March 2018 Archives

Clean coal in Africa

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The enviros may be doing everything in their power to limit the use of energy in the USA but fortunately, other nations are not jumping on this bandwagon. From South Africa's Daily Maverick:

Op-Ed: Clean Coal is the way to power Africa – and SA academics know how
Professor Rosemary Falcon heads the Sustainable Coal Research Group at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg, where the late Nelson Mandela studied law in the 1950s.

Falcon leads a team of nine academics along with 20 Mastersand doctoral students who, with their own laboratory at Wits, say they have proved conclusively that clean coal is not only possible, but among the cheapest ways to generate electricity on a continent where more than 600 million Africans live without power.

“It starts by understanding that coal varies enormously,” she said.

“Each region has a different recipe of minerals and fossil matter, and if you give me a lump of coal out of Kenya, the US, Europe, India or Colombia, I can probably tell you where it’s from.”

A bit more - Bada is another member of the team - Dr Samson Bada of Nigeria:

The use of coal to generate electricity in Africa is at a record high, with new plants under way in Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa. Bada has little time for those who condemn this.

“I am tired of being lectured by people in rich countries who have never lived a day without electricity,” he said.

“Maybe they should just go home and turn off their fridge, geyser, their laptops and lights. Then live like that for a month and tell us, who have suffered for years, not to burn coal.”

Emphasis mine - exactly. The enviro-Marxists want to bring power to the people, just not enough to do useful work or to require a generating plant. A bit more - this from Dr Jacob Masiala from the Democratic Republic of Congo:

“Aid groups come to Africa and give out solar lamps the size of a pumpkin,” he said.

“But no one in London or Los Angeles would be willing to make do with that. Don’t tell me that China, Russia and the West should have electricity and black people in Mali or Mozambique should live in huts with light from a solar toy. We need power for cities, factories, mines and to run schools and hospitals.”

Back to Dr. Bada again:

Bada said he was a fan of wind and solar, but the technology was not yet there to industrialise a continent.

“Solar doesn’t work at night, and turbines stand idle when the wind doesn’t blow,” he said.

“How do you run an operating theatre with that? How do you power a city, a school, the lift in a gold mine taking workers more than two miles underground? There has to be a baseload power supply and this can be complemented with solar. The industrial revolution and the growth of China and India has all been powered by coal. The good news is we can now burn it cleanly.”

So true - we have over 500 years of known coal deposits in the USA alone. Why should we hamstring our development just to satisfy some half-baked ideas about our climate. Especially when these are founded on very bad science.

Global Warming in the news

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This time from Investors Business Daily:

The Stunning Statistical Fraud Behind The Global Warming Scare
Global Warming: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration may have a boring name, but it has a very important job: It measures U.S. temperatures. Unfortunately, it seems to be a captive of the global warming religion. Its data are fraudulent.

What do we mean by fraudulent? How about this: NOAA has made repeated "adjustments" to its data, for the presumed scientific reason of making the data sets more accurate.

Nothing wrong with that. Except, all their changes point to one thing — lowering previously measured temperatures to show cooler weather in the past, and raising more recent temperatures to show warming in the recent present.

This creates a data illusion of ever-rising temperatures to match the increase in CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere since the mid-1800s, which global warming advocates say is a cause-and-effect relationship. The more CO2, the more warming.

More at the site with links to corroborating data. NOAA is promoting a narrative instead of actual science. Talk about needing a good housecleaning...

Heh - from The Daily Caller:

Liberal Journos Tell Justice Stevens To Shut-Up About Dinging The Second Amendment
Left-leaning members of the media who are worried about upcoming elections want retired Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens to stop suggesting lawmakers repeal the Second Amendment.

The Washington Post and Think Progress writers don’t want Stevens’ call to amend the U.S. Constitution to rile up gun-owning, blue-collar workers before the November election. They are asking the 97-year-old former jurist to keep his opinions about gun control to himself.

“It’s a provocative claim, but it also raises serious questions about what planet Justice Stevens is living on,” Think Progress editor Ian Millhiser wrote Tuesday in reference to a The New York Times editorial Stevens wrote, suggesting  Republicans and Democrats eliminate the Second Amendment.

What a lot of these people are ignoring is that 44 out of 50 State Constitutions allow private ownership of firearms. The Tenth Ammendment specifically allows these States to make such rulings: 

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

From Vox Day:

"several months prior"
The "March For Our Lives Demonstration", which was supposedly inspired by the so-called Parkland school shootings, was planned "several months prior" to the drama performed at the Florida school.

View image

Everything about that "school shooting" was fake. Everything. It is beyond reprehensible that no one in the mainstream media will do any investigatory reporting.

Either the gun grabbers apply for permits several times/year and let them lapse if nothing happens to fit their agenda or, the Parkland shooting was planned in advance as a false flag event. Regardless, that demonstration was well organised, well funded and the majority of the people in attendance were adults, not school children.

Something stinks to high heaven here...

About that Clinton money

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Seems that Hillary is not commanding the same speaking fees that she once did. From Legal Insurrection:

Hillary Earned Less For College Speech Than “Snooki” From Jersey Shore
Rutgers University paid twice-failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton $25,000 for her recent speech, and the relatively low speaking fee is causing quite the buzz.

After all, Rutgers paid Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, of the reality show Jersey Shore more than that in 2011.

Fox News reports:

Clinton was paid $25,000 to speak at Rutgers University about being targeted as a woman in politics, the upcoming elections and the Trump administration, among other topics, NJ.com reported.

But the money she made seemed to be considerably less than some other high-profile guests who’ve spoken at the New Jersey school.

For example, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, of “Jersey Shore” fame, was paid $32,000 for her Rutgers appearance in 2011. Students paid for her appearance using money from the student activity fees undergraduates pay at the school, according to NJ.com.

Quite the change from the $200-$300K fees she was getting just a couple of years ago. And Dr. Rice?

It’s not because she’s “just” a former Secretary of State.  The University of Minnesota paid Condoleezza Rice $150,000 for a 2014 speech.  She had left State in 2009.

Circling the drain. Wonderful to see.

Busy day doing nothing

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Gorgeous weather here - low 60's and sunny. The day before Easter. We were planning to run a couple very simple errands and I was going to take my two dogs to the off-leash park for an hour or so.

Silly humans. Everyone and their siblings are out today - parking lots were full, off-leash park parking was solidly backed up. May try again at dusk for the off-leash area - while people are having their dinners.

Great news re: cars

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From The New York Times:

E.P.A. Prepares to Roll Back Rules Requiring Cars to Be Cleaner and More Efficient
The Trump administration is expected to launch an effort in coming days to weaken greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for automobiles, handing a victory to car manufacturers and giving them ammunition to potentially roll back industry standards worldwide.

The move — which undercuts one of President Barack Obama’s signature efforts to fight climate change — would also propel the Trump administration toward a courtroom clash with California, which has vowed to stick with the stricter rules even if Washington rolls back federal standards. That fight could end up creating one set of rules for cars sold in California and the 12 states that follow its lead, and weaker rules for the rest of the states, in effect splitting the nation into two markets.

What is actually happening is that Obama's heightened CAFE Standards (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) are being rolled back to a more reasonable requirement. A bit more:

The rules, aimed at cutting tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to global warming, were one of the two pillars of Mr. Obama’s climate change legacy. Put forth in 2012, they would have required automakers to nearly double the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

First of all, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, it is plant food. Without CO2, there would be no photosynthesis and therefore no plant life.

Second of all, the CAFE Standards are responsible for a marked increase in traffic fatalities. To increase the fuel efficiency (mileage), the manufacturers need to reduce weight - they do this by using thinner metal in the car bodies making them more dangerous in a collision. Data to support this: here, here, here, here, here and here

A bit of a glitch this morning

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Was all set to post the previous item but my blogging software hung for the longest time and then let me know that they were installing an update.

I do not like being on the recieving end of pushed software but I had to let it continue. Locked me out of my own sandbox for a couple of hours. Got a bunch of stuff done anyway - T and I now have the same last name!

Netflix in the news

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Some heavy virtue signalling from them - from Musings from the Chiefio:

Dear Netflix…
I see you have hired Susan Rice on your Board Of Directors.

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2018/03/28/susan-rice-ex-obama-official-appointed-to-netflix-board-directors.html

Now as I see it, there are only 2 possible reasons for doing this. She isn’t exactly a media mogul after all, no screen credits that I know of, not a lot of business acumen on display, hasn’t built a media empire… so what’s left?

1) You are sucking up to The Progressive Socialist Left / Clinton Machine / Obama Wannabee Machine.

2) You are a fellow traveler giving her a great cushy income for doing nothing but “virtue signalling” you are on side.

Now which of these tells me I want YOU to send MY MONEY to HER? Hmmm?

Oh, wait, none of the above.

E. M. Smith goes on to ask the question that the Netflix CEO needs to ask:

Can my company, Netflix, survive a year or two if 1/4 of my audience (say 1/2 of the 1/2 that voted Trump) get pissed off and cancel while they go look for alternatives?

So, can you?

’cause here’s the deal: We’re done with the whole “We’ll be nice and you can be shouting shit in our faces and picking our pockets” thing. It’s “on Mother F…” You hit me with a spit wad, I take out the bazooka.

Netflix has put a lot of time and money into developing an intuative user interface and has some entertaining content. -but- there is a lot of competition out there.

It seems that this cronyism is not limited to just Netflix - from FOX News:

Big tech companies offer gilded safe space for Obama officials
When former national security adviser Susan Rice was named to the Netflix board of directors Wednesday, she became at least the third high-ranking official under former President Barack Obama to receive a top post at a tech giant after leaving the White House.

And a bit more:

But Rice isn't the only Obama alum benefiting here. David Plouffe, a former senior adviser to Obama, was hired by ridesharing company Uber in August 2014 to be its senior vice president of policy and strategy. This past January, Plouffe was lured away from Uber by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to help run his Chan Zuckerberg social advocacy organization.

Former White House press secretary Jay Carney has settled down at another titan, Amazon. Carney, who departed the West Wing in June 2014 and spent six months as a political analyst at CNN, joined Amazon in March 2015 as senior vice president for corporate affairs.

They are now reaping their rewards for having enabled these tech giants to make money hand over fist while the US was in the middle of a big recession.

And that is it for the night

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Switching to Netflix for the rest of the evening.

Based out of San Francisco, this is probably the most progressive of all the Circuit Courts in the USA. Some of its decisions have really emphasized the need for term limits on judges.

