December 2016 Archives

Leap Second in Tennessee

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I subscribe to the Time-Nuts email list and a reader in Tennessee just posted his leap second photo to the list - it just passed midnight over there:

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Thunderbolt refers to his clock - a Trimble Thunderbolt (how to hack it here) - these have been used at many cell towers for Wireless Enhanced 911 capabilities so are available fairly cheap on the surplus market. I own one of these. My other clock is a Lucent KS-24361 Fun stuff...

A handy website for the next 20 days

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Keep savoring that clock ticking ever downwards: Time left until Obama leaves office

Keeps my mind off this clock ticking inexorably upwards: US Debt Clock - it is now $19.7 trillion dollars that we owe. On January 20, 2009, it stood at $10.6 trillion. In eight years, Obama basically doubled our National Debt.

If you think these numbers are scary - the one that nobody talks about is the Unfunded Liability - monies that the USA knows it will have to pay out in the future but they do not have it now. Social Security, Medicare, Federal Budget Deficit. That number is $104.6 Trillion dollars.

Good to have an adult and a businessman running things for the next eight years.

Our EPA again - burning wood in Alaska

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Absurd - their levels of meddling are beyond belief. From The Federalist:

EPA To Alaskans In Sub-Zero Temps: Stop Burning Wood To Keep Warm
In Jack London’s famous short story, “To Build A Fire,” a man freezes to death because he underestimates the cold in America’s far north and cannot build a proper fire. The unnamed man—a chechaquo, what Alaska natives call newcomers—is accompanied by a wolf-dog that knows the danger of the cold and is wholly indifferent to the fate of the man. “This man did not know cold. Possibly, all the generations of his ancestry had been ignorant of cold, of real cold, of cold 107 degrees below freezing point. But the dog knew; all its ancestry knew, and it had inherited the knowledge.”

If only the bureaucrats in Washington DC knew what the wolf-dog knew. But alas, now comes the federal government to tell the inhabitants of Alaska’s interior that, really, they should not be building fires to keep themselves warm during the winter. The New York Times reports the Environmental Protection Agency could soon declare the Alaskan cities of Fairbanks and North Pole, which have a combined population of about 100,000, in “serious” noncompliance of the Clean Air Act early next year.

Like most people in Alaska, the residents of those frozen cities are burning wood to keep themselves warm this winter. Smoke from wood-burning stoves increases small-particle pollution, which settles in low-lying areas and can be breathed in. The EPA thinks this is a big problem. Eight years ago, the agency ruled that wide swaths of the most densely populated parts of the region were in “non-attainment” of federal air quality standards.

That prompted state and local authorities to look for ways to cut down on pollution from wood-burning stoves, including the possibility of fining residents who burn wood. After all, a declaration of noncompliance from the EPA would have enormous economic implications for the region, like the loss of federal transportation funding.

Christ on a corn dog - the hubris. More:

The problem is, there’s no replacement for wood-burning stoves in Alaska’s interior. Heating oil is too expensive for a lot of people, and natural gas isn’t available. So they’ve got to burn something. The average low temperature in Fairbanks in December is 13 degrees below zero. In January, it’s 17 below. During the coldest days of winter, the high temperature averages -2 degrees, and it can get as cold as -60. This is not a place where you play games with the cold. If you don’t keep the fire lit, you die. For people of modest means, and especially for the poor, that means you burn wood in a stove—and you keep that fire lit around the clock.

The author - John Daniel Davidson - grew up in Alaska so he knows what he is talking about. This is a perfect example of the bubble that most of the government is in. D.C. is their working and living environment so they pass legislation as though everyone lived and worked in D.C. These people are not elected and they are not held accountable for their actions.

Drives home the point that we stopped doing what worked and started doing what sounded good. This shift happened about 53 years ago and it has been downhill ever since. (and yes, I am looking right at you Lyndon Baines (Lyin' Bastard) Johnson.

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Costco beef stew update

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Came out very well - different from how I make it but I would not be disappointed being served this in a restaurant. Quite salty for my taste (but I use very little in cooking so am sensitive to it - Lulu is always salting stuff I cook) and the meat has connective tissue and gristle which I normally trim out (the dogs love it). Price is right and the box makes a huge quantity.

Weather update

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Got a good solid inch of white stuff on the ground but the snowfall has turned to a very light rain.

Mt. Baker is experiencing some amazing conditions - from today's afternoon snow report:

SNOW REPORT December 31, 2016 // 1:33 pm
For tomorrow expect some of the driest, fluffiest, lightest powder snow ever seen with 5 to 8 inches of goosedown powder snow by morning.  Temperatures will be in the low 20's and winds will be calm, so don't forget your goggles and bring your warm winterwear!

Supposed to turn clear and very cold sometime Monday morning.

Crap - another terror attack - Istanbul

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From CNN:

Turkey nightclub attack: Dozens killed after attacker opens fire, official says
Thirty-five people were killed and 40 wounded in an attack in a nightclub early Sunday as they were celebrating the new year, Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin said.

Sahin called the incident "a terror attack."
The attacker, who has not yet been identified, opened fire inside the high-end Reina nightclub in the busy Besiktas neighborhood of Istanbul, according to Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu.

No word on the terrorists but I am betting they follow a false prophet and are culturally in the 9th century

A clever idea for Times Square

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From Auto Blog:

Dump trucks filled with sand will guard New Year's Eve revelers in NYC
On Saturday night, over two million people will crowd into New York City's iconic Times Square to say good riddance to the no good, very bad year known as 2016. And after worrying holiday attacks in Nice, France, and Berlin, Germany, keeping the revelers safe is job one for the Big Apple's government. Its solution? Dump trucks with a lot of sand in the bed.

When you tune into ABC, MTV (do people still watch MTV for New Year's?), NBC, or some other network's NYE coverage, don't be surprised to see large white or orange Department of Sanitation trucks filled with sand and conspicuously placed around Times Square. The trucks, based on our perusing of the Department of Sanitation's website, handle tasks like snow removal and salt or sand spreading as a day job. But for NYE, they're on security duty.

When filled with sand, the 16-ton trucks nearly double in weight. Considering ISIS carried out attacks in Germany and France by plowing trucks into crowds, the hulking DSNY trucks are a perfect mobile barricade that should give any plotters pause. And if a terrorist – home-grown or otherwise – attempts to detonate a bomb, the huge trucks are fully capable of absorbing blasts and shrapnel.

Very clever idea and cheap to implement.

Happy New Year Hogmanay

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From the Daily Express:

What is Hogmanay? How is New Year’s Eve celebrated in Scotland?
Hogmanay is the Scottlish New Year’s Eve celebration and for many Scots is more important than Christmas Day – which only became a public holiday in Scotland in 1958 after being effectively banned by the Protestant Reformation for 400 years.

The holiday dates back to the Vikings, who threw wild parties the celebrate the winter solstice in late December.

The Norse invaders began to incorporate elements of the Gaelic Samhain festival, which also contributed to the Twelve Days of Christmas – or the Daft Days as they became known in Scotland.

Would not mind being in Edinburgh tonight - maybe add that to the bucket list with a coulpe weeks in Iceland on the way.

Great interview - Anthony Bourdain

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I know he is very much a liberal, does not like Trump but he is spot on on a lot of other topics - worth rerading. From Reason:

Anthony Bourdain on Sichuan Peppers, Sex, Eating Dogs, and Political Correctness
From Iran to to Hanoi to rural New England: Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown on CNN has covered a lot of territory, like No Reservations before it. More than 15 years since his best-selling memoir Kitchen Confidential gutted New York's culinary underbelly, the former junkie and chef continues not to give any fucks. Bourdain has also just published Appetites (Ecco), his first cookbook in over a decade, co-authored with longtime collaborator Laurie Woolever.

New Zealand–based writer Alexander Bisley reached the traveler and chef by phone the day after the Electoral College confirmed Donald Trump as president of the United States, and Bourdain talked about how Sichuan peppers are like sex, whether animal-rights activists have any sense of humor, and how the "utter contempt with which privileged Eastern liberals such as myself discuss red-state, gun-country, working-class America as ridiculous and morons and rubes" is a problem.

Some quotes:

Bisley: You're a liberal. What should liberals be critiquing their own side for?
Bourdain: There's just so much. I hate the term political correctness, the way in which speech that is found to be unpleasant or offensive is often banned from universities. Which is exactly where speech that is potentially hurtful and offensive should be heard.

The way we demonize comedians for use of language or terminology is unspeakable. Because that's exactly what comedians should be doing, offending and upsetting people, and being offensive. Comedy is there, like art, to make people uncomfortable, and challenge their views, and hopefully have a spirited yet civil argument. If you're a comedian whose bread and butter seems to be language, situations, and jokes that I find racist and offensive, I won't buy tickets to your show or watch you on TV. I will not support you. If people ask me what I think, I will say you suck, and that I think you are racist and offensive. But I'm not going to try to put you out of work. I'm not going to start a boycott, or a hashtag, looking to get you driven out of the business.

And:

I've spent a lot of time in gun-country, God-fearing America. There are a hell of a lot of nice people out there, who are doing what everyone else in this world is trying to do: the best they can to get by, and take care of themselves and the people they love. When we deny them their basic humanity and legitimacy of their views, however different they may be than ours, when we mock them at every turn, and treat them with contempt, we do no one any good. Nothing nauseates me more than preaching to the converted. The self-congratulatory tone of the privileged left—just repeating and repeating and repeating the outrages of the opposition—this does not win hearts and minds. It doesn't change anyone's opinions. It only solidifies them, and makes things worse for all of us. We should be breaking bread with each other, and finding common ground whenever possible. I fear that is not at all what we've done.

And:

Bisley: A few years back you were on Real Time with Bill Maher and part of the discussion was about people living inside their own bubbles. What do you think of Bill Maher?
Bourdain: Insufferably smug. Really the worst of the smug, self-congratulatory left. I have a low opinion of him. I did not have an enjoyable experience on his show. Not a show I plan to do again. He's a classic example of the smirking, contemptuous, privileged guy who lives in a bubble. And he is in no way looking to reach outside, or even look outside, of that bubble, in an empathetic way.

A lot more at the site. I like Bourdain's basic view of mankind - maybe his liberalism will tone down a little bit as Trump establishes a strong economy and world peace.

Cascadian Subduction Zone

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Fairly long (48 minutes) but excellent documentary by the BBC on the Cascadian Subduction Zone:

This is what I have been training for as part of the Cascadia Rising drill last June, the Great American Shakeout last October and the upcoming earthquake drill this April. A lot of the initial research was done by people a the University of Washington and I have had the pleasure to meet some of the people in this documentary. Very good detective work by some highly intelligent people.

FEMA has a lot of really useful information for earthquake and other disaster preparedness. The old line about three days of food and water is not used any more - it is more like a week to three weeks supply.

Happy New Year and Leap Second

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New Year I know about but Leap Second? From EarthSky:

Leap second to be added tonight
The U.S. Naval Observatory announced last July that a leap second will be added to official timekeeping on December 31, 2016. That means your day and year – and everyone’s day and year – will officially be one second longer.

Leap seconds have been added 26 times since 1972. They’re inserted at the end of the last day of either June or December. The leap second will be added to the world’s clocks at 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on December 31. This corresponds to 6:59:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, when the extra second will be inserted at the U.S. Naval Observatory’s Master Clock Facility in Washington, DC.

The clocks that are synchronized to this will show the seconds as 57, 58, 59, 60, 00, 01 - last one was June 30, 2015. These are added to keep solar time and network time in sync - the Earth's rotation is slowing down perceptibly and now, our clocks are good enough to notice this. It used to be the domain of high technology and only a few places had clocks good enough to be bothered by this difference. Now they are available on eBay for a couple hundred bucks. I own two of them.

Weather - a 1PM update

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From Cliff Mass:

1 PM Update
The 1 PM visible satellite image shows the approaching front/low pressure system with substantial convective clouds behind it. The leading edge of the front is now stretching from Forks, on the NW coast, to NW Washington.

The latest radar indicates showers along the coast and over NW Washington, all of which are reaching the surface as rain.  A few snow flurries have been noted around the region.

The latest sounding above Sea-Tac airport (12:30 PM) shows a freezing level around 950 ft, which means the atmosphere is now close to cold enough for snow to reach sea level.  This morning's model output suggests some warming aloft this afternoon.

The snow flurries is what is happening right here - the freezing level of 950 feet is about 300 feet above my head where I am sitting. Much more at the site - Cliff has a lot of charts of current conditions as well as short-range forecasts.

Your fake news of the day

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From Bloomberg:

Russian Hacking Code Found in Vermont Power Utility Computer
Computer code connected to Russian cyberattacks by U.S. intelligence agencies has been found in a laptop computer at a Vermont electric utility, a development that emerged a day after the Obama administration hit Russia with sanctions for hacking during this year’s U.S. election.

That was yesterday and today, the story has fallen apart. Complete and utter fabrication.

Heading out for the day

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Working at home today but getting coffee and bringing some deicer to the store.

It is snowing heavily - air temp is at 34.2°F and the snow is sticking. Forecast to do the same all day, Sunday will be partly sunny and the cold and clear hits very early Monday morning. Got hay and treats out to the critters and the truck has warmed up so heading out the door in a few.

Our new Costco has been doing pre-fab meals in their meat section - their meatloaf and mashed potatoes is awesome. I am trying their slow-cooker beef stew today - got it in the slow cooker now. Spiked it with a bunch of garlic and black pepper - needs to cook for six hours so that is perfect for dinner.

The acoustics of ice

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A fun video:

The video cites two other YouTube channels - Terje Isungset and LiveEachDay

Terje's music is wonderful. Great discovery.

An interesting character - 100 years ago

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From Mental Floss:

The Murder of Rasputin: The 100th Anniversary of a Mystery That Won't Die
On the morning of December 29, 1916, Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was startled by a phone call that turned out to be yet another death threat. His daughter, Maria, later remembered that it put him in a bad mood for the rest of the day. That night, at 11 p.m., he gave her a final reminder before she went to sleep: He was going to the Yusupov Palace that evening to meet an aristocrat. It was the last time she saw him alive.

Two days later, a search party found a body trapped beneath the ice of the frozen Malaya Nevka River. It was Rasputin: missing an eye, bearing three bullet wounds and countless cuts and bruises. The most infamous man in Russia was dead, assassinated at age 47.

A hundred years after his murder, the legend of Russia’s “Mad Monk” has only spread, inspiring films, books, operas, a disco song, and even his own beer, Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. Described by early biographers as “The Saint Who Sinned” and “The Holy Devil,” he remains a difficult man to define. He spent less than a decade in public life, was barely literate, and published only two works. Even within the Russian Orthodox Church, the debate continues: Was Rasputin a charlatan, a holy man, the czarina’s secret lover, Satan himself, or just a simple Siberian peasant?

Above all, one question refuses to rest: What exactly happened to Rasputin in the early hours of December 30, 1916?

Quite the story at Mental Floss - he certainly looks the part of a mad monk:

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Got another cold snap headed out way

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This is the one that is going to hit all of North America starting with us. Not much precipitation to speak of - some snow tomorrow but that will stop by Monday early morning and it will just get cold for four days or so. The last 24 hours have brought us 0.35" of rain - just perfect for putting a hockey-rink finish on the driveway.

Our local box store finally got some deicer back in stock - I bought five bags of it - some for the store and some for the farm. The driveways are so slick that there are stretches where I can just put the brakes on the truck and it will slowly and gracefully slide ten feet down the driveway. Fortunately, this is just in the tire tracks which have been compressed into ice - as soon as I hit the untrammeled snow, I have traction again. As long as I keep moving, I am fine.

The front entry gate is a different matter - this is all ice and this is where at least one bag of deicer will be going tomorrow morning on my way out for coffee.

2016 the movie

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Here is the trailer - don't want to see the full movie. Once is enough.

Putin and Obama - a three-fer

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A very nice gesture

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Russia suffered a major airplane disaster with 92 fatalities when a Tu-154 airplane crashed shortly after takeoff. This from Russia Today:

Major Russian bank wipes out Tu-154 plane crash victims' debt
State-run Sberbank has written off loans taken out by the victims of the Russia’s Tu-154 airplane crash last Sunday, according to Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov.

The minister confirmed victims’ relatives will have to apply either through Sberbank or offices assigned by the Defense and Labor Ministries.

Sokolov said that he will negotiate with other Russian banks to do likewise.

Sberbank will provide compensation payments to the victim’s families during the New Year holidays, said the minister.

Some branches will work during the holidays to implement the payments, the work won’t stop even after January 1,” said Sokolov.

That is just a really nice gesture. Bad enough that families lose loved ones and breadwinners. Nice that they will not be saddled with any debt incurred by the deceased.

Some sanity on the climate front

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Great news from Wisconsin - from Lee Bergquist writing at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

DNR purges climate change from web page
The state Department of Natural Resources recently scrubbed language from an agency web page on the Great Lakes that said humans and greenhouse gases are the main cause of climate change.

The DNR now says the subject is a matter of scientific debate.

The department made the changes on Dec. 21, striking out whole sentences attributing global warming to human activities and rising levels of carbon dioxide.

Good - facts and data, not computer models. More:

In the latest changes, the DNR says of climate change, “as it has done throughout the centuries, the earth is going through a change. The reasons for this change at this particular time in the earth’s long history are being debated and researched by academic entities outside the Department of Natural Resources.”

The DNR website is here: The Great Lakes and a changing world

Nice to see them coming to grips with the realities of the so-called science. It was about consolidating political power and never about science.

And it begins - a bit of a cold snap

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Still too far out for 100% confidence but all things point to a bout of very cold weather across the entire North American continent over the next week.

From The Washington Post:

Rare coast-to-coast cold snap to engulf Lower 48 late next week
Frigid air will grip an unusually large portion of the Lower 48 states in just over a week’s time. The cold is predicted to consume almost the entire nation, from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeast, sparing only Florida.

While some parts of the country are forecast to experience temperatures 30 to 50 degrees colder than normal, the cold snap will be most remarkable for the amount of real estate it is predicted to cover.

Brian Brettschneider, a climatologist based in Alaska, noted Thursday that the National Weather Service’s six- to 10-day temperature outlook projected the nation’s largest area with high confidence (90 percent probability) of below-normal temperatures in 15 years of issuing such outlooks.

Cliff Mass has the following:

The Potential for a Major Cold Spell in the Northwest
Although temperatures have been relatively normal for the last few days, the last month has been decidedly colder than normal over the Northwest, as suggested by this map, which shows the deviation from normal for the past 30 days.  Much of our region has been 2-4F colder than typical during the past month.  Such cold temperatures have brought us a very healthy snowpack.

But the latest model runs are suggesting a much colder period next week, one that would be far colder than we have seen in many years.

Time to check the level on the propane tank - I have a heat pump but it only works to a 50°F differential. Also planning to spend some time tomorrow and Saturday with Buttercup the Tractor chopping up as much ice as I can from the driveway. It is melting but there is still an inch or two left and if that freezes, getting in and out will become very interesting. Got a bunch of firewood stacked up so good there.

The best of GoPro 2016

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Some great footage there - a nice mix:

And Russia's response

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Earlier today, Obama kicked 35 Russian diplomats off US soil.

Russia's response:

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The next three weeks are going to be fun - all the world is living inside Obama's head rent free. Trump, Putin, Syria, employment and the economy - all failures of Obama's thinking and party.

The real fun is that Putin is suceeding very well where Obama and Kerry failed - from the UK Guardian:

Why Russia-brokered Syrian ceasefire has chance of succeeding
Labelled an international pariah only months ago by Boris Johnson, and warned he would be stuck in a Syrian quagmire by a patronising Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin ends 2016 if not as the undisputed victor, then at least as the man at the centre of decision making.

It is Moscow and not Washington that is calling the shots in the Middle East.

An object lesson on Gun Control

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Colorado is a very liberal state and they passed a law banning magazines for rifles with more than 15 round capacity. Magpul - a company who makes such items - left Colorado for Wyoming.

From Breitbart:

Wyoming Gaining the Millions of Dollars Colorado Traded for Gun Control
Magpul Industries pulled up stakes and left Colorado after Democrat lawmakers instituted a ban on the sale of ammunition magazines holding more than 15 rounds.

The ban was passed in March 2013, and in January 2014, Magpul announced it would be moving production from Colorado to Wyoming. That meant an immediate annual revenue loss of $85 million for the state of Colorado–a loss that became Wyoming’s gain–and now, additional millions of dollars will be flooding into Wyoming as Magpul fulfills a new contract to make magazines for the United States Marine Corps.

According to the Gazette, Magpul took “100 employees” to Wyoming, in addition to the money. At the time that Colorado Democrats passed the gun control, Magpul “had about 200 workers in a 100,000-square-foot in Erie. The payroll has since grown to 380 and added a second shift in 185,000-square-foot facility in Cheyenne.”

And to make things that much sweeter for Magpul:

Moreover, Magpul will now “be the exclusive provider for magazines Marines carry into combat.”

Actions have consequences. Liberals have stopped doing what works and they now do what sounds good. There is a huge difference.

Home for the evening

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Ran into a lot of friends at the restaurant - I should get out more... Good dinner and two pints of wonderful hard apple cider.

Done for the day - out for a burger

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Finished what I wanted to do so heading out for a burger and a couple pints of hard cider at a local restaurant

More in a couple of hours. Working from home tomorrow too.

Cool idea for photographers - GearEye

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From their Kickstarter page:

GearEye - The Ultimate Gear Management System
GearEye is a smart gear management system for on-the-go professionals. It enables you to manage your equipment through thick and thin: organization, tracking, and making sure you always have everything you need whether at home or on the job. GearEye is a game-changer for anything from the smallest messenger bag to the largest camera suitcase.

The bond between professionals and their work equipment is special: anyone who’s experienced this can tell you that there are few things worse than losing your essential gear. We’ve been there too, and that’s why we created a system to put an end to this problem. Simply place the RFID GearTag on your gear, and voilá! Everything in your bag can now be easily accounted for, with a simple tap on your smartphone.

GearEye is more than just a safety net: it enables you to organize your most important equipment into gig specific groups - so that you always have exactly what you need when you need it. This way, you can quickly and easily make sure you have what you need for today’s studio session (not last week’s beach shoot).

Clever idea - you stick an RFID label on each piece of gear and your iPhone runs an app to keep track of it.

Heh - New Years Resolutions

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Here's mine:

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From Reuters:

U.S. evicts Russians for spying, imposes sanctions after election hacks
President Barack Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian suspected spies and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over their involvement in hacking U.S. political groups in the 2016 presidential election.

The measures, taken during the last days of Obama's presidency, mark a new post-Cold War low in U.S.-Russian ties which have deteriorated over Ukraine and Syria.

Allegations by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally directed efforts to intervene in the U.S. election process by hacking mostly Democrats have made relations even worse.

Obama has to realize that Trump is just going to reverse this all in three weeks. How simple-minded can this guy get.

Home again - time to get to work

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Knocking out a couple of projects - two things in the radio room and using Buttercup to get the trash out to the dumpster.

Very busy at the store - Mt. Baker has more snow than any other ski area in WA State so there is a lot of traffic up the highway - people taking a couple extra days off for the holidays.

Back in an hour or so - checking in at the store and paying some bills. Got a couple projects piling up here that need to be knocked out.

It has warmed up a couple of degrees and the rain is still coming down - roads will be slick as snot especially if we get that cold snap this weekend.

Academic excellence

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Good Lord - the state of our Universities - from Breitbart:

George Washington University History Majors No Longer Required to Take U.S. History
As a result of a change in department requirements, history majors at George Washington University are no longer required to take a U.S. history course in order to graduate. Although professors claim that most student opt to take a U.S. history course voluntarily, it is now possible to receive a history degree from George Washington University without studying United States history.

And we have several more generations of these snowflakes percolating up through the public school systems. Trump's choice for Education is excellent. DeVos has long been a supporter of rigorous educational standards and charter schools. Weed out the marxist and slacker teachers and get our children back on track again.

So... Our administration lied to us

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This is my suprised face. From The Weekly Standard:

U.N. Agency Publishes Secret Iran Deal Docs On Exemptions Obama Admin Dismissed
Iran was given secret exemptions allowing the country to exceed restrictions set out by the landmark nuclear deal inked last year, some of which were made public this week by the United Nations nuclear watchdog and others that are likely still being withheld, according to diplomatic sources and a top nuclear expert who spoke to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Friday posted documents revealing that Iran had been given exemptions in January that permit the country to stockpile uranium in excess of the 300 kilogram limit set by the nuclear deal, experts said. The agreements had been kept secret for almost a year, but recent reports indicated that the Trump administration intended to make them public.

This is serious - a little bit of this was leaked and the White House's reaction was swift:

Some details of the exemptions had previously been leaked. The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) revealed in September that Iran had been allowed to exceed certain caps in the deal so that the country could come into compliance with the deal's terms.

Administration officials dismissed the ISIS report at the time, and surrogates who White House officials have described as the administration's "echo chamber" criticized the organization.

"The administration was really nasty after we released these documents," David Albright, the founder and president of ISIS, told TWS on Friday. "It was very tough for us to get the information. ... I think that if we hadn't released, they had every intention to keep it secret. They may have given lip service to openness, but I think their intention was to keep it secret."

That way Kerry could say that Iran was following the agreement all the while they were ramping up production. Iran with a bomb. Chilling. And you wonder what else is being hidden.

The delusional President

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What a steaming load of fake news - from Reuters:

U.S. set to announce response to Russian election hacking: sources
The Obama administration plans to announce on Thursday a series of retaliatory measures against Russia for hacking into U.S. political institutions and individuals and leaking information in an effort to help President-elect Donald Trump and other Republican candidates, two U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

If Putin had wanted to influence the election, he could have just donated to the Clinton Foundation. I mean really; is this the best the Democrats have?

Heh - from BoingBoing:

Veterans healthcare being restructured

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President Trump looks to be doing good work turning the Veterans Administration around. From Breitbart:

Trump Team Floats ‘Public-Private’ Veterans Health Care
President-elect Donald Trump met with health care executives on Wednesday to begin a serious reform of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“I’ve been saying we have to take care of our vets,” Trump told reporters at Mar-a-Lago after the meetings. “We are working on something to make it great for our veterans, because they are treated very, very unfairly.”

Wonderful news - this is so easy to do but it goes against the grain of the unelected entrenched federal bureaucrats who would lose their power if their jobs were privatized. Hold them accountable for their errors. Faster please.

Just wonderful - we need that wall

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From Judicial Watch:

Spanish Military Report: Islamic Terrorists Operate, Raise Cash in Latin America to Attack U.S.
Latin America is a hotbed of Islamic terrorism where groups like ISIS and Hezbollah operate freely and raise large sums of money to finance terrorist activities in other countries, mainly the United States, according to a new report released by Spain’s Defense Ministry. “Latin America represents an important region for Islamic radicalism because conditions enable the free, almost undetectable, movement of their members throughout the region,” the defense document states.

Governments in the region consider Islamic terrorism to be a foreign problem, the report says, and intelligence agencies are ill equipped to handle the threat they represent. “The ignorance involving the threat of jihadist terrorism in Latin America has been such that some governments have refused to cooperate with U.S. authorities and other intelligence services,” the disturbing assessment reveals. The report was released this month by the division of Spain’s Defense agency known as Instituto Español de Estudios Estratégicos (IEEE), Spanish Institute of Strategic Studies. The document, authored by a counterterrorism expert, is titled “El radicalismo islámico en América Latina. De Hezbolá al Daesh (Estado Islámico),” Islamic Radicalism in Latin America, from Hezbollah to ISIS.

The Lebanese group Hezbollah is identified as having the largest fundraising operations in the region, though others, such as ISIS, are also prominent. The terrorist organizations have teamed up with established drug trafficking conglomerates to raise and launder large quantities of cash. The report identifies a group called El clan Barakat in Paraguay and Joumaa in Colombia as two examples of drug trafficking enterprises that have long worked with Islamic jihadists to launder money. Spain’s military experts refer to the relationships as a “marriage of convenience” between Latin American organized crime and Muslim terrorists with different objectives and interests. “Each takes advantage of the benefits that the relationship provides,” the report states.

We need to stop turning a blind eye to the people streaming across our borders. If people want to come from Mexico to pick fruit, we already have an Agricultural Visa program in place that works. They can come in for six months.

There are some downright nasty people coming in with the express intent of living off our welfare programs until such time as they are activated and then they try to murder us.

Cold rain's gonna fall

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Right at 33.6°F and raining lightly. Snowing at Mt. Baker ski area so the snow level is around 2,000 feet as was forecast. Cold weather moving in though.

Some very strange dreams last night - fun ones but very odd. Almost feel like going back to bed to try to revisit that world. Need to get hay out to the critters and check the stock tank. Working at home today on the water co-op project.

