “The goal is to better understand current materials and processes  and to evaluate materials that we cannot yet create.”

Original paper is here at Physical Review: Observation of a Dissipation-Induced Classical to Quantum Transition

This will be big if it can be duplicated.

And another one bites the dust

The United States 'enjoys' the highest corporate income tax level of any nation in the world.

General Electric moved their entire medical imaging division to China and just sold their home appliance division.

Burger King went up to Canada via the Tim Hortons deal.

Now this - from Nuclear Street:

Hitachi Nuclear Business Considering Move to UK
The head of Hitachi has said his company is considering a move to the UK for its nuclear power business.

The Japanese conglomerate works in partnership with General Electric to market the ABWR and ESBWR boiling water reactors and the Generation IV PRISM sodium-cooled reactor. The American side of the partnership, known as GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, is based in North Carolina. The partnership's Japanese side, known as Hitachi GE Nuclear Energy, is currently based in Hitachi City, Japan.

On Tuesday, London's Telegraph newspaper quoted Hitachi CEO Hiroaki Nakanishi as saying London's position as Europe's unofficial financial capital would make it an ideal headquarters for the Japanese company's nuclear power operation. A move would take place after permission is granted for Hitachi to build new reactors at the UK's Wylfa plant.

 Business as usual - give us the nice lucrative contract for the Wylfa plant and we will move our corporate offices to London and you can tax those profits at a lower rate than what we would be paying in the USA.

Has nobody in Washington ever heard of the Laffer Curve?

Domestic bliss

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Came home from work yesterday to find this:

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The last of this summer's peaches were getting a bit overripe so Lulu made a pie.

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Last weekend, she made this harvest wreath - the hollow thing on the right is a gourd we grew in the garden last year. Hollowed out and dried. There are a couple of faries hiding. The guy at eleven o'clock is pretty obvious but he has a couple of friends in there with him.

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September 11th, 2001 Never Forget. Never Forgive.

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Your moment of Zen for today

An advertisement for Japanese fiber-optic Internet provider Au Hikari (light)

 

Donald Trump, Obama, and Golf

Heh...

From The Daily Caller:

Trump To Obama: Resign And I’ll Give You Free Golf For The Rest Of Your Life
News broke today that President Obama was rebuffed in his attempt to golf at several exclusive country clubs over the Labor Day weekend while he waited around for the wedding of an MSNBC host and his personal chef. (Must be nice to have that kind of downtime.)

The rejection wasn’t personal, it’s just that no one was willing to take the huge financial hit of clearing their tee time schedule of dues paying members to accommodate the president’s foursome. (The whole course has to be cleared for the president to play, for understandable security reasons.)

Since Labor Day weekend is a huge weekend for golf, no one was willing to anger people who give them money for a man who wants to take an ever-growing chunk of it.

A smart business decision.

One of the courses that told the president no was Trump National Golf Club.

After the news broke, The Donald himself took to Twitter to announce a peace offering to the Golfer-In-Chief: Resign and you can play all you want for free!

20140910-trump.jpg

Trump should run for president. Probably won't - he is too smart.

Hello - who ordered this? Solar Flare department

The next few days will be interesting. Not quite Carrington interesting but... From Solar HAM:

EVENT LOG: X1.6 SOLAR FLARE DATE: 9/10/2014 @ 17:45 UTC SOURCE: Sunspot 2158
Geoeffective Sunspot 2158 produced a strong solar flare this afternoon (Sept. 10) measuring X1.6 at 17:45 UTC. The event was associated with a Type II radio emission with an impressive estimated velocity of 3750 km/s. New imagery suggests a fast moving, full halo coronal mass ejection (CME) was produced and could be directed towards our planet. More details to follow.


We recently ducked a big one. This is smaller but still certainly strong enough to cause aurora at lower latitudes and possible problems with the grid. We will find out in 2-3 days...

Career limiting move - sooo busted

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Body shop employees spotted racing in Roseville police squad cars
At least the two employees waited until after morning traffic eased up before getting behind the wheels of the Dodge Chargers and roaring along County Road C at “excessive speeds” for more than a mile.

Police in Roseville say two of their marked squad cars were pitted in an unauthorized street race by body shop employees along a busy street in town. The Police Department responded by taking its business elsewhere.

At least the two joy riding employees waited until after morning traffic eased up last Thursday before getting behind the wheels of the Dodge Chargers — yes, they had a hemi — and roaring along County Road C at “excessive speeds” for more than a mile from Victoria Street east to Western Avenue, said Police Lt. Lorne Rosand.

“I heard from one citizen who said it appeared they were racing” around 10:15 a.m. along the four-lane thoroughfare, where the speed limit is 40 miles per hour, Rosand said Tuesday.

A department official addressed the incident with the owner of the body shop, and police decided to sever business with Suburban Auto Body, to the east of Roseville in Little Canada.

Body shop president Dennis O’Connell Jr. countered in an e-mailed statement that “there was no speeding or dangerous driving,” explaining there was “quick acceleration from a stop sign, and no citations were given.”

One employee was fired. I can see taking a vehicle for a short road test if they were working on anything suspension or brake related but this sounds a bit excessive. They could have used the corner of a mall parking lot for this kind of test.

Amazon's new storefront

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Check out The Drone Store

They are getting cheaper but still out of my budget range.  Another year or two...

From The Washington Post:

Data on $800 billion in stimulus spending will disappear this year. Here is why.
The government Web site created “to foster greater accountability and transparency” in federal stimulus spending has for years allowed anyone with an Internet connection to follow the money.

But by the end of the month, the ability to see what entities received contracts and grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is going to vanish from recovery.gov, officials say, making it impossible to track where the more than $800 billion finally ended up.

It’s not because the Web site is going away — that won’t happen for at least another year. Instead, it’s because of a far more strange — and complicated — reason that, some say, exposes a larger problem that could have even greater implications for the billions the government spends .

The data will disappear from the site because the government board that oversees the Web site and ensures the stimulus money is spent properly is not renewing its license with Dun & Bradstreet, a major U.S. financial firm that assigns an identification number to all entities doing business with the federal government. When the license expires at the end of this month, those identification numbers — and other associated data — will no longer be available to the government.

The reason for not renewing the license:

But Nancy DiPaolo, chief of congressional and intergovernmental affairs for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, said that it was not fiscally prudent to renew the license and that the board would be forced to take down the recipient data. The cost to renew the license would be between $900,000 and $1.4 million.

At worst case, let's call it $1.5 Million. That is 0.0018% of the Stimulus spending. A rounding error. This has to be a political decision, not a procedural one. Cui bono?

Quite the milestone for Watts Up With That

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Anthony Watt's website: Watts Up With That is a daily read for me.

