November 2017 Archives

Llama drama

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Got my two back behind the electric fence - got the power turned on so they should stay there for a while.

Packing the truck and getting ready to head down to Seattle - Trish's birthday is Sunday and she has some time off from work so we are going to do some painting and replace her kitchen floor (currently 1980's linoleum - badly cracked and stained). Meeting with some people tomorrow morning and going to an auction on Saturday.

An interesting website - dangerous

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Life in Puget Sound

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Just when we thought all we had to worry about was the Cascadia Subduction Zone (here, here and here) - from the Seismological Society of America

Large Quakes Along Olympic Mountain Faults
A comprehensive study of faults along the north side of the Olympic Mountains of Washington State emphasizes the substantial seismic hazard to the northern Puget Lowland region. The study examined the Lake Creek-Boundary Creek and Sadie Creek faults along the north flank of the Olympic Mountains, and concludes that there were three to five large, surface-rupturing earthquakes along the faults within the last 13,000 years.

The study published September 26 in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America estimates that the two most recent earthquakes on the faults, one occurring around 2900 years ago and one occurring 1300 years ago, were likely of magnitude 7 and magnitude 6 to 7, respectively. Based on an analysis of fault scarps mapped with airborne lidar imagery (a remote sensing method used to examine the Earth’s surface) and the dating of earthquake stratigraphy in trenches, fault slip rates are about one to two millimeters per year, and as much as 56 kilometer lengths of the faults may have ruptured during earthquakes.

While the presence of large earthquakes in the region is not surprising, given the ongoing tectonic deformation in the region, said Alan Nelson and Steve Personius of the U.S. Geological Survey, the Lake Creek-Boundary Creek fault, and other young, active faults like it, pose a significant earthquake hazard for the northern Puget Lowland region. The Puget Lowland includes Seattle and extends through western Washington from Bellingham in the north to Olympia and Tacoma in the south.

The threat of a magnitude 8 to 9 megathrust earthquake and tsunami in the Pacific Northwest at the Cascadia subduction zone offshore, where the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate is pushed underneath the North American plate, often steals the seismic hazard spotlight in the region. But much shallower, upper-plate earthquakes also can produce strong ground shaking and damage. At least nine active upper-plate faults, like the Lake Creek-Boundary Creek fault, have been documented in the Puget Lowland, said Nelson.

“If you consider the hazard from these upper-plate faults, whose earthquake epicenters are only 10 or 15 kilometers deep, future upper-plate earthquakes will be much closer to large population centers in the Puget Lowland region,” Nelson said, “than will larger earthquakes on the plate boundary of the Cascadia subduction zone.”

Bend over and kiss your ass goodbye. Still, looking at the long-term, no place is safe so worrying is useless. Preparing is not.

Llama wrangling

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Heading out for coffee and getting some carrots at the store to llure the llamas back into the paddock.

Ffun...

Looks like the Green's war on coal was poorly thought out - the waste from coal mining is another richly concentrated mine of it's own. From the United States Department of Energy:

High Concentrations of Rare Earth Elements Found in American Coal Basins
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has found high rare earth element (REE) concentrations in coal samples taken from the Illinois, Northern Appalachian, Central Appalachian, Rocky Mountain Coal Basins, and the Pennsylvania Anthracite region. These highly concentrated samples are greater than 300 parts per million (ppm).

“Rare Earth Elements are vital to the development and manufacturing of high-tech devices such as computers, cell phones, and our national defense systems,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “The current difficulties and high expenses associated with REE extraction has left the U.S. dependent on foreign REE imports. Supporting innovative research and development to establish efficient, cost-effective REE extraction methods is critical to our country’s energy and national security.”

Concentrations of rare earths at 300 ppm are integral to the commercial viability of extracting REEs from coal and coal by-products, making NETL’s finding particularly significant in the effort to develop economical domestic supplies of these elements.

Much more at the site - the cool thing is that they are looking at the acid mine runoff and lignite (bad coal) deposits. Both of these are considered to be toxic to the environment but they are rich sources of rare earths and mining these two will remove the toxicity and benefit our technology. Win/Win.

Rare Earths are used for magnets, video displays, MRI instruments for hospitals, aircraft instrumentation, audio and video recording, cameras, the list is huge. Our only source for them has been China because of our own environmentalists blocking any new development. To find that we have abundant sources sitting in what is otherwise a waste stream is pure gravy for the United States.

One out of three

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Got the fence repaired - the electric tape was sagging in parts and was broken in one spot. Was able to lure one of my three llamas inside the paddock but the other two came as far as the fenceline but would go no farther. I had a bucket of their favorite alfalfa pellets but they were not tempted.

I also turned on the fence charger - it had been turned off during the long hot dry spell we had last summer - did not want to start a grass fire.

Pick up some carrots at the store tomorrow and lure them in.

Left over Costco meat loaf for dinner tonight as well as a big salad.

Joys of large animal ownership

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Just got a call that my llamas have eloped again. Got my boots on and heading out to get them back in and check the fenceline to see where they got out...

Hmmmm - wonder what llama steaks taste like...

Out for the day

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Heading out for coffee and to do some bookwork

More later...

And that is it for the night

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Up early this morning so tired. Long couple of days until Friday.

23 days until

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the Winter Solstice and the days start getting longer again. Feels like forever.

Day length today was 8:39:23 - on December 21st it will be 8:15:47. December 22nd, 8:15:50 and the long slow march to summer begins again.

Website: Time and Date

Crap - North Korea

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Will this moron ever stop with his delusions? From FOX News:

North Korea fires ICBM into Japanese waters
North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) around 1:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the first such launch from the rogue regime in more than two months, a U.S. official confirmed to Fox News.

The missile, believed to be an ICBM by the Pentagon based on initial assessments, was launched from Sain Ni, North Korea and flew roughly 620 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency, which first reported the launch, said the missile launch happened around 3 a.m. local time in North Korea. South Korea fired pinpoint missiles into nearby waters to make sure North Korea understands it can be "taken under fire" by the South, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said.

North Korea has been working hard to perfect “re-entry” technology to one day have a warhead be able to survive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. This ICBM would be able to hit any city within the U.S. if a warhead is able to survive re-entry.

Fat boy Kim is believing his own propaganda. The day he actually tries to attack someone, or the day that a nuke is set off and the signature determined to be from Nork is his last day on Earth. A unified capitalist Korea will be an economic powerhouse - I am looking forward to its inevitability.

From British technology site The Register:

'Break up Google and Facebook if you ever want innovation again'
If the tech industry wants another wave of innovation to match the PC or the internet, Google and Facebook must be broken up, journalist and film producer Jonathan Taplin told an audience at University College London's Faculty of Law this week.

He was speaking at an event titled Crisis in Copyright Policy: How the digital monopolies have cornered culture and what it means for all of us, where he credited the clampers put on Bell then IBM for helping to create the PC industry and the internet.

The Director Emeritus of the Annenburg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California also wrote the book Move Fast and Break Things, a surprise bestseller. Plenty of "the internet is awful" books have come and gone over the past decade but Taplin's experience captured the post-Trump mood, which has turned strongly against Silicon Valley's giant internet platforms this year. Taplin's experience is the difference: it's vast and varied. Over the years he's been Bob Dylan's manager, produced the movies Mean Streets and The Last Waltz, and in 1997 launched the first ever VoD startup Intertainer, from which he knows a bit about antitrust.

A lot more at the site - makes perfect sense. 20 years ago, there was this fertile sea of innovation. Now it has dried up and only three entities have emerged - Google, Facebook and Microsoft; each of which are acting in their own self-interest.

Back at the farm for now

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Spending a couple of days here then meeting up with some people and then back to Seattle - Trish's birthday is soon.

Got a Costco meatloaf cooking in the oven - was going to do a salad but the lettuce had turned.

Surf for a bit after dinner.

A return to traditional values - Poland

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This will be interesting to follow - from England's Catholic Herald:

Poland to phase out Sunday shopping by 2020
Polish MPs have approved a bill that will phase out Sunday shopping by 2020.

Initially proposed by trade unions, the idea received the support of the ruling conservative Law and Justice Party, who want to allow workers to spend more time with their families.

The Sejm, the lower house of Poland’s parliament, passed the bill by 254 to 156 to restrict Sunday shopping to the first and last Sunday of the month until the end of 2018, only on the last Sunday in the month in 2019, and to ban it totally starting in 2020. It will still be permitted, however, on the Sundays before major holidays such as Christmas. Some bakeries and online shops will also be exempt.

Poland's Sejm is roughly equivalent to our House of Representatives - the peole are elected by popular vote and are there to represent the general population. A victory of 254 to 156 is a pretty forceful statement.

This will be fun to see - from Reuters:

Trump: 'I don't see a deal' with Democrats on keeping government open
U.S. President Donald Trump said he will meet on Tuesday with the Democratic leaders of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, to discuss keeping the government open but cited differences with them.

“Meeting with “Chuck and Nancy” today about keeping government open and working. Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don’t see a deal!” Trump said in a Twitter post.

Cue the sound of the soft popping as liberal heads explode. The thing though is that this was what he campaigned on, this is what he was promising and he gave them a year to deal with it. They did not - either willfully blind or assuming that they had equal executive powers (stupid either way) - and now it is time to pay the piper...

Here we go again

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More of the usual fall weather - from the National Weather Service:

Winter Storm Warning
...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO
10 PM PST TUESDAY...
* WHAT...Heavy snow expected. Plan on difficult travel conditions.
Total snow accumulations of 10 to 20 inches, with local amounts
up to three feet, are expected.

* WHERE...Cascades of Whatcom and Skagit Counties above about 3000
feet. This includes State Route 542 to the Mount Baker ski area.

And to add to the fun - the Bellingham Herald:

High winds, possible landslides threaten Western Washington
Western Washington is on the watch for high winds and potential landslides.

The National Weather Service issued high wind warnings north of Seattle in Mount Vernon and Bellingham, as well as in San Juan County and along the north and central parts of the coast.

And how much wind?

There may be falling trees and limbs and power outages with wind gusts of up to 55 miles per hour. The weather service also says the Cascade Mountains in that area could receive between one and three feet of snow.

We get weather like this a couple times/year so it is not that unusual but still, every time it hits, another crop of branches find their way to the power lines.

James O'Keefe strikes again

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Nothing concrete as yet but he always comes up with interesting stuff. This time from The Washington Post:

A woman approached The Post with dramatic — and false — tale about Roy Moore. She appears to be part of undercover sting operation
A woman who falsely claimed to The Washington Post that Roy Moore, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama, impregnated her as a teenager appears to work with an organization that uses deceptive tactics to secretly record conversations in an effort to embarrass its targets.

In a series of interviews over two weeks, the woman shared a dramatic story about an alleged sexual relationship with Moore in 1992 that led to an abortion when she was 15. During the interviews, she repeatedly pressed Post reporters to give their opinions on the effects that her claims could have on Moore’s candidacy if she went public.

