July 2016 Archives

A sea-change - Islam and France

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Seems like some genuinely peaceful Muslims are standing up to their terrorist brethren. From FOX News:

French Muslims refuse to bury terrorist who killed Catholic priest
Muslims have refused to bury one of the terrorists who murdered a French Catholic priest this week as he celebrated Mass.

Community leaders in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy said they did not want to "taint" Islam by having any association with Adel Kermiche, the 19-year-old jihadist who killed Father Jacques Hamel in his hometown in northern France.

Mohammed Karabila, president of the local Muslim cultural association and imam of one of the town's mosques, told Le Parisien newspaper: "We're not going to taint Islam with this person. We won't participate in preparing the body or the burial."

Good. An Islamic funeral (Janazah) involves the body being washed, wrapped in white cotton or linen cloth, a prayer and then burial with head pointing towards Mecca. For them to not do this will send a very strong message to future terrorist scumbags. Glad to see people standing up to this kind of insanity.

From security expert Brian Krebs:

Would You Use This ATM?
One basic tenet of computer security is this: If you can’t vouch for a networked thing’s physical security, you cannot also vouch for its cybersecurity. That’s because in most cases, networked things really aren’t designed to foil a skilled and determined attacker who can physically connect his own devices. So you can imagine my shock and horror seeing a Cisco switch and wireless antenna sitting exposed atop of an ATM out in front of a bustling grocery store in my hometown of Northern Virginia.

I’ve long warned readers to avoid stand-alone ATMs in favor of wall-mounted and/or bank-operated ATMs. In many cases, thieves who can access the networking cables of an ATM are hooking up their own sniffing devices to grab cash machine card data flowing across the ATM network in plain text.

But I’ve never before seen a setup quite this braindead. Take a look:

20160731-atm.jpg

Brian goes into a lot more detail - also, check the comments section, some real horror stories. Stick with actual bank or credit union ATMs installed in a wall.

Living in interesting times - China

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A thoughtful piece by Harry Kazianis at Asia Times:

Why China will hold its fire in the South China Sea — until September
Over at the Washington Post, acclaimed columnist David Ignatius takes on the always tumultuous tides roiling the South China Sea. Ignatius points out the scope of Beijing’s defeat in the recent international court case brought by Manila, noting that while most that follow professionally this important part of the world were of the collective mind China would lose in some fashion, but no one (myself included) thought Beijing would lose so badly. Score one for the “rules-based international order.”

But it’s what happens next that is key. And to be clear, China will respond — and respond with a vengeance.

However, as Ignatius points out, at least for now, while Beijing has only stepped up the rhetoric and seems content to take selfies of its bombers over what could be its next island reclamation project in the South China Sea, the hotly contested Scarborough Shoal, China is not exactly in a position to respond — at least not right now. But come September, the timing could not be any better for what could be a big reaction that the world might not even notice.

Harry then brings up two points:

Remember, Beijing is set to host the G-20 Summit for the first time on September 4-5 in the city of Hangzhou. Always looking to enhance its status as a rising superpower as well as play the part that China is the ultimate partner nation and never one to start trouble, Beijing will follow a carefully well scripted playbook in the South China Sea — lots of fiery talk and signaling, but no escalatory steps for the time being.

Aaaand:

Even if China were to declare a South China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) or start reclamation work at Scarborough Shoal, there is a good chance it would get much less coverage when the world is following the every tweet, speech and controversy over the race for the White House. So for China, that might just be the best time to pounce, when the world’s collective gaze is simply somewhere else.

Obama?

It might also feel it could get away with a little more drama now against an Obama administration that wants to leave its time in office not embroiled in a crisis in Asia.

Harry raises a couple very interesting thoughts. Wonder what this will do to the price of iPhones? Best to get that Chinese-made gadget now - November might find a much higher price.

I loved living in Boston when I was in college but that was back in the 1970's and things have changed a lot. Despite its conservative heritage, the state has turned into one of the more big-government, high tax, progressive members of our republic and continues down that path with reckless abandon.

This article on gun control from the Boston Herald:

Maura Healey steps up ban on military-looking rifles
Attorney General Maura Healey stepped up the ban on military-looking rifles yesterday, prompting licensed gun enthusiasts to flood gun shops on what they believed might be the last day to buy AR-style guns here.

Healey issued a notice to all gun sellers and manufacturers in Massachusetts banning guns which appear like the Colt AR-15 and the Kalishnikov AK-47, but have been altered by manufacturers to conform to Massachusetts’ ban on adjustable stocks, high-capacity magazines and other features. An estimated 10,000 so-called “copycat” assault weapons were sold in Massachusetts last year alone, Healey’s office said.

A bit more and some pesky numbers to harsh your mellow:

Cyndi Roy-Gonzalez, spokeswoman for Healey, said the office did not consider how many shootings in Massachusetts have been carried out with assault-style rifles, but insisted the ban is an effective anti-violence measure.

According to FBI statistics, rifles of any variety were used in just two of the Bay State’s 779 murders in the past five years, which were mainly carried out with handguns. In that same period, hands and feet were cited as the murder weapon 35 times.

OK - two murders with the scary black military-looking rifles and 35 murders with hands and feet. It is not about saving lives, it is about control. It is harder to snipe a politician with a pistol from 300 yards than with a rifle.

And a tip of the hat to Irons in the Fire for the link.

Back home - water board meeting

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Had a good and quick meeting tonight and then home again.

There is a large telephone switch in our little mountain hamlet - great because we got broadband DSL way before anyone else around here. It is served by a fiber cable and one of the technicians flagged our water engineer over and showed him one of their underground vaults - filled with water. It seems that this had been the case for a long time. Also, they mentioned that they had problems with their water having low pressure and lots of sediment. Gary spent the next two days digging out and finding the broken pipe. As soon as he fixed it, our missing water went down substantially. About 10,000 gallons per month. Also, the switch building now enjoys clean water at 50 PSI.

Heading into town tomorrow - surf the net for a bit and then an early bedtime.

Viable solar energy is just like nuclear fusion - it has been just around the corner for the last fifty years. From the University of Illinois at Chicago:

Breakthrough solar cell captures CO2 and sunlight, produces burnable fuel
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have engineered a potentially game-changing solar cell that cheaply and efficiently converts atmospheric carbon dioxide directly into usable hydrocarbon fuel, using only sunlight for energy.

The finding is reported in the July 29 issue of Science and was funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. A provisional patent application has been filed.

Unlike conventional solar cells, which convert sunlight into electricity that must be stored in heavy batteries, the new device essentially does the work of plants, converting atmospheric carbon dioxide into fuel, solving two crucial problems at once. A solar farm of such “artificial leaves” could remove significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and produce energy-dense fuel efficiently.

“The new solar cell is not photovoltaic — it’s photosynthetic,” says Amin Salehi-Khojin, assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at UIC and senior author on the study.

Like I said, I thought we already had this covered - I have a couple cords of firewood stacked up for this winter and looking to buy another two or three.

Sarcasm aside, this could be interesting if they can get decent efficiency. If their reaction operates at high temperature (couple hundred degrees), they could use concentrating mirrors and do some real work.

Stupidity in the news - Chernobyl

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First - this from the UK Guardian:

Chernobyl could be reinvented as a solar farm, says Ukraine
The contaminated nuclear wasteland around Chernobyl could be turned into one of the world’s largest solar farms, producing nearly a third of the electricity that the stricken plant generated at its height 30 years ago, according to the Ukrainian government.

And a bit more:

The Ukrainian government said more than 1,000MW of solar and 400MW of other renewable energy could be generated. The nuclear plant had an installed capacity of around 4,000MW.

The advantage of generating renewable power at the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident is that the land is cheap and plentiful, and the sunshine is as strong as in southern Germany. In addition, the grid infrastructure and high-voltage power lines needed to transmit electricity to the national grid remain intact, the presentation added.

Where to start... The installed power infrastructure is a good thing but that equipment has been sitting idle for 30 years and I bet that preventive maintenance has been performed on a regular schedule - NOT!

The thing that really gets me is that Chernobyl is at 51° Longitude - it is far to the North. The middle of Vancouver Island, BC is at 51°. The amount of sunlight is greatly attenuated at those high longitudes. There is a longer daylight during summer but much of it is coming in at a low angle and the energy is absorbed in the atmosphere. There is essentially no useful sunlight during the winter months. As for this comment: "the sunshine is as strong as in southern Germany" - this is a crock of s*it - Munich is in southern Germany and sits at 48.1° Longitude - about the same as Seattle, WA. Those few degrees make a very big difference.

If Ukraine was really serious about this (and not just wanting to hoover up the big bucks from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)), they should locate their plant near the city of Odessa which sits at a much better 46.4° Longitude.

I think my Dog's a Democrat

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Great song from Bryan Lewis:

Congratulations Luke Aikins

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Personally, I do not find the idea of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane attractive but people have their own comfort zone. Godspeed!

A slow morning

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Woke up to overcast skies - showers coming in tomorrow evening with precip for the following couple of days.

Heading out for coffee and working on some proects at home - water board meeting tonight and tractor show later this week.

Those eeevil Koch brothers

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Just all but endorsed Hillary for President. From the New York Times:

Charles Koch Says He Could Possibly Support Hillary Clinton
Charles G. Koch, the billionaire industrialist, suggested in an interview Sunday that he was open to supporting Hillary Clinton for president and said it was possible she would make a better president than her Republican rivals

To all the progressives who have spent their time demonizing the Koch brothers as being the representative of Satan on Earth, you now know what we conservatives know. The Koch brothers are globalists - to them, the idea of a centralized one-world government has them salivating like a rabid dog.

How is that cognitive-dissonance feeling right now?

The representative of Satan on Earth actually bats for your team and not ours.

Great call from the Pope

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For everything that he does to tick me off, he also comes up with great things - from Yahoo:

Pope tells kids to get off their backsides
Pope Francis urged "drowsy and dull kids" to swap their sofas and video games for walking boots on Saturday at an international Catholic youth festival in Poland.

He warned the popular piece of sitting-room furniture gave the illusion of safety from pain, fear or worries, allowing the sitter to kick back and lose themselves for hours in the latest television show or their smartphones.

"For many people it is easier and better to have drowsy and dull kids who confuse happiness with a sofa," he told an estimated one million people gathered at a vigil in a vast plain near Krakow.

"Dear young people, we didn't come into the world to 'vegetate'... We came for another reason: to leave a mark," he said.

"The times we live in do not call for young 'couch potatoes' but for young people with shoes, or better, boots laced."

A big amen to that!!! Out here, people tend to be very active. In the city, not so much - people live lives that are too sedentary. Obesity is a major issue. Just walking a few miles every day or two would go a long way to fix this.

Pope Francis advocates globalism and feels that the islamic terrorists are just a little bit misunderstood and we need to reach out to them more. One these issues I think that he is dead wrong. He also believes in Global Warming - there, he is just being fed bad data from his advisers - Garbage In, Garbage Out. That has been an issue since Galileo

But he hit me first - Russia

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Heh... From the Beeb:

Russia cyber attack: Large hack 'hits government'
A "professional" cyber attack has hit Russian government bodies, the country's intelligence service says.

A "cyber-spying virus" was found in the networks of about 20 organisations, the Federal Security Service (FSB) said.

The report comes as Russia stands accused over data breaches involving the Democratic Party in the US.

The Russian government has denied involvement and has denounced the "poisonous anti-Russian" rhetoric coming out of Washington.

Punching back twice as hard. For 20 organizations to be penetrated, there must be some commonality on how their security is implemented. Passwords are only the first link in a long chain - there are other links that can be weak as well.

And the auction lot just got better

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Not a big fan of that German company but in the lot that I won was a collection of their controllers. A Simatic S7-200 going for about $225 used on Amazon as well as several expansion blocks - an EM-222 relay ($200), an EM231 four-input temperature receiver ($180) and an EM-232 high precision voltage output ($385). I have no use for this so I will flog it on Amazon but keeping the rest - there were a lot of handy terminal blocks, a dozen little relays, two large contactor switches (already planning to use them on my power hammer) and a bunch of circuit breakers that are DC rated - dibs on them for my solar panel battery charger.

The box this all came in will become my new EMP-proof storage locker to hold backup ham radio equipment and other electronic devices. Not if, when.

Dinner in a few minutes - ham with oven-roasted red potatoes and onions. The ham was pre-cooked but warming it up sous-vide so it doesn't dry out in the oven or get that funky microwave meat texture.

There is a Canadian auction company - Ritchie Brothers. I like them just as much as I like James G. Murphy. They run a clean auction with no shilling and they usually are selling interesting stuff.

Check out this listing:

One of the biggest-ever items in Ritchie Bros.' inventory: a 1,200-person work camp
In Ritchie Bros.' 55+ years in business, we've sold a lot of seriously big heavy equipment items, trucks, and more – everything from massive bucket wheel excavators, front shovels, rock trucks, and other massive mining equipment to ships, barges, and huge cranes.

But nothing really comes close in sheer physical size to this unique asset we're selling by private treaty: a 1,200-person workforce accommodation camp located approximately 50km north east of Peace River, AB, Canada.

A camp with all the bells and whistles.
Imagine a camp the size of a small town, but with all the modern conveniences of the big city: full-service dining, medical clinic, modern living suites, bar/lounge and recreation suites, and wireless internet.

This work camp has a fully-equipped gym complex complete with indoor running track, squash courts, weights and aerobic equipment. The camp even has its own power and utilities system. Take a virtual tour in the video below.

And the kicker is that you are not buying the property - from the listing:

Note: Buyer's responsibility includes dismantling entirety of workforce accommodation. Buyer assumes full responsibility for load out, any scrapping of workforce accommodation equipment or materials and transportation for scrapping and/or relocation to final destination for the workforce accommodation. Note: pile foundations are not included with the workforce accommodation, however, may be purchased separately.

The buyer has to move the entire facility. I cannot imagine the loss the original owners must be taking on this - they probably have loan payments on the construction costs otherwise, they could hold onto it until the oil prices inevitably rise again.

Peace River is about 200 miles Northwest of Edmonton which is itself about 200 miles due North of the border with the USA. It is about the same Latitude as Ketchikan, Alaska.

Ho Li Crap - quite the guitar

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Description from the luthier and then music (starting at 3:00)

Luthier: Linda Manzer Musician: Henrik Andersen

As the pendulum swings - Germany

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel made the news two days ago when she said that despite the terrorist attacks in Germany, she was planning on letting in more immegrants - from the UK Express:

Merkel admits EU is being RAVAGED BY TERROR but says Germany should welcome MORE refugees

Her constituants are not happy about this - from The London Daily Mail:

Merkel on the ropes: Thousands of German protesters take to the streets saying she 'Must Go' and a key coalition ally withdraws support to open-door immigration policy after terror attacks
Merkel's premiership is hanging by a thread today as thousands gathered to call for her resignation while a key political ally dramatically withdrew his support over immigration policy.

More than 5,000 protested in Berlin and thousands more throughout Germany over the 'open-door' policy that many have blamed for four brutal terrorist attacks that left 13 dead over the last month.

The Chancellor faced a fresh wave of fury after it emerged that two recent terror attacks and a third killing were carried out by men who entered the country as refugees.

Good - nobody is doing anything to find out who these people are, what their personal history is. The real people being victimized in Syria are the Christians and the Yazidis. Some of them are coming over but the great majority (90% or more) of the so-called refugees are Muslim men who want nothing more than to live on the dole and wage jihad against the great Satan.

And that is it for the night

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Read through about 80% of the internet today. The political crap is just the same dull reverberating thud regardless of who is on stage - all talking-points and no real data. I wish that November was here already. Makes me wish there was a nearby cave to hole up in for a few months.

Speaking of nasty bugs - Anthrax

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From the UK Sun:

'DANGEROUS INFECTION' Russian biological warfare troops rushed to Arctic after outbreak of lethal anthrax hospitalises 40
Biological warfare troops have been rushed to the Russian Arctic amid growing concerns over a serious anthrax outbreak.

A total of 40 people – more than half of them children – are now hospitalised amid fears they may have contracted the deadly infection.

This follows the death of 1,200 reindeer suspected of contracting the disease after a contaminated corpse –  buried at least 70 years ago – thawed because of a heatwave in the Yamal peninsula in northern Siberia.

Someone is doing something they should not be doing:

The concern follows an outbreak of the Bubonic Plague in the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia earlier this month.

Especially nasty as if it encounters hard conditions, it will encapsulate itself and go dormant until conditions are favorable again. As you can read in the third paragraph, 70 years is not uncommon.

First became a major outbreak in January of 2016 in Recife, Brazil and infected mothers frequently give birth to children with microcephaly - a pinhead. It was initially thought that a larvicide was responsible but the evidence is now overwhelming that it is the virus itself causing the birth defects.

Meanwhile, it is spreading North and has hit Florida and Puerto Rico. From Bloomberg:

Zika Cases Likely Transmitted Locally in U.S. for the First Time, Officials Say
U.S. health officials said Friday that four cases of Zika virus were transmitted locally by mosquitoes in Miami, the first evidence of the virus spreading that way in the continental U.S.

Previous cases have been caused by travel to affected areas or sexual contact with an infected person, and the report from Florida suggests that outbreaks of the virus could become common in some parts of the country, rather than just being imported from abroad.

And from USA Today:

CDC: Zika could affect 10,000 pregnancies in Puerto Rico by year's end
The Zika virus could affect up to 10,000 pregnant women in Puerto Rico this year, putting hundreds of babies at risk of catastrophic birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Zika is spreading so quickly on the island that it's likely to infect one in four people by the end of the year, CDC director Thomas Frieden said. The greatest danger from Zika is microcephaly, in which infants are born with abnormally small heads and incomplete brain development, he said.

If there was only a safe, potent insecticide that killed these mosquitoes but did not harm mammal or avian life. DDT? But that is a broad-spectrum killer chemical! Not at all - the banning of DDT was a political maneuver and not a scientific one. Yes, we were marinating in the stuff and there were problems with bird shells but overall, it is one of the safest insecticides known to man. The people advocating its continuous ban are sentencing 2,000,000 people to die each year from Malaria. DDT is the perfect weapon against the mosquitoes carrying Zika. If we instituted a scientific spraying program, we could wipe out Malaria and Zika and all other mosquito-borne illnesses in under five years.

The idea that we are spending trillions of dollars on a vaccine as opposed to spraying is unreal.

For more information on DDT, read here, here, here, and here, here and here. The hype against it is that bad.

I know that brand continuity is important but this is taking things a little too far:

20160729-cans.jpg

Black & Gold is an Australian affiliate of the global IGA grocery stores

The state of mind Oregon

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From The Oregonian and yes, they are that strange and quirky:

In a first, Oregon State Fair to feature marijuana plants
The Oregon State Fair celebrates oddities like the "curviest vegetable" and the "most misshapen fruit." Fairgoers can marvel over award-winning onions and pumpkins and snap photos of the top pig and llama.

This year, the state fair is adding a new attraction: prize-winning marijuana plants. For the first time, Oregon's marijuana crop will be on display at the annual event, which runs Aug. 26 through Sept. 5.

Don Morse, chairman of the Oregon Cannabis Business Council, the sponsor of the marijuana exhibit, said nine plants will be displayed in a greenhouse that will have its own entrance and exit. The area will be monitored by a security guard. Only people 21 and older will be allowed in.

It is a cash crop and now a legal cash crop.

As soon as I saw these in the box that I won, I knew they would be useful.

I scored two brand new Alitvar ATV variable speed drives - this little pack of electronics mojo will take 120 volts in from the wall and spit out 220 volts 3-phase. The neat thing is that it is not limited to the standard 60Hz frequency. It will run from zero to 400Hz - quite the rage. I can get a 3-phase motor and because this is outputting the full voltage at whatever speed I select, I get full torque from the motor (except at the far extremes of operation). It also supports ramping so when I turn it on, it will start slow and proceed to full speed in 15 seconds or so - that way, if the belt is torn or something is jammed, I can hit the E-Stop button and kill it before things get hairy.

For bladesmithing, this is a perfect driver for a belt grinder. I can remove large amounts of metal with a coarse grit belt at low speed and polish with a very fine grit buff at high speed.

The big unit will support up to a 1Hp motor and the little one up to 1/2 Hp. There is also a large programmable logic controller from that German company whose products I do not like that much. A PLC will have a number of inputs and outputs and you program it through your PC. Just as an example, when inputs A and B come high, count off 35 seconds, bring output A high, count off another 15 seconds and bring output B from three to ten volts. You can actually run some pretty complex scenarios. Oh well - this unit has been expanded a lot and is probably worth something to someone. None of this stuff has been used as a number of the inputs and outputs have not been connected. It is like the company shut down in the middle of this project. Their loss, my gain.

The box by itself is fully shielded and will be a great storage box for my backup radio equipment in case of an EMP.

Stuff people have to think about

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GPS is easy - just turn it on and you know exactly where you are. Not so fast. From C|Net:

Australia has moved 1.5 metres, so it's updating its location for self-driving cars
Australia is changing from "down under" to "down under and across a bit".

The country is shifting its longitude and latitude to fix a discrepancy with global satellite navigation systems. Government body Geoscience Australia is updating the Geocentric Datum of Australia, the country's national coordinate system, to bring it in line with international data.

The reason Australia is slightly out of whack with global systems is that the country moves about 7 centimetres (2.75 inches) per year due to the shifting of tectonic plates.

Since 1994, when the data was last recorded, that's added up to a misalignment of about a metre and a half.

While that might not seem like much, various new technology requires location data to be pinpoint accurate. Self-driving cars, for example, must have infinitesimally precise location data to avoid accidents. Drones used for package delivery and driverless farming vehicles also require spot-on information.

A meter and a half is a big distance when you are using GPS systems for surveying roads, piloting aircraft, etc...

I love it - Hillary hacked again

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Could not have happened to a nicer bunch of people - from Reuters:

Exclusive: Clinton campaign also hacked in attacks on Democrats - sources
The computer network used by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign was hacked as part of a broad cyber attack on Democratic political organizations, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The latest attack, which was disclosed to Reuters on Friday, follows reports of two other hacks on the Democratic National Committee and the party’s fundraising committee for candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives.

It makes me wonder if the inmates are running the asylum - as in Hillary setting up her own email server - or if the level of IT people the FedGov hires is just incompetent. It is not difficult to secure a system. This is the third time in recent weeks.

Just fscking great - from, New Orleans station WDSU:

Venezuela's new decree: Forced farm work for citizens
A new decree by Venezuela's government could make its citizens work on farms to tackle the country's severe food shortages.

That "effectively amounts to forced labor," according to Amnesty International, which derided the decree as "unlawful."

In a vaguely-worded decree, Venezuelan officials indicated that public and private sector employees could be forced to work in the country's fields for at least 60-day periods, which may be extended "if circumstances merit."

"Trying to tackle Venezuela's severe food shortages by forcing people to work the fields is like trying to fix a broken leg with a band aid," Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas' Director at Amnesty International, said in a statement.

President Nicolas Maduro is using his executive powers to declare a state of economic emergency. By using a decree, he can legally circumvent Venezuela's opposition-led National Assembly -- the Congress -- which is staunchly against all of Maduro's actions.

A bit more:

It is a potent sign of tough conditions in Venezuela, which is grappling with the lack of basic food items like milk, eggs and bread. People wait hours in lines outsides supermarkets to buy groceries and often only see empty shelves.

And Beer and Toilet Paper - more:

Venezuela once had a robust agricultural sector. But under its socialist regime, which began with Hugo Chavez in 1999, the oil-rich country started importing more food and invested less in agriculture. Nearly all of Venezuela's revenue from exports comes from oil.

Segue back to 1958 - from Rutgers University:

Mao and The Great Leap Forward
The death toll amassed by Mao and his regime range from forty- to seventy-million, eclipsing the Jewish victims of Hitler’s Holocaust by a factor of six to eleven times. Nine years after seizing power, Mao instituted “The Great Leap Forward,” a socioeconomic plan designed to transform China’s agrarian socioeconomic culture towards an industrialized one. The program, which was grounded upon the Marxian prescription for the advancement of industrial technology, yielded the deaths of twenty to forty-three million.

Riding the coattails of the successful collectivization of 1955-1956 and the plentiful harvest of 1957, Mao announced a five-year plan (i.e., The Great Leap Forward) to the People’s Commune in 1958. Mao continually increased the agricultural production quotas due to early bountiful yield of crops. Whereas the early bounties were produced by sound pre-Maoist agricultural methods, the farming methods imposed by Mao, which included natural collectivization— growing incompatible seeds together—, were an unmitigated disaster that led to mass starvation. The five-year program, which only lasted three years, ended in utter catastrophe, inducing a famine that produced an estimated twenty to forty-three million deaths. This manmade famine was a result of Chairman Mao and his commissars implementing policies based on their ignorant notions of farm production. Mao was under the false impression that nature could be run in a non-symbiotic fashion. Indeed, Mao once quipped that “Happy plants grow together.” It was this utopian naivety that grounded Mao’s five-year project, and the manmade famine that followed.

TL;DR? Socialism has never worked successfully. It cannot balance the budget. The only times people have been able to point to a successful socialist government is when there have been initial large surpluses in resources and budget. Once those are drained to pay for Bread and Circuses, everything falls apart. Except for the elite - they will always prosper because they know what is best for The People.

Meanwhile our National Debt is just under $20 trillion dollars. It was $10.6 Trillion when he took office eight years ago. Double.

Happy SysAdmin day

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17th Annual in fact - from their website: SysAdmin Day:

July 29, 2016 – 17th Annual
System Administrator Appreciation Day
Your network is secure, your computer is up and running, and your printer is jam-free. Why? Because you’ve got an awesome sysadmin (or maybe a whole IT department) keeping your business up and running. So say IT loud; say IT proud …

Happy SysAdmin Day!

Wait… what exactly is SysAdmin Day? Oh, it’s only the single greatest 24 hours on the planet… and pretty much the most important holiday of the year. It’s also the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to the heroic men and women who, come rain or shine, prevent disasters, keep IT secure and put out tech fires left and right.

At this point, you may be thinking, “Great. I get it. My sysadmin is a rock star. But now what?” Glad you asked! Proper observation of SysAdmin Day includes (but is not limited to):

    • Cake & Ice cream
    • Pizza
    • Cards
    • Gifts
    • Words of gratitude
    • Custom t-shirts celebrating the epic greatness of your SysAdmin(s)
    • Balloons
    • Streamers
    • Confetti

I can do without the confetti or the Pizza (allergic to cheeze) but it is a wonderful holiday!

You are welcome!

Late start today

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Could not fall asleep last night - finally took a couple Benedril at 5:00AM and got a couple hours of fitful rest.

Heading out for coffee and then working at home today. Brisket for dinner!

The DNC's American Flag problem

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Remember this story: About those flags at the Democratic National Convention

Here is one of them in action:

You are having a rough time politically when even your own nation's flag tries to take you down.

And that is it for the night

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Working on some other stuff and nothing much on the internet. More spew after coffee tomorrow.

From The Daily Caller - a two-fer:

Shot:

EXCLUSIVE: IRS Launches Investigation Of Clinton Foundation
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen referred congressional charges of corrupt Clinton Foundation “pay-to-play” activities to his tax agency’s exempt operations office for investigation, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

The request to investigate the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation on charges of “public corruption” was made in a July 15 letter by 64 House Republicans to the IRS, FBI and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They charged the foundation is “lawless.”

And Chaser:

These Are The Two Companies That Might Land Clinton’s Foundation In Big Legal Trouble
News recently broke that Hillary Clinton’s foundation is under IRS investigation, and at least part of that investigation centers on two companies.

House Republicans reported that Laureate Education and Uranium One have payed out (in the tens of millions) to the Clinton Foundation and in return have received legitimate government benefits.

The Russian Atomic Energy Agency, Rosatom, purchased in January 2005 a Canadian company — UrAsia — with uranium stakes stretching from Central Asia to Western America, reports the New York Times. This purchase made the Russian agency one of the largest uranium producers in the world.

The Uranium deal is pretty well known, not so much the Laureate Education one:

The other company that could get Hillary into hot water is Laureate International Universities. Laureate hired former President Clinton for $16.5 million dollars over five years to act as their “honorary chancellor.” The company also donated between $1 and $5 million dollars to the Clinton Foundation, according to the foundation’s website.