I feel sorry for his friends, colleagues and family but - from The Hill:

9th Circuit Court of Appeals judge Stephen Reinhardt dies at 87
Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a judge on the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and a champion of liberal causes on the court, died Thursday at the age of 87.

A court spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that Reinhardt was at a dermatologist's office when he died unexpectedly Thursday afternoon.

Reinhardt, who was appointed by former President Jimmy Carter in 1980, served on one of the country's most notoriously liberal courts, issuing many prominent decisions during his tenure...

Looking forward to seeing who President Trump appoints as his successor.

Back home again

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T and I spent a dellightful afternoon driving around Seattle, walking one of our dogs and getting an early dinner at a seafood restaurant (splitting an order of halibut and chips). Back home now and looking at an early bedtime - we both had to get up much earlier than is our usual time so need to reset our diurnal clocks.

And another day

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Heading out shortly to return all the equipment I rented yesterday and to come back and rake and fill the back yard. Got the front looking good but it was getting dark when I finished the back so left the raking for today. Going to be eating aspirin a lot today - very stiff...

Forecast is for cloudy but only 10% chance of precip so we will be watering the next couple of days.

Tired

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Did some actual work today and feeling very tired with incipient muscle stiffness. T's yard was put in a long time ago and was overrun with moss and weeds. Last fall I spotted it with an agricultural herbicide and today, I rented a thatcher, an aerator and an overseeder and went to work rebuilding it.

Looks quite chewed up right now but should be looking very nice in about two weeks or so.

Got to return the equipment by 9:00AM tomorrow so early bedtime and minimal posting.

A little bit of espionage - Seattle

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President Trump recently closed the Russian Embasy in Seattle. The Seattle Times has a nice article on why:

Russian spies in Seattle: Black ops, Soviet subs and counter intel in the Pacific Northwest
Wanted — FBI recruits for a career in surveillance. Must be comfortable tailing subjects by foot, vehicle or on public transportation, use electronic equipment, and work nights and weekends as necessary.

The online job post at fbijobs.gov gives a glimpse into the shadowy world of espionage that continues to unfold between the United States and Russia. The Trump administration cited the risk of such clandestine activities in its decision Monday to close the Russian Consulate in Seattle.

The Cold War spy craft that was the stuff of John le Carré thrillers may have taken a back seat in the popular imagination in the age of post-9/11 terrorism, but for FBI agents trying to identify Russian consular staff who are using their positions as cover for intelligence gathering, the work never stopped, and it may have intensified amid growing tensions between Moscow and the West.

“It’s no secret that consulates serve as a potential platform for covert activities,” said Charles Mandigo, a former special agent in charge of the FBI Seattle office, “just as consulate personnel and embassy staff provide the country with the opportunity to insert a spy onto U.S. soil.”

What are they looking for:

“Think about it. There’s Boeing, which runs all kinds of black operations,” said Mandigo, referring to the giant defense contractor’s secret work with the Pentagon. “There’s the University of Washington, which gets all kinds of government contracts. There’s Microsoft. There’s proximity from a military point of view, particularly Bangor.”

Naval Base Kitsap, near Bremerton, includes the submarine base at Bangor, home to the West Coast fleet of Trident submarines, part of America’s triad of land-, air- and sea-based nuclear arsenal. It’s estimated that within the past decade, up to a quarter of the country’s nearly 10,000 nuclear weapons have been stored there.

Quite a lot actually. Any proof? Any history? Actually yes:

In 1987, even amid the glasnost thaw, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer broke a story that Soviet submarines — using intelligence garnered from the spy ring formed by John Walker — had penetrated the Strait of Juan de Fuca through the 1980s. Walker served many years in the U.S. Navy, and the leaked information helped Russians slip past U.S. anti-sub defenses.

A decade later, in 1998, Jack Daly, then a Navy lieutenant and intelligence officer, was dispatched on a Canadian helicopter to take surveillance photographs of a Russian cargo ship in the Strait of Juan de Fuca that was suspected of spying on the Trident submarines. He says the ship fired a laser that singed his retinas. He sued in U.S. District Court over the laser attack and his injury, but in 2002, a jury rejected his claim.

More at The Times - an interesting article.

News you can use - drug detection

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A bit of interesting news from England's University of Surrey

One in 10 people have traces of cocaine or heroin on their fingerprints
Scientists have found that drugs are now so prevalent that 13 per cent of those taking part in a test were found to have traces of class A drugs on their fingerprints - despite never using them.

But, it is possible to differentiate:

Researchers tested fingerprints from the unwashed hands of the drug-free volunteers and, despite having no history of drug use, still found traces of class A drugs. Around 13 per cent of fingerprints were found to contain cocaine and one per cent contained a metabolite of heroin. By setting a "cut-off" level, researchers were able to distinguish between fingerprints that had environmental contaminants from those produced after genuine drug use - even after people washed their hands.

The study is here: Noninvasive Detection of Cocaine and Heroin Use with Single Fingerprints: Determination of an Environmental Cutoff

They caught this guy before he killed anyone but he was heading down that road - from The Seattle Times:

Everett man charged with sending suspicious packages to FBI, Washington, D.C.-area military bases
A 43-year-old Everett-area man was charged Tuesday with mailing packages containing explosive materials to FBI headquarters and to multiple U.S. military and government agencies in the Washington, D.C.-area.

A bit more:

Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies arrested Phan at his mobile home in South Everett on Monday evening after he called 911 “as he would frequently do,” the federal complaint states. Federal agents already were familiar with Phan, who was known to them for repeatedly sending rambling messages to government agencies, including the FBI.

More:

Each package contained a typed letter “with ramblings about neuropsychology, mind control, and other subjects including terrorism,” charging papers say. Each package also allegedly included a bottle or vial with black powder and a GPS device. All of the facilities were shut down and evacuated after receiving the packages, causing “considerable disruption to the operations of the government agencies that received them,” the complaint states.

More:

Deputies took Phan into protective custody under an involuntary mental-health commitment, and confiscated a loaded .357-caliber handgun from Phan’s backpack, the affidavit states.

“Deputies later learned that the defendant was convicted of Second Degree Assault in 1990 and is prohibited by law from possession (of) firearms,” the affidavit added.

A long history of brushes with the law (more cited at the Times article - this is just an excerpt) and nothing effective done. Mental health is something that we used to do but we stopped institutionalizing people in the early 1970's as a consequence of President John F Kennedy's 1963 Community Mental Health Act. We did not have a homeless problem before then. We do now - especially obvious in Seattle. More of my posts here, here, here and here.

This is a problem that will keep getting worse and worse and consume many more taxpayer dollars until we collectively grow a pair and do the right thing (and not the popular thing).

President Trump and prostitutes

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This one came in over the transom:

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And another headline catches my eye

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This one from Zero Hedge:

Tesla Bonds Crash After Moodys Downgrade Due To "Liquidity Pressures"

Ya think?

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The headline says it all - from Yahoo/Agence France Presse:

Cuba's government admits to 'errors' in economic reforms

Another failed communist government.

President Trump signed the bloated omnibus budget allowing over $1Trillion of new spending and pork. He must have something up his sleeve - I wonder if it is this. From Infogalactic:

Gramm–Rudman–Hollings Balanced Budget Act
The Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 and the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Reaffirmation Act of 1987 (both often known as Gramm-Rudman) were "the first binding spending constraints on the federal budget".

The Acts were named after Senators Phil Gramm (R-Texas), Warren Rudman (R-New Hampshire) and Ernest Hollings (D-South Carolina) who were their chief sponsors.

A bit more:

The Acts aimed to cut the United States federal budget deficit, which at the time, in dollar term, was the largest in history. The Acts provided for automatic spending cuts ("cancellation of budgetary resources", called "sequestration") if the total discretionary appropriations in various categories exceed in a fiscal year the budget spending thresholds. That is, if Congress enacts appropriation bills providing for discretionary outlays in each fiscal year that exceed the budget totals, unless Congress passes another budget resolution increasing the budget amount, an across-the-board spending cut in discretionary expenditure is automatically triggered on these categories, affecting all departments and programs by an equal percentage. The amount exceeding the limit is held back by the Treasury and not transferred to the agencies specified in the appropriation bills.

That would certainly take the wind out of their sails and be a perfectly legitimate action.

Nothing much today

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T is off at a meeting, I am heading out to the University of Washington Surplus sales store and then coffee and running the pups at the off-leash park.

More posting later today.

From Foreign Policy magazine:

Bolton Expected to ‘Clean House’
Incoming National Security Adviser John Bolton and people close to him are expected to launch a massive shake-up at the National Security Council, aiming to remove dozens of current White House officials, starting with holdovers from President Barack Obama’s administration, according to multiple sources.

Those targeted for removal include officials believed to have been disloyal to President Donald Trump, those who have leaked about the president to the media, his predecessor’s team, and those who came in under Obama.

“Bolton can and will clean house,” one former White House official said.

Good - get the bad people out where they cannot do any harm. I love this little bit:

A second former White House official offered a blunt assessment of former Obama officials currently detailed or appointed to the NSC: “Everyone who was there during Obama years should start packing their shit.”

Cleaning house and John Bolton is the perfect person to do it.

Fat boy Kim is in China - from Bloomberg:

Kim Jong Un Is Making a Surprise China Visit, Sources Say
Kim Jong Un made a surprise visit to Beijing on his first known trip outside North Korea since taking power in 2011, three people with knowledge of the visit said.

Further details of his trip, including how long Kim would stay and who he would meet, were not immediately available. The people asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the information.

Speculation about a possible visit by a high-ranking North Korean official circulated around the Chinese capital Monday, after Japan’s Kyodo News reported that a special train may have carried Kim through the northeastern border city of Dandong. Nippon TV showed footage of a train arriving Monday in Beijing that looked similar to one used by Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, to visit the country shortly before his death in 2011.

The unannounced visit is the latest in series of diplomatic power plays in Asia as U.S. President Donald Trump’s battle to lower the U.S. trade deficit becomes entangled with his effort to get Kim to give up his nuclear weapons. Chinese President Xi Jinping has found himself preparing for a trade war with Trump even after supporting progressive rounds of United Nations sanctions against the Kim regime.

Wonder if he is planning to abdicate - he is worth billions. Because of a suspicious earthquake last October, he no longer has nuclear bombs or a delivery system. He could live out his days quite comfortably with all the money he looted from that poor nation.

Another day in paradise

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Heading out for coffee, a stop at the post office and then to the dump. On the island, these are all within about four miles from our house so a nice short run. At the farm, I would be looking at eight miles for coffee, two miles for PO Box and another 30 miles for the dump - a much nicer commute.