I resemble that remark!

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Swiped in full from Ace of Spades:

  • I was born white, which now, whether I like it or not, makes me a racist.
  • I am a fiscal and moral conservative, which by today’s standards, makes me a fascist.
  • I am heterosexual, which according to gay folks, now makes me a homophobe.
  • I am non-union, which makes me a traitor to the working class and an ally of big business.
  • I am a Christian, which now labels me as an infidel.
  • I believe in the 2nd Amendment, which now makes me a member of the vast gun lobby.
  • I am retired, which makes me useless.
  • I think and I reason, therefore I doubt much that the main stream media tells me, which must make me a reactionary.
  • I am proud of my heritage and our inclusive American culture, which makes me a xenophobe.
  • I value my safety and that of my family and I appreciate the police and the legal system, which makes me a right-wing extremist.
  • I believe in hard work, fair play, and fair compensation according to each individual's merits, which today makes me an anti-socialist.
  • I (and most of the folks I know), acquired a fair education without student loans (it’s called work) and no debt at graduation, which makes me some kind of an odd underachiever.
  • I believe in the defense and protection of the homeland for and by all citizens, which now makes me a militant.
  • Now, a sick old woman is calling me and my friends a basket of deplorables.
  • Please help me come to terms with the new me…because I‘m just not sure who I am anymore! I would like to thank all my friends for sticking with me through these abrupt, new found changes in my life and my thinking! .....I just can’t imagine or understand what happened to me so quickly!
  • Funny…it’s all just taken place over the last 7 1/2 years!
  • As if all this B.S. wasn’t enough to deal with….now I'm not sure which public restroom to use.

So true...

Not good - Mumps on the upswing

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From The Medical Press:

Mumps spreads on college campuses
Caroline Brown, a sophomore at the University of Missouri, got a fever over Thanksgiving break. Soon it became painful to bite down, and her cheek began to swell. A trip to her physician confirmed it: she had the mumps.

"Mumps kind of sounds like this archaic thing," Brown said. "We get vaccinated for it; it just sounds like something that nobody gets. So I just didn't think that it was possible that I would get it."

But  is back, and is having its worst year in a decade, fueled in part by its spread on college campuses. Since classes began at the University of Missouri in August, school officials have identified 193 mumps cases on campus. Nationwide, more than 4,000 cases have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - nearly triple the number in 2015 and the largest increase in 10 years.

Some public health officials are asking questions about the  protocol.

Dr. Susan Even, executive director of the University of Missouri's Student Health Center, said she hasn't seen anything like the current  in her 31 years at the school. She said all of the students her team treated for mumps had two MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine doses - a school requirement - but they got sick anyway.

"The fact that we have mumps showing up in highly immunized populations likely reflects something about the effectiveness of the vaccine," Even said.

This is not good - if a guy catches it after they hit puberty, there is a good chance that they can be rendered sterile. There is a major outbreak in Arkansas:

The largest current outbreak is in Arkansas, which reports over 2,000 cases among school-age children and adults throughout the state since August this year.

Time to re-examine the vaccines in use and maybe up the dosage. The anti-vaxxers should get sent in for re-education. They are compromising the populations Herd Immunity.

Now this is curious - antarctica

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From the UK Sun:

Satellite spots MASSIVE object hidden under the frozen wastes of Antarctica
Scientists believe a massive object which could change our understanding of history is hidden beneath the Antarctic ice.

The huge and mysterious “anomaly” is thought to be lurking beneath the frozen wastes of an area called Wilkes Land.

It stretches for a distance of 151 miles across and has a maximum depth of about 848 metres.

Some researchers believe it is the remains of a truly massive asteroid which was more than twice the size of the Chicxulub space rock which wiped out the dinosaurs.

If this explanation is true, it could mean this killer asteroid caused the Permian–Triassic extinction event which killed 96 percent of Earth’s sea creatures and up to 70 percent of the vertebrate organisms living on land.

However, the wilder minds of the internet have come up with their own theories, with some conspiracy theorists claiming it could be a massive UFO base or a portal to a mysterious underworld called the Hollow Earth.

Be sure to check out the comments - the UFO nutters are out in force. Some fun reading.

Who? He invented the Red Solo Cup.

His obituary here.

An oldie from Hope n' Change cartoons

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From 2015 but in light of the last few days - classic:

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From Variety:

Debbie Reynolds, ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ Star and Carrie Fisher’s Mother, Dies at 84
Debbie Reynolds, the Oscar-nominated singer-actress who was the mother of late actress Carrie Fisher, has died at Cedars-Sinai hospital. She was 84.

“She wanted to be with Carrie,” her son Todd Fisher told Variety.

She was taken to the hospital from Carrie Fisher’s Beverly Hills house Wednesday after suffering a stroke, the day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died.

Crap - 2016 has been a rough year.

Just wonderful - ISIS in our Nation

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At least they caught the mokes - from The Washington Times:

Islamic State arrests reveal jihadi threat near seat of U.S. government
Law enforcement agencies have arrested nine Northern Virginia residents on charges of aiding the Islamic State since the terrorist group rose to power in Syria and Iraq in 2014 and launched social media propaganda to attract followers, a government message to police states.

The Northern Virginia Regional Intelligence Center issued profiles of the nine in a Dec. 21 report labeled “law enforcement sensitive.”

Send them to Guantanamo for the rest of their lives - they might also "jump" out of the airplane on the way over. SImpler and cheaper in the long run...

More on the United Nations vote

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Pieces are starting to fall into place - from FOX News:

Israel accuses Obama administration of helping craft, push UN censure
Israel’s government publicly accused the Obama administration Sunday of helping create and push the recently passed United Nations resolution condemning settlement activity, with a top official telling Fox News they have “ironclad information” on the U.S. government’s involvement.

“We have rather ironclad information from sources in both the Arab world and internationally that this was a deliberate push by the United States and in fact they helped create the resolution in the first place,” David Keyes, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Fox News’ “America’s News HQ.”

The accusation marks a new escalation in the Netanyahu government’s response to the U.N. Security Council vote on Friday. The resolution passed thanks to a U.S. abstention, a decision Netanyahu has described as a “shameful ambush.”

The White House already has acknowledged President Obama made the decision for U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power to abstain. Unclear was how involved the Obama administration was in crafting and pushing the resolution itself – which initially was put forward by Egypt, and then pursued by New Zealand, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela.

And of course, President Trump is acting very presidential - two tweets from this morning:

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It will be so nice to have an adult in the room.

That took longer than expected

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Back from town - decided to grab a bite to eat while there so just getting home.

More snow is forecast for tonight - I am about ready for Winter to be over and done with.

Back in a couple of hours.

Great video on underwater data cables:

Here is a nice interactive map of submarine cables

Ice Age Floodscapes

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A new YouTube channel from Bruce Bjornstad - gorgeous drone photography - Ice Age Floodscapes

Eastern Washington has some very interesting geology. Here are the Scabland Coulees

No snow now - a pause

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We have had about 0.4" of precipitation for the last 24 hours. The heavy snowfall left a bit under two inches in two hours.

And then, there is this from Cliff Mass:

The Potential for a Major Cold Spell in the Northwest
Although temperatures have been relatively normal for the last few days, the last month has been decidedly colder than normal over the Northwest, as suggested by this map, which shows the deviation from normal for the past 30 days.  Much of our region has been 2-4F colder than typical during the past month.  Such cold temperatures have brought us a very healthy snowpack.

But the latest model runs are suggesting a much colder period next week, one that would be far colder than we have seen in many years.

Since we are looking forward in time for an extended period, we must think probabilistically and thus I will show you mainly ensemble (many forecast) output.

The fun never stops around here...

John Kerry and Israel

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A parting shot - from CNN:

Secretary of State John Kerry to outline Middle East peace plan
Secretary of State John Kerry will deliver a speech Wednesday on the Obama administration's vision for Middle East peace, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

The speech at the State Department comes as the relationship between the US and Israel frays following the Obama administration's controversial decision to abstain on Friday from a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Kerry said at the time that, "In the coming days, I will speak further to the vote in the Security Council today and share more detailed thoughts, drawn from the experience of the last several years, on the way ahead."

What an inflated sense of self-importance. The guy is clueless and impotent. He thinks he is framing a majestic legacy and in less than 25 days, he will be out of a job. In four years, he will be a punchline. In 10 years he will be forgotten.

The United Nations vote

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An interesting possibility from The Washington Free Beacon:

Biden Denies Lobbying Foreign Leaders to Back Anti-Israel U.N. Resolution
Vice President Joe Biden is denying accusations that he personally lobbied foreign leaders to vote in favor of a hotly contested anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations last week that has brought U.S.-Israel relations to an all time low, according to sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about the matter.

Insiders familiar with the matter said Biden spoke by phone with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to ask that his country vote in favor of the resolution, which was passed by the U.N. Security Council last week when the United States, in a reversal of longstanding policy, did not exercise its veto power to kill the measure.

A bit more:

Sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon described Biden as personally lobbying in favor of the resolution, which comports with claims by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed.”

Just counting the days until we get an adult in the room instead of the petulant little boy.

National Weather Service is slacking off

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Today was forecast to be 40°F with light rain. The air temp is 33.4°F and it is showering down snow. Heavy snow. This will just insulate the inch or two of ice in my driveway and keep it from melting. Just wonderful.

To top it off, there was a Winter Storm Warning issued two hours ago for accumulations of up to two feet. They are still saying that the snow level is 2,000 but I am at 600 and it is coming down hard and fast and sticking.

Heading out to the radio room to turn on the space heater - two of today's projects are out there. Small room so it heats up pretty fast.

Working with video - Handbrake

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I love to do photography and also do some video work from time to time. One of the more useful tools I have found is called Handbrake. It allows you to change from one video format to another, it can also do processing to Decomb/Deinterlace, rotation, adding subtitles. It also works with external applications as a plug-in. Very versatile.

They just announced Version 1.0 - it has been in development for 13 years so it is a mature and stable product despite being a 1.0 release.

That was then, this is now

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The press on Trump's bringing jobs back to America - from Don Surber:

President Trump proves the press wrong again

And segueing to today:

Now the real reality check.
From the Associated Press:

Japanese electronics company Panasonic and U.S. electric car maker Tesla said Tuesday they plan to begin production of photovoltaic cells and modules at a factory in Buffalo, New York.

The two companies said they finalized an agreement calling for Tokyo-based Panasonic to pay capital costs for the manufacturing. Palo Alto, California-based Tesla made a "long-term purchase commitment" to Panasonic.

Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz is about as blue liberal as they come but even he has his limits - from CNS News:

Harvard’s Dershowitz: Obama 'Will Go Down in History As One of the Worst Foreign Policy Presidents Ever'
Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz says that although he and many other liberal Democrats supported President Obama's domestic policies, Obama “will go down in history as one of the worst foreign policy presidents ever.”

“He will go down in history, President Obama, as one of the worst foreign policy presidents ever,” Dershowitz said during a Monday interview on Fox & Friends. “What he did to Syria, and what he was partly responsible for happening in Aleppo, creating a vacuum for Russia. …

“Look, I supported his domestic policy. I liked him on Supreme Court appointments. But he created a terrible conflict for people, many like me liberal Democrats who support his domestic policy, but think he was an appalling – appalling - president when it came to foreign policy. He hurt America so badly.”

Appointing Hillary and John Kerry as Sec. State is a bone-headed move. Neither of those people have any practical experience in statecraft and Kerry is just not that bright. Hillary isn't either but she has a sort of feral shrewdness to her.

Gun free zone - Chicago

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On the way to 800 murders - from Breitbart:

Gun-Controlled Chicago Fast-Approaching 800 Homicides for 2016
At first, the 2016 murder figures for gun-controlled Chicago drew attention by hitting 500, which was 32 higher than the total number of murders in 2015. Then the number of murders rose to 700, followed by a Chicago Tribune report that the number of murders between January 1, 2016, and December 6, 2016, hit 731.

Think about it – 731 murders had been committed in Chicago with 25 days remaining in 2016.

Now the figure sits at 768 and gun-controlled Chicago is fast-approaching 800 murders for the year.

For those paying attention, the carnage–and the possibility for more carnage–in Chicago has been evident for quite some time. After all, Chicago is a gun control experiment gone wrong; a city which enacted a total handgun ban in 1982, thereby guaranteeing that the only people who had handguns were the criminals. Law-abiding citizens were reduced to using baseball bats, sticks, pitchforks, etc., for self-defense. And the results were easy to predict – the Tribune reported the decade following the implementation of Chicago’s ban saw “murders [jump] by 41 percent, compared with an 18 percent rise in the entire United States.”

Unintended consequences - only the honest people obey the laws. The result of operating on good intentions rather than social reality.

Good for them - Israel

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Good news from Israel - they are not listening to the United Nations - after all, it is less than 30 days until President Trump takes office. From the New York Times:

Defying U.N., Israel Prepares to Build More Settlements
Undeterred by a resounding defeat at the United NationsIsrael’s government said Monday that it would move ahead with thousands of new homes in East Jerusalem and warned nations against further action, declaring that Israel does not “turn the other cheek.”

Just a few days after the United Nations Security Council voted to condemn Israeli settlements, Jerusalem’s municipal government signaled that it would not back down: The city intends to approve 600 housing units in the predominantly Palestinian eastern section of town on Wednesday in what a top official called a first installment on 5,600 new homes.

The defiant posture reflected a bristling anger among Israel’s pro-settlement political leaders, who not only blamed the United States for failing to block the Council resolution, but also claimed to have secret intelligence showing that President Obama’s team had orchestrated it. American officials strongly denied the claim, but the sides seem poised for more weeks of conflict until Mr. Obama hands over the presidency to Donald J. Trump.

Good to hear - it is not like there ever was a "palestinian" people anyway, they are actually Hashamite Jordanian and their history was fabricated by the KGB when they installed Yasser Arafat into power in 1969. Read your history.

The temperature has warmed up a lot - it is now 35°F outside - got down to 32.0°F last night so the cold snap is officially over. All the snow we had is now compacted into a 2" sheet of wet ice so walking and driving presents a bit of a challenge but this is something I am very used to.

Surf for a bit and then to work...

Coffee and working at home today

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Got the truck warming up - heading out for coffee, post office, check in at the store, paying some bills and then working at home today - project for the water co-op and a couple of other things.

Heading into town tomorrow.

Back in two hours or so...

Crap - RIP Carrie Fisher

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Not surprising given the nature of her heart attack but still. From TMZ:

CARRIE FISHER DEAD AT 60
Carrie Fisher died Tuesday morning ... days after suffering a massive heart attack on board a flight from London to LAX ... a family spokesperson has confirmed.

TMZ broke the story ... Fisher was on a flight from London to LAX Friday when she suffered the heart attack 15 minutes before landing. People on the plane tell TMZ she appeared lifeless.

A passenger who's an EMT performed CPR on Carrie and once the flight landed, paramedics rushed her to UCLA Medical Center where she remained in intensive care until her death.

Carrie had been on a publicity tour for her new book, "The Princess Diarist." The book recently made headlines because she wrote about having an affair with co-star Harrison Ford while shooting the original 'Star Wars' movies.

The world loses another good person.

The latest Trump Tweet from Associated Press:

TRUMP SAYS UN JUST A CLUB FOR PEOPLE TO 'HAVE A GOOD TIME'
Days after the United Nations voted to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, Donald Trump questioned its effectiveness Monday, saying it's just a club for people to "have a good time."

The president-elect wrote on Twitter that the U.N. has "such great potential," but it has become "just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!"

Pure gold - he should kick them out of Manhattan and turn the offices into a hotel.

2016 strikes again - RIP Vera Rubin

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From Infogalactic:

Vera (Cooper) Rubin (born July 23, 1928) is an American astronomer who pioneered work on galaxy rotation rates. She uncovered the discrepancy between the predicted angular motion of galaxies and the observed motion, by studying galactic rotation curves. This phenomenon became known as the galaxy rotation problem. Although initially met with skepticism, Rubin's results have been confirmed over the subsequent decades. Attempts to explain the galaxy rotation problem led to the theory of dark matter.

The Carnegie Institute has her obituary:

VERA RUBIN WHO CONFIRMED “DARK MATTER” DIES
Renowned astrophysicist and National Medal of Science awardee Vera Rubin passed away in Princeton N.J., the evening of December 25, 2016, at the age of 88. Rubin confirmed the existence of dark matter—the invisible material that makes up more than 90% of the mass of the universe. She was a retired staff astronomer at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism in Washington, D.C.

“Vera Rubin was a national treasure as an accomplished astronomer and a wonderful role model for young scientists,” remarked Carnegie president Matthew Scott. “We are very saddened by this loss.”

Here is a photo of her at work - the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ - the angled thing is a spectroscope used for determining the speed of a given stars motion relative to Earth.

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The idea that the Nobel Committee never awarded her the Physics Prize is unreal. The Prizes can not be awarded posthumously so they should just not award a Physics Prize for 2017 - everyone would understand.

No time to rest - it is just beginning

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Words to the wise from Kurt Schlichter writing at Townhall:

Sorry, But Our Fight Against Liberal Fascism Has Only Just Begun
I wish I could tell you that, having dodged the naggy bullet that was Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit, we can now spend the next four years being left alone. But that’s not in the cards. Liberals won’t – because they can’t – pause to reflect on how they should stop being such insufferable jerks and live with us normals in peace and mutual respect. Instead, they are doubling down on their gambit for unrestrained power over every aspect of our lives, fueled by a hatred for Donald Trump that is, in reality, a hatred for us.

Remember, they really do hate us. Just ask them.

Just watch what they do. They will always side against us – even when a professional scammer stages a fake “hate crime” on an airplane. They will side with the hoaxer even though every single “Trump-inspired hate crime” – and almost all others – turns out to be a hoax. Every. Single. One.

When it comes down to it, they are more worried that some buffoon will sneer at a woman trapped in burka than that the psychotic creep who stuck in it will butcher a bunch of normal Americans while shouting “Allah akbar!” We have to say “No” – normal lives matter.

Understand that they will not stop. They will not change. We must therefore defeat them, because otherwise there will be no peace. As with so much in life, Dolph Lundgren shows us the way, though in this case liberals are less a macho, tough prizefighter named “Rocky” than a 23 year-old gender-fluid Oberlin grad named “Fussy” who lives in Brooklyn off of his/her/xes dad’s money while trying to be a non-rhyming poet.

We must keep fighting. We must never give an inch, never back down, never give up. We must respond to every attack upon us, large or small, with overwhelming firepower. But defense is not enough – we must go on offense, seize the initiative, and aggressively destroy anything that will aid liberals in their long-term goal of rendering us silenced and subservient.

That last paragraph sounds downright Churchillian - read the rest of Kurt's post - excellent advice. Punch back twice as hard as Andrew would say.

Back from town

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Went out for coffee and just got back from town. Two of the places I needed to get to were still closed from Christmas so I will be working at home tomorrow (something for the water board)  and then back in town again on Wednesday.

Heading out the door

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Going for coffee and then into town. Critters taken care of and did a few things around the house.

Starting to lay down some serious snow - over two inches in the last two hours. Looks like that forecast of the 2,000 foot snow level is not gonna happen.

Another gorgeous morning at the farm

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Temps got down to 16.2°F last night - ccccold out!

Heading out for coffee and then a quick run into town for some stuff. Working at home the rest of today.

Merry Christmas from Simon's Cat

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Remember folks

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Don't drink and derive:

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One degree per hour

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Going to be a cold one tonight - it was 23.1°F one hour ago, now it is 22.1°F ( as I was typing this short post, it went down to 21.9°F) and the night is still young.

I had parked the house at 60°F while I was away. Got it back up to 70°F inside - I'll keep it at that unless I feel chilly.

Got the pot roast in the oven - should be ready in another 20 minutes or so. House smells good - I added lots of garlic and stuff.

Just wonderful - more snow on the way

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Turning into a fscking little winter wonderland out here. Just got a Winter Storm Watch from the NWS.

They are forecasting a couple of feet of new snow starting Monday afternoon. Snow level is forecast for 2,000 feet so it should miss me - the farm is at 600 feet elevation so I will probably just get some rain - but - they are also forecasting for temps down to 24°F tonight and it is already down to 23.1°F with relatively clear skies so a good chance of Radiation Cooling. Got the water running in the sink - already spent a couple days with frozen pipes, do not want to go through that again this year... 

2016 strikes again - George Michael

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From The Beeb:

Ex-Wham! singer George Michael dies
The star, who launched his career with Wham! in the 1980s and later continued his success as a solo performer, is said to have "passed away peacefully at home".

Thames Valley Police said South Central Ambulance Service attended a property in Goring in Oxfordshire at 13:42 GMT.

Police say there were no suspicious circumstances.

Michael, who was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in north London, sold more than 100m albums throughout a career spanning almost four decades.

Not very much into his style of music but he was a good singer and performer and will be missed. 53 is way to young. No cause of death listed.

Back home again

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The farm is fine - critters all accounted for and they still had a bunch of hay left in the barn so they ate well.

Took Bear in to the store on my way home - his breeders are the parents of one of my employees and they were there with him today. Bear has been absolutely fine every time I brought him in but today, he peed a couple quarts right on the floor. Poured concrete thank God. Excitable boy.

Thawing out some Costco pot roast and will do that for dinner tonight - Costco sells just the meat so I will add some onions, carrots and spuds in a casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes or so. Always yummy. I'll get to use the new knife that Lulu bought me.

From Lawrence Solomon writing at the Canada's National Post:

2016 was a great year, actually. It heralds a return to the old normal
My commiserations to those who found 2016 to be a horrible year. Horrible things certainly happened. But 2016 has also been heartening, a turning point — the first year in many that holds hope of a stop to more horribles, and their precursors.

2016 wrote the epitaph to political correctness, the most insidious of the evils facing society and also among the most toxic. To silence challengers to today’s orthodoxy, self-styled “social justice warriors” on the left have been quick to label dissenters as racists, sexists, homophobes or Islamophobes, unaware that in previous generations the dissenters from the orthodoxies — those who fought for emancipation of the slaves, women’s suffrage, gay and other civil rights — succeeded precisely because upholders of the orthodoxies were unable to silence dissent.

And global warming

2016 represents the final blow to true believers in global warming. Even before the overwhelmingly sceptical Republicans swept to power in the United States last month, Western governments were slashing subsidies for renewable energy, while freeing fracking and other fossil fuel developments. The Republican sweep will speed the demise of global-warming policies by gutting funding for its advocates and deregulating the energy sector, leading to a world awash in cheap energy – to the benefit of consumers and industry alike.

Much more at the site - some very good points.

Word to the wise - from the UK Telegraph:

Ignore the Archbishop of Canterbury's 'negative' Christmas message, Nigel Farage says
Nigel Farage has criticised the Archbishop of Canterbury after he said that the mood of uncertainty and division in Britain and around the world at the end of 2016 shows that “our values are in the wrong place”.

Mr Farage, the former Ukip leader, told people to “ignore all the negative messages” from the Most Rev Justin Welby, who used his Christmas Day Eucharist at Canterbury Cathedral to say that the events of the last year have ushered in “a different kind of world” which is more uncertain and “feels more awash with fear and division”.

In fact, just ignore anything that the Archbishop says. That post has been filled by ignorant politically-correct twits for the last twenty years. The previous one was just as bad - Rowan Williams.

Finally off to jail for Mr. John Beale

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I had posted about him on January 24, 2014. The wheels of Justice sometimes turn slowly but they still turn. From NBC News:

Climate change expert sentenced to 32 months for fraud, says lying was a 'rush'
The EPA’s highest-paid employee and a leading expert on climate change was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison Wednesday for lying to his bosses and saying he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid doing his real job.

John C. Beale’s crimes were “inexplicable” and “unbelievably egregious," said Judge Ellen Huvelle in imposing the sentence in a Washington. D.C. federal court. Beale has also agreed to pay $1.3 million in restitution and forfeiture to the government.

Beale said he was ashamed of his lies about working for the CIA, a ruse that, according to court records, began in 2000 and continued until early this year.

Good riddance to bad trash. A perfect example of the swamp that needs draining - the government is riddled with mokes like this.

Christmas Day 2016

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Lots of things to be joyful for. A new year is rolling around with great expectations for this Nation and the rest of the World.

Heading back to the farm this afternoon - got to make sure the critters are OK.

Heh - Game On!

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Merry Christmas to everyone and to all a good night.

Will be completely dissolved for the duration of his Presidency. From FOX News:

Trump to dissolve philanthropic foundation to avoid conflict of interest
President-elect Donald Trump said Saturday that he will dissolve his philanthropic foundation to avoid “even the appearance” of a conflict of interest, as he prepares to take over the White House next month.

The plan to shutter the Donald J. Trump Foundation was not unexpected, amid continuing criticism that Trump’s international real estate holdings and other business ventures will present for him as president potential conflicts of interest.

“The foundation has done enormous good works over the years in contributing millions of dollars to countless worthy groups, including supporting veterans, law enforcement officers and children,” Trump said in a statement released by his presidential transition office. “However, to avoid even the appearance of any conflict with my role as president, I have decided to continue to pursue my strong interest in philanthropy in other ways.”

Paging Hillary Clinton - Mrs. Clinton to the White Courtesy Phone please...

This will be a fun eight years - Trump is already rich; he does not need to prostitute his office to make money during his time in power. He is already in power. He is successfully trolling Hillary and living inside her brain (and any other observant Democrat brains too) rent free.

Not getting the story right

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Fake News writ large when it is laughingly easy to check the facts. From Breitbart:

Fake News: ABC’s Dowd Repeats False Claim Joseph and Mary Were ‘2 Immigrants’ in Nativity Story
ABC chief political analyst Matthew Dowd jumped to his Twitter account to make the shop-worn and false liberal claim that Jesus Christ’s parents, Joseph and Mary, were “two immigrants” in Bethlehem in the tale of the first Christmas. It all amounts to fake news that is over 2,000 years old.

Going back thousands of years for his Christmas Eve fake news, Dowd skewed the Christmas nativity story by saying Joseph and Mary were “immigrants” who were turned away by many in the town. “Let us remember today,” Dowd wrote, “2 immigrants, a man and his very pregnant wife, sought shelter & were turned away by many. She gave birth in a manger.”

Excuse me - that would be the Book of Luke, Chapter 2 from the King James Bible:

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem because that is where Joseph had been born. It does not get clearer than that. Besides, their home town was Nazareth. Bethlehem is in the same country. You can only be an “immigrant” when you are leaving one country and entering another.

Clever idea - Radio Garden

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Click on this website and it opens a world map with radio stations highlighted. Move to the area of interest and listen live.

Check out Radio Garden

Markets for everything

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Including a $151,000 gold Trump iPhone - from CNN Money:

This store is selling gold-plated Trump iPhones to the super rich
This year, one option is an iPhone 7 encased in solid gold, encrusted with diamonds and bearing the face of Donald Trump.

Priced around $151,000, it's just one example of the mind-blowing bling sold by Goldgenie, a store in the United Arab Emirates where the super rich do their shopping.

"There are very wealthy, high-net-worth individuals all over the world and sometimes its very difficult to buy gifts for them because they have everything," said Frank Fernando, Goldgenie's managing director.

Good Lord - the moral poverty of spending that much for a trinket like that. But wait, there is more:

Since selling that first Trump iPhone, Goldgenie has received a further nine orders for gold-plated ones bearing his face.

The billionaire president-elect is proving to be good business for the store, which opened earlier this year. But the phones are far from the most expensive item on sale.

A gold-plated racing bike will set you back about $350,000.

Words... Fail...

Food coma

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We had our traditional Christmas Dinner of Beef Wellington. This year, I made Fondant Potatoes for the first time - a little overcooked but now I know how to do it. Great crunchy layer at the top and absolutly creamy flavorful goodness on the bottom.

Here are videos of Gordon Ramsay on each: Beef Wellington and Fondant Potatoes

Be aware that in both videos, he runs the oven at 200° but this is Celsius or 400° Fahrenheit (technically 392°F)  for us in the colonies...

We exchanged gifts - Lulu got me a Bob Kramer chef's knife. I was blown away. Lulu, her son and I had the pleasure of taking a knife-making class from Bob at the Mt. Hood Blacksmithing conference a few years ago. Here is a great interview of Bob by Anthony Bourdain - part of The Balvenie series Raw Craft:

The Raw Craft series is excellent - ten episodes in all.

From the London Daily Mail:

How Star Wars fans would trek to Berlin massacre suspect's hometown in Tunisia – until it became overrun by jihadists: Desert town of Tataouine was the backdrop to Luke Skywalker's home planet
Star Wars fans who once flocked to the Tunisian town of Tataouine - which was used as the model for Luke Skywalker's home planet Tatooine - have stayed stayed away in recent years due to the proximity of violent jihadists.

