March 2015 Archives

We are spoiled

| No Comments

At home, we are at the end of a long DSL line so bandwidth is not that great. I 'did' dial-up for a while.

What we have at the campsite is beyond slow - it is pitiful. There are enough towers dotting the landscape you would think that decent bandwidth would be ubiquitous but nooooo...

It's the aliens - they know we are coming for them...

From the UK Daily Observer:

President Obama Must Not Complete a Disastrous Deal With Iran
Forget Churchill—Obama Isn't Measuring up to Neville Chamberlain

With the US on the brink of signing an agreement that will lift the crippling economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for alleged guarantees that Iran will limit its nuclear ambitions to peaceful means, the Observer urges President Obama not to place his personal hunger for a legacy issue ahead of his most solemn duty – protecting America’s national security.

Barack Obama has been compared to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain , who concluded the ill-fated Munich Pact with Hitler in 1938. But Chamberlain acted out of a sincere belief that he was avoiding a greater evil. Chamberlain was not thinking of his place in history. He was thinking only of the Britain that he loved, a Britain that was all but disarmed, exhausted, and vulnerable. He was dealing with a nation that had been decimated by the Great War, a nation whose “best and brightest” five years earlier had declared in the infamous Oxford Oath that they would not fight for king or country, and a nation that was as materially unprepared for war as Germany was prepared to fight. Chamberlain dealt from a position of weakness, one that Hitler continually exploited in the negotiations, even by changing the time and place to make it more inconvenient for the British leader to attend them.

In sharp contrast, Mr. Obama is acting out of personal aggrandizement. He believes he is replicating President Richard Nixon’s historic opening of China. For Mr. Obama, the Iranian nuclear arms deal is about his place in history. Mr. Obama is dealing from a position of strength that he refuses to use. The sanctions have hurt Iran. Falling oil prices only add to Iran’s vulnerability. Instead of using the sanctions to pursue his original promise that Iran would not get the bomb, Mr. Obama has moved the goal post. Iran would not get the bomb immediately. It would be permitted to enrich uranium well beyond the 5 percent need for generating nuclear energy and be left with a breakout capacity to create a bomb.

Meanwhile, Iran is refusing surprise inspections, the hallmark of any such agreement, and has ruled its military facilities, such as the enrichment plant at Fordo, off limits to any inspections, period. Iran continues to showcase public displays of Israel being obliterated by an Iranian nuclear bomb, and even in the midst of negotiations government-orchestrated mass rallies cry out, “Death to America.”

Kudos to 'The Editors' - whomever wrote this gets it. We are being played for fools and the rest of the world knows it. This will be Obama's eternal legacy - that he was in way over his head. That the cult of personality doesn't contribute one little bit to the ability to lead - Obama has none of that.

Day three - 460 miles

| No Comments

Settling into the groove. Woke up in Idaho, fixed breakfast and coffee and then went through Utah and are in Wyoming. Heading to just short of Cheyenne tomorrow and then south - looking at Fort Collins, CO for the evening.

Very windy outside so it is like we are in a boat - gently rocking back and forth and wind noises in the rigging.

We were in Morgan, Utah getting some groceries and made the mistake of asking someone where the wine was. Dry county...

Still haven't done any photography - we need to get to Socorro, NM by Friday and that is the goal in front of us - we are making great time and having a lot of fun but we need to be focused on this first. Playtime later!

Also, the atmospheric haze is really bad - farmers are burning their fields in preparation of planting so say goodbye to any thoughts of shooting landscapes...

The comment spam has picked up quite a bit with over ten attempts today - none of them successful but it is like they are waiting until I don't have frequent access and then they start hammering.

Our first dinner last evening

| No Comments

We had brought some of the pulled pork from home and had a nice alfresco dinner at our RV park (yes, we spent the night in a van down by the river).

Here is Lulu getting dinner together:

20150329-trip.jpg

Options for photography have been a bit slim - a light haze in the air limits landscape photos and there is nothing really interesting in our driving - more once we get done with Trinity Site...

Day two - 310 miles

| No Comments

It seemed a bit longer but no - travel fatigue is settling in a bit. Nothing major but its presence is known.

Gone to ground in Mountain Home, Idaho just outside of Boise.

Stopped at the Boise Costco and got a roti chicken for dinner and a couple of the little portable hard drives. I will be using these to back up my photos from the trip - running MSFT Sync Toy to keep them current with my photo storage folder.

Shooting for Salt Lake City for tomorrow.

Day two

| No Comments

Getting ready to hit the road and find us some coffee (we have the same priorities).

Stopping at the Pendleton Mill store and then aiming for a bit further than Boise for tonight. Making great time.

Makes perfect sense

| No Comments

From ABC News/Associated Press:

Nation's Biggest Nuclear Firm Makes a Play for Green Money
The biggest player in the beleaguered nuclear power industry wants a place alongside solar, wind and hydroelectric power collecting extra money for producing carbon-free electricity.

Exelon Corp., operator of the largest fleet of U.S. nuclear plants, says it could have to close three of them if Illinois rejects the company's pitch to let it recoup more from consumers since the plants do not produce greenhouse gases.

Chicago-based Exelon essentially wants to change the rules of the state's power market as the nuclear industry competes with historically low prices for natural gas. Dominion Resources Inc. recently closed the Kewaunee Power Station in Wisconsin for financial reasons, and Entergy Corp. likewise shuttered its Vermont Yankee plant.

Makes perfect sense and am surprised that they have not done this before. All the alt.energy groupies have been lining up at the public (our tax dollars) subsidy trough for a long long time - they want to get their cut of the lucre...

We were planning to stop in Ellensburg as a last measure in the event that we left late today.

We did not so drove through Ellensburg to show Lulu the University (gorgeous campus) as well as some older houses.

I was planning to come to rest in Pendleton but saw this gorgeous RV park in Umatilla: Umatilla Marina and RV Park

Had some more smoked pork for dinner and setting in to a quiet night. We are travelling with just my dog Grace

Yes, there is broadband but it is a bit slow so surfing will be limited :-P

The trailer handled like a dream - Ford has electronic integration with trailers that makes driving a breeze compared to some of the other rigs I have driven. Hardly knew the trailer was there. Still need to come up with a name for her...

Heading out early tomorrow - have a ways to go to get to Socorro, NM by Friday. We will be stoping at the Pendleton Mill before chalking up another day's miles...

Zero days left

| No Comments

Heading out in a few hours - packing a few last-minute items. Lulu and I are both pretty relaxed travelers - if we forget something, we can always get a replacement on the road and the RV parks we will be using have laundromats.

Finishing off pulling the rest of the pork and vacuum packing it. Got to fill the trailer's water tank and bring an extra propane bottle.

Food coma

| No Comments

We ate until we could eat no more and the dogs did us the great favor of licking our plates clean.

There is something about a slow-smoked pork shoulder that just makes the world a much better place.

And then, there are the left-overs!!!

Mmmmm - Pulled Pork

| No Comments

The pork shoulder came out of the smoker a few minutes ago looking fantastic. I am now steaming it in the oven to render it. Pulled pork for dinner tonight and plenty to freeze for Jimmy and for us to take on our trip (the trailer has a fridge/freezer).

Heading down to the store for some last-minute items.

Almost done charging all the photo batteries (I bought some extras in case). Ready to roll tomorrow late morning - first stop will be near Ellensburg - taking Interstate 90 over the pass.

Laid to rest

| No Comments

Luna is underneath a large pine tree close to our house. She is facing East for the rising sun.

We all knew this was going to happen eventually and it is better that it happen today rather than when we are on our trip - still, more than a few tears were shed this afternoon.

Jimmy was good enough to dig her grave for me.

Well crap - RIP Luna

| No Comments

Our cat Luna was very very old - I had gotten her as an adult cat from the shelter in Seattle back around the 1990's. This was when I was still living in the Wallingford district and I moved out of there in 1992.

She has always been in great health with the exception of having an abbreviated tail and ear from some prior mishap before she wound up in the shelter.

This last week, she was acting odd - four days ago she was up on the roof and fell onto our picnic table in front of Jimmy and me.

We were not able to find her last night and Lulu found her this morning, under our back porch, dead.

Normally, I like to cremate household critters but since we are leaving tomorrow for our trip, I will bury her.

It is an odd thing to have to dig a grave. I have done this for both of my parents and several farm critters (one llama, one sheep and two goats).

Celebrating the eternal cycle of life and all that...

Some silliness called Earth Hour

Idiots - light a few candles and you are producing more Plant Food CO2 than your normal household electrical consumption.

One day left

| No Comments

Hitting the road tomorrow afternoon.

Heading out for coffee and finish packing the photo stuff and the truck.

Big day today

| No Comments

Got the hay in - the guy showed up with his grandson and they helped Jimmy and I buck the 50 bales. Good hay too - my local farmers co-op was selling bales that were a bit loose and only weighed about 40 pounds and these guys brought in tight bales around 60-75 pounds each for three dollars cheaper. They only charged $30 for delivery and they helped buck.

Lulu spent the day getting everything squirreled away in the trailer - she loves to play house so she was happier than a pig in a puddle. I will be packing the tech stuff in the back of the truck - genset, grill, some camera stuff and radios.

Grilled up a bunch of marinated chicken breasts tonight for dinner and had rice topped with bok-choy sautéed with sesame oil and oyster sauce.

Had a last minute delivery of some spare lens caps, filters and batteries for the cameras - Amazon Prime is well worth checking out plus, it adds a major dimension to media streaming both with ROKU and online. Installed it on my laptop for the trip.

Also, just as a heads up: If you are looking for a software application for media playback and streaming - look no further than VideoLAN - you can not go wrong.

Surf for a little bit and then to bed...

So true...

| No Comments

20150327-absent.jpg

 

Swiped from Mostly Cajun

Lee Kuan Yew died a few days ago - he was the person who brought the nation of Singapore from a backwater to an amazingly sucessful country.

Great writeup at The National Review:

In Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew Built a Welfare State That Works
Obituaries of Lee Kuan Yew, the first prime minister of Singapore who died this week at age 91, broke down into roughly two camps:

He was a hero, building a “clean as Disneyland” republic that runs like a Swiss watch.

He was an autocrat, who built a successful economy but crushed opponents and journalists who challenged his “managed” democracy.

Both statements have big elements of truth. I take a third approach, based on a fascinating visit I made to Singapore earlier this month. Lee Kuan Yew, a member of Britain’s left-wing Labour party while a student at Cambridge, managed to create a workable welfare state, one that provides for people without creating Social Security–like Ponzi schemes or unsustainable entitlements. Both liberals and conservatives have much to learn from what he built, the details of which are missing in most of the tributes to him.

Lee’s first priority when he became prime minister in 1959 was to reimagine Singapore’s economy. “Back then, this place was a swamp, with no natural resources, and it even had to import its drinking water from Malaysia,” Jim Rogers, a noted American investor who has lived in Singapore for nearly a decade, told me during my visit there.

By embracing free trade, capital formation, vigorous meritocratic education, low taxes, and a reliable judicial system, Lee raised the per capita income of his country from $500 a year to some $52,000 a year today. That’s 50 percent higher than that of Britain, the colonial power that ruled Singapore for 150 years. Its average annual growth rate has averaged 7 percent since the 1970s. “A 2010 study showed more patents and patent applications from the small city-state of Singapore (population 5.6 million) than from Russia (population 140 million),” noted economist Thomas Sowell observes.

But that wealth wasn’t used to create a traditional welfare state. Economist Mark Skousen notes that Singapore is rated along with Hong Kong as one of the two most free economies in the world. Any expansion of government is gradual and grudging. In 2013, when Singapore broadened its medical-benefits program, the local Straits Times newspaper made clear the government’s philosophy: “The first [priority] is to keep government subsidies targeted at those who most need them, rather than commit to benefits for all. Universal benefits are ‘wasteful and inequitable,’ and hard to take away once given, [finance minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam] said.”

That mindset is embodied in Singapore’s philosophy of welfare, which rests on four pillars:

Each generation should pay its own way.

Each family should pay its own way.

Each individual should pay his own way.

Only after passing through these three filters should anyone turn to the government for help. But it will be there when needed.

This nation could be a force of nature (for good) if we adopted these pillars. Instead, we seem to be well on our way to adopting these:

1. Abolition of private property in land and application of all rents of land to public purpose.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6. Centralization of the means of communication and transportation in the hands of the state.

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

8. Equal obligation of all to work.  Establishment of Industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.

10. Free education for all children in government schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc. etc.

Awww crap - RIP John Renborn

| No Comments

Major folk artist - founded Pentangle. Nice obituary at The Guardian:

John Renbourn: ceaseless explorer of song – an appreciation
It wasn’t the sort of house where you could just drop in and say hi. The converted chapel on the Scottish borders that John Renbourn had called home for the past three decades was far away. Far from pretty much everywhere. And given how remote John’s house was – and that everything in it had got there by being carried along a 200-yard path via a narrow footbridge – it really was astonishing how much stuff there was in it. The 20 or so guitars. The bed in the corner of the large living space. The four or five record players dotted about the place. The thousands of records in the kitchen included an original copy of Lena Hughes – Queen of the Flat-Top Guitar, a privately pressed album of Appalachian folk instrumentals that numbered among his astonishingly diverse influences. The water supply came directly from the river. Mostly it worked, but sometimes, John would have to go outside and fix the pump. There were hundreds and hundreds of dusty tins and condiments, some of which may have dated back to the late 70s – after John moved here from the Oakland ghetto of San Francisco. “I was the only white guy in the neighbourhood,” he told me. “It was rough, but the kids would speak to me in an exaggerated version of what they thought was a 19th-century English accent.”

 

I want to believe

| No Comments

Not only are the X Files returning, they are being filmed in Vancouver, BC - from the NY Times:

David Duchovny on the New ‘X-Files’ and Why Mulder Was a Terrible F.B.I. Agent
Sometimes you get lucky. We’d arranged to meet with the actor David Duchovny this week in Santa Monica, Calif., to discuss his new series “Aquarius,” a period crime drama coming to NBC on May 28, for a coming article. Then something else came up.

On Tuesday Fox announced that it was bringing back “The X-Files,” which starred Mr. Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as F.B.I. agents investigating alien-related conspiracies and bizarre, often paranormal, crimes. (The Internet noticed.)

The series began as an oddity in 1993 but became a phenomenon, running until 2002 and proving that the audience was out there for smart science fiction, horror and other genre fare. (There were movies in 1998 and 2008.) “The X-Files” became, for a time, Fox’s highest rated show, topping out as the 11th most watched series on television in its 1997-98 season. It also won 16 Emmy Awards, five Golden Globes and a Peabody Award.

A lot more at the article plus a nice Q&A. Looking forward to this...

Humming birds have arrived

| No Comments

They have been occasional visitors since I put the feeder out almost two weeks ago 

Someone must have spread the word because almost every time I look, there are one or more at the feeder.

Wonder how many 25 pound bags of sugar we will go through this summer - last year it was two.

Two days left

| No Comments

Doing some last loads of laundry. Lulu and Jimmy were in town yesterday and are coming out this morning.

Heading out for some coffee in a few minutes and then expecting a load of hay in the early afternoon.

Packing photographic equipment and charging all of the batteries.

Got a nine pound pork shoulder thawing out. Put a rub on it later this morning and start smoking it tomorrow early morning.

First - our intellectual betters have zero spine - from The Washington Free Beacon:

U.S. Caves to Key Iranian Demands as Nuke Deal Comes Together
The Obama administration is giving in to Iranian demands about the scope of its nuclear program as negotiators work to finalize a framework agreement in the coming days, according to sources familiar with the administration’s position in the negotiations.

U.S. negotiators are said to have given up ground on demands that Iran be forced to disclose the full range of its nuclear activities at the outset of a nuclear deal, a concession experts say would gut the verification the Obama administration has vowed would stand as the crux of a deal with Iran.

And of course, the adults have to step up - from England's The Independent:

Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
Saudi Arabia will not rule out building or acquiring nuclear weapons, the country’s ambassador to the United States has indicated.

Asked whether Saudi Arabia would ever build nuclear weapons in an interview with US news channel CNN, Adel Al-Jubeir said the subject was “not something we would discuss publicly”.

Pressed later on the subject he said: “This is not something that I can comment on, nor would I comment on.”

Which makes them really really love us all that more because before, they could count on our protection - nuclear umbrella as it were - but now, they have to spend several tens of billions of dollars rolling their own program. Imagine what this will do to the cost of gasoline in the next ten or twenty years...

Consulting - the six rules

Canonical list from Clients from Hell:

Six simple rules for dealing with clients
1. No matter how many design concepts you produce, the client will always attempt to combine their weakest elements.

2. Keep all emails down to two sentences – three or more and they won’t get read to the end.

3. Never ask two or more questions in an email – you’ll only get one answer.

4. Don’t expect clients to take your written payment terms as more than guidance.

5. If they ask for more it’s trivial. If you ask for more it’s prissy.

6. Any client that says “I could do this myself, but…” actually can’t, and they aren’t worth the hassle.

So true... I weep but it is so true... 

About 30 years ago, I discovered that I could fire problem clients. Greatest revelation in the world for me!

Either tell them that I was way to busy to give them the full attention that they warranted or else, quote them a nose-bleed price and if they agreed, suck it up like a man and do the job and spend the next month somewhere really nice (and away from telephones - this was back in the '80's). Both worked out really well.

Some numbers on raw milk

| No Comments

BarfBlog is a blog about food safety and public health. Today, they posted about raw milk. Out here in the boonies, we have a lot of people who are into natural living and if a little bit of natural living works for them, a lot more of natural living will be even better.

At the store, we get people asking about having us sell raw milk. As a (partly)trained biologist, this is a subject that I will not even contemplate. I am always polite but the answer is always: I cannot take the risks and lose the store.

From the excellent BarfBlog:

It’s a math thing: Raw milk is 3 percent of the market but causes over 50 percent of milk foodborne illnesses
Most people would be horrified if they went to a restaurant bathroom and saw the chef not bother to wash his hands after using the toilet. It’s a good thing raw milk fad health buyers do not understand cow milking for the same reason.

A new review finds that consumers are nearly 100 times more likely to get foodborne illness from drinking raw milk than they are from drinking pasteurized milk, which is a lower figure than the Centers for Disease Control, which puts that number at 150X. Though a tiny fraction of milk drinkers risk consuming the raw kind, the raw kind accounts for over 50 percent of milk-related foodborne illness.

Given the results, the scholars from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future join the chorus discouraging participants in the raw milk fad.

The problem is that milk is an insanely great culture medium for any kind of bacteria.

Also, the less the milk is "stepped on", the better it tastes. 

There is a great local dairy that uses low-temp batch Pasteurization and they do not homogenize their product - the cream floats to the top of the glass bottle.

Their product shows the work they do - it tastes great. That being said, it is Pasteurized and we gallons of it.

