February 2015 Archives

Very clever - beehive innovation

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Check it out:

They are running an IndieGoGo campaign and have raised $3,843,708 of their $70K goal with 36 days remaining.

More information at their website: Honeyflow - absolutely brilliant idea!

Anyone want a horse and a mule?

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Got a call 45 minutes ago from a neighbor - our pair of escape artists took themselves for another walkabout tonight. Jimmy and I drove over, spotted the pair of miscreants in someone's yard and I walked them home.

Locking them into the paddock for a day or two while we go over the fence line inch by inch.

For sale cheap!

Lurching into the 21st century

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Lulu does Netflix and I have Amazon Prime which features loads of videos online.

Picked up a Roku box at Costco and just hooked it up. Very tempting to ditch the DirecTV altogether.

A perfect tribute to Leonard Nimoy

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From NASA Astronaut Terry W. Virts' twitter account:

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Don't fence me in!

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Ran a length of electric fence tape along the tops of the fence posts - see if that keeps them in for a while. They have 30 acres to play with.

I need to go to the feed store this weekend so I'll pick up a roll of wire fencing and rebuild the weak areas.

About those animal farts

Big news when it was first published but nothing in the mainstream media when it is found to be false.

From Montana's The Missoulian:

Prof debunks flatulence as major cause of global warming
There’s been quite a stink over farting, belching farm animals ruining the planet, and professor Frank Mitloehner wants to clear the air.

Mitloehner, an air quality specialist at the University of California-Davis has been on a one-man mission debunking misconceptions about livestock and climate change.

On Monday, he spoke to the Montana Farm Bureau Federation in Billings about how methane gas from livestock was misidentified as the bigger greenhouse gas source than airplanes, trains and automobiles combined. Mitloehner is not a climate change denier, but said agriculture is getting a bad rap.

“What this is about is that certain regions of the world show more climate extremes. The question is how much of that climate changes that we see is caused by human activity,” Mitloehner said.

In 2006, the United Nations concluded that the livestock industry was a big contributor to climate change.

In its report “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” the U.N. concluded that livestock were contributing 18 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases — allegedly more than the entire world’s transpiration. The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used the report to forecast that Himalayan glaciers might vanish within 25 years.

Agenda and not science.

Horse fun

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Got a call this morning that someone had seen my horses out on the road again.

Came downstairs to find them by their feed trough patiently waiting for brekkies.

Went out for coffee and they are still in the pasture munching away on the new grass.

Heading out in a few minutes to do some fencing...

Any orbit. Any time.

Got to love that tagline. Pure swagger and 100% deliverable in a year or three...

Shades of The Right Stuff.

The latest from Paul Allen:

 

Biggest aircraft ever... Website here.

The original Ronald McDonald

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That ain't no happy meal - fscking clowns...

A fun day - horses

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Went into town today to do some banking and pick up a few odds and ends in town.

Drove home this afternoon and there was an unknown car parked outside the gate of my driveway. A guy walks up from my house and tells me that he saw my horse and mule walking down the road. He stands there chatting so I finally told him bluntly that the sooner he pulled out of my driveway, the sooner I could drive up to my house and grab some treats and the bridles.

He finally takes the hint and I am gathering the stuff when my phone rings. It is a family a bit up the road - they also have horses and my two miscreants were over there for a visit. Drove over, walked them back and then picked up my truck.

Time to walk the fence line tomorrow - supposed to be decent weather so this will not suck...

I was seriously thinking of getting a bite to eat in town - glad I didn't.

Really hope that this is not a new version of the Llama Ddrama of 2011-2012 (here, here, here, here and here)

What we lost through the FCC

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Great piece from John Fund at National Review:

Comrades for Net Neutrality
Today’s vote by a bitterly divided Federal Communications Commission that the Internet should be regulated as a public utility is the culmination of a decade-long battle by the Left. Using money from George Soros and liberal foundations that totaled at least $196 million, radical activists finally succeeded in ramming through “net neutrality,” or the idea that all data should be transmitted equally over the Internet. The final push involved unprecedented political pressure exerted by the Obama White House on FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, head of an ostensibly independent regulatory body.

“Net neutrality’s goal is to empower the federal government to ration and apportion Internet bandwidth as it sees fit, and to thereby control the Internet’s content,” says Phil Kerpen, an anti-net-neutrality activist from the group American Commitment.

The courts have previously ruled the FCC’s efforts to impose “net neutrality” out of bounds, so the battle isn’t over. But for now, the FCC has granted itself enormous power to micromanage the largely unrestrained Internet.

A bit more - McChesney is one of the architects:

In essence, what McChesney and his followers want is an Unfree Press — a media world that promotes their values. “To cast things in neo-Marxist terms that they could appreciate, they want to take control of the information means of production,” says Adam Therier of the blog TechLiberation.

A lot more at the site - John outlines the people who promoted this monstrosity. Their cabal is incestuous as hell. This is so unreal that you almost want to make an Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie to keep the voices out... This is like Obamacare for the Internet. The rich don't care, the poor get their free shit and us people in the middle get taxed to death.

From CNS News/Associated Press:

Investigators Find 32,000 Lois Lerner Emails in IRS Probe
Investigators said Thursday they have recovered 32,000 emails related to a former IRS official at the heart of the agency's tea party scandal.

A bit more:

Camus said it took investigators two weeks to locate the computer tapes that contained Lerner's emails. He said it took technicians about four months to find Lerner's emails on the tapes.

Ohhh THOSE emails

An interesting little list

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Connections anyone?

From an email:

  • ABC News executive producer Ian Cameron is married to Susan Rice, National Security Adviser.
  • CBS President David Rhodes is the brother of Ben Rhodes, Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications.
  • ABC News correspondent Claire Shipman is married to former Whitehouse Press Secretary Jay Carney.
  • ABC News and Univision reporter Matthew Jaffe is married to Katie Hogan, Obama’s Deputy Press Secretary.
  • ABC President Ben Sherwood is the brother of Obama’s Special Adviser Elizabeth Sherwood.
  • CNN President Virginia Moseley is married to former Hillary Clinton’s Deputy Secretary Tom Nides
  • NBC General Counsel Kimberley D. Harris served as White House Deputy Counsel and Deputy Assistant to the President.

Wonder how many more connections there are? I know that the proposed new Attorney General was college roommates with Eric Holder's wife to be.

VideoLAN 2.2.0

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My favorite app for viewing DVDs - the best out there.

They just released a major upgrade - version 2.2.0

Website is here, download link is here

In Memoriam - Leonard Nimoy

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From an email:

 

Awww crap - RIP Leonard Nimoy

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Met him in Seattle when he was on tour for his photography book Shekhina

From the New York Times:

Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 83
Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83.

His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Mr. Nimoy announced that he had the disease last year, attributing it to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week.

His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”).

Muuch more at the site. Memory Alpha also has a nice obituary.

People - do not smoke excessivly.

Farrier woes

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Had the farrier out yesterday to take care of Sam and Rocky. (Mule and Appaloosa/Morgan cross)

The dogs think that the parings from the feet are pure crack cocaine - they love them. It is OK for them to eat so we let them do this - not like I am going to get a generator and shop-vac out to the barn for this.

Downside is that it gives them incredibly bad gas - this stuff is weapons grade.

Grace (my Shiloh) is curled up under my desk sleeping and blissfully farting away.

Happy happy joy joy...

Got a bunch of recent photos to be posted tomorrow.

An oldie but a goodie - being unique

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The power of the purse

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The House of Representatives controls Government funding. Nice to see them exercising this with a bit of backbone.

From National Journal:

John Boehner Blows Kisses to the Press, Won't Budge on DHS
With less than two days to go before a Homeland Security Department shutdown, John Boehner isn't blinking.

"We passed a bill to fund the department six weeks ago. Six weeks ago!" the House speaker said during a press conference Thursday. "It's time for the Senate to act. How many times do I have to say it?"

Boehner doesn't appear to be going along with his Republican counterparts in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is looking to avert a shutdown by offering Democrats a clean funding bill for DHS. The speaker would not say whether he would back a Senate funding bill without provisions that would defund President Obama's executive actions on immigration. At one point, Boehner blew kisses at reporters after they asked whether he would.

 Senate funding bill? Not the Senate's authority.

Homeland Security can shut down and still operate. Over 90% of its employees have what are considered "essential jobs" and will remain at work - the people losing their jobs are the clerical support staff. Same thing happened during Obama's government shutdown last year.

The business of media

Great article at The Daily Caller:

Byron Allen Goes To War With Sharpton, Obama, Comcast For Future Of Black Media
Legendary TV talk show host Byron Allen is taking on Al Sharpton, President Obama, and the most powerful media corporations in the world in a battle to spotlight the crisis at the heart of American race relations. It’s a daunting mission. But for some reason he doesn’t sound scared.

Allen told The Daily Caller that top media interests are actively freezing out and in some cases destroying black-owned media companies — and they’re paying Reverend-turned-MSNBC host Al Sharpton to give them racial cover to do it.

As for Washington politicians like Obama? According to Allen, they’re bought out by the very same interests, and they’re playing a part.

The article is loaded with some wonderful quotes:

“It’s cheaper to give Al Sharpton money than it is to do business with real African-American owned media,” Allen told TheDC. “What Comcast does is they give Al Sharpton money so he doesn’t call them racist. That is the issue here.” 

And:

“I think that Obama uses him to control the Negroes,” Allen said of Sharpton.

Now this is speaking truth to power - one last one:

“My wife happens to be white and I ask her who is the white guy who speaks for all white people? You can’t even think that. That idea is racist. That’s wrong. So why do I have some black guy who speaks for me? Why is he cutting deals that somehow I don’t benefit from but somehow he’s on television every night?”

The guy has a point...

Net Neutrality - a four-fer

More information on the FCC and Obama's power grab for the internet.

First from the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

Dear FCC: Rethink The Vague "General Conduct" Rule
For many months, EFF has been working with a broad coalition of advocates to persuade the Federal Communications Commission to adopt new Open Internet rules that would survive legal scrutiny and actually help protect the Open Internet. Our message has been clear from the beginning: the FCC has a role to play, but its role must be firmly bounded.

Two weeks ago, we learned that we had likely managed the first goal—the FCC is going to do the right thing and reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, giving it the ability to make new, meaningful Open Internet rules.  But we are deeply concerned that the FCC’s new rules will include a provision that sounds like a recipe for overreach and confusion: the so-called “general conduct rule.”

A bit more:

Unfortunately, if a recent report from Reuters is correct, the general conduct rule will be anything but clear. The FCC will evaluate “harm” based on consideration of seven factors: impact on competition; impact on innovation; impact on free expression; impact on broadband deployment and investments; whether the actions in question are specific to some applications and not others; whether they comply with industry best standards and practices; and whether they take place without the awareness of the end-user, the Internet subscriber.

There are several problems with this approach.  First, it suggests that the FCC believes it has broad authority to pursue any number of practices—hardly the narrow, light-touch approach we need to protect the open Internet. Second, we worry that this rule will be extremely expensive in practice, because anyone wanting to bring a complaint will be hard-pressed to predict whether they will succeed. For example, how will the Commission determine “industry best standards and practices”? As a practical matter, it is likely that only companies that can afford years of litigation to answer these questions will be able to rely on the rule at all. Third, a multi-factor test gives the FCC an awful lot of discretion, potentially giving an unfair advantage to parties with insider influence.

The vote is tomorrow - call your congresscritters and have them put pressure on the FCC to keep things as they are.

Second - from Reason:

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai: Net Neutrality is a "Solution That Won't Work to a Problem That Doesn't Exist"
Net Neutrality is "a solution that won't work to a problem that doesn't exist," says Ajit Pai, a commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Pai is an oustpoken opponent of expanding government control of the internet, including FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's plan to regulate Internet Service Providers (ISPs) under the same Title II rules that are used to govern telephone-service providers as public utilities. Under current FCC regulations, ISPs are considered providers of "information services" and subject to essentially no federal regulation.

He is also sharply critical of President Barack Obama's very public push to influence policy at the FCC, which is technically an independent agency. Last year, it was widely believed that Wheeler, a former head of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, would not push for Title II. Pai calls the president's actions—which included "creating a YouTube video of with very specific prescriptions as to what this agency should do"—unprecedented in his experience. Coupled with the fact that "the agency suddenly chang[ed]course from where it was to mimic the president’s plan," says Pai, "suggests that the independence of the agency has been compromised to some extent."

Third - the camels nose under the tent - from National Journal:

Republicans Fear Net Neutrality Plan Could Lead to UN Internet Powers
The U.S. government's plan to enact strong net neutrality regulations could embolden authoritarian regimes like China and Russia to seize more power over the Internet through the United Nations, a key Senate Republican warned Wednesday.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune of South Dakota argued that by claiming more authority over Internet access for net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission will undermine the ability of the U.S. to push back against international plots to control the Internet and censor content.

Countries like Russia already have made it clear that they want the International Telecommunications Union or another United Nations body to have more power over the Internet, Thune said.

Fourth and final - who is paying for all of this? From Washington Examiner:

Soros, Ford shovel $196 million to 'net neutrality' groups, staff to White House
Liberal philanthropist George Soros and the Ford Foundation have lavished groups supporting the administration’s “net neutrality” agenda, donating $196 million and landing proponents on the White House staff, according to a new report.

And now, as the Federal Communications Commission nears approving a type of government control over the Internet, the groups are poised to declare victory in the years-long fight, according to the report from MRC Business, an arm of the conservative media watchdog, the Media Research Center.

“The Ford Foundation, which claims to be the second-largest private foundation in the U.S., and Open Society Foundations, founded by far-left billionaire George Soros, have given more than $196 million to pro-net neutrality groups between 2000 and 2013,” said the report, authored by Media Research Center’s Joseph Rossell, and provided to Secrets.

Ironic that Soros would name his front the Open Society Foundations when his desire is for absolute control and centralized big government - a marxist state.

An interesting look at crime

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From Kevin Drum writing at Mother Jones:

America's Real Criminal Element: Lead
When Rudy Giuliani ran for mayor of New York City in 1993, he campaigned on a platform of bringing down crime and making the city safe again. It was a comfortable position for a former federal prosecutor with a tough-guy image, but it was more than mere posturing. Since 1960, rape rates had nearly quadrupled, murder had quintupled, and robbery had grown fourteenfold. New Yorkers felt like they lived in a city under siege.

Throughout the campaign, Giuliani embraced a theory of crime fighting called "broken windows," popularized a decade earlier by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling in an influential article in The Atlantic. "If a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired," they observed, "all the rest of the windows will soon be broken." So too, tolerance of small crimes would create a vicious cycle ending with entire neighborhoods turning into war zones. But if you cracked down on small crimes, bigger crimes would drop as well.

Needless to say, Rudi's plan worked very well:

The results were dramatic. In 1996, the New York Times reported that crime had plunged for the third straight year, the sharpest drop since the end of Prohibition. Since 1993, rape rates had dropped 17 percent, assault 27 percent, robbery 42 percent, and murder an astonishing 49 percent. Giuliani was on his way to becoming America's Mayor and Bratton was on the cover of Time. It was a remarkable public policy victory.

But even more remarkable is what happened next. Shortly after Bratton's star turn, political scientist John DiIulio warned that the echo of the baby boom would soon produce a demographic bulge of millions of young males that he famously dubbed "juvenile super-predators." Other criminologists nodded along. But even though the demographic bulge came right on schedule, crime continued to drop. And drop. And drop. By 2010, violent crime rates in New York City had plunged 75 percent from their peak in the early '90s.

But, it turns out that it is not just in New York City:

In city after city, violent crime peaked in the early '90s and then began a steady and spectacular decline. Washington, DC, didn't have either Giuliani or Bratton, but its violent crime rate has dropped 58 percent since its peak. Dallas' has fallen 70 percent. Newark: 74 percent. Los Angeles: 78 percent.

There must be more going on here than just a change in policing tactics in one city. But what?

Kevin makes a very good case that it is environmental lead left over from automotive use of tetraethyl lead.

Experts often suggest that crime resembles an epidemic. But what kind? Karl Smith, a professor of public economics and government at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, has a good rule of thumb for categorizing epidemics: If it spreads along lines of communication, he says, the cause is information. Think Bieber Fever. If it travels along major transportation routes, the cause is microbial. Think influenza. If it spreads out like a fan, the cause is an insect. Think malaria. But if it's everywhere, all at once—as both the rise of crime in the '60s and '70s and the fall of crime in the '90s seemed to be—the cause is a molecule.

A molecule? That sounds crazy. What molecule could be responsible for a steep and sudden decline in violent crime?

Well, here's one possibility: Pb(CH2CH3)4.

A lot more at the site - very well researched and fascinating article. Makes perfect sense...

Living in a microhouse

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Microhouses are all the rage these days - cute but what would it be like to actually live in one of them?

 

Thought so...

Net Neutrality

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A very important vote is coming up tomorrow morning - it will affect your access to the Internet:

Go and sign the petition.

A lot more information at the site - this is very important.

Islamonazis destroying more documents

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The destruction of the Library at Mosul was bad enough - now this. There is a Armenian News Agency:

Turkey paid Muslim Brotherhood $1 million dollars to eliminate Armenian Genocide documents
YEREVAN, 23 FEBRUARY, ARMENPRESS. Turkey has paid over $1 million dollars to the Muslim Brotherhood to eliminate Armenian Genocide documents kept at an institute in Egypt.

This is what founder of Egypt’s Jihat Party Sheikh Nabil Naim announced during the Egyptian government’s session, as “Armenpress” reports, citing DemokratHaber.

In addition, Naim informed that certain members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, who had made an attempt to start an Islamic revolution in Egypt, also participated in the elimination of the documents devoted to the Armenian Genocide by burning the institute down. Naim declared that “Egypt must punish Turkey for such an act”.

Cairo’s Veto newspaper had informed about the documents kept in the burned archives of Egypt’s institute earlier. The newspaper had informed that those documents “could have put Turkey in a difficult situation later in an international court”

 I thought that Turkey was supposed to be moderate. For any State to fund the Muslim Brotherhood is not a good thing - they are pure unadulterated evil.

Memo to self - when selling a fake painting...