And her ties to Project Veritas (O'Keefe's organization)

But on Monday morning, Post reporters saw her walking into the New York offices of Project Veritas, an organization that targets the mainstream news media and left-leaning groups. The organization sets up undercover “stings” that involve using false cover stories and covert video recordings meant to expose what the group says is media bias.

The Judge Moore story was initially published in the Washington Post after they printed an editorial endorsing his Democratic oponent. The claim is 40 years old and Judge Moore has had a very long career of public service - I would think that this would have surfaced a long time ago if there was any valaditity to the claim.

The claim was reported by only one news source - the Post - and there has been no subsequent corroboration from other sources. I call bogus - fake news.

Here is the website of Project Veritas and their story on bias at The Washington Post:

BREAKING: Undercover Video Exposes Washington Post’s Hidden Agenda
In newly released undercover video, Washington Post National Security Correspondent Dan Lamothe and Director of Product Joey Marburger speak to the paper’s hidden agenda. Evidently, covering Trump the way they do is good business, even though it’s fake news.

Marburger admits that Trump coverage is important to their success, even if the coverage isn’t always faithful: “It’s hard to get away from him [Trump], and people find it draining, but we think about that. If Trump just disappeared tomorrow, our traffic would drop by thirty percent. So we think about that.”

All the news that's fit to invent. Fake. Their interest is in the money and not journalism. James closes his post with this wonderful line:

Stay tuned because there are more videos to come.

Heh - I bet! He has a book coming out soon - American Pravda: My Fight for Truth in the Era of Fake News

Back home

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Productive day - now time to surf for a bit.

Off to town

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Coffee first...

More posting later

China and North Korea

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If he is going down, will he take others with him? From The Daily Caller:

Conyers’ Attorney Hints At ‘Allegations’ Against ‘Many Members’ Of The House And Senate
The attorney for Democratic Michigan Rep. John Conyers, who is accused of continuously sexually harassing his female staffers, defended Conyers by indicating that there are allegations against “many members” of the House and Senate.

Conyers’ attorney, Arnold E. Reed, released a statement defending the Michigan Democrat and pushing back against the “disturbing allegations.” The bizarre statement was written in all-CAPS and referred to both Reed and Conyers in the third person.

Fun to see the swamp being drained...

Some encouraging news from Saudi Arabia

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Looks like they are cleaning house and joining the 21st century - from Yahoo/Agence France Presse:

Saudi vows new Islamic alliance 'will wipe terrorists from the earth'
Saudi Arabia's crown prince vowed to "pursue terrorists until they are wiped from the face of the earth" as officials from 40 Muslim countries gathered Sunday in the first meeting of an Islamic counter-terrorism alliance.

"In past years, terrorism has been functioning in all of our countries... with no coordination" among national authorities, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also Saudi defence minister, said in his keynote address to the gathering in Riyadh.

"This ends today, with this alliance."

The summit is the first meeting of defence ministers and other senior officials from the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, which officially counts 41 countries and identifies as a "pan-Islamic unified front" against violent extremism.

And this bit of background from Thomas L. Friedman writing at The New York Times (quoting the 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman also refered to as M.B.S.): 

“My father saw that there is no way we can stay in the G-20 and grow with this level of corruption. In early 2015, one of his first orders to his team was to collect all the information about corruption — at the top. This team worked for two years until they collected the most accurate information, and then they came up with about 200 names.”

When all the data was ready, the public prosecutor, Saud al-Mojib, took action, M.B.S. said, explaining that each suspected billionaire or prince was arrested and given two choices: “We show them all the files that we have and as soon as they see those about 95 percent agree to a settlement,” which means signing over cash or shares of their business to the Saudi state treasury.

“About 1 percent,” he added, “are able to prove they are clean and their case is dropped right there. About 4 percent say they are not corrupt and with their lawyers want to go to court. Under Saudi law, the public prosecutor is independent. We cannot interfere with his job — the king can dismiss him, but he is driving the process … We have experts making sure no businesses are bankrupted in the process” — to avoid causing unemployment.

“How much money are they recovering?” I asked.

The public prosecutor says it could eventually “be around $100 billion in settlements,” said M.B.S.

There is hope yet. May M.B.S. enjoy a long and fruitful reign over his people. A great responsibility but it seems like he is up to the task.

From the Skagit Valley Herald:

Floodwaters lead to arrest of suspected bank robber
Rising floodwaters Wednesday evening led to the arrest of a man suspected of robbing a Mount Vernon bank earlier that day.

Mount Vernon police were called about 6 p.m Wednesday to an area near Edgewater Park to the report of two people at a campsite who were surrounded by the rising waters of the Skagit River and needed help, Mount Vernon police Lt. Greg Booth said in a news release.

Initial rescue efforts by police, firefighters and the Skagit County Search and Rescue Team were unsuccessful, as conditions were deemed too dangerous, Booth said.

A U.S. Border Patrol rescue team responded to the scene and was able to rescue the man and woman about 2 a.m. Thursday, Booth said.

Because a K-9 unit had led police to that area during an earlier search for a suspect in a robbery at Skagit State Bank on Highway 536, Booth said police questioned the two and determined the man was the suspect in the robbery.

The derp is strong in that one. As Bugs would say, what a maroon.

Pleasantly stuffed

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Trish was correcting some tests for Monday and I took the dogs out to the off-leash park for an hour or so - got them run until they were tired.

Dinner at Judy's Snappy Dragon and back home to surf for a bit and then another couple episodes of Game of Thrones - about halfway through Season five.

From Task and Purpose:

The Army Plans On Selling Off Its Remaining Arsenal Of M1911 Pistols
The .45 ACP M1911A1 pistol has served the U.S. armed forces for more than a century in every war zone and hotspot on the planet — and thanks to this year’s federal defense budget, it will serve civilians for the foreseeable future.

The $700 billion 2018 National Defense Authorization Act that Congress sent to President Donald Trump’s desk on Nov. 16 included an amendment that required the Secretary of the Army to transfer a cache of small arms and ammo “no longer actively issued for military service” to the government-sponsored Civilian Marksmanship Program, including the M1911 and M1911A1 pistols, the M–1 Garand, and .22 rimfire rifles.

Designed by John Moses Browning and adopted for use by the US Army in 1911 - classic design. I do own a modern model but would trade it in a heartbeat for one of the originals if it was in good condition. They have been quite the "collectible" item in the last few years with prices to match.

The Religion of Peace

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Another atrocity by some ninth-century barbarians. From The Seattle Times:

Egypt: Militants kill at least 235 in attack on Sinai mosque
Militants attacked a crowded mosque during Friday prayers in the Sinai Peninsula, setting off explosives, spraying worshippers with gunfire and killing at least 235 people in the deadliest ever attack by Islamic extremists in Egypt.

The attack targeted a mosque frequented by Sufis, members of Islam’s mystical movement, in the north Sinai town of Bir al-Abd. Islamic militants, including the local affiliate of the Islamic State group, consider Sufis heretics because of their less literal interpretations of the faith.

It is not just that Great Satan in the West - these ragheads murder everyone who does not agree with their ideology. My first wife was a westerner but a practicing Sufi - some of the kindest and gentlest people you would ever want to meet.

Do not forget this link:  List of Killings in the Name of Islam: Last 30 Days

That would be 114 Islamic attacks in 21 countries, in which 1377 people were killed and 994 injured. And these are just the ones reported in the media. How many of these are reported in the mainstream media? Does not support the narrative that our betters are feeding us...

Rain rain go away

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It started back with the forecast three days ago - now, the rivers are in flood stage with many roads closed.

From The Bellingham Herald:

Skagit River flooding causes road closures, pre-evacuations
The Skagit River north of Seattle has reached its highest level in 11 years, resulting in flooding that closed roads and an alert telling some residents to prepare to evacuate.

The Skagit County Department of Emergency Management said Thursday the worst-case scenario would involve the displacement of 250 people. As of 4 p.m. only residents in the town of Hamilton had been told to prepare to evacuate.

The National Weather Service said the river at Concrete reached 36.56 feet just after 2 p.m. Thursday. That's the highest it's been since 2006.

Bad for skiing but great for the water table. It is still early and temps are dropping though so this should be a great season.

Taking things too far - unwanted advances

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This is unreal. I fully support people coming out against unwanted physical advances but come on now. From The London Daily Mail:

Mother demands her son's school take Sleeping Beauty off the curriculum because the princess doesn't give consent to be kissed and woken up by prince
A mother has demanded her six-year-old son's school bans Sleeping Beauty because the princess does not give consent to be kissed.

Sarah Hall, from Northumberland Park, North Shields, claimed the fairytale promotes an 'inappropriate sexual' message to young children.

She argued the story is irresponsible because it teaches children it is acceptable to kiss women while they are asleep.

The mother of two said: 'I think it's a specific issue in the Sleeping Beauty story about sexual behaviour and consent.

So Ms. Hall considers that a six-year old could consider this to be a sexual advance? Maybe she needs to have her head examined...

Stuffed

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Finished with the dishes. The Costco turkey came out awesome with lots of leftovers despite four hungry adults. Thanksgiving for the better part of  a week.

We have been binging on Game of Thrones lateley - the kids are off to visit with some friends and we are settling in for a couple episodes. Sleep in tomorrow.

Hoping that everyone out there is also enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving - I know that I have a lot to give thanks for this year.

Another quiet day in Seattle

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Trish's Mom and Dad said that they would be stopping by sometime this afternoon so we are embarking on a thorough house-cleaning. Starting the turkey in an hour or so - serving at 2:00PM

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving!

A quiet day in Seattle

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Hanging out here at home. Trish and I are going to take her dog out for a long walk later this afternoon. Also shopping for tomorrows dinner - Costco does a nice half-turkey in a pan with dressing and gravy for $30 - pop in the oven for two hours and it is done. Having the dressing in the pan means that it comes up to safe temperature while cooking - inside the bird it seldom does. I am also doing Fondant Potatoes and oven roasted Brussels sprouts and parsnips.

More later...

How the mighty are falling - Pixar

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Seems to be a day for posts with two headlines. These are both from The Hollywood Reporter, about 30 minutes apart:

John Lasseter Taking Leave of Absence From Pixar Amid "Missteps"

John Lasseter's Pattern of Alleged Misconduct Detailed by Disney/Pixar Insiders

One take-away from the second link:

Rashida Jones is still credited as a writer on Toy Story 4, the next installment in the beloved franchise. But, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter, the actress and her writing partner at the time, Will McCormack, left the project early on after John Lasseter, the acclaimed head of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, made an unwanted advance.

Shame really - Pixar brought CGI to mainstream film-making and Lasseter was one of the pioneers.

Heh - two hacks

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Links to the stories below:

Uber Paid Hackers to Delete Stolen Data on 57 Million People

Sacramento Regional Transit Systems Hit By Hacker

The Sacramento crack didn't release any user information but the moke deleted 30 million files and demanded ransom. Now we get to see just how good their IT department's backup system is :)

Score!

