February 2018 Archives

And that is it for the evening

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Nothing catches my eye on the intarwebs. Busy day tomorrow so heading to sleep in 30 minutes or so - couple more YouTube videos to watch.

Canadian Modern Print Design

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Great website featuring modern Canadian type and logo design - some gorgeous work here: Canada Modern

True North Indexed.
Canada Modern is a physical and digital archive of Canadian graphic design, with modernism central to its glowing heart.

Island time

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Heading South to spend tonight on Camano island. Down to Seattle tomorrow - getting hitched on Saturday :)

More posting later tonight...

President Trump meeting Russian agents

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And we have proof:

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Hillary a Russian agent? Start here: Uranium One

Off for the day

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First, I have to see if I can get the truck unstuck and out to the road. This will either be a simple drive or a two-hour plowing job with the tractor.

Hoping for the first - got a lot on my plate today...

UPDATE: Tractor time :(

Looking at an early bedtime.

Best case scenario for tomorrow morning, the ground has thawed or frozen enough so that I get traction and am able to drive out of my driveway. Otherwise, I spend two hours with Buttercup the Tractor plowing and towing.

Heading down to Camano tomorrow and then to Seattle.

An interesting look at liberalism

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Jeffrey Folks articulates a lot of what I have been thinking over the last 20 years or so:

Leftists versus the People
Do they really hate ordinary people that much?

Yes, they do. For liberals, the distinction between the "dumb masses" and their enlightened selves renders life meaningful. Disdain for ordinary folks is not just an ancillary trait of liberalism. It is fundamental to the its nature.

At its heart, liberalism is a gnostic religion, and the essence of that religion is the believer's faith that he possesses the means of changing the world for the better. The belief that the world must be changed requires there to be a mass of individuals whose lives are in need of change. Following this logic, it is the liberal, not those deplorables in need of change, who knows what must be changed. For liberals, there must be a mass of people in need of this knowledge for life to make sense.

Above all, liberalism is a hubristic faith. Its followers share the fatal flaw of pride in their own intellectual capacity. This is why liberalism appeals so strongly to those in the knowledge trades: teachers, journalists, writers, psychologists, and social workers. The sense of "knowing more than others" is its strongest attraction – particularly to the young, who otherwise know so little. Liberalism confers, or seems to confer, almost immediate power and authority to those who embrace it.

The left's obsession with superior knowledge runs through its entire history. As Woodrow Wilson remarked, the "instrument" of political science "is insight. A nice understanding of subtle, unformulated conditions." Lyndon B. Johnson thought "a president's hardest task" is "to know what is right." And the most hubristic of all is Obama's "We are the ones we've been waiting for." Yes, we are wonderfully bright, and we've been waiting eons for ourselves to appear.

A lot more at the site. I had always considered various "movements" to be religious in nature. Environmentalism. The whole Global Warming / One world governance thing. The European Union. Jeffrey goes a long way to explain the common underpinnings of each movement and why they appeal to so many people who should know better than to believe whatever codswallop is being marketed by these shysters.

Homeopathy explained

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Excellent animation on what it is, why it took off when it did and why it is bunk.

An interesting evening

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Funny all that can happen in one hour...

Was in Seattle for a few days and drove in to the farm tonight around 4:30PM or so. Pulled up to the house. Had a brief thought about maybe parking up near the street and walking in but nooo... Came in to the house to find that the pipes were frozen. As expected. I left the tap open just in case.

Sat down to the computer to find a Facebook message from the officiant for our wedding this Saturday - abjectly apologetic but they were otherwise occupied. I had called them a bit over a month ago to confirm dates but it must have slipped their mind. Fortunately, Seattle is crackling with officiants-for-hire. Not the person I was looking for but the wedding is still on for Saturday.

Decided to go out for a bite to eat. Started up my driveway and the truck got stuck. It is exactly 32.0°F outside so the one foot of snow on the ground exists as a mix of ice, snow and water. perfect. I'll bring the tractor out tomorrow morning and plow the driveway and use a tow-strap to move the truck onto the plowed part and we will see what happens.

Fortunately, the faucet in the kitchen started to drip drip drip. I thought this might be a residue of water draining from the second floor plumbing but the rate of flow started increasing in fits and starts. I now have water. One bright spot in this evening.

Spending the evening decluttering and then maybe have some wine when I am done. Life in the country...

Venezuela in the news

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A perfect example of a failed socialist state - from the Latin American Herald Tribune:

EXCLUSIVE: Venezuela Being Evicted from Consulate in Miami
Venezuela is facing eviction from the offices of its Miami Consulate after not paying the rent since August, court records uncovered by the Latin American Herald Tribune Thursday show.

According to the court filings, Venezuela was given a 3 Day Notice to Pay the Rent and Cure the Defects or deliver the property on February 7.

"Defendant refuses to do either," say the lawyers in their filing for eviction a week later. Venezuela owes $142,118.70 and hasn't paid its rent since August 2017.

After Venezuela refused to pay or vacate the premises, the owners TWJ 1100, LLC filed the eviction lawsuit in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court seeking "judgment for possession of the property" and "damages, costs, attorney fees and such further relief as the Court deems just and proper."

The article goes on to give some detail including the information that Miami is home to the largest Venezuelan exile community in the U.S., largely made up of citizens who oppose the Maduro regime. Having an embassy there is critical to its citizens and the Maduro government can not afford to pay the rent.

Heh - she is playing her cards close to her vest and keeping him close. From Yahoo/Agence France Presse:

Jens Spahn, Germany's 'anti-Merkel' gunning for the top job
He's 37 years old, openly gay yet staunchly conservative and one of Chancellor Angela Merkel's loudest critics within her own party. Meet Jens Spahn, the ambitious "anti-Merkel" tapped to become Germany's new health minister.

Spahn's promotion is widely seen as an attempt by Merkel to placate the conservative wing of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, which felt left behind as she charted an ever more centrist course in recent years.

By offering the outspoken Spahn a cabinet post, Merkel is also bringing a key rival into the fold at a time when her leadership has been weakened by her lengthy struggles to form a coalition government after a disappointing election.

How long before he is in the running for Chancellor? Merkel's dad was a Communist and she spent time in East Germany and Russia. Time for our ally to swing back to the side of conservatism and capitalism and prosperity.

Only the best and brightest - Antifa

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George Soros' funded group Antifa is in the news again - from The Daily Caller:

If You Have A Mental Illness, This Antifa Student Group Wants You
A Texas Antifa student group hosted a six month health program to “politicize” students with “mental illnesses,” according to a Thursday report.

The Revolutionary Student Front at the University of Texas at Austin hosted a “Revolutionary Mental Health Program” “to address the mental health needs of students in a way that would primarily serve to politicize and strengthen them, to become more committed to revolution and more capable of carrying it out,” reported Far Left Watch.

The UT Austin Antifa student group based its 2017 program on “Turn Illness Into A Weapon,” a book charting the neo-Marxist Socialist Patients Collective group’s actions in Germany, which placed the blame of mental illness on capitalist oppression.

Perfect example of progressive indoctrination. Take the people on the margins of society and tell them that their condition is caused by capitalism when it is in fact the proceeds of capitalism that gives them the shelters and food banks that help keep them alive as well as the schhol system if they want to advance their place in life.

Quote of the day - climate

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Makes for some interesting reading:

Snows are less frequent and less deep. They do not often lie, below the mountains, more than one, two, or three days, and very rarely a week.  They are remembered to have been formerly frequent, deep, and of long continuance.  The elderly inform me the earth used to be covered with snow about three months in every year.  The rivers, which then seldom failed to freeze over in the course of the winter, scarcely ever do so now.  This change has produced an unfortunate fluctuation between heat and cold, in the spring of the year, which is very fatal to fruits.

And from the same author:

Snows are less frequent and less deep. They do not often lie, below the mountains, more than one, two, or three days, and very rarely a week.  They are remembered to have been formerly frequent, deep, and of long continuance.

Sounds like Global Warming to me but this was written in 1799 by President Thomas Jefferson.

Technology hurdle - Automated Cars

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Heh - a little problem as told by  the truth about cars:

Automated Cars Are Not Able to Use the Automated Car Wash
We’ve been cautiously optimistic about the progress of autonomous driving. The miraculous technology is there, but implementing it effectively is an arduous task of the highest order. A prime example of this is how easy it is to “blind” a self-driving vehicle’s sensors.

TTAC’s staff has had its share of minor misadventures with semi-autonomous driving aids, be it during encounters with thick fog or heavy snow, but truly self-driving cars have even more sensitive equipment on board — and all of it needs to function properly.

That makes even the simple task of washing a self-driving car far more complicated than one might expect, as anything other than meticulous hand washing a big no-no. Automated car washes could potentially dislodge expensive sensors, scratch them up, or leave behind soap residue or water spots that would affect a camera’s ability to see.

Automakers and tech firms have come up with a myriad of solutions to this problem — though a man with a rag and some water appears to be the most popular. Toyota, Aptiv, Drive.AI, May Mobility, and Uber have all said they use rubbing alcohol, water, or glass cleaner to manually wash the sensors, before carefully finishing the job with a microfiber cloth.

Of course, they will come up with a solution to this but it is a bit funny for now.

Interesting story along the lines of British sailors contracting scurvy on long voyages. From Atlas Obscura:

How Killer Rice Crippled Tokyo and the Japanese Navy
IN 1877, JAPAN’S MEIJI EMPEROR watched his aunt, the princess Kazu, die of a common malady: kakke. If her condition was typical, her legs would have swollen, and her speech slowed. Numbness and paralysis might have come next, along with twitching and vomiting. Death often resulted from heart failure.

The emperor had suffered from this same ailment, on-and-off, his whole life. In response, he poured money into research on the illness. It was a matter of survival: for the emperor, his family, and Japan’s ruling class. While most diseases ravage the poor and vulnerable, kakke afflicted the wealthy and powerful, especially city dwellers. This curious fact gave kakke its other name: Edo wazurai, the affliction of Edo (Edo being the old name for Tokyo). But for centuries, the culprit of kakke went unnoticed: fine, polished, white rice.

Gleaming white rice was a status symbol—it was expensive and laborious to husk, hull, polish, and wash. In Japan, the poor ate brown rice, or other carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes or barley. The rich ate polished white rice, often to the exclusion of other foods.

This was a problem. Removing the outer layers of a grain of rice also removes one vital nutrient: thiamine, or vitamin B-1. Without thiamine, animals and humans develop kakke, now known in English as beriberi. But for too long, the cause of the condition remained unknown.

An interesting story - much more at the site. The Doctor who discovered the actual cause became a member of the Royal Family and was named Doctor Barley.

An interesting slant - from Yahoo/Agence France Presse:

Free news gets scarcer as paywalls tighten
For those looking for free news online, the search is becoming harder.

Tougher restrictions on online content have boosted digital paid subscriptions at many news organizations, amid a growing trend keeping content behind a "paywall."

Free news has by no means disappeared, but recent moves by media groups and Facebook and Google supporting paid subscriptions is forcing free-riders to scramble.

For some analysts, the trend reflects a normalization of a situation that has existed since the early internet days that enabled consumers to get accustomed to the notion of free online content.

"I think there is a definite trend for people to start paying for at least one news source," said Rebecca Lieb, an analyst who follows digital media for Kaleido Insights.

Or, people are just fed up with the quality of the reporting and whenever they find a paywall at a place that used to be free, they simply click NEXT and move on. Personally, I find that the Google Chrome Incognito window works great on most stuff that I read. There are also Chrome plug-ins that work to defeat the curtains in front of the news page.

If the publishers made content that we wanted to read, then maybe the subscription model would work and not be viewed as an obstruction. The free version of Ccleaner works great on sites that let you have X number of page-views per month/week/etc... Run it to reset the cookies. Make sure when installing to uncheck the box to install the anti-virus software.

Getting rid of the entrenched Senate

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Even the Democrats are getting in on the act. From National Public Radio:

California Democrats Decline To Endorse Another Term For Sen. Dianne Feinstein
Before U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein could finish her speech at the California Democratic Party convention Saturday, the music began playing to indicate she had used her allotted time.

She kept talking. The music got louder. "I guess my time is up," Feinstein conceded as what sounded like a 1940's movie score continued playing.

Without missing a beat, supporters of her opponent, State Sen. Kevin de León echoed her statement in a chant: "Your time is up! Your time is up!," a not so subtle reference to Feinstein's 25 years in the U.S. Senate.

de León got the nod with 54% of the votes, Feinstein got 37%. Now if they would just get rid of Senators Schumer and Pelosi we would have the opertunity for a lot better representation.

