Recently in Culture Category

From reenactment group The Iron Shepherds:

Medieval Meals - Cook & Eat in the 12th Century
What's for dinner? Frumenty? Plumentum? Tardpolene? Or is it beans again? These are just four meals and treats from the middle ages.

Medieval Meals - Eat & Cook in the 12th Century, by Iron Shepherds Living History, is about everyday eating: where food came from, how it changed from the 12th Century onwards, how to cook, how to serve, when to eat and the all important medieval table manners.

With 10 recipes adapted for 21st century cooks, you'll be eating like a 12th century peasant in no time!

This 40 page A5 cookbook costs just £5.00 and all money raised by the sale of this book goes to us, the Iron Shepherds, to help fund our living history displays, events and further books like this.

As a non-profit group all the money we raise through donations and purchases is funneled straight back into the work we do, to bring history to life.

The book is sold out but they have a link to be notified. Great website.

A look at modern times

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Things are actually really good:

The soup and salad were good

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The two pints of beer were also good - ran into some people from the organization so we chatted for a little bit.
Board meeting tomorrow evening.

Fall is definitely in the air - been listening to a lot of Loreena McKennitt today. I am a lowland Scott so what can I say - Celtic is in my blood. This one is singularly beautiful and powerful:

Lyrics here: Breaking Of The Sword

A bit of background at Reddit  Be sure to hit the VIEW ENTIRE DISCUSSION button to see the full story.

Seems that she is not a fan of "social media" either - from the Toronto Star:

Loreena McKennitt: Why I’m leaving Facebook
I remember as a rambunctious red-headed tomboy running around the house with my playmates and my mother admonishing me, “Don’t run so fast, you’ll break something!” And sure enough, sometimes we did.

Now, decades later, those words come flooding back as I reflect on the defining motto of Silicon Valley, “move fast and break things.” In particular, I think of Facebook.

In response to the recent revelations of its misuse of personal data, I’ve decided to leave the platform and encourage my half-million-plus followers to instead keep in touch through my website. I’m told this is a path of professional suicide, especially as I’m about to release a new recording.

Times have certainly changed in the music business since I started out busking in the 1980s. Some would argue we were the first industry to be broken.

Much more at the site - some very thoughtful observations.

Quote of the year - academia

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"The object of the university is to develop character — to make men. It misses its aim if it produced learned pedants, or simple artisans, or cunning sophists, or pretentious practitioners. Its purport is not so much to impart knowledge to the pupils, as whet the appetite, exhibit methods, develop powers, strengthen judgment, and invigorate the intellectual and moral forces. It should prepare for the service of society a class of students who will be wise, thoughtful, progressive guides in whatever department of work or thought they may be engaged."
--Johns Hopkins University President Daniel Coit Gilman, in 1876

Vox Day said it best:

In academia there is no difference between academia and the real world; in the real world there is.

Expanding your vocabulary - Scottish slang

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Some fun words - from Mental Floss:

28 Scottish Slang Words You Should Know
If you’re thinking that the slang people use in Scotland can't be that different from the slang in England — it’s the same words, just pronounced differently, right? — well, neeb, have a swatch below and find out just how wrong you are.

Here are a few:

    • Glaikit: someone who is gullible and/or lacks common sense. “She’s alright, but a bit glaikit.”
    • Heid-the-baw: an idiot
    • Bampot: an unhinged idiot.
    • Diddy: a spineless idiot.
    • Fandan: a pretentious idiot.
    • Radge: a dangerous idiot.
    • Walloper: an idiot (again).

My Dad's family was low-land Scot - I will be incorporating some of these into my vocabulary.

Great quote

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"It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe."
--Mohammad Ali

Opposite ends of the spectrum

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An appropriate trade-show graphic

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From these people: Allegheny Shredders - hat tip to JWZ for the link.

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A nice dystopian thought for your Sunday morning...

An interesting observation

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From The Atlantic:

Elite Failure Has Brought Americans to the Edge of an Existential Crisis
In 1998, The Wall Street Journal and NBC News asked several hundred young Americans to name their most important values. Work ethic led the way—naturally. After that, large majorities picked patriotism, religion, and having children.

Twenty-one years later, the same pollsters asked the same questions of today’s 18-to-38-year-olds—members of the Millennial and Z generations. The results, published last week in The Wall Street Journal, showed a major value shift among young adults. Today’s respondents were 10 percentage points less likely to value having children and 20 points less likely to highly prize patriotism or religion.

