July 2018 Archives

Makes the most sense to me - Russia

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About that storm - Ride the Ducks

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Looks like someone was not paying attention - from MSN/The Washington Post:

The violent storm behind the duck boat tragedy was well-predicted, not ‘out of nowhere’
Seventeen people are dead after a severe thunderstorm capsized a duck boat in Branson, Mo., Thursday night.

In the wake of the tragedy, Jim Pattison Jr. president of the parent company for Ride the Ducks Branson, said the storm “came out of nowhere.” This is simply not true. Meteorologists had been tracking the storm for hours, and their forecasts offered considerable lead time for the hazardous weather.

“[T]his indirect blaming of meteorologists was old a decade ago and is completely inappropriate in this particular situation,” wrote Mike Smith, a retired meteorologist and former executive at AccuWeather in a blog post.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch, signaling conditions were favorable for dangerous storms in the region, at 11:20 a.m. Central time, nearly eight hours before the storm struck. The watch cautioned “widespread damaging winds likely with isolated significant gusts to 75 mph possible.”

As the storms drew close, the Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning at 6:32 p.m. Central, indicating a violent storm was imminent, about 30 minutes before the boat capsized.

The Ducks have had a very bad safety record - time to get them out of service although the incident in Branson was just sheer negligence and that particular company needs to be sued into bankruptcy.

Great opening set - Kraftwerk

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Guten Abend Kraftwerk, guten Abend Stuttgart!
On 20 July 2018 around 21:50 local time, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst welcomed the legendary electronic band Kraftwerk and 7500 visitors to the Jazz Open Festival on Stuttgart's Schlossplatz – live from the International Space Station, where he will live and work until mid-December 2018. During the call with space, Kraftwerk founding member Ralf Hütter and Alexander played a special duet version of the track Spacelab, for which Alexander had a tablet computer configured with virtual synthesizers on board. With thanks to Kraftwerk for sharing this video footage.

Great interview with our President

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Fifteen minutes of great questions and answers with CNBC anchor Joe Kernen.

Dinner was good

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Marinated chicken breast with potato salad. Took a nice long walk along the beach but the tide is coming in so didn't want to get stranded with the dogs.

Eye is better but still pretty uncomfortable - feels like I have a grain of sand in there. Doing the eye drops religiously.

Back - surf for a bit and then to bed. Heading up to the farm tomorrow. Lots of stuff to do.

Happy 49th birthday

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My Mom and Dad were vacationing in Massachusetts when the Apollo moon landing took place. I was working a summer job (with a pipe organ builder) and drove to their place to watch it together.

Such a pinnacle of our civilization. We did this in less than ten years from commitment to footsteps. Always loved this photo:

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Nothing much today

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At the island for one more night - back to the farm tomorrow. Got a chicken breast marinating and will fire up the grill in a few minutes.

Nothing much caught my eye on the internet and there is plenty to keep me occupied otherwise.

Always classy - Ms. Goldberg

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From the New York Post:

Whoopi Goldberg and Jeanine Pirro get into explosive argument backstage at ‘The View’
Whoopi Goldberg and Jeanine Pirro got into an explosive argument backstage at “The View” on Thursday — after an intense on-the-air exchange got even more heated behind-the-scenes, sources exclusively tell Page Six.

The confrontation ended with liberal Goldberg allegedly shouting, “F–k you, get the f–k out!” at President Trump supporter and Fox News host Pirro.

During the screaming match, Pirro told Goldberg, “I’ve done more for abused women than you will ever do,” we hear.

The trouble, sources told us, started before Pirro even went on-air to promote her new book, “Liars, Leakers, and Liberals: The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy” — when Pirro arrived at “The View” to learn that anti-Trump CNN contributor Ana Navarro was filling in for Joy Behar.

Goldberg apologised to the audience but not to Judge Pirro. I liked her as Guinan but nothing else has caught my eye. I thought that the left was all about tolerance. Guess not.

News you can use - Epoxy

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Great to know - big fan of JB Weld:

From Sioux Falls station KDLT:

Authorities: Bombs, Guns Found While Serving Search Warrant for Burglaries
Authorities have arrested a 43-year-old man after they located explosive devices and firearms at his residence while serving a search warrant in connection with multiple area burglaries.

Authorities say they connected 43-year-old Mark Einerwold to three separate burglaries throughout June and July in Tea and Dell Rapids.

Authorities served a search warrant at Einerwold’s residence in the 1100 block of South Blaine Avenue in Sioux Falls at around 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday.

While serving the search warrant, detectives found what they say were bomb making materials and chemicals. The Sioux Falls Police bomb squad were called to the residence and authorities evacuated the surrounding area.

Authorities say they found multiple explosive devices as well as ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder, which authorities say have no use other than for an explosive device.

Authorities also seized multiple firearms and a homemade firearm silencer from the residence.

And a little bit further down the page:

Authorities say they found multiple items related to Antifa, an anti-fascist militant group, as well as other items indicating an extreme hatred for law enforcement and government.

Antifa - the millitant arm of the progressive Democrat party. They claim to be anti-fascism but they support centralised government and totalitarian ideas and policies. Their choice of name is a perfect example of the Big Lie - worked well in 1925 and still working today. Promoted by the same people too - the National Socialists.

The joys of home ownership

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Had a leak out by the water meter. Got a plumber in and they will be fixing it. Nothing serious but there will be some excavation.

From Politico:

Why filing taxes isn’t easy
The Trump administration unveiled a “postcard-sized” tax form late last month that will supposedly make it easier for Americans to do their own taxes. The move was nothing more than a publicity stunt as a number . of . commentators noted, the administration achieved its postcard-sized ambitions only by requiring millions of Americans to submit supplementary worksheets that actually complicate the task of tax preparation.

The real action on tax filing right now is happening on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, where Congress is working hard to ensure that doing your taxes remains a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. The House of Representatives has passed two bills in recent weeks that seek to stop the IRS from simplifying the tax-filing process. One is pending in the Senate Finance Committee. The other cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee in late June, with a floor vote likely this summer.

At issue are two innovations that, if adopted by the IRS, would radically reduce the time and expense incurred in filing federal income tax returns. The first is free online tax preparation paired with electronic filing: The IRS could offer an easy-to-use product that assists you in completing your tax return, then allows you to submit your return online—all at a price of $0. A second and even more pioneering possibility is “pre-population”: the IRS could allow you to begin the filing process with an already filled-out return rather than making you enter each item of information from scratch.

And why this is happening:

Why would lawmakers want to stop the IRS from simplifying tax filing? Here’s a clue: H&R Block has spent $3.4 million lobbying the current Congress, and Intuit—the maker of TurboTax—has pitched in an additional $3.1 million. They and their employees also have contributed more than $500,000 this cycle to congressional candidates, political action committees, and parties.

And tax politics make strange bedfellows. Fighting alongside H&R Block and Intuit are anti-tax activist groups like Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform. H&R Block and Intuit love taxes—that’s how they make their money. Grover Norquist wants to cut taxes wherever possible. But on this issue, their interests are aligned. H&R Block and Intuit want to make it difficult for you to file on your own. The anti-tax activists think that if taxpaying is too easy, voters will be less likely to resist the federal government’s growth. Both want to make it as painful as possible for you to do your taxes yourself.

A pox on these people - acting in their own interest instead of We The People. What never fails to amaze me is just how cheap our congress people are - they are being bought for a pittance.

Don't mess with Texas - oil

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From CNN:

Texas to pass Iraq and Iran as world's No. 3 oil powerhouse
The shale oil boom has brought a gold rush mentality to the Lone Star State, which is home to not one but two massive oilfields.

Plunging drilling costs have sparked an explosion of production out of the Permian Basin of West Texas. In fact, Texas is pumping so much oil that it will surpass OPEC members Iran and Iraq next year, HSBC predicted in a recent report.

If it were a country, Texas would be the world's No. 3 oil producer, behind only Russia and Saudi Arabia, the investment bank said.

"It's remarkable. The Permian is nothing less than a blessing for the global economy," said Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group, a consulting firm.