While Hillary was Secretary of State and Bill was drawing a check from Laureate, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), invested $150 million into the company marking the largest single contribution the IFC has made in education. The largest contributor to the IFC is the US government, which during the same period contributed $55 million to the International Youth Foundation (IYF). Coincidentally, or not, the IYF, IFC, and the Clinton Foundation all participated in foundation programming.

A lot more at each site.

That was a close one - lightning

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SloMo capture from a dashcam - Chicago:

Hat tip to Watts Up With That - be sure to read the comments. A lot of great stories of lightning strikes and near misses.

From NJ.COM:

Trump adviser calls for electronic 'tagging' of U.S. Muslims on fed terror watch list
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday said he would be in favor of forcing Muslims on the federal government's terrorism watch list to wear electronic monitoring tags or bracelets for authorities to track their whereabouts.

"I would think that's an excellent idea," said Giuliani, an adviser to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. "If you're on the terror watch list, I should [have] you know you're on the terror watch list. You're on there for a reason."

Giuliani, who is advising the Trump campaign on terrorism and national security issues, told NJ Advance Media he would recommend that Trump undertake the same measures being used in France if he's elected.

These people are advocating criminal activity in the USA up to and including murder.They have done this before and continually make claims that they will do so in the future. Let them know we are watching their every move.

Vote Trump - even Bernie says so

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A good energy milestone

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Good for the USA Natural Gas producers - from gCaptain:

American Shale Gas Headed to Far East for First Time Ever
The Far East, which imports more liquefied natural gas than any other region of the world, is preparing to receive its first supplies from America’s shale bounty.

A tanker that loaded liquefied natural gas at Cheniere Energy Inc.’s export terminal in Louisiana is bound for the Far East, according to an official at tanker owner Maran Gas Maritime Inc. who asked not to be identified because he isn’t authorized by the company to speak on the record. The company that chartered the vessel, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, has yet to say exactly which country and buyer will receive the cargo, he said.

And this is not just a flash in the pan:

...with more than half of U.S. LNG export capacity slated to be online by 2020 contracted to Asian buyers, based on a Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysis.

Very cool - we have a huge known reserves with more able to come online as soon as prices go up a bit.

Seems that they were not brought in from the outside, they were taken from the Philadelphia City Hall. From The Daily Caller:

U.S. Flags Disappear From Atop Philadelphia City Hall, City Official Says They Were Added To DNC Stage
The six flag poles on top of the Philadelphia City Hall are bare Thursday morning. One city official who asked not to be named told The Daily Caller that the U.S flags typically atop the City Hall flagpoles have been moved to the Democratic National Convention stage.

Lauren Hitt, communications director for the City of Philadelphia, told TheDC that the flags were taken down for “safety reasons.”

Emphasis mine - yeah, riiiight.

What flags? These flags:

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Look at the far left of the stage. You will see four of the six. Do not know where the others wound up.

Albert Einstein on Insanity

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He had this to say:

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

This is the state of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mind - from the UK Express:

Merkel admits EU is being RAVAGED BY TERROR but says Germany should welcome MORE refugees
The German leader, who cut short her summer holiday to speak after a string of Islamist attacks rocked the country, said the entire continent was being “ravaged” by terrorism.

She described recent attacks in Ansbach, Wurzburg and Munich as “horrifying and depressing” but insisted Germany would not turn its back on people fleeing the Middle East.

This is absolutely the wrong thing to say and to do. This is a Middle East problem and needs to be solved by other people in the Middle East. The Saudi's have a lot of real estate and a butt-load of disposable income. They need to take care of their brethren, not us.

It is interesting to note the childhood upbringing of Ms. Merkel - from her biography at Encyclopedia:

Merkel was born Angela Dorothea Kasner on July 17, 1954, in Hamburg, Germany. This was one of the largest cities of West Germany, but her parents moved east just a few months later to the German Democratic Republic, or GDR, as Communist East Germany was called. The decision was made by Merkel's father, Horst, a Lutheran pastor, who was offered a job at a seminary in the state of Brandenburg, about an hour north of Berlin.

Her father was a big fan of communism - moving his family to East Germany. He was among the privileged elite:

Merkel was raised as the eldest of three children in the Brandenburg city of Templin. After she became chancellor, a biography was published in Germany which revealed that her father had been instrumental in the creation of a separate Protestant church in the GDR—allowing GDR officials to keep a closer watch on its members—and his tacit support of the German Communist Party likely gave the family the few perks they were able to enjoy. These included two cars—when one automobile was an almost unheard-of luxury in much of Communist Eastern Europe—and travel visas that permitted them to visit relatives back in West Germany and even vacation in Italy.

Ties to Moscow?

Merkel became so fluent in Russian that she even won a prize trip to Moscow. Like nearly all other college-bound East German teens, she was a member of the Freie Deutsche Jugend (Free German Youth, or FDJ), the official socialist youth organization in the GDR

She earned her PhD in 1986, the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 - all of a sudden, her cozy place in life evaporated. She bills herself as a Conservative but she acts like a die-hard Marxist and is seeking to tear down Capitalism and bring Germany down with it.

A little lawsuit - Getty Images

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Heh - from Ars Technica:

Photographer sues Getty Images for selling photos she donated to public
A well-known American photographer has now sued Getty Images and other related companies—she claims they have been wrongly been selling copyright license for over 18,000 of her photos that she had already donated to the public for free, via the Library of Congress.

The photographer, Carol Highsmith, is widely considered to be a modern-day successor to her photographic idols, Frances Benjamin Johnston and Dorothea Lange, who were famous for capturing images of American life in the 19th and 20th centuries, respectively.

Inspired by the fact that Johnston donated her life’s work to the Library of Congress for public use in the 1930s, Highsmith wanted to follow suit and began donating her work "to the public, including copyrights throughout the world," as early as 1988.

From her lawyer (from the above link to the lawsuit):

The Defendants have apparently misappropriated Ms. Highsmith’s generous gift to the American people. The Defendants are not only unlawfully charging licensing fees to people and organizations who were already authorized to reproduce and display the donated photographs for free, but are falsely and fraudulently holding themselves out as the exclusive copyright owner (or agents thereof), and threatening individuals and companies with copyright infringement lawsuits that the Defendants could not actually lawfully pursue.

She became aware of the problem:

According to the suit, Getty and its affiliates have not only sold unauthorized licenses of Highsmith’s photos, but they have sent threatening letters to people that they believe have infringed the copyright.

One of those recipients was Highsmith’s own non-profit group, the This is America! Foundation. The copyright enforcement entity, License Compliance Services, demanded $120 in payment. LCS is believed to be connected to Getty Images, which has developed a reputation for aggressively pursuing claimed license fees over alleged afoul publication.

I hope she takes them for a lot of money - this is unconscionable behavior and needs to be slapped down as a message to others.

From American Thinker:

Little Green Lies: Why Electric Cars Won’t Save the Environment
Things don’t look good for electric cars these days -- but did they ever? Tesla experienced a series of recalls, even before the recent crash in Florida that put the company’s autopilot system in the spotlight. Apparently, watching a Harry Potter movie and letting your car drive isn’t exactly a safe practice.

But the real problem with electric cars is actually the problem they’re marketed to solve: pollution. While the left insists that electric cars are the only way to protect the environment, they’re actually damaging the oil industry while shifting money to liberal interests.

Meanwhile, electric cars have proven to be a greater source of pollution than traditional vehicles.

Nice analysis - where does the energy to charge come from? Coal. How about the huge environmental impact of mining for the battery components? And manufacture? Well thought out with lots of links.

I would love to have one if they were practical but that would be just for the novelty and not from any desire to "save the planet". The planet is doing fine.

From Time Magazine:

Vladimir Putin’s Bad Blood With Hillary Clinton
In December 2011, Vladimir Putin came closer than he’s ever been to losing his hold on power. His decision that year to run for a third term as Russia’s President had inspired a massive protest movement against him. Demonstrations calling for him to resign were attracting hundreds of thousands of people across the country. Some of his closest allies had defected to the opposition, causing a split in the Kremlin elites, and Russian state media had begun to warn of a revolution in the making.

At a crisis meeting with his advisers on Dec. 8 of that year, the Russian leader chose to lay the blame on one meddling foreign diplomat: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“She set the tone for certain actors inside the country; she gave the signal,” Putin said of Clinton at the time, accusing her of ordering the opposition movement into action like some kind of revolutionary sleeper cell. “They heard this signal and, with the support of the U.S. State Department, started actively doing their work.”

Five years later, the U.S. presidential elections may have given Putin his chance for getting even. According to Clinton’s campaign staff and a number of cyber-security experts, Russian hackers in the service of the Kremlin were behind last week’s leak of emails from the Democratic National Committee. The hacked messages appeared to show DNC officials, who are meant to remain neutral during the Democratic Party’s primary race, favoring Clinton over her then-rival, Senator Bernie Sanders.

It makes perfect sense. The article goes into a lot of detail and back-story - Hillary meddled in Russia's internal affairs and placed Putin in a precarious position. Now, he is returning the favor. Reap what you sow.

Politically incorrect - I love it!

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Brilliant advertisement from the Canadian Oil Sands community:

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Of course, the Social Justice Warriors went into full-tilt thermonuclear mode and the Canadian Oil Sands community pulled the advertisement and wrote an apology. Bunch of fscking morons - of course, lesbians are hot or is that just my heteronormative white male bias showing. I think the advertisement was brilliant and the message about the Saudis is 100% spot on.

These SJW's fail to grasp the big picture - they just do a drunkard's walk from trigger to trigger and never bother to expand their world view.

Tip of the hat to Power Line for the link.

France - heading for trouble?

Great post from Jonathan Miller writing at CNBC - despite the Anglo name, Mr. Miller is an elected city councilor in southern France:

What next? Could France be facing a civil war?
Two huge terror attacks in a year would be enough to challenge the spirit of any country.

As if the Charlie Hebdo massacre in January 2015 and the Paris attacks in November were not enough, a third episode of carnage in Nice on Bastille Day, July 14, has shaken France to the brink of a terrifying escalation.

More:

I wish I could say this was just hysterical exaggeration. But the evidence does not support complacency. Just down the road from me on the outskirts of Montpellier on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, there's long been a gun club where enthusiastic game hunters can polish their skills during the off-season. Unlike in Britain, it is perfectly legal for members of such clubs to own pistols and semi-automatic rifles.

In the last few months, since the wave of terrorism has intensified, the membership of the gun club has quadrupled, from 200 to 800 members. The new members are not all motivated by the love of shooting sports. Benoit, a local olive farmer who owns more than a dozen rifles, pistols and shotguns, as well as an AK-47 assault rifle, admitted to me this weekend something much darker.

"They're getting ready for a war," he said.

Much more at the site - we are rattling along the tracks towards another World War with China, North Korea and the Arab world all getting their licks in against the Great Satan.

Congratulations to Apple

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They have sold One Billion iPhones - from Apple's website:

Apple celebrates one billion iPhones
At an employee meeting in Cupertino this morning, CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple recently sold the billionth iPhone.

"iPhone has become one of the most important, world-changing and successful products in history. It's become more than a constant companion. iPhone is truly an essential part of our daily life and enables much of what we do throughout the day," said Cook. “Last week we passed another major milestone when we sold the billionth iPhone. We never set out to make the most, but we’ve always set out to make the best products that make a difference. Thank you to everyone at Apple for helping change the world every day."

I am still plugging along with my cheap TracPhone (thanks Carlos!) - nobody gets any service out here so I go with the cheapest burner phone for use in town only. Lots of other people do too.

An economic indicator - restaurants

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Sobering look at restaurant economy from US News and World Report:

Restaurant Recession Could Signal Tough Times for U.S. Economy
Analysts are forecasting a "restaurant recession" in the U.S., which is bad news for America's food and drink establishments and potentially even worse news for the economy at large.

Paul Westra, a senior research analyst at Stifel Financial Corp., said in a research note Tuesday that he'd turned "decidedly bearish" on the restaurant industry, downgrading Stifel's stance on 11 different restaurant stocks, including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Panera Bread and Cheesecake Factory.

He and his colleagues now "confidently believe" that the weak restaurant consumer spending seen in the second quarter of the year "reflects the start of a U.S. restaurant recession."

"The catalyst for the current weak pre-recessionary restaurant spending trend is likely multifaceted – U.S. politics, terrorism, social unrest, global geopolitics, economic uncertainty," Westra said. "But, if history is a guide, we warn investors that restaurant-industry sales tend to be the 'canary that lays the recessionary egg.'"

Makes perfect sense - money gets tight and people do not eat out as often. Restaurants are a luxury expense, not a necessity. Indicators like this are fascinating to follow - I like the Baltic Dry index for manufacturing (here, here, here and here) - it was down below 300 in February of this year - a post Christmas slump. It is now at 679 but trending downward. Historically, it has "lived" around the 1,000 mark trending higher seasonally.

Back home again - it is hot out

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Temp is up to 80°F this afternoon and the sensor is on the shady side of the house. Picked up a couple of things in town for some shelving and storage projects. My old stud sensor broke (I dropped it) so picked up a new one and upgraded to a Bosch. Went into the store to find that model was on sale - 20% off - so I figured it was pre-destined. Now if I can just hold onto this unit and not drop it.

Picked up a rotisserie chicken for dinner - also got some mango/pineapple salsa - do a pot of rice. More spew later tonight...

Heading out in a few minutes to town to pick up my auction loot and to get some shopping done.

Lulu will be out later today so getting stuff for dinner and grabbing coffee on the way.

Makes sense - a merger of titans

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There are two powerhouses in analog circuitry components - these people make the chips that take the analog world of music and science and photography and measurement and convert the variable data into the digital realm. Both have been around since God made Dirt - both really awesome companies.

From the Analog Devices website:

Analog Devices and Linear Technology to Combine Creating the Premier Analog Technology Company
Analog Devices, Inc. and Linear Technology Corporation today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Analog Devices will acquire Linear Technology in a cash and stock transaction that values the combined enterprise at approximately $30 billion. Upon completion of the acquisition, Analog Devices will be the premier global analog technology company with approximately $5 billion in anticipated annual revenues.

First started designing with Analog Devices products in 1970 and still using their products today. Great stuff and they listen to their customers. The only other company like this was Burr-Brown but they were assimilated by Texas Instruments back in 2000 - borg lite. Jack would be spinning in his grave.

Great news - street food just got a Michelin Star - from Reuters:

Singapore street stalls make dining history with Michelin star
Hungry diners queued up at a small, modest street food stall in Singapore on Friday to get a taste of the restaurant's local delights worthy of a coveted Michelin star.

Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle and Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle made dining history on Thursday when they became the first street food stalls in the world to be awarded a star by Michelin as French critics revealed a Singapore guide of 29 establishments.

Singapore is the first Southeast Asian country and the fourth in Asia to be rated by the Michelin Guide. It has more than 100 open-air "hawker" centers and 6,000 stalls selling popular multi-ethnic meals.

And an interesting bit of demographics:

Chan hopes his stall's success will encourage more young people to enter the hawker trade, which is starting to suffer from a lack of successors for the stalls, which are primarily run by elderly cooks.

Move to Portland and Seattle and start training the next generation. Of course, demographics always shift and the next trend will be somewhere else and a different cuisine. Seems to be about a ten year window on this stuff unless you are actually doing real food for real people.

Always loved visiting Hong Kong - never been to Singapore.

Brisket in the fridge

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Came out wonderful - can't wait to finish it and start eating. Completely spaced out on adding the chicken breasts. Since those only take two or three hours to smoke, I'll do a bunch of them in a few days and freeze them for later. Was thinking about smoked chicken and white bean chili or soup. Decisions, decisions...

Heh - more popcorn needed

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From CNN:

Julian Assange: 'A lot more material' coming on US elections
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said Tuesday his whistleblowing website might release "a lot more material" relevant to the US electoral campaign.

Assange was speaking in a CNN interview following the release of nearly 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee by suspected Russian hackers.

This is good - speaking truth to power. Blow up both parties - rip the mask off and expose the corruption.

Another reason to vote for Trump

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From Americans for Tax Reform:

Democratic Platform Calls for Carbon Tax
The 2016 Democratic Party platform endorses a carbon tax on the American people. The carbon tax language, added at the last minute, states:

“Democrats believe that carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases should be priced to reflect their negative externalities, and to accelerate the transition to a clean economy and help meet out climate goals.”

The move by Democrats to impose a carbon tax comes in clear contrast to the 2016 Republican Party platform opposition to any carbon tax:

“We oppose any carbon tax.”

This demonization of carbon is ludicrous - we would not have life on this planet if it were not for Carbon and CO2 gas.

Retractions in the news (shhhhhh)

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A paper on the pollution resulting from fracking has been retracted by its authors. From the BOE Report:

Anti-Fracking Study Gets Retracted for Basic Math Error
A University of Cincinnati study regularly cited by activists claiming that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, causes air pollution was quietly retracted due to “errors” and “incorrect” calculations.

The researchers admitted that correcting their errors “changes air concentrations significantly relative to those reported in the published article. This correction also changes some of the conclusions reported in the original article.” Researchers retracted the study because of a basic math error caused by the use of incorrect units and improper use of a spreadsheet.

The study was announced at an event hosted by the anti-fracking group Carroll County Concerned Citizens and the study’s co-lead author, Dr. Erin Hayes, has also participated in other anti-fracking events.

The study had numerous flaws, as participants were actively recruited by the anti-fracking activist group, did not use random testing and did not account for sources of health hazards other than oil and gas activity. The scientists behind the study previously admitted that the sample size used for their study was too small and that the chief assumption used for the research model was “totally impractical.”

The enviros will trumpet the initial paper to the heavens but will they utter anything about this retraction? Thought not. Does not fit the narrative - these people would not recognize a scientific fact if it hit them in the face.

Cool new technology - Leidos Corp.

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Autonomous unmanned anti-submarine chaser. From Leidos:

LEIDOS PARTICIPATES IN CHRISTENING OF DARPA'S INNOVATIVE, HIGHLY AUTONOMOUS PROTOTYPE UNMANNED VESSEL
Roger Krone, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Leidos, a national security, health and infrastructure solutions company, joined senior officials from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) and the Department of Defense today to christen the prototype vehicle from DARPA's Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program. Leidos led the team that designed and built the vessel, named Sea Hunter, which embodies the program's goals to develop a highly autonomous unmanned vessel capable of operating over thousands of kilometers on the open seas for months at a time under only sparse remote supervisory control.

"ACTUV could enable future capabilities that would greatly extend our customers' ability to cost-effectively monitor the maritime environment while keeping our servicemen and women safe," Krone said. "This event showcases exciting advances in autonomous technology, and highlights our open architecture approach and extensive testing that has made ACTUV a reality."

Leveraging decades of naval architecture experience, Leidos began construction of Sea Hunter in 2014. With its modular trimaran design, the vessel is designed for enhanced stability in all kinds of weather. It incorporates a diverse sensor suite, including sonar, electro-optical, and short- and long-range radars. Through at-sea testing on a surrogate vessel, Leidos has proved ACTUV's autonomy suite capable of operating the ship in compliance with maritime laws and conventions for safe navigation—including International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, or COLREGS.

They are not posting high-resolution images for some strange reason :) but what we can see looks pretty spiffy: I would not mind spending an afternoon poking through its insides...

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The murder of the Priest in France

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Turns out the murdering scum had been in jail twice and was wearing an ankle bracelet. From the London Daily Mail:

First picture of one of ISIS knifemen who forced elderly priest, 84, to kneel at altar before they slit his throat on camera after invading Mass - then gave 'Arabic sermon' before they were shot dead by police 
One of a pair of ISIS knifemen who stormed a church in Normandy before slitting the throat of an elderly priest has been named as known terror threat Adel Kermiche.

The 19-year-old 'ISIS soldier' was being monitored with an electronic ankle tag after he was arrested for twice attempting to flee France to join the terror group in Syria.

Despite having been released early from prison, Keriche's bail conditions allowed him to roam unsupervised between 8.30am and 12.30pm, leaving him free to murder the priest in the attack carried out between 9am and 11am.

Kermiche and his accomplice - also known to French police - forced 84-year-old Father Jacques Hamel to kneel before filming themselves butchering him and performing a 'sermon in Arabic' at the altar of the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, according to witnesses.

Both were shot dead by police marksmen as they emerged from the building shouting 'Allahu Akbar' following the attack that also left a nun critically injured.

French President Francois Hollande, who visited the scene today, said the country is now 'at war' with ISIS after the terror group claimed responsibility.

Let us hope that President Hollande has the stones to bring the war to these muslim fanaticists. Eliminating immigration would be a great place to start. Refugees? Let their brothers in Saudi Arabia take care of them - they certainly have the space and the money.

About those American Flags

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The Democratic National Convention stage is now flying some American Flags:

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Off to the far left - looks like four of them. Better than yesterday (here and here). Still a couple shy of the 36 flags that the other folks had on their stage...

Bummer from Amazon

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Bought something from Amazon, got it home and unboxed and it turns out to be an International Edition (gray market) with no US Warranty. Japanese owners manual. I am also suspecting that it was a re-pack as the item was just stuffed into a bag in the box and there was no protective film on the LCD display.

Emailing the vendor and will see what happens...

Auction over

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Bid on one item and won it. It was a large electronics box with some useful bits - power supplies, relays and two PLCs. The other lots had been bid up over twice what I was valuing them.

Heading out for coffee - just refilled the smoker - got a big beef brisket going and will do a couple chicken breasts later today.

The American Flag was noted yesterday although there were Communist flags in abundance outside the convention hall. Other things were missing:

From Polifact:

RNC is right that no Democratic speaker mentioned ISIS on convention's first night
Night one of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia had barely ended when the Republican National Committee sent a blast email to reporters attacking the Democrats for ignoring the threat of terrorism when speaking at the podium.

"61: Number Of Speeches At The DNC Tonight," the Republican National Committee wrote. "0: Mentions Of The Global Terrorist Threat Posed By ISIS."

Was the Democratic discussion of ISIS and Islamic terrorism that thin? Basically, yes.

More on the missing American Flags at Gateway Pundit:

DNC Convention 2016: Soviet Flags, Palestinian Flag – BUT NO US FLAGS

Lots of photos at the site. And finally, from the New York Post:

Delegate slams DNC for not donating leftover food to poor
The Democratic Party tossed out leftover food after a welcome party for delegates at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Sunday, leaving at least one delegate fuming.

“I was a hungry child. Went to bed hungry many a night,” Timothy Baumgardner, a Washington state delegate, told The Post. “I fed people from the garbage.”

He said he asked the caterer whether the food could be donated to the poor, but was told that wasn’t allowed. “Sad,” Baumgardner said.

That would have been a very simple gesture to make and would have been a major public relations coup. Instead, they just reinforced their self-identity as the ruling elite and above the cares of the little man. Clueless and out of touch.

Another Islamic attack

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This time, slashing the throat of a Priest as he was saying Mass - from Breitbart:

Pope Francis Condemns ‘Barbarous Murder’ of Priest in French Church
In a Vatican statement Tuesday, Pope Francis announced his “most radical condemnation” of the terrorist attack, in which two men slit the throat of a priest during morning Mass and took several other people hostage, seriously wounding one of them.

In the written statement sent to Breitbart News, papal spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, said that the Holy See was “shocked” by this latest news, which is added to a whole series of violent attacks in recent days, “creating immense sorrow and worry.”

Lombardi said that the Pope “shares in the sorrow and horror over this absurd violence,” offering his “most radical condemnation” of the act as well as his prayers for the victims.

All well and good but I think it has come time to go Charles Martel on their collective asses and do some serious battle with these Islamist scum. They have repeatedly declared war on the West - fine! Let's bring it to them.

The people we elect to office

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In this case, Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia (a Democrat) - from The Times of Israel:

Georgia Democrat compares Israeli settlers to burrowing termites
As a contentious convention got underway under stormy skies in Philadelphia, a prominent Georgia Democrat came under fire Monday for seeming to compare Israeli settlers to termites during an event supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement held on the convention’s sidelines.

Speaking at an event sponsored by the pro-BDS organization US Campaign to end the Israeli Occupation, Johnson complained that “there has been a steady [stream], almost like termites can get into a residence and eat before you know that you’ve been eaten up and you fall in on yourself, there has been settlement activity that has marched forward with impunity and at an ever increasing rate to the point where it has become alarming.”

Johnson is the moron who went on public record as being concerned that the island of Guam would tip over. Take the time to watch the video from 2010 - it is hilarious as the poor guy is clearly out of his depth.

Bernie Sanders - the true story

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From humorist Andy Borowitz writing in The New Yorker:

INTEGRITY DISQUALIFIES SANDERS FOR WHITE HOUSE
The Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’s potential bid for the 2016 Presidency was declared over, on Monday, before it even began, because of a key feature of the American political system that makes a person with integrity ineligible for the White House.

According to some experts, the electoral system has developed a number of safeguards over the past few decades to prevent someone with independence and backbone from occupying the Presidency.

“Bernie Sanders’s failure to become a member of either major political party excludes him from the network of cronyism and backroom deals required under our system to be elected,” said Davis Logsdon, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota. “Though that failure alone would disqualify Sanders, the fact that he is not beholden to a major corporate interest or investment bank would also make him ineligible.”

This is of course a humorous piece but sadly, there is the sharp sting of truth here too.

Chuck Norris

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Wonderful film - reissued

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Barry Lyndon is an amazing visual sweep of the imagination. One of Stanley Kubrick's finest. It has been remastered and is being released to theaters in England on July 29th. No word when it will arrive in the colonies. Trailer:

Great bit of trivia is that it was shot entirely in natural light - the candlelight scenes too. Kubrick had to have a lens built that had a large enough aperture to be able to do this. He was able to adapt a lens that had been custom-built by Zeiss for the Apolo Space Program. Here and here.

Flags at the DNC convention

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There may not have been any American flags but there were some of these - from The Gateway Pundit:

Photos: Soviet Flags Fly Proudly at DNC Convention March in Philly

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More at the site. Disgusting. All of them have iPhones and laptops and wear the latest hipster clothing - it is all play-acting to them. They have no clue what really happens under Communism and no desire to ever study the history. A perfect example of Lenin's useful idiots

From The Daily Caller:

No Visible American Flags Present At The Democrat Convention
The Daily Caller is at the Democratic National Convention and it doesn’t look like there are any American flags.

The stage is bland and grey, with no red, white or blue present. A thorough look at the crowd present also turns up no American flags.

The Republican National Convention in Cleveland on the other hand was filled with Americana.

Check it out for yourself:

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Bernie supporters on Hillary

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Great article from The New York Post:

Even Bernie Sanders supporters want Hillary Clinton behind bars
Bernie Sanders supporters and Donald Trump fans have at least one thing in common – they want Hillary Clinton behind bars.

A group of disheartened Sanders backers chanted and waved signs outside an Info Wars sponsored van emblazoned with the slogan, “Hillary for Prison 2016,” according to Kayla Epstein of the Washington Post.

The fix for Hillary was in over a year ago. Bernie never had a chance.

Nothing much happening out there

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Grace loved her hamburger - so did I.

The Democratic Convention's first day was today - nothing much caught my eye save for Debbie Wasserman Schultz getting booed off the stage for the crime of being caught shilling for Hillary in her deleted and then dumped emails.

From The Washington Post:

A day of humiliation for party chair underscores Democratic divide
What was supposed to be a morning of personal triumph for Debbie Wasserman Schultz — rallying her home-state delegation before opening the Democratic National Convention she had orchestrated — suddenly became one of humiliation.

“Shame!” people in the room jeered as the congresswoman addressed a Monday breakfast of the Florida delegation. “Shame!”

It was a cringe-worthy, nationally televised spectacle that exposed deep divisions within the Democratic Party and reopened raw wounds from the Hillary Clinton-Bernie Sanders primary battles. By the afternoon, Wasserman Schultz had disappeared here in Philadelphia, after also giving up her speaking slot and her ceremonial role gaveling the convention to order.

Back home again

Gorgeous day today and got a whole week or more of them lined up.

Couple of items that I will be bidding on - the business made electrical sub-assemblies for other companies and had been pretty well picked over. Still, there are a couple boxes that would be worth $20 each for me. Heat shrink tubing, wire, connectors, etc...

Fixing some hamburgers for dinner tonight (one for me and one for Grace) - making some mac salad as well as a pasta salad. Having some cool food on hand sounds good for the next couple of days. Nothing like an ice-cold beer - that first swallow is pure ambrosia... Also prepping a brisket for smoking tomorrow - it is salted and sitting in the fridge.

