October 2014 Archives

On October 27th, 2003, I posted Hello World! on this little blog of mine.

Eleven years and 18,882 entries later, it's still going strong.

Before this, I ran a computer bulletin board system for 12 years - The Signpost - using Wildcat! software.
(The BBS listing has the business name and the dates of operation wrong - my store was Microft Systems and I operated from 1987 through 1999)

No danger at all - Ebola

I have been following the case of spoiled little Kaci Hickox in Maine - she refused quarantine after returning from West Africa where she was working with Ebola patients as a nurse. Things just got interesting.

From Maine television station WAGM:

State of Maine Document Reports Kaci Hickox’s Roommate in Africa Developed Ebola
Sheila Pinette of the Maine CDC has released information that the roommate of Kaci Hickox, while in West Africa has displayed signs of Ebola.  Pinette says “The respondents roommate in Africa became infected without knowing how she became infected with Ebola. (Any potential risk to respondent from that incident has passed).”  This is one of 35 points Pinette made while filing a verified petition for public health order yesterday with the state.

Kaci Hickox was issued temporary court order. The document says Hickox must submit to active monitoring, coordinate her travel with public health authorities, not use commercial or public transportation, not go to any public places or workplaces unless to receive necessary health care, and she must maintain a 3-foot distance from other people and not leave Fort Kent without consulting public health authorities.

See if she obeys this. Talk about putting people at risk just because quarantine is not convenient...

This nice 1,337 square foot house is on the market for $129,900


Comes with one of these:



Quite the setup - the owner never played but he hosted parties with guest organists.

Quote of the month - Jerry Pournelle

The definition of a Dark Age is not one in which we have forgotten things; it is a time when we no longer know we ever knew them.  We appear to be entering a Dark Age for a fairly large part of our population.  Of course that makes self-government nearly impossible, but the smart one in charge have a remedy for that.
--Jerry Pournelle

From here.

Jerry is the guy who came up with the Iron Law of Bureaucracy:

Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people:

First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

One fine Halloween evening

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From an email:

The nun got into a New York cab and notices that the VERY handsome cab driver will not stop staring at her.

She asks him, "Why are you staring at me?”  He replies, “I have a question to ask you, but I don’t want to offend you. 

She answers, "My son, you cannot offend me.  When you are as old as I am and have been a nun as long as I have, you get a chance to see and hear just about anything. I am sure that there is nothing you could say or ask that I would find offensive.

The cabbie said, “Well I’ve always had a fantasy to have a nun kiss me.”

She responds, “Well , lets see what we can do about that. First, you must be single and second, you must be Catholic.”

The cab driver is very excited, and said, “Yes, I am single and Catholic!”

“OK” the nun said, “Pull into the next alley.” The nun fulfills his fantasy with a kiss that would make a hooker blush

When they get back on the road, the cab driver starts crying. 

“My dear child” said the nun, “Why are you crying?”

The cabbie replied,”Sister,forgive me for I have sinned. I lied and must confess. I am married and I am Jewish.”

The nun said, “That’s OK.  my name is Kevin and I am going to a Halloween party.

Yikes - SpaceshipTwo

From Virgin Galactic:

Virgin Galactic’s partner Scaled Composites conducted a powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo earlier today. During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle. Our first concern is the status of the pilots, which is unknown at this time. We will work closely with the relevant authorities to determine the cause of the accident and provide updates as soon as we are able to do so.

Sending our prayers to the pilots and their families.

Weaponizing the Government

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Stupid criminal - should have flushed

From Albuquerque, NM station KOAT:

APD: Coke can, bathroom break tie man to burglary
Albuquerque police said a burglar did everything right to get himself caught.

Police said the suspect left behind two DNA clues.

Ramon Herrera is accused of taking $250,000 worth of jewelry while the victims were on vacation.

Before he escaped, police said he took a can of Coke from the fridge, drank it and left it along with his DNA. Police said he also used the toilet and didn’t flush.

All of that DNA was matched to Herrera, who was arrested and booked into the Bernalillo County jail. 

And the fact that his DNA was already on file shows him to be a repeat offender.

Nothing much tonight

Working on some other stuff - music room and organizing

Got some equipment coming in mid-November so need to make space for it - building a cabinet.

Rain is coming down hard - I had to run into Bellingham this afternoon and it was unusually warm - high 60°'s - something is moving through...

Scattered power outages too.

Quote of the month - Thomas Sowell

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"It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it."
--Thomas Sowell

Nice work if you can get it - Joe Biden

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From Time Magazine:

Joe Biden, Top Obama Officials Get Cheap Family Vacations at Federal Log Cabin
Vice President Joe Biden, his wife and 11 other family members spent four nights on vacation this August at a lakeside log cabin overlooking the snowcapped peaks of Mount Moran in Grand Teton National Park.

The four-bedroom Brinkerhoff Lodge, where they stayed, is owned and operated by the National Park Service. Under a policy adopted in 1992, after controversy over VIPs using the cabin for vacations, the National Park Service banned purely recreational activities by federal employees at the property, restricting its use to “official purposes.” But in recent years, the park service has interpreted that same rule so broadly as to again allow senior officials to take cheap vacations in Grand Teton with friends and family.

While visiting the park, Biden held no events, kept no public schedule, and his staff initially declined to answer a reporter’s question about where he spent the night. Last week, after TIME uncovered documents confirming his stay at the lodge, Biden’s office said the Vice President planned to personally reimburse the park $1,200 for “renting the Brinkerhoff” for his family’s vacation.

And it gets better:

Biden is not the only senior member of the Obama Administration who has taken advantage of the Brinkerhoff in recent years for family vacations or getaways with friends. Records obtained by TIME through the Freedom of Information Act show that at least four cabinet-level officials, a deputy White House chief of staff and the director of the Park Service have made use of the lodge with friends and family since 2011.

    • Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson stayed three nights in 2011 with her husband, and five other people, including a person listed as a friend. She received a tour of a new air quality monitoring station, according to a park official.
    • Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood traveled there in 2012 for eight nights with his wife, his daughter-in-law, three grandchildren, two other adults and his son, Illinois State Sen. Darin LaHood. He attended the Department of Transportation grant award event, according to LaHood’s office.
    • Education Secretary Arne Duncan stayed there for six nights with his wife and children in 2013. He attended a nearby roundtable with tribal leaders and an event at a local school, according to the Department of Education.
    • Former Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, who oversaw the National Park Service, stayed there with his family for three nights in 2011. His office did not return a call about the purpose of his visit.
    • Former White House Special Advisor Phil Schiliro also used the lodge for one night in August of 2011 with his wife and one other person. The White House did not return emails about the purpose of his visit.
    • National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, his wife, his son and his son’s girlfriend stayed for five days in August of 2012. The park service said he had official business on two of the five days. ” The director took personal time during the remaining days,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

Under federal policy, family members may accompany government employees who travel on official business. “Family members’ travel costs and incidental expenses are not typically reimbursed by the federal government, although they may stay in the accommodations reserved for the traveling employee, as long as any additional costs incurred as a result of the stay are covered by personal funds,” wrote National Park Service spokeswoman Slayton.

It's not like they don't have any funds of their own.

Meet OSHbot

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Now, about that $15 minimum wage you wanted?

America's growing population

Our population is getting larger and some companies are adapting. From Uncover Michigan:

Humanetics developing Overweight Crash Test Dummies
Plymouth, Michigan-based company Humanetics said that it has been manufacturing overweight crash test dummies to reflect growing obesity trends in the US.

Humanetics has been the pioneer in crash test dummies segment since the 1950s. But now, the company's crash test dummies are undergoing a makeover, which will represent thicker waistlines and large rear ends of Americans.

The new model of Humanetics has been developed after studies found that 78% of obese drivers are more likely to die in a car crash.

Some more:

Dummies have traditionally been modeled on a person weighing about 167 pounds with a healthy body mass index (BMI).

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a person having a BMI of over 30 is considered obese.

The new super-sized dummies are based on the measurements of a 273-pound person with a BMI of 35. Chris O' Connor, CEO of Humanetics mentioned that since one -third of the Americans are now either overweight or obese, according to CDC, they need to find a way to make cars safer for everyone, regardless of size.

He said, "An obese person has more mass around midsection and a larger rear which pushes them out of position. They sit further forward and the belt does not grasp the pelvis as easily".

The larger dummies are expected to become available to manufacturers for use in testing sometime next year. Humanetics has also been developing an age-appropriate dummy to better reflect our aging population.

I did not know that the fatalities increased that sharply.

Our CDC and Ebola

Things are just getting better and better - from the New York Post:

CDC admits droplets from a sneeze could spread Ebola
Ebola is a lot easier to catch than health officials have admitted — and can be contracted by contact with a doorknob contaminated by a sneeze from an infected person an hour or more before, experts told The Post Tuesday.

“If you are sniffling and sneezing, you produce microorganisms that can get on stuff in a room. If people touch them, they could be” infected, said Dr. Meryl Nass, of the Institute for Public Accuracy in Washington, DC.

Nass pointed to a poster the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly released on its Web site saying the deadly virus can be spread through “droplets.”

A bit more - Dr. Nass again:

“The CDC said it doesn’t spread at all by air, then Friday they came out with this poster,” she said. “They admit that these particles or droplets may land on objects such as doorknobs and that Ebola can be transmitted that way.”

Dr. Rossi Hassad, a professor of epidemiology at Mercy College, said droplets could remain active for up to a day.

“A shorter duration for dry surfaces like a table or doorknob, and longer durations in a moist, damp environment,” Hassad said.

The CDC did not respond to a request for comment.

We are so screwed if this gains a foothold. Glad I do not live in a large city anymore.

Some voting funnies - a two-fer

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First - from Project Veritas: Multiple NC Campaign Workers Willing to Aid Non-Citizen With Felony Kay Hagan Votes:

Second - from Bryon Preston at PJ Tatler:

Massive Non-Citizen Voting Uncovered in Maryland
An election integrity watchdog group is suing the state of Maryland, alleging that it has discovered massive and ongoing fraudulent voting by non-U.S. citizens in one county. But because of the way that the non-citizens are able to cast votes in elections, the fraud is likely happening in every single county and subdivision across the state. The group believes that the illegal voting has been happening for years.

The group, Virginia Voters Alliance, says that it compared how voters in Frederick County filled out jury duty statements compared with their voting records. The group’s investigation found that thousands of people in Frederick County who stated that they are not U.S. citizens on jury duty forms went on to cast votes in elections. Either they failed to tell the truth when they were summoned for jury duty, or they cast illegal votes. Both are crimes. The same group previously found that about 40,000 people are registered to vote in both Virginia and Maryland.

It is a federal crime to cast votes if you are not legally eligible to vote. Non-citizens, whether in the country legally or not, are prohibited from voting in most local and all state and federal elections. Yet the VVA investigation found that hundreds of non-citizens have been voting in Frederick County, Maryland. One in seven Maryland residents are non-U.S. citizens.

“The lawsuit is the equivalent of the lookout spotting the iceberg ahead of the Titanic,” state Del. Pat McDonough told the Tatler. He added that the group’s investigation found a voter fraud “smoking gun.”

As the administration sits back and does nothing.

Waking up!

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But I guess that posting this makes me RACISS!!

So typical of this administration - divide everyone so there is no unified opposition.


Wanted to make sure everyone knew how to handle the new tech...

A tip 'o the Stetson to Gerard

Someone goofed big-time

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This lawsuit will be interesting to follow - from the Las Vegas Sun:

Jury selection begins in case of flawed Strip hotel tower
The Harmon Hotel tower was designed to soar 48 stories over MGM Resorts International's massive CityCenter complex, offering hotel guests and condominium owners unparalleled views at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.

Instead, work stopped halfway in 2008, after inspectors found that steel used on the first 26 stories wouldn't support the remaining 22 floors.

While general contractor Tutor Perini Corp., its subcontractors and the casino company fought over who was to blame, the rest of the glitzy and glassy $8.5 billion development opened in 2009 on the CityCenter site.

On Tuesday, six years after problems were found, jury selection began in Nevada state court for a massive breach-of-contract trial with as much as $500 million at stake for the casino company that never opened the flawed hotel and condominium tower and the contractor.

Someone really goofed - it will be interesting to see who and how. I cannot imagine buying steel that wasn't rated to the engineering specs.

Voting in Moline, Il

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From Breitbart

Putin's speech

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Vladimir Putin gave a speech October 24th at the eleventh meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club. This meeting was held in Sochi and Putin's speech was worth noting. Of course, none of the main-stream media is covering it.

From Club Orlov:

Putin to Western elites: Play-time is over
Most people in the English-speaking parts of the world missed Putin's speech at the Valdai conference in Sochi a few days ago, and, chances are, those of you who have heard of the speech didn't get a chance to read it, and missed its importance. (For your convenience, I am pasting in the full transcript of his speech below.) Western media did their best to ignore it or to twist its meaning. Regardless of what you think or don't think of Putin (like the sun and the moon, he does not exist for you to cultivate an opinion) this is probably the most important political speech since Churchill's “Iron Curtain” speech of March 5, 1946.

There were ten take-away points made - here are the first five:

1. Russia will no longer play games and engage in back-room negotiations over trifles. But Russia is prepared for serious conversations and agreements, if these are conducive to collective security, are based on fairness and take into account the interests of each side.

2. All systems of global collective security now lie in ruins. There are no longer any international security guarantees at all. And the entity that destroyed them has a name: The United States of America.

3. The builders of the New World Order have failed, having built a sand castle. Whether or not a new world order of any sort is to be built is not just Russia's decision, but it is a decision that will not be made without Russia.

4. Russia favors a conservative approach to introducing innovations into the social order, but is not opposed to investigating and discussing such innovations, to see if introducing any of them might be justified.

5. Russia has no intention of going fishing in the murky waters created by America's ever-expanding “empire of chaos,” and has no interest in building a new empire of her own (this is unnecessary; Russia's challenges lie in developing her already vast territory). Neither is Russia willing to act as a savior of the world, as she had in the past.

What he said. Did Secretary of State John F. Kerry relay these points to Barry? Thought not. Is Ketchup even aware of them? Thought not.

The Donald on Obama's dealing with Ebola

Not a peep from domestic media - the London Daily Mail covers it though:

'You're going to see a whole new kind of hell to pay if they catch it': Donald Trump says it's 'morally unfair' for Obama to send soldiers into Ebola hot zone
Real estate tycoon Donald Trump blasted President Barack Obama on Tuesday for his handling of the Ebola crisis overseas, telling MailOnline that putting servicemen and women in close proximity to the deadly virus is 'morally unfair to the soldiers, and to the soldiers' families.'

The perennial Republican maybe-candidate said in an interview that exposure to Ebola is inevitable for the hundreds of U.S. military personnel serving in Liberia.

And it may be only a matter of time, he predicted, before men and women in uniform contract the disease – which kills between 50 and 70 per cent of its victims.

'You're going to see a whole new kind of "hell to pay" if they catch it,' Trump said.

The guy is intellegent and is not afraid to speak his mind.

The stupidity - it burns! Ebola edition

Talk about willful blindness - from the Organic Consumers Association:

Ebola Can Be Prevented and Treated Naturally-so Why Are These Approaches Completely Ignored?
With Ebola panic taking hold of the country, we hear very little about the natural ways to prevent the disease or treat the patients.  This becomes even more important when you consider that these natural ways are less expensive and can often be self-administered. In addition, they often build up the immune system, and people susceptible to Ebola are more likely to have compromised immune systems.

As we discussed last month in our article on Ebola and natural remedies, the "Catch-22" of drug economics-that no one will spend the exorbitant sums needed to run clinical trials if the product can't be patented and turned into a huge money-maker-practically ensures that natural treatments will be ignored.

The status quo in which government creates and protects drug company monopolies was always outrageous. Now with the threat of major and deadly pandemic in sight, it is completely unacceptable. It is essential that voters become aware of what is going on behind closed doors in Washington so they can speak up and move the political system-before millions of lives are needlessly lost and our economy also dealt a savage blow.

In our earlier article, we discussed how silver has been used as an antimicrobial for thousands of years and has the ability both to attack viruses and to inhibit their transmission. We also showed how intravenous vitamin C would be a tremendous benefit to patients in hospitals and clinics who have already contracted Ebola.

Wrong on so many different levels. If Ebola were a bacterial infection, I could possibly make the case for some kind of 'natural' cure but Ebola is viral. There is no known agent that can kill a virus during a viral infection. We can develop a vaccine that will boost the bodies own antibodies to prevent the virus gaining foothold and there are drugs that limit the bodies ability to shed new viruii -- but -- once the infection is underway, there is nothing that can kill the virus. To imply that some 'natural' agent can do this is downright criminal and un-ethical.

I am all for seeking out cures in the 'natural' realm - I am currently taking Elderberry tincture to ward off a cold - but Vitamin C to cure Ebola? Just no...

Just wow

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Surfing at 1,000 frames per second - hit the full screen button. Shot by Chris Bryan.

From the New York Post:

CBS goes to ground over claims it buried anti-Obama stories
CBS honchos stuck their heads in the sand Monday rather than address a former veteran reporter’s memoir that revealed how the network routinely canned stories it perceived as anti-Obama.

Everyone from network CEO Les Moonves to “Evening News’’ anchor Scott Pelley to former “Evening News’’ Executive Producer Patricia Shevlin ignored repeated phone calls and e-mails from The Post seeking comment on the bombshell claim by ex-CBS investigative ace Sharyl Attkisson.

In her new book, “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington,” Attkisson charges that CBS higher-ups quashed her reporting on the deadly attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, as well as reports on the federal “Fast and Furious’’ gun-running scandal and the president’s ObamaCare debacle.

Moonves failed to answer repeated phone calls or an e-mail seeking comment.

Why am I not surprised at this.

Sharyl's book can be found here at Amazon: Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama's Washington

Fight for your right

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Swiped from Maggie's Farm

Coming up with bad predictions - faster!

From the BBC:

Met Office to build £97m supercomputer
Funding has been confirmed for a £97m supercomputer to improve the Met Office's weather forecasting and climate modeling.

The facility will work 13 times faster than the current system, enabling detailed, UK-wide forecast models with a resolution of 1.5km to be run every single hour, rather than every three.

It will be built in Exeter during 2015 and become operational next September.

The Met Office said it would deliver a "step change" in forecast accuracy.

"It will allow us to add more precision, more detail, more accuracy to our forecasts on all time scales for tomorrow, for the next day, next week, next month and even the next century," said Met Office chief executive Rob Varley.

This will be fine for short-term forecasting. The models for this have been getting better and better. Long range forecasts? Not so much. The climate scientists are still in the tank for global warming and their models still predict temperature increase despite the 19 years of stasis and cooling. These models do not hind-cast at all.

This looks really good - Our Magic

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End of an era

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Win7 sales are ending. From Network World:

Windows 7 sales end this Friday
This Friday is Halloween, but if you try to buy a PC with Windows 7 pre-loaded after that, you're going to get a rock instead of a treat. Microsoft will stop selling Windows 7 licenses to OEMs after this Friday and you will only be able to buy a machine with Windows 8.1.

It's mostly a formality at this point. A few months back I went PC shopping for my father and there wasn't a single Windows 7 PC to be had at retail, regardless of the store. From Fry's to Best Buy to Office Depot, it was a Windows 8 world, and I wasn't about to inflict that on my dad. I had to place an online order from Dell and get an older PC from the inventory.

The good news is that business/enterprise customers will still be able to order PCs "downgraded" to Windows 7 Professional. Microsoft has not set an end date for when it will cut off Windows 7 Professional to OEMs, but it will likely be a while.

This all fits in with typical Microsoft timing. Microsoft usually pulls OEM supply of an OS a year after it removes it from retail. Microsoft cut off the retail supply of Windows 7 in October of last year, although some retailers still have some remaining stock left.

If the analytics from Steam are any indicator, Windows 8 is slowly working its way into the American public, but mostly as a Windows XP replacement. Windows 7, both 32-bit and 64-bit, account for 59% of their user base. Windows 8 and 8.1 account for 28%, while XP has dwindled to 4%. Steam, an online games vendor (think iTunes for PC video games) is fully skewed toward gamers and consumers, obviously.

I would say that we now just sit tight and wait for Win9 but MSFT announced that they are skipping Win9 and going direct from Win8 to Win10. This does not look good considering that the even-numbered windows versions suck.