A criminal behind bars

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 Fun story about some good investigative work. From the Ontario Canada station CTV:

'America's most-wanted deadbeat dad' caught in failed Alberta cherry pit scam
A man dubbed “America’s most-wanted deadbeat dad” has been arrested thanks to the sharp wits of a small-town Alberta restaurateur, who managed to identify the man after he suspected he was being scammed.

Joseph Stroup, 64, appeared in a Chicago courtroom last week to face charges related to more than US$560,000 in unpaid child support. The divorced father of four sold his internet business for $2 million, but hasn’t paid child support since 1996, according to the U.S. Office of the Inspector General. He eventually climbed to the top of the Inspector General’s list of most-wanted deadbeat dads, but didn’t turn up again until last November in Bearspaw, Alta., where he was caught living under the name “Joop Cousteau.”

And the story?

Restaurant owner Scott Winograd fingered the wanted man through a carefully-laid trap that he set once he realized he was being duped by a wanted man, who seemed to have been laying low in the small Alberta community.

Winograd says Stroup loved to drop in to the Bear’s Den restaurant and brag about himself, claiming to be a former doctor and Oxford University graduate who “got bored” and became a vice-president at Google.

“He was an odd duck, there was no question about that,” Winograd told CTV News.

What happened:

“Ten minutes after he called Joe the server over, and said: ‘I bit down on a Maraschino cherry pit and I broke some dental work,” Winograd said. “He was very adamant that he had $65,000 worth of dental work in his mouth, and he passed what looked like a cherry pit off to the server.”

Maraschino cherries are often used for cocktails and are typically sold with the pits removed, Winograd pointed out.

Winograd says the man came back the next day with a handwritten form outlining a hefty bill for his “damaged” dental work. Winograd took note of the name on the form and looked up “Joop Cousteau” on Google.

Winograd found a Facebook page set up by U.S. law enforcement under the name Joop Cousteau, with a mugshot of the wanted man. “Joop Cousteau is the alias used by Joseph W. Stroup,” said a post on the page from May 6, 2015. The post included a link to Stroup’s entry on the Status of Deadbeats list.

Heh - gotta love the internet.  The restaurateur offered Stroup a free meal but sat him at the counter in full view of the surveillance cameras. Grabbed a screen cap and sent it off to the Canadian and US law enforcement - this was the response:

“Within an hour the FBI, the U.S. Marshals and the Inspector General all called,” he said.

You can try to run but something will always trip you up. The perfect getaway only happens in storybooks.

A proper action

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Italian Police versus the poo-flinging members of Antifa

Despite Antifa's claims of being anti-fascism, they are a very well-funded fascist organization. Part of the Soros / Alinsky / Clinton crowd whose goal is to take down Democracy and install a centralised fascist government.

I wish that the Police in the USA had the same ability to respond in kind. Teach the little Mussolini's a lesson. Hat tip to Live Leak

Quite the recovery - Degas painting

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From National Public Radio:

Customs Agents Search A Bus Near Paris — And Discover A Stolen Degas Painting
In December 2009, a small painting by Edgar Degas was quietly stolen from the Cantini museum in Marseille, France. Museum staff discovered Les Choristes was missing when they arrived in the morning, and the prosecutor suggested it could be an inside job because the painting had been unscrewed from the wall and there was no evidence of a break-in.

An investigation was launched, but eight years went by and the 1877 painting — worth an estimated $1 million — wasn't seen again.

That was until last Friday, when French customs agents happened to check a bus parked at a highway stop about 18 miles east of Paris.

The officers opened a suitcase in the luggage compartment, and there it was: pastels in red, orange and yellow, depicting a chorus from the opera Don Juan. In the lower left hand corner: Degas' signature.

The agents asked the bus passengers who owned the suitcase. No one claimed it.

Great news from the CDC

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From United Press International:

Doctors visits for the flu down for second week in a row, CDC says
If the latest government data on doctor visits is any indication, a brutal flu season may be starting to wane.

For the second week in a row, there was a drop in doctor visits for flu-like illness in the United States. And the latest drop was more pronounced than the one before, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday.

As of Feb. 17, the CDC said that 6.4 percent of patient visits to doctors were for the flu, down from 7.5 percent of patient visits the week before.

But the news was not all good, and it doesn't look like the flu season is over yet.

Flu-linked hospitalization rates continued to rise -- from 67.9 per 100,000 people for the week ending Feb. 10, to 74.5 per 100,000 people for the week ending Feb. 17, the findings showed.

Pediatric flu deaths are also still increasing, with 97 children now dead from the flu so far this season, according to the CDC.

CDC officials have pinpointed one reason why this flu season has been so brutal: the flu vaccine is only 25 percent effective against H3N2 influenza, which is causing most flu cases this year.

This was a bad season - lost a dear friend to the flu. He was only 52 years old.

Gun free zones

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The absolute falacy as explained by A. F. Branco:

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News you can use - longevity

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From the UC Irvine Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND)

The 90+ Study
The 90+ Study was initiated in 2003 to study the oldest-old, the fastest growing age group in the United States. The 90+ Study is one of the largest studies of the oldest-old in the world. More than 1,600 people have enrolled. Because little is known about people who achieve this milestone, the remarkable increase in the number of oldest-old presents a public health priority to promote the quality as well as the quantity of life.

The 90+ Study participants
Initial participants in The 90+ Study were once members of The Leisure World Cohort Study (LWCS), which was started in 1981. The LWCS mailed surveys to every resident of Leisure World, a large retirement community in Orange County, California (now incorporated as the city of Laguna Woods). Using the 14,000 subjects from the LWCS, researchers from The 90+ Study were able to ask, What allows people to live to age 90 and beyond?

Some of their findings are interesting:

Major findings
Researchers from The 90+ Study have published many scientific papers in premier journals. Some of the major findings are:

    • People who drank moderate amounts of alcohol or coffee lived longer than those who abstained.
    • People who were overweight in their 70s lived longer than normal or underweight people did.

I'm down with that - love a glass of two of red wine in the evening and maybe I'll ease up on getting that last ten pounds off my bodyweight...

Learn to play the Shenanigan

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Fake news in the news - a two-fer

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First, from Business Insider:

Parkland shooting survivor's family shops doctored emails with CNN to media outlets
The family of Colton Haab, a student at the Florida high school where a gunman killed 17 people last week, provided a doctored email to media outlets in order to defend Haab's claims that CNN rewrote a question for him to ask at the network's Wednesday town-hall-style event on school shootings.

Haab told the Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Thursday night that CNN executive producer Carrie Stevenson gave him a question to deliver to lawmakers and told him to "stick to the script."

But CNN says there is "absolutely no truth" to Colton's claims, which he first made on a Miami TV-news station.

"In my interview with CNN, I had talked about arming the teachers, if they were willing to arm themselves in the school, to carry on campus," Haab told Carlson. "And they had — she had taken that, of what I had briefed on, and actually wrote that question out for me."

And second - from Breitbart:

Second Accuser: Parkland Student’s Father Says CNN Only Interested in ‘Certain Narrative’
On Thursday night, Fox News’s Laura Ingraham spoke with Andrew Klein, the father of one of students who survived last week’s school shooting massacre in Parkland, Florida.

Ingraham pointed out, accurately, that  CNN’s widely-criticized Wednesday night townhall event was one-sided. The questioners were all anti-gun, all opposed the NRA, and launched venomous personal attacks against Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch.

Jake Tapper, the anti-Trump/anti-gun pundit who moderated the spectacle, also had an audience of thousands who all appeared to be rabidly anti-gun — going so far as to boo a rape victim as Tapper remained silent. Tapper has yet to disavow his audience’s behavior or to apologize to the rape survivor.

Klein informed Ingraham that his experience with the anti-gun cable channel was similar to that of Colton Haab, the shooting survivor and JROTC member being hailed as a hero for leading his fellow students to safety during the massacre.

Someone is lying and I do not think it is Mr. Haab or Mr. Klein.

Great choice of date - sending a signal

From The Washington Free Beacon:

Report: U.S. Plans to Move Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem on May 14
The Trump administration plans to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem on May 14, according to Israeli officials.

Israeli officials told Axios that an "interim embassy" will be assembled at the consular annex in West Jerusalem, a building that currently handles visas and passports. U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman will move to the interim embassy with a small staff until a permanent location for the embassy can be determined.

May 14?

Moving the embassy on May 14, the 70th anniversary of the day Israel declared its independence, is much sooner than expected.

Emphasis mine - great sense of timing. Israel is a true democracy in an area ruled by tinpot dictators and oligarchs.

Heading south today

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The usual morning routine of coffee and a trip to the post office but then heading to Seattle for a couple of days.

Trish and I are getting married on March 3rd so this week will be a little bit hectic. Looking forward to the next 30 years - she is a keeper :)

Tales from the deep state

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Thought the Clinton Foundation was an isolated example of corruption? No - it's turtles all the way down. From The Daily Caller:

Former Official Will Cooperate With Investigators Probing Scheme Funneling Money From State To Kerry’s Daughter
A former senior Peace Corps official agreed to cooperate with any law enforcement investigations surrounding a scheme that funneled millions of Department of State dollars to a nonprofit founded and run by former Secretary of State John Kerry’s daughter, recently published court documents show.

Warren “Buck” Buckingham agreed to cooperate as a condition of an agreement with the Washington, D.C., U.S. Attorney’s Office that would keep him from facing prosecution for a related illegal lobbying charge, court documents filed Thursday and made public Tuesday show.

Crooks all of them.

Renewable energy - a three-fer

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Just the headlines - click to read the stories.

Sheesh - I could have told you this ten years ago. Renewables are not cost effective without huge government subsidies and THAT money is coming out of your pocket. If you want to virtue signal, do it on your own dime - not mine. More.

Illegal immigrants and California

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Looks like things may get interesting before they get better. A twofer.

First, from the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Trump considers pulling ICE out of California to let the state learn
President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he’s considering pulling Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers out of California.

Why? Because he feels the state is giving his administration “no help” in targeting the violent MS-13 gang, especially in Los Angeles.

“We’re getting no help from the state of California,” Trump said from the White House. “Frankly, if I wanted to pull our people from California you would have a crime nest like you’ve never seen in California. All I’d have to do is say ‘ICE and border patrol, let California learn.’”

I would love to see the reaction if this actually comes to pass. Second, from the Los Angeles Times:

Trump accuses California police of being soft on street gangs, and cops fire back
President Trump on Thursday accused California law enforcement of being soft on street gangs and suggested he might pull immigration agents out of the state, prompting a strong rebuke from local officials who said the president doesn't understand their war on gangs.

Trump's remarks are an escalation of a yearlong battle between his administration and California on a variety of topics including illegal immigration and law enforcement. Trump has criticized California for being a "sanctuary" for those here illegally, and federal officials have vowed immigration crackdowns in the state.

I can not imagine what is going through the minds of the California government. Sure, they shower the illegals with free shit and they do return the favor by casting illegal ballots for the Democrat party but still, there is a burden of cost from all the services the illegals are demanding and the rise in crime costs the state a considerable ammount.

Where is the benefit besides justifying the expansion of the government and the raising of taxes. Are they really heading for a Marxist utopia?

About that clean coal

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Great news on the Energy front - from Don Surber (a daily read for me):

Trump revives coal
The War on Coal ended on November 8, 2016. I will give you a guess about which side won.

"The U.S. last year produced 773 million short tons of coal, 45 million more than 2016. That was the largest year-to-year increase in nearly two decades, government numbers show," the Washington Times reported.

It gets better. Europe imported a record amount of coal from the USA in 2017.

Don provides links to the data - sensible energy is back again. The abject myth of carbon being bad is getting stuffed back into the trashcan where it belongs. Without CO2, there is no plant-life - photosynthesis relies on Carbon Dioxide.

Yes - a long day

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Up to Maple Falls, loaded up the truck and headed down to our Island getaway. Did a little computer work (brought down a printer), cleaned up a bit and then headed out for some errands - bank, Lowe's for a saw blade and some work gloves, Costco to move my prescriptions.

Funny thing with that. My insurance company has a pharmacy in a town about 20 miles further South from the Marysville Costco. Because of the proximity, the insurance company will not process claims from that Costco. Bellingham was far away enough and the Costco in Everett is grandfathered in but the Costco 20 miles from my front door? No.