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The trip to the UW Surplus store was successful - as this was the last Tuesday of the month, everything was 50% off listed price so the place was packed. Still, I got two nice older DELL keyboards (back when they used to have the clickey key action) (50¢ each), three huge iron woks (about 20" in diameter - $1.50 each. Great metal for art projects!), a cute little chem lab alcohol light (a buck) and  a nice small monitor for my radio room.

Most smaller monitors are older monitors and subsequently have a lower resolution. This means that I cannot show as much on a screen but the full-sized monitors of today take up way too much real-estate on my desk (trying to keep everything within hands reach). The one I have now is 1024 X 768 - this new one is 1920 X 1200 so just under three times more dots on the screen. Much better. Oh yeah, that was only $5.00...

Took the dogs for a quick scramble at the dog park (it was raining pretty heavily), picked up our Thanksgiving dinner from Costco and then home

Off for coffee and the day

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Heading out to the Allegro and then to the UW Surplus store - open to the public on Tuesday's

Stop at Costco and then run the dogs out at the off-leash park if it is not raining too hard and then back home. T has the last of a couple of very long days today so we will have five days together without her having to work.

Waiting for the big one - earthquake

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Staring down the barrel - part two. From the The University of Texas at Austin, Jackson School of Geosciences:

Seafloor Sediments Appear to Enhance Earthquake and Tsunami Danger in Pacific Northwest
The Cascadia Subduction Zone off the coast of the Pacific Northwest has all the ingredients for making powerful earthquakes—and according to the geological record, the region is due for its next “big one.”

A new study led by The University of Texas at Austin has found that the occurrence of these big, destructive quakes and associated devastating tsunamis may be linked to compact sediments along large portions of the subduction zone. In particular, they found that big, destructive quakes may have a better chance of occurring offshore of Washington and northern Oregon than farther south along the subduction zone—although any large quake would impact the surrounding area.

“We observed very compact sediments offshore of Washington and northern Oregon that could support earthquake rupture over a long distance and close to the trench, which increases both earthquake and tsunami hazards,” said lead author Shuoshuo Han, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics (UTIG). UTIG is a research unit of the Jackson School of Geosciences.

Just wonderful - until now, the thought was that the most damage would be off the Oregon and California coast. This region produces a large earthquake every 300-500 years. The last one was in 1700 - 317 years ago.

Waiting for the big one - weather

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Staring down the barrel of a very large storm system - from the National Weather Service (excerpted):

Flood Watch
National Weather Service Seattle WA
359 AM PST Tue Nov 21 2017

... ... ...

Portions of northwest Washington and west central Washington,
including the following counties, in northwest Washington,
Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Mason, Skagit, and Whatcom.
In west central Washington, King, Lewis, Pierce, Snohomish,
and Thurston.

From local weather guru Cliff Mass:

Warm Temperature Records Will Fall As A Strong Atmospheric River Hits the Pacific Northwest
The next 48-hr will be stunning in a number of ways: very heavy precipitation in the mountains, river flooding, and temperatures that will reach record levels.

And the forecasts:

Add them all together for the 72h total ending 4 PM Turkey Day.  Much of the mountains get 5-10 inches, with a few places in the Olympics getting more.  Expect flooding on a number of rivers. And  yes, our snow will do some serious melting.

But what really will be amazing will be the temperatures.  Here are the forecasts from the National Weather Service SREF ensemble for Seattle...many of the members will reach into the LOWER 60s on Wednesday....probably breaking the daily record.

Spent two hours yesterday on a ladder cleaning leaves out our house's gutters - talk about perfect timing!

Looks like things are shifting over there - from Israel's Daily Sabah:

Israel welcomes Saudi mufti's pro-Israel remarks, invites him to visit the country
An Israeli minister on Monday welcomed remarks by a mufti of Saudi Arabia that Palestinian resistance group Hamas is a terror organization.

"We congratulate Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, as well as the head of Ulema (Islamic scholars) for his fatwa forbidding the fight against the Jews and forbidding to kill them," Israeli Communications Minister Ayoub Kara wrote on his official Twitter account.

The minister also welcomed the mufti's remarks in which he considered Hamas a terror organization, adding "I invite the mufti to visit Israel; he will be welcomed with a high level of respect."

A Fatwa is a religious dictate - for the religious head of Saudi Arabia to issue a Fatwa against fighting Jewish people and forbidding the killing of them is a major sea-change in policy. Saudi Arabia has long been a sponsor of state terrorism and they funded the Palestinian "people" (Hashamite Jordanians).

Our new tax reform - something is rotten

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This is really bad news - planning to write an email to my Representatives. From The New York Times:

The House Just Voted to Bankrupt Graduate Students
Republicans in the House of Representatives have just passed a tax bill that would devastate graduate research in the United States. Hidden in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a repeal of Section 117(d)(5) of the current tax code, a provision that is vital to all students who pursue master’s degrees or doctorates and are not independently wealthy.

I’m a graduate student at M.I.T., where I study the neurological basis of mental health disorders. My peers and I work between 40 and 80 hours a week as classroom teachers and laboratory researchers, and in return, our universities provide us with a tuition waiver for school. For M.I.T. students, this waiver keeps us from having to pay a tuition bill of about $50,000 every year — a staggering amount, but one that is similar to the fees at many other colleges and universities. No money from the tuition waivers actually ends up in our pockets, so under Section 117(d)(5), it isn’t counted as taxable income.

But under the House’s tax bill, our waivers will be taxed. This means that M.I.T. graduate students would be responsible for paying taxes on an $80,000 annual salary, when we actually earn $33,000 a year. That’s an increase of our tax burden by at least $10,000 annually.

Trish's son is in Graduate School for his PhD. - he just emailed us with this bit of news. This is what happens when laws are written by committees who have no personal responsibility for their actions - all they are interested in doing is bringing pork back to their district so they can keep being re-elected. Time for Congressional term limits - 12 years and you are out.

This basic research is what brought us the cell phone, computers, modern medicines and technology, the ability to live an additional 30 years in good health, weather forecasting, etc... The actions of  these 435 people have crippled our academic advancement. Let us hope that President Trump does not sign the bill when it appears on his desk.

Congratulations Alec Steele

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Alec is an English YouTube star - an excellent blacksmith. He just celebrated his 20th birthday and his YouTube account just got its 500,000th subscriber.

Alec is an inspiration to me - he is always trying out new techniques and his eye for design is a delight.

Nothing much today

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Quiet day - mostly at home. Took a nice long walk (couple miles) in the afternoon and then Trish dropped Emma off at school.

Back home - T has two very busy days ahead. I am watching YouTube videos.

A quiet morning

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Trish is doing paperwork and I am surfing - heading out for brunch in a few minutes.

And that is it for the evening...

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Took care of some things in town today - errands, returning some stuff and had dinner out.

Back home - T is doing some emails for her work and I am surfing. Taking a break to watch an episode or two of Game of Thrones and then to bed.

Crap - Argentinian submarine is missing

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From The Guardian:

Argentina's navy searches for missing submarine with 44 crew on board
Argentina’s navy has launched a huge search-and-rescue operation for a military submarine with 44 crew members that has been missing off the coast of Patagonia for more than two days.

The last radio contact with the San Juan submarine was on Wednesday, when it was 430km off the coast of the southern province of Chubut, in the area of San Jorge bay, a naval spokesman said on Friday.

Local media reports claimed the submarine had been located 70 metres down in waters 300km east of the Patagonian coastal city of Puerto Madryn by the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liason Office. The media reports have not been officially confirmed and came as Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri, tweeted that: “We are committed to using all the national and international resources that are necessary to find the Argentinean Navy’s submarine San Juan as soon as possible.”

Sending prayers out to the poor sailors and their families.

What with all of the sex scandals coming out (Bill Clinton anyone?) one politician thought that they could win by disclosing his history at the start. Guess not. From FOX News:

Dem candidate faces resignation calls after boasting of 'hayloft' romp, sex with 50 women
Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill O’Neill is facing calls from his rivals to resign from the state Supreme Court after he boasted, unprovoked, in a viral Facebook post this week that he’s had sexual relationships with at least 50 women in his life.

More at the site including screen-caps of the original Facebook posts. Disgusting. It is one thing to have done this (consensual of course), it is another thing entirly to shout it to the rooftops and to identify some of the parties involved.

That the guy is a Judge makes this even more bizarre - he should understand his position of trust in the community and let that guide his actions, not elevate him above the common man.

North Korea - an interesting look inside

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Don Surber found an interesting article at The Guardian and has these observations:

North Korea is in no shape to fight a war
Novelist Thomas Wictor made the case that the soldier who defected from North Korea shows that North Korea is in no shape to fight any war.

The soldier was malnourished and riddled with parasites.

He is among the nation's elite soldiers.

As he fled on foot through the demilitarized zone, his comrades shot more than 40 rounds, but were unable to kill him.

That either is poor marksmanship, or lack of will.

Likely both.

From the Guardian:
Dozens of flesh-coloured parasites, one of which was 27cm (11 inches) long, were found in the man’s digestive tract during life-saving operations, according to the lead surgeon, Lee Cook-jong.

“In my over-20-year-long career as a surgeon, I have only seen something like this in a textbook,” Lee said.

The parasites, along with kernels of corn in his stomach, appear to confirm what many experts and defectors have said about the food and hygiene situation for many North Koreans.

Don had this to comment:

This is communism. People starve. Leaders fatten.

So true - show me one communist or socialist regime where the leaders lived frugally. Even Castro's Cuba had it's secret million dollar mansions and yachts even while Fidel lived on a soldiers salary.

Off to Seattle for a few days

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Heading down South to Seattle for a bit. Got the laptop so blogging will continue as usual.

First it was the people, then the toons and now

the puppets. From The Silicon Graybeard:

20171116-kermit.jpg

Crap - RIP Dik Mik

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From metal website Louder than War:

Dik Mik : Hawkind keyboard legend RIP
We are sad to report the death of the legendary Dik Mik who was the keyboard warrior in the classic Hawkwind and whose swooshes of noise not only opened up new constellations of sound but made him inaverdently one of the key musicians of his time. A harbinger of future eletronic based music it would be fair to argue that DikMik was a pioneeer of not only industrial music like Throbbing Gristle but also much electronic music from Aphex Twin and beyond.

He is also remembered as a genuine character, part of the heart and soul of the classic Hawkind chaos and the man who brought his mate Lemmy into the band because he needed a speed buddy – stuff like that is part of rock lore and we love the stories of the pair’s madness but we just want to thank the cosmic warrior for creating a whole new way of -playing music which is often overlooked…

A true innovator - he laid the foundation for several distinct genres of electronic and synthesizer music.

Back home after a long day

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Heading down South tomorrow so ran into Bellingham to take care of a few things today.

Time to surf the net - early bedtime though - long day tomorrow.

Good news - sanctuary cities

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Playtime is over - time to get back in line. From the Washington Examiner:

Justice Department gives 29 'sanctuary' cities, states until Dec. 8 to prove compliance with immigration law
The Department of Justice on Wednesday told Illinois, Oregon, and Vermont and 26 "sanctuary" cities and counties around the country that they were found to have "laws, policies or practices” that violate federal immigration laws, and that failure to demonstrate compliance by early December could mean reduced federal grants.