Ebola - Michael Ramirez


Dunning-Kruger explained

By Dr. David Dunning no less. From Pacific Standard comes this great essay:

We Are All Confident Idiots
Last March, during the enormous South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, the late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! sent a camera crew out into the streets to catch hipsters bluffing. “People who go to music festivals pride themselves on knowing who the next acts are,” Kimmel said to his studio audience, “even if they don’t actually know who the new acts are.” So the host had his crew ask festival-goers for their thoughts about bands that don’t exist.

“The big buzz on the street,” said one of Kimmel’s interviewers to a man wearing thick-framed glasses and a whimsical T-shirt, “is Contact Dermatitis. Do you think he has what it takes to really make it to the big time?”

“Absolutely,” came the dazed fan’s reply.

The prank was an installment of Kimmel’s recurring “Lie Witness News” feature, which involves asking pedestrians a variety of questions with false premises. In another episode, Kimmel’s crew asked people on Hollywood Boulevard whether they thought the 2014 film Godzilla was insensitive to survivors of the 1954 giant lizard attack on Tokyo; in a third, they asked whether Bill Clinton gets enough credit for ending the Korean War, and whether his appearance as a judge on America’s Got Talent would damage his legacy. “No,” said one woman to this last question. “It will make him even more popular.”

One can’t help but feel for the people who fall into Kimmel’s trap. Some appear willing to say just about anything on camera to hide their cluelessness about the subject at hand (which, of course, has the opposite effect). Others seem eager to please, not wanting to let the interviewer down by giving the most boringly appropriate response: I don’t know. But for some of these interviewees, the trap may be an even deeper one. The most confident-sounding respondents often seem to think they do have some clue—as if there is some fact, some memory, or some intuition that assures them their answer is reasonable.

A bit more:

The American author and aphorist William Feather once wrote that being educated means “being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don’t.” As it turns out, this simple ideal is extremely hard to achieve. Although what we know is often perceptible to us, even the broad outlines of what we don’t know are all too often completely invisible. To a great degree, we fail to recognize the frequency and scope of our ignorance.

In 1999, in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, my then graduate student Justin Kruger and I published a paper that documented how, in many areas of life, incompetent people do not recognize—scratch that, cannot recognize—just how incompetent they are, a phenomenon that has come to be known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. Logic itself almost demands this lack of self-insight: For poor performers to recognize their ineptitude would require them to possess the very expertise they lack. To know how skilled or unskilled you are at using the rules of grammar, for instance, you must have a good working knowledge of those rules, an impossibility among the incompetent. Poor performers—and we are all poor performers at some things—fail to see the flaws in their thinking or the answers they lack.

What’s curious is that, in many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.

This isn’t just an armchair theory. A whole battery of studies conducted by myself and others have confirmed that people who don’t know much about a given set of cognitive, technical, or social skills tend to grossly overestimate their prowess and performance, whether it’s grammar, emotional intelligence, logical reasoning, firearm care and safety, debating, or financial knowledge. College students who hand in exams that will earn them Ds and Fs tend to think their efforts will be worthy of far higher grades; low-performing chess players, bridge players, and medical students, and elderly people applying for a renewed driver’s license, similarly overestimate their competence by a long shot.

Explains a lot... There is much more at the site - a very good read.

From The Washington Times:

Obama’s one achievement — outgolfing Tiger Woods
As Barack “Eldrick” Obama approaches his 200th round of golf since his election as president, here’s a fact to put that into perspective: Since January 2009, Tiger Woods has played 269 rounds of golf.

And Tiger, beleaguered by injury, is almost certainly done for the year. So that means the president, if he keeps up with his pace of play during his 15-day vacation in Martha’s Vineyard (a round a day) and his normal weekly round, will pass Tiger sometime next spring.

Think about that for a minute. The president of the U.S., juggling the American economy and the entire world’s problems — Iraq is in full meltdown, the Middle East is a powder keg, Russia is moving on Ukraine — has played golf nearly as much as a guy whose day job is playing golf.

That sums up the Obama Presidency...

Happy 100th - Doctor Jonas Salk

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Dr. Salk invented the first effective Polio vaccine. Polio paralyzed upwards of 20,000 children every year - the remainders of their lives were spent in restrictive metal braces at best and living in an iron lung at the worst.

There is a  great writeup at Slate Magazine.

I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA where Salk was developing the vaccine - my school was one of the test sites and we had to go through no end of injections and swallowing sugar cubes.

Storm time-lapse

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Just amazing - from Nicolaus Wegner



Obligatory full-screen mode. Shot in Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado

From the London Daily Mail:

Ebola can survive on surfaces for almost TWO MONTHS: Tests reveal certain strains survive for weeks when stored at low temperatures
The number of confirmed Ebola cases passed the 10,000 mark over the weekend, despite efforts to curb its spread.

And while the disease typically dies on surfaces within hours, research has discovered it can survive for more than seven weeks under certain conditions.

During tests, the UK’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) found that the Zaire strain will live on samples stored on glass at low temperatures for as long as 50 days.

I would be a lot more reassured if they just came out and said: "At this point, we do not know." People who get the first message (It does not last more than an hour or two on dry surfaces) may not get this second message and people could contract it.

Get 'yer flu shots - I think not!

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An interesting post from Sharyl Attkisson:

Govt. Researchers: Flu Shots Not Effective in Elderly, After All
An important and definitive “mainstream” government study done nearly a decade ago got little attention because the science came down on the wrong side. It found that after decades and billions of dollars spent promoting flu shots for the elderly, the mass vaccination program did not result in saving lives. In fact, the death rate among the elderly increased substantially.

The authors of the study admitted a bias going into the study. Here was the history as described to me: Public health experts long assumed flu shots were effective in the elderly. But, paradoxically, all the studies done failed to demonstrate a benefit. Instead of considering that they, the experts, could be wrong–instead of believing the scientific data–the public health experts assumed the studies were wrong. After all, flu shots have to work, right?

So the NIH launched an effort to do “the” definitive study that would actually prove, for the first time, once and for all, that flu shots were beneficial to the elderly. The government would gather some of the brightest scientific minds for the research, and adjust for all kinds of factors that could be masking that presumed benefit.

But when they finished, no matter how they crunched the numbers, the data kept telling the same story: flu shots were of no benefit to the elderly. Quite the opposite. The death rate had increased markedly since widespread flu vaccination among older Americans. The scientists finally had to acknowledge that decades of public health thought had been mistaken.

Sharyl has a link to the original 2005 study (Journal of American Medical Association - no slouch there) as well as several links to other corroborating studies. Why are we not being told this?

37... 36... 35... 34...

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Counting down the days to climactic Armageddon. From Tim Blair writing at the Sydney, Australia Daily Telegraph:

Doomsday draws near:

The planet has just five years to avoid disastrous global warming, says the Federal Government’s chief scientist.

Prof Penny Sackett yesterday urged all Australians to reduce their carbon footprint.

Sackett – now the former chief scientist – issued her five-year warning four years, 10 months and 24 days ago. Meanwhile, previous claims that global warming would cause hotter European winters may now be disregarded, because global warming has decided to make things colder instead:

The risk of severe winters in Europe and northern Asia has been doubled by global warming, according to new research.

The science is unsettled, as usual.

Yeah - right up there with Al Gore’s Arctic ice cap disappearing trick that never happened

It stopped being science 30 years ago when the greens saw it as a useful tool to achieve their one-world marxists ideas of power and control.

Hat tip to Anthony for the link.

A history lesson from The Z Blog

Quoted in full because it is just that damn good - from The Z Blog:

The Madness Will Never End
Sextus Julius Caesar I was the man who killed the Roman Republic. He was not  the Julius Caesar, but he was the man who started the line that would eventually give us the Julius Caesar. In 208 BC, no one could have possibly known that a man of his line would bring down the Republic. If they did, I’m sure he would have been murdered along with all of his kin. But, we can never know these things. You just have to hope you get lucky and the fates handle it.

No one could have known that an eccentric school master would found a line whose men would bring about the end of the American republic.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is “moving forward” on a potential 2016 White House run and it appears more likely he will enter the Republican field, according to his son, who’s running for office in Texas.

George P. Bush told ABC’s “This Week” that his father is “still assessing” a presidential bid, but suggested it was more likely that he would seek the White House this time. The ex-governor declined to run for president in 2012 despite encouragement from Republicans.

“I think it’s more than likely that he’s giving this a serious thought and moving — and moving forward,” said the younger Bush, who is running for Texas land commissioner.

Asked if that meant it was “more than likely that he’ll run,” George P. Bush responded: “That he’ll run. If you had asked me a few years back … I would have said it was less likely.”

Jeb Bush, the brother of former President George W. Bush and the son of former President George H.W. Bush, would stand out in what could be a crowded Republican field in 2016.

Bush has headlined fundraisers for Republican candidates and committees and helped campaigns for governor in Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada, three of the first four states to hold early presidential primaries.

Family considerations could play a factor in his decision.

In an interview with The Associated Press this month, Jeb Bush said his wife, Columba, is “supportive” of a potential presidential campaign and his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, was now “neutral, trending in a different direction.” Barbara Bush declared last year there had been “enough Bushes” in the White House.

“But that doesn’t mean that I don’t understand the challenges that this brings,” Jeb Bush told the AP. “This is ultimately my decision with as much consideration as I can to take into account the people that I really love.”

George P. Bush, in the interview aired Sunday, said his family would be “100 percent” behind his father if he decides to run.

God help us.

The ZMan has articulated what has been rolling around my brainpan for the better part of this year. Jeb is the lowest rung of that family. I would like to have a beer with G.W. - he seems to be a decent hard-working man but his spending and foreign policy decisions were not good for this nation. He had the chance and failed to act - he went along to get along.

We need strong bold leadership to get us out of the hole we are in - we do not need to continue digging - that is not in our best interests as a nation and as a civilization. 

Back from the water board meeting

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Did about 45 minutes of business - nothing unusual. Some equipment problems, one of the board members may have some parts but needs a photo of the offending part. I will be taking that Tuesday and emailing it to him.

Heading out for the shopping run tomorrow so going to sleep a bit early tonight.

Cannot find what I am looking for for storage in the music room so building some cabinets this coming week. Great - another project... Stunning revelation - cheap CAD programs suck. It is literally faster for me to lay out the plans and generate the plywood cut sheets by hand than by machine. And I am decently fast on SketchUp - great for solids but not so much for furniture...

The issue is that I have a bunch of equipment in electronics racks still out in the DaveCave and there is no graceful way to move them into the Music Room. I had looked at floor racks like this:


But the majority of these are made from wood loaf - particle board - and not strong enough for my needs. I need five bays for the equipment and will be building them out of MDO - Medium Density Overlay. MDO is great stuff - originally developed for the outdoor sign industry but now finds its way into boatbuilding and all sorts of cabinet construction. Takes a really nice coat of paint and really durable.

That is my week as it stands today...


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Was fixing dinner and noticed that Black Mountain had a dusting of snow on its ridges - this is 4,500 to 5,000 feet.

Gorgeous sunset so far - taking a time-lapse of the clouds.

Nothing today

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Lulu and I are hanging out at home. The rain is coming down heavily with 0.7" since last evening.

Water Board meeting tonight.  I'm spending this afternoon working in the music room - making some changes but it is almost there. Have yet to finish the wiring in the shop but planning to take a couple days off in a few weeks to bust that out.

How time zones came into being

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Great little video from PBS:


It's a blast - Atom Central

A number of years ago (15?) I bought a VHS tape called Trinity and Beyond which was restored films of various in-air atomic bomb tests.

If you could mentally divorce yourself from what these devices were, they were really quite beautiful.

Turns out the guy involved in the project -  Peter Kuran - is still very much active and has his own website and YouTube channel. Here is the trailer:



I'll be spending some time looking through both sites - fascinating stuff...

Busy day - off to town

Lulu is returning home this afternoon - I am heading into town to pick up some stuff for here and for the store.

The big solar flare turned out to not have any CME - Coronal Mass Ejection. There was a disturbance in high-frequency radio transmission but that will be it.  I'll be looking for aurora tonight but it is overcast and raining...

Sorry Felix

Felix Baumgartner’s World Record was busted today. Felix had two years as record holder but Alan now holds the crown.

From the New York Times:

Parachutist’s Record Fall: Over 25 Miles in 15 Minutes
A well-known computer scientist parachuted from a balloon near the top of the stratosphere on Friday, falling faster than the speed of sound and breaking the world altitude record set just two years ago.

The jump was made by Alan Eustace, 57, a senior vice president of Google. At dawn he was lifted from an abandoned runway at the airport here by a balloon filled with 35,000 cubic feet of helium.

For a little over two hours, the balloon ascended at speeds up to 1,600 feet per minute to an altitude of more than 25 miles. Mr. Eustace dangled underneath in a specially designed spacesuit with an elaborate life-support system. He returned to earth just 15 minutes after starting his fall.

“It was amazing,” he said. “It was beautiful. You could see the darkness of space and you could see the layers of atmosphere, which I had never seen before.”

Mr. Eustace cut himself loose from the balloon with the aid of a small explosive device and plummeted toward the earth at speeds that peaked at 822 miles per hour, setting off a small sonic boom heard by people on the ground.

And Mr. Eustace is a class act:

Mr. Eustace was carried aloft without the aid of the sophisticated capsule used by Mr. Baumgartner or millions of dollars in sponsorship money. Instead, Mr. Eustace planned his jump in secrecy, working for almost three years with a small group of technologists skilled in spacesuit design, life-support systems, and parachute and balloon technology.

He carried modest GoPro cameras aloft, connected to his ground-control center by an off-the-shelf radio.

Very cool - looking forward to the videos - there is just this little teaser online for now:


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Just wow!

Hillary on trickle-down economics:

Trickle-down economics is the basis for small business growth. Without it, we are in the economic doldrums.

An excerpt from Bryan Preston at PJ Media:

Politico plays this quote as a Hillary vs. Elizabeth Warren thing, which it undoubtedly is. Hillary spends a lot of time in the story driving a knife in Warren’s back while smiling that smile of hers the whole time.

But it tells us so much about Hillary Clinton.

“Don’t let anybody tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs,” Clinton said. “They always say that.”

“They” being the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, which predicts that raising the minimum wage could destroy half a million jobs. Aren’t “they” horrible?

“I’ve been through that. My husband gave working families a raise in the 1990s,” Clinton said, saying she herself voted for raising the minimum wage when she served as a senator from New York. “Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.”

Utterly clueless...

AR12192 sends some lovin' our way

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I had written about sunspot AR12192 yesterday.

From Watts Up With That:

Massive X class flare erupts from the sunspot 2192
As we previously mentioned on WUWT, the Sunspot 2192 which is as large as Jupiter had the potential of hurling large solar flares toward Earth. According to NASA’s spaceweather.com “Giant sunspot AR2192 has a ‘beta-gamma-delta’ magnetic field that harbors energy for strong explosions. NOAA forecasters estimate an 85% chance of M-class flares and a 45% chance of X-flares on Oct. 24th. If an explosion does occur, it will be geoeffective because the sunspot is directly facing Earth.”

It has just released what appears to be an x-class flare, possibly an X3.

I'll keep posting on this as data comes in. We could have some spectacular aurora as well as a host of electrical problems.

Here is the X-Ray flux as measured by the GOES 15 satellite:


Solidly in the X class - X3 or so. If there is an earthbound CME, this will rattle things a bit...

Rot at the top - Valerie Jarrett

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Valerie Jarrett? A longtime friend of the Obama's from Chicago and his senior adviser. i.e. - the person who is really running this nation.

From the ever excellent Judicial Watch:

Valerie Jarrett Key Player in Fast and Furious Cover-Up After Holder Lied to Congress
President Obama’s trusted senior advisor, Valerie Jarrett, was a key player in the effort to cover up that Attorney General Eric Holder lied to Congress about the Fast and Furious scandal, according to public records obtained by Judicial Watch.

The information is part of a Department of Justice (DOJ) “Vaughn index” detailing records about the gun-running operation known as Fast and Furious. JW had to sue the agency for the records after the Obama administration failed to provide them under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A federal court ordered the DOJ to provide the records over the agency’s objections. Yesterday JW reported on the broad information in the records, including that Obama asserted executive privilege for Holder’s wife as part of the administration’s efforts to cover up the scandal.

Practically lost in the 1,000-plus pages of records is an index that shows Jarrett was brought in to manage the fact that Holder lied to Congress after the story about the disastrous gun-running operation broke in the media. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ran the once-secret program that allowed guns from the U.S. to be smuggled into Mexico so they could eventually be traced to drug cartels. Instead, federal law enforcement officers lost track of hundreds of weapons which have been used in an unknown number of crimes, including the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona.

The files received by JW include three electronic mails between Holder and Jarrett and one from former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke to Jarrett. The e-mails with Holder are all from October 4, 2011, a significant date because, on the evening of October 3rd, Sheryl Attkisson (then at CBS news) released documents showing that Holder had been sent a briefing paper on Operation Fast and Furious on June 5, 2010. The paper was from the director of the National Drug Intelligence Center, Michael Walther.

This directly contradicted Holder’s May 3, 2011 testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, during which he stated that he, “probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.” The October 4, 2011 date may also be significant because it came shortly after the August 30, 2011 resignation of U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke and reassignment of acting ATF director Kenneth Melson to the position of “senior forensics advisor” at DOJ.

The description of one of the e-mails, written from Jarrett to Holder, reads, “re: personnel issues.” Another, also from Jarrett, reads, “outlining and discussing preferred course of action for future responses in light of recent development in congressional investigation.” Unfortunately, the index is vague and that’s all the information we have about them. Nevertheless, given the timing and subject of these e-mails, it seems clear that Jarrett quickly became a key player in the Fast and Furious cover-up in the immediate aftermath of the revelation that Holder had lied to Congress.

Business as usual in the Obama White House 

A little too close to home

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Another sick kid looking for fame - from the Everett Herald:

Gunfire erupts at Marysville Pilchuck High School
Gunfire erupted in the cafeteria at Marysville Pilchuck High School on Friday morning, and police say the suspected shooter, a student, is dead.

At least five people were rushed to area hospitals. Providence Regional Medical Center Everett had received four patients, a spokeswoman said. There was no immediate confirmed information on their ages, but hospital officials said three patients were in very critical condition, with two undergoing surgery.

In addition, Harborview Medical Center in Seattle was expecting to receive a patient from the incident, officials said. That patient was sent initially to Providence but has less-severe injuries.

I hope that they do not release the a**holes name. It has been seen again and again that these sickos are looking for some kind of twisted infamy. Let him rot in obscurity.

Back to the cold war again - a two-fer

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First - from The Washington Times:

U.S., allies scramble jets almost daily to repel Russian incursions
Russian military provocations have increased so much over the seven months since Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine that Washington and its allies are scrambling defense assets on a nearly daily basis in response to air, sea and land incursions by Vladimir Putin’s forces.

Not only is Moscow continuing to foment unrest in Eastern Ukraine, U.S. officials and regional security experts say Russian fighter jets are testing U.S. reaction times over Alaska and Japan’s ability to scramble planes over its northern islands — all while haunting Sweden’s navy and antagonizing Estonia’s tiny national security force.

The White House months ago leveled economic sanctions on several Russian businesses and political players, and recent weeks have seen President Obama intensify his rhetoric toward Moscow. But many in Washington’s national security community say the response is simply not firm enough and that, as a result, Mr. Putin actually feels emboldened to push the envelope — Cold War-style.

If Obama had any balls, Putin would not be doing this.

Second - from Yahoo/Reuters:

Putin accuses United States of damaging world order
Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Friday of endangering global security by imposing a "unilateral diktat" on the rest of the world and shifted blame for the Ukraine crisis onto the West.

In a 40-minute diatribe against the West that was reminiscent of the Cold War and underlined the depth of the rift between Moscow and the West, Putin also denied trying to rebuild the Soviet empire at the expense of Russia's neighbors.

"We did not start this," Putin told an informal group of experts on Russia that includes many Western specialists critical of him, warning that Washington was trying to "remake the whole world" based on its own interests.

"Statements that Russia is trying to reinstate some sort of empire, that it is encroaching on the sovereignty of its neighbors, are groundless," the former KGB spy declared in a speech delivered standing at a podium, without a smile, in a ski resort in mountains above the Black Sea city of Sochi.

We need to get some adults in the room sooner not later...