Great news - the idea that we have reached "peak oil" is not based on the numbers. There are a lot of untapped reserves and the technology is always advancing.

And it's pink-eye

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Had been diagnosed with Conjunctivitis yesterday after three days of a low-grade irritation in my left eye.

Woke up this morning with that eye completely crusted shut. Looks like something out of a Halloween getup. It does not hurt so the meds are doing their work - see how it is later this afternoon. Meeting with a plumber at 1:00PM - water leak at the island.

An interesting poll

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From Gallup:

What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?

They divided the poll into two catagories; Economic and Non Economic. In Economic, Economy in General was the major concern with only 4% of people expressing concern. Economics in total was only 15%

Non Economic had 
Dissatisfaction with government/Poor leadership coming in at 19%
Immigration/Illegal aliens coming in at 14%
Race relations/Racism coming in at 7%
Healthcare coming in at 4% and so on.

Missing from either list (and the numbers were tallied down to 0.5% and lower) was one topic that is occupying a lot of the news these days. Russia. Was not there. People are not concerned with it.

Minimal posting tonight

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My left eye had been irritated for the last couple of days. Thought it might be a particle of something but went to the Eye Doc today and I have Conjunctivitis. Yaaaay Me!

She wrote a scrip for some Tobramycin which is a topical steroid and broad-spectrum antibiotic so should be feeling better soon.Looks like it was the allergic version as there is no discharge, just irritation and a lot of tearing.

Going to watch some TV tonight instead of looking at the little screen close up. Easier on the eye...

And that is it for the evening...

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Working at home tomorrow and Thursday - want to get an early start. Lots of stuff to do here.

Our quiet sun

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Three weeks without sunspots. The story at Spaceweather:

THREE WEEKS WITHOUT SUNSPOTS:
As July 17th comes to a close, the sun has been blank for 21 straight days--a remarkable 3 weeks without sunspots. To find an equal stretch of spotless suns in the historical record, you have to go back to July-August 2009 when the sun was emerging from a century-class solar minimum. We are now entering a new solar minimum, possibly as deep as the last one.

Solar minimum is a normal part of the solar cycle. Every 11 years or so, sunspot production sputters. Dark cores that produce solar flares and CMEs vanish from the solar disk, leaving the sun blank for long stretches of time. These quiet spells have been coming with regularity since the sunspot cycle was discovered in 1859.

However, not all solar minima are alike. The last one in 2008-2009 surprised observers with its depth and side-effects. Sunspot counts dropped to a 100-year low; the sun dimmed by 0.1%; Earth's upper atmosphere collapsed, allowing space junk to accumulate; and the pressure of the solar wind flagged while cosmic rays (normally repelled by solar wind) surged to Space Age highs. These events upended the orthodox picture of solar minimum as "uneventful."

Our sun's activity has a direct bearing on our climate - should make for some interesting times ahead...

Long day today

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Spent the morning packing up kitchen stuff and then ran into the condo later this afternoon. There was a meeting of our Ham Radio Digital Group tonight so planned to attend that and very glad I did.

There was a presentation on HamWAN

A modern, multi-megabit, IP-based, digital network for amateur radio use!
HamWAN is a non-profit organization (501c3) developing best practices for high speed amateur radio data networks. HamWAN also runs the Puget Sound Data Ring, which is a real-world network implementation of the proposed designs.

So far, HamWAN networks have been used for things like low-latency repeater linking, real-time video feeds from distant locations, serving APRS I-gates, providing redundant internet access to emergency operations centers, and more. Any licensed radio amateur in the service area can connect their shack directly to the network with just a small investment in equipment and no recurring cost. Since many traditional uses for Internet at home are not compatible with Part 97 rules, this won't replace your home Internet connection. However, it works and acts just like one.

This service is available throughout most of Puget Sound and they are rapidly expanding. Like the blurb says, it will not replace a home internet connection but the equipment is hardened and in the event of an earthquake or sustained power outage it will provide decent connectivity. The antenna and modem are about $200 - cheap. Unfortunately, no service yet where I live but it is a fun technology to see develop.

I have been assembling parts for a go-box - a carrying case with a portable radio, digital modem, computer, battery and antenna that can be deployed in a moments notice. Someone brought theirs in tonight for show and tell and I got some great ideas.

From gCaptain:

Twelve People Injured by Flying Lava Aboard Kilauea Volcano Tour Boat
A dozen people were injured on Monday when the tour boat they were on was struck by flying lava from the Kilauea volcano on Big Island of Hawaii.

The U.S. Coast Guard said it received a report of 12 people injured aboard a lava tour boat off Kapoho Bay, HI, where lava from the erupting Kilauea Volcano has been entering the ocean in recent months.

The Coast Guard reported that at approximately 6 a.m., its Sector Honolulu watchstanders received an initial report from 911 of three crewmembers and three sightseers injured aboard the tour boat Hot Shot near a lava flow in Kapoho Bay.

Hawaii County Fire Department reported initially that a lava bomb had injured 23 aboard the boat. The lava punctured the boat’s roof and it returned to Wailoa Harbor in Hilo, the fire department said.

Upon arrival in Hilo, the number of injured was revised to 12 total injured, three seriously and nine minor, the Coast Guard said. The injuries reportedly ranged in severity with the worst being a broken leg.

That could have been so much worse - glad the people are OK.

One can dream can't they?

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Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at that meeting:

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A new study shows - update

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Yesterday, I posted a link to an article that lists some of the current propaganda buzzwords used in today's media. For fun I did a Google search and one source seems to have studies on the brain.

Check out these headlines from Mother Jones:

I could go on but you catch my drift...

Some interesting news out of Russia

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This is my surprised face. From Zero Hedge:

Putin Claims U.S. Intelligence Agents Funneled $400 Million To Clinton Campaign
Vladimir Putin made a bombshell claim during Monday's joint press conference with President Trump in Helsinki, Finland, when the Russian President said some $400 million in illegally earned profits was funneled to the Clinton campaign by associates of American-born British financier Bill Browder - at one time the largest foreign portfolio investors in Russia. The scheme involved members of the U.S. intelligence community, said Putin, who he said "accompanied and guided these transactions."

Browder made billions in Russia during the 90's. In December, a Moscow court sentenced Browder in absentia to nine years in prison for tax fraud, while he was also found guilty of tax evasion in a separate 2013 case. Putin accused Browder's associates of illegally earning over than $1.5 billion without paying Russian taxes, before sending $400 million to Clinton.

President Trump may be a bombast but he is doing great work for the United States and for the world. I am so glad that Hillary never got to the White House.

Looks like a case of dumb criminal stealing the wrong thing - wonder if they are still alive. From the Idaho Statesman:

INL specialists left plutonium in their car. In the morning, it was gone
Two security experts from the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory drove to San Antonio, Texas, in March 2017 with a sensitive mission: to retrieve dangerous nuclear materials from a nonprofit research lab there.

Their task was to ensure that the radioactive materials did not fall into the wrong hands on the way back to Idaho, where the government maintains a stockpile of nuclear explosive materials for the military and others.

To ensure they got the right items, the specialists from Idaho brought radiation detectors and small samples of dangerous materials to calibrate them: specifically, a plastic-covered disk of plutonium, a material that can be used to fuel nuclear weapons, and another of cesium, a highly radioactive isotope that could potentially be used in a so-called “dirty” radioactive bomb.

But when they stopped at a Marriott hotel just off Highway 410, in a high-crime neighborhood filled with temp agencies and ranch homes, they left those sensors on the back seat of their rented Ford Expedition. When they awoke the next morning, the window had been smashed and the special valises holding these sensors and nuclear materials had vanished.

No word in the article as to the number of Curies that were stolen. The Plutonium is not that bad. The metal is poisonous but it is only an Alpha emitter so its radioactivity can be stopped by a sheet of paper or a half-inch of air. Bad news if it is ingested but pretty harmless on the shelf. Fun because the internal decay makes it noticeably warm to the touch. About twice as dense as lead too unexpectedly heavy. Cesium is another story entirely - it (depending on the isotope) emits Gamma and Beta particles and is highly flammable. It will spontaneously catch fire in air.