Now, another name can be added to those who have lived there - Anis Amri, prime suspect in the Berlin massacre which left 12 people dead and 48 others injured after a truck ploughed through a Christmas market on Monday.

Another interesting place turned into a ninth century hell-hole by islamists. I am sure the locals would rather have the tourists spending their money than the terrorists.

A fun drug bust to our South

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Stupid criminal - from the Everett Herald:

Illegally parked car leads to major drug bust
The Volkswagen Passat was parked in a handicapped space.

There was no placard.

The violation caught the eye of a police officer with Lynnwood’s Special Operations Section.

So he parked his patrol car earlier this week and walked into the America’s Best Value Inn to investigate.

A clerk at the front desk directed him to the room where the owner of the car was staying.

The threat of a parking citation turned out to be the least of the Marysville man’s worries.

The officer would sift through a series of lies and misdirection, according to court papers. His search for truth led to the discovery of 2.5 pounds of heroin and 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine as well as marijuana and pills.

And it gets better:

The officer quickly determined that the man had handed him a bogus California driver’s license under the name “Justin Case.” Not only was it a forged document, but the height and weight of the suspect and the man identified on the license were different. He was much shorter and weighed much less.

The moke had several prior felony arrests, had four guns in his possession (another felony) and had a Seattle Police department badge and duty jacket  and belt.

Good news from Congress

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From Beta News:

Congressional Encryption Working Group says encryption backdoors are near unworkable
The Congressional Encryption Working Group (EWG) was set up in the wake of the Apple vs FBI case in which the FBI wanted to gain access to the encrypted contents of a shooter's iPhone. The group has just published its end-of-year report summarizing months of meetings, analysis and debate.

The report makes four key observations, starting off with: "Any measure that weakens encryption works against the national interest". This is certainly not a new argument against encryption backdoors for the likes of the FBI, but it is an important one. EWG goes on to urge congress not to do anything to weaken encryption.

The group says: "Congress should not weaken this vital technology because doing so works against the national interest. However, it should not ignore and must address the legitimate concerns of the law enforcement and intelligence communities". To overcome situations such as the one that arose in the case of the San Bernardino iPhone, one suggestion is that there should be greater collaboration between technology companies and law enforcement. This sounds like a simple solution, but it has privacy implications which were raised by Apple at the time of the case.

The full report is here (PDF File). Good news - encryption is a sticky problem. Too good and it allows criminals and terrorists to operate with greater freedom. Too poor (or with government mandated back doors) it violates the privacy of people and businesses. Encryption does not mean that it can never be decoded - it is a time factor. The better encryption algorithms just take longer to decode.

Poor management in Tacoma, WA

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Unreal - from Seattle station KOMO:

Officers booted from Cheesecake Factory for carrying firearms
Officers with the Department of Corrections were recently ousted from the Cheesecake Factory restaurant at the Tacoma Mall. Why? Because they were carrying their sidearms.

“They had seated us in the back area,” Miriam Nichols told KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz. “Shortly after the rest of our party arrived, we were asked to leave because we were carrying our firearms with us. They said they did not allow firearms in their establishment.”

The group was seated in the back of the restaurant, Nichols noted. They avoided making too large of a scene as the officers showed their badges and law enforcement identification to the Cheesecake Factory managers, explaining why they — as officers — had guns on them.

“They said it didn’t matter and they asked us to leave,” Nichols said. “We left quietly and tried not to make more of a scene than it already was.”

Of all of the people you would want to have in your store, a group of police officers would be right up there at the top of the list. Asking them to leave because they were armed is just nuts.

Lunacy in Germany

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This is unreal - from Breitbart:

German Politician Prevented Police Sharing Image of Christmas Market Attacker ‘to Prevent Racism’
German police and judiciary have accused Hamburg Justice Minister Till Steffen of delaying the release of pictures of the Christmas market attacker Anis Amri because he was worried about provoking “racist” comments on Facebook.

Green Party politician Steffen cited “privacy concerns” when he initially prevented law enforcers from releasing pictures of Anis Amri.

However, it has been claimed by members of the judiciary and the police that Steffen, who is the head of the judicial authority in Hamburg, denied the release of images of Amri because he was concerned it would incite racial hatred.

It is alleged that he only released images after a 12-hour delay following a call from German newspaper Bild.

The sooner these people wake up, the better. This is not sane by any stretch of the imagination.

Just go here and read: I believe I have uncovered evidence that Angela Merkel is intentionally allowing ISIS to operate in the EU

Yes, this is Reddit but there are a lot of links to source materials and the coincidences are a bit to big to toss off as a conspiracy theory. After all, sometimes, they really are out to get you.

Merkel promotes herself as a conservative but her history tells a completely different story. She even won a prize trip to Moscow because she learned to speak Russian.

She is stable in ICU - from Variety:

Carrie Fisher in Intensive Care After Suffering Heart Attack on Plane, Brother Says
Carrie Fisher has been hospitalized and is in intensive care after suffering a full cardiac arrest on Friday while aboard an airplane headed from London to Los Angeles.

The actress was in critical condition earlier in the day, an emergency official told Variety on Friday afternoon. She was moved from the emergency room to the Intensive Care Unit hours later, her brother, Todd Fisher, said Friday evening. The actor and filmmaker said his sister is not in stable condition, despite previous reports.

“She’s in the ICU and everybody’s praying for her,” he told Variety in a phone interview. “There’s nothing new from the doctors. There’s nothing new at all. … There’s no good news or bad news.”

Todd Fisher said media outlets are “writing between the lines” in reporting that she’s now in stable condition. The Associated Press reported earlier today that Todd Fisher said Carrie Fisher was in stable condition and “out of emergency.”

Praying for her speedy recovery this evening.

This should galvanize people just like the Russian Sputnik launch in 1957

From the London Daily Mail:

China claims to have a working version of NASA's impossible engine orbiting the Earth - and will use it in satellites 'imminently'
Scientists in China claim they’ve created a working prototype of the ‘impossible’ reactionless engine – and they say they’re already testing it in orbit aboard the Tiangong-2 space laboratory.

The radical, fuel-free EmDrive recently stirred up controversy after a paper published by a team of NASA researchers appeared to show they’d successfully built the technology.

If the physics-defying concept is brought to reality, it’s said the engine could get humans to Mars in just 10 weeks.

But now, scientists with the China Academy of Space Technology claim NASA’s results ‘re-confirm’ what they’d already achieved, and have plans to implement it in satellites ‘as quickly as possible.’

Normally, satellites carry a quantity of fuel - reaction mass - and this allows them to be moved from one orbit to another. This is for replacing aging satellites (keeping a spare in the air) as well as targeting different locations for surveillance. Using the Em drive to move them will make them a lot smaller, lighter, and cheaper to launch.

The USA needs to get out in front of the crowd in basic research - we have been slacking for too long. We even have to bum a ride from the Russians when going to the space station.

Cute idea - Marshall

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Fun thing for the music room:

Master Class

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Been seeing the advertisements for this on YouTube and just checked it out. Looks really good.

The classes are $90 each and generally have about 15 hours of online video and workbooks. There is interaction with the teachers so this looks really good. Some of the teachers include Gordon Ramsay - cooking, Deadmau5 - electronic dance music, Hans Zimmer - film scoring, Kevin Spacey - acting and a lot more.

CHeck them out at Masterclass

Heading into Bellingham

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Got feed out to the critters, water trickling in the sink although it is not forecast to get that cold. Heading out for coffee and then in to town for a few days.

Snow is still coming down like crazy - got a solid four inches of new stuff on top of the sheet of ice that is my driveway. The streets melted out completely so once I am on the road, things will be good.

Back to plan A

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Woke up to several inches of new snow both here and in Bellingham. Lulu grew up in San Diego and was stationed in Hawaii so driving in these conditions is uncharted territory for her. I am heading into the lake house and will spend Christmas there with her. Bringing my laptop so blogging will continue.

Puting out a couple extra bales of hay for the critters.

Coming apart at the seams - Snopes

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Snopes touts itself as a neutral fact checking site but it is very biased and very liberal. In fact, they are often wrong.

The couple that runs it is going through a divorce and the husband seems to be a real piece of work. From Breitbart:

Snopes CEO Accused in Divorce Proceedings of Embezzling Company Money to Spend on Prostitutes
The CEO of Snopes.com, the fact-checking website that was recently named as one of Facebook’s “fake news” arbiters, has been accused in divorce proceedings of appropriating company funds which he allegedly spent on expensive holidays and prostitutes.

It was announced last week that Snopes would be helping Facebook to determine and label “fake news” with the help of ABC News and Politifact. The Daily Mail reports that the CEO of Snopes, David Mikkelson, is currently embroiled in a vicious legal battle with his former wife and Snopes co-founder Barbara Mikkelson. The couple divorced sometime around 2014, but legal proceedings have continued between the couple.

Barbara has claimed that her former husband embezzled money from the company. Court documents obtained by the Daily Mail state that Barbara accused David of “raiding the corporate business Bardav bank account for his personal use and attorney fees.” Barbara also claims that David embezzled $98,000 over four years, which “he expended upon himself and the prostitutes he hired.” Barbara claims that David spent $10,000 from their business accounts between April and June of 2016 to fund an expensive 24-day holiday for him and his “girlfriend.”

Heh...

From The Jerusalem Post:

Egypt pulls anti-settlement resolution at last minute
A day filled with diplomatic drama ended Thursday evening, when Egypt withdrew an anti-settlement resolution it intended to submit to the UN Security Council just over an hour after President-elect Donald Trump came out squarely against it.

“The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed,” Trump said in a statement.

“As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations. This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position, and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.”

Until Trump’s statement, there was a sense in Jerusalem that President Barack Obama – an ardent opponent of the settlements – might not use the US veto in the Security Council to shield Israel from the resolution.

Good.

Local earth movement

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A small landslide shuts down one lane of I-5 - from the WA State Department of Transportation:

Northbound I-5 reduced to a single lane near Bellingham for emergency rock removal work
Drivers using northbound Interstate 5 south of Bellingham should be prepared for extended delays and backups through next week as crews remove unstable rock from an adjacent hillside.

For the safety of the traveling public, the Washington State Department of Transportation will keep one of two lanes of northbound I-5, along a quarter mile stretch, between North Lake Samish (Exit 246) and State Route 11/ Old Fairhaven Parkway (Exit 250) closed until loose rocks can be safely removed from above the roadway.

The issue was first discovered on Tuesday, Dec. 20, when a member of the WSDOT Incident Response Team noticed rocks, dirt and bent trees along the hillside. Upon further investigation it was determined that additional debris needs to be removed from above the interstate before the lane reopens to traffic.

There is a lot of earth movement in this area - LIDAR surveys make this absolutly clear.

From Bloomberg:

What’s in Ivanka Trump’s Art Collection, and What Is It Worth?
Ivanka Trump’s apartment, which stars in many of her 2,781 Instagram posts, seems to telegraph contemporary good taste. There’s a funky light fixture by designer Lindsey Adelman in the dining room, vintage chairs and a shiny gold coffee table by the Belgian designer Fernand Dresse in the living room, and a custom-made whitewashed driftwood table in the foyer designed by Kelly Behun. The overall aesthetic is that of low-key affluence, the likes of which is found in hundreds of upscale hotels around the globe.

The art in Trump’s apartment is a different matter.

In one post, Trump shimmies in front of a Dan Colen “chewing gum” painting; a comparable work sold for $578,500 at Phillips New York in 2012. In another post, Trump’s child plays the piano in front of a “bullet hole” silkscreen by Nate Lowman; a bullet-hole painting in the same palette sold for $665,000 in 2013 at Sotheby’s in New York. In yet another post, taken from a Harper’s Bazaar shoot, Trump poses at her dining table in front of a work by Alex Israel. A similar painting by Israel sold for $581,000 in 2014 at Phillips New York.

I am sure the artists loved that the Trump checks do not bounce but they want their cake and eat it too:

To that end, the Halt Action Group (HAG), founded by Gingeras, Powers, artist Jonathan Horowitz, and several others, initiated a campaign called “Dear Ivanka.” The group has an Instagram feed in which they repost glossy stock images of Trump along with earnest appeals about what they foresee as the dire consequences of her father's politics—topics addressed include global warming, universal health care, and contraception policy. Hoping to "thwart the normalization of what was unfolding in front of our eyes,” Gingeras said, the group, comprised of artists, dealers, psychoanalysts, and even a few collectors, reached out to the artists featured in Trump’s Instagram feed. They asked the artists to join them and ask Ivanka "to answer for some of the hypocrisy she embodies,” Gingeras said.

Many of the artists contacted by HAG responded forcefully. Underneath a photo of Trump posing in front of a painting by Da Corte, the artist wrote: “Dear @Ivankatrump please get my work off of your walls. I am embarrassed to be seen with you.” Under a different post, Israel wrote: “Please stand with artists and so many people around the world who believe that America means equality for all people.” Lowman and fellow artists Cecily Brown and Rob Pruitt joined a HAG-organized march outside the Puck Building, which is owned by Trump’s husband’s family.

An artist's job is to make people think, not to tell people what to think. They may excel in one field but that doesn't make them experts in everything else. I would like to see one of them run a large enterprise for six months without it falling apart.

Always classy - Trump haters again

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I bet this is going to develop into quite the theme running for the next eight years. Premeditated too - from TMZ:

IVANKA TRUMP ACCOSTED BY PASSENGER ON JETBLUE FLIGHT
Ivanka Trump just had a bumpy start to her Xmas holiday ... an out-of-control passenger on her flight began verbally berating her and "jeering" at her 3 kids.

Ivanka was on a JetBlue flight leaving JFK Thursday morning with her family when a passenger started screaming, "Your father is ruining the country." The guy went on, "Why is she on our flight? She should be flying private." The guy had his kid in his arms as he went on the tirade.

A passenger on the flight tells TMZ Ivanka ignored the guy and tried distracting her kids with crayons.

JetBlue personnel escorted the unruly passenger off the flight. As he was removed he screamed, "You're kicking me off for expressing my opinion?!!"

BTW ... Ivanka, her family and bunch of cousins were all in coach.

TMZ subsequently posted these two updates:

8:35 AM PT -- JetBlue just released a statement, saying, "The decision to remove a customer from a flight is not taken lightly. If the crew determines that a customer is causing conflict on the aircraft, the customer will be asked to deplane, especially if the crew feels the situation runs the risk of escalation during flight. Our team worked to re-accommodate the party on the next available flight."

7:48 AM PT -- The husband of the unruly passenger tweeted an hour before the plane took off, "Ivanka and Jared at JFK T5, flying commercial. My husband chasing them down to harass them."

Emphasis mine - this wasn't some emotional shock, this was a premeditated action by this goon.

Obama's last-minute legislation

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Barry may be changing jobs in a few weeks but for now, he still has his pen and his phone. From the American Action Forum:

Midnight At EPA And Interior
Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama Administration was readying five significant “midnight” regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Interior (Interior). According to research from the American Action Forum (AAF), these five measures alone could impose $5.1 billion in costs and more than 350,000 paperwork burden hours. In addition, three other rules in proposed form could add $898 million in burdens and 146,000 paperwork hours, for a cumulative total of nearly $6 billion in potential midnight costs and nearly 500,000 burden hours from the two agencies. Consider, EPA and Interior have already imposed $349 billion in previous burdens since 2009.

A lot more at the site with links to corroborating data and sources. This is just sour-grapes obstructionism at its worst.

Fat chance - from the Washington Examiner:

Study: Obamacare increased overhead spending for health insurance
Administrative spending doubled under Obamacare to get people insured, despite provisions in the law aimed at lowering overhead costs, a new analysis says.

Private insurers did reduce their overhead spending per person because of the law, but those savings weren't nearly enough to offset a big increase in federal spending on healthcare.gov and assistance for some states to run their own marketplaces, according to a paper provided to the Washington Examiner by the American Action Forum.

Insurance companies spent $414 to insure one person for one year in 2013, before the Affordable Care Act's main provisions went into effect. Insurers' overhead spending fell the following year, to $265 per person, under a provision in the law capping how much insurers can spend on overhead costs.

But as insurers reduced their overhead spending, the federal government spent $3.63 billion creating and running healthcare.gov and another $6.12 billion on grants to states to help set up their own online marketplaces. When that federal spending is taken into account, overhead spending rose to $893 per insured person.

If they just introduced some competition into the market and allowed for people to shop around, healthcare costs would drop. Initiate Tort Reform for malpractice suits too - malpractice insurance is one of the largest expenses in running a medical practice - as much as $170,000 per year.

I really feel sorry for Queen Elizabeth

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Her son and the Royal Heir to the Throne is a fscking moron - a blithering idiot. It is no wonder that she is hanging on to the Throne for so long. From Yahoo/Agence France Presse:

Britain's Prince Charles warns of return to 'dark days of 1930s'
Britain's Prince Charles warned against intolerance towards refugees fleeing religious persecution on Thursday, saying the rising tide of populism was reminiscent of the "dark days" of the 1930s.

"The suffering doesn't end when they arrive seeking refuge in a foreign land," the heir to the throne told BBC radio.

"We are now seeing the rise of many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive towards those who adhere to a minority faith."

The 68-year-old, in his third broadcast for the "Thought for the Day" section of popular news programme Today, added: "All of this has deeply disturbing echoes of the dark days of the 1930s."

He is all about moral equivalence without realizing that the terrorists really hate us and want to kill us all the while accepting the welfare and free housing that us taxpayers so freely give them. There is no effort made to have them assimilate into the home culture - it is we who must bend over backward to accommodate them.

Hopefully, as the pendulum swings, the governments will be more inclined to call a spade a spade and deal with the terrorists as they should be dealt with.

Dark days indeed but he gets it completely wrong. Fortunately for England, Prince William has a good head on his shoulders - Chuckles is 68 and will not be around forever.

Home again

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Lulu called and said that she was coming out here tomorrow instead of me spending the weekend at the lake house so I went into town this afternoon to finish off my Christmas shopping. Was planning to do it when I drove in tomorrow but plans change.

Came home to find that Grace had pulled over the trash can in the kitchen so have a pile of garbage that needs to be picked off the kitchen and living room floor. Someone is a little jealous of the new puppy maybe? Spending the weekend at home so will be spending a lot more time with her.

Dinner in town and a reasonably early bedtime for me - been getting up earlier.

Nothing much this morning

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Heading out for coffee and then working at home on some stuff...

More in a few hours.

The workers paradise of Illinois

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From Michael Lucci at Illinois Policy:

ILLINOIS LOSING 1 RESIDENT EVERY 4.6 MINUTES, COULD FALL BEHIND PENNSYLVANIA IN POPULATION
Imagine the entire population of Peoria, Illinois’ seventh-largest city, all picking up and moving across state lines in one year, never to work, pay taxes or create jobs in Illinois again. That’s equivalent to what happened to Illinois over the past year: New migration data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that from July 2015 to July 2016, Illinois lost 114,000 people, on net, to other states, a record high for the Land of Lincoln.

Now consider the permanent loss of the combined populations of Illinois’ 10 largest cities outside of Chicago: Aurora, Rockford, Joliet, Naperville, Springfield, Elgin, Waukegan, Champaign and Arlington Heights, along with Peoria. The loss of these 10 cities’ combined populations approximately equals Illinois’ net loss of population to other states since 2000. Illinois has lost some 1.22 million people, on net, over the past 16 years.

And all of the neighboring states are showing a population increase. One of my favorite metrics for desirability is the cost of renting a U Haul truck each way. I chose a pick-up date of January 15th to eliminate any holliday rate hikes and these numbers are for their standard 10' box truck:

Here is the rate for Chicago to Dallas, TX:

20161221-c-d.jpg

Here is the rate for Dallas, TX to Chicago: 

20161221-d-c.jpg

A little bit over four and a half times more - U Haul has so many trucks leaving Chicago that they have to have employees drive them back to rent again. This is why the rates are so different. You can see the same metric at work comparing San Francisco and Dallas.

The water in Flint Michigan

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Turns out that thousands of communities have it worse. From Reuters:

The thousands of U.S. locales where lead poisoning is worse than in Flint
On a sunny November afternoon in this historic city, birthplace of the Pony Express and death spot of Jesse James, Lauranda Mignery watched her son Kadin, 2, dig in their front yard. As he played, she scolded him for putting his fingers in his mouth.

In explanation, she pointed to the peeling paint on her old house. Kadin, she said, has been diagnosed with lead poisoning.

He has lots of company: Within 15 blocks of his house, at least 120 small children have been poisoned since 2010, making the neighborhood among the most toxic in Missouri, Reuters found as part of an analysis of childhood lead testing results across the country. In St. Joseph, even a local pediatrician’s children were poisoned.

Last year, the city of Flint, Michigan, burst into the world spotlight after its children were exposed to lead in drinking water and some were poisoned. In the year after Flint switched to corrosive river water that leached lead from old pipes, 5 percent of the children screened there had high blood lead levels.

Flint is no aberration. In fact, it doesn’t even rank among the most dangerous lead hotspots in America.

This is not surprising but whomever is running the water systems is not doing their jobs. Our little water cooperative has stringent rules for testing for coliform bacteria, radioactivity, heavy metals and the trigger levels are very low. Our water is fantastic but other neighborhoods have problems - from The Bellingham Herald:

Whatcom County asks state for millions to contain Swift Creek asbestos
A long-term fix for containing the naturally occurring asbestos and metals that flow into Swift Creek depends on $5.8 million that Whatcom County has asked the Legislature to set aside in the 2017-19 state budget.

It marks the third time the money has been requested from the state. If funding doesn’t come through this time, it could be a case of three strikes and you’re out.

“We are at a critical juncture,” said Roland Middleton, special programs manager for Whatcom County Public Works.

Time to start maintaining the infrastructure.

There is the narrative and then, there is the truth - from Twitchy:

‘Bad day for SJW hoaxes’: Meet the guy arrested for ‘Vote Trump’ black church fire
Last month, Twitter erupted over the news that a black church in Mississippi had been vandalized with the words “Vote Trump” and set on fire:

20161221-church01.jpgThose evil old white racist Trump supporters of course. From Jackson, Mississippi station WJTV

1 charged with arson after Greenville church burned, spray painted ‘Vote Trump
Authorities have made an arrest after a Greenville church was set on fire in November.

According to Warren Strain, the Communication Director for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, Andrew McClinton was arrested by Greenville Police. He is charged with one count of first-degree arson of a place of worship.

Strain said McClinton attended the church. He was taken into custody Wednesday.

Emphasis mine - Mr. McClinton?

20161221-church02.jpg

From FOX News:

Blame the messengers: Dem boss Schumer fires staffers after November rout
Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, smarting from the Democratic Party's big November losses, is blaming the messengers.

With Christmas days away, nearly every member of the Senate Democratic Media Center has been fired, a senior Democratic aide confirmed to Fox News. Schumer swung the axe on Friday, according to Politico, which first obtained “goodbye” emails from staffers, including some with decades' experience.

Way to go - it wasn't their ideas that caused the losses, it had to be their underlings. Life in an echo chamber.

Back home for the evening

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Got some dinner in town. It is only 29.3°F here but forecast to go down a bit so I have the water running in the sink as a precaution. Three days without running water is enough for one year...

Gt up a bit early this morning so will have an early bedtime - working on a few projects at the house tomorrow.

Dealer blogging

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Spent the last two hours at the dealership getting oil and filters changed. Truck is done so run a few errands and head home.

It figures - California

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From Los Angeles station KTLA:

‘Calexit’ Movement Organizer Says Group Has Opened a California Embassy in Russia
California gained an embassy in Russia last weekend, at least in the eyes of those who have promised to seek a statewide vote on secession, nicknamed “Calexit,” in 2018.

Louis Marinelli, a San Diego resident who is the leader of the group promoting an effort to turn the state into an independent country, organized the Moscow event that was publicized on social media.

“We want to start laying the groundwork for a dialogue about an independent California joining the United Nations now,” he said in an email Monday.

They are welcome to exit the union. We can get along just fine without them and it would greatly reduce the drain on our Federal funds.

A hot time in Italy

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Yikes - from Phys Org:

 Naples astride a rumbling mega-volcano
A slumbering Campi Flegrei volcano under the Italian city of Naples shows signs of "reawakening" and may be nearing a critical pressure point, according to a study published Tuesday.

Italian and French scientists have for the first time identified a threshold beyond which rising magma under the Earth's surface could trigger the release of fluids and gases at a 10-fold increased rate.

This would cause the injection of high-temperature steam into surrounding rocks, said lead author Giovanni Chiodini, a researcher at Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Bologna.

A bit more:

It is not possible at this time to say when—or if—the volcano will erupt anew, he said.

If it did, however, "it would be very dangerous" for the half-million people living inside and near the caldera, he added, using the scientific name for the bowl-like depression created after a volcano blows its top.

At least they will have plenty of warning - I cannot imagine having to relocate the entire city.

Physician heal thyself

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Oopsie - from the Santa Fe New Mexican:

70 staff members ill after Department of Health luncheon
Epidemiologists at the state Department of Health are investigating their agency’s own annual holiday luncheon after dozens of employees reported falling ill after the party last week.

About 70 staff members claim to have experienced gastrointestinal issues following the catered event at the Harold Runnels Building attended by more than 200 employees, according to a spokesman.

That has to be embarrasing for the caterer...

Heading out the door

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Coffee, store and in to town for some Christmas shopping and getting the truck serviced. More in a few...

Bringing back the light

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Solstice this morning - 2:44AM to be precise. The shortest day of the year. It will be a while before we really notice the longer days but it is nice to know that we have turned the corner and are heading to Spring and Summer again.

Finally

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Turned on the kitchen tap this morning and was greeted with a vigorous spew of ice cold dihydrogen monoxide.

Rural living has its charms...

Heading into town this morning to get the truck serviced - oil change and general checkup. Back upstairs for a long hot shower first.

Great photo from Karim Bouchetata in Algeria - from the London Daily Mail:

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A very unlikely white Christmas! Villagers stunned as snow falls in the Sahara for the first time in 37 YEARS
This might not be the first place you'd expect to find a festive snowy scene, but incredible images show the Sahara desert looking particularly chilly.

It is just the second time in living memory that snow has fallen, with the last occasion being in February 1979.

The pictures were taken by amateur photographer Karim Bouchetata in the small Saharan desert town of Ain Sefra, Algeria, yesterday afternoon.

Karim has a great eye - some more photos at the Daily Mail website. Unusual weather indeed and not warming.

From The Washington Free Beacon:

Congress: Obama Admin Fired Top Scientist to Advance Climate Change Plans
A new congressional investigation has determined that the Obama administration fired a top scientist and intimidated staff at the Department of Energy in order to further its climate change agenda, according to a new report that alleges the administration ordered top officials to obstruct Congress in order to forward this agenda.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, released a wide-ranging report on Tuesday that shows how senior Obama administration officials retaliated against a leading scientist and plotted ways to block a congressional inquiry surrounding key research into the impact of radiation.

The radiation in question is nuclear radiation. Current dogma puts it as being completely undesirable - there is no safe lower limit. Unfortunately for them, there is a large body of data that indicates that small doses are beneficial as it stimulates the body's natural defenses - Hormesis

Obama wanted to shut down our nuclear programs and move entirely to alt.energy and he was looking for every way he could do this.

Analog synthesizers - Moog

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Great article and ten minute video on a guy who found and restored a large Moog synthesizer from 1967 - from Reverb:

Restoring an Original '67 Moog Modular Synthesizer
For nearly half a century, a piece of synthesizer history sat in storage at Roosevelt University in Chicago along Michigan Avenue. Circuits decaying, connections dirty and corroded, long-ago attempts at repair abandoned.

And then Mike Borish came along.

The real-estate-broker-turned-electronics-technician found out about the forgotten gem from a client who worked at the university.

After confirming with a professor exactly what it was that the client had seen - Unit 1029, one of only several dozen modular synthesizers built in the 1960s by R.A. Moog, synth pioneer Bob Moog’s first company - he knew what he had to do.

Borish had to open it up, get his hands in there, and bring it back to life.

Moog's genius was to make every parameter controllable by a voltage. He standardized on one volt per octave. This is an exponential shift - one octave below Concert A is 220 cycles per second (or Hz after Heinrich Hertz), add a volt and you are at Concert A at 440Hz, add another volt and you are one octave higher at 880Hz - you can see that this is not a linear progression. This was very difficult to do electronically but Moog persisted until he had a circuit that worked well and the rest of the world thanks him for it. It made the instrument musically useful.