Heading down to Seattle for a few days and then back to the farm to continue packing up.

A Monday morning two-fer

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These caught my eye. First - our narcissist in chief just will not go away. From The Washington Examiner:

Obama envisions creating 'a million young Barack Obamas' during speech in Japan
Former President Barack Obama talked about his future plans for his post-presidency life at a conference Sunday in Japan, addressing how he might shape "a million" new, young leaders in his mold.

The wide-ranging discussion repeatedly touched on the Obama Foundation's efforts to engage the digital space to help young people in the U.S. and across the world get connected.

"If I could do that effectively, then -- you know -- I would create a hundred or a thousand or a million young Barack Obamas or Michelle Obamas," Obama said. "Or, the next group of people who could take that baton in that relay race that is human progress."

Human progress? Good God - that insufferable egomaniac did more in his eight years to bring us back to the stone ages than any other president in history. The only thing that he did well was to make us look fondly on Jimmy Carter's administration.

Second - this is a wonderful start and it would be interesting to see if this happens here. From Reuters:

Malaysia proposes jail for up to 10 years, fines for 'fake news'
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government tabled a bill in parliament on Monday outlawing “fake news”, with hefty fines and up to 10 years in jail.

Heh - this is all about personal accountability. If you have the bully pulpit, you also have the responsibiility to actually do your job and make sure the information you give out is accurate. Indulge in wishful thinking and pay the price.

Aaaand I am off to YouTube

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Did a bit of work online, surfed for a bit and now time for some video. But first a bit of machine shop humor from The Silicon Graybeard

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Honey? Where did we park the car?

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From Russia Today:

Avalanche buries cars in parking lot after roaring down Russia’s Mt Elbrus
Footage on social media showed how a massive avalanche roared down the slope of Europe’s highest peak, Russia’s Mount Elbrus, burying over a dozen cars.

The rapid flow of snow hit the parking lot at the foot of Mount Elbrus in the North Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria on Saturday, emergency services said. Peaking at 5,642 meters, Mount Elbrus is in the top ten most prominent mountains in the world, and has some very popular ski resorts.

Numerous videos released on social media show the massive avalanche coming down on the vehicles, possibly damaging them beyond repair. Luckily, the snow stopped before hitting any major infrastructure, and the emergency services said that they haven’t received any reports of people hurt.

Yikes - I bet the ski patrol needed fresh undies - that would be a horrible thing to see unfolding.

Busy day today

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T came up for a surprise visit and helped a lot pulling up carpet and padding. Got another truck load to go to the dump tomorrow. Heading down to Seattle for a few days tomorrow afternoon.

Another day - another dump load

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Heading out for coffee and a visit to the local dump. More later.

Here is what I have been doing today

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Gutting our new Island Getaway - starting with the carpet and some horrible dark fake wood paneling in some of the rooms. The carpet selection was very 1960's - I mean come on now - avacado shag?

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The "Wrecking Crew" is coming in to inspect my work

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Kitchen and Trish's art space - love the Bondo to fill the cracks in the linoleum. All coming up.

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I do not think I will ever tire of this view. Right on the water.

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A full truck ready for the dump. I have another sizable load waiting in the garage for tomorrow.

On the road again

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Heading down to the island for a few days - more work on the house.

And that is it for today

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Heading out for a bite to eat and a beer or two - there may be more posting later tonight if something interesting catches my eye but I will probably be watching YouTube.

Posted without comment - from Moosic, Pennsylvania station WNEP:

Superintendent Says Students Are Armed with Rocks In Case of a School Shooting
There’s a rocky controversy when it comes to school safety in Schuylkill County.

The superintendent of the Blue Mountain School District is in the spotlight after telling lawmakers in Harrisburg his students protect themselves against potential school shooters with rocks.

“Every classroom has been equipped with a five-gallon bucket of river stone. If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance into any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full students armed with rocks and they will be stoned,” said Dr. David Helsel.

Dr. Helsel is a special kind of stupid.

Not hearing about this on the mainstream media - from the UK Independent:

Saudi Arabia opens airspace to Israel for first time ever for Air India flight bound for Tel Aviv
Saudi Arabia opened its airspace for the first time to a commercial flight to Israel with the inauguration of an Air India route between New Delhi and Tel Aviv.

Flight 139 landed at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport after a seven-and-a-half hour journey, marking a diplomatic shift for Riyadh that Israel says was fuelled by shared concern over Iranian influence in the region.

“This is a really historic day that follows two years of very, very intensive work,” Israeli tourism minister Yariv Levin said, adding that using Saudi airspace cut travel time to India by around two hours and would reduce ticket prices.

Israel's own El Al airline is still blocked from flying over Saudi Arabia but allowing Air India to use this route is a start. Baby steps toward normalization.

Critters are all fine but there is a dusting of snow on the ground from this most recent cold snap.

Critters are doing wonderfully.

Heading up North

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Heading out for coffee, post office and the dump - driving up to the farm later today.

More posting later tonight

Great choice for National Security Advisor. From the London Daily Mail:

Trump FIRES his national security advisor H.R. McMaster and brings in Bush's U.N. ambassador John Bolton in another White House shake-up
President Donald Trump will replace National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster with John Bolton on April 9, the White House announced late Thursday.

Bolton, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is a hawkish conservative with a pugnacious streak – and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel.

He is also a fierce opponent of the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal.

Bolton will be perfect for the job.

Time to write your congresscritters - this looks like a bloated pork-filled bill. From The Hill:

All eyes on Paul with shutdown looming
As the Senate barrels toward the third government funding deadline of the year, Republicans appear in the dark about one key question: What will Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) do?

The libertarian-minded senator caused an hours-long shutdown in February. He's yet to say if he'll give a repeat performance going into the midnight Friday deadline to avoid a partial closure.

"Shame, shame. A pox on both Houses — and parties. $1.3 trillion. Busts budget caps. 2200 pages, with just hours to try to read it," he tweeted on Thursday.

They are trying to rush this through as fast as possible. 2,200 pages and $1.3 Trillion dollars (PDF) of our tax money being spent on earmarks and pork. Let the government shut down - it has done so before with no harm. Hold them accountable.

Busy day today

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Out for coffee and then working at home - more posting later...

And that is it for the evening

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Watching a couple of YouTube videos and heading to bed in about 45 minutes or so.

Working at home tomorrow too.

Great news - Greenpeace

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I volunteered with them when I was in my mid-20's. Back then they were very science oriented and not so much politically oriented. That shifted and I broke off my ties with that organization - they were delivering propaganda and not truth. Their co-founder, Dr. Patrick Moore, severed ties for the same reason.

Nice to see this bit of news from New Zealand:

Update on Greenpeace of New Zealand Incorporated from the Independent Charities Registration Board
The role of the independent Charities Registration Board (“the Board”) is to maintain the integrity of the Charities Register by ensuring that entities on the Charities Register qualify for registration.

The Board makes its decisions based on the facts before it applying the law including relevant case law. The Board must decline to register applications from organisations when they do not advance exclusively charitable purposes for the public benefit.

The Board has declined Greenpeace of New Zealand Incorporated’s (“Greenpeace”) application to be registered as a charity because it does not advance exclusively charitable purposes.

The Board considers that Greenpeace has an independent purpose to promote its own particular views about the environment and other issues. While Greenpeace of course has the freedom to communicate these particular views, to be registered as a charity and receive the benefits that flow from that registration, they must advance a public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable by the courts. It is the Board’s view that they do not.

Great news - like I said, they used to be good but now they are just a for-profit advocacy group with an agenda that does not sync with reality. Their claims have zero basis in science and the observed data.

Busy day today

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Worked at the island house most of this afternoon and then headed out to check out a Wal-Mart Superstore about 15 miles to my North in Mt. Vernon. It is interesting to note that all of the various box stores are much larger down here than their branches in Bellingham. Costco, Lowe's, Home Depot, Wal-Mart - all of them are substantially larger with way more SKUs.

I would have thought that Bellingham would attract the large stores but I guess that there are enough people living in Skagit, Snohomish and Island county to warrant the bigger stores. Very nice especially since these stores are only 15-20 minutes away from our house instead of 45-60 with the farm.

Enjoyed a late dinner at a local Mexican restaurant and home for the evening.

Great news - drug dealers

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Make the price a lot higher - from CNBC:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions outlines when to use death penalty on drug traffickers
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday issued new guidance to federal prosecutors on how to apply the death penalty to numerous drug-related crimes.

Sessions advised federal prosecutors to utilize laws permitting capital punishment as a viable sentence, both in violent and non-violent cases.

In the memo sent to U.S. attorneys Wednesday morning, Sessions said that some of the "appropriate cases" to seek the death penalty include murder related to racketeering crimes, gun deaths occurring during drug trafficking crimes and murder related to criminal enterprise.

The memo also encouraged prosecutors to pursue capital punishment in cases involving "dealing in extremely large quantities of drugs."

The laws are already on the books: The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (PDF) — that Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed in 1994. 60,000 drug related deaths in 2016 as compared to 36,252 firearm related deaths in 2015 (no listing of suicide v/s murder). In 2015, there were 57,567 deaths from poisoning.

Working

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Ran some errands this morning and back home to work - taking down some old paneling and starting in on some popcorn ceiling. Probably asbestos so kitting up with a mask and tyvek bunny suit.

Had a late breakfast at the Farmer's Cafe - the place came highly recomended but they were in the process of moving when I first went to try them so they were closed. Today's meal was excellent and nice people working there. Lots of cars parked outside - a good sign.

The weather is nice - cool temperatures and light clouds but that is forecast to change in a few days.

Good riddance - Austin bomber

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Taking the easy way out - from Yahoo/Associated Press:

Austin bombing suspect blows himself up as SWAT moves in
The suspect in the deadly bombings that terrorized Austin blew himself up early Wednesday as authorities closed in on him, bringing a grisly end to a three-week manhunt. But police warned that more bombs could be out there.

The suspect's motive remained a mystery, along with whether he acted alone in the five bombings in the Texas capital and suburban San Antonio that killed two people and wounded four others.

It will be interesting when they find this a**hole's background - wonder who he voted for in the last election.

About that Uber fatality

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It seems that both of the people involved had quite the interesting history - from the London Daily Mail:

Convicted armed robber who was behind the wheel of self-driving Uber when it killed pedestrian as she wheeled her bike across a road
This is the driver who was behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber car when it hit and killed a pedestrian - in a mugshot taken when she was serving a felony sentence for attempted armed robbery.

Rafaela Vasquez, 44, was the 'safety driver' of the automated Volvo when it hit Elaine Herzberg, 49, on Sunday night in Tempe, Arizona.

