November 2014 Archives

The history of Novation

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In early synthesizer design, names like Moog, Buchla and Arp dominate the landscape. Fast forward to the early nineties and Novation becomes a major player.

Here is a nice 17 minute documentary on Novation's history:

We have critters

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Rocky and Sam are here hanging out in our pasture.

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It was love at first sight for Lulu - she prepped a bucket of treats and spent some time hanging out with them.

Yesterday at Nooksack Falls

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Nooksack Falls is a spectacular waterfall about 16 miles due East of us. WIth all the rainfall, we went into Glacier to get a coffee and continued on to the falls:

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The falls were completely majestic - no other word comes close.

We got firewood

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Got the second load of firewood this morning. Here is the sign on the delivery truck door:

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I love this place and the people living here.

Another case of hyperbole from the EPA

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From Powerline:

EPA Lost in the Ozone, As Usual
Just one day after the Supreme Court granted cert to review the EPA’s ridiculous mercury regulations, the EPA announced that it would lower the ozone standard to .06 parts per million, from the current .075 parts per million. This is the same regulation that President Obama canceled in 2011 because, as the New York Times described it, “Mr. Obama said the regulation would impose too severe a burden on industry and local governments at a time of economic distress.”

This is another one of those issues that brings out the worst environmental hyperbole. Such as this in the New York Times story yesterday:

William Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, said, “Ozone is not only killing people, but causing tens of millions of people to get sick every day.”

Tens of millions every day! It’s a wonder there are any Americans left alive anywhere in the country, since ozone is overtaking tens of millions every day. Somehow I missed the rising epidemic of ozone-related illness, which somehow fails to stand out in the steadily improving health of the American people.

If the “tens of millions” hyperbole were an evenly remotely accurate rendering of the health risk from ozone, then why would’t environmentalists demand that the ozone standard be set at zero? One reason is that the proposed standard is close to naturally occurring background ozone levels in some areas of the country (especially the southeast).

The EPA is a perfect example of an agency that needs to have its funding cut by 80% if not defunded entirely. They accomplished what they set out to do - clean up America - and having nothing more to do, they have proceeded to grow the size and scope of their bureaucracy. Their job is done - time to disband and move on to something else.

Doctor James Watson in the news

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From the UK Telegraph:

James Watson selling Nobel prize 'because no-one wants to admit I exist'
James Watson, the world-famous biologist who was shunned by the scientific community after linking intelligence to race, said he is selling his Nobel Prize because he is short of money after being made a pariah.

Mr Watson said he is auctioning the Nobel Prize medal he won in 1962 for discovering the structure of DNA, because "no-one really wants to admit I exist".

Auctioneer Christie’s said the gold medal, the first Nobel Prize to be sold by a living recipient, could fetch as much as $3.5m (£2.23m) when it is auctioned in New York on Thursday. The reserve price is $2.5m.

Mr Watson told the Financial Times he had become an “unperson” after he “was outed as believing in IQ” in 2007 and said he would like to use money from the sale to buy a David Hockney painting.

Mr Watson, who shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for uncovering the double helix structure of DNA, sparked an outcry in 2007 when he suggested that people of African descent were inherently less intelligent than white people.

A bit more:

Mr Watson said his income had plummeted following his controversial remarks in 2007, which forced him to retire from the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, New York. He still holds the position of chancellor emeritus there.

“Because I was an ‘unperson’ I was fired from the boards of companies, so I have no income, apart from my academic income,” he said.

Just because he dared to speak against societal taboos. Asians repeatedly test higher than us plain-old Caucasians - do we get our knickers in a bunch. But we must maintain diversity - All Hail Diversity!!!

Who ordered this?

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The Pacific Northwest is getting a dose of the "Polar Vortex" that wreaked havoc last year on the East Coast.

From Cliff Mass:

Arctic Blast Hits Washington State
With the passage of what local meteorologists call a Modified Arctic Front, our region has been hit with plummeting temperatures, low humidities, and very strong northerly winds, with some locations experiencing gusts over 50 mph.   Over 30,000 customers have lost power from the winds and snow is falling on the northern side of the Olympics.

The Arctic front was associated with large pressure gradients between the interior of British Columbia and Washington State, results intense wind acceleration in the Fraser River and Okinawan River gaps.

Got down to 7°F last night and currently a nice balmy 13.6°F with still air.

We are waiting the arrival of the horse and mule that I had posted about here last month. Rocky and Sam(mule) are no longer fit enough to do extended pack trips with Bill their current owner but they will be put to pasture here, loved on, given skritches and treats, taken for occasional day-hikes and spend out their remaining years here at the farm.

That is it for the night

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Down to 9.8°F and getting colder. Got the sink running at full-blast so the pipes do not freeze.

More posting tomorrow if we survive this current episode of anthropogenic global warming.

I dearly love where we live now but FUCK - it is COLD out there!!!

My opinion of Jay Leno drops a good bit

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After he caves to this kind of shit. From Town Hall:

In Cowardly Move, Jay Leno Cancels SHOT Show Appearance After Pressure From Bloomberg's Anti-Gun Goon Squad
Comedian Jay Leno was scheduled to perform at the annual National Shooting Sports Foundation 2015 SHOT Show in Las Vegas on January 20, but after unwarranted pressure from Michael Bloomberg's anti-gun goons, Leno has dropped out despite hundreds of tickets to his event already being sold.

"We are clearly disappointed by Jay Leno's decision not to perform at the 2015 SHOT Show State of the Industry Dinner. He unilaterally canceled his promised appearance due to pressure from the anti-gun lobby, which included false statements about our industry and its commitment to genuine firearms safety, which we attempted to personally correct with him, but to no avail. We are not deterred by their publicity seeking nor are we unfamiliar with the bullying political tactics of the gun control groups that seem to have as little respect for the First Amendment as they continually demonstrate with regard to the Second Amendment," NSSF released in a statement late last night.

The SHOT show is a pretty big deal:

A record number of people attended the 2014 SHOT Show and pumped $73 million into the local Las Vegas economy over the course of just a few days. In partnership with the PGA the annual NSSF charity golf event, Birdies for the Brave, raised $100,000 for military homefront groups.

The 2014 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas has come to an end and this year was the most popular year yet. According numbers released Friday from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a record 67,000 people attended this year's show, beating last year's numbers by 5,000. The event pumped $73 million into the Las Vegas economy. More than 1600 companies participated in the week long event, filling up 13-acres of space.

Earlier this year, Penn & Teller performed at the State of the Industry dinner and were a hit. It's a shame Leno let dishonest and elitist liberal stooges bully him into bailing out on a great event with some of America's best people. I look forward to NSSF finding a replacement for the 2015 show. 

 To put this into perspective, the two largest technology shows are the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas which drew 140,000 people last year and the German CeBIT which drew 334,000 people. For a simple gun show to draw 67,000 people shows the massive public interest and support.

I really like Leno but Seriously W.T.F.???

Writing from home

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Thank God for Ethernet cables. I do not know what happened here but it will not connect via WiFi yet hooks up just fine with a physical connection.

I was gettin' pretty panicky for a minute if you know what I mean...

A minor glitch in the system

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We had the expected power failure(s - multiple) last night with the wind and extreme cold and this morning, when I came down to check my email, I discovered that I was not connected to the internet.

Tried the usual fixes and nothing worked - I could see the DSL Router but it would not authenticate.

Posting this from a work machine - I have a couple more tricks up my sleeve to try but I think it is toast.

No posting tonight unless I am able to get it connected again...

Welcome to Winter

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Literally, less than 40 minutes later, we now have just under a half-inch of snow on the ground.

The temp has dropped another degree - not as aggressive but still following the trend for the Arctic Air mass moving in tonight.

Cold Winds Are Rising

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Temps are falling like a stone - from 49.8°F to 29.7°F in the matter of five hours. Winds gusting to 20MPH coming in from the West - this is unusual as these winds have to pass over a 2,700 foot tall mountain first. The valley we live in runs North/South. East and West are blocked by large mountains. Makes me wonder what the @#$% is happening in Bellingham and in Puget Sound.

We may lose power sometime tonight so all the 'puters will be shut down and have a fire going. Going to break out the Ham Radio tomorrow and try to make a few contacts - have not done that for a while...

Really love living here!

Historical Computing - a two-fer

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First - from the BBC:

Museum switches on historic computer
The first recreated parts of the re-built Edsac machine have been switched on at The National Museum of Computing.

The Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator first ran in 1949 and was created to serve scientists at Cambridge University.

Few parts and plans were left of the original which has made the job of recreating the machine a difficult one.

"We don't have blueprints to follow, so to create an authentic Edsac we have to adopt a 1940s mindset to re-engineer and redesign the machine," said Andrew Herbert, leader of the recreation effort.

Students who worked with Edsac's creators have been helping to guide the project, said Mr Herbert.

"We face the same challenges as those remarkable pioneers who succeeded in building a machine that transformed computing."

Second - the strange history of ENIAC - from Wired:

How the World’s First Computer Was Rescued From the Scrap Heap
Eccentric billionaires are tough to impress, so their minions must always think big when handed vague assignments. Ross Perot’s staffers did just that in 2006, when their boss declared that he wanted to decorate his Plano, Texas, headquarters with relics from computing history. Aware that a few measly Apple I’s and Altair 880’s wouldn’t be enough to satisfy a former presidential candidate, Perot’s people decided to acquire a more singular prize: a big chunk of ENIAC, the “Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer.” The ENIAC was a 27-ton, 1,800-square-foot bundle of vacuum tubes and diodes that was arguably the world’s first true computer. The hardware that Perot’s team diligently unearthed and lovingly refurbished is now accessible to the general public for the first time, back at the same Army base where it almost rotted into oblivion.

ENIAC was conceived in the thick of World War II, as a tool to help artillerymen calculate the trajectories of shells. Though construction began a year before D-Day, the computer wasn’t activated until November 1945, by which time the U.S. Army’s guns had fallen silent. But the military still found plenty of use for ENIAC as the Cold War began—the machine’s 17,468 vacuum tubes were put to work by the developers of the first hydrogen bomb, who needed a way to test the feasibility of their early designs. The scientists at Los Alamos later declared that they could never have achieved success without ENIAC’s awesome computing might: the machine could execute 5,000 instructions per second, a capability that made it a thousand times faster than the electromechanical calculators of the day. (An iPhone 6, by contrast, can zip through 25 billion instructions per second.)

When the Army declared ENIAC obsolete in 1955, however, the historic invention was treated with scant respect: its 40 panels, each of which weighed an average of 858 pounds, were divvied up and strewn about with little care. Some of the hardware landed in the hands of folks who appreciated its significance—the engineer Arthur Burks, for example, donated his panel to the University of Michigan, and the Smithsonian managed to snag a couple of panels for its collection, too. But as Libby Craft, Perot’s director of special projects, found out to her chagrin, much of ENIAC vanished into disorganized warehouses, a bit like the Ark of the Covenant at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Fascinating stories - so nice to see that these historic machines are not being forgotten.

High water today

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Seasonal flooding is happening now:

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Just affecting the low-lying land for now - some water over the highway, that sort of thing. We are forecast for high winds later tonight so starting a fire in case the power goes out...

Snow!

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Woke up this morning to see snow on the side of our mountain - right around the 1,200 foot level.

Mt. Baker is still closed - they were developing a good base but the pineapple express melted 10" of it away. They need another 20" to be able to open. They are a major economic driver for this area so the sooner the better...

Food coma

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Came out perfect...

I love to cook and do most of it for us.  Lulu is a great cook but I have taken over as I like doing it - something different from computers...

She said that in the three+ years I have been cooking for her, this was the best meal she has ever had.

We are both sated and descending into a nice food coma and an early bedtime.

I have to do a quick run into town but neither Hardware Sales nor a particular flooring store are buying in to the Black Friday nonsense and should be pretty well deserted.

That and a feed store for some more bird seed and suet blocks - lil' buggars have been eating me out of house and home...

Out of the oven and a thing of beauty

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Not me - the Wellington...

Got a lot to be Thankful for. Best wishes to everyone!

I waaaant!!!

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Hat tip to The Adaptive Curmudgeon for the link. Got too many other irons in the fire to build one.

Turns out it was made by these people: SuperDroid Robots - interesting website.

The Wellington is resting

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All done. 

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It only takes 35 minutes to bake (400°F / rare) so it will go into the oven in three hours - resting in the fridge for now. Prepping some roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon and will figure out a desert between now and then. Maybe a Key Lime pie.

Now to work on the Synthesizer cabinet - prepping the room for assembly...

Turkey day at the farm

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Slept in until 9:00AM and then Lulu and I went out for coffee. It is raining hard and the pineapple express has yet to hit so it was interesting looking at the water levels in the rivers and streams - high and getting higher..

Doing a Beef Wellington instead of turkey this year:

 

Seasonal change

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Lulu woke at 4:00AM this morning - it's only 8:30PM and I am punking out.

Sleeping in tomorrow - we both need to reset our clocks...

From our local Bellingham Herald:

Scientists may be cracking mystery of big 1872 earthquake
Geologists might be close to cracking one of the biggest seismological mysteries in the Northwest: the origin of a powerful quake that rattled seven states and provinces when Ulysses S. Grant was president and the transcontinental railroad hadn’t yet reached Washington.

Preliminary evidence points to a newly discovered fault near Entiat in Chelan County. The find adds to a growing body of evidence that Central and Eastern Washington are more quake-prone than previously thought, and will help refine seismic risks in an area that’s home to 1.5 million people, more than a dozen hydropower dams and the Hanford nuclear reservation, said Craig Weaver, regional chief of the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) earthquake programs.

“For more than four decades, people have been guessing where the 1872 earthquake was,” Weaver said. “To be able to finally pinpoint this thing on a map would be really important in helping us get the seismic hazard assessment correct in that part of the state.”

Emphasis mine - yikes! A lot of the problems at Hanford are the waste storage tanks holding liquid radioactive waste. Some of these are seeping into the Columbia River.  A big quake would flood the area down to Portland and the Pacific Ocean. We have been vitrifying this waste into a solid glass but since no site for long-term storage has been designated (thanks a lot Harry Reid), we have not progressed as far as we should have.

A photograph

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Amazing story from Drew Gardner:

Meeting the Mona Lisa -The Latest in the Descendants Series
This is a story that starts some 5 years ago.

While I was teaching at the excellent Maine Media Workshops. I gave a lecture at the wonderful Union Hall which was open to the public, as part of my lecture I showed my ‘Descendants’ project, where I recreate portraits of famous or notable historic figures with their direct Descendants.

I was enjoying a drink with some of the crew in Gilbert’s bar in Portland.

A man walked up to me and said that they had recently discovered the identity and direct descendants of the Mona Lisa, and he knew them.

Perhaps it was the Makers Mark on the rocks or perhaps it just sounded a little too unlikely, but I rather unwisely forgot all about it.

Until some 5 months later, when I was staying with my good friend Jonathan Laurence.

I walked into the same bar and there was a small hint of a glimmer of a recollection that someone had told me the unlikely tale of the the descendants of the Mona Lisa.

Five months on and this nugget of a rumour now intrigued me.

A few clicks on google and I found it was all true.

The descendants of the Mona Lisa, the 15 times great granddaughters of the Mona Lisa to be precise, were in fact two Italian princesses, living in Tuscany.

Lisa and Irina Strozzi who run the world renowned Strozzi winery

Drew assembled quite a team of photographers (including strobe wizzard David Hobby whose website is where I first heard about this) and the end result is amazing:

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A bit of rain - Pineapple Express

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We are due for a bit of rain over the Thanksgiving holiday. From Cliff Mass:

Heavy Precipitation, Flooding, and a Cascade Meltdown
Yes, a typical Thanksgiving in the Northwest.
During the past week, we were encouraged by the first real snowfall in the Cascades this fall, with some locations getting 20-30 inches.  Steven Pass, hit by some convergence zone precipitation, has 24 inches and is just short of opening.  But like a snow mirage, the Cascade snowpack is about to disappear as warm temperatures and heavy rain hits the mountain barrier.

