April 2010 Archives

A quiet Beltane eve

Celebrating a quiet Beltane evening. Jen said that she was going to do a bonfire tomorrow. Off to the DaveCave(tm) to check email and then to an early bed.
Check out The Magical Loaf Studio. Select your choice of Protein, Carb, Nuts or Seeds, Vegetables, etc... and it kicks out a recipe for a dinner loaf. From Jennifer McCann who writes at The Vegan Lunchbox Looks really interesting -- will have to try in the next day or two.

I knew it!

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I was wondering about the coincidence of the Deepwater Horizon disaster coming so close on the heels of President Obama's proclamation on off-shore drilling. Now we find out the backstory -- from What Does It Mean:
US Orders Blackout Over North Korean Torpedoing Of Gulf Of Mexico Oil Rig
A grim report circulating in the Kremlin today written by Russia�s Northern Fleet is reporting that the United States has ordered a complete media blackout over North Korea�s torpedoing of the giant Deepwater Horizon oil platform owned by the World�s largest offshore drilling contractor Transocean that was built and financed by South Korea�s Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd., that has caused great loss of life, untold billions in economic damage to the South Korean economy, and an environmental catastrophe to the United States.

Most important to understand about this latest attack by North Korea against its South Korean enemy is that under the existing �laws of war� it was a permissible action as they remain in a state of war against each other due to South Korea�s refusal to sign the 1953 Armistice ending the Korean War.

To the attack itself, these reports continue, the North Korean �cargo vessel� Dai Hong Dan believed to be staffed by 17th Sniper Corps �suicide� troops left Cuba�s Empresa Terminales Mambisas de La Habana (Port of Havana) on April 18th whereupon it �severely deviated� from its intended course for Venezuela�s Puerto Cabello bringing it to within 209 kilometers (130 miles) of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform which was located 80 kilometers (50 miles) off the coast of the US State of Louisiana where it launched an SSC Sang-o Class Mini Submarine (Yugo class) estimated to have an operational range of 321 kilometers (200 miles).

On the night of April 20th the North Korean Mini Submarine manned by these �suicidal� 17th Sniper Corps soldiers attacked the Deepwater Horizon with what are believed to be 2 incendiary torpedoes causing a massive explosion and resulting in 11 workers on this giant oil rig being killed outright. Barely 48 hours later, on April 22nd , this North Korean Mini Submarine committed its final atrocity by exploding itself directly beneath the Deepwater Horizon causing this $1 Billion oil rig to sink beneath the seas and marking 2010�s celebration of Earth Day with one of the largest environmental catastrophes our World has ever seen.

To the reason for North Korea attacking the Deepwater Horizon, these reports say, was to present US President Obama with an �impossible dilemma� prior to the opening of the United Nations Review Conference of the Parties to the Treat on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) set to begin May 3rd in New York.
Visit the website for an analysis of the reason and a lot of corroborating links. Makes about as much sense as the front fell off.
From The Wokingham (UK) Times:
Ian Smith, Jean Omerod, Mo Smith,
and Mani and Aloy Perera are angry about the solar panels.
Neighbours at war over solar panels
A neighbourhood dispute has erupted in Finchampstead after a couple installed solar panels on their roof.

Patrick and Gillian Flynn, who live in Moor Close, off Barkham Ride in Finchampstead, have south-facing solar panels to heat their water and power their home.

Some neighbours have complained the panels are an �eyesore�, adding they are on a �near-industrial scale�.

Ian and Maureen Smith, who live across the road from the house, say it has become a �blot on the landscape� and the solar panels should be re-sited on the back of the house where they would not be overlooked.
Emphasis mine. Talk about clueless... And the citizens are angry. Angry I tell you! They should find something else to do -- here is someone actually doing something effective about the stunningly high energy cost in Europe and his neighbors are trying to tear him down. Talk about being perpetually glum...