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Gorgeous ten minute video of Argentinian knife maker Guillermo Mendoza forging a Damascus steel blade from meteorite iron

Guillermo is represented by Artisanal Knives

Voting in the upcoming mid-terms

Bill Whittle hits it out of the park:

Great collection of PDF pages outlining basic music theory

All 50 combined into one file available here

Various merch available here

New in medical technology

Very cool - from nanowerk:

New blood test works in real-time, simply by shining a light through the skin
Blood tests convey vital medical information, but the sight of a needle often causes anxiety and results take time. A new device developed by a team of researchers in Israel, however, can reveal much the same information as a traditional blood test in real-time, simply by shining a light through the skin. This optical instrument, no bigger than a breadbox, is able to provide high-resolution images of blood coursing through our veins without the need for harsh and short-lived fluorescent dyes.

"We have invented a new optical microscope that can see individual blood cells as they flow inside our body," says Lior Golan, a graduate student in the biomedical engineering department at the Israel Institute of Technology, or Technion, and one of the authors on a paper describing the device that is published today in the Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express ("Noninvasive imaging of flowing blood cells using label-free spectrally encoded flow cytometry").

By eliminating a long wait-time for blood test results, the new microscope might help spotlight warning signs, like high white blood cell count, before a patient develops severe medical problems. The portability of the device could also enable doctors in rural areas without easy access to medical labs to screen large populations for common blood disorders, Golan notes.

More faster please!


From her website:

3D printed record
In order to explore the current limits of 3D printing technology, I've created a technique for converting digital audio files into 3D-printable, 33rpm records and printed a few prototypes that play on ordinary turntables. Though the audio quality is low the audio output is still easily recognizable, the records have a sampling rate of 11kHz (a quarter of typical mp3 audio) and 5-6 bit resolution (less than one thousandth of typical 16 bit resolution). These records were printed on an Objet Connex500 resin printer to a precision of 600dpi with 16 micron z axis resolution. The 3D modeling in this project was far too complex to do by hand, so I wrote a program to do this conversion automatically. It works by importing raw audio data, performing some calculations to generate the geometry of a 12" record, and eventually exporting this geometry straight to a 3D printable file format. Most of the heavy lifting is done by Processing

I can see a real use for this once the technology improves a bit.

First - from Reuters:

GM posts higher-than-expected profit on strong North American demand
General Motors Co. on Thursday reported a higher-than-expected profit in the third quarter on strong demand for its redesigned full-size pickup trucks in North America.

"Clearly, high transaction prices - the new trucks and SUVs are more profitable than the ones they replace - that certainly helps," GM Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens said at the company's Detroit headquarters.

Second - from CNN

GM's $1.3 billion recall cost wipes out profit
General Motors' recall crisis virtually wiped out its profit for the first three months of the year, as it said Thursday that the cost of repairing millions of vehicles would come to $1.3 billion.

The cost of the recall and some other accounting charges left the company with a profit of only $108 million in the quarter.

Depends on how you cook the books. Really happy with my Ford - glad I made the change...

Just wonderful - testing positive for Ebola

Earlier today, I had posted about a possible Ebola case in New York City.

The patient just tested positive - from FOX News:

Patient at New York City hospital tests positive for Ebola, reports say
A doctor who treated Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus in New York City, according to multiple reports.

A health care worker who recently returned to the United States from West Africa is being tested at a New York City hospital for possible Ebola, health officials said Thursday.

The unidentified doctor was working with Doctors Without Borders and returned from one of the three West African countries afflicted with the disease within the past 21 days. Officials were contacted after he reported a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms, according to a statement from the commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

And it starts... What is Obama's Ebola Czar going to do now?

This is a bit esoteric but worth spreading around. There is a part used for linking USB ports to some pieces of electronics. I have a bunch of these for my ham radios, a scanner, a piece of music equipment and some single-board computer kits.

The company is Future Technology Devices International and the device number is FT232 (PDF). Because it is widely used, it is widely counterfeited. FTDI found a way to 'brick' the counterfeit units and persuaded Microsoft to roll this updated driver into their usual Windows Update. Needless to say, this renders the counterfeit device useless.

FTDI is doing nothing to harm the counterfeiters and doing everything to hurt the end user. There is a way to un-brick the device but it is no longer operable under Windows.

From the Ars Technica:

Windows Update drivers bricking USB serial chips beloved of hardware hackers
Hardware hackers building interactive gadgets based on the Arduino microcontrollers are finding that a recent driver update that Microsoft deployed over Windows Update has bricked some of their hardware, leaving it inaccessible to most software both on Windows and Linux. This came to us via hardware hacking site Hack A Day.

The driver in question is for a line of USB-to-serial chips designed by Scottish firm FTDI. FTDI's chips are incredibly popular in this space, as just about every microcontroller and embedded device out there can communicate over a serial port. But this popularity has a downside; there's a vast number of knock-off chips in the wild that appear to be made by FTDI, but in fact aren't.

FTDI develops drivers for its chips. The drivers can be obtained directly from FTDI, or they can be downloaded by Windows automatically, through Windows Update. This latter feature is a great convenience for most people, as it enables plug-and-play operation. The latest version of FTDI's driver, released in August, contains some new language in its EULA and a feature that has caught people off-guard: it reprograms counterfeit chips rendering them largely unusable, and its license notes that:

Use of the Software as a driver for, or installation of the Software onto, a component that is not a Genuine FTDI Component, including without limitation counterfeit components, MAY IRRETRIEVABLY DAMAGE THAT COMPONENT

The license is tucked away inside the driver files; normally nobody would ever see this unless they were explicitly looking for it.

The result of this is that well-meaning hardware developers updated their systems through Windows Update and then found that the serial controllers they used stopped working. Worse, it's not simply that the drivers refuse to work with the chips; the chips also stopped working with Linux systems. This has happened even to developers who thought that they had bought legitimate FTDI parts. It can be difficult to tell, and stories of OEMs and ODMs quietly ignoring design specs and using knock-offs instead of official parts are not uncommon. As such, even hardware that was designed and specified as using proper FTDI chips could be affected.

There is an in-depth tear-down of the real and the counterfeit chip at Zepto Blog

 An analysis of the software can be found at the EEVblog Electronics Community Forum

Today's rainstorm

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Flooding in the streets of Bellingham


Image from this instagram video.

Air New Zealand flight safety video

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They had done some cute ones before (here and here) but this one tops them all:

The Canadian shooting

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The man who shot the terrorist in the Canadian Parliament building is their Sergeant of Arms Kevin Vickers. He reported to work today and was given quite the ovation. From FOX News:


Job well done! One more islamist moron meeting their 72 white raisins of exceptional purity.

Meet AR12192

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And he's a big-un - from The Sun Today:

AR12192: Biggest Sunspot of Two Solar Cycles!
As of October 23, 2014, AR12192 is now the Biggest sunspot in 2 solar cycles. Just yesterday it reached the rank of largest sunspot in cycle 24.

The sunspot measures a whopping 2700 microhemispheres (MH or millionths of a visible solar hemisphere). Now it has surpassed AR10486 (2610 MH) of the famous 2003 Halloween storms. It is the largest sunspot since AR6368, which measured 3080 MH on November 18, 1990.

A reminder for scale, the surface area of Earth is 169 MH.

Of course, it's dark and dumping rain here. No joy in mudville today...

Summer officially ends

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From the Washington State Department of Transportation:

Artist Point Status: CLOSED FOR THE WINTER!
The road to Artist Point closed Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014, after the longest season on record. This year the road was opened on July 1, and remained open for 115 days. The previous mark was 111 days, set in 2004. The latest closing date on record was Oct. 26, 2011.

And that is it for the summer... The snowfall was light last year enabling the highway to be opened sooner than usual.

Ebola in NYC?

Not good news - from the New York Daily News:

Doctor who treated Ebola patients in Guinea put into isolation at Bellevue Hospital with fever, nausea
Ebola may have come to Harlem.

A 33-year-old doctor who recently returned from the disease-wracked West African country of Guinea was rushed Thursday to Bellevue Hospital with symptoms of the deadly disease - including a 103 degree fever.

Preliminary results of tests done on the doctor, identified by sources as Craig Spencer, are expected in the next 12 hours, the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said in a statement.

Spencer, who was one of the medics working in Guinea with Doctors Without Borders, had been back for 10 days and told authorities he quarantined himself after developing nausea and a high fever, sources said.

What would it take to just seal the borders? A pen and a phone?

DOH! - it's the eclipse dummy...

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Noticed that it was a lot darker than usual and then realized that we are experiencing an eclipse of the sun today. Maximum at 3:01PM today.


Global Warming in the news

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A two-fer.

First - EU slits its throat - from the BBC:

'Messy compromise' expected on EU climate targets
A plan to cut CO2 by 40% from 1990 levels is on the table as well as new targets for renewables and energy efficiency.

There is significant opposition from Eastern Europe with Poland threatening to veto the measures.

However a compromise is expected with British officials "quietly confident" that a deal will be done.

Europe is seen as a global leader in cutting carbon - and the EU is committed to reducing CO2 by 80-95% by 2050.

But the 2030 targets are seen as an important signal to the rest of the world.

If they are accepted, they will boost the chances of a new UN deal on climate being agreed in Paris next year.

That evil plant food - must be stopped. At least Eastern Europe and Poland have the courage to see what the reality is and to say NO!

Next - from the London Daily Express:

Climate change PROVED to be 'nothing but a lie', claims top meteorologist
John Coleman, who co-founded the Weather Channel, shocked academics by insisting the theory of man-made climate change was no longer scientifically credible. 

Instead, what 'little evidence' there is for rising global temperatures points to a 'natural phenomenon' within a developing eco-system.

In an open letter attacking the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he wrote: "The ocean is not rising significantly.

"The polar ice is increasing, not melting away. Polar Bears are increasing in number.

"Heat waves have actually diminished, not increased. There is not an uptick in the number or strength of storms (in fact storms are diminishing).

"I have studied this topic seriously for years. It has become a political and environment agenda item, but the science is not valid."

This stopped being science twenty years ago - it is just a political agenda promulgated by the radical communists masquerading as environmentalists. Don't believe me? Go here and read - we are well on the way.

No blogging tonight

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Working on the music room - organizing some shelving and finalizing the room layout. The room is only 10' by 12' so things are tight...

Election season update

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I had seen this a few days ago but it was only on one blog of sketchy veracity. Now, from FOX News:

‘Calibration error’ changes GOP votes to Dem in Illinois county
Early voting in Illinois got off to a rocky start Monday, as votes being cast for Republican candidates were transformed into votes for Democrats.

Republican state representative candidate Jim Moynihan went to vote Monday at the Schaumburg Public Library.“I tried to cast a vote for myself and instead it cast the vote for my opponent,” Moynihan said. “You could imagine my surprise as the same thing happened with a number of races when I tried to vote for a Republican and the machine registered a vote for a Democrat.”

The conservative website Illinois Review reported that “While using a touch screen voting machine in Schaumburg, Moynihan voted for several races on the ballot, only to find that whenever he voted for a Republican candidate, the machine registered the vote for a Democrat in the same race. He notified the election judge at his polling place and demonstrated that it continued to cast a vote for the opposing candidate’s party. Moynihan was eventually allowed to vote for Republican candidates, including his own race.

Not at all surprised. I thought that voter fraud was a felony? I guess that only applies if you are a Republican...

Canadian shooting - of course

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Of course the moke converted to Islam. From NBC News:

Ottawa Chaos: Soldier Killed in Canadian Capital Shooting
A Canadian soldier guarding the National War Memorial in Ottawa was shot and killed Wednesday, and a burst of gunfire minutes later terrorized Parliament and sent lawmakers scrambling for safety.        

Sources identified the gunman to NBC News as Michael Joseph Hall, 32, a recent convert to Islam who was using the name Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. He was confirmed dead. Canadian media, quoting an aunt, identified the victim as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo of Hamilton, Ontario, a member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, one of Canada's largest reserve units.

The sooner these 9th century morons are put down, the better for the rest of us.

Your daily moment of Zen Zeno

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Zeno? Here

A look at an average day

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People have wondered just what it is that I do every day out here in the country.

I had Lulu follow me around with a camcorder and here is the result:



I do a bit of shopping and drive to the library book sale but get distracted.

Shamelessly swiped from here.

Election season

Why do all of these people vote Democratic?


850 voters in NYC are officially 164 years old

The Democratic Panic - from the New York Times no less

DNC Chairwoman Evades Questions About Obama 

And the response of the general public is not good - from the Weekly Standard

Cuomo Sells 945 Copies of Book; Paid Over $700,000 Advance
Andrew Cuomo's book is a dud. The memoir, released last week, has sold 945 hardcover copies in its first week of sales, Amy Chozick of the New York Times reports.

A bit more:

A previous article in the New York Times reported that Cuomo had received an over $700,000 advance for the title.

You can rule on style for only so long before people begin to realize that there is no substance.
Being clueless and out of touch is a hell of a way to go through life...

Terrorism in Canada

From the CBC:

Parliament Hill attack: 1 gunman dead after soldier shot at National War Memorial
Parliament Hill came under attack today after a man with a rifle shot a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, before seizing a car and driving to the doors of Parliament Hill's Centre Block nearby.

MPs and other witnesses reported several shots fired inside Parliament, and a gunman has been confirmed dead inside the building, shot by the House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms, according to MPs' eyewitness accounts.

The soldier's condition is not known as this time.

The prime minister was on the Hill at the time of the shooting, but was safely take away. It's believed one suspect is still at large.

This happened three hours ago so there are not a lot of facts available.


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Fun IKEA advertisement

Great play on The Shining

Illegal immigrants are coming - big-time. From the website for Federal business solicitation:


I posted this as a screen-cap in case they try to slipstream a change. They are expecting 34 million illegal immigrants in the next five years? This will swell the welfare rolls and hamstring our economy.

2001 is being re-released

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First in England on November 28th but here is hoping that it crosses the pond sometime soon.

Trailer? Of course!


From The Washington Free Beacon:

Afghan Poppy Cultivation at ‘All-Time High’
Cultivation of the illegal poppy plant in Afghanistan has reached an “all time high” following a $7.6 billion counternarcotics campaign paid for by the United States, according to government oversight investigators.

Despite the spending to combat growth of the poppy plant, which is used to make drugs such as opium and heroin, cultivation has reached an “all time high,” especially in places once declared “poppy free,” according to new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

“After a decade of reconstruction and over $7 billion in counternarcotics efforts, poppy cultivation levels are at an all-time high,” SIGAR concluded in its report released Wednesday.

The findings have caused concern about the effectiveness of the United States’ efforts to stymie poppy production, SIGAR concluded.

The Afghans are laughing at us behind our backs. Want to stop the drug trade? Buy the crop - pay the farmers to grow the poppies and then outbid all of the other vendors. Use part of the crop for pharmaceuticals and burn the rest. You could do this for a lot less than 7 Billion of our dollars...

From the BBC:

Paralysed man walks again after cell transplant
A paralysed man has been able to walk again after a pioneering therapy that involved transplanting cells from his nasal cavity into his spinal cord.

Darek Fidyka, who was paralysed from the chest down in a knife attack in 2010, can now walk using a frame.

The treatment, a world first, was carried out by surgeons in Poland in collaboration with scientists in London.

A bit more:

The treatment used olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) - specialist cells that form part of the sense of smell.

OECs act as pathway cells that enable nerve fibres in the olfactory system to be continually renewed.

In the first of two operations, surgeons removed one of the patient's olfactory bulbs and grew the cells in culture.

Two weeks later they transplanted the OECs into the spinal cord, which had been cut through in the knife attack apart from a thin strip of scar tissue on the right. They had just a drop of material to work with - about 500,000 cells.

More at the site - hte BBC article is comprehensive.

More faster please!

The real cost of electricity

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A bit of a blow to those advocating windmills - from Forbes:

Electricity Prices Soaring In Top Wind Power States
Electricity prices are soaring in states generating the most wind power, U.S. Energy Information Administration data show. Although U.S. electricity prices rose less than 3 percent from 2008-2013, the 10 states with the highest percentage of wind power generation experienced average electricity price increases of more than 20 percent.


The wind power industry claims switching from conventional power to wind power will save consumers money and spur the economy. However, data from the top 10 wind power states show just the opposite. From 2008-2013 electricity prices rose an average of 20.7 percent in the top 10 wind power states, which is seven-fold higher than the national electricity price increase of merely 2.8 percent.

Heh - truth hurts. All of the alt.energy scams are based on huge taxpayer (your money) subsidies.

Terrorism to the North

A bit of trouble to the North - from The Toronto Star:

Canadian soldiers run down in possible Quebec terror attack
A 25-year-old Quebec man killed by police after striking two Canadian Forces personnel with his car was known to national anti-terrorism investigators as someone who had taken to radical Islam, the RCMP says.

The individual, who was shot dead following the incident in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., was identified by friends as Martin Rouleau. They described him as a struggling entrepreneur and father of a young son who converted to Islam and began distancing himself from his large circle of friends south of Montreal.

For those friends who had tried to reason with him over the last year and a half, the last straw came this summer when they say Rouleau was stopped by border authorities trying to leave Canada to fight abroad with the Islamic State.

A bit more:

There, a man later identified as Rouleau rammed two Canadian military personnel with his vehicle, a Nissan Altima. The incident left one of them with minor injuries, but sent the other to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

As Rouleau fled from the scene, La Presse reported, he called a 911 dispatcher and explained that he was “acting in the name of Allah.”

All of this happened with local police chasing him along one of the town’s main thoroughfares and into a residential area, where Rouleau lost control of his vehicle, flipped, and landed upside down in a ditch.

He reportedly emerged from the overturned car with a knife in his hands, a threat that drew the gunfire of police.


“This individual was known to federal authorities including our Integrated National Security Investigations team in Montreal who, along with other authorities, were concerned that he had become radicalized,” RCMP Cpl. David Falls said in a statement.

Disgusting - they knew he was trouble but there was no interdiction. We are at war with the middle-east and our side is doing nothing about it.

le Déluge

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Looks like some heavy rain is headed our way. From local weather nerd Cliff Mass:

Heavy Rain Coming and Windstorm Threat
An atmospheric river, a warm current of large amounts of water vapor, will be approaching our region starting later tomorrow (Tuesday), but it will be coming from a less frequent direction:  the west.  And the result will be the heaviest rainfall to strike our region since last winter.

Time to replenish our renowned water resources!  And a good reason to be glad you don't live in California.   And speaking of parched California, they are going to get a piece of the action.

How much?

Here is the forecast from the UW WRF model for the 72 hours ending 5 AM on Thursday.  Big values (more than 5 inches in the Olympics, North Cascades, and northern Oregon coastal mountains. An inch or two in the lowlands.   Rake the leaves from the drains near your house or apartment!

Batten down the hatches. I am lucky that we live on a sloping pasture - no danger of flooding. The creeks are already high from previous rainfall so it should be fun to watch.

Absolutely brilliant:

Election time zombies

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Must be election time - the dead are rising from their graves. From The Blaze:

Surveillance Video Apparently Catches Guy Doing Something at the Ballot Box That Left Republican Monitor Stunned
An Arizona county party official said he saw a man stuffing “hundreds” of ballots into the ballot box and later told a local news outlet the entire incident was caught on surveillance video. 

“A person wearing a Citizens for a Better Arizona T-shirt dropped a large box of hundreds of early ballots on the table and started stuffing the ballot box as I watched in amazement,” said A.J. LaFaro, chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Party.

The Maricopa County GOP chairman provided the Arizona Daily Independent with the following account of what happened during the Aug. 26 primary election cycle:

Guy: “What’s your problem?”
LaFaro: “I don’t have a problem.”
Guy: “Stop watching me. You’re annoying me.”
LaFaro: “One of your ballots isn’t sealed.”
Guy: “It’s none of your business. What’s your name?”
LaFaro: “I’m the chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Party. What’s yours?”
Guy: “Go f*** yourself. I don’t have to tell you who I am.”

LaFaro said he later submitted a public information request and obtained this surveillance video from 12:30- 1:30 on Aug. 25 (audio unavailable):

If any of those ballots have Republican candidates selected, I will eat my hat. This is election fraud and the Arizona Secretary of State should prosecute that individual until their ears bleed.

Rain rain go away

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Did the usual store buying run today and the rain just let loose. Fortunately, it lasted only about an hour so I was able to do most of the shopping run under dry skies but the first three stops resulted in some pretty wet product.