Trish's family is in Seattle so we will be traveling to and from there so I will transfer my meds to the Everett store. Still, what a petty inconvenience...

Surf for a bit and then YouTube and then bed.

Long day today

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Heading up to Maple Falls for the afternoon - picking up a few things and checking in on the critters.

Back this evening...

So true - Nature

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From Mostly Cajun:

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Now this is interesting

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From Pricenomics:

Is There a Connection Between Bad Grammar and Negative Online Reviews
The internet is full of people giving their opinion on things. From blogs to forums to social media, the internet is a tool that empowers people to share what they think. Most of the time, these posts are not particularly useful (and sometimes even harmful), but for e-commerce sites, user reviews have been revolutionary.

Right now, there are millions of products available to purchase online. Despite never seeing the product or knowing the specific seller, you can make a well-informed decision before buying just by reading the experiences of other people who already purchased them. Academic evidence agrees. Studies show that reviews matter for customer decision making.

But not all reviews are created equal. Some are thorough and provide details on a specific product feature, while others are vague and unintelligible gibberish. Research shows users put a higher value on well-written reviews. Websites like Amazon take this into account by letting you rate whether a review is helpful or not.

Reading through so many reviews ourselves got us thinking, is the quality of writing (spelling, grammar, etc.) markedly different between positive and negative reviews?

The article goes into some detail on their analysis and statistics - the take-away is that the worse the review, the more  spelling errors their were:

20180221-errors.png

From Seattle's very liberal Public Radio station KUOW:

13 kids sue Washington state for life, liberty and a livable climate
Thirteen kids are suing the state of Washington and its governor to protect their generation from climate change.

The plaintiffs range in age from 7 to 17.

Their suit, filed Friday in King County Superior Court, says Gov. Jay Inslee and state agencies are violating the constitutional rights of a generation by continuing to let dangerous amounts of carbon dioxide into the sky.

"They are not taking nearly enough action to fight climate change, which my generation is going to suffer from," 16-year-old plaintiff Jamie Margolin of Seattle said.

Let's follow the money:

Our Children's Trust, the nonprofit group behind the lawsuit, has filed similar suits with underaged plaintiffs in Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Carolina and Oregon.

Visit their website and you see a very large and seemingly well-funded organization interlinked with a lot of other similar organizations. Jamie - to put it bluntly - is their stooge. She is the sock-puppet this organization is using to advance their neo-Marxist campaign.

The Earth is just fine. Carbon Dioxide is the gas of life and these poor deluded fools would not recognize hard data if it came and bit them on their arses.

It's the internet dummy!

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Talk about being unclear on the subject - from The Atlantic:

Where Did All the Advertising Jobs Go?
They are everywhere. Singing jingles in living rooms. Lining phone screens. Inhabiting the voices of podcast hosts. Looming like Dr. T.J. Eckleburg from highway billboards. They are ads.

But while the work of stealing attention might seem infinitely employable, something strange is happening behind the scenes of America’s most inescapable industry. For the first time on record, the number of advertising-specific jobs in the U.S. is declining in the middle of an economic expansion, according to government data.

Vendors no longer have to steal people's attention. The people have the internet and they use it to search for what they want to consume. End of story.

Told you it was going to be a busy day!

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After the two people left, I ran some errands, bought a few necessities, stopped by the local butcher (great place BTW - have bought from them before)  and picked up a large bag of frozen dog bones.

Heading out for some dinner - I am purposely keeping my footprint here as minimal as possible because I am going to go through and gut the place - in some places to the studs. Trying to cook in that sort of environment would be frustrating. I have done three remodel jobs where I have been living at the time and each one was a pain - took several times longer. Hence going out for dinner every night.

Back home in an hour or two...

Busy day today

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Had an 8:00AM appointment for new windows for the beach house. The HVAC guy came at 11:00AM.

They are both gone now so heading out for a bite to eat and to pick up a couple things from the hardware store - bright work light and some paint for the driveway - want to run a white stripe down the edges of the asphalt as it is hard to see at night.

Sad to hear of Reverend Graham's passing - he is home now.

A big Ka Boom

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Indonesia's Mount Sinabung just popped its cork.

Not as big as Mt. St. Helens here in 2008 but that is a lot of ash. Indonesia is right on the Ring of Fire and has about 130 active volcanoes.

Just fscking wonderful

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From the The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region:

CHP notified of human case of avian influenza A (H7N4) in Mainland
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (February 14) received notification from the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) that a human case of avian influenza A (H7N4) was confirmed from February 10 to 14, and reminded the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.

According to the NHFPC, this is the first case of human infection with avian influenza A (H7N4) in the world. The case involved a 68-year-old female patient living in Liyang in Changzhou of Jiangsu Province who developed symptoms on December 25, 2017. She was admitted to hospital for medical treatment on January 1 and was discharged on January 22. She had contact with live poultry before the onset of symptoms. All her close contacts did not have any symptoms during the medical surveillance period.

According to a report from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, upon analysis, the genes of the virus were determined to be of avian origin.

"All novel influenza A infections, including H7N4, are notifiable infectious diseases in Hong Kong," the spokesman for the CHP said.

"Based on the seasonal pattern, the activity of avian influenza viruses is expected to be higher in winter. Travellers to the Mainland or other affected areas must avoid visiting wet markets, live poultry markets or farms. They should be alert to the presence of backyard poultry when visiting relatives and friends. They should also avoid purchasing live or freshly slaughtered poultry, and avoid touching poultry/birds or their droppings. They should strictly observe personal and hand hygiene when visiting any place with live poultry," the spokesman reminded.

Just what we need - a new strain of flu to watch out for... Lost a dear friend to it earlier this year. RIP Kurt.

Talkin' about the weather - a two-fer

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Two great stories 

First - Malthusians and doom-sayers are always wrong - from The Washington Post:

Countries made only modest climate-change promises in Paris. They’re falling short anyway.
Barely two years ago, after weeks of intense bargaining in Paris, leaders from 195 countries announced a global agreement that once had seemed impossible. For the first time, the nations of the world would band together to reduce humanity’s reliance on fossil fuels in an effort to hold off the most devastating effects of climate change.

“History will remember this day,” the secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, said amid a backdrop of diplomats cheering and hugging.

Two years later, the euphoria of Paris is colliding with the reality of the present.

Heh - the bloom is off the rose. Everyone loves to virtue signal but to actually DO SOMETHING? The very idea gives them a case of the vapors. Buried deep in the article is this admission:

“More than two decades ago, the world agreed to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in our air to prevent dangerous climate outcomes,” said Rob Jackson, an energy and climate expert at Stanford University, referring to the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change that set international negotiations in motion. “To date, we have failed.”

They said that the earth was nearing a "tipping point" and we would have runaway warming if we didn't strictly curtail our activities. All the fancy charts are based on computer models and not actual data. Look at the actual data and we have not warmed in about 20 years.

Second - this little bombshell:

Global land use change responsible for a significant portion of global warming says study
From the EUROPEAN COMMISSION JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE and the “Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. was right” department. I suspect a whole bunch of climate models that don’t take this into consideration, and think CO2 is the dominant climate driver, are going to need to be revised.

Land use change has warmed the Earth’s surface
Natural ecosystems play a crucial role in helping combat climate change, air pollution and soil erosion. A new study by a team of researchers from the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission’s science and knowledge service, sheds light on another, less well-known aspect of how these ecosystems, and forests in particular, can protect our planet against global warming.

The research team used satellite data to analyse changes in global vegetation cover from 2000 to 2015 and link these to changes in the surface energy balance. Modifying the vegetation cover alters the surface properties – such as the amount of heat dissipated by water evaporation and the level of radiation reflected back into space – which has a knock-on effect on local surface temperature. Their analysis reveals how recent land cover changes have ultimately made the planet warmer.

“We knew that forests have a role in regulating surface temperatures and that deforestation affects the climate, but this is the first global data-driven assessment that has enabled us to systematically map the biophysical mechanisms behind these processes”, explains Gregory Duveiller, lead author of the study.

I bet that land use is not even considered in most of the models. Talk about not having a good grasp of what is actually happening out there. The full paper can be read online here: The mark of vegetation change on Earth’s surface energy balance

Back home for a while

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Picked up new locks for the doors as well as a couple items I had forgotten from the farm. Surf for a bit, work for a bit, have dinner and surf some more.

Another day in paradise - island living

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Trish and some friends came up for a nice visit yesterday. Here for three more days and then back to the farm and then down to Seattle.

Tearing down panelling and installing locks today. Coffee first.

Fake news again - Global Warming

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Don't these "reporters" do their homework? A two-fer:

First - from the UK Independent:

First ship crosses Arctic in winter without an icebreaker as global warming causes ice sheets to melt
A ship has made a winter crossing of the Arctic without an icebreaker for the first time as global warming causes the region’s ice sheets to melt.

The tanker, containing liquefied natural gas, is the first commercial vessel to make such a crossing alone during the winter months.

And a bit more - the company and the ship in question:

Belonging to the shipping company Teekay, the ship Eduard Toll made its way from South Korea to the Sabetta terminal in northern Russia in December.

Second - from Teekay itself:

EDUARD TOLL, TEEKAY’S FIRST ICEBREAKER LNG CARRIER NEWBUILDING, IS DELIVERED
Eduard Toll is the fourth of 15 Arc7 LNG carriers being built for the Yamal LNG project and Teekay’s first of six LNG Carrier Newbuildings contracted to service the project.

Recently, the vessel made history as it underwent the latest seasonal independent passage by a merchant ship on the Northern Sea Route.

A fitting legacy for its namesake: Baron Eduard Toll, a Russian geologist and explorer who dedicated his life to the discovery of the Arctic – and pioneered Russian Polar expedition.

The vessel was technically accepted in Korea at the beginning of December 2017 after successfully completing sea trials and immediately thereafter departed for her journey to Northern Russia.

Over the past month, she has transited via the Northern Sea Route, breaking ice 1.8 metres thick at speeds of five knots astern – and arrived at the Sabetta terminal ahead of schedule.

This marked a major milestone for shipping in the arctic as this was the first time a shipping vessel made independent passage, without the support of an ice breaker, during this time of year.

The ship did not need an icebreaker escort because of global warming, the Eduard Toll did not need an icebreaker escort because the ship itself is an icebreaker. Teekay figured it would be cheaper in the long run to build an LNG transport ship that was ice certified - saves the cost of the second ship and crew.

"Josh Gabbatiss Science Correspondent" was the Independent's author and he should be ashamed of himself - what a moron.

Just Sayin'

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Interesting news from the culinary world

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From The New York Times:

Finding a Lost Strain of Rice, and Clues to Slave Cooking
Among the biologists, geneticists and historians who use food as a lens to study the African diaspora, rice is a particularly deep rabbit hole. So much remains unknown about how millions of enslaved Africans used it in their kitchens and how it got to those kitchens to begin with.

That’s what made the hill rice in Trinidad such a find.

The fat, nutty grain, with its West African lineage and tender red hull, was a favored staple for Southern home cooks during much of the 19th century. Unlike Carolina Gold, the versatile rice that until the Civil War was America’s primary rice crop, the hill rice hadn’t made Lowcountry plantation owners rich off the backs of slaves.

It didn’t need to be planted in watery fields surrounded by dikes, which meant that those who grew it weren’t dogged by malaria. You could grow it in a garden patch, as did many of the slaves who had been taken from the rice-growing regions of West Africa. This was the rice of their ancestors, sustaining slaves and, later, generations of Southern cooks both black and white.

A good article - just a bit more:

It is hard to overstate how shocked the people who study rice were to learn that the long-lost American hill rice was alive and growing in the Caribbean. Horticulturists at the Smithsonian Institution want to grow it, rice geneticists at New York University are testing it and the United States Department of Agriculture is reviewing it. If all goes well, it may become a commercial crop in America, and a menu staple as diners develop a deeper appreciation for African-American food.

Looking forward to trying it myself in a year or so. Fascinating story - well worth the time to read.

Life in San Francisco

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You could not get me to move there for all the gold in the world. From San Francisco's NBC affiliate:

Diseased Streets
How dirty is San Francisco? An NBC Bay Area Investigation reveals a dangerous mix of drug needles, garbage, and feces throughout downtown San Francisco. The Investigative Unit surveyed 153 blocks of the city – the more than 20-mile stretch includes popular tourist spots like Union Square and major hotel chains. The area – bordered by Van Ness Avenue, Market Street, Post Street and Grant Avenue – is also home to City Hall, schools, playgrounds, and a police station.