A useful toolkit

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Excellent post from American Partisan:

REGIME SPEAK AND NARRATIVE CONTROL TERMS
One of the most critical parts of controlling a populace is controlling their information; ensuring that you control everything they see, hear and read. I’m sure you can think of several countries’ governments doing this, through blocking large portions of the internet or even criminalizing thoughts and writings that go outside of the allowed regime-speak.

If you can’t control what information the people have access to completely or nearly so, the next best thing is to ensure that you control the narrative, while minimizing any other influences as much as possible and still maintain a facade of free speech and liberty. This is done by engaging in massive info/disinfo operations using sock puppets, media, entertainment, education, and even product advertising. Meanwhile, you must also discredit or even simply delete information that threatens the narrative. It’s not criminal to disagree in this scenario–yet–but it’s getting there. One example is the recent brouhaha over Laura Ingalls Wilder’s work. Her Ma and Pa hated Indians, you see, and suddenly regardless of historical context, greater use, or anything else, her work must be demonized. It’s happening with more and more frequency. No matter what you may think about freedom of speech in the United States, book banning is hardly a new idea. It’s been going on for many years. Interestingly enough, books that were once banned for explicit sexual content, such as Moll Flanders or Tropic of Cancer are no longer banned; the Little House on the Prairie series, however, seems well on its way to being removed from libraries and schools.

Ol’ Remus over at The Woodpile Report has an interesting list of words and phrases in his sidebar, titled “Regime-Speak.” If you haven’t made his reports a part of your reading routine, you need to–but when you go over there, take a look at the list. They’re words and phrases that are often used as part of the above mentioned efforts to control narrative and information flow.

As Remus says, if you see these terms, you’re about to be lied to (or steered/manipulated, etc.) — and these are just a few off the list.

a new study shows — How many times have you heard this phrase? It’s often used to introduce the new planned direction for the populace in some area. “A new study shows that _______ can lead to _________.” The media trumpets the ‘new study,’ and while most Americans don’t go read the study–and wouldn’t know how to prove it wrong if they did–they do go out and purchase/do/get rid of whatever they’ve just been told is bad/good. Certain companies benefit, certain industries see a drop, and the puppetmasters continue doing their thing.

Many more at the link - a good thing to keep in mind over the next 10-15 years as the worst of the deep state gets cleaned out.

Astroturfing - SCOTUS pick

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The London Daily Mail noticed something screwy about some letters to the editor:

Mystery as IDENTICAL letters appear in 21 newspapers across 12 states slamming Trump's Supreme Court pick – and they're all signed by different people
Judge Brett Kavanaugh is going into the Supreme Court confirmation process with a hail of rhetorical arrows zinging by him, including a phony letter-writing campaign aimed at unsuspecting American newspaper editors

At least 21 papers were duped last week, including big-market brands like the Dallas Morning News and The Washington Times. They ran identical letters over a four-day period, each signed by a different person.

The effort is an example of public-relations 'astroturfing,' a technique meant to simulate genuine grassroots support for an idea or cause.

It is not a social movement, it is some loser in his Mom's basement with a computer. The article has screen caps of the letters in question and they are identical.

Did not realize that this would affect shipping so much. From Bloomberg:

Tariffs Make Life Even Tougher for World’s Biggest Shipping Company
A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S may struggle to make a profit this year after the U.S. and China descended into a trade war that promises to hurt the world’s biggest shipping company.

Maersk, which is based in Copenhagen, has already lost almost a third of its market value this year as investors gird for more bad news. Trade protectionism means less demand, and history suggests the shipping industry will struggle to make the necessary supply cuts. What’s more, Maersk is now more exposed to shipping as the former conglomerate divests its energy business.

Per Hansen, an investment economist at Nordnet in Copenhagen, says Maersk is currently “in the eye of the hurricane” when it comes to the damage that will be inflicted by a trade war. He estimates the company’s shares could drop at least 10 percent.

Sheesh - has not seemed to affect the Baltic Dry Index though. Back in February of 2016, it cratered to below 300 - today it is over 1,600. Overall shipping seems to be up too as the Port of Long Beach California just had their busiest month ever.

From Judicial Watch:

Judicial Watch Obtains IRS Documents Revealing McCain’s Subcommittee Staff Director Urged IRS to Engage in “Financially Ruinous” Targeting
Judicial Watch today released newly obtained internal IRS documents, including material revealing that Sen. John McCain’s former staff director and chief counsel on the Senate Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee, Henry Kerner, urged top IRS officials, including then-director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner, to “audit so many that it becomes financially ruinous.”  Kerner was appointed by President Trump as Special Counsel for the United States Office of Special Counsel.

The explosive exchange was contained in notes taken by IRS employees at an April 30, 2013, meeting between Kerner, Lerner, and other high-ranking IRS officials. Just ten days following the meeting, former IRS director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner admitted that the IRS had a policy of improperly and deliberately delaying applications for tax-exempt status from conservative non-profit groups.

Lerner and other IRS officials met with select top staffers from the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in a “marathon” meeting to discuss concerns raised by both Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that the IRS was not reining in political advocacy groups in response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.  Senator McCain had been the chief sponsor of the McCain-Feingold Act and called the Citizens United decision, which overturned portions of the Act, one of the “worst decisions I have ever seen.”

In the full notes of an April 30 meeting, McCain’s high-ranking staffer Kerner recommends harassing non-profit groups until they are unable to continue operating. Kerner tells Lerner, Steve Miller, then chief of staff to IRS commissioner, Nikole Flax, and other IRS officials, “Maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous.” In response, Lerner responded that “it is her job to oversee it all:”

Rot at the top. All of them. This upcoming mid-term election will be very important.

Dinner al fresco

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Had dinner outside - marinated chicken breast with some deli-made red potato salad. Been trying to keep my carbohydrate consumption under control but have been reading about resistant starches. (here and here) Very interesting...

Gorgeous evening - full moon so the tide is very high.

Nothing today

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Dealing with the water leak and a couple other items down here. Back to the farm in a few days - meeting with two people Sunday and possibly Monday.

Grilling some chicken for dinner tonight - gorgeous clear skies and warm.

And that is it for the night

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Busy day today so catching an hour of YouTube and then to bed.

Quantum spookiness

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From Oak Ridge National Laboratory:

New insights bolster Einstein’s idea about how heat moves through solids
A discovery by scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory supports a century-old theory by Albert Einstein that explains how heat moves through everything from travel mugs to engine parts.

The transfer of heat is fundamental to all materials. This new research, published in the journal Science, explored thermal insulators, which are materials that block transmission of heat.

“We saw evidence for what Einstein first proposed in 1911—that heat energy hops randomly from atom to atom in thermal insulators,” said Lucas Lindsay, materials theorist at ORNL. “The hopping is in addition to the normal heat flow through the collective vibration of atoms.”

The random energy hopping is not noticeable in materials that conduct heat well, like copper on the bottom of saucepans during cooking, but may be detectable in solids that are less able to transmit heat.

This observation advances understanding of heat conduction in thermal insulators and will aid the discovery of novel materials for applications from thermoelectrics that recover waste heat to barrier coatings that prevent transmission of heat.

More at the site - very interesting. The more we think we know, the more we find out that we don't know anything.

Water woes

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Last week, I was looking at the water meter on the island and saw that the concrete vault was flooded. Tried bailing it out with a Red Solo Cup© but couldn't get ahead of the flow. I had a small pump at the farm so brought that down today and got it empty. Shut the water off to the house and the vault started filling back up. YES!!! That repair is the responsibility of our local water district and not mine. My responsibility begins at the shutoff valve to the meter.

Fun at the Ice Cube Lab

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Quite the bit of science going on - from Nature:

Single subatomic particle illuminates mysterious origins of cosmic rays
A single subatomic particle detected at the South Pole last September is helping to solve a major cosmic mystery: what creates electrically charged cosmic rays, the most energetic particles in nature.