Fast forward to today and all of Moog's patents have expired. The same technological advancements that have made computers so amazing have also happened for the rest of electronics so now there are builders who took the original Moog designs and have recreated them with current-day components. You have the same incredible depth and richness of sound but the machines stay in tune when the room temperature changes, the inherent noise is essentially non-existent and they are a lot more reliable. I am very pleased to own a large system from Roger Arrick at synthesizers.com

Talk about instant Nobel Prize and one of the major holy grails of materials science. From Next Big Future:

Researchers at Japan Tokai University found a room temperature Superconductor with critical temperature near the melting point of Tin
Researchers at Tokai University have created materials obtained by bringing n-alkanes into contact with graphite which are capable of conducting electricity with almost no energy loss at room temperature. They report that the sudden jump in resistance showing a phase transition is observed in the materials during heating by two-probe resistance measurement. The measured critical temperatures of the materials consisting of pitch-based graphite fibers and n-alkanes having 7-16 carbon atoms range from 363.08 to 504.24 K (231 Celsius) and the transition widths range between 0.15 and 3.01 K. They also demonstrate that superconductors with critical temperatures beyond 504 K (231 Celsius) are obtained by alkanes with 16 or more carbon atoms.

Superconducting means that the electrical resistence of the material is zero ohms. The first big jump in this research was when they found materials that were superconducting at liquid nitrogen temperatures. Previously, they had to use liquid helium and that stuff is really expensive - $5.00 per liter as opposed to $0.10 per liter for N2. To be able to use these properties at room temperature is a biggie.

There is a major caveat here - when using a superconducting material, the mechanical forces from the magnetic fields are very strong and the material must be able to withstand it. This is why MRI machines still use liquid helium for cooling - the "high temperature" superconducting materials using Liquid Nitrogen are simply too fragile to withstand the immense magnetic forces generated. Still, progress happens and once we understand the mechanism, the formulae can be tweeked. Mag-lev railroads would be a wonderful thing.

Welcoming the coming global warming

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Once again, it has been shown that cold weather kills more people than hot weather. From Jane Brody at The New York Times:

Beware: Winter Is Coming
Most of the Northern Hemisphere is now in the throes of the deadliest time of the year. Cold kills, and I don’t mean just extreme cold and crippling blizzards. I mean ordinary winter cold, like that typically experienced, chronically or episodically, by people in every state but Hawaii from late fall through early spring.

While casualties resulting from heat waves receive wide publicity, deaths from bouts of extreme cold rarely do, and those resulting from ordinary winter weather warrant virtually no attention. Yet an international study covering 384 locations in 13 countries, including the United States, found that cold weather is responsible, directly or indirectly, for 20 times more deaths than hot weather.

Over time, milder winter temperatures are likely to result in fewer cold-related deaths, a benefit that could outweigh a smaller rise in heat-caused mortality. In winter in the United States, mortality is generally 10 percent to 15 percent higher than on typical summer days.

The study, published in July 2015 in The Lancet, was based on an analysis of more than 74 million deaths and calculated mortality attributable to heat and cold in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Britain and the United States.

This is exacerbated when energy rates necessarily skyrocket. Elderly and infirm people are forced to choose between a little warmth and their groceries or medications. Our current fascination with alt.energy and our demonizing of carbon has done nothing but make the power grid more unreliable and to spike the cost of electricity.

Change in plans

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Didn't feel like going out - thawing some stuff for dinner at home. Had a big lunch so not all that hungry...

Fake news - but the narrative is right

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Interesting item over at Zero Hedge:

5 Arrested After Egyptian Police Bust Staged Photo Shoot Of "Wounded Aleppo Children"
Readers who have been following the crisis in Aleppo have seen media reports of videos and photos allegedly originating from innocent children victims, pleading against the advance of the Assad forces. And while there have been various accusations that these clips, like the infamous "chemical attack" YouTube clip from 2013, were staged, such reports were promptly slammed by the mainstream media as "fake news" and roundly ignored. However, if one ever needed a reason to be skeptical of claims, photographs, and/or videos coming out of the region, and the MSM's appeals to readers emotions based on fabricated facts, Egyptian authorities have just provided it.

Egyptian police arrested five people in Port Said, Egypt for making staged "wounded children" photos, which they were planning to use to misrepresent on social media as photos of destruction and injured people in Syria's Aleppo, the Egyptian Interior Ministry said on Monday. The group also made fake videos that purport to show the wreckage of air strikes in Aleppo.

The shooting team, which included the photographer's assistants and parents of the children, was detained in the Egypt's province of Port Said," the Ministry said on Facebook.

According to the Ministry, the police witnessed the shooting process, which was taking place near the vestiges of a building destroyed as illegal under the decision of the local authorities. A girl standing in a white dress covered in "blood" that later proved to be paint, drew attention of a police officer driving by. The girl held a teddy bear covered in the same "blood" and had her arm "bandaged".

The Facebook statement said the videographer, his assistants, and the parents of two children who appear in the footage were detained after a trail led police to them at a building site awaiting demolition. The five have reportedly admitted they were planning to distribute their footage on social media, which was supposed to show an eight-year-old girl in a white dress and bandages, covered in red stains while holding a teddy bear.

The palestinians do this a lot too - you see the same faces over and over again. Mr. Shakeel Bhat is one such personality:

20161220-bhat.jpg

This is one of those things that once you see it, it cannot be unseen and you notice these over and over again. The war is not just bullets, it is also hearts and minds; the weapon is propeganda and we are being duped big-time.

A solution to parcel theft

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A Tacoma, WA resident has a novel solution to doorstep package theft. It involves a 12 gauge shotgun blank:

From The Bellingham Herald.

Well crap - still no water

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Pipes are still frozen. Got up to 39.7°F this afternoon but this was not enough to get the water running. The well house is in a deeply shaded area next to a large stream so it is generally a couple degrees cooler than outside ambient air.

The forecast is for a couple more days of warmer weather and then cooling down with snow on Saturday.

Don't have any ideas for dinner so heading up to Glacier for a burger at Grahams

Blame game Russians...

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Heh:

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Well house is fine

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Nothing broken there - critters are fed and heading out for a shower at the store and coffee.

Doing Christmas bonuses for my employees today - I have some wonderful people working for me. Very lucky!

Woke up this A.M. to still no water. Heading out to the well house to see if anything is broken out there.

From Refugee Resettlement Watch:

Honeymoon over in Canada for many of Trudeau’s 35,000! Syrian refugees who can’t find work
This time last year Canada began ‘welcoming’ thousands of Syrian refugees who were flying in by the planeload as the young new Prime Minister had promised when he was elected weeks before. As a result, Justin Trudeau became the darling of the world’s humanitarians who were clamoring for America to do the same!

Now, one year on, my alerts today are filled with stories like these—panic sets in as one year of government support ends and Syrians can’t find jobs to support their families!

From The Star:

Bedrettin Al Muhamad and his wife, Mariam [featured family—ed] have been taking English classes and making every effort to immerse themselves in Canadian culture since arriving here from Turkey in February.

[….]

But the honeymoon will soon be over, as the Mississauga couple ponders quitting their English classes and starting to look for jobs to support their five children, Hanan, 13; Hasan, 11; Azzam, 9; Mohammad, 8; and Rahaf, 6.

“We are scared we are not going to find jobs. It’s a cause of stress. How are we going to pay for our ($1,735) rent when money stops coming in?” asked Al Muhamad, 37, whose family’s monthly government refugee resettlement assistance ends on Feb. 12.

[….]

For many of the 35,000 Syrians who have arrived in the country — 15,000 in Ontario — since Canada started bringing in planeloads of newcomers last Dec. 9, what is commonly known in the refugee resettlement circle as “Month 13” is looming.

Here is a list of the free cheese that Trudeau's government is handing out to these incoming refugees: What kind of support do government-assisted refugees get?

Talk about cushy... Sheesh.

Raising the minimum wage - consequences

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Pople focus on food service because that is where the wages are artificially low because servers are supposed to depend on their tips. Raising the minimum wage has many other consequences - here is just one of them. From The Arizona Republic:

After minimum-wage hike, Arizona companies serving people with disabilities to face a funding crisis
Companies that serve the state's most vulnerable individuals say they may not survive the state's minimum-wage hike unless they get a pay raise of their own from Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Legislature.

The companies rely heavily on minimum-wage workers to help care for individuals with developmental disabilities. And the state has not increased the funding for such care in the wake of the voter-approved minimum-wage increase. Under Proposition 206, the minimum wage rises to $10 an hour on Jan. 1.

The hit to the more than 600 companies that serve this population is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Without an increase in state funding, many companies say they will have to cut services while others say they won't survive.

A bit more - one company's example:

Barkley is president and CEO of Tungland Corp., a Tucson-based company that provides services for individuals statewide and in other states. He has hundreds of employees who staff group homes, day programs, employment programs and in-home support services. He has 673 employees in Arizona who currently earn less than $10 an hour.

Raising wages and funding the new paid sick time that also was part of Prop. 206 will cost $2.5 million next year.

Barkley said he would love to pay more than that, but the state rates don't allow it. Already, he said, he has 90 percent employee turnover, and 20 percent of his job openings are unfilled.

So the state dictates what they will pay for one of Tungland's employees to care for a disabled person but they will also artificially increase the cost to Tungland for that employees salary. Unreal and not well thought out. Politics writ large. Of course, the state is ramping up it's budget to care for these poor people:

"Over the past seven years, our organization, employees and consumers have experienced the impact of multiple funding cuts by the Arizona Division of Developmental Disabilities, which have not been fully restored to date," he wrote. "Current funding is 7.5 percent less than it was in 2009, and when adjusted for inflation, the funding impact is 21 percent less than in 2009."

21% funding cut yet they want these companies to pay more for their workers. These bureaucrats are living in a bubble - there is no personal accountability - nobody gets punished if they screw up, they just get shunted over to another department - frequently with a pay raise. Stupidity like this should hurt.

Eating crow

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Five minutes of public figures and pundits saying that Donald Trump would never be elected.

Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

Barry acting all presidential-like

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From Mediaite:

Obama Heads to Golf Course After Receiving Reports on Berlin Attack and Russian Ambassador Death
Well, this is what one would call bad political optics.

With the dual breaking news events surrounding potential terrorism and a foreign diplomat being shot to death, White House pool reports showed that President Barack Obama headed to a country club in Hawaii near his rental house, where he is vacationing.

Trump on the other hand - from Breitbart:

Donald Trump Condemns ‘Radical Islamic Terrorist’ Attacks in Berlin, Turkey
President-elect Donald Trump reacted to the news that Andrei Karlov, a Russian ambassador to Turkey, was assassinated on Monday.

“Today we offer our condolences to the family and loved ones of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov, who was assassinated by a radical Islamic terrorist,” Trump said in a statement. “The murder of an ambassador is a violation of all rules of civilized order and must be universally condemned.”

Trump also released a statement condemning an attack in Berlin, after a tractor trailer drove into a Christmas market killing nine and injuring at least 50.

“Innocent civilians were murdered in the streets as they prepared to celebrate the Christmas holiday,” he said. “ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad.”

Quite the difference - one is a clueless narcissist and the other is a true leader.

The Electoral College met today and voted Donald Trump to be our next President. Good.

Washington state was a bit interesting - from The Seattle Times:

Four Washington state electors break ranks and don’t vote for Clinton
One third of Washington’s 12 Democratic presidential electors went rogue on Monday, breaking pledges to honor the state’s popular vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

In acts of symbolic protest, three voted instead for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, while one voted for Faith Spotted Eagle, a Native American elder and activist from South Dakota.

That made Washington the national leader in so-called “faithless electors” on a day when the vast majority of the 538 members of the Electoral College heeded their states’ popular votes as expected, sealing president-elect Donald Trump’s victory.

Colorado also went rogue - from Denver station CBS4

Elector Replaced After Refusing To Vote For Clinton
There was some drama at the state Capitol on Monday afternoon when one elector had to be replaced after refusing to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

That elector was replaced and all nine electors in Colorado voted for Clinton.

And of course, irrelevant Al Gore had to stick his proboscis into the narrative - from The Washington Post:

The electoral college is thwarting our ability to battle global warming
Who (you might ask) is David Brearley?

Brearley plays a critical, and entirely accidental, role in climate change because of his position as the chair of the Committee on Postponed Parts within the Constitutional Convention of 1787. While drafting the U.S. Constitution, the convention left several “sticky questions” to Brearley’s Committee, such as the manner by which U.S. presidents would be elected. Brearley and the Committee were stuck between two difficult choices: election by the U.S. Congress or election by the voting public. The committee opted for a middle ground solution – an electoral college that would vote on behalf of the citizens, but which would be populated based on the number of congressional seats assigned to each State in the Union.

It is this solution, brilliant at the time, that leads us to Brearley’s legacy on climate change. Because over the course of the last 200 plus years, the electoral college, which provides for stronger voting power per person in more rural and less populated states, has elected four U.S. presidents who clearly lost the popular vote (1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016). Two of those elections have occurred during the period in which we have known about the causes and impacts of carbon dioxide emissions and climate change and in both cases, the impacts of those elections have very likely had profound impacts on our actions to address the challenge.

Yawn - don't waste your time reading this clueless idiocy - I got a couple paragraphs into it and started loosing brain cells faster than I like so stopped reading. Talk about grasping at straws.

Back home and still no water

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Just got home - expectantly turned on the tap and... nothing... It got up to 40.5°F this afternoon and supposed to be a degree warmer tomorrow.

Unpacking the truck - got a Costco chicken and have some old rice in the fridge to nuke. I have lots of bottled water - it is just nicer when it comes out of the faucet at my bidding.

Heading in again Wednesday to get the truck's oil changed.

From the UK Mirror:

Russian ambassador to Turkey assassinated by police officer 'in revenge for Aleppo'
Russia's ambassador to Turkey has been assassinated by an off-duty police officer in front of terrified witnesses allegedly in retaliation for the crisis in Aleppo.

The gunman -smartly dressed in a black suit and tie - reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar" and said in Turkish "We die in Aleppo, you die here" after shooting Ambassador Andrei Karlov in the back.

The sad thing is that it has been the United States that was funding the terrorists - we were seeking to get rid of Bashar al-Assad and take down his government. I am really hopeful that Trump will pull us back from this sort of international meddling.

Three hours and no relief

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Still no water - going down to the store to shower and get on with my day (coffee and town)

38.3°F outside but it will take some time for the pipe to thaw out. Looking forward to running water when I get back from town in a couple of hours.

That being said, I still love living out here - would not move for anything. Love the place, love the people and love the critters.

Still dry but hope is on the horizon

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Woke up this morning to 36.1°F - pipes are still frozen but expecting them to thaw out later this afternoon. Forecast is for temps in the low 40's for the next couple of days.

Winter actually starts this Wednesday - the Solstice.

There is hope yet

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It is right at 32.0°F right now - no water yet but the sky is overcast and it is supposed to be fairly warm tomorrow.

The outside air temp is going to remain at 32.0°F for some time due to the enthalpy of fusion - sometimes called latent heat. More on enthalpy. An interesting subject when talking about temperature changes and changes of state of matter.

Blacksmiths do this a lot when normalizing, tempering and annealing metals.

Exergy is fun when looking at alternative energy - most alt.energy scams have really poor exergy.

From Breitbart:

Obama Has Refused to Deport 820,000 Illegal Immigrants Guilty of Murder, Rape, Drug Offenses, and Other Crimes
A new report estimates that there are up to 820,000 illegal aliens in the U.S. who have escaped deportation under Obama’s regime despite that many of them have been convicted of serious crimes including murder, rape, drug offenses, and other crimes.

While some estimates say there are up to 2 million criminal illegal aliens in the U.S., a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies finds there are at least 820,000 which, as the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard notes, is still larger than the populations of four states: Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, or Wyoming.

The study finds that as many as 690,000 of the 820,000 have very serious convictions, while the others have lesser crimes to their record.

But they generally vote Democrat so let's just let this slide as long as we can...

A helpful reminder

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What with all the cold weather, it helps to remember our little friends outside:

20161218-cold.jpg

Found on Facebook.

New boss - same as the old boss

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Fidel is buried but life is still hell in the workers paradise. From Yahoo News/Agence France Presse:

Cuba cracks down on dissidents after Castro death
Authorities across Cuba have cracked down on dissidents, arresting dozens, keeping others from marching in Havana, and detaining an American human rights lawyer, activists said Sunday.

I look forward to the day when these people are free - I knew a bunch of Cubans when I lived in Boston and they are really nice people. Nobody deserves a corrupt leader like the Castros. They are voting with their feet (and lives). From Yahoo News/Reuters:

Dozens of Cuban migrants land in Florida Keys: media reports
Dozens of Cuban migrants landed in three separate boats in the Florida Keys on Sunday, days after more than 40 others arrived in the same area, local media reported.

If Cuba is such a workers paradise, why are so many people trying to leave.

Warmer weather for tomorrow

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Looks like the pipes may thaw out tomorrow - the snow level is rising up to around 2,000 feet and it is supposed to be warm and raining here tomorrow.

The National Weather Service issued an avalanche warning for higher elevations so be careful out there!

Llama drama

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Finished my shower, coffee and paying bills at the store and was heading home just now and when I opened the gate, one of my llamas bolted for the road. They have not done that in a long long time. I was able to wait until Pancho calmed down a bit and I got a lead and cornered him between the fence and the gate, got the lead around his neck and brought him back to the fold. Lots of cars slowed down to offer help - this will be all over Maple Falls by tonight. Joys of small town living.

BTW - the llamas are Pancho, Lefty and Waylon. I had Willie as well but he was very much the runt of the bunch and passed away three years ago. Going for sort of a country bad-boy theme here.

Heating up some left-over Costco meat loaf and mashed potatoes for dinner and then off to the water board meeting tonight.

Oh joy - more &^%$ snow

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Had the truck warming up - went to leave for the store only to see that it is now snowing - hard. Temp has fallen a few tenths of a degree but hoping it gets above 32 for a while this afternoon.

The ground is really slippery this close to thawing out. More in an hour or two...

Off for a shower

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Heading in to the store to take a shower - pipes are still frozen out here although the temp is 30.4°F right now and scheduled to keep rising. Rain is forecast for tomorrow afternoon.

Coffee and paying some bills after that. Water board meeting tonight.

Yikes - a Mumps outbreak to our south

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The joys of refusing simple and safe vaccinations. From the Seattle Times:

Mumps outbreak reaches Seattle
The mumps outbreak in King County has moved into Seattle, with public-health officials confirming one adult case in the city.

In all, the total number of cases in the county as of Friday stood at 19 confirmed and 64 probable.

Auburn, where the outbreak started, has 67 of those cases. The remaining cases were spread among Kent, Federal Way, Covington, Pacific, Black Diamond, Bellevue, Algona and Des Moines.

Adult cases are bad because they can cause sterility in men. The ex-Doctor - Andrew Wakefield - who started this whole vaccines are linked to autism bullshit had his license to practice taken away when his paper on the subject was shown to be fraudulent and that he was being paid for his work by some lawyers who wanted to profit off the vaccine companies.

The Herd Immunity only works so far and when you go below the limit (75% to 86% vaccinated for Mumps), the disease is able to propagate freely.

Our lame duck - an appointment

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Barry should have at least a modicum of decency - insted, he does this. From PJ Media:

Obama Appoints Cop Killer Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Attorney to 6-Year Civil Rights Post
In a move that has already sparked a backlash among law enforcement groups, President Barack Obama on Thursday appointed Debo Adegbile, a former attorney for convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, to a six-year post on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The eight-member commission consists of four members appointed by the president and four appointed by Congress. Unfortunately, the six-year appointments are not subject to Senate confirmation.

That piece of radical and racist scum should not be near any public office. Obama tried to get him in before:

The FBI Agents Association, National Fraternal Order of Police, Major County Sheriff’s Association, National Association of Police Organizations, National Sheriff’s Association, and the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association all came out in fierce opposition to the nomination of Adegbile in 2014.

Adegbile was rejected on a 52-47 vote in the Senate, which Obama called a “travesty based on wildly unfair character attacks against a good and qualified public servant.”

Now on his way out the door, as a final insult to the law enforcement community, Obama has appointed Adegbile to another civil rights post where he will likely be working against them for six long years.

Law enforcement groups and Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) decried the appointment Friday with one police union official calling it a “kick in the teeth to the cops.”

Barry is doing as much as he can in the next couple of weeks to completely destroy his legacy - or so it appears to be. This is just petulance.

Map geek - a new trove to pour over

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I love maps. The CIA has just declassified a bunch of theirs, digitized them and posted them to their Flickr account

Here is just one sample - a map of railway construction in China in the 1950's:

20161217-china.jpg

There is a lot of non-map stuff to be found at their site - historical photos, pictures of items from their museum - an Enigma machine and some spy cameras. Fun site!

New music from Iceland

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Cryptochrome - more human

Gorgeous work - more here: Cryptochrome

Fun at the Farm

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I ran into town this afternoon to get some heat tape to thaw out the water pipes for the water heater. I started some cold water running when I first got home as it was getting down there. Finished running the heat tape, came into the kitchen to see the water gurgling its last gurgle. The cold water pipe has frozen so there is no water at the farm.

The forecast is for 38°F tomorrow and 45°F on Monday so this is just a temporary annoyance. Head down to the store to take my morning shower tomorrow.

Nuking some leftover soup for dinner - picked up a small baguette of rosemary bread at Avenue Bread - toast that in the oven and read a bit over dinner. House is warm and the electricity is on so no running water is just a minor irritation for now.

The most powerful people in the world

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Each year, Forbes magazine publishes this list - it is telling that Obama is so far down at #48. The guy who makes Dell computers is at #46, Kim Jong-un is #43, Charles Koch is #31, Benjamin Netanyahu is #20, President Trump is #2 and Vladimir Putin #1.

Obama's status in this list has got to be galling for a narcissist. At least he has a good lead on Justin Trudeau at #66 and Chuck Schumer at #74.

Forget Sunday - the cold snap is here

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Got down to 4.6°F last night. My water heater is in the garage and the pipes to it froze. No hot shower for this kid for a day or two. Need to get some heat tape next time in town - cannot remember when it has been this cold. The farm is in a valley that runs North/South so we get all the arctic air coming down the Frasier River valley. Brrrrrr....

Fake News - Bill Whittle

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Wonderful five minutes on the media and their collusion with the Democratic Party - Joseph Goebbels would be very proud:

Our media - as unbiased as ever

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They failed following a progressive bias, now they are casting about for a conservative bias. From The Hollywood Reporter:

TV Networks, Studios Shifting Program Strategies in the Trump Age: "Are We Telling the Right Stories?"
In the days following Donald Trump's stunning presidential win, ABC Studios chief Patrick Moran called Black-ish creator Kenya Barris. The men had a project at ABC about a pair of politically divided pundits who fall in love. Suddenly it felt more relevant.

But now Moran wanted to be sure both sides of the spectrum were being presented with equal credibility. "In years past, it would be very easy to let one side feel like the cartoon and have the show assume that the audience is siding with the other," Moran says of the liberal slant that often permeates Hollywood output. Barris agreed and has begun courting right-wing voices for his writers room: "There was no way I wanted to do something that was going to further the divide in this country." On Dec. 6, the project was ordered to pilot.

That exchange came on the heels of what Moran describes as a "wake-up call." Over at ABC, entertainment chief Channing Dungey acknowledges that the rise of Trump and his blue-collar support forced her to question whether her programming was too focused on upper-income brackets. Similar check-ins have taken place across the TV industry as executives try to better understand and appeal to a demographic to which many hadn't paid enough attention. "[The election] made the ground shake underneath media," TLC president Nancy Daniels tells THR, "and now everybody is taking a hard look: Are we telling the right stories? Are we reaching the right people?"

Hey media - we are intelligent and we can form our own opinions. We also have enough sense to know when we are being pandered to and we do not like that. How about you report the facts (and just the facts) and let us form our own opinions. That keeps things very simple on both sides of the fence. If you report the facts, we will continue to subscribe to your offerings. If you fail, we will drop you like a hot potato as you can no longer be trusted.

After all, look at what The New York Times just had to do: New York Times Will Vacate 8 Floors In Its HQ To Generate "Significant Rental Revenue"

From the deplorable Don Surber:

That Look When...

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... you realize you just spent eight years as president and accomplished nothing but the election of Reagan On Steroids.

Global warming - a three-fer

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Fun fun fun - norovirus in our county

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Fortunately it seems confined to just Bellingham - keeping fingers crossed. It is a nasty one and highly contagious.

From Bellingham radio station KGMI:

Norovirus suspected in Whatcom County outbreaks
Whatcom County is seeing a possible norovirus outbreak.

It’s apparently hit a local school, a nursing home, and a basketball team in the past few weeks, and the Whatcom County Health Department expects it to spread.

Norovirus symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, and it usually runs its course in a day or two without causing lasting problems.

But experts say it can be much more dangerous for kids, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

They say washing hands with soap and water is one of the best ways to stop the virus from spreading.

You don't die, you just want to.

Exit stage left - Barry's last presser

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From Ricochet:

Obama Press Conference Crushes Progressive Fantasies
The fever swamps of the left were eager for Obama’s final press conference of the year. Would the CIA’s leaks about Russian hacking force the President to disrupt the transition? The Electoral College meets Monday — could Obama give them all the intelligence? Would Obama refuse to relinquish power to that borscht-slurping Putin stooge tweeting at 4 a.m. from Trump Tower?

They were sorely disappointed.

Obama instead gave another tedious, blame-shifting performance. Packing five minutes of content into an hour and 26 minutes of podium time, Obama began by outlining what a wonderful President he’s been. He fixed the financial crisis, unemployment, Iran, healthcare, energy dependence, Cuba, the stock market, and war itself.

He repeated his lawyerly assertion that during his tenure, “no foreign terrorist organization has successfully executed an attack on our homeland that was directed from overseas.” Before viewers could diagram that sentence, he tossed in a bald-faced lie. “Almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than they did eight years ago.” Admirably, the press didn’t laugh as hard as the viewers at home.

Pure comedic gold. Go to the site and read the rest.

Quite the run - Bellingham to Baker trail

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Being organised by the Cascade Mountain Runners:

From their about the trail page:

BELLINGHAM-MT. BAKER TRAIL
The Trail
The Bellingham-Mount Baker trail is envisioned to be a non motorized hut to hut multi use trail system. Leaving the sidewalks of downtown and following the Whatcom creek trail out of the city, the trail will turn to single track as it makes it’s way to the mountain. When completed the trail will span over 50 miles from Bellingham bay to the edge of the Easton glacier. The trail will be open year round to hiker’s, runners, backcountry horsemen and mountain bikes.

The Route
The trail connects a string of public lands together and uses several miles of the remaining Deming-Mt. Baker trail, now the Ridley creek trail built in 1909. This trail was the inspiration for, and hosted the Mount Baker Marathon from 1911-1913. Starting at Cornwall beach, Bellingham’s new waterfront development the trail will leave the built environment within just a few miles as it makes it’s way to Mt. Baker. Newly planned trails will take you around the north side of Lake Whatcom and up and over Stewart mountain to the town of Acme. Leaving Acme through the new South fork park the trail will traverse Blue and Bowman mountains to reach the Middle fork of the Nooksack river. The trail will follow the river valley up and link into the Ridley Creek and Railroad grade trails, where the dirt trail ends. For the mountaineers who opt climb to the summit, 4 miles of glacier travel remain.

They ran this route earlier this year:

2016 MOUNT BAKER ULTRA RUN
On Sunday June 5th 2016, 11 of the 12 runners returned to Cornwall beach after completing the 108 mile journey to the summit of Mount Baker and back in 41 hours and 30 minutes.

This years run was the 6th run since the first attempt in 2013 in an effort to bring attention to the newly planned Bellingham-Mt. Baker trail and revive the original spirit of the 1911 Mt. Baker Marathon. Two successful runs were completed in 2014 and 2015 with a time of 48 hours and 17 minutes followed up by a 40 hour finish last year. The group run is non competitive, with each runner completing the entire 108 mile distance as part of the team. This year runners came in from Oregon and as far away as Australia. The 2016 team was made up of 3 women and 9 men, with 3 runners returning from previous runs.

The fun thing is that the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce sponsored a similar race back in 1911 - there is a great story about the winner and #2.

Back home again

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Got everything I needed in town and back home for the next couple of days. Doing taos for dinner tonight - got some tri-tip in the pressure cooker - one 14oz package of pico de gaillo and one can of Costco crushed tomatoes and cook on high for 20 minutes - comes out perfect for shredded beef.

Unpack the truck and surf for a bit while it cooks...

Not so cold last night but snow is coming

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Got down to 9.5°F last night and currently is a tropical 23.0° - heading out for coffee and then into town for some errands.

Snow is forecast to start back up on Sunday.