Make sure the currency is real. From Barcelona, Spain's El Pais:

Art swindlers selling fake Goya get paid in photocopied bills
Two brothers from Girona who planned on swindling an Arab sheik into buying a forged Goya painting found out they were the ones who had been swindled when the 1.7 million Swiss francs they had received in payment turned out to be all in photocopied bills.

The deal:

It all began when the brothers reportedly tried to sell the sheik a forged painting by Francisco de Goya – Retrato de don Antonio María Esquivel (Portrait of Antonio María Esquivel) – for €4 million.

The transaction took place in Turin where a person who said he represented the sheik gave the brothers 1.7 million Swiss francs. In turn, the siblings called a loan shark in Girona to give €300,000 to another person in the Catalan city who also claimed to represent the sheik.

The €300,000 was to pay the intermediaries’ commissions.

But when the brothers traveled to a Geneva bank to deposit the money, they were told that the bills were photocopied fakes.

Teh stupidity - it burns... And the sheik has a good looking (but fake) piece of art and a fun story to tell around the dinner table...

ISIS burns books

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Reminds me of Germany in the 1930's - from The Fiscal Times:

ISIS Burns 8000 Rare Books and Manuscripts in Mosul
While the world was watching the Academy Awards ceremony, the people of Mosul were watching a different show. They were horrified to see ISIS members burn the Mosul public library. Among the many thousands of books it housed, more than 8,000 rare old books and manuscripts were burned.

“ISIS militants bombed the Mosul Public Library. They used improvised explosive devices,” said Ghanim al-Ta'an, the director of the library. Notables in Mosul tried to persuade ISIS members to spare the library, but they failed.

Some more:

The former assistant director of the library Qusai All Faraj said that the Mosul Public Library was established in 1921, the same year that saw the birth of the modern Iraq. Among its lost collections were manuscripts from the eighteenth century, Syriac books printed in Iraq's first printing house in the nineteenth century, books from the Ottoman era, Iraqi newspapers from the early twentieth century and some old antiques like an astrolabe and sand glass used by ancient Arabs. The library had hosted the personal libraries of more than 100 notable families from Mosul over the last century. 

During the US led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the library was looted and destroyed by mobs. However, the people living nearby managed to save most of its collections and rich families bought back the stolen books and they were returned to the library, All Faraj added.

 I remember the 2003 looting and the joy when most of the materials were returned. Why is ISIS so afraid of history?

X-Files reboot in the works

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From Deadline Hollywood:

Fox Confirms ‘X-Files’ Reboot Talks, David Duchovny & Gillian Anderson To Return
Following the success of Fox’s 24 limited series, the network is looking to bring back another iconic drama series, The X-Files. Fox TV Group chairman Gary Newman today confirmed chatter that the network is in talks for a new installment of Chris Carter’s cult supernatural drama, which starred David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. Newman went on to say he was “hopeful” about the outcome.

Very cool - was a dedicated viewer and would love to see it return.

Saw that one coming - Keystone XL

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Our Dear Leader vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline today to the great benefit of his buddy Warren Buffet.

From the New York Times:

Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill
President Obama on Tuesday vetoed a bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, rejecting an effort by Republicans and some Democrats to force his administration to let the highly contested energy project move forward.

By saying no to the legislation, Mr. Obama retains the authority to make a final judgment on the pipeline on his own timeline. The White House has said the president would decide whether to allow the pipeline when all of the environmental and regulatory reviews are complete.

But the veto — his first rejection of major legislation as president — is also a demonstration of political strength directed at Republicans who now control both chambers of Congress. Mr. Obama is signaling that he will fight back against their agenda.

Political hack. Buffet makes about $2 Billion per year by shipping oil - the Keystone XL pipeline would kill his little cash cow.

Green electric cars?

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From USA Today:

Electric car benefits? Just myths
It is time to stop our green worship of the electric car. It costs us a fortune, cuts little CO2 and surprisingly kills almost twice the number of people compared with regular gasoline cars.

Electric cars' global-warming benefits are small. It is advertised as a zero-emissions car, but in reality it only shifts emissions to electricity production, with most coming from fossil fuels. As green venture capitalist Vinod Khosla likes to point out, "Electric cars are coal-powered cars."

The most popular electric car, a Nissan Leaf, over a 90,000-mile lifetime will emit 31 metric tons of CO2, based on emissions from its production, its electricity consumption at average U.S. fuel mix and its ultimate scrapping. A comparable diesel Mercedes CDI A160 over a similar lifetime will emit 3 tons more across its production, diesel consumption and ultimate scrapping.

The results are similar for the top-line Tesla car, emitting about 44 tons, about 5 tons less than a similar Audi A7 Quattro.

Much more at the site.

Great news for gardeners

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September 2013 marked a sad time for Bellingham area gardners when Bakerview Nursery closed their doors.

Today, I ran into this article at the Bellingham Herald:

Former Mill Creek nursery plans to open in Bellingham April 1
It took longer than expected, but Jenny Gunderson soon will have My Garden Nursery open in Bellingham.

The nursery is going into the former Bakerview Nursery buildings at 945 E. Bakerview Road. Gunderson and her fiance, Bill Raynolds, currently are remodeling the buildings and plan to open the business Wednesday, April 1. Store hours are tentatively scheduled for 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Gunderson said the company is also in hiring mode, looking to add about 10 more employees.

This is wonderful - when I lived in Seattle, I used to shop at their Mill Creek location, great place! 

Rumors confirmed

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Looks like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is looking for a new Chairman.

Ex railway engineer and noted pornographer Rajendra Pachauri is facing sexual harassment allegations and has subsequently resigned, writing a two-page love letter to himself.

More here and here. Anyone remember Al Gore's Crazed Sex Poodle incident in Portland, OR back in 2009?

Better call Saul

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We just watched a mini-marathon of this show and it is wonderful.

Great casting and plot development.

For those that followed Breaking Bad, Saul was Walter's lawyer in that series - this follows his early career.

I know I should have been working on the BERT website but...

Gorgeous advertisement for Martell

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Stunningly beautiful 3D animation:

 

 

In celebration of their 300th birthday! More here: Martell House

Working on a web page for our community

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I am involved in a group called BERT - Baker Emergency Resource Team. This is the outgrowth of a bunch of CERT people trying to get the community organized and instill the concept of preparedness into everyone out here. We have been meeting monthly for the last five months.

This area is the end of a very long and very thin supply chain and if something major happens, it will be a week or more before rescue teams come in from the outside to assist. The perils out here are many - volcano, earthquake (we are overdue for a big one), fire, flood, landslide to just name the biggies.

The web page is still in its infancy but check out bakeremergency.com

Fun little essay:

THE EXECUTIVE COMPUTER
Whatever happened to the laptop computer? Two years ago, on my flight to Las Vegas for Comdex, the annual microcomputer trade show, every second or third passenger pulled out a portable, ostensibly to work, but more likely to demonstrate an ability to keep up with the latest fad. Last year, only a couple of these computers could be seen on the fold-down trays. This year, every one of them had been replaced by the more traditional mixed drink or beer.

Was the laptop dream an illusion, then? Or was the problem merely that the right combination of features for such lightweight computers had not yet materialized? The answer probably is a combination of both views. For the most part, the portable computer is a dream machine for the few.

The limitations come from what people actually do with computers, as opposed to what the marketers expect them to do. On the whole, people don't want to lug a computer with them to the beach or on a train to while away hours they would rather spend reading the sports or business section of the newspaper. Somehow, the microcomputer industry has assumed that everyone would love to have a keyboard grafted on as an extension of their fingers. It just is not so.

A bit more:

Consumers have passed judgment. Convergent Technology allowed its laptop to sink into oblivion in June of this year. I.B.M. never legitimized the market with its much rumored ''Clamshell,'' probably because the company realized that laptops are a small niche market, not a mass market. Hewlett-Packard, Panasonic, Data General and, of course, Tandy, which started it all, are still producing their laptops, albeit with the almost unreadable liquid crystal display, or L.C.D. Sales, however, are a fraction of the optimistic projections made only a year ago by industry soothsayers.

I still have my Tandy TRS-80 Model 100

And the concluding paragraph:

But the real future of the laptop computer will remain in the specialized niche markets. Because no matter how inexpensive the machines become, and no matter how sophisticated their software, I still can't imagine the average user taking one along when going fishing.

Published December 8, 1985 - how times have changed...

Here is the speech - broken into two parts. Really worth watching:

 

Now this is leadership.

Of course Screwy Louis has to weigh in - from The Daily Caller:

Louis Farrakhan Calls Giuliani A ‘Privileged Cracker’ & ‘Devil’ For Criticizing Obama
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan was more than a tad upset with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s criticism of President Barack Obama’s patriotism, saying in his Sunday sermon that Giuliani was a “privileged cracker” and a “devil.”

“Giuliani says Obama does not love America,” Farrakhan said, “And instead of apologizing, they say he doubled down, he tripled down, he said, ‘I’m not taking this back. He didn’t grow up like we grew up.’”

“How did you grow up, Giuliani?” asked Farrakhan. “A privileged cracker?” After that line got enormous applause, he added: “Or I should say, a privileged devil?!”

Clueless...

Yes please!

From the UK Telegraph:

American Way: After Barack Obama's celebrity presidency is America ready for a hard man in the White House?
He is balding and frankly – even his supporters would concede – a little bit boring. So how has Scott Walker, the governor of the Midwestern state of Wisconsin, suddenly pulled into the front rank of Republican candidates for president?

With neither an instantly recognisable name – like Jeb Bush – nor a balloon-sized ego that craves media attention – like Chris Christie – Mr Walker reached near-parity with Mr Bush in the polls this week in the electorally pacesetting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

In an era where politics has become increasingly intertwined with celebrity, Mr Walker, the 47-year-old son of a bookkeeper and a Baptist minister, has ploughed a very different furrow, earning his stripes in the bare-knuckled world of state-level politics, far away from a detached and deadlocked Washington.

While rivals like Ted Cruz, the Texas senator and Tea Party darling, were grandstanding around the capital shutting down the Federal government, Mr Walker's pitch is that he was workin' in Wisconsin, bashing the unions, balancing budgets and slashing nearly $2 billion-worth (£1.3 billion) of taxes.

"If you are not afraid to go big and bold, you can actually get results," Mr Walker told the audience at a major conservative conference in Iowa last month, noting his three election victories in Wisconsin had come in a state that has voted Democrat for president for more than 30 years.

 He would be amazing for the job - appoint some decent people to run the Military and various agencies like the EPA, Dept of Education, get John Bolton as Sec. State - Walker could rebuld America.

Changes in the weather

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We have had a very unusual fall and winter - a high pressure ridge parked itself off our coast and has been giving us a mild dry winter and sending paralyzing cold and snow to the North East. But nothing lasts forever

From Cliff Mass:

The Ridge Begins to Shift
This has been the winter of the ridge, an area of high pressure in the in the lower to mid atmosphere that has brought us consistently warm temperatures.   Downstream of our persistent ridge there has been a trough over the eastern U.S. that given them unending cold and snow.

But the ridge is shifting, with substantial implications for our weather in the Northwest.

Let me remind you of Ridge 101.  The plot below shows a situation with a ridge over the western U.S.  The color shades are the heights of a pressure surface (in this case 500 hPa).  Where the higher heights push northward, there is a ridge, pushed southward--a trough.   When the ridge is over us (like in this figure) we are generally dry.  During most of the year, we are also warmer than normal when the ridge is overhead (but during the middle of winter sometimes we can be engulfed by fog at low levels).  East of the ridge there is northwesterly flow, bringing cold air from the north.   If a disturbance is embedded in this NW flow, we can have precipitation--yes, even snow.  On the western side of the ridge, there is southwesterly flow:  warmer than normal temps and usually wet.  This is when we get the atmospheric rivers, with heavy precipitation.

Much more at the site. We can use the snowpack. That and some late-season skiing - the lack of snow has been killing local businesses...

 

Just wonderful - terror at home

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From FOX News:

Al Shabaab calls for attack on Mall of America in new video
A new video from Al Shabaab purportedly shows the terror group calling for an attack on Mall of America, in Bloomington, Minn.

According to Fox 9, the mall is one of three similar targets the terror group specifically names, including West Edmonton Mall in Canada and the Oxford Street shopping area in London.  

The video purportedly shows 6 minutes of graphic images and the terrorists celebrating the 2013 Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya, that killed more than 60 people.

And the response from the Mall?

An image of the Mall of America is shown in the video, alongside its GPS coordinates. The mall says it is ramping up its security in response.

"We will continue to monitor events with the help of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies," Mall of America said in a statement. "As always, we take any potential threat seriously and respond appropriately. Mall of America has implemented extra security precautions, some may be noticeable to guests, and others won't be. We will continue to follow the situation, along with law enforcement, and will remain vigilant as we always do in similar situations."

I wonder if they will be taking these down at any time:

20150222-moa-guns.jpg 

Continuing the Obama story

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This from Sir Harold Evans writing at the New York Daily News:

What Obama gets wrong about Iran
Why have the negotiations with the Obama administration and Iran become such a critical national security issue? Look at the record of betrayals of trust that have enabled Iran to operate 19,000 centrifuges and another 1,008 IR2m machines that can produce bomb-grade, fissionable material five times faster than the other centrifuges. Back in 2005, the West was saying to Iran “zero centrifuges.” Let me repeat: Zero. Next we were talking of a compromise at 5,000 centrifuges. In seven negotiations from 2005 and 2013, the negotiations can be summed up in one word: Retreat. A series of capitulations have left Iran with “the right” to enrich uranium so now it has thousands of kilograms of enriched uranium. That’s enough to produce a bomb, contrary to the Obama’s commitment to Congress that he would not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons.

The progressive weakening of the Obama administration’s position was analyzed in November 2011 in a penetrating Washington Post report by Michael Makovsky and Blaise Misztal. It’s gotten weaker since then. What was “unacceptable” has been demoted to one of our highest national security issues. Now the United States seems prepared to make a deal that not only would suspend and ultimately lift the sanctions, but to do that while leaving Iran as a threshold nuclear power. This is the classic definition of a Bad Deal. And worse. Iran is on track to put a nuclear warhead on intercontinental missiles with a range reaching beyond Europe. This puts the whole civilized world at risk of nuclear blackmail and it threatens the very existence of Israel.

This is why Netanyahu was invited to address the House on a bipartisan basis. The fuss about this being a breach of protocol is ridiculous in light of the administration’s acceleration of trust in Iran. The American people understand. In a poll, more than 81% say Iran cannot be trusted. So, too, do many members of Congress from both parties. The extraordinary breaking of ranks by the ranking Democrat of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Sen. Robert Menendez, bears repeating: “The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that came straight out of Tehran.” The senator is wholly justified in his move to impose new escalating sanctions on Tehran if negotiations fail to conclude an agreement that clearly limits Iran’s nuclear program. He has not forgotten that the real power in Iran is the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a ruthless theocrat — and one who continued the campaign of international terrorism that has marked Iran ever since its revolution.

A lot more at the site.

Sir Harold Evans is no journalistic slouch - quite the history including Editor of the Sunday London Times for 14 years.

Why is this so shocking?

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20150221-daily-news.jpg

Anyone who has studied Barry's history knows that was surrounded by radicals, socialists, communists and marxists while he was growing up and that he voluntarily continued to seek out these people when he got older

The guy is not in love with America.

The New York Daily News has the initial story:

Rudy Giuliani claims Obama 'doesn't love America' while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker goes after Mitt Romney
Obama doesn’t love America — and Mitt’s not much better.

Those were the not-so-subtle views expressed by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at a Manhattan dinner party Wednesday night.

“I do not believe — and I know this is a horrible thing to say — but I do not believe that this President loves America,” Giuliani said of Obama.

They also have Giuliani's follow-up clarification:

Rudy Giuliani clarifies Obama comments by claiming the President has been influenced by communism, socialism
Trying to explain his controversial comments that President Obama doesn’t love America, Rudy Giuliani said Friday that he believes the President has been influenced by communism and socialism.

“Look, this man was brought up basically in a white family, so whatever he learned or didn’t learn, I attribute this more to the influence of communism and socialism” than to his race, Giuliani told the Daily News.

The usual suspects in the mainstream media are trying to spin this but they know, deep in their heart of hearts, that Rudy is 100% correct here - there is no other explanation for Obama's actions.

Back home again

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We got three flats of starts - some hyacinths for around my Mom and Dad's gravesite, some lettuce and strawberries for me and some flowers for Lulu.

They also had a bunch of nice bare-root trees but that will be for a later date - got to get the soil ready for them.

We also swung by my parent's condo as Lulu has not seen the new work I have going on there - a complete re-do of the kitchen and all new carpet and paint throughout.

Had lunch at the always wonderful Avenue Bread.

Time to clear out the truck - the weather is supposed to be nice tomorrow so planning to plant then.

Lulu and I are heading out for coffee and then into town to visit Joe's Gardens. This is the go-to place for all kinds of plant starts.

Now this could be interesting

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Hoping for a little forklift accident here - fun to watch:

20150220-fizz.jpg

Hat tip to the Naval Safety Center, Photo of the Week for the image.

The Keystone Pipeline

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Need I say more - and this $2 Billion dollars is being passed on to us as higher gas prices

20150220-BNSF.jpg

About those evil Koch Rockefeller Brothers

Progressives like to point fingers at the Koch Brothers and complain about just how much money they are dumping into politics and climate change and how it is unfairly skewing the political landscape.

From Fair Questions:

200 Climate Campaign Groups All Funded by a Single Source: The Rockefeller Brothers
RBF has funded a wide range of organizations, including the Body Shop Foundation to …..

Some of the grant descriptions are telling. For example,

Here are links to organizations that the Rockefeller Brothers has funded as part of its campaign against Canadian energy and pipelines:

    1. Sustainable Markets Foundation
    2. 350.org
    3. 1Sky Education Fund
    4. Corporate Ethics International
    5. Ceres Inc.

Below, here are links to Rockefeller grantees that, over the past decade, have received more than $500,000 that was specifically ear-marked for climate change-related projects:

The grantees list is over 200 organizations and each grantee has a link to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund website describing the grant, how much and what for. This is serious money and far beyond what the Koch Brothers contribute.