More of same in the forecast - ugghhhhh...

Sugar - more bad news

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Sugar is turning out to be much worse for us than initially thought. The article addresses soda pop but it is the sugar that is the villain here.

From the Toronto Sun:

Drinking pop daily can shorten your life: Study
Drinking sugar-sweetened pop could take years off your life, a new U.S. study has found.

Researchers at the University of California — San Francisco found study participants who drank pop daily had shorter telomeres — the protective units of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes in cells — in white blood cells. Short telomeres have been associated with chronic aging diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer.

The researchers calculated daily consumption of a 20-ounce pop is associated with 4.6 years of additional biological aging. The effect on telomere length is comparable to that of smoking, they said.

"This finding held regardless of age, race, income and education level," researcher Elissa Epel said in a press release.

Only adults participated in the study, but Epel said "it is possible that soda consumption is associated with telomere shortening in children."

I will be following this with a measure of skepticism - if 20oz. of soda cut 4.6 years off a person's life, I would be dead with all the soda I have consumed. Still, a link between sugar and telomere shortening is major - telomere's are one of the best known factors in aging and you want them as long as possible...

From the Beeb:

Major fire at gas-fired Didcot B power station
Fire crews have been battling a major blaze at Didcot B Power Station, Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue has said.

At the height of the fire, which broke out in one of the cooling towers, 20 fire appliances were are at the scene

Energy company RWE power, which owns the gas-burning power station, has said the fire is now under control and there have been no injuries.

Police have warned local people to stay indoors and close their doors and windows.

The plant was shut down and all areas isolated before crews moved in to tackle the fire.

This plant supplies about 3% of England's electrical power. It is going to be out of commission for at least six months and with winter coming, England is going to have limited resources. A lot of time, the grids there and here are within a few percent of being overloaded in Winter with the demand for heating.

At least, it will drive home the stupidity of the intermittent and expensive alt.energy scams- wind and solar...

Back from the memorial service

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It was very well attended - about 300 people.

Both of the deceased had been loggers since high-school (they were in their 50's) and the logging community is a very tight community. Saw lots of people we knew and made some new friends.

I love this place...

Off to the memorial service

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Packing up the PA system and borrowed a video projector.

Death sucks when it comes too early and unexpected.

Happy 60th birthday - transistor radio

Sixty years ago today, Regency Electronics and Texas Instruments put the first transistor radio on the market.

From EDN:

TI announces 1st transistor radio, October 18, 1954
Texas Instruments announced plans for the Regency TR-1, the first transistor radio to be commercially sold, on October 18, 1954.

The move was a major one in tech history that would help propel transistors into mainstream use and also give new definition to portable electronics.

TI was producing germanium transistors at the time, but the market had been slow to respond, comfortable with vacuum tubes.

However, the use of transistors instead of vacuum tubes as the amplifier elements meant that the device was much smaller, required less power to operate, and was more shock-resistant. Transistor use also allowed "instant-on" operation because there were no filaments to heat up.

As to mobility, the typical portable tube radio of the 1950s was about the size and weight of a lunchbox, and was powered by several heavy, non-rechargeable batteries. A transistor radio could fit in a pocket, weighed half a pound, and was powered by a single compact 9V battery.

There is a great tribute site at Regency TR-1 Transistor Radio History

A big tip of the hat to The Silicon Graybeard

So true - Obama at his best


Swiped from here.

First, there is a ship adrift in perilous waters - from the Vancouver Sun:

Tow line to disabled Russian ship snaps but help at hand, crew safe: rescue centre
The tow line attached to a disabled Russian cargo ship off the British Columbia coast has snapped, setting the ship adrift once again.

But Lt. Greg Menzies of the Canadian Forces' Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre says there are three Canadian and U.S. Coast Guard ships on scene and three helicopters on stand-by.

He says the 10 crew members remain on board in no danger and the vessel is about 45 kilometres from shore.

A bit more:

The Simushir lost power Thursday night in rough seas off Haida Gwaii while sailing from Washington state to Russia.

Freshly bunkered so there are 20,000 or more gallons of fuel oil on board. We had high winds on the coast two nights ago and there was a danger that it could have broken up on rocks.

Second - crimes and misdemeanors in a casino - also from the Vancouver Sun:

Millions in suspicious transactions flowed through area casinos in 3-month period, mostly in $20 bills
Gamblers flocked into four Vancouver-area casinos over a recent three-month period hauling bags of $20 bills that added up to millions of dollars in suspicious transactions, according to information provided by the provincial Finance Ministry in response to a freedom of information request from the CBC.

The Edgewater Casino in the Plaza of Nations in Vancouver alone reported $5,242,090 in unusual transactions from March 20 to June 21.

CBC reported that $2.5 million in suspicious transactions occurred at New Westminster’s Starlight Casino, while $24 million was flagged at Richmond’s River Rock Casino.

Police were rarely, if ever contacted, according to the incident reports.

Some more:

On June 1, a patron showed up at the same casino with $100,000 all in $20 bills — a currency frequently used in street-level drug transactions.

In some cases, patrons bought in and cashed out without playing or with very minimal playing.

There were reports of chips being exchanged in washrooms and of bundles of $100 bills being exchanged under tables.

When gamblers use cash transactions at casinos, the source of the money can’t be traced. Gangsters are suspected of using the system to launder dirty money by buying in, then not necessarily betting and cashing out the credit, claiming the income as winnings.

For my store, I am an authorized Western Union agent and we have to do ongoing training for money laundering. They are very careful about this. Someone at the casinos should have raised a flag when this started happening.

At the very least, they could have run a nice little sting operation and gotten a few scumbags off the streets...

Quiet day today

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Spending a quiet day at home working on some stuff.

A friends memorial service is tomorrow and I will be doing the PA and video - spent a couple hours Wednesday scanning old photos. Getting the equipment ready.

Working from home - with cats

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About right...

Interesting times - SCADA

I am very interested in computer security and industrial SCADA systems especially. SCADA = Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition = the systems and protocols that run our factories and industrial plants.

SCADA systems were originally designed to be used within a physical plant so no effort was made to implement security. In a few years, the managers wanted to log in from remote locations and plants at different sites needed to talk to the central office. Needless to say, this opened up a big can of worms that is still being dealt with today.

I am on a private email list for this kind of issue and this email came in today - names and organizations have been redacted:


There have been many reports of the Chinese and others attacking our critical infrastructure. Last year, XXX XXXXXXX from ZZZZZZZZ developed a control system honeypot representing a small water utility in rural Missouri and then identified the attackers some of whom were from China. XXXXX XXXXXXX from ZZZZZZZZZZZZ took a similar approach and the results are astounding. He acquired some KKKKKKKK switches from E-Bay and set up a network emulating a well pumping station.

Within 2 hours of connecting the systems, he was being attacked primarily from China. This is even more interesting when you realize when the attack started, the honeypot was not seen on specific website. This shows the level of monitoring going on in China.

Google does it, the No Such Agency does it - not surprising that China (and Russia) do it. The issue is to implement solid security and train the users to follow it.

The origin of things - a piece of music

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Great story at The Ancient & Noble Order of the Gormogons:

What the Fučik?
Probably a good many of our readers never heard the name Julius Fučik, even though the Czar is certain you can hum every note to the first third of his military battle march “Entry of the Gladiators,: (Vjezd Gladiátorů, although he preferred to call it « Grande Marche Chromatique»), composed in 1897.

Like many academics of his time, Fučik was a neo-classicist and was smitten with the glory of Rome and the notion of gladiators killing each other. Given the spread of nationalism at the time, he wrote a march that could be used by troops going off to war or marching triumphantly into a bombed-out city. This was a badass piece of music, certainly designed to overwhelm you with pride for the military machinery you were watching.

Here’s the piece, so you can remind yourself how supercool this march is.

Of course, you probably associate this march with something quite different than infantry and cavalry troops in precise formations. In 1910, this piece got picked up by a very different industry that was into campgrounds, tents, and horses and its popularity soared around the world. Fučik died only six years later, and the Czar always suspected that the popularity of his prized work gnawed at him. He died an unhappy man for a lot of reasons, but Fučik must have cringed every time this tune played.

Hey, that’s how irony works, folks. You do something great, like write for this site, and eventually some shaved troll like Ghettoputer barges in here and soils it all up. But here’s the real irony: very few people outside of the Czech Republic would have any clue who he was, and his music would languish at the bottom of stacks of yellowed sheet music if it wasn’t for this weird twist of fate. Today, not many people know who Julius Fučik was, but probably a billion people can start humming this march off the top of their heads. On key, too.

And for a musician, he ought to be pretty proud of that accomplishment.

Great story - and a great piece of music.

From Bryan Preston at PJ Media:

Obama’s New Ebola Czar Was Deeply Involved in Solyndra Scandal
Bridget Johnson reported earlier that President Obama has appointed Ron Klain to become Ebola czar.

Klain’s career is not in medicine, epidemiology, or any field related to disease control or prevention.

Klain is a laywer, a K Street lobbyist, and a career Democrat party operative. Klain is not a doctor. He is a Democrat loyalist.

Not only was he involved in Al Gore’s 2000 election recount as Bridget reported, Klain was involved in the Obama administration’s Solyndra debacle.

In January 2012, ABC News reported that Klain, then Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, was right in the middle of the administration’s poor and controversial handling of Solyndra’s bankruptcy.

Senior White House officials knew in late October 2010 that government-backed Solyndra was planning to lay off nearly 20 percent of its workforce just prior to the congressional elections the next month, recently released e-mails show.

E-mails released by the White House last week showed that Heather Zichal, an energy aide to President Barack Obama, relayed the news about the Fremont-based solar firm’s planned layoffs to top White House officials, including Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Vice Presidential Chief of Staff Ron Klain.

Later in the same story…

Obama visited Solyndra in May 2010, as e-mails showed his top advisers, including Jarrett and Klain, knew about Solyndra’s precarious financial condition. During his visit, Obama hailed Solyndra, telling factory workers, “The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra.”

$535 Million of our tax dollars up in smoke - the company was vetted by the same moron who is in charge of our response to Ebola.

And we are still letting in a couple hundred people from these infected countries in Africa each and every day.

Our betters at play

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Our ruling elite can get away with a lot. From The Washington Post:

Biden’s son discharged from Navy after positive cocaine test
Vice President Biden's son Hunter was discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine, a source familiar with the matter confirmed Thursday.

Seems to run in the family - from the New York Post:

Ashley Biden’s past is full of weed and wild parties
A decade before a friend came forward trying to sell a video that he claimed showed her snorting cocaine, Vice President Joseph Biden’s daughter was busted for pot possession.

Ashley Biden “was a hot freshman that every guy wanted to be with,” said Nat Berman, a Tulane University classmate, who said he bailed Ashley out of jail after her 1999 marijuana arrest in New Orleans, for which no conviction was recorded.

Someone like you or me? We would be put away for a couple years. These people just get a slap on the wrist.

From the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Earth Edition:

The London Beer Flood of 1814
The shout, or placard, of 'Free Beer' is often a hook to get people interested in something, but never did the two-word expression have more of a ring of truth to it than on Monday 17 October, 1814 - the day of the London Beer Flood.

Meux Beer
Meux's Brewery Co Ltd, established in 1764, was a London brewery owned by Sir Henry Meux. Meux, like many modern brewers, bought out smaller breweries - one such being the Horse Shoe Brewery (founded by a Mr Blackburn, and famous for its 'black beer'), located on the junction of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street, London. Atop the Horse Shoe stood several large vats of beer. The largest was the porter vat - a 22-foot-high monstrosity that held 511,920 litres of beer, in turn held together by a total of 29 large iron hoops. For some idea of its vastness, The Times report of 1 April, 1785 read:

There is a cask now building at Messrs. Meux & Co.'s brewery...the size of which exceeds all credibility, being designed to hold 20,000 barrels of porter; the whole expense attending the same will be upwards of £10,000.

Tottenham Court Road Awash
Come October of 1814, the beer had been fermenting atop the brewery for months (as was the need with porter), and the metal and wood of this huge vat was, unbeknownst to the majority of the brewery workers3, beginning to show the strain of holding back the thousands of litres. Suddenly, at about 6.00pm, one of the heavy metal hoops snapped and the contents of the porter vat exploded out - quite literally - causing a chain reaction with the surrounding vats. The resulting noise was apparently heard as far away as five miles!

A total of 1,224,000 litres of beer under pressure smashed through the twenty-five foot high brick wall of the building, and gushed out into the surrounding area - the slum of St Giles. Many people lived in crowded conditions here, and some were caught by the waves of beer completely unaware. The torrent flooded through houses, demolishing two in its wake, and the nearby Tavistock Arms pub in Great Russell Street suffered too, its 14-year-old barmaid Eleanor Cooper buried under the rubble. The Times reported on 19 October of the flood:

The bursting of the brew-house walls, and the fall of heavy timber, materially contributed to aggravate the mischief, by forcing the roofs and walls of the adjoining houses.

Fearful that all the beer should go to waste, though, hundreds of people ran outside carrying pots, pans, and kettles to scoop it up - while some simply stooped low and lapped at the liquid washing through the streets. However, the tide was too strong for many, and as injured people began arriving at the nearby Middlesex Hospital there was almost a riot as other patients demanded to know why they weren't being supplied with beer too - they could smell it on the flood survivors, and were insistent that they were missing out on a party! Calm was quickly restored at the hospital, but out in the streets was a different matter.

I love this - from The Daily Caller:

Seattle Socialist Party Wants $20 Per Hour Minimum Wage, Offers $13 Per Hour For Website Manager
The economy is stagnant — so stagnant that over 35 percent of all Americans have been reported to a collection agency for bad debt and The Washington Post has advised newly-minted college graduates to give up hope and go live in their parents’ basements.

However, The Daily Caller never dreamed it would come to this: A socialist party that wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $20 per hour is currently advertising a job for an experienced web developer paying $13 per hour.

The party is the Freedom Socialist Party, which, impressively, owns the rights to the domain name Socialism.com.

This month, the Freedom Socialist Party placed an ad on both Indeed.com and Craigslist seeking a part-time web content manager in Seattle. The job pays $13 per hour (or more, maybe, if you are really good).

In 2012, the Freedom Socialist Party’s national platform championed “full employment” — not part-time — and an increase in the minimum wage “to $20 an hour” for all employees in all jobs.

If you are interested in applying for the $13-per-hour web content manager job, it won’t be easy. For starters, you’ll need to be “familiarity with HTML/CSS” and Photoshop. The latter is a graphics editor developed by Adobe Systems, an $18 billion private company. You’ll also need “ability to self-manage and problem-solve independently.” Proficiency in Spanish and social media as well as “an interest in ongoing political events” are desirable. And absolutely no telecommuting!

The stupidity - it hurts!

A bit of tyranny to our North

From the Canadian Broadcasting Company:

Revenue Canada targets birdwatchers for political activity
A small group of nature lovers in southern Ontario enjoy spending weekends watching birds and other wildlife, but lately they're the ones under watch — by the Canada Revenue Agency.

The Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists, a registered charity, is apparently at risk of breaking tax agency rules that limit so-called political or partisan activities.

Earlier this year, tax auditors sent a letter to the 300-member group, warning about political material on the group's website.

The stern missive says the group must take appropriate action as necessary "including refraining from undertaking any partisan activities," with the ominous warning that "this letter does not preclude any future audits."

The reason?

But longtime member Roger Suffling is speaking up, saying the issue is about democratic freedom and not about arcane tax rules.

"Effectively, they've put a gag on us," he said in an interview, noting that the letter arrived just after the club had written directly to two federal cabinet ministers to complain about government-approved chemicals that damage bee colonies.

"You can piece together the timing," said Suffling, an adjunct professor at the University of Waterloo. "The two things are very concurrent."

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq responded to the group's complaint in a March 14 letter — or just days after the Canada Revenue Agency letter arrived — and Suffling is convinced the two events are linked. Aglukkaq's office denies there's any link, saying the agency operates independently.

Suffling said that if government is using the tax agency as a "pit bull to stifle dissent, then there's something very wrong."

The Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists website is here. It's not just the USA doing this.

Roger Suffling has written an article at the Waterloo Region Record - here is an excerpt:

So I remembered the neonics (neonicotinoids) letter. Last winter, the directors of our naturalists' club — the Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists — voiced concern to then federal Agriculture Minister, Gerry Ritz, about the impact of these new insecticides, whose use the European Union has suspended. We added footnotes and references: We wanted our little club to be taken seriously. And we were.

Federal Minister for the Environment, Leona Aglukkaq, replied on March 14. We had our response, and we weren't happy with it, but that is how democracy works, right

Wrong. On almost the same day, we received a March 11 audit from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Thus I take no comfort in the late finance minister Jim Flaherty's statement that "we don't choose who is audited by the CRA. That's up to the CRA"

Though the detailed, five-page letter determined that our club was in compliance, the auditor concluded ominously: "We trust that (the club) will take appropriate action ... including refraining from undertaking any partisan activities. This letter does not preclude any future audits." (My emphasis).

Now why would Canada Revenue concern itself with a nature club?

Ostensibly, it's because charities like ours can spend no more than 10 per cent of their revenue on partisan political activity (10 per cent, not ANY!), and that is defined exceedingly broadly: "encouraging the public to contact an elected representative … communicat(ing) … to the public … organiz(ing) … to retain, oppose or change … law, policy, or decision of government … any government, at any level, in Canada, or abroad."

Big oil, through their lobby group, Ethical Oil, has used the Canada Revenue rules to challenge the activities of large environmental charities like Sierra Club Canada: But a local naturalist club? That seemed like overkill. This Canada Revenue net is wide, with a small mesh. It can snare big fish, and tiny ones.

I hope this blows up in their faces. We need more traction in the media for scandals like this - after all, our own IRS scandal is now at Day 526 and not a peep from the media.

Our power grid

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Cheery news - from International Business Times:

Aging US Power Grid Blacks Out More Than Any Other Developed Nation
The United States endures more blackouts than any other developed nation as the number of U.S. power outages lasting more than an hour have increased steadily for the past decade, according to federal databases at the Department of Energy (DOE) and the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC).

According to federal data, the U.S. electric grid loses power 285 percent more often than in 1984, when the data collection effort on blackouts began. That’s costing American businesses as much as $150 billion per year, the DOE reported, with weather-related disruptions costing the most per event.

“Each one of these [blackouts] costs tens of hundreds of millions, up to billions, of dollars in economic losses per event,” said Massoud Amin, director of the Technological Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota, who has analyzed U.S. power grid data since it became available in the '80s.

“The root causes" of the increasing number of blackouts are aging infrastructure and a lack of investment and clear policy to modernize the grid. The situation is worsened by gaps in the policies of federal and local commissioners. And now there are new risks to the grid from terrorism and climate change's extreme impacts, Amin said. 

Also, demand for electricity has grown 10 percent over the last decade, even though there are more energy-efficient products and buildings than ever. And as Americans rely increasingly on digital devices, summers get hotter (particularly in the southern regions of the U.S.) and seasonal demand for air conditioning grows, the problem is only getting worse.

While customers in Japan lose power for an average 4 minutes per year, customers in the American upper Midwest lose power for an average 92 minutes per year, and customers in the upper Northwest lose power for an average 214 minutes per year, according to Amin’s analysis. Those estimates exclude extreme events like severe storms and fires, though those have been increasing the past two decades.

Which is why the folks in Glacier are getting a battery backup for their town. I would love to seee a small nuke go in up here - one of the Toshiba 4S units would be perfect.

When the earthquake hit the Japanese nuclear plant at Fukushima, Germany did a knee-jerk reaction and shut down it's own nuclear development. Now, that chicken has come home to roost.

From World Nuclear News:

Vattenfall sues Germany over phase-out policy
Swedish utility Vattenfall is suing Germany at the Washington-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes over the closure of the Brunsbüttel and Krümmel nuclear power plants.

The move follows the German government's decision to withdraw from nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi accident.

Vattenfall spokesman Magnus Kryssare declined to confirm German media reports that the Swedish company is seeking €4.7 billion ($6 billion) in damages.

"Based on the confidentiality rules that apply for the process, Vattenfall cannot give any comments regarding the size of the compensation," Kryssare told World Nuclear News today.

Following the Fukushima accident in March 2011, the government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the withdrawal of the operating licences of eight German nuclear power plants, which included Vattenfall's Brunsbüttel and Krümmel units.