The new jurisdictions range across the nation, and include big cities like Seattle and Los Angeles, as well as smaller ones like Lawrence, Mass.

The department warned the 29 jurisdictions in separate letters that in order to continue receiving public safety grants under the Justice Department's Edward Bryne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, the jurisdictions must prove compliance with Section 1373 of 8 U.S. Code by Dec. 8.

“I urge all jurisdictions found to be potentially out of compliance in this preliminary review to reconsider their policies that undermine the safety of their residents. We urge jurisdictions to not only comply with Section 1373, but also to establish sensible and effective partnerships to properly process criminal aliens,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a statement.

Good - if you want to virtue signal, do it on your own dime. Don't expressly violate federal law and then expect to suck on the federal teat. For an example of what we are talking about, here are a few headlines for the last week:

All of these stories are from the past eight days - just a cursory scan of the news media. All of the protagonists are here illegally.

Senator Al Franken - sex sandal

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These stories are coming out of the woodwork - great! Drain the swamps. From Leeann Tweeden writing at Culver City, CA radio station KABC:

Senator Al Franken Kissed and Groped Me Without My Consent, And There’s Nothing Funny About It
In December of 2006, I embarked on my ninth USO Tour to entertain our troops, my eighth to the Middle East since the 9/11 attacks. My father served in Vietnam and my then-boyfriend (and now husband, Chris) is a pilot in the Air Force, so bringing a ‘little piece of home’ to servicemembers stationed far away from their families was both my passion and my privilege.

Also on the trip were country music artists Darryl Worley, Mark Wills, Keni Thomas, and some cheerleaders from the Dallas Cowboys. The headliner was comedian and now-senator, Al Franken.

Franken had written some skits for the show and brought props and costumes to go along with them. Like many USO shows before and since, the skits were full of sexual innuendo geared toward a young, male audience.

As a TV host and sports broadcaster, as well as a model familiar to the audience from the covers of FHM, Maxim and Playboy, I was only expecting to emcee and introduce the acts, but Franken said he had written a part for me that he thought would be funny, and I agreed to play along.

Much more at the site including a photograph. Senator Franken is so fscking busted. Time to step down... The London Daily Mail also has the story with some more photographs. It's almost always Liberals for some strange reason.

Another day at the farm

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Was planning to head down to Seattle today but Trish is very busy so we will rendevous tomorrow morning instead.

Coffee, store and working at home for the rest of the day.

This will be interesting to follow - from PJ Media:

Ex-Google Executive Registers First Church of AI With IRS
A former executive at Google has filed paperwork with the IRS to establish an official religion of technology. This religion doesn't just worship scientific progress, but artificial intelligence itself, with the goal of creating a godhead.

The new church of AI will aim "to develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead [to] contribute to the betterment of society," according to IRS documents.

The non-profit religious organization would be called "Way of the Future" (WOTF). According to the website (wayofthefuture.church), the movement is "about creating a peaceful and respectful transition of who is in charge of the planet from people to people + 'machines.'"

Website is here: Way of the Future (WOTF) Couldn't be any crazier than the L. Ron Hubbard organization.

From Associated Press:

China sending envoy to North Korea following Trump visit
Following President Donald Trump’s visit to Beijing, China said Wednesday that it would send a high-level special envoy to North Korea amid an extended chill in relations between the neighbors over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

Song Tao, the head of China’s ruling Communist Party’s International Department, will travel to Pyongyang on Friday to report on outcomes of the party’s national congress held last month, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Xinhua said Song, as president and party leader Xi Jinping’s special envoy, would carry out a “visit” in addition to delivering his report, but gave no details about his itinerary or meetings. It also made no mention of Trump’s trip to Beijing or the North’s weapons programs, although Trump has repeatedly called on Beijing to do more to use its influence to pressure Pyongyang into altering its behavior.

China's International Department is their equivalent to our State Department and they are sending the top honcho. Now that is sending a message.

President Trump on his Asian trip

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A bit long but a great speech:

Transcript here: Remarks by President Trump on His Trip to Asia

Trey Gowdy meets Jeff Sessions

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Great give and take - I would not want to be on the receiving end of Mr. Gowdy's inquiry.

Not just Senator McCain

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From The Hill:

Graham wants names of lawmakers accused of harassment
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is urging that the names of lawmakers accused of sexually harassing their colleagues are revealed.

“Name them,” Graham told reporters Wednesday. “Just get it out. Lay it out. Change the rules so people can come to work without being harassed. Those who do these things need to be held accountable.”

His comments came after a number of female lawmakers have come forward with stories of harassment directed at them and staffers by male members of Congress.

Drain the swamp.

But we have photos of it! From the Beeb:

Russia posts video game screenshot as 'proof' of US helping IS
Russia's Ministry of Defense has posted what it called "irrefutable proof" of the US aiding so-called Islamic State - but one of the images was actually taken from a video game.

The ministry claimed the image showed an IS convoy leaving a Syrian town last week aided by US forces.

Instead, it came from the smartphone game AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron.

Oopsie...

Potentially good news from Africa

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From Associated Press:

After 37 years, rule of Zimbabwe’s Mugabe appears to be over
Zimbabwe’s military was in control of the capital and the state broadcaster on Wednesday and was holding President Robert Mugabe and his wife under house arrest in what appeared to be a coup against the 93-year-old Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state.

The military was at pains, however, to emphasize it had not staged a military takeover, but was instead starting a process to restore Zimbabwe’s democracy.

Still, the military appeared to have brought an end to Mugabe’s long, 37-year reign in what the army’s supporters praised as a “bloodless correction.” South Africa and other neighboring countries were sending in leaders to negotiate with Mugabe and the generals to encourage the transition.

Good news if someone in the military doesn't try to grab the reigns for themselves. Zimbabwe used to be the bread-basket of Africa - very wealthy and it exported food. Now its economy is broken and it has to beg for scraps. One US dollar is worth 361,900 Zimbabwean dollars.

Minimal posting today

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Working on some stuff around here - heading to Seattle tomorrow for a while. T's birthday.

Did a quick surf and nothing much happening on the internet.

Late start to the day

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Woke up around 8:00AM and rolled over and went back to sleep again for another couple of hours.

Feeling great, just needed the extra sleep for some reason...

And now they are coming after the toons!

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Tip of the hat to Vanderleun:

20171114-bugs.jpg

Dropping like flies - Senator John McCain

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Now this - from US News & World Report:

McCain Denies Allegations of a Relationship with Iseman
It was Sen. John McCain's split-screen nightmare: he and his wife on one side of the television screen this morning denying an unsavory relationship; a photo of a young, attractive female lobbyist in a shimmering gold party gown on the other.

It was an all-too-familiar tableau—the chastened politician, the supportive spouse, questions raised, allegations denied.

"I have never done anything to betray the public trust," a somber McCain said during a press conference in Toledo, Ohio, just hours after a front-page New York Times story linked the 71-year-old Arizona senator and GOP presidential front-runner to lobbyist Vicki Iseman, 40. The newspaper, quoting former McCain aide John Weaver, reported that during his 2000 run for president, the senator's aides had warned her to stay away from him. And it detailed actions by the senator that benefited Iseman's client.

It was a story that much of Washington had been expecting for the past several months. The Times had been investigating McCain's relationship with Iseman so aggressively that the senator had called the newspaper's editor, Bill Keller ("not to dissuade him," McCain said this morning, just to encourage the paper to wrap it up), and had hired high-powered lawyer Bob Bennett to represent him.

Draining the swamp - one venal and corrupt person at a time. McCain is a RINO of the highest order - it is good that he is being pilloried. Not that much of a war hero either if you look up his involvement with the USS Forrestal fire.

Good meeting

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Pretty well attended - the speaker tonight was a local guy who does a lot of digital processing with amateur radio. His YouTube channel is pretty interesting: Budd Churchward

Great news - Mt. Baker is opening

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From the Mt. Baker Ski Area website:

OFFICIAL OPENING DAY: THURSDAY NOV. 16th!!!
CONDITIONS UPDATE: Tuesday Nov. 14
IT'S HAPPENING!!! This storm is bringing us the goods, with 6 inches of new snow falling last night and up to 15" of new snow expected for tomorrow. Our current base at Heather Meadows is 33 inches, so with the additional snow we are able to set an official OPENING DAY THURSDAY NOV. 16th! We will have both base areas open on Thursday with all 3 lodges open and six chairlifts operating to start the day: chairs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 7. We are hoping to open chairs 6 and/or 8 later in the day on opening day, but will have to wait to see how the snow and conditions progress.

It's currently 30 degrees and snowing at the mountain. Temperatures are dropping right now, and it looks like conditions could be pretty darned awesome for opening day. Our crew will be out on the mountain at all hours today and tomorrow, prepping everything for opening. Stay tuned here for continued updates, and we'll see you on the mountain Thursday!

A lot of people are looking forward to a wonderful season - lots of fresh snow up there!

From the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI)

Competitive Enterprise Institute Sues State Department Again Over Paris Climate Agreement Records
Today the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) filed its second lawsuit against the State Department to obtain illegally withheld documents related to the 2015 Paris climate agreement. In October 2017, CEI submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for emails of two State Department officers involved in the Obama administration’s maneuvering to circumvent the Senate in order to join the Paris agreement, Trigg Talley and Alexandra Costello.

Trigg Talley and Alexandra Costello were both members of the State Department when the decision was made to avoid characterizing the Paris agreement as a treaty. Talley is presently in Bonn at the Paris treaty talks as Director of the Office of Global Change at State Department. Costello was a State Department Capitol Hill liaison during the Obama administration tasked with managing relations between the Senate and the administration.

The Obama administration cut the Senate out of the treaty process in order to join the Paris agreement. Documents obtained under a previous FOIA production show Costello correspondence with a lawyer for Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker. In response to an August 2014 New York Times report about Obama’s plan to circumvent the Senate, the lawyer said this news “indicate[s] a disturbing contempt for the Senate’s constitutional rights and responsibilities.” Yet, Chairman Corker never publicly opposed Obama’s circumvention of the Senate. CEI seeks to learn just why this silence occurred.

The deep-state is being drained step by step. I hope that they are successful in their suit. The Obama administration directly contradicted the US Constitution by making the Paris Agreement a Treaty - bypassing the mandatory Senate approval. Unwinding Obama's legacy step by step.

Just beautiful - iron filings

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I'll never look at them the same away again:

From German photographer Roman De Giuli website / about the video

Venezuela - the end-game of socialism

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They just crossed a big threshold - from CNN:

Venezuela just defaulted, moving deeper into crisis
Venezuela, a nation spiraling into a humanitarian crisis, has missed a debt payment. It could soon face grim consequences.

The South American country defaulted on its debt, according to a statement issued Monday night by S&P Global Ratings. The agency said the 30-day grace period had expired for a payment that was due in October.