Say hello to this little formation:

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Right between the eyes.

What a great idea - GroupGets

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Many times, there might be a fascinating piece of technology out there but they are only available from the manufacturer and only at minimum purchases of 100 on up. Or a distributor that carries this bit has a $500 minimum order to set up an account.

This is zero problem for a manufacturer but for a hobbyist wanting to tinker, this is a showstopper.

Until now - check out GroupGets:

Crowdfund anything, in any quantity
GroupGets empowers users to securely self-initiate or join existing user-initiated group buys for any existing product. We amplify buying power by linking shared purchasing interests worldwide to get better price breaks and lower minimum order quantities. We not only help you find backers for your campaign, we also securely handle the collection, purchasing, and shipping.

 Brilliant! They do not have many 'campaigns' online at the present but the idea is wonderful and I suspect that these people are going to get very busy, very soon.

Have they no shame - the New York Times

UPDATE: Slate is just as craven as the New York Times. They published a photo of Officer Wilson's house.
A simple thought; if Officer Wilson and his wife's house is damaged at all, let us find out the addresses of the houses of Julie Bosman and Campbell Robertson (NY Times) and the house of Ben Mathis-Lilley (Slate) and seek some of that wonderful self-righteous Social Justice. What is good for the goose...

 

From Breitbart:

4:29 pm - New York Times Publishes Name of Street Darren Wilson Lives On 

Breitbart News will not link the story or give out the specific information, but the New York Times had no qualms whatsoever about publishing almost all the information needed for Officer Darren Wilson's enemies to track him and his wife down at home:

Officer Wilson and [his wife] own a home together on XXXXXXX Lane in XXXXXXXXXX, Mo., a St. Louis suburb about a half-hour drive from Ferguson.

This malicious move by the New York Times has not gone unnoticed by Ferguson's protesters:

But printing his street name in the nation’s most influential newspaper on the day the grand jury is expected to hand up a decision on the indictment could reignite interest in -- and awareness of -- the location, and some critics worry that it could result in protesters descending on his home. Slate even went a step further than the Times, publishing an article featuring a photo of the modest, red-brick house on Monday.

A number of Twitter users -- some of whom have identified themselves as planning to protest the grand jury decision -- have tweeted the location of Wilson’s home as they gear up for rallies. The house number was not printed in the Times, but the street in the St. Louis suburb of Crestwood where it sits is only about two blocks long, and the house number can be easily located via online sources using only the street name and Wilson’s name.

The media is evil. 

And of course, if something happens to Officer Wilson, the NY Times will deny culpability.

Scale Model of the US Government

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Presented for your edification:

 

Hat tip: Small Dead Animals

The poster child for: Hold my beer and watch this! From the Daytona Beach, Florida News-Journal:

Bunnell man accused of damaging bridge under construction
A Bunnell man who has been arrested numerous times in Flagler County has been arrested again, this time accused of damaging a bridge under construction.

Charles “Skeeter” Larkin Cowart Jr., 31, was arrested Monday after he was seen “doing donuts” with a 4-wheeler on a portion of the bridge where concrete had just been poured while screaming at the construction workers, according to a Flagler County Sheriff’s Office arrest report.

The 4-wheeler that Cowart was riding was pulling a small trailer and one of the construction workers reported to deputies that he dropped the tailgate and “backed up, gouging the new pavement.”

“He stated Charles then jumped off the 4-wheeler cursing at them and tossing a bucket of cow feed at the workers,” the report states. “(He) then jumped off the bridge into the woods, running south and swimming through the canal to the other side.”

Deputies saw Cowart running and then fall, “lying there for a minute until getting back up and running south again.”

Cowart’s father arrived and assisted deputies “in taking Charles Jr. under custody.”

Talk about being off your bubble.  The arresting officers took him to the hospital to check him out and he was fine so they hauled him off to jail with a $3,000 bond.

Object of desire - 3.2TB SSD from Samsung

Ho. Li. Crap. From IT World:

The end of HDD? Samsung debuts a 3.2TB PCIe SSD card
Solid-state drives have been primarily used in desktops as fast boot drives, with large traditional hard disks used for the mass data storage and some apps. Most of the advancements in SSD media has been more around wear leveling and durability rather than raising capacity.

Well, now that they are getting the durability squared away, some are going for capacity. Several have released 1TB drives. Samsung just one-upped them all with a PCIe-based drive that holds 3.2TB.

The drive is based on Samsung's 3D V-NAND, or vertical NAND, flash memory technology, which uses 3D stacking of the cells. In traditional memory architectures, 2D structures were the norm, which meant that the more memory packed into a chip, the denser the memory became, causing interference between cells. So instead of building out, Samsung built up, as it were.

Samsung's choice of PCIe was not an accident or catering to the high end crowd. SATA III, the current top-of-the-line bus for hard drives and SSDs, is maxed out and the drives are faster than the interface. The result has been a plateauing of performance by SATA-based SSD drives. The SM1715 is a four-lane PCIe card, which offers 1.6GB of bandwidth. SATA III has just 600MB of bandwidth.

Samsung claims the SM1715 provides a sequential read speed of 3,000 megabytes per second (MB/s) and writes sequentially at up to 2,200MB/s. By contrast, the best SATA III drives are maxing out at 500MB/s reads and 400MB/s writes. The card also randomly reads at up to 750,000 IOPS (input output operations per second) and writes randomly at up to 130,000 IOPS. A top-level SATA SSD might hit 100k read IOPS and write IOPS of 90k.

No word on price as yet but this is a gamechanger. I recently upgraded my 5-year old music computer with a 512 GB SSD and performance is greatly improved - night and day. The downside is that I have to be really careful where I install applications - I have some sample players and Cakewalk Studio but all the associated media files have to live on D:\

It would be nice to have everything in one place...

Poor Barry - even his staunchest followers are jumping ship.

From Cornel West's twitter account:

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From Michigan Live:

Great Lakes ice cover developing; Earliest in over 40 years
Ice is already starting to develop on Michigan's Great Lakes. This is the earliest ice on some of the Great Lakes in at least 40 years.

According to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, on November 20, 2014, three of Michigan's Great Lakes had ice starting to form. Lake Superior and Lake Michigan were one-half percent ice covered, while Lake Huron had one percent ice. Lake Erie was not reporting any ice as of Nov. 20, 2014.

Decent early season ice coverage records date back to 1973. Last Friday was the earliest date that all three Great Lakes already had ice since the better reporting of early season ice began.

Lake Superior actually had ice forming on November 15th of this year. That is the earliest ice on Lake Superior in the good data set.

Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron had ice 10 days earlier this year than last year.

Lake Superior only had five and a half months without any ice on the lake.

We could use some warming these days...

The rioting in Ferguson, Mo

There were about 25 buildings burned in Ferguson. An interesting metric from Breitbart:

Most Businesses Destroyed in Ferguson Minority Owned
KMOV-TV reports that the majority of stores that were damaged or completely destroyed during Monday night's violent riots in Ferguson were minority owned. Fire Departments around the St. Louis County Area put out 25 structural fires caused by vandals and looters following the announcement from the grand jury that Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted in the death of Mike Brown.

Most of the damaged businesses were on West Florissant Avenue and included: Walgreens, Little Caesers Pizza,  Autozone, Beauty Town, Title Max, Family Dollar Store, and O'Reilly Auto Parts. Small-business owner Natalie Dubose was in tears when she realized her cake store was attacked by vandals. 

Dubose, a mother of two, previously told CNN, "If I can't open my doors every morning, I can't feed my kids in the evening. Just don't burn my shop down, don't destroy it."

How's that hope and change working out for you. I am betting that the large stores will not rebuild causing the neighborhood to deteriorate even further.

Consequences of your actions? No thought given...

Michael Ramirez sums it up perfectly:

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From Reuters:

Ferguson erupts after officer not charged in teen's shooting
A Missouri grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer on any charges in the fatal August shooting of an unarmed black teenager unleashed a wave of violent protests Monday night similar to what engulfed the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson in August.

Angry crowds took to the streets around the Ferguson, Missouri, police department after the grand jury determined there was no probable cause to charge officer Darren Wilson with any crime for the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The incident highlighted longstanding racial tensions in the predominantly black city, which has a white-dominated power structure.

Brown was a known criminal, he had robbed a convenience store an hour prior. He was struggling with Officer Wilson trying to get the Officer's gun. The tox panel at the autopsy showed that he was high on pot. Six black witnesses stated that Brown was physically charging Officer Wilson when Officer Wilson acted to save himself.

This was back in August - for the last couple months, all kinds of outside agitators have been swarming into Ferguson. And nobody talks about the black on black violence - doesn't fit the narrative...

Yikes - new regulation on drones

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Now that they are coming into the reach of anyone with $2K to spend (and this is for a high-end unit), the Fed.Gov is stepping in to regulate them. There are some idiots out there but most people are really responsible.

From the Wall Street Journal's Marketwatch:

Drone flights face FAA hit
Highly anticipated federal rules on commercial drones are expected to require operators to have a license and limit flights to daylight hours, below 400 feet and within sight of the person at the controls, according to people familiar with the rule-making process.

The drone industry has awaited commercial rules for about six years, hoping the rules would pave the way for widespread drone use in industries such as farming, filmmaking and construction. Current FAA policy allows recreational drone flights in the U.S. but essentially bars drones from commercial use.

While the FAA wants to open the skies to unmanned commercial flights, the expected rules are more restrictive than drone supporters sought and wouldn’t address privacy concerns over the use of drones, people familiar with the matter said.

The agency also plans to group all drones weighing less than 55 pounds under one set of rules. That would dash hopes for looser rules on the smallest drones, such as the 2.8-pound Phantom line of camera-equipped, four-rotor helicopters made by China’s SZ DJI Technology Co. Similar-sized devices are seen as the most commercially viable drones and have surged in popularity in the last two years.

Like I said, there are some idiots out there and there have been fatal accidents with flying drones striking people on the ground. Still, this is a case where the industry should be policing itself and not relying on the Fed.Gov to step in and take over.

Schlieren optics

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Schlieren optics allow us to see minute differences in air density. Here is a video:

More here - fun stuff! Their last example uses sulfur hexafluoride gas - this is the "anti-helium" - it is substantially denser than air and makes anyone into a basso profondo for a few breaths. No odor but a very light taste of bananas.

Snow season - Mt. Baker starting to build

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Checked the website for Mt. Baker ski area and they are starting to get some decent foundation. Still way off for opening but it's a great start.

Mt. Baker Snow Report for Sunday, November 23rd:

SKI AREA STATUS:  Closed
UPDATE:  Sunday November 23, 2014 - 1:00 pm

The snow from the last few days has started to build us a good base!  We received 10 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours, bringing the base at Heather Meadows to 23 inches, with 35 inches on top of Pan Dome.  Now we are waiting to see what next weeks' storm systems bring

We will continue to update this report daily, so stay tuned!

Mt. Baker does not have a set opening date; we open whenever we have enough snowfall accumulated.  Depending on the conditions (heavier compacted snow, light and fluffy snow, etc)  that can range anywhere from 24 - 40 inches needed on the ground. 

Looking forward to opening day - good for business and also, a lot of fun.

Back home again - final load-out

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Got the condo down to the bare walls. The walnut dining room table that I grew up with is now sitting in the living room and Lulu brought a chest of my Mom's and is going through it as I type.

Got a tri-tip resting under some salt and pepper and the BBQ is warming up. Pot of rice, a mess of steamed veggies (kale, some broccoli and carrot slices) and we are good to go for dinner.

Early bedtime tonight as I have the shopping run tomorrow.

Heading out the door to finish off emptying the Condo in Bellingham. It is going to look gorgeous but this process is still a pain. Also having to deal with my parent's effects on such an in-your-face level. It was a lot easier to compartmentalize everything and ignore that they are no longer here.

Had to be done at some point...

Today and tomorrow look like a dry two days for posting - spent some time surfing but it has been a quiet weekend news-wise.

Lulu toddled off to bed a few minutes ago and I am heading up soon after.

Water board meeting tomorrow as well.

Back home again - stiff and sore

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We moved a lot of stuff into the storage locker. Heading back there tomorrow for the last of it.

I am sore now and I will certainly be feeling it tomorrow but it needs to be done.  Two of Curtis' friends showed up to help so things went a lot better.

We all got a bite at FiveGuys so not much in the mood for dinner.  Lulu and I are having a nice big glass of wine and kicking back for a bit...

Hi Ho Hi Ho

It's off to work we go. Spending today emptying the last of the stuff from my Mom and Dad's condo in Bellingham so the contractors can start to work.

Renting a truck with a lift-gate and we are only moving the stuff a few miles to a nearby storage locker so it will not be that bad.

More posting later today.

The SCP Foundation

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I have been authorized to divulge the existence of this organization as I have worked closely with them on several of their case files.

More at their website: The SCP Foundation

From their Mission Statement:

Mission Statement
Operating clandestine and worldwide, the Foundation operates beyond jurisdiction, empowered and entrusted by every major national government with the task of containing anomalous objects, entities, and phenomena. These anomalies pose a significant threat to global security by threatening either physical or psychological harm.

The Foundation operates to maintain normalcy, so that the worldwide civilian population can live and go on with their daily lives without fear, mistrust, or doubt in their personal beliefs, and to maintain human independence from extraterrestrial, extradimensional, and other extranormal influence.

Our mission is three-fold:

Secure
The Foundation secures anomalies with the goal of preventing them from falling into the hands of civilian or rival agencies, through extensive observation and surveillance and by acting to intercept such anomalies at the earliest opportunity.

Contain
The Foundation contains anomalies with the goal of preventing their influence or effects from spreading, by either relocating, concealing, or dismantling such anomalies or by suppressing or preventing public dissemination of knowledge thereof.

Protect
The Foundation protects humanity from the effects of such anomalies as well as the anomalies themselves until such time that they are either fully understood or new theories of science can be devised based on their properties and behavior. The Foundation may also neutralize or destroy anomalies as an option of last resort, if they are determined to be too dangerous to be contained.

Snake Eyes

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Chris Muir at Day By Day nails it with this cartoon:

20141121-DBD-snake-eyes.jpg

The AP fact-checks Obama

It is raining cats and dogs, the sun has turned blue and the earth's rotation has reversed. In other news The Associated Press is fact-checking Obama:

FACT CHECK: Obama's claims on illegal immigration
President Barack Obama made some notable omissions Thursday night in his remarks about the unilateral actions he's taking on immigration.

A look at his statements and how they compare with the facts:

OBAMA: "It does not grant citizenship, or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive - only Congress can do that. All we're saying is we're not going to deport you."

THE FACTS: He's saying, and doing, more than that. The changes also will make those covered eligible for work permits, allowing them to be employed in the country legally and compete with citizens and legal residents for better-paying jobs.

___

OBAMA: "Although this summer, there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children being apprehended at our border, the number of such children is now actually lower than it's been in nearly two years."

THE FACTS: The numbers certainly surged this year, but it was more than a "brief spike." The number of unaccompanied children apprehended at the border has been on the rise since the 2011 budget year. That year about 16,000 children were found crossing the border alone. In 2012, the Border Patrol reported more than 24,000 children, followed by more than 38,800 in 2013. In the last budget year, more than 68,361 children were apprehended.

___

OBAMA: "Overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s. Those are the facts."

THE FACTS: Indeed, in the 2014 budget year the Border Patrol made 486,651 arrests of border crossers, among the fewest since the early 1970s. But border arrests have been on the rise since 2011.

The decline in crossings is not purely, or perhaps even primarily, due to the Obama administration. The deep economic recession early in his presidency and the shaky aftermath made the U.S. a less attractive place to come for work. The increase in arrests since 2011 also can be traced in part to the economy — as the recovery improved, more people came in search of opportunity.

More at the site - for a member of the mainstream media to be checking on the truth gives me hope.

News you can use - raking leaves

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In a word - don't. From Seattle station KING-5:

Don't rake your leaves, scientists say
Here's an excuse to use the next time someone asks you to rake the leaves: science.

The National Wildlife Federation is encouraging people to leave the leaves.