Nothing much this morning

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Took care of the critters, got coffee and heading into town for some banking and to check an auction.

More spew later this afternoon.

Hillary on camera having some kind of seizure - July 21st:

It has been a brutally tragic few days:

The London Daily Mail:

Mother and her three daughters, aged between 8 and 14, are stabbed by 'Muslim' man in French holiday resort because they were 'scantily dressed'

The UK Telegraph:

Blast in German city of Ansbach that killed one 'caused by explosive device'

The Telegraph again:

Munich gunman Ali Sonboly was 'planning attack for a year'

From Breitbart:

Syrian ‘Refugee’ Machetes Pregnant Woman To Death, Injures Two More In Germany

And this is not even touching on the terrorism being done by the Islamists in their own nations to their own people:

From Russia Today:

Death toll in Kabul suicide attack climbs to over 80 killed, more than 230 injured

From CNN:

21 killed in Baghdad suicide blast, weeks after deadliest in years

China's Xinhua News Service:

IS bomb attacks kill 13 civilians in Iraq's besieged town

From Eurasianet:

UPDATE Kazakhstan: Almaty Attack Death Toll Raised to Four

We need to address the fact that these people are at war with the Western world and they will continue to attack us until we convince them to stop. Our leaders are doing us no favors by kicking this can down the road and letting some future leader deal with it - this only makes them bolder. More can be found here: The Religion of Peace

Jim Hoft has done an incredible job of compiling an annotated list of Hillary emails - go to The Gateway Pundit for the whole thing. Here are just a few to whet your appetite:

HERE IT IS=> Detailed List of Findings in Wikileaks DNC Document Dump
On Friday Wikileaks released nearly 20,000 hacked emails it says are from the accounts of Democratic National Committee officials.

The documents were released just days before the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia.

The hacked emails revealed the DNC’s hatred for Bernie Sanders and his movement. The documents reveal the party’s hidden ties with the liberal media. The emails reveal the heights of dishonesty of the party infrastructure.

Now there is a list of a few of the most shocking emails released by Wikileaks.
The list was compiled thanks to the work of Reddit Bernie Sander supporters and Donald Trump supporters:
Hat Tip Steve A.

DNC member killing horses for insurance money.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/578
DNC making fun of black womans name.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/17942
DNC telling each other, “I love you too. no homo.”
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/425
DNC requesting a pull an MSNBC commentary segment.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/6107
DNC controlling the narrative with time released stories.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/12450
DNC conspiring to create false Trump information and release with Reuters.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/7102
DNC Hillary supporters infiltrated Sanders campaign.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/4776

A couple more (the list is quite long)

Possible money laundering by moving money back and forth to bypass legal limits.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/6230
Politico writer sending his stories to the DNC before he sends them to his editor.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/10808
DNC feeding CNN the questions they want to be asked in interviews.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/4077

And there are 530+ comments to this post, many with additional links to other emails. This is the gift that keeps on giving. Crooked Hillary really screwed herself good with the lax security on her servers.

Politicians building a wall

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They do not want one at our border but they sure want one around themselves - from The American Mirror:

PHOTOS: DNC erects four-mile eight-foot tall fence around Philly convention site
To the Democratic National Committee elites, keeping average Americans away from their convention is a good idea, while protecting the southern border from intruding terrorists, rapists and murderers is a bad one.

The DNC has erected a four-mile fence around its convention site at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center. (Isn’t it ironic they’re doing so much to protect a site named after a bank?)

The fence, which appears to be about 8 feet tall, is intended to keep out any individuals with whom Democratic Party leaders, delegates and other liberal elites would rather not mingle.

20160724-fence.jpg

The party of the little guy, the party of the people... And if you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that you might be interested in buying.

It has been really overcast but with little actual precipitation. Looks like we are finally getting our Summer weather - from the National Weather Service:

20160724-weather.jpg

Doing a quick run into town tomorrow morning (the preview for this auction: Chinook Enterprises) and then spraying the pasture fenceline and the garden - get the weeds knocked down a bit. I need three days of sunshine to activate the Glyphosate and for it to break back down again.

And she's OUT!

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From PJ Media:

Wasserman Schultz Out as DNC Leader After Convention
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) pulled out as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee the day before the party's convention gets underway in Philadelphia -- but her resignation isn't effective immediately.

Her resignation:

Wasserman Schultz's resignation won't be effective until the end of the week.

"As party chair, this week I will open and close the convention and I will address our delegates about the stakes involved in this election not only for Democrats, but for all Americans," she said in a statement. "We have planned a great and unified convention this week and I hope and expect that the DNC team that has worked so hard to get us to this point will have the strong support of all Democrats in making sure this is the best convention we have ever had."

Segue back a few months - from The Daily Caller:

Emails: Wasserman Schultz Was FURIOUS With Mika Brzezinski Over Criticism
Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was so furious with Mika Brzezinski after the MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host called on her to resign as chair of the Democratic National Committee back in May that she ordered her deputy to complain to Phil Griffin, the head of the cable network.

The fascinating exchange, which also includes irate emails from Wasserman Schultz to NBC political director Chuck Todd, were released on Friday by WikiLeaks.

Much more at The Daily Caller post including links to the emails in question. Debbie is a real piece of work. It will be good for everyone to have her gone.

Time to make a big bowl of popcorn and settle in to watch the fun. From US Uncut:

Thousands of Bernie Sanders Supporters Are Suing the DNC in a Massive Class Action Lawsuit
Millions of Bernie Sanders’ donors may now have legal recourse against the Democratic primaries they saw as rigged.

Beck & Lee Trial Lawyers, a civil litigation firm based in Miami, Florida, is announcing the filing of a class action lawsuit against the DNC early next week, alleging fraud and collusion with the Hillary Clinton campaign. While roughly one hundred people have officially signed on as plaintiffs, partner Jared Beck told US Uncut that thousands of requests for legal paperwork have come in within the last 48 hours.

“Signed agreements are coming in steadily and we continue to get new requests by the minute,” Beck said.

Anyone who donated to the DNC after Bernie Sanders entered the race for the Democratic nomination, either directly or indirectly through third-party payment platforms like ActBlue, is eligible to join the lawsuit, along with anyone who donated to Bernie Sanders’ campaign throughout the course of the primaries and caucuses.

“We think that the DNC has been running absolutely out of control and completely disregarding their responsibilities, rights, and duties to the public,” attorney Elizabeth Beck told US Uncut.

Jared Beck said whether or not a “class” in the lawsuit is deemed valid by the court will depend on a number of factors, but the number of class representatives in the lawsuit could be as high as the number of individual donors to Sanders’ campaign.

Around two million people donated a combined seven million contributions averaging $27 apiece. Sanders accumulated more than $222 million in donations throughout the primaries and caucuses.

Here is a video explaining more and telling you what you need to do to get in on the suit: WE FIGHT BACK: Nationwide Class-Action filed Against Democratic Party and Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Good to see that these people are going to be held accountable for the corruption and dirty tricks.

Just wonderful:

Come fly with me - the TSA

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Talk about bloat and incompetence - their idea of security is pure Kabuki theater.

From those happy mutants at BoingBoing:

Congress: TSA is worst place to work in USG, nearly half of employees cited for misconduct; it's getting worse
The House Homeland Security Committee Majority Staff Report has just published its investigation on aviation security, and the title really tells you everything you need to know: MISCONDUCT AT TSA THREATENS THE SECURITY OF THE FLYING PUBLIC.

The headline finding: nearly half of all TSA employees have been cited for misconduct, and misconduct has been on the rise since 2013. A lot of that misconduct is just not showing up for work (predictably, the TSA has terrible morale, the worst of any federal agency and is ranked among the worst places to work in the US government), with an equally large tranche relating to "insubordination, ignoring policies or security procedures, and disrespectful behavior" (being a dick).

In more than 80% of cases, "non-disciplinary action" was taken against the TSA employees -- in many cases, managers violated TSA policy by taking these non-disciplinary actions.

The report also finds that the TSA doesn't keep adequate records of misconduct and response, and lacks mechanisms to address what misconduct it does track. Sometimes, the TSA ends up employing people whom other agencies have warned them against -- for example, Customs and Border Protection warned TSA that a prospective hire had admitted to "selling and using drugs, accepting bribes, engaging in prostitution, and being involved in a credit card scheme" (the TSA hired this person); in another case, the US Postal Service warned TSA that one of their employees had "admitted to participating in the production, possession, and distribution of child pornography; abuse of an animal; and shoplifting."

One reason why I no longer fly anywhere - the continental USA and Canada have enough to keep me occupied. I would love to go over to Iceland for a couple months again but got too much stuff going on here.

Meet Fedor:

20160724-fedor.jpg

Here he is in the cabin of his balloon which just broke the worlds record for a flight around the world -- a bit over 11 days. Previous record-holder was Steve Fossett with 13 and a half days.

Mr. Konyukhov has a few other accomplishments in his life - from his Wikipedia entry:

In December 2010, he was ordained as an Eastern Orthodox priest in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

In 1983, Fedor Konyukhov was admitted to the Union of Artists of the USSR (he was the youngest member at that moment). Since 1996 he has been a member of the Moscow Union of Artists, Graphic Arts section; since 2001,a member of the Sculpture section as well.

He is a winner of the Gold Medal of the Russian Arts Academy, an Honorary Academician of the Russian Arts Academy and the creator of more than 3,000 paintings. He has participated in a number of Russian and international exhibitions.

Konyukhov is the only person to have reached such extreme points of the planet as the North Pole (three times), the South Pole, the Pole of Inaccessibility in the Arctic Ocean and the top of Mount Everest (twice) and also sailed around the world via Cape Horn 4 times. 2007 - 2008 first person to sail “Antarctica Cup”. Non-stop, solo circumnavigation around the Antarctica. The route: Albany, Western Australia – Cape Horn – Cape of Good Hope – Cape Leeuwin, Albany. It took Fedor 102 days to round Antarctica.

Konyukhov has set world records, notably crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a row-boat URALAZ in 46 days, the best 24-hour distance in the same boat (110 miles).

From December 22, 2013 to May 31, 2014 Fyodor Konyukhov crossed the Pacific ocean starting in the Chilean port of Concon and finishing in Australian town of Mooloolaba (Sunshine Coast) without entering ports and without any external help or assistance. He covered the distance of more than 17,408 km (9400 nautical miles) on the Turgoyak (K9) rowboat in just 160 days.

There are more travel accomplishments - you get the general idea. And then there is also this:

Fedor is the first Russian mountaineer to complete the 7 Summits challenge for which a person must climb the highest mountains of each of the seven major continents, also he is the first Russian traveller and third person in the world, who completed The Explorers Grand Slam: he also visited both the North Pole and the South Pole.

1992 (26 of February) — Elbrus (Europe/Russia)
1992 (14 of May) — Everest (Asia) — (in the AvtoVAZ team)
1996 (19 of January) — Winson Massif (Antarctica)
1996 (09 of March) — Aconcagua (South America)
1997 (18 of February) — Kilimanjaro (Africa)
1997 (17 of April) — Mt. Kosciusko (Australia)
1997 (26 of May) — Mt. McKinley (North America) — (in the team)

Ho Li Crap - talk about a life lived to its fullest.

An address to European youth at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels on March 26, 2014

Edited but not that much. The White House transcript: Remarks by the President in Address to European Youth

The gift that keeps on giving

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The Crooked Hillary emails are a treasure - from Politico:

Top DNC staffer apologizes for email on Sanders’ religion
A top staffer at the Democratic National Committee has apologized after suggesting that the organization use Bernie Sanders’ religious beliefs against him in the Democratic primary.

One email among the thousands of internal DNC messages released this week by Wikileaks showed DNC CFO Brad Marshall questioning Sanders’ Jewish faith, and suggested that painting the candidate as an atheist “could make several points difference” in several late primary contests.

And The Daily Caller:

Leaked Emails Show DNC Officials Planned Anti-Trump Protest
The release of Democratic National Committee emails by WikiLeaks Friday reveals that DNC officials planned anti-Donald Trump protests.

President Trump - I am liking the sound of that more and more.

Sea Turtle egg poaching

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Brilliant fix for a serious problem - from The Washington Post:

These fake turtle eggs could crack a black market in animal poaching
Smooth to the touch and perfectly round, these ping pong ball-size eggs could easily pass for any of the millions laid and buried every year by endangered sea turtles on the beaches along the North and Central American coasts.

That’s the hope, anyway. Except in this case, they were laid by a 3D printer, and their silicone shell carries a GPS tracking device. They may just help solve a turtle-egg poaching problem that has plagued Central America and, more recently, U.S. shores.

“We want to sneak them into nests that are most vulnerable to poaching,” says Kim Williams-Guillén, director of conservation science at Paso Pacífico, the California conservation group that has created the egg that it hopes will fool poachers. “It would be really easy for them to grab one of those eggs and not even notice it.”

Paso Pacífico’s phony turtle egg, set to be deployed this fall in Central America during an arribada, or mass nesting event, is just one way law enforcement and activists have tried to crack down on the egg poaching of sea turtles, nearly all of which are endangered or under high threat of extinction.

The problem is a severe one:

“Poaching pressure is extremely intense,” says the group’s founder and director, Sarah Otterstrom.  “There can be thousands of turtles on the beach at night. And if there isn’t protection, we can be pretty certain that the beaches will be poached.” Paso Pacífico estimates that, without guards, about 90 percent of the nests are poached.

90% rate of poaching. No wonder these are endangered species. Great idea and I hope they make examples out of the people they catch.

Great short video about an English made telephone answering machine. We have come a long long way:

Voters better turn out en masse for the next election.

First - from FOX News:

Virginia high court strikes down gov's order giving felons right to vote
Gov. Terry McAuliffe's action restoring the voting rights of more than 200,000 felons was unconstitutional, Virginia's highest court ruled Friday, siding with Republican lawmakers who said the governor overstepped his authority.

Second - from ThinkProgress:

Virginia Governor Bypasses Court Ruling To Help 200,000 Ex-Felons Vote
Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) is taking action to restore the voting rights of thousands of ex-offenders in the state after a court decision Friday put them in jeopardy. He’s getting around the Virginia Supreme Court’s ruling against him by signing 200,000 individual clemency grants to the state’s ex-offenders to ensure their right to vote in November.

First of all, remember that these are people who have sat through a courtroom trial and have been convicted of felonies. Not misdemeanors, not jaywalking, not overdue parking tickets - we are talking felonies. Armed robbery, attempted or committed murder, the third arrest for drug dealing (possession with intent to sell), that kind of thing. Once they have done their time, they are free to go but there are certain life-long restrictions on their behavior. No gun ownership or use, no voting, they cannot serve on a jury or hold public office.

Governor McAuliffe thinks he has found a loophole around the law and he is going to get great reviews from the liberal media but what he is doing is unconstitutional and in direct violation of the State Supreme Court's decision. He has the avenue of appealing through the Federal District court but he knows what the result will be so he is doing this instead.

Already seeing some trailers for some awesome films. Here is the trailer for a TV show on Starz: American Gods. Based on a novel written by Neil Gaiman:

Great turnout tonight

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About 150 people - the event was catered by a barbecue restaurant (Dickey's - a chain). Their food is so-so so I had a bite to eat before coming out. The food at the event was OK so glad I ate first.

There was a silent auction and I got the wining bid on three items. There is a couple new to the area who are rehabilitating an old cattle farm - they did a basket of really nice soaps, a cabbage, some flowers and some honey. I also got a painting by a local artist whose work I really like but most of his paintings are really dark in tone. This one was of a tree in the snow and perfect for the house. I also picked up a gorgeous painted saw blade.

Back home for the evening.

Heading out to spend some money

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Auction to benefit Maple Falls Park - see what they have for bid. A really great cause.

Back later tonight...

Guccifer 2.0 is the guy who is leaking all of Hillary's emails and documents. Who is he? From Motherboard:

‘Guccifer 2.0’ Is Likely a Russian Government Attempt To Cover Up Their Own Hack
On Wednesday, a hacker calling themselves “Guccifer 2.0” claimed responsibility for hacking into the servers of the Democratic Party and stealing “thousands” of documents, including oppo research into Donald Trump. The individual, who called themselves a “lone hacker,” also made fun of the American security company CrowdStrike for accusing two Russian intelligence agencies of being behind the hack.

“I’m very pleased the company appreciated my skills so highly,” the hacker wrote in their blog post. “But in fact, it was easy, very easy [...] Fuck the Illuminati and their conspiracies!!!!!!!!! Fuck CrowdStrike!!!!!!!!!”

However, considering a long trail of breadcrumbs pointing back to Russia left by the hacker, as well as other circumstantial evidence, it appears more likely that Guccifer 2.0 is nothing but a disinformation or deception campaign by Russian state-sponsored hackers to cover up their own hack—and a hasty and sloppy one at that.

The main element pointing to Russia is the timeline of the events. For a year, hackers with ties to the Russian government—likely the FSB and the military GRU—were inside the servers of the DNC, stealing documents and even reading chats and emails, according to CrowdStrike and The Washington Post. Then, after the IT people at the DNC noticed weird network activities and called in CrowdStrike, the hackers got kicked out. This led to the operation being exposed in the media.

An interesting theory - well supported and documented.

Wonder Woman

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Trailer - opening in 2017. Love the golden lasso:

From Emergency Management:

Where to go during a communications shutdown
If you’ve been in meetings and exercises that simulate a total communications loss, you’ve likely wondered what you would do in the event of a catastrophic failure that takes down cellular, Internet, power, and even your own systems.

Haiti, Jan. 12, 2010. Within a few days after the quake, a team of amateur radio operators from WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center was called upon to serve as the main source of medical communications. Over the next five weeks, the team manned a 24-hour net connecting Haiti field hospitals, the University of Miami Medical Center and the U.S. Navy hospital ship Comfort, relaying on-the-spot medical advice from stateside doctors, relaying medical supplies, charter airplane flight schedules and helping coordinate emergency helicopter and fast boat evacuations.

In Joplin, Mo., May 22, 2011. The hospital, two local fire stations and the town took a direct hit by an F5 tornado. All normal communications were down for weeks. Regional amateur radio operators were called in to help establish communications.

Fortunately, in these scenarios, there have been established relationships between government agencies and groups of volunteer amateur radio operators who were on call, up to speed and equipped to help.

There have also been multiple examples nationwide of 911 centers losing radio communications with police, fire and ambulance because of accidental cable-cutting, cybercutting, or simple equipment failure. Local radio amateur group volunteers are called upon to help maintain communications until the normal operations resume.

More at the site - even if the cell phone towers have backup power, their capacity will be overloaded with people trying to call. Having a backup plan is a good thing - our group tests every Sunday with a special test on the last Sunday of each month trying different techniques.

People are starting to parse through the leaked Hillary emails. From the Observer:

Wikileaks Proves Primary Was Rigged: DNC Undermined Democracy
On July 25, the Democratic National Convention will begin in Philadelphia, Pa. To commemorate the event and its embrace of corrupt politician Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee, Wikileaks is releasing thousands of DNC/Clinton emails.

In its recent leak of 20,000 DNC emails from January 2015 to May 2016, DNC staff discuss how to deal with Bernie Sanders’ popularity as a challenge to Clinton’s candidacy. Instead of treating Sanders as a viable candidate for the Democratic ticket, the DNC worked against him and his campaign to ensure Clinton received the nomination.

One email from DNC Deputy Communications Director Eric Walker to several DNC staffers cites two news articles showing Sanders leading in Rhode Island and the limited number of polling locations in the state: “If she outperforms this polling, the Bernie camp will go nuts and allege misconduct. They’ll probably complain regardless, actually.”

Instead of treating Sanders with impartiality, the DNC exhibits resentful disdain toward him and the thousands of disenfranchised voters he could have brought into the party.

The emails also show complicity of the media:

Another chain reveals MSNBC’s Chuck Todd and DNC staff members discussing how to discredit MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski’s call for Wasserman Schultz to resign.

Time to give both parties a thorough cleaning.

Out for coffee - working at home

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Heading out for some coffee. Working at home today and then there is an event this evening at a neighbors - we are raising funds for the new Maple Falls Park. Silent auction and some live music.

The religion of peace strikes again

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From USA Today:

80 dead in Islamic State suicide bombing in Kabul
At least 80 people were killed and 231 injured Saturday when suicide bombers attacked a large demonstration in the Afghan capital of Kabul, according to the Afghan Interior Ministry.

The demonstration was organized by ethnic Hazaras demanding that a major regional power line be rerouted through their impoverished home province. Most Hazaras are Shiite Muslims but most Afghans are Sunni.

The Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying in a statement on its Amaq News Agency that two of its fighters detonated explosive belts during the march.

All the while we are letting islamic refugees stream into our nation without the slightest attempt at vetting their stories. Thanks Barry!

John Kerry in the news

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I think that the only reason Obama went from Hillary as Secretary of State to John Kerry as SecState was to make Hillary look good by comparison. The guy is an utter clueless ninny.

From the Washington Examiner:

Kerry: Refrigerator chemicals are just as bad as ISIS
Air conditioners and refrigerators pose as big a threat to "life on the planet" as the threat of terrorism, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday.

Kerry was in Vienna negotiating a global climate deal to phase out chemicals used as refrigerants in basic household and commercial appliances such as air conditioning and refrigerators, called hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs. The chemicals are a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions that many scientists blame for contributing to global warming.

Kerry made the remarks as part of a pep talk for negotiators working through the weekend to amend a 1987 treaty called the Montreal Protocol to deal with the chemicals.

Hey moron - HFCs have absolutely nothing to do with Global Warming. The concern with Freon was that it was reacting with sunlight in the upper atmosphere and bonding with the oxygen. This depleted the layer of Ozone gas that shields us from the sun's short-wave ultra violet light (it is the long-wave UV light that tans us). We switched over to the hydrofluorocarbons and, 20 years later, the Ozone hole is going away. End of story.

What makes Kerry's deranged ramblings even more of a joke is that Freon is not a hydrofluorocarbon. It also contains Chlorine and is called either a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) or, alternately, a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC). There is a big difference chemically between a hydrofluorocarbon and a hydrochlorofluorocarbon.

Seriously, the guy is dumb as a box of rocks.

Now that was a lot of fun

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Tonight's presentation was great. The guy has written several other books about the history of this area but tonight's talk was concentrating more on the small communities and businesses.

I already knew that a railroad had run through my property but I found out who it was and what it was carrying (limestone for concrete as well as the timber that I already knew about). There was a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in between Maple Falls and Glacier (it is now a bible camp). He also showed some photos of a large limestone mine on the West side of Red Mountain - the vein of stone was several hundred feet thick and over 1,000 feet wide but it was at the top of a 3,500 tall mountain. They built a series of tramways to haul the ore down to a rail car.

He has a book on the subject coming out - something to carry at the store.

From the WikiLeaks website:

Today, Friday 22 July 2016 at 10:30am EDT, WikiLeaks releases 19,252 emails and 8,034 attachments from the top of the US Democratic National Committee -- part one of our new Hillary Leaks series. The leaks come from the accounts of seven key figures in the DNC: Communications Director Luis Miranda (10770 emails), National Finance Director Jordon Kaplan (3797 emails), Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer (3095 emails), Finanace Director of Data & Strategic Initiatives Daniel Parrish (1472 emails), Finance Director Allen Zachary (1611 emails), Senior Advisor Andrew Wright (938 emails) and Northern California Finance Director Robert (Erik) Stowe (751 emails). The emails cover the period from January last year until 25 May this year.

These are from her private email server that was so secure.

DNA testing in the news

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Great story from the Chicago CBS affiliate:

Half-Eaten Burger Comes Back To Bite Chicago Man In Robbery Spree
A half-eaten hamburger led authorities to a Chicago man who acted as the getaway driver in a series of bank robberies in western Michigan over the last two years, federal prosecutors said.

Dominick T. Johnson, 34, was sentenced Wednesday to 72 years and eight months in prison for the heists he carried out with his 24-year-old half-brother Nathan Benson, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Prosecutors say Johnson was the brain and the wheels behind the three successful bank robberies that happened between May 2014 and January 2015 in Kalamazoo County, about 150 miles northeast of Chicago.

And the burger:

While speeding away from one robbery in Oshtemo Township, Johnson apparently tossed “a partially eaten hamburger” from the vehicle, and investigators were able to pull his DNA from it, prosecutors said.

Best DNA story I ever heard was a suspected rapist who was riding a motorcycle. There was a police car following him but he was obeying all traffic laws and didn't have anything outstanding. At a traffic light, he leaned over and spat on the ground. Light turned green and the cop rolled up and took a sample of the spit and got a positive match.

It has been four years and...

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From The Guardian of September 17, 2012:

Arctic expert predicts final collapse of sea ice within four years
One of the world's leading ice experts has predicted the final collapse of Arctic sea ice in summer months within four years.

In what he calls a "global disaster" now unfolding in northern latitudes as the sea area that freezes and melts each year shrinks to its lowest extent ever recorded, Prof Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University calls for "urgent" consideration of new ideas to reduce global temperatures.

In an email to the Guardian he says: "Climate change is no longer something we can aim to do something about in a few decades' time, and that we must not only urgently reduce CO2 emissions but must urgently examine other ways of slowing global warming, such as the various geoengineering ideas that have been put forward."

A perfect example of a forecast from a computer model - Prof. Wadhams is using a flawed model and he does not check his result with actual data.

First, here is some of that pesky data. The gray line is the average extent from 1981 through 2010. 2016 is the blue line. The width of the gray line represents the value of two statistical standard deviations. The 2016 data looks pretty normal to me - a little bit on the low side but we just had a very large El Niño event and that always affects the Arctic Ice.

20160722-arctic.jpg

Second, remember this story from two days ago: Global Warming Expedition Stopped In Its Tracks By Arctic Sea Ice

And it seems that the good Professor needs to be soundly mocked and driven into the ice-free sea. From the UK Independent of June 4th, 2016:

Arctic could become ice-free for first time in more than 100,000 years, claims leading scientist
The Arctic is on track to be free of sea ice this year or next for the first time in more than 100,000 years, a leading scientist has claimed.

And who is saying this?

Professor Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University, told The Independent that the latest figures largely bore out a controversial prediction he made four years ago.

What a buffoon in the truest sense of the word!

Quote of the day

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"The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it."
--P.J. O'Rourke

Larry's daughter just left with some dirt from under a favorite tree. Heading out to the store to get some things for dinner and then to the presentation.

New fault discovered in Bangladesh

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From CNN:

Bangladesh: Hidden fault could trigger major quake
The Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers are critically important, life-giving rivers for hundreds of millions of people living in India and Bangladesh. But the millions of tons of sediment that pile up in the delta region of these rivers, a large portion of Bangladesh, could be hiding the biggest natural disaster the region has ever seen.

According to recently released research from a team of scientists led by Dr. Michael Steckler from Columbia University, buried under miles of sediment lies a locked and loaded megathrust fault that could unleash an earthquake up to 9.0 magnitude in one of the most densely populated regions of the world.

Megathrust faults occur at subduction zones, where Earth's tectonic plates are colliding with each other and one plate is moving (or "subducting") under another. These faults produce the largest earthquakes, reaching and even exceeding 9.0 magnitude, with recent examples being the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, as well as the 2004 Banda Aceh earthquake and resulting Indian Ocean tsunami.

Crap - we have one of these off our coastline and the damage it could cause is well known. It would take six months for services to be fully restored if our fault produces a 9.0 quake. I cannot imagine what the loss of life would be like in Bangladesh. No building codes.

Another terrorist attack - Munich

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From the London Daily Mail:

'Boom boom boom - he's killing the kids': Gunman shouting 'Allahu Akbar' executed children in Munich McDonald's before rampaging through mall killing NINE with police now hunting three attackers
A gunman shouting 'Allahu Akbar' opened fire at children in McDonald's before rampaging through a shopping mall, killing at least eight people.

Munich is in lockdown tonight, as a major police operation is ongoing around the city's Olympic Park, with the force warning people to stay in their homes and avoid public spaces.

For a list of all terrorist attacks in the last thirty days, check out this page: List of Islamic Terror: Last 30 Days

This is part of the list of Islamic terror attacks maintained by TheReligionofPeace.com.

During this time period, there were 158 Islamic attacks in 29 countries, in which 1417 people were killed and 2057 injured.

Time to isolate them - no electricity, no internet, no automobiles, no radio, no modern medicine. They want to live in the 8th century - let them.