She had two felony convictions when she was hired by Uber for its self-driving car trials in the Phoenix, Arizona, area.

Her January 2001 conviction for attempted armed robbery led to a five-year sentence of which she served more than four years, being freed in November 2004.

And to make this story even more of a 2018 social train-wreck:

At the time she was known as Rafael and identified as male. It is not known when she transitioned to female.

And the victim:

Victim: Elaine Herzberg, 49, was homeless and had a string of drugs convictions when she was killed walking in front of the Uber self-driving car on Sunday night

Life in this era.

Feeling the love - New York City

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Looks like decades of liberal policies are taking their toll. From the New York Post:

Nearly every NYPD cop hates Mayor de Blasio
The vast majority of NYPD cops hate Mayor de Blasio, according to a police-union survey.

An overwhelming 96 percent of the 6,000 cops who responded to the poll have unfavorable opinions of Hizzoner, with 88 percent holding “very unfavorable” opinions of him, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association survey found.

As for specific complaints against the mayor, 97 percent said de Blasio has created an environment where criminals feel emboldened, while 95 percent said he has established an environment that is combative to police.

When asked what they liked “most” about de Blasio, 66 percent responded, “nothing.”

Ouch! Maybe the good citizens of Gotham will start voting for someone who has a track record of good leadership instead of someone who speaks well and gives away free government cheese. Like the Russian proverb goes: "The only place you find free cheese is in a mousetrap."

A bit of a dystopian article at FOX News - not at all surprised though:

Retail Apocalypse: 24 big retailers closing stores
Some of the United States’ most prominent retailers are shuttering stores in recent months amid sagging sales in the troubled sector.

The rise of ecommerce outlets like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has made it harder for traditional retailers to attract customers to their stores and forced companies to change their sales strategies. Many companies have turned to sales promotions and increased digital efforts to lure shoppers while shutting down brick-and-mortar locations.

And their list (just a few excerpted from the list of 24):

  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • American Apparel
  • Bon-Ton Stores Inc.
  • CVS
  • J. Crew
  • J.C. Penney

No surprises there except for CVS. A&F has been sliding downhill ever since they tossed out the basic ideas implemented 125 years ago by David T. Abercrombie and Ezra Fitch when the store filed for bankruptcy in 1976. The new incarnation has been selling crappy overpriced clothing to peolpe who do not know any better and they are paying the price for it.

Too many business are trying to suceed by following market trends. Funny thing - if you offer a high quality product at a fair price, the world will beat its way to your doorstep. Witness stores like Zappos, Amazon, Costco, Nordstrom, etc...

Wildlife

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Got an owl hooting across the street. Lovely sound! The land across from the house is very swampy - this is causing some drainage problems (being fixed this spring) but makes for a wonderful wildlife habitat.

Blaming the NRA

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Pot meet kettle - all that is wrong with the Broward Florida Police Department summed up in one infographic:

20180320-NRA.jpg

Island living

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Up on the island now - calm seas and high tide. Looking like a gorgeous sunset in about ten minutes.

My two dogs are very happy to be back from the kennels - they are well treated there but still, there is no place like home...

Still feeling a bit tired so surf for a bit and then an early bedtime.

On the road again

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Spent the last couple days in Seattle - heading on the road to pick up my two dogs and then a couple of days working on Camano Island. Back to the farm after that - got a very busy spring planned. Should be a lot of fun but a lot of hard work too...

Nothing much to post today

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Woke up a couple of hours ago - slept for about ten hours. Neither of us like flying that much.

A wonderful trip and a great time with my dear new bride but it is very good to be back home again.

The Eagles have landed

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We returned from our honeymoon late tonight - 12 days in Hawaii

Pictures will be posted in a few days - back to work for this kid. Camano and Country.

We will be taking a vacation from our vacation for the next couple of days - more posting tomorrow.

The Shape of Water

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Trish and I just saw it - wonderful film. Great story and the sets are incredible.

Managing to avoid the St. Patrick's day festivities so far.

Want access to our government? Donate some cash to one of the many foundations out there - the Clinton Foundation has fallen into disfavor but there are a lot of other institutions out there. Here is the story of one of them from the New York Post:

Inside the shady private equity firm run by Kerry and Biden’s kids
Joe Biden and John Kerry have been pillars of the Washington establishment for more than 30 years. Biden is one of the most popular politicians in our nation’s capital.

His demeanor, sense of humor, and even his friendly gaffes have allowed him to form close relationships with both Democrats and Republicans. His public image is built around his “Lunch Bucket Joe” persona. As he reminds the American people on regular occasions, he has little wealth to show for his career, despite having reached the vice presidency.

One of his closest political allies in Washington is former senator and former Secretary of State John Kerry. “Lunch Bucket Joe” he ain’t; Kerry is more patrician than earthy. But the two men became close while serving for several decades together in the US Senate. The two “often talked on matters of foreign policy,” says Jules Witcover in his Biden biography.

So their sons going into business together in June 2009 was not exactly a bolt out of the blue.

But with whom their sons cut lucrative deals while the elder two were steering the ship of state is more of a surprise.

Read the whole thing - the level of corruption is stunning. Got the book reserved at my local library - looks like a fascinating read.

Used to use their paints all the time - locally made and excellent quality. Met Walter a few times. From The Seattle Times:

Longtime Seattle paint supplier Daly’s ends in the red
Longtime local home design store Daly’s Paint and Decorating has closed its doors in Seattle and Bellevue, leaving unpaid debts and nearly $87,800 in customer deposits for orders that have gone unfilled.

An attorney for the company laid blame for the company’s demise at the feet of the usual suspects: “Digital shopping and big box stores rule,” said Tom Olson of law firm Helsell Fetterman.

A bit more:

No one answered the phone at Daly’s Seattle store on Stone Way North – where founder Walter Daly set up shop in the late 1940s. A recording directed people to the company’s website, which reads:

“Dear Customers, ​Daly’s is closed. Thank you for 80 colorful years in Seattle and 57 in Bellevue. ​It was our pleasure to work with so many of you over the years.”

Sad to see them go - a Seattle institution. Website is here: Daily's Paint

Oopsie - a little retraction

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Seems that President Trump's new CIA Director did not run a secret prison in Thailand - from the original source of this fake news -  Pro Publica:

Correction: Trump’s Pick to Head CIA Did Not Oversee Waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah
On Feb. 22, 2017, ProPublica published a story that inaccurately described Gina Haspel’s role in the treatment of Abu Zubaydah, a suspected al-Qaida leader who was imprisoned by the CIA at a secret “black site” in Thailand in 2002.

The story said that Haspel, a career CIA officer who President Trump has nominated to be the next director of central intelligence, oversaw the clandestine base where Zubaydah was subjected to waterboarding and other coercive interrogation methods that are widely seen as torture. The story also said she mocked the prisoner’s suffering in a private conversation. Neither of these assertions is correct and we retract them. It is now clear that Haspel did not take charge of the base until after the interrogation of Zubaydah ended.

And this retraction has been covered by all the major media outlets - NOT...

Nothing much today

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We are working on some other stuff. More posting tomorrow or Saturday.

Happy Pi Day

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Today is 03/14

It is also the 139th anniversary of Albert Einstein's birthday

Forcing people to purchase Russian natural gas - from The Daily Caller:

Here’s Why Russia Is Delivering Loads Of Natural Gas To This Deep Blue State
Massachusetts’ anti-fossil-fuel policies are the primary reason why the state has relied on natural gas imports from a Russian oil company the Department of State sanctioned during the Obama-era.

Officials in Massachusetts and neighboring New Hampshire blocked financing in 2016 for the $3 billion Access Northeast Pipeline, which would have helped the state weather an energy crunch this winter. The state’s decision to rely principally on green energy hiked gas prices and forced it turn to Russian oil imports.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey concluded in 2016 that “no new pipelines are needed” and that we “can maintain electric reliability through 2030 even without additional new natural gas pipelines” Healey also joined New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s investigation into ExxonMobil’s alleged willingness to hide internal documents about climate change.

And it was the usual cast of characters:

Environmentalist groups like 350.org and Greenpeace are organizing online campaigns to oppose every new coal, oil, and natural-gas project in the country. Greenpeace, for one, has etched out the position that the only good fossil fuels are the ones that are left in the ground. The Sierra Club, meanwhile, claims the U.S. is ready for 100 percent green energy.

A bunch of clueless statist morons. Let them live in wattle and daub huts if they want to. Do not try to force us to do this too.

Just heard about this group - they are studying a very important subject. Check out The Urban Freight Lab:

Urban Freight Lab
The Urban Freight Lab (UFL) is a living laboratory comprised of:

    • Retailers;
    • Urban truck freight carriers;
    • Technology companies supporting transportation and logistics;
    • Multifamily residential and retail/commercial building developers and operators; and
    • The City of Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).

Lab members act to improve the management of both public and private operations of urban goods delivery systems by engaging in strategic applied research and identifying priority problems for future research projects.

A bit more:

Final-50-Feet Research Project & Goals
The UFL’s first task is pilot testing promising low-cost and high-value actions to optimize operations of the Final-50-Feet of the urban goods delivery system. The Final 50 Feet is shorthand for the supply chain segment that begins when trucks pull into a parking space and stop moving—in public load/unload spaces at the curb or in an alley, or in a building’s loading dock or internal freight bay. It tracks the delivery process inside buildings, and ends where the customer takes receipt of their goods.

Interesting. Urban planners like to "nudge" people into living in smaller apartments and condos and drive smaller cars. They take away road space and hand it over to bicycle riders and "traffic calming" devices - roundabouts, serpentine streets and extending the sidewalk out into the roadway.

This has the immediate effect of reducing traffic but they overlook the fact that big trucks need to have access so that they can deliver food and materials to the people living there. This lab looks interesting.

Of course not - Russia

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From FOX News:

Nunes: No Evidence of Trump-Russia Collusion, But 'Clear Links' Between Clinton Campaign & Russians

Stick a fork in it - there is no story there, never was.

You can virtue signal all you want - don't expect your customers to agree with you. From Reuters:

Dick's Sporting expects strict gun sales policy to weigh
Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc, a U.S. retailer of camping supplies, sporting goods and guns, on Tuesday warned that its decision to tighten gun sales could weigh on 2018 results.

Shares of the company, which missed fourth-quarter revenue estimates, were down nearly 5 percent at $31.

It will be interesting to see if they quietly pivot back in a few months.