On its website, the NWF says dry, dead leaves are important habitats for all kinds of critters.

Butterflies, salamanders, chipmunks, box turtles, toads, shrews, earthworms, and other creatures live, lay eggs in or eat from leaves, according to NWF's plea with the public to let the leaves stay where gravity left them.

"I care about the life cycle of all the insects that live in my yard," said Sarah Moore of the Pacific Science Center's indoor butterfly garden. "I want to be a habitat."

Butterflies begin in leaves as larvae. Moore says she never rakes her leaves at home.

Another scientist at the University of Washington Arboretum says he rarely rakes.

"It changes the habitat," said Randall Hitchin, who showed us all the insects that live in a pile of leaves. "It makes it unfriendly for them."

The only issue is that some tree diseases also flourish in the leaf litter. Anthracnose is a real biggie up here with our wet springs. We have a couple of cherry trees that have it bad - planning to treat this spring with Bordeaux mixture. Turns the trees smurf blue-green.

 

Boys and their toys - a backhoe

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Guinness World's Record for speed at 72.58 miles per hour:

Stupid students not seeing the big picture

Used to live in Boston/Cambridge and glad I moved away. From the New York Times:

Harvard Students Move Fossil Fuel Stock Fight to Court
A group of Harvard students, frustrated by the university’s refusal to shed fossil fuel stocks from its investment portfolios, is looking beyond protests and resolutions to a new form of pressure: the courts.

The seven law students and undergraduates filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in Suffolk County Superior Court in Massachusetts against the president and fellows of Harvard College, among others, for what they call “mismanagement of charitable funds.” The 11-page complaint, with 167 pages of supporting exhibits, asks the court to compel divestment on behalf of the students and “future generations.”

Hey snowflake - the US needs the energy from coal - always have and always will. alt.energy will never fill the gap. If you have such a paranoid irrational fear of coal (actually a very clean fuel and we have over 500 years in known resources), why not lobby for a cleaner alternative - nuclear, specifically Thorium for which we have several thousand years of known resources.

Fscking morons.

The students are revolting - damn straight skippy...

Ho Li Crap - this is a big engine

The Chinese just launched the biggest cargo ship and it has the biggest engine. From the excellent gCaptain:
NOTE - a TEU is a Twenty-foot equivalent unit or a seabox 20' in length.

World’s Largest Containership Also Sets Record for Largest Engine Ever
With a capacity to carry 19,000 TEUs, the recently named MV CSCL Globe is the world’s largest containership by cargo capacity. But that’s not all it’s known for. The newbuild for China Shipping Container Lines is also noteworthy for being powered by what is physically the largest engine ever constructed.

CSCL Globe on Thursday completed three days of sea trials, putting the ship’s massive MAN B&W 12S90ME-C Mark 9.2 type low-speed main engine through its paces. The two-stroke engine is rated at 69,720 kW @ 84 rpm, although has been de-rated to 56,800 kW, and stands a whopping 17.2 meters tall (that’s over 56 feet!).

Just check out the size of this thing compared to a typical person:

20141121-engine.jpg

I wonder how long it will be before someone sneaks a GoPro into the crankcase and posts a video. This puppy is huge!

A very clever use of resources - Heineken

An interesting bit of history - from The Smithsonian:

When Heineken Bottles Were Square
There are plenty of examples of structures built from recycled materials—even Buddhist temples have been made from them. In Sima Valley, California, an entire village known as Grandma Prisbey’s Bottle Village was constructed from reused glass. But this is no new concept—back in 1960, executives at the Heineken brewery drew up a plan for a “brick that holds beer,” a rectangular beer bottle that could also be used to build homes.

Gerard Adriaan Heineken acquired the “Haystack” brewery in 1864 in Amsterdam, marking the formal beginning of the eponymous brand that is now one of the most successful international breweries. Since the first beer consignment was delivered to the United States upon the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, it has been a top seller in the United States. The distinctive, bright green of a Heineken beer bottle can be found in more than 70 countries today. The founder’s grandson, Alfred Heineken, began his career with the company in 1942 and was later elected Chairman of the Executive Board at Heineken International. Alfred, better known as “Freddy,”oversaw the design of the classic red-starred label released in 1964. He had a good eye for marketing and design.”Had I not been a beer brewer I would have become an advertising man,” he once said. When Freddy’s beer took off in the international market, he made it a point to visit the plants the company had opened as a part of its globalization strategy.

In 1960, Freddy took a trip to the island of Curacao in the Caribbean Sea and discovered that he could barely walk 15 feet on the beach without stepping on a littered Heineken bottle. He was alarmed by two things: First, the incredible amount of waste that his product was creating due to the region’s lack of infrastructure to collect the bottles for reuse. (Back then, bottles were commonly returned for refilling, lasting about 30 trips back and forth to the breweries). Second, the dearth of proper building materials available to those living in the impoverished communities he visited. So he thought up an idea that might solve both of these problems: A brick that holds beer.

The rectangular, Heineken World Bottle or WOBO, designed with the help of architect John Habraken, would serve as a drinking vessel as well as a brick once the contents were consumed. The long side of the bottle would have interlocking grooved surfaces so that the glass bricks, once laid on their side, could be stacked easily with mortar or cement. A 10-foot-by-10-foot shack would take approximately 1,000 bottles (and a lot of beer consumption) to build.

 20141120-heineken.jpg

 Very clever - once the mold is made, this sort of bottle would be just as cheap as any other. These could pack better in a case too - lower shipping costs. Wonder why they stopped selling them?

I listened to his speech on the car radio tonight and it was just more yadda, yadda, yadda... The guy is lying through his teeth.

Even the mainstream media is getting tired of the monor - from Politico:

White House hits TV networks for skipping immigration address
The White House is exasperated with the major broadcast networks — ABC, CBS and NBC — for skipping out on President Barack Obama’s Thursday prime-time address on his executive actions on immigration.

“In 2006, [President George W.] Bush gave a 17-minute speech that was televised by all three networks that was about deploying 6,000 National Guard troops to the border. Obama is making a 10-minute speech that will have a vastly greater impact on the issue. And none of the networks are doing it. We can’t believe they were aggrieved that we announced this on Facebook,” a senior administration official told POLITICO.

When the president wants to make a prime-time address, White House officials will reach out to the big networks, like ABC, NBC and CBS, to gauge whether they would consider running the speech live before putting in a formal request for airtime.

(Video: President Obama's full immigration address)

But on Wednesday morning, with plans underway for a Thursday night address on Obama’s plans to issue executive actions on some of the most sweeping immigration reform in decades, those feelers came back with a negative report. None of the major networks wanted to take time away from their prime-time programming for Obama’s 8 p.m. speech. So the administration did not send out a formal request to the networks and took to Facebook to publicize the speech with a special video message from Obama along with a link to the livestream.

Heh - as the great Don Rickles - that would be the late great Rodney Dangerfield - said: Just can't get no respect!
Hey Barry - you have to earn it...

Met the people I needed to see and ran some errands in town - had a burger at Five Guys for dinner and headed back.

Working on the cabinets tonight. Lulu is coming back out to the farm tomorrow with her son - we are clearing out my Mom and Dad's condo Saturday so the contractor can start working. It will be nice to get it buffed back up again. Renting a truck with a liftgate and hiring four guys to help with the loading - should go relatively quickly and then it's over and done with.

Off to town this afternoon

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Meeting with some people. Probably get a bite to eat out there and then home again. Posting will be light for the next couple hours.

Hand-held Lasers - a development

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Holy crap - was at the Wicked Lasers website and this popped up:

20141120-wickedlasers.jpg

 

Makes sense on their part - these can cause immediate and irreparable damage to the eye if the beam even touches for an instant.

Ironic in that I held off getting one for a long time because they weren't powerful enough. Now they are too powerful.

UPDATE: Just checked their competitor - Survival Lasers and they are selling laser kits - bundles of pre-assembled modules which can be snapped together to yield a comlpete laser. They note on their website:

ATTENTION U.S. CUSTOMERS! Please visit our U.S.-specific web store at http://www.survivallaserusa.comThere are products on the international store that cannot be shipped to US addresses due to FDA regulations.

The U.S. Store has everything that the international store does except for the laser diodes themselves - the active part. Curious...

From the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Journal Sentinel:

Chief Flynn after Fire and Police Commission meeting
Police Chief Edward Flynn speaks to reporters after a Fire and Police Commission meeting Thursday night concerning the shooting of Dontre Hamilton. During the meeting, Flynn learned that a 5-year-old girl was shot and killed. Video by Ashley Luthern.

We need more people like him - someone who sees the truth for what it is and is not afraid to be politically incorrect.

We can but dream...

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20141120-nytimes.jpg

From vanderleun

Nothing but our best and brightest - gag me with a spoon...

An Earth-shattering Ka-Boom - Russia

More here and here - looks like it was not a meteor or bolide. Something on the ground blew up.

About that oil spill - Sea Shepard

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Pierre L. Gosselin writes the blog called NoTricksZone and posts about an oil spill on environmentalist ship the Sea Shepard:

Excuses Abound As Sea Shepard Negligently Dumps Up To Half A Tonne Of Diesel Fuel Into Trinity Inlet
Here’s a another example of how environmental activists like to beg, plead and claim real excuses when severe environmental accidents happen, yet when an accident is caused by anyone else they demand heads on a plate.

The Cairns Post here has an article: Sea Shepherd guilty of diesel spill that dropped up to 500 litres of diesel into the Trinity Inlet.

Hat-tip: reader Jim

The article is from earlier this year, but it neither got media attention nor the attention it deserves.

What really strikes me is that the environmental organization comes in with its lawyers and fights tooth and nail in claiming that they really acted responsibly and that the accident was not entirely their fault. The excuses they presented are truly sad and pathetic and show an amazing ignorance when it comes to industrial safety regulation and management.

For example, the Cairns Post writes:

A FAULTY switch and instruction manuals written entirely in Japanese have been blamed in court for why a ship owned by conservation group Sea Shepherd dropped up to 500 litres of diesel into the Trinity Inlet.”

Sorry, but using a piece of equipment that you do not understand is gross negligence. Sea Shepard’s motto here obviously was: Let’s just get this thing running (and safety be damned!)

It’s not for nothing that the fundamental industry standard for any piece of such equipment is: Be sure you have read the manual and have UNDERSTOOD it! The crew obviously could not read Japanese, let alone understand it. Here they should have requested a manual in English from the manufacturer, or at least shelled out the money for a translation, before recklessly attempting to put it into operation at sea. They should especially have at least understood the critical technical points dealing with fuel.

The Cairns Times reports that “a crew member named Gabor Nosty failed to manually flick the “low level” switch during a fuel transfer, despite being aware the switch was faulty.”

If that isn’t gross negligence, then I don’t what is. It is management’s responsibility to be sure that its personnel are qualified and trained to carry out the work they have been assigned to do. Most industrial norms and regulations aren’t there to harass companies, but to prevent accidents involving human life and health, property and the environment. The Sea Shepard crew ignored this entirely.

And not only could they not read the vessel’s operating manual, according to the Cairns Times the Sea Shepherd Australia had bought the ship from Japan a week earlier and “had yet to translate signage and manuals or repair the switch“. Again putting a piece of equipment into operation when its crucial safety signs cannot be read is extremely reckless. The crew can count themselves fortunate nothing much worse happened. We are not talking about a TV here, rather a large piece of industrial equipment with lots of power – with people on board – and all around you.

 This is just gross negligence - I do not care how experienced you are, every ship is different and has its own quirks. A brand new crew should have at least one month training on a vessel that size.

From France's English language news service - The Local

France gets new power to sack the president
Heads of state in France have until now enjoyed some of the strongest legal protections in the West - only removable in cases of high treason - a procedure that's never been used in modern France.

But all that changed on Wednesday when MPs were finally handed powers that would enable them to depose a president.

Given François Hollande's disastrous approval ratings, there may be many in France hoping these powers can be swiftly put to use.

Hollande has turned France into another socialist paradise - he raised taxes so high that many people and corporations fled to neighboring republics. Hollande's social programs are now bankrupting the government and the parasite class keeps voting for the free cheese without realizing the consequences of their actions.

The title of this post? Henry IV, Part II

Actually sounds useful - their website is here: Texas Shit Express

The list of their services is here: Services

Continuing on the theme - Truesbury

20141119-truesbury.jpg

Swiped from Vanderleun.
More Truesbury here: right-wing riot

The definition of tyranny

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Nice coincidence with the last post - was checking Michael Ramirez's site and he posted this today:

20141119-ramirez-tyrrany.jpg

The Federalist Papers are an important read these days - they are the foundation of what became our Constitution. James Madison wrote Federalist #47

There are also the Anti-Federalist Papers

The Constitution did not spring from thin air - these writings are our cultural DNA and are well worth the time to read.

The consequences of poorly written laws - I-594

Washington state initiative I-594 passed in November's election. It is a poorly written law designed to increase the hassle-factor of gun ownership. It will no absolutely nothing to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals or the mentally ill.

The Bellingham Herald has a perfect example of the unintended consequences:

Wary of new gun law, Lynden museum to pull WWII rifles from exhibit
The Lynden Pioneer Museum will remove World War II-era guns from a current exhibit and return them to their owners, to avoid violating the new background-check law, according to the museum’s director.

The new law, passed by voters this month as  Initiative 594, requires background checks on the recipients of guns in all sales or transfers, with exceptions for family members and antiques.

The 11 rifles the museum borrowed from collectors for the exhibit are too new to qualify as antique under the law, and I-594 is silent on any exemption for museum displays.

Just another example of the soft tyranny we are now living under - top down control over our lives run by people who are completely out of touch with reality. Their justification is 'good intent' not measurable positive outcome.

The museum is a really good one - well worth a visit: Lynden Pioneer Museum (website) (Facebook)

Large scale forging

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Here is blacksmithing on a large scale - beautiful film:

Barry Cant Arf Weld from shaun bloodworth on Vimeo.

Filmed at Firth Rixson Sheffield Forgings

Interstellar - the soundtrack UPDATE

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UPDATE: Well that was quick - the link has been taken down due to copyright violation...

 

I love movie music - the stuff that I like to do is just music for unknown films.

Favorite composers are Ennio Morricone, Bear McCreary (yea Bellingham!), Hans Zimmer and John Williams

I have not seen Interstellar yet but it sounds like an amazing movie and they got the science right.

Listening to Zimmer's soundtrack - he got it right too - this is gorgeous music.

Go and click on the Zimmer's soundtrack link and do something quiet for the next 80 minutes - listen - you will not be disapointed...

 

The good Professor's credentials are impeccable

Ferguson, Missouri

That city is about to erupt, mostly because of outside agitators and opportunists. Roger L. Simon has a great writeup:

Suppose They Gave a ‘Ferguson’ and Nobody Came?
Here we go again.  Ferguson…a place — let’s be honest — almost no one had heard of a few months ago…is once more going to be the center of the media universe.  All the usual suspects will be there — the tedious mega-reactionaries from MSNBC, the unwatchable bores from CNN, the wildly overheated conservatives from FOX — giving us wall-to-wall coverage of a sad but quotidian event that should have made, at best, the police blotter of the local paper.

A  cop shot a violent teenager who was attacking him in his car, loaded on dope. That’s national news?  Oh, I forgot.  The cop was white and the teenager was black? What if it was the other way around?  Wouldn’t even make that police blotter in a medium-sized city.  In that way it’s sort of like the umpteen black on black murders that permeate our urban landscape, so common but we never hear of even one on the nightly news.  Not interesting.  It’s as if those people never existed.  Talk about racism.  That’s the real racism, ignoring that and covering Ferguson.

Sorry, no Candy Crowley for those brothers.   Candy’s only interested when revolution is in the air and there is blood on the streets.  But as Gil Scott-Heron informed us way back in 1970, “The revolution will not be televised.” (Zo Rachel revised it later for PJTV — see above. ) Candy will not be there for the revolution.  She will only be there to cover for prevaricating presidents in foreign policy debates and, these days, if there is a revolution in the USA, it is not going to come from the left anyway. That’s over.  The left is too establishment to rebel now.  Too old-fashioned.  They can’t have a revolution against themselves, can they?