Did I listen to the same speech?

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Various pundits weigh in on Donald Trump's speech last night - from Newsbusters:

Networks on Trump: A ‘Dark Speech’ From a ‘Vengeful’ ‘Demagogue’
The three networks on Thursday night immediately derided Donald Trump’s “dark speech” as one coming from a “vengeful” “demagogue.” On NBC, Tom Brokaw allowed that “some” will see Trump as on a “white horse who will lead them to some kind of sanctuary and then pull the drawbridge up.” But he sneered, “Others looking in are going to see someone they will only think as a demagogue of some kind.”

Chuck Todd labeled, “I thought it was an extraordinarily dark speech.” Republican operative Nicolle Wallace lamented, “We are now represented as a party by a man who believes in protectionism, isolationism and nativism.”

Over on CBS, Evening News anchor Scott Pelley immediately dismissed, “It was a loud voice, more vengeful than hopeful. More hyperbole than details.” CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose huffed that the address had “little appeal to the better angels.” 

Not that I ever listen to what these people have to say but this really shows the bias. They are counting on their listeners not hearing the speech for themselves. I did and thought it was an excellent speech.

Dumb-ass of the day

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Some people take gullibility to a new level - from the London Daily Mail:

Man sues escort agency after claiming he was stood up after paying millions for 'sexual services' with actresses and supermodels like Megan Fox and Candice Swanepoel
A Chinese businessman claims he paid an escort agency $3.7 million to have sex with supermodels and A-list actresses.

Yu 'Martin' Xu alleges he paid Sydney-based agency Royal Court Escort for 'sexual services' from Hollywood actress Megan Fox, Victoria's Secret model Candice Swanepoel and Independence Day actress Angelababy but was stood up.

Mr Xu said an agent told him that the agency would provide 'female escorts of international standing for the provision of sexual services', according to documents filed in the NSW Supreme Court.

He said the company agreed to facilitate the meeting anywhere in the world if he paid $3.7 million, as well as the costs of transport and accommodation.  

What is that line about a fool and his money?

An oldie but goodie

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I love a good limerick - ran into this one today:

A bather whose clothing was strewed
By winds that left her quite nude
Saw a man come along And, unless I am wrong,
You expected this line to be lewd!

Quiet day today

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One of the children of the guy who built the house I live in is coming out today to get a shovelful of earth from around his favorite tree. Larry died a few year ago but the family is just getting around to burying his ashes and they wanted some earth from his home.

Heading out for coffee and then working on some projects around here. There is an interesting lecture being given this evening - a local historian and writer is talking about Kendall and Maple Falls. Should be an interesting evening.

Life in our little hamlet

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Was looking up something else and ran into this. Here is the seismic design map for our area (PDF file) from the US Geological Survey. Not the worst (Seismic Design Catagory E) but just one step removed (Seismic Design Catagory D2) Seattle and areas south are solid E - an excerpt:

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The coast is toast but we have some significant danger here too. Gets better once you get over the Cascade mountain passes. Downright quiet in Eastern Washington and Idaho.

Peter Thiel's speech

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Listened to this tonight too - quite the stemwinder - the Republicans have some good people speaking for them:

Theil? Billionaire - co-founded PayPal and was one of the first investors in Facebook.

I ♥ President Trump

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Just finished listening to his acceptance speech - really well written. The next couple of years are going to be fun!

Worst case scenario? He will be gone in four years. Best case? We will have Loki in office and he will shake shit up.

Looks like the new British Prime Minister is doing her best to channel Margaret Thatcher. I guess the stars do align every once and a while.

Life in Bernie-land

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From Burlington, VT station WCAX:

2 Vermont DNC delegates excluded due to gender
A complaint to the Democratic National Convention says two male Vermont delegates were replaced by women in the name of "gender balance" and without adequate due process.

The complaint, filed by 21 Vermont Democrats, says the national party this month ordered the state party to replace Vermont Sen. Tim Ashe and party stalwart Ken Dean although Dean and Ashe were elected June 11.

Maybe Tim and Ken should just proclaim that they identify as women.

UPDATE at the bottom of the page:

This is disgusting - from The Washington Times:

Clinton invites families of blacks killed by police to speak at Democratic convention
Philadelphia’s police union is blasting Hillary Clinton for inviting relatives of victims of police shootings to speak at the Democratic National Convention next week, but failing to include relatives of slain police officers.

John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, said the union was “shocked and saddened” by the planned choice of speakers at the convention, which opens Monday in Philadelphia.

“The Fraternal Order of Police is insulted and will not soon forget that the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton are excluding the widows and other family members of police officers killed in the line of duty who were victims of explicit and not implied racism,” Mr. McNesby said in a statement.

He said it’s “sad that to win an election Mrs. Clinton must pander to the interests of people who do not know all the facts, while the men and women they seek to destroy are outside protecting the political institutions of this country.

“Mrs. Clinton, you should be ashamed of yourself, if that is possible.”

I love the last line. The thing to remember is that each and every one of the black people shot by police officers were shot while actively resisting arrest. "Hands up don't shoot" is a baldfaced lie corroborated by witnesses and video.

Hillary bringing these parents of criminals to her convention is pandering to the wrong crowd.

UPDATE: Donald Trump had this to say tonight:

On Monday, we heard from three parents whose children were killed by illegal immigrants Mary Ann Mendoza, Sabine Durden, and Jamiel Shaw. They are just three brave representatives of many thousands. Of all my travels in this country, nothing has affected me more deeply than the time I have spent with the mothers and fathers who have lost their children to violence spilling across our border.

So on Monday 18th, the Trump campaign brings these parents of children murdered by illegal immigrants to speak at the convention. Today, Hillary's campaign decides to showcase the parents of criminals who were killed while resisting a legitimate arrest.

Coming to the big screen in about one year. IMDB and link to a video with 20 second advertisement

From the French 1967 comic series Valérian and Laureline and directed by Luc Besson

I am stoked - this will be epic.

I had a hip replacement eight years ago and love it - the joint was bone on bone and I tried alternative healing but nothing worked. Acupuncture was great for pain management but the medicines did nothing to regrow the joint. Titanium is the metal of choice for replacement joints - it is bio-compatible and bone tissue will grow on it so after a month or two of healing, the joint is as strong as the original. Now this - from Rice University:

Titanium + gold = new gold standard for artificial joints
Titanium is the leading material for artificial knee and hip joints because it’s strong, wear-resistant and nontoxic, but an unexpected discovery by Rice University physicists shows that the gold standard for artificial joints can be improved with the addition of some actual gold.

“It is about 3-4 times harder than most steels,” said Emilia Morosan, the lead scientist on a new study in Science Advances that describes the properties of a 3-to-1 mixture of titanium and gold with a specific atomic structure that imparts hardness. “It’s four times harder than pure titanium, which is what’s currently being used in most dental implants and replacement joints.”

Morosan, a physicist who specializes in the design and synthesis of compounds with exotic electronic and magnetic properties, said the new study is “a first for me in a number of ways. This compound is not difficult to make, and it’s not a new material.”

In fact, the atomic structure of the material — its atoms are tightly packed in a “cubic” crystalline structure that’s often associated with hardness — was previously known. It’s not even clear that Morosan and former graduate student Eteri Svanidze, the study’s lead co-author, were the first to make a pure sample of the ultrahard “beta” form of the compound. But due to a couple of lucky breaks, they and their co-authors are the first to document the material’s remarkable properties.

The paper can be found at the AAAS Science Advances: High hardness in the biocompatible intermetallic compound β-Ti3Au

A definition - fascisim

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Sobering definition from Chuck Anesi:

“Fascism is a form of political and social behavior that arises when the middle class, finding its hopes frustrated by economic instability coupled with political polarization and deadlock, abandons traditional ideologies and turns, with the approbation of police and military forces, to a poorly-defined but emotionally appealing soteriology of national unity, immediate and direct resolution of problems, and intolerance for dissent.” (Chuck Anesi, 2008)

Chuck also shows the historical precident for the rise of European Fascisim in the 1930's

20160721-fascism.jpg

Much more at Chuck's website.

Glass cracking in slow motion

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From 28,000 to 343,915 frames per second:

To give you an idea of the speed difference, when they were filming at 343,915 frames per second, they shot for 5.1 seconds. If that was played back at normal speed (30 fps), it would take over ninteen hours to watch.

I want one of these cameras but they are still way too expensive for casual use. These are great but not great enough: Edgertronic Time to sit back and let the technology evolve for another ten years or so...

It seems the financial crime movie - the Wolf of Wall Street - was financied by financial crime. From the New York Daily News:

‘Wolf of Wall Street’ ironically financed by $3B web of Malaysian money-laundering malfeasance, Justice Department says
It was crime infiltrating art imitating life.

Federal officials charged a $3.5 billion Malaysian money-laundering scheme helped finance the Leonardo DiCaprio movie “Wolf of Wall Street” — the Hollywood tale that parallels the corruption charges.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak vowed Thursday to “fully cooperate” in the ongoing international probe that stands as the largest U.S. Justice Department asset recovery action in history.

A bit more:

U.S. officials seek to recover $1.3 billion of the missing funds, including profits from the Martin Scorsese-directed movie that earned five Oscar nominations.

The conspirators used some of their illicit cash to fund Scorsese’s tale of “a corrupt stockbroker who tried to hide his own illicit profits in a perceived foreign safe haven,” said U.S. Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell.

Emphasis mine - including profits? Ouch!

Great writeup by Ari Halperin on the AAAS Consensus Letter:

Ooops! Not all 31 scientific societies actually signed the AAAS ‘consensus’ letter
Recursive Lies and “Scientific Consensus” Letters

The ”Consensus” Letter on Climate Change (06/28/2016), allegedly signed by leaders of 31 scientific organizations and published on the websites of the AAAS, AGU, AMS, and others, was signed only by some of the participating organizations. This is contrary to the letter itself, the press release and the accompanying article. This sham was revealed by some routine fact-checking and the events triggered by it, and is described in a short paper The Solved Riddle of the 2016 Climate Change “Consensus Letter”, edited fragments from which follow.

Timeline of Events
In early morning of July 6th, I sent fact-checking emails to the CEO of the AAAS and to the top officials and/or media contacts of the 30 other organizations. Appendix B of the paper contains the email exchange with AAAS. The emails asked only about signing the letter, not about its content. Specifically, my email asked whether the letter in question was signed by the listed organizations or their leaders, and asked for an opportunity to see the actual signatures. In its reply, AAAS changed the published allegation that the letter was signed to “reflect the participation of leaders of each of the 31 named scientific societies” (Fact #1). My follow up letter, asking AAAS to confirm that the letter was actually signed, went unanswered.

What follows is a trainwreck of epic proportions. The article linked above only covers the highlights - Ari's paper (PDF) gives it up in wonderful detail. There is no consensus of scientists. There were only a few signatures and the AAAS is trying very hard to obfuscate and cover up.

Heading out for coffee, check in at the store and then back home to put up some storage cabinets and shelving.

The forecast is for a couple days of nice weather so I will be spraying some herbicide around the fence-line and garden beds too. Everyone keeps ragging on Monsanto and Glyphosate but I can not find anything wrong with it when used properly. It is just a simple soap based on Phosphorus a opposed to Sodium. The supposed cancer report comes from something from the World Heath Organization but I tried to find the original paper and cannot - an example of a lie repeated so many times that it becomes "fact".

The ultimate programmers keyboard

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I am loving my new Cherry mechanical keyboard (thanks Amazon Prime Day!) but this is totally insane:

20160720-binary.jpg

A One, a Zero and an Enter key. More here and here. Someone is either on to something amazing or needs to seriously up their meds...

From the Seattle Times:

Four-year-old Dollar Shave Club sold for $1 billion to Unilever
Dollar Shave Club, one of the most recognizable brands to emerge from Los Angeles’ startup scene, set out to overhaul the razor-blade business four years ago with an online subscription service for affordable blades.

Now the company is joining forces with the kind of corporate giant it aimed to undermine.

Unilever, the London-based consumer goods and food behemoth, is paying $1 billion to acquire Dollar Shave Club.

About the company:

Born out of a holiday-party conversation in 2010, Dollar Shave Club was launched by founder Mike Dubin two years later. Since then, it has amassed 3.2 million subscribers and expanded with a line of men’s hair and skin products as well as wet wipes.

And the deal:

Dollar Shave Club will remain largely independent to build its brand, which was made famous by a series of tongue-in-cheek viral videos starring Dubin. The company also will get to retain all 190 of its employees, Dubin said.

Sweet! Unilever is smart enough to recognize that corporate culture is vitally important not only to the customers but to the employees morale and productivity. If they tried to come in with their own pointy-haired bosses, it would kill the business.

Embedded systems

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I had done development work with embedded systems a lot back about 20 years ago. Got to know the Intel 8051 chip really well.

Got a couple projects I want to play with and it was time to fish or cut bait. The two popular systems today are Arduino and Raspberry Pi. The Arduino is oriented towards makers and artists and has its own proprietary programming language. Lots of code already written out there so no need to reinvent the wheel. The Raspberry Pi runs Linux out of the box and is programmed using standard Windows or Linux based development tools (assembly and C+) with a bit of Lua or Python to glue stuff together.

Being more of an old-school guy, I am going with the Pi - I like using standardized languages and not being locked to one proprietary set of hardware. I needed to get some additional little bits to breadboard out my first idea and when on Amazon ordering the Pi's (I bought a couple as at least two will be locked in a box running for long periods of time - one as a timekeeper (here and here) and one as a WSPR beacon)

I saw this little kit of fun stuff: Elegoo Upgrade Electronics Fun Kit w/ Power Supply Module, Jumper Wire, Precision Potentiometer, 830 tie-points Breadboard and this one: Elegoo Electronics component pack with resistors, LEDs, Switch, Potentiometer. Got one of each - $25 total outlay and I am stocked with enough components to build anything I want. Lots of jumper cables to connect between my stuff and the Pi board. A nicely thought out collection.

Back home - feeling a bit tired

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Woke up a bit earlier than usual this morning so feeling a bit tired - came back home.

I'll stay up as long as possible - want to start bringing my sleep schedule more in line with the rest of the world again.

Off for a couple of pints of cider

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Heading out for an hour or two - couple pints of cider and read for a while.

Our reptilian overlords

It is true after all - here is a photo of Jeff Bezos (Amazon CEO) out of costume:

20160720-bezos.jpg

Actually, he has a bit part in the new Star Trek movie - from the London Daily Mail:

Jeff Bezos's big break: Billionaire Amazon founder offers first glimpse of his alien character in Star Trek Beyond
Amazon founder and self-described Star Trek superfan Jeff Bezos has shared with the world a Vine video depicting him in heavy alien makeup during his cameo in the latest installment of the popular sci-fi franchise.

The six-second clip, which the billionaire tech mogul posted on his Twitter page on Wednesday, shows an unrecognizable Bezos sporting elaborate prosthetics on his face and head enjoying a meal, presumably during the filming of Star Trek Beyond.

The short video also shows the high-powered 'Trekkie' washing down his dinner with water from a plastic bottle sipped through a straw.

I hope his character gets to laugh on screen - Bezos' laugh is wonderful. Our reptilian overlords? Here, here, here and here for a start.

The reality hits home

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From US News and World Report:

RNC Protests Rage, but Anti-Trump Organizers Ask: Where Is Everyone?
Activists marched illegally down streets, fought with one another and defied a downtown tennis ball ban Tuesday during the second day of the Republican National Convention. But as the excitement unfolded, some activist leaders wondered where the crowds were.

Cleveland has seen far smaller protests than those at other recent conventions, despite the nomination of Donald Trump eliciting a rage from progressives that rivals or exceeds their hatred of former President George W. Bush. In a further distinction, it has also seen very few activism-related arrests.

“Look, I’ll say this: It’s not a good thing people aren’t here in a bigger force when an openly fascistic candidate is being nominated,” says Noche Diaz, who served as spokesman for the day’s highest profile march, which promoted revolutionary communism and the jailing of “killer cops.”

“Why? I don’t know all the reasons, you’ll have to ask them,” Diaz said after the hourlong march by about two dozen protesters, a greater number of reporters and likely even more law enforcement officers, who rode bicycles alongside and behind the group.

It is simple really - these useful idiots have nothing to offer. All they do is fling poo - there is no dialog, no dialectic and waaay too much rhetoric. They got people's attention and the people decided that there was nothing there beyond the chanting and giant papier-mâché puppet heads.

From The Daily Caller:

Global Warming Expedition Stopped In Its Tracks By Arctic Sea Ice
A group of adventurers, sailors, pilots and climate scientists that recently started a journey around the North Pole in an effort to show the lack of ice, has been blocked from further travels by ice.

The Polar Ocean Challenge is taking a two month journey that will see them go from Bristol, Alaska, to Norway, then to Russia through the North East passage, back to Alaska through the North West passage, to Greenland and then ultimately back to Bristol. Their objective, as laid out by their website, was to demonstrate “that the Arctic sea ice coverage shrinks back so far now in the summer months that sea that was permanently locked up now can allow passage through.”

Schadenfreude. What warming?

About that $15 / hour minimum wage

We have machines for hamburgers, check out this robot chef for Bratwurst:

Tip of the hat to Popular Science for the link.

Farming and cooperative sales

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Great news for independent farmers from the Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund:

Courts Vindicate Amish Farmer for Fourth Time
If at first you don’t succeed at harassing a farmer out of business, try again…and again…and again. That has been the tack the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Hopewell Township have taken since 2012 against Amish farmer and FTCLDF member Chris Zook. Four times either the Commonwealth or the Township have brought a court action for alleged violations of either the local zoning code or the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code against Zook; each time the farmer has emerged victorious, FTCLDF General Counsel Gary Cox has represented Zook.

All four actions against the farmer have stemmed from Zook’s building of a new barn on his farm to replace the original one that had been destroyed in a 2011 fire. Hopewell Township issued Zook a permit to rebuild his barn, but both the Township and the Commonwealth objected to Zook using part of the barn as a retail store. Zook is a farmer member of Community Alliance for Responsible Eco-farming (CARE), a private food buyers club, and only sells products to CARE consumer members at his store.

Barns are exempt as agricultural buildings from the Pennsylvania construction code, but both the Township and the Commonwealth have contended that since there is a retail store in the barn, it is actually a commercial building subject to local zoning requirements and the Commonwealth Uniform Construction Code (having to comply with the construction code would cost Zook thousands). The courts have rejected this argument in each of the four actions.

Good - overbearing regulation is the bane of our civilization. Didn't used to be this way and doesn't have to continue - all it does is entrench unelected officials in power. The regulatory fees they charge allow them to build an empire. This was not a retail store, this was a buyers club and should be left alone.

The new Philippine President

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I am liking this guy - first he institutes draconian reprisals against known drug dealers and now this - from Breitbart:

Philippines: Duterte Says No to ‘Stupid,’ ‘Absurd’ Climate Change Deal
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has stated he will not abide by the Paris Agreement, an international climate change pact, calling the deal “stupid” and “absurd,” and accusing developed countries of “imposing” on less wealthy states after having committed their own share of environmental atrocities.

Duterte was addressing the Philippine Olympic team at the presidential palace in Manila, sending them off to Rio de Janeiro to compete in next month’s games. He told an anecdote of an unnamed ambassador questioning whether the Philippines will be able to keep its carbon emissions low as per the climate change pact signed in December. The question, Duterte admitted, made him want “to kick him.”

“I said, ‘No. I cannot tell. … You don’t do it that way, Mr. Ambassador. [Your country] had reached the apex [of industrialization] and along the way put a lot of contaminants and emission and went ahead in destroying the climate,’” Duterte said he responded to the ambassador.

“We have not reached the age of industrialization. We’re now going into it. But you are trying [to] stymie (our growth) with an agreement that says you can only go up to here,” he added, calling abiding by climate pacts “stupid.”

And of course, this has the communists' knickers in a bunch:

Environmentalists urged Duterte to engage in a dialogue with them. “Climate change is a complex political issue that requires reflection from the point of view of climate justice. As such, since climate change was largely caused by rich countries, fairness dictates that they shall have a larger share of the responsibility in solving the problem,” Naderev “Yeb” Saño, a climate change activist, told the Philippine outlet Rappler.

In other words, we have zero data and we want free government handouts so we are going to appeal to emotion and not science because... handouts.

Rappler notes that “highly industrialized countries like China, the United States, Japan, India and other oil-producing Gulf nations account for almost 70% of the greenhouse gas emissions in 2011.”

BZZZZTTT!!! Wrong - 70% of the CO2 emissions come from natural sources - plant decay, the oceans, volcanoes.

Our military readiness - missles

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Not so much - from the Los Angeles Times:

U.S. missile defense system is 'simply unable to protect the public,' report says
The system designed to defend American cities and towns against a nuclear attack by North Korea is “simply unable to protect the U.S. public” and will remain ineffective unless Congress exerts rigorous oversight, according to a new report.

The report, to be released Thursday by the Union of Concerned Scientists, recommends that the Obama administration halt the expansion of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, known as GMD, until its technical problems have been solved.

“The story of this system is a cautionary tale about how the lack of appropriate oversight of a politically charged missile defense program has led to a system in tatters,” said the report, written by three physicists with expertise in missile defense.

“Despite more than a decade of development and a bill of $40 billion, the GMD system is simply unable to protect the U.S. public,’’ the authors wrote.

The testing process is rigged to produce favorable results:

The report notes that in “heavily scripted” flight tests that are “set up for success,” GMD interceptors have often failed to hit mock enemy warheads. In the seven most recent tests, interceptors destroyed their targets just three times, the report says -- a finding consistent with conclusions of the Pentagon’s operational test and evaluation office.

Personnel conducting the tests know the speed, location and trajectory of the target ahead of time, as well as when it will be launched – information they would not have in a real attack.

Emphasis mine and they still failed four out of seven times. The worse thing is that they will not just launch a missile from North Korea and try to nuke a West coast city. If they wanted to cripple us, all they would have to do is get a container ship within a hundred miles or so of the coast and fire their missile straight up. No time for defense and the goal would be an EMP, not an explosion. A nuke detonating at 300 miles altitude would kill the power grid over much of the continental United States - each substation would need new equipment and it would be six months minimum to get electrical power restored.

Fun times at FOX News

One of the reporters at FOX News had her show cancelled due to poor ratings. Gretchen Carlson countered by saying that FOX News CEO - Roger Ailes - made sexual advances towards her. Now, FOX Anchor Megyn Kelly is claiming the same thing and asking owners Rupert Murdoch and sons to fire Ailes.

This just in from Breitbart:

Exclusive — Fox News Stars Stand With Roger Ailes Against Megyn Kelly, More Than 50 Fox Contributors, All Primetime, Willing To Walk
All of Fox News’ primetime lineup is willing to walk out of the network with chief executive and chairman Roger Ailes if he is pushed out by Rupert Murdoch and his family, Breitbart News has confirmed.

Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren, Shepard Smith, Bret Baier, Eric Bolling, Neil Cavuto, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Laura Ingraham, Geraldo Rivera, Juan Williams, Jeanine Pirro, Bo Dietl, Monica Crowley, all of the Fox and Friends hosts, and at least 50 Fox News contributors are willing to depart the network if Ailes is ousted, and leave with him to form a new network, one of the network’s anchors told Breitbart News late Tuesday.

All of them stand against Megyn Kelly, and all of them stand with Roger Ailes.

Quite the A-List - FOX would be reduced to a smoking crater if even half of these people left. If they formed a new network, I would switch from watching FOX just to see what was up. Talk about making the rubble bounce. A bit more on Ms. Kelley:

“If Fox wants to become the ‘all about Megyn Network,’ that’s fine,” one top Fox News host said. “We stand with Roger. And real anger has emerged that the so-called Megyn incident happened 10 years ago. The consensus among the hosts and contributors is: ‘Why didn’t she say anything then? Really, the same woman that posed half naked in GQ? The same woman on Howard Stern saying what?’”

Much more at the site including the whole kerfuffle over the Iowa debate which Trump skipped when he found out it would be hosted by Kelly. The lady is a slow-motion train-wreck. Time for a bowl of popcorn and just sit back and watch.

That is it for the evening

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Nothing really catches my eye out there. Just the usual political crap-show.

Cotton Candy machines

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Ever wonder where these come from? It looks like Gold Medal has a lock on the market - they also do popcorn, nut roasting, pizza and hot dog machines, snow cones, etc...

Some of the things you run into when reading the entire internet every day.

Fun times in Turkey

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Turkey just had a coup attempt a few days ago. Wikileaks is there:

Search the AKP email database
Today, 11pm Anakara Time, WikiLeaks releases part one of the AKP Emails. AKP, or the Justice & Development Party, is the ruling party of Turkey and is the political force behind the country's president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Part one of the series covers 762 mail boxes beginning with 'A' through to 'I' containing 294,548 email bodies together with many thousands of attached files. The emails come from "akparti.org.tr", the AKP's primary domain. The most recent was sent on July 6, 2016. The oldest dates back to 2010. It should be noted that emails associated with the domain are mostly used for dealing with the world, as opposed to the most sensitive internal matters.

The material was obtained a week before the attempted coup. However, WikiLeaks has moved forward its publication schedule in response to the government's post-coup purges. We have verified the material and the source, who is not connected, in any way, to the elements behind the attempted coup, or to a rival political party or state.

This will be interesting - the text is in Turkish and Turkey has the nasty habbit of blocking websites it does not like. Some ex-pats will be very busy over the next couple of weeks.

Back from town

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Picked up a rotisserie chicken from Costco and doing that with a pot of rice and some stir-fried bok choy with oyster sauce and sesame oil. Yummy!

Also picked up a nice pellet gun to persuade Mr. and Ms. Coyote and the kits to spend quality time somewhere besides our back yard. I don't want to shoot to kill but this is my yard and my critters. The pellets pack a good sting to them so they should learn quickly. Also, a lot cheaper to target practice - ammo is only 3.2¢ per shot as opposed to 40¢ for the AR or AK.

More later tonight...

Slanted article but the core information is wonderful - from The Daily Caller:

GOP Platform REJECTS Global Warming Taxes
The Republican Party’s platform for 2016 includes a provision opposing any taxes on carbon dioxide emissions, like those proposed by Democratic lawmakers concerned about man-made global warming.

“We oppose any carbon-tax,” reads a copy of the platform draft obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. “It would increase energy prices across the board, hitting hardest at the families who are already struggling to pay their bill in the Democrats’ no-growth economy.”

The GOP’s platform, including the carbon tax provision, was approved last week with no amendments. GOP delegates formally adopted the platform Monday.

The anti-carbon tax provision reaffirms Republican opposition to energy taxes as a way to fight global warming. The Republican National Committee adopted a resolution opposing a carbon tax in January.

I can only say - what man-made global warming? 70% of CO2 emissions are naturally occuring. Plant growth is up around 10% because of the increased emissions and the optimal CO2 level is around 1,000ppm. All indications point to a coming period of relative cooling.

People need to look at the actual data and not at the computer models.

From Stat:

Norovirus outbreak reported among GOP convention staffers
A handful of Republican staff members in Cleveland for the GOP convention were reported to be suffering Tuesday from a possible norovirus infection.

And if there are a few people with norovirus, it’s likely there will be more.

As many as 11 members of the California delegation’s advance team are showing symptoms that are consistent with the norovirus, according to Peter Schade, the Erie County health commissioner, who is investigating the outbreak. They are staying at a hotel in Sandusky, Ohio, about an hour from Cleveland.

“We’ve got about 11 who have been sick over the last few days, and we’ve been out there every day and working with them to eliminate the spread [between] the resort and the delegation from California,” Schade said.

Keeping them away from the other constituents is a smart move - the stuff is nasty and highly contagious. I bet the rest of the people on the airplane from CA are suffering right now.

Off for coffee and then town today

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Heading into Bellingham for some much needed retail therapy this afternoon.

Groceries, some stuff for the big antenna and some stuff to organize the radio room. Planning to move my electronics bench out of the DaveCave© and into the radio room in a couple weeks.

That is it for tonight

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Did not get the shelving put up but knocked out a couple other projects so I am calling it a productive day.

Heading into town tomorrow - parts for the big antenna and a couple things for some other projects. Groceries too - lunch meat, etc...