In the meantime, Sweden's newly-formed coalition government has said it wants Vattenfall to quit its expansion of nuclear power in the country.

Say hello to sharp increases in the cost of electric power. Nuclear is the only way to go - molten salt is preferred, thorium would be the icing on the cake.

Conveyor Belt sushi

Great ten minute video on the current state of the art in Japanese Sushi making and Conveyor Belt restaurants.

Cannot see how to embed so here is the link: Conveyor Belt Sushi, Japan

Tip 'o the Stetson to Maggie's Farm for the link.

Absolutely nails it

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Summit of Mauna Kea. They usually get snow in winter - October is very early. Lots of webcams here.

Mele Kalikimaka !!

Leaving France

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France voted in a socialist President and he jacked up the tax rates to fund his Utopian vision. Needless to say, people are leaving in droves. The very people France needs the most.

From the New York Times:

Au Revoir, Entrepreneurs
Guillaume Santacruz, an aspiring French entrepreneur, brushed the rain from his black sweater and skinny jeans and headed down to a cavernous basement inside Campus London, a seven-story hive run by Google in the city’s East End.

It was late on a September morning, and the space was crowded with people hunched over laptops at wooden cafe tables or sprawled on low blue couches, working on plans to create the next Facebook or LinkedIn. The hiss of a milk steamer broke through the low buzz of conversation as a man in a red flannel shirt brewed cappuccino at a food bar.

A year earlier, Mr. Santacruz, who has two degrees in finance, was living in Paris near the Place de la Madeleine, working in a boutique finance firm. He had taken that job after his attempt to start a business in Marseille foundered under a pile of government regulations and a seemingly endless parade of taxes. The episode left him wary of starting any new projects in France. Yet he still hungered to be his own boss.

He decided that he would try again. Just not in his own country.

It seems a lot of them are heading to Montreal. From the Winnipeg Free Press:

Montreal's French invasion: immigrants from France flock to the city
When Christian Faure moved to Montreal last summer, the renowned chef saw a chance to start fresh in a new city, freed from the constraints of his native France.

Faure opened a pastry shop and cooking school in a renovated 300-year-old greystone on a busy street in Old Montreal.

"It would be totally impossible to open a similar patisserie in a historic quarter in Paris and Lyon," said Faure, who had a stint as director of the Cordon Bleu chef school in Ottawa before moving to the city.

"In Montreal, it’s still possible. It’s a city of arts and theatre, and it encourages young people."

Faure isn't alone. Faced with a slumping economy and high unemployment rate back home, the number of French citizens in Montreal has soared in recent years, particularly among the 25-40 age demographic.

These days, the unmistakable accent of the Old Country echoes through the bars and cafes of the city's trendy Plateau district. Specialty stores offering made-in-France delicacies and pubs that televise French rugby and soccer matches have also recently popped up.

By 2013, nearly 55,000 French citizens were registered at the French Consulate in Montreal, up by about 45 per cent from 2005, according to the consulate.

In reality, that number is likely much higher.

A consulate spokesman estimates only about half of the French in Canada register, putting the estimated number of French citizens in Montreal at about 110,000. Toronto and Quebec City are the next most popular destinations, each home to about 10,000 registered French citizens.

Makes perfect sense - Quebec has a large Francophone population. Montreal is a gorgeous city - spent a bit of time there when I was living on the East Coast.

I have been following the research on resistant starch and diet.

I am tying to cut down on my carbohydrate intake (got about 20 pounds to lose). The idea behind resistant starch is that these are not broken down into sugars as quickly as standard starch. I used to have a real problem with gastric reflux and have been taking a couple spoonfuls of potato starch blended with a glass of milk and some protein powder each morning and that has eliminated the problem. The body doesn't digest it but it is fantastic food for the flora in the gut. Happy gut, happy body.

From the BBC:

Is reheated pasta less fattening?
There are few things that really surprise me about nutrition, but one of the experiments from the latest series of Trust Me, I'm a Doctor really did produce quite unexpected results.

You are probably familiar with the idea that pasta is a form of carbohydrate and like all carbohydrates it gets broken down in your guts and then absorbed as simple sugars, which in turn makes your blood glucose soar.

In response to a surge in blood glucose our bodies produce a rush of the hormone insulin to get your blood glucose back down to normal as swiftly as possible, because persistently high levels of glucose in the blood are extremely unhealthy.

A rapid rise in blood glucose, followed by a rapid fall, can often make you feel hungry again quite soon after a meal. It's true of sugary sweets and cakes, but it's also true for things like pasta, potatoes, white rice and white bread. That's why dietitians emphasis the importance of eating foods that are rich in fibre, as these foods produce a much more gradual rise and fall in your blood sugars.

But what if you could change pasta or potatoes into a food that, to the body, acts much more like fibre? Well, it seems you can. Cooking pasta and then cooling it down changes the structure of the pasta, turning it into something that is called "resistant starch".

It's called "resistant starch" because once pasta, potatoes or any starchy food is cooked and cooled it becomes resistant to the normal enzymes in our gut that break carbohydrates down and releases glucose that then causes the familiar blood sugar surge.

So, according to scientist Dr Denise Robertson, from the University of Surrey, if you cook and cool pasta down then your body will treat it much more like fibre, creating a smaller glucose peak and helping feed the good bacteria that reside down in your gut. You will also absorb fewer calories, making this a win-win situation.

The testing protocol:

Dr Chris van Tulleken roped in some volunteers to do the tests. The volunteers had to undergo three days of testing in all, spread out over several weeks. On each occasion they had to eat their pasta on an empty stomach.

The volunteers were randomized to eating either hot, cold or reheated pasta on different days.

On one day they got to eat the pasta, freshly cooked, nice and hot with a plain but delicious sauce of tomatoes and garlic.

On another day they had to eat it cold, with the same sauce, but after it had been chilled overnight.

And on a third day they got to eat the pasta with sauce after it had been chilled and then reheated.

On each of the days they also had to give blood samples every 15 minutes for two hours, to see what happened to their blood glucose as the pasta was slowly digested.

And the test results:

Well we were fairly confident the cold pasta would be more resistant than the stuff that had been freshly cooked and we were right.

Just as expected, eating cold pasta led to a smaller spike in blood glucose and insulin than eating freshly boiled pasta had.

But then we found something that we really didn't expect - cooking, cooling and then reheating the pasta had an even more dramatic effect. Or, to be precise, an even smaller effect on blood glucose.

In fact, it reduced the rise in blood glucose by 50%.

This certainly suggests that reheating the pasta made it into an even more "resistant starch". It's an extraordinary result and one never measured before.

Very interesting - I usually cook up a pound of angel-hair and whatever we do not eat that night, I will save for the office lunch for the next few days. Feeling a lot less guilty about eating so much pasta now.

Delivering sand

Just wow...

Ebola - some numbers

The BBC has a good article on the numbers of people involved with the Ebola outbreak:

Ebola: Mapping the outbreak
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa was first reported in March 2014, and has rapidly become the deadliest occurrence of the disease since its discovery in 1976.

In fact, the current epidemic sweeping across the region has now killed more than all other known Ebola outbreaks combined.

Up to 12 October, 4,493 people had been reported as having died from the disease in five countries; Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and the United States. The total number of reported cases is in excess of 8,900.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) admits the figures are underestimates and warns there could be as many as 20,000 cases by November if efforts to tackle the outbreak are not stepped up.

There are several graphs but this one really sticks out:


That is an exponential curve - really demonstrates that the R0 number is at least two. We need to quarantine the area immediately, not let people fly into the USA.

Our secure borders - Ebola

Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit has this joyful little bit of news:

SHOCKING: CDC Admits 100-150 People a Day Entering US from Ebola Infected Countries
Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) grilled Obama administration officials today at the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on Ebola in the US.

Those testifying on Thursday include Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, Dr. Luciana Borio, assistant commissioner of counterterrorism policy at the Food and Drug Administration, and John P. Wagner, acting assistant commissioner at the Office of Field Operations, Customs and Border Protection at the Department of Homeland Security.

The panelists admitted that 100 to 150 West Africans from Ebola infected areas are entering the US every day.

There currently is no quarantine for West Africans entering the US. The deadly Ebola virus, which has a 70% mortality rate, may have a 42 day incubation period.

And, 2000 are entering the US by plane each year without proper Ebola screenings.

More at the site including the video of the exchange. We are in the best of hands...

Return to Home - not always a good idea

Today's drones have a lot of intellegence on board. One feature uses a GPS reciever and if something goes wrong, the drone will return to its place of launch. This is not a good idea if there is a large rock between the drone and the launch site...


From DIY Photography:

Video firm Every Angle Films had it in their pocket. They shot about one minute of a beautiful sun rise at Pinnacle Peak, Arizona using a their new GoPro4 mounted on a DJI F550, naza v2 and an H3-3D gimbal (all and all a few thousands dollars worth of gear).

For some reasons the drone lost connection for a short time with the operator which triggered its Return To Home function. Sadly there was a big rock between the drone’s ‘current location’ and ‘home’ which the drone went straight into, falling all the way down.

While the GoPro seems intact, the team comments that:

The lens was damaged, good scratch on the bottom that was noticeable in later videos. Drone’s electronics were all fine, smashed up the arms and propellers which he has plenty of spares for. This isn’t his first time doing this, he did the same thing last winter and found the gopro a few months later still in perfect condition without the case. He has the video on his page, it’s pretty cool

They also comment that this is not the first time they were bitten by the Return To Home function. This I think makes the RTH feature almost useless unless it comes with built in collision avoidance.

Weather in Nepal

Unseasonably cold with dire consequences. From the Toronto Star:

As deaths mount in Nepal disasters, questions about climate change raised
October is not typically the month for avalanches in Nepal. It is also not the time for blizzards. The fall month usually means clear skies and sunshine in the Himalayan country when thousands of foreigners climb its tall mountains.

Hikers were doing exactly that earlier this week when an avalanche and blizzard struck, killing at least 26 people, including four Canadians.

Still missing are 100 more trekkers. According to a Facebook page set up, there may be up to 32 Canadians whose family members have not been able to reach them since the avalanche struck.

The four Canadians and one Indian trekker were killed in Phu, Nepal, when an avalanche struck. Their bodies have been recovered, the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal said in a statement on Wednesday. Three of the Canadian victims were women from Quebec — a guide and two trekkers booked with the Montreal travel agency Terra Ultima, according to reports.

And it's not just October - more:

In April, an avalanche on Mt. Everest killed 16 Sherpas and resulted in a dramatically reduced number of expeditions to the world’s highest peak during the spring season.

“This is a bit early for avalanches in Nepal,” said Sanjay Nepal, a professor of geography at the University of Waterloo. “Even the avalanche in April wasn’t really . . . seasonal.”

The article then tries to spin it for global warming but has nothing concrete. As the evidence for cooling mounts...

Now this will be interesting

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From Sci-News:

Scientists Discover First ‘Virological Penicillin’
Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is a well-known Chinese herb. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it has been used to effectively treat influenza infection for centuries.

Several previous studies have confirmed that the herb, usually consumed in the form of a tea, can suppress the replication of influenza virus.

However, the active anti-viral components and the mechanism by which they block viral replication have remained unclear.

Now, a team of researchers headed by Dr Chen-Yu Zhang of Nanjing University in China has identified MIR2911 (honeysuckle-encoded atypical microRNA2911) as the first active component directly targeting various influenza viruses, including the swine flu H1N1, highly pathogenic avian H5N1 and H7N9 infections.

MIR2911 represses influenza viruses by targeting PB2 and NS1, two genes that are known to be required for influenza viral replication.

This has the potential to be big - there are drugs that can weaken viruses but to have a drug that actually kills them would be fantastic. Nobel Prize material if it pans out...

Big government on parade

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The ultimate big government is world government - the United Nations and other non-governmental bodies. Corrupt and inefficient at the very best.

Nothing shows it up like a good crisis - in this case, the Ebola outbreak. From Terence Corcoran writing at Financial Post:

Terence Corcoran: WHO battles climate and sugar, misses Ebola
Countless bazillions have been spent over decades by the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the World Bank to save the world from climate change, tobacco, sugar, fast foods and poverty, but when a real-life health crisis lands the great global collective of do-gooding bureaucracies has failed miserably. The World Health Organization, mostly silent on Ebola until six months ago, has now plastered its Web side with Ebola wallpaper. The UN and World Bank are also now rushing to cover their positions despite their obvious inability to respond to the crisis.

If the WHO is good at anything, it’s distributing advocacy wordage by the tonne, the kind of stuff nobody can eat or use to save a life. On August 28, months after the initial Ebola outbreak, the WHO produced an “Ebola Response Roadmap,” a 20-page document filled with bureaucratic wheeze. The WHO would, for example, “assist in delineating existing response needs and encourage partners to provide the needed resources to meet such needs.”

Last week the WHO produced another report on what countries not yet hit with Ebola should do. Sample:

Building on national and international existing preparedness efforts, a set of tools is being developed to help any country to intensify and accelerate their readiness. One of these tools is a comprehensive checklist of core principles, standards, capacities and practices, which all countries should have or meet. The checklist can be used by countries to assess their level of preparedness, guide their efforts to strengthen themselves and to request assistance. Items on the checklist include infection prevention control, contact tracing, case management, surveillance, laboratory capacity, safe burial, public awareness and community engagement and national legislation and regulation to support country readiness.

Thousands could die before any of this (whatever it is) happens. At a news conference Tuesday, a WHO official announced that West Africa will be enduring 5,000 to 10,000 new cases of Ebola every week by the end of next month. But it seems a little late for the WHO — with an annual budget of $4-billion — to be sounding alarms on a crisis that should have been right at the top of its response list six months ago.

The World Health Organization website is here. Listed on the site is news of an outbreak of Marburg in Uganda - this is just as bad as Ebola and it is just developing.

Our government at work - the CDC

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The federal Centers for Disease Control is trying to spin the Ebola outbreak. They are complaining that they didn't have enough money to deal with it.

Michell Malkin has done some digging and it is pretty damning:

The Centers for Everything But Disease Control
So now the federal health bureaucrats in charge of controlling diseases and pandemics want more money to do their jobs. Hmph. Maybe if they hadn’t been so busy squandering their massive government subsidies on everything but their core mission, we taxpayers might actually feel a twinge of sympathy.

At $7 billion, the Centers for Disease Control 2014 budget is nearly 200 percent bigger now than it was in 2000. Those evil, stingy Republicans actually approved CDC funding increases in January larger than what President Obama requested.

What are we getting for this ever-increasing amount of money? Answer: A power-hungry busybody brigade of politicized blame-mongers.

Money, money, it’s always the money. Yet, while Ebola and enterovirus D68 wreak havoc on our health system, the CDC has been busying itself with an ever-widening array of non-disease control campaigns, like these recent crusades:

Mandatory motorcycle helmet laws. CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden appoints a 15-member “Community Preventive Services Task Force” to promote pet Nanny State projects. An obscure Obamacare rule–Section 4003(b)(1)–stealthily increased the task force’s authority to study “any policies, programs, processes or activities designed to affect or otherwise affecting health at the population level.” Last year, the meddling panel extended the agency’s reach into transportation safety with a call to impose a federal universal motorcycle helmet law on the country. Is riding a Harley a disease? Why is this the CDC’s business?

Video games and TV violence. At Obama’s behest, in the wake of high-profile school shootings, the CDC scored $10 million last year to study violent video games and media images, as well as to assess “existing strategies for preventing gun violence and identifying the most pressing research questions, with the greatest potential public health impact.” Whatever that means. Why is this the CDC’s business?

Playground equipment. The CDC’s “Injury Centers” (Did you know there are 13 of them?) have crafted a “national action plan” and funded countless studies to prevent boo-boos and accidents on the nation’s playgrounds. Apparently, there aren’t enough teachers, parents, local school districts, and county and state regulators to police the slides and seesaws. Why is this the CDC’s business?

“Social norming” in the schools. The CDC has funded studies and campaigns “promoting positive community norms” and “safe, stable, nurturing relationships (SSNRs)” in homes and schools. It’s the mother of all government values clarifications programs. So bad attitudes are now a disease. Again, I ask: Why is this the CDC’s business?

After every public health disaster, CDC bureaucrats play the money card while expanding their regulatory and research reach into anti-gun screeds, anti-smoking propaganda, anti-bullying lessons, gender inequity studies and unlimited behavior modification programs that treat individual vices–personal lifestyle choices–as germs to be eradicated.

Much more at the site. We need to cut this agency's funding by 80% and get it back to its core mandates.

An interesting bit of local high-tech

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From the Bellingham Herald:

Battery backup system in Glacier may help in power failures
The small community of Glacier could be among the first in Western Washington to receive a battery storage system that could help cut back on lengthy power outages and test the viability of a “microgrid” in that area.

If a Puget Sound Energy project is permitted, crews could install four shipping containers housing lithium iron phosphate batteries at its existing Glacier substation at  9967 Vaughn Ave. as soon as summer 2015.

The system would be able to put out a maximum of about 2 megawatts — enough energy to power about 150 average homes for one day, said Patrick Leslie, emerging technologies program manager for PSE.

The project is funded in part by a $3.8 million Smart Grid Grant from the state Department of Commerce. PSE plans to put in about $5.8 million of its own money to bring the system online next fall.

The battery system is expected to have a 20-year lifespan.

Glacier, home to roughly 200 to 300 full-time residents, was selected for the test project partly because there is no good alternative for PSE to increase the reliability of power to the area, Leslie said.

Very cool - we lose power several times/year. We get used to it - portable generator and reducing our consumption. Wood heat helps a lot.

I would love to see a small nuke go in up here - one of the Toshiba 4S units would be perfect.

Rats in N.Y.C.

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Just wonderful - from the The New York Times:

Rats and Their Alarming Bugs
If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that our well-being is intimately linked to the health of animals.

The current Ebola epidemic probably got its start when someone came into contact with an infected animal, perhaps a monkey or a fruit bat. The virus causing Middle East respiratory syndrome appears to spread from camels to humans.

Yet animal pathogens remain a scientific terra incognita. Researchers have begun cornering animals in far-flung parts of the world to learn more about what infects them.

Recently, a team of pathogen hunters at Columbia University went on an expedition closer to home. They conducted a survey of the viruses and bacteria in Manhattan’s rats, the first attempt to use DNA to catalog pathogens in any animal species in New York City.

“Everybody’s looking all over the world, in all sorts of exotic places, including us,” said Ian Lipkin, a professor of neurology and pathology at Columbia. “But nobody’s looking right under our noses.”

On Tuesday, Dr. Lipkin and his colleagues published their initial results in the journal mBio. Although the scientists examined just 133 rats, they found plenty of pathogens. Some caused food-borne illnesses. Others, like Seoul hantavirus, had never before been found in New York. Others were altogether new to science.

Yet another reason I am glad to be out of the city. Big cities have a lot to offer but there are some big downsides as well. I live two hours from Seattle and one hour from Vancouver, BC. Close enough...

The paper's abstract can be found at the mBio website.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Indeed - Who watches the watchmen? The internet's best known traffic counter seems to have developed a bias.

From Anthony Watts:

Smells fishy: Alexa’s data blunder hits Drudge, WUWT, mostly favors leftist news sites over conservative news sites
As many WUWT readers know, I have been using alexa.com for quite sometime to gauge the performance of WUWT. Reader “Pat” brought this recent strange disparity to my attention. When you see things like the Drudge report plummet and MSNBC soar, you know immediately that something isn’t right:

Those who run watchdog news websites are scratching their heads and trying to make sense of the latest data released by a California company that measures website traffic.

According to data for July through September, almost every major website – from WND to the Drudge Report and Breitbart – saw its rankings drop on Alexa.com while pro-government sites mostly went up.

Source: WND

The claim seems to be true when you look at Alexa’s publicly reported traffic graphs. Here’s the Drudge Report according to Alexa:

Looks like Alexa just jumped the shark - they probably thought that they could slip-stream this "correction" and nobody would notice. Don't they realize that the internet was designed to route around damage.

They just lost their brand and their revenue. They are a subsidiary of Amazon - very surprised that the folks at Amazon let this happen... 


Ebola in the news

This is bad news - first, from Yahoo/Associated Press:

WHO: 10,000 new Ebola cases per week could be seen
West Africa could face up to 10,000 new Ebola cases a week within two months, the World Health Organization warned Tuesday, adding that the death rate in the current outbreak has risen to 70 percent.