The nuclear family, religious fealty, and national pride— family, God, and country —are a holy trinity of American traditionalism. The fact that allegiance to all three is in precipitous decline tells us something important about the evolution of the American identity.

The author's basic thesis is this: The nuclear family, God, and national pride are a holy trinity of the American identity. What would happen if a generation gave up on all three?

An interesting (and well documented) read.

Vaping - from the CDC

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Straight from the horses mouth. The Centers for Disease Control:

Outbreak of Lung Illness Associated with Using E-cigarette Products
CDC, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners are investigating a multistate outbreak of severe pulmonary disease associated with e-cigarette product (devices, liquids, refill pods, and/or cartridges) use. This investigation is ongoing and has not identified a cause, but all reported cases have a history of using e-cigarette products.

Latest Outbreak Information

    • As of September 6, 2019, over 450 possible cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products have been reported to CDC from the following 33 states and 1 U.S. territory: AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MN, MT, NC, NE, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). These numbers may change frequently.
    • Five deaths have been confirmed in California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Oregon.
    • CDC worked with states to create a case definition to classify cases in a consistent way. State investigators determine if cases are confirmed or probable after examining the medical records of suspected cases and consulting with the clinical care team to exclude other possible causes. Unlike nationally reportable conditions, these cases are requiring clinicians and public health to interview patients to determine product use and individual behaviors.
    • CDC will report numbers of confirmed and probable cases once states have finalized their classification of cases.
    • We expect that states and clinicians may look back for older cases based on CDC’s case definition. States are in the process of classifying current possible cases as well as older cases.
    • No evidence of infectious diseases has been identified; therefore lung illnesses are likely associated with a chemical exposure. Initial published reports from the investigation point to clinical similarities among cases. Patients report e-cigarette use and similar symptoms and clinical findings. These align with the CDC health advisory released August 30, 2019.
    • The investigation has not identified any specific substance or e-cigarette product that is linked to all cases. Many patients report using e-cigarette products with liquids that contain cannabinoid products, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
    • These investigations are ongoing. CDC will provide updates when more information is available.

Want to quit smoking? Use the patches or gum - much safer.

Great quote - Robert Anson Heinlein

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"Progress doesn't come from early risers - progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things."
--Robert Heinlein

Get woke, go broke

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I wonder how long these videos are going to be up. Looks like the House of Dior planted their stiletto heels on a lot of SJW's little crotchal areas and they are howling in outrage... outrage I tell you...

Hey - Johnny Depp playing air guitar. Nice visuals. Not into fashion so not my circus, not my monkeys.

It will be interesting to see their 4th quarter returns.

Entitled little children - the royals

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Christ on a Corn Dog - these people. From the London Daily Mail:

Meghan and Harry 'speed up plans to leave Britain and consider Los Angeles' in snub to Prince Charles plans for an estate in Herefordshire
Friends of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex fear the pair have accelerated plans to leave Britain – after apparently snubbing Prince Charles’s plans for them to take on an estate in Herefordshire.

Land had been earmarked for Harry as part of a long-standing scheme by the Prince of Wales to help his son create a country estate for his family near the Welsh Borders.

But his second son has so far shown little interest in making the move, raising fears among friends that the couple may be preparing to head abroad – with LA high on the list of possibilities.

Sheesh. What part of "Royal Family" do you fail to grasp? Do you comprehend the word "responsibility" at all?

One of the comments nails it perfectly:

The only connections to the monarchy Meghan is interested in are the title she now has, the use of Harry as her source for the title, and as access to the First National Bank of Windsor, and using him as the platform to launch and now maintain her worldwide fame, status, and privilege. She had Archie to use as a secondary bargaining chip for the future. The next child will be her spare bargaining chip. The citizenry who fund this dumpster fire are of no use to her. She never planned to live in the UK after she rushed Harry down the aisle. This narcissistic woman plays the long game. After all, she spent two years stalking Harry and worming her way into his social circle to get where she is today.

Thank God they have Prince William in line. He is of Royal blood and acts the part.

Nice find - Norman coins

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From around 1000AD - from the Beeb:

Detectorists find huge Chew Valley Norman coin hoard
A huge hoard of silver coins dating back to the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings could be declared as treasure.