The article has a lot more information - a good read.

From PetaPixel:

Hike-Lapse: Man Walks the 2,600 Miles from Mexico to Canada and Snaps a Selfie Every Mile
A photographer named Andy Davidhazy hiked the 2,600 miles from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. It was both a physical endeavor and a photographic one: every mile he traveled, Davidhazy stopped and took a single selfie. The video above is the time-lapse that he created after his epic journey.

 

 

More at Andy's website: Lost or Found - The end of the trail is the beginning of the story.

Back from town

| No Comments

It was getting late so I had dinner in town.

Got the truck all ready for the trip - new fluids and filters.

Was looking for a specific lens and saw an ad in Craigslist - the lens was in gorgeous condition and will fill the last hole in my camera collection (for now). Getting it used saves me about $400.

Surf for a bit and then an early bedtime - getting fifty bales of hay delivered tomorrow. Sleep like the dead tomorrow night...

President stompy-feet is at it again

| No Comments

Obama is an anti-semite - his hatred of the Jewish people and their nation Israel is plain to see.

Now this - from Israel National News:

US Declassifies Document Revealing Israel's Nuclear Program
In a development that has largely been missed by mainstream media, the Pentagon early last month quietly declassified a Department of Defense top-secret document detailing Israel's nuclear program, a highly covert topic that Israel has never formally announced to avoid a regional nuclear arms race, and which the US until now has respected by remaining silent.

But by publishing the declassified document from 1987, the US reportedly breached the silent agreement to keep quiet on Israel's nuclear powers for the first time ever, detailing the nuclear program in great depth.

The timing of the revelation is highly suspect, given that it came as tensions spiraled out of control between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama ahead of Netanyahu's March 3 address in Congress, in which he warned against the dangers of Iran's nuclear program and how the deal being formed on that program leaves the Islamic regime with nuclear breakout capabilities.

Another highly suspicious aspect of the document is that while the Pentagon saw fit to declassify sections on Israel's sensitive nuclear program, it kept sections on Italy, France, West Germany and other NATO countries classified, with those sections blocked out in the document.

More at the site - this is a fscking slap in the face to the only democratic nation in the entire Middle East and our staunch ally...

Three days left

| No Comments

Off for coffee and then to town to get the truck serviced, see someone about a camera lens and get a pre-paid visa card for Lulu's nephew who will be house sitting for us.

We did most of the packing of the trailer yesterday so things are coming along nicely.

More spew when I get back home again late afternoon...

Now this shows a distinct lack of class - from IT World:

RadioShack puts customer's personal data up for sale in bankruptcy auction
For years, RadioShack made a habit of collecting customers’ contact information at checkout. Now, the bankrupt retailer is putting that data on the auction block.

A list of RadioShack assets for sale includes more than 65 million customer names and physical addresses, and 13 million email addresses. Bloomberg reports that the asset sale may include phone numbers and information on shopping habits as well.

I am very surprised that this is legal. It is not at the state level in Texas:

As Bloomberg points out, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has argued that selling the data would be illegal under state law. Texas doesn’t allow companies to sell personal information in a way that violates their own privacy policies, and signage in RadioShack stores claims that “We pride ourselves on not selling our private mailing list.” Paxton believes that a data sale would affect 117 million people.

I bet the two Deutschmann brothers are spinning in their graves. The brand was a success and Charles Tandy bought the brothers out in 1962 and proceeded to grow it even more. Charles died young in 1978 and the company never fully recovered. Now it is being picked over by banksters and corporatists.

The Buchla lawsuit

| No Comments

This will be interesting to follow - from FACT Magazine:

Synth pioneer Don Buchla is taking the current owners of his brand to court for $500,000
Don Buchla, the 77-year-old inventor of early synthesizers such as the Series 100 modular, is taking the current owners of the Buchla brand to court for breach of contract.

Buchla sold his original company, Buchla & Associates, in 2012, after a battle with cancer that left him unable to continue with day-to-day tasks like sales and marketing. In order to secure cash for his future and have the freedom to continue developing new products, he sold the Buchla brand to Audio Supermarket Pty. Ltd., an Australia-based music distributor, which formed a new company, Buchla Electronic Musical Instruments.

In a suit filed with the The United States District Court for the Northern District of California yesterday (March 24), Buchla alleges he was promised $440,000 for the sale of the company, but has been paid less than $110,000 so far. It also alleges that the defendants breached the Asset Purchase Agreement of Buchla & Associates by “failing to use reasonable business efforts to reach sales targets.”

According to the suit, Buchla was also employed by BEMI in a development role as chief technology officer, which the suit alleges was terminated “without good cause” in 2013. The suit further alleges that the defendants have acted “in bad faith, and with oppression and malice”, to deny Buchla the benefits of the agreement made between the two parties.

The lawsuit is attempting to regain the original company’s assets, intellectual property and confirmed purchase orders back to Buchla, as well as seeking compensation for damages, by proving that  Buchla was convinced to sign a “highly unfavorable, one-sided Memorandum of Understanding with Audio Supermarket” back in 2012, which the suit alleges “was merely an agreement to negotiate in good faith toward a purchase agreement and not a binding purchase agreement in itself.”

Don's designs are amazing but not for me. I like traditional keyboard-based synthesis and Don's idea was to liberate the composition process from the constraints of a keyboard. There is some amazing work being done with his hardware but again, not for me. I like harmony and melody more than bleeps and bloops.

That being said, I wish him well. Court filing is here. The new company is using his old domain name: Buchla

Good news regarding bad trash

| No Comments

Excellent news from The Washington Post:

Bowe Bergdahl, once-missing U.S. soldier, charged with desertion
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier who was recovered in Afghanistan last spring after five years in captivity, has been charged with desertion and misbehaving before the enemy, Army officials said Wednesday, setting the stage for emotionally charged court proceedings in coming months.

Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s attorney, told The Washington Post that his client was handed a charge sheet Wednesday. Army officials said in a statement that Bergdahl has been charged with desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty and misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place. His case has been referred to an Article 32 preliminary hearing, which is frequently compared to a grand jury proceeding in civilian court.

A bit more - the possible punishments:

Under the misbehavior-before-the-enemy charge, Bergdahl faces a maximum punishment of confinement for life, a dishonorable discharge, a reduction to private and total forfeiture of pay and allowances since the time of his disappearance, Army officials said. The desertion charge carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison, a dishonorable discharge, a reduction to private and a total forfeiture of pay and allowances.

Desertion has historically been punishable by death, but the Army will not pursue that in Bergdahl’s case. That’s hardly a surprise: No soldier has been executed for desertion since Pvt. Eddie Slovik, who was killed by firing squad in January 1945 for abandoning his unit in France the previous year.

Not mentioned in the Post article is that we lost several of our own when people from his base went out looking for him when he was first found to be missing. This is also the asshole that National Security Advisor Susan Rice said: "served the United States with honor and distinction." Glad that this is being handled in a military court rather than a civil one. Throw away the key...

Done with paperwork

| No Comments

Broke down and filed an extension for 2014. With the divorce settlement and the ill-fated business, I have a lot to itemize.

Came home and Lulu was packing up the trailer - we both love to cook so it will be nice not to be beholden to local restaurants. It is fun to eat out once in a while but not for 40 days straight...

She is heading into town tomorrow to pack and back Friday morning to help buck some hay - getting 50 bales delivered that afternoon. I am getting an oil and filter change on the truck as well as doing some banking (and meeting someone about a lens - a Craigslist deal).

Got some stuff to do around the house and then surf some more.

Four days left

| No Comments

Heading out for coffee and then into my office to pay the final bills before the trip.

Leaving Sunday and we are both really looking forward to it - nice to get the Hell out of Dodge for a while...

If it makes you feel better...

| No Comments

20150325-logs.jpg

James O’Keefe strikes again

| No Comments

 

New O’Keefe Video: Cornell Dean Advises on Starting ISIS Club
Assistant Dean for Students Freely Gives Advice on how to Obtain University Funding to Send Care Packages to ISIS and Hamas

Award-winning journalist and New York Times’ best-selling author James O’Keefe released a powerful new video today showing an Assistant Dean at Cornell University advising a Project Veritas investigative journalist on how to start and fund a pro-ISIS club on campus. Joseph Scaffido, Assistant Dean for Students at Cornell, is perplexingly sympathetic to the proposed pro-ISIS and pro-Hamas group.

In O’Keefe’s latest video, Scaffido is captured on hidden camera advising the Project Veritas journalist not only how to start the club, but how to obtain funding to send care packages to ISIS and Hamas, and astonishingly, how to bring a member of ISIS to Cornell to run a “training camp.” Indeed, Scaffido went as far as to say: “It’s just like bringing in a coach, to do a training on a sports team or something.”

When the Project Veritas journalist suggested that the club would support Hamas as well as ISIS, Scaffido stated: “the University [Cornell] is not going to look at different groups and say you are not allowed to support that group.  Because we don’t believe in them or something like that.  I think it’s just the opposite.  I think the University wants the entire community to understand what's going on in all parts of the world.”

This new Project Veritas video shockingly and frighteningly exposes that Cornell, an esteemed and storied Ivy League University, is truly detached from reality. This is particularly egregious due to the fact that Cornell has received over $300 million in federal contracts and grants since 2000 and more than $190 million from New York state taxpayers since 2012.

They think they are world-wise and egalitarian. Instead, they are small-minded bigots with a very unreal world view. And these are the people molding our young men and women. Unreal.

Our little community - connected

Ran into this map of the Bell Telephone system in July 1, 1909 - we had telephone service back then - so did Sumas and Blaine but none of the other towns. Maple Falls had about 2,000 residents - timber and mining.

Interesting too that the cable to connect to Victoria and Vancouver, BC had their terminus in Bellingham. Wondering if the facility is still standing?

20150324-bell-01.jpg

The title block of the map:

20150324-bell-02.jpg

 The map can be found at Slate.

Aug(de)mented Reality

| No Comments

Fun idea:

 

Hat tip to James Gurney

Hillary doing what she does best

| No Comments

From National Review:

Hillary Doesn’t Take Questions After Speech Promising Open Relationship with Press
In a speech in front of a crowd full of journalists at Syracuse University on Monday, Hillary Clinton declared that she had a new hairstyle and would have a new, open relationship with the press along with it — and then didn’t take questions afterwards.

"With a room full of political reporters, I thought to myself, 'What could possibly go wrong?'" Clinton joked, apparently considering the press busting her for illegal e-mail practices that may have put national security at risk to be something to joke about.

"But I am all about new beginnings," she added. "A new grandchild, another new hairstyle, a new e-mail account. Why not a new relationship with the press? So here it goes: No more secrecy. No more zone of privacy. After all, what good did that do for me?"

Now, forgive me for my cynicism, but her refusal to take a single question from a reporter or audience member right after promising to be more open makes me think that she just might not mean it.

 Typical...

Quote of the day:

| No Comments

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.
--Mark Twain

Last minute things

| No Comments

Time for the rubber to hit the road - ordered 50 bales of hay to be delivered Friday, got the truck in for an oil change on Thursday, emailed my bank teller about getting some walking-around money and a pre-paid debit card for jimmy who will be house-sitting in our absence.

I'm sure there will be things that we forget when we leave but that is what cell phones are for...

The tesla coils are driven by a variable frequency oscillator rather than being self-resonant. That being done, they can reproduce audio tones. The plasma from the arc heats up the air to form the sound waves.

 

3 Tesla Coils, Robotic Drums and Bass from K X on Vimeo.

Five days

| No Comments

until we leave for our trip. We are both stoked and nervous - going to be gone 40 days so this is a biggie.

Our tax dollars at work - SPOT

| No Comments

From All.Gov:

$1 Billion TSA Behavioral Screening Program Slammed as Ineffective “Junk Science”
The Transportation Security Administration(TSA) has been accused of spending a billion dollars on a passenger-screening program that’s based on junk science.

The claim arose in a lawsuit (pdf) filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has tried unsuccessfully to get the TSA to release documents on its SPOT (Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques) [pdf]) program through the Freedom of Information Act.

SPOT, whose techniques were first used in 2003 and formalized in 2007, uses “highly questionable” screening techniques, according to the ACLU complaint, while being “discriminatory, ineffective, pseudo-scientific, and wasteful of taxpayer money.” TSA has spent at least $1 billion on SPOT.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported in 2010 that “TSA deployed SPOT nationwide before first determining whether there was a scientifically valid basis for using behavior detection and appearance indicators as a means for reliably identifying passengers as potential threats in airports,” according to the ACLU. And in 2013, GAO recommended that the agency spend less money on the program, which uses 3,000 “behavior detection officers” whose jobs is to identify terrorists before they board jetliners.

The ACLU contends SPOT uses racial profiling, even though TSA has a zero-tolerance policy for such singling out of people based on their ethnicity. The lawsuit says “passengers, as well as behavior detection officers themselves, have complained that this process results in subjecting people of Middle Eastern descent or appearance, African Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities to additional questioning and screening solely on the basis of their race.” Furthermore, “there is no known instance in which these techniques were responsible for apprehending someone who posed a security threat” after years of using SPOT.

All of our tax money spent on crap like this. Of course, we could just ask the Israelis to come over and teach us their program for airline security - 100% successful - but noooooo... we have to reinvent the wheel.

Very cool news from Pixar

| No Comments

Pixar developed their own software for animation: renderman.

Today, they just released a free non-commercial version for anyone to use.

From the website:

RENDERMAN
RenderMan is now free for all non-commercial purposes, including evaluations, education, research, and personal projects. The non-commercial version of RenderMan is fully functional without watermark or limitation. For further details please refer to Pixar's Non-Commercial RenderMan FAQ.

If you're ready to get started with Free Non-Commercial RenderMan ...
then you may proceed to Download & Installation.

They also set up a community page with tutorials, a forum and examples of other people's work.

Big government at work - Japan

From an unusual source - Phys.org - a Science and Technology web news outlet:

Japan opts for massive, costly sea wall to fend off tsunamis
Four years after a towering tsunami ravaged much of Japan's northeastern coast, efforts to fend off future disasters are focusing on a nearly 400-kilometer (250-mile) chain of cement sea walls, at places nearly five stories high.

Opponents of the 820 billion yen ($6.8 billion) plan argue that the massive concrete barriers will damage marine ecology and scenery, hinder vital fisheries and actually do little to protect residents who are mostly supposed to relocate to higher ground. 

And the politics behind this?

Pouring concrete for public works is a staple strategy for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its backers in big business and construction, and local officials tend to go along with such plans.

The paradox of such projects, experts say, is that while they may reduce some damage, they can foster complacency. That can be a grave risk along coastlines vulnerable to tsunamis, storm surges and other natural disasters. At least some of the 18,500 people who died or went missing in the 2011 disasters failed to heed warnings to escape in time.

Emphasis mine - two words I love to hear in conjunction - Liberal and Democrat

There is a huge difference between corporatism (or crony capitalism) and true capitalism. Obama's administration is all about the corporatism while agitating the proles against the dreaded 1%'ers. It keeps them busy - otherwise, they might actually have the time to read into these matters - that would be messy and we can't have that. Progressivism - ideas so good they have to be mandetory...

Someone had an even better idea - Tsuneaki Iguchi was mayor of Iwanuma in 2011:

 The city repaired the broken sea walls but doesn't plan to make them any taller. Instead, Iguchi was one of the first local officials to back a plan championed by former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa to plant mixed forests along the coasts on tall mounds of soil or rubble, to help create a living "green wall" that would persist long after the concrete of the bigger, man-made structures has crumbled.

Absolutely - but there is also this:

While the lack of basic infrastructure can be catastrophic in developing countries, too heavy a reliance on such safeguards can lead communities to be too complacent at times, says Margareta Wahlstrom, head of the U.N.'s Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

"There's a bit of an overbelief in technology as a solution, even though everything we have learned demonstrates that people's own insights and instincts are really what makes a difference, and technology in fact makes us a bit more vulnerable," Wahlstrom said in an interview ahead of a recent conference in Sendai convened to draft a new framework for reducing disaster risks.

In the steelmaking town of Kamaishi, more than 1,000 people died in the 2011 tsunami, but most school students fled to safety zones immediately after the earthquake, thanks to training by a civil engineering professor, Toshitaka Katada.

Proper training and having an established escape route. This stuff is not rocket science and throwing a large government project at the problem will, as the article said, cause people to become complacent.

240 years ago today - Patrick Henry

gave a speech which is remembered for its last seven words. The whole speech is quite a good read - here is just the first paragraph:

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do, opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely, and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfil the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

That man could write... The above link has a couple paragraphs outlining the history and significance.

Hummingbirds at the feeder

| No Comments

Lulu has heard them a few times while working in the garden but we just saw two at our feeder a few moments ago.

UPDATE - three at 6:30 - they are coming back and finding the feeders. Will be setting two more feeders out tomorrow.

Rebuilding a Chevy small-block

| No Comments

Classic engine - fun time-lapse

 

Well crap - TEDx in Bellingham

| No Comments

Missed the first one in 2013, now they are holding another one on April 11th when we will be on the road. Saw a sign for it on a bus in town today. Looks like an interesting group of speakers.

I'll be missing the LinuxFest this year too. Geroge Dyson is giving a talk on Alan Turing.

Dagnabit!

The guy just has no class. From The Hill:

Netanyahu Allies Blame White House Criticism on Misunderstanding
President Obama's role during the Israeli elections was larger than reported, according to a pollster for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party.

"What was not well reported in the American media is that President Obama and his allies were playing in the election to defeat Prime Minister Netanyahu," John McLaughlin, a Republican strategist, said in an interview on John Catsimatidis's "The Cats Roundtable" radio show broadcast Sunday on AM 970 in New York.

"There was money moving that included taxpayer U.S. dollars, through non-profit organizations. And there were various liberal groups in the United States that were raising millions to fund a campaign called V15 against Prime Minister Netanyahu," McLaughlin said.

He noted an effort to oust Netanyahu was guided by former Obama political operative Jeremy Bird and that V15, or Victory 15, ads hurt Netanyahu in the polls. McLaughlin said the Israeli leader rebounded after delivering a speech to Congress early this month, prompting more critical ads.

V15 was viewed as part of a broader campaign to oust Netanyahu. The group was linked to Washington-based nonprofit OneVoice Movement, which reportedly received $350,000 in State Department grants. Money to OneVoice stopped flowing in November, officials said, before the Israeli elections.

After Netanyahu's win, V15 co-founder Nimrod Dweck said in an interview with Ronan Farrow aired on MSNBC's "Jose Diaz-Balart" that "not a single cent" of State Department or taxpayer money had gone to their campaign.

"These are false allegations and they have nothing to do with reality," Dweck said.

This is dirty politics beyond belief - if these were Republicans, heads would be rolling but the media gives Barry a free pass and nobody wants to make waves. Pathetic.