So, Mr. Frishberg must be some kind of sooper scientist to be the Lightbringer's Senior Climate Adviser?

Nope - he is a political hack just like the rest of them.

From his Linkedin page:

Skills
Grassroots Organizing
Fundraising
Politics
Policy Analysis
Speech Writing
Legislative Relations
Nonprofits
Project Planning
Community Outreach
Leadership
Environmental Advocacy
Public Relations
Strategy
Political Consulting
Political Campaigns
Sustainability
Policy
Public Policy
Government
Program Development
Message Development
Coalitions
Strategic Planning
Political Communication
Grants
Crisis Communications
Public Speaking
Program Evaluation
Event Planning
Strategic Communications
International…
Higher Education
Environmental Policy
Social Networking
Press Releases
Volunteer Management
Community Organizing
Community Development
Political Science
Energy Policy
Grassroots
Research
Legislation
Media Relations
International Relations
Grant Writing
Climate Change…
Editing
Social Media

 All hat and no cattle. What did Mr. Frishberg do to catch my attention? He sent out this email:

Friend —
It’s tough out there for climate change deniers.

One by one, literally every argument and excuse they’ve been using for years is being proven false.

Then cite some of them please.

They’re still grasping at myths and conspiracy theories, but deniers are on the run.

No we are not - our numbers grow greater each year and our voices stronger. The earth has been cooling over the last 18 years. Where is this warming you speak of?

Let’s keep them there — join the team that’s calling out climate change deniers.

In reality, the debate on the basics is over.
Not only do 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is real and man-made, but new reports are showing climate and extreme weather impacts are affecting us right now.

This 97% number came from one scientist and was totally debunked a few weeks after it was published. This number fits your narrative so you use it but it does not fit the facts which you choose to ignore.

Droughts, floods, wildfires, and storms are hitting communities from California to the East Coast, and we’re already spending hundreds of billions on climate-related disaster relief — no one is denying that.

It's called the weather - the high pressure that is causing the cold in the Northeast and the warmth and moisture in the Northwest is something that happens every fifty years or so - not common but not rare either. Nothing to do with any warming.

Instead, what you hear from climate change deniers are mostly excuses for not taking action. Some have hidden behind foreign countries, saying America can’t or shouldn’t lead on climate until someone else goes first.

Why should we spend all this money on something that does not exist and would actually be beneficial if it did - more people die from cold than from heat. More CO2 = higher crop yields.

Let’s set aside for a minute that this isn’t actually how we solve global problems. The fact is, President Obama is leading internationally through agreements with China and India to cut carbon pollution and expand the use of clean energy. (So there goes that denier talking point…)

And China and India are looking him right in the face and lying to him - China has not slowed down one bit, neither has India. We should be emulating these nations and not giving away a chunk of our own sovereignty to them.

Another thing you might hear from a denier is that we simply can’t get serious about cutting carbon pollution without destroying the economy. That’s just false. For example, the climate and public health benefits from President Obama’s Clean Power Plan outweigh the costs by at least six times.
Maybe deniers doubt we have the will and ingenuity to take such a huge problem on. Well, the American people are proving them wrong: Since 2009, we’ve increased solar power ten-fold and tripled wind power. Hundreds of thousands of Americans work in clean energy today.

So much of our tax dollars spent on this solar and wind and they contribute how much to our grid? Less than 2% As for the clean energy jobs - the solar panels are made in China, the wind turbines are made in Germany (Siemens) or Holland (Vestax). What local jobs there are are subsidized with our own money.

The arguments from deniers are getting more and more ludicrous.
We have the facts on our side — and we have to drive that message home. Because as long as deniers and polluters are blocking progress, we’re not doing all we can to combat climate change.

You see the writing on the wall and are getting desperate to conserve your political power. You are a corrupt statist. Your ideas are so obviously great you want to make them mandatory for all of us.

Say you’ll help take them to task — join the team that’s calling out climate change deniers:
http://my.barackobama.com/Expose-Climate-Change-Deniers

Thanks,
Ivan
Ivan Frishberg
Senior Climate Adviser
Organizing for Action

Putz - Mr. Frishberg is a perfect example of what is so wrong in the political class these days. Clueless, driven by narrative instead of facts and out of touch with We the People...

Network vulnerability - car washes

From Information Weeek magazine:

Hackin' At The Car Wash, Yeah
Turns out those drive-through car washes have public Web interfaces that easily can be accessed online, and used to cause physical damage, manipulate or sabotage mechanical operations, or just score a free wash for your vehicle.

Renowned security researcher Billy Rios -- who has exposed security flaws in medical systems used with X-ray machines and carry-on baggage screening machines at TSA checkpoints, among other critical systems -- detailed, here this week, how something as mundane as an automatic car wash is also hackable from afar. The Web interface in one popular car wash brand's remote access system he studied contains weak and easily guessed default passwords, as well as other features that could allow an attacker to hijack the functions of a car wash. 

Rios decided to explore just how exposed car washes were after a friend who's an executive for a gas station chain that includes car washes, told him a story about how technicians had misconfigured one car wash location remotely. The mistake caused the rotary arm in the car wash to smash into a minivan mid-wash, spraying water into the vehicle and at the family inside. The minivan driver quickly accelerated out of the car wash, badly damaging the equipment, as well as the vehicle.

The story resonated for Rios, who has been studying public safety ramifications of industrial and other critical systems accessible via the Net. "If [a hacker] shuts off a heater, it's not so bad. But if there are moving parts, they're totally going to hurt [someone] and do damage," says Rios, founder of Laconicly. "I think there should be some distinction between those types of devices. Turning on and off the lights is cool, but if you create something that causes something to move, you can't allow them [the manufacturers] to voluntarily opt into" security, he says.

Rios went to work looking for exposed automatic car washes online, and found them. "I looked for car washes on the Net, there are a couple of hundred" for PDQ LaserWash, the brand he researched, Rios says. PDQ LaserWash runs an HTTP Web server interface for remote administration and control, and the car wash equipment runs on Windows CE with an ARM processor.

"You can log into it and shell into it … it's just an HTTP post request," Rios says of the car wash systems. He says the problem likely isn't isolated to this particular car wash brand he investigated, either. Rios estimates that that there are a thousand or others online.

Yeah - these systems are designed with no clue about security. The manufacturer is hardware oriented and probably contracted out the programming to the cheapest bidder.

From The New York Times:

800,000 Using HealthCare.gov Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data
About 800,000 taxpayers who enrolled in insurance policies through HealthCare.gov received erroneous tax information from the government, and were urged on Friday to hold off on filing tax returns until the error could be corrected.

The Obama administration, under heavy pressure from congressional Democrats, also announced that it would give several million people more time to buy health insurance so they could comply with federal law and avoid tax penalties.

The incorrect insurance information is used in computing taxes. Consumers can expect to receive corrected data in the first week of March. With the new data, officials warned, some taxpayers will owe more and some will owe less.

Officials said they did not know why the error had occurred.

Nothing can possibly go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong...

Great video and I love that everyone rose to their feet applauding at the end:

 

Tip of the hat to The Roadkill Diaries for the link.

Advances in touch-screen technology - from 1982

Talk about a blast from the past:

 

QPR is the English Football club - Queens Park Rangers. Hat tip to Popular Mechanics for the link.

Looks like a Fresnel on a micro level - from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences:

Perfect colors, captured with one ultra-thin lens
Most lenses are, by definition, curved. After all, they are named for their resemblance to lentils, and a glass lens made flat is just a window with no special powers.

But a new type of lens created at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) turns conventional optics on its head.

A major leap forward from a prototype device demonstrated in 2012, it is an ultra-thin, completely flat optical component made of a glass substrate and tiny, light-concentrating silicon antennas. Light shining on it bends instantaneously, rather than gradually, while passing through. The bending effects can be designed in advance, by an algorithm, and fine-tuned to fit almost any purpose.

With this new invention described today in Science, the Harvard research team has overcome an inherent drawback of a wafer-thin lens: light at different wavelengths (i.e., colors) responds to the surface very differently. Until now, this phenomenon has prevented planar optics from being used with broadband light. Now, instead of treating all wavelengths equally, the researchers have devised a flat lens with antennas that compensate for the wavelength differences and produce a consistent effect—for example, deflecting three beams of different colors by the same angle, or focusing those colors on a single spot.

“What this now means is that complicated effects like color correction, which in a conventional optical system would require light to pass through several thick lenses in sequence, can be achieved in one extremely thin, miniaturized device,” said principal investigator Federico Capasso, the Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering at Harvard SEAS.

This is going to be a few years away from licensing and manufacture but I can just imagine the results - game changer for photography and optics in general.

A liberal speaks the truth

Wonderful realization at Taki's Magazine:

Wasted Advantages
The important new book Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America, by Los Angeles Times homicide reporter Jill Leovy, is the hybrid of a true crime tale about the struggle of white LAPD detective John Skaggs to find the killer of the son of a black LAPD detective and a taboo-breaking scholarly analysis of America’s plague of black-on-black homicides.

At a moment when the conventional wisdom is coalescing around the idea that the big problem with the criminal justice system is white policemen being too mean to black criminals, Leovy drops a bombshell carefully justified by what she learned reporting from 2001 to 2012 on black crime in South Central Los Angeles. She argues the opposite: that white people should work harder to track down and lock up black murderers. Leovy admits:

This is not an easy argument to make in these times. Many critics today complain that the criminal justice system is heavy-handed and unfair to minorities. We hear a great deal about capital punishment, excessively punitive drug laws, supposed misuse of eyewitness evidence, troublingly high rates of black male incarceration, and so forth. So to assert that black Americans suffer from too little application of the law, not too much, seems at odds with common perception.

But if “black lives matter,” it’s time to get serious and admit that the main killers of blacks are, overwhelmingly, other blacks.

Finally, someone has the courage to speak the truth in a progressive environment - with all the Michael Brown / Trayvon Martin narrative being fomented by our leaders, it is good to know the facts for what they are.

Prescient - from George Carlin

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One of his later videos - speaking truth to power. Suck it up snowflake...

 

And also this classic:

Slo Mo videos

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I love doing time-lapse photography and there are ways to introduce motion into the end result.

I am also interested in high-speed photography but the price of entry is still in the high nose-bleed numbers - over $150K for a decent camera. How do you introduce motion into this art?

The brag reel:

 

 

An the behind the scenes shot - meet the Bolt High Speed Cinebot

 

Happy 25th Birthday - Photoshop

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From their website:

Happy 25th Anniversary Photoshop!
In 1987 people were rocking out to Walk Like an Egyptian, falling in love with The Princess Bride, and were just meeting the Tanner Family from Full House. It was in this pre-digital world—a world almost impossible for us to imagine now—that Thomas Knoll dreamed up and created Display, a pixel imaging program. Display was purchased by the then nascent software company Adobe, and in 1990—25 years ago—was released under a new, now famous name. “Photoshop” was born.

Today, the digital imaging revolution that Photoshop started is so pervasive that remembering a time before it existed takes some work. So it’s with great pleasure, on Photoshop’s 25th anniversary, that we look back to the simpler, pre-millennial world into which it was born, not to celebrate the past but to recognize what an awesome transformation our world has undergone in such a short amount of time. Hallmarks like today remind us of what is possible when human artistry and imagination unite with technology to make our dreams real before our eyes. In the case of Photoshop, making dreams visible is the product’s literal promise.

2015 will be a year of celebrating, not where Photoshop has been, but where Photoshop is going and the people that make it possible. Below is our “bucket list” for the year, events we invite you to join us in as we look ahead to the next 25 years of Photoshop, and the future that we will co-create together.

Great program - I used to use it a lot for general image correction but now solidly in the Lightroom (another excellent Adobe product) camp. Really wish they would drop the subscription model but that is another story. Still, Lightroom 6 is coming out as a stand-alone product so time to upgrade!

Great essay from Mike Rowe

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I am a big fan of Mike - would be a lot of fun to sit down and have a couple beers with him.

Someone wrote to him and his reply was epic. From Mike's FaceBook page:

Kyle Smith writes...

Howard Dean recently criticized Gov Scott Walker for never finishing college, stating that he was "unknowledgeable." What would your response be on college as a requirement for elected office?

Hi Kyle

Back in 1990, The QVC Cable Shopping Channel was conducting a national talent search. I had no qualifications to speak of, but I needed a job, and thought TV might be a fun way to pay the bills. So I showed up at The Marriott in downtown Baltimore with a few hundred other hopefuls, and waited for a chance to audition. When it was my turn, the elevator took me to the top floor, where a man no expression led me into a suite and asked me to take a seat behind a large desk. Across from the desk, there was a camera on a tripod. On the desk was a digital timer with an LED display. I took a seat as the man clipped a microphone on my shirt and explained the situation.

“The purpose of this audition is to see if you can talk for eight minutes without stuttering, blathering, passing out, or throwing up. Any questions?”

“What would you like me to talk about,” I asked.

The man pulled a pencil from behind his ear and rolled it across the desk. “Talk to me about that pencil. Sell it. Make me want it. But be yourself. If you can do that for eight minutes, the job is yours. Ok?”

I looked at the pencil. It was yellow. It had a point on one end, and an eraser on the other. On the side were the words, Dixon Ticonderoga Number 2 SOFT.

“Ok,” I said.

The man set the timer to 8:00, and walked behind the tripod. He pressed a button and a red light appeared on the camera. He pressed another button and the timer began to count backwards. “Action,” he said. I picked up the pencil and started talking.

“Hi there. My name’s Mike Rowe, and I only have eight minutes to tell you why this is finest pencil on Planet Earth. So let’s get right to it.”

Mike concludes with this:

Here’s what I didn’t understand 25 years ago. QVC had a serious recruiting problem. Qualified candidates were applying in droves, but failing miserably on the air. Polished salespeople with proven track records were awkward on TV. Professional actors with extensive credits couldn’t be themselves on camera. And seasoned hosts who understood live television had no experience hawking products. So eventually, QVC hit the reset button. They stopped looking for “qualified” people, and started looking for anyone who could talk about a pencil for eight minutes.

QVC had confused qualifications with competency.
Perhaps America has done something similar?

Look at how we hire help - it’s no so different than how we elect leaders. We search for work ethic on resumes. We look for intelligence in test scores. We search for character in references. And of course, we look at a four-year diploma as though it might actually tell us something about common-sense and leadership.

Obviously, we need a bit more from our elected officials than the instincts of a home shopping host, but the business of determining what those “qualifications” are is completely up to us. We get to decide what matters most. We get to decide if a college degree or military service is somehow determinative. We get to decide if Howard Dean is correct.

Anyone familiar with my foundation knows my position. I think a trillion dollars of student loans and a massive skills gap are precisely what happens to a society that actively promotes one form of education as the best course for the most people. I think the stigmas and stereotypes that keep so many people from pursuing a truly useful skill, begin with the mistaken belief that a four-year degree is somehow superior to all other forms of learning. And I think that making elected office contingent on a college degree is maybe the worst idea I’ve ever heard.

But of course, Howard Dean is not the real problem. He’s just one guy. And he’s absolutely right when he says that many others will judge Scott Walker for not finishing college. That's the real problem.

However - when Howard Dean called the Governor “unknowledgeable,” he rolled out more than a stereotype. He rolled a pencil across the desk, and gave Scott Walker eight minutes to knock it out of the park.

It’ll be fun to see if he does.

Mike

This guy is a national treasure. Read the FaceBook page to get the transcript of what Mike said and the results - long read but well worth it.

On a personal level, I dropped out of College and have never regretted it for one moment. Both of my parents were academics and I saw the life they had to live, the constant pressure. I was going to Boston University for Marine Biology and Physical Oceanography and got a job offer from a public aquarium to actually do the things I was reading about in textbooks. And then, the whole computer thing happened. Now, I am doing music, photography and blacksmithing and spending time giving back to our community. Planning a 40 day trip with my sweetie in two months - life is awesome!

This alarm can't be hushed

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From the YouTube site:

Nest Protect is a terrible buggy product
Do not buy a Nest Protect. You will regret it.

You can stop or mute this video if it's annoying, but you cannot stop a Nest.

Disclaimer: I am a Google employee. I paid for these myself. So I speak as myself.

Yet another busy day

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Took care of the critters this morning. Did some printing for our prepper group. Ran into town to do some bank stuff and food shopping. Had a late lunch and came back home to do a quick unpack (got some frozen items) and then off to a 6:30 meeting at the resource center.

Part of the Mt. Baker Highway is sliding away and they are having to reroute the highway 100 feet to the North.

Tonight was a safety dog and pony show with a couple of county agencies and the Red Cross. Our group had some fliers out and we talked to some people - the overall impression was very favorable.

Back home now, fed the dogs and cats and ready to surf for a bit.

Amazing how the time can just slip away...

Coming up in a few days - Ninja Day

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February 22nd to be exact - from Kotaku:

"Ninja Day" Is an Actual Holiday in Japan
February 22 is "National Ninja Day." The Japanese holiday isn't an official day off. That is, at least not for those unable to slip out of work.

Why 2/22? It's a word play, because in Japanese the number two is "ni." You know, kind of like the "ni" in "ninja" (忍者), but with "nin" or 忍 referring to endurance, patience or restraint.

Or better yet, it's reminiscent of anime character Ninja Hattori Kun's "nin nin" (ニンニン) catchphrase.

More at the site with lots of photos - fun time!

There is this wonderful comment to the post:

If there is a Ninja Holiday shouldn't it be more ... unexpected?

Heh...

Grim news from our little hamlet - SR-542

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From the Washington State Department of Transportation:

Construction to realign SR 542 near Glacier Springs starts Feb. 19
MAPLE FALLS – Relief is in sight for drivers who use State Route 542 near Glacier Springs in Whatcom County. This week, under an emergency contract, contractor crews will begin realigning the highway away from the Nooksack River. The Washington State Department of Transportation selected Bellingham-based Ram Construction to permanently shift this section of the SR 542, the Mt. Baker Highway, 100 feet to the northeast. The work will be complete in April.

The Nooksack River is eroding land near the eastbound lane of the highway. To keep drivers safe, WSDOT reduced a 1,000 foot-long stretch of SR 542 to one lane on Feb. 8. Temporary signals are controlling traffic in that area.