The 2,528 silver coins were found in the Chew Valley, north-east Somerset, by a group of metal detectorists.

Lisa Grace and Adam Staples, who unearthed the bulk of the hoard, said: "We've been dreaming of this for 15 years but it's finally come true."

The British Museum said it was the second largest find of Norman coins ever in the UK.

Quite the treasure. There is a delightful three-season TV show about detecting. Well worth watching for some off-beat British humor. Check out Detectorists.

We lost a hero yesterday - Jessi Combs

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From Autoblog:

Jessi Combs, race driver and TV and Autoblog host, dies in jet car accident
Jessi Combs, a well-known racer, fabricator, and host of automotive TV shows including Autoblog's "The List" video series, died yesterday while attempting to beat her own land-speed record on the dry lake bed of the Alvord Desert in Oregon. She was 39 years old.

Combs initially set a four-wheeled vehicle record of 398 miles per hour in October 2013 driving the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger. She had hit speeds of over 483 mph in subsequent followup runs as recently as last year, but mechanical issues kept those attempts out of the official record books. Just three days ago in an Instagram post, Combs indicated she was aiming for 619 mph in the jet-powered vehicle.

Her family said in a statement that "Jessi's most notable dream was to become the fastest woman on Earth" and that "she left this earth driving faster than any other woman in history."

She spent her life pushing boundaries and died doing what she loved. A true American Hero.

A new term - ELI5

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When you give an explanation in the simplest possible terms, you are ELI5-ing.

From the Urban Dictionary:

ELI5
Explain Like I'm 5.

Used when you want someone to explain something in the simplest way possible.

Hey, Can you ELI5 the Bermuda Triangle.

Going to remember (and use) that one - cute.

RIP - Peter Fonda

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Unlike his sister, he was a good person - from TMZ:

PETER FONDA DEAD AT 79 FROM LUNG CANCER
Hollywood icon Peter Fonda is easy riding into the sunset -- the veteran actor died Friday ... TMZ has learned.

A rep for Peter confirms he passed Friday morning at his his home in Los Angeles, and was surrounded by family. We're told the official cause of death was respiratory failure due to lung cancer -- and he had been in and out of the hospital recently.

A class act. His Dad too.

Interesting - from Bloomberg:

The Epstein Tapes: Unearthed Recordings From His Private Island
There are questions Jeffrey Epstein will never answer now.

But a lifetime ago—long before his dark journey ended in an apparent suicide in a Manhattan jail cell—Epstein settled into a sling-back chair on his private Caribbean island and began talking.

Over the course of more than five hours, in an interview with journalist David Bank, Epstein held forth on subjects from the dangers of having too much money to the beauty of mathematics, the importance of prenuptial agreements to the exquisite convenience of owning private jets.

That 2003 interview, captured in a previously unpublished cache of recordings, provides a rare glimpse of the enigmatic figure in his own words.

Epstein drew the rich and powerful into his orbit over three decades, even after he registered as a sex offender in 2009. His opulent retreat of Little St. James, fringed by high palms, only added to his mystique.

But why speak here, in a gazebo steps from the crystal-blue sea, rather than up in the grand main house?

“Too many girls,” Epstein said. And with that, the tape began to roll.

He was a creation of our current times. It will be fun to see what else pops up from obscure sources...

A breath of fresh air

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South Dakota is a gorgeous state. I attended a blacksmithing conference there in 2012 - it was hosted by the local University in Rapid City. They have an excellent metalurgy program and I learned a lot. This is wonderful news - from Campus Reform:

EXCLUSIVE: SD Board of Regents passes substantial free speech protections
The South Dakota Board of Regents approved modifications to a group of policies at a Wednesday and Thursday meeting that substantially protects free speech on campus by eliminating free speech zones, banning ideological discrimination, and more.

Among the policy changes, public universities in South Dakota will no longer be able to discriminate against “any student or student organization” based on viewpoint or ideology. Student organizations will also be able to require members to “affirm and adhere to the organization’s sincerely held beliefs.”

Glad to see some clear heads and solid reason. All speech matters.