Great article at PetaPixel:

The Real Meanings of Common Photographic Words and Expressions
We photographers do love our catch-phrases, but what do they all mean? Here’s my not-so-serious and very tongue-in-cheek rundown of some of the more commonly used terms and their meanings. And yes, I’m as guilty as the next guy:

fine art photography: Long exposure shots of ocean piers or railway platforms in black and white. Nearly always practiced by photographers seeking to distance themselves from ‘ordinary’ photographers by the simple process of shooting mind-bogglingly dull subjects.

high key: Basically lone trees on snowy hillsides. Often attributed to shots after the fact because the photographer accidentally over-exposed an image and thinks the resulting shot looks ‘artsy’.

mono: Black and white effect employed by photographers in an effort to save an otherwise seriously flawed image.

foreground interest: Bits of wood, branches, seaweed, shells and other readily available detritus that a photographer can drag from its actual resting place to a convenient spot just in front of what they’re actually photographing. Most commonly employed by coastal photographers who will cheerfully drag a six foot branch for half a kilometre if it makes their sunset composition look a bit less dull.

A bunch more at the site - I am soooo busted on some of these...

Plow update #3

| No Comments

The guy told me it was a John Deere - painted Deere green but the nameplate says Ferguson.

Googled around and this puppy pre-dates the 1953 Massey-Ferguson merger. Looks a little bit like this except it only has one plow - this is a two-bottom:

20150322-plow.jpg


So there is my first winter's project - take this apart and restore it. Get the right color paint on it. Like I said, everything is there and it works so this project should be a fun one!

A bit of interesting history is that it was Ferguson who invented the thee-point hitch (as well as the Power Take-off) back in 1938. Everyone else started making implements to fit so it became the industry norm.

Plow update

| No Comments

Forgot to mention in the last post that it was dumping down rain.  The rain let up for a little bit so Buttercup was able to unload her newest piece of tractor bling.

Dinner (roast chicken from Costco, some mashed spuds and a salad), surf a bit and then an early night - buying run tomorrow.

Now, to unload the plow

Dang thing doesn't want to unload itself - weighs about 300 pounds.

Time for some meditation on Newton's Laws and a bit of rigging 101

Sweet old John Deere in very good condition - well maintained. Everything that should move does freely and there are no cracks or dents in the metal. This was used but taken good care of.

It is a bit of fun history that John Deere was originally a blacksmith - from their website:

John Deere's Plow
In 1837 our founder, John Deere, was a typical blacksmith turning out hayforks, horseshoes, and other essentials for life on the prairie.

Then one day, a broken steel sawmill blade gave him an opportunity. He knew that days in the field were difficult for farmers near his home in Grand Detour, Illinois, because they had to interrupt their work to clean the sticky prairie soil off of their cast-iron plows. He also knew that the soil would slide easily off of a highly polished steel moldboard. Steel was scarce in the area, so Deere fashioned a moldboard out of the second-hand blade.

Now, 175 years later, the company that grew out of the success of this innovative plow continues to manufacture advanced equipment to help those who work with the land accomplish their tasks better and faster.

While the original plow could only do a fraction of the work farmers can tackle with modern tillage equipment, it was high-tech at the time.

Going to use it this week to plant some apple trees and, when we come back from our trip, extend our garden. The sod is so dense that anything else just skitters off - I can use a pick but that gets old.

I also spent this afternoon prepping a new computer for the upstairs office for the grocery store - the one that people are using is getting a bit flaky and it's over five years old. Time to preemptively upgrade to a better system.

Off to buy a plow

| No Comments

Was looking for a single moldboard plow for Buttercup. I want to plant some trees and the sod is too thick for a conventional disk harrow - just skates over it even when weighted down with bags of sand.

Put a wanted advertisement in Craigslist and got an email from a guy about 30 miles away.

Heading out for coffee and then over Reese Hill road to take a look...

Vaccination - Penn & Teller

| No Comments

There are some people in our little hamlet that do not vaccinate their children. Stupid move. Here is a good explanation of why.

And not to forget that Doctor Andrew Wakefield - the British MD who came out with the vaccine/autism link in the first place is now just Andy Wakefield.

His study was shown to be fraudulent and he had his Medical License revoked.

Planning our trip

Parts of our trip are going to be skirting Tornado Alley and in peak season too.

Just for fun I checked the NOAA/National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center website to see what was happening. Nary a peep!

From the Storm Prediction Center WCM Page

No March Watches to Date - Unprecedented
During a month when severe weather typically strikes, this March has been unusually quiet, with no tornado or severe thunderstorm watches issued by NOAA's Storm Prediction Center so far. And, National Weather Service forecasters see no sign of dramatic change for the next week at least.

"We are in uncharted territory with respect to lack of severe weather", said Greg Carbin, SPC's warning coordination meteorologist. "This has never happened in the record of SPC watches dating back to 1970."

Since the beginning of 2015, the SPC has issued only four tornado watches and no severe thunderstorm watches, which is less than 10 percent of the typical number of 52 tornado watches issued by mid-March. The approximately 20 tornadoes reported since January 1 is well below the 10-year average of 130 for that time period.

There is no one clear reason to explain the lack of tornadoes, Carbin said. "We're in a persistent pattern that suppresses severe weather, and the right ingredients -- moisture, instability, and lift -- have not been brought together in any consistent way so far this year."

Forecasters expect a change soon, however. April and May are typically the busiest months for severe weather and tornadoes. Patterns can change in a few days, Carbin said, and it's important to be prepared for severe weather when it occurs.

Not planning on doing any storm-chasing. After all, we are towing a trailer and we all know the afinity that tornadoes have for trailer-parks. I do love a good thunderstorm and this time, I will have the right camera equipment to capture it.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

CPS facing $200 million-plus penalties as bond ratings plunge
Chicago’s deep financial problems worsened Friday as a Wall Street bond-rating agency dramatically downgraded the credit of the city’s school system — triggering penalties that could come to more than $200 million.

Fitch Ratings dropped the Chicago Board of Education’s credit score by three notches. The plunge came two weeks after another agency, Moody’s Investors Service, also reduced its rating on the school district’s debt.

Chicago Public Schools is required to maintain a certain credit rating under the terms of complex debt “swap” deals with financial institutions. Failure to do so could activate termination clauses in the deals and CPS could have to make payments to the financial institutions.

And how bad is it?

For CPS, the Fitch and Moody’s downgrades leave its bond rating — which affects the interest rates the city must pay to borrow money — just one level above junk status.

“This was not unforeseeable, but it certainly is unwelcome news,” said Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation.

CPS officials “have been operating without a transparent, long-term plan” to deal with the district’s fiscal problems and should have cut costs more aggressively, Msall said.

Even after closing a record number of schools, cutting administrative costs and raising property taxes, CPS has projected a budget deficit of more than $1 billion for the coming school year.

And anyone hazard a guess as to why?

The analysts cited the district’s high pension liability and “poor labor history,” referring to the 2012 teachers’ strike.

The rocky relations between the mayor — who appoints the school board — and the Chicago Teachers Union haven’t improved since the strike. And the teachers’ current contract can end June 15. CTU is heavily backing challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in an effort to unseat Emanuel in the April 7 runoff election.

Garcia said the Fitch downgrade “is the latest example of the consequences of Mayor Emanuel’s fiscal mismanagement.”

And Garcia is politically to the left of Emanuel - at least Rahm had some executive experience before becoming mayor.

From Harper's Magazine:

The Coming Ice Age
THIS is the story of two scientists, who started five years ago — with a single radiocarbon clue from the ocean bottom and a wild hunch — to track down one of the earth’s great unsolved mysteries: What caused the ancient ice ages? Their search led over many continents and seas, to drowned rivers and abandoned mountain caves, into far-removed branches of science. It took them down through recorded history, from the stone tablets of primitive man to contemporary newspaper headlines.

These two serious, careful scientists — geophysicist Maurice Ewing, director of Columbia University’s Lamont Geological Observatory, and geologist-meteorologist William Donn believe they have finally found the explanation for the giant glaciers, which four times during the past million years have advanced and retreated over the earth. If they are right, the world is now heading into another Ice Age. It will come not as sudden catastrophe, but as the inevitable culmination of a process that has already begun in northern oceans.

As Ewing and Donn read the evidence, an Ice Age will result from a slow warming and rising of the ocean that is now taking place. They believe that this ocean flood — which may submerge large coastal areas of the eastern United States and western Europe — is going to melt the ice sheet which has covered the Arctic Ocean through all recorded history. Calculations based on the independent observations of other scientists indicate this melting could begin, within roughly one hundred years.

It is this melting of Arctic ice which Ewing and Donn believe will set off another Ice Age on earth. They predict that it will cause great snows to fall in the north — perennial unmelting snows which the world has not seen since the last Ice Age thousands of years ago. These snows will make the Arctic glaciers grow again, until their towering height forces them forward. The advance south will be slow, but if it follows the route of previous ice ages, it will encase in ice large parts of North America and Europe. It would, of course, take many centuries for that wall of ice to reach New York and Chicago, London and Paris. But its coming is an inevitable consequence of the cycle which Ewing and Donn believe is now taking place.

A bit more:

“We suspect that the ocean is already warm enough to melt the Arctic ice sheet,” Ewing and Donn told me. “For some time it has remained at the highest temperature ever reached in the four previous interglacial stages.” As climate becomes warmer, more and more glacial melt-water pours into the sea. The Atlantic has already risen 300 feet since the glaciers of the last Ice Age started to melt away. Up until twenty-five years ago the U.S. Geodetic Surveys indicated that sea level was rising six inches a century; in the past twenty-five years that rate has increased to two feet a century.

As sea level rises, more and more warm water pours over the Norway-Greenland sill, under the Arctic ice sheet. American, Russian, and Scandinavian scientists have observed a definite warming of the Arctic Ocean over the past fifty years, and a consequent thinning of the ice sheet. At an international conference on Arctic sea ice in March 1958, scientists estimated that Arctic ice covers an area 12 per cent smaller than it did fifteen years ago, and is 40 per cent thinner. A layman might surmise that if this trend continues the Arctic Ocean will be open and the Ice Age begin in another twenty years. Ewing and Dunn are much more cautious about predictions.

The article concludes with this:

Ewing and Donn don’t know how much higher the sea is going to rise before it melts the Arctic ice sheet. They say the ocean has already risen to the point where, if certain recent storms had occurred at high tide, it would have flooded New York and Boston subways. Donn is now working at Lamont on studies of long and short period changes in world sea level.

The ocean flood that brings about the Ice Age will not resemble the flash floods that have caused havoc in the cast in recent years. It will build up slowly, and it will not flow away. The cities, industries, and military bases that are concentrated on both sides of the Atlantic may have to be evacuated. (Fortunately, Pacific coastlines are higher.)

It will probably be possible to protect New York and Washington by levees. Parts or all of New Orleans, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and other cities are now protected by levees from high water, Ewing and Donn point out. Evidently, New York is in no danger of becoming a lost Atlantis, drowned under the sea. If low-lying Brooklyn, Miami, Washington, New Orleans, or Amsterdam should become ghost cities, it will be because a decision will have been made long in advance of this slow-creeping flood to evacuate rather than build levees.

“According to our theory, with the melting of the Arctic ice sheet, the rise in sea level will stop,” Ewing and Donn explained. Instead of adding water to the sea, the glaciers will begin taking it out.

For a long time after the ocean flood subsides, the only effect the Ice Age will have on us down here will be more rain. The new Arctic moisture that falls as snow on the glaciers will increase both rain and snow here, swelling rivers and watering deserts. Then, gradually, our weather will cool. Icy winds will blow from the advancing glaciers; the great snows will fall farther and farther south. In several thousand years a two-mile ice sheet may cover the United States and Europe. If man finds no way to switch the glacial thermostat, there may well be a real estate boom in the Sahara.

You might have guessed that this is not a new article - it was published in September 1958

I love that bit about the melting Arctic ice affecting the sea level. Take a glass of ice water, mark the level of the water and wait for the ice to melt. Still at the same level? Yup! Clueless then, clueless now and there is nothing we can do about it either way.

And the current consensus seems to be favoring another little ice age - our sun is entering a quiet phase. More here, here, here and here.

They just do not get it

| No Comments

Kerry and Obama are clueless naifs. From The Times of Israel:

Khamenei calls ‘Death to America’ as Kerry hails progress on nuke deal
Iran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei called for “Death to America” on Saturday, a day after President Barack Obama appealed to Iran to seize a “historic opportunity” for a nuclear deal and a better future, and as US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed substantial progress toward an accord.

Khamenei told a crowd in Tehran that Iran would not capitulate to Western demands. When the crowd started shouting, “Death to America,” the ayatollah responded: “Of course yes, death to America, because America is the original source of this pressure.

At least the French have a better idea of what is at stake here:

“France wants an agreement, but a robust agreement,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told French radio. “That is to say, an accord that really guarantees that Iran can obviously have access to the civil nuclear (program).”

“But to the atomic bomb? No.”

France indicated Saturday that it would push for an agreement with Iran that guarantees Tehran cannot build a nuclear bomb in the future, and that it opposed a phased easing of sanctions before an accord is reached.

Our Nation is in the best of hands... And I have a nice bridge to sell you - it's in Brooklyn, NYC

FEMA stumbles

| No Comments

over the 10th amendment. From Inside Climate News:

FEMA to States: No Climate Planning, No Money
Governors seeking billions of dollars in U.S. preparedness funds will have to sign off on plans to mitigate effects of climate change.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is making it tougher for governors to deny man-made climate change. Starting next year, the agency will approve disaster preparedness funds only for states whose governors approve hazard mitigation plans that address climate change.

This may put several Republican governors who maintain the earth isn't warming due to human activities, or prefer to do nothing about it, into a political bind. Their position may block their states' access to hundreds of millions of dollars in FEMA funds. Over the past five years, the agency has awarded an average $1 billion a year in grants to states and territories for taking steps to mitigate the effects of disasters.

Fortunately, this does not affect emergency funding:

The policy doesn't affect federal money for relief after a hurricane, flood or other disaster. Specifically, beginning in March 2016, states seeking preparedness money will have to assess how climate change threatens their communities. Governors will have to sign off on hazard mitigation plans. While some states, including New York, have already started incorporating climate risks in their plans, most haven’t because FEMA's old 2008 guidelines didn't require it.

And who is behind this change in policy:

Environmentalists have been pressing FEMA to include global warming in its hazard mitigation guidelines for almost three years. FEMA told the Natural Resources Defense Council in early 2014 that it would revise the guidelines. It issued draft rules last October and officially released the new procedures last week as partisan politics around climate change have been intensifying.

Emphasis mine - no surprise there...

And the 10th amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Short and sweet - the Federal Government does not have the power to do this if the State does not want it.

FEMA does a lot of good stuff - readers may remember that I am active in our local CERT program and in a new group of local preppers. We loves our FEMA.

For them to do this is not in the spirit of FEMA - this was probably cooked up by some desk-bound bureaucrat in the other Washington.

Hillary's adult fun camps? Read here and here

Good lord - people are actually doing this:

 

Hat tip to Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man

Now this is cute

| No Comments

Toy animal head stuffed with delicious organic peanut butter:

 

From James Gurney - his website is a daily read for me.

From BoingBoing:

Windows 10 announcement: certified hardware can lock out competing OSes
Microsoft has announced a relaxation of its "Secure Boot" guidelines for OEMs, allowing companies to sell computers pre-loaded with Windows 10 that will refuse to boot any non-Microsoft OS.

At issue is UEFI, a security toolkit that allows computer users to verify operating systems before they are loaded. Like many security measures, the devil is in the details: if you get to tell your computer which OSes you trust, this is a powerful defense against malware. If someone else gets to decide whom to trust, you are totally at that entity's mercy. If, for example, they capitulate to state requests to install back doors (as Microsoft did with Skype), you can't protect yourself by finding a vendor with more integrity.

This kind of lockout magnifies existing power imbalances. Take Microsoft's relationship to China: the company has already cooperated with the Chinese government's online censorship and surveillance efforts. If China mandates that Microsoft OEMs must ship PCs that will only boot surveillance-backdoored versions of Windows, it will be that much harder to push back against the state -- by dramatically lowering the cost of spying by an autocratic regime, Microsoft would enable much more surveillance at the same price.

Makes it harder for people to run Linux as well. Nice way to keep people hooked on the MSFT teat.

Amazing photo

| No Comments

We had a total eclipse of the sun today - visible from the arctic through Europe.

Photographer Thierry Legault captured this amazing partial eclipse plus a transit of the sun by the International Space Station - multiple exposures over a period of 0.6 seconds:

 

20150321-isseclipse_strip.jpg

Hat tip to SpaceWeather for the link.

The United States used to be the world leader - the shining city on the hill.

It seems that some other people are stepping up to the plate during our bout of Y. pestis var: marxii [1]

From the Wall Street Journal: [2]

France Takes Toughest Line at Iran Nuclear Talks
France is again adopting the toughest line against Iran in negotiations aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program, potentially placing Paris at odds with the Obama administration as a diplomatic deadline to forge an agreement approaches at month-end.

President Barack Obama called French President François Hollande on Friday to discuss the Iran diplomacy and try to unify their positions. The presidents “reaffirmed their commitment” to a deal “while noting that Iran must take steps to resolve several remaining issues,” the White House said.

French diplomats have been publicly pressing the U.S. and other world powers not to give ground on key elements—particularly the speed of lifting United Nations sanctions and the pledge to constrain Iran’s nuclear research work—ahead of the March 31 target.

Paris also appears to be operating on a different diplomatic clock than Washington, arguing that the date is an “artificial” deadline and that global powers should be willing to wait Tehran out for a better deal if necessary.

Some more:

“Making the end of March an absolute deadline is counterproductive and dangerous,” France’s ambassador to the U.S., Gérard Araud, said via Twitter after the latest round of negotiations in Switzerland concluded Friday.

“No agreement without concrete decisions on issues beyond the enrichment capability question,” he said a day earlier, specifically mentioning the need for extensive monitoring and clarity on Iran’s past research work. Western officials believe they included the pursuit of nuclear-weapon capabilities.

 Much more at the site and the 130+ comments are a good mix-up.

[1] - Y. pestis is, of course, Yersinia pestis - the Bubonic Plague. You are looking at a 30% to 60% fatality rate.

Whenever there seems to be a variation in the species, there is added a Y. pestis var: xyzzy notation until the new species is positively identified.

In our case, the failed fever-dreams of marxism 

[2] - the WSJ recently added a stupid paywall system.

  1. all sites want to be indexed by Google. Install the Google Chrome browser
  2. Cut and copy the headline of the article you want to read.
  3. Open Chrome
  4. Paste that headline into the Google Chrome Search Engine
  5. Badabing!

Even the liberals are starting to get it...