WHO assistant director-general Dr. Bruce Aylward gave the grim figures during a news conference in Geneva. Previously, the agency had estimated the Ebola mortality rate at around 50 percent overall. In contrast, in events such as flu pandemics, the death rate is typically under 2 percent.

Next, from The New York Times:

Ebola Test Is Positive in Second Texas Health Worker
Three days after a nurse who treated a Liberian man with Ebola was found to have the virus, a second worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has tested positive for the disease, state and federal health officials said Wednesday.

The hospital worker, who was identified by a Dallas television station as Amber Vinson, 29, was part of the medical team that cared for the Ebola victim, Thomas Eric Duncan, after he was admitted to the hospital late last month and put in isolation. The worker reported a fever on Tuesday and was immediately isolated at the hospital.

And this little nugget of joy from Fox News:

Second Ebola-infected nurse ID'd; flew domestic flight day before diagnosis
The second nurse infected with Ebola at a Texas hospital was identified Wednesday as 29-year-old Amber Vinson, while authorities expressed concern that she took a domestic flight just one day before coming down with symptoms of the deadly disease.

"The second health care worker should not have been allowed to travel by virtue of being in an exposed group," he added. "Although she had no symptoms or fever [that met the threshold] of 100.4, she did report that she took her temperature and found it to be 99.5." 

Vinson, who like Nina Pham is a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, was identified to Reuters by a relative. Vinson went to the hospital displaying symptoms of the disease on Tuesday morning, after taking a Frontier Airlines flight from Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth on Monday night.  Federal health officials are now tracking down all of Vinson's fellow passengers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Wednesday.

We need to secure our borders now.

Fusion in the news

There have been some recent developments in Fusion and other nuclear reactions. Here, here and here

Now Lockheed - from Aviation Week:

Skunk Works Reveals Compact Fusion Reactor Details
Hidden away in the secret depths of the Skunk Works, a Lockheed Martin research team has been working quietly on a nuclear energy concept they believe has the potential to meet, if not eventually decrease, the world’s insatiable demand for power.

Dubbed the compact fusion reactor (CFR), the device is conceptually safer, cleaner and more powerful than much larger, current nuclear systems that rely on fission, the process of splitting atoms to release energy. Crucially, by being “compact,” Lockheed believes its scalable concept will also be small and practical enough for applications ranging from interplanetary spacecraft and commercial ships to city power stations. It may even revive the concept of large, nuclear-powered aircraft that virtually never require refueling—ideas of which were largely abandoned more than 50 years ago because of the dangers and complexities involved with nuclear fission reactors.

Yet the idea of nuclear fusion, in which atoms combine into more stable forms and release excess energy in the process, is not new. Ever since the 1920s, when it was postulated that fusion powers the stars, scientists have struggled to develop a truly practical means of harnessing this form of energy. Other research institutions, laboratories and companies around the world are also pursuing ideas for fusion power, but none have gone beyond the experimental stage. With just such a “Holy Grail” breakthrough seemingly within its grasp, and to help achieve a potentially paradigm-shifting development in global energy, Lockheed has made public its project with the aim of attracting partners, resources and additional researchers.

They have a nice little video for this but nothing substantial:



 Good PR but nothing really substantial - still, if they can bring something to market, it will be fantastic.

From The Boston Globe:

For concrete, climate change may mean a shorter lifespan
When climate change comes for Boston, many expect it to come by sea, in the form of rising tides and massive storm surges that will sweep Logan Airport into the Atlantic. The city is already beginning to plan its defense, with proposals for “amphibious architecture,” levees, storm baffles, and pumping stations.

But a new study out of Northeastern University suggests that for a dense coastal city like Boston, a more immediate vulnerability may lie in something we’re not even considering. It’s not rising seas that will get us first; it’s collapsing concrete.

Untold tons of concrete make up the city’s buildings, bridges, roads, and parking garages. As solid as it looks, reinforced concrete is vulnerable to long-term corrosion and decay: Over the course of decades, elements from the environment slowly work their way through to corrode the metal rods inside. Two researchers, civil engineer Matthew Eckelman and graduate student Mithun Saha, realized that new projections of rising temperatures might have implications for the lifespan of Boston’s concrete buildings and set out to calculate just what exactly those were.

Their findings, published in September in the journal Urban Climate, suggest that both this city and many others are likely to face huge repair bills long before anyone anticipated. “Starting in 2025 is when [we expect] to see the concrete cover on buildings start to fail, assuming they were built to code,” Eckelman says. With accelerated warming added to existing rates of decay, they predict that 60 percent of Boston’s concrete buildings will face structural deterioration by 2050.

All this handwringing based on a projection from a computer model that has shown to not be accurate. 

Great news from Syria

From the London Daily Mail:

Now ISIS is under attack from guerrillas itself: Ultra-secret White Shroud group strike fear into terrorists by picking off fighters one by one
Terrorist organisation Islamic State is now under attack from guerrillas itself, it was revealed today,

Small groups of Syrians are hunting down ISIS fighters in one of their main strongholds in eastern Syria in a new guerrilla campaign that has emerged as a response to the Islamists' growing brutality.

The main aim is to generate fear in ISIS’s ranks, said the head of ‘White Shroud’ - a group that says it has killed more than 100 of the militants' fighters in attacks in Deir al-Zor province in recent months.

Could not be happening to a more deserving bunch of people...


Brilliant idea

Gaffer's tape is a fabric based tape like duct tape but unlike duct tape, it comes off clean with zero residue. Available here: Gaffgun

Unfortunately, it's $250. Fine for professional theaters and touring shows but not for me. If it was $50 or so, I would have one coming to me immediately.

Happy Ada Lovelace Day

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Today (October 14th) is Ada Lovelace Day.

From the site Finding Ada:

Ada Lovelace Day is about sharing stories of women — whether engineers, scientists, technologists or mathematicians — who have inspired you to become who you are today. The aim is to create new role models for girls and women in these male-dominated fields by raising the profile of other women in STEM.

The first programmer. Ada's biography is a fascinating read.

Typographic humor

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An interesting observation of the Left

From the blog Peace or Freedom:

When you get down to the roots of this, it's actually pretty scary.
So, some Leftist douchenozzle named Dana Milbank is wondering why Republicans care about the whole Secret Service scandal

I mean, don't we want Obama to die anyways?

Look, Obama is a communist twat, and even thought it's not Christian of me I would be smiling if he died screaming while his car plunged off a cliff.  But do I want him assassinated while the Secret Service stands by?  No.  I do not.

The fact that conservatives can oppose Obama without actually wanting him to be killed is ...  foreign ...  to the Left.

I want you to think about the implications of that for a bit.

That means that every bit of assassination porn that the Left put out during the Bush years wasn't hyperbole.  THEY WANTED HIM DEAD.  That means that every Leftist who rubbed one out while screaming for Rumsfeld to be pushed up against a wall and shot actually wanted to see that happen.

So if they aren't kidding about wanting to kill off Bush and other Conservatives, just what do you think they mean when they call the Tea Party a bunch of terrorists who need to be shot or jailed?

Yeah.  Let that sink in.  That's not an exaggeration on their part, they actually want to either kill you or put you in jail.

Scratch a Democrat, find a communist dictator hell-bent on genocide.

It's scary that this sounds very plausible. A lot of high emotion during the President Bush years and it will be interesting when we get  Republican Senate and remove Harry Reid from his post.

Anger - so true

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Sorry for the crappy quality - found this at small resolution but had to pass it on:



Truth to power and all that good stuff...

Two upcoming auctions

Got two interesting auctions coming up.

First, on November 6th is George Washington Machinery in the town of Ephrata, WA (very close to the city of George, WA). The guy was a buyer and seller of industrial machinery and ran an interesting business (according to this thread anyway). I suspect that most of it will go for scrap value but there may be some good stuff. There were quite a few lots of blacksmith tools so I think I will make the 150 mile drive out and see. Over 400 lots - this is huge.

Second, on November 13 and 14 is Pacific Marine Exchange in Bellingham, WA. These guys bought and sold marine hardware and had a small art gallery attached to the business. Their prices were too high for some real junk but sometimes it was the only option for a specific piece of equipment. Since they are selling off their stuff before the auction, I am guessing that it will be pretty well picked over come auction day - still, there might be some interesting stuff. Some of the maritime radio bands lie close to ham radio bands so there might be some useable equipment for cheap.

Meet Rocky and Sam

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Went out to meet the two critters and they are sweethearts.

Here is Rocky the horse (Appaloosa and Morgan cross):


And here is Sam the Mule (Samuel):


Sam took a little bit longer to warm up - Rocky came right over and leaned in for skritches.

Quite a journey

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 From Germany's Deutsche Welle News Service:

26 years road trip: Gunther Holtorf and his unbreakable Otto
After 26 years on the road, 76 year old Gunther Holtorf is back on German soil. He traveled to 177 countries, covering more than 884,000 kilometers (about 549,000 miles). And how Gunther is back home.

"The more you have traveled, the more you realize how little you have seen," Holtorf said upon his return to Berlin this week. He traveled with his wife, Christine, completely under the radar – there was no Facebook at the time - no mobile phones and no Web. It was just the two of them and Otto, their beloved Mercedes G wagon, which they consider "the third member of the family."

"Back in 1989, as the Berlin Wall fell, Gunther and his wife Christine set out on what was meant to be an 18-month tour of Africa in their Mercedes Benz G Wagen," states the Facebook page "Gunther Holtorf his Wife and Otto the Mercedes G Waggon," which was created in 2012 when they had covered more than 800,000 kilometers (500,000 miles).

Just wow!

Some new critters at the farm

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A friend of mine has a horse and a mule that they are looking to find a new home for. These are both older animals but still have at least five or ten good years left. This friend rides in the high-country and that style of riding is a little bit too much for these two so he is looking to find them a good home.

Looks like we will be getting two new additions to the pasture. Photos to come...

From Forbes:

NOAA Report Destroys Global Warming Link To Extreme Weather
Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have demolished claims by global warming activists that global warming caused or worsened many extreme weather events last year.

According to NOAA’s new publication, Explaining Extremes of 2013 from a Climate Perspective, there is no discernible connection between global warming and 2013 extreme weather events such as the California drought, Colorado floods, the UK’s exceptionally cold spring, a South Dakota blizzard, Central Europe floods, a northwestern Europe cyclone, and exceptional snowfall in Europe’s Pyrenees Mountains.

Warmists conveniently 'forget' the historical records - there have been many instances of bigger storms, drier weather, colder weather in the past. People tend to forget it. As for warming v/s cooling, the article mentions this:

Importantly, global warming’s reduction of extreme cold events provides more human health and welfare benefits than any harm caused by an increase in heat waves. Official government mortality statistics show people are much more likely to die during winter months and extreme cold events than during summer months and heat waves.

It closes with this:

The next time you hear politicians and global warming activists claim global warming is causing or worsening extreme weather events, know that the objective science shows they are telling self-serving lies.

So true - they are in it for the fame, the money and the political power, nothing less. 

Just wonderful - Ebola in the news

The first case caught in the USA - from Reuters:

Texas health worker becomes first person to contract Ebola in U.S.
A Texas health worker has contracted Ebola after treating a Liberian who died of the disease at a Dallas hospital last week, raising concern about how U.S. medical guidelines aimed at stopping the spread of the disease were breached.

The infected worker, identified as a woman but not named by authorities as they announced the case on Sunday, is believed to be the first person to contract the disease in the United States.

All it takes is for this to gain a foothold. The R0 value for Ebola is two which means that for every infected person, two subsequent people will become infected. It grows, it doesn't die out unless the infected population is very small and remote.



Video: why renewables equal death


 A clear look at the consequences of 'going green' - talk about speaking truth to power.

Just wow - timelapse from space

Filmmaker Fede Castro downloaded a bunch of NASA photos and stiched them together into this wonderful timelapse:


Lazy day today

Lulu and I slept in this morning and we are still in our pajamas at 2PM.

Got a corned beef brisket simmering away on the stove for dinner tonight. Working on some stuff in the music room and Lulu is reading.

Bill Whittle - You're not a Liberal

About that Global Warming - snow in September

From Baltimore station WMAR:

All time Record!! North America Snow Cover Hits 45 year high!
According to Rutgers University Global snow lab the northern hemisphere reached all-time record snow coverage for the month of September.

Eurasia also saw highest snow coverage since the early 2000s.

Snow coverage over the Northern Hemisphere is looked at closely because it can have a pronounced impact on large-scale waves in the atmosphere. Higher snow coverage can also sustain larger outbreaks of arctic air and influence winter temperatures.


Meanwhile - from Anthony Watts:

Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches New Record Maximum
Sea ice surrounding Antarctica reached a new record high extent this year, covering more of the southern oceans than it has since scientists began a long-term satellite record to map sea ice extent in the late 1970s. The upward trend in the Antarctic, however, is only about a third of the magnitude of the rapid loss of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.

Yeah - global warming. Believe that and I have a nice bridge to sell you...

Meet C.A.IN.E.

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Short for Computer Aided INvestigative Environment

From their website:

CAINE 6.0 "Dark Matter" 64bit - Official Caine GNU/Linux distro last release
CAINE (Computer Aided INvestigative Environment) is an Italian GNU/Linux live distribution created as a project of Digital Forensics   Currently the project manager is Nanni Bassetti.   CAINE offers a complete forensic environment that is organized to integrate existing software tools as software modules and to provide a friendly graphical interface.   The main design objectives that CAINE aims to guarantee are the following:

    • an interoperable environment that supports the digital investigator during the four phases of the digital investigation
    • a user friendly graphical interface
    • user friendly tools

Looks good - they have paired with Win-UFO. CAINE is Linux and Win-UFO runs under Windows. 

Together, they provide a great toolkit for investigating any sort of activity on a computer.


Some interesting news to our South

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A bit of a bru-ha-ha in Oregon. From the Willamette Week:

Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes Confesses to Breaking Federal Law By Taking Part In an Illegal Marriage to Immigrant
Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes today confessed to breaking federal law in 1997 by entering into an illegal marriage with an 18-year-old Ethiopian immigrant.

Hayes, who is now engaged to Gov. John Kitzhaber, says she was paid approximately $5,000 to marry the man, Abraham B. Abraham. Hayes had kept the marriage secret because she was "embarrassed." She claims Kitzhaber did not know until this week, when WW first raised questions about it. 

Did she think that this would just go away? Put yourself in the public eye and you get scrutinized. The media is not always your friend.

Great Geico ad

Swiped from Bayou Renaissance Man

The Ebola caretakers

Seems that their protective gear is not. From the Scientific American:

Ebola Spread Shows Flaws in Protective Gear and Procedures
Physicians, nurses and other medical staff who are the first line of defense against the spread of Ebola are not always adequately protected from the virus, a situation that has contributed to more than 200 health worker deaths in west Africa since the outbreak began in December 2013. As the virus spreads outside of Africa, so do reports that problems with procedures, protective equipment and training for using that equipment are putting health workers at risk.

The nurse at Madrid’s Carlos III Hospital who earlier this week became the first person outside west Africa to contract Ebola, told media outlets in Spain that she may have accidentally touched her face with one of her gloved hands as she removed her protective gear. This revelation comes amidst reports that several health workers who attended to the nurse are now being tested for the disease and that hospital workers have been complaining about inadequate training and equipment related to Ebola treatment.

One doctor attending to the nurse wrote a letter to his superiors pointing out that the sleeves of his protective suite were too short, the Guardian reported Thursday. Spain’s El País stated earlier this week that Carlos III workers were wearing latex gloves secured with adhesive tape to their overalls.

This outbreak is being handled so ineptly. Half-measures are worse than nothing at all as it instills the illusion of protection.

Good news from Canada - Uranium mining

Nice to see someone persuing Nuclear Power - from World Nuclear News:

First Cigar Lake uranium processed
Mining at Cigar Lake began in March, the culmination of a nine-year development project which saw operator Cameco face the challenges of mining the world's second largest high-grade uranium deposit. The sandy soil hosting the orebody is frozen prior to mining, preventing water inflow and improving radiation protection. The ore is removed by a jet boring system using water under high pressure, and the resulting ore slurry is piped to underground grinding and thickening circuits before being pumped to the surface. At the surface, the slurry is loaded into special containers for its 70 km journey by road to the McClean Lake mill.

The mill's majority owner, Areva Resources Canada, and its partners began a $150 million upgrade program in 2012 that increased its capacity to enable it to process Cigar Lake ore. The mill is now the only facility in the world designed to process high-grade uranium without dilution. So far, 1400 tonnes of Cigar Lake ore has been delivered to the mill, which is expected to produce 1 million pounds U3O8 (385 tU) in 2014, ramping up to 18 million pounds U3O8 (6924 tU) by 2018.

The mine is in Saskatechewan, Canada.

By the numbers - anthropogenic global warming

The Global Warming Statistical Meltdown
At the recent United Nations Climate Summit, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that “Without significant cuts in emissions by all countries, and in key sectors, the window of opportunity to stay within less than 2 degrees [of warming] will soon close forever.” Actually, this window of opportunity may remain open for quite some time. A growing body of evidence suggests that the climate is less sensitive to increases in carbon-dioxide emissions than policy makers generally assume—and that the need for reductions in such emissions is less urgent.

According to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, preventing “dangerous human interference” with the climate is defined, rather arbitrarily, as limiting warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial temperatures. The Earth’s surface temperatures have already warmed about 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1850-1900. This leaves 1.2 degrees Celsius (about 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) to go.


The IPCC’s latest report (published in 2013) concluded that the actual change in 70 years if carbon-dioxide concentrations double, called the transient climate response, is likely in the range of 1 to 2.5 degrees Celsius. Most climate models have transient climate response values exceeding 1.8 degrees Celsius. But the IPCC report notes the substantial discrepancy between recent observation-based estimates of climate sensitivity and estimates from climate models.

Nicholas Lewis and I have just published a study in Climate Dynamics that shows the best estimate for transient climate response is 1.33 degrees Celsius with a likely range of 1.05-1.80 degrees Celsius. Using an observation-based energy-balance approach, our calculations used the same data for the effects on the Earth’s energy balance of changes in greenhouse gases, aerosols and other drivers of climate change given by the IPCC’s latest report.

All of the hype has been based on models that are breaking badly when compared to actual measurements. And it is not just Dr. Curry:

Our paper is not an outlier. More than a dozen other observation-based studies have found climate sensitivity values lower than those determined using global climate models, including recent papers published in Environmentrics (2012),Nature Geoscience (2013) and Earth Systems Dynamics (2014). These new climate sensitivity estimates add to the growing evidence that climate models are running “too hot.” Moreover, the estimates in these empirical studies are being borne out by the much-discussed “pause” or “hiatus” in global warming—the period since 1998 during which global average surface temperatures have not significantly increased.

Dr. Curry concludes:

This slower rate of warming—relative to climate model projections—means there is less urgency to phase out greenhouse gas emissions now, and more time to find ways to decarbonize the economy affordably. It also allows us the flexibility to revise our policies as further information becomes available.

Hopefully a lot of people read this - the hysteria is being propagated by people with a political agenda. This is not science anymore...

New Bill Murray film - St. Vincent

This looks like fun:

Big fan of his

Ikea to the rescue

Talk about re-purposing stuff from Ikea.


I had actually looked at the shoe racks they used for his keyboards but mine are too long and heavy. The shelves are stamped metal and only 28" wide.

Talk about irony

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From the New York Post:

Obama slams billionaires at the home of a guy named Rich Richman
President Obama blasted Republicans as the party of “billionaires” on Tuesday while mingling with high-rollers at the $26 million estate of Rich Richman — yes, that’s his real name — in Greenwich, Conn.

A bit more:

Twenty-five donors paid $32,400 each to get their photo taken with the president. Others paid $10,000 for dinner.

And the money quote:

“If Republicans win, we know who they’ll be fighting for,” Obama said. “Once again, the interests of billionaires will come before the needs of the middle class.”

Stories like this just write themselves. Do these people fail to grasp the ridiculousness of their situation? Proves once again that progressives only deal with the narrative - the 'message' while conservatives only deal with the facts. Boots on the ground measurement; does this work? No? Than let's stop doing it.