“Both lanes of SR 542 still seem to be stable, but the erosion is close enough that, in the interest of safety, we decided to take action,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Chris Damitio. “Even with the temporary signals, drivers are experiencing only minor delays and all the businesses east of the one-lane section, including the Mount Baker Ski Area, remain open.”

WSDOT maintenance crews have been monitoring erosion at this site for many years. In 2006, WSDOT shifted SR 542 several feet to the north to move it away from the river. In late November and early December 2014, the Nooksack eroded several feet of the bluff, bringing the river closer to the current alignment. Recent heavy rains and high water levels brought further erosion, leading WSDOT to reduce the highway to one lane. WSDOT engineers believe the new highway alignment will not be affected by the river.

I do not know them but I feel really sorry for the three land-owners that are affected by this construction. They are losing significant chunks of their front yards and, considering that the Nooksack will continue to erode the hillside, their property values just tanked to less than zero. This is just another step in the progression that started in 2006 - we have another ten years before this needs to be done again. That hillside is not stable.

Fun times - infected hard disk drives

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From Yahoo/Reuters:

Russian researchers expose breakthrough in U.S. spying program
The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world's computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives.

That long-sought and closely guarded ability was part of a cluster of spying programs discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based security software maker that has exposed a series of Western cyberespionage operations.

Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. The targets included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said. (http://reut.rs/1L5knm0)

More at the site - I had heard about this for a few months but it had not hit the mainstream media so I did not post about it. A bit more:

A former NSA employee told Reuters that Kaspersky's analysis was correct, and that people still in the spy agency valued these espionage programs as highly as Stuxnet. Another former intelligence operative confirmed that the NSA had developed the prized technique of concealing spyware in hard drives, but said he did not know which spy efforts relied on it.

Heh - the good old NSA (No Such Agency) up to its tricks. I support them in their efforts - I would love to be a fly on the wall at their briefing sessions. I just wish that we had a Commander in Chief with enough balls to use this information and with the moral clarity to pass it over to our other allies in the area - Israel, Jordan, Egypt, etc...

Back from town - long day

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Curtis' set was two hours long - he is getting better and better. There were about 30 people in the bar and they were attentive and clapped after the songs.

Drove back to the farm and got in about 45 minutes ago - fed the two dogs and two cats and all is well.

Surf for a bit - planning to fine-tune the Emergency website tomorrow and, at 6:30, there is a Community Planning meeting at the local Resource Center.

Looking forward to the trip - 30+ days on the road with Lulu and our two dogs. Finnegan (the old, deaf, and blind one) will be staying home - he gets confused easily.

I thought after closing the business that I would have lots of spare time. Foolish boy!

Another day in Paradise

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Busy day today - coffee, fed the critters, went to the store and did some office work, printed out the flyers and mailers for our Water Board's annual general meeting, came home, fed the dogs and cats and now heading into town. I'll be working at my parent's condo (doing a dump run) and then off to a local hot spot to listen to Lulu's son play for a couple hours.

The clouds are gathering and rain is forecast for tonight. Off to town...

email as it used to be done

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An excellent film showing how telegrams were sent

 

Note: This was England in the 1940's - BT is British Telecom (telephone monopoly) and GPO is the Government Post Office.

These machines were driven by synchronous motors depending on the power grid to provide the same speed of rotation at Point A and Point B.

A later unit - Teletype's Keyboard Send and Receive Model 33 (KSR-33) were used by hackers as the first cheap input devices and printers. I used to have a couple of them. Lucky sods that could afford the automatic version (ASR-33) got a unit with a paper tape drive for storing programs and reading them in later. I got one of those a bit later and then graduated to a DECwriter (way faster and lower maintenance) and finally graduated to a Daisy Wheel printer. Got my first laser printer a few years later (1980 or so). It has been a fun ride!

Now this is really interesting

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From the MIT Technology Review:

Nano-Manufacturing Makes Steel 10 Times Stronger
An inexpensive new process can increase the strength of metals such as steel by as much as 10 times, and make them much more resistant to corrosion. If the modified metals pass field testing, the new process could go on to make bridges and other infrastructure last far longer; it could also make cars lighter and therefore more fuel-efficient.

The Seattle-based startup that developed the process, Modumetal, is commercializing it in part with collaboration with the oil companies Chevron, Conoco-Philips, and Hess.

Some more:

Modumetal uses an advanced form of electroplating, a process already used to make the chrome plating you might see on the engine and exhaust pipes of a motorcycle. Electroplating involves immersing a metal part in a chemical bath containing various metal ions, and then applying an electrical current to cause those ions to form a metal coating.

The company uses a bath that contains more than one kind of metal ion and controls how ions are deposited by varying the electrical current. By changing the current at precise moments, it can create a layered structure, with each layer being several nanometers thick and of different composition. The final coating can be up to a centimeter thick and can greatly change the properties of the original material.

I am a blacksmith and knife maker and this made my inner geek sit up and say: MORE FASTER PLEASE!!!

Wondering if they would sell me some 1/8" plate. This will not be Damascus - the grain boundaries will be to fine to raise a pattern but the properties could be amazing. Another boutique steel manufacturer - Crucible Industries - discovered and embraced the blacksmith and knife-making market and have done very well by them.

The core idea is a very simple one and someone with a bit of chemistry and electronics should be able to try this idea out. The devil is in the fine tuning...

Something to do outside on the grass with Latex paint:

 

Busy day today - just got home

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Had an engineering meeting with the Point of Sale vendors - they had a checklist of what features we wanted and had some questions on how we do our accounting. Even with the dead ski season, we are pretty busy so this will be a godsend.

Met with someone (Craigslist sale) about 20 miles South of Bellingham. The product wasn't worth what they were asking so I got a bite to eat down there and just got back home.

Lulu's son is playing in town tomorrow so we are going to meet up with him at the bar.

Gorgeous weather - temps got up to 64° at the farm - horse and mule are very happy. Llamas are their usual inscrutable selves. Supposed to get some showers in the next couple of days with more sunshine for next weekend. Perfect for working at the farm - things are beginning to bud out.

This is unconscionable

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From The Gateway Pundit comes this brief clip of USMC Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North regarding Jordan's and Egypt's attacks against the sons of dogs and pigs that are known in the West as ISIS:

 

 

Note: the 21 people in the bright orange jumpsuits were brutally murdered by the a**holes in black a short while after these photos were taken. Their crime? Christianity.

From The Gateway Pundit:

Oliver North told Greta Van Susteren tonight that the Egyptian government asked the US for information on ISIS targets in Libya yesterday after ISIS beheaded 21 Christians. But, the Obama Administration refused the request. The Obama administration also refused to give Jordan information on ISIS targets in Syria after their pilot was burned alive in a cage.

“President El Sisi asked for American intelligence targeting intelligence before today’s strikes and didn’t get it. King Abdullah of Jordan asked for Intelligence data on targets to respond to the murder of a Jordanian aircraft pilot. The Kurds are begging for arms and ammo from the United States, not one bullet has been delivered by the United States.”

President Stompy-Feet?

Golfing at a golf course owned by a crony capitalist and contributer.

Snowfall at Kamchatka Peninsula

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The Kamchatka Peninsula is in Russia's North East coast. It has always seemed to me to be a beautiful place - have always been drawn to polar regions. It is firmly on my bucket list of places to visit but only in summer. Despite its having the same latitude as Great Brittan, it doesn't have the Gulf Stream that Jolly Olde Blighty has keeping it nice and relatively warm. Winters are brutal.

This winter, more than usual though - snowfalls have been extreme. The wonderful website English Russia has some photos - here is one of them:

 20150216-kamchatka.jpg

What warming was that again?

Huge piles of money. Gobs and gobs of it. From the Scientific American:

"Dark Money" Funds Climate Change Denial Effort
The largest, most-consistent money fueling the climate denial movement are a number of well-funded conservative foundations built with so-called "dark money," or concealed donations, according to an analysis released Friday afternoon.

The study, by Drexel University environmental sociologist Robert Brulle, is the first academic effort to probe the organizational underpinnings and funding behind the climate denial movement.

It found that the amount of money flowing through third-party, pass-through foundations like DonorsTrust and Donors Capital, whose funding cannot be traced, has risen dramatically over the past five years.

Where's my Ferrari? I'm still waiting for a jet pack - they promised me a jet pack!

Someone must be getting desperate to be publishing this kind of drivel.

Our President and the terrorists

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Muslim terrorists burn a Jordanian pilot alive and the King of Jordan pummels them with air strikes.

Muslim terrorists decapitate 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians and Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi bombed the crap out of them.

Our President? Golf - from Breitbart:

Obama Goes Golfing AGAIN as World Mourns Christian Martyrs
As the international community mourned the deaths of 21 Egyptian Christians who were beheaded in an Islamic State (ISIS) video released on Sunday, President Barack Obama spent the day golfing in Palm Springs, California.

Obama also played golf on Sunday when the videotaped slaughter of Coptic Christians went viral globally.

In response to the gruesome beheading video, Egypt began airstrikes in Libya against ISIS targets.

Pope Francis denounced the brutal slaying.

“Today I read about the execution of those twenty-one or twenty-two Coptic Christians,” said the Pope. “Their only words were: ‘Jesus, help me!’ They were killed simply because they were Christians.”

Obama hit the links before 8:00 a.m. local time and played the Porcupine Creek Golf Course in Palm Springs with three of his Hawaii buddies.

This is not the first time Obama has golfed amid beheading video releases. In September,  just minutes after delivering a speech on the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley by ISIS, Obama went golfing. Later, Obama said he “should have anticipated the optics” surrounding his decision.

The guy is completely out of touch - he is running on his own agenda and not listening to anyone.

Evil walks this Earth again

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I thought Hitler was dead and buried and that we were never going to have to deal with anti-sematism again. Guess not...

From Yahoo/Agence France-Presse:

Hundreds of tombs defaced in French Jewish cemetery
France's interior minister said Sunday several hundred tombs had been defaced at a Jewish cemetery in the northeast of the country, in what he called "a despicable act".

From Yahoo/Agence France-Presse (a different page/link):

Netanyahu urges Jews to move to Israel after Copenhagen attacks
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday urged European Jews to move to Israel after a Jewish man was killed in an attack outside Copenhagen's main synagogue.

"Israel is your home. We are preparing and calling for the absorption of mass immigration from Europe," Netanyahu said in a statement, repeating a similar call after attacks by jihadists in Paris last month when four Jews were among the dead.

4,000+ comments to that post. And lastly, from yNet News:

US cuts Israel out of Iran talks
A Israeli report claims the US administration has stopped updating Israel about developments in nuclear negotiations between world power and Iran, allegedly in response to Prime Minister Netanyahu's decision to accept an invitation by Republicans to address Congress on the issue.

According to the report by Israel's Channel 2, US Undersecretary of State, Wendy Sherman, who is involved in the talks has announced she will no longer be updating Israelis about the talks. Susan Rice, US President Obama's National Security Advisor, has also reportedly announced she is cutting ties with her Israeli counterpart, Yossi Cohen, who serves as Netanyahu's National Security Advisor.

 And we have two more years of dealing with these marxist ideologues. The road to recovery will be long and hard but we will do it - we have to.

From Legal Insurrection:

Retired Teacher Faces 10 Years for Flintlock Possession
When a 72-year-old retired school teacher faces a 10 year felony sentence (a likely life sentence) for possession of an unloaded 18th century flintlock pistol, one knows immediately that we can only be talking about a handful of states in which such a travesty can happen.  In this case, not surprisingly, it’s the “Garden State” of New Jersey. (h/t Sebastian over at the Shall Not Be Questioned blog.)

Gordon Van Gilder, who taught in the New Jersey school system for 34 years, is a collector of 18th century memorabilia.  He acquired a genuine antique flintlock pistol from that era, and had it unloaded and wrapped in a cloth in his glove compartment when he was pulled over for an alleged minor traffic violation.

Van Gilder consented to a requested search of his vehicle, and when asked by the officer if there was anything in the car the officer should be worried about, Van Gilder informed him about the flintlock in the glove box.  Although not arrested that day, the next morning several patrol cars woke him at his home and placed him under arrest.

New Jersey’s draconian gun laws explicitly include antique firearms such as this 300-year-old pistol.  Indeed, possession of a slingshot is a felony under New Jersey law.

Good Lord. The Federal Government has a special classification of Curios and Relics if the gun is more than 50 years old. That flintlock was over 300 years old.

Coming on the heels of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber's recent resignation comes this from ShiftWA:

Kitzhaber resigns – same groups behind scandal active in Inslee admin, too
Scandal-plagued Oregon governor John Kitzhaber announced today that he will resign next week. A longtime favorite of extreme environmental groups, Kitzhaber was brought down by a scandal over the financial ties between those groups and his energy advisor and fiancée, Cylvia Hayes.

Kitzhaber’s resignation comes amidst new information further connecting California billionaire Tom Steyer to the controversy. Unfortunately for advocates of clean and open government in Washington, Steyer’s shady influence is behind Jay Inslee’s energy policies as well.

What is happening in Washington? (Hayes is Cylvia Hayes - Gov. Kitzhaber's fiancé)

Hayes was Steyer’s main driver of extreme energy policies in Oregon. In Washington, that distinction goes to Jay Manning, a well-known Democrat operative who formerly served as the Director of Ecology and as Chief of Staff to former Governor Christine Gregoire. He is also a former president of the Washington Environmental Council, which along with other environmental groups spent over $1 million to help elect Jay Inslee in 2012.

Manning’s law firm, Cascadia Law Group, was represented last year on Inslee’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce (CERT), which Inslee appointed last year to justify his desire to raise energy prices for Washington’s citizens and businesses. Manning’s law partner, Rod Brown, was the co-chair of CERT.

Despite Inslee’s claims throughout 2014 that he had no plan to jam through a gas price-raising fuel mandate by executive order – an issue that derailed any chance of the Legislature passing a transportation package last year – Manning submitted a policy development plan to Inslee’s top environmental advisor, Keith Phillips, in January 2013 that called for imposing a fuel mandate in Washington.

That $150,000 contract, which the Inslee administration signed off on, was funded not by the government but by outside environmental groups, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, one of the other groups linked to the Oregon scandal. Additionally, Manning’s work was underwritten by the Energy Foundation, recipient of Steyer’s cash.

Rockefeller and the Energy Foundation sponsored the Skamania environmental conference, where government employees from the three west coast states and British Columbia (including Inslee advisor Keith Phillips) met with Manning and environmental donors. Those attendees, including a representative from the Steyer-backed Energy Foundation, had the chance to give their input on Inslee’s green energy policies.

It was at this meeting that the Inslee administration informed those donors that Inslee planned to jam through a fuel mandate by executive order in the first quarter of 2015 – which has now come to pass.

Dirty money, dirty politics - a lot more at the site.

There is also a good article at The Seattle Times:

Inslee a student of California’s carbon-cap lessons

Some of the oil companies are behind this move as they are heavily invested in the carbon credit programs. They are getting very rich on our tax dollars. Carbon is our friend, not a demon. Carbon Dioxide is plant food.

Seattle's $15 minimum wage - the consequences

From Seattle station KOMO:

Longtime Seattle manufacturer moving 100 jobs to Nevada
If you own outdoor recreational gear, there's a good chance you have something made at Cascade Designs.

The company manufactures MSR camping stoves, Platypus hydration packs, SeaLine dry bags, and Therma-A-Rest sleeping pads -- hundreds of products made by workers in Seattle. Those workers had a bombshell dropped on them Thursday.

The company based in Seattle's SODO district along 1st Avenue South is moving 100 jobs later this year to a new plant it's leasing near Reno, Nevada. That's 20 percent of the work force. Some employees have been offered positions, but others will have to reapply.

 A bit more:

John Burroughs founded the company in 1972. His son David Burroughs is the Vice Chair and said Seattle's new minimum wage nudged them into action. Burroughs said, "We've got competitors that are working at $2 an hour."

While the company does have a plant in Ireland, Burroughs said the mission is to keep production in the United States. He said the $15 an hour minimum wage would eventually add up to a few million dollars a year.

More at the Washington Policy Center:

Business Closures Put a Face on the Real World Impacts of Minimum Wage Hikes
Last week the House Labor Committee passed HB 1355, legislation to  increase the state’s minimum wage to $12.

Despite warnings from employers that the higher wage would harm the employment prospects for unskilled workers and dampen job creation, supporters testified the higher wage would have no adverse impact on employers or workers, and would boost our state’s economy.

Such claims not only turn the basic law of economics on its head, they ignore the devastation that is already occurring in other cities and states that have increased their minimum wages. <

Idiots. Politicians. But I repeat myself...

Embellishing things - Joe Biden

Here is the guy who stands just one heartbeat from being Mr. President - from The Washington Examiner:

Biden has his own Brian Williams moment
Vice President Joe Biden, who stirred modest speculation about a possible presidential run with a visit to Iowa this week, had his own Brian Williams moment back in 2007.

During a CNN/YouTube Democratic debate in June of that year, Biden said he was “shot at” inside the Green Zone in Iraq then later walked back the comment to say that a mortar round landed roughly a few hundred yards away from a structure where he was staying overnight.

The Green Zone in Baghdad is a heavily fortified 10-square-mile area that houses Iraqi government offices, the U.S. embassy, and military headquarters that once were located in Saddam Hussein’s Republican Palace.

And how this is viewed:

Asked in 2007 about Biden’s differing versions of the experience, Patrick Campbell, legislative director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said Biden should be careful about how he describes his experiences, especially when making political points.

“Veterans don’t like it when people mischaracterize their service, people who overstate what happens to them,” he said. “We have names for them.”

Emphasis mine - I can only imagine...

Recycling - some facts

A fun article with a good link to a paper on recycling. From Frank Soto writing at Ricochet:

The Sacrament of Recycling
Office Christmas parties have few redeeming qualities. I maintain that the world would be a better place if the practice were done away with completely. I do, however, have a rule about never turning down free food. While standing amongst co-workers this past Christmas, plotting how I could subtly steal the entire tray of cannolis, some of our colleagues from Britain inquired as to where the recycling was.

One co-worker pointed to the holiest of holies, while beaming with unjustifiable pride. Mildly surprised to find that we Yankees observed the same religious rites, our British colleagues began inquiring as to the depth of our devotion. Anyone can recycle bottles, cans and stacks of printer paper, but did we recycle cardboard? The American congregation was unsure.