From TMZ:

Charlie Sheen Blasts Obama for Final Four Picks 'He's Wasting Valuable Time!'
Charlie Sheen just UNLOADED on President Obama -- tearing POTUS apart because he filled out an NCAA Final Four bracket ... and telling TMZ Sports, "We deserve better from our President."

Earlier in the day, Sheen had posted a tweet -- in which he rips Obama for making college basketball picks instead of attending funerals for soldiers.

"It's not cool," Sheen said ... "I don't care about the picks. I care about wasting that kind of time when the world is in the state it's in right now."

"We deserve better from our president ... and I demand it!"

100% - Barry chose to run. He chose to serve the people, not to run some marxist feifdom. When people like Charlie Sheen are getting pissed - this speaks volumes.

The tide is turning thank God!

People keep clamoring for more and more stuff from the government but they do not realize that growing the government has major unintended consequences.

Here is one from the Philadelphia, PA Inquirer:

In cash-strapped School District, a hidden treasure trove of books
The teacher had heard about the books.

Thousands and thousands of them, from two dozen city schools shuttered two years ago. Perfectly usable. All sitting boxed up and unused in the basement of the Philadelphia School District's headquarters.

Like so many city teachers, she uses fund-raising websites to get the books she needs for her students.

Like so many city teachers, she has students who can't bring home their torn-up textbooks because there aren't enough to go around.
 
If there were books, the teacher wanted some.

What she saw in the dusty basement of the School District building left her flabbergasted.

A city block of books. Some of them shrink-wrapped. Some of them dumped in boxes. Some stacked on the floor. Few labeled. Nothing organized. Kindergarten readers next to high school books. Expensive Storytown reading series, gathering dust. Science, algebra, literature textbooks. Literary kits and phonics sets. Books for English-language learners.

Classics like Jack London and Mark Twain. The Hardy Boys. Nancy Drew.

This is a travesty, she thought.

She had one simple question: "Why aren't these in the hands of Philadelphia children?"

Great question, Teach.

But she didn't know the half of it.

There are thousands more unused books - and other things city kids badly need, including pianos and other instruments - piled up in the hallways and classrooms of the shuttered Bok High School in South Philadelphia.

The books were dumped there two years ago when Bok and 23 other schools were closed. They've just been sitting there since.

If things are messy in the district basement, Bok is worse.

Fsck the bureaucrats - get a bunch of parents with trucks and vans and liberate the books and put them to use. Some pencil-dick administrator somewhere didn't have the precious 'authorization' to do anything and by God, they are going to do their job and sit on this treasure until told otherwise. I do not think that there is a cop anywhere who would arrest the parents and teachers when they liberate this trove. 

Our Antipodes

| No Comments

Very cool online map. Drag the crosshairs over to your location on the left screen and see where you would come out if you dug straight through the Earth.

Start digging in Beijing and you will wind up about 40 miles Southwest of Bahia Blanca, Argentina. Food is certainly great in both places...

Our little community just spashes out in the Southern Ocean a couple hundred miles due West of the French Southern & Antarctic Lands.

Check out Antipodes Map (AKA Tunnel Map)

The same website has an excellent tool for finding your Latitude and Longitude as well as GPS codes to cartographic Lat/Long

Bookmarked the site - be using it a lot on our trip...

Errands in town - mostly getting ready for our trip.

Hadn't been to the North Fork in a while so stopped there for a beer and ran into a couple of good friends - spent more time than I had planned but it was great to connect.

Time to surf...

 

Hat tip to Instapundit. From Tommy of course.

 

Swiped from Denny at Grouchy Old Cripple.

Talk about an Overton Window writ large - from Ben Shapiro's Truth Revolt:

Hillary: We Need 'Camps for Adults'
Speaking to a group of camp counselors in Atlantic City today, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that America suffered from a “fun deficit.” Her proposed solution? “Adult camps,” where people from red and blue cabins would be forced to talk to one another about politics:

As I have gotten older, I have decided we really need camps for adults. And we need the kind of camps that you all run, I mean, really. None of the serious stuff, none of the life challenge stuff. More fun, I think we have a huge fun deficit in America, and we need to figure out how to fill that fun deficit, certainly for our kids, but also for the rest of us. We need a reminder of our skills from time to time, maybe some enrichment, certainly some time outdoors, maybe actually spending time with people we didn’t know before.

The goal, she continued, would be for people to "have to come together and actually listen to each other."

Come on Grandpa - you will love it there. They even have the Liverpool Care Pathway if you aren't feeling up to snuff. You will just love that.

To channel the mantra of teenage boys in the late '60's: Hell no, we won't go

Is Lurch making another run for POTUS? Why don't we reincarnate Neville Chamberlain and be done with it.

From The Hill:

A plan for Kerry 2016?
The Kerry for P.O.T.U.S. '16 plan:

1. In 2004, John Kerry lost to President George W. Bush, but came close — if 50,000 votes had switched sides in Ohio, John Forbes Kerry — who, back at St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H., patterned himself after the first JFK all the way down to the hairstyle and extra-long shirt cuffs — would have been the 44th president of the United States.

2. As a competitive politician, Kerry has never given up the dream of living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

3. Now, as secretary of State, he sees a path to the White House.

4. It looks like 2016 is going to be a "foreign policy" election.

5.Anticipating this — and in contrast to Hillary Clinton's empty, accomplishment-free four years as secretary of State — Kerry has been piling up agreements and treaties: 1) An emissions agreement with China; 2) normalization with Cuba; 3) and he's now on the verge of a nuke deal with Iran.

6. Kerry believes — and it may very well happen — that he and his Iranian counterpart will earn the Nobel Peace Prize, a la then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho in 1973 for the Paris Peace Accords that "ended" the Vietnam War.

Twenty three more items at the site. There may be fewer Swift Boat Veterans alive this time around but they are just as vocal and Mr. Ketchup doesn't have a leg to stand on.

Nails it!

 

20150319-ramirez.jpg

From the Mt. Baker website:

2015 Legendary Banked Slalom
UPDATE:  Wednesday March 18

Soooo close, we were soooo, soooooooooooo close.

 Things were looking great after that nice hit of snowfall we received last Sunday and forecasts at the time looked good, making it feasible to reopen for this coming weekend and run the 29½ Banked Slalom.

 However NWAC and NOAA have just issued a revised forecast that is calling for heavier rain and warm temperatures for longer than were originally expected. Forecasts had been calling for freezing levels to drop by Friday night with some snow Saturday, but now they are expected to remain high till Saturday night. The base has already consolidated considerably and with the revised forecast expected to reduce our base further and below what we need to operate, we have concluded it is not possible to reopen the ski area this weekend.  And therefore we must cancel the 29½ Banked Slalom.  Arrrrrggghhhh!!!

 So we'll be listening to some sad country music, at least until Saturday night when we'll revive our spirits with some great music and great company at the Mt. Baker Bowl Benefit at Chair 9 in Glacier.  This benefit was created by some of our awesome Banked Slalom sponsors to raise funds for a grindline bowl in Glacier.  (There will be a raffle for a lifetime entry to the Legendary Banked Slalom!) Check out the details below and the attached flyer (with Jamie Lynn original art)

 This is a major event and a big economic driver for our community. Pray for snow next year - everybody is hurting...

Nothing shows deep convictions like a sudden volte-face after a ratings downturn.

From Politico:

As ratings plunge, MSNBC faces shakeup
In the place of shows like “All In,” Griffin and Lack may consider experimenting with more nonideological programming, sources there said. “8 o’clock is a done deal. That’s going to change,” one high-level NBCUniversal source said. “There is going to be a change at 8 o’clock, and it’s not going to be a liberal. It’s going to be a nonideological, down-the-middle program.”

Maddow, the network’s marquee attraction, will continue to anchor at either 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., sources said. Chris Matthews, the NBC stalwart who has hosted “Hardball” since 1999, is also likely to stay. He is seen as an immense asset in presidential campaign seasons, and his program has seen impressive ratings gains since consolidating to one hour (it previously aired at both 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.). Several sources said Lawrence O’Donnell, who wraps up the prime-time schedule at 10, is also likely to ride out the current transition.

Dayside will go through its own changes. And in a strange twist of fate, the model show for the liberal network’s future may be the one hosted by a conservative.

People thought that Obama was cool and voted despite his history and lack of actual leadership. Now, thank God, the tide is changing...

This story keeps getting bigger and bigger - from Yahoo/Agence France-Presse:

Nearly all fuel in Fukushima reactor has melted, says TEPCO
New tests show almost all of the fuel inside one of the Fukushima plant's reactors has melted, its operator said Thursday, the latest step in the clean up after Japan's worst ever nuclear crisis.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said the technology, which uses elementary particles called "muon" to create x-ray style images, gave the most concrete evidence yet the fuel had dropped to the bottom of the first reactor.

The data, though largely expected, should help TEPCO as it continues its effort to decommission the plant four years after an earthquake and tsunami caused one of the worst nuclear meltdowns in living memory.

One of the comments is especially poignant to us:

The coverup and lies continue. This just keeps on getting worse as the truth "slowly leaks out". I was stationed at Yokota Air Base when the earthquake occurred. We were assured there was no danger where we were, but I wonder. At first, they said only Iodine 131 was released and that cloud traveled east over the ocean, but I know at Camp Zama the drinking was spiked for a couple of days with radioactivity (Camp Zama is south of Tokyo). Then the U.S. State Department got involved and did their own calculations which indicated any short term exposure was fine, though the levels they indicated were much higher than what is acceptable in the States. The U.S. Armed Forces assured U.S. civilian and military folks they were monitoring the air, but I know at Yokota, that did not happen for a first three days or so. They did set up a monitoring station by the armory on Yokota, but it was not powered for the first few days (I know, I looked at the station, and the power cord simply went into the drainage ditch; it was only after the first few days they provided a portable generator to power it). And then it was "discovered" cesium and strontium had escaped; hence, the more or less permanent evacuation of Japanese cities and towns abutting Fukushima.

A friend of Lulu's niece served on the USS Essex and has about seven years of life left. The ship desalinated the water without measuring for ocean-borne radioactivity.

I wrote about it two months ago: Truth - the Fukushima tsunami and its aftermath

Since then, he had to have emergency surgery removing parts of his esophagus.

The tragedy is that if this had been a thorium reactor, it would have shut itself down gracefully. LFTRs can not melt down - they are already molten.

The Cheney interview with James Rosen

I would have loved to have been a fly on that wall. From Playboy:

Playboy Interview: Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney likes lattes. Seated in his favorite brown-leather chair in the sunlit study of his home in McLean, Virginia, the former vice president of the United States can toss back two of the warm java blasts in an hour. They come from a stainless-steel machine in the kitchen and a slender, mustachioed housekeeper named Gus, who serves them in custom-ordered white Starbucks cups outfitted with cardboard Starbucks sleeves.

Rosen is the Fox News chief Washington correspondent.  James sets the scene and goes into some biographical material and then starts asking questions - here are a few:

At different points, President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have suggested that racism is a factor in criticism of them. Is there any truth in that?
I think they’re playing the race card, in my view. Certainly we haven’t given up—nor should we give up—the right to criticize an administration and public officials. To say that we criticize, or that I criticize, Barack Obama or Eric Holder because of race, I just think it’s obviously not true. My view of it is the criticism is merited because of performance—or lack of performance, because of incompetence. It hasn’t got anything to do with race.

And:

What was your reaction when President Obama backed off from launching air strikes in Syria, in August 2013, in response to Bashar al-Assad’s having crossed the president’s “red line” and using chemical weapons in Syria’s civil war?
That’s a classic example, where Obama got everybody ready to do something about Syria and then at the last minute pulled the plug. I had a prominent Mideast leader talk to me when I was there last spring. First time I’d ever heard him say this; he’s always been very self-confident and very much in command. He said, “You assume there is no political price to be paid for those of us over here who support the United States—wrong assumption. It is sometimes a real question of leadership these days whether or not it’s smart, politically, for us, with our people, to be friendly to the United States.” General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the new president of Egypt, has been to Moscow; he hasn’t been to the United States. It’s not because he loves Russians; it’s because the political price he would have to pay domestically, inside Egypt, to come to the United States and be seen with Barack Obama would be very damaging for him. Our friends no longer trust us, and our adversaries no longer fear us. We’ve created a huge vacuum in that part of the world, and ISIS has moved in big-time. Now we have a caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

And this excerpt:

I look at Barack Obama and I see the worst president in my lifetime, without question—and that’s saying something. I used to have significant criticism of Jimmy Carter, but compared to Barack Obama and the damage he is doing to the nation—it’s a tragedy, a real tragedy, and we are going to pay a hell of a price just trying to dig out from under his presidency.

Some great stuff - hope Rosen writes a book with the rest of the material.

Yay - SR-542 is open again (almost)

| No Comments

Excelent job - from the WA State DOT:

New section of SR 542 near Glacier Springs now open
Drivers no longer have to wait for a traffic signal to guide them through a small stretch of State Route 542 four miles east of Maple Falls. Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation have opened a new 1,000-foot section of highway, restoring SR 542 to two lanes.

On Feb. 8, WSDOT reduced SR 542 to one lane near the Glacier Springs community because the Nooksack River was eroding the bluff below the roadway.

Ram Construction of Bellingham completed paving the project late Wednesday afternoon, March 18, under an emergency contract. Crews started clearing a new path for the highway about 100 feet northeast of the old roadway on Feb. 19. They blasted and removed about 1,500 cubic yards of rock and debris, enough to fill 150 dump trucks, from the west end of the new section. Then the crews put down soil and gravel and paved two lanes and shoulders to restore two-way traffic.

“We’re happy we could complete this project so quickly – SR 542 is the only east-west road in this part of Whatcom County,” Project Engineer Chris Damitio said. “By moving the highway away from the Nooksack River, we expect there won’t be any more erosion problems.”

Contractor crews still have some minor work and clean-up to finish, so drivers should be prepared for occasional lane closures with traffic control for a couple of weeks.

Time to drive out there and get a coffee...

 

And yeah, that actually was Toru Iwatani...

And absolutely loving it. Went live on February 28th and turned off the satellite. Called and canceled a week later. They huffed and puffed but they priced themselves out of a market.

Roku, Netflix and Amazon Prime (which I have already for my business) cover 95% of our television watching and this includes Lulu's son and nephew. We do not see first-run shows but all of the older ones are available for streaming for $9/mo (Netflix) and Amazon Prime (already funded). If we did want to watch a first-run television series, we are looking at an additional $10/month. The pricing for pay-per-view is also a lot cheaper than Satellite and we can access the event for 24-48 hours instead of having to be glued to the screen at the moment.

Compare this to DirecTV's last bill of $105/month this is a zero-brainer.

What we are also finding is that there is an absolute wealth of other television series' that we have missed and these can fill our time until the new ones we want to see get added to the stream. Been watching Sons of Anarchy while waiting for Outlander to be added.

If you have decent broadband (I am using DSL which is not exactly a speed daemon), Roku is worth looking at...

Who he? Meet Charles David George "Charlie" Stross - great writer.

From his blog Charlie's Diary:

A different cluetrain
Right now, I'm chewing over the final edits on a rather political book. And I think, as it's a near future setting, I should jot down some axioms about politics ...

    1. We're living in an era of increasing automation. And it's trivially clear that the adoption of automation privileges capital over labour (because capital can be substituted for labour, and the profit from its deployment thereby accrues to capital rather than being shared evenly across society).

    2. A side-effect of the rise of capital is the financialization of everything—capital flows towards profit centres and if there aren't enough of them profits accrue to whoever can invent some more (even if the products or the items they're guaranteed against are essentially imaginary: futures, derivatives, CDOs, student loans).

    3. Since the collapse of the USSR and the rise of post-Tiananmen China it has become glaringly obvious that capitalism does not require democracy. Or even benefit from it. Capitalism as a system may well work best in the absence of democracy.

    4. The iron law of bureaucracy states that for all organizations, most of their activity will be devoted to the perpetuation of the organization, not to the pursuit of its ostensible objective. (This emerges organically from the needs of the organization's employees.)

    5. Governments are organizations.

Thirteen additional trenchant observations as well as three afternotes. There are over 850 comments so his thinking is definitely hitting a nerve.

The word cluetrain hearkens back to the 1999 Cluetrain Manifesto published by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger (PDF here, original website here, more here)

Revolutionary stuff when it was first published sixteen years ago and great stuff now.

Working in the trades

| No Comments

Great essay from HVAC technician Albert Morgan writing at The Den:

Confessions of an Overeducated A/C Man
There is a specter haunting Middle America—the specter of higher education.

For a young person in America, college is the thing to aspire to. It’s the go-to option for virtually every American looking to maintain or enhance his station in life. Higher education embodies the values, hopes and dreams of millions of young people and their families. The stories write themselves. Here a first generation freshman, out to do his family proud. There a young woman out to better herself and shatter a glass ceiling or two. Everywhere the expectation that “This Is How You Get The Good Life.” Why, without the credentials offered by as prestigious as institution as one’s ability, tenacity, savings and, yes, connections can muster, you’re liable to be stuck with the dregs—working dead end jobs with no hope of advancement, living wages, or health insurance!

What tripe.

Next time you’re in a coffee shop, ask your barista if they’re going to school and for what. Or better still ask if they’ve graduated. Ask your bartender. Ask your server. Ask the guy stocking groceries at the Whole Foods. If they’re not still in high school, odds are they’re enrolled, in school or recent grads. Odds are good they’ll find themselves doing something similar after graduation.

A bit more: 

Of course none of that was the case for Boomers. By the relative rarity of their degrees and the acknowledgment that it took real work and talent to earn them, a Bachelors of the Arts was a viable meal ticket. Compare this to our current situation, where 40%+ of college grads take jobs that don’t require a college degree. Most of them will be liberal arts degrees and possibly even more pitiable degrees in laughable disciplines such as the aforementioned victim studies.

Who is to blame for this mess? Why did it get this way? Boomer cultural norms simultaneously incentivised college and dumbed it down. Other forms of honest, well paid work such as trades or skilled labor were frowned upon, putting them out of sight, out of mind for many young people, especially young men. Many such jobs were offshored along with the American manufacturing, thus eliminating them as an option to begin with in some cases.

Millennials are not innocent either. Despite being, as a generation, coddled, insulated from criticism or failure, they are now becoming the masters of their destiny, and many are proving every bit as selfish and clueless as their piggish forebears. Demands for ever more state intervention to subsidize college are very common. Blame for the situation, although rightly put upon a number of factors outside of their control, rarely includes any agency on their part. An expectation of upper middle class wealth, status and jobs right after graduation with little to no effort, seems ubiquitous.

Albert went to technical college, became an HVAC technician and concludes his essay with the following:

How many men have been deprived of the chance to do honest, useful, empowering work to instead play status games, take drugs, and wind up indebted and underemployed by following the advice given in increasingly bad faith by society’s elite? How many young women fritter away some of their best years on preparation for sterile office jobs while degrading their ability to ever pair bond with a husband by engaging in equally sterile rutting with men who value her little beyond sexual access? How many families are being delayed or never formed from this arrangement? How many billions of dollars and man hours are being squandered on an egalitarian pipe dream?