It just passed quite a milestone:

WUWT at 200 Million Views
While the WUWT counter number on the right sidebar will likely hit this mark while I’m sleeping, I just wanted to give a short notice to everyone that we’ve reached this milestone.

Congratulations Anthony - job well done. It has also grown into quite a wonderful community of commenters, authors and readers.

Nature photography with technology

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Sensory: BBC Wildlife Director John Downer & the technology of 'spy-cam' filmmaking from Getty Images on Vimeo.

Gorgeous work and some wonderful technologies for the cameras - I love the Polar Bear cams.

Our militarized police - Gresham, Oregon

From Fred Marlow:

Gresham Oregon Police assaulting me for filming drug raid that woke the entire neighborhood 9/2/2014

Gresham OR 9/2/14 4:00am I was laying in my apartment sleeping an I heard multiple bombs blasting and glass breaking and my entire apartment shook repeatedly. I grabbed my Ipad and ran outside as fast as I could to see what was going on There were 5 or more Tank/Military Trucks just cruising through my neighborhood. 503 Gresham/Portland Oregon right across the street from Mt.Hood Community College. I was assaulted multiple times and I feel like it was Gresham Police Abuse and my rights were violated. I now owe $5000 and i am charged with 2 crimes. 2 CRIMES! At first I was scared to post this video but now I dont care because the Gresham Police Department has already made a copy of it as proof of my crimes. I feel more like this is proof of their crimes or am i crazy?

I am charged with ORS 162.247 and ORS 162.315

I have setup a fundraiser to accept donations if anyone has the ability to help me please visit my fundraiser website. http://gogetfunding.com/project/gresh... Thank you everyone who has showed support and offered their advice.

Fred also has a Tumblr site here: Gresham Police Abuse Fundraiser

The website Photography Is Not A Crime has an interview and some excellent advice

This is what happens when you grow the Federal Government - this is the front line of tyranny. The people who voted for the free stuff also voted for this - actions have consequences.

Time to de-criminalize DDT

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From The New York Times:

Mosquito-Borne Viruses Hit Japan and the U.S.
Mosquito-borne viruses are showing up unexpectedly in affluent countries where they have been largely unknown.

Yoyogi Park, a popular oasis in downtown Tokyo, was closed last week after authorities realized it was the center of Japan’s first outbreak of dengue in 70 years.

Dengue is also called breakbone fever for the severe joint pain it causes. Repeat infections can cause dengue hemorrhagic fever, which can be lethal. Since Japanese authorities detected the first case Aug. 27, 65 more have been found, most of them associated with Yoyogi Park. The victims included two models covering the outbreak for a local television station.

Fear of the virus is spreading. In Yokohama, officials closed a large beach park after one local woman infected in Tokyo said she was later bitten by a mosquito there.

In the United States, more than 750 cases of another painful disease, chikungunya, have been reported this year. Almost all have been in tourists returning from the Caribbean, where the disease is rampant, particularly in the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique and Puerto Rico. Nine million Americans visit the Caribbean each year.

But Florida residents who had not traveled were infected this summer, and the virus was found in a Texas mosquito, meaning that it is becoming established in the United States.

Chikungunya was unknown in the Western Hemisphere until late last year.

The demonization of DDT is a very sordid affair and much of the two million lives per year caused by its banning can be attributed to Saint Rachel Carson (PDF) and the ever clueless (but a really nice guy) Bill Ruckelshaus.

Granted, we were marinating in the stuff back in the 1950's - we were using waay more than was called for because it was so cheap and safe. The concepts of targeting and of not killing beneficial insects were not known at that time.

Things have changed and it would be a wonderful thing to reintroduce this powerful tool into the world's arsenal of tools for health and well-being...

Great animation with a twist

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More on the Franklin Expedition find

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The Toronto Star was on board the research vessel when the discovery was made.

ABOARD CCGS SIR WILFRID LAURIER—Like all great discoveries, they found the Franklin Expedition shipwreck by accident, after years of gruelling, monotonous work.

For 166 years, people have wondered where the Royal Navy’s HMS Erebus and HMS Terror went after they sailed into the Northwest Passage in search of the western exit, only to disappear, losing all 129 men aboard.

Witness accounts from Inuit who spoke to early searchers in the 19th century offered tantalizing clues of at least one ghost ship, with a big, dead white man aboard, drifting south on the ice.

They claimed it was far from the point where an 1847 ink note, concealed in a tin can, reported the ships had been abandoned, imprisoned in heavy ice. Many so-called experts thought it was hogwash. The Inuit had to be telling tall tales.

Turns out the Inuit were right all along.

Great story at the article. There is a companion article covering the science behind the search here: The science of ice forensics in the Arctic Franklin search

An amazing story. Looking forward to seeing the artifacts in a museum in a few years.

18 minute TED Talk on the actual costs of renewable energy - numbers, not hand-waving:

David also runs an excellent blog: Sustainable Energy - without the hot air

Hat tip to Rod Adams at Atomic Insights for the video and the link.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Harry Reid Rewrites the First Amendment
Liberals often deplore efforts to amend the Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights and especially when the outcome would narrow individual liberties. Well, now we know they don't really mean it.

Forty-six Senate Democrats have concluded that the First Amendment is an impediment to re-election that a little tinkering can cure. They are proposing a constitutional amendment that would give Congress and state legislatures the authority to regulate the degree to which citizens can devote their resources to advocating the election or defeat of candidates. Voters, whatever their political views, should rise up against politicians who want to dilute the Bill of Rights to perpetuate their tenure in office.

Led by Majority Leader Harry Reid, these Senate Democrats claim that they are merely interested in good government to "restore democracy to the American people" by reducing the amount of money in politics. Do not believe it. When politicians seek to restrict political speech, it is invariably to protect their own incumbency and avoid having to defend their policies in the marketplace of ideas.

 A bit more:

The rhetoric of these would-be constitutional reformers is focused on two Supreme Court decisions: Citizens United v. FEC (2010) and McCutcheon v. FEC (2014). In Citizens United, the court struck down a law prohibiting unions and corporations from using their resources to speak for or against a candidate within a certain time period before an election.

The Obama administration conceded during oral argument that the law would permit the government to ban the publication of political books or pamphlets. Pamphlets and books ignited the revolution that created this country and the Bill of Rights. In pushing to overturn the court's decision, Mr. Reid and his Democratic colleagues apparently wish they had the power to stop books, pamphlets—as well as broadcasting—that threaten their hold on their government jobs.

Unions again. Is it not illegal for Senators to pander to Unions? Unions are required to - by law - be apolitical.

In the private sector, these criminals would be fired and put behind bars in a heartbeat.