A debt default risks setting off a dangerous series of events that could exacerbate Venezuela's food and medical shortages.

If enough holders of a particular bond demand full and immediate repayment, it can prompt investors across all Venezuelan bonds to demand the same thing. Since Venezuela doesn't have the money to pay all its bondholders right now, investors would then be entitled to seize the country's assets -- primarily barrels of oil -- outside its borders.

And the root cause of Venezuela's problems?

But experts say the socialist Venezuelan regime that has been in power since 1999 bears the brunt of the blame. It fixed -- or froze -- prices on everything from a cup of coffee to a tank of gas in an effort to make goods more affordable for the masses. For years, Venezuelan leaders also fixed the exchange rate for their currency, the bolivar.

Those moves were among the driving forces behind the food shortages. Farmers couldn't sell at low prices without going out of business because their cost of production was much higher. Importers also couldn't afford to ship in food, knowing they would have to sell at much lower prices than what they paid for at the port.

When food shortages grew worse, an illegal black market emerged where venders sold basic foods at vastly higher prices than the government's artificially low prices. Inflation soared, making the bolivar almost worthless.

The really sad thing is that Venezuela used to be the bread-basket of South America. It has a great climate, lots of arable land and it used to export food to the rest of the world. It was taking in so much money that the people elected a government that promised free shit and the people kept demanding more and more free shit until all the money was spent. On the way down the drain, the Venezuelan government cannibalized its own economic sector to pay for the free shit. They stopped maintaining roads, water and electrical systems and nationalized various industries so the whole nation's infrastructure is crumbling.

When anyone suggests that a centralized world government is a good idea or that socialism or progressivism is a good idea, this is the end result of what they are talking about. Always has been, always will be.

Out for a while

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Coffee, post office, store and then back home.

Meeting later this evening so doing a run into Bellingham for that.

Special Council - another report

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This time from FOX News:

Sessions directs prosecutors to 'evaluate certain issues' involving Uranium One and Clinton, leaves door open on special counsel
Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate “certain issues” requested by congressional Republicans, involving the sale of Uranium One and alleged unlawful dealings related to the Clinton Foundation, leaving the door open for an appointment of another special counsel.

In a letter first obtained by Fox News, the Justice Department responded to July 27 and September 26 requests from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and other committee members, who called for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the matters in question.

More at the site. It will be good to see Crooked Hillary's web of lies be unraveled and to see her locked up for a number of years. The idea that she was almost our president is indicative of just how far we have sunk as a nation.

Rain rain go away

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The second part of the storm seems to have hit Seattle a lot harder than this little bucolic bit of paradise although it is starting to rain again and the winds have definitely picked up in the last ten minutes. Here is just part of the 150,000+ Seattle residents who are without power - red zone is out. Trish lives somewhere in this map:

20171113-seattle.jpg

Got some flashlights, LED lanterns and candles right at hand in case of an outage. The prepper crowd calls this Sheltering in Place - something you learn after a year or two out here.

And it begins - Special Council

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From the (blech) Washington Post but the fact that they are carrying this story makes it even more interesting:

Sessions considering second special counsel to investigate Republican concerns, letter shows
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns — including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia — and has directed senior federal prosecutors to explore at least some of the matters and report back to him and his top deputy, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post.

The revelation came in a response from the Justice Department to an inquiry from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte (R-Va.), who in July and again in September called for Sessions to appoint a second special counsel to investigate concerns he had related to the 2016 election and its aftermath.

The list of matters he wanted probed was wide ranging, but included the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, various dealings of the Clinton Foundation and several matters connected to the purchase of the Canadian mining company Uranium One by Russia’s nuclear energy agency. Goodlatte took particular aim at former FBI director James B. Comey, asking for a second special counsel to evaluate the leaks he directed about his conversations with President Trump, among other things.

In response, Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd wrote that Sessions had “directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues raised in your letters,” and those prosecutors would “report directly to the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, as appropriate, and will make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of a Special Counsel.”

These scandals go all the way to the top. Push and push hard.

News you can use - solar panels

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Planning to install some solar panels? Get them now beofre the price spike. From Bloomberg:

Solar Companies Are Scrambling to Find a Critical Raw Material
Solar manufacturers are being battered by higher costs and smaller margins, after an unexpected shortage of a critical raw material.

Prices of polysilicon, the main component of photovoltaic cells, spiked as much as 35 percent in the past four months after environmental regulators in China shut down several factories.

That’s driving up production costs as panel prices continue to decline, and dragging down earnings for manufacturers in China, the world’s biggest supplier.

And the reason:

The price spike came after an environmental crackdown in China coincided with an annual lull in polysilicon output, according to Jenny Chase, head solar analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Refiners in China typically cut back polysilicon production during the summer for routine maintenance. Solar manufactures anticipate the seasonal slowdown, but it was exacerbated this year when China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection shut down several plants that make metallurgical silicon, a partially refined polysilicon that other companies further purify for use in solar cells.

The two events led to a polysilicon shortage that drove prices in China from $14 to $19 a kilogram over the past four months, according to Guelph, Ontario-based Canadian Solar, which has most of its manufacturing in China.

Sad that the prices are rising but it is good that the Chinese government is taking its environment seriously. I have a couple of these for my ham radio setup: Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Panel - great for emergency power. Most ham radio stuff runs off 12VDC to begin with so no need for any inverters.

From Dr. Helen Smith writing at PJ Media:

I Believe It: Vegetarian Men More Depressed
A recent study finds men who don't eat meat are more depressed:

From the same dataset that brought you the information that vegetarian mothers create drug-addled children, we learn that vegetarian men are more depressed than their meat-eating brothers. The study, Vegetarian diets and depressive symptoms among men, is in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

That dataset, Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), has over 9,000 men self-reporting on their eating habits. This study looked at the 350 self-identified vegetarians in their midst. These men completed a survey including a set of measures on depression at roughly the 18th week of their spouses’ pregnancy. Vegans were lumped in with vegetarians because of their small numbers. The researchers found that vegetarian men were more likely, with an odds ratio of 1.71 (that is a 70% increased risk) to be depressed. The authors say they accounted for a range of sociodemographic factors including family history, prior childhood psychiatric contact, educational level, number of children at home, marital and employment status, alcohol and tobacco use and educational level. The longer time an individual had been a vegetarian did not correlate, at least at a statistical significance, with depression.

Dr. Smith closes with this excellent observation:

I have to say that the stricter people are with their diet, the more out of  control they seem to feel about their lives, and I think too many vegetables and not enough protein is a recipe for disaster, especially for men.

My chicken breasts should be thawed out by now - time to make a quick marinade and get them ready for dinner tonight.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

It's Official: 'Lord of the Rings' TV Series Gets Multiple-Season Commitment at Amazon
It's official: Amazon Studios is going to make a Lord of the Rings TV series.

The retail giant and streaming outlet announced Monday that it has acquired global television rights to the Lord of the Rings franchise, based on the best-selling novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. Amazon has handed out a multiple-season commitment. The Amazon LOTR series will be produced in-house at Amazon Studios alongside the Tolkien Estate and Trust, publisher HarperCollins and Warner Bros. Entertainment's New Line Cinema. A writer has not yet been attached.

No word as to when the shows will start to air. This could be a lot of fun if they don't mess with it too much. The trilogy was incredibly well done but they left out so much of the original books and it sounds like the Amazon shows will explore these in more detail.

Back to work

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Going through a bunch of crap in the garage and some closets. Sorting out the good from the never use again and grouping things into plastic bins. The living room is utter chaos but entropy is slowly being driven away.

Got a couple of chicken breasts thawing for dinner. Stir fry them with some brown rice and bok-choy.

Staring down the barrel - wind storm

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Last night's wind was a prequel - from Cliff Mass:

Wind Storm Update
The first...and lesser act...of today's wind event took place this morning, the passage of an occluded front associated with the offshore low. But the main act is still in the cards, and folks should be prepared.

A bit more:

We are now in the break before the main act.   You will even notice the rain has backed off and there will be sun breaks. Absolutely typical.  We must wait until late morning/early afternoon when the low approaches and the winds will increase again, probably exceeding what we experienced last night.

I lost a tree (it was fairly weak and old) and a couple of bird feeders. Time to batten down the hatches and check my anemometer for peak gusts.

Open borders in Germany - a pushback

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Over the top politically incorrect but 110% spot on - from Yahoo/Agence France Presse:

Lagerfeld sparks fury over migrants Holocaust comments
Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has sparked outrage by evoking the Holocaust as he attacked German Chancellor Angela Merkel for opening the country's borders to migrants.

"One cannot -- even if there are decades between them -- kill millions of Jews so you can bring millions of their worst enemies in their place," he told a French television show.

"I know someone in Germany who took a young Syrian and after four days said, 'The greatest thing Germany invented was the Holocaust,'" he added.

It's not like the muslims are making Europe better - they are certainly not assimilating into the European culture. Instead, they are expanding their domain and conquering Europe by sheer numbers, not by out-and-out war.

And the other shoe drops - Judge Roy Moore

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From Breitbart:

Exclusive — Judge Roy Moore Announces Plans to Sue Washington Post: ‘We Expect the People of Alabama to See Through This Charade’
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Judge Roy Moore, the GOP nominee for the United States Senate, announced Sunday evening at an event that he plans to sue the Washington Post for its series of hit pieces against him, his wife, his foundation, and his campaign.

Breitbart News was granted exclusive access to the event, which was closed to the press. After the Judge’s speech, his wife Kayla spoke out in a forthcoming exclusive Breitbart News interview — her first-ever interview with the press during this campaign and the first time she has spoken out publicly in response to the salacious allegations from the Post.

And this quote from Judge Moore:

“I’ll tell you why now: Because there are groups that don’t want me in the United States Senate,” Moore said. “There’s the Democratic Party, they don’t want to see me in the United States Senate. There’s the Republican establishment, which has spent over $30 million to keep me out of the United States Senate. You put them together, and they realize my opponent is 11 points behind. They’re desperate.”

Then Moore explained why the GOP establishment is so terrified of him.

“You saw, why would the Republicans want to back the Democrat?” Moore asked. “Doesn’t that seem strange? Odd? Well, not so, because they’d rather have him for two years and then elect a Republican from the establishment then elect me and have me there for two years. They are all in it together.”

It's called draining the swamp for a reason. If there were any truth to the Washington Post's allegations, I think it would have surfaced a long time ago. Why now?

Over 12,800 comments - this first one sums up my feelings exactly:

God speed Judge Moore! It's high time these slanderous dogs get what's coming to them!

The Washington Post's story is slander by the very definition of the word.

A bit of weather

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Had winds gusting to 62 miles per hour at the farm last night around 3:45AM accompanied by an overal precip of 0.7" over the last 24 hours. Raining hard. No trees down that I can see so far. Scattered power outages around here but over 2,000 people in Bellingham are without power. According to today's forecast, those winds were just the prelude - supposed to get even windier later today.