As the Investigative Unit photographed nearly a dozen hypodermic needles scattered across one block, a group of preschool students happened to walk by on their way to an afternoon field trip to citiy hall.

“We see poop, we see pee, we see needles, and we see trash,” said teacher Adelita Orellana. “Sometimes they ask what is it, and that’s a conversation that’s a little difficult to have with a 2-year old, but we just let them know that those things are full of germs, that they are dangerous, and they should never be touched.”

In light of the dangerous conditions, part of Orellana’s responsibilities now include teaching young children how to avoid the contamination.

The outcome of 54 years of Democrat rule. Last Republican Mayor SF had was George Christopher. The city could use another leader like him - it prospered when he was in office.

Busy day today

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Rekeying all the locks in the new house. Fun - I could have been a locksmith in another life. I like working with them.

Trish and a friend of hers came up for a visit and we went out to dinner. Surf for a bit and then YouTube.

And that is it for the evening

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Nothing is catching my eye out there. Time for some gratuitous YouTube watching and then bed.

The good news about sanctuary cities

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It concentrates all the illegals into one area. Talk about target-rich opportunity. From Breitbart:

212 ICE Immigration Arrests in L.A.: 195 Repeat Offenders, More Than Half Serious or Violent Criminals
Over the course of five days, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation officers and special agents made the arrests and served 122 notices of inspection (NOIs) to businesses in the Los Angeles area of responsibility. This is in addition to notices of inspection issued to 77 businesses in northern California just weeks ago.

One hundred and ninety-five of the 212 arrested included convicted criminals, those who failed to leave the United States after being issued a final order of removal, and those who returned to the U.S. after being removed.

More than 55 percent of those arrested were serious or violent felons or had been convicted on significant or multiple misdemeanors. Their crimes include child sex crimes, weapons charges, and assault.

Best and brightest - right... They would do well to enforce Federal Statute 1912.8 U.S.C 1326 - that statute has some serious teeth for habitual offenders. Time to use it.

Back home - I am stuffed

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My spaghetti sauce is a lot better than theirs but the place was great and the food was very tasty. Nice place for dinner.

Surf for a bit and then head over to YouTube.

And it snowed down here as well

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Down to the island getaway for a few days - working on projects. It snowed down here too. Nothing near the water but in the highlands coming in there is a good inch or so still on the ground.

Heading out for dinner at Jimmy's Pizza and Pasta - the parking lot is always full when I drive past so that is a good sign. Eating a low carb diet (and losing weight which is a good thing!) but every so often, a big plate of spaghetti is called for. Tonight's the night...

More posting when I get back.

Heh...

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Who ordered this?

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After a gorgeous few days at my new island home, I came back up to the farm to find several inches of snow on the ground. Woke up this morning to find another inch or two on the ground.

Out for the usual pavane of coffee, post office and store. Loading up some more tools and driving down later this afternoon.

Nothing much on the internet so heading over to YouTube for the rest of the evening.

Seriously - WTF Gibson?

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From the Nashville Post:

Gibson ‘running out of time — rapidly’
“Gibson Brands, Inc. today announced that the company made a $16.6 million coupon payment to holders of its $375 million, 8.875% senior secured notes due 2018.”

That simple statement issued a week ago — at all of 26 words, it’s less than a quarter the length of Gibson’s boilerplate company description that accompanied it — suggests a business-as-usual tone of a company taking care of its contractual commitments.

But the situation facing the iconic Nashville-based music instrument maker, which has annual revenues of more than $1 billion, is far from normal: CFO Bill Lawrence recently left the company after less than a year on the job and just six months before $375 million of senior secured notes will mature. On top of that, another $145 million in bank loans will come due immediately if those notes, issued in 2013, are not refinanced by July 23.

Less than six months out from those crucial deadlines, the prospects for an orderly refinancing — Gibson has hired investment bank Jefferies to help with that — look slim, observers say. And the alternative scenarios look likely to sideline longtime owner and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz.

“At the end of the day, someone will take control of this company — be it the debtors or the bondholders,” Debtwire reporter Reshmi Basu told the Post this week. “This has been a long time coming.”

Sheesh - they are an American Icon. There is no need for them to have been that deeply in hock except for poor management. Annual revenues of more than $1 billion? Come on - this is no way to run a company.

Got a good photo later today

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Here is the view off my back deck:

20180217-deck.jpg

I had a lot of fun living at the farm and Maple Falls and Glacier are dear communities with incredible people but we will make new friends here and being near the ocean is where my heart is. Reconnecting with Trish over the summer has been a life-changing experience - she and I get along so well. Looking forward to the rest of our lives together.

And that is it for the day

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Heading up to the farm in a few minutes - picking up some tools I forgot this trip so just a short visit. Back down Sunday.

More posting tonight...

Slept in a bit this morning

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Heading out for coffee and a run to the post office. Trish and her our kids are heading up later today to check out the new house.

I will be working here and then heading back to the farm later tonight - pack up more stuff and back down here Sunday.

And it is off to YouTube for the evening

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Cable guy was here at 8:00AM, Window guys at 10:00AM and then I spent the rest of the day getting stuff to change the locks and some other stuff. Tired so watching a couple of videos and then crawling into bed. Got a camp mattress set up here - the inside of the house is covered in very dark imitation wood paneling so I am ripping that out, taking it down to the studs in places and bringing in a drywall contractor. Same for the carpet. The previous resident (the grand-daughter of the guy who built it) smoked heavily so the place needs to get all of the surfaces refreshed and aired out.

Announcement #2

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I was hoping to get some nice weather and take a photo but here goes. I am moving.

15 years on the farm were a lot of fun but it is just too much to maintain. I have literally hundreds of projects big and small stalled out in varying stages of completion. Time to do some serious downsizing and do just those things that give me joy. music, blacksmithing, photography, ham radio and electronics.

Trish and I will be married in a few weeks and she is a 4th generation Seattle native (yeah - one of them). We both love the ocean and we lucked out on an amazing piece of waterfront property in one of the San Juan islands. It needs work but we got it for a stupid-low price and the work needed is all stuff I have done before. Signed the papers yesterday and had the first of a horde of contractors visiting and compiling bids today. Got broadband internet to the house this morning at 8:00AM - much faster than at the farm - Gig v/s DSL.

Going to have Murphy Auction sell off everything I do not want at the farm and then list it later this fall. Trish is also an artist and we have a lot of common interests so we will be setting up a studio in the garage and I will be bringing in a small shed for my forge and welding.

Found out that the nearby town has a really good Mexican restaurant - ate there tonight.

Cool archaeology find in Mexico

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A city the size of Manhatten - from the UK Guardian:

Laser scanning reveals 'lost' ancient Mexican city 'had as many buildings as Manhattan'
Archaeology might evoke thoughts of intrepid explorers and painstaking digging, but in fact researchers say it is a high-tech laser mapping technique that is rewriting the textbooks at an unprecedented rate.

The approach, known as light detection and ranging scanning (lidar) involves directing a rapid succession of laser pulses at the ground from an aircraft.

The time and wavelength of the pulses reflected by the surface are combined with GPS and other data to produce a precise, three-dimensional map of the landscape. Crucially, the technique probes beneath foliage – useful for areas where vegetation is dense.

Earlier this month researchers revealed it had been used to discover an ancient Mayan city within the dense jungles of Guatemala, while it has also helped archaeologists to map the city of Caracol – another Mayan metropolis.

A bit more - talking about the scope of the city:

“That is a huge area with a lot of people and a lot of architectural foundations that are represented,” said Fisher. “If you do the maths, all of a sudden you are talking about 40,000 building foundations up there, which is [about] the same number of building foundations that are on the island of Manhattan.”

The team also found that Angamuco has an unusual layout. Monuments such as pyramids and open plazas are largely concentrated in eight zones around the city’s edges, rather being located in one large city centre. According to Fisher, more than 100,000 people are thought to have lived in Angamuco in its heyday between about 1000AD to 1350AD. “[Its size] would make it the biggest city that we know of right now in western Mexico during this period,” said Fisher.

There is so much that we simply do not know about our history. Amazing find!

Back home again

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Very long day - need to unload truck. Posting more in 30 minutes or so.

Working at home

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Heading out for coffee and a trip to the Post Office - more later.

Announcement

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I had promised the second announcement yesterday but have been neck deep in other stuff. Want to get a good picture too. More later!

Words of wisdom

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From Charlie Munger

“Knowing what you don’t know is more useful than being brilliant.”“Acknowledging what you don’t know is the dawning of wisdom.” “People are trying to be smart—all I am trying to do is not to be idiotic, but it’s harder than most people think.”

Good news from the swamp

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From The Washington Free Beacon:

Dem Rep Predicts Pelosi Will Not Be Party Leader in 2019
Democratic opposition to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) has been increasing both in public and behind the scenes in recent months, and now even some of the minority leader's supporters predict she will soon step aside.

Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell (N.J.) told the Atlantic he expects Pelosi to step down from leadership next year, no matter who wins the House.

Great - there have been enough videos of her slurring her speech, making horrendous mistakes and generally being clueless to make me wonder why this has not happened five years ago.

And that is it for the night

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Long day tomorrow - meeting someone North of here and then starting in on a fairly large project. Fun stuff!

Good news - a prevented school shooting

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We dodged the bullet out here - from The Everett Herald:

Everett student had a plan: ‘I’m learning from past shooters’
A would-be school shooter in Everett bought inert grenades, hid a military-style rifle in a guitar case and carried out an armed robbery to fund an elaborate plot to kill his classmates, according to police.

The grandmother of Joshua Alexander O’Connor, 18, found alarming journal entries Tuesday at her home on Holly Drive, according to reports filed in court. She called police. An officer pulled O’Connor from class at ACES High School to arrest him.

“I’m preparing myself for the school shooting,” he had written in the journal. “I can’t wait. My aim has gotten much more accurate … I can’t wait to walk into that class and blow all those (expletives) away.”

O’Connor wrote that he wanted the death count to be as high as possible so that the shooting would be infamous, according to court papers. He went into detail about building pressure-cooker bombs, activating inert grenades and deploying explosives for maximum casualties.

This guy was just another fscking loser: "so that the shooting would be infamous"

One thing that we could do is never ever release their names or photos. This is mental illness and these mokes are getting their rocks off by being bad. Do not give them any publicity or fame.

An interesting idea regarding food stamps

President Trump is promoting a very interesting change in the Food Stamp program - from American Thinker:

Why does replacing food stamps with food so anger liberals?
President Trump has proposed replacing some food stamp grants with actual food.  This has curiously enraged liberals, who you would think would be delighted to see "hungry" people getting food.

The Trump administration is proposing a major shake-up in one of the country's most important "safety net" programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.  Under the proposal, most SNAP recipients would lose much of their ability to choose the food they buy with their SNAP benefits.

But if you like your supermarket, you can keep your supermarket, right?

Under the proposal, which was announced Monday, low-income Americans who receive at least $90 a month – just over 80 percent of all SNAP recipients – would get about half of their benefits in the form of a "USDA Foods package."  The package was described in the budget as consisting of "shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans[,] and canned fruit and vegetables."

Ed has this comment to this paragraph:

Douglas Greenaway, president of the National WIC Association, echoed that sentiment. "Removing choice from SNAP flies in the face of encouraging personal responsibility," he said. He says "the budget seems to assume that participating in SNAP is a character flaw."

He's right: participating in SNAP is a character flaw. No one should be on SNAP for years. Get a job! As for removing choice discouraging personal responsibility, just the opposite. If you want a choice of what food to buy, get a job!

The reports of SNAP abuse are many - between selling the value of the card to store owners to beneficiaries buying luxury items like soda pop and steaks. Doing this would streamline the program as these boxes can be mass produced and distributed and it would cut out a large part of the abuse.

And some good news for once

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Most scientists are dystopians and Malthusian in their outlook. Scary "predictions" get attention from the unscientific crowd and get more grant money. Nice bit of news from The Washington Post:

A Harvard professor explains why the world is actually becoming a much better place
In his bestseller “The Better Angels of Our Nature,” Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker described the decline of violence in the world. In his new book, “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress,” Pinker builds a persuasive case that life is getting better across a host of measures. Emma Seppala, Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education interviews Pinker below.

Looking at the news, we often think things are getting worse and worse. However, in your book, you make the powerful and deeply researched argument that things are actually getting better. Can you please explain this conundrum?