Thought he was going to live forever

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Steven Hawking - from The Washington Post:

Stephen Hawking, physicist who came to symbolize the power of the human mind, dies at 76
Stephen W. Hawking, the British theoretical physicist who overcame a devastating neurological disease to probe the greatest mysteries of the cosmos and become a globally celebrated symbol of the power of the human mind, died March 14 at his home in Cambridge, England. He was 76.

His family announced the death but did not provide any further details.

He is at peace and sailing the stars that he loved so much.

Current political stuff

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Clearing some links here:

From the Jerusalem Post - a story about a monumental meeting of the minds:

Israeli officials meet Qatari, Saudi and UAE counterparts at White House
Israeli national security officials sat around the same table on Tuesday morning with their counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, discussing a dire humanitarian situation unfolding in the Gaza Strip.

The summit on Gaza, called by Jared Kushner, the US president’s son-in-law and senior adviser on Middle East peace, as well as Jason Greenblatt, his special representative for international negotiations, marks an unprecedented moment for Israeli diplomacy, as their dialogue with officials from Arab states is publicly recognized for the first time.

The Trump administration planned the meeting over the course of several weeks and released a list of attendees the morning of the summit, which also included officials from Egypt, Jordan, Canada and various European countries.

The palestinians have not advanced the cause of peace for 40 years so it is time to do it without them. Arafat was a KGB operative - read your history.

Second - T Rex is out. From Reuters:

Trump fires Tillerson, a moderate; replaces him with hawkish spy chief Pompeo
U.S. President Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday after a series of public rifts over policy on North Korea, Russia and Iran, replacing his chief diplomat with loyalist CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Tillerson was used to being top dog - not the personality you want for Sec. State. Good move.

Looks like the "palestinians" are being snubbed - great news. They can sit at the adults table if they clean up their act and stop the terrorism. From Yahoo/Agence France Presse:

Palestinian attendance unclear at White House Gaza conference
The White House will hold a conference on the humanitarian situation in Gaza on Tuesday, but it is unclear whether any Palestinian officials will attend.

President Donald Trump's "administration believes that deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Gaza require immediate attention," US special envoy Jason Greenblatt said in a statement announcing the conference.

A bit more from US special envoy Jason Greenblatt:

"The challenge will be determining which ideas can be realistically implemented in light of the fact that the Palestinians of Gaza continue to suffer under the authoritarian rule of Hamas."

Sadly, so true - they bet their livelihood on a terrorist organization and are now much worse for Arafat's decision.

Stick a fork in it

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From Reuters:

Republicans shut down House Russia probe over Democratic objections
U.S. House Intelligence Committee Republicans said on Monday the panel had finished investigating Russia and the 2016 U.S. election, and found no collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Moscow’s efforts to influence the vote.

The committee Republicans said they agreed that Russia sought to influence the election by spreading propaganda and false news reports via social media. However, they disputed the findings of the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation that Moscow sought to aid Trump, who won a surprise victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

If anything, the Russians were in Hillary's thrall but we knew this from day one. I would love to know how much taxpayer money was spent on this boondoggle...

She will never do this - it would destroy her myth. From the New York Post:

Elizabeth Warren refuses DNA test to prove Native American heritage
Sen. Elizabeth Warren batted down calls for her to take a DNA test to prove her Native American heritage in an interview that aired Sunday.

“I know who I am. And never used it for anything. Never got any benefit from it anywhere,” Warren said of her ancestry on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

She lied and used her "Indian" heritage to get minority admission to Harvard University Law School rather than doing it on her own scholastic merit. Pants on fire... I would love it if one of her staffers pulled a used Kleenex out of her wastebasket and send it in - expose the fraud once and for all.

Knock me over with a feather! From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Jimmy Carter on North Korea: ‘It’s good we’re going to be talking to them’
Former President Jimmy Carter said Sunday that “while I don’t agree with everything that President Trump has done, I think it’s good that he’s decided to go” meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“If we could avoid a nuclear confrontation with North Korea, that would be a wonderful achievement,” Carter, 93, told his Sunday school class at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains. “It’s good we’re going to be talking to them.”

Good - people are waking up to the idea that strong leadership is good for the entire planet, not just those people in the red states.

Another day of sloth

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We get to enjoy another hour of daylight - this is the turning point for me for the transition from Winter to Summer. Finally getting usable light in the evening.

Nothing planned for today but will be spending some quality time away from the computer. Gorgeous clear and warm weather!

Work stress relief - Voodoo Doll

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An interesting alternative to work related stress from Mental Floss:

Bad Day at Work? New Study Finds a Voodoo Doll of Your Boss Might Be the Most Effective Way of Getting Even
Anyone who has ever had a boss has undoubtedly butted heads with that person and knows that it can make for an awkward vibe in the office. While it would be easy to let your resentment fester and possibly affect your work performance, scientists have a better solution: Get a voodoo doll.

As ScienceAlert reports, a new study published in The Leadership Quarterly found that when employees feel mistreated in the workplace, stabbing pins into a voodoo doll of their boss can be an effective way of managing the situation (and certainly a much better solution than stewing in anger). The study, led by psychologist Dr. Lindie Hanyu Liang, an assistant professor at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada, found that engaging in "symbolic retaliation" against one's boss after perceived mistreatment eased participants' bitterness.

Slept in late again

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We both slept in late again - going for a drive later today running some errands but that all that we have planned for the day. Spending some mellow time with my new wife.

Slept in late

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We were both tired and slept in late this morning (long day yesterday). Had coffee at home and heading out later today.

Seems there is a link between a troubled Seattle coffee store and a porn star recently in the news.

First - from The Seattle Times:

Tully’s suspends store operations for lack of coffee
Tully’s Coffee is closing its retail stores temporarily because they lack the coffee to continue serving customers, according to a company memo sent to managers Thursday afternoon.

“At this time we have very minimal coffee left in stores. Our goal is to have Opus, Bostwick, Clyde Hill and New Main operational for (as) long as we can tomorrow, but by end of day today all other retail business is temporarily suspended until coffee deliveries resume,” said an email from Tully’s project director, Krystal Tonning.

A bit more:

Tully’s has shrunk steadily in the past couple years. Late last year, it permanently closed several stores including one on Capitol Hill’s 19th Avenue East, after lawsuits seeking back rent.

The latest setback at Tully’s comes as Michael J. Avenatti, who bought the chain out of bankruptcy in 2013.

How do you run out of coffee in Seattle???

Second - also from The Seattle Times:

Owner of Tully’s Coffee in Seattle is also Stormy Daniels’ legal counsel
The owner of Seattle’s shrinking Tully’s Coffee chain made the rounds of national TV shows Wednesday to discuss his porn-star client Stormy Daniels and her lawsuit to invalidate a $130,000 “hush agreement” about her alleged sexual relationship with President Donald Trump.

Yes, you read that right.

Michael J. Avenatti, who lambasted Trump and his aides Wednesday for trying to keep Daniels quiet, is the same pugnacious lawyer who in 2013 bought the Tully’s Coffee shops in bankruptcy court and has landed in disputes with Boeing, various local landlords, and the powerful Keurig Green Mountain coffee conglomerate that actually owns the Tully’s name.

You say pugnacious - I say a**hole. The guy has to be smart to achieve that level of power so I wonder what he is doing running a Seattle icon into the ground. Money laundering comes to mind. Fitting that he would be an actor in the latest celebrity attack on our President.

PDF format - a history

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Fascination history of the Portable Document Format - a brilliant idea. From Motherboard:

Why the PDF Is Secretly the World's Most Important File Format
The Portable Document Format, or PDF, is everywhere. But it's still a format that causes headaches for the average person.

Just take former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who may not be the average person, but who runs into issues with the PDF just like the best of us.

Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s most recent indictment of Manafort noted how the lobbyist and his colleague, Richard Gates, collaborated on modifying a PDF document by converting the document into Word format, changing an amount in the document, then changing it back to a PDF.

This created something called a paper trail, bolstering Mueller’s case against Manafort.

It's not often, of course, that the PDF gets this level of notice. The PDFs origin story is a bit more boring than that of the MP3, which was built around the contours of Suzanne Vega’s unaccompanied voice on “Tom’s Diner,” and the ZIP file, which came to life in a brutal legal battle that was egged on by the whims of BBS users.

But the PDF still has a story, and that story is that of a format that promises to be even more valuable in the decades to come. Here's why.

“What industries badly need is a universal way to communicate documents across a wide variety of machine configurations, operating systems and communication networks. These documents should be viewable on any display and should be printable on any modern printers. If this problem can be solved, then the fundamental way people work will change.”

John E. Warnock, the cofounder of Adobe, discussing his thought process around the need for a simple document format in an essay revealing the existence of The Camelot Project (which is, of course, in PDF format). Warnock, who was also responsible for helping to develop Adobe’s bedrock PostScript document scripting language, noted that PostScript and its sister language Display PostScript was too heavy for most computers being made at the time he wrote his essay, around 1990. “The Display PostScript and PostScript solutions are the correct long-term solution as the power of machines increases over time, but this solution offers little help for the vast majority of today’s users with today’s machines,” he explained.

A great read.

A two-fer from Don Surber

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Don is a retired (40 years in the trade) newspaperman living in West Virginia. His blog is a dialy read for me. He brought these two news items to my attention this morning.

First

Another 1,000 jobs added thanks to Trump's tariffs
First, U.S. Steel announced it would re-open a a steel mill in Illinois thanks to Donald John Trump's decision to slap a 25% tariff on Chinese steel.

Republic Steel said move over, buddy. We are re-opening our plant in Lorain, Ohio.

And this doesn't begin to count the ancillary jobs that will be created - finishing the raw product (machine shops, welding, fabrication, etc...) as well as the jobs to support the workers (grocery stores, house building, school teachers, etc...)

Second:

We already have 12,000 tariffs
To hear Never Trumpers (and a few Trumpkins) tell the story, Donald Trump is the first president since Hoover to impose a tariff on imported products.

But Gus Lubin of Business Insider in 2010 reported, "The International Trade Commission lists over 12,000 specific tariffs on imports to America. Hundreds of agricultural, textile, and manufacturing items are highly protected. So are obscure items like live foxes."

From a 4.8% tariff on live foxes to a 350% tariff on tobacco, America protected its industries in 2010.

Tobacco is very important to the states and federal government. Smokers cough up more than $15 billion a year in cigarette taxes. Government must save Big Tobacco, even as it demonizes it.

Tariffs are a shell game. Literally. We slap a 131.8% tariff on unshelled peanuts. With shells, the tariff is 163.8%.

Imported French jam, chocolate, ham, European meats, truffles, and Roquefort cheese are among those products that come with a 100% tariff.