Winter is coming...

Well that was fun

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Had something go ping with the blog software three days ago. I could post but the posts would not show up in the real world.

The incredible support crew at Hosting Matters were able to diagnose the problem and get things running again. If you are looking for an Internet Service Provider, these people are incredible. Been with them since 2003 and planning to stay with them forever. Awesome service and really reasonable price.

Things come in threes

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So this is the third item.

One more test

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Just to make sure everything is as it should be.

Testing

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Having blog "issues"

See if this works...

Blog software problems

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Been having an odd problem with the blog software.

This may get posted, maybe not. We will see...

This is a test.

News you can use - whiskey

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From Phys Org:

Can you make a 10-year malt whisky in weeks? The chemistry says yes
Over the past few years the whisky-drinking world has been introduced to several new products that claim to produce high-quality liquor in just a fraction of the time usually required to age single malt spirits. Instead of maturing the whisky for a decade or more in oak barrels, some distillers say they can replicate the quality and taste in a matter of weeks.

As global whisky consumption continues to rise, could these new ageing techniques be the answer to protecting supply? Or are the claims too good to be true? And even if the taste measures up, does that still necessarily make it the same as a fine aged malt?

Recent innovators in this field include Lost Spirits, whose prizewinning rums and single malts use a patented combination of light and heat to speed up the ageing process. Cleveland Whiskey creates whiskies and bourbons in high-pressure stainless steel tanks that mix the spirit with new wood combinations, creating unique flavours in days.

Highspire Whiskey uses wine barrels and adds oak wood chips to get a product aged in just four months. Tuthilltown Spirits, a distillery based in New York, blasts music through stereo speakers to get their barrels vibrating!

Australia's homegrown example is Deviant Distillery based in Tasmania, which claims to have created a single malt spirit that has the "chemical composition and flavour identical to a 10-year-old whisky". Before we test the validity of such a claim, we should review how brown liquors are made.

Interesting developments - introducing tiny bits of oxygen works. Using oak chips or staves from used wine barrels is used a lot by beer brewers and cider makers. A lot cheaper than trying to use the real oak barrels - these can run several hundred apiece and require very careful maintenance once first used. If they are allowed to dry out, the wood can become infected with wild yeasts which would change the flavor profiles completely.

More information at the site - interesting stuff!

Back home from coffee

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Trish is off to Seattle with herdaughter and friend - working on a couple of projects here at home for the next few days.

Late morning

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T and I slept in - heading out for coffee and then I am back home while she picks up daughter and friend in Bellingham. I am heading down there Thursday - got a couple of projects to knock out here first.

More posting later this afternoon.

A tale of two presidents

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Compare and contrast - from Don Surber:

Trump's trip vs. Obama's trip to China
President Trump visited China and walked away with a promise of a quarter-trillion dollars of Chinese investments in the United States, including $83.7 billion to rebuild the chemical industry in West Virginia.

It's the Art of the Deal. Invest in the USA, or peddle your ware elsewhere.

Compare that to amateur hour 14 months ago.

Don quotes from this article at The Guardian September 4th, 2016

China’s leaders have been accused of delivering a calculated diplomatic snub to Barack Obama after the US president was not provided with a staircase to leave his plane during his chaotic arrival in Hangzhou before the start of the G20.

Chinese authorities have rolled out the red carpet for leaders including India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, the South Korean president, Park Geun-hye, Brazil’s president, Michel Temer, and the British prime minister, Theresa May, who touched down on Sunday morning.

But the leader of the world’s largest economy, who is on his final tour of Asia, was forced to disembark from Air Force One through a little-used exit in the plane’s belly after no rolling staircase was provided when he landed in the eastern Chinese city on Saturday afternoon.

And this from CNN November 8th, 2017

Trump to become first foreign leader to dine in Forbidden City since founding of modern China
Donald Trump will receive an honor in Beijing not granted to any US President since the founding of the People's Republic of China: official dinner inside the Forbidden City.

That is what you call leadership - true leaders recognize it in other true leaders.

Nothing much today

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T and Daughter are coming out for a visit - working at home today.

Great day for a visit - somewhat warm and a cloudless sky.

Calling it a night

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Up early this morning so feeling tired - very glad I did not try to make the radio meeting tonight, it would be in session for another 30 minutes and then I would have the long drive home.

Watching some YouTube video and then calling it quits for the day.

Trish and daughter and heir are coming up for a day tomorrow - figure out something fun to do.

No big fan of Bill Nye (the Science Guy). He was funny when I lived in Seattle and saw him on the Almost Live show. He was a total asshole in real life - I ran into him several times and attempted to say hello as my Dad was a frequent judge on Pittsburgh, PA's KDKA School Science Countdown TV program in the late 1950's and early 1960's. Thought it would be fun to compare notes - then and now. He blew me off a couple times and I stopped trying after that. Really nasty about it too - bad language.

Anyway, Nye recently was invited to take part in a Reddit forum AMA (Ask Me Anything) and had his ass handed to him - from Red State Watcher:

Bill Nye gets destroyed in Q&A forum
Bill Nye just got his you-know-what handed to him on his own Reddit forum where readers are allowed to "Ask Me Anything":

Reddit user bpoag eviscerates fake scientist Bill Nye:

Hi Bill,

I have a great way you can start.

Stop pretending you're a scientist.

In science, we begin with facts. The facts show you have no formal science education beyond a Bachelors in mechanical engineering from Cornell. That's it. Not even a Masters degree, let alone a Doctorate. You literally have no formal science education beyond an undergraduate degree. The facts also show that the whole "Science Guy" persona emerged out of a stand-up comedy routine you used to perform on local public-access TV back in the 80's:

You've spent years parading around in a lab coat, even after your Disney series ended.. parading around in a way which makes most people, particularly children, think that you're qualified to speak on matters you have no formal experience, education, or training on. For all intents and purposes, you're a talented actor-comedian with an opinion who inserts himself into public dialogue...and that's about it.

Good science also requires peer-review, so, here you go:

If I walked around in scrubs, hung a stethoscope around my neck, and called myself "Bpoag the Medicine Guy", I would be a considered complete fraud, would I not? Even though some of my opinions and observations might be correct, i'm still not a physician... Nor should I be considered one. I'm simply not qualified to speak in that realm, let alone make decisions, let alone attempt to guide public policy. You are to science what Betsy DeVos is to education. Perhaps worse; your fraud has spanned decades. Hers, only a few months.

And it gets better - a fun read and links to some of Bill's more cringeworthy videos.

Was wondering when I first heard about the new version with Kenneth Branagh - David Suchet is Hercule Poirot, nobody else need apply. Here is a write-up from National Review:

Murder on the Orient Express Is a Deadly Dull Ride
They don’t make ’em like Murder on the Orient Express any more, but when they do, by chance, make ’em, they should cut ’em into tiny pieces, place ’em in a hole, and set ’em on fire, possibly with a sign warning everyone not to sift through the ashes.

Yet sifting through the ashes of a dead genre is what Kenneth Branagh is doing in directing this (sort of) all-star mystery, which was already a bit creaky and wheezy when it was directed for the big screen by Sidney Lumet in 1974, in a production that won Ingrid Bergman her third Oscar. For moviegoers born in the 1920s and 1930s, that movie may have been an amusing throwback, but now the source material — Agatha Christie’s 1934 novel — is a relic of an ancient era in entertainment. Instead of trying to freshen up the story, Branagh revels in the fustiness, like a weird kid rummaging through the trunks in a dusty attic.

If you want to see the story brought to the screen, get the 2010 Suchet version - much better!

From The Washington Post:

‘How dare they’: Nutella changes recipe, sending its fans to the edge
Not many foods inspire a fandom quite like Nutella.

McDonald’s restaurants in Italy serve it on hamburger buns. Lifestyle websites cheekily offer lists of “signs you’re addicted to Nutella.” And at least one German soccer team dropped a player who couldn’t stop eating it.

Yes, a legion of snackers live for the hazelnut spread. And they’re not happy.

Nutella confirmed on its Twitter feed Wednesday that the recipe “underwent a fine-tuning” after Germany’s Hamburg Consumer Protection Center said on Facebook that  it appeared the recipe had changed.

That set off both panic and anger on social media in a symphony of languages — English, German and Italian chief among them.

“Real cool,” wrote one user, adding, “why not draw a mustache on the Mona Lisa too?”

There are some things in life that you simply do not mess with. Anyone remember the New Coke debacle

From Mt. Baker Snow Report:

CONDITIONS UPDATE: Thursday Nov. 9
We're currently maintaining a snow base at Heather Meadows Base Area of around 18-20". Forecasts are calling for another 3-5" over the weekend, but then......hold on....all forecasters, including NOAA, are calling for FEET of new snow in the mountains Monday through Wednesday of next week. If this forecast holds, we're looking at a potential opening day of mid-late next week. Our crews are ready and on standby and we're waiting to see what these storms bring in terms of the magic combo of precipitation and cool temps. Stay tuned here for updates and the most up-to-date news on a possible opening day announcement!

A lot of people are very stoked at the prospect of another great winter.

News you can use

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Trish and I have been looking at getting some more exercise. We are both pretty fit but I want to take it up a notch or three - this news makes perfect sense. From Australia's University of Sydney:

Strength exercise as vital as aerobic
Push ups and sit ups could add years to your life according to a new study of over 80,000 adults led by the University of Sydney.

The largest study to compare the mortality outcomes of different types of exercise found people who did strength-based exercise had a 23 percent reduction in risk of premature death by any means, and a 31 percent reduction in cancer-related death.

Lead author Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis from the School of Public Health and the Charles Perkins Centre said while strength training has been given some attention for functional benefits as we age, little research has looked at its impact on mortality.

“The study shows exercise that promotes muscular strength may be just as important for health as aerobic activities like jogging or cycling,” said Associate Professor Stamatakis.

Interesting and it looks like a well-run survey. 80,000 is a great sample size - good p-Value. The disgraced study that caused all the controversy about vaccines and autism had a sample size of 12.

Simply wonderful

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My internet service is bouncing up and down like a rubber ball. I might actually have to find something constructive to do around the house...

Good - let them feel even more. They are all about centralized control and power - this is in their grasp but pesky nations like Britain and Catalonia are spoiling it for everyone. From Associated Press:

The Latest: EU official chides regional splits on Spain trip
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says nationalist urges are “a poison” which harm the European Union’s efforts to speak with one voice on the world stage.

In what appeared to be indirect rebukes of an effort by some Catalan leaders to achieve their region’s independence from Spain, Juncker said during a trip to the Spanish city of Salamanca that nobody has the right to undo the EU’s model of coexistence.

Jean-Claude Juncker is a classic career bureaucrat - studied law but never practiced it. Been in politics his whole life. The head of the EU is  elected by the European Parliament, not by the people of Europe. Big difference as the European Parliament is a self-referential circle-jerk. They isolate themselves and proclaim to know everything about everything when in rerality, their policies and edicts do more harm than good and do not help the common citizen. It is no wonder that the people of England voted themselves out, the people of Catalonia are next and Italy is not that far away from doing the same.