So true - Government Agencies with SWAT Teams

A bit excessive if you ask me:

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Swiped from the always excellent Maggie's Farm

Outbreak - Ebola and something new

Ebola is spiraling out of control in Africa.

From NBC News:

Ebola Spreading 'Exponentially' as Patients Seek Beds in Liberia
The Ebola virus is spreading exponentially across Liberia as patients fill taxis in a fruitless search for medical care, the World Health Organization said Monday.

More:

For example, in Montserrado county, 1,000 beds are urgently needed but only 240 beds are available. WHO has said more than 3,600 people have been infected with Ebola in this West African epidemic, and 2,000 have died, but the organization predicts as many as 20,000 will be sickened before it’s over. Half of those infected have been dying.

And here:

Healthcare workers are being especially hard hit. “Some 152 health care workers have been infected and 79 have died,” WHO said. When the outbreak began, Liberia had only one doctor to treat nearly 100,000 people in a total population of 4.4 million people. Every infection or death of a doctor or nurse depletes response capacity significantly.”

From the Washington Post:

Oxford study predicts 15 more countries are at risk of Ebola exposure
Until this year's epidemic, Ebola did not exist in West Africa. Now with nearly 2,300 people dead from the virus, mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, scientists still don't fully understand how Ebola arrived from Central Africa, where outbreaks of this strain of the virus had occurred in the past.

Meanwhile on our own turf - from the Boston Globe:

Hundreds in Lynn Tested for Tuberculosis
More than 30 Lynn Community Health Center employees and 800 patients are being tested to determine if they were exposed to tuberculosis after center doctors confirmed a case.

Center Director Lori Berry says after confirming the single positive test for tuberculosis in a male health care worker around Labor Day, center medical workers contacted and tested employees as well as patients ‘‘having sufficient exposure to warrant testing.’’

And this just in - from the Cincinnati Enquirer:


Hospital sets patient record as virus spreads
Medical officials admitted a record number of children to a local hospital over the weekend because of what they believe to be a rare respiratory virus spreading throughout the country.

Although there's been no confirmed cases of the enterovirus at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, officials admitted 540 patients Friday, said Dr. Derek Wheeler, associate chief of staff at the hospital.

The previous record was around 515, Wheeler said.

Some reports out of Missouri and Colorado suggest the virus, with symptoms similar to the common cold, brought sicker patients to hospitals, Wheeler said.

A bit more:

This particular type of enterovirus — EV-D68 — is uncommon, but not new. It was first identified in the 1960s.

We are open for a major epidemic and our friends in the middle east are not helping. Pandemics come and go and we are overdue...

Major archaeological find in Canada

From the Beeb:

Sir John Franklin: Fabled Arctic ship found
One of two British explorer ships that vanished in the Arctic more than 160 years ago has been found, Canada's prime minister says.

Stephen Harper said it was unclear which ship had been found, but photo evidence confirmed it was one of them.

Sir John Franklin led the two ships and 129 men in 1845 to chart the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic.

The expedition's disappearance shortly after became one of the great mysteries of the age of Victorian exploration.

The Canadian government began searching for Franklin's ships in 2008 as part of a strategy to assert Canada's sovereignty over the Northwest Passage, which has recently become accessible to shipping because of melting Arctic ice.

"I am delighted to announce that this year's Victoria Strait expedition has solved one of Canada's greatest mysteries, with the discovery of one of the two ships belonging to the Franklin Expedition," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement.

The loss of the expedition galvanized the world - there were 50 expeditions launched to search for them. It is amazing how far these explorers got with the pitiful equipment and knowledge they had at the time. When I was growing up and wanting to be the next Jacques Cousteau, I devoured stories about polar exploration. It will be fascinating to see close-up photos of the ship.

The Home Depot credit card breach

Didn't mention it yet because it was not confirmed but today it is. And Home Depot is going the extra mile.

From their website:

REQUEST YOUR FREE IDENTITY PROTECTION
The Home Depot is truly sorry for any inconvenience caused by this incident and we are committed to taking steps to protect your payment card information.

If you need identity repair assistance during the next 12 months, starting on September 8, 2014, the team at AllClear ID is ready and standing by to assist you. There is no action required on your part at this time. If a problem arises, simply call 1-855-252-0908 and a dedicated investigator will do the work to recover financial losses, restore your credit, and make sure your identity is returned to its proper condition.

For additional protection, affected U.S. customers may enroll in the AllClear PRO service and affected Canadian customers may enroll in the Equifax Premier service at no cost to them at any time during the next 12 months. These services are available through September 8, 2015, and include credit monitoring and an identity theft insurance policy.

Very nice - Target sat back and let the issuing banks deal with it. Home Depot is being a lot more pro-active. Was there today picking up some more stuff for the shop wiring project. Paid cash.

Cool Toy Tool

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I do electronics and sometimes, measuring the parameters of an unknown component can be "interesting" to say the least. Many companies will use "house branded" parts which may be a common device but will have an identification number known only to that company. If the company is defunct, so are your chances of learning what the part really is.

Just ran into this puppy on eBay:

2014 Mega328 Transistor Tester Diode Triode Capacitance ESR Meter MOS/PNP/NPN 5
1:Automatic detection of NPN and PNP transistors, n-channel and p-channel MOSFET, diode (including double diode), thyristor, transistor, resistor and capacitor and other components
2: Automatic test the pin of a component, and display on the LCD
3:Can detect the transistor, MOSFET protection diode amplification coefficient and the base to determine the emitter transistor forward biased voltage
4: Measure the gate and gate capacitance of the MOSFET threshold voltage
5:Use 12864 liquid crystal display with backlight

So, basically, you plug your device into this unit, power up and it will tell you what it thinks you have. Lots of pictures at the eBay listing. Hell, for under $20, this is a no-brainer. If it gets me part way to a positive identification, I can fine tune with my other instruments.

Nothing much today

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Had a couple other things to do in town beside the usual Monday buying run so didn't get back until around 5:30.

Lulu is feeling under the weather so she went to bed early - feeling tired myself so probably head up to bed after an hour of surfing.

A two-fer.

First - from The Vancouver Sun:

Summer's not over but snow expected to fall in some parts of B.C.
Winter is still a ways off, but snow is already expected to fall in some parts of British Columbia.

Environment Canada has issued weather alerts for the northeast areas of the province near the Peace River and Williston Lake.

The agency is asking drivers who are travelling the stretch of Highway 97 in those areas to be careful.

Second - from the Calgary Sun

Environment Canada issues special weather statement warning Calgary could see up to 5 cm of snow on Monday 
Don’t shoot the messenger.