No, they have to concoct something in Ferguson. The big losers in all this are, of course, black people (or, if your prefer the reactionary neologism, African Americans). And their real enemy — aside from the obvious  Democratic Party that has oppressed them from time immemorial (or at least the Great Society) — are the media.  They are the ones who turn events like Ferguson into national news, exploiting and exacerbating the pervasive victimology that is wrecking black culture and making it worse.  And worse.  And worse — so that in the age of Obama it is careening toward the tragic. The media are the ones who pave the way for the Al Sharptons and the Jesse Jacksons.  Without the media, those leeches who, quite literally, despise their own people, or at least they act that way, would wither away and die.  Who would pay attention to them?

More at the site - Roger nails it. It isn't the residents, it is the rent-seeking poverty-pimps coming in from the outside to agitate.

Searching for Dark Matter - GPS

Curious paper from Nature Physics:

Hunting for topological dark matter with atomic clocks
The cosmological applications of atomic clocks so far have been limited to searches for the uniform-in-time drift of fundamental constants. We point out that a transient-in-time change of fundamental constants can be induced by dark-matter objects that have large spatial extent, such as stable topological defects built from light non-Standard Model fields. Networks of correlated atomic clocks, some of them already in existence, such as the Global Positioning System, can be used as a powerful tool to search for topological defect dark matter, thus providing another important fundamental physics application for the ever-improving accuracy of atomic clocks. During the encounter with an extended dark-matter object, as it sweeps through the network, initially synchronized clocks will become desynchronized. Time discrepancies between spatially separated clocks are expected to exhibit a distinct signature, encoding the defect’s space structure and its interaction strength with atoms.

 Clocks are getting so accurate that the ones deployed on the GPS satellites are accurate enough for measurements like this. Timekeeping is a fun mix of art and science.

Say that three times quickly. From the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory:

With Electron Beams, NRL to Clean Up NOx Emissions from Coal Power Plant
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has partnered with a power company to apply its pulsed electron beam technology to reduce the nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide (NOx) emitted by coal power plants. "This is an opportunity for NRL to a get a technology that we developed here out in the real world," says Dr. John Sethian, the plasma physicist leading the project at NRL, "not only to show the technology works, but that NRL's contributing to cleaner energy."

The concept is to inject electron beams into the exhaust of a fossil fuel power plant and, firing them in pulses, break apart the NOx bonds. When the bonds between the nitrogen (N) and oxygen (O) atoms are ruptured, says Sethian, "They naturally want to combine into just pure nitrogen and pure oxygen, because those are the most stable substances. That's what you're breathing right now."

And a little bit of serendipity:

The NRL electron beam system, dubbed Electra, was originally developed as part of NRL's laser fusion program. If the electrons are fired into a KrF gas (instead of into a flue gas, as with the NOx application), they excite the molecules in the gas and produce KrF laser light. "KrF lasers have unique features," says Sethian, "such as a very smooth laser beam." This makes them ideal for driving a fusion reaction in a pea-sized pellet.

This would be wonderful if it scales up.

Meteorologist Tim Buckley works for Greensboro, NC station WFMY-TV. He notes on his Facebook page:

Posted Mon. Nov 17 with forecast low temps for Tue Nov 18
Parts of all 50 states to have low temperatures BELOW freezing tonight.

Yes, even Hawaii. Tall mountain peaks there regularly get below freezing, and even get snow.

This typically happens a few times during winter, but is very rare this early in the season.

Pretty neat!

20141118-50_states_freezing.jpg

Warming anyone?

Kind of focused on getting the cabinet together so minimal surfing. I will be at 'work' all day tomorrow so will post then.

This puppy is starting to look really good - taking my time building it, make sure everything looks as good as it can.  The casework on the synthesizers is gorgeous - solid walnut and finished beautifully. Making me step up to the plate, bringing my woodworking game...

Now to find a blacksmithing touch or two to add... And, finish wiring the shop with the new feed - that is about 70% done but missing a lot of critical systems - room lighting for one.

A great observation from Jerry Pournelle

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Dr. Pournelle is a science-fiction writer and has spent a lot of time looking at (and trying to understand) various cultures around the world. Different cultures are the heart of good science-fiction - a cool robot or starship is just a plot device, you cannot build a story on it alone. You need to meet and greet (or be eaten by) different cultures.

He wrote this today - talking about the rise of ISIS and today's beheading of yet another American citizen:

The Caliphate has beheaded another American, in public, in an attempt to provoke blind retaliation. They invite retaliation. We have the means to do it without taking significant numbers of casualties. They want us to come break things and kill people. Every bomb that falls out of the sky killing people below has an effect.

What might they be thinking?

Suppose you were a young Sunni Moslem whose family has lived in Mesopotamia since a wandering herder named Abraham left for the West.

Might you think like this?

“Who are these Americans and what do they want? They came in and removed Saddam, who was a tyrant, but he was not intolerant of Sunni, even though his war was with Shia Iran. Iran fought like barbarians against us. We fought back. My grandfather was killed in that war, fighting with ancient weapons. We were triumphing, when the Americans intervened the first time. Then someone we do not know killed several thousand Americans and brought down their tallest buildings. Sunni men, willing to die for the Prophet, PBUH. America for no reason blamed us.

America came in with bombs and tanks and overwhelming force. They beheaded Saddam. They killed 100,000 of us, most Sunni, then set up a government of Shiites who proceeded to burn our mosques, turn our people out of office, destroy our economy, and drive Sunni into the desert as Shia took over their homes and lands. The Americans armed the Shia, trained their soldiers, and fought on their side – and then left, leaving all those weapons with the Shia.

Whereupon the Caliphate came in and invited us to join them. They came and fought like men. The Shia ran away abandoning all those weapons left by the United States. The Caliph has those weapons now, and we are invited to join his forces, may Allah grant him wisdom. The Caliphate is recognized as a government by Sweden. The Caliph tells us that he is restoring the law of the Prophet, PBUH.

What do these Americans want? They do not tell us. Why do they bomb us? We do not know. Then send spies, and drones with bombs and rockets. What do they want, and why should we prefer it to the Law of the Prophet?”

Well thought out. We are stumbling around there in our pajamas, not fully awake, not fully aware. Kerry is an impotent fool and nobody at SecState has an ounce of cojones between them.

Back home - bundles of joy

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The synth goddess dropped off four more packages today. Today was a long day what with two appointments, a long household shopping list and the usual store buying run. Just got back home and halfway munching down an egg-roll and some homemade cole-slaw (I have that recipe nailed) and got a chicken breast thawing out and the barbecue heating up.

Lulu went into town for a few days this afternoon - her son had stuff to do and she needed to do some shopping.

Tonight, I will be putting on a second coat of paint on the exposed surfaces and will start assembling the cabinet tomorrow. Maybe even play hooky from the store for an hour or so.

The two new cabinets that showed up today will be a lot of fun. They are half the height of the other four - a single row of modules each but these have some of the more interesting functions. More exotic filters, reverberation, echo, ring modulator (everyone needs one of those!) as well as voltage control options. This puppy will be a monster when fully assembled. Some people at the store were talking about a staff Christmas party here in January - people will be wanting a demonstration then. Should be a lot of fun!

Fix dinner and then to work - minimal posting tonight.

Another day in paradise

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Heading out a bit early to do the shopping run for the store. 

Have two meetings in town plus the household shopping list is pretty large - going to be a long day.

Gorgeous but cold - 17.1°F an hour ago - there was a bit of overcast last night so the Milky Way photo is out for a while. If I can see the sky-glow from Abbotsford, the seeing is sub-optimal.

More moisture is scheduled to move in over the next two days with rain forecast for Wednesday evening.

Flame on

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The burn pile was getting a bit large and with the four boxes that came, it was time to let 'er rip.

Shot a video so will post a clip on the Tube of You in a day or two - after the cabinet gets finished.

Watching paint dry

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Painting the cabinets for the synth - assemble them tonight, put another coat of paint on the outside surfaces late tonight.

20141114-synth08.jpg

This is the top of the cabinet. I will be facing the edges with stained oak molding. The sheet is Medium Density Overlay - wonderful stuff to work with. Dead smooth surface - it was originally developed for sign painting but is now used everywhere.

By a stroke of Murphy's Law the two stacks of the synthesizer are about 4'2" each - this eliminates using a standard 4' x 8' sheet. Fortunately, there is a Windsor Plywood in town and they were happy to get a couple sheets of 4' x 10' MDO for me.

The base of the cabinet will be five 19" electronics racks - killing two birds with one stone. I had originally planned to move my equipment racks into the storage closet in the music room but I put up regular wire shelving and will use the cabinets for the music stuff - makes much better sense.

20141114-synth09.jpg

These are some of the pieces of MDO that will support the racks - I am using a 12U rack rails so these are 22" high (the rails are 21" long but I am allowing 0.5" on each side for airflow).

Coming together nicely...

Today? Painting and assembling.

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Rolling out the paint on the cabinet and then assembling it. I want the glue to sit for 24 hours before I put the synthesizer cabinets on - these puppies are heavy!

Woke up this morning to the smell of bacon - Lulu fixed breakfast today. Mmmmmmmmm... Bacon!

Got down to 14.2°F last night and is a balmy 23° now. Looked outside last night and it was too overcast to try the Milky Way photo.

First music sounds Noise

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Got two of the cabinets hooked up and got the expected bleeps and bloops.

Hello World! for synthesizers.

Spent the afternoon cutting the last of the sheet goods for the cabinet. Paint tomorrow. Assemble Monday and by then, the remaining cabinets should have arrived. Lulu and I work well together. Big surprise...

Got some beef stew in the pressure cooker for dinner - perfect weather for it.

Some more synth pron

Shot a couple more photos as I am unpacking:

20141114-synth05.jpg

Lower left and lower right cabinets on tables in the living room - waiting for the cabinet I am building. The lower left is mostly input functions and some control processing, the lower right is a stand-alone synth with four oscillators, four envelope generators, four voltage controlled amplifiers and two each of two different kinds of filter. A mixer rounds it out.

20141114-synth06.jpg

On the left, we have two copies of R.A. Moog's classical stepped sequencer brought up to modern standards. If you remember the pulsing repetitive lines of Tangerine Dream - that is the Moog 960 Sequential Controller at work. There are four oscillators on the right to round out this cabinet.

 

20141114-synth07.jpg

This last cabinet (for now - there are four more boxes in transit - two more cabinets and some accessories) is another sequencer and a bunch of oscillators, filters and controllers.

It has now warmed up to a balmy 35.4°F outside so Lulu and I are going to haul away the packing crates and start building the cabinet. She is pretty handy with tools so this will be a lot of fun.

Holy crap is it cold

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The temp got down to 13.6°F last night around 4:00AM

Got rain and normal temperatures coming in around Tuesday/Wednesday of next week.

The skies are forecast to be dead clear tonight and tomorrow so will try again for the MilkyWay shot.

No posting tonight

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Still unwraping - she is a beauty...

Big boxes

I have been working with electronic music for the last forty years and finally bit the bullet and ordered an analog synthesizer from this guy.

The wonderful UPS lady delivered four of the eight boxes this morning. I'll be unpacking them later tonight after dinner. Here are some photos:

20141114-synth01.jpg

20141114-synth02.jpg

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20141114-synth04.jpg

This one cabinet will sit at the bottom left - it has all the inputs so I can plug in a microphone or instrument, some control pedals, it has various modules for signal routing and basic processing.

The black panels are for existing modules that I already have - there is a thriving home-brew community and I have a nice small system put together from these designs.

Four more boxes en-route!

Biologists having way to much fun

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Only 2,388,714 bacteria were killed during the making of this film:

 

Playing hooky and ccccccold

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Shuttering the business for today - heading into town to take care of some stuff at the condo.

Got down to 14.0°F last night - I had thought about photographing the night sky but the last couple of nights have had very high thin clouds. The Milky Way was only prime on that first night when I had the good camera at the store. Photography is like that at times....

A great story from Paul, Dammit!

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Paul, Dammit! is a commercial mariner and writes wonderfully at hawsepiper. He occasionally mentions that he is married to an Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife.

Yesterday marked his ninth anniversary of meeting said Brazilian woman and it is fun to read:

vanity piece
In order to get my hands on the woman who was to become my wife, I kicked the legs out from under one of my best friends, and planted a foot on his back before diving over him.

Just go and read the rest...

I remember the day I met Lulu - not as dramatic but just as life-changing.

Grubergate - a compilation

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Jonathin Gruber is the MIT Economist who was the architect of Obamacare.

A number of his videos are surfacing - here is a compilation:

 

This guy is so toxic that people are denying knowing him - to the enjoyment of many - from FOX News:

Pelosi cited ObamaCare architect in push for law – now claims she hasn’t heard of him
Nancy Pelosi claimed Thursday she didn’t know who ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber is, after several tapes surfaced showing him gloating about how the law was written to take advantage of the stupidity of the American voter.

Problem is, Gruber’s analysis of the law was cited extensively by her office back in 2009.

Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, tried to downplay Gruber’s role during a press conference on Thursday.

She claimed she doesn’t know who he is, and that he didn’t help write the law. “Let’s put him aside,” she said.

Time to make a big bowl of popcorn and sit back and watch the show...

Barry was a good little boy during the run-up to the 2014 elections - didn't want to make waves that would influence voters. Now that this has passed, it's time to take out the pen and phone.

From FOX News:

Source: Obama to announce 10-point immigration plan via exec action as early as next week
President Obama is planning to unveil a 10-part plan for overhauling U.S. immigration policy via executive action -- including suspending deportations for millions -- as early as next Friday, a source close to the White House told Fox News. 

The president's plans were contained in a draft proposal from a U.S. government agency. The source said the plan could be announced as early as Nov. 21, though the date might slip a few days pending final White House approval. 

Obama was briefed at the White House by Homeland Security officials before leaving on his Asia-Pacific trip last week, Fox News has learned. 

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters traveling with Obama in Burma Thursday that the president had not made a final decision on any executive actions concerning immigration and would not announce any until he returned to Washington. 

The draft plan, though, contains 10 initiatives that span everything from boosting border security to improving pay for immigration officers. 

But the most controversial pertain to the millions who could get a deportation reprieve under what is known as "deferred action." 

When the economy and the jobs market are in the toilet, why do we need even more people to take care of?

An upcoming rally

Outside interests spent over $10 million dollars in the last election to promote Initiative 594. This is poorly written and basically hamstrings any gun transfer or sale. If Lulu or Curtis used one of my guns for target practice, I would need to submit records to the State. This will do nothing to stop mentally ill people and criminals from obtaining guns and will do everything to limit citizen gun ownership.

There is going to be a rally in the WA State capital (Olympia) - I might have to attend.

From Gavin Sein:

Pass the word. WE STAND!
On Nov 4th 2014 a new gun law was passed in Washington that will make as much as handing a friend your gun a felony. We will not tolerate this law and I am going to do what I said I would do in my video.

Will you bow down and lick the boots of tyrants, or will you stand for the liberty of your children?

We’re not waiting for politicians, judges or lawyers. Our birthright is NOT to be touched. We call on our Sheriffs, local representatives and legislators to stand with us and uphold their oaths. The Constitution is the supreme law and our God given rights are NOT open for negotiation. We choose to uphold the law as peacefully and principled as possible, but it will be upheld.

We will buy and sell guns from whom we please, we will not submit to background checks, we will not give up our rights, WE WILL NOT Comply. On Dec 13th we will hold our first rally at the capital, openly exchange guns, unveil and plan to break apart the entire legislation and violate i594 in every possible way. Because ALL law that violates the Constitution is not law, it is VOID!

This is our time Washington. Lets show the world how liberty is done.

 

More on the rally here: 12/13/14 I will Not Comply Rally Q&A

Wind power - fail

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A dose of reality from this article at Oregon Public Broadcasting:

Paying Wind Generators Not To Produce Power
Chances are your utility bill has gone up this year if you live in the Northwest. One small part of the reason may be that you’re paying for electricity that was never generated.