Just go and read this essay at PJ Media:

No-One's Life Matters. That's Why There Are Mass Shootings
Writing in the left-wing Forward website today, Cathy Young warns the Left to take its own violence seriously:

...It has been a staple of conventional wisdom that the real danger comes almost entirely from the far right....But is that still true today? We don’t know if Connor Betts, the 24-year-old Ohio man who killed nine people (including his own sister) and wounded 27 more when he opened fire on a crowded street in Dayton on Sunday, had any involvement with Antifa. But Betts’s Twitter trail makes it clear that he was a hardcore leftist who embraced some fairly extreme ideas—and, in some cases, advocated violence toward political enemies in Antifa-style language.

Good for Ms. Young, who declines to join the chorus blaming President Trump for the last two atrocities. Never mind that the five worst mass shooting incidents took place outside the United States, or that more mass shootings occurred during the Obama presidency than under Trump. But that leaves us with the question: Why are there mass shootings?

And the analysis:

Emil Durkheim's 1897 diagnosis of "anomic suicide" describes the Columbine perpetrators as well as the 2016 San Bernardino attack by Muslim fanatics, the "right-wing" shooter in El Paso and the "left-wing" shooter in Dayton. They are individuals cut off from society, destabilized by change and despairing of their own place in the world. Such monsters always have been among us. But now we are cultivating such monsters by destroying the ties that bind us to each other, to our past and to our future.

Everyone used to matter. No-one matters anymore, not at least in the postmodern dystopia of invented identity. In the good old days we mattered because each of us was radically unique. We were unique as members of a congregation standing before the God who made us, and unique as parents watching over the children we had brought into the world. We knew that each of us had a singular purpose, first because God does nothing in vain. We hoped to make the previous generation proud of us, and the next generation worthy of its predecessors. Each of us had a mission that no-one else could carry out for us, and that mission was to raise children who were uniquely ours, and with whom we had a unique rapport through bonds of intimacy that no master's degree in psychology could replace.

Much more at the site - the author nails it. The end game of identity politics - the Balkanization of our culture.

Quote of the Month

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"Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought."
--Lord Acton

John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton is also the guy who gave us this:

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

Smart cookie...

Words to remember - crime

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From The Great One:


"We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
--Ronald Reagan

Great quote

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The cure for anything is saltwater - sweat, tears, or the sea. 
-- Isak Dinesen

From urban planning website New Geography - post is about a year old but really doubt that anything has changed.

PROGRESSIVE CITIES: HOME OF THE WORST HOUSING INEQUALITY
America's most highly regulated housing markets are also reliably the most progressive in their political attitudes. Yet in terms of gaining an opportunity to own a house, the price impacts of the tough regulation mean profound inequality for the most disadvantaged large ethnicities, African-Americans and Hispanics.

Based on the housing affordability categories used in the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey for 2016 (Table 1), housing inequality by ethnicity is the worst among the metropolitan areas rated "severely unaffordable." In these 11 major metropolitan area markets, the most highly regulated, median multiples (median house price divided by median household income) exceed 5.0. For African-Americans, the median priced house is 10.2 times median incomes. This is 3.7 more years of additional income than the overall average in these severely unaffordable markets, where median house prices are 6.5 times median household incomes. It is only marginally better for Hispanics, with the median price house at 8.9 times median household incomes, 2.4 years more than the average in these markets (Figure 1).

And the pesky numbers?

Largest Housing Affordability Gaps: African American
African-Americans have the largest housing affordability inequality gap. And these gaps are most evident in some of the nation's most progressive cities. The largest gap is in San Francisco, where the median income African-American household faces median house prices that are 9.3 years of income more than the average. In nearby San Jose ranks the second worst, where the gap is 6.2 years. Overall, the San Francisco Bay Area suffers by far the area of least housing affordability for African-Americans compared to the average household.

Portland, long the darling of the international urban planning community, ranks third worst, where the median income African-American household to purchase the median priced house. Milwaukee and Minneapolis – St. Paul ranked fourth and fifth worst followed by Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Chicago (Figure 2).

A lot more at the site. Some of the "good" cities are Democrat run (Pittsburgh) but are middle of the road and not loony-left tax-hungry progressive. Most of the good cities for blacks and hispanics are cities like Jacksonville, FL, Tuscon, AZ, San Antonio, TX, Norfolk, VA - solid Republican.

Numbers, not narrative.