Bemused, but only there for the food, I endeavored to stay out of the conversation. I remembered Clark Wiseman’s calculations showing that if the United States were to continue generating garbage at current rates for 1,000 years, and put it all into a single landfill 100 yards deep, it would occupy a space of 30 miles on each side. This hardly seems a great imposition for a nation of 3.8 million square miles.

Heh. Another great explanation of the numbers is this episode from Penn and Teller's Bullshit television show:

 

A slow day at the farm - hay and bonfire

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Nothing much planned for today - day of rest and all that.

I will be running out to get some more hay for the critters - need to stock up some extra for when we are away (looking forward to the trip).

There is a section of South Pass Road that is undergoing a slow subsidence and I want to take some photos.

Home and do a bit of web design for our local prepper group.

Lighting off the bonfire this evening.

Got a water board meeting at 7:00PM

Shopping run for the store tomorrow.

Ho Li Crap - world record ski jump

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One quarter Kilometer - 250 meters:

 

Happy tenth birthday - YouTube

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From the entry at WikiPedia:

YouTube was founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim, who were all early employees of PayPal. Hurley had studied design at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Chen and Karim studied computer science together at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

According to a story that has often been repeated in the media, Hurley and Chen developed the idea for YouTube during the early months of 2005, after they had experienced difficulty sharing videos that had been shot at a dinner party at Chen's apartment in San Francisco. Karim did not attend the party and denied that it had occurred, but Chen commented that the idea that YouTube was founded after a dinner party "was probably very strengthened by marketing ideas around creating a story that was very digestible".

Karim said the inspiration for YouTube first came from Janet Jackson's role in the 2004 Super Bowl incident, when her breast was exposed during her performance, and later from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Karim could not easily find video clips of either event online, which led to the idea of a video sharing site. Hurley and Chen said that the original idea for YouTube was a video version of an online dating service, and had been influenced by the website Hot or Not.

YouTube began as a venture-funded technology startup, primarily from a $11.5 million investment by Sequoia Capital between November 2005 and April 2006. YouTube's early headquarters were situated above a pizzeria and Japanese restaurant in San Mateo, California. The domain name www.youtube.com was activated on February 14, 2005, and the website was developed over the subsequent months.

The Mental Floss website has the top videos from each year.

Surprised that it was only ten years - seems like it has been around for ever...

Another alt.energy failure in the news

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This one from New Jersey On-Line:

Taxpayers in 3 counties could be on hook for millions after solar project fizzles
The concept behind the massive solar project sounded simple enough: borrow $88 million to install panels on public buildings in Morris, Somerset and Sussex counties and then sell excess electricity, using the revenues to pay off the debt.

The concept was called the "Morris model," held up nationally as an example of how to produce renewable energy through public-private partnerships. It was the second project of its kind and the previous one was hailed as a success.

But now, nearly four years later, taxpayers could be on the hook for tens of millions of dollars the counties owe bondholders, after work ground to a halt amidst cost overruns and lawsuits.

What's more, the $88 million that must be repaid to bondholders for the 71 projects could cause "unmitigated disaster" to the three counties, according to court filings.

What could possibly go wrong:

The ambitious plans called for a developer, SunLight General, to use $88 million in borrowed money to erect thousands of solar panels atop schools and other public buildings in the three counties. They would repay the counties with the future solar revenues and local governments would get cheaper electricity.

But the market for state solar-energy tax credits -- a key part of the deal -- plummeted in the months after the deal was struck. Cost overruns mounted, and the developer and contractor became embroiled in a dispute that ended in lawsuits, according to court papers. Work ground to a halt. And while the projects in Somerset were mostly completed, only about half were completed in two of the counties, Morris and Sussex.

So the state subsidies (ie: taxpayer dollars) went away and the project was no longer economically viable. The comments are a good read as people are posting links to corroborating documents and websites.

Our wise leaders - coal

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From the Bellingham Herald comes this bit of cheery news:

Proposal tries to help wean Washington off coal-fired power
Lawmakers hoping to wean Washington state off coal power are trying to ease the way for the state's utilities to end the electricity it gets from coal.

Bills in the House and Senate set up certain favorable conditions for three private utilities, should they decide in the future to shut down a massive coal-fired power plant in eastern Montana that provides power to a chunk of the Pacific Northwest.

Supporters say the proposal gives the utilities the tools they need to begin divesting from coal power plants, including a way for the utility to issue bonds for shutdown and other costs that would be paid back by ratepayers over time.

But the Sierra Club and other critics say the proposal removes too much utility oversight, sets too long a timeline for closing a power plant and doesn't ensure that coal power gets replaced by something cleaner.

Trying to force us into higher energy costs and lower consumption. Exactly the wrong way to grow an economy and help the environment. Coal is not as dirty as people make it out to be and it is dirt cheap - we have 500 years of it just sitting under our prairies.

When an economical form of alt-energy becomes available, there will be a huge exodus from whatever we are using to this new form. It will be driven by economics. This is how the market works - the market is immune to politics. You cannot legislate a demand for something - this has been attempted before and we give it the label of Tyranny. 

Another day at the farm

Took down a couple of trees that were of ill health and too crowded - we are having a bonfire tomorrow night so they were added to our now, quite big, burn pile.

Got a pork butt in the smoker - eating island style tonight - Char Siu, Bok Choy sauteed with sesame oil and oyster sauce and a big pot of white rice with a side of cole slaw.

Time to change - covered in sawdust from the chain saw...

Clever marketing - Sriracha

David Tran is a genuine business genius - from the Los Angeles Times :

With no trademark, Sriracha name is showing up everywhere
Wander down almost any supermarket aisle and it's easy to spot one of the food industry's hottest fads. Sriracha, the fiery red Asian chili sauce, has catapulted from a cult hit to flavor du jour, infusing burgers, potato chips, candy, vodka and even lip balm.

That would seem like a boon for the man who made the sauce a household name. Except for one glaring omission.

David Tran, a Vietnamese refugee who built the pepper empire from nothing, never trademarked the term, opening the door for others to develop their own sauce or seasoning and call it Sriracha.

That's given some of the biggest names in the food business such as Heinz, Frito-Lay, Subway and Jack in the Box license to bank off the popularity of a condiment once named Bon Appétit magazine's ingredient of the year.

More:

"Everyone wants to jump in now," said Tran, 70. "We have lawyers come and say 'I can represent you and sue' and I say 'No. Let them do it.'"

Tran is so proud of the condiment's popularity that he maintains a daily ritual of searching the Internet for the latest Sriracha spinoff.

He believes all the exposure will lead more consumers to taste the original spicy, sweet concoction — which was inspired by flavors from across Southeast Asia and named after a coastal city in Thailand. Tran also said he was discouraged to seek a trademark because it would have been difficult getting one named after a real-life location.

Yeah - every knock-off merely adds brand-name recognition. The bottle design and the rooster are trademarked but the name is not.

Unnnnh - actually, not so much - from FOX News:

Study: Global warming skeptics know more about climate science
Are global warming skeptics simply ignorant about climate science?

Not so, says a forthcoming paper in the journal Advances in Political Psychology by Yale Professor Dan Kahan. He finds that skeptics score about the same (in fact slightly better) on climate science questions.

The study asked 2,000 respondents nine questions about where they thought scientists stand on climate science.

On average, skeptics got about 4.5 questions correct, whereas manmade warming believers got about 4 questions right.

 And this is not the first - a bit more:

The study comes on the heels of a 2012 study that found that global warming skeptics know just as much about science; the new study specifically quizzed people on climate science.

Climatologists who are skeptical about the extent of man-made global warming say the results don’t surprise them.

“It's easy to believe in the religion of global warming.  It takes critical thinking skills to question it,” Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, told FoxNews.com.

I agree 100% with Dr. Spencer - we started out drinking the Kool-Aid and it took a lot of serious thought to see through the claims and to critically examine the evidence and draw a differing conclusion. Things are a bit easier for "skeptics" these days as all the time, new evidence comes in showing us to be right and also, new examinations of the AGW-ers models show them to be deeply flawed.

Food Coma - Beef Barley

Turned out awesome - used this recipe: Short Rib and Barley Stew and it came out really well but the flavorful chuck was a bit overpowering - tender as sin but a little strong tasting.

I will make the next batch with pulled chicken - the Umami was at a nice level but the beef overpowered it a little bit. The barley is so sweet that I want a lighter protein to complement it.

Using Marmite in the soup was a touch of genius - I will be trying it out in my spaghetti sauce next batch.

Fun times in Oregon

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From The Oregonian:

Governor John Kitzhaber announces his resignation
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber resigned effective Wednesday, Feb. 18, in a letter submitted to Secretary of State Kate Brown.

"I am announcing today that I will resign as Governor of the State of Oregon," he wrote in a statement released just after noon Friday. 

Brown, also a Democrat, will be sworn in as Oregon's 37th governor, but the timing of that ceremony is uncertain.

In just four months, a public corruption scandal involving Kitzhaber and his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, has hobbled one of Oregon's most durable politicians. Kitzhaber, a public official for 37 years, was sworn in for a historic fourth term as governor just a month ago. Facing not only a state criminal investigation and an ethics review, Kitzhaber watched his support from fellow veteran lawmakers crumble this week.

 The Western part of Oregon has always marched to a different drummer - Keeping Portland Weird and all that stuff...

A busy day at the farm

Spent this morning prepping some cabbage and making big batches of cole slaw and sauerkraut.

Jimmy (Lulu's nephew), Lulu and I spent this afternoon getting the garden started. Not planting anything, just cleaning up the beds and re-arranging some stuff. Jimmy and I took out a couple dead trees as well as pruning three of our apple trees. I have three bareroot Apple trees and will plant them this weekend - build a little orchard.

Finally getting around to making the beef barley soup for dinner tonight. Got the barley soaked and three pounds of chuck spare-ribs cooking sous-vide for 24 hours. Should be melt-in-mouth good. We are all looking forward to this - good thing I'm making a gallon - freeze the rest.

Planning to fire up the burn pile Sunday - we have all the wood from the trees plus we have been saving burnable stuff so it will be a big fire.

Time to take a shower and start cooking dinner...

A little bit of hypocrisy in Vermont

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From Don Surber:

Mountaintop Removal for Wind Power
Environmentalists make a big deal about surface mining in West Virginia, which they succeeded in re-casting as mountaintop removal.

In Vermont, the enviros are whacking off the tops of  mountains to clear it for wind turbines.

 Some environmentalists are complaining about Green Mountain Power and other Big Wind companies topping mountains.

 Don then quotes someone from Energize Vermont who provides some interesting numbers about the proposed carbon avoidance (it's not that much - for the 20 year life of the wind farm, it's like two weeks of New York City vehicles).

Don closes with the following:

One nice thing, we finally got an enviro to admit that all this alternative energy nonsense barely amounts to a hill of beans.

And that hill is being flattened anyway.

EVIL.

Most definitely evil - nanny-statism at its absolute worst. 

From The Daily Caller:

It’s Too Cold To Protest Global Warming At Yale
Yale anti-fossil fuel campaigners have indefinitely postponed a protest that was set for this weekend due to “unfavorable weather conditions and other logistical issues.”

Fossil Free Yale, a group pushing the university to divest itself from fossil fuels, told the Yale Daily News that frigid, snowy weather set for this weekend will mean their global warming protest will have to be postponed.

FFY’s Mitch Barrow said that “unfavorable weather conditions and other logistical issues, including some cancellations from speakers and performance groups” would mean they would not be able to rally on Global Divestment Day — a day where environmental groups urge institutions like Yale to divest from fossil fuels, like coal, natural gas and oil.

 Blame it on the sticky ridge - from Cliff Mass:

Revenge of the Ridges
Looking at the model forecasts tonight, I could not believe me my eyes.   Ridging or high pressure along the West Coast will dominate our weather next week and perhaps longer.

It simply doesn't go away.  It may get knocked down for a day by a weak passing ridge...but it just pushes back up.  The vampire of weather patterns....but there is no silver bullet or wooden stake to stop it.

 And just so we are on the same page here:

I can not stress enough that there is no reason to expect that this has anything to do with global warming.   And those in the eastern U.S. should not be claiming that it is proof of global cooling.   In fact, some of the latest research (example here) provide strong evidence that the pattern of western ridging is the result of natural variability.  It is not unprecedented.

Our climate is an amazingly complex system with more variables and inputs than we can imagine - so think that we can model it for long term trends is pure hubris. That it changes is the only constant we can be certain of.

Joe Biden's Old Butt Buddy

WTF?

 

Just gorgeous - our Sun

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From NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory - on the celebration of its fifth birthday:

 

I noticed that the poops from our Horse and Mule were getting a white hairy fungus growing on them. The barn is pretty humid. I did some googling to see if this was symptomatic of a health problem. Turns out this is quite normal.

The fungus is probably of the Pilobolus genus and when they launch their spores, the action is the fastest recorded velocity of any critter on this planet:

 

Talk about a hit piece - Scott Walker

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From The Washington Post:

As Scott Walker mulls White House bid, questions linger over college exit
Scott Walker was gone. Dropped out. And in the spring of his senior year.

In 1990, that news stunned his friends at Marquette University. Walker, the campus’s suit-wearing, Reagan-loving politico — who enjoyed the place so much that he had run for student body president — had left without graduating.

To most of the Class of 1990 — and, later, to Wisconsin’s political establishment — Walker’s decision to quit college has been a lingering mystery.

Not even his friends at Marquette were entirely sure why he never finished. Some had heard that a parent had fallen ill, or maybe there was some financial strain. Others thought he had simply had enough of school.

A bit more

Today, Walker, 47, is the governor of Wisconsin and a strong contender for the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination. He is known for an astounding political hot streak: Since 1993, he has run 11 races for state legislature, county executive and governor — including a highly unusual recall election in 2012 — and he has won them all.

But before that streak came a string of defeats: the campus election, his failure to finish college and his first campaign for state office.

And it goes on and on and on - this is the same mainstream media outlet that didn't publish a peep on Obama's missing school transcripts or how he was able to go from Oxidental College straight to Colombia and Harvard.

5000+ comments mostly decrying this for the hit piece it is - here is one of them:

So let me get this straight. Walker left college to work, but our Maximum Leader remained in college smoking dope and snorting coke...

If you are a business looking for a new hire, which person would you pick? The Doper or the worker?

I can guarantee in the real world the "choom gang" clown would not get the nod...and for all you lefties who get the vapors because you think our Dear Leader is so brilliant, let's see his transcripts...in fact, our Supreme Deity brags often about his brilliance, so why the reluctance to release his grades?

And where are all the students who sat with our Stoner in Chief while he attended (supposedly) class? Why haven't they been tracked down and interviewed? I mean, if our EL Choomer is so bright, somebody must remember his brilliant oratory while speaking.

My guess is his grades were mediocre at best, and he got into Columbia and Harvard thanks to affirmative action...

Exactly...

From The Washington Times:

IRS to pay back-refunds to illegal immigrants who didn’t pay taxes
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told Congress on Wednesday that even illegal immigrants who didn’t pay taxes will be able to claim back-refunds once they get Social Security numbers under President Obama’s temporary deportation amnesty.

The revelation — which contradicts what he told Congress last week — comes as lawmakers also raised concerns Mr. Obama’s amnesty could open a window to illegal immigrants finding ways to vote, despite it being against the law.

A bit more:

Mr. Obama’s new deportation policies, which carve most illegal immigrants out of danger of being removed, and could proactively grant as many as 4 million illegal immigrants work permits and Social Security numbers, are increasingly under fire for ancillary consequences such as tax credits and competition for jobs.

Mr. Koskinen, testifying to the House oversight committee, said the White House never asked him or anyone else at the IRS about the potential tax effects of his amnesty policy.

“I haven’t talked to the White House about this at all,” he said.

Emphasis mine - pants on fire.

So mundane it hurts

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Took care of the critters: Horse, Mule, Three Llamas, Two Dogs, Two Cats.

Picked up the house a bit - doing a load of dishes.

Heading out for morning coffee and taking some photographs.

Stop by the post office on my way back.

The afternoon will be spent doing some cabinet work and cleaning out the garage.

That and a run out to pick up some more hay and work on a website for our local Emergency Prepper group.

Weather for the Blind

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An interesting musical instrument built by an interesting composer and performer.

Check out Weather for the Blind:

WEATHER FOR THE BLIND
Weather for the blind is a live streaming site of a musical instrument which is played by the weather. The base station - pictured in the foreground – is called Weather Warlock and is located in New Orleans Louisiana. The weather sensors – pictured in the distant surf – are mounted to a post and detect temperature, wind, sun, and rain. This all analog synthesizer produces a wide range of tones and harmonics based around a consonant E major chord with special audio events occurring during sunrise and sunset. Occasionally our streaming will be down. If that is the case, please visit the ARCHIVES.

Click in the grey box at the top to start streaming - gorgeous ambient suff.

He runs a few other sites: DrumBuddy, Quintron and Miss Pussycat and they spent 2014 in residence at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Yet another mundane day in Paradise

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Took care of the critters: Horse, Mule, Three Llamas, Two Dogs, Two Cats.

Went out for morning coffee (are you seeing a trend here)

Took the truck into town for its first oil change

Went to the post office

Back home - put out treats for the critters

Preparedness meeting tonight so an early dinner and off to the meeting.

Spew will resume later this evening...

Life in the socialist paradise of Connecticut

Please please please don't move out of the state. From Don Surber:

Soaking the rich has blowback in Connecticut
Stephen Singer filed one of the most enterprising stories in the history of the Associated Press: "Connecticut to super-rich residents: Please don't leave us."

The story shows just how beholden the state of Connecticut is to 100 people whose state income taxes keep the state government afloat.

Kevin Sullivan, the state's commissioner of the Department of Revenue Services. told the AP: "There are probably a handful of people, five to seven people, who if they just picked up and went, you would see that in the revenue stream."

They follow these guys closely, Stephen Singer reported:

With one exception, he said, state officials don't actually approach the super-rich. He said: "There isn't friendly visiting or anything like that, how are you feeling? Doing all right? Doing OK?"