Amazon Santa delivered some parts for a Weak Signal Propagation Reporter beacon today. WSPR is a very cool mode originally developed by Joe Taylor - the guy who did the radio telemetry for the V'ger (sorry) Voyager interstellar probe and it is designed to deliver reliable (albeit slow) communications using weak signals over long distances. WSPR is good for about one character every ten seconds or so but it comes in error free and uses amazingly modest equipment. With 100 watts of power and a tuned antenna, I can reliably work Canada, Mexico, East Coast, Hawaii and have had contacts in Japan. With WSPR, people have had contacts all over the planet using under five watts and a length of zip cord for an antenna. This is something where you pre-program your message (name, call sign, location and a greeting) and just let the beacon run. You will get emails from stations that receive your signal. Planning to become a receiving station as well.

Some numbers

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From hale_razor

US Deaths

Iraq War (2001-2008): 4,222
Sept 11 Attacks (2001): 2,624
Afghan War (2009-2016): 1,752
Chicago Gun Homicides (2009-2016): 3,191

2009 to 2016 covers Barry's administration. For a city with such draconian gun laws, this certainly shows that something else is in play here.

But this will do nicely - for now:

From Virginia station WJHL:

3.4 magnitude earthquake reported in Richlands, VA; Possible mine collapse
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a 3.4 magnitude earthquake was reported near Richlands, VA this morning around 5:53 a.m.

Seismologists believe the tremors were “likely a mine collapse.”

No additional news as yet. USGS website is here: M3.4 Mine Collapse - 11km NNW of Richlands, Virginia

Got a biggie - cocaine bust

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From the wonderful gCaptain:

Tugboat Captain, First Officer Found Guilty of Drug Trafficking in UK’s Biggest Ever Cocaine Bust
The captain and first officer of an ocean going tug have been found guilty of drug trafficking in what authorities have described as the biggest seizure of class A drugs ever in the history of the United Kingdom.

The cocaine was found hidden on board the Tanzanian-flagged MV Hamal in April 2015.

The vessel was intercepted by Royal Navy and Border Control assets in the North Sea about 100 miles off the coast of Aberdeenshire following a tip from the UK’s National Crime Agency working with French customs investigators. The MV Hamal was later escorted to the Port of Aberdeen where an exhaustive search turned up 128 bales of uncut cocaine stashed inside a hidden compartment next to one of the tug’s ballast tanks.

The total weight of the cocaine taken off the MV Hamal turned out to be in excess of 3.2 tonnes, worth an estimated total street value of the drugs to be about £512 million.

Hamal’s nine crew members, all Turkish nationals, were detained and charged with drug related offenses.

Sentencing is due August 12th. The investigation involved teams from France, Turkey, Guyana and Tanzania.

Great piece by Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams:

How Persuaders See the World
When you are trained in the ways of persuasion, you start seeing three types of people in the world. I’ll call them Rational People, Word-Thinkers, and Persuaders. Their qualities look like this:

Rational People: Use data and reason to arrive at truth. (This group is mostly imaginary.)

Word-Thinkers: Use labels, word definitions, and analogies to create the illusion of rational thinking. This group is 99% of the world.

Persuaders: Use simplicity, repetition, emotion, habit, aspirations, visual communication, and other tools of persuasion to program other people and themselves. This group is about 1% of the population and effectively control the word-thinkers of the world.

If you’re a trained scientist, engineer, or other technical person, you might use data and reason sometimes, especially while others are watching and checking your work. But off-duty – and when it comes to anything important – we’re all irrational creatures who believe we are rational. At least that’s how trained persuaders see the world.

You can easily spot word-thinkers when they talk about politics. Their go-to strategy involves identifying enemies and fitting them into whatever category matches their biases and cognitive dissonance.

Nice to know that my tribe is mostly imaginary... 

From the Wall Street Journal:

Louisville’s Secret Past: Disco-Ball-Building Boomtown
John Travolta was in fine form, still sharp in his legendary white suit, finger pointing skyward in a cardboard pose while speakers blared the pulsing rhythm of “Disco Inferno.”

There was a smoke machine. There were neon lights. Then, with a crowd of politicians and boosters watching, a cable lifted into place one of the city’s largest civic monuments, a glittering 11-foot wide, 2,300-pound disco ball.

The giant mirror ball, billed as Kentucky’s largest, was a testament to the city’s manufacturing heritage and history of craftsmanship, said Mayor Greg Fischer, while providing “a convenient excuse to party.” He declared April 1 Disco Ball Day.

To most people, Louisville’s manufacturing heritage extends to bourbon, baseball bats and, maybe, bluegrass music. But during the late 1970s, the local Omega National Products factory about cornered the market in disco balls, churning out 90% of the dance ornaments made in the U.S. The company shipped thousands a month to nightclubs, concert halls and roller rinks.

“That was the heyday, I’m telling you,” said Yolanda Baker, 69 years old, the last of the Omega crew still making the mirrored globes by hand. (See photos of Ms. Baker at work.)

At the height of the craze, about two dozen women joined Ms. Baker at the factory, often with the Bee Gees blaring from a tape player, as they turned Louisville into America’s disco-ball capital.

These days, production is down to about 15 or 20 a month, nearly all the work of Ms. Baker. “It’s definitely lonely,” she said.

It is competition from China - an 12" diameter Omega ball can cost $135 and the same size ball from China is $25. Omega's website is here: Omega National Products but whomever is hosting them is maxed out - try them in a day or two. 509 - Bandwidth Limit Exceeded

Special effects in movies

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A thoughtful essay on the overuse of CGI in today's movies. From Motherboard:

Pixels Are Driving Out Reality
When the massive alien starship of Independence Day: Resurgence landed in theaters this summer holiday, audiences flocked to witness an unprecedented scale of destruction. Director Roland Emmerich’s appetite for spectacular catastrophe is clearly bigger than ever—at one point, Asia is flipped on top of Europe—even though it retains a sense of nostalgia, a sense of that familiar extraterrestrial panache. As Jeff Goldblum’s character whispers at one point, “They like to hit the landmarks.”

Is the audience impressed and scared? Rather mildly, if one has to judge from the film's 32 percent audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “You can forgive Independence Day: Resurgence for being ridiculous,” wrote a reviewer at Time. “But you can't forgive it for being boring.” Vox: “Independence Day: Resurgence is the summer’s worst movie — and its most boring.” At Kotaku (“Independence Day: Resurgence Is Worse Than Bad. It's Boring”), a reviewer noted: “I should have taken a nap instead.”

And the thesis:

In 1979, when spectators saw Alien, they were deeply impressed because what they saw was strongly linked to actual life, if only because their imaginary life had not been colonized by CGI. The humongous spaceship Nostromo — a miniature model — provoked awe and respect. When the creature erupted from Kane’s abdomen — a plaster model encased in fake blood and animal entrails — people were horrified. The shock was registered on the faces of the actors, who, per Ridley Scott's direction, weren't told ahead of time that the moment would include a giant splatter of blood. "That's why their looks of disgust and horror are so real," producer and co-writer David Giler told Cinefantastique.

A long and wonderful exploration - the writer, Dr. Riccardo Manzotti is a Professor in Psychology at the Institute of Human, Language and Environmental Sciences at the University of Milan, holds a PhD in robotics, is the author of 50 papers on the basis of consciousness, and is the webmaster of consciousness.it.

Back home again

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Paid some bills that were stacking up and got my coffee.

Now to marinate some chicken for dinner (ginger/shoyu) and gather tools for shelf-building.

Quiet day today

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Heading in for coffee and to pay bills and then home again. Planning to put up some shelves near the kitchen this afternoon.

Had a little bit of thunder last early evening - forecast for some more later today.

Had some left-over spaghetti and watched two more episodes of Stranger Things - lots of homage to earlier movies of the time. Wonderful stuff. Netflix.

A bit sad in that we are now half-way through the series of eight shows - hoping for more in the near future. Excellent casting, acting and plot development.

Take a $40 computer on a board, a $60 display screen, a $60 Terminal Network Controller board and a bit of free software and your own ham radio equipment and you have PiGate:

PiGate
EMERGENCY EMAIL GATEWAY
When disaster strikes, communication is the most important missing service. Amateur radio operators have a long history of helping in disaster situations and this new device was created to assist in that effort.

The PiGate is a small piece of hardware that can be brought into a disaster area, connected to an already existing VHF or HF amateur radio and antenna (like in your car or truck), and used to send e-mail to the global Winlink2000 system through a Radio Message Server (RMS) station.

Users connect to the PiGate thru a WiFi port either using a web browser, or an e-mail application, on their smartphone, tablet, or laptop. From there they can compose and send e-mail to their family and friends.

The Winlink2000 global e-mail radio service then routes the e-mail to any address in the world.

The PiGate is very small and has a very low power requirement, allowing it to be used in disaster situations without relying on any other services. Except for an external power requirement and a connection to a HF or VHF radio, It is completely self-contained.

Very cool - already have a couple RaspberryPi computers here for other stuff - it will be nice to add one to my go-kit. E-mail without the Internet. It piggy-backs onto existing ham radio protocols. Slow but bullet-proof which in the coming zombie apocalypse is a good thing.

Today's meme

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'Nough said...

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Dry weather

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For all of the overcast and showers, the river levels are awfully low - here is the Nooksack River about 10 miles from our house in Cedarville:

20160717-nooksack.png

The yellow triangles are the ten-year average water levels - running about half of the normal flow rate.

About that global warming?

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Google translated from the German Wetter.net:

Camping in the snow? What a midsummer!
Already at Camping thought in the snow and the middle of July? How threatened by wetter.net on Monday may this wish be fulfilled today in the Alpine countries Switzerland and Austria!

The snow line is sagged significantly in these regions overnight. In some places today dancing until morning at 1500 m the snowflakes.

so a deep snow line is extremely rare for mid-July. Clear: It may even snow in June or late August to these heights down, but in July that really is a rather rare spectacle. This summer now holds not only for the fall, but even for the winter.

Do not say we did not warn you. On Monday we had warned of last minute travel this week in the Alpine area.

Not only in Switzerland, snow was falling. In Austria it snows also. The popular Grossglockner High Alpine Road is morning places snow covers. And it is still snowing on. This summer, most people have certainly presented differently. The summer 2016 does what he wants.

A few days ago still peaks between 30 and 35 degrees were measured in Austria and now it's snowing up to 1500 m lower and the middle of July.

Just as a heads up, our Sun is the major player when it comes to our climate and overall temperature. The graph below is the measurement of the radio flux emitted by our Sun as measured from an observatory in Penticton, British Columbia. The higher the value, the more active and more output - warmer. This shows the eleven-year solar cycle very well. The last time we had a solar maximum so weak and flaccid was back in the 1970's - back then, the scientific thought was that we needed to be worried about global cooling.

20160717-flux.png

I do not know about you but I am getting in extra firewood for this winter.

From The Washington Times:

Sheldon Whitehouse calls for news outlets to suppress ‘extreme’ op-eds by climate skeptics
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse wants newspapers to stop publishing “extreme” and “phony” op-eds written by climate-change skeptics, blasting such articles as “industry propaganda.”

The Rhode Island Democrat said he was stunned by the “extraordinary barrage of opinion pieces” that followed his May 2015 op-ed recommending that Attorney General Loretta Lynch investigate fossil-fuel companies and their supporters for possible civil violations of federal racketeering laws.

He blamed the flood of what he described as “error-plagued criticism” on “the climate denial apparatus” and urged newspapers to reject such opinion pieces in the future.

If you don't have the data on your side, enlist the media to cover for you. This is blatant lying by omission and it has been going on for some time.

Nothing much today

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Slept in - delicious!

One of my employees got a new puppy yesterday so we are heading out for a visit.

Will public figures display a sign at their home saying that this is a "Gun free zone"

Thought not:

Talk about weaseling. What part of MORON do these people fail to realize...

Stranger Things

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Great new series from Netflix - set in the 1980's, big government conspiracy, small-town middle America, great characters. We watched the first two episodes this evening - six more to go. The level of acting from the kids is really good. I loved the gratuitous shout-out to the old Heathkit ham radio station that the middle-school teacher had plus the Realistic (Radio Shack) walkie-talkies - I used to have a set of them.  Here is the trailer:

We are both big science-fiction geeks - this is pure catnip.

Heads of state - $10,000/month

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Wasting taxpayer money - from The New York Times:

A Haircut for French Taxpayers? Hollande’s $10,000-a-Month Stylist Is Revealed
As heads of state go, this one appears to be quite expensive.

The investigative and satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné reported on Wednesday that President François Hollande’s personal hairdresser has been paid 9,895 euros — over $10,000 — per month since Mr. Hollande was elected in 2012, about the same amount as a government minister’s salary.

The report is especially jarring for Mr. Hollande, 61, a Socialist who campaigned on the promise that he would be a “normal” and exemplary president but who has seen his private life spill into the open on several occasions.

They should fly my barber over once/month - it would be a lot cheaper, she would enjoy the travel and he would get a really good looking haircut. And you wonder just how many other egregious wastes like this there are throughout the EU government. No wonder England went for BREXIT.

Electric vehicles - a hidden cost

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There are a lot of free charging stations for electric vehicles - this might change at least in England. From the London Daily Mail:

End to free charging for electric car users as surge in popularity of environmentally friendly vehicles leads to service stations being unable to cope
Electric car users now have to pay to charge up on the motorway after the vehicles have surged in popularity.

Almost 50,000 electric or hybrid cars have been sold in Britain this year and one in every 30 cars sold is powered by electricity.

The rising demand has led green power company Ecotricity, which runs the charging network Electric Highway, to introduce fees for using charge points.

The cost and the dirty little secret:

Electric car users will be charged £6 for 30 minutes of electricity at any of the company's 300 power points, reports The Times.

The fee has angered owners of hybrid vehicles who say it will cost them £1 to travel only five miles on their batteries.

£1 is about $1.30USD and with today's gas prices around $2.50/gallon corresponds to about 9.6 miles per gallon when based on cost. This is lousy. My big Ford F-350 gets way better than that even though I am a confirmed lead-foot. Adding to the indignity is that it can take up to an hour to fully recharge a low battery - a full tank of gasoline can be pumped in less than five minutes.

Back from the event

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Had about 70 people attending - it was a Jesus Fest with speakers as well as various community booths. Some good speakers and one dull one. Got hot-dogs and chips for lunch. Had a couple people show more than a passing interest in ham radio as well as the BERT literature so the day was a success. Our local fire chief brought the tanker down for the kids to play on. Every so often, he would fire it up so they could hit the horn (loud) and the siren (even louder).

Good people and a tight community.

There was a guy selling local produce so picked up a big bunch of rainbow chard and will have the last bit of Feijoada for dinner tonight - it is traditionally served with rice and a sauteed green so the chard will be perfect.

From Michigan Live:

Muskegon River tubing trip turns into overnight nightmare for three women
They left for what they thought would be an easy float down Muskegon River Tuesday afternoon – but ended up spending the night on the river bank, scared and yelling for help.

The trio of young women were rescued 20 hours later after a fisherman eventually heard their cries, said Muskegon Township Deputy Fire Chief Bob Grabinski.

The women, all in their 20s, had never been tubing before and decided it would be a fun thing to do, Grabinski said. So they bought some tubes and headed to the popular launch site at the Maple Island Road bridge, Grabinski said.

"They were informed by somebody at the bridge that the river goes in a circle and if they put in there they would come back to their car," he said. "Not knowing anything, they set off on their little adventure."

Talk about gullible. Glad they are OK but sheesh...

Talking about earth movement

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This just happened in Sichuan, China - from YouTube:

Last Friday evening, when a bus with 42 passengers was driving at 318 National Road in Ya’an city, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, the 59-year-old driver noticed rocks sliding down from the mountain. He immediately pressed his brakes and reversed about 10 meters. The mountain collapsed in a minute and buried the place. But thankfully, the driver was quick enough to avert any untowardly incident.

Great luck for everyone aboard - good reflexes on the part of the driver.

Tired and stiff

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Slept like a dream last night - woke up fairly early. Heading out for coffee in a few minutes, pick up some literature to hand out and then to the resource center for a couple hours. Demonstrating ham radio and emergency preparedness - out here in the last ten years, we have had three landslides sufficient to shut down traffic on the main highway, one medium size forest fire and two small earthquakes. Mt. Baker is considered to be an active volcano and there are other areas where landslides have happened on a regular basis. There is an active earthquake fault about five miles away.

The idea of maintaining a three-day store of food and water is a joke out here - it is more like three weeks if not more. You do not have to do this all at once - it is more a matter of buying an extra can of tuna fish or baked beans the next time you are grocery shopping. Picking up a packet of batteries on your next visit to Costco and making sure you have an extra supply of any prescriptions. A couple of books or a deck of cards is not a bad thing either.

George Soros in the news

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Black Lives Matter? Funded by an old rich white man - a real 1%'er
Color of Change? Funded by George as well.
MoveOn? George.

You get the picture - from The Washington Times:

Beware the Soros zombies
Billionaire George Soros has funded liberal organizations intent on bringing confusion, disarray and trouble to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week.

And they’ve already had some victories.

Civil rights group Color of Change — which Mr. Soros gave $500,000 to in his Foundation’s latest tax return — collected more than 100,000 signatures on a petition to demand Coca-Cola and other companies withdraw their support from the convention. The petition that featured a Coke bottle with the label, “Share a Coke with the KKK.”

A lot more at the site with links to data. And this cheery return to yesterday:

Last weekend, the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), a progressive organization that was given $900,000 by Mr. Soros’s Foundation, held a People’s Convention in Pittsburgh, to organize social justice movements ahead of the political conventions both in Cleveland and Philadelphia.

The conference included Black Lives Matter organizers, those campaigning for immigration reform, the Fight for $15, LGBTQ rights, and environmental justice activists. It’s purpose was to give them the tools to communicate and engage with one-another’s campaigns to amplify their collective voice.

“We are beginning to launch a real national organizing framework — that’s something that really hadn’t been seen since ACORN went under,” Jonathan Westin, executive director of New York Communities for Change told the American Prospect of the conference.

That’s right, Mr. Soros is actively working to build another ACORN.

You remember ACORN - the 'community organizers' who were advising a pimp how to import 14-year-old Salvadoran prostitutes and set up brothels in public housing units.

I miss Frank

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Frank Zappa was an American legend of music - his classical and chamber music is exquisite and he just had way too much fun with his rock and roll.

The guy was a little bit outspoken but I liked it:

20160715-frank.jpg

A lost feed or a pulled plug?  CNN reporter Brianna Keilar criticises Hillary on the air and then, oopsie...

Not nice to criticize Hillary - it is her turn after all.

Back home - a twelve hour day

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But a lot of fun - got up at 7:00AM and got on the road by 7:45 coffee in hand. Arrived at the event at 8:30 and the other guy (also a DaveH) was just pulling in. Took us about 20 minutes to get everything set up and signed in with Net Control. First runners came through around 9:20 or so. We needed to report the first three and the last three so the race officials could get an idea of the timing and flow. There were over 500 teams participating so it was a very large event.

Fortunately, we didn't have to participate in any first aid related events - there was an aid station set up next to us but it was just dealing with road rash and the occasional twisted ankle - no medivac this year.

Feeling tired for some strange reason - surf for a bit (grabbed a burger in town) and have a glass or three of wine.

A new radio came for me today - I had purchased a Wouxun hand-held unit and it is a great one but everyone here seems to have standardized on a Baofang so I spent my $70 and got one of those including the extra battery (high-capacity), extended antenna (longer range) and programming cable (the programming software is free and open source: Chirp). This way, people can distribute a single programming file for an event and we can all download it and program the various memory channels so we are all on the same page. It is sitting on the kitchen counter charging the battery as I type this.

Got another event tomorrow afternoon - our regional resource center is hosting an event with local resources and vendors. I will be there representing BERT and demonstrating amateur radio. This one starts at 1:00PM so I can operate on my normal schedule and do my morning run out for coffee. Don't even have to unpack the truck!

Off to town - long day

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Maybe posting later this evening - got a looooong day ahead...

Our prayers are with the 84 souls murdered by an islamic terrorist in France.

England - a new beginning

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The new Prime Minister is turning out to be awesome - from Ars Technica:

PM Theresa May drops political bombshell on Whitehall—tech firms beware!
New prime minister Theresa May has dramatically reshuffled her Tory government's cabinet in the wake of David Cameron's exit, following a speech in Downing Street on Wednesday in which the new PM promised to "think not of the powerful, but you."

She claimed, in what appeared to be a follow up to her leadership campaign speech on Monday, that the British public will be prioritised over big business when it comes to taxes. At the start of this week—hours before May was announced as the UK's new prime minister—she singled out companies such as Google and Amazon, whose tax dodging arrangements recently led to a huge amount of parliamentary scrutiny.

And then, there is this blast of sanity from the Beeb:

Government axes climate department
The government has axed the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) in a major departmental shake-up.

The brief will be folded into an expanded Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy under Greg Clark.

Ed Miliband, the former energy and climate secretary under Labour, called the move "plain stupid".

It comes at a time when campaigners are urging the government to ratify the Paris climate change deal.

Actually, Miliband has it wrong-way around - her move is brilliant and it is the Paris Accord which is stupid - not based on science.

Looks like we have another Margaret Thatcher at the helm.

Renewable energy supplies - not

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Australia is having a hard time of it. From the Australian Financial Review:

South Australia intervenes in electricity market as prices hit $14,000MWh
Turmoil in South Australia's heavily wind-reliant electricity market has forced the state government to plead with the owner of a mothballed gas-fired power station to turn it back on.

The emergency measures are needed to ease punishing costs for South Australian industry as National Electricity Market (NEM) prices in the state have frequently surged above $1000 a megawatt hour this month and at one point on Tuesday hit the $14,000MWh maximum price.

Complaints from business about the extreme prices – in normal times they are below $100 – prompted the state government to ask energy company ENGIE to switch its mothballed Pelican Point gas power station back on.

The extraordinary intervention – first foreshadowed in December when the government of premier Jay Weatherill hosted an energy crisis meeting – comes as electricity prices soar to near record levels across the nation.

Suck it up hippies - wind and solar are not baseload capacity; never will be - they are the little foam of icing on the coal-black energy cake. The virtue-signaling of green. Want green? Go nuke!

Turns out it is not just bad energy planning - this folly is having some serious economic repercussions - from Eric Worrall:

The fallout from this disaster may extend much further than a month of insane electricity bills.

Australia is currently struggling with an ongoing trend for heavy industry to translocate business operations to other countries in Asia, countries which provide stable regulatory environments and costs, lower taxes, cheaper wages, and less red tape. The ongoing renewables madness, which afflicts every state in Australia to some extent, may convince even more large employers that it simply isn’t worth waiting for Australian politicians to stop messing around with fashionable non-solutions to the nation’s energy needs.

You simply can not run a viable business with energy rates this high - this will drive manufacturing out of Australia and increase the unemployment. All for stupid politics and shoddy science.

Back from the meeting

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We had a great presentation by someone who has worked with Nepalese radio operators and who was instrumental in getting communications in and out of Nepal during their massive 2015 earthquake. He is a member of CAN-USA - the Computer Association of Nepal-USA (CAN-USA), aka Global Nepali Professional Network (GNPN). Here is a PDF of their presentation - some of the before and after photographs are chilling.

Truck is all packed and doing some last minute software editing to make sure my radios are all on the right frequencies. Have to take into account not only Plan A but Plans B through Z if something goes wrong. It is possible to manually program the various channels but a royal pain - there are so few buttons on the front panel and so many options that programming through software and a spreadsheet file is the preferred way to go.

Surf for a bit and then an early bedtime - alarm set for 7:00AM

Ho Li Crap - from Seattle station KOMO:

Sheriff: Deputies asked not to dine at Sedro-Woolley restaurant
The owner of a teriyaki restaurant in Sedro-Woolley has asked local law enforcement to no longer dine at the establishment, the Skagit County Sheriff's office said Wednesday.

Four Skagit County Sheriff's office deputies were eating at Lucky Teriyaki when two went to pay the bill. As they were paying, the owner asked the deputies they not eat there anymore.

"They were told that other customers didn't like law enforcement there," Sheriff Will Reichardt said in a Facebook post.

Reichardt said his chief deputy followed up with the owner. The owner repeated the request, Reichardt said, and asked "that we spread the word to other law enforcement that they were no longer welcome either."

The post has taken a life of its own on social media, and is being shared with community members who are shocked by the request, and are calling for diners to no longer eat there.

"Regardless of your feelings about law enforcement, that was nothing but wrong on so many levels," Faye Whitney wrote.

I have eaten there two or three times - food was OK and it's on the way if I am driving to Burlington or points South. Not going there any more.

Bill Whittle - Crooked Hillary

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About as clear as it can be:

Crap - another terrorist attack

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From the London Daily Mail:

BREAKING NEWS: At least 50 feared dead and shots fired as lorry RAMS into crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice leaving bodies strewn across the road in suspected Terror attack
A lorry ran down a large group of people in the southern French city of Nice during a suspected terrorist attack. At least 50 people are feared dead with more than 100 injured during the Bastille Day attack.

Gunshots rang out in the streets, with gunmen targeting hotels and cafes in the port city as residents were warned to lock themselves in doors for their safety. Hostages have been taken in a hotel in the city. The RAID anti-terror squad has been deployed to the city.

It is believed the gunmen are holding hostages in the Meridien Hotel, the Hotel Negresco and the Buffalo Grill restaurant.

A lorry rammed into a large group of people who were celebrating Bastille Day before gunmen started firing.

A spokesman for the Alpes Maritime prefecture advised locals to 'stay indoors' as gunfire was heard, and a lorry was driven into a crowd on the Promenade des Anglais.

Eyewitnesses said there were 'bodies everywhere' with at least 100 people injured.

The truck driver is believed to have crashed his vehicle and jumped out and started shooting.

Police are also searching for an accomplice.

At this stage, police are describing the incident as 'a major criminal attack'.

The sooner these morons are bombed back to the stone age, the better. The word "sub-human" comes to mind...

Meeting tonight in town. Friday will have me setting up a radio in Bellingham for one leg of the Ragnar Relay - I have to be there for the first runner (around 9:00AM) through the last runner (around 4:00PM) so it will be a long day. Not that busy though so it will be mostly people watching and talking about ham radio to anyone interested. My job will be to relay any problems/injuries to net control so someone can be dispatched. I will also be monitoring police, fire and Search and Rescue frequencies. 

Spending today making sure the batteries are charged and packing everything into the truck.

The next day will be spent at our local community center promoting BERT

No beer, no electricity, no food and now, no toilet paper. But socialism works great - it is those rich capitalists who are screwing things up.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Venezuelan President Puts Armed Forces in Charge of New Food Supply System
Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro put the armed forces in charge of a new food supply system aimed at alleviating crippling shortages, ceding yet more power to a military apparatus that is already involved in everything from banking to imports.

The head of the armed forces, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, will be in charge of transporting and distributing basic products, controlling prices and stimulating production, according to a decree published Tuesday in the official gazette.

As though controlling prices has ever worked. A bit more:

Since coming to power three years ago, Mr. Maduro has relied increasingly on the armed forces as a spiraling economic crisis pushed his approval ratings to record lows and food shortages led to lootings. Generals are already in charge of state companies importing the bulk of Venezuela’s food; they run the country’s largest bank, a television station and a state mining company.

Stellar examples of how to run something by committee - there is no food, their currency has inflated over 700 times, the television station is only on the air a few hours/day. Don't know about the mining but I suspect it is just as efficient as the state petroleum company which is floundering despite Venezuela having the world's largest oil reserves.

This is us if people like Barry and Hillary get any more power. History repeats itself all too many times.

This is the thought of incoming British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson - from Legal Insurrection:

Britain’s new Foreign Minister once compared Hillary to “a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital”
I don’t know a ton about Boris Johnson. He’s the former Mayor of London, is very pro-Israel and hates the BDS movement, led the Brexit campaign only to withdraw from contention to be Prime Minister, and was just appointed Foreign Minister (okay, “Foreign Secretary”) in Theresa May’s new cabinet. And he has a mop of blonde hair.

He obviously has some wit, as in a 2007 column in The Telegraph newspaper in Britain, wherein he described Hillary Clinton in terms we all can appreciate (emphasis added):

“She’s got dyed blonde hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital …”

And a bit more:

He went on to describe why he was supporting her for president in 2008 despite that description. He relished the thought of Bill Clinton back in the White House carousing around:

How can I possibly want Hillary? I mean, she represents, on the face of it, everything I came into politics to oppose: not just a general desire to raise taxes and nationalise things, but an all-round purse-lipped political correctness….