Great quote from one of the masters

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"Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice."
--Thomas Paine

Party at the end of the world - from Page Six:

Google’s extravagant climate change Camp mocked as party for ‘entitled fools’
Google’s carbon-spewing climate change conference at an Italian resort has been widely slammed as a tone-deaf party for the elite A-listers who jetted there.

“Is there anything more hypocritical than a bunch of rich people flying their private jets across the world to sit on yachts and discuss the future of our planet?” said Twitter user @asilia1981, reflecting the general reaction online to this week’s Google Camp event in Sicily.

As the party drew to a close on Thursday, newspaper columns and social media were awash with criticism for the three-day, billionaire-packed event — which saw more than 200 of the world’s richest and most famous names take private jets to the Italian island and stay on mega yachts while also talking about stopping climate change.

Entitled fools is a perfect description. These people are not our intellectual betters, they are self-absorbed entertainers. For them, the image and the narrative are all that matters. They have too many other important things to be doing to bother with piddling facts.

The London Daily Mail reported on this event too. Same conclusion. Useful idiots.

Party at the end of the world? Jimmy Buffett song.

Public Domain books

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Interesting  aspect to the copyright process - from crummy:

Secretly Public Domain: "Fun facts" are, sadly, often less than fun. But here's a genuinely fun fact: most books published in the US before 1964 are in the public domain! Back then, you had to send in a form to get a second 28-year copyright term, and most people didn't bother.

This is how Project Gutenberg is able to publish all these science fiction stories from the 50s and 60s. Those stories were published in issues of magazines that didn't send in the renewal form. But up til now this hasn't been a big factor, because 1) the big publishers generally made sure to send in their renewals, and 2) it's been impossible to check renewal status in bulk.

Up through the 1970s, the Library of Congress published a huge series of books listing all the registrations and the renewals. All these tomes have been scanned -- Internet Archive has the registration books — but only the renewal information was machine-readable. Checking renewal status for a given book was a tedious job, involving flipping back and forth between a bunch of books in a federal depository library or, more recently, a bunch of browser tabs. Checking the status for all books was impossible, because the list of registrations was not machine-readable.

But! A recent NYPL project has paid for the already-digitized registration records to be marked up as XML. (I was not involved, BTW, apart from saying "yes, this would work" four years ago.) Now for anything that's unambiguously a "book", we have a parseable record of its pre-1964 interactions with the Copyright Office: the initial registration and any potential renewal.

The two datasets are in different formats, but a little elbow grease will mesh them up. It turns out that eighty percent of 1924-1963 books never had their copyright renewed. More importantly, with a couple caveats about foreign publication and such, we now know which 80%.

This was announced back in May, but I don't think it got the attention it deserved. This is a really big deal, so I had no choice but to create a bot. Here's Secretly Public Domain, which highlights unrenewed works that have already been scanned for Hathi Trust. This only represents 10% of the 80%, but it's the ten percent most likely to be interesting, and these books have the easiest path towards being available online.

Very cool! These books are treasures that need to be remembered and savored every so often. A lot of wonderful writing from these years.

Great essay at Guns Ammo Tactical Daily:

Getting your hands dirty: The practical value of impractical hobbies
You take a rusty piece of scrap metal, a hack saw, a file, and you get to work. After hours of cutting, grinding, and sanding spread out of a week’s worth of days, you’re left with a knife that’s probably not quite as good as one you might buy at Walmart for just less than you’d spend on a six-pack of beer. Somehow, you don’t see this is a waste of your time. Instead, you sit back and stare at your accomplishment with a sense of wonder — imagining how much better you’ll be able to do on the next one-armed with the stuff you were able to work out in your head by screwing up on this one.

And you’re proud of how you screwed up less this time than you did the time before.

I’m no knife smith. Likewise, although I’ve torn every gun I own apart a hundred times, replaced parts, modified others — I’m certainly no gun smith. All I am is a guy that spends the better part of his day at a desk. I use these two hands to press buttons, communicate thoughts, and make my living — and despite the real and powerful sense of accomplishment I get from writing something I’m particularly proud of, my profession is, at its heart, a purely intellectual one. I think, I communicate, others read and respond, and through the miracle of modern technology, a dialogue of thought occurs. My thoughts and yours congeal into something new: an argument about how I’m wrong, a nodded head about how I’m right, or the realization that my little piece of the analytical puzzle, combined with a dozen other pieces from other sources, can combine into a greater understanding that, although I may personally lack, I can play a role in helping you to discover. I’m honored to play my part in the song and dance that is our constantly developing understanding of the world beyond our personal horizons… but after ten hours of reading press releases and responding to emails, I find myself growing impatient with the slow march of progress that is our collective understanding.