Two years ago, tax officials were alarmed that a super-rich hedge fund owner might leave and reduce the state's income tax revenue. They set up a meeting and urged the unidentified taxpayer to stay. The effort was partly successful, with the taxpayer leaving Connecticut but agreeing to keep the hedge fund here.

The story is frightening but also funny.

Heh. Much more at the post.

That it is only 100 households makes this a very fragile state of affairs - the flight has been going on for a some time and they are just now becoming aware of it...

Hey Jeb - seriously now - WTF?

For someone who claims to be internet savvy, Bush-3 is an idiot when it comes to basic security. From The Daily Dot:

Jeb Bush just published thousands of citizens' names and email addresses
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush hasn’t even yet formally declared his desire to run for president in 2016, but he’s already started what appears to be a major privacy blunder.

His new project, the Jeb Emails, a massive, open database of correspondence to and from his jeb@jeb.org email address, publishes the names, messages, and email addresses of his constituents who emailed him during his eight years in office.

Yeah, it is that bad. You can either view them online one by one or you can also download each year of his Governorship's correspondence as an MS Outlook PST file and use simple searching techniques to harvest what you want.

These were constituents who were having issues and felt that Bush-3 was a person they could talk to. In Private.

The people over at The Verge are examining the same data dump and are finding Social Security numbers and addresses.

This is not his personal fault, his IT people did this. They need to be flipping burgers tomorrow and Bush-3 needs to be finding a compelling need to spend more time with his wife and kids and to step back from the national stage.

I like Bush-2 as a man and wife Laura is an absolute keeper. I did not agree with his spending or a lot of his other decisions but he was the best we had at the time. We need a new Washington, Lincoln, Churchill, Reagan, Thatcher, or Kennedy - someone who can fscking sidestep the #$*@ politics and LEAD!

Great music video

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A single take - five seconds shot at 1,000 frames per second. There is some obvious CGI but the majority was shot live:

 

unconditional rebel - siska from Guillaume Panariello on Vimeo.

Phantom camera in a car driving about 30MPH with everyone set up on their cues.

A mundane day in Paradise

Had one of those days where it felt that nothing got done but a lot happened.

Took care of the critters: Horse, Mule, Three Llamas, Two Dogs, Two Cats.

Went out for morning coffee and then visited a bridge where the foundation is starting to get eroded away - January's dump of rain opened a new stream channel and it is aiming right at the bridge abutments. Brand new bridge too...

On my way back, I took some photos of where the main highway has been reduced to a single lane - parts of the asphalt on the edge now have a noticeable droop. Thinking of painting a marker and going to the same spot every day for a few weeks - shoot a time-lapse.

Went up to a friends house to try to fix his wife's computer - network issues and I can not see what is the problem - hardware is all fine, just no connection to the internet. Tried resetting the IP address. The husband's computer works just fine off the same wireless router. He is a machinist and gunsmith so we spent a bit of time ogling over two very interesting firearms - this month's projects.

Went to the post office, retrieved my mail, paid a couple bills, went back to the post office and dropped them in the mail along with the outgoing mail from the store.

Headed into town to pick up some wood I had ordered for a project, some supplies for painting (a replacement taper - something like this - I had loaned my old one out and it was never returned).

Got some food at Costco and some stuff for the new trailer at WalMart. Also picked up a couple things for the store and went to the bank.

Had dinner in town and got back two hours ago.

Took care of the critters: Horse, Mule, Three Llamas, Two Dogs, Two Cats.

Like I said, I don't feel that anything really got done today but I sure was busy...

Cliff Mass posted an excellent first part of a two-fer last evening addressing our strange winter.

Why is the Northwest Warm and California Dry? Part 1.
Many Northwest residents are asking the same questions:

    • Why is it so warm this winter?
    • Why so little snowfall in the mountains?
    • Is the warmth and snow drought connected with human-caused global warming?
    • Is there a connection with the cold and snow over the eastern U.S. and our anomalous weather?
    • Or with the drought in California?
    • What is the role of blob (the region of warm water off our coast the last year)?

 Fortunately, there are some solid answers to these questions.  Combining some basic meteorology, logic, and the results from a number of new research studies, this and my next blog will attempt to provide a coherent picture of what we know.

But for the impatient and the lovers of executive summaries here is the gist of it:

    • Yes, they are all interconnected.
    • Natural variability is the probable cause.
    • There is no reason to expect that anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming has much to do with it.

 An excellent analysis - I will be looking forward to his next post.

That pesky Thorium problem

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An excellent intro on the other reasons to develop LFTRs

 

Dinner tomorrow

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Salivating as I read this recipe: Short Rib and Barley Stew from the excellent Serious Eats website

Got some chuck roast that I sous-vide'd for 24 hours two days ago for a pot roast - still have a couple pounds left.

What with the cold rainy weather, it will be a perfect dinner.

Got the barley soaking in some stock. I like to do an overnight soak rather than an extended cooking time.

Brian Williams in the news

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I had mentioned a few days ago on the 5th that Brian Williams (the NBC Nightly News anchor for ten years) was caught embellishing his experiences in Iraq.

Now it seems that this was not an isolated incident. A lot of his earlier reporting is coming under scrutiny.

Now people are just having fun with the meme:

 

Happy Birthday - Maggie's Farm

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One of my daily reads - Maggie's Farm is celebrating their tenth birthday today.

A good comfortable place, great people and single-malt - what's not to love?

Go and read: Maggie's Farm

Comparing Jihad and the Crusades

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Some facts about these two battles:

 

Stupid criminal - selfie

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From the Pittsburgh, PA Tribune-Review:

Jeannette teen, charged with killing another, took 'selfie' with body, court papers say
A Jeannette teenager fatally shot a 16-year-old classmate in the face and took a picture with the body, which police used to charge him with the killing, according to court papers.

Maxwell Marion Morton, 16, is being held without bail in the Westmoreland County juvenile detention center on charges of first-degree murder, homicide and possession of a firearm by a minor in connection with the death of Ryan Mangan.

Morton, who was arraigned Friday, is charged as an adult.

Mangan's mother found him Wednesday in their Rankin Avenue home. He had been shot once in the face, authorities said.

A bit more:

Police said Morton sent the selfie by using SnapChat, an application for smartphones that allows users to send photo messages that disappear from the recipient's phone within a few seconds. But the boy who received the photo saved it before the message deleted itself, according to a police affidavit to support the charges. The recipient's mother contacted Westmoreland County 911.

More:

Morton also allegedly sent text messages that read, “Told you I cleaned up the shells,” and “Ryan was not the last one.”

Of course, left out of the narrative but very evident from the photos is that the killer is black and the victim is white. Where are our President, Tax Cheat Al and Jesse Jackson now? This murder was racisssssss!!!!

Over 250 comments and some good back-and-forth dialog. It seems like Jeannette has turned into quite the cess-pit. Used to be a major glass and heavy machinery center but the cheap off-shore labor came along. Grew up in Pittsburgh and went to Jeannette several times for factory tours through our school.

A bit of a scare - Finnegan

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I came home two hours ago and let the dogs out for a bit of a run. About 30 minutes later, I got a call that Finnegan had been found on the road and a neighbor was bringing him back. (Finnegan - AKA Pinball - is my dear old dog who is deaf and blind).

Ho Li Crap - somehow he had gotten out and was wandering on the highway near our house. He is safe indoors again but that could have been really bad - getting dark out and people are heading home.

I do have a fenced area off the garage and I guess that this is where he will be getting his "outdoor time" from now on.

End of an era - Kalakala

From the Tacoma, WA's The News Tribune:

After two weeks of demolition, iconic ferry Kalakala is gone
The Kalakala is no more.

The only thing left of the iconic art deco ferry that bears any resemblance to its original rounded-steel hull is the pilot house.

Now sliced in half, the rusted, elongated dome rested Saturday on a flatbed trailer with a noticeable dent, waiting to be delivered to its new owner.

Private buyers bought some of the more prestigious pieces of the boat, including the pilot house, bulkheads with windows, rudder and cargo doors to preserve a small piece of the state’s maritime history.

 There were several attempts to save her but none of them were able to raise enough money to do the job. Quite the bit of history.

She has her own web page with extensive history and photos - a Puget Sound icon for many years.

That's it for the night

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Busy day tomorrow (store shopping run) and we did a lot of stuff today - tractor work, filling the firewood bins, getting feed to the critters, woodworking.

Early bedtime

A bit of rain

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Crews had been surveying a tender patch of highway and decided this morning to limit it to one-way traffic until they can rebuild. From the WA State DOT website:

WSDOT is preemptively reducing SR 542 to one lane of traffic approaching Glacier Springs due to erosion from the Nooksack River.

During the two-week period from Nov. 21 to Dec. 5, 2014, runoff in the Nooksack River from heavy rainfall washed away between five and six feet of the embankment near the shoulder of the eastbound lane. Gov. Jay Inslee signed a proclamation on Dec. 10, 2014, declaring a state of emergency on this stretch of highway. The declaration allows WSDOT to seek $3 million in emergency relief funds from the Federal Highway Administration to repair or relocate the damaged section of the highway. Realigning the highway to the north, farther away from the river, will maintain the only road link to eastern Whatcom County and the Mount Baker area.

During the winter ski season, this section of SR 542 carries approximately 2,000 vehicles a day each weekday and 3,000 vehicles a day each weekend, as visitors head to and from the Mt. Baker Ski Area. The Mount Baker area and Artist Point are also popular summer tourist destinations.

Here's a short video with a camera on a pole showing the undercutting of the pavement:

Back in 2009 (IIRC), the town of Glacier was cut off entirely due to a slide at the same location.

Launch time in a little over one hour

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Let's hear it for SpaceX and their Falcon 9 rocket system. They are launching the DSCOVR satellite in a bit more than one hour.

Website (with streaming) is here: DSCOVR Launch

Cool gun

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Has been installed on a US Navy catamaran for testing:

 

 

Kinetic Energy can be a powerful force...

I had posted about this on February 3rd when it first came out - now this interesting comment in a later interview

From Wall Street On Parade:

Gallup CEO Fears He Might “Suddenly Disappear” for Questioning U.S. Jobs Data
Years of unending news stories on U.S. government programs of surveillance, rendition and torture have apparently chilled the speech of even top business executives in the United States.

Yesterday, Jim Clifton, the Chairman and CEO of Gallup, an iconic U.S. company dating back to 1935, told CNBC that he was worried he might “suddenly disappear” and not make it home that evening if he disputed the accuracy of what the U.S. government is reporting as unemployed Americans.

The CNBC interview came one day after Clifton had penned a gutsy opinion piece on Gallup’s web site, defiantly calling the government’s 5.6 percent unemployment figure “The Big Lie” in the article’s headline. His appearance on CNBC was apparently to walk back the “lie” part of the title and reframe the jobs data as just hopelessly deceptive.

Clifton stated the following on CNBC:

“I think that the number that comes out of BLS [Bureau of Labor Statistics] and the Department of Labor is very, very accurate. I need to make that very, very clear so that I don’t suddenly disappear. I need to make it home tonight.”

After getting that out of the way, Clifton went on to eviscerate the legitimacy of the cheerful spin given to the unemployment data, telling CNBC viewers that the percent of full time jobs in this country as a percent of the adult population “is the worst it’s been in 30 years.”

All the media sources like to point to the U3 numbers - they ignore the U6 number which is a more accurate representation - 11.3% for January 2015.

Our tax dollars at work - alt.energy

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President Stompy Feet is spending our money like there is no tomorrow. From The Daily Caller:

Obama 2016 Budget Includes $48 Billion In ‘Green Energy’ Subsidies
President Obama’s budget proposal for 2016 asks Congress for $4 trillion, including about $48 billion in tax incentives over the next decade for various green energy programs.

“In order to secure America’s energy future and protect our children from the impacts of climate change, the budget invests in clean energy, improving energy security, and enhancing preparedness and resilience to climate change,” according to a White House fact sheet on the 2016 budget proposal.

Obama’s plan to incentivize green energy production, expanded use of energy efficiency measures, investments in carbon capture technology, advanced energy manufacturing and producing biofuels will increase the budget deficit $42.5 billion by 2025. Obama’s budget also includes subsidies for building alternative fuel vehicles and energy-efficient homes that will increase the deficit by $5.8 billion over the next decade.

 And who stands to profit? Follow the money:

The costliest green energy provision in the budget is a proposal to make permanent tax credits for producing electricity from wind and solar energy sources. Permanently extending these subsidies would cost $31.5 billion over the next decade. Most Republicans, however, have opposed extending such green energy tax credits.

The wind industry in particular has lobbied heavily for extending the Wind Production Tax Credit — a tax subsidy that pays wind power producers $23 for each megawatt hour of electricity produced for 10 years. The wind PTC has been a major source of growth for the wind industry, who has warned that allowing the credit to expire will hurt job growth.

But lawmakers allowed the wind PTC to lapse at the end of last year, which has given Obama an opening to appease wind producers and once again propose making green energy tax credits permanent.

 And the joke is that the big players in Wind power - Vestax and Siemens - are not US corporations. Obama is giving our tax dollars away to foreign corporations. If he was really serious, he would be investing in Thorium - here is a five minute clip on the technology:

 

From the UK Telegraph:

The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever
When future generations look back on the global-warming scare of the past 30 years, nothing will shock them more than the extent to which the official temperature records – on which the entire panic ultimately rested – were systematically “adjusted” to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified.

Two weeks ago, under the headline “How we are being tricked by flawed data on global warming”, I wrote about Paul Homewood, who, on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog, had checked the published temperature graphs for three weather stations in Paraguay against the temperatures that had originally been recorded. In each instance, the actual trend of 60 years of data had been dramatically reversed, so that a cooling trend was changed to one that showed a marked warming.

A bit more:

Homewood has now turned his attention to the weather stations across much of the Arctic, between Canada (51 degrees W) and the heart of Siberia (87 degrees E). Again, in nearly every case, the same one-way adjustments have been made, to show warming up to 1 degree C or more higher than was indicated by the data that was actually recorded. This has surprised no one more than Traust Jonsson, who was long in charge of climate research for the Iceland met office (and with whom Homewood has been in touch). Jonsson was amazed to see how the new version completely “disappears” Iceland’s “sea ice years” around 1970, when a period of extreme cooling almost devastated his country’s economy.

One of the first examples of these “adjustments” was exposed in 2007 by the statistician Steve McIntyre, when he discovered a paper published in 1987 by James Hansen, the scientist (later turned fanatical climate activist) who for many years ran Giss. Hansen’s original graph showed temperatures in the Arctic as having been much higher around 1940 than at any time since. But as Homewood reveals in his blog post, “Temperature adjustments transform Arctic history”, Giss has turned this upside down. Arctic temperatures from that time have been lowered so much that that they are now dwarfed by those of the past 20 years.

These adjustments are all through climate science reports - there is also the very measurable urban heat island effect. A thermometer is located at a county grass airstrip. The airstrip gets paved with asphalt, buildings get built, HVAC systems are installed, people have BBQs for lunch, all of these raise the measured local temperature by a degree or two. If there is any attempt at adjustment, it needs to go down as well as up otherwise, this data is fake.

Little or nothing - from Warren Meyer writing at Coyote Blog:

Question for Keynesians: What Are You Doing To Prepare for the Next Cycle?
When I was in school learning macro 101 from Baumol and Blinder, my memory is that the theory of Keynesian stimulus and managing the economic cycle was that deficits should be run in the bottom part of the economic cycle, paid for with surpluses in the top half.   So we are now almost certainly in the top half of the cycle.  But I don't hear any Keynesians seeking to run a surplus, or even to dial back on government deficits or spending.  In fact, our Keynesian-in-chief says he is done with "mindless austerity" and wants to start spending even harder in 2015.

Its enough to make one suspicious that all the stimulus talk is just a Trojan Horse for a desire to increase the size and power of government.

But for Keynesians who really believe what they are saying, that deficit spending somehow saved us from a depression in 2009 and 2010, then I ask you -- what are you going to do next time?  It appears that when we enter the next recession in this country, that US debt as a percentage of GDP is going to be almost twice what it was entering the last recession.  Don't you worry that this limits your flexibility and ability to ramp up deficit spending in the next recession?

More at the site - check out the comments too - some excellent points being made including this one which echos my own thoughts:

Far be it from me to defend Keynes, who even when read correctly is still wrong...but they're not Keynesians. They're state-worshipers usurping the name of a dead economist to give extra credibility to their religion, while adopting only that portion of his ideas which are useful to their present political desires, and ignoring the larger share which is inconvenient to those desires. (That would be the bit about paying off, during times of prosperity, the public debt that one accumulates during times of hardship by supposedly "counter-cyclical" spending, rather than using that prosperity as an excuse to go on an even bigger spending spree.)

Exactly - the religion of Progressivism. I am old-school AustrianF.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, Henry Hazlitt

Of course, these two videos bear watching.

The Laws of the Universe

Eighteen of them over at Borepatch - here are the first five:

1. Law of Mechanical Repair - After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you'll have to pee.
2. Law of Gravity - Any tool, nut, bolt, screw, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible place in the universe.
3. Law of Probability - The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.
4. Law of Random Numbers - If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal; someone always answers.
5. Variation Law - If you change traffic lanes, the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in now. This is also true when you change checkout lines at Walmart, K-Mart and the
Grocery store.

So true - thirteen more at the site.

#1 always gets me - it is close kin to the joke about how you can tell a machinist - they are the ones who wash their hands before they go to pee...

Persistence - Bubonic Plague

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How thin the veneer on civilization can be - from The New York Times:

Bubonic Plague in the Subway System? Don’t Worry About It
No human being has caught it in New York City for at least a century, but still, there it was, researchers said, in places touched by hundreds, maybe thousands, of people every day.

After swabbing more than 400 subway stations for all kinds of microorganisms, researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College reported this week that they had found evidence at points across the city of bubonic plague, the Black Death that ravaged 14th-century Europe.

This was hardly surprising. Everyone who rides the subway knows it is teeming with rats, which in the right environment can be infested with fleas that carry plague. Medieval quantities of rats.

It also is scary. Could a subway turnstile be all that is standing between New Yorkers and a nearly forgotten disease?

Just a little mutation, someone with a compromised immune system, a random happening of bad luck. That is all that stands between us and chaos.