Unless I am much mistaken, the Clinton marriage is still standing, a shell-scarred monument to the triumph of hope over experience; and the nub of the matter is that I am prepared to pay the price of supporting Hillary just to get Bill Clinton once again padding over the shag pile carpet of the Oval Office, even if it is only to bring his wife a cup of tea….

For all who love America, it is time to think of supporting Hillary, not because we necessarily want her for herself but because we want Bill in the role of First Husband. And if Bill can deal with Hillary, he can surely deal with any global crisis.

Yeah - Bill I would not mind. He at least was able to triangulate and get business done. Hillary is off the rails.

Nurse Ratched?  Wikipedia

I have always been fascinated by the sea and have spent a lot of time on and under her.

Just ran into this blog - Shipwreckology

Some great stories.

Back from the meeting

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Good meeting - the group is small but we are gaining traction and have new people show up each time. Check out BERT.

Already a State non-profit and shooting for 501(c)3 status.

Our new ROBOT overlords

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From Palo Alto, CA - FOX News:

Mother angry after security robot hits toddler
A mother is upset after she says a shopping center security robot ran over her toddler.

She says she wants to get the word out about the potentially dangerous machine, before it hurts another child.

Stanford Shopping Center's security robot stands 5' and weighs 300 pounds.

It amuses shoppers of all ages, but last Thursday, 16-month-old Harwin Cheng had a frightening collision with the robot.

"The robot hit my son's head and he fell down facing down on the floor, and the robot did not stop. And it just kept on moving forward," said Tiffany Teng.

Harwin's parents say the robot ran over his right foot, causing it to swell, but luckily caused no broken bones. Harwin also got a scrape on his leg from the incident.

Yikes - hope that the mall's insurance is paid up - same for the robot manufacturer. Here is the manufacturer's website: Knightscope and here is another story from an earlier, happier time: San Jose Mercury News

Storm chasing - Mike Olbinski

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Just wow:

From Scottsdale, AZ photographer Mike Olbinski's website:

Blood. Sweat. Tears. Joy. That's what this spring was for me. The miles, the grind, the failing, the epic days missed, the lack of sleep, the jubilation, the friendships strengthened, and the time away from my family. And when the chasing was all done...wondering, was worth it all?

Heck yeah it was.

I had three goals this spring: Get a tornado on time-lapse, capture the best footage I possibly could, and chase as much as my schedule would allow. That ended up totalling 18 chase days. 20,000 miles driven. Almost 60,000 time-lapse frames shot. Nine total states. Hours and hours and hours of editing. All between April 15th and June 15th.

Great stuff - a lot more at his website.

Not surprising - from FOX News:

Fraud? What fraud? Watchdogs find UN in 'a state of near denial' about internal corruption
The United Nations, which spends tens of billions of its member states’ dollars annually, apparently has a simple approach to dealing with fraud in its sprawling operations – ignore it.

That is the main thrust of a 133-page examination of “fraud detection, prevention and response” across 28 organizations in the U.N.’s network, carried out by members of the world organization’s Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), a special group of experts mandated to carry out examinations across the entire array of U.N. funds, organizations and programs.

A bit more;

After a nine-month examination last year of the U.N. organization’s anti-fraud policies, what JIU examiners found was something akin to anarchy: a “state of near denial” among some U.N. organizations about the theft of their goods, money and services; and inertia, incoherence and a “perceived sense of impunity for fraud perpetrators” in many others.

Among other results: the report declares that “more than half” of some 16,000 U.N. staffers and 164 executive managers consulted in a JIU “fraud perception survey” that formed part of the work,  “indicated that they believe that fraudulent behavior goes unpunished in their organization.”

The stuff we have heard about is only the tip of the iceberg. The idea that we are handing over so much of our taxpayer dollars to them and that they occupy prime Manhattan real estate is unreal. Time to move them to Zimbabwe. Mugabe's presidential palace is gorgeous.

The Old West is alive and shooting

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From Asian Correspondent:

Body count rises as new Philippines president calls for drug addicts to be killed
Newly-installed Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has reiterated his tough stance on crime by urging the public to not only kill drug dealers, but addicts as well.

His remarks came barely a day after he was sworn in as the country’s 16th president in Manila on Thursday, Vice reported.

Speaking to a crowd of 500 in a Manila slum, Duterte said: “If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful.”

He added that, “These sons of whores are destroying our children.”

But it seems to be working:

According to PhilStar, 18 suspected drug pushers were killed in separate incidents over the weekend, while another 952 confessed drug users and pushers, fearing for their safety, surrendered themselves to authorities in the past two days.

Draconian but effective. But of course, there is some backlash - from this article at Asian Correspondent:

Filipino drug lords pitch in to raise $21 million for ‘Kill Duterte’ fund
The Philippines’ most notorious drug and crime lords are pooling their wealth to raise P1 billion (US$21 million) for a bounty on incoming President Rodrigo Duterte and several others.

According to the INQUIRER.net, the crime bosses were mostly drug lords currently inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) who are making a bid to have the Davao city mayor, his anointed Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, a senator and another government official killed.

A source told the news site that the high-profile inmates decided to start the ‘Kill Duterte fund’ after no one took up the 50 million peso (US$1.084 million) reward for the ‘hit’ on Duterte and the Chief Supt. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa. That bounty was increased from P10 million (US$216,980) to P50 million as there were no takers.

“Not only one person will pay, but people from different organizations,” the source said. “There are probably 20 main players.”

Since they are in prison already, isolate them totally - no communications with the outside world. Then, re-try them and put them away for life (or hang them). Pot is one thing, heroin is something much much worse and the money from the sale of heroin is funding terrorism. These people are a scourge on our planet.

Obamacare in the news - Illinois

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From Americans for Tax Reform:

Illinois Obamacare Co-op Becomes 16th to Collapse
Sixteen Obamacare co-ops have now failed. Illinois announced that Land of Lincoln Health, a taxpayer funded Obamacare co-op, would close its doors, leaving 49,000 without insurance. The co-op now joins a list of 15 other Obamacare co-ops that have collapsed since Obamacare has been implemented. Failed co-ops have now cost taxpayers more than $1.7 billion in funds that may never be recovered.

Co-ops were hyped as not-for-profit alternatives to traditional insurance companies created under Obamacare. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) financed co-ops with startup and solvency loans, totaling more than $2.4 billion in taxpayer dollars. They have failed to become sustainable with many collapsing amid the failure of Obamacare exchanges.

Since September, 13 Obamacare co-ops have collapsed, with only seven of the original 23 co-ops remaining. Illinois’ Land of Lincoln co-op faced losses of $90 million last year and is suing the federal government for the deficit caused by Obamacare. Co-ops across the country have struggled to operate in Obamacare exchanges, losing millions despite receiving enormous government subsidies.
The mass failure of co-ops should not be surprising. Larger insurance companies have also struggled to operate in Obamacare exchanges with many announcing they will stop providing coverage.

Not surprised at all - how long did it take them to get a working website? If you like your Doctor, you can keep your Doctor? This boondoggle needs to be killed and competition reintroduced into the field of medical care and insurance - get the costs down, tame the paperwork and make it affordable again.

Out of touch - David Cameron

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England's Prime Minister stepped down over the wonderful BREXIT vote a few weeks ago - he gave his final speech before House of Commons and had this to say - from the UK Mirror:

David Cameron given standing ovation as he ends final PMQs with emotional speech
David Cameron finished his final Prime Minister’s Questions to roars and applause today as he admitted: "I was the future once".

Emphasis mine - he was the future once? In his mind and in the minds of those sycophants who surround him. A perfect phrase to show how out of touch with reality these 'elites' are.

From the New York Daily News:

FBI shuts down D.B. Cooper air piracy case after 45 years due to lack of ‘credible leads’
The FBI has closed the book on one of the greatest riddles of all time.

The lone agent assigned to the D.B. Cooper manhunt was assigned to other mysteries within the federal agency on Friday, effectively shuttering the 45-year-old case after the FBI — and troves of tipsters — failed to identity the infamous hijacker, the FBI announced.

“Unfortunately, none of the well-meaning tips or applications of new investigative technology have yielded the necessary proof,” FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement late Monday.

The agency has poured over the legendary theft ever since a frigid night on Nov. 24, 1971, when passenger Dan Cooper flashed what appeared to be a bomb, donned a parachute and leaped from the Northwest Orient Airlines plane to Seattle with a bag with $200,000 in stolen cash.

Broke my leg when I landed - had to bury the cash and get help. Dug it up and went back to Seattle, invested in tech stocks and the rest is history. But don't tell anyone.

Biology - tooth and nail

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From an email:

Sometimes I feel bad for E. coli because all of molecular biology is just us hijacking it to be our bitch. Like maybe we deserve to get food poisoning every once in a while ya know?

Being a poster child is not always a good thing...

Truth in Food - an update

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Yesterday, I had posted a link to a book review reporting on the mislabeling of the food that we buy today - fish, Kobe beef, sushi, high-end Olive Oils, etc. are generally either falsely labeled or adulterated. This is not unique in the commercial food business - here is another example from The London Daily Mail:

Farm brand 'fakers': Tesco 'cynically using British-sounding names to trick its shoppers into buying foreign food'
Supermarkets have been accused of 'cynically' inventing brand names that evoke the British countryside in order to dupe shoppers into buying imported food.

Produce sold under fictional names such as 'Nightingale Farms' or 'Rosedene Farms' might sound home-grown but in fact could come from as far afield as Morocco, Senegal or Honduras.

Now the National Farmers Union is 'seriously considering' legal action against leading stores for potentially misleading customers about the origin of their meat, fruit and vegetables.

I can see doing a house-brand. Costco does an excellent job of this with their Kirkland products and these products are of excellent quality so we shoppers trust them. The wholesale invention of local-sounding farms and producers crosses the line for me. Instead of Nightingale Farms, they should build up their own brand and call it Tesco Select or something - do this for long enough and the customers will recognize that these products may come from outside the UK but they will always be of the highest quality. Don't try to fake it - it will always blow up in your face.

World record - 207 MPH

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On a bicycle. Jet powered.

From the YouTube website:

On November 7th of 2014, on the famous Circuit Paul Ricard located at Le Castellet in South of France, François Gissy has reached an incredible speed of 333 km/h on the rocket-propelled bicycle designed by his friend Arnold Neracher. More than 300 km/h on a skinny and completely stripped bicycle, this is amazing, and crazy! Who thought that one day a daredevil on a bicycle, with a rocket under the saddle, could travel the quarter mile in less than 7 seconds?

They do list a project website but it looks really strange and has nothing to do with the bicycle - I would avoid. Looks like a Hydrogen Peroxide engine - efficient and very safe to run; good choice.

Tell a book by its cover

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Now this looks interesting - all true of course. The book in question is: 

The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America
(Studies in Postwar American Political Development)

The explosive rise in the U.S. incarceration rate in the second half of the twentieth century, and the racial transformation of the prison population from mostly white at mid-century to sixty-five percent black and Latino in the present day, is a trend that cannot easily be ignored. Many believe that this shift began with the "tough on crime" policies advocated by Republicans and southern Democrats beginning in the late 1960s, which sought longer prison sentences, more frequent use of the death penalty, and the explicit or implicit targeting of politically marginalized people. In The First Civil Right, Naomi Murakawa inverts the conventional wisdom by arguing that the expansion of the federal carceral state-a system that disproportionately imprisons blacks and Latinos-was, in fact, rooted in the civil-rights liberalism of the 1940s and early 1960s, not in the period after.

Murakawa traces the development of the modern American prison system through several presidencies, both Republican and Democrat. Responding to calls to end the lawlessness and violence against blacks at the state and local levels, the Truman administration expanded the scope of what was previously a weak federal system. Later administrations from Johnson to Clinton expanded the federal presence even more. Ironically, these steps laid the groundwork for the creation of the vast penal archipelago that now exists in the United States. What began as a liberal initiative to curb the mob violence and police brutality that had deprived racial minorities of their 'first civil right - physical safety - eventually evolved into the federal correctional system that now deprives them, in unjustly large numbers, of another important right: freedom. The First Civil Right is a groundbreaking analysis of root of the conflicts that lie at the intersection of race and the legal system in America.

Truth to power and all that good stuff. Try as they might to re-brand, the Democrat Party has been at the heart of all of the racist leanings in the United States. Malcolm X was a Republican and so was Dr. Martin Luther King. The Editorial Reviews are excellent and so are the public comments.

From NBC News:

Hillary Clinton's Lead Over Trump Shrinks After Controversial Week: Poll

From The Washington Post:

56 percent of Americans disapprove of FBI decision to exonerate Hillary Clinton

Dilbert creator Scott Adams summed it up perfectly with this entry: The FBI, Credibility, and Government

From the Beeb:

Kimberly-Clark: Venezuela seizes and re-opens US-owned factory
The government of Venezuela has said it has seized a factory owned by the US firm Kimberly-Clark.

The firm had said it was halting operations in Venezuela as it was unable to obtain raw materials.

But the labour minister said on Monday that the factory closure was illegal and it had re-opened "in the hands of the workers".

Kimberly-Clark, which makes hygiene products including tissues and nappies, said it had acted appropriately.

Over the weekend it became the latest multinational to close or scale back operations in the country, citing strict currency controls, a lack of raw materials and soaring inflation.

General Mills, Procter & Gamble and other corporations have reduced operations in Venezuela as the country is gripped by economic crisis and widespread shortages of basic household goods.

One thing that the Venezuelan government seems to be forgetting is the necessity of preventive maintenance - they have nationalized other industries - petroleum, television, radio and telephone, water, electrical generation and distribution and in each and every case, the infrastructure of those industries has suffered dearly under Venezuelan supervision. People are promoted because of party connections and not working knowledge.

I feel sorry for the poor people suffering at the hands of idiots.

Off to town today - errands and such

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Heading into town today for a couple of hours - picking up some stuff for the new antenna as well as some groceries and doing a run to the recyclers. Back around 5:00PM

as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened. From Breitbart:

The Revolution Ends: Bernie Sanders Sells Out, Endorses Hillary Clinton
Senator Bernie Sanders endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at an event in Portsmouth New Hampshire. For many Sanders supporters getting behind an establishment politician who embodies the cronyism and corruption their revolution was built to oppose is one place they’re not willing to follow Senator Sanders.

And Trump's campaign responded:

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign issued a statement ahead of the Sanders endorsement of Hillary titled, “Top Five Reasons Sanders Supporters Will Never Be Excited About Hillary Clinton.”

1. SANDERS: CLINTON HAS BACKED “VIRTUALLY EVERY TRADE AGREEMENT THAT HAS COST THE WORKERS OF THIS COUNTRY MILLIONS OF JOBS”

2. SANDERS: CLINTON IS IN THE POCKET OF WALL STREET

3. SANDERS: HILLARY CLINTON = D.C. ESTABLISHMENT.

4. SANDERS: DEMOCRAT ESTABLISHMENT IMMIGRATION POLICIES WOULD DRIVE DOWN AMERICANS’ WAGES, CREATE OPEN BORDERS

5. SANDERS: CLINTON SUPPORTS NATION-BUILDING IN MIDDLE EAST THROUGH WAR AND INVASION

I always knew that the fix was in - Sanders would never get the nomination regardless of how many people voted for him.

Amazon Prime day

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Some amazing deals - 90% off for some software, that kind of thing.. All to promote Amazon Prime subscriptions. They do offer a 30-day free trial so it costs nothing to shop today.

Check out Amazon Prime Day - scored a sweet mechanical gaming keyboard*** for $50 (normally around $200), a digital microscope for $40 ($160) and some other stuff (camera batteries, photo filter, SSD hard drive) for substantially lower than list price. Thanks Amazon!

***I do not play computer games - too much a waste of time for me but I can type well and really like the old-school mechanical action keyboards but at $200, this was not going to happen.

That is it for today

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Working on more stuff in the radio room plus have a busy three days coming up - meetings Wednesday and Thursday with an all-day radio event on Friday.

Minimal spew for the next couple of days.

About those tech jobs - Seagate

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More and more jobs are being outsourced to foreign shops or to immegrants coming here and working for lower wages - the H-1B visa.

Case in point - Segate - from Zero Hedge:

Seagate Fires 6,500, Or 14% Of Workforce, Stock Soars
Moments ago computer-memory specialist Seagate, in a preliminary financial report, announced that its Q4 revenue would be $2.65 billion, beating expectations of $2.34 billion, and up from the $2.3 billion guidance given previously. The company also reported gross margin of 25% and non-GAAP gross margin of approximately 25.8% for the fiscal fourth quarter 2016, up from the previous 23% forecast.

Good news, and the stock is up 12% after hours as a result.

The only problem is that when companies preannounce good news up front, there is usually some not so good news hidden toward the back. And sure enough, for a company which is guiding higher, the narrative promptly fell apart when we read that for STX management the future is so bright that it just had to lay off 14% of it workforce, or some 6,500 people. This too was a "beat" to expectations: in late June, the company announced it planned to cut "only" 1,600 jobs as a cost-saving measure.

And yet, Obama says the economy is improving - over what? Venezuela?

The Dallas Chief of Police is a very smart man - from The Wall Street Journal:

Dallas Chief David Brown Urges Protesters to Join Police Force
Days after a gunman killed five officers during a protest over police brutality here, Police Chief David Brown urged protesters—young black men in particular—to join the police force to help improve relations with minority communities.

“Become part of the solution. Serve your community,” said Chief Brown, at a news conference Monday. “We’re hiring. Get off that protest line and get an application in. We’ll put you in your neighborhood, and we will help you resolve some of the problems you’re protesting about.”

Chief Brown is not yielding to the demands of the protesters, he is telling them point blank: "If you want to resolve these problems, join the force and we will help you." If the protesters are actually concerned about the black-on-black violence and crime, they will jump at the opportunity. If they are just virtue-signaling and looking for their fifteen minutes of fame, they will keep protesting.

Socialism works again - France

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The idea is a popular one with the innumerate but it has never worked - from the UK Independent:

'France is totally bankrupt': French jobs minister Michel Sapin embarrasses Francois Hollande with shocking statement on state of the country's economy
France’s employment minister Michel Sapin has admitted the country is “totally bankrupt”.

The unexpected news came during a radio interview yesterday and is thought to have sent the country’s business leaders into a state of shock.

“There is a state but it is a totally bankrupt state,” Mr Sapin said. “That is why we had to put a deficit reduction plan in place, and nothing should make us turn away from that objective.”

Mr Sapin’s “totally bankrupt” statement is likely to cause huge embarrassment for President Francois Hollande, who will be left to undo the potential damage to his socialist government’s reputation.

It also calls into further question Hollande’s controversial “tax and spend” policies that have seen numerous entrepreneurs and high profile celebrities leave the country.

Never works as planned. The makers either leave or go Galt and the takers max out the safety nets and then turn around and demand even more.

Chicago enjoys draconian regulations for gun ownership. It also has this little problem - from the Chicago Tribune:

Weekend violence pushes number of people shot in Chicago this year to 2,100
Weekend gun violence in Chicago pushed the number of people shot in the city this year to around 2,100 — about 700 more than this time last year.

And this:

So far this year, there have been at least 344 homicides in Chicago.  That's 102 more than this time last year, according to data kept by the Tribune.

Gun control never works - mass shootings always happen in gun-free zones. The murderers do not want any opposition.

Thank you Carbon Dioxide

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The much maligned Carbon Dioxide is actually plant food. Without CO2, plants would be unable to grow as it is a key part of photosynthesis. The natural and part man-made increase in CO2 has resulted in higher yields of cereal crops worldwide. From The Financial Times:

World grain glut set to enter fourth year
D. E. Bondurant Grain Co’s silos have for decades stored wheat, corn and milo grown by farmers in western Kansas. But the recent winter wheat harvest brought something different.

“I’m putting wheat on the ground now for the first time in my life,” says Gary Gantz, president of the company his great-grandfather founded in 1888. “I was ready for a large crop, but I wasn’t ready for one of this proportion.”

His outdoor wheat pile, 20 feet tall, 80 feet wide and 200 feet long, is evidence that a world grain glut is poised to spill into a fourth straight year. Even though Mr Gantz has added almost a million bushels of capacity to his silos in recent years, all the wheat will not fit. 

No mention of CO2 in the article though - a bit more:

In the US, the biggest overall grain exporter and home of futures contracts tracked by investors, the winter wheat harvest is nearly complete. The government expects the average winter wheat field to yield 50.5 bushels per acre, the most on record, while production will rise 10 per cent year on year to 1.51bn bushels.

Emphasis mine - this 10% increase in yield is about right for the increase that we have seen of CO2 - optimal level for plant life is around 1,000 PPM - we are currently at just over 400 PPM. Human activities contribute about 4% of the natural annual increase.

Good news from Germany - alt.energy

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Finally seeing the light - from The Daily Caller:

Germany Votes To Abandon Most Green Energy Subsidies
Germany’s legislature voted Friday to sharply cut back on subsidies and other financial incentives supporting green energy due to the strain wind and solar power placed on the country’s electricity grid.

Germany’s government plans to replace most of the subsidies for local green energy with a system of competitive auctions where the cheapest electricity wins. The average German pays 39 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity due to intense fiscal support for green energy. The average American only spends 10.4 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Germany’s wind and solar power systems have provided too much power at unpredictable times, which damaged the power grid and made the system vulnerable to blackouts. Grid operators paid companies $548 million to shutter turbines to fix the problem, according to a survey by Wirtschaftswoche of Germany’s largest power companies.

The German government plans to cap the total amount of wind energy at 40 to 45 percent of national capacity, according to a report published earlier this month by the German newspaper Berliner Zeitung. Germany will get rid of 6,000 megawatts of wind power by 2019.

Good - solar and wind are not reliable sources of energy and they are most certainly not economically viable. Turbines are fragile and solar panels lose 50% of their capacity in 15-30 years. Nuclear is the only viable option.

Great idea - Crooked Hillary

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From Michael Walsh at PJ Media:

Time to Strip Team Hillary of Its Security Clearances -- Forever *UPDATED*
Now that we know James Comey -- who knows for a fact that the Clintons are essentially a political crime family, but for some mysterious reason has intervened on their behalf to prevent charges from being filed by the "Justice" Department against Hillary -- isn't going to save the nation from the Dowager Empress of Chappaqua, there's only one thing left to do absent a Trump victory in November:

Pressure is growing on the State Department to revoke the security clearances of several of Hillary Clinton’s closest aides, potentially jeopardizing her ability to name her own national security team should she become president. The move could force Clinton to make an uncomfortable choice: abandon longtime advisers or face another political maelstrom by overriding the White House security agency.

Actually, what Comey did was very smart - from Dilbert creator Scott Adams:

To the great puzzlement of everyone in America, and around the world, Comey announced two things:

1. Hillary Clinton is 100% guilty of crimes of negligence.

2. The FBI recommends dropping the case.

From a legal standpoint, that’s absurd. And that’s how the media seems to be reacting. The folks who support Clinton are sheepishly relieved and keeping their heads down. But the anti-Clinton people think the government is totally broken and the system is rigged. That’s an enormous credibility problem.

But what was the alternative?

The alternative was the head of the FBI deciding for the people of the United States who would be their next president. A criminal indictment against Clinton probably would have cost her the election.

How credible would a future President Trump be if he won the election by the FBI’s actions instead of the vote of the public? That would be the worst case scenario even if you are a Trump supporter. The public would never accept the result as credible.

As noted in Michael's post title, there is an update and it is wonderful:

UPDATE: Two congressmen have introduced a bill today that would strip Mrs. Clinton of her security clearances:
Today Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Congressman Pete Olson (R-TX) introduced the Taking Responsibility Using Secured Technologies (TRUST) Act of 2016 in the House. This legislation mirrors the legislation introduced in the Senate last week by Senator Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Gardner (R-CO). This bill would revoke Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security clearance as well as the security clearances of Secretary Clinton’s colleagues at the State Department who exhibited extreme carelessness in their handling of classified information. Additionally, the TRUST Act expresses the sense of Congress that Secretary Clinton should not have access to classified information again until she earns the legal right to such access.

Let us have the election first and then burn her at the stake.

Truth in food

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Interesting article about what we eat - from the New York Post:

Everything we love to eat is a scam
Among the many things New Yorkers pride ourselves on is food: making it, selling it and consuming only the best, from single-slice pizza to four-star sushi. We have fish markets, Shake Shacks and, as of this year, 74 Michelin-starred restaurants.

Yet most everything we eat is fraudulent.

In his new book, “Real Food Fake Food,” author Larry Olmsted exposes the breadth of counterfeit foods we’re unknowingly eating. After reading it, you’ll want to be fed intravenously for the rest of your life.

Think you’re getting Kobe steak when you order the $350 “Kobe steak” off the menu at Old Homestead? Nope — Japan sells its rare Kobe beef to just three restaurants in the United States, and 212 Steakhouse is the only one in New York. That Kobe is probably Wagyu, a cheaper, passable cut, Olmsted says. (Old Homestead declined The Post’s request for comment.)

Why are they doing this to us? Here is why:

In 2014, the specialty-foods sector — gourmet meats, cheeses, booze, oils — generated over $1 billion in revenue in the US alone.

Looks like an interesting book - we are both serious foodies. Ordered on Amazon.

Nothing today

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Working on some stuff at home. Heading out now for coffee - doing a run into town tomorrow instead of today.

More spew later...

From the handy folks at Useless Duck Company:

Be sure to check out their sock removal robot.

People not studying their history

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An excellent observation from Richard K. writing at  Eye on a Crazy Planet:

History repeats itself with Black Lives Matter
In the 1960's, there were many obviously legitimate grievances that black people had about racism in American society. Amid the turmoil of the fight for civil rights, great leaders like Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, and Roy Wilkins stood out as individuals who advanced fairness and justice in society. But any major movement has its hateful, selfish extremists motivated less by a cause than for personal gain, its Robespierres, and the battle for civil rights for blacks is no exception.

Then, the violent manipulators who were bad people doing bad things ostensibly for a good reason were the Black Panthers. The Panthers were violent criminals, drug dealers, rapists and racists who abused a good cause to give themselves prestige and influence. For the most part, they were rejected and reviled, but there were some useful idiots who ingratiated themselves to the Panthers to try to absorb some of their "coolness." American author Tom Wolfe wrote in 1966 about Radical Chic, describing how rich white celebrities fawned over the Panthers. The glitterati sipped champagne and nibbled at caviar canapes with killers and thugs atop the terraces of 5th Avenue penthouses, not because they understood the Panthers' goals so much as that they wanted to signal they were on the cutting edge of the avant garde.

Flash forward half a century and we see something virtually identical happening with Black Lives Matter.

Go and read the whole thing - this is spot on. We are seeing the exact same virtue signaling and preening that was there fifty years ago.

To these 'elites' it is all about the narrative - do not attempt to bother them with the real facts, they will shut you out in a heartbeat. Been there, done that and got the Tee-Shirt (several actually - slow learner). They remain wilfully self-centered and in their own world.

Attention and Money

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That is a quote from Milo regarding the black lives matter movement (a few posts earlier).

Right on schedule - from Breitbart:

Jesse Jackson: In Texas AK-47s ‘Can Bring Down Airplanes’
During the July 10 airing of Fox News Sunday, Jesse Jackson said that AK-47s in Texas “can bring down airplanes.”

Jackson’s discussion of guns began with his criticism of “military-style weapons on the streets.”

Guest-host Shannon Bream countered Jackson, pointing out that the phrase “military-style weapons” conjures up the image of the machine guns in the minds of listeners. She said it is “important to make a distinction” between gun types, particularly in light of the fact that the Dallas gunman used a semiautomatic rifle, not an automatic one.

Jackson then attempted to counter Bream’s point, saying, “Yes, but in Texas these militarized AK-47s, not only can they shoot up theaters and churches, they can bring down airplanes.”

What a braying ninny - his fifteen minutes of fame were used up decades ago. The author also brings up this little bit of data:

It should be noted that Jackson’s hometown–Chicago–has a ban on “assault weapons,” a.k.a., “military-style weapons.” Yet between January 1 and July 5, 2016 the city also had more homicides that Los Angeles and New York combined, according to NBC News. Moreover, the Chicago Tribune reported that overall number of shooting victims in Chicago January 1 to July 5 was 2,026.