We have become a nation of consumers and are poorer for it. I love building things. The creative process is energizing.

Tip of the hat to The Silicon Graybeard for the link.

The city of Baltimore - some numbers

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Not racism, truth. From Paul Kersey:

With Nearly 14 Times the Population of 70% Black Baltimore, New York City Had Fewer Homicides in 2017 and 2018
New York City has a population 14 times that of Baltimore (8.6 million to 619,000).

Over the past two years, 70 percent black Baltimore has had more murders than New York City.

Not per capita, not per 100,000, but in actual numbers.

20190729-murder.jpg

For New York City in 2018:

For New York City in 2017:

For Baltimore in 2018:

For Baltimore in 2017:

Does this comparison of hard numbers help provide evidence for supporting President Trump’s Tweets about Baltimore?

Some cold hard facts. America is a very dangerous place for gun violence but strip away the black on black murders and the numbers drop us way down - one of the safest places in reality.

The Democratic party beginning with Lyndon Johnson's Great Society has eroded Black Culture and family values. Most blacks used to be republican. Lyndon Johnson should be remembered for his quote: "This will have the niggers voting Democrat for the next 200 years."

A great observation

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From Guns Ammo Tactical Daily:

Getting your hands dirty: The practical value of impractical hobbies
You take a rusty piece of scrap metal, a hack saw, a file, and you get to work. After hours of cutting, grinding, and sanding spread out of a week’s worth of days, you’re left with a knife that’s probably not quite as good as one you might buy at Walmart for just less than you’d spend on a six-pack of beer. Somehow, you don’t see this is a waste of your time. Instead, you sit back and stare at your accomplishment with a sense of wonder — imagining how much better you’ll be able to do on the next one-armed with the stuff you were able to work out in your head by screwing up on this one.

And you’re proud of how you screwed up less this time than you did the time before.

I’m no knife smith. Likewise, although I’ve torn every gun I own apart a hundred times, replaced parts, modified others — I’m certainly no gun smith. All I am is a guy that spends the better part of his day at a desk. I use these two hands to press buttons, communicate thoughts, and make my living — and despite the real and powerful sense of accomplishment I get from writing something I’m particularly proud of, my profession is, at its heart, a purely intellectual one. I think, I communicate, others read and respond, and through the miracle of modern technology, a dialogue of thought occurs. My thoughts and yours congeal into something new: an argument about how I’m wrong, a nodded head about how I’m right, or the realization that my little piece of the analytical puzzle, combined with a dozen other pieces from other sources, can combine into a greater understanding that, although I may personally lack, I can play a role in helping you to discover. I’m honored to play my part in the song and dance that is our constantly developing understanding of the world beyond our personal horizons… but after ten hours of reading press releases and responding to emails, I find myself growing impatient with the slow march of progress that is our collective understanding.

A very thoughtful meditation on crafting. Just an excerpt - go and read the whole thing. We have become a society of consumers - we have no pride in what we make, what we create.

Tip of the hat to The Silicon Graybeard for the link.

Having a hard time of it - from Pew Research:

5 key takeaways about the state of the news media in 2018
#1) - U.S. newspaper circulation reached its lowest level since 1940, the first year with available data. Total daily newspaper circulation (print and digital combined) was an estimated 28.6 million for weekday and 30.8 million for Sunday in 2018. Those numbers were down 8% and 9%, respectively, from the previous year, according to the Center’s analysis of Alliance for Audited Media data. Both figures are now below their lowest recorded levels, though weekday circulation first passed this threshold in 2013.

Digital circulation for daily newspapers is harder to track. It did rise in 2018, though not enough to fully reverse the overall decline in circulation.

Revenue from circulation was steady in 2018, but ad revenue for newspapers fell 13%, according to an analysis of Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Though some national publications have seen growth in revenue and in digital subscriptions over the past few years, the newspaper sector overall continues to face challenges.

Gee - maybe if they actually printed stuff that people wanted to read - like real news and not Fake News. Four more at the site. Not surprised. My two local newspapers (here and here) alternate between two designs. Sometimes, they will ratchet down on their subscriptions - putting 90% of the news item behind a paywall. Sometimes, they will allow some measure of access - you can read five articles and then the paywall appears.