Ashton Carter and James Mattis - both highly intellegent and both very good people. One of them is the right fit for the job as it plays out in today's political world. Here is 1,000 words:

20161215-ash-maddog.jpg

From ABC News:

DEA: Heroin Haul Largest Ever in Afghanistan, 'if Not the World'
A joint U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, American Special Forces and Afghan counternarcotics operation in October resulted in an eye-popping seizure of 20 tons of drugs, which officials said was the "largest known seizure of heroin in Afghanistan, if not the world."

The operation was kept under wraps until today, when a DEA official confirmed the contents of a field intelligence report obtained by ABC News but did not explain why a successful "superlab" takedown — which agency veterans agreed is an unprecedented narcotics haul — was not officially announced.

"This drug seizure alone prevented not only a massive amount of heroin hitting the streets throughout the world but also denied the Taliban money that would have been used to fund insurgent activities in and around the region," DEA spokesman Steven Bell told ABC News yesterday.

He said a conservative estimated street value was about $60 million for the 12.5 tons of morphine base, 6.4 tons of heroin base, 134 kilograms of opium, 129 kilograms of crystal heroin and 12 kilograms of hashish seized in the Oct. 17 raid, which took place in the western Afghan province of Farah, on the border with Iran.

Great news - these drugs give the Taliban their operating capital and they are now $60million poorer. Could not happen to a nicer bunch of people.

Great choice - from President Trump's website GreatAgain.gov:

President-Elect Donald J. Trump Nominates David Friedman as U.S. Ambassador to Israel
President-elect Donald J. Trump on Thursday announced the nomination of Mr. David Friedman to serve as the United States Ambassador to Israel.

Trump's statement and a bit about Mr. Friedman:

“The bond between Israel and the United States runs deep, and I will ensure there is no daylight between us when I’m President,” said President-elect Trump. “As the United States’ Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman will maintain the special relationship between our two countries. He has been a long-time friend and trusted advisor to me. His strong relationships in Israel will form the foundation of his diplomatic mission and be a tremendous asset to our country as we strengthen the ties with our allies and strive for peace in the Middle East. Nothing is more critical than protecting the security of our citizens at home and abroad.”

Mr. Friedman, whose bar mitzvah was held at the Western Wall in Jerusalem 45 years ago, is a fluent speaker of Hebrew and a lifelong student of Israel’s history. On Thursday, he expressed his resolve to be a rock-solid partner with the Israeli leadership as our two countries seek to advance our mutual interests and keep our people safe.

Great choice - we need to get the hell out of Afghanistan and stop funding the Syrian rebels. Stop meddling in foreign nations entirely. Do business with our friends and contain our enemies.

Someone who needs to be voted out of office at their next re-election. From the Amateur Radio Relay League - the craft guild for ham radio operators (just turned 100 years old in 2015):

ARRL Vows Continued Pursuit of the Amateur Radio Parity Act in the 115th Congress
The Amateur Radio Parity Act, H.R. 1301, died an unbefitting death as the 114th Congress of the United States drew to a close today. After having passed the House of Representatives on a unanimous vote, the bill stalled in the Senate due to the intervention of only one member, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).

Over the course of the past year, Sen. Nelson has received thousands of e-mails, letters, and phone calls from concerned constituents asking for his support of H.R. 1301. Numerous meetings were held with his senior staff in an effort to move the legislation forward. Negotiations, which led to an agreement with the national association of homeowner’s associations and publicly supported by CAI and ARRL, were brushed aside by Sen. Nelson as irrelevant.

The bill would have directed the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land-use restrictions, such as covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) imposed by homeowners associations. CAI is the Community Associations Institute.

The bill was not to permit huge antenna farms but to allow for simple antennas for communications. The use of amateur radio during emergencies is a known and valuable asset to any community for not only personal communications but health and welfare of the entire community as well as inter-operations with Police, Fire, and Rescue services.

Let us hope that Senator Nelson's constituents remember this when he comes up for re-election...

Cautionary words - the FED

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They have the power to crush our economy just in time for Donald Trump's terms in office.
From Nathan McDonald writing at Sprott Money:

Will The FED Deliberately Crash the Economy to Defeat Donald Trump?
Gold and silver have been beaten and battered with the recent FED hike rate announcement, even though it is only a pathetic 0.25% - scarcely anything that will stop the avalanche of fiat money and inflation that is plaguing the world over.

What is causing even more of a correction in precious metals is the news from Janet Yellen and her peers in the FED that states there will be three more hikes upcoming in 2017!

This is a complete reversal of the FED's past policies under President Obama, in which they have done everything possible to keep this bogus "recovery" afloat, if you can even call it that.

And the possible crash?

For years, the FED has weaved a net of confusion over the markets, acting bearish and then dovish in the same sentences. This, as I have highlighted many times in the past, has been purely to confuse the public and keep them in a constant state of unknowing.

Yet, perhaps this time is different? One thing that has changed is the fact that President-Elect Donald Trump will soon be taking office, despite the wishes of the financial overlords and elites.

This of course includes the FED and as I predicted all last year, the FED would not do anything with interest rates until the election results were concluded, not wanting to hurt the chances of Hillary Clinton winning, and not wanting to crash the economy on Obama's final stretch in office.

Now, they can act and use the FED as a weapon. The best, last hope that the elites have of defeating Donald Trump is to destroy his first four years in office.

If they are able to orchestrate a new crash in the markets, then they will be able to blame the forthcoming disaster on Donald Trump, even though its occurrence has nothing to do with him.

I believe that this is going to be their best plan of action, if they want to destroy the spirits of Trump's supporters and I believe this is exactly how they plan on bringing him down. Now, all that we can do is inform the public as best as we can, wait and see, prepare ourselves by investing in precious metals and seeing how the situation resolves itself.

Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.

If this is what happens, their fingerprints will be all over it and it will not take President Trump long to prosecute those involved. A big show trial will convince the American people who it was that landed them into these straits.

You haven’t succeeded once

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Associated Press reporter Brad Klapper asks a series of tough questions to State Department spokesman John Kirby on the lack of US progress in Syria and why the US is laying all the blame on Russia.

What a fscking tool...

The DOE responded to Trump's memo asking 74  very pointed questions. They walked right into it.
From Watts Up With That:

How a Department Resists a Businessman
In a previous post, The DOE vs Ugly Reality, I discussed how a businessman takes over a government department. In this case it’s the Department of Energy (DOE). As a part of the 74 questions posed in the memo from the Trump Transition Team to the DOE, there were a couple of questions that obviously set people’s hair on fire. Let me quote those two questions and my comments about them from my previous post. Questions are in bold type, my comments are below the questions.

13 Can you provide a list of all Department of Energy employees or contractors who have attended any Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon meetings? Can you provide a list of when those meetings were and any materials distributed at those meetings, emails associated with those meetings, or materials created by Department employees or contractors in anticipation of or as a result of those meetings?

Now, this is the one that has the “scientists” involved most concerned. Me, I think they damn well should be concerned because what they have been doing all this time is HALF OF A COST/BENEFIT ANALYSIS!!

This is a pet peeve of mine. You can’t just talk of costs in a vacuum. To do that without considering the accompanying benefits is scientific malfeasance. To do it as a policy matter is nothing less than deliberately lying to the public. As a result, I hope that everyone engaged in this anti-scientific effort gets identified and if they cannot be fired for malfeasance then put them to work sweeping the floors. Talk about “fake news”, the so-called “social cost of carbon” is as fake as they come.

And the DOE's response:

Today, we get the first salvo fired in response. From the Washington Post

“Our career workforce, including our contractors and employees at our labs, comprise the backbone of DOE (Department of Energy) and the important work our department does to benefit the American people,” Eben Burnham-Snyder, a DOE spokesman, told the Washington Post in an email. “We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department. We will be forthcoming with all publicly-available information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team.” [Emphasis in original.]

When I saw that, I cracked up. Busted out laughing. I thought “You idiots! You just fell into the trap!”

Here’s the deal. The Transition Team sent that memo out. It doesn’t ask for anything other than the duties the employees performed. It doesn’t ask them to change their views or alter their scientific conclusions. It just wants to know, who worked on these projects? There is no reason to refuse that—it’s asked in this situation all over the world. A new boss comes in and says “Hey, who worked on the Jones project?” And Sally and Bob raise their hands. No harm, no foul.

Now, over at my blog … dang, that still sounds strange … anyhow, over at my blog at the request of a commenter I wrote a piece on the rules of thumb that I use to clarify murky situations. However, I forgot a very useful one. It goes like this:

If a man is hiding something … … … it’s because he’s got something to hide.

Applying this to the DOE certainly raises interesting questions. But to return to the issue, here’s why I say that they fell into the trap.

A long post but worth reading as it shows the difference between a businessman and a politician and/or bureaucrat.

Good riddance

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From Reuters:

Charleston church gunman found guilty of federal hate crimes
A jury on Thursday found avowed white supremacist Dylann Roof guilty of federal hate crimes resulting in the deaths of nine black parishioners at a historic church in Charleston, South Carolina, last year.

A bit more:

The 12 jurors deliberated for a little less than two hours. Roof showed no emotion as the verdicts were read.

The guilty verdicts on all 33 federal charges he faced pave the way for the penalty phase of Roof's trial, which is set to begin on Jan. 3. He has indicated he will serve as his own lawyer as prosecutors pursue a death sentence.

Less than two hours. I hope he fries.

Voter fraud in the news - a two-fer

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First from Debra Heine writing at PJ Media:

Judge Napolitano: Election Fraud in Detroit Looks 'Organized, and Government Involved'
Jill Stein's recount efforts in Michigan have uncovered what looks like systemic election fraud in Detroit, where roughly 95% of the votes cast were cast for Hillary Clinton. Sixty percent of precincts in Wayne County had to be disqualified from the statewide recount because of "irregularities." According to Fox News judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, those irregularities look "organized" and "government involved."

County records prepared at the request of The Detroit News after ballot irregularities were discovered revealed that 37 percent of Detroit precincts registered more votes than voters during the election.

Second, from Jazz Shaw writing at Hot Air:

Michigan’s electoral integrity problems weren’t in Trump country
Earlier today, Ed examined the question of just what went so wrong for Hillary Clinton in Michigan on November 8th. Clearly a case can be made that Secretary Clinton failed to invest enough effort in securing the state and likely was taking it for granted, but that doesn’t mean that somebody wasn’t trying very, very hard to make sure she won. It’s going to be difficult to draw in absolute line from Point A to Point B, but some of the voting machines around the Detroit area were acting in what could only be described as a very peculiar fashion. In fact, in almost 250 Wayne County precincts, the optical scanner style voting machines recorded more votes than were actually cast. (Detroit News)

Jazz concludes with the following:

While there isn’t enough data yet to be definitive, I’ll be the one to just come out and say it. This was too much “error” to simply be ascribed to a software glitch and it was centered in a Democratic stronghold in the state. If they actually do a full balance sheet for all of those machines and it turns out that they were overcounting in favor of Trump I’ll happily buy donuts and coffee for the first person to challenge this assertion.

And if you’re among the crowd who keeps telling me that voter fraud isn’t real or at least is so rare that it never affects the outcome of an election, keep a bookmark on this case. Remember that Trump only won the state by a bit more than 10,000 votes. The reality may turn out to be that he actually won by considerably more but Clinton’s totals were being fluffed up around Detroit. And what if another 250 precincts had turned out to be “malfunctioning” in this fashion? You can make up 10K votes pretty fast with roughly one thousand machines. Hillary might have wound up “winning” Michigan in that event and the national electoral vote count would have been considerably closer, possibly spurring even more heated efforts at other recounts and challenges. Think about it.

Why is it that the Democrats always have to cheat on elections - they do not have ideas that stand on their own merit.

Back in a bit - never got around to the shelving yesterday so that is on the books for this afternoon.

More in about an hour...

Why Trump won - part 1,573

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From the Miami, Florida CBS affiliate:

Former Disney IT Workers Claim Discrimination In Lawsuit
A group of information technology workers laid off by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts claims they were victims of discrimination.

They say they were forced to train their replacements from India before getting fired.

On Monday, the 30 former IT workers filed a suit against the company in an Orlando federal court. They’re seeking punitive damages.

The lawsuit contends that 250 IT workers in Florida were told they would need to train their replacements before they were fired at the end of 2014. Each replacement worker was of Indian origin, and was either brought from overseas or working outside the United States, according to the lawsuit.

The Disney bosses are looking to cut the bottom line and the imports may not be as skilled and fluent in English but they are a lot cheaper. Disney is probably contracting to an Indian employment agency that collects their money and then brings in these people from India on an H1-B visa, housing them in dormitories and paying them a pittance.

Trump will be stopping this practice.

Still cold outside

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Got down to 6.8°F last night - not quite as bad as yesterday but close with colder weather (and more snow) forecast for this weekend.

A tale of two parties

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Bill Whittle with a lesson on the histories of our two parties - not what Hillary would have you believe...

A fun meeting - Trump and Tech

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This would have been a fun meeting to attend - from the New York Times:

Trump Meets Tech Industry Leaders With Effusive Greeting
The technology industry always has its eyes on the future, but few foresaw the scene that played out on Wednesday afternoon in Trump Tower.

One by one, the leaders of the world’s most elite and successful technology companies trooped up to the 25th floor to meet President-elect Donald J. Trump, who had criticized them and who they, in turn, had criticized. The executives did not acknowledge or speak to the press on the way in.

First everyone went around the room and introduced themselves — Jeff Bezos, of Amazon; Elon Musk, of Tesla; Tim Cook, of Apple; Sheryl Sandberg, of Facebook; Larry Page of Alphabet, Google’s parent company; Satya Nadella, of Microsoft, and other tech leaders. Mr. Trump was seated next to Peter Thiel, the tech investor who is a member of the president-elect’s transition team. Three of Mr. Trump’s children also attended.

The president-elect greeted the executives effusively after they were seated around a long rectangular conference table.

“This is a truly amazing group of people,” Mr. Trump said. “I won’t tell you the hundreds of calls we’ve had asking to come to this meeting.” Everyone laughed.

“I’m here to help you folks do well,” Mr. Trump said, adding somewhat cryptically: “And you’re doing well right now and I’m very honored by the bounce. They’re all talking about the bounce. So right now everybody in this room has to like me — at least a little bit — but we’re going to try and have that bounce continue.”

Shortly after that, the press was ushered out of the room. It wasn’t immediately clear what unfolded after that.

"wasn’t immediately clear" indeed. Like I said, this would have been a fun meeting to attend.

A little bit of fact checking from Investors Business Daily:

Did ObamaCare Add 20 Million To The Insurance Rolls? Not Even Close
Health Reform: It has become a mantra among Democrats that 20 million people gained coverage thanks to ObamaCare. It's a myth. The real figure is much lower, and almost all the gains came by stuffing more people into the decrepit Medicaid program.

As soon as Donald Trump won the election, left-wing groups were busy predicting that, should he succeed in repealing ObamaCare as promised, anywhere from 20 million to 37 million would lose coverage.

And the truth?

While the White House derived its number using survey data, which it then adjusted, Heritage instead went directly to the sources for enrollment data — Medicaid and private insurers — to see what's really happened.

What they found is that the Obama administration has inflated the ObamaCare coverage number by almost 42%. The actual gain in coverage between 2013 and 2015 was 14 million, Heritage found. That's close to the Census Bureau's estimate that the number of uninsured declined by 12.8 million over these years. And of that, only 2.2 million gained private coverage, Heritage figures. The other 11.8 million went on Medicaid. (Heritage only has hard data through 2015, but enrollment in the exchanges was basically flat in 2016.)

Think about that 2.2 million number for a moment.

ObamaCare has caused massive disruptions of the individual market, forced millions to drop health plans they like, caused huge price spikes and mounting insurance losses, created monopoly markets around the country, and resulted in the virtual takeover of the individual market by HMO plans.

That's to say nothing of the enormous costs of setting up and running the ObamaCare exchanges and the trillion dollars in subsidies to offset the cost of premiums for lower-income families.

All to increase the number of privately insured by a meager 1%.

Time to drain the swamp. Allow competition across state lines, allow doctors and hospitals to publish prices for various procedures so customers can shop around. There is absolutely no reason for healthcare to be so expensive.

Some interesting software

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Looks like a great package if you were interested in stop-motion animation.

Check out Dragonframe

Dragonframe 3.6 is the next generation of our image capture software for stop motion animation. New features include a visual timeline editor, integrated lip-sync, advanced DMX lighting, motion control and much more.

You use a DSLR camera shooting tethered to the computer running Dragonframe and it streamlines your stop-motion photography. Also can be used to control DMX automated lighting as well as motion control platforms for automated camera movement. $295 for the software - not too bad.

Curious article from Aaron Klein at Breitbart:

Mike Morell, Cited in ‘Russia Hacking’ Stories, Works for Longtime Clinton Aide Phillippe Reines
Mike Morell, the former acting director of the CIA, is generating headlines for claiming that alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election amounts to “the political equivalent of 9/11.”

Morell further suggested that the U.S. should respond in a significant way to the alleged Russian actions and he has given interviews supporting reports that the CIA believes Russia tried to influence the election in favor of President-elect Donald Trump.

Absent from the news media coverage of Morell’s statements is that he is known for his leading role in helping to craft the infamously misleading talking points used by Obama administration officials to blame the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks on a YouTube video.

The news media also failed to mention that Morell, who abruptly resigned from the CIA in June 2013, took a job that year at the Beacon Global Strategies firm, where he still works as senior counselor.

Beacon was founded by Phillippe Reines, who served as Communications Adviser to Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state. From 2009-2013, Reines also served in Clinton’s State Department as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Strategic Communications. Reines is the managing director of Beacon.

The more crap like this that comes to light, the happier I am to have Donald Trump be our next President. We really dodged a big bullet by not electing Hillary.

Back home again - putting up shelving

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Picked up some shelving for the radio room yesterday so spending this afternoon putting it up. Waiting for the space heater to take the chill off - it is an annex off the garage and is unheated with two large windows. Brrrrrr....

Back in an hour or two

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Truck is warmed up now - heading out for coffee and stopping in at the store for a bit.

Cliff Mass has a post saying that it is going to get even colder by this weekend: Hard Freeze Will Soon Hit West of the Cascade Crest

Now this will be interesting - DHS

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From Atlanta, Georga station WSB:

Georgia secretary of state says cyberattacks traced to DHS addresses
The Georgia Secretary of State's Office now confirms 10 separate cyberattacks on its network were all traced back to U.S. Department of Homeland Security addresses.

In an exclusive interview, a visibly frustrated Secretary of State Brian Kemp confirmed the attacks of different levels on his agency's network over the last 10 months. He says they all traced back to DHS internet provider addresses.

And a bit more:

The Secretary of State's Office manages Georgia’s elections, and most concerning for Kemp about the newly discovered scans is the timing.

The first one happened on Feb. 2, the day after Georgia’s voter registration deadline. The next one took place just days before the SEC primary. Another occurred in May, the day before the general primary, and then two more took place in November, the day before and the day of the presidential election.

DHS was never needed in the first place - Bush set it into motion because he wanted to "Do Something" after the 9/11 attacks. It has made life miserable for millions of travelers and has stopped nothing.

Cold cold cold

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Sitting at a toasty 19.6°F right now - got down to 3.6°F last night with more for tonight and tomorrow.

Truck warming up - take care of the critters, head out for coffee, make a couple of phone calls and work from home today.

A cold clear night

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Clear skies so a lot of radiation cooling. Already down to 11.5°F

My DANGER level is 18°F - that is where the pipe from the well to the house has the potential to freeze so I have a faucet running in the kitchen to keep things flowing.

That being said, we are warm and comfortable and it is a gorgeous night outside with the snow on the ground and the full moon in the sky. The critters are snug in the barn with a load of hay for them to eat.

An interesting showdown is brewing. Recently, Trump's transition team sent the DOE a memo asking 74 very penetrating and well thought out questions.

From Willis Eschenbach writing at Anthony's:

Now, bear in mind that the Department of Energy has been the conduit for the billions of dollars wasted on propping up failing solar companies like Solyndra, it’s been the “Friends of Obama Funding Agency” … as a result, it’s not the Augean Stables, but it’s close …

So, let’s take a look at this already infamous 74-question memo. In it we’ll find two things: (1) just what is setting their hair on fire, and (2) whatever clues are there about future actions by the new administration. I’ll discuss both individual questions and groups of questions.

Questions for DOE

This memo, as you might expect, is replete with acronyms. “DOE” is the Department of Energy. Here are the memo questions and my comments.

1. Can you provide a list of all boards, councils, commissions, working groups, and FACAs [Federal Advisory Committees] currently active at the Department? For each, can you please provide members, meeting schedules, and authority (statutory or otherwise) under which they were created?

If I were at DOE, this first question would indeed set MY hair on fire. The easiest way to get rid of something is to show that it was not properly established … boom, it’s gone. As a businessman myself, this question shows me that the incoming people know their business, and that the first order of business is to jettison the useless lumber.

Here are three more - just a brief sampling:

6 The Department recently announced the issuance of $4.5 billion in loan guarantees for electric vehicles (and perhaps associated infrastructure). Can you provide a status on this effort?

Oh, man, they are going for the jugular. Loan Program Office? If there is any place that the flies would gather, it’s around the honey … it’s good to see that they are looking at loan guarantees for electric vehicles, a $4.5 billion dollar boondoggle that the government should NOT be in. I call that program the “Elon Musk Retirement Fund”.

Folks, for $4.5 billion dollars, we could provide clean water to almost half a million villages around the world … or we could put it into Elon Musk’s bank account or the account of some other electric vehicle manufacturer. I know which one I’d vote for … and I am equally sure which one the poor of the world would prefer.

And:

27 Is there a readily available list of any technologies or products that have emerged from programs or the labs that are currently offered in the market without any subsidy?

Quite possibly not, but if so it would be an interesting list.

There is no alt.energy program that I know of that operates without some sort of subsidy - they are not economically viable otherwise. The price difference is toxic to their development unless the government steps in with our taxpayer dollars.

55 EIA’s assessments of levelized costs for renewable technologies do not contain back-up costs for the fossil fuel technologies that are brought on-line to replace the generation when those technologies are down. Is this is a correct representation of the true levelized costs?

Since this is an issue I’ve raised publicly in my posts on levelized costs, I’m overjoyed to see them ask it.

EIA is the Energy Information Agency and is charged with collecting and maintaining energy-related data. I have said many times that alt.energy is not baseload and that for every Megawatt of alt.energy, you need to have a duplicate Megawatt of installed natural gas turbine generating capacity for when the wind doesn't blow/sun doesn't shine/etc... A lot of the reports on alt.energy fail to take this into account when they compare levelized costs of generating technology - windmills, solar, hydro, gas, coal and nuke.

And of course, from Reuters today:

U.S. Energy Department balks at Trump request for names on climate change
The U.S. Energy Department said on Tuesday it will not comply with a request from President-elect Donald Trump's Energy Department transition team for the names of people who have worked on climate change and the professional society memberships of lab workers.

The Energy Department's response could signal a rocky transition for the president-elect's energy team and potential friction between the new leadership and the staffers who remain in place.

The memo sent to the Energy Department on Tuesday and reviewed by Reuters last week contains 74 questions, including a request for a list of all department employees and contractors who attended the annual global climate talks hosted by the United Nations within the last five years.

Energy Department spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder said Tuesday the department will not comply.

"Our career workforce, including our contractors and employees at our labs, comprise the backbone of (the Energy Department) and the important work our department does to benefit the American people," Burnham-Snyder said.

The list of names in only three or four questions out of the 74 in the memo - this is skewed so far off-base to qualify as being "fake news" - does this mean that the DOE is going to respond to all of the other questions or are they just attempting to stonewall. The next couple of months are going to be a lot of fun and whomever Trump has working on Energy policy knows their stuff and is damn good at it.

Politics in Washington State

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The electoral vote may have been swamped by the dense urban areas but lots of WA State are very conservative and this is growing. From the Los Angeles Times:

This Northwest timber county hadn't voted GOP since Herbert Hoover. But times have changed
Before coal became king and the Rust Belt rusted, the Pacific Northwest began building an economy based on timber. The Oregon Country shipped its first load of logs to China in 1833.

A century later, as national politics and the Great Depression intruded, this remote and rainy corner of the country became an early West Coast battleground for worker rights, with bitter strikes silencing lumber mills for months. It also became a stronghold for the Democratic Party, a place where immigrants and their children embraced President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and his promise of solid wages for timber workers.

The region defied the Republican landslides that swept Eisenhower and Reagan into office in 1952 and 1980. It even stayed Democratic after Bill Clinton and later President Obama sharply reduced logging in old-growth forests to save an endangered bird, the northern spotted owl.

Then came 2016.

For the first time since Herbert Hoover won the White House in 1928, Aberdeen and the other small outposts that make up Grays Harbor County here on the Washington coast did not vote for a Democrat for president. This year, they chose Donald Trump.

The pendulum is swinging back again. Time to retrench and get back to our core competencies and values. Nothing wrong with making America great again and shutting down the marxist crap coming out of colleges and universities these days.

Obama at the bat

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Perfect:

You may remember Mr. Suprun as the Texas Elector who wrote a letter to the New York Times on December 5th as to how he would vote for Hillary even if Trump was elected. The folks over at gotnews.com did a little digging and Christopher has quite the interesting life:

EXPOSED: Anti-Trump Faithless Elector @TheChrisSuprun Paid For Ashley Madison While Bankrupt & Married w/ 3 Kids
Anti-Trump Texas faithless elector Stephen Christopher “Chris” Suprun, who wrote a widely-shared op-ed in The New York Times about his decision, joined and paid for cheating website Ashley Madison in 2012, using the same address registered to his 9/11 charity, while bankrupt, likely unemployed, and married with three young kids, after he and his working wife owed over $200,000 to multiple creditors — and that’s just the start of it.

GotNews’ research into Suprun’s bizarre and unexplained flip-flop against President-elect Donald J. Trump turned up Ashley Madison data, damning bankruptcy records, and a series of P.O. boxes and what appears to be an association with a payday loan scam site.

Since turning against the decision of the people of Texas to elect Trump, Suprun also became a client of a “social justice media strategy” PR firm run by left-wing CNN commentator Van Jones.

What is going on here?

There’s a lot to go through today, folks, but it’s good. So bear with us and keep reading

Another Republican In Name Only going through another progressive mental breakdown. Be sure to visit the site and continue reading - Mr. Suprun's life is the classical definition of a train-wreck. He even has a Foundation.

From Jon Miltimore writing at Intellectual Takeout:

The Historical Origin of 'Political Correctness'
In the November issue of Claremont Review of Books, Angelo M. Codevilla wrote a deep-dive article on the rise of political correctness in America.

The phrase “politically correct” is ubiquitous in America today. I complain about political correctness now and again, but I’d never given any thought to the phrase's origins. Codevilla, however, offers a fascinating look.

“The notion of political correctness came into use among Communists in the 1930s as a semi-humorous reminder that the Party’s interest is to be treated as a reality that ranks above reality itself,” writes Codevilla, Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Boston University.

The semi-humorous reminder went something like this:

Comrade, your statement is factually incorrect.”
“Yes, it is. But it is politically correct.”

The anecdote was a vital reminder in Stalin’s empire: Stray from the party’s official position and it could mean death. Whether or not something was true mattered less than whether or not it advanced the Idea (i.e. the Party’s interest).

So true - it was the forced adherence to politically correctness that allowed for the rise of Trofim Lysenko in Russia in the 1930's and 1940's - from Infogalactic:

Trofim Denisovich Lysenko (Russian: Трофи́м Дени́сович Лысе́нко) was a Soviet biologist and agronomist. Lysenko rejected Mendelian genetics in favor of pseudoscientific ideas termed Lysenkoism.

His experimental research in improved crop yields earned the support of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, especially following the famine and loss of productivity resulting from forced collectivization in several regions of the Soviet Union in the early 1930s. In 1940, he became director of the Institute of Genetics within the USSR's Academy of Sciences, and Lysenko's anti-Mendelian doctrines were further secured in Soviet science and education by the exercise of political influence and power. Scientific dissent from Lysenko's theories of environmentally acquired inheritance was formally outlawed in 1948.

Though Lysenko remained at his post in the Institute of Genetics until 1965, his influence on Soviet agricultural practice had declined by the 1950s.

Lysenko had a few breaks with fantastic weather in his early career so he was able to demonstrate increased crop yields. Later experiments turned out to be a disaster for him and for the poor Russian people needing the crops to eat. Still, Lysenko was very politically correct - knew the right people, said the right things, displayed the correct virtue signaling - so he stayed in power.

We are seeing the same elements in our universities with the same disasterous results.