The Bonneville Power Administration operates the federal hydropower dams in the Columbia Basin. In springtime, during snow melt, there can be so much water in the river that – combined with the output of the dozens of wind farms that have cropped up in Oregon and Washington – there’s more electricity in the system than anyone can use.

Dam operators could dump the extra water over the spillways. But as the BPA’s Doug Johnson explains, that causes problems for salmon and other fish.

“When there’s a lot of water coming down, what happens is you get a lot of dissolved gas in the water,” he said. “This can be harmful to those fish.”

To avoid that, the excess water gets run through the turbines. This leaves BPA with lots of electricity and nowhere to put it. So, Johnson says, there’s really only one solution.

“What’s left is our ability in an orderly fashion to take wind off the system and serve the load with hydro,” he said.

But, shutting down the wind generators has a cost. When the BPA takes them off line, it compensates the wind farms for the costs of not generating electricity when the wind is blowing.

Under the policy known as the Oversupply Management Protocol, so-called “oversupply events” mean the wind generators are entitled to compensation — not only for the value of the power they didn’t get to sell, but also for the tax credits and other income they would have received had they been allowed to make power. For the dozen oversupply events that happened in 2012, that compensation comes to about $2.7 million.

We pay subsidies from our tax dollars to put them up and now, we are paying money out of our utility bills to keep them from generating. If the person who devised this scam worked in the private sector, they would be out of work and in jail for fraud.

Government? That's a promotion!

From Bob Tisdale writing at Watts Up With That:

Seven Years Ago, An IPCC Lead Author Exposed Critical Weaknesses of the IPCC Foretelling Tools
NCAR’s Dr. Kevin Trenberth was a lead author of the IPCC’s 2nd, 3rd and 4th Assessment Reports.  Near to the publication of the IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report 7 years ago, Dr. Trenberth penned a blog post at Nature.com Predictions of climate—a blog post that exposed many critical weaknesses in the climate models used by the IPCC for divining the future of climate on Earth.  The post was filled with extraordinary quotes, including:

    • …none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate.
    • In particular, the state of the oceans, sea ice, and soil moisture has no relationship to the observed state at any recent time in any of the IPCC models.
    • Moreover, the starting climate state in several of the models may depart significantly from the real climate owing to model errors.
    • … if the current state is one of drought then it is unlikely to get drier, but unrealistic model states and model biases can easily violate such constraints and project drier conditions.
    • However, the science is not done because we do not have reliable or regional predictions of climate.
    • So the science is just beginning.
    • We will adapt to climate change. The question is whether it will be planned or not?

Those are powerful statements.  Please read Trenberth’s blog post in its entirety.  You’ll find those quotes were reinforced by much of the remaining text.   Occasionally, Trenberth interjected what could be considered global warming dogma to temper the critical aspects of the remainder.

One of Trenberth’s statements stands out as self-deception, plain and simple:

The current projection method works to the extent it does because it utilizes differences from one time to another and the main model bias and systematic errors are thereby subtracted out. This assumes linearity.

Seven years later everyone knows the “current projection method” does not work.  The climate science community has known all along that Earth’s climate is chaotic and non-linear.  It was only a matter of time until their “current projection method” failed, and it didn’t take long.

Stick a fork in it - Anthropogenic Global Warming is done. It is not science, it is marxism masquerading as science.

This looks fscking awesome!!!

Been a fan of Die Antwoord for a long time

From DIY Photography:

[Rumor] Sony To Release Game Changing Sensor Technology With An New APC Sensor
Sony Alpha Rumors shared a juicy tidbit this morning when they announced Sony may be developing a new sensor Sony has dubbed the Active Pixel Color Sampling Sensor (APCS). Sony Alpha Rumors gave the rumor a SR4 rating, meaning the rumor came from trusted sources and will most likely be confirmed. It is expected Sony will make an announcement regarding the APCS in 2015, and as promising as the leaked spec sheets makes the sensor tech look, it might be worth the wait.

They show the rumored spec sheet - what stands out is the capacity to do full 2K video (2048 X 1080) at 16,000 frames per second and 4K (6144 X 2160) at 240 FPS. 16,000 FPS is fast enough to photograph a bullet in flight. I love doing time-lapse photography - been doing it a lot. What I would also love is to do is high-speed photography. Now it looks like this is becoming affordable.

Right place, right time - giant jet

From Watts up with That:

TLE…transient luminous event captured on video from a thunderstorm
Guest essay by Mike Alger, Chief Meteorologist, KTVN-TV,Reno, NV

Here’s something you don’t see every day. Flying a mission for the Air Force, Capt. Ryan McGuire started rolling some video (I believe with an iPhone through night vision goggles) of a very active thunderstorm cell somewhere over the Indian Ocean. Hoping to just catch some of the regular lightning (which is seen in abundance), he caught a very rare instance of a “Gigantic Jet.” A Gigantic Jet is a type of upper atmospheric lightning (also called a TLE…transient luminous event) which discharges from the tops of very strong thunderstorms from the stratosphere all the way into the ionosphere. Gigantic Jets can be over 40 miles in length.

Capt. McGuire shared the video with fellow Capt. Clark Beesemyer. Curious as to what the upward shooting streak was, Capt. Beesemyer sent the video to my co-anchor Arianna Bennett, and asked her to show it to her station’s meteorologist (yours truly.) I was thrilled to get such a rare glimpse of an incredibly cool phenomenon.

In the last twenty years, we have begun seeing these phenomena associated with thunderstorms.  Before, they were simply unknown - now we know where to look. Very cool indeed!

Back home again

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The food conference was a lot of fun but had to bail out early to meet with the managers of my Mom and Dad's storage locker - the keys to the units are long gone. Had chinese for dinner and now back and settling in to read the internet from cover to cover as I usually do every day.

Getting very cold tonight - it got down to 20.3°F last night around 5:00AM - it is only 8:00PM and already down to 21.4°F

The bird feeders are almost empty - put them out a few days ago and they have been mobbed. Fill them tomorrow before heading off to work.

Off for the day

Doing the PA system for a local food event and then heading into town to visit my Mom and Dad's storage locker.

Probably grab dinner in town so no posting until much later.

Hats off to the European Space Angency for their sucessful landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

The ESA's website is here: Rosetta - rendevous with a comet.

They are featuring live streaming of the event but most of the excitement has died down. Details of the landing are here:

Touchdown! Rosetta’s Philae probe lands on comet
ESA’s Rosetta mission has soft-landed its Philae probe on a comet, the first time in history that such an extraordinary feat has been achieved.

After a tense wait during the seven-hour descent to the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, the signal confirming the successful touchdown arrived on Earth at 16:03 GMT (17:03 CET).

The confirmation was relayed via the Rosetta orbiter to Earth and picked up simultaneously by ESA’s ground station in Malargüe, Argentina and NASA’s station in Madrid, Spain. The signal was immediately confirmed at ESA’s Space Operations Centre, ESOC, in Darmstadt, and DLR’s Lander Control Centre in Cologne, both in Germany.

The first data from the lander’s instruments were transmitted to the Philae Science, Operations and Navigation Centre at France’s CNES space agency in Toulouse.

“Our ambitious Rosetta mission has secured a place in the history books: not only is it the first to rendezvous with and orbit a comet, but it is now also the first to deliver a lander to a comet’s surface,” noted Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA’s Director General.

 The mission was launched in March 2004. Quite the long journey.

Microsoft in the news - open source and free

Some wonderful news from Microsoft.

First - from Microsoft:

Microsoft takes .NET open source and cross-platform, adds new development capabilities with Visual Studio 2015, .NET 2015 and Visual Studio Online
On Wednesday, Microsoft Corp. reinforced its commitment to cross-platform developer experiences by open sourcing the full server-side .NET stack and expanding .NET to run on the Linux and Mac OS platforms.

More:

“With billions of devices in the market today, developers need tools that target many different form factors and platforms,” said S. Somasegar, corporate vice president, Developer Division, Microsoft. “Through Visual Studio and .NET we are committed to delivering a comprehensive end-to-end solution for developers to build and manage applications across multiple devices and platforms.”

.NET is their core package for writing stand-alone applications for Windows as well as web based apps - open sourcing this and making it available for Mac and Linux is an incredibly good move.

Second - from TechCrunch:

Microsoft Launches Free, Unrestricted Version Of Visual Studio For Small Teams
Microsoft today launched the Community 2013 edition of Visual Studio, which essentially replaces the very limited Visual Studio Express version the company has been offering for a few years now.

There is a huge difference between Visual Studio Express and the aptly named Visual Studio 2013 Community edition, though: The new version is extensible, so get access to the over 5,100 extensions now in the Visual Studio ecosystem. It’s basically a full version of Visual Studio with no restrictions, except that you can’t use it in an enterprise setting and for teams with more than five people (you can, however, use it for any other kind of commercial and non-commercial project).

“The simple way to think about this is that we are broadening up access to Visual Studio,” Microsoft’s corporate VP of its Developer Division S. “Soma” Somasegar told me in an interview late last month. Somasegar told me that the Community Edition will allow you to build any kind of application for the Web, mobile devices, desktop and the cloud. “It’s a full features version of Visual Studio,” he noted. “It includes the full richness of the Visual Studio extensions and ecosystem.”

Very cool - there are some premium enhancements that still require a subscription to MSDN but Visual Studio by itself is incredibly powerful - it is the default development tool for 99% of all Windows applications

Cold snap - winter is here

It got down to 20.3°F last night - a couple degrees colder than I was expecting.

I am bringing the camera home and will try a shot of the Milky Way tonight. Forecast tonight is Mostly Clear.

Fareed Zakaria - plagiarist

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Fareed Zakaria? From his own website:

Fareed Zakaria is host of CNN’s flagship foreign affairs show, a Washington Post columnist, a contributing editor for The Atlantic and a New York Times bestselling author.   Esquire Magazine  called him “the most influential foreign policy adviser of his generation.”

From this tongue-bath at New York Magazine:

Man of the World
Newsweek columnist Fareed Zakaria has the perfect intellectual pedigree (Indian-born, educated at Harvard, conservative) for a fast-changing world, and the kinds of friends in high places who can push a career into overdrive. The first Muslim secretary of State? Don’t bet against it.

My friends all say i’m going to be Secretary of State,” fareed Zakaria muses from a banquette in the Grill Room at The Four Seasons. “But I don’t see how that would be much different from the job I have now.”

The 39-year-old Newsweek foreign-affairs columnist is about to expand on this thought. But then Donald Marron, the former CEO of PaineWebber, walks over with Ken Duberstein, the former Reagan lieutenant, in tow. Cordial and courtly, Zakaria charms the two elder lions before picking up the thread of conversation. He’s not boasting. He’s comparing the core requirements of his job as a columnist—boning up on policy positions, balancing competing points of view, then making a clear, stick-out-your-neck decision—to the job of running the State Department.

Would he want the job? Before he can answer, Mort Zuckerman, who’s been having lunch with Ed Kosner, the editor of Zuckerman’s Daily News, heaves into view. Zuckerman praises the young man genuinely, then moves on. But a few feet away, at the top of the restaurant’s stairs, the real-estate developer and media dabbler stops to examine a blowup of the cover of Cosmopolitan, directing guests to an advertiser’s lunch in the Pool Room next door. Zuckerman considers the voluptuous model who seems to be staring at Zakaria with a smoldering look, then delivers his punch line: “This guy’s so hot even the cover girl wants to meet him.”

Fareed Zakaria may not be a sex symbol yet—or on anyone’s shortlist for secretary of State either (at least not this decade). But since 9/11, when he wrote a defining piece on the meaning of the terror attacks, he’s become one of the more influential and original voices on American foreign policy and politics. He’s an Indian-born, Yale- and Harvard-educated Muslim who moves easily between Condoleezza Rice and Pervez Musharraf, Tony Blair and Prince Turki Al-Faisal. He’s a conservative who is willing to question one of the most cherished principles of the West—democracy—but also a naturalized citizen who believes in America’s world-historical mission. And this week, he publishes The Future of Freedom, a contrarian book that mixes history and political analysis to make a case that individual liberty, not democracy, is the prerequisite for a nation’s economic and political growth. This just as the country wraps up a war to bring democracy to Iraq.

This is now crashing down around his ears. From Our Bad Media:

Fareed Zakaria Is Apparently Editing His Own Wikipedia To Remove Plagiarism Allegations

Newsweek Corrected 7 of Fareed Zakaria’s Plagiarized Articles; The Washington Post Needs To Do The Same For These 6

Yes, The Indefensible Fareed Zakaria Also Plagiarized In His Fancy Liquor Columns For Slate

Fareed Zakaria Never Stopped Plagiarizing: How Dozens Of Episodes Of His CNN Show Ripped Others Off

The Paste-American World: How Fareed Zakaria Plagiarized In His International Bestseller (And The Magazines He Used To Run)

How And Why Lying About Plagiarism Is Bad – A Response To Fareed Zakaria And Fred Hiatt

Did CNN, The Washington Post, and TIME Actually Check Fareed Zakaria’s Work For Plagiarism?

These articles I link to are not puff-pieces. Each one of them documents multiple cases of plagiarism complete with screen-caps of original sources compared with Zakaria's own "writings".

He has been in hot water for this since 2012 - the media are going to bat for him calling these instances "isolated" but no; Fareed Zakaria is a serial plagiarist.

It will be interesting to see how this will be spun - not that I am expecting anything different from the mainstream media...

That's all folks

Heading upstairs to bed. It is now 25.8°F outside and I have an early morning ahead getting feed out to the Llamas and birds and plugging in the stock tank heaters. Should have done the latter tonight when I got home but it was dark and cold and I was hungry. They like to drink out of one of the creeks so the tanks are a secondary source.

I read the internet again tonight but didn't see anything new that caught my eye.

Cold night

Time to let the dogs sleep on the bed again. Dead clear sky - the Milky Way is visible despite a half million people living 20 miles to the North.

The camera I would use was left at the office but I will try some star photos tomorrow night - should be as clear as tonight.

Downside to the clear sky is that it got down to 28.8°F last night and I am expecting it to get a few degrees colder tonight. Like I said - cold night.

Sure could use some global warming right about now.

Doing PA for Foothills Food Summit at the Resource Center tomorrow afternoon - should be fun!

The real cost of alt.energy

I am all for alt.energy when there is no other option but to try to use it to replace baseline generation is just plain stupid.

From Forbes:

Thermal Solar Energy -- Some Technologies Really Are Dumb
The largest solar energy facility in the world is already irrelevant and has cost a lot more to construct than any other form of energy. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is a 5-square-mile, 392 MW array that cost $2.2 billion. It is located in the Mojave Desert, where the Sun always shines, and is supposed to produce a billion kWhs per year for 25 years.

But there’s a problem – the Sun does not seem to be cooperating. A spokesman for NRG Energy blamed the weather, saying the Sun didn’t perform as predicted.

Instead of a billion kWhs of electricity, this year Ivanpah will produce less than 0.4 billion kWhrs, making its capacity factor only 12%, not the 30% advertised. And certainly not the 90% of base load generators like nuclear power.

The author mentions the little bird 'problem'

To its credit, Ivanpah has shown us what the issues are with this technology. It is extremely expensive to build and doesn’t produce much energy for that cost. Its efficiency is less than expected, and it kills birds in a way that no one anticipated.

From a distance, birds see the mirrors as water and, in a desert, that will always attract them. As they approach the array, birds get torched in the 800° F solar beams. A recent study released by the California Energy Commission called Ivanpah a “mega-trap” that will kill tens of thousands of birds a year.

And they run the numbers:

At this level of operation, over 20 Ivanpahs (at a cost of $50 billion) would be needed to produce the 9 billion kWhs that a single nuclear reactor produced last year. 40 Ivanpahs, costing about $85 billion and having triple the carbon footprint, are needed to replace the loss of the two reactors at California’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Not looking good for alt.energy these days - even windmill proponents are starting to wake up...

The high cost of fracking - Oh. Wait.