Pinker: Think about it: If you arrived in a new city and saw that it was raining, would you conclude, “The rain has gotten worse”? How could you tell, unless you knew how much it had rained before that day? Yet people read about a war or terrorist attack this morning and conclude that violence is increasing, which is just as illogical. In fact, rates of war have been roller-coastering downward since 1946, rates of American homicide have plunged since 1992, and rates of disease, starvation, extreme poverty, illiteracy and dictatorship, when they are measured by a constant yardstick, have all decreased — not to zero, but by a lot.

But even if civilization is improving from a birds-eye view over the long-term, things can get still worse for many years in the short-term, right?

Pinker: Progress is not the same as magic. There are always blips and setbacks, and sometimes horrific lurches, like the Spanish flu pandemic, World War II and the post-1960s crime boom. Progress takes place when the setbacks are fewer, less severe or stop altogether. Clearly we have to be mindful of the worst possible setback, namely nuclear war, and of the risk of permanent reversals, such as the worst-case climate change scenarios. … Of course life is bad for those people with the worst possible lives, and that will be true until the rates of war, crime, disease and poverty are exactly zero. The point is that there are far fewer people living in nightmares of war and disease.

A thoughtful interview - lots more at the site. Going to have to put in a request for his books at my local library...

The Great Race - 1965

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This wonderful movie came up in conversation today - here is the pie fight scene - pure slapstick:

Our Prayers go out to Florida

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Another mentally ill person with known prior issues - from the Miami Herald:

17 dead, former student in custody after school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High in Broward
An American nightmare unfolded Wednesday afternoon at a North Broward high school after a former student came onto campus and opened fire, killing 17.

Details are beginning to emerge amid a flurry of police activity at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where students puzzled at the sound of a fire alarm going off just before dismissal were launched into a panic when gunfire punctuated the din. As teachers and students fled hallways and hid under desks, a former student who teachers and parents say was known to be dangerous came onto campus and unloaded, leaving a trail of bodies and stunned confusion in his wake.

Nicolas de Jesus Cruz, 19, has been taken into police custody. The Broward Sheriff’s Office is reporting 17 dead, and is still working to clear all the buildings at the massive school, home to about 3,200 students.

Prior issues?

A teacher at the school told the Miami Herald that Cruz, 19, had been identified as a potential threat to fellow students in the past. Math teacher Jim Gard says he believes the school administration had sent out an email warning teachers that Cruz had made threats against other teenagers in the past and that he should not be allowed on the campus with a backpack.

“We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him,” said Gard, who said Cruz had been in his class last year. “There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus.”

Nutcases like this are looking for a reaction - if they just get a stern warning, they will always escalate until an event like this. Not saying that this could have been prevented but he certainly could have used some serious counseling instead of a warning and prohibition. Now we have to deal with another round of calls for gun control. Stupid people suck.

St. Valentine's Day

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I had mentioned that there are two announcements to be made in the next couple of days.

Item the first: Trish and I spent this St. Valentine's day ordering a wedding cake. We are getting hitched on March 3rd at her Mom and Dad's house - very small and low-key ceremony. This ain't our first rodeo so keeping things intimate and small.

Announcement number two late tomorrow afternoon.

Avalanche control to our North on the TransCanada Highway near Revelstoke:

Down to Seattle

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Heading down to Seattle in a few hours - spending time with Trish. A couple of announcements in that regard - more in a few weeks.

Bringing the new laptop with so posting will continue later this evening.

Interesting move in video photography

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From Nikkei Asian Review:

Foxconn eyes digital film sector as smartphone demand weakens
Major iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn Technology Group, said on Sunday that it plans to team up with premium camera maker RED Digital Cinema to make professional-quality and affordable film cameras for the general public, while expanding into the manufacture of semiconductors for displays and cameras.

Those moves come as the Taiwanese company is building facilities to make large-scale display panels in the U.S. and China. It is seeking new revenue sources to compensate for weakening smartphone demand. It wants to reduce its business dependence on Apple, which accounts for more than 50% of its sales. Foxconn assembles iPhone mobile phones and MacBook computers among other products for Apple, but profit margins are razor thin. The manufacture of more electronics equipment and components could improve the company's earnings.

"We will make cameras that will shoot professional-quality films in 8K resolution but at only a third of current prices and a third of current camera sizes," Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou told reporters in Taipei following the company's annual employee party before the Chinese New Year. 8K ultra-high definition resolution has become the benchmark standard for digital television and cinematography.

Emphisis mine - Ho. Li. Crap. And this will only foster more competition from other vendors driving the prices down even further. Fun time to be alive! A tricked out RED 8K is around $30K - to have the same image quality in a $10K camera will be a gamechanger. Not something that most people will own but cheap enough to rent for a week or two for a given project.

Back home again - long but fruitful day

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Did some business, had another (different) business meeting, bought a camera lens I had been looking for (10.5mm fisheye for landscapes and astrophotography), picked up a half-cow from the processing plant, got a bit to eat in town, drove home, loaded the freezer with said half-cow.

Time to crack open a bottle of wine and kick back with some YouTube videos after a quick read of the Internet...

Long day today and tomorrow

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Running a bunch of errands today and driving down to Seattle tomorrow for a few days.

Got a new (to me) laptop so will keep in touch - just not as much.

Found on Facebook - cute

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20180211-boat.jpg

From United Press International:

Top U.S. railroad official resigns after moonlighting reports surface
Heath Hall left his position with the Federal Railroad Administration after reports surface that he also was working as a public-relations consultant for the Madison County, Miss., sheriff's office.

Hall, appointed to the FRA in June, had pledged on a federal ethics form that his firm wouldn't be active while he worked at the department, yet the firm continued to collect payments from Madison County between July and December.

Hall became the FRA's acting chief after being appointed deputy administrator in June, overseeing a $1.7 billion budget and 760 railroads. Last summer, he was seen twice in local media reports as a Madison County, Miss., sheriff's department spokesman.

Last month, Hall took an extended leave of absence for a family emergency, but DOT officials said his departure is now permanent.

Again, the FRA needed leadership:

Hall's departure comes at a time when the agency needs a key leader after recent crashes including four fatal Amtrak crashes since December. Last year, railroad deaths mounted to 828, the highest in a decade, according to FRA data.

If this is how the government runs an administration, I am so looking forward to government run health care...

Thanks Barry

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First, the backstory from InfoGalactic:

Iran – U.S. RQ-170 incident
On 4 December 2011, an American Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was captured by Iranian forces near the city of Kashmar in northeastern Iran. The Iranian government announced that the UAV was brought down by its cyberwarfare unit which commandeered the aircraft and safely landed it, after initial reports from Western news sources disputedly claimed that it had been "shot down". The United States government initially denied the claims but later President Obama acknowledged that the downed aircraft was a US drone and requested that Iran return it.

Barry "requested that the return it" - what a putz! What should have been done:

Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney criticised Obama's decisions on the drone, saying that, after the aircraft went down, the president should have ordered an air strike within Iran: "The right response to that would have been to go in immediately after it had gone down and destroy it. You can do that from the air ... and, in effect, make it impossible for them to benefit from having captured that drone." Instead, "he asked nicely for them to return it, and they aren't going to".

Fast forward to a few days ago - from The Times of Israel:

Iranian UAV that entered Israeli airspace seems to be American stealth knock-off
The Iranian drone shot down by the Israeli Air Force early Saturday morning appears to have been a relatively new stealth model whose design was stolen from an American unmanned aerial vehicle that was captured by Iran in 2011, according to aviation analysts.

On Saturday night, the Israel Defense Forces released photographs of the destroyed Iranian drone, which further enforced the view that the Iranian drone was a stealth model known as a — Thunderbolt, in English. These images joined video footage distributed by the army of the moments before the drone was shot down.

Quite the legacy you built for yourself Barry. You will go down in history as the worst president in the US.
Fail, fail and more fail.

Very cool news - also space related

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From The Washington Post:

The Trump administration wants to turn the International Space Station into a commercially run venture, NASA document shows
The Trump administration wants to turn the International Space Station into a kind of orbiting real estate venture run not by the government, but by private industry.

The White House plans to stop funding the station after 2024, ending direct federal support of the orbiting laboratory. But it does not intend to abandon the orbiting laboratory altogether and is working on a transition plan that could turn the station over to the private sector, according to an internal NASA document obtained by The Washington Post.

“The decision to end direct federal support for the ISS in 2025 does not imply that the platform itself will be deorbited at that time — it is possible that industry could continue to operate certain elements or capabilities of the ISS as part of a future commercial platform,” the document states. “NASA will expand international and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit.”

Considering the great track record that companies like SpaceX, Orbital Sciences, Blue Origin. Bigelow Aerospace, and Virgin Galactic are having (just to name a few), this is a great idea. Also, something that the Never Trumpers will fail to tell you is that 2024 is the scheduled end-of-life for the International Space Station - it was never intended to be in orbit for any longer than that. Turning it over to private enterprise is perfect.

A few headlines to make my point:

I rest my case.

Back at the farm

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Did a quick run into town for a few things. Back home for now - working on a couple of projects while I still have good light.

Nothing much today

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Another gorgeous day at the farm - cold and clear. Heading out for coffee, stop at the store for a bit and then home to work on a couple of projects.

More spew in a couple of hours...

Renewable energy - a scam

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Renewable energy is not economically sustainable without heavy government subsidies. It simply does not fly. Fortunately, clear heads are realizing this - from US News and World Report:

Oklahoma Pulling up Red Carpet Offered to Wind Industry
A battle is shaping up at Oklahoma's Capitol over the burgeoning wind industry that is facing fierce opposition from some oil-and-gas leaders and critics who say the state has been too generous with incentives. Oklahoma rolled out the red carpet for the industry more than a decade ago with subsidies that now cost the state tens of millions of dollars each year.

Now those subsidies have all been ended, but there is still a push to impose a new production tax on wind energy and maybe even cap previously promised incentives.

Supporters of wind say the state is going back on its word and threatening an industry that has proven to be beneficial to the state, offering a new revenue stream for landowners and local school districts.

And to the wind industry? You had more than ten years to make it work. We the People do not want to spend any more of our tax dollars on these boondoggles. If they do not function economically, they need to be phased out with something that does work - clean coal or nuclear.

Good news from Boston

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From the Boston Herald:

Cartel Connection: Drug bust hailed as Bay State’s biggest
Federal agents and Boston police have seized more than 33 pounds of fentanyl — enough of the deadly synthetic opioid to theoretically kill every man, woman and child in Massachusetts — funneled in by Mexico’s vicious Sinaloa cartel.

A lengthy wiretap operation by a joint task force including Drug Enforcement Administration agents and Boston police resulted in an early-morning sweep of the drugs and 37 suspects, including alleged kingpin Robert Contreras, 42, of Roxbury.

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley called the investigation “one of the longest, most far-reaching and most successful state wiretap investigations in Massachusetts history. ... But it did not stop there. It continued up the ladder to identify a second group at the top of the domestic pyramid, one with direct ties to Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel.”

Contreras was ordered held on $1 million bail during his arraignment yesterday on charges of trafficking fentanyl, heroin and cocaine.

Nasty stuff and nasty people - this on fentanyl's toxicity:

The 33 pounds of fentanyl seized is enough to kill more than 7 million people in its raw form, a law enforcement source told the Herald. The Bay State’s population is 6.8 million, census figures show.

Yes, it is that toxic. Build the wall now - slow them down.

Paper Jams

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When I was living in Seattle, I owned a computer store for 12 years and over the last six, it morphed into a copy and print business. People were buying computers online and I could not compete on price so I moved over to graphic arts and taught myself how to run a printing press (I had two). My Mom's family had a large paper business in Pennsylvania so I was exposed to printing from a very early age and always liked it. Had a lot of fun running the business but the profit margins simply were not there. I got a killer job offer at Microsoft so I sold the business and moved on.

For people interested in copy machines and graphic arts and paper, Joshua Rothman has a delightful article on Paper Jams at The New Yorker:

Why Paper Jams Persist
Building 111 on the Xerox engineering campus, near Rochester, New York, is vast and labyrinthine. On the social-media site Foursquare, one visitor writes that it’s “like Hotel California.” Conference Room C, near the southwest corner, is small and dingy; it contains a few banged-up whiteboards and a table. On a frigid winter afternoon, a group of engineers gathered there, drawing the shades against the late-day sun. They wanted to see more clearly the screen at the front of the room, on which a computer model of a paper jam was projected.