Funny how that works - institute draconian gun control and the shootings go up. More guns, less crime. Wonder when the Reverend Al Sharpton will weigh in.

Rubik's Cube

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Steven Brundage:

He was able to fool Penn and Teller too.

Don't trust atoms

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From John Cox's Kirkwood

Milo Yiannopoulos explains why black lives don't matter to Black Lives Matter:

As Milo says in the video, it is not about black lives, it is about attention and money.

Our President

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Working on some other stuff

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Planning to put up a large antenna for my High Frequency radio equipment (I explained a bit here).

Looking at a couple designs and trying to figure out which one to build - they each have their strengths and weaknesses. Living in a valley crimps my range when trying to go East/West. A large tower would be nice but they are fairly expensive and I live in an area that gets 60+ MPH wind gusts several times/year so something cobbled together with PVC pipe is not an option.

Mongolia - Mongolian

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Someone I know recently traveled to Mongolia - gorgeous places and people:

Good news - Dallas

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Showing some stones - from FOX News:

Top police group wants Justice to investigate Dallas police killings as hate crime
The Fraternal Order of Police, the country’s largest group of sworn law-enforcement officers, is asking the Justice Department to “immediately” investigate the killing of five Dallas police officers as a hate crime.

“The U.S. Department of Justice is always quick to insert itself into local investigations,” group President Chuck Canterbury said Friday. “Today we expect action just as swift. We want a federal investigation into those who were motivated by their hatred of police to commit mass murder in Dallas.”

Police say the shooter in Thursday’s attack, Micah Johnson, a 25-year-old black Army veteran, was angry about two recent incidents in which a police officer fatally shot a black male.

It seems to be a matter of definition:

And Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Johnson, killed by officers in a standoff, “wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”

However, the Justice Department’s definition of a hate crime is limited to bigotry, violence or intimidation based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or disability, despite the police group trying to get attacks on police officers addded to the list.

Seems pretty clear-cut to me. Of course, Barry is of no help whatsoever:

On Saturday, President Obama declined to answer a reporter’s question about whether he thought the Dallas attack was hate crime.

“It’s very hard to interpret the motives of this shooter, as we have seen in a host of mass shootings,” he said.

I hope they make January 20th, 2017 a National holiday - 194 days to go - less than a year.

A good look at crony capitalism

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Capitalism keeps everyone on their toes - come up with a new idea or a better way of manufacturing an old idea and you can be the next Microsoft. Unfortunately, many large business entities use their political power to write legislation that ensures this will never happen. They partner up with their cronies in the legislature and write laws that set the bar of entry too high for anyone but other people like themselves.

Warren Meyer writes about one such example in Coyote Blog:

My Nomination for Corporate State of the Year: Napa County, California
Last week I went on a wine-tasting tour in the Napa Valley with a bunch of friends who are passionate about wine.  It was an odd experience, because I am not passionate about wine and do not have the tasting ability to discern many differences between the wine.  I could tell it was a red wine, and maybe if it was dry or fruity, but hints of tobacco and blackcurrent?  Not so much.  It was also weird to be in a place where I really was not very passionate (wine is behind both beer and cocktails in my drinking hierarchy) but I was surrounded by people with a an excess of passion -- by people who seem to build their whole life around wine.

And Napa County in particular:

Anyway, at each tour we typically got the whole backstory of the business.  And the consistent theme that ran through all of these discussions was the simply incredible level of regulation of the wine business that goes on in Napa.   I have no idea what the public justification of all these rules and laws are, but the consistent theme of them is that they all serve to make it very hard for small competitors or new entrants to do business in the county.  There is a board, likely populated by the largest and most powerful entrenched wine makers, that seems to control the whole regulatory structure, making this a classic case of an industry where you have to ask permission of your competitors to compete against them.  There are minimum sizes, in acres, one must have to start a new winery, and this size keeps increasing.   Recently, large winemakers have started trying to substantially raise this number again to a size greater than the acreage of any possible available parcel of land, effectively ending all new entrants for good.  I forget the exact numbers, but one has to have something like 40 acres of land as a minimum to build a structure on the land, and one must have over 300 acres to build a second structure.  You want to buy ten acres and build a small house and winery to try your hand at winemaking? -- forget it in Napa.

And he concludes:

This is why the Napa Valley, to my eye, has become a weird museum of rich people. It seems to be dominated by billionaires who create just fantastically lovely showplaces that produce a few thousand cases of wine that is sold on allocation for 100+ dollars a bottle to other rich people. It is spectacularly beautiful to visit -- seriously, each tasting room and vineyard is like a post card, in large part because the owners are rich enough to care nothing about return on capital invested in their vineyards. The vineyards in Napa seem to have some sort of social signalling value which I don't fully understand, but it is fun to visit for a few days. But in this set-piece, the last thing the folks who control the county want is for grubby little middle-class startups to mess up their carefully crafted stage, so they are effectively excluded.

I know zero about wines, but from other industries this seems to be a recipe for senescence. It would surprise me not at all to see articles get written 10 years from now about how Napa wines have fallen behind other, more innovative areas. I have never been there, but my friends say newer areas like Paso Robles has an entirely different vibe, with working owners on small plots trying to a) actually make a viable business of it and b) innovate and try new approaches.

This is just an excerpt - there is more at the site and an interesting postscript. Napa County is a microcosm of what is wrong with civilization today. Too much regulation. Writer Harvey Silverglate published a book back in 2011 called: Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent which goes into great detail on how much bad and fuzzy legislation is on the books. Time for some sunset laws.

Moderately productive day

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Got some cables made and cleaned up my go-kit a bit. I will be doing radio for one leg of the Ragnar Relay race this Friday, July 15th. Did it last year so should be a piece of cake.

The go-kit is two radio sets mounted on a board which fits into a plastic cargo box. I can just grab it, another smaller cargo box with my cables, some tools and stuff and finally, a car battery to run everything. We set up a radio net and check in with net control when we arrive. We will also be relaying the status of the race - when the first runner comes through our checkpoint as well as forwarding any medical needs to the first-aid tent at each checkpoint and at the end of the day, the last runner. At that point, we tear down, pack up and go home. The actual on-air time is pretty minimal so it's a great venue for people watching and ham radio outreach.

I also picked up a couple LED shop lights at Costco (they are having a sale) and will be mounting them in the garage and radio room. I like subdued lighting but sometime you need to be able to flood an area with light.

Dinner tonight is the last of the Costco turkey breast with gravy and mashed potatoes. Salad too.

Congratulations to China

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From the Xinhua News Service:

Installation complete on world's largest radio telescope
Installation was completed on the world's largest radio telescope on Sunday morning as the last of 4,450 panels was fitted into the center of the big dish.

Hoisting of the last triangular panel to the reflector, which is the size of 30 football fields, began at 10:47 a.m. and lasted about 40 minutes. It was a landmark step for the telescope's planned launch of operations in September.

Five hundred meters in diameter. Arecibo is 300 meters across.

That quote is from Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel - case in point from The Daily Beast:

Black Caucus Renews Calls for Gun Control
The Congressional Black Caucus renewed calls for gun-control measures and police reform Friday morning, following fatal shootings of five police officers in Dallas and two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota this week.

Caucus members listed a number of actions the group wants to undertake: a meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director Jim Comey, a police-reform bill sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), and votes on universal background checks and “no fly, no buy” legislation.

They want to get guns out of the hands of us little people so they can grow the government even larger. I am reminded of this quote from Mohandas K. Gandhi:

Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look back upon the Act depriving the whole nation of arms as the blackest. 

From the Toronto Star:

Ontario facing ‘epidemic of Islamophobia’ survey finds
While Canada rides a wave of global praise for welcoming Syrian refugees, a new poll suggests we’re also facing a wave of something sinister — Islamophobia.

The survey by polling firm MARU/VCR&C measured public perceptions of ethnicity and immigration in Ontario in the wake of the recent influx of thousands of Syrian refugees — almost 12,000 to this province alone.

“There is an epidemic of Islamophobia in Ontario. Only a third of Ontarians have a positive impression of the religion and more than half feel its mainstream doctrines promote violence (an anomaly compared to other religions),” said the 51-page survey to be released this week by the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and advocacy group Mass Minority. “These sentiments are echoed with Syrian refugees in Ontario where acceptance often coincides with acceptance of Islam.”

One key metric:

Three-quarters of the survey participants said we need to focus on taking care of the people “here” instead of spending resources on refugees.

And three more:

Comparing Canada’s six major mainstream religions, Islam is the most likely to be viewed by the respondents as a promoter of violence, followed by Sikhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and Buddhism.

Three-quarters of Ontarians said they feel Muslim immigrants have fundamentally different values, largely due to perceived gender inequality, the survey found.

“Opposition to Syrian refugees is higher among those with unfavourable impressions of Islam,” said the report. “Opposition is mainly because of concerns that Syrian immigration will mean less help at home. Those opposed see Canadians as needing support first and foremost.”

Got to watch out for those Buddhists - they have a mean streak. Why isn't Saudi Arabia taking care of their Muslim brothers - why does it always have to be Western Christian nations shouldering the cost.

Nothing this morning

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The usual suspects are pulling the usual media crap. All lives matter when you get to the root of it.

Heading out for coffee and working on some stuff at home.

I have not commented on this shooting as we need to let 48 hours elapse. Let things settle down and look at the actual facts and not the stories being told.

And boy-howdy are the facts starting to appear - from The Last Refuge:

“Riding Dirty” The Curious Case of Philando Castile – Falcon Heights, MN Police Shooting…
By now everyone is aware of the officer involved shooting of Philando Castile that became a viral BLM activist case as a direct result of his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds (aka Lavish Reynolds) live-streaming the aftermath from their vehicle.

Just go and read the whole story - Philando Castile was a suspect in an armed robbery a few days prior, he did not have a carry permit, he was a member of the Crips, subsequent video shows that the vehicle had working tail-lights.

Just go and read the truth.

Heat levels at a Korean restaurant

Found this over at Knuckledragging:

20160708-heat.jpg

Been at level 7 once in Hong Kong - the cook kept peering through the kitchen windows looking at the Gweilo sweating. I finished the plate.

Measles on the rise

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The anti-vax people really need to get their pointy little heads out of the sand and get with the program. What part of zero correlation between inoculation and autism do you fail to comprehend.

Now they are just spreading the love - from The Washington Times:

Arizona is site of largest current US measles outbreak
Health officials in Arizona say the largest current measles outbreak in the United States is in part because some workers at a federal immigration detention center refuse to get vaccinated.

Authorities have confirmed 22 measles cases in Arizona since late May. They all stem from the Eloy Detention Center, an Immigration and Customs
Enforcement facility managed by the private Corrections Corporation of America.

Pinal County health director Thomas Schryer said the outbreak likely began with a migrant but that detainees have since been vaccinated. Convincing employees to get vaccinated or show proof of immunity has proven much tougher, he said.

“And so they’re actually the ones that are passing along the measles among each other and then going out into the community,” Schryer said.

To see why this is a major concern, check out Herd Immunity.

Choosing to opt-out of a vaccination not only hurts your family, it also hurts your neighbors and their families - the spread of disease is a large and networked phenomenon and the entire web can be brought down by just a few self-centered links.

More coyotes

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Just had four in the field. They were very much playing with Grace but showing a little bit of ganging up behaviour. Will have to keep a close eye and maybe thin the heard a little bit. I don't mind having them (or any other critters) in proximity but Grace and my other critters come first dammit!

Everybody knows that it is Crooked Hillary's turn to be president. That Sander's guy doesn't stand a chance against the Clinton machine. Until now - from the UK Guardian:

Green party's Jill Stein invites Bernie Sanders to take over ticket
Bernie Sanders has been invited to continue his underdog bid for the White House by the Green party’s probable presidential candidate, who has offered to step aside to let him run.

Jill Stein, who is expected to be endorsed at the party’s August convention in Houston, told Guardian US that “overwhelming” numbers of Sanders supporters are flocking to the Greens rather than Hillary Clinton.

Stein insisted that her presidential bid has a viable “near term goal” of reaching 15% in national polling, which would enable her to stand alongside presumptive nominees Clinton and Donald Trump in televised election debates.

But in a potentially destabilizing move for the Democratic party, and an exciting one for Sanders’ supporters, the Green party candidate said she was willing to stand aside for Sanders.

“I’ve invited Bernie to sit down explore collaboration – everything is on the table,” she said. “If he saw that you can’t have a revolutionary campaign in a counter-revolutionary party, he’d be welcomed to the Green party. He could lead the ticket and build a political movement,” she said.

Destabilizing move for the Democratic party indeed - catapult the dark horse cantidate out of the party machinery entirely. Let's see, you have Crooked Hillary the liar, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Like I said, things are going to get interesting especially if Sanders gets the 15% and gets into the National Debates with the other two.

Thanks Obama

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Looks like we are headed for a long hot summer - some rogue police shootings and now, the willful murder of the police officers in Dallas.

Obama has finely honed the racial divide in this nation and things are ready to snap; all the while he is flooding us with new 'refugees' and courting the Hispanic vote which is marginalizing the black position even further.

Things were actually pretty mellow until he got into office in 2008.

Glen Reynolds nails it1968 sucked the first time around.

About that fracking pollution

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Turns out - not so much. From Retraction Watch:

Authors retract study that found pollution near fracking sites
The authors of two environmental papers, including one about the effects of fracking on human health, have retracted them after discovering crucial mistakes.

One of the studies reported an increased level of air pollution near gas extraction sites, and the other suggested that 2010’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico contributed to air contamination.

According to the corresponding author of both papers, Kim Anderson at Oregon State University, the journal plans to publish new versions of both papers in the next few days. In the case of the fracking paper, the conclusions have been reversed — the original paper stated pollution levels exceeded limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for lifetime cancer risk, but the corrected data set the risks below EPA levels.

More at the site including links to the actual data - those two papers are so busted but they continue to be cited as evidence.

Meet Jean-claude Juncker

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Mr. Juncker is the President of the European Commission and had this to say regarding the direction Europe will take, in the wake of the Brexit vote:

You heard correctly - he did not say of other Nations (d'autres nations) or of other Countries (d'autres pays), he said: d’autres planètes (of other planets). From Eric Worrall writing at Watts Up With That:

Green EU Commission President Claims ALIENS are Worried about Brexit
Its not just Greens who are worried about Europe – the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker stated in a speech that leaders of other planets are worried about the direction Europe will take, in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Did EU chief confirm aliens EXIST? Juncker ‘speaks of BREXIT to leaders of other planets’
ALIEN conspiracy theorists were sent into overdrive after European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker appeared to say he had “heard from the leaders of other planets”.

Clips of the EU big wig speaking in a Brexit debate are going viral online, after he was heard to say aliens were worried about the looming Brexit by the UK from the union.

He said, translated from French: “You need to know that those who observe us from afar are worried.

“I have have seen, listened and heard many leaders of other planets and they are very worried because they wonder about the course the EU will follow.

“So we have to reassure both the Europeans and those who observe us from afar.”

Read more: http://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/687350/Did-EU-chief-confirm-aliens-EXIST-Juncker-speaks-of-BREXIT-to-leaders-of-other-planets

So the world really is run by reptilian shapeshifters. Some things now make a lot of sense...

Crooked Hillary and the Pope

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From facebook:

20160707-hillary.jpg

I have always navigated by the compass and ask me to point North and I am usually pretty close - even indoors.

From Phys Org:

Possible evidence of human ability to detect Earth's magnetic field found
A scientist who has dedicated a significant portion of his life to proving or disproving the notion that humans have an ability to detect and respond to Earth's magnetic field has given a talk at this year's meeting of the Royal Institute of Navigation at the University of London, suggesting that he has found evidence that it is true. Joe Kirschvink with the California Institute for Technology reported that experiments he and colleagues have been conducting have shown reproducible changes in brainwaves of volunteers who sat in a magnetically controllable chamber.

Over the past century scientists have found that other animals do indeed have magnetic sensors and that they respond to them—birds in flight use the Earth's magnetic field at least in part, as a compass, dogs orient themselves north/south to urinate. The list of examples has grown quite extensive, but one problem still remains—no one has been able to figure out how it happens. Scientists have narrowed down the possibilities Eric Hand writes in two extensive News articles on the subject in the latest issue of the journal Science, one is called the Magnetite Model, and is based on the idea that magnetite existing in the bodies of living organisms may be tugged by the Earth's magnetic field, controlling neural circuitry. The other is called the Cryptochrome Model and is based on the idea that chryptochromes in the retina are turned into radical pair molecules by sunlight and are flipped between states when impacted by Earth's magnetic field. Kirschvink, Hand, notes, believes the former is the most likely possibility, though his mission has not been to find out how it might work, but to show that it does in humans.

The upshot:

The cage allows for eliminating all sources of stimuli for impacting human brain wave activity. The person sits alone in the dark while the researchers manipulate the magnetic field around him or her. Kirschvink reported in his talk that he was able to record a measurable, and more importantly, reproducible change in alphas brain wave activity in humans based on changes made to the magnetic field around them. And he did so using the cage in two different locations, one in California, and another in a lab in Japan. He acknowledged that the sample size was small, and that more work needs to be done, which will someday lead to a paper—but he is optimistic that he has at long last proven that humans do indeed have magnetic sensors.

Very cool - like they said, a small sample size and they do not know the exact mechanism but this is a great start.

Idiot of the month

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From Canada's CBC News:

Man injured after bullets thrown into Canada Day bonfire
A man was taken to hospital after he was hit in the eye by bullet fragments at a southern Manitoba bonfire over the Canada Day long weekend.

The incident happened at a campground south of Austin, Man., at about 4 a.m. on July 2, RCMP said.

Mounties said five people were at a campfire when a 21-year-old man from North Norfolk, Man., started throwing .22- calibre shells into the fire.

One of the bullets exploded and some fragments struck a 23-year-old Swan Lake, Man., man in the eye, RCMP said.

The article goes on to mention that yes, alcohol was involved. What a maroon.

Anthony Weiner on Republicans

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From Legal Insurrection:

Anthony Weiner on Republican Primary Voters: ‘Mouth-Breathing, Hunched Over, One-Tooth’
When it comes to hunching over while breathing through the mouth, he surely knows a thing or two. . . If you’re the perviest creep in politics, you really shouldn’t insult millions of decent Americans in the most denigrating terms. But hey, you’re disgraced ex-congressman Anthony Weiner, husband of close Hillary aide Huma Abedin. Appearing on today’s With All Due Respect, Weiner, slumped in his chair in T-shirt and jeans, said that Donald Trump “appeals to that mouth-breathing, hunched over, one-tooth person that is the primary voter for Republicans.”

For good measure, Weiner said “I will eat Heilemann’s shoes” if Hillary doesn’t win in a blowout. He went on to call Trump “an anti-Semitic, anti-Hispanic, xenophobic ass,” stopping just short of adding another syllable to that last word. Weiner clearly hasn’t learned a thing. He gives off the same angry, out-of-control, exhibitionist vibe as he did back in the days that his pixelated private parts adorned the front pages.

The video and transcript are at the site - unreal. This is the same guy who had to resign from Congress over a sex scandal and then went and did it again a year later. More here, here and here.

Disgusting - he had his fifteen minutes, time to get off the public stage and go home and grow petunias or something. Get out of politics.

The most dangerous of all

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Too cute!

Nice homage to The Gashlycrumb Tinies

Interesting if true

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One of my favorite science websites is Anthony Watts' Watts Up With That. It is not just me - it has been voted Best Science Blog by several respected organizations from 2008 through 2013.

Someone sent this email to Anthony:

Hi Anthony
I would like to let you know that the Department of Energy has blocked access to your site on all DOE computers. I can not access it on my organization’s network nor on DOE wifi.

Other sites such as Bishop Hill and Climate Audit are still available.

My guess is that you have been identified as a threat to the administration. Perhaps it is a sign of your success!

No followup as yet but this will be interesting if proven true. DOE has a long history of promoting questionable and overly expensive alt.energy scams - Solyndra is a perfect example with $525 million dollars of our money wasted on a really stupid idea.

Back home - bagged dinner in town

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Felt like getting home - picked up Thunderbunny. They did a nice detail on her too, she is spanking clean with not a single dog hair to be seen.

Heading into town tomorrow to pick up a couple of things - craigslist and some things for the radio.

Nuking the leftover Feijoada for dinner - that and a salad.

And I am off to town

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Heading out for coffee and then to town to pick up Thunderbunny.

Probably will be having dinner in town so spew will resume later this evening.

Who ordered this - weather

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Rain all through next week - from the National Weather Service:

20160707-nws.jpg

If I didn't have to go into town today, I would seriously think about building a fire. A definite chill in the air. Cliff Mass has the what, when, where and why.

Playing softball - Crooked Hillary

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Her weekend interview with the FBI? From Breitbart:

Comey: Hillary’s FBI Testimony Wasn’t Under Oath Or Recorded, But It Would Still Be a Crime To Lie
During testimony before Congress on Thursday, FBI Director James Comey stated that the FBI’s interview with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was not under oath or recorded, but it still would be a crime to lie to the FBI.

Comey stated that he did not personally interview Clinton, and did not talk to all of the “five or six” who did interview Clinton.

He was then asked, “did she testify or talk to them under oath?” Comey answered, “No.” But added that “it’s still a crime to lie to us.”

When asked if there was a transcript of the interview, Comey stated that there wasn’t one because the interview wasn’t recorded, but there was an analysis of Clinton’s interview.

Good Lord - this woman is the presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate, she has a long track record of lying and being unethical and you didn't record the interview, you didn't put her under oath?

Has our great nation become a bannana republic in the last eight years?

The truth about coffee

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From  Cracked.com's honest advertising series:

Coffee is easy to give up - I have done so hundreds of times.

The Feijoada was great - it will taste even better over the next couple of days. Watched an episode of Bones and spent a bunch of time working in the radio room and the garage.

Preparing to build a largish antenna for my high-frequency unit - this is the big one and can contact other stations worldwide when the propagation is good. With a crappy small antenna I have reliably talked with people on the East coast, Canada, Mexico and as far as Hawaii and Japan. I am situated in a valley that runs North/South so direct line of sight to places East and West are limited but I have still been able to get out.

My other setup is Ultra high frequency - these terms were coined 60 years ago when getting a stable transmitter to run at fifty million cycles per second (50 Mega Hertz) was a real art. Now, my UHF rig runs up to over 400 MHz without breaking a sweat. The UHF rigs are great for local contacts and there are powerful repeaters set up all through the Puget Sound area where I can reach out with a modest system and broadcast over a 300 mile radius. Again, local contacts but this is what you want for most of the emergency communications networks.

Postlude - in which this sysop goes a bit off-topic:

The Hertz designation comes from Heinrich Rudolf Hertz who was the first person to conclusively prove the existence of electromagnetic waves theorized by James Clerk Maxwell's electromagnetic theory of light. Hertz proved the theory by engineering instruments to transmit and receive radio pulses using experimental procedures that ruled out all other known wireless phenomena. The unit of frequency – cycle per second – was named the "Hertz" in his honor.

One of my major heroes is Nikola Tesla - an absolute genius who is unfortunately unknown by many people. He has a few inventions that you may be aware of - fluorescent lighting, the system we use today of three-phase electrical power generation and distribution (including the 110/220/440 volts and the 60 Hz. frequency), the alternating current motor, radio (demonstrated in 1898 before Marconi got his dots across the Atlantic ocean in 1901), X-Rays (he stopped experimenting with them because he and his assistants were getting burns - Tesla published in 1894, Wilhelm Röntgen in 1896). That kind of stuff.

Needless to say, he went head to head with Thomas Edison quite a lot - Edison was the archetype of today's patent trolls - he would purchase a promising technology and then market it.

I love it that the universal term-of-art for the strength of a magnet is one Tesla. For measuring frequency, we use Hertz. For current, Ampere and voltage is named after Alesandro Volta. There is no measurement using an Edison out there. For all of Thomas Edison's fame and glory, his name is not used for anything. His role in history is that of a clever marketer and not a true scientist.

Clever idea - pour your own beer

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A startup in Chicago - from FOX News:

'Pour-Your-Own Beer Bar' set to open in Chicago
Imagine being in a busy bar and not having to elbow your way through the crowd to get the bartender to pour you a cold one.

Well now, coming to Chicago is the "Pour-Your-Own Beer Bar," where you serve yourself whenever you would like. The system is currently being tested to rave reviews at 'Deuces and Diamonds’ in Wrigleyville.

"Rather than having to taste a full beer, for every one you want to try you can try it by the ounce, so you can really try one ounce of this one, one ounce of that one and the card system lets you do that,” said Roman Maliszewski, owner of 'Tapster’ Pour Your Own Bar.

Overserving?

"After every two drinks, even you put twenty dollars on the card, after two drinks it pauses, so then you have to see somebody and make sure that you're not overconsuming and make sure you're okay to keep drinking,” Maliszewski said.

They are using technology from Pour My Beer which seems to be well thought out. They say they have over 200+ installations around the world. Nice too in that you are not limited to a full glass. You can pour an ounce or two if you want to sample something.

Back home for the day

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Got coffee, checked the mail, paid some bills and visited with a representative from Sustainable Connections regarding a waste audit. They have a program for business that push towards a zero waste stream and we are pretty near close. We were overlooking one recycling stream but had everything else nailed down. That stream was plastic film - shrink-wrap, packaging, etc... It is recyclable separate from the can/glass/PET/HDPE plastic stream we already process.

Making Feijoada for dinner tonight - served over rice with some greens. Haven't done that for a while and it is a great recipe for leftovers. Working on a couple of projects until then.

Working at home today - got a call from the dealership that the first part of the work on my truck went well. Pick her up tomorrow afternoon.

Do some paperwork and then back home to take care of a couple of things - nice day today so working outside.

As alt.energy tanks in Germany

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From The Daily Caller:

Green Energy Could Cause The Largest Bankruptcy In German History
One of Germany’s largest electrical companies is facing bankruptcy due to the enormous amounts of money it poured into green energy, according to a report published Wednesday by the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The German utility Rheinisch-Westfälisches Elektrizitätswerk (RWE) was forced by the government to shut down many of its profitable nuclear reactors and build expensive wind and solar power. The government’s mandate to replace nuclear reactors with wind or solar power cost over $1.1 trillion. The company has a 46 percent chance of going bankrupt within the next two years, according to investment groups.

A bit more - it seems that now coal is the viable baseload source:

RWE’s only hope to avoid bankruptcy may be a lawsuit by German utilities suing the government for $21 billion in damages due to the country’s plan to shut down all nuclear reactors by 2022.

The shutdown plan has certainly done enormous damage to utilities, destroying their main sources of profit and increasing the price of electricity throughout Germany. The average German pays 39 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity due to intense fiscal support for green energy. The average American only spends 10.4 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Nuclear power’s decline has created an opening for coal power, according to a Voice of America article published in November. Coal now provides 44 percent of Germany’s power, despite the fact that coal ash is actually more radioactive than nuclear waste.

Yeah - coal ash is more radioactive. It is a matter of volume. Nuke waste is tiny - the waste from one year operation of a reactor can fit into a few oil drums depending on the type of reactor. The waste from one day operation of a coal-burning plant needs several cubic yards to hold. It is not as strongly radioactive but, by sheer matter of volume, there is more radiation. I love that the utilities are suing the German government for loss of revenue. Green energy is always a rathole and will never be profitable.

The final butcher's bill - ramadan

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The muslim holy month of ramadan ended yesterday and here is the final butcher's bill from The Religion of Peace:

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This is offered with the following thoughts from the website:

Once again, the Religion of Peace made its holiest month a Ramadan to remember, with high profile suicide attacks in FloridaTurkey, BangladeshBaghdadYemen, and elsewhere - resulting in over 1850 dead ChristiansJewsHindusBuddhistsgays and co-religionists. 238 fatal terror attacks in 32 countries occurred in the name of Islam this year, while other religions mustered not a single one.

There were also a handful of detestable assaults on innocent Muslims in the aftermath of Islamic terror, although (fortunately) no one was killed.

Nations such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey could put a stop to this violence in six months - cut the funding to extremist groups and issue fatwa's against violence. But no...

From The Japan Times:

Japanese utility begins loading fuel at reactor for late July restart
Shikoku Electric Power Co. started loading nuclear fuel Friday into a reactor at its Ikata power plant, paving the way for a scheduled restart next month.

The utility plans to reactivate the No. 3 unit at the plant in Ehime Prefecture on July 26. The company envisions beginning electricity generation three days later and resuming commercial operation in mid-August.