From the Institute for Energy Research:

Hydraulic Fracturing Saved Consumers Up to $248 Billion Last Year
Using historical price and production data for the years 2008 to 2013, a new study has found that hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling applied to shale oil formations saved consumers between $63 and $248 billion in 2013 (and a cumulative savings between $165 and $624 billion.) Without these technologies, international crude oil prices would have averaged $122 to $150 per barrel– $12 to $40 a barrel more or between $0.29 and $0.94 per gallon more on gasoline and other refined products.   President Obama’s insistence that “we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices” has been proven dead wrong.

The U.S. energy renaissance has been driven by innovations in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. About 48 percent of U.S. oil, condensate and natural gas liquids production in 2013 came from shale formations produced using these technologies—up from 11 percent of U.S. production in 2008. Total production of these fuels from shale oil formations in 2013 was 4.78 million barrels per day. Nearly every barrel of new U.S. oil production is attributable to the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies.

This does not fit their narrative so we do not hear about it.

Hat tip to Maggie's Farm for the link.

One month and counting - Ice Free Arctic

From Steven Goddard at Real Science:

Only One Month Until The Al Gore Ice-Free Arctic
On December 10, 2007 Nobel Laureate Al Gore predicted an ice-free Arctic “seven years from now” That date rapidly approaches, with Arctic sea ice at a ten year high.

Buffoon - from Wiktionary:

In the United States the term is used most commonly to describe inappropriate, clownish figures on the public stage; here the behavior of a variety of public figures have caused them to be described as buffoons by their political opponents.

Interesting news - The Foundation Trilogy

From The Wrap:

‘Interstellar's’ Jonah Nolan Developing ‘Foundation’ Series for HBO, WBTV (Exclusive)
HBO and Warner Bros. TV are teaming to produce a series based on Isaac Asimov's “Foundation” trilogy that will be written and produced by “Interstellar” writer Jonathan Nolan, multiple individuals familiar with the project have told TheWrap.

Nolan, who is already working with HBO on “Westworld,” has been quietly developing the project for the last several months. He recently tipped his hand to Indiewire, which asked him, ‘what's the one piece of science fiction you truly love that people don't know enough about?’

“Well, I fucking love the ‘Foundation’ novels by Isaac Asimov. They're certainly not [unknown], but that's a set of books I think everyone would benefit from reading. That's a set of books where the influence they have is just fucking massive. They have many imitators and many have been inspired by them, but go back and read those, and there are some ideas in those that'll set your fucking hair on fire,” Nolan told Indiewire.

Representatives for HBO and WBTV had no comment, while a representative for Nolan didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

It will be interesting to see - loved the trilogy when I read it.

My morning commute

Following Lulu's video of me taking a walk, here is one of my morning commute:

20141111-morning-commute.gif

Mythbusters v/s Ghostbusters - epic rap battle

And we should not forget this one:

Now this is clever - cloud heating

From Datacenter Dynamics:

Germans get free heating from the cloud
The idea of cloud heating won’t go away. Germany now has a company, Cloud&Heat, which offers free hot water from a distributed data center installed in your office.

Cloud&Heat places servers on remote premises (potentially your office). They process data for Cloud&Heat’s data customers, and heat your building with the waste heat. Cloud customers get cheap pay-as-you-go cloud compute, block storage and object storage, based on OpenStack. Heat customers (the people who host the server cabinets) get free heating.

It’s a similar deal to Qarnot, the French outfit we mentioned a couple of weeks back. But where Qarnot is planning to offer domestic heating with a wall-mounted four-processor radiator, Cloud&Heat is pitching a bigger unit. Its site says it could work for single-family dwellings, but the pictures show a  sizable cabinet that would be more at home on business premises.

The last lab I worked at at MSFT had over 1,500 computers - we simulated large loads against servers. What happens if 30,000 B&N customers try to order a book. The room had specialized cooling and if it went down, the air temp would quickly rise to over 90°F in twenty minutes. We would have to power down the test racks until the HVAC people fixed the problem. The coolers were built by a certain German company whose name begins with 'S'. I would never do business with them ever - they have quite the industry reputation.

Talk about turning a liability into a virture...

Very interesting - ending food waste

From The Times of Israel:

Could an Israeli-created innovation end world hunger?
Between a third and half of the food grown today never makes it to market. Produce of all kinds is “lost” to spoilage and disease, due mostly to transportation, storage, and other logistics issues. As a result, hundreds of millions of people still go hungry – but they don’t have to, thanks to an invention by Israel’s Pimi Agro. By applying a formula based on hydrogen peroxide — “with a few key additions,” said Nimrod Ben-Yehuda, CTO and co-founder of Pimi – fruits and vegetables remain fresh and viable for up to 10 weeks, significantly cutting losses due to rot and deterioration during the transportation process.

Technology like this, he believes, could make a major dent in world hunger. In the coming months, Pimi plans to introduce these inventions to the United Nations and other international institutions. “For places like India, China, and Africa, this is huge, especially because the transportation systems in those areas are slow and refrigeration is hard to come by,” said Ben-Yehuda. “You could walk from one end of India to the other over a period of 10 weeks, and the vegetables and fruit you carry will still be fresh for the entire time.”

It sounds like a fantastic claim, but one Pimi can prove through the extensive scientific studies the company has undertaken over the past decade – studies that were persuasive enough for agricultural and food authorities around the world, including in the US, UK, Germany, Australia, China, and many other countries, to approve Pimi’s all-natural, zero-chemical method of preserving produce.

They’ve also been persuasive enough for no less than Wal-Mart and SunPacific – one the largest retailer in America, and the other the largest shipper of citrus fruit there – to conduct large-scale field tests of Pimi’s technology, with an eye towards licensing it for everyday use, said Ben-Yehuda. “We’ve been speaking to Wal-Mart about how to market produce treated with our products. They’re not necessarily organic, but they are much healthier than ordinary produce – besides having a much longer shelf life – because farmers can cut down significantly on the use of fungicides.”

Very cool - if WalMart is interested, it must be real, say what you will about their hiring and marketing practices, they did not get to where they are by being stupid.

A bit more:

Although Pimi’s business prospects appear great, it’s not just about profit for Ben-Yehuda. “We see this technology as something that can really help to alleviate world hunger, and we plan to submit a report to the UN, the World Bank, and other international groups, showing how wide-scale deployment of our methods could help feed many more people,” he said. “The world – especially the developing world – loses half of what it grows to rot and disease. More produce means more food to feed hungry people, and our methods don’t require the deployment of dangerous chemicals or expensive and questionable genetic reformulations of fruits and vegetables. With our products, we believe there will be enough to go around to make a real dent in world hunger.”

Talk about being a stand-up business - this is philanthropy on a grand scale.

And things get really interesting really fast

From Yahoo News/Agence France-Presse:

Iran orders two new nuclear reactors from Russia
Russia signed Tuesday a contract to build two nuclear reactors in Iran and announced plans for a total of nine, less than two weeks before a deadline on for deal on the country's disputed atomic programme.

They are laughing at us.

Mikhail Kalashnikov would have been 95 today if he had not passed away a year ago. I own a few guns based on his designs - cheap, reliable and easy to maintain.

20141110-Mikhail-Kalashnikov.jpg

He may have been on the "other side" but I think that it would have been fun to have a glass of beer with the guy. Communism is fsck-tarded but its nets sometimes sweep in good people like Comrad K.

 

Russia was once a great nation - I look forward to its recovery.

888,246 poppies at the Tower of London

A wonderful display:

 

 

 My favorite is Terry Kelly's song: A Pittance of Time.

 

 

From the video:

On November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a Shoppers Drug Mart store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM an announcement came over the store's PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.

Terry was impressed with the store's leadership role in adopting the Legion's "two minutes of silence" initiative. He felt that the store's contribution of educating the public to the importance of remembering was commendable.

When eleven o'clock arrived on that day, an announcement was again made asking for the "two minutes of silence" to commence. All customers, with the exception of a man who was accompanied by his young child, showed their respect.

Terry's anger towards the father for trying to engage the store's clerk in conversation and for setting a bad example for his child was later channeled into a beautiful piece of work called, "A Pittance of Time". Terry later recorded "A Pittance of Time" and included it on his full-length music CD, "The Power of the Dream".

 We think ourselves civilized but there are times in our history that belie this thought. Big government again. Why do some people always fall for it...

Been a busy couple of days

Spent today doing the shopping run.

My Mom and Dad bought a condo in Bellingham after downsizing from their Seattle house. Due to a mix-up, there was a time when the bills were not paid and this time coincided with a cold snap. A faucet froze and the place flooded.

I had ServPro do the remediation and they did their usual excellent work. I am now rebuilding it and buffing it up a bit. They had two storage units filled with part crap and part treasures. Planning to use the condo to stage sales on eBay (photography and packaging) and, at some time, put it on the market.  The economy is in the royal terlit right now so this would be in a couple years...

Was doing the usual buying run for the store and scheduled a meet with a carpet contractor and had the kitchen appliances delivered. Wonder of wonders, both contractors showed up on time.

I just felt the Earth shift a bit...

Just got home from a disappointing Mexican dinner. I had ordered soft corn tortillas for my tacos and they delivered hard corn. The kitchen took my plate, laid down two soft tortillas, scraped the filling out of the hard ones and topped them with with a mountain of lettuce and tomato. Cold and wet lettuce and tomato. I asked for a separate plate and removed a pile about the size of a grapefruit of wet cold lettuce and tomato pieces. Needless to say, my dinner was a cold and soggy mess. Did I say that it was cold and soggy? It was...

This is a family run restaurant and usually really good - I do not know which cousin was enjoying their first and last night on the line this evening but gaaaahhhhh... That was horrible.

I (heart) my new truck

Sitting here checking email and swallowing some supplements. I pushed two buttons on my remote and the engine started and the truck is now warming up. It will shut off after fifteen minutes if I space out .

It is 28.4°F out now - got down to 27.7°F last night. A nice feature to have...

Six bills to pass for the new Congress

I could think of a couple more but this is a nice start. From the Instapundit - Glenn Harlan Reynolds - writing at USA Today:

6 bills the GOP should pass
So Republicans have taken back the Senate and in January will control both houses of Congress. That brings them to the question posed by a famous political book: You won — Now what?

The problem for Republicans is that because they do not have a veto-proof majority, they can pass bills but can't get them past President Obama. It doesn't mean that they're doomed to futility. They can pass three kinds of bills: those Obama will want to sign; those he won't want to sign but will have to; and those he'll veto, but where a veto is unpopular. With that in mind, I have six suggestions for the new GOP-controlled Congress:

1 End the federally imposed 21-year-old drinking age. The limit was dreamed up in the 1980s as a bit of political posturing by then-secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole. It has been a disaster. College drinking hasn't been reduced; it has just moved out of bars and into dorm rooms, fraternities/sororities and house parties. The result has been a boom in alcohol problems on campus. While drunken driving has declined, it was declining before the age was raised and has declined just as fast in Canada, where the drinking age is 18 or 19 depending on the province.

Glen then goes on with five more excellent choices. I would add the Keystone pipeline and re-structuring the Internal Revenue Service. Instituting a flat tax with zero loopholes would level the playing field for everyone and would prevent crony capitalists like General Electric from getting away with paying no Federal Taxes.

Makes a lot of sense

From the UK Independent:

Virus that 'makes humans more stupid' discovered
A virus that infects human brains and makes us more stupid has been discovered, according to scientists in the US.

The algae virus, never before observed in healthy people, was found to affect cognitive functions including visual processing and spatial awareness. 

Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the University of Nebraska stumbled upon the discovery when they were undertaking an unrelated study into throat microbes.

A bit more:

Of the 90 participants in the study, 40 tested positive for the algae virus. Those who tested positive performed worse on tests designed to measure the speed and accuracy of visual processing. They also achieved lower scores in tasks designed to measure attention. 

Like I said, this could explain a lot.

Major outbreaks soon to be detected in New York City, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.???

Nothing much this afternoon

We went out for coffee this morning and spent a lazy day at home. I am working on a couple projects as well as starting the build of a cabinet.

Doing hamburgers for dinner.

I'll post some more later tonight.

Obligatory New Truck Pron

And she is a beaut:

20141108-truck.jpg

 

I owned Ford Econoline vans during the 1970's through 1985 but they started having real problems with build quality so I switched to Chevy. Around 2010, I wanted to upgrade my Dodge Dakota but I was pissed at how Chevy and GM were sucking up to the Federal teat to the benefit of the Union pensions and to the detriment of the workers and the stockholders.

Ford was the only car company that did not buy into the free government cheese and they are now on top of their game. The truck I bought in 2010 (a lightly used 2008 F-350) was awesome until the accident and the new one is beyond amazing. Ford engineering simply rocks.

Memo to self - when planting a tree

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As a minor update - Jen was born into a family that has a decent-sized farm in California. When I met her, she was running her own landscaping business and specialized in (and was popular with) high-end estates. You would recognize the names. Very A-List.

Because of this, I deferred to her on matters botanical.

We planted an apple orchard and out of 120 trees, only three are still alive. These were bare-root trees and needed to have the topsoil plowed to allow for root growth. She insisted that using a soil auger to drill an 8" hole was just fine.

Digging my Dad's grave today, I exhumed the rootball of the original flowering dogwood tree. When we planted it, Jen assured me that we did not need to remove the burlap covering the rootball - it would disintegrate in a few months and everything would be fine.

Six years later, I pulled up pieces of burlap that were almost as good as when they were buried. I took a strip about two inches wide and I could not tear it. I do blacksmithing as a hobby - not a 96 pound weakling...

So when planting a new tree - make damn sure to remove all wrapping, all string, all burlap. Dig a shallow but wide hole (at least three times with width of the current leaf load) and be sure to use good soil. The soil in the location was pretty sandy/rocky so I removed it and put in a half-yard of good three-way and about two inches of well-rotted mulch.

The tree was happy when I tucked her in...

My Mom died in the winter of 2007 and her ashes were buried out here on the farm. The following spring, my Dad and I and my now ex-wife Jen planted a flowering dogwood tree over her grave-site. My Dad was quite moved and visited the tree frequently whenever he visited the farm.

Since we had goats, I put up a wire fence around the tree to protect it - goats will destroy trees by girdling them. One day, Jen was mowing the lawn, took down the fencing and left it down as she went in for the evening. The tree was destroyed by next morning. That was six years ago.

My Dad died in 2010 and I had never gotten around to burying his ashes.

I recently celebrated my 64th birthday and the staff from the store had a really nice party at the house here. Their present to me? Another flowering dogwood tree! Spent today cutting through the sod and digging down about three feet until I hit where my Mom was buried. I dug a space for my Dad's ashes and Lulu and I laid him to rest, filled up the hole and planted the dogwood over top.

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Requiescat in pace - they were married for 62 years and now together for eternity.

Last years flooding in England

From the UK Telegraph:

Somerset Floods: Village submerged after alleged tampering of sluice gate
Two men have been linked to a deluge that devastated parts of Somerset during some of the worst floods on British records.

A Telegraph investigation has found that a sluice gate used to control water flow from a river to a moor had apparently been unlawfully opened before the nearby village of Thorney was inundated last winter.

Water drained into the moor and the entire village was submerged in 4ft of water for 12 weeks. Ancient houses were destroyed and some residents are still without a home.

The chaos was part of the wider floods that swept through Britain, which caused a political crisis and was blamed on the Environment Agency’s failure to dredge local rivers.

And one of the people:

One of the men, Lee Goddard, who lives in Hambridge, Somerset, pleaded guilty in August to contravening land drainage laws when he “interfered” with the sluice. Residents have alleged that he wanted to save his own land from water by diverting it elsewhere.

Mr. Goddard is going to be long remembered but I do not think this is the kind of fame he was hoping for.

From FOX News:

World's largest solar plant applying for federal grant to pay off federal loan
After already receiving a controversial $1.6 billion construction loan from U.S. taxpayers, the wealthy investors of a California solar power plant now want a $539 million federal grant to pay off their federal loan.