The answer is “Too many.”

Change is in the air, however. College enrollment has flatlined. Editorials, replete with stories like mine and statistics to back them up are slowly filtering into middle America. The dour, prissy, hysterical atmosphere of political correctness that wafts over virtually every college campus in America is repellent to young men, who are turning away in greater numbers every year.

Where a society channels the energy of its young men is drastically important, and, as the farce of higher education in early 21st Century America begins to be known, fewer of those young men will put their energies into it. There is ample opportunity for them to put it elsewhere. Into learning skills that will render them better men mentally and physically, into their own pursuits according to their own values, into discovering what else they were misled about by their leaders. And from there, perhaps, into kinship with the Right.

Talk about truth to power. Indeed!

Another hummingbird sighting

| No Comments

We were both working outside and Lulu heard another hummingbird buzz by.

I set out another feeder and made some nectar so we are ready for them.

People are sometimes concerned that we feed just sugar water - they actually eat a lot of insects so they have a plentiful source of protein. Because of their high metabolism, they really need the pure carbohydrates.

Four cups water, one cup white cane sugar, bring to a boil and let cool overnight. No red coloring - don't need it and some dyes can be harmful.

From Vice:

Someone On a British Airways Plane Took a Shit So Bad That It Had to Turn Around and Come Back Again
A British Airways flight was forced to turn around and land over the weekend because somebody did a shit so bad the plane was essentially rendered useless. Imagine living your life in the knowledge that you once turded so appallingly that a 747-400 had to turn around and land. Your liquid shit bought a £360-million ($533-million) airplane juddering out of the sky. Imagine looking your loved ones in the face after that. Imagine hugging your mom. You couldn't. Your asshole is essentially a terrorist.

Wonder if someone brought a bottle of Skatole on board? That stuff is pretty potent.

An accident in Seattle

| No Comments

From the Seattle Times:

520 bridge reopens after 8 injured when traffic sign falls on bus
The Highway 520 bridge reopened at 5 a.m. Wednesday, after crews worked overnight to clear a toppled sign that hit a bus near Lake Washington Boulevard, on the Seattle side.

Firefighters said six females and two males were taken to hospitals with minor injuries after the accident, at around 10 p.m. Tuesday, A work crane for the new 520 bridge was lifting a load of pipe when it hit a sign that spans the highway.

“(The pipe) swung over, hit the bus, ricocheted off the top of the bus and hit the sign, causing the sign to fall on the bus,” said Trooper Chris Webb of the Washington State Patrol.

They had a live load over moving traffic. Not good. How it should have been done:

Contractors have delivered pipes this way several times before, with WSDOT consent, by closing the right westbound lane of Highway 520, while traffic passes in the inside lane.

Glad that there were no fatalities - this could have been a lot worse.

The DOT and Flatiron issued a joint statement:

Joint Statement from WSDOT and Flatiron Construction
Our thoughts are with the individuals who were injured in the SR 520 incident that occurred last night. We collectively thank the Metro bus driver for his quick actions in the situation and the first responders on the scene.

Safety is WSDOT’s number one priority – for the travelling public, our employees, and our contractor’s employees. We expect all WSDOT contractors to follow all safety rules and regulations to the highest standard. Flatiron Construction, the contractor on the SR 520 West Approach Bridge Project, is equally committed to achieving and maintaining safety on the SR 520 corridor. Last night’s incident was during a routine operation that has been performed safely and successfully many times by the contractor working on the SR 520 West Approach Bridge North Project since October 2014.

Flatiron has suspended all construction work related to this incident while an investigation is underway and procedures are reviewed so that the public and all construction workers are safe at the job site. Flatiron is working closely with the Department of Labor and Industries to understand the result of the ongoing investigation and the cause of the incident. Based on the outcome of the investigation, Flatiron will take all appropriate actions to ensure safety on the project site and for the travelling public.

Good for them to own the accident so quickly - a sign of good leadership at a well run company.

Light posting today

| No Comments

Starting to organize the trailer for our trip and working in the garden - planting a lot of raspberries!

More spew later...

How to Become Gluten Intolerant

| No Comments

A wise guide to this year's food fad fascism.

 

Swiped from Gerard who got it from Maggie's

A new bird in the neighborhood

From Og at Neanderpundit - shamelessly swiped in full:

So on the bird feeder this morning
was a new bird, a black bird with a brown or reddish brown head and shoulders. The ogwife and I had never seen one before, so I dug up some info.

The cowbird is a plains bird that is making a resurgence in this area, and it is one of the types of birds that enjoys the pleasure of mating as often as possible, then lays it’s eggs in other birds nests, and lets the other birds feed and raise their young, often to the detriment of the other bird’s own young.

So I texted this to the Ogwife. She responded:

“Oh. Democrats”

Rimshot...

A big congratulations on Bibi's win

| No Comments

It was a close election in Israel but fortunately, people voted correctly despite the US State department sending a team of personnel and money over there to work for Netanyahu's opponent.

From The Times of Israel:

Netanyahu hails ‘a great victory for our people,’ though Herzog in no hurry to concede
TV  exit polls Tuesday night showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud set to retain the Israeli leadership at the end of a bitter election campaign. Netanyahu claimed victory early Wednesday morning, though his rival Isaac Herzog did not concede defeat.

More on the US intervention in this ellection can be found at Breitbart:

Netanyahu: V15 and Foreign NGOs Busing in Arab Voters for Israeli Election
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has just warned that Israeli Arab voters are being brought to the polling booth by V15 (Victory 2015) and other NGOS funded from abroad. He said: “We do not have NGOs. We do not have V15.”

V15 has been organized by Jeremy Bird, who was President Obama’s national campaign field director in 2012. According to lawyer and journalist Lori Lowenthal Marcus, this funding runs afoul of American tax laws for not-for-profit organizations. Marcus and others allege that funding for V15 includes State Department monies.

More at the site - this is treason.

First hummingbird of the season

| No Comments

I was out running errands (picking up some equipment for Buttercup the tractor, the truant raspberry canes and feed for Horse and Mule). Lulu was working on the garden. She heard the hum and then saw one at the feeder.

I will set out a couple more feeders tomorrow...

Climate Change at Forbes

| No Comments

Excellent article by JV DeLong at Forbes:

The Structure Of Climate Change Revolutions: It's The Sun
From one perspective, EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) is a triumph of the Church of the Environment, a bold effort to remake the electric grid in response to the assumed imperative of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

From another angle, CPP looks different. It is the last gasp of a dying scientific paradigm, one fated to join the museum of oddities of science, such as phlogiston, the idea that bleeding a patient is the road to health, and the rejection of plate tectonics theory.

Half a century ago, T. S. Kuhn wrote his famous The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. He posited that science does not proceed in orderly fashion, with discoveries building on each other in steady progression. Instead, it proceeds by fits and starts. In a given field, an over-arching explanation – a paradigm – will dominate, providing the frame of reference and identifying legitimate areas of inquiry. Kuhn calls this “normal science.” Over time, however, anomalies arise, as observations do not accord with the paradigm, and the theory must be modified in complex and sometimes ad hoc ways. Eventually, the anomalies, inconsistencies, and ad hoc character of the patches become overwhelming, and the field is ripe for a new paradigm that better fits the observations.

The classic example is the Copernican Revolution. The theory that the solar system revolves around the earth became burdened with increasing complications, complications that disappeared when the paradigm of heliocentricity came to the fore.

Decaying paradigms do not always go gently. Fierce conflict is common, but as physicist Max Planck said, “Science advances one funeral at a time,” and eventually the old guard disappears.

Climate change science is on the edge of Kuhn-style revolution.

Excellent observations - this is a longish article (four pages) and well worth your time to read. Lots of links to corroborating articles and books.

It is no secret that the Obama's and the Clinton's are not the best of friends. Bill and Barry have mutually screwed each over in well documented cases.

Now that Hillary is getting uncomfortably close to the White House, it's her turn

A two-fer - first from The Washington Examiner:

Clinton Foundation got $2 million from firm linked to Chinese intelligence
A Chinese firm with extremely close ties to China's internal security department is among the largest donors to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, a revelation that recalls the former president's multiple campaign finance scandals involving illegal Asian money.

"Rilin Enterprises pledged $2 million in 2013 to the Clinton Foundation's endowment. The company is a privately-held Chinese construction and trade conglomerate and run by billionaire Wang Wenliang, who is also a delegate to the Chinese parliament," CBS News reported Monday.

Second - from The New York Times:

Clinton Says Chinese Money Did Not Influence U.S. Policy
President Clinton said today that reported political campaign contributions from China to the Democrats had not influenced his foreign policy, but he welcomed further investigation into decisions that made it easier for China to launch American satellites and possibly obtain sensitive technology.

''The decisions we made, we made because we thought they were in the interests of the American people,'' Mr. Clinton said, responding for the first time to reports that a Democratic Party fund-raiser told Federal investigators of funneling thousands of dollars from a Chinese military officer in the President's 1996 re-election campaign. Mr. Clinton, speaking at the end of an economic meeting in Birmingham, England, said he would determine the substance of the charges before deciding whether they would affect policy toward the Chinese Government.

Emphasis mine - if Hillary sincerely believes this, she is criminally negligent. The Chinese welcome the manufacturing jobs that we will not do because it gives them the insider scoop to our Intellectual Property.

One issue is with Rare Earths - China now controls the market and any piece of modern electronics manufactured today needs these for display screens, batteries and mics and speakers. The USA has abundant supplies of rare earth ores but they are accompanied by several percent Thorium and mining companies are prohibited from mining this ore (monazite) because of this. We could be telling China to fsck off and become the world leader in clean nuclear energy and rare earth extraction but no - the braying jackasses in Washington D.C. will not do this.

Here is an excellent 20 minute video: House of Cards in Real Life: Rare Earth Elements

Karma in other places - Trinity Site

One of my bucket list items is visiting Trinity Site - first Atomic Bomb explosion. I have a piece of Trinitite (the fused soil from under the explosion) but always wanted to see the place where it all started.

During the 1940's, my Mom was a Nuclear Chemist with the US Bureau of Mines and my Dad was a Physicist working at MIT on RADAR - he was born in England and went over there for much of the war - he came up with a really cool hack for German submarines (much to their dismay).

Trinity Site is open on April 4th this year - just one day. Found out that there is a total eclipse of the moon on that date. Looking forward to doing a time-lapse of the site and the moon...

There is also an unusual Solar Eclipse two weeks earlier - this Friday to be exact.

My only goal for mineral purchases will be some Monazite - specifically Cerium with Thorium (and actually, the most common). I love Thorium and want to own a couple pounds of its ore. Yes, it can be highly radioactive but it is also harmless if you store it correctly (wrapped in an old newspaper and don't crush it and snort the dust - Alpha emitter only).

Instant Karma - cats

| No Comments

Beautiful - you can see the dude wanting to do an impressive music video. Kudos to him for releasing it to YouTube!

 

How is this good? Our EPA at work

| No Comments

From the Washington Examiner:

Backyard burger and wiener roasts targeted by EPA
The Environmental Protection Agency has its eyes on pollution from backyard barbecues.

The agency announced that it is funding a University of California project to limit emissions resulting in grease drippings with a special tray to catch them and a "catalytic" filtration system.

The $15,000 project has the "potential for global application," said the school.

The school said that the technology they will study with the EPA grant is intended to reduce air pollution and cut the health hazards to BBQ "pit masters" from propane-fueled cookers.

Charged with keeping America's air, water and soil clean, the EPA has been increasingly looking at homeowners, especially their use of pollution emitting tools like lawn mowers.

Good Lord - don't they have anything better to do with our tax dollars. The system they are looking at is active - there is an electric motor driving a fan. How much of a carbon load will this device create?

If our Representatives were really doing their job, they would ask each of these agencies to submit a line by line inventory of their budget so we could weed out these puff pieces and fund what is good solid basic science.

Same thing for Department of Homeland Security, Education, Energy, Transportation. That would be a good start.

Not too good in Seattle - unintended consequences. From Seattle Magazine:

Why Are So Many Seattle Restaurants Closing Lately?
Last month—and particularly last week— Seattle foodies were downcast as the blows kept coming: Queen Anne’s Grub closed February 15. Pioneer Square’s Little Uncle shut down February 25. Shanik’s Meeru Dhalwala announced that it will close March 21. Renée Erickson’s Boat Street Café will shutter May 30 after 17 years with her at the helm (though, praise be, original owner Susan Kaplan will expand her neighboring Boat Street Kitchen into the space and continue serving the Boat Street paté, the amaretto bread pudding with butter rum cream sauce and other favorites).

Furthermore, less than a week after he was named a James Beard Semifinalist (Best Chef: Northwest) for his work at northern Italian restaurant Spinasse, Jason Stratton announced he would be stepping down from that restaurant and his others—Artusi and Vespolina—immediately to head to Spain.

What the #*%&$* is going on?

And the money quote:

And for Seattle restaurateurs recently, there is also another key consideration. Though none of our local departing/transitioning restaurateurs who announced their plans last month have elaborated on the issue, another major factor affecting restaurant futures in our city is the impending minimum wage hike to $15 per hour. Starting April 1, all businesses must begin to phase in the wage increase.

No shit Sherlock - raising to $15 will be a jobs killer. It will also be a major benefit to restaurant automation software and robotics - more money up front but much less downtime and a very consistent product.

The Voodoo Sciences

| No Comments

Jerry Pournelle wrote this back in 1988. I posted about it here back in 2005 and it is still sadly relevant and deserves another airing out:

THE VOODOO SCIENCES
"I wouldn't know anything about politics," my friend said the other day. "I'm only an engineer."

He happens to be a very good engineer, but he named his profession as if he were ashamed of it. I see this a lot. The social scientists are automatically assumed to know more about society and politics than the hard scientists--even when the subject matter is something like nuclear power.

I wouldn't be so sure.

During the Reagan Years we heard a lot about "voodoo economics." The term was usually employed by Democrats in reference to President Reagan's economic policies, but I've also heard professional economists use the term "voodoo economics" in a way that implies there is a real science of economics in contrast to "Reaganomics."

Certainly the official policy is that economics is a science. We have by law a Council of Economic Advisors to report to the president, while the Congress has its own staff of economists to tell them what they should do.

From all the evidence I've seen, we'd do as well to give the president a Council of Voodoo Practitioners, and let the Congress consult its Chief Astrologer. In fact, I suspect that a chief hungan and mambo would do less harm than our present economists: we'd be less likely to take them seriously. However much our Chief Voodoo Advisor protested that his work was scientific, we'd demand some kind of track record, some evidence that his predictions might once in a while come true; while we impose no such burdens on economists, which is just as well, since their track record is one of universally dismal failure.

One of the first things they teach stockbrokers is to stay out of the stock market. Brokers make their pile from selling advice, and from commissions on stock transactions. They can't predict the market, and few risk their own money. They, at least, only affect their clients' fortunes. Economists, though, can ruin the lot of us with their advice--yet if no science can predict a relatively closed system like the stock market, how the devil are you going to "fine tune" something a large as the American economy? I'd think it arrogant to try; as arrogant as the man with three illiterate drug-addicted spoiled brats writing a book on parenting.

But there's worse to come: to the extent that there is a "science of economics," its practitioners must behave in ways that other professions would brand unethical. Example: The Corporate Economist of a large aircraft company is going to give a speech. He has made his analysis (cast lots? examined tea leaves?) and he foresees nothing but bad news. We're in a "downside cycle" and ain't much to be done about it. So he goes to a meeting of, say, the airline owners, and of course when asked for his predictions he gives his honest professional opinion--

In a pig's eye, he does. If he told what he thinks is the truth, he'd be fired. Worse, the Securities and Exchange Commission would look at all his financial records and possibly charge him with manipulating the value of his company's stock. It would be sure to fall, and if he'd prudently sold any shares recently he would likely go to jail.

No: his speech is predictable. He'll give some nodding acknowledgment to current hard times, predict an upswing, and tell his audience they better be prepared to buy a lot of airplanes.

Dr. Pournelle's essay is a long but good one - worth reading.

Hint - the answer is 21

Glad she found out now and not later - from The Times of India:

Groom flunks math test, goes brideless
A groom had to return home without his bride from a marriage hall in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur Dehat district after he failed to solve a simple mathematical problem.

The bride-to-be got suspicious of the groom's educational qualification. Her cousins asked the groom to solve simple mathematical question, what is 15+6. The groom failed to give the correct answer and the girl refused to marry him on Wednesday.

According to information, groom Ram Baran had come from Etawah district to the marriage hall to marry Lovely, daughter of Mohar Singh. The two families and other villagers gathered at the venue.

Like I said, good thing that she found out now before any legal bindings were in place - I could not imagine spending a life with someone with little or no education or intellect.

An excellent essay by Gerard Vanderleun at American Digest:

PEWSLAG: The American Progressive’s Monopoly on the Seven Deadly Sins
If you could pick up the Northwestern US by the southeast corner of Idaho and shake it, everything loose would roll down into Seattle. So many loose bipeds have rolled into town over the years that the city boasts not one angry and twisted little “alternative paper” but two: The Seattle Weekly and The Stranger. Of the two, The Stranger is the stranger, the more angry, and the more spiteful. Strangely, The Stranger -- in this age of Obama and “springtime for progressive Hitlers" -- grows more angry and peevish every week since the November elections. It no longer competes with the Seattle Weekly to see who can be more revolting. It won that dubious contest long ago. These days The Stranger seems to mostly compete with itself; trying every week to put out more slime and bile than the week before. Most weeks, it wins. This week was no exception.

No matter what the standard Democrat/Progressive line may be, it is never quite good enough for The Stranger. This may be because of it’s editor, one Dan Savage by name, a man who seems to live to reveal that for some, when it comes to being intellectually twisted, there really is no bottom. It may be because The Stranger’s infected bloodlines run from from the ancient wheezings of The Daily Worker, down through The East Village Other, and out onto the news stands of Planet Moonbat with classifieds courtesy of The Berkeley Barb. Or it may be because the editor is simply an awful person with a full load of obsessive-compulsive disorders.It’s difficult to know when it comes to this perfect storm of spit, spite, and smut.

All one can know is that, with The Stranger, you see deeper into the soul of today’s post-modern American quisling than any other “alternative” weekly. And what you see is the utter lock this mindset has on what once we called “The Seven Deadly Sins.” It is positive for all of them and takes no medication. Instead, it showcases them in order to effectively infect every freshman class that arrives in Seattle looking for an “education” in how to be fashionably depraved in worn fleece. I read the paper every so often to keep in touch with how dementia, depravity and degradation are progressing in progressive America.

These days it would seem that the 7 deadly sins are now the 7 cardinal virtues of the progressive left. As I shall demonstrate....