The pressurized-water reactor using uranium-plutonium mixed oxide, or MOX, fuel, will be the fifth unit to be reactivated under tougher regulations introduced in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Emphasis mine. This is how you do it. Do not try to make something into what it is obviously not. Alt.energy will not ever be equivalent to baseload generating capacity. Study the problem, fix it and then get on with business as usual. I would greatly prefer if they started developing Thorium fuel reactors but that is something for the future.

Crooked Hillary's emails

A nice side-by-side video of Crooked Hillary lying - the guy is FBI Director James B. Comey. His comments are from this morning's announcement.

From Open the Books:

We quantified $1.4 billion in non-military federal agencies purchase of guns, ammunition and military-style equipment during the last nine years.

We estimate that federal non-military agencies now employ more officers with arrest and firearm authorization than there are U.S. Marines. There are 182,000 U.S. Marines and over 200,000 plus officers employed within the rank-and-file federal agencies.

Some highlights:

KEY FINDINGS (FY2006-FY2014) – THE MILITARIZATION OF AMERICA

  1. Sixty-seven non-military federal agencies spent $1.48 billion on guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment.
  2. Of that total amount, ‘Traditional Law Enforcement’ Agencies spent 77 percent ($1.14 billion) while ‘Administrative’ or ‘General’ Agencies spent 23 percent ($335.1 million).
  3. Non-military federal spending on guns and ammunition jumped 104 percent from $55 million (FY2006) to $112 million (FY2011).

A bunch more at the site including this entry from bizzaro-land:

12. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service spent $4.77 million purchasing shotguns, .308 caliber rifles, night vision goggles, propane cannons, liquid explosives, pyro supplies, buckshot, LP gas cannons, drones, remote controlled helicopters, thermal cameras, military waterproof thermal infrared scopes, and more.

I mean seriously WTF?¿?¿?

Full 55-page report (PDF) can be found here: OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Militarization of America and of course, they have lots of links to the corroborating data. These are the government's own numbers.

And, do not forget that this is happening all the while the government is trying to take away our guns.

Back from the big city

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Had a bit of fun - my dealer (in business since 1908 so they must be doing something right) contracts with Enterprise for loaner vehicles. I come into town, drop off Thunderbunny, get picked up by the Enterprise clerk and drive off with my loaner. For about one mile. I am heading towards the road that leads home and the engine starts making a strange noise, I lose a lot of power and a service engine light (service, not check - serious not a suggestion) comes on the dashboard.

One hour later, I am in my new rental (literally - 6,100 miles on the odometer) and head home stopping for Chinese food on the way. Time to eat and watch a couple episodes of Bones. Blogging later.

Crooked Hillary skates free

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Of course - from FOX News:

FBI’s Comey: Clinton 'extremely careless' about emails, but bureau will not advise criminal charges
FBI Director James Comey announced Tuesday that despite evidence Hillary Clinton was “extremely careless” in her handling of classified emails on a private server, the bureau will not recommend to the Department of Justice that criminal charges be brought against the former secretary of state.

“Our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” Comey said.

Of coruse not - it is her turn to be President. Time to clean house - get rid of them all.

About that $15 minimum wage

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Petitioning for a $15 minimum wage? Say hello to your replacements - from Popular Mechanics:

A Robot-Run Burger Joint Is Coming To San Francisco
In 2012, robotics start up Momentum Machines invented a machine that can make a burger from start to finish. This impressive feat will soon be put to use with a robot-run burger restaurant in the South of Market area in San Francisco.

A job posting on Craigslist popped up this month for a restaurant manager, giving us a hint of what we can expect from this robo-dining experience. "This location will feature the world-premiere of our proprietary and remarkable new advances in technology that enable the automatic creation of impossibly delicious burgers at prices everyone can afford," the ad read.

The restaurant manager won't just get to kick back Jetsons-style though. Even if there are no cooks, there's still work to be done. "[You will] learn to do everything that's part of running a restaurant in San Francisco. That includes taking customers' orders, scheduling shifts, and occasionally taking out the trash and tidying up," the ad explains. But there are some unique opportunities that come from working in such an innovative environment. "We're looking for people open to learning skills including software troubleshooting, market research, and product development research," the Craigslist post added.

Again, welcome to the 21st century.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Dumb thief meets GPS-tagged smart loot
A local thief must have figured he’d made a clean getaway last month. He broke into a house in Noe Valley in the middle of the night and began collecting loot. He grabbed three bicycles and a laptop, then apparently found car keys. He jumped into a 2015 Ford Explorer and roared out of the garage.

And ran smack into the future.

What he didn’t know was that he’d ripped off the work/live space of a company called Noa Technologies, which markets GPS tracking devices. Almost everything the suspect took was outfitted with a tracker. On the scale of bad ideas, this was right up there with attempting a strong-arm robbery of a martial arts academy.

Welcome to the 21st century...

Lazy day

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Slept in for quite a bit more than usual - the rainfall really makes this easy. Heading out for coffee and then to clean out the truck - taking her in to the dealership for some service in a couple hours. Leaving it overnight and pick up on Thursday late afternoon.

Nothing much else planned for today - pick up some Chinese food in town for dinner tonight. Couple of projects in the radio room (putting labels on some of the equipment and making some cables).

And I am outta here

Read about 80% of the internet but feeling tired and heading up to bed.

Driving in to town tomorrow to take the truck in for a few days of service - drop it off tomorrow evening and pick up a loaner, same thing in reverse Thursday.

I do not know what the weather is ten miles from here (there are some serious micro-climates in this neck of the woods) but it is raining here so glad I did not take the time to visit the fireworks. Next year! Spent this evening watching a couple of YouTube videos on knife sharpening and I really wonder how many of these people still have their ten fingers. Folding knives give me a serious case of the willies as they can snap shut on your fingers inside of a heartbeat. The videos show none of the simple blocking or blade removal techniques that a professional would use.

Classic:

Deciding to stay in and not go to watch fireworks.

It is a lot of fun and a great community event but sometimes, it is time to just say fsckit, change into your sweatpants, open a bottle of wine and kick back for the evening.

We had hamburgers and baked beans for dinner. This was the third time I mixed some butter in with the burger meat and it came out wonderful - adding salt, pepper, bread crumbs, dried onion, garlic powder, a half teaspoon of Coleman's mustard powder and a half-stick of butter. I thaw the meat in hot water so the butter melts and incorporates well. Portion out and chill in the fridge for two hours then form the patties before cooking. Lulu's appetite is a lot smaller than mine so I do a five ounce patty for her, eight ounces for me and the rest for the dogs. Pleasantly stuffed.

A wonderful Independence Day

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From 2015 - still true dammit:

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From Hope N Change cartoons

Hoist by one's own petard

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Actually, quite literally. Could not have happened to a nicer bunch of people. From the Beeb:

Medina explosion: Suicide bombing near Saudi holy site
A suicide bomber has killed four security officers and injured five others near one of Islam's holiest sites in the Saudi city of Medina, according to the interior ministry.

The bomber detonated his explosives after being stopped outside the Prophet's Mosque, a statement said.

The mosque is the burial place of the Prophet Muhammad and Medina the second-holiest city in Islam after Mecca.

Blasts also struck two other Saudi cities on Monday.

We need to remember that muslims do not just kill 'the infidel'. They are also more than happy to be blowing up other members of other muslim sects (there are a lot of them) over minor points of theology. Their high holiday is month-long celebration of ramadan which is going on now and will be over Tuesday evening. So far, here is the butchers bill from The Religion of Peace:

20160704-ramadan.jpg

1,651 souls murdered - Orlando was just a drop in the bucket.

Puttering around in the garage and radio room.

Doing hamburgers for dinner - we were planning hot dogs but Crossroads sold out of buns. Busy weekend!

Fireworks later this night.

Brilliant idea - pepper mill

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From Alton Brown:

The poor efficiency of these is something that people are more than willing to sweep under the rug so that they can enjoy unencumbered virtue signalling.

Gwyn Morgan writes at the Toronto, CA The Globe and Mail and schools a Tesla driver:

Why electric cars are not as ‘green’ as they may seem
On a recent trip to Hawaii, we were surprised when the car service sent a beautiful Tesla Model S to pick us up at the airport. As we drove to our accommodations, the driver waxed enthusiastically about how proud he was to be driving a “zero-emissions” vehicle. This prompted me to ask him a series of questions, starting with what powers the car? When he replied “electricity,” I asked how that electricity was generated. Looking up at the windmills spinning on the ridges above us, he said, “Those windmills, I guess.”

I informed him that Hawaii’s 100-plus windmills generate only 5 per cent of the state’s power. The other 95 per cent comes from carbon-emissions-intensive, diesel-fueled power plants. Then I gave him a short physics lesson explaining the scientific axiom that, each time an energy source is changed to another form, an “efficiency loss” occurs.

The largest loss comes when the diesel is burned in the power plant and the electricity is sent to Tesla’s charging station. Once the car is plugged in, the next efficiency loss occurs when the battery charger converts the AC electricity to chemical energy stored in the battery. The final efficiency loss occurs when that chemical energy is converted to DC power and delivered to the electric motors driving the wheels.

Combined, these efficiency losses consume some 75 per cent of the energy originally contained in the diesel fuel, leaving just 25 per cent to power the Tesla.

There was a lot more at the article but The Globe and Mail uses a paywall - I will no longer willingly visit their site and their advertisers will no longer receive page-views from me.

Awww - meet Little Bear

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Cute story from Sacramento, CA station KXTV:

Cat and bear form friendship at Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary

A feral cat and a bear are friends at the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary.

Zoo keepers call the black cat Little Bear. They don't know where she came from or even if it's really a "she."

She just showed up at the zoo and a few months ago she started to call one of the bear exhibits home.

"Every morning we scatter dog food for the bears and she started coming into the exhibit and eating the dog food," said Jill Faust, senior lead zoo keeper. "Once she started coming in here on a regular basis we started putting food out for her in the morning as well."

However what has made this situation even more unusual is that the cat is friends with a 550 pound bear named Sequoia.

Cute story - I am reminded of this story from Mark Twain's Letters from the Earth:

“Man is the Reasoning Animal. Such is the claim. I think it is open to dispute. Indeed, my experiments have proven to me that he is the Unreasoning Animal... In truth, man is incurably foolish. Simple things which other animals easily learn, he is incapable of learning. Among my experiments was this. In an hour I taught a cat and a dog to be friends. I put them in a cage. In another hour I taught them to be friends with a rabbit. In the course of two days I was able to add a fox, a goose, a squirrel and some doves. Finally a monkey. They lived together in peace; even affectionately.

Next, in another cage I confined an Irish Catholic from Tipperary, and as soon as he seemed tame I added a Scotch Presbyterian from Aberdeen. Next a Turk from Constantinople; a Greek Christian from Crete; an Armenian; a Methodist from the wilds of Arkansas; a Buddhist from China; a Brahman from Benares. Finally, a Salvation Army Colonel from Wapping. Then I stayed away for two whole days. When I came back to note results, the cage of Higher Animals was all right, but in the other there was but a chaos of gory odds and ends of turbans and fezzes and plaids and bones and flesh--not a specimen left alive. These Reasoning Animals had disagreed on a theological detail and carried the matter to a Higher Court.”

So sadly true.

Who ordered this - rain - UPDATE

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UPDATE below

This is actually normal for this area and time of the year but... raining softly. It has actually been a very cool and damp spring. Forecast is 40% chance of showers tonight with clearing expected sometime around Wednesday the 6th.

What is interesting is that despite the rain falling, the river levels are very low - here is the Middle Fork of the Nooksack running at about half the historical average.

20160704-river.png

UPDATE: And it is going to stay this way for a while - from Cliff Mass:

July 4th Weather and the Coolest Early Summer in Years
Looking at the model forecasts for the next week, I was taken aback--it was more reminiscent of middle spring than early summer, with much below normal temperatures and lots of showers.  This is a VERY different situation than last year and the persistent low pressure over the coast is not going anywhere fast.

Much more at the site - satellite imagry and forecasts. Bundle up and keep your umbrella in the car - looking at several inches precip in the Cascades in the next three days.

I love this place

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When I started my last business attempt (didn't build enough business in one year to warrant keeping the doors open), I became a Notary Public. This has been very useful as we are 30 miles away from banks and law offices. This morning I got a call from the store - a farmer nearby needed something notarized today. They were on the way to my coffee place so I got my seal and logbook and stopped by their place.

In return, I got 8oz of yummy honey, a bar of soap and a nice bunch of chamomile tea. All of these will be put to good use here. I love the barter economy and the people who settle in out here are just wonderful. 

July 20th starting at 1300EDT - just go here and drool

What a difference 22 years makes

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With all the hoopla about guns and the recent terrorism in Orlando, we need to remember some historical data:

20160703-crime.jpg

Twenty two years ago, in 1994, (Bill Clinton's second year in office), you stood a 5.1% chance of being a victim of violent crime. As of 2009, that had fallen to 1.5% and the trendline is still declining.

From this wonderful article: Why the World Is Better Than You Think in 10 Powerful Charts

Ham radio - a nice introduction

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Good introductory article at FOX News from 2011

Radio Days Are Back: Ham Radio Licenses at an All-Time High
iPhone, beware?

The newest trend in American communication isn't another smartphone from Apple or Google but one of the elder statesmen of communication: Ham radio licenses are at an all time high, with over 700,000 licenses in the United States, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

Ham radio first took the nation by storm nearly a hundred years ago. Last month the FCC logged 700,314 licenses, with nearly 40,000 new ones in the last five years. Compare that with 2005 when only 662,600 people hammed it up and you'll see why the American Radio Relay League -- the authority on all things ham -- is calling it a "golden age."

"Over the last five years we've had 20-25,000 new hams a year," Allen Pitts, a spokesman for the group, told FoxNews.com.

A bit more:

With more people joining the hobby, local ham radio businesses are growing as well. Amateur Electronics Supply in Las Vegas sells everything to do with ham radios, from transceivers, amplifiers and antennas to handhelds.

“We have clientele from all walks of life," manager Luke Rohn told FoxNews.com. "We have church groups who are interested in ham radio for a viable source of communication in times of natural disaster. We have young kids that find ham radio interesting. Maybe they’ve heard about it through their father and grandfather and it’s a lot of fun for them.”

According to the American Radio Relay League, retirees and emergency groups are among the main reasons for the nearly 30,000 new hams that pick up the hobby each year.

Ham is a boon for safety as well as a fun pastime: When normal communications methods fail and cellphone towers are jammed, ham radios will still work and can help out in disaster situations, because they don’t require towers to relay the signal.

“Amateur radio came into play very much during the major earthquake in the Bay Area in 1989. The only thing I had was a little handheld radio. Nothing else worked, telephones didn’t work, cellphones didn’t work, amateur radio just kept right on working,” Pritchett said.

It is easy to get into and a lot of fun - you get to talk with people all over the globe. You do need to take an exam to get licensed but it is simple and the Federal Communications Commission publishes the questions and the answers so you can study beforehand. This is an excellent website for practice: QRZ.COM. You register at the site and this allows it to keep track of which questions you do well with and which ones you don't. The next time you take a practice test, you will see more of the ones you have trouble with. Take a test or three in the evening, couple times/week and you should be ready for the technician test in two months or so.

Your equipment cost starts around $75
Hand held unit: Baofeng Black UV-5R - $34
Antenna upgrade: Nagoya NA-771 - $17
Extended Battery Pack: ExpertPower® Baofeng BL-5L - $15
Programming Cable: Baofeng Cable - $8
Programming Software: Chirp - $Free

See you on the air!

Meet SoundGuardian

Remember the big kerfuffle over Boaty McBoatface?

King County (Seattle) just launched a new research vessel and the christining was interesting - from Geek Wire:

Rock the boat: Soundgarden members attend launch of new research vessel SoundGuardian
Members of the Seattle band Soundgarden stepped aboard a new research vessel to help christen it on Wednesday months after its name — SoundGuardian — was inspired in part by the grunge legends.

The name for King County’s new 48-foot, twin-hulled environmental research vessel was announced in January after a naming contest drew 319 votes. SoundGuardian led the way with 178 votes. The runners up were “Cascadia,” with 126 votes, and “SeaKing,” with 15 votes.

According to the county’s news release, Environmental Laboratory field scientists will use the SoundGuardian “to collect water quality data in Puget Sound, Lake Washington and the Duwamish River. The new vessel, which will replace the 40-year-old Liberty, will be cleaner, more efficient and safer to operate in rough waters.”

She looks nice - catamaran so a solid stable platform to work on. May God bless her and all who sail in her.

Music Box and Modulin

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Remember the Musical Marble Machine?

Here is the same person - Wintergatan - has come up with two more - the music box and Modulin - a modular synthesizer played like a violin

Beautiful stuff!

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Gardening

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From an email - I love it:

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What if - Judge Andrew Napolitano

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Judge Napolitano is on fire with this one:

His website: Judge Andrew Napolitano

Back from Coffee

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Stopped in at the store too. Looks a bit like rain so will not be spraying the fence-line today; I will wait for a guaranteed three days of sunny weather.

Working on indoors stuff today - making some cables for the ham radio equipment. Just got a 100 Watt solar panel so integrating that into the battery power supply. Have a race on July 15th so it will be fun to demonstrate that.

Thunderbunny (the truck) goes into the shop for a few days starting Tuesday evening (they are giving me a loaner and this way, they have all day Wednesday and Thursday to work on it) so cleaning it out. Brakes and a couple very minor items to look at.

Slept in late - critters taken care of and heading out for coffee.

Ham radio network tonight and planning to spray herbicide on the fenceline if it doesn't rain. Another day at the farm...

Sad but true

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Fireworks:

20160702-ten.jpg

I used to play with pyrotechnics when I was a lot younger. Do not any more. A town further up the road puts out collection buckets three weeks before the Fourth. On the afternoon of the Fourth, they hit the Indian fireworks stands and buy up vast quantities of the good stuff for cheap and set them off at the town's village green. Lots of fun for all!

That is it for the night - UPDATE

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Working on a couple other projects so want to get those buttoned up before bedtime.

Someone has a very full stomach tonight. I went to Costco this afternoon on my way back home and picked up a couple pounds of chuck roast - I have the sous vide cooker on the counter to I figured I would sear the outside and cook it for pot roast. I was unpacking the truck, fixed dinner and left it sitting on the tailgate. Came out 30 minutes later and it was gone - vanished into thin air.

I do not think Grace got it - there is a family of coyotes that live nearby and my bet is that one of them dragged it off. No sign of the packaging.

Was really looking forward to that pot roast too...

UPDATE - found the packing tray for the meat a couple hundred feet from the truck in the direction of the creek. I think their den is somewhere along the bank so it looks like they ate well tonight. I really hope they don't get sick from so much protein all at once.

On June 8th, I had written about driving through Longview, WA and stumbling on to the old town and specifically, the Monticello Hotel. Gorgeous place but it seems that the owner, 51-year-old Phil Lovingfoss is a real piece of work. On my original post, I had written that they got Gordon Ramsay out to try to fix the dining room and the show started with this event:

The filming started out on a sour note for Lovingfoss when he was arrested on suspicion of DUI the night before in front of the hotel — mere steps away from the production crews that had already set up in the parking lot.

Flash forward to today - from Longview's The Daily News:

Lovingfoss found guilty of intimidating Judge Ed Putka
After deliberating about two hours, a jury Friday afternoon convicted Phil Lovingfoss of intimidating a judge, rejecting a defense attempt to portray him as too impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol to know what he was saying.

He will be sentenced July 12. He will remain free until then.

Attorneys finished their closing arguments by midafternoon Friday, wrapping up a trial that began Tuesday. Jurors returned a verdict at about 5 p.m.

Lovingfoss, the 51-year-old owner of Longview’s historic Monticello Hotel, was accused of making drunken threats against Cowlitz District Court Judge Ed Putka to police on July 11 last year. Putka was the judge in an earlier driving under the influence case against Lovingfoss.

Lovingfoss’ standard sentencing range is 12 months and a day to 14 months in prison.

Hope that someone is able to come in and save the hotel - it is a gorgeous building.

Meet the Megaprocessor

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James Newman built a 16-bit processor out of individual transistors, LEDs, etc... It weighs about one half ton and stands over six feet tall.

Here is James doing a demonstration - his Geek-Fu is off the charts:

From the website:

The Megaprocessor ...
What ? The Megaprocessor is a micro-processor built large. Very large.
How ? Like all modern processors the Megaprocessor is built from transistors. It's just that instead of using teeny-weeny ones integrated on a silicon chip it uses discrete individual ones like those below. Thousands of them. And loads of LEDs.
Why ? - short answer : Because I want to.
Why ? - long answer : Computers are quite opaque, looking at them it's impossible to see how they work. What I would like to do is get inside and see what's going on. Trouble is we can't shrink down small enough to walk inside a silicon chip. But we can go the other way; we can build the thing big enough that we can walk inside it. Not only that we can also put LEDs on everything so we can actually SEE the data moving and the logic happening. It's going to be great.
Where ? Here. Cambridge.
Who ? Me. James
When ? Now. As of 22nd June 2016 it is built.

Talk about a labor of love - the specs on the thing are amazing.

RIP - Elie Wiesel

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From Israel's Haaretz:

Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and renowned Holocaust survivor, dies at 87
Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, prolific author and outspoken activist Elie Wiesel died Saturday at the age of 87. Wiesel was perhaps best known for his major role in promoting Holocaust education, and for perpetuating the memory of the Holocaust in the post-World War II era with his memoir “Night,” based on his experience as a teenager in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

His obituary is a long wonderful read - he had an amazing life.

From Bloomberg:

Let Germany Offer Young Britons Citizenship, Merkel Deputy Says
Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel suggested that Germany could offer citizenship to young Britons, saying they shouldn’t be punished by the majority that voted to leave the European Union in the U.K. referendum.

“They wanted to stay in Europe because they know the world is changing” and the U.K. can’t go it alone, Gabriel said in a speech to a Social Democratic Party conference in Berlin on Saturday. “So it’s a good sign that young people in Britain are smarter than their strange political elite.”

In the 18-to-24 age bracket, more than 70 percent voted ‘Remain’ in the June 23 Brexit referendum, according to YouGov polling, while 52 percent of the country as a whole voted to leave the EU. That split should inspire the Social Democrats to expand their long-standing push for Germany to ease the granting of dual citizenship, Gabriel said.

This is perfect - all the whiners who want a big government and to be on the dole for the rest of their lives can go over there and enjoy the glory that is the coming Die Viertes Reich

All the people who are emotionally invested in a strong nation of England can stay behind and help restore her glory and economic power.

An oldie but goodie

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This Doritos's ad showed up on Facebook - from 2010 but still cute as hell...

A suggestion to Craigslist

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When someone goes to post an item for sale on your website, could you please add a mandatory checkbox - something like this:

Seller [ ] is / [ ] is not a fscking meth-head

It would have saved me three hours driving time today. For sale was a piece of metalworking equipment that had spent some time outside uncovered and was not even in running condition. It was advertised as good condition. This thing had the stuffing beaten out of it - not even worth scrap metal value and the guy had an unreal estimation of its worth.

Points South

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Heading down to Lynnwood today for a possible Craigslist purchase - 90 miles so I hope it works out. Coffee first of course...

Back later this afternoon.

Don't cross the streams - Climate

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About that cataclysmic crossing of the northern and southern hemisphere jet streams?

Actually, happens all the time. From The Daily Caller:

Climate Scientist Totally Debunks Fears Of An ‘Unprecedented Climate Emergency’
A self-proclaimed climate expert has issued a dire warning of an ‘unprecedented climate emergency’ because the Northern Hemisphere’s jet stream crossed the equator, but actual climate scientist Dr. Roy Spencer says the move is not at all unprecedented.

“Our climate system behaviour continues to behave in new and scary ways that we have never anticipated, or seen before,” Beckwith wrote in a piece titled ‘Jet Stream Crosses Equator, Unprecedented?‘.

“Welcome to climate chaos. We must declare a global climate emergency,” he blared

Spencer, however, saw the event as typical, not unprecedented.

“There is frequently cross-equatorial flow at jet stream altitudes, and that flow can connect up with a subtropical jet stream,” Spencer wrote in a response to Beckwith. “But it has always happened, and always will happen, with or without the help of humans.”

The supposed climate emergency stems from a belief that the northern jet stream crossing into the south will mix the seasons and warm the winter as well as cool the summer.

Beckwith, who has a master’s degree in laser optics and a bachelor’s degree in Engineering, “knows little of meteorology, let alone climate,” Spencer continued.

Dr. Spencer, for comparison, has a Ph.D. in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has worked as a senior scientist for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center where he received the ‘Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal’, and later went on to be principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He has also testified before Congress several times regarding global warming.

Whenever you see a claim like this or some chart of graph, it is usually the output of a computer model. Unfortunately, these models fail when tested with actual data. They cannot hindcast - if we give them the last 200 years of climactic data, they fail to predict current temperatures and climate.

Boots on the ground actual data point to at least 30 years of cooling in our immediate future.

Crossing the streams? This classic:

From Akinori Goto:

The 'standard' zoetrope is two-dimensional and is viewed through the slits in a rotating wheel. This one has been 3D printed with a translucent plastic and your 'slit' is a tightly focused beam of light.

A very clever idea and an excellent realization.

Tip of the hat to David Pescovitz at BoingBoing.

Obamacare - remember this:

Pants on fire. From The Fiscal Times:

White House Is Spending Millions to Battle Obamacare Rate Hikes
Amid reports that consumers could be hit with Obamacare health insurance premium hikes of 10 percent or more, the administration is providing state insurance regulators with $22 million to encourage them to beef up their reviews of requests for rate hikes from the health insurance industry.

The decision announced on Wednesday to provide states with additional resources to evaluate and challenge rate increases, in addition to undertaking other activities related to Obamacare, appears to be as much a political maneuver as another attempt to bend the health care cost curve.

A new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of Obamacare insurance markets in roughly a third of major metropolitan areas projects that premiums on the most popular silver plans will increase by an average of 10 percent to 11 percent next year, twice the rate of increase approved last fall. And that doesn’t include almost certain increases in co-payments or other out-of-pocket costs to consumers.

What this administration tried to do was price-fix. Students of history will know that this has never ever worked (here, here and here). If Obama wasn't such a marxist, he should know that the only proven way to cut costs is in a free-market economy. Let competition between equal providers drive down the cost of insurance. No government subsidies or political favors to large campaign contributors - level the playing field and let us see who can trim the fat and deliver the lowest price.

Great story from a bit East of here - from NBC/Associated Press:

Bear downs 36 beers, passes out at campground
When state Fish and Wildlife agents recently found a black bear passed out on the lawn of Baker Lake Resort, there were some clues scattered nearby — dozens of empty cans of Rainier Beer.

The bear apparently got into campers’ coolers and used his claws and teeth to puncture the cans. And not just any cans.

“He drank the Rainier and wouldn’t drink the Busch beer,” said Lisa Broxson, bookkeeper at the campground and cabins resort east of Mount Baker.

Fish and Wildlife enforcement Sgt. Bill Heinck said the bear did try one can of Busch, but ignored the rest. The beast then consumed about 36 cans of Rainier.

A wildlife agent tried to chase the bear from the campground but the animal just climbed a tree to sleep it off for another four hours. Agents finally herded the bear away, but it returned the next morning.

Agents then used a large, humane trap to capture it for relocation, baiting the trap with the usual: doughnuts, honey and, in this case, two open cans of Rainier.

That did the trick.

Smart bear. If it just wanted water, it would have gone to the lake - a lot cleaner. Baker Lake is one of the sources for Western Washington's hydroelectric power - the campsite is administered by Puget Sound Electric.  A gorgeous spot - the dam tour is well worth taking.

Back from town

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Had the wonderful pleasure of locking myself out of the truck while parked at Walmart. I called my dealer and the service department were in a meeting (first Friday of the month). Called about 20 minutes later and got someone who asked me for some identifying data and then gave me the sooper sekreet number to open the door. I had called AAA first but they were running over an hour out.

Outside of that, the buying run was uneventful - I had done it often enough for five years so I had my routine down.

Doing some paperwork at my office and then heading across the street for a couple pints of cider...

Great meme - Crooked Hillary

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20160701-hillary.jpg

Out the door in a few moments

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Shopping for the store today.

I will leave you with this wonderful illusion:

May 2017

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