The stopped clock is right twice/day

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Senator Al Franken actually said something intellegent recently - from Wired:

AL FRANKEN JUST GAVE THE SPEECH BIG TECH HAS BEEN DREADING
Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) delivered some of the sharpest criticism yet about the dangers of tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Amazon during a speech on Wednesday, encouraging regulators, as well as lawmakers in both parties, to better police the market power of dominant online platforms.

“Everyone is rightfully focused on Russian manipulation of social media, but as lawmakers it is incumbent on us to ask the broader questions: How did big tech come to control so many aspects of our lives?” Franken asked in a speech to a Washington think tank. A handful of companies decide what Americans “see, read, and buy,” dominating access to information and facilitating the spread of disinformation, he added.

A bit more:

Franken argued that the same control over consumers that facilitated the spread of Russian propaganda on social media also helps Facebook and Google siphon advertising revenue from other publishers and helps Amazon dictate terms to content creators and smaller sellers. Tech giants are incentivized to disregard consumer privacy, Franken noted. “Accumulating massive troves of information isn’t just a side project for them. It’s their whole business model,” he said. “We are not their customers, we are their product.”

So true - emphasis mine. With my new phone (which I dearly love by the way!) I am constantly getting advertising and "helpful notices" from any and all places I visit on the web. I will google something about a TV show on my laptop and all of a sudden, my cell phone is sending me the latest gossip about actors staring in that show. I have to drill down through many many layers to throttle this feed down to a dull roar. There is no OFF switch to be found...

Came back from coffee and kept on driving - spent the afternoon in Bellingham taking care of a few things. Reheating some of the beef barley soup for dinner tonight - that and a big salad.

Unpack the truck while I still have daylight and relative dryness - supposed to start some serious rain later tonight.

Waiting for someone to get back to me regarding a contract - should be interesting if they accept...

Another day, another $$$

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Cold and rainy. Working at home today and then got a meeting in town (which I may bag - feeling distinctly anti-social).

Out for coffee first - post office and store. More posting in a bit...

And that is it for the evening

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Doing some correspondence and working on a couple projects. Heading over to YouTube for a bit in an hour or two.

Working at home tomorrow too. Got some ideas for the garage organization.

Now that accounts of Spacey's paedophilia have surfaced, Netflix has canceled the show House of Cards. This is causing some problems - from The Baltimore Sun:

Baltimore-area businesses already feeling loss of 'House of Cards'
The “House of Cards” crew is still getting paid through the suspension of the show’s sixth season, a source close to production confirmed Tuesday, but local vendors are already feeling the loss of a deep-pocketed customer and the cachet of being associated with a hit series.

Production company Media Rights Capital is paying the show’s crew while on hiatus, sources confirmed, but could not detail how much or for how long. Officials with Media Rights Capital would not comment on this matter.

Media Rights Capital and distributor Netflix announced the suspension of the show’s final season last Tuesday, days after actor Anthony Rapp alleged that executive producer and star Kevin Spacey had made sexual advances toward him in the 1980s, when he was 14 years old. Since then, several men, including former “House of Cards” production assistant and actor Harry Dreyfuss, son of thespian Richard Dreyfuss, have also made sexual misconduct allegations against Spacey.

On Friday night, Netflix and Media Rights Capital announced that Spacey, who played ruthless politican Frank Underwood in the series, had been fired.

And follow the money:

Caterers and fast-food restaurants, carpet and furniture outlets, music and antique stores, warehouses, auto parts dealers and paint suppliers — all are included among the show’s hundreds of Maryland vendors during more than five years of filming, often in and around Baltimore, at locations including the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, the Baltimore Museum of Art and The Baltimore Sun.

A state-created vendor list illustrates the ripple effect a big-budget production can have on a local economy. The December 2016 list from the Department of Commerce contains 1,963 House of Cards vendors, although many are fast-food outlets or convenience stores such as 7-Eleven, Starbucks, Chipotle and McDonald’s.

WPS Paint & Decorating Center in Emmorton will miss the crew stopping by as many as two or three times a week to buy paint or shellac. Among the paint it supplied was a color called river gorge gray, used for the mock Oval Office on the show.

“It makes a big impact on our business,” said Adrianne Kotula, the center’s lead interior designer. She declined to provide an economic figure but said the show “supplemented our business when things got slow with the housing market five or six years ago.”

I feel sorry for the cast and vendors - it was a good show and I really like Spacey as an actor. Shame he could not keep his dick in his trousers where it belongs while at work.

Meeting tonight

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Our local prepping group has its monthly meeting tonight. Grabbing a quick dinner and heading out.

More later...

Obama's Navy

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The good people got out when it became obvious that Barry didn't care for our military. This is why we have scandals like this - from Navy Times:

More than 60 admirals being looked at in ‘Fat Leonard’ probe, report says
More than 60 admirals are being looked at for their part in the “Fat Leonard” scandal, double the number the Navy said were under investigation last year, The Washington Post reported this weekend.

The Navy is reviewing the behavior of 440 active-duty and retired Navy personnel that includes 60 current and retired admirals for possible military and federal violations that sprang forth from their dealings with the corpulent, 350-pound Leonard Glenn Francis and his Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia company.

Francis is accused of plying Navy officials with booze, prostitutes and lavish feasts in exchange for lucrative work supplying ships in ports throughout the west Pacific.

And a bit more:

Even as Naval investigators delved into tips that he was receiving military secrets and inside information on contracts in exchange for the perks, Francie received VIP invites to ceremonies in Pearl Harbor and Annapolis, where he socialized with Navy leaders.

Francis was arrested in an international sting four years ago, and the U.S. Justice Department has gone on to file criminal charges against 28 people, including two admirals.

Another example of why Obama will go down as the worst president in US history.

The Texas shooter

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An interesting observation from Ted Cruz - from Rightwing News:

Ted Cruz: Dems Filibustered Legislation That Would Have Had Texas Church Shooter in Prison
Yesterday, on “Fox News @ Night,” Cruz really laid into Democrats. He said that in 2013, the Democrats filibustered the Grassley-Cruz legislation that “would have resulted in this shooter being in federal prison instead of murdering those innocents in that Texas church.” I still admire and really follow Ted Cruz and I know he is sick in his soul over this killing in his state. I’m also sure he’s furious because it didn’t have to be this way.

Cruz said, “[T]his should have been stopped beforehand. Under federal law, it was illegal for this individual to purchase a firearm. He had a conviction for a crime that’s punishable by more than a year in prison, and he had a conviction for multiple domestic violence crimes. Both of those, it’s already ineligible. But, several things happened: Number one, the Air Force — the Obama administration didn’t report those convictions to the [NICS] database. That’s an endemic problem. It’s a problem with the federal government. It’s a problem with the states. And so, when he went in to buy the guns, they ran the background check, and they didn’t find it because it wasn’t in the database. But I’ll tell you we could have prevented this. In 2013, in the wake of Sandy Hook, I joined with Chuck Grassley, we introduced legislation that was called the Grassley-Cruz legislation. And it was aggressive legislation targeting felons and violent criminals to stop them from getting guns.”

Cruz was not done by a longshot: “There were a couple elements of that legislation that were critical: One, it mandated that federal agencies, including the Air Force, report to the [NICS] because that was a problem back then. But, two, and this is an even more critical piece, if it had been reported to the background database, when he went into Academy to buy this — these weapons, he lied on the forms. That is a felony to lie on those forms. The Obama administration didn’t prosecute those cases. In 2010, 48,000 felons and fugitives lied and illegally tried to purchase guns. They prosecuted only 44 of them.”

Cruz finished off with: “Democrats filibustered the legislation that would have resulted in this shooter being in federal prison instead of murdering those innocents in that Texas church.”

Kind of hard to argue with the truth. This is something that does not seem to trouble the Democrats though.

New 'Bot from Boston Dynamics

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This has to be an incredibly fun place to work:

I would love to spend a couple weeks poking around there and playing with their toys tools.

About that global warming

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Here is the raw data from the US Climate Reference Network (USCRN) - these stations have been in place for 13 years so this is the full dataset:

uscrn-graph.jpg

Notice the warming? Me neither.

Taking a break

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Got a couple tractor loads out to the dumpster and starting to see a major improvement in the garage. Been printing labels and using plastic tubs for storing various things (hose fittings, hot glue guns, stud finders, etc...)

Will start making the beef barley soup in a few minutes - making some lunch first. Back to a solid low-carb diet. Meeting tonight.

Great day to work in the garage as the temp is a balmy 46.9°F - almost shirtsleeve environment if I keep moving fast enough.

Back home again

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Got the tractor warming up and will be spending today filling the dumpster with a bunch of crap. Cleaning out the garage and an area in the kitchen where I plan to set up my photo/video editing workstation.

Making some beef barley soup for dinner tonight.

One year ago today

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And one year in - so far, so good:

Working at home today

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This time for reals...

Coffee, post office and store first though. Only got down to 30.7°F last night so this cold snap is over. Cool and wet moving in.

Nothing tonight

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The world is still nutz. Watching some YouTube videos and cleaning up the kitchen.

Be on the lookout for aurora tonight if it is clear where you are. The Planetary K-Index is high. Overcast here so no joy...

Well that didn't go as planned

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Wound up needing to make a trip into Bellingham after all. Picked up some Chinese takeout for dinner - unpacking the truck and fixing dinner (nuking it in the microwave). Got up to a balmy 39.7°F this afternoon - positively tropical.

More later...

Winter is here

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Got down to 19.2°F last night - heading out for coffee and working at home today.

More posting later...

And that is it for the night

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I may do a quick run into Bellingham tomorrow or Wednesday - needed to catch the daylight today for a couple projects I am working on outside so I cut my time short. Gorgeous day but the temperature is still dropping - down to 23.2°F as I type. Brrrrrr.... Clear too so it is going to get a lot colder later this night.

Dinner was some baked chicken breast, brown rice and stir-fried bok-choy. Switched from white to brown as I am trying to keep my carb intake right around 20 grams/day and the brown has a lot more fiber which helps to offset rice's high carb levels. Still not too bad - a cup of cooked is about 30 grams and that is a LOT of rice! Seriously backslid what with birthday celebration and the excess Halloween candy floating around so time to get back on the program.

Heading over to YouTube to see what's new.

A fun time in Saudi Arabia

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More on the arrests of the Saudi princes from Yahoo/Reuters:

Purge of Saudi princes, businessmen widens, travel curbs imposed
A campaign of mass arrests of Saudi Arabian royals, ministers and businessmen expanded on Monday after a top entrepreneur was reportedly detained in the biggest anti-corruption purge of the kingdom's affluent elite in its modern history.

The reported arrest of Nasser bin Aqeel al-Tayyar followed the detention of dozens of top Saudis including billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in a crackdown that the attorney general described as "phase one".

The purge is the latest in a series of dramatic steps by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to assert Saudi influence internationally and amass more power for himself at home.