“We can’t change it,” said meteorologist Lisa Torneby on Sunday after Environment Canada issued a special weather statement regarding potential snowfall Monday.

“We like summer too.”

Environment Canada issued the statement Sunday, warning Calgarians and residents of some other jurisdictions in central and southwestern Alberta they’d likely see the first flakes of the season flying on Monday.

As most Calgarians know, nothing weather-wise is ever out of the question, but even Torneby said snowfall at this time of year is unusual.

What warming? 

Cool tool - Conduit Fill Calculator

When doing electrical wiring through conduit, there are plenty of tables that tell you that you can run up to 16 lines of 10 Gauge THHN wire through a 1" EMT conduit but you are stuck doing some calculations if you want to run mixed sizes and still be on the right side of the 2014 National Electric Code.

Just ran into the Conduit Fill Calculator - easy peasy. Plug in the size and type of conduit, the gauge and type of wire and hit the Calculate button.

Their parent site also has a mobile app (Android, iOs and Web) for this and much much more.

$15 with free upgrades for life. If I was doing more wiring, I would get it in a heartbeat.

A great smackdown to the Malthusians

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I just loves me some Malthusians - NOT!

These are the morons who go around telling everyone how we are running out of resources and we are all gonna die if we don't do something big, political, and expensive right now! Anthropogenic Global Warming is a perfect example of this pox.

Tim Worstall delivers a wonderful smackdown writing at The Register:

Limits to Growth is a pile of steaming doggy-doo based on total cobblers
Keeping a technologically based civilisation on the road isn't all that easy. There must be stuff available to make stuff from and there's got to be energy to do the transforming of that stuff. If we posited something like The Culture by Iain M. Banks, where there's a universe of stuff to transform and an entire universe's worth of energy, then there's no real limit to either how rich that society can get nor how long it can last.

Similarly, if all the stuff runs out in a few years' time, as does all the energy, then humanity will go back to being a couple of million hunter gatherers pretty sharpish.

What we'd really like to know, of course, is which version of the universe do we inhabit: one where Paul Ehrlich is right and we all starved in the 1980s, or one in which, around 2300 or so, the Jetsons finally get their flying cars?

Fortunately we've had people trying to work this out for us. One example was the Club of Rome which got together to create a report called Limits to Growth.

This was very much more optimistic than Paul Ehrlich was: this report said that we should all start dying around about now as all the stuff ran out. It's not, as we can see around us, happening quite yet. Yes, people are dying in Ukraine and Syria and so on, but that's from an excess of high explosive being sent their way, not from a lack of it. Never mind, though, the Guardian tells us it's about to start happening real soon now:

Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse. Four decades after the book was published, Limit to Growth’s forecasts have been vindicated by new Australian research. Expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon

Well, yes, real soon now, no doubt. And the guy who has checked this research must be believed: Graham Turner is a physicist who used to work for CSIRO in Oz. And CSIRO are just great guys: they actually cited me in one of their academic papers so they must be. So, obviously, we should all just curl up and die right now, right?

We mustn't forget these two quotes from Dr. Ehrlich (this link goes to a bunch of great wacko-enviro quotes):

Giving society cheap, abundant energy ... would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.
-- Paul Ehrlich

Hundreds of millions of people will soon perish in smog disasters in New York and Los Angeles...the oceans will die of DDT poisoning by 1979...the U.S. life expectancy will drop to 42 years by 1980 due to cancer epidemics.
-- Paul Ehrlich

Time does a wonderful job of debunking the two logical fallacies used in the Guardian article. They are out-and-out lying to us.

Back to work

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More wiring today - making decent progress.

Lulu and I spent some time this morning planning a list of stuff to do before winter sets in - not that far away :(

Making a pot of spaghetti sauce for dinner tonight - once that is on the stove, it's back to work!

Now this will be interesting - SteadXP

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Seems to be a small box with an accelerometer - when done filming, plug the box into your 'puter and their software smooths out your video.

MSFT was working on a similar thing four years ago: Image Deblurring using Inertial Measurement Sensors

Denial in the news

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Rick McKee from the Augusta Chronicle hits the nail on the head - the quote is from Hillary - clueless as usual

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Off to town today - wiring the shop

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Came up a bit short on 1" conduit so running into town to get a couple more sticks plus the requisite fasteners, couplings, etc... The shop had always been usable but it will be nice to have everything up to code and not worry about tripping breakers when working.

Improving the lighting too - when blacksmithing, you actually do not want that much light so you can observe the metal. When doing other operations, you want more light so wiring up the lighting to have three stages. Three large metal halide overhead lights (got these at an auction) for very bright illumination, fixtures over each workbench for mid-level lighting (already in place) and then a couple LED fixtures for dim lighting.

Great commercial

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I am a big fan of the Brother Label makers - nice computer interface so you don't have to deal with the tiny keyboard but they also run on batteries when needed.

Whomever did this advertisement is a genius and needs to be paid a lot more money.

Quelle surprise

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This article from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (five page PDF):

Cuban Intelligence Targeting of Academia
The academic world — primarily defined as schools, colleges, universities, and research institutes — provides a fertile environment in which foreign intelligence services can operate.  Consequently, the Cuban intelligence services (CuIS) are known to actively target the US academic world for the purposes of recruiting agents, in order to both obtain useful information and conduct influence activities.

Vulnerabilities Within Academia:  By its nature, the academic world encourages free thinking and informational exchanges in an open environment. Arguably, such networks are required for research institutes and academicians to accomplish many of their objectives. Within academia, there are clear incentives to build institutional networks to thoroughly explore a wide range of ideas. For instance, it behooves a researcher to develop direct access to primary sources or populations that will assist in actual research. Unfortunately, such an atmosphere is exploitable by an intelligence service, which can use this open environment to identify and target individuals of interest. The researcher looking to obtain direct access to sources of information may have to build networks that run through foreign governments. What’s more is that a foreign intelligence service may actively target such a researcher by using various lures, such as the establishment of cultural and academic exchanges.

Targets Within Academia:  The academic world offers a rich array of targets attractive to foreign intelligence services. US government (USG) institutions draw on academia for personnel, both for entry level staffing and for consultation from established experts. A segment of the population, both students and faculty, is bound forwork within the USG. Another segment is likely to have contact with USG information and policies through many other venues, including work with research institutes and numerous forms of contract work. First, many of these individuals may have access to useful information that can be passed to the CuIS. Second, some of these individuals are in a position of influence. They can assist in directly influencing the US policymaking process or in shaping public opinion on Cuba.

Dated September 2nd, 2014 -- this shit is happening here and now. Much more at the site.

Unemployment in America - a two-fer

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The August numbers are in and they do not look good.