"This is an attempt by very large cash generating companies that have billions on their balance sheet to get a federal bailout, i.e. a bailout from us - the taxpayer for their pet project," said Reason Foundation VP of Research Julian Morris. "It's actually rather obscene."

The Ivanpah solar electric generating plant is owned by Google and renewable energy giant NRG, which are responsible for paying off their federal loan. If approved by the U.S. Treasury, the two corporations will not use their own money, but taxpayer cash to pay off 30 percent of the cost of their plant, but taxpayers will receive none of the millions in revenues the plant will generate over the next 30 years.

"They're already paying less than the market rate," said Morris, author of a lengthy report detailing alleged cronyism and corruption in the Obama administration's green energy programs. "Now demanding or asking for a subsidy in the form of a grant directly paying off the loan is an egregious abuse."

The words: "Hell no!" come to mind.

Out for coffee

We took the truck out for coffee in a nearby town and then drove up to Nooksack Falls and had a small picnic lunch.

The truck now has a bit over 100 miles on it.

Gorgeous weather today so finishing off some outside chores. Had a soft frost last night - the first of the season.

Back home again with new truck

She is gorgeous. Much quieter, better gas mileage and smooth handling.

Photos tomorrow...

Minimal posting today

Busy at the shop and then heading into town.

I was getting an estimate to fix my truck after the collision and the dealership made me a stupid-good offer on my truck as-is and an amazing price on a new one.

I will be driving home with a 2015 Ford F-350. First new car in about 30 years...

ROAD TRIP!

Word up...

20141106-reminder.jpg

 

Swiped from Mostly Cajun

Very cool program - the Wyakin Warriors

From Jeff Bacon's Broadside.

Time to break out those windmills

Say hello again to our little friend - the polar vortex.

From MSN News:

Polar Vortex to Plunge Toward Central US Next Week
The atmosphere is preparing to send part of the polar vortex southward toward the United States next week with an outbreak of arctic air and lake-effect snow.

The polar vortex is a large pocket of very cold air, typically the coldest air in the Northern Hemisphere, which sits over the polar region. Occasionally, this pocket of very cold air can get dislodged farther south than normal, leading to cold outbreaks in Canada and the U.S.

What warming?

Boehner grows a pair

Finally - from the National Review:

Boehner: Obama ‘Playing with Matches’ on Amnesty, and ‘He’s Going to Burn Himself’
Republican House speaker John Boehner warned President Obama he’s “playing with matches” by pledging an executive amnesty by the end of the year – and that if he keeps it up, “he’s going to burn himself.”

“I’ve made clear to the president that if he acts unilaterally on his own, outside of authority, he will poison the well,” Boehner said in a Thursday press conference. “And there will be no chance for immigration reform moving in this Congress. It’s as simple as that.”

The speaker trotted out the same warning when pressed on whether executive action would be a “catalyst” for congressional action on immigration, as the White House has suggested. “When you play with matches, you take the risk of burning yourself,” he cautioned. “And [President Obama] is going to burn himself if he continues to go down this path.”

What needs to be done is very simple. Get these people and hold their feet to the fire. All too often, they campaign with one promise and dissolve into jello when they are at work. These people work for us - they were hired to represent us in Congress.

Time for them to nut up or shut up...

Adults in the room - Obama's pen

From FOX News:

Source says reported letter from Obama to Ayatollah ‘f***s up everything'
President Obama reportedly penned a secret letter to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last month discussing their shared interest in fighting the Islamic State -- a development one congressional source told Fox News "f***s up everything."

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that, according to people briefed on the letter, Obama wrote to Khamenei in the middle of last month and stressed that any cooperation on dealing with the Islamic State, or ISIS, was tied to Iran striking a deal over its nuclear program. The U.S., Iran and other negotiators are facing a Nov. 24 deadline for such a deal.

A senior congressional source told Fox News that there is not anything definitive as to whether the letter even exists. But the source indicated they don't doubt that it's true because "we've seen [the president] do it before, so there is [a] precedent."

Trying to decide between malevolence and stupidity, I am siding with stupidity. Also, didn't anyone vet this? If they had any questions, I bet that pResident Stompy-Feet just overruled them.

Ebola in New York City

From the NYC NBC affiliate WNBC:

Number of People Under "Active Monitoring" for Ebola in NYC Triples, City Officials Say
The number of people under "active monitoring" for Ebola symptoms has increased from 117 on Monday to 357 people Wednesday, health officials said.

The vast majority of those being monitored arrived in New York City within the past 21 days from the three Ebola-affected countries, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation said in a statement.

Do not forget that this administration is still allowing about 100 to 150 people per day entry into the US from the infected areas. Those 357 people are just the ones they know about.

Happy 100th anniversary Winnie

Winnie was born 100 years ago. From Canada.com's page on The Great War:

Photos from the real Winnie the Pooh’s 100th anniversary
Winnie the Pooh’s story actually began in Canada.

Harry Colebourne was a Canadian soldier a veterinarian in 1914 when he bought a small bear cub in White River, Ont. He named her Winnie, after his home town of Winnipeg. He paid $20 for her, which is about $450 in today’s money.

Winnie went to war with Harry and never saw Canadian soil again. She was a mascot for the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade and was donated to the London Zoo when the war was over.

That’s where British writer A.A. Milne found her. Winnie became the inspiration for Winnie the Pooh, first published in 1925, after his son Christopher Robin named his stuffed bear Winnie.

And more:

So on the 100th anniversary of Harry Colebourne’s purchase of the now-famous bear, Toronto’s Ryerson University is hosting an exhibit of the bear’s history, featuring rare photographs and artifacts from Winnie’s life. The show will run from Nov. 6 to Dec. 7. In 2015, Harry’s great granddaughter, Lindsay Mattick, will release a children’s book about the history of Harry and Winnie’s time together.

20141106-winnie.jpg

Where are your thrills now Chris?

Back on March 27, 2008, reporter Chris Matthews said the following:

I have to tell you, you know, it's part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama's speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often.

Hey Chris - where's your thrill now:

20141106-matthews.jpg

 Time to get back to reality folks - we have had our nice little progressive fever-dream but it's time to get back to work...

New dimensions in physics

From Motherboard:

This Foot-Long Box Is the Most Advanced Particle Collider in the World
The CERN particle collider is 17 miles long.  China just announced a supercollider that is supposed to be roughly 49 miles long. The United States' new particle collider is just under 12 inches long.

What it lacks in size, it makes up for in having a bunch of plasma inside of it, allowing researchers at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, Calif., to accelerate particles more than 500 times faster than traditional methods. In a recent test  published in Nature, Michael Litos and his team were able to accelerate bunches of electrons to near the speed of light within this tiny chamber.

"If you want to build a next generation high energy physics particle collider, there are two ways of thinking," Litos told me.

First, he said, you could build them even bigger than the Large Hadron Collider or the proposed followup, Compact Linear Collider, which is supposed to be 31 miles long. "Or, you can build a comparable machine that reduces the physical footprint by an order of magnitude by taking information we know about plasma wakefield acceleration and using it," he told me. "All of a sudden, a 50 kilometer accelerator becomes something like 5 kilometers."


The preview can be seen at Nature - very cool!

A bit of wildlife photography

20141105-grizzly-takes-photo.jpg

From Photographer Jim Lawrence

From this post at DIY Photography:

Lawrence saw the grizzly gradually working it’s way up the river as it fished. The photographer set his camera up in an opening in the brush with hopes he’d be able to take a few photos of the grizzly. He explained that’s when things took an unexpected turn…

“I should know better than to guess what a bear is going to do. He crossed to my side and scrambled up the bank, at which point I dashed back to the truck for another camera.”

By the time he made it back to his truck, which was approximately 50 feet away, the grizzly had worked his way over to the D800 for an investigation. Lawrence stood back and watched the scene unfold. In an interview with CBC, he explained that the large species of bears are highly intelligent which often results in a curious personality.

“They say intelligent species are curious and the big bear was no exception. He approached the camera cautiously, sniffing deeply, then stood up for a closer inspection. For the longest time, he studied the screen and buttons then, with a huge long-nailed paw, gently tugged on the strap. The weight of the long lens caused the camera to pivot quickly upward, startling the big fellow at which point he kind of shrugged, and went back fishing.”

Fortunately, the intense moment ended on a rather anti-climatic note. A lot of this has to do with the calm approach Lawrence took to the situation. He told me in an email, “I must admit that after 55 years of shooting I’m more fascinated with the natural world then camera gear…

Amazing shot and a great photographer - his website is gorgeous.

A bit of schadenfreude

From the left-leaning New Republic:

Congratulations, Voters. You Just Made This Climate Denier the Most Powerful Senator on the Environment
In handing Republicans control of the Senate on Tuesday, Americans effectively voted for the party's hostile plans against President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy. Their votes also put the Senate's environment and climate policy into the hands of the worst science-denier in national politics: Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, who is almost certainly the next chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Inhofe claimed in 2003 that global warming might help humanity. It's also important to question whether global warming is even a problem for human existence. Thus far no one has seriously demonstrated any scientific proof that increased global temperatures would lead to the catastrophes predicted by alarmists. In fact, it appears that just the opposite is true: that increases in global temperatures may have a beneficial effect on how we live our lives.”

In that same speech, he argued that an international body of climate change scientists “resembled a Soviet-style trial, in which the facts are predetermined, and ideological purity trumps technical and scientific rigor.”

A report produced by his staff in 2010 argued that leaked emails from a group of climate scientists “reveal, among other things, unethical and potentially illegal behavior by some of the world’s preeminent climate scientists.” Those stolen emails, called “Climategate” at the time, showed debate among scientists over the results of a major climate report.

Awwww - not getting your way anymore, are you? Of course, they do not allow for comments on the site.

My refrain for the last couple of years has been that we need to get some adults in the room. Looks like I may get my wish...

Light posting today

Very busy at the store and working on a bunch of stuff related to the accident.

Heading into town tomorrow and Friday.

Got a bunch of stuff to do at home so posting will be light tonight as well...

An Ebola vaccine?

From NBC News:

Nose Spray Ebola Vaccine Protects Monkeys
A needle-free Ebola vaccine protects monkeys 100 percent of the time from the virus, even a year after they’ve been vaccinated, researchers reported Monday.

The vaccine uses a common cold virus genetically engineered to carry a tiny piece of Ebola DNA. Sprayed up the nose, it saved all nine monkeys tested for infection.

But now the research is dead in the water without funding, Maria Croyle of the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Pharmacy said.

“Now we are at the crossroads, trying to figure out where to get the funding and resources to continue,” Croyle told NBC News.

It’s only a small study, but the results are encouraging, said Croyle, whose findings are published in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics and being discussed at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists meeting in San Diego this week.

It has been successful for one year and yet, they are scrambling for funding? Sample size is too small and there have been no human trials but still...

More. Faster. Please.

BREAKING VIDEO FROM THE OVAL OFFICE

From Iowahawk

A heartening story - Anthony Watts

Anthony Watts runs the excellent award-winning climate website Watts Up With That

Over the years, he alluded to some hearing problems but never dwelled on it. Today, he posted a wonderful story about how he has now regained almost all of his hearing. Something to forward to anyone you know with hearing problems. A great read.

From Anthony:

How I got my life back – my hearing has been restored to near-normal
This is an extremely personal note, and I have been waiting a week to write to see if in fact the results were real and lasting. I’m happy to report that they are and I am a changed person as a result of this transformation. Let me tell you a story about my struggle and how I suffered with for years now my family and my friends in my career and everything suffered along with it and what I did to solve it.

Many of you that read WUWT and have met me in person at conferences, speaking engagements, and over the telephone realize what a struggle everyday life has been for me with an 85% hearing loss. The story begins when I was an infant – I had a series of infections which our local doctor treated with tetracycline, an antibiotic that at the time they did not know would cause long-term hearing loss. It also causes discoloring of your adult teeth in later life. Like with so many drugs, no one quite knew at the time what long-term effects it might have. The product is now [mostly] off the market, however the effect remained with me and many other people.

Anthony finds a clinic that deals with his problem:

This section of the campus at the Starkey Laboratories is called the Center for Excellence and indeed it is, because this is where miracles are performed every day by a staff of caring and talented people that exist nowhere else in the world.

The walls are lined with photographs, autographs, and letters from heads of state, celebrities, astronauts, the Pope, and even a letter from Mother Teresa thanking the man that formed this company and the miracle that it produces for restoring their hearing.

And the results are excellent in even the worst conditions (lots of ambient noise and other people talking):

This was a moment I’ll remember forever. All of a sudden the tables were turned, and I was thrilled beyond imagination to be able to repeat something for someone else. I knew then that a transformation that occurred and I made it short and simple post to my Facebook page. It read:

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And to my amazement dozens and then hundreds of accolades and comment started pouring in while I was sitting there at the bar. I began to cry and tears were streaming down my face. I was so happy and I couldn’t stop it because the weight and pain of the last 40 years were suddenly lifted from me. It truly was epic.

There were two people sitting at the end corner of the bar who looked at me and asked with concern, “Sir, are you okay?”  I proceeded to tell them what happened and I had a glorious conversation with two people who I had never met and I understood every word. They were thrilled for me.

I can’t begin to tell you what that felt like. And it kept getting better as I learned to be able to tune these new hearing aids to situations and it made comprehension even easier. The next day I posted this on my Facebook page:

20141105-epic_hearing-fb2.png

I had feared that maybe this was just the temporary gain, but now nearly a week later my comprehension gains continue, and I am healed in more ways than one.

You see, the inability to hear on a daily basis during normal simple everyday things like ordering a cup of coffee at Starbucks or going through a drive through the order food to take on the my family were challenges that I often failed and it made me frustrated and angry all the time. This affected people around me and especially the people I hold most dear; my own family. Now all of that is gone and I’m like an entirely new person because of this transformation.

My ability to hear and the telephone has been transformed too. These new hearing aids have direct Bluetooth connections and so I am able to carry on a conversation using both ears with my cell phone. The fidelity is phenomenal and my comprehension is now nearly perfect where maybe before I could pick up 50% on a good day. This new technology is beyond what I could have imagined.

The place that Anthony went to is the Starkey Hearing Foundation - amazing people, amazing work.

Election results

Looks like I got my birthday present - the Democrats are getting a 'good shellacking' in today's mid-term elections - despite the rampant voter fraud.

Cue up this New York Times editorial:

Cancel the Midterms
By Tuesday night about 90 million Americans will have cast ballots in an election that’s almost certain to create greater partisan divisions, increase gridlock and render governance of our complex nation even more difficult. Ninety million sounds like a lot, but that means that less than 40 percent of the electorate will bother to vote, even though candidates, advocacy groups and shadowy “super PACs” will have spent more than $1 billion to air more than two million ads to influence the election.

There was a time when midterm elections made sense — at our nation’s founding, the Constitution represented a new form of republican government, and it was important for at least one body of Congress to be closely accountable to the people. But especially at a time when Americans’ confidence in the ability of their government to address pressing concerns is at a record low, two-year House terms no longer make any sense. We should get rid of federal midterm elections entirely.

Gee willikers - can their bias get any more obvious? Talk about being a bunch of out of touch putzes...

Jerry Pournelle formulated the Iron Law of Bureaucracy some time ago. It is being played out at the Red Cross.

From Salon:

“Worse than the storm”: Inside a secret Red Cross disaster
In 2012, two massive storms pounded the United States, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless, hungry or without power for days and weeks.

Americans did what they so often do after disasters. They sent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Red Cross, confident their money would ease the suffering left behind by Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac. They believed the charity was up to the job.

They were wrong.

The Red Cross botched key elements of its mission after Sandy and Isaac, leaving behind a trail of unmet needs and acrimony, according to an investigation by ProPublica and NPR. The charity’s shortcomings were detailed in confidential reports and internal emails, as well as accounts from current and former disaster relief specialists.

What’s more, Red Cross officials at national headquarters in Washington, D.C. compounded the charity’s inability to provide relief by “diverting assets for public relations purposes,” as one internal report puts it. Distribution of relief supplies, the report said, was “politically driven.”