This is but a tiny excerpt - go and read the whole thing. It is well worth the five minutes or so.

Well that was a bust - raspberry canes

| 1 Comment

The seller had an unmanned farm stand on a remote rural road.

Someone had ordered five canes and I ordered ten.

The previous customer left their order and took mine.

Talk about rampant crime in the big city. We will try again Tuesday afternoon...

From The Hill:

Bolton calls Iran deal 'unprecedented' surrender
Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton said Saturday that President Obama is negotiating “an unprecedented act of surrender” with Iran in discussions over its nuclear weapons program.

“This deal is fundamentally flawed,” Bolton said at the South Carolina National Security Action Summit in West Columbia, S.C. “There really is no deal I’d trust Iran with. It is a regime determined to have nuclear weapons and this deal will give it to them.”

The Obama administration is hoping Iran will slow or stop its nuclear armaments research in exchange for removing economic sanctions. Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia are aiding U.S. efforts to bargain with Iran. The two sides will resume talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, next week.

Controversy erupted over an open letter Republicans sent Iran’s leadership Monday. It vowed Congress can void any deal it finds unsatisfying and was signed by 47 GOP senators.

President Obama said Friday he was “embarrassed” for the message’s signers. The move has drawn swift criticism from social media, with the hashtag #47Traitors a recurring trend online last week.

Bolton rebuked the president’s response as unjustified Saturday. He said the Senators were not traitors, but rather lawmakers who “stood up for the Constitution.”

We need Bolton as Secretary of State - Kerry is in out of his depth.

Spending a rainy day inside - almost

| No Comments

We both slept in late this morning - something about listening to the rain fall on a tin roof is very conducive to sleep.

Got to get hay out to the horse and mule and llamas - do this and then heading out to pick up some raspberry canes from a nearby farm.

Making spaghetti for dinner tonight.

Spending the rest of the day puttering around on some projects at home and getting the camera stuff ready for our trip.

Food and television coma

| No Comments

Lulu and I are a lot alike...

She came in around Noon with a shopping bag and handed me a piece of corned beef that she wanted for dinner. I responded by tossing it into the freezer and telling her that we would have what I wanted for dinner tonight.

I brought out the corned beef I purchased yesterday and the cabbage and root vegetables. She acquiesced to my wishes after a prolonged discussion (three seconds).

A couple hours later, we ate ourselves silly while watching House of Cards on our new ROKU box - if you have broadband, these are an amazing replacement to the satellite or cable television options. The entire Netflix catalog is under $10/month for streaming and I have Amazon Prime for my business so their video offerings complement Netflix nicely. Buy-in price is about $80 - about one month of satellite or cable.

The software is really well done - great search engine and if the internet is experiencing issues, the audio is preserved, the video just degrades to a lower resolution. You are watching and fully engrossed but the picture gets a bit fuzzy for a few minutes with zero glitches on the audio so you can follow the story. Well done ROKU!!!

Heh - Sean Davis channels Paul Harvey

| No Comments

From The Federalist:

So God Made A Clinton
And on the 8th day, God looked down on his creation and said, “It’s way too honest and forthright.” So God made a Clinton.

God said, “I need somebody willing to do anything, believe anything, say anything, no matter how false, in order to attain power.” So God made a Clinton.

“I need somebody with a finger strong enough to wag at the cameras, but gentle enough to hit the power button on an industrial strength paper shredder. Somebody to bark at Congress, threaten cantankerous committee chairs, ignore subpoenas, and hide long sought after document troves deep in the bowels of the White House residence.” So God made a Clinton.

God said, “I need somebody willing to spend decades nursing naked ambition. And then watch it die when some upstart nobody from Chicago decides he doesn’t want to wait his turn. Then dry her eyes and say, ‘Maybe in 2016.’ I need somebody who can shiv a political enemy with nothing more than a nail file and an iPhone case she swore was way too inconvenient to carry around in addition to a Blackberry. And who, in primary and general campaign season, will doggedly complete the Sunday show sweep, and then pop up on TV again later that evening to tell you, ‘The server will remain private.’” So God made a Clinton.

More at the site - spot on!

Happy Pi Day

| No Comments

Found a great cartoon from Scott Hilburn at The Argyle Sweater - The Wife of Pi:

 

20150314-pi.jpg

What a difference two years makes

| No Comments

From the UK Guardian - February 21, 2012:

Drought may be new norm for UK, says environment secretary
Drought may be the new norm for the UK, with drastic measures including growing genetically modified crops likely to be considered as part of the solution, the environment secretary has said.

With large parts of the south and south-east of England officially in drought, and areas of the Midlands at risk, Caroline Spelman warned that households across the south-east were likely to face water usage restrictions this spring, starting with hosepipe bans. Reservoirs have reached record lows in some places and rainfall would need to be more than a fifth higher than normal in the next three months to relieve the drought, but forecasters have said this is unlikely.

From the UK Meteorological Office - February 27, 2014:

Wettest winter for England and Wales since 1766
As February comes to an end provisional rainfall figures (from 1 December 2013 to 25 February 2014) confirm the UK has had its wettest winter since the national series records began in 1910.

New records have been set for many parts of the UK, with southeast and central southern England having seen well over double the rainfall expected in a normal winter.

Tip of the hat to Don Surber for the link.

Cold and wet outside

| No Comments

Went out for coffee and came home and built a fire - that kind of day.

Lulu is coming out later - she had a bunch of stuff to do in town and was a bit under the weather so she stayed at her house for a few days.

Working on some stuff at home.

Happy Pi Day

| No Comments

3.141592653 to be approximate

It is also the 136th anniversary of Albert Einstein's Birth

Kerry has been fulminating about the letter sent by the Senate Republicans to the mullahs in Iran. The letter reminds them that any negotiations or treaties have to be passed by the Senate first and that a new incoming President could nullify any concessions that Kerry and Obama (and Valerie Jarrett) have agreed to. Smart move - I just wish some Democrats had the stones to sign it too - all of them chickened out.

Kerry is saying that this is something that has never happened before in the history of the United States.

Segue back 30 years to when President Ronald Reagan was in office and then Senator John Forbes Kerry was negotiating with Nicaragua’s Marxist government against the wishes of our Secretary of State and our President.

From The Daily Caller (they are on a roll today!):

Kissinger Slammed Kerry For Negotiating With Sandinistas In 1985 [VIDEO]
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger hammered John Kerry in 1985 for interfering in diplomatic negotiations with Nicaragua’s Marxist government as a Massachusetts senator.

Thirty years later, Kerry is skewering Senate Republicans for their open letter to the Iranian leadership warning that any nuclear deal with the United States without the advice and consent of the U.S. Congress would not last beyond President Obama’s term.

Kerry and then-Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin visited Nicaragua in 1985 to cut a deal with the Sandinista government, which was close to the former Soviet Union. President Ronald Reagan, however, was already set on overthrowing the Marxist government in Nicaragua by sending aid to a group of Nicaraguan rebels — the contras.

A bit more - Kissinger's bullet point:

“With all due respect to Rep. Kerry, he’s a congressman,” Kissinger said. “He’s not secretary of state, and if the Nicaraguans want to make an offer, they ought to make it in diplomatic channels. We can’t be negotiating with our own congressman and the Nicaraguans simultaneously. My own view is that what we want from the Nicaraguans is the removal of foreign military and intelligence advisers.”

Kerry's initial reaction on hearing about the Republican Letter:

Kerry, now secretary of state, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee Wednesday and was asked by Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy how he reacted to the letter.

“My reaction to the letter was utter disbelief,” Kerry said. “During my 29 years here in the Senate I never heard of nor even heard of it being proposed anything comparable to this. If I had, I can tell you, no matter what the issue and no matter who was president, I would’ve certainly rejected it.”

“No one is questioning anybody’s right to dissent,” he continued. “Any senator can go to the floor any day and raise any of the questions that were raised. You write to the leaders in the middle of a negotiation — particularly the leaders that they have criticized other people for even engaging with or writing to — to write then and suggest they were going to give a constitutional lesson, which by the way was absolutely incorrect, is quite stunning. This letter ignores more than two centuries of precedent in the conduct of American foreign policy.”

The guy is a political hack and simply not that bright. His perception of his own intelligence is badly skewed - he and Obama are out of their depth.

Why am I not surprised - from The Daily Caller:

FCC Cites Soros-Funded, Neo-Marxist-Founded Group 46 TIMES In New Regs
New internet regulations finally released by the Federal Communications Commission make 46 references to a group funded by billionaire George Soros and co-founded by a neo-Marxist.

The FCC released the 400-page document on Thursday, two weeks after it passed new regulations, which many fear will turn the internet into a public commodity and thereby stifle innovation.

“Leveling the playing field” in that way has been a clear goal of Free Press, a group dedicated to net neutrality which was founded in 2003.

As Phil Kerpen, president of the free-market group American Commitment, first noted, Free Press is mentioned repeatedly in the FCC document. Most of the references are found in footnotes which cite comments by Free Press activists supporting more internet regulation.

The term “Free Press” is mentioned 62 times in the regulations. Some are redundant mentions referring to the same Free Press activists’ comments in favor of more oversight. In total, the FCC cited Free Press’ pro-net neutrality arguments 46 times.

What's wrong with a 'free press'. That sounds like a group I could get behind.

Welcome to progressive distortion - some more:

The activist group has big money behinds its effort. It has received $2.2 million in donations from progressive billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations and $3.9 million from the Ford Foundation.

And one of Free Press’ co-founders, Robert McChesney, a communications professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, has not been shy about his desire to see the internet regulated heavily. (RELATED: A Leading Net Neutrality Activist’s Neo-Marxist Views)

A bit more from McChesney - a 2009 essay:

“In the end, there is no real answer but to remove brick by brick the capitalist system itself, rebuilding the entire society on socialist principles,” McChesney wrote in a 2009 essay.

“Only government can implement policies and subsidies to provide an institutional framework for quality journalism,” he said.

“The news is not a commercial product. It is a public good, necessary for a self-governing society. Once we accept this, we can talk about the kind of media policies and subsidies we want,” McChesney once argued.

 

More at the site - these people are uncoupled from reality and very very toxic.

An interesting question

| No Comments

From tech news agregator Slashdot:

Ask Slashdot: Why Does Science Appear To Be Getting Things Increasingly Wrong?
Recent revelations of heavily policy-driven or even falsified science have raised concern in the general public, but especially in the scientific community itself. It's not purely a question of political or commercial interference either (as is often claimed when it comes to e.g. climate research) — scientists themselves are increasingly incentivized to game the system for improved career prospects, more funding, or simply because they perceive everyone else to do it, too. Even discounting outright fraud or manipulation of data, the widespread use of methodologies known to be invalid plagues many fields and is leading to an increasing inability to reproduce recent findings (the so-called crisis of reproducibility) that puts the very basis of our reliance on scientific research results at risk. Of course, one could claim that science is by nature self-correcting, but the problem appears to be getting worse before it gets better.

Is it time for more scientists to speak out openly about raising the level of transparency and honesty in their field?

Some very thoughtful replies - worth reading and clicking through...

Things just got a bit interesting - from Forbes:

In Historic Turn, CO2 Emissions Flatline in 2014, Even as Global Economy Grows
A key stumbling block in the effort to combat global warming has been the intimate link between greenhouse gas emissions and economic growth. When times are good and industries are thriving, global energy use traditionally increases and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions also go up. Only when economies stumble and businesses shutter — as during the most recent financial crisis — does energy use typically decline, in turn bringing down planet-warming emissions.

But for the first time in nearly half a century, that synchrony between economic growth and energy-related emissions seems to have been broken, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency, prompting its chief economist to wonder if an important new pivot point has been reached — one that decouples economic vigor and carbon pollution.

The IEA pegged carbon dioxide emissions for 2014 at 32.3 billion metric tons — essentially the same volume as 2013, even as the global economy grew at a rate of about 3 percent.

“This gives me even more hope that humankind will be able to work together to combat climate change, the most important threat facing us today,” the IEA’s lead economist, Fatih Birol, said in a statement accompanying the findings.

People are paying way too much attention to this trace gas. The initial theory was that there would be runaway positive feedback but that has been debunked several times in the last 20 years. Our climate is driven by our Sun, not our industries, we have had CO2 concentrations as high as 9,000ppm (they are around 420ppm now) and without carbon dioxide, this would be a lifeless ball of mud. If anything, our sun seems to be entering a cooler cycle much like the Maunder minimum or little ice age - we need to be concerned about this and not some fatuous gas.

If the greenies really want to cut out CO2 emissions, they need to back Thorium reactors - the fuel is incredibly plentiful, the waste products only need to be sequestered for 300 years or so and they can completely burn up the waste from conventional pressurized water reactors - the stuff that needs to be sequestered for 10,000 years.

Good riddance

| No Comments

One of the more odious members of the Anthropogenic Global Warming gang green was the President of the Maldives - Mohamed Nasheed.

He would jet around to various conferences and wring his hands about how is nation was slowly slipping below the waves and couldn't people send him more money to fix the problem. (Hey Mohamed - it's called coral subsidence and is happening a lot around the world - you are just not that special)

Anyway, from the Associated Press:

Maldives' ex-president convicted after disputed trial
A former president of the Maldives was convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison after a quick and disputed trial that raised fears of more instability in the Indian Ocean nation.

A three-judge panel ruled Friday that Mohamed Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected president, issued an illegal order to detain a senior judge in 2012 while in office.

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy...

A bit of excitement south of here

| No Comments

From the WA State DOT:

All lanes of I-90 to reopen in Issaquah following bridge strike, emergency inspection
All lanes of eastbound Interstate 90 in Issaquah are scheduled to reopen to traffic by 10 p.m. Friday, March 13. The right lane of eastbound I-90 was closed earlier today after the overpass was struck and damaged by an over-height garbage truck.

The Washington State Department of Transportation’s Bridge Preservation Office inspected the structure this afternoon. Photos of the damage show the garbage truck punctured a hole through one of the bridge’s girders.

Structural engineers determined it was safe to reopen the right lane of eastbound I-90 at Front Street, but the right shoulder will remain closed as a safety precaution until permanent repairs can be made.

I-90 is the major East-West route out of Seattle. When I moved to Seattle from Boston in 1978, I rode it from one end to the other. It's Eastern terminus is in downtown Boston; the Western, Seattle. At the time, there was one traffic light in Wallace Idaho. It turns out that there were two rather famous brothels as well but somehow, I missed those... Dang!

20150313-bridge.jpg

Ouch - that poor driver's resume took a gigantic hit today - talk about Friday the thirteenth...

Changes at the Ski to Sea race

| No Comments

From the Bellingham Herald:

First two legs of Ski to Sea race could change because of little snow in mountains
The downhill and cross-country ski legs of the annual Ski to Sea race could be canceled this year because organizers of the annual race don’t expect there will be enough snow by race day on May 24.

The snowpack in Washington state’s mountains are near record low levels — ranging from 8 to 45 percent of normal across the Cascade Mountains and 7 percent of normal in the Olympic Mountains.

The race’s first two legs occur at Mt. Baker Ski Area, at an elevation of 4,300 feet.

“We are looking at many different options for the first two legs of the race. These include a mountain trail run, a bike course within the ski area and other options,” announced Pete Coy, executive director for Ski to Sea, on Friday, March 13.

“We want to make sure that these new courses are safe, competitive and that racers will have the necessary equipment. Whatever sports we substitute for the ski legs of the race will need to occur within the Mt. Baker Ski Area since permits to go outside the ski area will take too long to obtain,” he added.

We have participated in this race operating ham radios for the last couple of years - we hand off the road bikes to the canoers. A team of spotters gives us a five minute heads up, they radio the team numbers to my base station where we announce the numbers over a PA system. Lots of fun!

Yikes - CAT5 Cyclone hits Vanuatu

| No Comments

From The Washington Post:

Tropical Cyclone Pam thrashes Vanuatu with direct hit as a Category 5
Tropical Cyclone Pam, a monster storm in the South Pacific, is thrashing the capital island of Vanuatu in the dead of night, in what has turned out to be the nightmare scenario for the tiny island nation that faces some of the most pressing worries from rising sea levels and climate change.

Home to around 66,000 people, the island of Efate and Vanuatu’s capital city Port Vila were enduring a direct hit from the cyclone’s eye wall Friday night, local time. Pam was forecast to track about 100 miles east of the island, which would have spared Vanuatu of the most serious impacts.

Unfortunately, the cyclone has been bucking the forecast on a more westward path for a couple of days now, and Vanuatu is paying the price as it swipes Efate at what appears to be its peak intensity.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center has up to date information - their goes their tourism and fishing industries. Crap.

I know how long it took for Kauai to recover from Hurricane Iniki in 1992 and that was only a CAT4 when it made landfall.

Our prayers go out to those people.

A day in town

| No Comments

Trying to reset the password on my gmail account and the best way to do that is for them to send a text message to my cell phone.

Of course, reception out here is zilch so I took the laptop into town and took care of that. Now I will have a stable email address while we are on the road.

Picked up some corned beef at Costco so we will have that for dinner this weekend. Yum!

Let me congratulate Your Majesty!

| No Comments

Thought so:

 

20150312-handshake.jpg

And a tip of the hat to the excellent Come and Make It

Quote of the week

| No Comments

From an email:

Barry and Hillary don't understand how to use email properly, and can't build a website for $600 million, but they have this whole climate science thing down pat.

Quite the ride

| No Comments

Ford Focus crashing into a cement panel at 120MPH - from Road and Track

 

 

Ho Li Crap!

Drones and the law

| No Comments

I am waiting for the technology to improve a bit before getting a drone - better resolution cameras and better battery technology (longer flight time).

The Federal Aviation Agency is close to legislating on how, when and where to use drones - public comment is being solicited.

Here is the PDF file from the Federal Register

SUMMARY: The FAA is proposing to amend its regulations to adopt specific rules to allow the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems in the National Airspace System. These changes would address the operation of unmanned aircraft systems, certification of their operators, registration, and display of registration markings. The proposed rule would also find that airworthiness certification is not required for small unmanned aircraft system operations that would be subject to this proposed rule. Lastly, the proposed rule would prohibit model aircraft from endangering the safety of the National Airspace System.
DATES: Send comments on or before April 24, 2015.

WA State is also looking for input:

FAA, WSDOT seek feedback on proposed Unmanned Aircraft Systems requirements
The public has two chances to comment on proposed safety requirements for Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operations in the nation’s airspace.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is accepting feedback directly, but the Washington State Department of Transportation also welcomes public comments to help shape its agency response.

The proposed requirements address non-recreation UAS operations, including:

    • Crop monitoring/inspection
    • Research and development
    • Educational/academic uses
    • Power-line/pipeline inspection in hilly or mountainous terrain
    • Antenna inspections
    • Aiding certain rescue operations such as locating snow avalanche victims
    • Bridge inspections
    • Aerial photography
    • Wildlife nesting area evaluations

The deadline for WA State is April 13. I plan to write both groups - it would be too easy to lose our rights to fly.