Follow-up studies by more than a dozen observatories suggest that researchers have, for the first time, identified a distant galaxy as a source of high-energy neutrinos

This discovery could, in turn, help scientists pin down the still mysterious source of protons and atomic nuclei that arrive to Earth from outer space, collectively called cosmic rays. The same mechanisms that produce cosmic rays should also make high-energy neutrinos.

The Ice Cube observatory detected a muon which was the result of a Nutrino decay. They were able to secure data from other observatories to look for other subatomic particles from the same source and they found it. Some great science and detective work.

There is a fascinating book about the origins and the building of the Ice Cube Lab - read it about a year ago and really enjoyed it: The Telescope in the Ice: Inventing a New Astronomy at the South Pole

Sorting books

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Working at the condo today - I never realised just how many books my Dad and I collected. They sneak in just like coathangers.

Loving the local library - if I see a book I am interested, I fire up a cell phone app and reserve it.

A big disappointment - Fascism

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Got Madeleine Albright's latest book: Fascism. Given that she was born in Czechoslovakia in 1937 - two years before Hitler invaded and that her family returned after WWII only to have Czechoslovakia fall to Communism in 1948, I was hoping that she would have a more nuanced view as to what constitutes Fascism. Instead, it is a Never Trump screed. I gave up after page 53. She does give a good history lesson of what happened in Europe but her foaming at the mouth regarding Trump renders her book unreadable.

She did have one wonderful turn of phrase that I enjoyed:

To the political class of Washington D.C. - Republican, Democrat and independent alike - the election of Trump as so startling it would have caused an old-time silent film comedian to clench his hat with both hands, yank it over his ears, leap in the air, and land flat on his back.

Cute - I can see this in my mind. Sad that the book is so unreadable - I'll be returning it to the library. Glad I didn't spend my money on it.

Business trumps Politics - taxation

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Heh - economist Arthur Laffer came up with the Laffer Curve which shows that there are optimum rates for taxation. Tax at 0% and you get zero returns (DOH!) - same for 100% because people will figure out all kinds of dodges. There is an optimal level and it took President Trump to implement this.

From Investor's Business Daily:

Income Tax Revenues Are Up 9% This Year — Is Trump Tax Cut Paying For Itself?
Supply-Side Economics: Democrats scoffed at Republicans who said the Trump tax cuts would at least partially pay for themselves through higher economic growth. But it looks like the GOP had it right all along, as revenues climb.

The latest monthly budget report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office finds that revenues from federal income taxes were $76 billion higher in the first half of this year, compared with the first half of 2017. That's a 9% jump, even though the lower income tax withholding schedules went into effect in February.

And of course, we will always have the "special" people to listen to:

But wait a minute. According to Democrats, the Trump tax cuts were supposed to blow a massive hole in the deficit.

Last November, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi promised that "this thing will explode the deficit."

She also said that "after the Republicans' tax plan blows a multi-trillion-dollar hole in the deficit, they will sharpen their knives for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and vital job-creating investments for middle class families."

Even now, Pelosi is sticking to her guns. In June, she called it "the deficit-exploding GOP tax scam for the rich."

A perfect example of someone who is clueless and out of touch. She is not a leader. All she cares about is power and getting re-elected. Her 15 minutes were over a long long time ago - part of the problem.

And that is it for the night

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A bit of YouTube and then to bed. Feeling downright sleepy.

A big fizzle in Brussels

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Pure Schadenfreude - from NTK Network complete with video goodness:

Anti-Trump Protest at NATO Draws Only a Couple Dozen
“Make Peace Great Again” organizers were expecting few thousand protesters to gather outside the NATO summit in Brussels on Wednesday evening to protest President Trump’s attendance, but only a couple dozen demonstrators showed up.

Euro News’ Damon Embling reported that organizers were expecting a few thousand people to attend the protest, but just a few dozen turned out.

The protesters were rallying around the slogan “Make Peace Great Again,” a play on Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Almost feel sorry for the loonies.... Almost

Heh - shaking things up

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Even the Democrats are becoming disgusted with what their party has become - from USA Today:

Top Democrat Linda Sanchez says it's time for 'generational change' in dig at Nancy Pelosi
A top House Democrat said Wednesday it was time for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and her two long-time deputies to step aside and make way for a younger generation of leaders.

Rep. Linda Sanchez, the highest-ranking Latina in the House, first called for “generational change” last fall, but her fresh comments on Wednesday come at a time when Democrats are increasingly dissatisfied with Pelosi and uncertain about who could emerge as a possible successor.

Sanchez — currently the vice chair of the Democratic conference, the No. 5 leadership slot — also said she wants to be part of any “transition” to a new lineup.

“I think it’s time for that generational change,” Sanchez told reporters Wednesday. “I want to be part of that transition, because I don’t intend to stay in Congress until I’m in my 70s.”

I have said before and will say again, if John F. Kennedy were running today, I would vote for him in a heartbeat. The Dems have moved too far to the left for 90% of We The People's liking. They have no platform except to tax and to grow big government. Certainly not Constitutional.

Amazing story from National Geographic:

Oldest Tools Outside Africa Found, Rewriting Human Story
Modern humans' distant relatives left Africa earlier than previously thought—rewriting a key chapter in humankind's epic prequel, according to a discovery  unveiled on Wednesday in Nature.

Nearly a hundred stone tools found at the Shangchen site in central China may push back the spread of our ancient cousins—hominins—out of Africa by more than a quarter million years.

The toolmakers lived at Shangchen on and off for 800,000 years between 2.1 and 1.3 million years ago, leaving behind tools that are unprecedented  outside of Africa. The site's oldest tools are roughly 300,000 years older than Dmanisi, a 1.8-million-year-old site in the Republic of Georgia with the oldest known fossils of our extinct cousin Homo erectus.

A bit of what we know so far:

Early Wanderers
Today's modern humans, Homo sapiens, trace back to a migratory pulse that left Africa some 60,000 years ago. But that migration was hardly the first to leave the continent—nor were modern humans the only hominins to make the trip. Remains of Homo erectus have been found from Georgia to Java. Neanderthals' ancestors trekked to Europe  roughly half a million years ago. At least 700,000 years ago, early hominins somehow swept through the South Pacific, giving rise to the “hobbit”  Homo floresiensis and  other island toolmakers.

Some sites have hinted at an even older hominin presence in Asia. In the 1980s, researchers suggested that stone tools in Pakistan  could be as old as two million years old. In 2004, a Chinese team found  1.66-million-year-old stone tools in north China's Nihewan basin. And in 2015, researchers made the case that a Homo erectus skull found less than three miles from Shangchen  was more than 1.6 million years old.

I love it - the more we think we have a handle on something, the more we find out that we know nothing. Raising a glass of wine to our early ancestors - I salute you!!!

Long day but productive

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Back at the farm for the evening. Early bedtime.

Time to see what the internet dragged in...

The original was awesome - the sequels and remake? Meh...

From Deadline:

Neill Blomkamp To Direct New ‘RoboCop’ For MGM; Justin Rhodes Rewriting Sequel Script By Creators Ed Neumeier & Michael Miner
EXCLUSIVE: MGM is developing a new installment of RoboCop and has set District 9 director Neill Blomkamp to helm the picture, which is titled RoboCop Returns. The studio hopes to revive a franchise that began with the Paul Verhoeven-directed satirical sci-fi action thriller that Orion released in 1987. Original writers Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner are producing and exec producing, respectively. Justin Rhodes, who co-wrote the Terminator film that Tim Miller is shooting, will rewrite the script that Neumeier and Miner wrote years ago as a planned sequel to Verhoeven’s hit, an installment that never happened. That duo is creatively involved in moving forward their creation for the first time since the original.

Blomkamp directed District 9, Elysium and Chappie - excellent films. The new Robocop should be a fun ride.

Back around 2000, an English ham radio operator John Hey, G3TDZ developed a specalized radio for use in cave rescues. "Normal" radio frequencies do not go through earth very well - the higher the frequenices, the more they are blocked. Normal ham radio bands range from around 3 million Hz up to 440 million and up. John's device operated at 87 thousand Hz and is therefore able to penetrate earth and rock.