Oil prices are pretty low so they are feeling the pinch. Everything is cyclic - they were the richest nation for a long time. Now? Not so much. Should have planned better.

Democrat meltdown - crooked Hillary

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Talk about denial - from The Washington Examiner:

Hillary Clinton's team implies Donna Brazile is lying
Hillary Clinton's former campaign manager on Monday implied that former Democratic National Committee Donna Brazile is not telling the truth in her new book, which says the Clinton campaign effectively rigged the Democratic primary by taking over the DNC.

"We certainly don't recognize the campaign she describes, we also don't recall some of the events she said that happened," Robby Mook told CNN when asked to react to the book.

Makes a lot of sense when you think about it - Hillary is a known liar so it is not surprising that she surrounds herself with liars.

Short trip into Bellingham today - wanted to get a couple things done outside while I still had daylight. Cooking a chicken breast and some bok-choy and brown rice for dinner.

Gorgeous day today - clear and cold. 29.1°F right now so will need to let the water run in the sink so the pipes do not freeze (18°F is my danger temperature for this).

Off to town for a few hours

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And then working on some projects at the farm for the rest of the day. Coffee first of course.

From Stanley "Dirt Monkey" Genadek

Move over Mossack-Fonseca

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Panamanian corporation Mossack Fonseca suffered a major leak back in the spring of 2016 - you may have heard about the Panama Papers. The UK Guardian did an excellent overview of the case. Now they are back with this:

Paradise Papers leak reveals secrets of the world elite's hidden wealth
The world’s biggest businesses, heads of state and global figures in politics, entertainment and sport who have sheltered their wealth in secretive tax havens are being revealed this week in a major new investigation into Britain’s offshore empires.

The details come from a leak of 13.4m files that expose the global environments in which tax abuses can thrive – and the complex and seemingly artificial ways the wealthiest corporations can legally protect their wealth.

The material, which has come from two offshore service providers and the company registries of 19 tax havens, was obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with partners including the Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times.

The project has been called the Paradise Papers. It reveals:

A bunch more information there with links to corroborating source materials. Looks like the draining of the swamp is accelerating and is happening from all sides. I love it!

A new example of Arkancide coming up?

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Donna Brazile has been telling it like it is regarding the Crooked Clinton take-over and mismanagement of the Democrat Party - wonder if there will be another case of Arkancide sometime next week...

20171105-arkancide.jpg

Arkancide? From the website:

Arkancide is the unfortunate habit of potential witnesses to the Clintons' dirty dealings in Arkansas suddenly deciding to shoot themselves twice in the back of the head. Police and Coroners in Arkansas, notably Fahmy Malak who answered to Governor Bill Clinton, automatically described these shootings as "suicides."

After Bill Clinton became President the phenomenon spilled over to Washington D.C. when Hillary Clinton's ex-lover Vincent Foster was "Arkancided."

From Stilton Jarlsberg

Crap - another shooting

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From San Antonio, Texas station KSAT:

Gunman in Sutherland Springs church shooting ID'd as Devin Kelley, authorities say
A shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Sunday morning left 26 people -- ranging in age from 5 to 72 years old -- dead and 20 wounded, authorities say.

Devin Patrick Kelley, of New Braunfels, has been identified as the gunman.

Kelley walked into the First Baptist Church and began shooting around 11:20 a.m., before fleeing in a vehicle, Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt said. Witnesses said Kelley was dressed in all black tactical gear and a ballistic vest and a Department of Public Safety official said he was carrying a Ruger ARb assault-type rifle.

I invoke the 48-hour rule as we have zero reliable information about the shooter and his motives. A tragedy.

From The New York Times:

Saudi Arabia Arrests 11 Princes, Including Billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal
Saudi Arabia announced the arrest on Saturday night of the prominent billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, plus at least 10 other princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers.

The announcement of the arrests was made over Al Arabiya, the Saudi-owned satellite network whose broadcasts are officially approved. Prince Alwaleed’s arrest is sure to send shock waves both through the kingdom and the world’s major financial centers.

He controls the investment firm Kingdom Holding and is one of the world’s richest men, owning or having owned major stakes in 21st Century Fox, Citigroup, Apple, Twitter and many other well-known companies. The prince also controls satellite television networks watched across the Arab world.

The sweeping campaign of arrests appears to be the latest move to consolidate the power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the favorite son and top adviser of King Salman.

They are saying that it is an anti-corruption crackdown but it looks more like a power grab inside the royal family. Trish and I are watching The Game of Thrones now. Compared to that show, this move is childs-play.

Great quote

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20171105-einstein.jpg

Back in the country

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Got home a couple hours ago - email problems so had to spend some time diagnosing that. Fixing dinner (two cans of Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup and a salad) and getting ready for ten days of work up here. Got some projects for the store to finish off and a couple of things at the house.

Had a wonderful birthday dinner with Trish and her kids and parents. They seem to be very happy for us. I am happy for us! It is a very good match.

More posting after dinner.

Snow Report from Mt. Baker

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Looks great - from the Mt. Baker Ski Area:

CONDITIONS UPDATE: Friday Nov. 3
Helllloooooo early snow!!! Those of you in Whatcom County woke up to a surprise early snow this morning and that couple of inches in the lowlands translated to over 15 inches of new snow up at the ski area! With our existing base of around 10 inches, that brings our pre-season total to about 25 inches of snow at Heather Meadows. Forecasts are calling for a few more inches of snowfall in the next few days and then drier weather, but still cold, for a bit. The good news is that, at this point, the extended forecast is calling for continued cold weather so hopefully we won't get any snow melt in the next few weeks. We'll see how the base holds up, but if it does hold up we could possibly see an opening day with one more good storm! Stay tuned here for daily updates and the most up-to-date news on a possible opening day!

Getting very close to an early opening day. Looking forward to another great winter season!

And maybe this time I will remember to park my tractor and truck at the very top of the driveway so I do not get snowbound for eight days...

Taking a break from the celebration

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T treated me to a mani-pedi for my birthday and it was surprisingly fun. I could see doing this every six months or so... We went out for a nice low-carb breakfast first:

20171103-breakfast.jpg

And then we came home to find that the wonderful people from Crossroads had sent me a flower arrangement and a really cute stuffed bear (bears are my spirit animal until dragons repopulate the Earth again):

20171103-bear.jpg

Hanging out for a while - got dinner with the kids and her parents this evening.

Snowfall in Seattle

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Woke up to find that Bellingham was getting snow. Looked out the window to see that it was Seattle as well:

Minimal posting today

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Trish and our two kids are helping me celebrate my 67 turns around the sun today. Heading out to drop E off at University and then out for breakfast. Dinner later with T's parents.

The word shambles (both archaic and contemporary useage) comes to mind - from DNC Chair Donna Brazile writing at Politico:

Inside Hillary Clinton’s Secret Takeover of the DNC
Before I called Bernie Sanders, I lit a candle in my living room and put on some gospel music. I wanted to center myself for what I knew would be an emotional phone call.

I had promised Bernie when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process, as a cache of emails stolen by Russian hackers and posted online had suggested. I’d had my suspicions from the moment I walked in the door of the DNC a month or so earlier, based on the leaked emails. But who knew if some of them might have been forged? I needed to have solid proof, and so did Bernie.

So I followed the money. My predecessor, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had not been the most active chair in fundraising at a time when President Barack Obama’s neglect had left the party in significant debt. As Hillary’s campaign gained momentum, she resolved the party’s debt and put it on a starvation diet. It had become dependent on her campaign for survival, for which she expected to wield control of its operations.

A bit more:

Officials from Hillary’s campaign had taken a look at the DNC’s books. Obama left the party $24 million in debt—$15 million in bank debt and more than $8 million owed to vendors after the 2012 campaign—and had been paying that off very slowly.

This is my shocked face - they can not run a city, a state or a nation without going into serious debt. Why do we expect to run their own party.

Winter is approaching

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UPDATE below:

Just got an email from some people in Maple Falls, it is snowing up there. Just a dusting but the first snowfall of the season and it is a month early!

Cliff Mass nails it - from Cliff Mass Weather and Climate Blog

Snow Expected over Western Washington
The first real blast of cold air will reach western Washington with substantial snow in the mountains, where the snow level will descend to approximately 1000 ft. There could even be some snow reaching sea level in some very favored locations, such as Bellingham and Port Angeles, downstream of the Fraser River Gap in the Cascades.

In any case, this will be the coldest air over the region since last January, so be prepared.

Seattle is blustery and low 40°'s. The Fraser River gap is a major conduit for cold air coming from Canada and Maple Falls sits right in one of the major outflows.

Nothing much today

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T and I are trying to figure out her 2018 healthcare options. It is enrollment time for WA State employees and the options are not intuitive - single mom with two kids.

Nothing more for tonight. We are binge-watching Game of Thrones and loving it!

And of course - the NYC terrorist

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From ABC News:

Feds interviewed accused NYC truck attacker in 2015 about possible terror ties
Sayfullo Saipov, who has been charged with killing eight people in a vehicle attack on the West Side of Manhattan on Tuesday, was interviewed in 2015 by federal agents about possible ties to suspected terrorists but a case was never opened against him, law enforcement officials tell ABC News.

Saipov was listed as a “point of contact” for two men whose were listed in a Department of Homeland Security counterterrorism database and later overstayed their tourist visas, a federal official told ABC News. One was flagged after arriving from a so-called “threat country,” while the other vanished and was being actively sought by federal agents as a “suspected terrorist.” An official told ABC News that the FBI has since located him and he is not believed to have been involved in Tuesday’s attack.

How many sleeper agents like this do we have? Time to review the FBI interviews and round them up for a second set of talks. Return tickets home should be handed out.

Another day in Seattle

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Spent a wonderful afternoon at the Living Computer Museum - amazing place. Their core exhibits (including a U-Boat 4-rotor Engima machine in amazing condition) started as a personal collection of Paul Allen and have expanded to quite a comprehensive collection of everything from early mainframes through current Raspberry Pi, robotics and virtual reality. They are actively soliciting materials so I will be bringing a couple cartons of stuff on my next visit to Seattle. They are especially interested in older books and software and I have a bunch of these from when I had my computer store back in the late 1980's.

Had coffee this morning and found out that a good friend of mine had passed away in 2006 - his obituary is here: Van Blacklock. We had a lot of common interests. 60 is way too young. He smoked a lot and died from lung cancer.

August 2018

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Environment and Climate
AccuWeather
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Climate Audit
Climate Depot
Green Trust
ICECAP
Jennifer Marohasy
MetaEfficient
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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
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FAIL Blog
Hack a Day
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Neatorama
Slashdot: News for nerds
The Register
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TYWKIWDBI


Comics
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Day by Day
Dilbert
Medium Large
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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
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Strobist
The Online Photographer


Blogrolling
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Sound Politics
The Strata-Sphere
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Tim Blair
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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
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shining full plate and a good broadsword
A Physicist's Perspective
The Daily Demarche
Wayne's Online Newsletter

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