Both are now using stronger measures as it used to be that running CCleaner to deleate their cookies would renew your access. Now it is just solid paywall for the last month or so.

CCleaner is excellent software - the free version does all that you would want. Really makes a difference in performance. Their registry cleaner is PFM.

Looks like Oberlin College is having some financial difficulties - from Legal Insurrection:

Gibson’s Bakery: “there is serious concern about [Oberlin College’s] ability to pay this sizable judgment three years from now”
The $25 million damages judgment plus the over $6.5 million attorney’s fees and expenses award, puts Oberlin College almost $32 million in debt to Gibson’s Bakery and its owners.

Post-judgment interest in Ohio is 5%, which if my math is correct, on $32 million equals $1.6 million a year just in interest, or $4,384 per day. So that $32 million is going to keep growing as the inevitable appeal winds its way through the courts.

Interest aside, Oberlin College doesn’t want Gibson’s Bakery to start collecting the judgment by seizing bank accounts, college equipment, and anything else they can get their hands on.

Not surprisingly, Oberlin College has filed a Motion for a Stay of Execution of Judgment (pdf.)(full embed at bottom of post). The motion also requests that Oberlin College not be required to post a bond to secure the judgment while the trial court rules on post-trial motions Oberlin College says it will be filing.

Heh - that is what you get for siding with a couple kids who were shoplifting. Was it worth it?

Quote of the day

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Words to remember:

"Whoever fights with monsters should see to it that he does not become a monster in the process. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you."
--Friedrich Nietzsche

RIP - two of the 1960's greats

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So true - moon landing

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Fred Reed said it best: Are White Men Gods?  A most excellent rant and he does have a very valid point when you look at the historical record...

So true - 50 years of "progress"

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Michael Ramirez has a perfect example of the progress we have made in 50 years:

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Glad to see that we are clawing our way back to some semblance of sanity...

Quite the discovery - this is huge

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From The Times of Israel:

A ‘game changer’: Vast, developed 9,000-year-old settlement found near Jerusalem
An unprecedentedly vast Neolithic settlement — the largest ever discovered in Israel and the Levant, say archaeologists — is currently being excavated ahead of highway construction five kilometers from Jerusalem, it was announced on Tuesday.

The 9,000-year-old site, located near the town of Motza, is the “Big Bang” for prehistory settlement research due to its size and the preservation of its material culture, said Jacob Vardi, co-director of the excavations at Motza on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, “It’s a game changer, a site that will drastically shift what we know about the Neolithic era,” said Vardi. Already some international scholars are beginning to realize the existence of the site may necessitate revisions to their work, he said.

And the scale of the site:

Roughly half a kilometer from point to point, the site would have housed an expected population of some 3,000 residents. In today’s terms, said Vardi, prehistoric Motza would be comparable to the stature of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv — “a real metropolis.”

More at the site including some photographs. This is similar to the discoveries of Machu Picchu or Chichen Itza

Big wildfire on Maui

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Heard about it today - 9,000 acres burned. Arson and they got the moke that did it - from Hawaii News Now:

Suspect arrested in Maui arson incident that triggered massive wildfire
Police officials on Maui have arrested a man suspected of starting a wildfire that burned more than 9,000 acres of land and forced temporary evacuations for some Kihei and Maalaea residents.

County officials say Holden Bingham was arrested just before 7:30 p.m. Monday evening on suspicion of first-degree arson.

The 28-year-old man, who has no local address, was released pending further investigation, but is still being held on unrelated arrest warrants, according to Maui County.

Bingham is a convicted felon who has previously been incarcerated at the Maui Community Correctional Center. He recently agreed to be interviewed by Hawaii News Now for a story on the conditions at the overcrowded facility.

Gotta love that last line: for a story on the conditions at the overcrowded facility

Hey, if you are in jail, you did something against society or one of its citizens. Jail time is supposed to be punishment and not three hots and a cot. They need to bring back hard labor - not chain gangs but I bet that if Mr. Bingham were made to clean up some of his mess, he might not be so cavalier in the future. Pay something back to society.