From this CNS News article:

White Unemployment 5.3% -- Black Unemployment 11.4%
While unemployment nationwide is 6.1%, the  unemployment rate for black Americans at 11.4% is more than double the  rate for white Americans, who have an unemployment rate of 5.3%,  according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The unemployment rate for Latino Americans, at 7.5%, is also lower  than the unemployment rate for blacks, the BLS data show.

Our government is posturing at Ferguson, MO and stirring up racial animosity all the while it is firmly keeping the black population on the Democrat plantation. These sheep are being raised to get their free stuff and vote Democrat - often. And if you think the Black unemployment numbers are bad, check out the Illegal Employment numbers.

From this article at CNS News:

24,639,000: Record Number of Foreign-Born Hold Jobs in U.S.
The number of foreign-born individuals holding jobs in  the United States hit a recorded high of 24,639,000 in August, according  to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS has been  tracking the number of foreign-born workers annually since 2005 and  monthly since 2007.

Another group of sheep being moved onto the Democratic plantation. Thank you for the free stuff Massa!

Amazing that people can be so thoroughly bought with so little.

The Science is Settled

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Prepare for cooling, not warming. From World Net Daily:

New data backs 'ice age' prediction
As the United Nations prepares for its 2014  Climate Summit in New York this month with an agenda to advance a new  carbon-emissions regulatory agreement to supersede the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the  Russian scientist who correctly predicted the lack of global warming over the  past 19 years has gained new scientific support for his belief that Earth is  in the beginning of a prolonged ice age.

A  new study from Lund University in Sweden, published  Aug. 17 in Nature Geoscience, has reconstructed solar activity during the  last ice age, the last so-called “global maximum” extending from 20,000 to  10,000 years ago. Analysis of trace elements in ice cores in Greenland and from  cave formations in China indicates the growth and melting of a thick ice sheet  stretching from the Arctic to northern Germany were related to variations in the  sun’s UV radiation output.

“The study shows an unexpected link between solar activity and climate  change. It shows both that changes in solar activity are nothing new and that  solar activity influences the climate, especially on a regional level.  Understanding these processes helps us to better forecast the climate in certain  regions,” said Raimund Muscheler, lecturer in quaternary geology at Lund  University and co-author of the study, in a widely  cited interview published by LaboratoryEquipment.com.

The recently published Lund University solar research lends support to the  research of Russian scientist Habibullo Abdussamatov, the head of the  prestigious Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in St. Petersburg. Abdussamatov has  compiled scientific data supporting the theory “sun heats earth,” refuting  global warming theorists that insist greenhouse gases are the culprit in a  phenomenon of anthropogenic global warming.

Using data analyzing sunspot activity going back to the 19th century,  Abdussamatov argues that total sun irradiance is the primary factor responsible  for climate variations on Earth, citing evidence for his theory the earth is  about to enter a prolonged cooling phase because  sunspot activity has been in a weak “mini-max” in the current Solar Cycle 24  after hitting a “solar minimum” in 2009.

In  a scientific paper published in St. Petersburg last November. Abdussamotiv  predicted that “after the maximum of solar Cycle-24, from approximately  2014, we can expect the start of the next bicentennial cooling cycle with a  little Ice Age in 2055 plus or minus 14 years.” He believes a global freeze  “will come about regardless of whether or not industrialized countries put a cap  on their greenhouse gas emissions.”

The evidence for this is strong - historical record as well. We have good temperature and CO2 proxies going back a hundred thousand years and it always shows that the CO2 levels lag temperature levels by about 700 years. They also show that we were up to 9,000 ppm CO2 at times and temps were in the 70's to 90's

As for the recent minima (Maunder and Dalton), the sunspot provide a great proxy for solar output and both times, there were long times of zero sunspots. We are in for a long cold time and the sooner we realize this, the easier people will adapt.

 

A mind of its own - the CubeSat Cannon

From Discovery:

Space Station's Cubesat Launcher has Mind of its Own
Last night, two more of Planet Lab’s shoebox-sized Earth imaging satellites launched themselves from aboard the International Space Station, the latest in a series of technical mysteries involving a commercially owned CubeSat deployer located outside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module.

Station commander Steve Swanson was storing some blood samples in one of the station’s freezers Friday morning when he noticed that the doors on NanoRack’s cubesat deployer were open, said NASA mission commentator Pat Ryan.

Flight controllers at the Johnson Space Center in Houston determined that two CubeSats had been inadvertently released.

“No crew members or ground controllers saw the deployment. They reviewed all the camera footage and there was no views of it there either,” Ryan said.

Ghosts in Space?

Cute cable management

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Do you have exposed cables on a wall? Check these out:

20140905-cableclips.jpg


From Amazon

About a year ago, I posted about a big blow-up at an obscure Federal agency that had a bit of an egregious spending problem.

The Washington Examiner did an in-depth series of articles. The head of this agency retired last November but nothing is being done to clean it up.

The House Oversight Committee led by Darrell Issa, R-Calif. looked into it and Issa had (in part) this to say:

"FMCS employees purchased many items for their personal use with their [government purchase cards].

"In addition to leasing a vehicle and service charges, these items included cell phones for family members, high-end cable and internet packages for home use, furniture for a home office, a Bose stereo system, two high-definition televisions, bluetooth earpieces, leather-bound Kindle e-readers, $200 table lamps, coat racks costing almost $400, air purifiers, a television cabinet costing $2,300, thumb drives that cost $500 each, and $30,000 worth of picture frames over two years."

The spending on luxuries, such as $1,000 for a television in an in-office gym, is “extremely serious,” the letter continued.

Just another example of our tax dollars at work...

New technology - the Ikea bookbook™

 

Pure genius. 

Cool tool - CNCSimulator

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From their about website:

About the CNCSimulator
Before downloading and installing CNCSimulator Pro, please read this page: What is needed?

The idea of the CNCSimulator Pro is to provide the CNC community with a versatile and contemporary Full 3D CNC Machine Simulator with CAM capabilities. The CNCSimulator is for everyone with an Internet connection and the Windows operating system. Currently we support two and three axis turning and milling machines using our own Fanuc inspired G-code language as well as a Laser Cutter, a WaterJet, a Plasma Cutter and a 3D Printer. The program is free for anyone to use but with limitations for non paying users.

Clever idea - normally, you set your height (Z Axis) to your work surface plus a couple inches and 'machine air' for your first go-around. Make sure your tool isn't veering off into someplace it shouldn't. This way gives you a visual representation without having to be at the mill.

Prescient advertisement from 2008

Romney was not my first choice but he would have been a good President, especially with his business skills and binders full of women.