The HeyPhone was used in the Thai cave rescue. Here is the website:  HeyPhone Cave Rescue Communication System 

Here is an article on various cave radio systems from 2001: The HeyPhone Story

Fascinating technology. Works so well it has not been changed in 18 years.

Crap - serious flooding in Japan

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From Reuters:

Japan struggles to get help to victims of worst floods in decades
Japan struggled on Tuesday to restore utilities after its worst weather disaster in 36 years killed at least 155 people, with survivors facing health risks from broiling temperatures and a lack of water, while rescuers kept up a grim search for victims.

Torrential rain unleashed floods and landslides in western Japan last week, bringing death and destruction, especially to neighborhoods built decades ago near steep slopes. About 67 people are missing, the government said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has canceled an overseas trip to cope with the disaster, which at one point forced several million from their homes.

Prayers going out to these people.

Climate change - a two-fer

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First - Looks like there is trouble at the top. From New Delhi, India's The Wire:

Green Climate Fund Chief Quits After 'Disappointing' Meeting
Oslo (Norway): Green Climate Fund (GCF) meant to channel billions of dollars to poor nations said it had had a “very difficult and disappointing” meeting ending on Wednesday, in a new setback after US President Donald Trump pulled out US support last year.

Australian climate finance expert Howard Bamsey announced he was stepping down as executive director of the GCF at the end of the four-day meeting in Songdo, South Korea, the GCF said in a statement.

The GCF, whose South Korean headquarters opened in 2013 with backing from almost 200 nations, aims to help poor nations cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt their economies to heatwaves, storms and rising seas.

Noble idea - only problem is that this is not happening. The sea level is rising but minimally - a few millimeters every decade or so. The Paris Accord? Follow the Benjamins:

As part of the Paris agreement, rich nations pledged to raise total climate finance, from both private and public sources, to $100 billion a year by 2020 and to raise it further in the 2020s.

All of a sudden, the poor nations are seeing a lot of money available if they make noises about global warming (which hasn't happened in over 18 years). Now the money is being taken away and they want their money. Will the average citizen of these nations see anything? No - this is just another example of graft and corruption writ large.

Second - this is delicious - from the Los Angeles Times:

Brett Kavanaugh, a Washington veteran, is Trump's second pick for the Supreme Court
In choosing Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, President Trump went with a well-credentialed Washington insider who compiled a long record as a reliable conservative and won the respect of White House lawyers and the outside groups that advise them.

And this juicy little nugget:

Kavanaugh was skeptical of several of the Obama administration’s environmental regulations, including efforts to limit greenhouse gases and hazardous air pollutants.

I am not in any way suggesting that we go back to the environment of the 1960's when rivers caught fire and smog was a serious urban health hazard but we cleaned that up and our environment is now something to be proud of. Time to cut back on the bureaucracy and to officially recognize that our climate is always variable and that we just passed through a 30 year Modern Warm Period. Our sun is seriously quiet these days - close to 100 days without any sunspots this year alone. We may very well be heading for a time of cooling.

Glad that we will be getting a new Justice that recognizes the climate hype for what it is.

Another day in paradise

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Heading out for coffee and then to the condo to sort books and take "shelfies" for a rare book dealer. The condo is where my Mom and Dad spent the end of their lives and they were both book collectors so there is quite the collection to sell off. 

Was thinking of doing this on eBay but there are several hundred books so looking at having a rare book dealer come in and make an offer for the lot. Less money for sure but also less hassle - especially boxing and shipping.

And that is it for the evening

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Long day tomorrow with packing and sorting. Time to head over to YouTube land for a while and then to bed.

Chris Lynch found this wonderful film clip - very appropriate for the Senate Confirmation Hearings:

On July 5th, Trump offered to purchase a DNA test kit for Senator Elizabeth Warren to back up her claims of Indian heratige. He even offered to donate $1,000,000 to her favorite charity if she would follow through with the test.

She issued her rebuttal today and it is lame - she has no facts to back up her claim so she is reduced to launching an Ad Hominem attack against our President. From The Boston Globe:

Elizabeth Warren slams President Trump at Natick forum
US Senator Elizabeth Warren responded to a recent attack by President Trump on Sunday, saying he “tries to bully me in order to shut me up,” as she spoke to reporters after a question-and-answer session with supporters at the historic Belkin Family Lookout Farm.

It was the latest salvo in a longstanding war of words between the Massachusetts senator and the president, who provoked fresh criticism of his crass rhetoric at a rally Thursday in Montana. In his Great Falls speech, Trump again referred to Warren as “Pocahontas” and questioned her controversial claims of Native American ancestry, which Warren says are based on family lore but remain unproven.

It is not bullying if the President is correct and Warren is lying. Again, she is not that smart and was unable to get into Harvard Law School on her academic merit so she lied and said that she was Native American and was accepted under their diversity quotas. Simple as that.

She could make all of this go away with a simple swab of the inside of her cheek and a $200 check to 23 and Me. Why has she not done this?

A safe pick for SCOTUS

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Bret Kavanaugh was not my first choice but he is very moderate and the liberals will not beat him up to badly at the confirmation hearings. I would have loved Senator Mike Lee or Amy Coney Barrett but Kavanaugh is President Trump's choice and I respect that.

I was wondering why he chose him and what came to mind is that there is somethign very big coming down the pike - before the mid-term elections and President Trump wants to reserve all his political "favors" for that. Should be fun - time for a big bowl of popcorn if this is true...

Another day of packing

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Heading out for coffee and then to the condo to sort through more books. T found someone in Seattle who specalizes in rare books and they are coming up sometime this week to evaluate the collection. No posting until much later today.

No word yet as to President Trump's decision on the new Supreme Court Justice. This will be fun to see.

Only thing is that President Trump has not released his choice for Justice Kennedy yet:

The Schadenfreude is strong with these people.

Dang - missed it by one day

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Missed what? National Dive Bar day:

NATIONAL DIVE BAR DAY
On July 7, raise a toast to the place where friends gather and memories are made. It’s National Dive Bar Day!

From the one-time speakeasy to the little hole-in-the-wall, the dive bar is like an old pair of jeans; it just fits right. During the week, we can stop in, our team will be playing on the TV, and the beverages will be icy cold. The same dart and pool leagues meet every year, and familiar faces go head to head. Sweethearts still have date nights at the beach shack where they met 20 years ago, and in small towns across the country, the dive bar serves the best steaks for miles around.

The dive bar is more than just a place to kick back and relax. It’s where we mark out life’s plans, celebrate its successes and make memories to treasure. We make friends who become family and remember those who have left us behind.

National Dive Bar Day is about the first place to come to mind when it’s time to celebrate, to hang out with friends or just feel at home once again.

I love a good dive bar. Feel right at home.

The Trump Tariffs - steel

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From the Chicago Tribune:

The Illinois town where Trump's tariffs have provided jobs, and a sigh of relief
Grab a cup of coffee with a resident of Granite City and you’ll likely hear it said that the southern Illinois city was built around the local U.S. Steel plant, not the other way around.

It’s the locals’ way of conveying how heavily Granite City, just outside St. Louis, depends on the steel mill, both for the jobs and the sense of identity it provides.

For more than 100 years, Granite City has defined itself as a hardworking mill town, a place where young people eager to cement a solid financial future without a college degree have to look no further than the dirt and iron and fire of the local steel plant, which stretches over 2 square miles. The opportunity afforded by the plant came to a halt at the end of 2015, when the plant idled production, laying off 2,000 people.

But the first blast furnace now has been restarted and U.S. Steel is filling 800 jobs at the mill, a result of the steep tariffs that President Donald Trump announced on imported steel and aluminum earlier this year. The Trump administration has in recent months imposed tariffs on goods from Canada, Mexico and China and on Friday imposed tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports. That country responded by levying tariffs of its own on American-made goods.

Not a big fan of tariffs - they should be used as a last resort but still, they are having a positive effect. My problem is that U.S. Steel is now going to raise their prices to a fraction of what the imported steel plus those tariffs will cost because they can. Makes for a tax on consumers. Good that workers are getting rehired though...