And the numbers show it - from FOX News:

CNN mired in a credibility crisis as ratings continue to collapse, experts say
CNN is suffering a credibility crisis as viewership for the once-proud network continues to crater with no apparent plan in place to fix things anytime soon, according to media watchdogs and insiders.

CNN’s audience shriveled in the second quarter of 2019, averaging only 541,000 total viewers, less than half Fox News Channel’s 1.3 million average. But CNN struggled even more during the primetime hours of 8-11 p.m. ET, finishing as the fifteenth most-watched network on basic cable behind networks such as TLC, Investigation Discovery and the Hallmark Channel. CNN averaged a dismal 761,000 primetime viewers while FNC averaged 2.4 million.

When you do not broadcast what people are wanting, they will move to other sources. Like the title says...

As California continues to shake (about 50 quakes today, nothing under 2.5 Mag and very very shallow), Commander Zero has some words of advice regarding his own experiences with the 1994 Northridge quake (not mentioning the 1989 Loma Prieta quake, a stronger one; also in an urban setting):

California rolls
California shimmied like a little hula figurine on the dashboard. I have virtually no experience with earthquakes except for that one time I was flat on my bed in a hospital, with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel, and we had the strongest earthquake in 60 years. Its a very queer feeling when something as ‘rock solid’ as the ground beneath you suddenly becomes Jell-o. Its like watching the sun set in the north, or seeing water flow uphill…your brain just cannot comprehend it.

I’ll be cruising the usual discussion boards looking at peoples AARs. It is always good to learn at other peoples expense. Still trying to figure out how the California politicians will blame this on Trump…

Moral of the story: It happens. You’re not wasting your time and money by being ready for it. It DOES happen.

AAR is an After Action Report - people involved in preparedness and communication always debrief after whether it's a training exercise or the real thing. This is where you find the flaws in your system and work to improve them for the next time. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Raconteur Report takes this and offers their own précis:

TL;DR?

    1. No one is coming to help you. YOYO. Plan accordingly.
    2. 72 hours of supplies? AHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Try 14-30 days, minimum. Yes, really. IMHO, if you're not ready for 60 days totally self-sustained, you're selling yourself short.
    3. Northridge utilities/situation overview:
      • Power: Nada. For 11 days. They weren't even sure they could reboot an entire city from scratch when they flipped the switches, but it worked. That time.
      • Water: Boil water orders for 30+ days, thousands of breaks in water mains (18" from sewer mains, btw). 25 years later and L.A. still hasn't found and fixed them all. (Doubt me? Google "L.A. sinkholes" since 1994-yesterday. The prosecution rests, your Honor.)
      • Heat: It was sunny the day after, even in January. If this had been cold, wet winter, like anywhere in 49 other states, or half of even this one, we would have started loosing people to exposure within two-three days.
      • Communication: Ha. Pre-cell era. No POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) for a week. Now, >50% of people don't even have landline POTS. (Might want to rethink that clever strategy, kids.) And cell towers have far less capacity, and maybe 24-72 hrs battery back-up. Maybe.
      • ATMs: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Cash in hand, or do without.
      • Retail business: AHAHAHAHAHA. For two weeks. Only when the power came back on.
      • Transportation grid: Hundreds of normal overpasses condemned.  The I-5 down to one lane in each direction for a month, and 300 yards of 100-foot-tall overpass gone.
      • Gasoline: Did I mention there was no power for 11 days??  You had the gas you had, until it ran out, or you drove 50 miles away to fill a tank, out of the affected area. So, imagine that was not possible, or a lot farther away than 50 miles.  And remember, hundreds of freeway overpasses were out.
      • General destruction: they were still pulling bodies and victims out of rubble two days later, and than was with less than 100 actual rescues or fatalities, and everyone within 200 miles helping out.  Now imagine 1000, or 10,000 victims.

Most of the preparedness strategies are dead simple - buy a few extra cans of food when you go grocery shopping. Save milk/juice containers and refill them with water and a drop of Clorox. Go here and spend about two months, a few hours a week, memorizing the questions and answers and become a licensed amateur radio operator. You can buy a really decent transceiver kit for under $50 (this has a much better antenna, an additional battery and the programming cable - you use free software to set up for your local frequencies instead of having to use the internal keypad). Make sure you have some books and a radio to keep you occupied as well as a source of light and maybe something to heat your food. Do a little bit of this every week and you will be set sooner than you realize it.

September 2019

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