Joining the Force

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Great recruitment video for the Fort Worth Police Department:

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

The people speak loudly - Miss Sloane

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I had posted about the abysmal opening of the new anti-gun movie Miss Sloan - turns out it is a real stinker. From The Washington Free Beacon:

Gun Control Thriller ‘Miss Sloane’ Has One of the Worst Opening Weekends Ever
Miss Sloane, the gun control thriller starring Jessica Chastain, over the weekend posted one of the worst performances of the past 35 years for a movie in wide release.

A bit more:

Miss Sloane‘s story follows a lobbyist, played by Chastain, who joins a firm working with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to get new federal gun control measures passed despite opposition from the “gun lobby.” The movie has garnered mixed reviews, with praise for Chastain’s performance despite complaints that the plot is too unrealistic.

The Brady Campaign is a political hack organization - the stuff they say is outright misinformation. They are the people who coined the term "assault rifle" when there is no such thing. More:

Brendan Kelly, press secretary for the Brady Campaign, said the group’s work on Miss Sloane represents a new frontier in its work to influence Hollywood on gun issues.

Good - after promoting this turd, I hope Hollywood runs the other way when the Brady bunch come knocking at their door.

Back again

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The snow had been melted from the streets in town but was still very present on lawns and other open spaces - quite unusual for Bellingham.

Brought home a roti chicken from Costco and Lulu is doing some oven roasted spuds and onions.

Time to surf for a bit before dinner...

Out the door

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Truck is warmed up - heading in to town for a few things. Coffee first. Back home around 4:00PM or so.

The Gore effect in Chicago

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As reported by The Onion:

Snowstorm In Chicago Delays Hundreds Of Morning Murders
The city of Chicago is steadily recovering from an overnight snowstorm that delayed hundreds of murders on Friday morning and will likely continue to push numerous homicides across the city drastically behind schedule, public authorities announced.

“As we speak, maintenance crews are working diligently to restore public transportation, de-ice roads, and clear back alleyways so that Chicagoans can quickly resume murdering again,” Department of Streets and Sanitation spokesman Dave Michelson said of the heavy blizzard, which caused numerous homicide cancellations this morning at peak murder times. 

The Onion is a satire website but this is almost too close to the truth.

Looks like the citizens of England are getting screwed by the greenies - from The Telegraph:

Britain facing energy crisis that could see families pay extra to keep the lights on while neighbours 'sit in the dark'
Britain's increasing reliance on "intermittent" renewable energy means that the country is facing an unprecedented supply crisis, a senior Ofgem executive has warned.

Andrew Wright, a senior partner at Ofgem and former interim chief executive, warned that households could be forced to pay extra to keep their lights on while their neighbours “sit in the dark” because “not everyone will be able to use as much as electricity as they want”.

Renewable energy has never been and will never be baseload. You need either coal or gas or nuclear. Anything else is just chasing unicorn farts.

A calm day in the weather

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Enjoying a few calm days in the weather - high overcast and no precipitation with more of the same forecast through the rest of this week.

Making a quick run into town to pick up some things for the house - have an amateur radio meeting tonight but bailing on it.

So true - Russia and the elections

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One can not argue with the truth...

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Talk about either being swept up in the fake-news cycle or feeding the fake-news out to the media. These Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for acting like such stupid children in public.

Grow a pair and stop trying to undermine the party unless you want the Democrats to sweep both houses in 2018 and the White House in 2020.

Something new for dinner

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I love Greek and Mediterranean food and have had Avgolemono soup many times but made it myself for the first time tonight. Had some left-over plain white rice and some extra chicken meat so it sounded like a good idea for tonight's cold weather.

Came out really good - used this recipe from Serious Eats. My only change would be to use white pepper instead of cracked black - a little overbearing on the palate.

At the White House

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Jill Stein - your fifteen minutes are up

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From Breitbart:

Wisconsin Recount Ends, Trump Picks Up 162 Votes
Republican Donald Trump’s victory in Wisconsin was reaffirmed Monday following a recount that showed him defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton by more than 22,000 votes.
Wisconsin finalized its recount on the same day that a federal judge issued a stinging rejection of a Green Party-backed request to recount paper ballots in Pennsylvania’s presidential election and scan some counties’ election systems for signs of hacking.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein successfully requested, and paid for, the Wisconsin recount while her attempts for similar statewide recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan were blocked by the courts. Stein only got about 1 percent of the vote in each of the states that Trump narrowly won on his way to the White House. She argued, without evidence, that voting machines in all three states were susceptible to hacking.

The numbers barely budged in Wisconsin after nearly 3 million votes were recounted. Trump picked up a net 162 votes and still won by more than 22,000 votes. The final results changed just 0.06 percent.

In Pennsylvania, U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond said there were at least six grounds that required him to reject the Green Party’s lawsuit, which had been opposed by Trump, the Pennsylvania Republican Party and the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office.

Time to stick a fork in it - the election is over and President Trump will be inaugurated on January 20th. We The People spoke loud and clear.

Fake news in the news - Russia

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From Russia Today:

White House attacks Trump over connections to Russia and RT
President Barack Obama’s spokesman has accused President-elect Donald Trump and top members of his team of “lucrative” ties with Russia, pointing out that his national security adviser was a “paid contributor” on RT.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest made the case against Trump at the daily briefing on Monday, connecting the dots from “malicious Russian cyber activity” to top campaign officials and their past.

It was the president-elect who refused to disclose his financial connections to Russia,” said Earnest. “It was the president-elect who hired a campaign chairman with extensive, lucrative, personal financial ties to Russia. It was the president-elect who had national security adviser on the campaign that had been a paid contributor to RT, the Russian propaganda outlet.”

And there is always this possibility - from John Bolton:

At the same time, Former US Ambassador John Bolton has also suggested that “this hacking into the DNC (Democratic National Committee) and the RNC (Republican National Committee)” may have been the result of a false flag operation carried out by the Obama administration.

I would not put it past them.

Great story - I am just going to excerpt a very little bit here - go to the site and read the whole thing. From Today I Found Out:

THAT TIME A GUY PARACHUTED ONTO DEVILS TOWER… AND THEN MADE NATIONAL NEWS WHEN NO ONE COULD FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET HIM DOWN
Nestled safely in the bosom of the Bear Lodge Mountains of Wyoming is a large rock formation known simply as  Devils Tower. A popular landmark and the first recognized United States National Monument (declared such by President Theodore Roosevelt on September 24, 1906), the imposing rocky butte was at the forefront of a bizarre media frenzy in 1941 when a parachutist became hopelessly stranded atop it.

And the reason for the stranding?

With seemingly the hard part out of the way, Hopkins stood and waited for his pilot, Joe Quinn, to throw him a specially prepared pack containing everything he’d need to descend the tower.

Hopkins then watched helpless as the supply pack sailed through the air and bounced straight off the edge of the tower, stranding him without supplies over 1000 feet (over 300 metres) in the air.

He wound up being stuck up there for five days during some cold weather.
Great story - read the whole thing here: Today I Found Out.

Taking a snow-day off

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Not just me - the whole county. From The Bellingham Herald:

All Whatcom schools, some colleges closed after overnight snowfall
Every Whatcom County school district canceled classes Monday after an overnight snowfall left roads treacherous – and more may be on the way.

There were already numerous vehicle collisions and disabled cars on city streets and Interstate 5 reported as of 8:50 a.m. There were no reports of serious injuries.

Bellingham, Blaine, Ferndale, Lummi Nation, Lynden, Meridian, Mount Baker and Nooksack Valley are closed and after-school activities are canceled.

Bellingham Christian, Lynden Christian schools and Whatcom Discovery Center also are closed, as well as Bellingham Technical College and Whatcom Community College. The colleges had earlier announced a two-hour delay, but revised it later in the morning.

All Whatcom County Library System branches are closed, including its administrative service center. Regular branch library hours are expected to resume Tuesday. For updates, go to WCLS.org.

And it may not get any better. Though warming temperatures melted much of last week’s snow in Bellingham and to the south, snow returned overnight and may dump up to 2 inches Monday.

Supposed to be clear and cold tomorrow and Wednesday. More snow tonight and Thursday.

Power blogging

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Woke up this morning to no power - it went out sometime around 8:30AM or so.

Just got restored 90 minutes earlier than the estimate from our power company. Time to surf...

Truth in advertising - a two-fer

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Things are not always what they seem to be:

Adulteration is everywhere. Sad but true. Remember the Chinese pet-food story from 2007 (here, here, and here). Don't get me started on farmed asian fish and olive oils.

IBM's Watson technology is being used in medicine. From Business Insider:

How IBM Watson saved the life of a woman dying from cancer, exec says

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty has called health care IBM’s “moonshot.”
IBM has spent years training its super-smart, learning, reasonsing computer service Watson to do things like analyze massive amounts of data to help improve the patient diagnosis.

One such story:

“There’s a 60-year-old woman in Tokyo. She was at the University of Tokyo. She had been diagnosed with leukemia six years ago. She was living, but not healthy. So the University of Tokyo ran her genomic sequence through Watson and it was able to ascertain that they were off by one thing. Actually, she had two strains of leukemia. The did treat her and she is healthy.”

He added, “That’s one example. Statistically, we’re seeing that about one third of the time, Watson is proposing an additional diagnosis.”

Very cool technology - it is something that can be operated in the cloud - upload the data and get your results. No need to have the diagnostic computer at the hospital. This way, as more and more cases are presented, it can learn. Faster please!

Whoops - off by one

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The water board meetings are scheduled for the last Sunday of each month. Since this falls on Christmas Day, we decided to move it one week early. I showed up at the town hall tonight to find it dark and locked up.

Whoops - it is being held on Sunday the 18th - off by one week.

It was 31.5°F and snowing lightly when I came home. Supposed to get very dry and cold and then start snowing later this week. Running into town tomorrow so the roads should be good. The State makes a lot of tax revenue from the Ski area so they keep the main highway nice and clear.

SARTrack

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Some interesting development out of New Zealand for Search and Rescue operations.

Check out SARTrack:

SARTrack
This is the web site of SARTrack Limited, a company originally set up for the development of Radio Tracking for Search and Rescue in New Zealand, but now expanded into the development of an International software package for both Search and Rescue organisations worldwide, and Amateur Radio users.

Ties everything together from the inidividual search teams to the command center.

A local case of derangement

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From The Bellingham Herald:

Lynden man guilty of hate crime for racial death threats aimed at Lummi candidate
A Lynden man pleaded guilty to a hate crime for sending racial slurs and death threats to a Lummi woman running for the Washington State House of Representatives.

And the money quote:

“Eat (expletive) and die you inbred piece of (n-word) (expletive),” read the first message, sent Oct. 23. The sender said that he’d be voting for Hillary Clinton, but that LaClair would be “going into an oven” if Donald Trump won.

Interesting news from Iceland

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From 2011 but just came to light - from Russia Today:

FBI sent planeload of agents to frame Assange in Iceland, got snubbed by minister
The US sent a “planeload of FBI agents” to Iceland in 2011 to frame WikiLeaks and its co-founder Julian Assange, according to a former Icelandic minister of interior, who refused them any cooperation and asked them to cease their activities.

In June 2011, Obama administration implied to Iceland's authorities they had knowledge of hackers wanting to destroy software systems in the country, and offered help, then-Interior Minister Ogmundur Jonasson, said in an interview with the Katoikos publication.

However, Jonasson said he instantly became “suspicious” of the US good intentions, “well aware that a helping hand might easily become a manipulating hand.”

A bit more:

Since they had not been authorized by the Icelandic authorities to carry out police work in Iceland and since a crack-down on WikiLeaks was not on my agenda, to say the least, I ordered that all cooperation with them be promptly terminated and I also made it clear that they should cease all activities in Iceland immediately,” the politician said.

So the US were told to leave, and moreover, the politician made things quite clear for them.

If I had to take sides with either WikiLeaks or the FBI or CIA, I would have no difficulty in choosing: I would be on the side of WikiLeaks,” he said.

Same here - Assange and Snowden are heros. Unlike a few other people, (looking at Bradley Manning) they took the time to redact the names of crucial people. Manning was directly responsible for many brutal murders of our assets and true friends in Afghanistan.

Fake news in the media - a three-fer

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Besides, if Vladimir Putin really wanted to influence the election, a couple million to the Clinton Foundation would have sufficed.

Poor little Stephanie Land

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From the Washington Post:

Trump’s election stole my desire to look for a partner
In August, I went on six dates in one week. I had decided that I was ready to look for a partner. Enough of this dating unavailable men a half-decade younger than me. They’d never seriously consider a relationship with me, my two children and our needy dog. No. I wanted to find an equal. A man who wouldn’t feel the need to step in and rescue me. I didn’t need rescuing.

But I knew deep down that was only partially true. I often felt the sort of loneliness that settled in my stomach, starting from a chaotic afternoon with my children, lasting well into the night when I pulled covers tight around my chin.

Stephanie wanders around her topic a bit and then... The Trumpening:

But two weeks later, the election happened. Once it was clear that Donald Trump would be president instead of Hillary Clinton, I felt sick to my stomach. I wanted to gather my children in bed with me and cling to them like we would if thunder and lightning were raging outside, with winds high enough that they power might go out. The world felt that precarious to me.

In her story, she was getting along with one guy when the election happened but she felt that she could not commit to a relationship after President Trump was elected. I hope the poor guy realizes just how close to a disastrous relationship he came. Talk about dodging the bullet. What a narcissist.

Words of wisdom from our next President

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So true - this may be a painful thing to admit for some snowflakes out there but the sooner they learn, the sooner everyone will be better off:

20161211-trump.jpg

From here

Seeing the light in Pennsylvania

Great news from The Daily Caller:

New Report Makes The Case For Why We Shouldn’t Let Nuclear Plants Shut Down
A new study on Pennsylvania’s nuclear industry paints a worrisome picture of what could be lost if reactors continues to be shut down.

The new research (PDF file) found that Pennsylvania’s five nuclear plants account for 15,900 in-state, high paying, full-time jobs and generate $69 million in net state tax revenues each year. The reactors keep electricity prices low, reducing Pennsylvania residents’ power bills by about $788 million annually.

“Nuclear power keeps power prices lower than they would be otherwise,” Dean Murphy, an economist who coauthored the research for an economics consulting firm called The Brattle Group, told The Daily Caller. “It’d be a huge drag for the economy if the nuclear power plants closed and those prices went up. A big part of the positive effect is that the economy multiplies the benefits of cheap power.”

America currently operates 99 nuclear reactors across 61 commercially operating nuclear power plants, according to the EIA. The average plant employs between 400 and 700 high-skilled workers, has a payroll of about $40 million and contributes $470 million to the local economy, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute. A pair of reactors The Daily Caller New Foundation visited in April shells out $22.8 million in tax revenue each year.

“Electricity is so ubiquitous that the impact is extremely widespread,” Murphy continued. “The aggregate effect on the economy is really big and positive. If we were to lose the plants, the economy would multiply the harm of more expensive power.”

Good to see the knee-jerk enviros being stuffed back into under their rock. Nuclear is safe, clean and when we start building new molten-salt reactors, we will find the cost to be very low indeed. The new designs are walk-away safe and since you no longer need the huge pressure vessel, the cost to build and operate is minimal.

Compare that to our ninny President Barry who talked about how under his plan, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.

The coming ice age

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Great article from James Delingpole at Breitbart:

Delingpole: Polar Vortex the Next Big Thing in Climate Scaremongering
Global temperatures are plummeting at a record rate – but if there’s one thing even more likely than a white Christmas, it’s that the greenies will try to blame it on man-made climate change.

To you or me, this might be an indication that climate is going through a perfectly natural cooling phase. But you can bet your bottom dollar that the alarmists will use the latest polar vortex activity to try to prop up their narrative that it is dangerous, unprecedented, and man-made.

We know because here is how the Guardian reported on the polar vortex responsible for a big freeze in the U.S. in 2014:

Such weather patterns, which can feature relatively mild conditions in the Arctic at the same time dangerously cold conditions exist in vast parts of the lower 48, may be tied to the rapid warming and loss of sea ice in the Arctic due, in part, to manmade climate change.

Arctic warming is altering the heat balance between the North Pole and the equator, which is what drives the strong current of upper level winds in the northern hemisphere commonly known as the jet stream. Some studies show that if that balance is altered then some types of extreme weather events become more likely to occur.

More at the site - James also posts these two images from 1974 and 1975 when the climate scientists were certain that we were all going to freeze to death because of our nefarious activities:

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We are all doomed...

Waiting for the big one - Canada

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It seems that Canada is not that well prepared - from Yahoo/Canada News:

Government crisis response centre outdated, inefficient and understaffed, audit warns
The federal government's crisis response centre is outdated, understaffed and "inadequate" for co-ordinating emergency situations such as national security threats or natural disasters, a new audit warns.

In 2015, the Government Operations Centre (GOC) was called on to triage more then 5,000 incidents. Of those, more than 500 were deemed to be of national interest, requiring a risk assessment, planning and co-ordinated response, making it a vital nerve centre.

But a Public Safety Canada audit found persistent problems — even after a 2010 review revealed "widespread confusion and uncertainty" about the operation centre's mandate and its ability to fulfil its role.

The latest audit assessed the policies, processes, controls and protocols the GOC uses to respond to and manage emergency events ranging from flooding and industrial accidents to acts of terrorism and cyber events. It was completed in October 2016 and recently published online.

Crap - when we get the Cascadian earthquake, one of the real dangers is the resulting tsunami. Bellingham (and Everett and Seattle) is fortunately situated in the shadow of the Olympic Peninsula so we will not have much of a problem. Vancouver is wide open and low-lying areas will be toast.

FEMA has a lot of really great information online on how to organize emergency operations centers - Canada would do very well by looking at these files. In the USA, it all started after the Loma-Preita earthquake of  1989. None of the responding agencies had any way to communicate with any of the other agencies; they each had their own organization and hierarchy. FEMA was tasked to look at the operating hierarchies, pick the best out of all of them (they borrowed heavily from the US Navy)  and develop a standard Incident Command system.

I have been trained in this and it works very well - it is also constantly being tested with drills, being fine tuned and refined.

Still snow on the ground

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Stayed right at 32°F over the evening and is now up to a balmy 34.9°F. Lots of snow on the ground so probably slick as snot. Putting a couple bales of hay out for the critters before heading for coffee.

Forecast is for it to cool down a bit tonight, snow to return and then a couple days of very cold crisp clear weather. Water board meeting tonight.

A word to the wise - preparing for Winter

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From Simon's Cat:

Moving day at 1600

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An interesting look at what goes on when the next President moves in to the White House. From New Zealand's Stuff:

When Trump moves in: Shifting day at the White House
Ever wondered what moving day at the White House will be like? According to one expert, it's a bit similar to a choreographed ballet.

Move-in can't start until Inauguration Day
The president elect can't move in a minute before Inauguration Day, which is January 20. "We have to operate virtually from an off-site location and organise all the logistics there," said Bradley Blakeman in a recent interview with Elle Decor. Blakeman was former President George W. Bush's deputy assistant, and helped organise his move into the White House. "It's organised and they've got it done to a science. It's like a military manoeuver."

Everything is planned off-site
Since the sitting president moves out the same day the president-elect moves in, the moving process must be painstakingly planned away from the White House.

In a 2009 editorial, Slate.com reported that before Inauguration Day the president-elect's belongings are moved to a secure White House storage facility. It's the same space the White House uses to hold holiday decorations, antiques, and art not currently being displayed.

The President-elect is responsible for moving his own belongings
Just because you were voted in doesn't mean you get a break on moving expenses. The president-elect must arrange and pay for the transport of all his belongings and furniture. "[The incoming First Family] have to coordinate with the government and private movers," says Blakeman.

The Secret Service oversees the process, which usually happens the week before the inauguration. It provides an escort for the moving vehicles and screens all items before they enter the secure storage facility. But President Obama had to cover the transportation costs to get his items from Chicago to Washington D.C., and Donald Trump will have to cover the costs from Trump Tower to the White House.

Much more at the site - a fascinating look at something most of us do not even think about.

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

From IMBB - Miss Sloane. Sounds like a stinker - it cost (estimated) $18,000,000 to make and it's opening weekend was $59,797 - that has to sting. One person gave the following review:

Sorry, but Hillary lost and this movie won't change anything
Movies like this are like peeing on yourself in a dark suit. It might make you feel warm and relieved for a little bit, but in the end you have done nothing but stain your underwear. This movie was obviously meant to be red meat for the victorious Hillary. Ooops, that didn't work. Libs, gun control is dead. This movie is full of lies and half truths. According to the FBI, so-called assault weapons are used in so few crimes (only a fraction of the 500 deaths out of 30,000 annually), that they don't bother keeping an exact count. Most deaths (2/3rds) are suicides of old white men which I would think would be reason enough for liberals to insist that people buy more guns. Of the remaining the vast majority of deaths are associated with gangs, drugs, and cities run by Dems. Why isn't there a movie about the urban culture of Chicago where young black men are being slaughtered by other young black men? Well, that wouldn't fit the narrative, would it? As for the contention that most gun owners want more restrictions, that is believed only by the uneducated. I teach psychology, sociology, and statistics. That number was milked from a survey. Surveys are statistical and psychological manure. They require voluntary participation and honesty. Few gun owners are going to participate and civil-rights opponents will lie.

The WHO concluded that there is no correlation between gun violence and ownership. It is a cultural issue. As for suicides, Japan allows no firearms and has just about the highest rate while the US, with just about the loosest on the planet, is tied for 50th in the list of nations. It doesn't take any courage to make a movie based on lies. It's about the money....and this dog will lose tons of it.

Since 2000, the FBI has processed 300 million firearm sales. Prior to that there was a conservative 200 million already in civilian hands. BHO has sold more guns than any other President hands down. And yet, with one half billion firearms in the US, the violent crime rate continues to fall. As concealed carry States have swollen to include all but three, crime has dropped. Where is the blood in the streets?

What should have been made is a movie about Obamacare and all the damage it has done to health care. That is a crime. Well, that's going to get washed away soon, too.

I am sure pajama boys and overweight Trigglypuffs will go see this and then weep at what could have been. And that is good. Nothing is so sweet as the taste of liberal tears.

Spot on in so many ways. It is funny too as the reviews are either seven to ten stars or one or two. Either fully in the liberal or realist camp with nothing in the middle. There have been more murders committed with hammers and other blunt-force trauma than with "assault weapons" and as a matter of definition, there is no such thing as an assault weapon. It is a fiction of the hoplophobes.

The Utah Teapot

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You have seen it before - here is its wonderful history:

More here including the original data: The History of The Teapot

From PJ Media:

Marxist Vegan Bartertown Garden Cafe Closes After Bad Service Complaints
In November, shortly after the passing of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, a Vegan restaurant in his image closed its doors. In fact, the restaurant even had a mural of Marxist leaders — Che Guevara and infamous mass murderer Mao Zedong — making and serving vegetarian food.

More:

Cappelletti attacked the traditional model as contributing to the misery of workers. "Because of our economy, people are working 12- to 15-hour shifts, servers take home $200 to $300 a night in tips, the cooks are making $10 an hour and the owner takes whatever he takes," Cappelletti told MLive in 2011. "We're going to have equal pay and equal say across the board." Oh, and mandatory union membership for all workers, in Industrial Workers of the World.

Nice ideas I guess - pity they have zero basis in reality.

Wrong people, wrong theory, wrong time

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From Catholic Online:

New priests to learn about global warming as part of formation
The Catholic Church is intimately concerned about climate change. The Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences is the world's oldest, longest running scientific mission. That body, which advises the pope on matters of science, has concluded that global climate change is real and is caused, at least in significant part, by human activity.

This is important to the Church because creation care is part of our mission. We are called to be stewards of creation. It's also important because climate change can exacerbate the ills of poverty. Poor people in much of the world are the most vulnerable to changes.

Excuse me - by robbing these poor people of cheap abundant energy - both heat and electricity - you are condemning them to stay in poverty. You are preventing them from improving their station in life. There are more fatalities from cold weather than from hot and when you require that people to cook their daily meals over a dung or wood fire, you are contributing to their overall poor respiratory health.

In the western, industrialized world, a drought means bottled water becomes more expensive. In the developing world, a drought means people starve and die. 

Hogwash - the aquifers are there, we just need cheap and abundant electric power to pump the water. We could have brought clean water and sanitation to everyone on this planet for the cost of what has been pissed away on alt.energy and demonizing carbon. But that would require an actual commitment to the cause and would not allow the political classes to line their pockets with graft.

We know because this manipulation of public opinion has been caught and documented. The fossil fuel industry funds nearly all of the climate change skeptics, going so far as to commission questionable studies, to financing think tanks, and even paying individual bloggers. The deception continues today. 

Abject bullshit - I read a lot of the climate skeptic websites and the overall question is: "Where is my money?" If anything, it is the warmist crew who is raking in the big bucks.Here, here, here, here, here, herehereherehereherehere. If you do not want to follow the links I posted, just read this one

Obama administration pays out $500m to climate change project
The $500m payment to the Green Climate Fund was seen as critical to shoring up international confidence in Barack Obama’s ability to deliver on the pledges made at the United Nations’ climate change conference in Paris in late 2015.

It would not be so bad if the money was actually getting to the end user but the majority of it is being siphoned off by the kleptocrats in office.

The Catholic Church should stick to its core competency - teaching the word of Jesus. Not proselytizing for a false prophet - the Climate Scientist.

Back home again

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Meeting went well. Need to check with the tech support on a couple things on Tuesday but should be easy enough to fix. Our water board just replaced all the 30-year old meters with new ones that feature remote reading. Works like a champ - our engineer just has to drive around in his truck and the remote queries each meter and writes the data to a laptop.

Only problem is that each meter reposds with a six digit ID number and we want to reference to the actual shareholder account number. See if this can be done with the software otherwise, I will write an Excell macro to automate the conversion. Simple enough.

Did a quick trip into town afterwards - some grocery shopping and a bit of electrical stuff needed for the meter reader.

Giving the last of the feijoada to the dogs, thawing out a flank steak for tacos tomorrow and doing some ham and bean soup for tonight's dinner.

It was supposed to warm up today and turn over to rain. It did about halfway into town but it is 30.4°F at the farm and still snowing. The roads are OK but it is accumulating. Today's afternoon forecast shows warmer and showers through Sunday so we will see what happens...

Running a little late but called them to let them know.

Believing in Santa Claus

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Heh...

20161209-santa.jpg

From The Daily Caller:

Valerie Jarrett: Trump’s Win Was ‘Soul-Crushing’ 
One of President Obama’s top advisers said on Wednesday that Donald Trump’s electoral win was “soul-crushing.”

Aren't you being a bit presumptuous Valerie? One has to actually have a soul before it can be crushed.

Time to hunker down for a while

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From AccuWeather:

Bitterly cold air to come in waves across US into next week
Around the middle of December, an even colder blast of air will follow this week's frigid conditions over the central and eastern U.S.

This next major push of arctic air will follow a series of snowstorms over part of the Northern states.

"The air mass on the way for the middle of December is likely to be substantially colder, when compared to that of this past week and this weekend," according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

Temperatures from the northern and central Plains to much of the Midwest are likely to be 5 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit lower, on average, when compared to levels this week.

Global warming anyone?

Great news

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From The Times of Israel:

US airstrike kills IS terrorist linked to Charlie Hebdo attack
An Islamic State leader linked to the 2015 attacks at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo was killed in a US airstrike in Syria, American military officials said Friday.

Good riddance - hope he is enjoying his 72 white raisins.

So much for a peaceful transition

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Barry is not going quietly - from CNS News:

Obama Reminds Troops They Have the Right to 'Protest Against Authority' and 'Criticize Our President'
In a speech at MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, President Obama focused on his eight-year effort to protect the homeland, fight terrorism, and strengthen U.S. allies. He said he wanted to "talk about the foundation that we will leave for the next administration."

Obama is delusional. He makes Jimmy Carter look good.

From Seattle's Post-Intelligencer:

Eastern Washington lawmakers file bill to split state
Some conservative Eastern Washington lawmakers want to split the state in two, creating a new state east of the Cascade Range known as "Liberty."

The idea is contained in House Joint Memorial 400, sponsored by Republican state Reps. Matt Shea and Bob McCaslin of Spokane Valley and David Taylor of Moxee.

The Spokesman-Review says the idea of splitting from liberal Western Washington has been proposed numerous times in past decades.

There is a precedent - West Virginia split during the Civil War - it wanted to be with the Union. Bellingham is liberal loony town. Much better than Seattle though - I am glad to no longer be living there.

I want!

Fake news in the news

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The body of the dinosaur is dead, the head just doesn't know it yet. From Mediaite:

MSNBC Host Falsely Accuses Fox News of Holding Christmas Party at Trump’s Washington Hotel 
During a segment this morning, MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle claimed that Fox News had held its Christmas party at President-elect Donald Trump’s recently opened Washington hotel. There’s just one little problem. The network hasn’t even had its party yet.