Great news from Thailand

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From the New York Post:

At least four boys emerge from cave in Thailand
At least four young members of a Thai soccer team have been rescued from the flooded cave where they were trapped along with eight teammates and their coach for more than two weeks, officials said Sunday.

The other team members and coach still remain in the underground cave awaiting rescue.

Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osotthanakon said at a press conference Sunday that four boys had been pulled out safely from the Tham Luang cave and taken to the hospital.

“This is more successful than I expected, Everyone’s happy,” the governor said

They were in a field trip to explore the cave when flash flood sealed off the entrance.

From Infogalactic:

Sliced bread
Sliced bread is a loaf of bread that has been sliced with a machine and packaged for convenience. It was first sold in 1928, advertised as "the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped". This led to the popular phrase, "best thing since sliced bread".

History
Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa, USA invented the first loaf-at-a-time bread-slicing machine. A prototype he built in 1912 was destroyed in a fire and it was not until 1928 that Rohwedder had a fully working machine ready. The first commercial use of the machine was by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri, which produced their first slices on July 7, 1928. Their product, "Kleen Maid Sliced Bread", proved a success. Battle Creek, Michigan has a competing claim as the first city to sell bread sliced by Rohwedder's machine; however, historians have produced no documentation backing up Battle Creek's claim. The bread was advertised as "the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped."

Use it most days - handy.

Just say no - Hillary

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Unreal - from the New York Post:

Is Hillary Clinton secretly planning to run in 2020?
The messages convey a sense of urgency, and are coming with increasing frequency. They are short, focused reactions to the latest “outrage” committed by President Trump.

Some end by asking for money, some urge participation in protests. All read as if they are sent from the official headquarters of the resistance.

Hillary Clinton is up to something.

Five times in the last month alone, she sent e-mails touting her super PAC’s role in combating President Trump. Most seized on headline events, such as the family-separation issue at the southern border.

She seriously need to put the crack pipe away and retire from the public stage. Glutton for punishment?

My kind of day

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Always start (and sometimes end) the day with a little piece of this.

Happy World Chocolate Day (although do not forget its cousin, International Chocolate Day on September 13th - the birthdate of Milton Snavely Hershey)

At the farm finally

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Busy day. Woke up on the island, headed up to the farm to borrow the store van, make two trips from the farm into Bellingham (60 miles round tip for each) and met up with T who helped me sort through a lot of books. We had dinner and I just got home. Tired - surf for a bit and then to bed. Busy days this week too...

Busy day today

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Heading back to the farm and loading up the bookshelves and then using the store van to take them to the condo.

Meeting up with T later this afternoon to sort books. Estate sale coming up soon - looking forward to shedding a lot of crap.

More posting much later today.

Back in the mists of time I spent a number of hours flying Cessna 150's and 172's when living in New England so flying has always been an interest of mine. There is an annual air show at the Arlington airport and went for a visit today. Turns out it was the 50th anniversary of the event so a lot of people and lots of fun aircraft to look at.

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The guy in the safety vest and straw hat built this little scooter - cute idea. The Dr. Strangelove reference is to Slim Picken's wild ride in the movie.

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There were a number of old aircraft lovingly restored. This gorgeous Lockheed Model12

Some new designs as well - this is from a German company and is a combination airplane and glider. The propellor stows in the nose cone when not in use and the engine is mounted behind the cockpit. 

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A lot of walking - the runway was 5,000 feet long and there were things to see all along the length. Both sides. Proably got about four miles in today - nice weather and a fun event. Probably about 800-1,000 people attending and maybe 300 airplanes, 100 vendor booths.

A sobering comparison

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From Anton Troynikov by way of Jamie Zawinski

Things that happen in Silicon Valley and also the Soviet Union

    • Waiting years to receive a car you ordered, to find that it's of poor workmanship and quality.
    • Promises of colonizing the solar system while you toil in drudgery day in, day out.
    • Living five adults to a two room apartment.
    • Being told you are constructing utopia while the system crumbles around you.
    • 'Totally not illegal taxi' taxis by private citizens moonlighting to make ends meet.
    • Everything slaved to the needs of the military-industrial complex.
    • Mandatory workplace political education.
    • Productivity largely falsified to satisfy appearance of sponsoring elites.
    • Deviation from mainstream narrative carries heavy social and political consequences.
    • Networked computers exist but they're really bad.
    • Henry Kissinger visits sometimes for some reason.
    • Elite power struggles result in massive collateral damage, sometimes purges.
    • Failures are bizarrely upheld as triumphs.
    • Otherwise extremely intelligent people just turning the crank because it's the only way to get ahead.
    • The plight of the working class is discussed mainly by people who do no work.
    • The United States as a whole is depicted as evil by default.
    • The currency most people are talking about is fake and worthless.
    • The economy is centrally planned, using opaque algorithms not fully understood by their users.

Scary true...

I am especially pissed about this as electronics components will be taxed at 35% so our costs will increase by at least 35% if not more. Also, items that are 100% manufactured in China (they call this the last screw definition - ie: there is no subsequent assembly or processing in the USA) do not have this tax. This is a tax on hackers and not consumers.

But I ramble - from CNBC:

US-China tariffs: 'The first shots to the trade war are about to be fired'
A trade war between the U.S. and China is about to start, and there will be probably be “escalation upon escalation,” warned Geoff Raby, Australia’s former ambassador to China.

Ahead of the expected Friday implementation of American and Chinese tariffs, Raby told CNBC that “it looks like the first shots to the trade war are about to be fired.”

China, for its part, was already calling the tariff threats between Beijing and Washington a "trade war" in June.

“I thought that by now a negotiated solution would have been found,” he told CNBC’s Martin Soong, adding that it seems the U.S. has “walked away” from any potential deal.

Yes, there is a very large imbalance in trade between our two nations but a trade war is not the way to go about curing this. President Trump is going all-out nuclear when he just needs to rattle a few sabers.

President Trump - master troll

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This is pure comedy gold from our President. From The Hill:

Trump: I would offer Warren $1M to prove her Native American heritage
President Trump said Thursday that if he were facing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) during a debate, he would offer her $1 million to take a test to prove her Native American heritage.

“But let’s say I’m debating Pocahontas, I’ll do this,” Trump said during a campaign rally in Great Falls, Montana, referring to Warren by the racially charged nickname he gave her during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“I promise you I’ll do this, you know those little kits they sell on television for $2? Learn your heritage,” Trump said.

She is not that smart and was unable to get into Harvard Law School on her academic merit so she lied and said that she was Native American and was accepted under their diversity quotas. Simple as that.

Good news - the EPA

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He was a good fit for the job and did a great deal to steer the EPA back to its core missions but his personal life was a trainwreck. From the New York Post:

Scott Pruitt quits as EPA chief amid ethics controversies
Embattled EPA Chief Scott Pruitt resigned under mounting pressure on Thursday as the number of controversies — and congressional investigations — over his personal and professional behavior continued to pile up.

President Trump, who had been one of the Oklahoman’s staunchest defenders, announced the resignation in a pair of tweets.

“I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this,” he wrote.

Some of the issues:

Pruitt was overwhelmed by a series of controversies, including lavish spending on first-class air travel and an expanded, 24-hour security detail, a sweetheart rent deal on a DC condo owned by a lobbyist with business before the EPA and a $40,000 private phone booth in his office.

It was also revealed that he personally tried to get his wife a Chick-fil-A franchise as well as another high-paying job — and that he blew taxpayers’ money on “tactical” pants normally worn by law enforcement.

Individually, none of these warrant punishment or his resignation but collectively? He should have realized that he was a public figure. Should have stayed squeaky clean.

On the island

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Fireworks were a lot of fun last night. Headed South to the island today and spending tonight on the island and then South to Seattle to spend a couple days with T.

Back to work

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Minimal posting this afternoon - boxing up stuff and filling the dumpster.

Rot at the core - the FBI

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Interesting revelation - from Wired Magazine - March 28th, 2012:

READ THE FBI MEMO: AGENTS CAN 'SUSPEND THE LAW'

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The FBI once taught its agents that they can "bend or suspend the law" as they wiretap suspects. But the bureau says it didn't really mean it, and has now removed the document from its counterterrorism training curriculum, calling it an "imprecise" instruction. Which is a good thing, national security attorneys say, because the FBI's contention that it can twist the law in pursuit of suspected terrorists is just wrong.