The full paper can be found here: Geospatial Resolution of Human and Bacterial Diversity with City-Scale Metagenomics

Curious weather - dirty rain

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Have not seen any sign of this here but I will have to set a glass out and collect some rain and look.

From Seattle station KOMO:

Mysterious "dirty rain" falling in Eastern Washington, Oregon
While it's been a routine, rainy day in Seattle, those over in southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon have had a strange phenomenon: A dirty, milky rain.

Several reports have come in from Spokane, Walla Walla, Pendleton -- and really across much of that region. The rain has left a dirty residue on cars and has flooded social media over there with people wondering what is causing the odd rain.

So far, the official cause remains a mystery, but officials with the National Weather Service offices in Spokane and Pendleton are looking into it.

The Walla Walla emergency management office posted photos of their area, which show much more of an ashen look to their rain. Their office suggests it all could be ash washing out from an eruption of Volcano Shiveluch in Kamchatka Krai, Russia. Their office says it spewed an ash plume to about the 22,000-foot level in late January and has deposited ash in a widespread area across parts of the Northwest.

The Sakurajima volcano in Japan is also acting up and could be the cause. From Volcano Discovery:

Sakurajima volcano (Japan): elevated activity
The volcano is starting the new year with a phase of comparably intense activity. During the past few days, about 6-8 vulcanian explosions have occurred each day, often with ash plumes exceeding 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude.

Milder, but near constant ash emissions occur during most of the intervals between the explosions.

 Here is the Volcano Discovery entry for Shiveluch:

Shiveluch volcano (Kamchatka, Russia): large explosive eruption this morning
A powerful explosion occurred this morning, at 02:08 local time, at the volcano. It seems a large-volume pyroclastic flow of several km length and an ash plume rising to approx. 33,000 ft (10 km) altitude were generated.

The eruption occurred from the same area of the active lava dome as the ones during the past weeks, i.e. from the north side of the dome's cone near the 1964 caldera wall.

Got a mason jar with a funnel out on the back deck - give it an hour or so and see what we get... 

Dark times in Europe

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From The Washington Post:

A month after kosher market attack, French Jews plan an exodus
For all her 30 years, Jennifer Sebag has lived in a community that embodies everything modern Europe is supposed to be.

Inclusive, integrated, peaceful and prosperous, the elegant city of Saint-Mandé — hard against Paris’s eastern fringe — has been a haven for Jews like Sebag whose parents and grandparents were driven from their native North Africa decades ago by anti-Semitism.

“I’ve always told everyone that here, we are very protected. It’s like a small village,” Sebag said.

But in an instant on the afternoon of Jan. 9, Sebag’s refuge became a target. A gunman who would later say he was acting on behalf of the Islamic State walked into her neighborhood’s kosher market and opened fire, launching a siege that would leave four hostages dead – all of them Jewish.

A month later, the Jews of Saint-Mandé are planning for a possible exodus from what had once appeared to be the promised land.

In homes, in shops and in synagogues guarded night and day by soldiers wielding assault rifles, conversations are dominated by an agonizing choice: Stay in France and risk becoming the victim of the next attack by Islamic extremists, or leave behind a country and a community that Jews say they are proud to call home.

And the cycle begins anew - Michael Ramirez nailed it with this:

20150207-ramirez.jpg

Nobody has the guts to call it for what it is - muslim terrorism

Working at home today

Jimmy (Lulu's nephew) is tearing up carpet and will be laying hardwood flooring while we are on our trip.

There is one spot on the stairs where my old dog Finnegan likes to pee and at his age and infirmities, I'm not going to correct him. The carpet is gone on that spot and we will lay down old towling for the time being.

Got some beef stew in the pressure cooker for dinner tonight. Next up is getting the truck unstuck from the mud. I parked the new trailer on the grass by the house and with all the rain, the truck is not getting any traction. I'll give Jimmy a quick lesson on driving Buttercup the tractor and pull it out in an hour or two.

The National Weather Service has issued a landslide warning - there is so much accumulated water in the ground. Here is the state of our Nooksack River a few miles from us:

20150207-nooksack.png

The red line is flood stage so we just dodged a bullet. Low-lying ag fields are flooded but no structures damaged that I know of.

Time to throw another couple logs on the fire and hunker down for the day...

UPDATE: Just checked and Cliff Mass has another excellent post on the state of our Winter: Is Winter Over?

Our Secretary of State

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An interesting but not surprising rating from Marketwatch:

John Kerry rated worst secretary of state in 50 years
A new survey of scholars ranks Secretary of State John Kerry dead last in terms of effectiveness in that job over the past 50 years.

Henry Kissinger was ranked the most effective secretary of state with 32.2% of the vote. He was followed by James Baker, Madeleine Albright, and Hillary Clinton, as judged by a survey of 1,615 international relations scholars.

Kerry received only 0.3% of the votes cast.

The results of the survey are here: TRIP 2014 Faculty Survey Report

From their Methodology:

We seek to identify and survey all faculty members at colleges and universities in thirty-two national settings who do research in the IR sub-field of political science and/or who teach international relations courses. The overwhelming majority of our respondents have jobs in departments of political science, politics, government, social science, international relations, international studies, or in professional schools associated with universities. Given our definition of "IR scholar" – individuals with an active affiliation with a university, college, or professional school – we excluded researchers currently employed in government, private firms, or think tanks (except where instructed otherwise by our country partners). Additionally, our definition is not broad enough to include scholars at professional schools of international affairs who study economics, sociology, law, or other disciplines. As in previous years, we attempted to include any scholar who taught or did research on trans-border issues as they relate to some aspect of politics. 

 And a response by 4,270 people - given the progressive slant of academic institutions, I am surprised that Kerry was given such a bad rating - he was almost our President!

Job opportunities at the IRS

From Forbes:

IRS Rehires Hundreds Of Problem Former Employees
As an employer, would you rehire a former employee guilty of misconduct? Say, someone you caught falsifying official forms, peeking at secured confidential files, or misusing company property? How about rehiring hundreds of such misbehaving workers? These aren’t trick questions. Most employers breathe a sigh of relief when such an employee departs. You don’t hire them back.

Rehiring is for someone you want back, not someone who was a problem. But the IRS may be different from your average employer. So suggests a new report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The watchdog report says the IRS rehired hundreds of former employees with prior substantiated conduct or performance issues.

The Inspector General identified hundreds of rehires despite prior substantiated conduct or performance issues. Some were serious. They ranged from unpaid taxes, unauthorized access to taxpayer information, leave abuse, falsification of official forms, unacceptable performance, misuse of IRS property, and off-duty misconduct. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration concluded that the rehires pose increased risks to the IRS and taxpayers.

In many cases, the problems cropped up again after the person was rehired, the report reveals. Of the more than 7,000 former employees the IRS hired between January 2010 and September 2013, 824 had prior performance and conduct issues. In fairness, the IRS did a lot of rehiring of former employees. And most of the rehires did not have performance or conduct issues.

The report cites a former problem employee whose file was explicitly marked “Do Not Rehire” because the person was “absent without leave for 312 hours.” Guess what? He was rehired anyway. 141 former employees were rehired even though they had prior substantiated tax issues. What’s worse, five of them were known to the IRS as having willfully failed to file their federal tax returns. No problem, they were rehired.

Another branch of government that drastically needs to be overhauled. Just passing a few simple bills could cut $50 billion from the budget.

Off to work and town

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Doing some plumbing at the store - our commercial sink's valves finally failed so got a replacement cartridge and installing it today.

Next, heading into town to pick up a travel trailer. Lulu and I are taking 40 days off and traveling through the Southwest this spring - Blacksmithing conference and a couple of other events. I figured that it would save over $5K in hotel bills and meals out. If we do not like it, I can sell it when we return.

Dashing through the Snow

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More information at the site.

Our Congressmembers at work

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House Speaker John Boehner surprised me by growing a pair and inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress next month.

Now this predictible act - from National Journal:

Pelosi: Members Won't 'Boycott' Netanyahu Speech. But They Might Be too Busy to Go
There will be no "boycott" of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech before Congress next month, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday.

But while she downplayed reports of an organized protest, she suggested some lawmakers might just be too busy to attend. And at least two Democrats have already decided they won't be on hand.

"I don't think anybody should use the word 'boycott,'" Pelosi said in her weekly press conference. "When these heads of state come, people are here doing their work, they're trying to pass legislation, they're meeting with their constituents and the rest. It's not a high-priority item for them."

The Netanyahu address has drawn sharp criticism from Democrats, who view the invitation from House Speaker John Boehner as a means of undermining the Obama administration's nuclear negotiations with Iran. The Israeli leader, many congressional Republicans, and some Democrats favor increased sanctions, but Obama has asked them to hold off until member nations of the U.N. Security Council can try to deter Iran's nuclear ambitions at the bargaining table.

Attendance at the speech will be an excellent litmus test for people who need to be voted out of office...

Winter in Europe

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The Northeast has been having its share of cold weather. Same is happening in Europe - a three-fer:

First - from The Washington Post:

Record snow depth for a Swedish city

Second - from the London Daily Express:

Cold snap sees death rates soar to five-year record high
Some 28,800 deaths were registered in the fortnight ending January 23, the Office for National Statistics said.

This is 32 per cent higher than the average for the period over the previous five years, which stood at 21,859.

More people die from cold than from heat - a warmer planet will be a healthier one.

Third - from the London Daily Mail:

It's so cold now even the SEA has frozen! Cumbrian harbour is covered by thick sheets of ice as 'wicked' wind from Germany is set to send temperatures plummeting as low as -5C

What global warming?

Flood watch - updated

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The National Weather Service just posted a Flood Watch for the upcoming rain.

From what they are saying, most of the rain will be to our South - California is going to get pasted.

AccuWeather has that story:

Northern California Braces for Life-Threatening Flooding, Mudslides
Heavy rain will inundate coastal Oregon and northern California late this week into early next week, threatening serious flash flooding, mudslides and travel delays and cancellations.

A Pineapple Express will help to fuel the heavy rain as a storm plows into the Pacific coast Thursday into Saturday. The heaviest rain will soak Northern California during the day on Friday.

"A Pineapple Express is a continuous surge of tropical moisture extending from near Hawaii all the way into a West Coast storm," AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said.

At least we do not live in the Midwest and Northeast:

Train of Storms to Bring Midwest, Northeast Unrelenting Snow Into Next Week
A train of storms will bring round after round of snow from the Upper Midwest to the Northeast this weekend into early next week.

The storms will bring episodes of snow every 12-24 hours or so from northern Minnesota, upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey and New England.

In some cases, there may be snow of varying intensity from this weekend right straight through into early next week.

By way of contrast, here is the webcam from Mt. Ranier showing the Paradise Visitors Center at an elevation of 5,400'

20150205-ranier-webcam.jpg

Paradise is noted for the amount of snow it gets every year - average snowfall (1920 through 2013) is 643 inches and we are seeing bare pavement in today's photo.

Time to revisit this video from Crystal Mountain:

Pineapple Shakedown 2014 from Crystal Mountain Resort on Vimeo.

Hitting close to home

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Senator Rand Paul must be getting too close for comfort - the elites are lashing out. From The Hill:

Fed fires back at Rand Paul
The Federal Reserve is lashing out at Sen. Rand Paul’s plan to give Congress more oversight over the central bank, a proposal that could gain traction in the new Republican-led Congress.

The Kentucky Republican reintroduced his “Audit the Fed” legislation last month with 30 co-sponsors, including other potential 2016 GOP hopefuls, Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Marco Rubio (Fla.).

The proposal — once championed by his father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) — would subject the central bank to an audit by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). 

A bit more: 

“Who in their right mind would ask the Congress of the United States — who can’t cobble together a fiscal policy — to assume control of monetary policy?” Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said during an interview with The Hill.

Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen has already vowed to fight the legislation, and President Obama would likely veto it.

Senator Paul is not trying to make changes in the way the Fed operates, he is just asking for an accounting. Show me the money. Nothing more. Why are they so worried? What are they hiding?

This seems to be hitting a nerve as this post has over 3,000 comments

Under fire

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NBC Newscaster Brian Williams is coming under fire these days and has recanted his story. From Stars and Stripes:

NBC’s Brian Williams recants Iraq story after soldiers protest
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted Wednesday he was not aboard a helicopter hit and forced down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a false claim that has been repeated by the network for years.

Williams repeated the claim Friday during NBC’s coverage of a public tribute at a New York Rangers hockey game for a retired soldier that had provided ground security for the grounded helicopters, a game to which Williams accompanied him. In an interview with Stars and Stripes, he said he had misremembered the events and was sorry.

The admission came after crew members on the 159th Aviation Regiment’s Chinook that was hit by two rockets and small arms fire told Stars and Stripes that the NBC anchor was nowhere near that aircraft or two other Chinooks flying in the formation that took fire. Williams arrived in the area about an hour later on another helicopter after the other three had made an emergency landing, the crew members said.

What Williams said:

“The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG,” Williams said on the broadcast. “Our traveling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armor mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry.”

Williams and his camera crew were actually aboard a Chinook in a formation that was about an hour behind the three helicopters that came under fire, according to crew member interviews.

This was, of course, a completley isolated incident - a one-time brain fart. From Variety:

Watch: Brian Williams Tell Iraq Story to Letterman in 2013
Brian Williams, who acknowledged Wednesday that he falsely claimed to have been on a helicopter that was shot down by enemy fire while on an NBC News reporting trip in Iraq in 2003, has apparently been telling the story for years.

In a 2013 clip from the “Late Show from David Letterman,” Williams recounted the fabricated story to the CBS host, in which he claims to have been in the aircraft that came under attack.

But nobody has ever claimed this before - from The Washington Post:

"I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."
--Hillary Clinton, speech at George Washington University, March 17, 2008.

Pants on fire...

I rest my case

20150205-age.jpg

NASCAR

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Start your engines...

 

Image Composite Editor

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Free app from Microsoft - just got a major upgrade.

Home page is here: Image Composite Editor

Great tool for panoramas.

 

Rain rain - go away

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Come again some other day

Looks like yet another Pineapple Express is headed our way - from Cliff Mass:

Triple Atmospheric River Event to Hit the West Coast
Probably the most significant West Coast heavy rain event of the winter will occur during the next few days, with Northern California being the hardest hit.  Three "atmospheric rivers" will strike the coast between now and Sunday, with the middle one possibly being the strongest in years.

A microwave satellite image taken around noon today shows the first (and weakest) atmospheric river of the three.  This graphic shows the total amount of water vapor in the column, or more exactly what depth of precipitation it could form.  Atmospheric rivers are narrow but long currents of moisture and warmth, with roots in the tropics and subtropics.

Several inches here - as much as ten inches in Northern California all as water - they need snowpack, so do we.

The National Weather Service has a Hydrologic Outlook posted with snow levels up to 7000 feet - say goodbye to skiing for this year.

Will It Bend/Blend

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Two videos:

 

 

The EPA is now setting its sights on Natural Gas. From FOX News:

EPA turning regulatory eyes to natural gas, expert says
A former Environmental Protection Agency regulator warns that while the Obama administration now has coal in its crosshairs, natural gas is next in line.

David Schnare cites a proposed rule on methane emissions as one of the ways President Obama and the EPA will clamp down on natural gas. The 33-year EPA veteran, who once sued utilities for coal-fired plants that didn’t meet Clean Air Act standards, is director of the Center of Energy and Environmental Stewardship at the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy.

Schnare said the EPA — as part of its “Clean Power Plan” rule that would largely put coal-fired power plants out of business — is contemplating forcing natural gas plants to increase their capacity from 46 percent to 70 percent to reduce carbon emissions by working them harder to replace older generation units that emit more carbon dioxide. This would lead to equipment failures as turbines designed for the lower workload could not endure a heavier one. Their carbon dioxide emissions would also be more regulated “at the very limit” of present technology.

They have done their work - our environment is now cleaner than it has been since the beginning of the industrial revolution. It is time for them to gracefully leave the political stage and go home and play with their kids and grandkids.

We need to cut their budget by 80% - this will be enough for them to do the needed real work but not this frivolous marxist agenda bullcrap.

I was reminded of a post I made from November 2005 about a supposed gasifier being shown to ex-Washington D.C. mayor Marion Berry. The machine was large and complex and was supposed to turn  garbage and sewage into usable oil.

Just for fun, I googled the name and it seems Mr. Romana is still running the same scam and goes from area to area bilking investors out of their money. When it is time to start construction of the processing plant, Mr. Romana pulls up his tent stakes and moves somewhere else.

Original post from The Washington Post

September 2014 - New Zealand, Winnepeg and some Mohawk tribesmen from Quebec from CBC News.

March 2014 - New Zealand from the NZ Manawatu Standard posted on stuff.co.nz

'Ripoff' trail leads to Canada
A self-professed energy entrepreneur who is unable to be found by a liquidator looking into his New Zealand-based company - which pulled in multiple investors from Manawatu and Horowhenua - is hiding out in Canada.

He is going by a different name and making art at a studio for people with mental health issues.

He is also not communicating with a Canadian woman who alleges he owes her $50,000 from a business deal gone sour.

Simon Romana founded Ira NRG in March 2010, before taking his investment plan on a roadshow around New Zealand.

The company claimed to be in possession of gasification technology that would convert waste biomass into energy.

Shareholders signed on by buying share parcels, but the business was banned in December 2010 by the Securities Commission after it was discovered it had asked for investment money without a prospectus. By that stage, the company had 246 shareholdings.

And from the web archive comes this May 2006 article from The New Zealand Listener:

Sludge Watch ==> Energy to Burn - The Kiwi - the Native - the gasifier - the sludge - the story
A fast-talking Kiwi claims that his invention, which he says converts rubbish and sewage to electricity and clean water, will revolutionise the world. And although some people, including chemical engineering xperts, are deeply skeptical, others are fronting up with support and cash. It’s a cold November day in a Washington DC parking lot, and Simon Romana from Te Hapua is standing beside the machine that he says will change the world. Mounted on a trailer unit stabilized by blocks, it’s a maze of pipes and chimneys, fans and engines, knobs and dials. One of the handful of  reporters present, the Washington Post’s Eric Weiss, says it looks like a locomotive with its cover ripped off.