Our reporting is unbiased unbalanced.

Voter ID in the state of Michigan

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Michigan was one of the states that Jill Stein required a vote recount. Enough discrepancies outright voter fraud was uncovered that the state passed a new law authorizing positive voter ID. From Ed Morrissey writing at Hot Air:

Thanks, Jill: Michigan House passes voter-ID bill after vote-fraud hyperbole
Be careful what you wish for … you just might get it. Jill Stein didn’t get the recount she wanted in Michigan, but she did get the state to take vote-integrity issues seriously. Meeting in its lame-duck session, the state House of Representatives passed a tough voter-ID bill that includes $3 million for funding of free state identification and birth certificates after over 18,000 voters cast ballots without identification in the presidential election:

Michigan’s Republican-led House on Wednesday night approved a strict voter identification proposal over strenuous objections from Democrats who argued the plan could disenfranchise properly registered voters.

Michigan voters without photo identification could still cast a provisional ballot under the controversial legislation, but they would have to bring an ID to their local clerk’s office within 10 days of an election in order for their vote to count.
Current law requires a photo ID too, but also allows for voters to sign an affidavit under oath that attests to their identity and eligibility. The House might have had ample reason to wonder about abuse under that system when looking at the distribution of the practice. The Detroit News’ Jonathan Oostling reports that almost half of all such votes took place in heavily Democratic Wayne County, and almost 6,000 in the city of Detroit alone. That seems oddly disproportional, given that Wayne County accounted for just 16% of the state’s total.

Current law requires a photo ID too, but also allows for voters to sign an affidavit under oath that attests to their identity and eligibility. The House might have had ample reason to wonder about abuse under that system when looking at the distribution of the practice. The Detroit News’ Jonathan Oostling reports that almost half of all such votes took place in heavily Democratic Wayne County, and almost 6,000 in the city of Detroit alone. That seems oddly disproportional, given that Wayne County accounted for just 16% of the state’s total.

Good - clean up the system. Democrats cannot win on their ideas, they have to resort to outright fraud.

Great idea for Federal workers

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We are not going to be able to get rid of all of the Federal workers no matter how much we downsize the government. We have seriously depressed cities in the United States. Instapundit writer Glenn Reynolds has the solution. From USA Today:

Make D.C. a swamp again: Glenn Reynolds
Donald Trump ran for president on the slogan “Make America Great Again!” And he’s also promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington. But maybe the way to do that is to make Washington a little less great. Because as Washington has prospered over the last several decades — to the point where people are making Hunger Games comparisons — the rest of the country hasn’t done as well.

So perhaps it’s time for a role-reversal. I propose that over the next several years, we transfer a lot of federal employees out of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, to parts of the country that aren’t doing so well economically. This would provide a boost to places like Buffalo, New York, or Quincy, Illinois, or Fresno, California, while getting federal bureaucrats out of the D.C. bubble.

This is, of course, a step beyond the kind of thing that The New York Times was worrying about after the election, when it ran a piece worrying that a “newly vibrant” D.C. would suffer under a Trump administration, as progressive hipsters left for greener (or bluer) pastures. But while fewer hipsters is always a plus, what I really hope would happen is a reduction in the population of lobbyists and senior bureaucrats.

Makes perfect sense.

World's largest Rube Goldberg machine

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In Riga Latvia

From Miss Celania at Neatorama:

The municipal Christmas tree in Riga, Latvia, was switched on by a process that took 412 steps and ten minutes to complete. The video is much shorter because the part where they brewed coffee was condensed, and there may have been other shortcuts for the video.

Snowing in Seattle

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People in the Northwest simply can not drive in snow. It boggles the mind. Here is some cringe-worthy video from Seattle station KING5

You would think that with all the emphasis on outdoor activities - skiing, etc. - that people would learn. I went to school in Boston and lived all over New England for 15 years. The stuff that Seattle has is minimal compared to Vermont or New Hampshire.

The Gore Effect again - Colorado

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From The Daily Caller:

Global Warming Protesters Met With Bitter Cold, Snow
A small group of global warming activists protesting oil and gas drilling outside the Department of Interior office in Colorado Thursday morning were met with bitter cold weather and snow.

About 10 “Keep It In The Ground” activists waved signs next to a busy road in the Denver area, calling for the Obama administration to stop issuing leases so companies can drill on public lands. Activists say drilling only exacerbates global warming.

The irony, however, is activists stood outside about 4 inches of snow with temperatures hovering in the 20s — in degrees Fahrenheit. The official low temperature was negative 10 degrees early Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

To me, the real news is that they were only able to mobilize ten people to protest. Shows what public opinion and wide dissemination of the actual data is doing for their "cause".

Gore Effect? From Infogalactic:

The Gore Effect is an informal and satirical term which alleges a causal relationship between unseasonable cold weather phenomena and global warming activism, with particular emphasis on events attended by former Vice President of the United States and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Al Gore. Usage started when a speech of Al Gore on a global warming rally held in New York City met extremely cold winter weather in January 2004 and according Andrew Bolt after another Gore speech took place on a strikingly cold day in Boston in the same year.

There goes Egypt's tourism revenue

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Just not safe to travel these days - from the Daily Express:

Egyptian pyramids bombing - six dead in attack near major tourist attraction
The explosion appeared to have come from a rubbish bin in Cairo along a route used to access the entrance to the world heritage site, which lies in a western suburb of the capital.

Giza, one of the the seven wonders of the world and the only one to remain largely intact, welcomes thousands of British tourists every year.

Egypt depends on tourism for much of their revenue - 47% of their labor force are in services (29% agriculture and 23% industry). I hope they do the right thing and denounce the terrorists who did this.

The Grim Reaper is having a banner year

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Off for coffee and then back home again

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Heading out for an hour or two - then working at home today.

Started snowing again and it is sticking. Time to build a fire when I get back home. Forecast is for a couple inches.

Off the grid

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Did a quick trip into town yesterday. Had dinner in town, came back to find a truck parked in the entrance to my driveway - flat tire so understandable. Was able to get around them. They asked to borrow a jack so I pulled mine out of the garage, left it with them and came back home to a dark house.

All the neighbors houses were dark too - someone spun out and hit a power pole taking down the entire neighborhood. Did not get power restored until well after midnight. Used my LED lantern and read some of the new Tom Clancy book - pretty good.

Woke up to 3" of snow on the ground. Bear is having fun stomping around in it.

I have a generator but it is such a hassle to get running and connected that I only pull it out for outages of longer than 24 hours.

Ccccccold!

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Got down to 11.8°F last night. I used to live in New England so this is not unknown territory for me but still...

Off for coffee and see what the day will bring. No snow as yet - it was supposed to cloud over last night but it did not. Got continued cold until Friday and then rain forecast with cold and snow returning Sunday and Monday.

Had a big quake off the North California coast near Ferndale/Redding

Crap - John Glenn in the hospital

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From Reuters:

John Glenn, former U.S. astronaut, hospitalized
John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth and a former U.S. senator and war hero, has been hospitalized for more than a week, an official said on Wednesday.

Glenn, 95, is at the James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State University but does not necessarily have cancer, said Hank Wilson, spokesman at the university's John Glenn College of Public Affairs, which Glenn helped found.

"When you're 95, it's always considered serious," said Wilson, who did not have further details about Glenn's condition or his prognosis.

Glenn, the last surviving member of the original seven "Right Stuff" Mercury astronauts, had a knee replacement operation in 2011 and underwent heart surgery in 2014.

Glenn was credited with reviving U.S. pride after the Soviet Union's early domination of manned space exploration, as he became the first American to orbit the Earth on Feb. 20, 1962. Reaching speeds of more than 17,000 miles per hour, he circled the globe three times in just under five hours in the Friendship 7 capsule. Glenn instantly became a hero, receiving a ticker-tape parade in New York City and the Space Congressional Medal of Honor from President John Kennedy.

His experiences as a pioneer astronaut were chronicled in the book and movie "The Right Stuff," along with the other Mercury pilots.

One of my major heroes.

A process just waiting for the technology to catch up - from Next Big Future:

Microwave oil recovery could unlock trillions of barrels of oil and drinkable water from Oil shale and oil sands
Peter Kearl is co-founder and CTO of Qmast which is a Colorado-based company pioneering the use of the microwave technology to recover oil. Oil giants BP and ConocoPhillips are pouring resources into developing similar extraction techniques, which can be far less water- and energy-intensive than fracking.

There is more than 4.285 trillion barrels of oil barrels of oil in the Green River Formation (2011 U.S. Geological Survey of resource in-place). Using oil shale cutoffs of potentially viable (15 gallons per ton) and high grade (25 gallons per ton), it is estimated that between 353 billion and 1.146 trillion barrels of the in-place resource have a high potential for development

The Green river formation is the world’s largest known deposit of kerogen-rich rock and covers Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. This is oil shale.

Oil shale is not shale oil. Shale oil is essentially liquid oil locked up in rock that’s found in deep formations and requires hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for it to flow freely to the wellbore for extraction. Oil shale, on the other hand, isn’t really oil yet. Instead, it is found in more shallow formations that contain solid organic materials called kerogen. Oil shale must be heated to get oil out of it.

Producers would microwave oil shale formations with a beam as powerful as 500 household microwave ovens, cooking the kerogen and releasing the oil. It also would turn the water found naturally in the deposits to steam, which would help push the oil to the wellbore. “Once you remove the oil and water,” Kearl continues, “the rock basically becomes transparent” to the microwave beam, which can then penetrate outward farther and farther, up to about 80 feet from the wellbore. It doesn’t sound like much, but a single microwave-stimulated well, which would be drilled in formations on average nearly 1,000 feet thick, could pump about 800,000 barrels. Qmast plans to have its first systems deployed in the field in 2017 and start producing by the end of that year.

The technology?

The idea that a microwave antenna might do the job has actually been around for a while. However, equipment that can create, steer and stabilize the beam was too bulky to fit down a narrow well. Now, designs that will soon make the technology cheap and commonplace are emerging from small outfits, including one Kearl has set up, and from the defense industry.

And a nice spinoff:

Kearl thinks there is another, immediate use for his technology: to unblock existing oil and gas wells that have become too sluggish to be worth operating. In oil wells, this happens when paraffin wax and other impurities build up in the conduits to the pipe. Similarly, fracking well production declines quickly when the shale absorbs water, causing the rock to swell and squeeze into the fractures and block the gas’s exit. Many of these wells are abandoned despite there being . plenty of remaining oil or gas, and new wells are dug. If microwaves can melt paraffin and boil off water, blocked wells will flow like new. “They could be effectively rehabilitated by microwave heating,” says Kearl. This could help protect environmentally sensitive areas. “If we can produce more oil from old wells, that would lessen interest in drilling for new sources of oil,” says Stephen Brown, an energy economist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

I find it funny that people are crying about scarce resources when we have not even begun to scratch the surface. Peak Oil? Give me a break. Seriously.

The new economy

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How about those jobs - from CNBC:

US Steel wants to accelerate investments, bring back jobs, CEO says
United States Steel would like to accelerate its investments and hire back laid-off employees now that Donald Trump will be occupying the Oval Office, CEO Mario Longhi told CNBC on Wednesday.

"We already structured to do some things, but when you see in the near future improvement to the tax laws, improvements to regulation, those two things by themselves may be a significant driver to what we're going to do," he said in an interview with CNBC's "Power Lunch."

Simplify the tax code, eliminate the loopholes and cut the overall tax rate. Revenues to the Federal Government will soar. Check out the Laffer Curve if you have not already.

From BoingBoing:

The latest generation of chatbot toys listen to your kids 24/7 and send their speech to a military contractor
Last year's Hello Barbie chatbot toy sent all your kid's speech to cloud servers operated by Mattel and its tech partner, but only when your kid held down Barbie's listen button -- new chatbot toys like My Friend Cayla and the i-Que Intelligent Robot are in constant listening mode -- as is your "OK Google" enabled phone, your Alexa-enabled home mic, and your Siri-enabled Ios device -- and everything that is uttered in mic range is transmitted to Nuance, a company that makes text-to-speech tech (you probably know them through their Dragon-branded tools), and contracts to the US military.

In a new FTC complaint filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), and Consumers Union argues that the toys license-agreements and cloud-based listening violate a variety of laws, especially laws protecting children from online data-collection. The way that the manufacturers try to finesse this is really laughable -- as in I snorted aloud when I read it.

We could always get a bunch of these "toys" and play Lenny Bruce monologues over and over and over:

Earthquake education

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Great set of cartoons for earthquake preparation from Amrai Pari and animated by Ross Bollinger - from The BEEB:

Using cartoons to help save lives
Bangladesh is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. In addition to frequent cyclones and drought, large areas of the country are at risk of earthquakes. With densely populated cities, even a relatively small earthquake could have catastrophic consequences. Amrai Pari (Together We Can Do It) is harnessing the power of media to help people be better prepared.

To help, Amrai Pari enlisted Ross Bollinger, an animation artist famous for his tongue-in-cheek Pencilmation cartoons. I caught up with him to tell us a little more about his hopes for the project.

Brilliant idea - here is the first of the series. More at the BBC website

C-c-c-c-cold

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Already down to 19.9°F and it isn't even 6:00PM - got up to a balmy 25.9°F this afternoon. Got the water dribbling in the sink so the pipe from the well-house doesn't freeze.

The Democratic Party

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A great analysis by Ryan Cooper writing at The Week:

Why are so many Democratic operatives cynical, soulless hacks?
The narrowness of Hillary Clinton's stunning loss to Donald Trump — especially given the fact that she actually won the popular vote by 2.5 million and rising — has led many liberals to conclude that the Democratic Party only needs a slight adjustment to win future presidential elections. A better candidate, a more competent campaign, or a more credible message on economic issues — any one of them might have kept the presidency in Democratic hands.

On one level, this is true. A large football stadium's worth of additional votes distributed correctly across three states, and Clinton would be president-elect today. But it also obscures the fact that the Democratic Party has basically collapsed at the state level.

There are many things the party must do to rebuild. Here's one more to add to the growing list: The Democrats need a better breed of operative.

Democratic hacks today have a poor understanding of how to think clearly about their party's best interests. Too often, they confuse being monstrous with political savvy, and fail to see the harm their constant pursuit of big-dollar donors does to their political cause.

Ryan talks about a couple of the Democratic big-wigs - excoriating. He had this to say about Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe:

This is a guy so obsessed with party politics that he once left his wife and hours-old infant in the car while he dropped in on a fundraiser. (He's also got a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease.) Yet as governor, he has worked diligently to get ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion in his state, and more importantly, used his pardon power to restore voting rights to over 109,000 ex-felons.

Yeah - 109,000 more votes for Hillary from an already corrupt state.

You bet they are - whatever happened to the three R's - Reading, 'Riting and 'Rithmitic? From US News and World Report:

Internationally, U.S. Students Are Falling
American students have a math problem.

The latest global snapshot of student performance shows declining math scores in the U.S. and stagnant performance in science and reading.

"We're losing ground — a troubling prospect when, in today's knowledge-based economy, the best jobs can go anywhere in the world," said Education Secretary John B. King Jr. "Students in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Minnesota aren't just vying for great jobs along with their neighbors or across state lines, they must be competitive with peers in Finland, Germany, and Japan."

Math was a stubborn concern. "This pattern that we're seeing in mathematics seems to be consistent with what we've seen in previous assessments ... everything is just going down," said Peggy Carr, acting commissioner at the National Center for Education Statistics.

Some numbers:

The test is based on a 1,000-point scale. Among the findings:

    • In math, the U.S. average score was 470, below the international average of 490. Average scores ranged from 564 in Singapore to 328 in the Dominican Republic.
    • In science, the U.S. average score was 496, about the same as the international average of 493. Average scores ranged from 556 in Singapore to 332 in the Dominican Republic.
    • In reading, the U.S. average score was 497, around the same as the international average of 493. Average scores ranged from 535 in Singapore to 347 in Lebanon.

Being average is for wussies - we need to be exceptional. It is not just Singapore that is cleaning our clock - China, Japan, Finland, Canada, Australia, England, Estonia, Germany... All these nations are significantly ahead of us in terms of quality of education. The PISA Test website can be found here: Programme for International Student Assessment

I have two items to offer, one quote and one chart:

If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.
--Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983

And this from this report (page 2) at CATO Institute:

cato_education.jpg

Nuking the last of the Feijoada for dinner tonight - put on a fresh pot of rice and picked up some green chard at the co-op in town. Expecting to be snowbound for a few days so stocked up on fresh stuff.

Bear came with me in to town and was a perfect angel in the truck. Came home and he went through the dog door and brought in a big chunk of frozen poop as a treat. Needless to say, this is a behavior that will be discouraged. Adding pineapple or meat tenderizer to their food is supposed to make the poops unpalatable. Hot chili sauce was another suggestion so I will try that. Nip that little habit in the bud...

Off for coffee and in to town for the day

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Heading out for morning coffee and then in to town for some shopping. Get stocked up before the snow flies.

Lulu headed back to her house this morning so it is just the critters and me for the next couple of days.

About that global warming

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The forecast cold snap is anifesting right on schedule - from The Weather Channel:

Blizzard Shuts Down Nearly 300 Miles of Major Interstate in North Dakota; Brutal Cold to Follow
Dangerous wind chill factors will continue to plague residents in the Northern Plains Wednesday after a blizzard shut down a nearly 300-mile stretch of a major interstate Tuesday in North Dakota.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol extended the 230-mile closure of Interstate 94 further east to Fargo, according to the Associated Press. Both lanes of I-94 were closed from Dickinson to Fargo; northbound and southbound Interstate 29 was also closed between Fargo and the Canadian border due to zero visibility and blowing and drifting snow.

And from the London Daily Mail:

Get ready for the chill! Forecasters predict temperatures could fall 35 degrees BELOW average as a polar plunge sweeps across the country
People across the country and digging into their closets for gloves and scarves ahead of the arrival of the first polar plunge of the season this week.

In what is being described as the coldest arctic blast since last winter, cities as far apart as Seattle and Chicago are expecting to cop a snow-coating in the coming days.

The cold is expected to stick around next week as well, near freezing and below temperatures forecast in New York, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Massachusetts, Michigan and Tennessee until Thursday.

Got down to 16.7°F at the farm last night - currently a balmy 22.6°F - snow supposed to move in tomorrow. Gorgeous clear skies today.

That is it for the night

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Playing with software and watching YouTube videos.

See you all tomorrow!

Well that sucks - Paddy for Lightroom

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I had been using Lightroom 5.x up until a few months ago when I upgraded to 6.x. I had been using a great program called Paddy for Lightroom that takes a common and cheap MIDI music controller and allows you to assign commands to each knob. You now have faders that control brightness and contrast, etc...

I am finishing off the new system and went to install Paddy and move the controller over to it only to find that the last version of Paddy came out in 2014 and only works with Lightroom 5.x. People have asked about this in the support fora and there has been zero response.

I find that there is a program called MID2LR but it is not as nice as Paddy. There is also a commercial program called LrControl for Lightroom which may work but it is about $60. I may go that route if I can try a demo first. Got spoiled with the earlier version...

Dinner was wonderful

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Caramelized a can of pineapple chunks and they came out nice and tasty. Decant all the juice and put them into a fry-pan with 1/2 cup brown sugar and saute until the remaining juice evaporates and the sugar melts. A good accompaniment to the ham. Had a bag of frozen hash-brown potatoes so did some of those for the starch.

The usual two episodes of Person of Interest and then off to the internets!!!  (because someone out there needs my opinion whether they know it or not)

Fixing dinner

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Doing a half-ham for dinner tonight - pineapple glaze. Hash-browned potato cakes for the starch.

More posting later - working on some other stuff.

The new head of the EPA

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Brilliant - Obama filled the post with politically correct hacks - Trump is putting in a PhD in Chemical Engineering who currently is head of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. From The Daily Caller:

Trump Could Appoint Someone Totally Unexpected To Head EPA
Members of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team are interviewing candidates to head up the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While media reports indicate the president-elect has narrowed the field down to two candidates, a new name is on the lips of some on Trump’s transition team: Dr. Donald van der Vaart.

Van der Vaart is a PhD chemical engineer who currently heads the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. If appointed and approved by Congress, Van der Vaart would be the first PhD scientist to head EPA. He also holds a law degree.

Sources close to Trump’s transition team said van der Vaart would put a halt to overreaching regulations and the so-called “secret science” EPA relies on to push ever-stricter rules on businesses.

“He can see right through this stuff,” a source told The Daily Caller News Foundation, arguing van der Vaart would be critical of any shoddy science coming out of the agency.

Great choice if he is appointed. Here is a link to the letter (PDF file) that van der Vaart wrote to Gina McCarthy on November 28th of this year. Good stuff!

Back home again

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Coffee consumed, bills paid, lights on, internet covered for another month...

Heading out for an hour or so - time to pay some bills and get some coffee...

Why am I not surprised - Detroit recount

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From Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit

Over One-Third of Detroit Precincts Will Not Be Recounted Due to Ballot Discrepancies:
Several of these precincts have different totals between the number of ballots in precinct poll books and the voting machine printout reports.

These Hillary precincts will not be recounted.

Jim links to an article at The Detroit News:

Michigan’s largest county voted overwhelmingly for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, but officials couldn’t reconcile vote totals for 610 of 1,680 precincts during a countywide canvass of vote results late last month.

Most of those are in heavily Democratic Detroit, where the number of ballots in precinct poll books did not match those of voting machine printout reports in 59 percent of precincts, 392 of 662.

They are not tossing those "votes", they are letting this fraud stand.

The first snowflake of the winter

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From Gary McCoy:

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A bit of a ruffle at Boeing

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A tweet from Donald Trump has ruffled some feathers at Boeing. From The Seattle Times:

Trump says Boeing contract for Air Force One should be canceled
A single tweet by President Elect Donald Trump declaring that he wants to cancel the contract for replacement of the Air Force One presidential jets has shocked Boeing and cast doubt on what was expected to be a lucrative crowning order for the 747 jumbo jet.

“Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!” Trump tweeted early Tuesday.

In brief follow-up remarks, Trump told reporters in New York that “The plane is totally out of control. I think it’s ridiculous. I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number.”

“We want Boeing to make a lot of money but not that much money,” he added.

This is exactly why he will be in office in a few weeks. Government spending is out of control - nobody is being held accountable. Re-negotiate the deals. It is fine for a corporation to make money but this is not a government feeding trough.

A wonderful snub - John Kerry

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From Reuters:

Kerry says would be valuable for Trump to seek advice before calls
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday it would be valuable for President-elect Donald Trump's transition team to seek State Department recommendations before contacting foreign leaders but that it had yet to do so.

"We have not been contacted before any of these conversations. We have not been requested to provide talking points," Kerry said during a question-and-answer session at a think tank conference.

Well, that just shows you how much Trump values your intellect and legacy. You wasted your time in the footlights, you made the USA a laughingstock to the rest of the world. Time to pick up your toys and go back home to your sugar-mama.

I just love the pluralis majestatis Kerry tried to use. Nothing majestic about him, just a washed up political hack who was fortunate in marriage. Theresa? Less so.

Tip of the hat to Don Surber for the link.

Hillary's final disgrace:

Fun and games with Social Security

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I turned 66 last month and began collecting my Social Security monthly benefits last year. I plan to be around for a long time so I figured it would be better to collect more smaller payments than to hold off for another ten years and collect a few larger ones.

Tried setting up an online account last year and kept trying, the website would say that I had entered incorrect information and they would lock me out for 24 hours. I finally went in to the Bellingham office to discover that they had my date of birth wrong.

Been wanting to change my medical insurance so I tried last week to set up the online account and it took my SSN, my DOB and then proceeded to ask a series of questions about my history - car loans, credit cards from what institutions, streets and phone numbers I once had. Only problem was that about half of these questions would be a positive answer for my Father and not me. We share the same first and last names but he did not have a middle name whereas I do.

Finally went into their office today and got everything straightened out - they set up an initial stub of an account and gave me a sheet of paper with an activation code so that bootstrapped me into setting up the account. Odd that they did not get their data correct but nice that they had such an easy work-around for it...

The Barbie Typewriter

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Never knew - if you see one at a yard sale, pick it up. From Crypto Museum:

Barbie™ Typewriter
Alphabet substitution cipher
The Barbie Typewriter E-118, is a low-cost electronic typewriter, developed as a children's toy by Mehano in Slovenia (formerly: Yugoslavia) and sold worldwide by Mattel (US). The E-118 is the latest model in the product line that started with the E-115. The electronic typewriter was the successor to the earlier purely mechanical Barbie typewriter models. It is little known that all electronic variants have a hidden built-in cryptographic capability that allows secret writing.


Although the E-118 is basically identical to the earlier models, the exterior has changed quite a bit over the years, probably to appeal more to young girls. Furthermore, the interior (especially the PCB) has been simplified several times in order to cut on production cost. Wilst the earlier models were all made at the Mehano factory in Slovenia, the latest one is assembled in China.

The E-118 consists of a plastic body with a 49-button keyboard, a plastic carriage that accepts common paper sheets, and a daisy wheel printer. It is aimed at children of 5 years and older.

Much more at the site including photos to recognize the various models as well as the keystrokes needed to enable encryption.

Back home for the evening

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Picked up a Costco chicken for dinner and watched two more episodes of Person of Interest. Snow has melted some but is still on the ground.

Time to surf the web and see what the internet faries have brought for me...

Let it snow

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Got an inch of the stuff this morning and more coming down. Got down to 28.6°F last night but already up to 33.8°F so not expecting this white stuff to stick around. Later this week is expected to be another story entirely.

Tuesday and Wednesday are forecast to be clear and sunny (great days for Mt. Baker) and then much more snow on Thursday through the weekend.

Heading into town today for some banking, bill paying and a visit to Social Security to check up on my medicare insurance. Fun stuff. Back in a couple of hours.

Great idea for a costume - Donald Trump

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An annual costume party. From Russia Today:

Trump dressed as himself for ‘Villains and Heroes’ fancy dress bash 
US President-elect Donald Trump kept it simple at a private ‘Villains and Heroes’ costume party on Long Island, New York by going as a billionaire Republican set to take up residence in the White House.

Attending the lavish bash thrown by Republican billionaire Robert Mercer, a fund manager and generous donor, Trump reportedly pointed to himself and said “me” when asked who he had come as, Politico reports.

Federal Election Commission records show Mercer poured millions into a Super PAC that supported Ted Cruz and Donald Trump in their White House races.

The website associated with Super PAC Make America Number 1, which is chaired by Mercer’s daughter, says that its main goal was to “defeat crooked Hillary” Clinton.

In one of the few pictures of Mercer’s party posted on social media, Trump can be seen posing alongside Republican campaign manager and top strategist Kellyanne Conway, who appeared to be dressed as Superwoman.

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Photo from Jeffrey Guterman's Twitter account

Just dropped below 32°F

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The expected cold front is moving in - it is now 31.1°F outside. Heading into town tomorrow - the truck has 4-wheel drive so that should help some if it's icy. Newton's three still come into play though...

Heating up last night's Feijoada for dinner again tonight.

Great news from Illinois - nuclear

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From Forbes:

Illinois Sees The Light -- Retains Nuclear Power
Last Thursday, December 1st, the Illinois State Legislature passed a measure that will allow continued operation of two of the state’s six nuclear power plants.

In a nail-biter more reminiscent of overtime at the Super Bowl, the Illinois State Legislature passed The Future Energy Jobs Bill (SB 2814) with less than an hour remaining in the legislative session. The bi-partisan bill allows Exelon’s Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear power plants to remain open, saving 4,200 jobs and over 22 billion kWhs of carbon-free power each year, more than all of the state’s renewables combined.

These two plants were in jeopardy of closing because even at a low cost of five cents or so per kWh, they were losing a combined $100 million per year because they could not compete with cheap natural gas and wind energy that is subsidized at 2.3¢/kWh. Illinois taxpayers subsidize solar energy at 21¢/kWh. This bill provides these nuclear plants with just 1¢/kWh, and only until market conditions change.

Once again, the only reason that alt.energy works is because it is heavilly subsidized. Our tax dollars are going to fund this energy rat-hole. A bit more - the big picture:

Nuclear power produces over half of Illinois’ electricity, all with no carbon or other polluting emissions. The enormous negative impact of shutting down nuclear plants because of an artificial market finally got through to the Legislature, since the generating capacity of these nuclear plants would have to be replaced by natural gas or coal, doubling the State’s total carbon emissions and ensuring that the state would not meet its emissions goals anytime soon.