The jam had occurred in Asia, where the owners of a Xerox-manufactured printing press were trying to print a book. The paper they had fed into the press was unusually thin and light, of the sort found in a phone book or a Bible. This had not gone well. Midway through the printing process, the paper was supposed to cross a gap; flung from the top of a rotating belt, it needed to soar through space until it could be sucked upward by a vacuum pump onto another belt, which was positioned upside down. Unfortunately, the press was in a hot and humid place, and the paper, normally lissome, had become listless. At the apex of its trajectory, at the moment when it was supposed to connect with the conveyor belt, its back corners drooped. They dragged on the platform below, and, like a trapeze flier missing a catch, the paper sank downward. As more sheets rushed into the same space, they created a pile of loops and curlicues—what the jam engineers called a “flower arrangement.”

A fun read. The article references this scene from Mike Judge’s 1999 film “Office Space”

Classic - we have all been there...

Cool software

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Been wanting to record some things for YouTube and was looking for a decent webcam. I have several Nikon cameras and software to do still photos but nothing for video. Just ran into SparkoCam Virtual Webcam

SparkoCam is a webcam and video effects software for broadcasting and applying live webcam effects to your video chats and recordings.

    • Use Canon / Nikon DSLR camera as a regular webcam
    • Enhance USB webcam video by adding cool webcam effects and graphics to your live video chats and video recordings
    • Split your single webcam and use it simultaneously in several applications

You can do green-screen and also import your desktop (or portion thereof) into the video feed so if I was demonstrating software, I could capture the screen as I worked with it.

Decently priced at $70 for one family of camera (Nikon -OR- Canon) and free upgrades for life. Free download but your video is watermarked.

From Canada's Financial Post:

Canada just lost the most jobs in nine years, with biggest drop on record in part-time work
It was payback time for Canada’s labor market in January, with the biggest monthly job loss since the last recession — all part-time — as employers faced quickening wage gains.

Canada shed a net 88,000 jobs during the month, a sharp stop to a recent stellar performance that saw 2017 produce the biggest increase in jobs since 2002. The drop reflected a record loss of 137,000 part-time jobs, and a 49,000 gain in full-time work.

The employment drop coincided with an increase in the minimum wage in Canada’s largest province — Ontario. That fueled an acceleration of the national wage rate to an annualized pace of 3.3 per cent that was the fastest since 2015.

Higher taxes and raise the minimum wage - great business plan. Tip of the hat to Kate at Small Dead Animals

Faster please - vaccine

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From The Wall Street Journal:

Experimental Drug Promises to Kill the Flu Virus in a Day
As Americans suffer through the worst influenza outbreak in almost a decade, a Japanese drugmaker says it has developed a pill that can kill the virus within a day. But even if the experimental drug lives up to the claim, it likely won’t be available in the U.S. until next year at the earliest.

A late-stage trial on Japanese and American flu patients found that for the people who took the Shionogi & Co. compound, the median time taken to wipe out the virus was 24 hours. That is much quicker than any other flu drug on the market, including Roche AG’s Tamiflu, which the trial showed took three times longer to achieve the same result. Quickly killing the virus could reduce its contagious effects, Shionogi said.

Also, Shionogi’s experimental drug requires only a single dose, while patients need to take two doses of Tamiflu a day, for five days.

Both Shionogi’s compound and Tamiflu take roughly the same amount of time to entirely contain flu symptoms, but Shionogi says its compound provides immediate relief faster.

Scientists at the Japanese company leveraged their work on a blockbuster anti-HIV drug to create the compound, which works differently from existing flu medicines. It blocks the flu virus from hijacking human cellular machinery, Chief Executive Isao Teshirogi said. Switzerland’s Roche has acquired the international license to distribute Shionogi’s experimental drug.

Not available in the USA as yet but great news nonetheless.

Working at home today

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Gorgeous day today - clear skies and crisp air. Working in the garage and living room. Decluttering and organizing.

Big week next week - more later.

Great news - draining the swamp

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Some more wonderful news from President Trump - from USA Today:

'Hire the best and fire the worst': Trump proposes biggest civil service change in 40 years
President Trump will seek to "hire the best and fire the worst" federal government employees under the most ambitious proposal to overhaul the civil service in 40 years, officials said.

The measures will be outlined in the budget plan that Trump will send to Congress Monday, said four Office of Management and Budget officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the budget hasn't been released.

Trump foreshadowed the proposal in a line in his State of the Union address last week: "Tonight, I call on Congress to empower every Cabinet Secretary with the authority to reward good workers and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people," he said.

Trump is using the VA Accountability Act, which gave the Secretary of Veterans Affairs greater authority to fire and discipline workers, as a model. The White House says that law has resulted in the dismissal of 1,470 employees, the suspension of 443, demotions for 83 others last year.

Good - government employees were each hired to do a specific task. If they habitually under-perform, they should be demoted or fired. This is the way any other business operates - why should it be different just because the employer is Uncle Sam.

Something to consider

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This came in over the transom - really makes the whole deep-state thing clear:

When the MSM and the Political Establishment (GOP's and Dem's) scream that "Trump is out of control" what they are REALLY saying is that Trump is not under their control.

The swamp things are very unhappy right now. GOOD!
Everyone else should be very happy!

So true!

And it begins - Global Warming Cooling

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I have always held that the sun is the chief contributor to our overall climate and that we are coming out of a time of increased solar activity and entering a long phase of minimal solar output. Events like this are the basis for the various climactic minima we have had throughout history - little ice ages. People holding ice fairs on the frozen river Thames in London. Now, we have this report from the University of California - San Diego:

Reduced Energy from the Sun Might Occur by Mid-Century. Now Scientists Know by How Much
The Sun might emit less radiation by mid-century, giving planet Earth a chance to warm a bit more slowly but not halt the trend of human-induced climate change.

The cooldown would be the result of what scientists call a grand minimum, a periodic event during which the Sun’s magnetism diminishes, sunspots form infrequently, and less ultraviolet radiation makes it to the surface of the planet. Scientists believe that the event is triggered at irregular intervals by random fluctuations related to the Sun’s magnetic field.

Scientists have used reconstructions based on geological and historical data to attribute a cold period in Europe in the mid-17th Century to such an event, named the “Maunder Minimum.” Temperatures were low enough to freeze the Thames River on a regular basis and freeze the Baltic Sea to such an extent that a Swedish army was able to invade Denmark in 1658 on foot by marching across the sea ice.

A team of scientists led by research physicist Dan Lubin at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego has created for the first time an estimate of how much dimmer the Sun should be when the next minimum takes place.

There is a well-known 11-year cycle in which the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation peaks and declines as a result of sunspot activity. During a grand minimum, Lubin estimates that ultraviolet radiation diminishes an additional seven percent beyond the lowest point of that cycle. His team’s study, “Ultraviolet Flux Decrease Under a Grand Minimum from IUE Short-wavelength Observation of Solar Analogs,” appears in the publication Astrophysical Journal Letters and was funded by the state of California.

Our sun has been very very quiet for the last couple of years. More people die from cold than from heat.

Now this is cool - filtering water

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Potential to be a game-changer - from Phys Org:

Researchers discover efficient and sustainable way to filter salt and metal ions from water
With two billion people worldwide lacking access to clean and safe drinking water, joint research by Monash University, CSIRO and the University of Texas at Austin published today in Sciences Advances may offer a breakthrough new solution.

It all comes down to metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), an amazing next generation material that have the largest internal surface area of any known substance. The sponge like crystals can be used to capture, store and release chemical compounds. In this case, the salt and ions in sea water.

Dr Huacheng Zhang, Professor Huanting Wang and Associate Professor Zhe Liu and their team in the Faculty of Engineering at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, in collaboration with Dr Anita Hill of CSIRO and Professor Benny Freeman of the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, have recently discovered that MOF membranes can mimic the filtering function, or 'ion selectivity', of organic cell membranes.

With further development, these membranes have significant potential to perform the dual functions of removing salts from seawater and separating metal ions in a highly efficient and cost effective manner, offering a revolutionary new technological approach for the water and mining industries.

I hope this technology is made cheaply - lots of people around the world would love to have a cheap desalinization plant.

Heh - Bitcoins in the news

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Bitcoins are mined using a hashing algorithm - you can either buy a dedicated machine for Bitcoin mining or you can use your personal computer. Seems that some folks in Russia grabbed a bit more than they should have - from the Beeb:

Russian nuclear scientists arrested for 'Bitcoin mining plot'
Russian security officers have arrested several scientists working at a top-secret Russian nuclear warhead facility for allegedly mining crypto-currencies.

The suspects had tried to use one of Russia's most powerful supercomputers to mine Bitcoins, media reports say.

The Federal Nuclear Centre in Sarov, western Russia, is a restricted area.

The centre's press service said: "There has been an unsanctioned attempt to use computer facilities for private purposes including so-called mining."

The supercomputer was not supposed to be connected to the internet - to prevent intrusion - and once the scientists attempted to do so, the nuclear centre's security department was alerted. They were handed over to the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Russian news service Mash says.

Oops - that would have been awfully tempting. Connecting it to the internet was their downfall.

Sure President Trump is promising to let 1.8 million illegals follow a path towards citizenship but #1) - it will take 12 years from start to finish and #2) - they have to keep their noses clean and learn English during that time. Here is one example of what will not be good for them:
From The Washington Examiner:

Trump administration may block permanent residency requests from visa recipients who receive government benefits
The Department of Homeland Security has drafted a proposal that would negatively affect legal immigrants' chances of attaining permanent residency in the U.S. if he or she used public benefits prior to applying for that status, according to a report published Thursday afternoon.

The proposed new rules would allow U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers to consider an applicant's reliance on taxpayer-funded benefits, including food assistance, government pre-school programs, utility bill subsidies, and health insurance premiums.

The proposal states a person would be deemed a "public charge" if he or she relies on "any government assistance in the form of cash, checks or other forms of money transfers, or instrument and non-cash government assistance in the form of aid, services, or other relief."

Save the taxpayers a bunch of money and get the useless members of society off the dole. 

The truth comes out - what Russians

From The Hill:

Former Obama official confirms Steele dossier was given to State
An official at former President Obama’s State Department has confirmed a claim made by Republicans that former British spy Christopher Steele and allies of Hillary Clinton gave him intelligence reports claiming that President Trump was compromised by the Russians.

In an op-ed for the Washington Post titled “Devin Nunes is investigating me: Here’s the Truth,” former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jonathan Winer says Steele and Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal approached him with separate dossiers claiming malfeasance between Trump and Russia.

Winer’s op-ed confirms the chain of events Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) detailed in a criminal referral for Steele, in which he asks the Justice Department to investigate the former intelligence agent for allegedly lying to the FBI about his contacts with the media.

Liars all of them. Hillary was more in league with the Russians than any of President Trump's people.

Why now - White House security

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Why are they so interested now - that horse left the barn during the last administration. From Politico:

Democrats request investigation into White House security clearance process
Democratic senators on Thursday requested an intelligence community investigation into security clearance procedures under President Donald Trump, after a White House aide who had not gotten full clearance announced he would resign over domestic abuse allegations.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) sent a letter to Wayne Stone, the acting inspector general for the intelligence community, asking for information about how the administration determines who can access classified information.

“Members of the Senate have sent several requests for information to the administration seeking clarification on the security clearance review process," the group said, adding that it had gotten no responses. "We are concerned over the apparent low and inconsistent threshold the Trump White House uses for obtaining an interim security clearance.”

There are some things that congress is not allowed to know - they should know this and to bring it out in public is just mud-slinging of the lowest order.

About that sinking island - Tuvalu

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The island of Tuvalu in Micronesia is often held up as the poster child for global warming - after all, the sea level is rising because of it and the island is getting smaller and smaller. We all know this - it fits the narrative right?
Not so much - from Phys Org:

'Sinking' Pacific nation is getting bigger: study
The Pacific nation of Tuvalu—long seen as a prime candidate to disappear as climate change forces up sea levels—is actually growing in size, new research shows.

A University of Auckland study examined changes in the geography of Tuvalu's nine atolls and 101 reef islands between 1971 and 2014, using aerial photographs and satellite imagery.

It found eight of the atolls and almost three-quarters of the islands grew during the study period, lifting Tuvalu's total land area by 2.9 percent, even though sea levels in the country rose at twice the global average.