Fifty-year-old Romana, in dark glasses and with his black hair falling onto the shoulders of his tan jacket, tells the crowd of about 50 that the machine is a “gasifier” that can convert trash and sewage into pollution-free electricity and clean water.

Understandably, it has some powerful support.

 But it's OK - he has a PhD in Physics (talking about his resume)

On it the New Zealander claims to have a doctorate in physics, acquired some time between 1974 and 1985 from Texas State University and Ben Gurion University in Israel. There are several problems with that. The first is that Texas State University didn’t exist until 2003. Before that, it went by the name of Southwest Texas State University. The second is that Texas State only offers up to a master’s degree in physics. As well, Ben Gurion University in Israel has no record of his enrollment under any of three names he has been known to go by – Simon Romana, Simon Norman or Simon Phillips – and its physics department couldn’t remember anyone of those names.

People really want to believe - unfortunately, the basic laws of physics trump any narrative or fundraising.
Please note that there are a couple of businesses with 1st NRG or just NRG in their names - these guys are completely above-board and legitimate.

The workers paradise of Venezuela

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Things keep getting better and better - socialism at its most triumphant. From Yahoo/Associated Press:

Venezuela begins occupation of private supermarket chain
National guardsmen and state price adjusters fanned out across Venezuela Wednesday to impose a military-style occupation with an unusual goal: Making sure shoppers can buy enough sugar.

The South American country's socialist administration temporarily took over the Dia a Dia supermarket chain as part of a crackdown on the private businesses it blames for worsening shortages and long lines. Embattled President Nicolas Maduro says right-wing owners are purposely making shopping a nightmare by hoarding goods and removing checkout stations. He has promised to jail any business owner found to be fomenting economic chaos.

 BZZZZTTTT!!! The problem isn't the right-wing owners, it is the central government meddling with the economy by fixing prices and not making it economically viable for business owners to import or grow sugar. Fix the price below market cost and nobody wants to produce.

More:

On Monday night, Congress President Diosdado Cabello said officials had arrested Dia a Dia's owner and taken over its 35 stores "for the protection of Venezuelans." By Tuesday morning, armed soldiers were overseeing lines for bags of sugar at a Dia a Dia location near the presidential palace.

Many economists blame price and currency controls for causing the economic distortions plaguing the country at a time when falling oil prices are battering its revenues. Analysts see this week's moves against business owners as an attempt to drive home Maduro's counter-narrative that the right-wing is waging an economic war.

Christ on a corn-dog. Who in their right mind would want to run a business in Venezuela now - all the outside businesses (oil, electricity, telecom, media - basically energy and tech) have been nationalized and nobody is offering to invest. The local talent has no clue how to maintain the equipment so their infrastructure is crumbling. What makes this so tragic is that this could be the United States in about twenty years if Hillary or other fool gets elected in 2016. Venezuela is running out of other people's money.

Tools you can use - Zombie Apocolypse

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How about a $3.00 laser assisted blowgun - pretty cool!

 

Now this is interesting - Argentina

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From the New York Times:

Draft of Arrest Request for Argentine President Found at Dead Prosecutor’s Home
Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor whose mysterious death has gripped Argentina, had drafted a request for the arrest of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, accusing her of trying to shield Iranian officials from responsibility in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center here, the lead investigator into his death said Tuesday.

The 26-page document, which was found in the garbage at Mr. Nisman’s apartment, also sought the arrest of Héctor Timerman, Argentina’s foreign minister. Both Mrs. Kirchner and Mr. Timerman have repeatedly denied Mr. Nisman’s accusation that they tried to reach a secret deal with Iran to lift international arrest warrants for Iranian officials wanted in connection with the bombing.

The new revelation that Mr. Nisman had drafted documents seeking the arrest of the president and the foreign minister illustrates the heightened tensions between the prosecutor and the government before he was found dead on Jan. 18 at his apartment with a gunshot wound to his head. He had been scheduled the next day to provide details before Congress about his accusations against Mrs. Kirchner.

Nothing to see here folks - just move along please. You! Sir!  With the camera. I will need that memory chip...

The unemployment numbers - a big lie

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From Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup:

The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment
Here's something that many Americans -- including some of the smartest and most educated among us -- don't know: The official unemployment rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is extremely misleading.

Right now, we're hearing much celebrating from the media, the White House and Wall Street about how unemployment is "down" to 5.6%. The cheerleading for this number is deafening. The media loves a comeback story, the White House wants to score political points and Wall Street would like you to stay in the market.

None of them will tell you this: If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job -- if you are so hopelessly out of work that you've stopped looking over the past four weeks -- the Department of Labor doesn't count you as unemployed. That's right. While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news -- currently 5.6%. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren't throwing parties to toast "falling" unemployment.

There's another reason why the official rate is misleading. Say you're an out-of-work engineer or healthcare worker or construction worker or retail manager: If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 -- maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn -- you're not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6%. Few Americans know this.

Yet another figure of importance that doesn't get much press: those working part time but wanting full-time work. If you have a degree in chemistry or math and are working 10 hours part time because it is all you can find -- in other words, you are severely underemployed -- the government doesn't count you in the 5.6%. Few Americans know this.

There's no other way to say this. The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.

And it's a lie that has consequences, because the great American dream is to have a good job, and in recent years, America has failed to deliver that dream more than it has at any time in recent memory. A good job is an individual's primary identity, their very self-worth, their dignity -- it establishes the relationship they have with their friends, community and country. When we fail to deliver a good job that fits a citizen's talents, training and experience, we are failing the great American dream.

The Big Lie has been used by one tyrant or another since we first climbed down from the trees. Most notable (with the exception of this administration) were the National Socialists in WWII - specifically Chief Propagandist Joseph Goebbels: "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."

San Francisco raised the minimum wage to $15 - guess what, businesses are closing.

From the wonderful Borderlands Books:

Borderlands Books to Close in March
In 18 years of business, Borderlands has faced a number of challenges.  The first and clearest was in 2000, when our landlord increased our rent by 100% and we had to move to our current location on Valencia Street.  All of the subsequent ones have been less clear-cut but more difficult.  The steady movement towards online shopping, mostly with Amazon, has taken a steady toll on bookstores throughout the world and Borderlands was no exception.  After that and related to it, has been the shift towards ebooks and electronic reading devices.  And finally the Great Recession of 2009 hit us very hard, especially since we had just opened a new aspect to the business in the form of our cafe.

But, through all those challenges, we've managed to find a way forward and 2014 was the best year we've ever had.  The credit for that achievement goes to the fine and extraordinary group of people who have come together to work here.  Their hard work, combined with the flawless execution and attention to detail provided by Jude Feldman, Borderlands' General Manager, is the reason we've succeeded for these past 18 years.

What happened?

In November, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly passed a measure that will increase the minimum wage within the city to $15 per hour by 2018.  Although all of us at Borderlands support the concept of a living wage in principal and we believe that it's possible that the new law will be good for San Francisco -- Borderlands Books as it exists is not a financially viable business if subject to that minimum wage.  Consequently we will be closing our doors no later than March 31st.  The cafe will continue to operate until at least the end of this year.

Many businesses can make adjustments to allow for increased wages.  The cafe side of Borderlands, for example, should have no difficulty at all.  Viability is simply a matter of increasing prices.  And, since all the other cafes in the city will be under the same pressure, all the prices will float upwards.  But books are a special case because the price is set by the publisher and printed on the book.  Furthermore, for years part of the challenge for brick-and-mortar bookstores is that companies like Amazon.com have made it difficult to get people to pay retail prices.  So it is inconceivable to adjust our prices upwards to cover increased wages.

The change in minimum wage will mean our payroll will increase roughly 39%.  That increase will in turn bring up our total operating expenses by 18%.  To make up for that expense, we would need to increase our sales by a minimum of 20%.  We do not believe that is a realistic possibility for a bookstore in San Francisco at this time.

I love the abject cluelessness displayed in the second paragraph:

Viability is simply a matter of increasing prices.  And, since all the other cafes in the city will be under the same pressure, all the prices will float upwards.

So the progressive fool (but I repeat myself)  whose salary went from $10/hr to $15/hr just had their daily soy mint mocha-chino go up from $3.99 to $5.24. The price of tofu will rise, the price of the organic hemp trousers they like to wear just went up by 30%, their organic beeswax mustache creme just went up $4/tube. An act like this will have economic consequences - the market does not operate in a vacuum.

The real problem with a law like this is that anyone who suggests returning to the previous minimum wage will be pilloried for taking bread from the mouths of the working man.

There is a very good thread at Reddit.

Off to town today

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Picking up some parts for the store sink and looking at some other things.

Nothing much otherwise with the wonderful exception that we are starting to get some decent snow at Baker. Finally!

Looks like it will be dumping rain later today though.

Submarine cables - a map and more

Nice map and interactive display of some of the major submarine cables providing internet and telephony services to the world. The technology is pretty amazing.

From TeleGeography comes this map from 2014. These maps are too large to embed - just visit the links.

Here is the page that links to the interactive map: Submarine Cable Map

I know a couple ex-Military cables that are being used for scientific research that are not on this map. These maps may outline the territory but they do not fully represent the landscape...

I am reminded of Neal Stephenson's wonderful essay in Wired from 1996 - Mother Earth Mother Board 

Close to twenty years old but still spot on. Submarine cables have always been like the SR-71 Blackbirds of their day - engineered and constructed 30 years ahead of the state of the art.

This Bud's for you

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Some fun commercials last night - here is one of Budweiser's:

 

I do love some of the artisanal brews but my favorite beer has been Shiner Bock for the last four years or so.

I will just quote two excerpts from this amazing essay/rant:

Something rotten, very rotten has happened to the Left just in my lifetime.

They used to be champions of free speech; and now they are its most vehement opponents.

They use to be able to give some sort of argument or logical reason for their position, even if an incorrect argument; now they have no argument, none of them, aside from wild and insincere accusations delivered in a mechanical fashion without any hope of being believed, phony as a three-dollar bill.

They used to be firmly on the side of the workingman; now they hate the workingman as a white racist oppressor.

They used to be in favor of free love and the sexual liberation; now they object to rocket scientists wearing shirts with cartoon women printed on them, they object to science fiction magazines showing a scantily clad warrior princess slaying a monster, and they call all sex rape, and demand strict segregation of women and men. On the same day as these protests, they appear in front of the Pope, writhing on the ground naked with crosses and crucifixes inserted into their vaginas. So the Puritan rules apply arbitrarily, without sense or order, to anyone or no one.

They used to be in favor of Blacks and other minorities; now their disgust for all the impoverished and dispossessed is plain to see. All they want is to keep the Blacks on the plantation, addicted to welfare, addicted to crack, their children aborted, their parents unwed.

They used to be in favor of the Jews, and other minorities; now they kneel to Islamic Jihad at every opportunity, vowing that those who slander the prophet of Islam will no be in the future, and ergo the Left now curse the Jews, and pray daily for the destruction of Israel, and a new Holocaust in the warhead of a Muslim nuke.

What? You say that his the not what the Left says? That they say they are creatures of purity, goodness, and sweetness, who live only to help others out of the depth of their hearts and the depth of your wallet? No, that was the old Left, back when the Left still had some scraps of sanity and intelligence.

They serve Sauron and have forgotten their own names.

And this:

Leftism is hatred. Everything that is normal, sane, healthy, holy, rational, or good, they hate.  They hate the death penalty for murderers and love suicide and euthanasia. They have daydreams about the human race being wiped off the globe, in order to preserve the Guatemalan water snake or the Puritan stink bug. They hate marriage and love sodomy. They hate wealth and success. They hate population; they hate people. They are fearless when it comes to Jihad and fearful when it comes to the weather. They love abortion most of all: nothing gives a Leftist hearts in his eyes faster than contemplating a score or a hundred dismembered dead babies piled up in a heap outside an abortion mill, and denied a Christian burial.

Go and read the whole thing (and follow the links). Amazing writing and absolutely spot on. The 50+ comments are pure gravy - we are not alone...

Lost treasure and the guy who found it

Tommy Thompson is back in the news again - curious story. I followed his saga when it first came happened as sunken treasure is always an interesting story.

From Associated Press:

Feds: Treasure hunter eluded police with cash, tradecraft
A deep-sea treasure hunter who vanished during a court fight over his $50 million haul of gold bars and coins eluded capture by hiding in a two-room hotel suite under a fake name, paying for everything in cash and keeping a low-profile, authorities said Thursday.

When Tommy Thompson and his longtime companion did leave the Florida hotel room, usually alone and her more than him, they would use a combination of buses, taxis and walking around to shake anyone who might be tailing them.

"That's all part of the whole tradecraft — trying to fly under the radar of law enforcement," said Barry Golden of the U.S. Marshals Service in Miami.

Thompson, 62, was wanted after he failed to appear in an Ohio courtroom in 2012 in a lawsuit about the gold he brought up in 1988 from a 19th-century shipwreck. Two investors who had funded Thompson's dream to find the shipwreck sued, as did some of his crew members, who said they also had been cheated out of their share.

Thompson and his companion, Alison Anteiker, were arrested Tuesday in West Boca Raton and Thompson on Thursday appeared in federal court for a preliminary hearing. They are being held without bond — she on a civil contempt charge, he on a criminal contempt charge. He hasn't been charged with a crime over his handling of proceeds from the gold.

And they had him four years ago:

On Sept. 12, 2008, he was arrested at a Jacksonville, Florida, gas station, carrying nine identification cards — eight of which police said were fake, according to an incident report. He was charged with possession of drugs without a prescription with the intent to sell, holding a fake ID, false personation and resisting an officer without violence. Court records show prosecutors later dropped all the counts, but it's not immediately clear why.

After his disappearance four years later, authorities found more evidence at a Vero Beach mansion he rented between 2006 and 2012, paying the monthly $3,000 rent with cash and putting the utilities in the landlord's name.

Among the clues: A book called "How to Live Your Life Invisible" describing how to get by on a cash-only basis; bank wraps for $10,000; metal pipes that authorities believed were used to store money underground; and 12 active cellphones, each used for specific attorneys or family members.

"Thompson was smart — perhaps one of the smartest fugitives ever sought by the U.S. Marshals, along with almost limitless resources and approximately a 10-year head start," U.S. Marshal Michael Tobin said in a statement.

The story of finding the wreck and the gold's recovery is one worth reading - there was an excellent book: Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea: The History and Discovery of the World's Richest Shipwreck - your library either has it or can get it on loan. Wikipedia has a nice TL;DR version: SS Central America

Quite the collection!

 

Cool Hunting Video: Mark Mothersbaugh's Synth Collection from Cool Hunting on Vimeo.

Never seen a Dewanatron Hymnotron (link to 10 minute YouTube demonstration) in the flesh before. More about the Dewan cousins here: Dewanatron

Mark's collection is downright amazing. His website is here: Mutato

The origins of the Palestinian people

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In their own words - speaking truth to power:

 

 

It is also curious that Yasser Arafat visited Moscow in 1968 and was hand-picked by them to become the new leader of the "Palestinian nation". Egypt had rebuffed communism and they were looking for a base of operations. It was, in fact, the idea of the Russians to recognize the new state of Palestine (in 1988).

For a good read, check out this article: Palestine–Russia relations

The toll of alt.energy

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With all the billions of dollars of our tax money being sunk on so-called renewable energy, there is a tragic toll that is always overlooked. The cost of this alt.energy is borne out with higher prices on conventional fuels.

From the UK Telegraph:

Winter death toll 'to exceed 40,000'
The cold weather death toll this winter is expected to top 40,000, the highest number for 15 years.

The figures were described as a “tragedy for the elderly” by campaigners who warned that not enough was being done to protect pensioners from unnecessary deaths in cold weather.

Malcolm Booth, chief executive of the National Federation of Occupational Pensioners, said: “Excess winter deaths look like rising above the exceptional 2008-09 total and potentially reaching above 40,000 - and that is a disaster for the elderly in Britain.

“Winter deaths are a tragedy for families of those affected but it appears the underlying causes of these deaths have still not been properly addressed.

 A bit more:

Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Department of Health’s chief medical officer, said severe weather could “substantially add to the average winter death toll.”

She wrote in Public Health England’s Cold Weather Plan for England 2014-15: “Excess deaths are not just deaths of those who would have died anyway in the next few weeks or months due to illness or old age.

“There is strong evidence some of these deaths are indeed “extra” and are related to cold temperatures, living in cold homes as well as infectious diseases such as influenza.”

We are fortunate to be able to fall back on wood heat if the cost of propane gets too expensive - people living in cities do not have this luxury.

One last bit:

“It’s a shocking fact that this winter, one older person could die every seven minutes from the cold. Yet with just under one million older people living in fuel poverty, many simply cannot afford to heat their homes to a temperature high enough to keep warm and well.

Emphasis mine. Fuel poverty - isn't that a quaint term. More like alt.energy induced high utility prices - although the last does not roll off the tongue as mellifluously, it is a more accurate description.

Well that sucked...

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A really good game with one major problem - the #&%@ Patriots won.

Halftime show and the commercials were a lot of fun - Katie Perry's entrance on the tiger and exit on the shooting star were well done.

Early day tomorrow - surf for a bit and early bedtime. Lulu and I are both feeling a lot better - the elderberry tincture is effective.

Silly season - some good news

Looks like people are tired of more of the same - from Bloomberg:

Walker Surging in Iowa Poll as Bush Struggles
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is surging, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is an also-ran and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is dominating in a new poll of Iowans likely to vote in the nation's first presidential nominating contest.

The Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll, taken Monday through Thursday, shows Walker leading a wide-open Republican race with 15 percent, up from just 4 percent in the same poll in October. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky was at 14 percent and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucuses in 2008, stood at 10 percent.

Bush trailed with 8 percent and increasingly is viewed negatively by likely Republican caucus-goers. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is in even worse shape, with support from just 4 percent. More troubling for Christie: He's viewed unfavorably by 54 percent, among the highest negative ratings in the potential field. At 9 percent, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson pulls more support than either Bush or Christie.

Walker would make a fine President - the state of Wisconsin is much better for his governorship.

Superbowl Sunday

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Heading into the store to take care of some paperwork for Monday and then, game at 3:30PM

Posting will be a little light...

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