Progress on the Mt. Baker Highway

| No Comments

The Washington State Department of Transportation posted some photos of the work they are doing on SR-542 - here is one of them:

20150312-542.jpg

You can really see where the original road was undercut

Back from the dead

| No Comments

Death and Taxes.

Back home - got another marathon day of work and should be done with both tasks.

Time to bring some treats out to the horse and mule and llamas.

Another busy day

| No Comments

Got the critters taken care of and heading out to get some chemical motivation (espresso) and spend another afternoon doing taxes and bookkeeping.

Pray for my soul...

Hands up / Don't shoot

Looks like things are just fantastic in the Black-run city of Ferguson - from MyWay:

2 officers shot in 'ambush' outside Ferguson PD
Two officers were shot in front of the Ferguson Police Department early Thursday while demonstrators were gathered across the street — an attack the county police chief described as "an ambush" that could easily have killed both men.

The shots were fired just as a small crowd of protesters began to break up after holding a demonstration in the wake of the resignation of the Ferguson police chief, who stepped down Wednesday.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said one officer was shot in the face, just below his right eye, with the bullet lodging behind his ear. The other officer was hit in the shoulder, and the bullet came out his back.

Both men were expected to recover without suffering any long-term damage, Belmar said, but the wounds might have been mortal.

Thanks to President Lyndon Baines Johnson who broke up the black households and got them hooked on entitlements.

As he said: I'll have them niggers voting Democratic for two hundred years.

Well crap - RIP Sir Terry Pratchett

| No Comments

We all knew that this was coming but it still hurts. From the UK Guardian:

Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld series, dies aged 66
Sir Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld comic fantasy series of novels, has died aged 66.

His publishers, Transworld, announced the news “with immeasurable sadness”. Managing director Larry Finlay, said: “The world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds.”

The author of more than 70 books died at his home “with his cat sleeping on his bed, surrounded by his family” earlier on Thursday.

Pratchett, who had early onset Alzheimer’s disease, leaves his wife, Lyn, and their daughter, Rhianna.

“Terry faced his Alzheimer’s disease (an ‘embuggerance’, as he called it), publicly and bravely. Over the last few years, it was his writing that sustained him. His legacy will endure for decades to come.”

One of the best contemporary writers - a favorite of mine.

This is fun - in the most recent episode, two Trekkies debate whether Commander William T. Riker of Star Trek: The Next Generation is a great leader or a flake. The outcome appears uncertain until actor Jonathan Frakes himself shows up to defend the reputation of his character:

 

More here.

Early spring - another sign

| No Comments

One that bears watching (arrrrrr....) From the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Spring arrives early for hungry bears
Due to unseasonably warm weather, bears are on the move early this year, prompting state wildlife managers to remind the public about ways to avoid conflicts with black bears.

Rich Beausoleil, bear and cougar specialist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the department has already received reports of black bear activity in King and Chelan counties and coastal areas.

"Black bears usually start making appearances in mid-to-late April, but warm weather can cause them to stir earlier," Beausoleil said. "Black bears are hungry when they emerge from their dens, because they lose up to half of their body weight during hibernation."

Natural foods are scarce this early in the year, so bears often start looking for the easiest source of high-protein food, he said.

Beausoleil strongly recommends that people take steps to avoid attracting black bears to their home, particularly in areas known for bear activity. That means securing garbage cans, removing backyard bird seed and not leaving pet food outdoors.

"By following these three steps to deter bears, we can reduce the number of bear-human conflicts significantly," he said.

Wise words - there is a huge difference between being a tame animal and being an animal that has lost its fear of humans.

Some tips:

  • Never intentionally feed bears or other wild animals.
  • Keep garbage cans in a garage or another secure area until collection day.
  • Remove pet food from areas accessible to wildlife.
  • Take down birdfeeders until winter.
  • Thoroughly clean barbecue grills after each use.
  • When camping, thoroughly clean all cooking utensils after use and seal uneaten food in airtight containers that are stored in bear-proof canisters away from sleeping areas.

More info at the WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/bears.html

I love bears and would love to have one as a pet but you need to get them as a cub - before their eyes open - for them to be reliable around other human beings and properly socialized.

Back from the meeting

| No Comments

The group is getting smaller - there is an expression: STP  -  Same Ten People  -  and we fit right into that definition. Still, a lot of good work is being done. We are developing a Memorandum of Understanding with our local fire departments on how we can work together, identifying local hot spots (places of potential danger) and places where people can shelter (and possible supplies caches).

Back home again with nothing planned for the next few days - except more bookkeeping and taxes and cleaning the house and getting camera stuff together for the trip and working on wiring the music room and... you get the picture.

My whirlwind life

| No Comments

Did a marathon slog of bookeeping and bill paying - making sure everything is covered for our trip and closing down the old business.

Grabbing a quick dinner (salad and leftover ham steak and mashed spuds) before heading out to the BERT meeting at 6:30

A fun day - bookeeping

| No Comments

Took care of the critters and now heading out for coffee and then back to the old business to finish closing out its books and do taxes.

Fun stuff... More posting in a couple of hours.

There is a BERT meeting tonight

Hillary's emails to WJC

| No Comments

Did she or didn't she - only her server knows for sure. From the Washington Examiner:

Hillary said she emailed with Bill, but the thing is ...
At a press conference on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton said the server that housed her emails while she was secretary of state (that was reportedly housed at her home in New York) was set up for President Bill Clinton. She also said that some of the "personal" emails she deleted were between her and her husband.

But just before Hillary began the press conference at the United Nations building, the Wall Street Journal reported that Bill Clinton does not use email.

"The former president, who does regularly use Twitter, has sent a grand total of two emails during his entire life, both as president, says Matt McKenna, his spokesman," WSJ reported. "After leaving office, Mr. Clinton established his own domain that staff use — @presidentclinton.com. But Mr. Clinton still doesn't use email himself, Mr. McKenna said."

The article reiterates:

One of Bill's emails was to astronaut and former Sen. John Glenn, the other was to U.S. troops.

But Hillary said during her press conference that her email server "contains personal communications from my husband and me."

It appears at least one Clinton is not telling the whole truth.

Pants-suit on fire...

Someone had a brilliant idea over there. From Ars Technica:

Microsoft updates its open server design with a battery in every box
Microsoft today announced that it was sharing a number of new designs for its cloud servers to improve efficiency and reduce the cost of management.

Last year, Microsoft joined the Open Compute Project to join Facebook and other companies to share the designs of the custom servers it uses in its large datacenters. By sharing designs and standardizing across companies, the companies involved can reduce costs and increase the range of hardware options available.

The servers are built for high density and high efficiency. The first version of the Open CloudServer specification (OCS) servers Microsoft published packed 24 server blades into a 12U chassis. Compute blades included a pair of Ivy Bridge-based Intel Xeon processors, up to 192GB RAM, one or two 10gigE ports, and up to 4 disks; storage blades packed in ten disks. The 12U units share power and networking infrastructure.

12U is 21" tall so you can fit three of these units with 6U left over for ancillary stuff (network switches, cabling, etc) in a standard 42U rack.

Some more:

The more exotic changes are from the handling of power. The power supplies of each 12U unit now include lithium ion batteries in each unit, something Microsoft calls Local Energy Storage. While lithium ion batteries are routinely used to power computers—laptops use them—that's not where Microsoft sourced the units for its servers. Instead, it's using batteries from the power tool industry. They're cheap, proven, and abundantly available.

The traditional datacenter includes large banks of lead acid batteries combined with fossil fuel-powered generators. These batteries have to be sized to power the entire datacenter for the few seconds or minutes it takes for the generators to kick in and get up to speed. This takes considerable space—as much as 25 percent of each datacenter's footprint. It's also hard to scale; the batteries have to be an appropriate size for the entire datacenter, rather than growing in proportion to the number of servers. The lead acid batteries are relatively inefficient, with about 9 percent of a datacenter's power used for charging and operating them, and being full of acid, they can be awkward to manage.

Very clever - much simpler power management and if one or more batteries fail, the rest of the server farm is still up and running. Using a commodity power tool battery is a great idea. Much cheaper than a custom design and ubiquitous. There is an engineering design philosophy: C.O.T.S. Commercial Off The Shelf - use these components and your design will be cheap and reliable.

If they wanted to be really clever, they could have the battery interface mount on a screw-in metal plate with the regulation and charging circuitry on board. This way, when the power tool company decides to retire that battery, changing over to another format will be a matter of replacing the plates. Thinking about it though, I bet the servers are replaced with the same frequency so the two can just grow old together.

Battery efficiency

| No Comments

Modern batteries can store a lot of energy. They do this though a chemical reaction and if that reaction is disturbed, a lot of energy can be released.

Case in point - a cell phone battery and a kitchen knife:

 

Gordon Ramsay parody

| No Comments

Lulu and I both love to cook and we watch the various cooking channels - Gordon Ramsay is a favorite. Here is a fun bit of film editing:

 

Back from town

| No Comments

Did a nice CraigsList transaction (some photo stuff) and a bit of shopping for the store and for our upcoming trip (some cheap plastic plates, bowls and cups, kitchenware, etc...).

Had dinner in town - Soy House - and just got back. Feeding the critters in a few minutes and then, time to surf.

Rain scheduled to move in tonight (70%) lasting for as long as a week (but a brief respite around Friday afternoon).

Obamacare in Oregon

| No Comments

From the Everett, WA Herald:

As Cover Oregon dissolves, it leaves behind costly legacy
A bill dissolving the independent corporation that runs Cover Oregon is on its way to the Gov. Kate Brown. But even when it is gone, Cover Oregon will leave a legacy of hundreds of millions of dollars spent on a health exchange that failed — with even more millions in legal fees and other expenses still to come.

Cover Oregon spent $300 million in federal funds, much of it to have Oracle America Inc. build an exchange for Oregonians to buy health insurance. The health exchange web portal failed to launch in October 2013.

The state spent at least $26 million of its own money on Cover Oregon-related projects.

Last spring, Oregon scrapped the web portal and switched to HealthCare.Gov, a federally run website. Cover Oregon continued to perform functions such as interacting between insurance companies and insurance buyers. Now those tasks will be folded into other agencies.

Here is a breakdown of how much money has been spent as a result of the Cover Oregon fiasco, by whom, and expenses still to come.

Money that was completely wasted - plans made with no oversight and nothing of value remaining to salvage. Government a its finest. No accountability. No heads will roll - at best, someone will resign and then quietly be installed in a higher paying position six months later. 

That's all folks!

| No Comments

Still recovering from losing that hour but having it light later is nice. Winters grasp is getting weaker.

Did the shopping run today and planning to sleep in a bit tomorrow. Got a lot on my plate with taxes and the bookwork of closing down the copy/ship business. Need to get that done before we leave for our trip.

Zombies are walking this earth

| No Comments

Only possible explanation - from CNS News:

IG Audit: 6.5 Million People With Active Social Security Numbers Are 112 or Older
Many people are living longer, but not to age 112 or beyond -- except in the records of the Social Security Administration.

The SSA's inspector general has identified 6.5 million number-holders age 112 -- or older -- for whom no death date has been entered in the main electronic file, called Numident.

The audit, dated March 4, 2015, concluded that SSA lacks the controls necessary to annote death information on the records of number-holders who exceed "maximum reasonable life expectancies."

Still collecting grandma's SS checks - they need to be tossed in the slammer and fined. That's our money.

Social justice

| No Comments

From National Review:

 A Victory for Academic Freedom and a Defeat for Junk Environmental Science
In 2012, my colleagues and I at the ACLJ filed suit against multiple officials at UCLA on behalf of Dr. James Enstrom, a researcher fired after he blew the whistle on the junk science used to justify draconian new emissions regulations in California.

The facts of the case were astounding. As the environmentalist Left pushed new, job-killing regulations in the interests of “public health,” Dr. Enstrom took his own look at the data and determined that the health threat from diesel emissions was being wildly overstated. As he looked further, he discovered that the lead researcher pushing the new regulations actually possessed a fraudulent degree, purchased from “Thornhill University,” a shady, long-distance diploma mill. Moreover, members of the state’s “scientific review panel” tasked with evaluating the science had in some cases overstayed term limits by decades. At least one was a known ideological radical. (He was a member of the infamous “Chicago Seven.”)

Dr. Enstrom did what a scientist should do. He exposed public corruption, called out fake scientific credentials, and worked to save California from onerous and unnecessary regulations.

So UCLA fired him. After more than 30 years on the job.

Things turned out well though:

Dr. Enstrom’s suit survived UCLA’s efforts to dismiss the case, and last week the case was settled, on favorable terms:

Not only did the Regents agree to pay Dr. Enstrom $140,000, but they also have effectively rescinded the termination, agreeing to Dr. Enstrom’s use of the title “Retired Researcher” (as opposed to acknowledgment as a non-titled terminated employee) and his continued access to UCLA resources he previously enjoyed during his appointment.

Good to see the dissenting voices gaining traction in this uphill climb. The more cracks in the facade of "global warming" the more desperate they get.

Those smart Swiss...

| No Comments

From Watts Up With That:

Green Fiasco: 92% Of Swiss Voters Reject Carbon Tax In Referendum
Swiss voters Sunday overwhelmingly rejected an initiative that would have scrapped the Alpine country’s value-added-tax system and replaced it with a carbon tax. Roughly 92% of voters opposed the initiative while 8% supported the measure.

The initiative would have encouraged Swiss households to use renewable energy sources, including solar and wind, which would have been exempt from taxes. The initiative, which was introduced by the Green Liberal Party of Switzerland, was designed to help lower carbon emissions and reduce global warming. –Neil Maclucas, The Wall Street Journal, 8 March 2015

A proposal replacing the main consumer tax with a new levy on non-renewable energy has suffered a blistering defeat in Sunday’s nationwide ballot. The proposal by the Liberal Green Party won only 8% of the vote, according to final official results. Sunday’s result was the second worst in modern Swiss history.Swiss Info, 8 March 2015

That is a smack-down of epic proportions.  Good to see people getting real about this attempt to take over the economy. More faster please!

Climate change - getting skittish

| No Comments

Curious news from Florida - from the Miami Herald:

In Florida, officials ban term 'climate change'
The state of Florida is the region most susceptible to the effects of global warming in this country, according to scientists. Sea-level rise alone threatens 30 percent of the state’s beaches over the next 85 years.

But you would not know that by talking to officials at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the state agency on the front lines of studying and planning for these changes.

DEP officials have been ordered not to use the term “climate change” or “global warming” in any official communications, emails, or reports, according to former DEP employees, consultants, volunteers and records obtained by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.

A bit more:

This unwritten policy went into effect after Gov. Rick Scott took office in 2011 and appointed Herschel Vinyard Jr. as the DEP’s director, according to former DEP employees. Gov. Scott, who won a second term in November, has repeatedly said he is not convinced that climate change is caused by human activity, despite scientific evidence to the contrary.

Scientific Evidence? I am sure the reporter (Tristram Korten from the

A domino Etch-a-Sketch

| No Comments

 

From Bulk Dominoes

Back in the saddle again

| 2 Comments

Bill and Michelle just left - Lulu, Jimmy and I all took turns riding Sam and Rocky. Lulu's first time in the saddle and she did just fine.

When I was a teenager, my parents used to spend every other summer in Colorado and we did a lot of horseback riding. It was fun in that my 50 year old muscle memory came right back. Felt very comfortable to be in the saddle and we walked and trotted with zero problem. Sam stumbled at one point and went down to his knees and I had no problem staying in the saddle and not panicking.

There are a number of logging roads within a close distance to our house so we will have plenty of opportunities for picnics.

20150308-horse01.jpg

Lulu is on Rocky, I am on Sam - Bill is leading Rocky as this is Lulu's first time on a horse.

20150308-horse02.jpg

Out standing in our field - the Llamas were like WTF? Are they going to do this to us too?¿?¿

20150308-horse03.jpg

Jimmy riding Rocky - I stayed on Sam all the time. Have a thing for mules and we got along just fine.

20150308-horse04.jpg

Heading home. The end of the trail for both of us - for today...

From Reason:

Fresh Out of Bankruptcy, City Announces Multimillion-Dollar Housing Project
A judge may have approved the bankruptcy reorganization plan for Stockton, California, but he forgot to cut up the city's credit card.

Just a week out of Chapter 9 bankruptcy and the city is already throwing around the kind of money that landed it in financial ruin in the first place.

City officials announced plans this week to fund a $14 million public and private investment in "affordable" housing units and retail stores, with construction possibly beginning as soon as the end of the month. It's unclear how much will actually be privately funded. 

"The reality is, no matter how compelling an item is, we can only afford what we can afford," Stockton city manager Kurt Wilson said last week, shortly after a federal judge approved the bankruptcy plan. Stockton owes $1.6 billion in unfunded pensions, but apparently the city leadership thinks a shiny new housing project counts as something they can afford.

The article also links to a different post at Reason - this one written by a Stockton resident: 

Stockton's bankruptcy revealed a more fundamental problem. Officials for years had spent money like drunken longshoremen who had wandered away from the city's impressive inland port. They sprung for grandiose downtown redevelopment projects (sports venues, a hotel, entertainment) and lavished public employees with pay packages clocking in at 125 percent of state averages, despite living in a comparatively low-priced town. City workers received what one City Council member called a Lamborghini-style health plan, and police and firefighters could take advantage of a "3 percent at 50" pension formula that allowed them to retire at age 50 with 90 percent or more of their final pay.

Progressives never learn from their mistakes.

Stupid criminal of the day

| No Comments

From the San Diego, CA Union-Tribune:

Accidental 911 call leads deputies to pot
An Alpine man who didn’t realize he’d called 911 on his cellphone let a sheriff’s dispatcher in on his conversation about a drug lab and plans to lure a deputy into a fight or a pursuit, authorities said Tuesday.

Deputies traced the call to a home on Lobelia Road and found 93 marijuana plants inside and outdoors, sheriff’s Sgt. Kirk Thomson said. Three men there were arrested.

“They vehemently denied calling 911 until we called his phone back, and showed him on his phone where he had called us,” Thomson said. “Then the expletives flew.”

What happened:

The trio were driving through Alpine about 11:30 p.m. Monday when they spotted a deputy in his marked patrol car parked on Victoria Drive. The deputy was eating yogurt, but his presence made the three nervous, Thomson said.

“When people are on meth there is a lot of paranoia,” Thomson said.

Coincidentally, one of the men pushed a programmed button on his cellphone that called 911 without him knowing it. A dispatcher overheard men talking about narcotics and items used to make “honey oil,” slang for hash oil extracted from marijuana. They also talked about returning to the deputy to get him into a fight or a 100 mph chase, Thomson said.