Seeing the light - China and India

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No fools there - from Bloomberg:

China and Indian Leaders Skipping UN Climate Summit
The top leaders of China and India aren’t planning to attend this month’s United Nations summit on climate change, signaling tepid support for a global pact to cut greenhouse gases among two of the largest emitters.

President Xi Jinping of China and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon they won’t be at the day-long meeting of world leaders on Sept. 23, according to two UN diplomats, requesting not to be identified discussing the leaders’ plans. Their absence undercuts the summit, although it may not be fatal for negotiations set to wrap up by the end of 2015.

China is the world’s top greenhouse-gas emitter, and India is third, after the U.S., according to World Bank data. Together China and India account for nearly a third of total emissions, and their carbon footprint is growing while it remains flat in the U.S. and Europe.

“I was completely shocked and very disappointed to read today that Chinese President Xi and Indian Prime Minister Modi may not make it to Ban Ki-moon’s Climate Summit,” Tony deBrum, foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, in the northern Pacific Ocean, said in a statement. “For the small island states of the world, the science says we might be forced to pay the biggest price of all -- the loss of our countries. We expect solidarity from our developing country compatriots, not excuses.”

I love the quote: "I was completely shocked and very disappointed to read today that Chinese President Xi and Indian Prime Minister Modi may not make it to Ban Ki-moon’s Climate Summit"

This "Summit" is just a political circus. It's about grabbing power and implementing a one-world government with the United Nations at the head. It is not about doing good, it is about accumulating political power. These people need to have their cushy digs in downtown Manhattan shut down and the USA needs to stop giving them so much money.

Kudos to these two for standing up and speaking truth to power in the clearest sense of the word...

Clueless on Solar "power"

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They used to do decent science but have veered off into the weeds of ideology and political manipulation.

From the Rocky Mountain Institute:

Solar for All: Making Solar PV Accessible to Low-Income Families in the U.S.
Here at RMI we love seeing electricity generated by the sun. And while it’s great to see large homes owned by the likes of Woody Harrelson and Will Ferrell being solar-powered, rooftop solar should be accessible to people across the socio-economic spectrum of the U.S., not just the one percent. But putting solar on all of these different roofs is currently a serious challenge.

Even with lowered PV costs and the prevalence of third-party financing programs, solar is largely out of reach for many low-income families. Many are renters who do not own their homes, putting them at the mercy of their landlord. For those that do own their homes, few have enough tax liability to take full advantage of federal and state tax incentives for rooftop solar. That’s largely a moot point anyway, since even with incentives the steep upfront cost of rooftop solar in the U.S. still puts a PV system financially out of reach for low-income families. That’s where third-party leasing can come in, but many low-income families have low credit scores and most solar leasing companies require a credit score of at least 700. It’s one potential financial barrier after another.

Some more:

“Low-income families pay into the rebate pool like everyone else. Yet often, even with rebates, they can’t afford a solar home system,” Shirley Moore, program manager at Grid Alternatives, told RMI. Grid Alternatives, or simply Grid, as it is fondly called, is a nonprofit organization providing low- to no-cost PV systems to low-income families throughout California, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Homeowners who earn 80 percent or less of the median income and have a solar-appropriate roof qualify for a Grid Alternatives PV system. “We see people save an average of 50 to 75 percent off their electric bill. Money that can go towards paying their mortgage, putting food on the table, or saving for college,” said Moore.

Grid works with local partners to find qualifying families. The families do not have to put any money down, but do have to contribute 16 hours of sweat equity. They can work in the Grid office, help on the installation, or even cook lunch for the installation volunteers. They then pay $0.02 per kilowatt-hour for what their system produces. It’s a small price to pay for leasing the system, often adding up to only about $100 per year, but according to Chuck Watkins, executive director of Grid Alternatives–Colorado, “we want the homeowners highly engaged with their system and aware of their energy usage.”

A similar organization, Citizens Energy, provides free solar PV systems that reduce homeowners’ electricity costs by 40 to 50 percent in the Imperial Valley of California, an area with the highest unemployment rate in the country. With temperatures in the area climbing to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, homeowners can have a difficult time paying for the electricity to run their air conditioners. Citizens Energy uses 50 percent of its profits from its share of the Sunrise Powerlink high-voltage transmission line that brings renewable energy to the San Diego region to purchase, install, and maintain the systems. The homeowner signs a 20-year lease only after they receive a free energy audit and weatherization services. One of the 200 homeowners to receive the free PV system saw her monthly summer electricity bill go from $350 to $85.

This all sounds nice - classical liberalism at work but I got two questions:

  • Is this the most efficient way to cut their energy costs (hint: NO!) and
  • Who pays for this (hint: the rest of us - another example taxation without representation.)

Problem is that Solar is not a baseload energy source. Your total energy production is at best, 1,000 watts per square yard. This is high noon, cloudless sky, dry air and the panels optimally pointing toward the sun. All the rest of the time, you are getting a few hundred watts per sq. yd. If you need to live off-grid then fine - solar is your best option. If we put this money into nuclear power, we could slash everyone's utility bill and our economy would come roaring back to life.

The cost of these programs are being paid for by the taxpayers - this is taxation without representation. Where did I vote for this program?

Minimum Wage - the reality

A bunch of people are 'demonstrating' in New York City and Detroit advocating for an almost doubling of the minimum wage. From Associated Press:

Fast-food protesters cuffed at higher-pay rallies
Police handcuffed several protesters in New York and Detroit on Thursday as they blocked traffic in the latest attempt to escalate their efforts to get McDonald's, Burger King and other fast-food companies to pay their employees at least $15 an hour.

The protests, which are planned by labor organizers for about 150 cities nationwide throughout Thursday, are part of the "Fight for $15" campaign. Since the protests began in late 2012, organizers have switched up their tactics every few months.

Ahhh - the unions are in back of this. Could have figured. They want the steady supply of union dues to use to influence the political process in the US.

From both sides of the fence:

"There's a national movement going on made up of fast food workers organizing to lift wages so they can provide for their families with pride and dignity," Obama said, as he pushed Congress to raise the minimum wage. "If I were busting my butt in the service industry and wanted an honest day's pay for an honest day's work, I'd join a union."

The National Restaurant Association, on the other hand, said in a statement that the protests are an attempt by unions to "boost their dwindling membership." The industry lobbying group said it hopes organizers will be respectful to customers and workers during the protests.

And the core of the problem:

Prospero Sanchez, who was at the McDonald's in New York, said the $11.50 per hour he earns making pizzas at a Domino's Pizza restaurant is not enough to support him, his wife and two kids. He started working at the same restaurant 14 years ago, when he made $5 an hour.