Co-author Paul Kench said the research, published Friday in the journal Nature Communications, challenged the assumption that low-lying island nations would be swamped as the sea rose.

"We tend to think of Pacific atolls as static landforms that will simply be inundated as sea levels rise, but there is growing evidence these islands are geologically dynamic and are constantly changing," he said.

"The study findings may seem counter-intuitive, given that (the) sea level has been rising in the region over the past half century, but the dominant mode of change over that time on Tuvalu has been expansion, not erosion."

These islands are made out of coral - spongy porous coral. Of course they are going to grow and shrink. To blame global warming for this natural dynamic behavior is pure misdirection at best and outright obfuscation at the worst.

Time to shed some light on these numbers - from Real Clear Politics:

$20 Billion Hidden in the Swamp: Feds Redact 255,000 Salaries
The only thing the bureaucratic resistance hates more than President Trump is the disclosure of their own salaries. It’s a classic case of the bureaucracy protecting the bureaucracy, underscoring the resistance faced by the new administration.

Recently, Open the Books filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (pictured) for all federal employee names, titles, agencies, salaries, and bonus information. We’ve captured and posted online this data for the past 11 years. For the first time, we found missing information throughout the federal payroll disclosures. Here’s a sample of what we discovered from the FY2017 records:

    • 254,839 federal salaries were redacted in the federal civil service payroll (just 3,416 salaries were redacted in FY2016).
    • 68 federal departments redacted salaries. Even small agencies like the National Transportation Services Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation redacted millions of dollars in salaries.
    • $20 billion in estimated payroll now lacks transparency.
    • A 7,360 percent increase in opacity hides one out of every five federal salaries.

Who’s the bureaucrat in charge? Not a Trump appointee – the president doesn’t even have a current nominee at OPM. So, the buck stops with new acting Director Kathleen McGettigan, a 25-year staffer who assumed the position because she was the next in line, not because the White House appointed her.

Much more at the site - this is big.

Rats. Sinking Ship.

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From Politico:

Two more officials cited in FBI texts step down
Two more senior government officials who were prominently discussed in text messages exchanged by FBI personnel formerly assigned to the Trump-Russia investigation are leaving their positions.

Mike Kortan, FBI assistant director for public affairs, is set to retire next week, an FBI spokeswoman confirmed. In addition, the chief of the Justice Department’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, David Laufman, resigned this week, a department spokesman said.

This would be a lot more fun to follow if it wasn't deep corruption at the highest level in our Nation.

Lunacy to our North

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It's all about race

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Except when you do it yourselves - from Sultan Knish:

The Congressional Racist Caucus
When Obama met with Farrakhan, it was under the auspices of the Congressional Black Caucus. It wasn't the first or last time that the CBC had been caught in bed with the hate group leader. And CBC members have never been ashamed of their ties to a racist who had praised Hitler as a "great man".

"I’ve been to his home, done meetings, participated in events with him,” Rep. Danny Davis declared. "I don’t regard Louis Farrakhan as an aberration or anything, I regard him as an outstanding human being."

The CBC won't sanction Rep. Davis for saying that. In an age when statues are pulled down and classic TV shows are censored, some forms of racism are more equal than others. Not to mention sexism.

The Congressional Black Caucus had a front seat to #MeToo with the revelation that $220,000 had been paid out to a staffer alleging sexual harassment by Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), a former judge impeached for bribery whose girlfriend has been on his payroll to the tune of $2.4 million, and that Rep. Conyers (D-MI) had his own sexual harassment settlement. That scandal forced Rep. Conyers to resign and hand the seat to his son at the behest of his wife, Monica, who had been convicted of bribery.

Corruption, fraud and bribery are ongoing problems at the Congressional Black Caucus.

After two decades of financial scandals, Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) was convicted of running a fake charity and sentenced in December. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) was sentenced last December for bribery, fraud and money laundering. His son, Chaka Fattah Jr, was already in prison on unrelated bank fraud charges. Around the same time the wife of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Il) had wrapped up her prison sentence after her husband had ended his prison term a year earlier on fraud charges.

Hardly a year goes by without a criminal case involving a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Bribery and fraud, fake charities and money laundering to pay for the high life are familiar CBC themes . Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. bought a gold Rolex, Michael Jackson and Malcolm X memorabilia, and mink capes. Rep. Brown stole from poor children to pay for an NFL luxury box (won’t you take a knee) and a Beyonce concert. Chaka Fattah Jr. bought Hermes ties and a Ritz-Carlton condo.

Talk about double standards.

Prison Orange looks good on you Hillary

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From The Hill:

Uranium One informant makes Clinton allegations to Congress
An FBI informant connected to the Uranium One controversy told three congressional committees in a written statement that Moscow routed millions of dollars to America with the expectation it would be used to benefit Bill Clinton's charitable efforts while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton quarterbacked a “reset” in U.S.-Russian relations.

The informant, Douglas Campbell, said in the statement obtained by The Hill that he was told by Russian nuclear executives that Moscow had hired the American lobbying firm APCO Worldwide specifically because it was in position to influence the Obama administration, and more specifically Hillary Clinton.

Wheels of Justice and all that good stuff...

Just wow - The Gloaming

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16:42 of pure bliss if you like Irish music. Martin Hayes lived in Seattle for a number of years so know of him from there

Their website is here: The Gloaming

Building the wall - Seattle

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From The Seattle Times:

Seattle is putting fences under its bridges to keep campers out — and some say that’s wrong
Seattle is putting fences under some bridges where homeless camps set up. The city says it’s to prevent fires, but some City Council members are pushing back.

The article says that there are over 5,500 homeless living on the streets. I have zero problem with giving someone a hand up if they hit a rough patch in their lives but this is encouraging those on the edge to move to Seattle to take advantage of the taxpayer-funded free housing and food and money. We need better mental health treatment (i.e. institutions to house them) as well as the backbone to discriminate those who need a hand up and those who are chronic wastrels. Thank you President Kennedy.

The Winter Olympics

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Record cold and because everyone is hunkering inside, everyone's favorite virus - from the UK Metro:

Norovirus and freezing temperatures causing havoc at Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang
The Winter Olympics has been hit by an outbreak of the norovirus, with 54 new cases confirmed in Pyeongchang.

It brings the total suffering with the highly contagious virus to 86 with dozens of security guards at the Games affected. Many have been taken to hospital suffering severe diarrhoea and vomiting following the breakout on Sunday.

Consequently, 1,200 guards have been withdrawn from the Olympic sites and quarantined in their rooms with organisers forced to call in 900 soldiers as cover.

And the cold?

Temperatures during the opening ceremony are expected to be -10C, while the wind chill during rehearsals plummeted to -23C.

Yikes - I used to live in New England and it gets pretty cold there. -10°C is just plain nuts. That is 14°F.

More memos and more scandal - seriously, someone (several people) need to do some serious time in jail for this. From the London Daily Mail:

'NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!': Trump blasts out revelations about new messages between FBI lovers showing Obama wanted to be briefed on EVERYTHING happening in Clinton email investigation
President Donald Trump trumpeted the release of new private texts from a pair of FBI lovers that said former President Obama wanted to know 'everything' about the FBI's Hillary Clinton email probe.

An FBI lawyer wrote in a newly revealed text to her lover in late 2016 that then-president Barack Obama wanted updates on the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Two months before the presidential election, Lisa Page wrote to fellow FBI official Peter Strzok that she was working on a memo for then-FBI director James Comey because Obama 'wants to know everything we're doing.'

Obama had said five months earlier during a Fox News Channel interview that he could 'guarantee' he wouldn't interfere with that investigation.

How about a Hillary for Prison 2018 bumper sticker.

In honor of the SpaceX launch

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From Chris at A Large Regular:

20180207-tesla.jpg

Ground control to Major Tom...

Crap - RIP John Perry Barlow

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From the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

John Perry Barlow, Internet Pioneer, 1947-2018
With a broken heart I have to announce that EFF's founder, visionary, and our ongoing inspiration, John Perry Barlow, passed away quietly in his sleep this morning. We will miss Barlow and his wisdom for decades to come, and he will always be an integral part of EFF.

It is no exaggeration to say that major parts of the Internet we all know and love today exist and thrive because of Barlow’s vision and leadership. He always saw the Internet as a fundamental place of freedom, where voices long silenced can find an audience and people can connect with others regardless of physical distance.

Barlow was sometimes held up as a straw man for a kind of naive techno-utopianism that believed that the Internet could solve all of humanity's problems without causing any more. As someone who spent the past 27 years working with him at EFF, I can say that nothing could be further from the truth. Barlow knew that new technology could create and empower evil as much as it could create and empower good. He made a conscious decision to focus on the latter: "I knew it’s also true that a good way to invent the future is to predict it. So I predicted Utopia, hoping to give Liberty a running start before the laws of Moore and Metcalfe delivered up what Ed Snowden now correctly calls 'turn-key totalitarianism.'”

Barlow’s lasting legacy is that he devoted his life to making the Internet into “a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth . . . a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.”

He also had quite the side gig - from Infogalactic:

The seeds of the Barlow–Weir collaboration were sown at a Grateful Dead show at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, New York, in February 1971. Until then, Weir had mostly worked with resident Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. Hunter preferred that those who sang his songs stick to his "canonical" lyrics rather than improvising additions or rearranging words. A feud erupted backstage over a couplet in "Sugar Magnolia" from the band's most recent release (most likely "She can dance a Cajun rhythm/Jump like a Willys in four-wheel drive"), culminating in a disgruntled Hunter summoning Barlow and telling him "take him (Weir)—he's yours".[6] In the fall of 1971, with a deal for a solo album in hand and only two songs completed, Weir and Barlow began to write together for the first time. Note: Capitol Theater New York Shows from February 1971 have no changes to lyrics noted above, all shows are on Archive.org.

The twosome hammered out such enduring songs as "Cassidy", "Mexicali Blues", and "Black Throated Wind", all three of which would remain in the repertoires of the Grateful Dead and Weir's varied solo projects for years to come. Other songs to emerge from the Weir-Barlow collaboration include "Let It Grow", "The Music Never Stopped", "Estimated Prophet", "I Need A Miracle", "Lost Sailor", "Saint of Circumstance", "Hell In A Bucket", and "Throwing Stones". Barlow also collaborated with Grateful Dead keyboardists Brent Mydland then later Vince Welnick.

In 1986 Barlow joined The WELL online community, then known for a strong Deadhead presence. He served on the company's board of directors for several years. In 1990, Barlow founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) along with fellow digital-rights activists John Gilmore and Mitch Kapor. As a founder of EFF, Barlow helped publicize the Secret Service raid on Steve Jackson Games. Barlow's involvement is later documented in the The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier (1992) by Bruce Sterling.[7] EFF later sponsored the ground-breaking case Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service. Steve Jackson Games won the case in 1993.

A true American Legend.

Back home - long day

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The errands in town ran fairly long so decided to get a bite to eat there. Was planning to go out to Glacier to listen to music but am tired and didn't feel like driving.

Surf for a bit.

Got a new toy in town - been looking for a small netbook for use with amateur radio digital modes - got a killer deal on a used Asus T100T - detachable keyboard and touch screen so you can run it just as a tablet if you want. 20 hour battery life. It runs on 5 Volts from a USB port - many laptops require 19 volts so this eliminates the need for 110 Volts household current or a specialized boost converter. Perfect for remote events and SAR.

About that oil shortage in the USA

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Things certainly have turned around with this new President - from Bloomberg:

Oil World Turns Upside Down as U.S. Sells Oil in Middle East
The United Arab Emirates, a model Persian Gulf petro-state where endless billions from crude exports feed a giant sovereign wealth fund, isn’t the most obvious customer for Texan oil.

Yet, in a trade that illustrates how the rise of the American shale industry is upending energy markets across the globe, the U.A.E. bought oil directly from the U.S. in December, according to data from the federal government. A tanker sailed from Houston and arrived in the Persian Gulf last month.

The cargo of American condensate, a type of very light crude oil, was preferred to regional grades because its superior quality made more suitable for the U.A.E’s processing plants, a person with knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be identified discussing a commercially sensitive matter.

Good old Sweet Texas Crude - good stuff and we are sitting on vast resources. What energy crisis?

Back at the farm for a few days

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Heading out for coffee, post office and then store to pay some bills and do paperwork. The usual fun stuff!

Aaand that is it for the night

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Heading upstairs to sleep. Up here for a few days - more posting tomorrow.

Back home at the farm

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Arrived here a few minutes ago - up here for a few days.