This is a matter of perspective - President Trump is re-negotaiting NAFTA. We got screwed the first time around. Time to get a more favorable treaty this time.

And that is it for today

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Working on some stuff here in Seattle and then we are going out for dinner.

More posting tomorrow.

Got it backwards - California

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Governor Brown is an idiot of the highest order - from The Sacramento Bee:

Trump ‘basically going to war’ with California, Jerry Brown says
Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday slammed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for "initiating a reign of terror" against immigrants in California.

Sessions on Tuesday filed suit against the state over three new laws, passed last year to protect immigrants living in California illegally, that he argues violate the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution and interfere with federal immigration enforcement.

"This is basically going to war against the state of California, the engine of the American economy," Brown said. "It's not wise, it's not right and it will not stand."

Hey Jerry:

#1) - you got it backwards, and
#2) - you started it.

End of story...

Didn't take a scientific paper to tell you this but here it is - from Science:

The spread of true and false news online
Lies spread faster than the truth
There is worldwide concern over false news and the possibility that it can influence political, economic, and social well-being. To understand how false news spreads, Vosoughi et al. used a data set of rumor cascades on Twitter from 2006 to 2017. About 126,000 rumors were spread by ∼3 million people. False news reached more people than the truth; the top 1% of false news cascades diffused to between 1000 and 100,000 people, whereas the truth rarely diffused to more than 1000 people. Falsehood also diffused faster than the truth. The degree of novelty and the emotional reactions of recipients may be responsible for the differences observed.

Abstract
We investigated the differential diffusion of all of the verified true and false news stories distributed on Twitter from 2006 to 2017. The data comprise ~126,000 stories tweeted by ~3 million people more than 4.5 million times. We classified news as true or false using information from six independent fact-checking organizations that exhibited 95 to 98% agreement on the classifications. Falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information, and the effects were more pronounced for false political news than for false news about terrorism, natural disasters, science, urban legends, or financial information. We found that false news was more novel than true news, which suggests that people were more likely to share novel information. Whereas false stories inspired fear, disgust, and surprise in replies, true stories inspired anticipation, sadness, joy, and trust. Contrary to conventional wisdom, robots accelerated the spread of true and false news at the same rate, implying that false news spreads more than the truth because humans, not robots, are more likely to spread it.

Emphasis mine - that is interesting but not unexpected. Classic cast of Cognitive Bias.

My Mom's family is from Erie and I spent a lot of time there as a kid. Seems that Al Gore must be visiting as they are getting record levels of snow. From the NOAA NCEI Climate twitter account:

With 156 inches between December 2017 and February 2018, Erie, Pennsylvania, set a new record for most winter snowfall: http://bit.ly/2oMzRba  #StateOfClimate #PAwx

Some video:

News from California - water

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California is running out of water so they are planning to do this - from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Recycled water from sewers coming to California taps
Water that once coursed through city sewers may soon find new life coming out of your home faucet.

New regulations approved Tuesday by the California State Water Resources Control Board allow treated recycled water to be added to reservoirs, the source of California municipal drinking water.

The regulations specify the percentage of recycled water that can be added and how long it must reside there before being treated again at a surface water treatment facility and provided as drinking water, according to the Water Board.

California has plenty of water. What they lack are places to store the winter snowpack and rains until they are needed during summer. They used to build dams but then the environmentalists got into the picture.

Taking care of mental illness

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I have mentioned before how the liberals set into motion the root cause of today's homelessness epidemic (here, here,  and here).  Walter Williams at Frontpage Magazine covers this story in detail with links to further information:

GRAVE CONSEQUENCES OF THE DEINSTITUTIONALIZATION MOVEMENT
A liberal-created failure that goes entirely ignored is the left's harmful agenda for society's most vulnerable people — the mentally ill. Eastern State Hospital, built in 1773 in Williamsburg, Virginia, was the first public hospital in America for the care and treatment of the mentally ill. Many more followed. Much of the motivation to build more mental institutions was to provide a remedy for the maltreatment of mentally ill people in our prisons. According to professor William Gronfein at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, by 1955 there were nearly 560,000 patients housed in state mental institutions across the nation. By 1977, the population of mental institutions had dropped to about 160,000 patients.

Starting in the 1970s, advocates for closing mental hospitals argued that because of the availability of new psychotropic drugs, people with mental illness could live among the rest of the population in an unrestrained natural setting. According to a 2013 Wall Street Journal article by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center, titled "Fifty Years of Failing America's Mentally Ill" (http://tinyurl.com/y9l8ujww), shutting down mental hospitals didn't turn out the way advocates promised. Several studies summarized by the Treatment Advocacy Center show that untreated mentally ill are responsible for 10 percent of homicides (and a higher percentage of the mass killings). They are 20 percent of jail and prison inmates and more than 30 percent of the homeless.

Walter concludes with an observation that cuts to the heart of 99% of government problems:

Worst of all is the fact that the liberals who engineered the shutting down of mental institutions have never been held accountable for their folly.

Reminds me of this great quote:

Most of the problems of today are results of the solutions of yesterday.
Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired

Aaaand - it's the Clintons again

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From Paul Mirengoff writing at Powerline:

THE CLINTONS’ TENTACLES: THEY’RE EVERYWHERE
Remember Alexander Downer, the Australian diplomat whose report on conversations at a London bar with George Papadopoulos is said to have triggered the FBI’s concern about links between the Trump campaign and Russia? The Hill reports that Downer was behind a big contribution to the Clinton Foundation.

According to the Hill’s John Solomon and Alison Spann, Downer played a key role in securing $25 million in aid from his country to help the Clinton Foundation fight AIDS. He and Bill Clinton signed the memorandum of understanding that made it happen.

The Clinton Foundation won praise for helping fight AIDS in South Asia, say Solomon and Spann. However, it also drew criticism from auditors about “management weaknesses” and inadequate budget oversight.

With Downer’s involvement in the Russia story, Clinton friends and supporters now comprise 100 percent of the sources whose information prompted and fed the counter-intelligence investigation in its early days. Christopher Steele, who played the lead role, was paid by the Clinton campaign (through cut-outs). Sidney Blumenthal, a long-time friend and associate of the Clintons, funneled information to Christopher Steele through the State Department. And, of course, their information was processed at the FBI by ardent Clinton supporters like Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe.

Here is another post that covers the timeline very well: Lionel Nation with Charles Ortel & latest on Clinton Foundation fraud investigation/prosecution

Heh - about that Blue Wave in Texas

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Sorry guys - from Legal Insurrection:

No Blue Wave In Texas Primaries, Media Shocked That Texas Is Not Just Their Austin Friends
Today is a rough day to be a Texas Democrat. That blue wave we’ve heard about for months was more of a ripple.

Months of wish casting, hoping, dreaming, pretending a blue wave was cresting in the Lone Star State, only to be clobbered by Republicans in voter turnout.

Piece after piece was written about record Democrat turnout in early voting. The predictions had Texas Republicans rattled and Governor Abbott encouraging Republicans to get to the polls.

But those numbers weren’t accurate for two reasons — those early voting tallies were taken from the 15 most populous counties which are coincidentally the bluest counties. Further, the calculations were based on a percentage of increase in turnout from previous years, which fails to factor in total number of votes cast for this election cycle. If an uptick in percentage is met with an increase in total voters, then no increase or surge exists.

When all the votes were cast, almost twice as many Republicans cast early ballots than Democrats. Bonus: this is a banner year for Democrat primary turnout.

Note to the Democrats: If you start offering ideas that benefit the general population instead of the 1% banksters, you might gain some traction. Until then, your deep state is being broken up and your power willl continue to slip away into the mud...

As it heats up - illegal immigration

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Governor Moonbeam can keep them all if he wants. From FOX News:

Trump DOJ sues California over 'interference' with immigration enforcement
The Trump Justice Department filed a lawsuit Tuesday night against California, saying three recently-passed state laws were deliberately interfering with federal immigration policies.

It marked the latest legal and political confrontation with the nation's most populous state, which the federal government says has repeatedly stood in the way of its plans to step up enforcement actions in the workplace and against criminal aliens.

"The Department of Justice and the Trump Administration are going to fight these unjust, unfair, and unconstitutional policies," Attorney General Jeff Sessions was expected to tell California law enforcement officers on Wednesday. "We are fighting to make your jobs safer and to help you reduce crime in America."

The Tenth Amendment is short and sweet and gives states a lot of autonomy:

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

But.... Citizenship is specifically mentioned in the United States Constitution in Article 1 Section 8 and it goes on from there: List of United States immigration laws. All of these are Federal laws and all of these trump the 10th Amendment. Case closed.

We do have agricultural visas on the books for people who want to come here to work.

The Spruce Goose is no longer the airplane with the biggest wingspan - from The Seattle Times:

Why is Paul Allen building the world’s largest airplane? Perhaps to launch a space shuttle called ‘Black Ice.’
A massive airplane being built by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen moved a step closer to flight last week, when it crept out of its hangar in Mojave, California. and practiced rolling down the runway, hitting a top speed of 46 mph.

Known as Stratolaunch, the plane has a wingspan even greater than that of business mogul Howard Hughes’ famed Spruce Goose, and is designed to carry as many as three rockets, tethered to its belly, to about 35,000 feet. Once aloft, the rockets would drop, then fire their engines and deliver satellites to orbit.

But Allen has even bigger ambitions for Stratolaunch, and is considering pairing it with a new space shuttle that’s known inside the company as “Black Ice.”

In exclusive interviews last summer, Allen and Jean Floyd, Stratolaunch System’s chief executive, laid out the company’s plans for the giant plane, providing an answer to why anyone would want to build an aircraft that has 28 wheels, six 747 jet engines and a wingspan longer than a football field.

“I would love to see us have a full reusable system and have weekly, if not more often, airport-style, repeatable operations going,” Allen said in an interview, while sitting in his Seattle office.

That puppy is huge!

Global warming - a hopeful sign

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Hopefully, clearer heads are starting to come to the forefront. Maybe we will be finally rid of this pseudo-science. From the UK Telegraph (the Met office is their National Meteorological Office - weather forecasting and all that stuff):

Met Office chief executive sacked amid questions over 'governance and management'
The Met Office has been plunged into crisis after its chief executive was sacked over problems with “governance and management controls” at the £170 million a year public body.

Rob Varley was ordered to resign from his £160,000 post by the most senior civil servant at the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which oversees the national weather service.

Mr Varley, who had worked at the Met Office for 34 years beginning as a trainee forecaster in 1983, agreed to step aside.