Cold fusion in the news

I had written yesterday about the independent review of the E-Cat fusion device. Today, Extreme Tech looks at the report:

Cold fusion reactor verified by third-party researchers, seems to have 1 million times the energy density of gasoline
Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat — the device that purports to use cold fusion to generate massive amounts of cheap, green energy – has been verified by third-party researchers, according to a new 54-page report. The researchers observed a small E-Cat over 32 days, where it produced net energy of 1.5 megawatt-hours, or “far more than can be obtained from any known chemical sources in the small reactor volume.” The researchers were also allowed to analyze the fuel before and after the 32-day run, noting that the isotopes in the spent fuel could only have been obtained by “nuclear reactions” — a conclusion that boggles the researchers: “… It is of course very hard to comprehend how these fusion processes can take place in the fuel compound at low energies.”

Lots more at the site.

Also, it looks like the Swedes are very interested (ie: putting up some hard cash to funs it) - from E-Cat News:

Elforsk CEO: Swedish Energy Institute to Build LENR Research Initiative
Elforsk is a cooperative research and development institute that is made up of utilities and other energy companies in operating in Sweden. Today  on Elforsk’s web site and in the Swedish science and technology magazine Nyteknik, Elforsk’s CEO Magnus Oloffsson has written an article responding to the  E-Cat testing report published yesterday by the independent European research team,

Here are some of the key points Oloffson makes:

Clear isotope changes in the analyzed fuel indicates instead that in the case of nuclear reactions at low temperatures. It suggests that we may be facing a new way to extract nuclear energy.Probably without ionizing radiation and radioactive waste. The discovery could eventually become very important for the world’s energy supply . . .

If it is possible to safely achieve and control the now indicated nuclear reactions waiting probably eventually a fundamental transformation of our energy system. It can open for decentralized energy supply. Electricity and heat can then be produced with relatively simple components. Climate Efficient energy would be very cheap. . .

Elforsk takes now the initiative to build a comprehensive Swedish research initiative. More knowledge is needed to understand and explain. Let us engage more researchers in searching coat phenomenon and then explain how it works.

This is a rapid response from a serious and influential energy organization to yesterday’s report. Elforsk is now taking LENR very seriously, and it looks like Sweden could be the first country to really get behind an effort to understand and develop this new form of energy. We don’t know what the future plans of Industrial Heat are to make available the E-Cat for further research and development, but in yesterday’s report, the testing team mentioned that they want to continue their work to understand exactly what is going on inside the E-Cat.

This is a very interesting development from Elforsk. They obviously are taking the report very seriously and are set to put significant resources behind this new LENR research initiative. It will be interesting to see if this sets a precedent that other organizations will follow.

Very cool!

Good bit of reporting by Michelle Malkin at the New York Post:

An Ebola goof and an Obama crony
A Dallas hospital’s bizarre bungle of the first US case of Ebola leaves me wondering: Is someone covering up for a crony billionaire Obama donor and her controversy-plagued, taxpayer-subsidized electronic medical records company?

Last week, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital revealed in a statement that a procedural flaw in its online health-records system led to possibly deadly miscommunication between nurses and doctors.

The facility sent Ebola victim Thomas Duncan home despite showing signs of the disease — only to admit him with worse symptoms three days later.

Hospital officials, who came forward “in the interest of transparency,” initially cited workflow and information-sharing problems for the botch.

“Protocols were followed by both the physician and the nurses,” the statement noted. “However, we have identified a flaw in the way the physician and nursing portions of our electronic health records interacted in this specific case.”

And the back story:

Here’s what I can tell you for sure: Texas Health contracts with Epic Systems for its electronic-medical-records (EMR) system — and the Dallas hospital isn’t the only client that has complained about its costly information-sharing flaws and interoperability failures.

Epic was founded by billionaire Judy Faulkner, a top Obama donor whose company is the dominant EMR player in the US health-care market.

The firm’s Top 10 PAC recipients are all Democratic or lefty outfits, from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (nearly $230,000) to the DNC Services Corp. (nearly $175,000) and the America’s Families First Action Fund super-PAC ($150,000).

Faulkner, an Obama campaign-finance bundler, served as an adviser to David Blumenthal.

He’s the White House health-information-tech guru in charge of dispensing the EMR subsidies that Faulkner pushed President Obama to adopt. Faulkner also served on the same committee Blumenthal chaired.

Cozy arrangement, that.

Much more at the site - it is rotten all the way down. This administration needs to be voted out and some adults put in charge.

Nothing much today

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Pickles and kraut

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Been playing around with making Pickles and Sauerkraut and having some decent success. Ran into these two videos (same person - part one and two)




Her store is here: Cultured Pickle Shop

More on fermentation here: Wild Fermentation

Celebrate Earth Science Week next week. From their FAQ:

What is Earth Science Week?
Earth Science Week is an international event which takes place during the second full week of October. The American Geosciences Institute organizes the event for the geoscience community and publicizes the event, distributes materials, and provides guidance to those interested in participating in Earth Science Week. Earth Science Week is a "grass roots" effort that depends on local geoscience and education groups to plan those events.

How do I participate in Earth Science Week?
There are many ways to get involved in Earth Science Week. The event is designed to help the public gain a better understanding and appreciation for the Earth Sciences, so we encourage you to celebrate Earth Science Week in whatever way works best for you. You can attend an event listed in our database of Events Near You or Plan an Event for others to attend. To participate, you don't have to be an Earth scientist or a teacher. You don't have to travel to Washington, DC (where Earth Science Week is coordinated). You don't even have to celebrate Earth Science Week during the official week: celebrate throughout the year! We encourage you to participate by doing something that helps you and others learn about the Earth sciences.

Here is the website for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources

And, do not forget that October 15th is National Fossil Day

Heh - Biggest Pussy


A bit of a zombie problem in Arkansas?

From Yahoo/Associated Press:

Even an Ozarks coroner gets surplus military guns
Doug Wortham used a Defense Department giveaway program for law enforcement to stock his office with an assault rifle, a handgun and a Humvee — even though the people in his custody are in no condition to put up a fight.

They're dead.

Wortham is the Sharp County, Arkansas, coroner. He says the Humvee helps him navigate the rugged terrain of the Ozarks foothills, but he struggled to explain why he needs the surplus military weapons he acquired more than two years ago.

"I just wanted to protect myself," he said.

His office isn't the only government agency with limited policing powers and a questionable need for high-powered weaponry to take advantage of the program. While most of the surplus weapons go to municipal police departments and county sheriffs, an Associated Press review shows that a diverse array of other state and local agencies also have been scooping up guns and other tactical equipment no longer needed by the military.

Just the tip of the iceberg - much more at the article...

Just wonderful - our economic standing

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From Business Insider:

China Just Overtook The US As The World's Largest Economy
Sorry, America. China just overtook the US to become the world's largest economy, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Chris Giles at the Financial Times flagged up the change. He also alerted us in April that it was all about to happen

Basically, the method used by the IMF adjusts for purchasing power parity, explained here.

The simple logic is that prices aren't the same in each country: A shirt will cost you less in Shanghai than in San Francisco, so it's not entirely reasonable to compare countries without taking this into account. Though a typical person in China earns a lot less than the typical person in the US, simply converting a Chinese salary into dollars underestimates how much purchasing power that individual, and therefore that country, might have. The Economist's Big Mac Index is a great example of these disparities.

So the IMF measures both GDP in market-exchange terms and in terms of purchasing power. On the purchasing-power basis, China is overtaking the US right about now and becoming the world's biggest economy.

Just pResident Barry and the rest of the chuckleheads in Washington doing their jobs...

More interesting - Hot Fusion

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Closer to home - from the University of Washington:

UW fusion reactor concept could be cheaper than coal
Fusion energy almost sounds too good to be true – zero greenhouse gas emissions, no long-lived radioactive waste, a nearly unlimited fuel supply.

Perhaps the biggest roadblock to adopting fusion energy is that the economics haven’t penciled out. Fusion power designs aren’t cheap enough to outperform systems that use fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas.

University of Washington engineers hope to change that. They have designed a concept for a fusion reactor that, when scaled up to the size of a large electrical power plant, would rival costs for a new coal-fired plant with similar electrical output.

The team published its reactor design and cost-analysis findings last spring and will present results Oct. 17 at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Fusion Energy Conference in St. Petersburg, Russia.


The UW researchers factored the cost of building a fusion reactor power plant using their design and compared that with building a coal power plant. They used a metric called “overnight capital costs,” which includes all costs, particularly startup infrastructure fees. A fusion power plant producing 1 gigawatt (1 billion watts) of power would cost $2.7 billion, while a coal plant of the same output would cost $2.8 billion, according to their analysis.

Very cool if this scales up...

From E-Cat World:

E-Cat Report Released: ‘Not a Conventional Source of Energy’ (Cold Fusion/LENR Confirmed)
A copy of the 3rd Party Report has been released and is now posted at the web site Sifferkol.se

Link: http://www.sifferkoll.se/sifferkoll/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/LuganoReportSubmit.pdf

Key findings: COP of COP of 3.2-3.6 over a 32 day period and isotopic change in nickel and lithium was found to have changed substantially after run.

The authors conclude, “Once again, even in the most conservative scenarios, we have values that allow us to conclude that the reactor studied here may not be considered a conventional source of energy.”

The independent paper is here - from the Abstract

Observation of abundant heat production from a reactor device and of isotopic changes in the fuel
New results  are presented  from an extended  experimental investigation of anomalous heat production in a special type of reactor tube operating at high temperatures. The reactor, named E-Cat, is charged with a small amount of hydrogen-loaded nickel powder plus some additives, mainly Lithium. The reaction is primarily initiated by heat from resistor coils  around the reactor  tube.  Measurements  of  the  radiated power  from  the reactor  were  performed  with  high-resolution  thermal  imaging cameras.  The measurements of electrical power input were performed with a large bandwidth three-phase power analyzer. Data were collected during 32 days of running in March 2014. The reactor operating point was set to about 1260 ºC in the first half of the run, and at about 1400  °C in the second half. The measured energy balance between input and output heat yielded a COP factor of  about 3.2   and 3.6 for the 1260 ºC   and   1400 ºC runs, respectively . The  total net energy  obtained during  the 32 days run was about 1.5 MWh.  This amount of energy is far more than can be obtained from any known chemical sources in the small reactor volume.

A sample of the fuel was carefully examined with respect to its isotopic composition before the run and after the run, using several standard methods:  XPS, EDS, SIMS, ICP-MS and ICP-AES. The isotope composition in Lithium and Nickel was found to agree with  the natural  composition before the run, while  after the run it was found to have changed substantially . Nuclear reactions are therefore indicated to be present in the run process, which however is hard to reconcile with the fact that no radioactivity was detected outside the reactor during the run.

Talk about a gamechanger. Here is the money graph:


They ran for ten days and then ramped up the power.

Twenty days of continuous 2,300 watts produced from a 500 gram small (2cm diameter, 20cm long) ceramic tube. Much more at the paper.

Seeing sprites

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Pretty amazing photography (and luck!)


From Amusing Planet:

Photographer Captures Sprite Lightning Over Italy
Up in the atmosphere, high above thunderstorm clouds or cumulonimbus, sometimes mysterious electrical discharges occur known as sprites. They appear as bursts of red light and are usually found in clusters around 50–90 km above the surface of the earth. Unlike ordinary lightning that generates a continuous electric circuit as high energy electrons move from cloud to ground, sprites are fleeting in nature, often splashing for just a few milliseconds, and because they occur so high up in the atmosphere they are difficult to observe and even more difficult to photograph. In fact, sprites were not documented until 1989, when a scientist in Minnesota accidentally caught one on videotape. These pictures were captured by Marko Korosec, from Sezana in Slovenia, while he was following storms in Vivaro, Italy.

I love that they were not even documented until 1989 - we live on an amazing planet...

Windows 10 security - not so much

Seems that Windows 10 is not being implemented with tight security in mind - from TechWorm:

Microsoft’s Windows 10 has permission to watch your every move
Microsoft launched its Windows 10 on Tuesday and is giving all members of its Windows Insider Programme a free look see at the new Windows 10.  Microsoft is giving the Windows 10 Technical Preview version as a gesture of openness and willingness to collaborate with developers and users and get their feedback on the ultimate Windows 10 that it may launch by the end of this year.

As more and more users are jumping the queue to download the Windows 10 through the Windows Insider Program, almost all of them have forgotten to check the Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions users accept while downloading the Windows 10.  If you study the privacy policy you will be startled at the amount of freedom you are giving Microsoft to spy on you.

“Microsoft collects information about you, your devices, applications and networks, and your use of those devices, applications and networks. Examples of data we collect include your name, email address, preferences and interests; browsing, search and file history; phone call and SMS data; device configuration and sensor data; and application usage.”

The above stuff may or may not be used against any user and forms the standard of any privacy policy by any Applications maker but study a bit further and you may get more and more surprised.  In a way by accepting the Windows 10 Technical Preview installation you are giving Microsoft unhindered access to your behavioural habits

“We may collect information about your device and applications and use it for purposes such as determining or improving compatibility” and “use voice input features like speech-to-text, we may collect voice information and use it for purposes such as improving speech processing.”

In simple words, Windows 10 Technical Preview is a collecting your voice, your chats, and your voice.  Albeit it is doing so with your permission.

Granted, this is the technical preview edition and not the commercial version - still, doesn't exactly give me the warm and fuzzies.

Also, what is with skipping a generation?

Windows XP rocked. Vista sucked. Win7 rocks, Win8 sucks. Windows Nine is scheduled to rock and they are skipping over it and going right to Windows 10 which will suck. Still running XP on a few machines with old software and they are isolated from the Internet. Planning to run Win7 for a long long time...

As we head into winters grasp

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A heads up from Reuters:

U.S. power grid survived polar vortex, but only just
The U.S. power industry survived its toughest test in years in January when lights and heaters stayed on even as the polar vortex swept over the country. But it was a close run thing, as regulators revealed in a new report published on Tuesday.

According to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), power system operators “successfully maintained reliability” during the coldest winter temperatures since 1997 through a combination of training, preparation and emergency tools to manage generation and demand. (“Polar Vortex Review” Sep 30)

On Jan. 7, as average temperatures across the eastern United States fell to 20-30 degrees below the seasonal norm, demand on the Eastern and Texas Interconnections hit a record 559,000 megawatts, exceeding the previous peak by almost 3 percent.

A bit more:

Equipment failures were particularly severe in Texas and the Southeast, crippling almost 10,000 MW of generating capacity so that it was unable to start when instructed by the grid.

NERC catalog more than 60 different equipment failures, including iced up transformers, frozen valves and cooling systems, and lubricating oils and diesel that became gelled because of the extreme cold.

In the Midwest and on the East Coast, where equipment is designed to cope with lower temperatures, lack of fuel was more of a problem.

Since the late 1990s, most new power generating units have been built to burn natural gas. Unlike coal or oil, gas is not usually stored on site, so generators rely on real-time deliveries from the gas pipeline network.

And let us not forget but it looks like the Polar Vortex might make another appearance this winter. Blackouts anyone?

Presentation by Hugh MacDiarmid, the Chairman of the Board for Terrestrial Energy, Inc. More at Atomic Insights.


I had ordered some sound libraries for my music computer. A company is introducing a new line and offering stupid-cheap pricing on upgrades for previous versions.

The curious thing is that it was cheaper for the company to ship the files on a small hard drive than to burn (and keep track of) a dozen DVD disks. Looking at around 400GB of data so makes perfect sense. A 500GB external hard disk in box is about $50 from Amazon. Nice when there are software updates and special deals - rewrite as needed.

There has always been a market for high-speed video photography. Unfortunately, this market is not as big as - say - the market for toasters so economy of scale dictates that these cameras will be rare and very expensive. A camera like one of the Phantoms can cost about $200K and up depending on the bells and whistles.

Enter the competition. I had known about the Edgertronic for a year - 1280X1024 @ 500 frames per second up to 192X96 @ 17,791 FPS - cost is $5,495

Now this - the fps1000 - has just started on Kickstarter. 29 days to go and £29,439 pledged of their £20,000 goal. The specs are much the same.

Let these be the opening salvo in the war for low-cost high-speed video!

I remember when the first color video displays came out for computers. They were marketed to high-end CAD, engineering workstations, medicine and motion picture special effects. They cost upwards of $2K in 1986 money ($5,700 in todays dollarettes - from here). And then, the Computer Games industry started and the juggernaut for big cheap graphics started rolling and we now have some amazing tools at our disposal. Looking forward to the same thing for high-speed video!

First camera to get 1,000FPS @ 1,920X1,200 for under $2,000 will get my money.

A visit to the farm

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This guy came in for a visit yesterday:


Sorry for the poor image quality but I was about 400 feet away and shooting handheld. Here is the uncropped frame:


The dark blob at the bottom of the frame is a horse bunk for feeding the llamas. Shooting hand-held, 200mm and 1000'th second shutter.

I was complaining about the accident I was in.

This just happened - from the Bellingham Herald

Two men dead in foggy accident on Highway 9 near Van Zandt
Two men in a pickup truck were killed early Tuesday morning, Oct. 7, when it collided with another pickup that had swerved to avoid a deer on Highway 9, the Washington State Patrol said.

Trooper Mark Francis said two men in a Ford pickup swerved to avoid a deer and struck a Toyota coming from the other direction at about 5:45 a.m. The two men in the Toyota pickup died at the scene, which was between Potter and Nelson roads.

All four men involved are believed to be loggers. One of the men killed was a 50-year-old from Maple Falls, Francis said. The identity of the passenger is unknown.

The man from Maple Falls was husband to one of my employees and a good friend.

Life is such a fragile thing - we so often fail to acknowlege and cherish it.


Nothing much today either

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Went into town for the usual Monday buying run.

Received an email from the WA State Patrol officer who responded to last weeks collision site (here and here) (fun bit of trivia - a collision is two moving bodies unintentionally hitting each other. If one body is moving and another stationary (say a rock), this is an allision.) Anyway, the officer let me know that the other driver was booked into jail that night for DUI-drugs and Narcotics Possession. There is no sign of any active insurance policy. Wunnerful...

I am going to be spending tonight moving the computer (here and here) in the music room - makes a lot of sense and should have done it when I first moved the equipment into that room. Oh well...

I may post a bit later but don't count on it.

Taking a day off and playing hooky

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Spent the morning doing some more work on the music computer - deciding to move it to another location and fuss with the cabling.

Lulu gave me a two-hour massage this afternoon and I have a big pot of spaghetti on the stove for dinner tonight.

Long day tomorrow as it is a shopping day.

I know there are other projects calling me (shop wiring) but today was such a gorgeous day, it felt like a time for some sloth...

Used to have CB rigs in my cars back in the 70's and 80's - a lot of fun when driving around. I was living in New England at the time and when driving the interstates, it was handy to avoid the speed traps. I still have two in my radio room - one rack mounted and one in my portable rig.

From Ed Driscol at PJ Media:

10/4! It’s National CB Radio Day
“Regardless of your feelings toward Jimmy Carter, I think we can all agree that his finest act as president was the creation of National CB Radio day. Carter designated October 4, 10/4, as a day to honor the citizens band,” Road and Track notes.

CB radio was hated by elites back in its faddish heyday, of course. Near the end of his mammoth (22,000 words!), otherwise beautifully-written profile of Johnny Carson for the New Yorker in 1978, Kenneth Tynan noted that while Carson was glad millions of America tuned in every night to make him exceedingly wealthy in the limited mass media era of only three national commercial TV channels, he loathed the idea that just anybody could have access to the airwaves as well. And of course, the man writing his profile for the New Yorker* concurred entirely:

Before I go, Carson takes me down to a small gymnasium beneath the module. It is filled with gleaming steel devices, pulleys and springs and counterweights, which, together with tennis, keep the star’s body trim. In one corner stands a drum kit at which Buddy Rich might cast an envious eye. “That’s where I work off my hostilities,” Carson explains. He escorts me to my car, and notices that it is fitted with a citizens-band radio. “I had one of those damned things, but I ripped it out after a couple of weeks,” he says. “I just couldn’t bear it—all those sick anonymous maniacs shooting off their mouths.”

I understand what he means. Most of what you hear on CB radio is either tedious (truck drivers warning one another about speed traps) or banal (schoolgirls exchanging notes on homework), but at its occasional—and illegal—worst it sinks a pipeline to the depths of the American unconscious. Your ears are assaulted by the sound of racism at its most rampant, and by masturbation fantasies that are the aural equivalent of rape. The sleep of reason, to quote Goya’s phrase, brings forth monsters, and the anonymity of CB encourages the monsters to emerge. Not often, of course; but when they do, CB radio becomes the dark underside of a TV talk show. No wonder Carson loathes it.