Feeling a bit tired so early bedtime but surf for a bit.

Prayers go out to the people of Taiwan

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Not that big of an earthquake - only a 6.4. The quake we are expecting from the Cascadia Subduction Zone is expected to be around a 9 - this is the historical strength. The magnitude scale is logarithmic so a 7 is 10 times larger than a 6 and an 8 is 100 times larger than a 6.
From Associated Press:

Deadly earthquake strikes Taiwan’s east coast
A magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck Tuesday near the coast of Taiwan, killing two hotel employees and injuring more than 200 other people, officials said.

The Central News Agency reported that the ground floor of the Marshal Hotel in Hualien county had caved in, causing the deaths of the two employees.

Other buildings were shifted on foundations and rescuers used ladders, ropes and cranes to get residents to safety.

Taiwan is a modern nation - it will be interesting to see how the buildings were built. Also, the National Weather service issued a tsunami warning for the East Coast. Oops...

When all you have is a narrative, you never see the whole picture. Great story from the London Daily Mail:

EXCLUSIVE: Russian pranksters spoof Adam Schiff by telling Democrat that Putin has NAKED blackmail pictures of Trump - and he gets his staff to try to collect 'classified materials for the FBI'
The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee was the victim of a prank phone call by Russian comedians who offered to give him 'compromising' dirt on Donald Trump – including nude photos of the president and a Rus sian reality show star.

DailyMail.com can disclose that after the prank, his staff engaged in correspondence with what they thought was a Ukrainian politician to try to obtain the 'classified' material promised on the call.

On an audio recording of the prank call posted online, Adam Schiff can be heard discussing the committee's Russia investigation and increasingly bizarre allegations about Trump with a man who claimed to be Andriy Parubiy, the chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament.

The call, made a year ago, was actually from two Russian comedians nicknamed 'Vovan' and 'Lexus' who have become notorious for their phony calls to high-ranking American officials and celebrities, including UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Elton John.

Hopefully, that will be a teachable moment and the next time Schiff sees some dossier, he will exercise a bit of discretion...

Congratulations to SpaceX

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Major launch this morning - from Yahoo/AFP:

SpaceX launches world's most powerful rocket toward Mars
The world's most powerful rocket, SpaceX's Falcon Heavy, blasted off Tuesday on its highly anticipated maiden test flight, carrying CEO Elon Musk's cherry red Tesla roadster to an orbit near Mars.

Screams and cheers erupted at Cape Canaveral, Florida as the massive rocket fired its 27 engines and rumbled into the blue sky over the same NASA launchpad that served as a base for the US missions to Moon four decades ago.

"Wow, did you guys see that? That was awesome," said SpaceX commentator Lauren Lyons as applause thundered through mission control.

Loaded with Musk's red Tesla and a mannequin in a spacesuit, the monster rocket's test voyage has captured the world's imagination.

About two minutes into the flight, the two side boosters peeled away and made their way back toward Earth for an upright landing.

Both rockets landed side by side in unison on launchpads, live video images showed.

Reusable boosters - I love it. I also love their payload.

At Forbes of all places:

Biased FBI and DOJ Officials Broke The Law And Tried To Decide The Election - an Annotated Timeline
There can be no question, at this point, that certain higher ups in the FBI and the DOJ did not want Hillary to be indicted and did not want Donald Trump to become President. Those efforts were not entirely independent of each other.

Below is a timeline of events – abbreviated though it is – that makes it rather plain that the FBI and DOJ were not investigating potential crimes objectively.

Indeed, they were committing crimes during the process in aid of their preferred outcomes.

A bit of a long read (five pages) but well annotated and 27 specific items on the timeline. I thought that we were a nation of law...

Senator Chuck Schumer

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Posted without comment:

20180205-schumer.jpg

Illegal Immigrants in the news

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From FOX News:

Edwin Jackson, Indianapolis Colts linebacker, was killed by an illegal immigrant, police say
The suspected drunk driver who killed Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson in a crash on the morning of the Super Bowl is a Guatemalan citizen who is in the U.S. illegally and has been deported twice, police revealed Monday.

Indiana State Police identified the driver of an F-150 truck in the incident as Manuel Orrego-Savala, 37, who had been deported in 2007 and 2009.

“State police investigators are working with U.S. Federal Immigration Officials and they have placed a hold on Orrego-Savala,” police said in a statement.

Jackson, 26, and Jeffrey Monroe, 54, also in his vehicle, were hit and killed around 4 a.m. on Sunday on Interstate 70 in Indiana.

A tragedy that could have been avoided if the laws of the land had been enforced.

The Nunes Memo - nose under the tent

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Devin Nunes memo is just the beginning - from FOX News:

Nunes sets sights on State Department next, says FISA memo only 'phase one'
The furor over House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes' push to release the "surveillance memo" is only the beginning.

The Republican chairman said Monday the release of the long-awaited document on alleged law enforcement surveillance abuse was just “phase one” of his investigation, and the next phase will involve probing the State Department for what he called “irregularities.”

“What we will do in phase two is follow the facts where they lead, and when we get enough facts, we will figure out a way to let the American people know,” Nunes told “Fox & Friends.”

Good - he is acting on the wishes of We The People. Time to turn over the rocks and let the sunlight in.

Superbowl Sound

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Great article on how the half-time act's sound and staging are done. Quite the Herculean act as all of the equipment has to come through the tunnel and the quality of sound has to be a lot better than the stadium's built-in system can provide.
From The Verge:

HOW THE SUPER BOWL HALFTIME SHOW GETS SET UP IN JUST SIX MINUTES
Patrick Baltzell has been the sound engineer for most of America’s most-watched events in the past few decades. He’s sitting alone in the convention halls of NAMM, a trade show for the music making industry. Though I instantly recognize his signature thin frame and curls of white hair, no one looks as Baltzell stands to greet me with unbridled enthusiasm. It’s likely everyone in this room has no idea who he is. But Baltzell was not only in charge of the audio for the past 19 Super Bowls (excluding this year’s) — he also currently designs and mixes sound for the Grammys, Oscars, and presidential inaugurations.

One hundred-eighty countries will be watching this Sunday’s Super Bowl 52 between the Eagles and the Patriots. And, while everyone will be cheering on the players, the halftime performer, and the person who sings the national anthem, we often forget there is someone, unseen, who has spent months making sure you can hear every word and note. Baltzell talks with The Verge to give an insider’s look at how to make sure everything is heard without a hitch during one of the country’s most-anticipated broadcasts.

I would love to find out about how the video is edited and switched - that has to be another task of epic proportions.

Long long day

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Woke up to find the laptop dead - later this afternoon, I removed the battery pack and got it to boot into the BIOS. The battery had failed with a short circuit.

Then we went out to watch the Super Bowl at a friends house and then dinner at another friends. Just got home.

Surf for a bit and then to bed.

Cheery news from The Week:

The DNC is reportedly 'dead broke.' The RNC has nearly $40 million.
The Democratic National Committee had a rough 2017, plagued by leadership troublesinternal squabbling, and unflattering reports. To top it off, the party ended the year "dead broke," says The Intercept's Ryan Grim.

The Democratic Party is carrying more than $6 million in debt, according to year-end filings — and has just $6.5 million in the bank. Do the math, and the party is working with just over $400,000 overall. Meanwhile, the Republicans are swimming in pools of money. The Republican National Committee had raised $132 million by the end of 2017 — about twice as much as the DNC — and entered 2018 with almost $40 million to spare, with not a penny of debt.

We The People indeed! A perfect illustration of the free marketplace. When you do not offer anything that people want, they will not buy. The liberals have nothing so they think their ideas need to be mandatory - regulate, regulate and regulate some more. This is tyranny. This is not leadership.

More faster please - Nuclear power

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From Next Big Future:

NuScale factory built modular 50 megawatt nuclear reactors have funding, customers and some NRC approval
Nuscale Power has more than $700 million in government and private investment and they have a customer. A consortium of municipal utilities in six Western states hopes to out 12 of the fifty-megawatt reactors together in Idaho to create a 600-megawatt power plant for the bargain price — compared with other nuclear facilities — of $2.85 billion.

In January, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled that the design of the NuScale reactor — which relies on air circulation for cooling — is so safe that it does not need the expensive emergency pumps and backup electrical systems required of big conventional reactors. The decision brings NuScale closer than any company in decades to gaining a license to operate an entirely new reactor design in the U.S. for commercial use.

It is still a conventional light water but with much better engineering. I wish that LFTR would be promoted more but its time will come.

Our FBI

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Great comment from Don Surber:

I am proud of the FBI
As this case against the misuse of the FBI and the intelligence community develops, I realize that with good, honest agents in the FBI, we would have never known, because Hillary would be president.

Heh...

Heading north

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Driving up to Camano Island an Marysville.

Back later this evening.

The Memo

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Available here (PDF): Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Two page letter from President Trump's lawyer and then the full and unredacted text of the memo. This is Watergate on steroids. This will launch the first stages of the process to get the FBI and the DOJ back on track serving the interests of the American people.

Tyler has a good analysis:

The just released FISA memo accuses senior officials at the DOJ of inappropriately using biased opposition research into then-candidate Trump to obtain surveillance warrants on transition team members as part of the federal investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia.

According to the document, information from the the so-called Steele dossier was "essential" to the acquisition of surveillance warrants on Trump campaign aide Carter Page. It claims that then-deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe told the committee in December that without the information from the Steele dossier, no surveillance warrant for Page would have been sought.

The memo alleges that the political origins of the dossier — paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) — were not disclosed to the clandestine court that signed off on the warrant request.

The document claims that although the FBI had "clear evidence" that the author of the dossier, former British spy Christopher Steele, was biased against Trump, it did not convey that to the surveillance court when making its warrant applications. Steele told then-associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr that he was "desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president," the memo says.

Changes - Fuji and Xerox

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Fugi is buying Xerox for $6.1 billion. From DIY Photography:

FUJIFILM BECOMES FUJI XEROX IN ACQUISITION CREATING AN $18 BILLION MONSTER
Yes, the Japanese company, Fujifilm Holdings, which makes everything from cameras to makeup is acquiring Xerox in a $6.1 billion deal. The merger is reported to have a combined revenue of $18 billion. The two companies have been partners under the brand Fuji Xerox for over 50 years, but now Fuji will become the majority stakeholder in the American company, made famous by its photocopiers.

A fairly complex swap - more at the site. Ilike both companies - should do well.

Dumb criminal(s) - Canada

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Not quite bright - from the CBC:

Fleeing bank robbery suspects caught after stopping at a Tim Hortons drive-thru
A man and woman allegedly fleeing a bank robbery were arrested in Bouctouche, N.B., on Monday after they stopped at a Tim Hortons drive-thru.

At least six police cars swooped in on the suspects before they had a chance to place an order.

Several thousand dollars have been recovered, the RCMP said.

A 24-year-old man and 26-year-old woman, both from Moncton, face charges.

They had a description of the vehicle, there is only one road between the two cities and an alert officer spotted the vehicle and turned and started following them. DOH!

Back home again

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Had a full day - went out for cofffee and who should walk in but my first wife. She had moved to the midwest 20 years ago and returned to Seattle last year. Fun to see her.

Did some shopping at Costco and then took the pups to Magnuson Park - they are tuckered out and sleeping by my feet as I type.

Trish is doing some more paperwork for school - we are both sitting on the couch with our respective laptops. Domestic bliss :)

Out for a couple of hours

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Allegro for coffee and then running some errands.

Back later this evening. Trish has to work on curriculum planning for her next school year so is neck-deep in paperwork. We are taking tomorrow off to drive up to Camano Island, Stanwood and Arlington.

Another day or two -The Memo

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Looks like we will not get to read it today - from FOX News:

Trump to declassify surveillance memo, sources say – as Pelosi seeks Nunes ouster
President Trump is expected to swiftly declassify a controversial memo on purported surveillance abuses, sources tell Fox News, even as Democrats raise objections that edits were made to the document since it was approved for release by a key committee.

Those objections fueled a new round of partisan recriminations on Thursday, with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi firing off a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan demanding the chairman of that committee, Republican Devin Nunes, be removed.

“Chairman Nunes’ deliberately dishonest actions make him unfit to serve as Chairman, and he must be immediately removed from this position,” she wrote.

But the objections don’t appear to be halting the publication plans.

The release is likely to come Friday morning, Fox News is told.

Tomorrow morning then - it will be fun to read.

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