It comes at a pivotal time for the Met Office, which lost the contract to provide forecasting services for the BBC to its rival MeteoGroup. It will stop providing forecasts later this month. The Met Office has provided data for the BBC’s weather forecasts since the corporation’s first radio weather bulletin in November 1922.

Heh - they lost the Beeb contract because MeteoGroup offered more accurate forecasts. The Met Office has some wonderful toys (their Cray XC40 Supercomputer for example) but their models are toast. They are firmly in the global warming true believer camp and their work is just wishful thinking. MeteoGroup either lives or dies in the commercial market so they have the incentive to cut through the rhetoric and go outside and gather actual data.

Nice to see the beginnings of change. Restore sanity and clean science.

Our quiet sun - a consequence

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Our sun has been very quiet for the last ten or so years. What was supposed to be the start of another solar cycle has essentailly stalled out and the solar output is very low, the sun spends many days without any sunspots (a visible proxy for output) and our climate is cooling as a result.

Turns out that there are other consequences to this lower activity - from the American Geophysical Union's Space Weather:

Update on the worsening particle radiation environment observed by CRaTER and implications for future human deep-space exploration
Over the last decade, the solar wind has exhibited low densities and magnetic field strengths, representing anomalous states that have never been observed during the space age. As discussed by Schwadron et al. (2014a), the cycle 23–24 solar activity led to the longest solar minimum in more than 80 years and continued into the “mini” solar maximum of cycle 24. During this weak activity, we observed galactic cosmic ray fluxes that exceeded the levels observed throughout the space age, and we observed small solar energetic particle events.

Here, we provide an update to the Schwadron et al (2014a) observations from the Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER) on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The Schwadron et al. (2014a) study examined the evolution of the interplanetary magnetic field, and utilized a previously published study by Goelzer et al. (2013) projecting out the interplanetary magnetic field strength based on the evolution of sunspots as a proxy for the rate that the Sun releases coronal mass ejections (CMEs). This led to a projection of dose rates from galactic cosmic rays on the lunar surface, which suggested a ∼20% increase of dose rates from one solar minimum to the next, and indicated that the radiation environment in space may be a worsening factor important for consideration in future planning of human space exploration.

We compare the predictions of Schwadron et al. (2014a) with the actual dose rates observed by CRaTER in the last 4 years. The observed dose rates exceed the predictions by ∼10%, showing that the radiation environment is worsening more rapidly than previously estimated. Much of this increase is attributable to relatively low-energy ions, which can be effectively shielded. Despite the continued paucity of solar activity, one of the hardest solar events in almost a decade occurred in Sept 2017 after more than a year of all-clear periods. These particle radiation conditions present important issues that must be carefully studied and accounted for in the planning and design of future missions (to the Moon, Mars, asteroids and beyond).

The Schwadron et al. (2014a) paper can be found here: Does the worsening galactic cosmic radiation environment observed by CRaTER preclude future manned deep space exploration?

The charged particles emanating from the sun ionize our Earth's atmosphere. This intensifies the action of our magnetic field which in turn, deflects incoming cosmic rays. Without a strong sun, more cosmic rays penetrate our atmosphere and hit our planed. The interesting thing is that these will frequently "seed" clouds causing a cooling rain. Therefore, the cooling of our sun is directly causing additional cooling from increased rainfall.

Remind me once again what the big fuss is about global warming again? Sure, we had the modern warm period from 1970 to 2006 but that is over and done with. Now we need to worry about global cooling and its implications.

Heh - appropriate technology

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Seems like someone at the US Nave had a great idea - from Stars & Stripes:

The Navy's most advanced submarines will soon be using Xbox controllers
The control room of the Navy's most advanced submarine is filled with sophisticated computers, flat-screen monitors and sailors who grew up in a digital world.

At times it can look a bit like a video game arcade, and not just because of the high-resolution graphics.

The Navy is beginning to use an Xbox 360 controller – like the ones you find at the mall – to operate the periscopes aboard Virginia-class submarines.

And its use?

Unlike other types of submarines people are familiar with from Hollywood, Virginia-class submarines don't have a traditional rotating tube periscope that only one person can look through at a time.

It's been replaced with two photonics masts that rotate 360 degrees. They feature high-resolution cameras whose images are displayed on large monitors that everyone in the control room can see. There's no barrel to peer through anymore; everything is controlled with a helicopter-style stick. But that stick isn't so popular.

So they replaced it with an Xbox controller - significantly easier to use and some cost savings too:

The Xbox controller is no different than the ones a lot of crew members grew up playing with. Lockheed Martin says the sailors who tested the controller at its lab were intuitively able to figure out how to use it on their own within minutes, compared to hours of training required for the joystick.

The Xbox controller also is significantly cheaper. The company says the photonic mast handgrip and imaging control panel that cost about $38,000 can now be replaced with an Xbox controller that typically costs less than $30.

From my own experience, Xbox controllers are used a lot in personal CNC machine equipment - MACH4 has an Xbox controller plugin and these are a lot cheaper than the custom built 'pendants' normally used. Win/Win

Quote of the month - Naval Ravikant

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“Don’t debate people in the media when you can debate them in the marketplace.”

A lot more here: Navalism — Quotes & Perceptions by Naval Ravikant

Our President at work - North Korea

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Score a Yuuuuge victory for President Trump and T Rex - from the Financial Times

North Korea says it is ‘open to ending nuclear programme’
North Korea took its most significant step towards defusing its nuclear stand-off with the US on Tuesday, telling Seoul it was open to negotiations over ending its weapons programme and would suspend its contentious testing regime while talks were under way.

The concessions, relayed by a high-level delegation of South Korean officials after meeting in Pyongyang with Kim Jong Un, mark a significant change for the North Korean leader, who had previously touted his nuclear programme as a “treasured sword of justice”.

“The North Korean side clearly stated its willingness to denuclearise,” South Korean officials said in a statement after a lavish banquet that was part of what is believed to be the first meeting between Mr Kim and South Korean leaders.

Pyongyang would be willing to give up its nuclear weapons “if military threat to the north was eliminated and its security guaranteed”, it added.

Funny that we would have the worst President and the best President right next to each other. Maybe not "worst" - just least effective in promoting the interests of We The People.

Well duh... Our lame media

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The sensationalist media are in part complicit in the rise of school (and public) shootings. From Arizona State University:

Researchers find mass killings, school shootings are contagious
Sherry Towers was at Purdue University for a meeting on Jan. 21, 2014, when a gunman shot, stabbed and killed a student. Recalling three other school shootings that had made the news in the prior week, she wondered if the string of tragedies was more than coincidental.

In the days that followed, Towers, a statistician, modeler and an Arizona State University research professor, decided to study the data.

“I wondered if it was just a statistical fluke, or if somehow through news media those events were sometimes planting unconscious ideation in vulnerable people for a short time after each event,” she said.

Towers, who is affiliated with the Simon A. Levin Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center, gathered a team of fellow researchers with a strong modeling and mathematics background. Joining her on the project were Regents’ Professor Carlos Castillo-Chavez, ASU assistant professor Anuj Mubayi, ASU graduate student Andres Gomez-Lievano and undergraduate student Maryam Khan of Northeastern Illinois University’s Mathematics Department.

These sick individuals think that they are going to go out in a blaze of fame and glory. If the media refused to publish their names and actually criticized them (that crazy little shit), the shootings would decline greatly. Their paper can be found here: Contagion in Mass Killings and School Shootings

Nothing much for today

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Heading out for coffee (some things never change) in a few minutes and then working on stuff here. Surf for a bit first.

Presented without comment - from the UK Sun:

Now Russia accuses US of election meddling as minister claims Washington is trying to sow chaos to bring down Vladimir Putin
Russia said today it has proof Washington has tried to interfere in the country’s upcoming presidential election.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told a leading Russian news agency the US has tried to destabilise his country ahead of this month's vote.

Ryabkov claims Moscow has evidence the US has been trying to interfere in the ballot.

Looks like the Soviet Ministry of Disinformation is alive and well in both nations...

Another day in paradise

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Not anywhere special, just hanging out with my new bride.

Heading out to Costco later plus some other errands so minimal blogging today.

And that is it for the night

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Early evening tonight - long day tomorrow so that is it for the night. Watch the tail-end of the Oscars and then to bed.

The guy is doing a decent job now but... From Associated Press:

China’s Xi poised to make historic grab at indefinite rule
President Xi Jinping is poised to make a historic power grab as China’s legislators gather beginning Monday to approve changes that will let him rule indefinitely and undo decades of efforts to prevent a return to crushing dictatorship.

This year’s gathering of the ceremonial National People’s Congress has been overshadowed by Xi’s surprise move — announced just a week ago — to end constitutional two-term limits on the presidency. The changes would allow Xi, already China’s most powerful leader in decades, to extend his rule over the world’s second-largest economy possibly for life.

Hope this doesn't catch on. As much as I would love to have Trump do a couple more terms, this is a dangerous precident.

Stemming back from the first 'big' one in 1989 - similar stories. From David B. Kopel writing at The Volokh Conspiracy:

The History of the 'Assault Weapon' Hoax. Part 1: The Crime that Started it All
The "assault weapon" controversy first became a national issue in January 1989, when a career criminal murdered five children at school playground in Stockton, California. The failures of law enforcement before and during that crime—and the media and political failures thereafter—were similar to those related to the recent murders in Parkland, Florida. These failures are part of the reason why school shootings, and other mass attacks, persist in the United States today.

This article is the first in a series detailing the "assault weapon" hoax from 1989 to the present.

The Stockton perpetrator, had whose name I won't repeat, had a difficult start in life. His parents split when he was two years old, after the father threated to shoot the mother. Like the vast majority of mass shooters, he grew up without a responsible and consistent man in his life. The mother threw him out of the house for good at age 13, after he hit her in the face.

The danger signs started early. Before he turned 18, he had been arrested 10 times. When he was 14, a mental health evaluation concluded: "if his acting out is not contained now, he will develop into a highly deceptive sociopathic character and be practically untreatable."

As an adult, he continued to accumulate multiple arrests, none of which led to more than a few weeks in prison. Among his prior crimes included being an accomplice to the armed robbery of a gas station, as well as receipt of stolen property, and possession of illegal weapons. He even vandalized his mother's car when she refused to give him money to buy drugs. Always, he slipped through the cracks of the system. His felony arrests turned into misdemeanors and he wound up back on the street.