And if they had not done this:

This is just what happened in New England after the unnecessary closing of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in 2014. Their clean nuclear energy was replaced entirely by natural gas and out-of-state purchases, the local community was devastated economically, and electricity prices have increased. Fortunately, people are starting to wise up:

Earlier this year, a coalition of scientists and conservationists, including famed climate scientist James Hansen, anti-nuclear activist turned nuclear proponent Michael Shellenberger, and Whole Earth catalogue founder Stewart Brand, sent an open letter to Illinois legislators asking them to “do everything in your power to keep all of Illinois’s nuclear power plants running for their full lifetimes.”

Even the Sierra Club reluctantly supported this bill.

Good news - consider the advances that have been made with personal computers in the last twenty years. The same kinds of advances have happened throughout the entire technological world - nuclear included. There are designs - LFTR or high temperature pebble bed reactors that are walk-away safe and very cheap to build as they do not require the large pressure vessel or containment structure.

Pot meet kettle

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A classic case of projection seen at CNN's Reliable Sources show - from Breitbart:

CNN’s Stelter: Urges Media For More ‘Scrutiny’ Because Trump ‘Lies So Casually, So Cynically’
Sunday on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” host Brian Stelter said President-elect Donald Trump “lies so casually, so cynically” that therefore, “His lies are different and deserves scrutiny.”

Stelter said, “Let’s tell some truths about lying. The way Donald Trump lies has people rethinking some of the basic premises of journalism, like the assumption that everything a president says is automatically news. When President-elect Trump lies so casually, so cynically, the news isn’t so much the false thing he said, it’s that he felt he could go ahead and say it, go ahead and lie to you.”

“That’s the story,” he added. “Why does he bend and flex and twist and warp and distort the truth? Personally I’m curious because I think Trump does it differently than last presidents. His lies are different and deserves scrutiny.”

Of all the moral flaws for Stelter to choose, lying is the strangest. Trump has been a businessman all of his life. If a businessman is caught in a lie, no one will do business with him again. He can no longer be trusted when a deal is being made.

Hillary has such a long history of lying that someone even put up a website about it: Lying Crooked Hillary
Politico has a nice list too: All False statements involving Hillary Clinton

Life in Cuba

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Appropriate - from Weasel Zippers:

Karma: Jeep Pulling Castro’s Ashes Breaks Down During Funeral Procession, Soldiers Have To Push Vehicle
How symbolic for the break down of everything in Cuba because of him:

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Hillary in five years

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A wee bit of rain

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Got almost a half inch of rain last evening - it was hammering down. Mt. Baker got 14" in the last 12 hours and they are in full operation with glorious powder snow.

The cold temps are due Monday with some snow down to this level (600') that evening. More snow Thursday.

Yum - dinner was good

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Been a while since I made Feijoada and we loaded up our bowls and stuffed ourselves. Food coma time - this is a great option for dinner and if you have a pressure cooker, very fast to make. Or else, you can plan ahead and boil some beans the night before.

Watched episodes 3 and 4 of Season 4 of Person of Interest. I am going to miss that show when it runs out next season - perfect mix of police procedural, corruption, computer geekiness and technology.

Dinnertime

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Cooking Feijoada for dinner. Another one of those cheap foods that has become elevated to a delicacy (like BBQ). It was what the Brazilian plantation owners fed their slaves - rice and black beans plus whatever animal offal was available. Cheap and nutritious.

Throw in some better cuts of meat and some bacon and some spices and it is sublime for a cold winter night. It is usually served with a side of collard or beet greens but I am sauteing a large head of bok choy and will toss that with toasted sesame oil and oyster sauce. The rice is put into the center of the bowl, the feijoada ladled onto one side and the greens on the other side.

I am using a pressure cooker so I am going from dried beans to finished product in about 30 minutes of cooking. There is another 20 minutes of prep - chopping stuff, sauteing bacon and ham in the cooker, pulling them out and sauteing onions and garlic in the bacon fat, dump in the meat and beans and about 6 cups of water. Cook for 20 minutes - it takes about five minutes to come up to pressure and another couple minutes to vent after cooking.

Interesting times in Nevada

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From Newsmax:

HUUUGE NEVADA VOTER FRAUD UNCOVERED? WORSE THAN ACORN
Today, Megan Barth interviewed Republican Assembly Candidate for District 15, Stan Vaughan, with actual proof of massive voter fraud in his Clark County district. Vaughan brought into the NEWSMAXTV Las Vegas studio and laid it out for all to see, US postal service certified returned mail from 9,200 voters in District 15. Many of the people who were listed as deceased are still on the active voter rolls today. Many of the returned mail came back with 5 people living in a vacant lot with no mail receptacle.

Edward Snowden, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and dozens of movie stars were registered to vote in District 15 according to Mr. Vaughan. Mr. Vaughan tested a sample of 200 people of the 9,200 return mail and found that 185 of those had indeed voted.

Mr. Vaughan and many others have testified that they went to the polls to vote only to be told they had voted already. They were given a provisional ballots which would only be counted if the total vote count was within 1% according to poll supervisors.

According to Mr. Vaughan, there were other serious voting system irregularities he documented, including early voting numbers flipping day to day. A total number of 17,086 votes were cast in District 15 for both Republican and Democrat candidates. 9,200 voters on the voter rolls who, by law, should not be on the voter rolls is a huuge discrepancy. Vaughan reported the certified returned mail issue to Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, who according to Vaughan, sent the issue back to Clark County to investigate itself.

President Donald Trump lost by only 27,000 votes statewide in Nevada. So 9,200 fraudulent voters in one small Assembly district equals 1/3 almost of the total margin. 9,200 votes was the margin by which Question 1 passed.

It will be interesting to see what Trump's Attorney General will do come January 20th. Statewide photo-id would be a good thing - you need it to buy beer and smokes or to get on an airplane, why not to vote?

His ex Huma Abedin was Hillary's close aide for the last ten years or so. From Breitbart:

Anthony Weiner ‘So Broke’ He Can’t Afford Sex Addiction Rehab
After photos showing disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner back near his pricy New York home, news surfaced that he was found guilty of campaign fund violations, fined $65,000, and is “so broke” that he couldn’t finish his stint in sex addiction rehab.

The sexting congressman had reportedly signed up for a 90-day stint at the Tennessee rehab center he was seen at earlier in November, but according to celebrity watchers he was back in New York at the end of the month, Page Six reported.

“His family wanted him to stay 90 days, but he had to leave because he ran out of money,” a source told the Page Six gossip reporter.

It was also reported that Weiner’s own parents took out a mortgage on their home to pay for his sex addiction rehab.

Weiner has far more problems than combating sex addiction, though, as various agencies are still investigating him for sexual misconduct with an underage girl.

Weiner’s troubles were compounded this month after he was hit with a $65,000 fine for improper use of campaign funds, according to DNAInfo.com.

He brought it on himself - he could have stopped at the first sexting scandal. He would have had to stay out of the public eye for a while but he could then be rehabilitated. Now, those times are past. His wife left him and he is consigned to the sidelines of the political arena - his name a punchline. And of course, no word from the Clinton Foundation on paying off his bills.

Our Climate - a two-fer

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First - shows what levels of self-centered indulgent angst some people have. A clear indication that they fail to grasp the basic facts. From Yale Climate Connections:

Sad about climate change? There's a support group for that.
A dozen people sit in an airy Salt Lake City conference room, the view of the Wasatch mountains a reminder of why they’re here. It is October 2016, and they have gathered to share in grief.

But this is not a typical support group. This smattering of artists, activists, writers, and others is discussing their feelings about how they each contribute to climate change.

The gathering is the brainchild of Laura Schmidt, who described the meeting in a recent Skype interview. Schmidt’s day job at HEAL Utah is to rally others to support clean air legislation in the state. By night, she’s been organizing this monthly “Good Grief” group, which focuses on working through heavy feelings about difficult societal problems, especially climate change.

A bit more:

Schmidt says she wanted to do more than write about those insights in her master’s thesis. She is not a therapist, but she was familiar with Al-Anon family groups, which offer support to family members and friends of alcoholics. She used the stories from her interviews and extensive academic research to develop a roadmap for addressing climate grief. Like the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program, Schmidt’s approach includes a series of steps.

Her twelve steps are just pandering and navel gazing. No looking for the truth and the facts, just reinforcing the narrative and finding acceptance for it.

Second - a major reversal - a volte-face - by one of the guys who started all this foolishness. From Watts Up With That:

SHOCK: The ‘Father of global warming’, James Hansen, dials back alarm

“Contrary to the impression favored by governments, the corner has not been turned toward declining emissions and GHG amounts…. Negative CO2 emissions, i. e., extraction of CO2 from the air, is now required.”
– James Hansen, “Young People’s Burden.” October 4, 2016.

“The ponderous response of the climate system also means that we don’t need to instantaneously reduce GHG amounts.”
– James Hansen, “We Hold Truths to be Self-Evident December 2,  2016.

What a difference a few months make!

Just in time for holiday season, and for the Trump Administration, the father of the climate alarm, formerly a climate scientist with NASA/GISS, and now a full-time scientist/activist, has ameliorated his grand climate alarm. The 10-year ultimatum announced in 2006, made more dire in 2009 and since, is now moderated.

This October, we were told that the net emissions of of man-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere must go negative. Now, “we don’t need to instantaneously reduce GHG amounts.”

A climate scientist might want to see Dr. Hansen’s math and model simulation to understand the revision in the last sixty days.

Maybe the climate can survive Donald Trump after all!

Hansen founded the Goddard Institute for Space Studies but was booted from it because he was doing political grandstanding and not science. The science is settled. Balderdash!

Experiences with an Ouija Board

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From dami_lee @ Instagram by way of Miss Celania at Neatorama.

Off for coffee and working at home today

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Doing some stuff in the radio room and working on the new media computer.

Back in an hour or two.

From The Hill:

Ark. lawmaker wants Clintons' names removed from Little Rock airport
An Arkansas state senator wants to take Bill and Hillary Clinton’s names off the state’s largest airport.

State Sen. Jason Rapert (R) said November’s election results show Arkansans don’t believe the Clintons should have Little Rock’s airport named in their honor.

“The Clintons left Arkansas and do not reside here,” Rapert told The Hill. “Many in our state do not want the first thing people see and last thing they remember about Arkansas being two of the most scandal-ridden politicians in American history.”

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was routed in Arkansas in the presidential election, losing to President-elect Donald Trump 61 percent to 34 percent. Clinton won only eight of the state’s 75 counties — including Pulaski County, where the airport is based. No Democrat has seriously competed for Arkansas’s electoral votes since former President Bill Clinton won reelection in 1996.

You know your luster has faded when they propose stuff like this. Good riddance.

From USA Today:

Hawaii's forecast: Icy and dangerous conditions. No, really.
Forget the swimsuits for Hawaii and pack raincoats and winter parkas.

The National Weather Service issued a winter-storm warning until 6 p.m. Saturday local time, with heavy, flooding rainfall across the chain of Pacific islands and up to 30 inches of snow on the peaks of the Big Island.

Here is a photo of Mauna Kea taken yesterday - there is usually a light dusting of snow - I have never seen it this thick:

20161202-maunakea.jpg

This image is made from webcam video provided by Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope,
the CFHT telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea on Hawaii's Big Island. Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016

Silicon Valley and Donald Trump

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I am loving that this man does not play by anyone's rule-book - from The New York Times:

Silicon Valley Chiefs Notably Absent From Trump’s Cabinet of Business Advisers
In President-elect Donald J. Trump’s newly named kitchen cabinet of business advisers, Wall Street is in. Silicon Valley is out.

Mr. Trump has named 16 business leaders to serve on what’s being called the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum, described as a group meant to guide his administration on economic matters.

The list is notable for leaning toward New York executives and industries — finance in particular. The list echoes Mr. Trump’s picks for a number of major economic positions, including Treasury secretary (the former Goldman Sachs partner and hedge fund manager Steven T. Mnuchin) and commerce secretary (the billionaire investor Wilbur L. Ross).

Good - the silicon valley people made their money by a fluke - the technology caught on big-time. Now they want a big centralized government that can cut them all kinds of loopholes and tax breaks while preventing a new company from rising up and challenging their dominion. That way, they can stay on the top without actually having to do anything like product development or - you know - innovate.

The people that Trump is choosing are businessmen - they actually have to show a profit and hold the bottom line for their stockholders.

The media do not get it - Donald Trump

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Classic case from The New York Times:

How Trump’s Calls to World Leaders Are Upsetting Decades of Diplomacy
President-elect Donald J. Trump has broken with decades of diplomatic practice in freewheeling calls with foreign leaders.

President Trump was elected because he promissed to throw out the Washington "rule-book" and make America great again. He is responding to the voice of the people. The meddling by diplomatic hacks like Hillary and Kerry have caused more conflict and strife throughout the world than if we just sat back and did nothing.

Fish and Plastic

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Earlier this year, there was a big environmental story about how juvenile fish were eating bits of plastic instead of their normal food and it was killing them. Here are some links:

The uproar was such that the use of plastic microbeads in toothpastes and cosmetics has been severely curtailed if not outright banned. Here, here, here, here, here and here.

Well guess what. From today's Retraction Watch:

Stolen data prompts Science to flag debated study of fish and plastics
In August, Science told us it was considering adding an Expression of Concern to a high-profile paper about how human pollution is harming fish — and yesterday, the journal did it.

The move comes after a group of researchers alleged the paper contains missing data, and the authors followed a problematic methodology. In September, however, the co-authors’ institution, Uppsala University in Sweden, concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to launch a misconduct investigation.

The notice from Science stems from the theft of a computer carrying some of the paper’s raw data, making it impossible to reproduce some of its findings:

In the 3 June issue, Science published the Report “Environmentally relevant concentrations of microplastic particles influence larval fish ecology” by Oona M. Lönnstedt and Peter Eklöv (1). The authors have notified Science of the theft of the computer on which the raw data for the paper were stored. These data were not backed up on any other device nor deposited in an appropriate repository. Science is publishing this Editorial Expression of Concern to alert our readers to the fact that no further data can be made available, beyond those already presented in the paper and its supplement, to enable readers to understand, assess, reproduce or extend the conclusions of the paper.

“Environmentally relevant concentrations of microplastic particles influence larval fish ecology” caught the media’s attention for suggesting fish larvae are eating small particles of plastic rather than their natural prey. It became the focus of scrutiny soon after it was published when a group of researchers raised allegations of misconduct, even submitting a formal letter outlining their concerns.

We contacted corresponding author Oona M. Lönnstedt, and received an out-of-office message.

Heh - oops - laptop stolen and no backup of the data. So no verification. Cherry picked data if not outright fabrication. The whole fish/plastics thing was just another example of wishful thinking. Narrative passing for critical thought -- that is the hallmark of the liberal mind.

Trump reaches out to Taiwan

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History being made by our new President - from The Hill:

Trump makes history with phone call to Taiwan leader
Donald Trump spoke on the phone with Taiwan President Tsai Ying-wen, a conversation that breaks decades of U.S. protocol and risks a clash with China.

Trump’s transition team confirmed late Friday that the president-elect had spoken by phone on Friday with Taiwan's president, the first conversation between a U.S. president or president-elect with Taiwan's leader since 1979, when the two countries severed diplomatic ties.

1979? That would be Jimmy Carter's administration. Obama elevated President Carter to the second-worst President in recent history. A bit more:

The Taiwanese leader “offered her congratulations” to Trump and the two leaders “noted the close economic, political, and security ties exists between Taiwan and the United States,” according to a statement from Trump’s team.

The White House was not given advance notice about the call, according to an administration official.

The phone call will almost certainly infuriate Beijing, which sees Taiwan as a breakaway province.

I love it - the current administration and China just got bitch-slapped. China knows that Trump will be cancelling any and all trade deals so they are going to have to come crawling to the table if they want to get anything from the United States.

Some Christmas cheer

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And how was your thanksgiving?

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From Seattle station KING:

Woman breaks fingers, delivers a baby, and puts Thanksgiving dinner on the table
A Tacoma woman has quite a story to tell after her unexpectedly hectic Thanksgiving. It started with a triathlon, took her to a hospital, and ended at the dinner table with baby pictures.

Rhonda DiCostanzo was up before sunrise on Thanksgiving morning. She kneaded some dough for the dinner rolls and headed out to participate in a YMCA triathlon.

As she was crossing the finish line, she tripped, fell, and broke two of her fingers. DiCostanzo works as a midwife at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma. She hurried over to the ER, where she knows some nurses, to get her hand fixed up.

“And I heard this lady come in, and she was obviously in very active labor and was obviously going to deliver very quickly. You could just hear it,” DiCostanzo said.

Jessica Morales could not wait a minute longer. The hospital delivery staff were still on their way. So DiCostanzo rushed over, with her hand still injured, and single-handedly delivered Morales's baby boy.

“Afterward I showed her my hospital band and said, ‘you know I'm a patient here, too,’ and she said, ‘WHAT?’” DiConstanzo recalled.

DiCostanzo wasn't finished. She returned home and still managed to serve Thanksgiving dinner to 16 guests.

“What a great day, what a wonderful life I lead. Triathlon, deliver baby, cook dinner, have time with family and friends, life is good,” she said while relaxing at home, Friday.

That will be in the family story-line for a long long time...

About that renewable energy - Europe

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It is a joke - worse for the environment than just burning coal - from New Scientist:

Europe’s green energy policy is a disaster for the environment
The European Union’s proposals for revising its renewable energy policies are greenwashing and don’t solve the serious flaws, say environmental groups.

The EU gets 65 per cent of its renewable energy from biofuels – mainly wood – but it is failing to ensure this bioenergy comes from sustainable sources, and results in less emissions than burning fossil fuels. Its policies in some cases are leading to deforestation, biodiversity loss and putting more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than burning coal.

Like the old saying goes: "Our appearance of careful management is just a careful management of appearances."

Global warming anyone?

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From The Japan Times:

Tokyo area gets first November dusting of snow in 54 years
Snow fell in Tokyo and elsewhere in eastern Japan on Thursday, the first snowfall to hit the Japanese capital in November in 54 years, disrupting traffic and causing electricity usage to spike due to heating demand.

Injuries were also reported in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures, including people who slipped on snowy roads and suffered fractured bones, according to firefighters and other authorities.

Freezing temperatures also caused snow to accumulate in Tokyo for the first time in November according to records going back to 1875.

Time to break out the blankets and jackets. It is going to be a cold next couple of decades.

Simon's Cat

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A new episode:

Illegal immigrants and voting

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Some sobering numbers from all fin next level:

Illegal Alien Voting Significant; Covered Up by Obama and Media
… 13% of noncitizens said they were registered to vote. That matches closely the Old Dominion/George Mason study, in which 15.6% of noncitizens said they were registered.
Source

As many as 3 million illegals — perhaps more — may have voted for Hillary Clinton on November 9. Here’s how it could have happened:

The following excerpt comes from a Wall Street Journal original news article:

…there is a real chance that significant numbers of noncitizens and others are indeed voting illegally, perhaps enough to make up the margin in some elections.

There’s no way of knowing for sure. The voter-registration process in almost all states runs on the honor system. The Obama administration has done everything it can to [prevent meaningful reform]. The Obama Justice Department has refused to file a single lawsuit to enforce the requirement of the National Voter Registration Act that states maintain the accuracy of their voter-registration lists. This despite a 2012 study from the Pew Center on the States estimating that one out of every eight voter registrations is inaccurate, out-of-date or duplicate.

The liberals know that they have nothing to offer to real Americans so they are forced to resort to law-breaking and deceit. Ideas so great they have to be mandatory.

I like Mark Wahlberg

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Watched a few episodes of his reality TV show Wahlburgers (about his family opening a chain of hamburger stands) and he seems to be ethical. I am liking this post from Task and Purpose:

Mark Wahlberg Thinks Celebrities Need to Shut Up About Politics
The star of the new terrorism drama, “Patriots Day,” spoke to Task & Purpose about how out of touch Hollywood is with the average American.
Mark Wahlberg has been a rapper. He appeared shirtless and grinning on a 40-foot billboard in Times Square. He launched his own burger chain. And he starred in some of the greatest movies ever made, including “Boogie Nights,” “Three Kings,” “The Departed,” and “Lone Survivor.”

Just do not expect him to opine on politics.

“A lot of celebrities did, do, and shouldn’t,” he told Task & Purpose last week, at a swanky luncheon in New York, held on behalf of his upcoming film “Patriots Day.” We were talking about the parade of actors and musicians who lined up to denounce Donald Trump in the months and weeks leading up to Election Day.

And this paragraph:

“You know, it just goes to show you that people aren’t listening to that anyway,” he continued. “They might buy your CD or watch your movie, but you don’t put food on their table. You don’t pay their bills. A lot of Hollywood is living in a bubble. They’re pretty out of touch with the common person, the everyday guy out there providing for their family. Me, I’m very aware of the real world. I come from the real world and I exist in the real world. And although I can navigate Hollywood and I love the business and the opportunities it’s afforded me, I also understand what it’s like not to have all that.”

Hell yeah! Talk about speaking truth to power. He can navigate the Hollywood bubble but he does not live there. I love it!

About the flow of illegal immegrants

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From The Times of Israel:

François Fillon’s French Revolution
Political pollsters and pundits who were confounded by Brexit and by Trump’s win must now face yet another challenge to conventional wisdom: the stunning victory of François Fillon in France’s conservative primaries for the 2017 presidential election.  Fillon embodies all that France’s socialist, secular, and moralist elite reviles: He is a Thatcherite, a devout Catholic, and a political realist.  The fact that he won the primaries by a two-third majority is but another confirmation of the gap between elitist narratives and popular feelings.

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's the battle outside raging
It'll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changing

True words and interesting times in the best sense of the word.

Meet  - Lindley Johnson, NASA’s planetary defense officer. From Bloomberg:

The Man Who Stands Between Earth and Asteroid Armageddon
Lindley Johnson spent 23 years in the U.S. Air Force keeping his eyes above the skies. He helped identify and tackle a growing risk to human space activity—the sheer volume of stuff orbiting the planet—in addition to helping manage and monitor military assets in orbit. In 1982, the Air Force set up a space command to coordinate its activities, not the least of which was making sure the then-new Space Shuttle fleet wouldn’t have a tragic encounter with spacefaring material.

In the early 1990s, Johnson’s focus turned to natural threats to the planet from near-Earth asteroids, now a large and growing class of rocks that scientists track both for their potential impact risk and to study the solar system. About 1,500 new objects are discovered every year. Since retiring as a lieutenant colonel several years ago, he’s become the founding head of NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office, overseeing a network of ground-based telescope surveys for new asteroids and working with other agencies to prepare for the unlikely event of a direct hit. His job title—no pressure—is Planetary Defense Officer.

A sign on the credenza in his office reads, “Every Day is Asteroid Day,” he said.

A fascinating interview. A lot of what is written about in popular press is wrong. You can't just send up a missle and nuke it.

I wrote about another interesting person in March of this year - Dr. Judah Levine - our Time Lord.

The coming cold wave

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Time to get out the winter coats - cold wave is forecast for the entire United States - from NOAA:

20161201-NOAA.jpg

Lots of moisture in the forecast too - hat tip to Watts Up With That for the link.

Great essay by Dennis Prager at National Review:

Ten Reasons Left-Wingers Cut Trump Voters from Their Lives
Many Hillary Clinton voters have ceased communicating with friends, and even family members, who voted for Donald Trump. It is so common that the New York Times published a front-page article on the subject headlined “Political Divide Splits Relationships — and Thanksgiving, Too.”

The article begins with three stories:

Matthew Horn, a software engineer from Boulder, Colo., canceled Christmas plans with his family in Texas. Nancy Sundin, a social worker in Spokane, Wash., has called off Thanksgiving with her mother and brother. Ruth Dorancy, a software designer in Chicago, decided to move her wedding so that her fiancé’s grandmother and aunt, strong Trump supporters from Florida, could not attend.

The Times acknowledges that this phenomenon is one-sided, saying, “Democrats have dug in their heels, and in some cases are refusing to sit across the table from relatives who voted for President-elect Donald J. Trump.”

Dennis then asks this question:

All of this raises an obvious question: Why is this phenomenon of cutting off contact with friends and relatives so one-sided? Why don’t we hear about conservatives shunning friends and relatives who supported Hillary Clinton? After all, almost every conservative considered Clinton to be ethically and morally challenged. And most believed that another four years of left-wing rule would complete what Barack Obama promised he would do in 2008 if he were elected president — fundamentally transform the United States of America.

And then offers ten reasons why left-wingers cut Trump voters from their lives. Here are a few:

2. Many, if not most, leftists have been indoctrinated with leftism their entire lives.

This is easily shown. There are far more conservatives who read articles, who listen to and watch left-wing broadcasts, and who have studied under left-wing teachers than there are people on the left who have read, listened to, or watched anything of the Right or who have taken classes with conservative instructors.

As a result, those on the left really believe that those on the right are all SIXHIRB: sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, and bigoted. Not to mention misogynistic and transphobic.

And:

6. The Left associates human decency not so much with personal integrity as with having correct — i.e. progressive — political positions. Therefore, if you don’t hold progressive positions, you lack decency. Ask your left-wing friends if they’d rather their high-school son or daughter cheat on tests or support Trump.

And:

8. Unlike conservatives, politics gives most leftists’ lives meaning. Climate change is a good example. For leftists, fighting carbon emissions means saving human existence on earth. Now, how often does anyone get a chance to literally save the world? Therefore, to most leftists, if you voted for Trump, you have both negated their reason for living and are literally destroying the planet. Why would they have Thanksgiving or Christmas with such a person?

A bit of a long essay but well worth reading for the insight into the liberal thought process.

Dolly Parton - classy lady

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From ABC News:

Dolly Parton Promises $1,000 per Month to Families That Lost Homes in Tennessee Wildfires
Dolly Parton has promised to donate $1,000 per month to families that lost their homes in devastating wildfires that have burned some 15,000 acres and scorched 700 buildings in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, where she grew up.

The famed country singer and a co-owner of Dollywood, a resort that barely escaped the wildfires’ destruction, said in a statement released late Wednesday night that the Dollywood companies and the Dollywood Foundation would set up the My People Fund to benefit the victims.

“I’ve always believed charity begins at home, and my home is someplace special,” Parton said. “We want to provide a hand up to those families who have lost everything in the fires. I know it has been a trying time for my people, and this assistance will help get them back on their feet.”

That will be lifesaving to the families there. She is a very private person off-stage. Nice to know that she has such an amazing heart.

Lots of stuff copied over

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Turns out that I had 39,150 files totalling 267 Gigabytes of photos, MP3 files, assorted files, etc... Quite the stash of stuff.

Starting to copy onto the new machine in a short while - Lulu just showed up so we are catching up on things.

Copied a bunch of files from the old system to the new one - still have an hour or so to finish copying so heading out for coffee. There was a 256GB solid state drive originally installed and I upgraded that to a 1TG drive - planning to move the 256GB to this machine (email, blogging and web development) so that should improve the performance by quite a bit (this is a five year old machine).

Lulu is expected out later today. Bear ate all of his food today with minimal wandering away from the bowl - see how that goes.

February 2017

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


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


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


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


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


Business and Economics
The Austrian Economists
Carpe Diem
Coyote Blog


Photography and Art
Digital Photography Review
DIYPhotography
James Gurney
Joe McNally's Blog
PetaPixel
photo.net
Shorpy
Strobist
The Online Photographer


Blogrolling
A Western Heart
AMCGLTD.COM
American Digest
The AnarchAngel
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
Babalu Blog
Belmont Club
Bayou Renaissance Man
Classical Values
Cobb
Cold Fury
David Limbaugh
Defense Technology
Doug Ross @ Journal
Grouchy Old Cripple
Instapundit
iowahawk
Irons in the Fire
James Lileks
Lowering the Bar
Maggie's Farm
Marginal Revolution
Michael J. Totten
Mostly Cajun
Neanderpundit
neo-neocon
Power Line
ProfessorBainbridge.com
Questions and Observations
Rachel Lucas
Roger L. Simon
Samizdata.net
Sense of Events
Sound Politics
The Strata-Sphere
The Smallest Minority
The Volokh Conspiracy
Tim Blair
Velociworld
Weasel Zippers
WILLisms.com
Wizbang


Gone but not Forgotten...
A Coyote at the Dog Show
Bad Eagle
Steven DenBeste
democrats give conservatives indigestion
Allah
BigPictureSmallOffice
Cox and Forkum
The Diplomad
Priorities & Frivolities
Gut Rumbles
Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0
MegaPundit
Masamune
Neptunus Lex
Other Side of Kim
Publicola
Ramblings' Journal
Sgt. Stryker
shining full plate and a good broadsword
A Physicist's Perspective
The Daily Demarche
Wayne's Online Newsletter

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