They drove to the home on Lobelia, nearly a half-mile away from where the deputy was, and seconds later the phone was shut off, Thomson said. Deputies traced the phone through a nearby cellphone tower right to the trio’s door. About 75 young marijuana plants were found indoors and nearly 20 more were on a patio and in a greenhouse.

Heh - not just paranoia, it's rampant stupidity in play here.

Tip of the hat to Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man for the link.

Horsing around

| No Comments

Bill, the previous owner of Rocky and Sam is coming over this afternoon to work with us on saddling the horse and mule and doing some riding.

Out to the store first to run a few errands.

Nice lazy day today - the weather is gorgeous and it is already up to 58°F

Ho Li Crap - 65X optical zoom

| No Comments

The new Canon SX-60 has a lens with a 65X zoom ratio. Here is a quick video showing just how extreme this is:

 

This is the equivalent of a 21-1365mm lens on a standard 35mm camera. I prefer shooting with prime lenses (no zoom capability) as they offer better image quality and resolution for a lower price but still, this is incredible optical design.

Cuttlefish

| No Comments

I am fascinated by critters that can change their appearance - squid, octopi and cuttle fish are masters at this. Commonly used for disguise, it is also used for hunting:

 

Out in public

| No Comments

We had the Water Cooperative Annual General Meeting this morning. Got a quorum of attendees but it was close. Today is a gorgeous day with temps in the low 60's and people were enjoying themselves too much to spend an hour indoors at a meeting

After the meeting, we went out to the town of Lynden to attend the annual Home and Garden show - got some seeds (sweet peas) and leads for plant sources for this spring. Lots of people in attendance.

Back home, rest for a bit and then do some work outside.

Joe Biden on climate change

| No Comments

Classic Plugs - from Huffington Post:

Biden: Denying Climate Change 'Like Denying Gravity'
Vice President Joe Biden took a strong stance against climate change deniers in an interview with VICE founder Shane Smith.

The interview is part of VICE's documentary series, which airs on HBO and is premiering its third season on Friday. The first episode, titled "Our Rising Oceans," will focus on sea level rise.

"It gets to the point where you can't look anyone in the eye seriously and say, well, it's nothing having to do with manmade," he said.

Reacting to members of Congress who deny climate change is real, Biden said, "It's almost like denying gravity now... the willing suspension of disbelief can only be sustained for so long."

Never let those pesky facts intrude on a great narrative. What a maroon!

6:17 of pure comedic gold

A quiet day at the farm

| No Comments

Went out for coffee and then did some photocopying for tomorrow's Annual General Meeting of our Water Cooperative. I have been president for the last five years - fun and we have excellent water! Coliform? What's that?

Lulu is in town but coming out to the farm in an hour or two - it's her birthday today so we are doing fresh Ahi Hawai'ian style (lightly seared, served with rice and bok choy sautéed in sesame oil and oyster sauce) I'm baking her a lemon meringue pie for desert.

Woke up and found Rocky (horse) pacing in the paddock with Sam (mule) outside blithely munching on the fresh grass shoots. Fixed the hole in the fence and got him back inside. I had gotten a price quote for a fence around the entire property but it was double what I was expecting to pay (I was estimating $10-12K - the bid was $21K) - on to plan B...

More later

From CNBC:

Lew to Congress: US hits debt limit on March 16, needs to be raised ASAP
Unless Congress takes action, the U.S. will hit its debt limit on Mar. 16, but would begin taking "extraordinary measures" to finance the government on a temporary basis, according to the U.S. Treasury.

In a Friday morning letter to House Speaker John Boehner and other House and Senate leaders, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said that his office will be forced to suspend the issuance of State and Local Government Series securities on Mar. 13 unless the debt limit is decreased.

"Accordingly, I respectfully ask Congress to raise the debt limit as soon as possible," Lew wrote in his letter.

How about we just stop spending so damn much money on idiotic things. Cut back the IRS, EPA and several departments. Our foreign aid spending is over the top - we are giving money to nations who are not our friends. Cut taxes and grow the economy so more people will be back in the workforce.

Chappie is a must-see for me.

And then, there is this one: Mr. Holmes

 

Good news from Iraq

| No Comments

This came in over the transom:

The U.S. Marines just rescued 34 ISIS sex slaves

20150305-isis.jpg

Momo who? Invented instant Ramen.

From Vox:

How Momofuku Ando invented instant ramen — and transformed Japanese cuisine
Momofuku Ando, who invented ramen instant noodles, would have celebrated his 105th birthday today. In addition to inspiring hip restaurants (and Google Doodles), he earned the adoration of a nation. In a 2000 poll, Japanese respondents said instant ramen was the country's top invention of the 20th century.

Ando died at 96 in January 2007, but his legacy endures — not least due to the widespread popularity of his most famous invention.

I have certainly consumed my share of them. Tasty and quick to cook.

Rodham actually - her brother.

From Breitbart:

Gold Mine: Hillary Clinton’s Brother Granted Super-Rare Mining Permit from Haiti After State Dept. Sent Country Billions
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s brother, Tony Rodham, sat on the board of a self-described mining company that in 2012 received one of only two “gold exploitation permits” from the Haitian government—the first issued in over 50 years.

The tiny North Carolina company, VCS Mining, also included on its board Bill Clinton’s co-chair of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), former Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive.

The Rodham gold mine revelation is just one of dozens featured in a forthcoming bombshell investigative book by three-time New York Times bestselling author Peter Schweizer, according to a Thursday statement from publishing giant HarperCollins.  The publisher says the book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, is the culmination of an exhaustive one-year deep dive investigation into the nexus between the Clintons’ $100+ million personal wealth, the Clinton Foundation, and the decisions Hillary made as Secretary of State that benefited foreign donors, governments, and companies.

VCS’s coveted gold mining exploitation permit was apparently such a sweetheart deal that it outraged the Haitian senate, since royalties to be paid to the Haitian government were only 2.5%, a sum mining experts say is at least half the standard rate. Moreover, the mining project in Morne Bossa came with a generous ability to renew the project for up to 25 years. Nevertheless, the fledgling company proudly touted its luck in landing the deal.

 Looking forward to the book - the Clinton's are about as dirty as they come. Anyone else would be serving serious time in jail - for Tony, this is a resume enhancer.

Off to town - Lulu's birthday

| No Comments

Got the critters taken care of and then doing a quick run into town to get a present and stuff for dinner. Lulu's B-Day is tomorrow.

Our water board annual general meeting is the next day - Saturday - so calling a bunch of the members to remind them this afternoon.

 

Zac Brown song is here: Colder Weather - great song and video.

Nothing much tonight

| No Comments

Working on a community website and downloading some software for the upcoming trip.

Been doing a lot of time-lapse photography and looking to do sunrise/set and star photography on our travels through the Southwest. Learning Stelarium and The Photographer's Ephemeris

I already have one of the Samsung Android tablets that Costco sells and am installing TPE and some camera control software on this device and Stelarium on my laptop.

Quick trip into town to return some stuff at Lowe's (their prices have been creeping up a lot lately compared to Home Depot) and checking in on my Mom and Dad's condo (they are both deceased but I am remodeling it and will be using it as a home base to eBay a lot of their stuff). I have plenty of cardboard shipping boxes (1,200+) from my 'Business Center' flop.

Very cool news from the SciFi front

| No Comments

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Bryan Singer Tackling Sci-Fi Classic 'The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress' for Fox (Exclusive)
Bryan Singer is tackling an adaptation of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, based on the classic sci-fi book by Robert A. Heinlein. Twentieth Century Fox recently picked up the movie rights.

Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim will adapt the book for the project, which will be titled Uprising. Singer is producing with Lloyd Braun of Whalerock Industries and Thor Halvorssen. Executive producers are Andrew Mittman and Jason Taylor.

Heinlein's 1966 sci-fi novel centers on about a lunar colony's revolt against rule from Earth. The novel was nominated for the 1966 Nebula award (honoring the best sci-fi and fantasy work in the U.S.) and won the Hugo Award for best science fiction novel in 1967.

A great story and relevant to today's politics. Looking forward to it!

Just finished watching his speech last night. He really is the Winston Churchill of our time and Obama is the Neville Chamberlain - war is looming and Obama has this delusional idea that his administration alone can negotiate with the forces of Islam.

 

Michael Ramirez sums it up perfectly:

 

20150304-bibi.jpg

Hillary's email problems

| No Comments

Hillary seems to have taken note of Lois Lerner's email problems and decided to side-step the issue by hosting her own email server.

From Business Insider:

Hillary's emails are on a homebrew server registered to a pseudonym
The computer server that transmitted and received Hillary Clinton's emails — on a private account she used exclusively for official business when she was secretary of state — traced back to an internet service registered to her family's home in Chappaqua, New York, according to internet records reviewed by The Associated Press.

The highly unusual practice of a Cabinet-level official physically running her own email would have given Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, impressive control over limiting access to her message archives.

Not surprised - these people are not stupid, just corrupt and power hungry.

Freedom of Information Act doesn't apply to them - laws for thee and not for me.

Sir Spamalot

| 1 Comment

Been having a sudden uptick in email spam these days - this morning was exceptional with 51 legitimate incoming emails and 136 SPAM.

Needless to say, 90% of these were captured by my filter and it was the matter of a mouseclick to permanently banning the IP and sender information.

Renaming the mule

| No Comments

Our horse and mule were named (respectively) Rocky - an Appaloosa/Morgan cross and Sam the mule (Samuel).

Sam has now been christened Bullwinkle.

Also on the animal front, we have a pair of juvenile Bald Eagles hanging around the property. Lulu noticed them early this morning and they were still here in the early afternoon. They will be great to keep the rodents down.

Also, we had the first contractor visit and take measurements for some new fencing. Compare bids and take it from there.

A physics two-fer

| No Comments

Physics is Phun!

First - from the UK Telegraph:

Homer Simpson 'discovered the Higgs boson'
Homer Simpson predicted the mass of the Higgs boson in a 1998 episode of The Simpsons, according to a science writer.

In The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace episode, Homer is shown in front of a blackboard working on an equation.

Twelve years later, scientists at the Large Hadron Collider discovered the Higgs boson.

A bit more - from Science author Simon Singh:

"That equation predicts the mass of the Higgs boson. If you work it out, you get the mass of a Higgs boson that's only a bit larger than the nano-mass of a Higgs boson actually is.

"It's kind of amazing as Homer makes this prediction 14 years before it was discovered."

 A perfectly cromulent show!

Second from the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of...):

Physicists gear up to catch a gravitational wave
This patch of woodland just north of Livingston, Louisiana, population 1893, isn’t the first place you’d go looking for a breakthrough in physics. Standing on a small overpass that crosses an odd arching tunnel, Joseph Giaime, a physicist at Louisiana State University (LSU), 55 kilometers west in Baton Rouge, gestures toward an expanse of spindly loblolly pine, parts of it freshly reduced to stumps and mud. “It’s a working forest,” he says, “so they come in here to harvest the logs.” On a quiet late fall morning, it seems like only a logger or perhaps a hunter would ever come here.

Yet it is here that physicists may fulfill perhaps the most spectacular prediction of Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity, or general relativity. The tunnel runs east to west for 4 kilometers and meets a similar one running north to south in a nearby warehouselike building. The structures house the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), an ultrasensitive instrument that may soon detect ripples in space and time set off when neutron stars or black holes merge.

This would be a major discovery if they find them. More:

Einstein himself predicted the existence of such gravitational waves nearly a century ago. But only now is the quest to detect them coming to a culmination. The device in Livingston and its twin in Hanford, Washington, ran from 2002 to 2010 and saw nothing. But those Initial LIGO instruments aimed only to prove that the experiment was technologically feasible, physicists say. Now, they’re finishing a $205 million rebuild of the detectors, known as Advanced LIGO, which should make them 10 times more sensitive and, they say, virtually ensure a detection. “It’s as close to a guarantee as one gets in life,” says Peter Saulson, a physicist at Syracuse University in New York, who works on LIGO. 

They are using optical interferometry - great for tiny measurements but very sensitive to external vibration. It will be interesting to see if they get a positive signal. 

What energy crisis?

From Yahoo/Associated Press:

US running out of room to store oil; price collapse next?
The U.S. has so much crude that it is running out of places to put it, and that could drive oil and gasoline prices even lower in the coming months.

For the past seven weeks, the United States has been producing and importing an average of 1 million more barrels of oil every day than it is consuming. That extra crude is flowing into storage tanks, especially at the country's main trading hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, pushing U.S. supplies to their highest point in at least 80 years, the Energy Department reported last week.

If this keeps up, storage tanks could approach their operational limits, known in the industry as "tank tops," by mid-April and send the price of crude — and probably gasoline, too — plummeting.

"The fact of the matter is we are running out of storage capacity in the U.S.," Ed Morse, head of commodities research at Citibank, said at a recent symposium at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

That will put a crimp in the Russians and the Saudis. Good.

Now let's build the damn Keystone XL and really have a glut of cheap energy. This would be a major boost to our economy and employment.

Great Geico ad

I do not know who does their advertising but they are fantastic

Here is a new one

 

A wiff of fowl play - alt.energy

| No Comments

From Los Angeles Public Television station KCET:

Scores of Birds Killed During Test of Solar Project in Nevada
A test of a solar power tower project in Nevada resulted in injuries to over one hundred birds, the federal government is reporting, though the project's owners say they've fixed the problem.

On January 14, during tests of the 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project near Tonopah, Nevada, biologists observed 130 birds entering an area of concentrated solar energy and catching fire. That's according to Rudy Evenson, Deputy Chief of Communications for Nevada Bureau of Land Management in Reno.

Evenson suggested that the birds may have been attracted by a glow the concentrated solar energy created above the project's sole tower.

Fixed the problem? Some more:

By the time the test ended for the day at 3:00 p.m., biologists had counted 130 such "streamers." A subsequent test on January 15 reduced the number of mirrors aimed at the focal point above the tower, said Evenson, and that apparently ended the injuries to birds.

SolarReserve has confirmed to Rewire that birds were injured at the plant in January, but says that the mitigation measures Evenson described have allowed subsequent testing of the plant with less risk to wildlife -- which the company is touting as good news for management of power tower wildlife issues.

"We had some avian incidents during the week of January 11, in which there were a number of incidents, estimated at under 150 avian safety issues," SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith told Rewire. "As a result, we stopped testing until we successfully developed mitigation procedures to address the identified avian safety issues."

Those mitigation procedures, developed by SolarReserve's engineers, include repositioning the plant's mirrors to reduce the intensity of the solar flux field.

So they reduced the bird kill by defocusing the array - their vaunted 110 megawatt output is now much lower. And their cost per megawatt is? Not talked about. All the while, a LFTR could be providing energy 24/7 for much lower cost and be much safer for the environment.

Our early spring

Spring is arriving very early this year - flowers are starting to bloom, trees are budding out and mosquitoes are out in force.

Points south are feeling the effects too - from the Skagit Valley Herald:

With daffodils in bloom, can tulips be far behind?
A mild winter could bring an early bloom for tulips this year, but there’s little concern it will hurt the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, organizers and growers say.

Meanwhile, La Conner is starting the celebration of spring flowers early with its inaugural Daffodil Festival.

But it is not unknown:

“We’ve had early years in the past. Exactly how this year compares to the last 30 or 40 years, we’ll know that when it happens,” Roozen said. “When they will bloom exactly, we don’t know that. Everything kind of follows with the weather.”

The Skagit Valley Bulb Farm, which operates Tulip Town on Bradshaw Road, expects to have tulips blooming by the last weekend of March, said co-owner Jeanette DeGoede. Tulip Town will also open in advance of the Tulip Festival, on March 27, she said.

DeGoede said she doesn’t think an early tulip bloom will affect plans for this year’s festival. The farm usually has multiple bloom times each year, and if anything, an earlier start will allow visitors who show up in early April to see full fields in bloom, she said.

These cycles have come and gone before - high pressure ridge over the West coast. Looking forward to the longer growing season - Lulu planted some stuff today while I was in town shopping.

Fence update

| No Comments

Got replies from three fence companies - first one is out here tomorrow afternoon. Collect bids and take it from there.

Horse and mule are still in their paddock - was just out on the back porch putting part of dinner on the grill and they gave me stink eye again. Are they in for a surprise...

Dinner? Soy and ginger marinated flank steak with grilled onion rings and asparagus. The grill is a Traeger and I am running it with apple wood.

Did not get to sleep until 3:00AM last night - nothing happening, just not sleepy.

Worked my butt off today and feeling nice and sleepy so heading upstairs to bed in a bit.

The Roku box is awesome - only had a few times when the streaming could not keep up. The box gracefully degraded to a lower resolution rather than stuttering - there is some nice software lurking inside...

DirecTV - sorry. At $90/month, you are gone from my house. Also, you were unresponsive to my requests for new channels and limited me to specific channels while giving others for which I had zero interest a free ride. I am already getting broadband and Amazon Prime for my business so instead of movies and some shows for $90/month, I get more with Lulu's $8/month Netflix (streaming only - no DVD delivery) and my $99/year Amazon Prime. Bad business model, no donut.

Shopping run tomorrow.

Working at the farm

| No Comments

Forecast was for a 40% chance of rain but it was cool and overcast all day - perfect day for shoveling shit.

Literally - got the critter barn almost all mucked out and there is a pile of poop and straw compost about eight feet tall outside the garden. Not for this year - still a bit hot with ammonia - but it will be amazing next.

Horse and Mule are in their paddock giving us stink-eye. The fence there is electrified.

Lulu just fixed a late lunch - some sandwiches and soup for us - have dinner (spaghetti) in two hours or so.

Got a lot done today...

From Space News:

20-year-old Military Weather Satellite Apparently Exploded in Orbit
A 20-year-old military weather satellite apparently exploded in orbit Feb. 3 following what the U.S. Air Force described as a sudden temperature spike.

The “catastrophic event” produced 43 pieces of space debris, according to Air Force Space Command, which disclosed the loss of the satellite Feb. 27 in response to questions from SpaceNews.

More at the site - the satellite had reached its end of life and was not really contributing any usable data.

What better target for someone to say: Look what we can do and aren't you glad we hit an old military satellite instead of a shiny new one...

Well crap - what fence line

| No Comments

We walked the fence line and it is totally porous - horse and llama tracks and poop on either side.

Time to call in some professionals and get a tall barbed wire fence put in around the property - there are parts that are inaccessible so those will not be fenced but the main 20 acre pasture - hell yeah...

Trying to fix what is there would be like trying to use JB Weld to fix the Titanic - not going to happen...

Lulu is outside planting tulips and I ducked in for the key to Buttercup - she needs a load of topsoil.

April 2017

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30            

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


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


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


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


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


Business and Economics
The Austrian Economists
Carpe Diem
Coyote Blog


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


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


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

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2015 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2015 is the previous archive.

April 2015 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Pages

OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID
Powered by Movable Type 5.2.9