Professor Kopel has done quite a comprehensive study of school shootings - his conclusion:

The Stockton murderer could have been stopped before he started if the government had enforced existing criminal laws or had used existing laws to commit and provide mental health treatment for a plainly disturbed and imminently dangerous individual. The same has been true for many subsequent mass killers. In an article for the Howard Law Journal, Clayton Cramer and I detail other notorious homicides, including mass shootings, that could have been prevented if existing laws had been used to commit and treat people who were well-known to be severely and dangerously mentally ill.

A decade after Stockton, the law enforcement system failed again at Columbine High School. The year before Columbine, in the spring of 1998, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office had prepared an affidavit to ask for a search warrant for the home of one of the criminals. The affidavit was based on his published death threats on the Internet, and on the discovery—in a park a mile and half from his home—of bombs like the ones that he bragged about making. The fact of the never-executed search was unknown to the public until two years after Columbine, when Sixty Minutes II uncovered the affidavit by using Colorado's Open Record Act. Why the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office dropped the matter remains a mystery. The Office admitted in court that it had shredded many of its Columbine documents.

The pattern set by Stockton was repeated at Parkland High School, but even worse. There too, the criminal openly identified himself as an incipient mass murderer. The Stockton criminal's various felonies at least had led to arrests and misdemeanor convictions, but the Parkland criminal's open-and-shut felonies—such as explicit violent threats against the school—never even resulted in an arrest.

A long article but well worth reading for the cause of the shootings and the failure of the law enforcement to stop the perp despite having substantial warning. David is going to be writing further articles in the series - something to keep an eye out for. Serious problem and the people with the loudest voices are going after the wrong problem.

Max Eden at City Journal writes about Obama's “school to prison pipeline” policy and how following those policies prevented the Parkland shooter from being aprehended. A chilling read and yes, Obama was that out of touch with reality.

Great news - Canadian Nuclear power

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Good news from our neighbors to the North - from the Canadian Government:

Canada Mapping a Strategy for the Next Generation of Nuclear Reactor Technology
Canada has been a world leader in nuclear energy for over 60 years. The nuclear industry in Canada is a vital source of innovation, job creation and low-carbon energy. The next generation in nuclear technology will help Canadians build a cleaner, safer world while meeting our energy needs in a low-carbon economy.

Parliamentary Secretary Kim Rudd, on behalf of Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, today announced a road mapping process under the Energy Innovation Program to explore the potential for on- and off-grid applications for small modular reactor (SMR) technology in Canada.

Driven by interested provincial and territorial governments and energy utilities, the exercise will be delivered by the Canadian Nuclear Association and engage stakeholders to better understand their views on priorities and challenges related to the possible development and deployment of SMRs in Canada.

I wish that they were doing Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors - those are the wave of the future but still, SMRs are a lot better than the traditional big nukes. A lot less to go wrong and much cheaper to run.

The Modern Warm Period

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All that talk about global warming... Turns out that we were going through the Modern Warm Period. Peole have noted that it has not been warming for the last 20 years or so. Dr. David Archibald looks at the actual numbers and makes the point that the warmest time in recent years was actually in 2006 and that there has been significant cooling ever since.

From Watts Up With That:

Some data suggests Global Cooling started in 2006
Many good things come to an end and that includes the Modern Warm Period. Mild winters and early springs are now spoken of in the past tense. The peak of the Modern Warm Period was 2006 as shown by the oceanic lead indicator, the Gulf Stream, also called the North Atlantic Current. 

Much more at the site - the numbers are actually very clear. No global warming. We actually need to be concerned about this as times of colder weather cause more damage than times of warmer weather - especially now that we have moved away from traditional fuels and heating costs are now significantly more expensive. More peole die from cold than from heat.

Photos from today

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Two photos from today:

20180303-w1.jpg

20180303-w2.jpg

A fun day.

Science as it is done these days

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I love these expeditions to some remote place to PROVE global warming - they invarriably get turned back. Here is just the latest of a long string - from LiveScience:

Expedition to 'Hidden' Antarctic Ecosystem Turned Back by Heavy Ice
Scientists on their way to investigate a mysterious region of Antarctica's seafloor, hidden by thick ice for 120,000 years, have run into an obstacle: Their research ship has been forced to turn north, after dense sea ice prevented it from reaching the southern Larsen C ice-shelf.

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) announced today (March 2) that the captain of the research vessel RRS James Clark Ross had made the "difficult decision" to turn back from the Larsen C region after encountering pack sea ice up to 16 feet (5 meters) thick.

Heh - got to love it. A collision between their computer models and reality. In a situation like this, reality will always win. They were hopeing to see the effect of sunlight on an area that had until recently been covered by a floating ice sheet. The ice sheet calved off due to global warming and not winds or ocean currents. They were going there to see open seas and sunlight - the got ice. Lots and lots of ice.

Now that was fun

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Short and sweet - we pulled up to her parent's house and were done in about three hours - food and cake included.

Back home lounging around and taking the next couple of days easy. Surf for a bit.

Big day today

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Getting married in four hours!

Minimal posting today of course.

Good news from our State capitol

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From The Seattle Times:

Gov. Inslee vetoes Legislature’s controversial public-records bill
After a week of fierce public outcry, Gov. Jay Inslee Thursday night vetoed a controversial public-records bill that Washington state lawmakers hurriedly approved last week.

Inslee’s veto came as part of a broader deal between lawmakers and the news organizations that in September brought a legal challenge to the Legislature’s longstanding claim that it’s exempt from Washington’s voter-approved Public Records Act.

But We The People found their voice and acted against the deep state:

The veto marks a stunning turnaround since last Friday, when legislators voted overwhelmingly to pass the bill that would have exempted the Legislature from the Public Records Act.

Between then and late Thursday afternoon, about 19,000 phone calls, emails and letters had poured into the governor’s office — almost all of them urging Inslee to oppose the bill.

And they knew that they were trying to get away with something sneaky:

Lawmakers approved the legislation 48 hours after announcing it, and without public hearings or floor debate.

But their swift action and lack of public comment on the bill drew blowback from state residents, open-government advocates and news organizations.

Time to vote those clowns out of office. They didn't want to have their actions brought to public light. That is not how government is supposed to work.

City life

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T is downtown now and is being blocked by this protest. From The Seattle Times:

Protesters of youth jail block busy Seattle intersections, march through downtown
Opponents of King County’s efforts to build a new youth jail blocked several intersections while protesting in downtown Seattle on Friday morning.

Some protesters linked their arms with piping and lay in the intersection of Fourth Avenue and James Street from about 8 to 10:45 a.m. They and others, about three dozen in all, then began marching north to Fifth Avenue and Stewart Street, where they stopped and some lay down again on cardboard and tarps.

Julianna Alson, a spokeswoman for the No New Youth Jail Coalition, said construction of the new jail would be tantamount to a commitment to more youth incarceration, especially among minorities and people of color.

The Seattle Department of Transportation warned motorists to avoid the area. Traffic was backed up on surrounding blocks and on Interstate 5 and 90. King County Metro reported “significant delays” on bus routes through downtown.

Protesters said they shut down the street to send a message to King County Executive Dow Constantine demanding he immediately halt what they called the unlawful construction of the youth jail and court complex.

Well gee - if there was not a significant uptick in juvanile crime, this facility would not be needed now would it. And besides, this is old news - the funding was approved six years ago and the facility is currently under construction:

County voters in 2012 approved a $210 million levy to pay for a replacement for the existing juvenile-justice complex at 12th Avenue and East Alder Street in Seattle’s Central Area. Construction has begun on the facility.

T is over an hour late. The students are revolting has more than one meaning.

A very clever idea - ice stupas

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Stupa? From Infogalactic:

stupa (Sanskrit: m.,stūpa "heap") is a mound-like or hemispherical structure

What they are doing:

The ice stays frozen through late spring and provides water for the trees they are planting. Very simple technology and vvery clever idea.

About those fresh herbs

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A bit of news from the Food and Drug Administration:

FDA Sampling Fresh Herbs, Guacamole and Processed Avocado
In its continued efforts to protect consumers and ensure food safety, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has begun testing fresh cilantro, parsley and basil, as well as processed avocado and guacamole, for certain microbial contaminants. These two large-scale sampling assignments will help the FDA assess the rates of bacterial contamination in these commodities, as well as help to identify possible common factors among the positive samples.

The FDA plans to collect 1,600 samples for each assignment. As of January 1, 2018, the agency had collected 35 domestic samples (4.6 percent) and 104 import samples (12.4 percent) of the total for fresh herbs. None of the domestic samples tested positive. Of the 104 import samples tested, 4 tested positive for Salmonella, 3 tested positive for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, and none tested positive for E. coli 0157:H7.

As of January 1, 2018, the agency had collected 58 domestic samples (7.3 percent) and 49 import samples (6.1 percent) of the totals for processed avocado/guacamole. Of the 58 domestic samples tested, 3 tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Of the 49 imported samples, 1 tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. It is important to note that no conclusions about overall contamination rates can be made until all of the data are collected, validated and analyzed.

Yikes - I eat a lot of guacamole. Costco has some nice stuff in a three-pack. Pretty cheap, tasty and freezes well.

Off for the day

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Heading to Seattle for a few days - more posting later tonight

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DIYPhotography
James Gurney
Joe McNally's Blog
PetaPixel
photo.net
Shorpy
Strobist
The Online Photographer


Blogrolling
A Western Heart
AMCGLTD.COM
American Digest
The AnarchAngel
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
Babalu Blog
Belmont Club
Bayou Renaissance Man
Classical Values
Cobb
Cold Fury
David Limbaugh
Defense Technology
Doug Ross @ Journal
Grouchy Old Cripple
Instapundit
iowahawk
Irons in the Fire
James Lileks
Lowering the Bar
Maggie's Farm
Marginal Revolution
Michael J. Totten
Mostly Cajun
Neanderpundit
neo-neocon
Power Line
ProfessorBainbridge.com
Questions and Observations
Rachel Lucas
Roger L. Simon
Samizdata.net
Sense of Events
Sound Politics
The Strata-Sphere
The Smallest Minority
The Volokh Conspiracy
Tim Blair
Velociworld
Weasel Zippers
WILLisms.com
Wizbang


Gone but not Forgotten...
A Coyote at the Dog Show
Bad Eagle
Steven DenBeste
democrats give conservatives indigestion
Allah
BigPictureSmallOffice
Cox and Forkum
The Diplomad
Priorities & Frivolities
Gut Rumbles
Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0
MegaPundit
Masamune
Neptunus Lex
Other Side of Kim
Publicola
Ramblings' Journal
Sgt. Stryker
shining full plate and a good broadsword
A Physicist's Perspective
The Daily Demarche
Wayne's Online Newsletter

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