I feel sorry for Mr. Sanchez but entry level jobs are just that - the first jobs you get in life. It is a matter of your own personal responsibility to continually improve yourself and make yourself worth more to a potential employer. Had Mr. Sanchez gone to night school, he could be bringing home $30/hour as a chef or machinist or welder or carpenter. Slinging pizzas is a horrible way to go through life.

And, a word to the unions - drive up the cost of doing business and it will be cost effective to bring in robots:

Momentum Machines
Fast food doesn’t have to have a negative connotation anymore. With our technology, a restaurant can offer gourmet quality burgers at fast food prices.

Our alpha machine frees up all of the hamburger line cooks in a restaurant.

It does everything employees can do except better:

    • it slices toppings like tomatoes and pickles immediately before it places the slice onto your burger, giving you the freshest burger possible.
    • our next revision will offer custom meat grinds for every single customer. Want a patty with 1/3 pork and 2/3 bison ground to order? No problem.
    • Also, our next revision will use gourmet cooking techniques never before used in a fast food restaurant, giving the patty the perfect char but keeping in all the juices.
    • it’s more consistent, more sanitary, and can produce ~360 hamburgers per hour.

The labor savings allow a restaurant to spend approximately twice as much on high quality ingredients and the gourmet cooking techniques make the ingredients taste that much better.

The stupid - it burns!!!

Meet reverb.com

Looks to be a nice alternative to eBay for selling music instruments.

Main page: reverb.com

From their Why Reverb page:

Why Reverb?
Reverb offers the best variety of tools to buy & sell gear, and the lowest listing fees of any major site. As musicians and gear lovers, we work to foster a community and make Reverb the best place to purchase music gear online.

eBay is 10% plus a bunch of hidden fees (currency conversion, limited free listings/month, lock into PayPal with their set of fees, etc...) Reverb is a flat 3.5% - adds up!

Mostly guitars for now but worth checking out every couple weeks...

Home again

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Turned out to be a very busy day with customers coming in through 5:30 (I close at 6:00)

Lulu is in Bellingham for a few days and I didn't feel like cooking so I went out to a local restaurant for a light dinner.

Just got back and will be working in the music room tonight -- received a couple cables that I had ordered to accommodate the new monitor and computer setup. Also building a small metro shelf unit to hold boxes for mics, processors, cables and other toys. Have one already and running out of space on it.

Time flies - been doing the announcing since the first one and it only seems like a year or two. Last Saturday was the Fifth Annual Mt. Baker Car Show.

There were around 98 cars entered - quite a good number considering the crappy forecast for weather. 80% chance of showers. Fortunately, the rain held off until around 2:00PM so everyone had a great time.

Here are three pictures I took:

20140830-carshow01.jpg

One of the rods - some gorgeous work on display

 

20140830-carshow02.jpg

A look down the highway - there were cars stashed everywhere. The main drag and all the side streets.

 

20140830-carshow03.jpg

E.G.A.T. - Everybody Gets a Trophy. Some fun categories too: best flames, best shift knob, best 'work in progress'

We also raffled off several hundred donated items and the proceeds for all of this goes to the Lions Club. These people do great work with almost zero overhead and administrative costs.

All in all, a fun day!

And it keeps getting busier

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My new business is taking off.

Of course, tomorrow will be absolutely dead but today was nice.  Profitable even.

My inner Ferengi is smiling...

Now this is alt.energy

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These people look really good:


There website is here: Terrestrial Energy

More from Rod Adams at Atomic Insights:

Terrestrial Energy – Molten Salt Reactor Designed to Be Commercial Success
There is a growing roster of innovative organizations populated by people who recognize that nuclear technology is still in its infancy. Terrestrial Energy is one of the most promising of those organization because of its combination of problem solving technology, visionary leadership, and strong focus on meeting commercial needs.

Nearly all of the commercial nuclear power plants operating and under construction today use the basic design components of solid fuel arranged into a critical mass that can produce massive quantities of heat in a compact volume. The heat produced in that solid fuel is almost always moved by water, with the heat energy that has been transported from the fuel transformed into steam that turns a turbine generator.

More:

However, one of the lessons learned from using the conventional technology is that there are certain unavoidable cost and schedule limitations associated with the technological choice. Water does not want to remain in liquid form at the temperatures that are desirable in a steam power plant; the solution is to use high pressures to control the physical state of the water. High pressures mean thick-walled containers and piping; thick walls add to welding challenges, make it difficult to control forming processes and lead to lengthy production cycles due to the need to control rates of heating and cooling to add process inspection stages to ensure all quality standards are met.

More:

Innovators like Terrestrial Energy believe there are fundamental choices that can alter the competitive balance. TEI’s choice has been to design a reactor that is more akin to a chemical reactor, with fuel that is a dissolved reactant in a solution (in this case, a salt solution) where the solution provides the transport mechanism for the heat produced in a strongly exothermic reaction. Of course, the reaction in this case is not a chemical reaction; it is a fission chain reaction.

Looks like a clever design - they are not using Thorium, using low enriched Uranium instead. Still, very safe, very efficient and able to burn spent conventional fuel. The nuclear byproducts only need a few hundred years of sequestration and much of this "waste" has commercial uses - medical isotopes, etc...

People unclear on the concept - Venezuela

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From Yahoo/Reuters:

Venezuelan Socialist Party swaps God for Chavez in new prayer
A member of Venezuela's Socialist Party has rolled out a variation of the classic Christian "Lord's Prayer" to implore beloved late leader Hugo Chavez for protection from the evils of capitalism.

"Our Chavez who art in heaven, the earth, the sea and we delegates," red-shirted delegate Maria Estrella Uribe recited on Monday at the PSUV party Congress.

"Hallowed be your name, may your legacy come to us so we can spread it to people here and elsewhere. Give us your light to guide us every day," she said in front of an image of Chavez.

"Lead us not into the temptation of capitalism, deliver us from the evil of the oligarchy, like the crime of contraband, because ours is the homeland, the peace and life forever and ever. Amen. Viva Chavez!" she exclaimed to applause.

Disgusting. Venezuela has the worlds' richest deposits of oil and it has to import; shortages of basic goods (toilet paper) and a 60% reported inflation. Socialism at work...

Our tender infrastructure and World War III

We are sitting ducks. From the Washington Examiner:

New ISIS threat: America's electric grid; blackout could kill 9 of 10
Former top government officials who have been warning Washington about the vulnerability of the nation’s largely unprotected electric grid are raising new fears that troops from the jihadist Islamic State are poised to attack the system, leading to a power crisis that could kill millions.

“Inadequate grid security, a porous U.S.-Mexico border, and fragile transmission systems make the electric grid a target for ISIS,” said Peter Pry, one of the nation’s leading experts on the grid.