And a bit more:

The reference to law-bending was noted in a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller from Sen. Richard Durbin that Danger Room obtained. When Danger Room asked for the original document, the FBI initially declined. On Wednesday, a Bureau spokesperson relented, but refused to say who prepared the document; how long it was in circulation; and how many FBI agents, analysts and officials received its instruction.

The undated piece of instructional material (.pdf) notes that "under certain circumstances, the FBI has the ability to bend or suspend the law to impinge on the freedom of others." Those circumstances include "the ability to gather information on individuals which would normally be protected under the U.S. Constitution through the use of FISA [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act], Title 3 monitoring [general law enforcement surveillance], NSL [National Security Letter] reports, etc."

Some surveillance experts were confused by that explanation. Surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or so-called "Title-3" law-enforcement surveillance requires the approval of judges. National Security Letters – administrative subpoenas for records issued by FBI officials, not judges – are troubling to civil libertarians, as the practice is rife for abuse, but the issuance of the letters themselves is legal. In other words, there shouldn't be any suspension of the law.

Rife for abuse indeed. A fake dossier paid for with Clinton campaign funds forms the basis for a FISA approved wiretap on people in Donald Trump's campaign. Abuses like this have been going on since well before 2011 - here is one case from 2007: U.S. Report to Fault F.B.I. on Subpoenas  John Edgar is spinning in his grave.

Happy Independence Day

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Heading out for coffee, stop at the store and then back home to continue packing up.

Fireworks later.

Celebrating Independence Day

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Firing an anvil. The one being launched weighs 80 pounds. The one on the base is 150 pounds and the charge is one pound of black powder.

From one of my favorite YouTube channels: Essential Craftsman

And that is it for me for tonight

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The burger induced a very nice food coma so settling in to some YouTube watching and a glass or three of red wine. Been sleeping a lot last few days to planning an early bedtime for tonight.

Fireworks tomorrow - the next town up the road collects donations and they buy a bunch of fireworks at around 5PM on the 4th. Get good deals then. They set them off in the park - usually have about 300 people showing up and you come home with bits of cardboard in your hair and smelling of powder. Up close and personal. Fun.

Classic - burger for dinner

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Finished off a nice burger for dinner. Did it without the bun as trying to keep carbs down to a dull roar. Local grass-fed cow so it was delicious. Turned out to be a gorgeous day today so was sitting outside on the deck.

Back to finish off today's project (music room) and then watch some TV or YouTube.

Affirmative Action restored

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Real Affirmative Action, not just some Social Justice Warrior's demands. From Zero Hedge:

Trump Reverses Obama-Era Policies On Affirmative Action
As Donald Trump moves to undo every last trace of Obama's legacy, the WSJ reported that on Tuesday, the Trump administration reversed Obama-era policies that encourage the use of race in college admissions "to promote diverse educational settings."  Instead, the Trump administration will encourage the nation’s school superintendents and college presidents to adopt race-blind admissions standards.

The reversal would restore the policy set during President George W. Bush’s administration, when officials told schools that it “strongly encourages the use of race-neutral methods” for admitting students to college or assigning them to elementary and secondary schools.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the official announcement Tuesday afternoon.

"The American people deserve to have their voices heard and a government that is accountable to them. When issuing regulations, federal agencies must abide by constitutional principles and follow the rules set forth by Congress and the President," Sessions said. "In previous administrations, however, agencies often tried to impose new rules on the American people without any public notice or comment period, simply by sending a letter or posting a guidance document on a website. That's wrong, and it's not good government."

The decision comes amid a DOJ probe whether Harvard was illegally discriminating against Asian-American students by holding them to a higher standard in its admissions process. The administration revived the probe last year after Obama civil rights officials dismissed a similar complaint.

Good - people should be able to stand on their merit and not their gender orientation or race. Hopefully, this will cut down on the number of Lesbian Yoga Studies courses too and we will have more Real Shit 101 classes.

From Missoula, Montana station KECI:

5-ton tractor still missing after tornado touches down
Weather officials say a tractor that was carried away in a tornado last week near the Montana-South Dakota state line has yet to be found.

The National Weather Service says last Thursday's storm spawned at least five tornados in rural Carter County, Montana, and Harding County, South Dakota.

The most damaging tornado received an EF-3 rating with winds estimated at 136 mph (218 kph). It traveled more than 3 miles (5 kilometers) from Montana into South Dakota, snapping trees and destroying a home and a shed.

And an EF-3 is not the biggest they get. The Enhanced Fujita Scale goes up to EF-5. There is no EF-6

Overton Window? From Infogalactic:

The Overton window, also known as the window of discourse, is the range of ideas the public will accept. It is used by media pundits. The term is derived from its originator, Joseph P. Overton (1960–2003), a former vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, who in his description of his window claimed that an idea's political viability depends mainly on whether it falls within the window, rather than on politicians' individual preferences. According to Overton's description, his window includes a range of policies considered politically acceptable in the current climate of public opinion, which a politician can recommend without being considered too extreme to gain or keep public office.

Overton described a spectrum from "more free" to "less free" with regard to government intervention, oriented vertically on an axis, to avoid comparison with the left-right political spectrum. As the spectrum moves or expands, an idea at a given location may become more or less politically acceptable.

The article includes this graphic which explains it very well:

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This post is what got me thinking about the Overton Window - from Red State:

The Democrat-Left: Stupid, Insane – And Very, Very Violent
We are in the midst of a seriously, seriously dangerous ramp up by the radical Left.  Not since the 1960s have these people been this riled up, angry – and prone to fits of violence.

The 1960s gave us murderous groups like the Weather Underground (founders of which launched future president Barack Obama’s political career) and the Black Panthers – which marred our existence for years and years.

But there is at least one HUGE difference between then and now.

Then: The comparatively moderate Democrat Party was considered another enemy of the Left – for being comparatively moderate.  Which is why the Left openly assaulted the 1968 Democrat Convention in Chicago.

Now: What were once vices, have now become habits.  The radical Left – owns and operates today’s Democrat Party.

The Democrat National Committee (DNC) – is co-run by a self-avowed Communist (Tom Perez) and a radical anti-Jew Nation of Islam adherent (Keith Ellerson).

In the 2016 Democrat presidential primary, Hillary Clinton was the alleged moderate alternative to Communist Bernie  Sanders.  But when both were in the Senate – her voting record was but 0.1% less Left than his.  Oh – and there were five Senators more Left than the both of them.

I lived through the 1960's and 1970's and have zero desire to revisit them. People have not learned their history. There are glimmers of hope though.

From the Foundation for Economic Education:

Ontario’s Minimum Wage Hike Has Been Disastrous, Especially for Disabled Workers
The Canadian province of Ontario began 2018 by raising the minimum wage from $11.60 to $14. The move was predictably praised by union leaders and most of the general public as a compassionate policy that would help workers. Equally predictable was the damage this would do to unskilled workers, much of which is already clearly visible, only half a year into this unfortunate experiment. And given that the damage caused by minimum wages takes time to unfold, more carnage is surely on the horizon.

Disabled Workers Lose Their Jobs
When the Ontario government raised the minimum wage, it also terminated an exemption for organizations providing jobs to the intellectually or physically disabled. As a result, The Globe and Mail reports, most of these organizations “have opted to stop hiring people with cognitive disabilities.” Not only was hiring stopped, community centers and non-profits were also forced to let go of their existing disabled workers.

The parents of these disabled workers organized a protest demanding exemptions from the government’s unfair minimum wage law, since no employer could afford to pay their disabled adult children $14 per hour. As no exemption has yet been granted, the clear result of the new minimum wage policy was to cut down the most vulnerable workers in the province by destroying the jobs that provided them with income and self-esteem.

Much more at the site with links to corroborating data. The socialists are still pushing for higher wages without realizing the damage their ideas are causing. A progressive is like an unsupervised three-year-old in a candy store - happy and clueless.