During Isaac, Red Cross supervisors ordered dozens of trucks usually deployed to deliver aid to be driven around nearly empty instead, “just to be seen,” one of the drivers, Jim Dunham, recalls.

“We were sent way down on the Gulf with nothing to give,” Dunham says. The Red Cross’ relief effort was “worse than the storm.”

During Sandy, emergency vehicles were taken away from relief work and assigned to serve as backdrops for press conferences, angering disaster responders on the ground.

After both storms, the charity’s problems left some victims in dire circumstances or vulnerable to harm, the organization’s internal assessments acknowledge. Handicapped victims “slept in their wheelchairs for days” because the charity had not secured proper cots. In one shelter, sex offenders were “all over including playing in children’s area” because Red Cross staff “didn’t know/follow procedures.”

Disgusting. One or two isolated incidences will happen in any organization but for this to be so ingrained in the corporate culture shows that there is rot at the top and all the way down. There is a lot more at the site - quite the in-depth report.

Politics in Wisconsin

From the Wisconsin Reporter:

Mail carrier investigated over allegations of dumping GOP political mailers
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night may keep postal carriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. But partisan politics, now that may be another matter altogether.

An investigation has been launched into a Neenah postal carrier who allegedly dumped into a recycling bin hundreds of political advertisement mailers from the campaign of Mike Rorhkaste, Republican candidate for Wisconsin’s 55th Assembly District, Rorhkaste tells Wisconsin Reporter.

Neenah Postmaster Brian Smoot, who was alerted to the incident on Thursday, confirmed there is an ongoing investigation into the matter, and referred Wisconsin Reporter to the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Postal Service. OIG representatives there did not return several phone calls seeking comment.

Why am I not surprised - mail carriers are union.

A new clock

Interesting article from National Public Radio:

New Clock May End Time As We Know It
"My own personal opinion is that time is a human construct," says Tom O'Brian. O'Brian has thought a lot about this over the years. He is America's official timekeeper at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado.

To him, days, hours, minutes and seconds are a way for humanity to "put some order in this very fascinating and complex universe around us."

We bring that order using clocks, and O'Brian oversees America's master clock. It's one of the most accurate clocks on the planet: an atomic clock that uses oscillations in the element cesium to count out 0.0000000000000001 second at a time. If the clock had been started 300 million years ago, before the age of dinosaurs began, it would still be keeping time — down to the second. But the crazy thing is, despite knowing the time better than almost anyone on Earth, O'Brian can't explain time.

"We can measure time much better than the weight of something or an electrical current," he says, "but what time really is, is a question that I can't answer for you."

Some more:

The New Clock
At the nearby University of Colorado Boulder is a clock even more precise than the one O'Brian watches over. The basement lab that holds it is pure chaos: Wires hang from the ceilings and sprawl across lab tables. Binder clips keep the lines bunched together.

In fact, this knot of wires and lasers actually is the clock. It's spread out on a giant table, parts of it wrapped in what appears to be tinfoil. Tinfoil?

"That's research grade tinfoil," says Travis Nicholson, a graduate student here at the JILA, a joint institute between NIST and CU-Boulder. Nicholson and his fellow graduate students run the clock day to day. Most of their time is spent fixing misbehaving lasers and dealing with the rats' nest of wires. ("I think half of them go nowhere," says graduate student Sara Campbell.)

Sounds like my electronics bench... More:

Time Undone
Right now, on the top of Mount Everest, time is passing just a little bit faster than it is in Death Valley. That's because speed at which time passes depends on the strength of gravity. Einstein himself discovered this dependence as part of his theory of relativity, and it is a very real effect.

The relative nature of time isn't just something seen in the extreme. If you take a clock off the floor, and hang it on the wall, Ye says, "the time will speed up by about one part in 1016."

That is a sliver of a second. But this isn't some effect of gravity on the clock's machinery. Time itself is flowing more quickly on the wall than on the floor. These differences didn't really matter until now. But this new clock is so sensitive, little changes in height throw it way off. Lift it just a couple of centimeters, Ye says, "and you will start to see that difference."

This new clock can sense the pace of time speeding up as it moves inch by inch away from the earth's core.

That's a problem, because to actually use time, you need different clocks to agree on the time. Think about it: If I say, 'let's meet at 3:30,' we use our watches. But imagine a world in which your watch starts to tick faster, because you're working on the floor above me. Your 3:30 happens earlier than mine, and we miss our appointment.

Fascinating. And in 20 years, we will be able to buy these clocks for $74.92 in WalMart. A fun time to be alive.

For a great story on relativistic time-keeping, check out Tom's story at Leapsecond:

Summary
In September 2005 the kids and I took several very accurate cesium atomic clocks from home and parked 5400 feet up Mt Rainier (the volcano near Seattle) for a full two days. The goal was to see if the clocks actually gained time, even if billionths of a second, as predicted by Einstein's general theory of relativity. Does gravity really alter time and can this weird phenomenon be detected with a family road trip experiment?

The outcome was that yes, there was a distinct and measurable difference between the clocks that spent two days a mile high and the clocks in his lab close to sea level.

Voting these days

James OKeefe - voter identification

 

Busy day - run into town

Got the quote for fixing the truck - had a bunch of customers too.

Busy day!

From the CBC:

Roving penguin camera gives unprecedented look at life on the ice
The newest tool for biologists is the baby penguin robotic spy.

It's pretty darn cute, and so convincing that penguins essentially talk to it, as if it is a potential mate for their chicks

Emperor penguins are notoriously shy. When researchers approach, these penguins normally back away and their heart rate goes up. That's not what the scientists need when they want to check heart rate, health and other penguin parameters.

So international scientists and filmmakers, led by Yvon Le Maho of the University of Strasbourg in France, created a remote control rover disguised as a chick to snuggle up to shy penguins in Adelie Land, Antarctica — the same place where the 2005 documentary March of the Penguins was filmed.

Researchers watched from more than 200 metres away.

The final experiment is quite clever - they want to tag each penguin with a small recorder and capture their heart rate, temperature and other vitals. Because of battery life, they cannot employ a large transmitter but they can use the robot to enter the herd and interrogate each birds' recorder and the scientists will download the data when they recover the robot..

In the future, the researchers plan to use a more autonomous robot to spy on the emperor penguins. The idea is to use devices on the rover to read signals from radio tags on the birds.

Great idea.

Quite the auction in England - BBC

The British Broadcasting Corporation is auctioning off a lot of their older equipment. From Peaker Pattinson Auctioneers, Ltd.

Mixing desks, Electronic test equipment, Control room equipment, BBC Memorabilia, Generators, Maintenance equipment.

The prices are very low for the equipment involved - not bidding because the shipping cost would kill the deal.

Had a wonderful birthday party. About 15 people came to the house and we did a potluck. A local baker did a wonderful Boston Cream cake with a chocolate frosting.

Everyone is gone now so Lulu and I are winding down. She did an amazing large painting/collage of Nikola Tesla using found materials from my electronics bench. I love her work.

Back to work tomorrow - heading into town tomorrow afternoon to get an estimate on fixing the truck after the collision last month.

Surf for a bit and then upstairs...

Check - mate...

For every new 'secure' system, there are hundreds of people who are trying to hack it.

Usually, they find it more difficult than this - from Wired:

Flaw in New ‘Secure’ Credit Cards Would Let Hackers Steal $1M Per Card
As U.S. banks and retailers are barreling toward a 2015 deadline to replace magnetic-stripe credit and debit cards with more secure cards that come embedded with a microchip, researchers have announced a critical flaw in the card system.

According to researchers at Newcastle University in the UK, the card system developed by VISA for use in the United Kingdom fails to recognize transactions made in non-UK foreign currencies and can therefore be tricked into approving any transaction up to 999,999.99.

What’s more, because the cards allow for contactless transactions, wherein consumers need only to have the card in the vicinity of a reader without swiping it, a thief carrying a card reader designed to read a card that’s stored in a wallet or purse could conduct fraudulent transactions without the victim ever removing their card.

Since the transaction is done offline without going through a retailer’s point-of-sale system, no other security checks are done.

“With just a mobile phone we created a POS terminal that could read a card through a wallet,” Martin Emms, lead researcher of the project that uncovered the flaw, noted in a statement about the findings. “All the checks are carried out on the card rather than the terminal so at the point of transaction, there is nothing to raise suspicions. By pre-setting the amount you want to transfer, you can bump your mobile against someone’s pocket or swipe your phone over a wallet left on a table and approve a transaction.”

In tests the researchers conducted, transactions took less than a second to be approved.

The US cards require a PIN to be entered as well as the pass-by so they are secure from this hack. For now.

I wonder how many cards have already been rolled out...

In it for the long haul

Today marks my 23,377th turn on this planet.

Celebrating my 64th birthday.

The store staff coming over for a party later tonight - got ten pounds of pork butt in the oven for pulled pork - smoked it over apple wood for six hours yesterday.

Heading into town for a couple things and then back early afternoon.

Simply beautiful - bowling ball and feathers

 

Beautifully done. The chamber is 122 feet high and 100 feet in diameter. Home page

A matter of degrees

Another alt.energy failure - from GreenTechMedia:

More Problems for CSP: Ivanpah Solar Plant Falling Short of Expected Electricity Production
Whether scorched birds are a major issue at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California is a matter of dispute. But the “power tower” solar plant and its owners -- NRG Energy, Google and BrightSource Energy -- might have an even more fundamental problem on their hands: generating adequate electricity.

The Mojave Desert plant, built with the aid of a $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee, kicked off commercial operation at the tail end of December 2013, and for the eight-month period from January through August, its three units generated 254,263 megawatt-hours of electricity, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data. That’s roughly one-quarter of the annual 1 million-plus megawatt-hours that had been anticipated.

The sun appears very bright to our eyes but there is actually very little harvistable energy per square yard. Great if there is no alternative but lousy for baseload generation.

From Fortune Magazine:

What happens when you get drunk and kill Putin's friend with your snowplow?
If there’s one person whose shoes you don’t want to be in right now, it’s Vladimir Martynenko.

Martynenko is the unlucky guy who happened to drive his snowplow across the runway as Total CEO Christophe de Margerie’s executive jet was preparing to take off from the VIP terminal at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport last night.

That would be enough to have on your conscience at the best of times. And it wouldn’t make you feel any better to think that you were drunk at the time.

But the real downer would be that you had just killed one of the closest and most influential friends of an authoritarian President with well-documented anger management problems and roots in one of the most brutal organizations ever to have graced the planet. That last consideration, I’m thinking, would probably be the one that occupied your thoughts the most while you sat out 48 hours of detention before seeing the magistrate.

A bit more:

Meanwhile, back in the cells, Mr. Martynenko might–mind I said “might”–just also spare a thought for his boss, Vnukovo’s CEO Vasily Alexandrov, after seeing comments from Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Interior Ministry’s Investigative Committee. The IC is undisputed king of the beasts in the jungle of Russia’s judicial system, and Markin signalled Tuesday that the buck for this one was going to stop a lot higher than Martynenko.

“It’s obvious that what happened was not at all a tragic confluence of events, as the airport’s management is trying to present,” Markin said, “but rather a criminal connivance by management.” He added that more would be suspended while the Committee conducted its investigation. His colleague Ivan Sibul was quoted as saying that there were reasons to believe that the dispatchers, too, were under the influence (we should note that reports say a lawyer for Martynenko said he wasn’t under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident).

I would just hang myself in the jail cell before they did it for me...

The Met Office's new toy

About a week ago, I had written about England's Meteorological Office getting funding for £97m to build a new supercomputer.

Today, James Delingpole slams tham in this post at Breitbart:

The Met Office Doesn't Deserve a £97 Million Supercomputer. It Deserves to Be Scrapped
Earlier this week, the Met Office invited us to celebrate the fact that we had allowed to be siphoned from our pockets the £97 million it allegedly needed to build a new super-computer to "produce the most scientifically accurate short-term forecast that are scientifically possible."

Does the Met Office think we are mad, gullible, possessed of exceptionally poor memories, or what?

Just in case the answer is the latter, Christopher Booker has helpfully provided a few reminders as to why splashing out that sort of dosh to the Met Office is, as PJ O'Rourke might put it, like "giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."

In 2004, it predicted that by 2014 the world would have warmed by 0.8C, and that four of the five years after 2009 would beat the 1998 record as the “hottest year ever”. In 2007, its computer predicted that this would be the “warmest year ever”, just before global temperatures temporarily plummeted by 0.7C, equal to their entire net rise in the 20th century. That summer in the UK, it told us, would be “drier than average”, just before some of the worst floods in living memory.

From 2008 to 2010 the models consistently predicted “warmer than average” winters and “hotter and drier summers”: three years when much of the northern hemisphere endured record winter cold and snow; while in the UK, as in that promised “barbecue summer” of 2009, we had summers wetter and cooler than usual. A particular triumph, in October 2010, was the prediction that our winter would be up to “2C warmer than average”, just before the coldest December since records began in 1659.

In November 2011, the computer forecast global temperatures rising over the next five years by up to 0.5C from their 1971-2000 average, a prediction so embarrassingly off-beam that, a year later, it was quietly removed from the Met Office website, replaced with one showing the flat-lining temperature trend as “likely to continue”. In 2012, it told us that spring would, yet again, be “drier than average”, just before the wettest April on record. Last November, the computer predicted that the winter months would be “drier than usual” – then came the wettest three winter months on record. And today, we can measure the success of that 2004 forecast that, by 2014, the world would have warmed by 0.8C – when temperatures have now not risen for 18 years, and not one has got near 1998’s record as the “hottest ever”.

The mighty Booker's reservations can be summed up in one phrase: Garbage In, Garbage Out.

More at the site - the 100+ comments are a fun read.

From the Tennessee Valley Authority:

TVA To Accelerate Boone Reservoir Drawdown for Inspection Work
The Tennessee Valley Authority is accelerating the annual drawdown of Boone Reservoir near Johnson City, Tenn., after a sink hole was discovered near the base of the earthen embankment and a small amount of water and sediment was found seeping from the river bank below the dam.

“Public safety is our top priority and we are continuously monitoring the dam to ensure it is safe,” said John McCormick, TVA vice president of River Operations. “The accelerated drawdown is out of an abundance of caution. Our engineers want to be sure we understand what caused the sink hole and where the water and sediment is coming from.”

From the Johnson City Press:

Seepage at bottom of dam causes early lowering of Boone Lake
A chink in the Boone Dam’s armor has Tennessee Valley Authority officials starting the annual depth drawdown of Boone Lake about five weeks ahead of schedule.

When an Oct. 20 inspection of the dam revealed a sink hole — a common occurrence — TVA workers repaired it quickly. Six days later, an uncommon occurrence happened when seepage was found near the location of the sink hole at the base of the dam.

 Seepage is not a good thing for an earthen dam - the situation, as they say, is developing...

That's it for the night

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Put up some shelving in the music room and Lulu and I watched Fake Off - fun show.

Puttering around the farm tomorrw - having a staff party here on Monday.

Time to go put stuff on the new shelves...

Object of desire - AeroMobil

Website here: AeroMobil They started this project in 1990 and this model is version 3.0

A nice little dystopian vision - R'ha

Nice work - thanks to Bayou Renaissance Man for the link.

Pssst - wanna buy a building

Came home from town and stopped in the store. One of my managers told me that the church in the building had their toilets stopped up again. I own the building so this falls squarely in my lap.

There are some kids that hang out there and there is not that much for them to do in this little hamlet so they occasionally perform small acts of vandalism. The last time the toilets were stopped up it was popcorn. This time it was a solid slug of paper towels. The pipe is 3" diameter and there was about 12 inches of solid paper. Fortunately, last time I cleaned out the drain, I put in a quick access feature so it was a simple matter of unscrewing the coupling and running a drain snake through.

Fun fun fun...

Busy day today - heading into town

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Meeting with some contractors at my Mom and Dad's old Condo - buffing it up and getting it ready to sell this Summer.

Also picking up some plywood for the case of the new project.

Minimal posting until this evening.

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