As Glenn Reynolds wrote back in 2003 at Tech Central Station (where I was also a regular contributor), Weblogs in their early days were often sneeringly compared to CB radio by elitist leftwing outlets such as Columbia Journalism School. Glenn added that  while “Citizens’ Band radio gets a bum rap nowadays... CB was a revolution in its time, whose effects are still felt today”

CB was a great leveler. If you didn't like what someone was broadcasting, you (and a bunch of friends) could shout them down. You could run your own channel on a different frequency or you could drive ten miles and get a new audience.

There were some a-holes but we pretty much policed ourselves.

For the canonical list of the 10- codes, see here: The Truckers Place

From the London Daily Mail:

Scientists to 'fast-track' evidence linking extreme weather to climate change in sign of panic that they're losing propaganda battle to the sceptics
Environmental scientists want to introduce a new system to prove that adverse weather events are directly linked to climate change to counter global warming sceptics. 

Under the new plan, a heatwave or major storm will be linked scientifically to man made climate change immediately after the event to prevent critics from blaming it on natural variations in the weather.

Scientists want to be able to provide proof of whether an event was caused by climate change within three days rather than the current system which can take up to a year.

Fortunately, other voices are weighing in:

Dr Friederike Otto of the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University said: 'We want to clear up the huge amounts of confusion around how climate change is influencing the weather, in both directions. For example the typhoon in the Philippines that dominated the UN climate change talks in Warsaw last November and that many people put down to climate change - it turned out it had no detectable evidence. And the same goes for Hurricane Sandy.'

 Meanwhile in Chicago:

Light snow sweeps in, third earliest on record
Light snow followed a cold front into the Chicago area Saturday morning, the third earliest we've seen a trace of the stuff dating back to 1881.

A band of rain and snow started spreading across northern Illinois shortly before 7 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.

For Chicago, it's the third earliest snow on record.  The earliest traces of snow dating back to 1881 are Sept. 25, 1928 and Sept. 25, 1944.

 There is even evidence of another Polar Vortex forming this winter.

Cool 3D printing story - meet Bubba


This is a video of Hawaiian boy Bubba and his new Iron Man hand. Bubba was born without most of his right hand, and just had a custom one 3-D printed for him at no cost thanks to a nonprofit called E-Nable. Hmmm.... Hello, E-Nable? Yes, I, uh, I know a guy that needs a pirate pegleg.

Hat tip to Geekologie for the link.

Centers for Disease Control on Ebola

Slaves of the Rave


William Garratt made a little animation showing how difference audiences react to the music at various types of concerts. There’s folk, rock, metal, EDM, jazz, dubstep, opera, and maybe a couple more. Things start to go a little weird as each concert progresses.

Hat tip to Neatorama

A nice touch - ASUS computer products

Last night and tonight I have been doing a little 'technology refresh' to my music computer. Adding another Firewire card and installing some sample libraries that were on sale (last years samples - so passe...)

I am also installing a WiFi adapter - I have kept the music computer detached from the network as I don't want to be in the middle of something and have a piece of software decide to do a 40MB update download. Needless to say, this can cause major audio glitches. I have been updating with a thumb-drive WiFi adapter every few months but that is it. Finally decided to add a permanent WiFi connection and just switch it on when needed.  Since my Motherboard is an ASUS, I went with an ASUS WiFi plug-in card. I was looking for a place to install the antenna and discovered quite to my pleasant surprise that the base was magnetic. The music computer is rack mounted so it was a simple matter to stick the antenna to one of the rack risers and get a great signal.  I was thinking I would have to use gaffers tape or something.

Nice touch ASUS - this cost you a few pennies more but makes the user experience much much better...

From USA Today, April 1, 2010:

Obama administration scraps quarantine regulations
The Obama administration has quietly scrapped plans to enact sweeping new federal quarantine regulations that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention touted four years ago as critical to protecting Americans from dangerous diseases spread by travelers.

The regulations, proposed in 2005 during the Bush administration amid fears of avian flu, would have given the federal government additional powers to detain sick airline passengers and those exposed to certain diseases. They also would have expanded requirements for airlines to report ill passengers to the CDC and mandated that airlines collect and maintain contact information for fliers in case they later needed to be traced as part of an investigation into an outbreak.

Airline and civil liberties groups, which had opposed the rules, praised their withdrawal.

All this would not have happened if these people were diligent. A bit more:

The American Civil Liberties Union had objected to potential passenger privacy rights violations and the proposal's "provisional quarantine" rule. That rule would have allowed the CDC to detain people involuntarily for three business days if the agency believed they had certain diseases: pandemic flu, infectious tuberculosis, plague, cholera, SARS, smallpox, yellow fever, diphtheria or viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola.

And the latest press release from the ACLU? Anything? Anyone? Bueller? 

The ACLU does have a legitimate reason for existing but crap like this is not it. This is serious overstepping their grounds and the consequences are fatal.

From the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control:

The accidental release of 45 litres of concentrated live polio virus solution into the environment - Belgium
As reported to ECDC by Belgian authorities, on 2 September 2014, following a human error, 45 litres of concentrated live polio virus solution were released into the environment by the pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), in Rixensart city, Belgium. The liquid was conducted directly to a water-treatment plant (Rosieres) and released after treatment in river Lasne affluent of river Dyle which is affluent of the Escaut/Scheldt river. Belgium’s High Council of Public Health conducted a risk assessment that concluded that the risk of infection for the population exposed to the contaminated water is extremely low due to the high level of dilution and the high vaccination coverage (95%) in Belgium.

ECDC's assessment is that the accidental release in the environment of large amounts of live polio virus represents a risk to public health if susceptible populations, such as areas with low polio vaccine coverage, are exposed to contaminated waters or mud. Particularly since the Lasne and Dyle rivers are joining the Escaut/Scheldt river which flows in the southwestern part of the Netherlands where various orthodox protestant communities present a lower polio vaccination coverage, before reaching the North Sea.

I had written about the location of the Franklin Expedition ships before here and here - now they have identified the ship - the HMS Erebus

Another problem with Ebola

Waste disposal - from Reuters:

U.S. hospitals unprepared to handle Ebola waste
U.S. hospitals may be unprepared to safely dispose of the infectious waste generated by any Ebola virus disease patient to arrive unannounced in the country, potentially putting the wider community at risk, biosafety experts said.

Waste management companies are refusing to haul away the soiled sheets and virus-spattered protective gear associated with treating the disease, citing federal guidelines that require Ebola-related waste to be handled in special packaging by people with hazardous materials training, infectious disease and biosafety experts told Reuters.

Some more:

The issue created problems for Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, the first institution to care for Ebola patients here. As Emory was treating two U.S. missionaries who were evacuated from West Africa in August, their waste hauler, Stericycle, initially refused to handle it. Stericycle declined comment.

Ebola symptoms can include copious amounts of vomiting and diarrhoea, and nurses and doctors at Emory donned full hazmat suits to protect themselves. Bags of waste quickly began to pile up.

"At its peak, we were up to 40 bags a day of medical waste, which took a huge tax on our waste management system," Emory's Dr. Aneesh Mehta told colleagues at a medical meeting earlier this month.

Emory sent staff to Home Depot to buy as many 32-gallon rubber waste containers with lids that they could get their hands on. Emory kept the waste in a special containment area for six days until its Atlanta neighbor, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, helped broker an agreement with Stericycle.

That was 40 bags of waste a day from two people - imagine fifty people. They were using 32 gallon buckets - probably not filling them all the way but let's say 20 gallons of waste from two people per day. For 50 people, this would be 500 gallons which is 66 cubic feet or a space five by five feet and 2.6 feet tall. The next day, another 2.6 feet are depositied, &c

The first person who comes up with a bulletproof system for admission, storage, transport and destruction of this kind of volume will make a lot of money...

From over the transom

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This just came in an email:

I went to our local bar with my wife last night.  Locals started shouting "pedophile!" and other names at me, just because my wife is 22 and I'm 52.  It completely spoiled our 10th  anniversary.

In the best of hands - ComputerCOP

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Just wonderful - from TechDirt:

San Diego District Attorney Issues Warning About Dangerous Spyware She Purchased & Distributed; But Still Stands By It
Yesterday, we wrote about the EFF's investigation into Computer Cop, the dangerous spyware/keylogger that is sold to police departments and other law enforcement folks as a "perfect election and fundraising tool" because the software gets branded with local law enforcement/politicians and they get to hand it out as a tool to "protect your children" by spying on how they use their computers. The software appears to be a very crappy search system and keylogger. Any keylogger is already a dangerous tool, but this one is especially dangerous in that it transmits the log of keystrokes entirely unencrypted to a server, meaning that all sorts of information, including passwords, credit cards, etc. are transmitted across the internet in the clear. The Computer Cop website looks like it was designed a decade ago and then left to rot (as does its software).

A bit more:

Given the powerful expose by the EFF, you'd think that some of the folks who bought into the bogus software and distributed this dangerous spyware to unsuspecting parents might be regretting their decision. Instead, they're... still playing politics. The San Diego District Attorney, Bonnie Dumanis, didn't apologize. She did release an alert warning about the very software she purchased and promoted and distributed to parents, but then still says the software is generally good and will continue to distribute it.

In a statement, Dumanis spokesman Steve Walker said the program was still a useful tool for parents.
“Our online security experts at the Computer and Technology Crime High-Tech Response Team continue to believe the benefits of this software in protecting children from predators and bullies online and providing parents with an effective oversight tool outweigh the limited security concerns about the product, which can be fixed,” Walker said.
Walker said that the District Attorney’s Office still has a few copies of the program left and will give them to families who request it.

There don't appear to be any actual redeeming qualities to the software. It doesn't protect anyone, but rather makes them less safe while giving parents a false sense of security. San Diego (and elsewhere) deserve much better, but apparently they're not going to get it.

San Diego spent $25,000 on the software - our tax dollars at work.

Quote of the week

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I am stunned at the immaturity of this administration.... We elected a man as president who had no experience at anything.
--Steve Wynn

Tip 'o the hat to Maggie's Farm for the link.

Some people just do not understand - from The Seminar Group:

Preparing for Climate Change – New Regulations and New Litigation
Our business and courtroom climates are changing. Whether you agree with the scientists or not, climate-related regulations and litigation are both here and fast increasing. This one-day practical course covers, for this region, mapping and insurance changes; then our exceptionally experienced lawyers, regulators, and accountants address how best to prepare your and your client’s businesses or communities for these new costs, charges, regulations, and litigation. 

Some of the seminars include:

  • Mapping Changing Climate Effects on Our Coasts
  • Global Warming and the Quantifiable Impacts on the Insurance Industry
  • Environmental Impact Statements/Environmental Impact Assessments - Incorporating Climate Change and CO2e into Required Documents
  • Risky Business - Economic and Legal Impacts of Climate Change Risk on Businesses and Investors
  • What Can One State Do About Global Climate Change?

This is being held in Seattle next month. A bunch of people are making a lot of money from junk science. Global warming is 100% politics and 0% science.

You only had one job to do - Secret Service

Fresh on the heels of the White House fence jumper comes this incident.

From Bloomberg:

Bogus Congressman Said to Get Backstage at Obama Event
An unidentified man posing as a member of Congress made it into a secure area backstage at President Barack Obama’s appearance at a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation awards dinner in Washington Sept. 27, according to a White House official.

The man entered the backstage area during or just after Obama’s speech at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center as members of Congress gathered there to have their pictures taken with the president, said the official, who asked for anonymity to discuss the incident, which has not previously been made public.

It followed presidential security breaches that included a fence-jumper bursting into the White House on Sept. 19 and an armed ex-convict riding in an elevator with Obama in Atlanta a few days before that. Julia Pierson resigned Oct. 1 as director of the Secret Service amid pressure from members of Congress who had lost faith in her ability to protect the president.

This administration is rotting from the inside. Corruption in the truest sense of the word. Time to clean house and start over...

Got an adapter card I had been waiting for so installing it tonight in my music computer (more firewire ports - been having latency problems when daisy-chaining the A/D/A converters). Also, some new software (sample collections that were on sale).

I will probably be up fairly late...

This time it's JPMorgan/Chase - from the New York Times:

JPMorgan Chase Says More Than 76 Million Households Were Compromised in Cyberattack
A cyberattack this summer on JPMorgan Chase compromised more than 76 million household accounts and seven million small-business accounts, making it among the largest corporate hacks ever discovered.

The latest revelations, which were disclosed in a regulatory filing on Thursday, vastly dwarf earlier estimates that hackers had gained access to roughly one million customer accounts.

The new details about the extent of the cyberattack — which began in June but was not discovered until July — sent JPMorgan scrambling for the second time in just three months to contain the fallout.

As the severity of the attack became more clear in recent days and new information was unearthed, some top executives flew back to New York from Naples, Fla., where many had convened for a leadership conference, according to several people briefed on the matter.

Hackers were able to burrow deep into JPMorgan’s computer systems, accessing the accounts of more than 90 servers — a breach that underscores just how vulnerable the global financial system is to cybercrime. Until now, most of the largest cyberattacks on corporations have been confined to retailers like Target and Home Depot.

A bit more:

It is still not clear how hackers managed to gain deep access to the bank’s computer network. By the time the bank’s security team discovered the breach in late July, hackers had already gained the highest level of administrative privilege to more than 90 of the bank’s computer servers,  according to several people briefed on the results of the bank’s forensics investigation who were not allowed to discuss it publicly.

Emphasis mine - rooting 90 servers? Ho... Li... Crap... That is a breach of the highest order. These machines will have to be stripped down to bare metal and rebuilt - who knows what hidden bit of malware could be hiding there. Amazed that they do not restrict the incoming IP addresses. Simple to do, hard to spoof and will knock out 99% of your problems. Want to access a critical machine? Come from a known and trusted address.

The Murata Cheerleaders

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More cuteness from Japan - Murata is a company that makes various electronic components - this video is promoting their solid-state gyroscopes.

The company website is here: Murata

The End of an Era - Lotus 1-2-3

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The 'killer app' that launched the IBM PC revolution Lotus 1-2-3 is now no longer supported by its current owner IBM.

From this May 14, 2013 Announcement Letter:

Software withdrawal and discontinuance of support: Lotus  SmartSuite , Lotus Organizer and Lotus 123
Effective on the dates listed below, IBM will withdraw support from the following product release(s) licensed under the IBM International Program License Agreement. Customers will no longer be able to receive support for these offerings after September 30, 2014. No service extensions will be offered.


End of an era but it was a good long productive ride. It will be interesting to see if IBM would consider releasing the source code like MSFT did with MS-DOS and WinWord in March of this year.

Not so secure - HTTPS

HTTPS is the default standard for data security - online shopping, etc... but there are some cracks in the facade.

From the Association for Computing Machinery:

Security Collapse in the HTTPS Market
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) has evolved into the de facto standard for secure Web browsing. Through the certificate-based authentication protocol, Web services and Internet users first authenticate one another ("shake hands") using a TLS/SSL certificate, encrypt Web communications end-to-end, and show a padlock in the browser to signal that a communication is secure. In recent years, HTTPS has become an essential technology to protect social, political, and economic activities online.

At the same time, widely reported security incidents—such as DigiNotar's breach, Apple's #gotofail, and OpenSSL's Heartbleed—have exposed systemic security vulnerabilities of HTTPS to a global audience. The Edward Snowden revelations—notably around operation BULLRUN, MUSCULAR, and the lesser-known FLYING PIG program to query certificate metadata on a dragnet scale—have driven the point home that HTTPS is both a major target of government hacking and eavesdropping, as well as an effective measure against dragnet content surveillance when Internet traffic traverses global networks. HTTPS, in short, is an absolutely critical but fundamentally flawed cybersecurity technology.

Much more at the site. This is not an issue if you are dealing with the biggies (Amazon, eBay, PayPal, etc...) but smaller companies can be perfectly above-board but have troubles with their certificate that can allow a breach.

Nothing tonight

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The telephone line at the new business has been getting worse and worse (high noise level) over the last couple of days. Had the repairman come out and check it but it is totally clean at the demarc. Problem on my end of the loop...

I brought a spare phone from home and it is clean so the problem was the actual telephone unit. Ran into Costco tonight to get a new one. Had dinner in town and just got back.

Tired so surfing for a bit and then off to sleep.  Lulu is in town for a few days.

Unintended consequences

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Starve the ba*tards. From the Washington Examiner:

Northeast loses 40% of House seats as people flee high-tax states
The Northeast, once the nation’s political engine that produced presidents, House speakers and Senate giants including the late Edward M. Kennedy, is losing clout in Washington as citizens flee the high-tax region, according to experts worried about the trend.

The Census Bureau reports that population growth has shifted to the South and the result is that the 11 states that make up the Northeast are being bled dry of representation in Washington.

Critics blame rising taxes in states such as Massachusetts and Connecticut for limiting population growth in the Northeast to just 15 percent from 1983 to 2013, while the rest of the nation grew more than 41 percent.

The biggest impact comes in the loss of congressional representation.

Deep in a recent report, for example, the American Legislative Exchange Council tabulated how the drop in population relative to the rest of the nation cut the region’s power in Washington. While the states from Pennsylvania to Maine had 141 House members in 1950, they are down to 85 today, a drop of some 40 percent.

California and Texas combined have more House representatives..

Heh - representation at work. Since it is the House that originates spending, this should put a damper on government growth.

Ho... Li... Crap - some amazing photography. Taken with a GoPro camera riding on a DJI Phantom 2 Vision drone - the photographer brought the drone so close to the lava that the front of the camera melted.


More at PetaPixel

A wonderful rant - Charlie Brooker

From the UK Guardian:

In the 18th century, a revolution in thought, known as the Enlightenment, dragged us away from the superstition and brutality of the Middle Ages toward a modern age of science, reason and democracy. It changed everything. If it wasn't for the Enlightenment, you wouldn't be reading this right now. You'd be standing in a smock throwing turnips at a witch. Yes, the Enlightenment was one of the most significant developments since the wheel. Which is why we're trying to bollocks it all up.

Welcome to a dangerous new era - the Unlightenment - in which centuries of rational thought are overturned by idiots. Superstitious idiots. They're everywhere - reading horoscopes, buying homeopathic remedies, consulting psychics, babbling about "chakras" and "healing energies", praying to imaginary gods, and rejecting science in favour of soft-headed bunkum. But instead of slapping these people round the face till they behave like adults, we encourage them. We've got to respect their beliefs, apparently.

Well I don't. "Spirituality" is what cretins have in place of imagination. If you've ever described yourself as "quite spiritual", do civilisation a favour and punch yourself in the throat until you're incapable of speaking aloud ever again. Why should your outmoded codswallop be treated with anything other than the contemptuous mockery it deserves?

Maybe you've put your faith in spiritual claptrap because our random, narrative-free universe terrifies you. But that's no solution. If you want comforting, suck your thumb. Buy a pillow. Don't make up a load of floaty blah about energy or destiny. This is the real world, stupid. We should be solving problems, not sticking our fingers in our ears and singing about fairies.

More at the site - spot on...

Health in the United States

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Ebola and Enterovirus 68 in the news.

From The New York Times:

After Ebola Case in Dallas, Health Officials Seek Those Who Had Contact With Patient
Health officials in Dallas are monitoring at least five schoolchildren in North Texas who came into contact with a man found to have Ebola virus, after he became sick and infectious.

The authorities also said that an early opportunity to put the patient in isolation, limiting the risk of contagion, may have been missed because of a failure to pass along critical information about his travel history.

From the Farmington Connecticut CBS affiliate WTIC:

Rhode Island Child Dies From Complications Of Enterovirus That Has Been Affecting Kids Nationwide
The Rhode Island Health Department says a child has died from complications of an unusual respiratory virus that has been affecting children across the U.S.

Health officials said Wednesday that the 10-year-old girl died last week of a staph infection associated with the enterovirus 68 infection, which it called “a very rare combination.”

“We are all heartbroken to hear about the death of one of Rhode Island’s children,” Dr. Michael Fine, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health, said in a statement. “Many of us will have EV-D68. Most of us will have very mild symptoms and all but very few will recover quickly and completely. The vast majority of children exposed to EV-D68 recover completely.”

This particular disease - Enterovirus 68 - is common in Central America. The current thought is that this outbreak is due to the tens of thousands of illegals streaming into the US.

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