Sounds good - from Gallup:

Small Majority in U.S. Say the Country's Best Days Are Ahead
 Fifty-five percent of U.S. adults believe the United States' best days are "ahead of us," while 41% say they are "behind us." Americans are more optimistic about the country's future than they were the last time Gallup polled on the question, in December 2012, when Americans were nearly evenly split in their views.

The 2012 numbers were 47% ahead of us and 50% behind. Big difference between Obama and Trump.

A late start

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Slept in today - heading out for coffee and the store and then packing up the music room and starting in on the garage.

Looking forward to the move!

From The Smithsonian:

Buried by the Ash of Vesuvius, These Scrolls Are Being Read for the First Time in Millennia
It’s July 12, 2017, and Jens Dopke walks into a windowless room in Oxfordshire, England, all of his attention trained on a small, white frame that he carries with both hands. The space, which looks like a futuristic engine room, is crowded with sleek metal tables, switches and platforms topped with tubes and boxes. A tangle of pipes and wires covers the walls and floor like vines.

In the middle of the room, Dopke, a physicist, eases the frame into a holder mounted on a metal turntable, a red laser playing on the back of his hand. Then he uses his cellphone to call his colleague Michael Drakopoulos, who is sitting in a control room a few yards away. “Give it another half a millimeter,” Dopke says. Working together, they adjust the turntable so that the laser aligns perfectly with a dark, charred speck at the center of the frame.

The author takes some time setting up the story - here is a bit more:

The facility, called Diamond Light Source, is one of the most powerful and sophisticated X-ray facilities in the world, used to probe everything from viruses to jet engines. On this summer afternoon, though, its epic beam will focus on a tiny crumb of papyrus that has already survived one of the most destructive forces on the planet—and 2,000 years of history. It comes from a scroll found in Herculaneum, an ancient Roman resort on the Bay of Naples, Italy, that was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. In the 18th century, workmen employed by King Charles III of Spain, then in charge of much of southern Italy, discovered the remains of a magnificent villa, thought to have belonged to Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus (known as Piso), a wealthy statesman and the father-in-law of Julius Caesar. The luxurious residence had elaborate gardens surrounded by colonnaded walkways and was filled with beautiful mosaics, frescoes and sculptures. And, in what was to become one of the most frustrating archaeological discoveries ever, the workmen also found approximately 2,000 papyrus scrolls.

And in 1883-4, they tried unrolling a few of these scrolls with disastrous results. They crumbled. Fortunately, the rest of the 2,000+ were left intact - they did not try to read them. Very cool move - there will always be some technology in the future to fix what you can not do today.

The article is a long and wonderful read - the lead researcher was able to cobble together elements of Computer Tomography and use a particle accelerator for high energy X-Ray spectroscopy to differentiate between the ink, the carbon from the charing of the paper and the paper substrate itself. They are now able to read the scrolls without having to unroll them. This was the personal library of some Very Rich Dude from 2,000 years ago.

Fun time to be alive. Web site for: Diamond Light Source

Classic Mark Knopfler

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Been listening to some music and ran across this one:

I keep a weather eye on the horizon, back to the wall
I like to know who's coming through the door, that’s all
It's the old Army training, kickin' in
I'm not complaining, It's the world we live in
Blarney and Malarkey, they're a devious firm
They'll take you to the cleaners, or let you burn
The help is breaking dishes in the kitchen -- thanks a lot
We hired the worst dishwasher This place ever got

Comin’ in below the radar, they want to spoil our fun...
In the meantime, I'm cleaning my gun

Remember it got so cold ice froze up the tank
We lit a fire beneath her just so she would crank
Keep a weather eye on the horizon, tap the storm glass now and then
We got a case of Old Damnation For when you get here my friend

We can have ourselves a party before they come...
In the meantime, I'm cleaning my gun

We had women and a mirror ball, we had a DJ
We used to eat pretty much all came this way
Ever since the goons came in took apart the place
I keep a tire iron in the corner just in case

Gave you a magic bullet on a little chain
Keep you safe from the chilly winds and the howl of the rain
We're gonna might need bullets, should we get stuck
Any which way, we're gonna need a little luck

You can still get gas in heaven and drink in kingdom come...
In the meantime, I'm cleaning my gun

I love the minimalist recording studio and instrumentation. No AutoTune here, just a couple people who are masters at their craft and a recording engineer who knows to stay the hell away. Originally released in September 2009.

Back at the farm for a few days

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Moving some bookshelves and boxing up/clearing out the music room.

Surf for a while tonight.

Wildfire season is upon us and with all the dry weather, it is forecast to be a bad one:

Ho Li Crap

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Come on now - this is July:

Light Saber in real life

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What would happen if they were real:

Heading up North for a few days

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Spending tonight on the island and then back to the farm for a couple of days. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Probably will not even see the light of day - if it ever does, it will give the Juicero a run for its money as the most hyped/under performing modern product. From Engadget:

The SWORD is a weapon-detecting smartphone case
No matter how stylishly makers dress them up, most smartphone cases are really about one thing: protecting screens from smashing. They're fragile cargo, we get it. Of course, some enterprising companies have taken things further, whipping up cases that transform into Android phones and selfie drones. Now Royal Holdings has jumped into the fray with SWORD, a five ounce phone case that works like a 3D-imaging scanner.

Let's get the drawbacks out of the way first. Right now, SWORD is only compatible with iPhone 8 Plus and Google's Pixel 2XL, so its applications are limited. On the other hand, SWORD can scan individuals from up to 40m away -- non-invasively -- to determine whether they're carrying concealed weapons.

It supposedly does this via a programmable 3D sensor that's able to infiltrate objects using radio waves. SWORD's antennas relay a signal toward an individual and receive returning signals that are subsequently recorded by an integrated circuit. There's also a facial recognition feature that compares a person's face against a watch list, and would alert any attending security officer. Everything happens through a dedicated app and take a fraction of a second.

For all of its superhero associations, SWORD has obvious security benefits. Barry Oberholzer, the CEO of Royal Holdings, says "this type of product doesn't exist right now" but the ramifications for personnel working in airports or restricted areas are promising. If you were planning on buying SWORD, expect to pay a high price. Pre-orders are already open at $950 and you'll need to pay a $30 monthly subscription on top. There's still the question of whether SWORD can uphold all its vows, but we'll know more in spring 2019 when shipments begin.

I can only imagine the lawsuits if it mistakes something like a hip implant (which I have) for a weapon. Or the metal in the frame of a backpack or briefcase, or if it fails to detect a goblin who was wearing sunglasses that afternoon.

July 2018

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15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

Environment and Climate
AccuWeather
Cliff Mass Weather Blog
Climate Audit
Climate Depot
Green Trust
ICECAP
Jennifer Marohasy
MetaEfficient
Planet Gore
Science and Public Policy Institute
Solar Cycle 24
Space Weather
Space Weather - Canada
the Air Vent
Tom Nelson
Watts Up With That?


Science and Medicine
Derek Lowe
Junk Science
Life in the Fast Lane
Luboš Motl
Medgadget
New Scientist
Next Big Future
PhysOrg.com
Ptak Science Books
Science Blog


Geek Stuff
Ars Technica
Boing Boing
Don Lancaster's Guru's Lair
Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
FAIL Blog
Hack a Day
Kevin Kelly - Cool Tools
Neatorama
Slashdot: News for nerds
The Register
The Daily WTF
TYWKIWDBI


Comics
Achewood
The Argyle Sweater
Chip Bok
Broadside Cartoons
Day by Day
Dilbert
Medium Large
Michael Ramirez
Prickly City
Tundra
User Friendly
Vexarr
What The Duck
Wondermark
xkcd


NO WAI! WTF?¿?¿
Awkward Family Photos
Cake Wrecks
Not Always Right
Sober in a Nightclub
You Drive What?


Business and Economics
The Austrian Economists
Carpe Diem
Coyote Blog


Photography and Art
Digital Photography Review
DIYPhotography
James Gurney
Joe McNally's Blog
PetaPixel
photo.net
Shorpy
Strobist
The Online Photographer


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


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

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