Others joining Pry at a press conference later Wednesday to draw attention to the potential threat said that if just a handful of the nation’s high voltage transformers were knocked out, blackouts would occur across the country.

“By one estimate, should the power go out and stay out for over a year, nine out of 10 Americans would likely perish,” said Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington.

A lack of electricity would shut off water systems, impact city transportation services and shutdown hospitals and other big facilities. Fresh and frozen foods also would be impacted as would banks, financial institutions and utilities.

Pry provided details of recent attacks on electricity systems and said that ISIS could easily team with Mexican drug cartels to ravage America.

He told Secrets, for example, that the Knights Templar drug gang blacked out the electric grid of the Mexican state of Michoacan in 2013 to provide cover for killing those fighting the drug trade.

“The Knights Templars and other criminal gangs in Mexico will do anything for money, and ISIS, the richest terrorist organization in history, has hundreds of millions of dollars at its disposal,” said Pry.

People don't realize that the large transformers are vulnerable and they are not an off-the-shelf commodity. Each one is custom designed for the installation and they take about a year to manufacture. Take one out and that part of the grid is down for a long long time.

Busy morning

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Shipped five packages, recieved two, sent a FAX and had one Western Union transfer and it is not even noon yet.

Not too shabby...

Fun times - stolen jet airliners

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One of the things that has been a small light of good news in the asymmetrical war we are in is that the terrorists lack the basic technology to carry out large-scale attacks. 9/11 was a fluke and we have tightened up security since then.

The unusual disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370 causes a lot of concern as given what we do know; it's sudden change in direction, the brief radio contact, the drastic change in altitude and then loss of contact all point to its being in a hanger somewhere with a trench grave nearby. Got a nice new paint job and is ready to masquerade as some ghost PanAm flight out of Hong Kong.

Now this - from The Washington Free Beacon:

MISSING LIBYAN JETLINERS RAISE FEARS OF SUICIDE AIRLINER ATTACKS ON 9/11
Islamist militias in Libya took control of nearly a dozen commercial jetliners last month, and western intelligence agencies recently issued a warning that the jets could be used in terrorist attacks across North Africa.

Intelligence reports of the stolen jetliners were distributed within the U.S. government over the past two weeks and included a warning that one or more of the aircraft could be used in an attack later this month on the date marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against New York and Washington, said U.S. officials familiar with the reports.

“There are a number of commercial airliners in Libya that are missing,” said one official. “We found out on September 11 what can happen with hijacked planes.”

The official said the aircraft are a serious counterterrorism concern because reports of terrorist control over the Libyan airliners come three weeks before the 13th anniversary of 9/11 attacks and the second anniversary of the Libyan terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi.

Just wonderful...

From ABC News:

Lost in America: Visa Program Struggles to Track Missing Foreign Students
The Department of Homeland Security has lost track of more than 6,000 foreign nationals who entered the United States on student visas, overstayed their welcome, and essentially vanished -- exploiting a security gap that was supposed to be fixed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

"My greatest concern is that they could be doing anything," said Peter Edge, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official who oversees investigations into visa violators. "Some of them could be here to do us harm."

And that 6,000 number is very misleading:

ABC News found that immigration officials have struggled to keep track of the rapidly increasing numbers of foreign students coming to the U.S. -- now in excess of one million each year. The immigration agency’s own figures show that 58,000 students overstayed their visas in the past year. Of those, 6,000 were referred to agents for follow-up because they were determined to be of heightened concern.

So it's 58,000 missing "students" in reality, not just 6,000 that we are really concerned about.

Add this to the stories about people probing our infrastructure and we have a real concern for security. What are these people doing and why the hell are we not profiling the bejesus out of them - all political correctness be damned.

Life in Venezuela

It just keeps getting better and better - from the Miami Herald:

Venezuela: From oil power to oil importer
Venezuela’s populist government is well-known for its disastrous economic management, but I would have never imagined that it would lead Venezuela — which has the world’s largest oil reserves — to start importing oil.

As weird as it seems, President Nicolás Maduro’s government plans to start importing crude oil for the first time in order to blend it with Venezuela’s own crude and keep the country’s overall production from falling further, the Reuters news agency reported last week, citing an internal document from Venezuela’s state-owned PDVSA oil company.

It turns out that Venezuela’s own production of light crudes has plummeted since the late President Hugo Chávez took office in 1999, and the country desperately needs light crudes to blend with its Orinoco Basin extra heavy crude oils. Without such a blend, the Orinoco Basin’s extra heavy crude is too dense to be transported through pipelines to Venezuelan ports and exported abroad.

Venezuela’s oil production, which accounts for 95 percent of the country’s export earnings, should be used in world classrooms as a textbook case of what happens when a populist government starts distributing a country’s wealth in cash subsidies, without investing in maintenance and innovation. Much like happened with Cuba’s once flourishing sugar industry, Venezuela’s Chávez-inspired populism has destroyed the goose that laid the golden eggs.

In 1999, when Chávez took office, PDVSA had 51,000 employees and produced 63 barrels of crude a day per employee. Fifteen years later, PDVSA had 140,000 employees, and produced 20 barrels of crude a day per employee, according to an Aug. 14 report by the France Press news agency.

Venezuela’s net oil exports have plummeted from 3.1 million barrels a day in 1997 to 1.7 million barrels a day in 2013, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates.

And meanwhile, the United States of America is about fifteen years away from the same economic situation. We need some adults in the room NOW!

Watching the detectives - Blue Bloods

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We use DirecTV for satellite television and every so often, they unlock a lot of the premium channels. They did this to the WGN Network so we have been watching Manhattan and just found Blue Bloods.

Both are excellent shows -- looking for torrent sites as I don't know how much longer these channels will remain unlocked.

Manhattan is set during the construction of the first Atomic Bombs - whomever is doing the science advisory on the show is very very good. They not only have the science correct, they have the proper equipment and the equipment is being used correctly and for the correct purpose.

I grew up with this stuff so have a deep knowledge of the technology involved.

Blue Bloods is a Police Procedural series with a dynastic family of cops in New York City -- great stories and casting. WGN is running a marathon so will be tuning in tomorrow.

Busy day today - cinder blocks

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A friend of mine is moving and she had a bunch of cinder blocks that she no longer needed. I dug out the old flatbed trailer and we loaded up. Lulu's son came out to help.

The flatbed had been sitting for a while and one of the tires was soft. Needless to say, the trip home was done at 5MPH running that tire on the rim and the other three (dual axle) were sweating. We live less than two miles away so it was not a big deal.

Unload it tomorrow, take the wheel in to get a new tire. Next use is for a scrap iron run into town. Got a flank steak marinating for dinner tonight. Shopping run tomorrow.

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