The Deepwater Horizon disaster

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Mostly Cajun links to a PDF of images from the disaster. His entire post here:
Deepwater Horizon
This PDF has come at me from a couple of friends today. The first page is a descriptive writeup about the platform itself. Then there are 36 hours worth of pictures. It�s interesting to view if you�re interested in such things.
Horizon � 1 .5 megs

I find it a somewhat disturbing coincidence that only a couple of weeks after Obama generously deigns to allow offshore drilling in places that aren�t known for oil, this rig in the lucrative Gulf of Mexico just happens to blow up.

Note some numbers: This thing was in 5000 feet, that�s a mile, deep water, and it dropped a drilling pipe through a mile of water and drilled another THREE AND A HALF MILES into the earth to tap into oil-bearing formations. It was forty miles from land.

Friends, as somebody who grew up on the periphery of the oil business, this stuff today is freakin� magic. When I was a kid, an �offshore platform� sat on the floor of the gulf and did its business. And a drill that went more than a few thousand feet was a rarity.

The �easy� oil is gone. It takes men who are as much magicians as the teams that put America on the moon to get to oil where it is being found today. That work is still dangerous. Eleven lives lost on this platform are a testament to that fact. What is equal testament, though, it there are still a few thousand men out there on platforms working day and night to keep America�s energy flowing: both oil and natural gas, and they do it day in and day out, seven days on, seven days off, 14 and 14, whatever, living and working out there. The Gulf is criss-crossed daily by workboats and helicopters ferrying men and supplies out to those platforms. Additionally, there are dozens of strange craft, performing specialized tasks like working over old wells and repairing the wellheads and pipelines, and surveying the waters for more oil and gas.

All that takes place every day, men working in unforgiving and dangerous environs. Fatalities are rare. Injuries and deaths happen, but they ARE rare. That fact is testament to companies that care, and men that are careful and skilled. Yes, there are exceptions, but the old free-wheeling Wild West days of the oil biz are a bygone era. Oilfield is business, and you don�t stay in business by killing people and destroying half-billion-dollar platforms.
As horrible as this is, I bet that it is a lot safer than flying in an airline. When you look at the list of the big spills, they are incredibly rare -- 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, 1988 Piper Alpha blowout -- about every twenty years or so. If you look at the complete list of oil spills; yes, there are a lot of them but most are under 1,000 tons of oil spilled. The environment gets a lot more than this from natural seepage - from Science Daily:
Natural Petroleum Seeps Release Equivalent Of Up To 80 Exxon Valdez Oil Spills
Twenty years ago, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez was exiting Alaska's Prince William Sound when it struck a reef in the middle of the night. What happened next is considered one of the nation's worst environmental disasters: 10.8 million gallons of crude oil spilled into the pristine Alaskan waters, eventually covering 11,000 square miles of ocean.

Now, imagine 8 to 80 times the amount of oil spilled in the Exxon Valdez accident.

According to new research by scientists from UC Santa Barbara and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), that's how much oil has made its way into sediments offshore from petroleum seeps near Coal Oil Point in the Santa Barbara Channel. Their research, reported in an article being published in the May 15 issue of Environmental Science & Technology, documents how the oil is released by the seeps, carried to the surface along a meandering plume, and then deposited on the ocean floor in sediments that stretch for miles northwest of Coal Oil Point.
And it's not just California that has this, this is common in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. The quantities of the natural petroleum seeps are so high that averaging the entire history of commercial petroleum production and accidents, the natural leaks are close to 50% of the total pollution. From the Global Marine Oil Pollution Information Gateway:
Natural Sources of marine oil pollution
Crude oil and natural gas seeps naturally out of fissures in the ocean seabed and eroding sedimentary rock. These seeps are natural springs where liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons leak out of the ground (like springs that ooze oil and gas instead of water). Whereas freshwater springs are fed by underground pools of water, oil and gas seeps are fed by natural underground accumulations of oil and natural gas (see USGS illustration). Natural oil seeps are used in identifying potential petroleum reserves.

As pointed out by the National Research Council (NRC) of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, "natural oil seeps contribute the highest amount of oil to the marine environment, accounting for 46 per cent of the annual load to the world's oceans. -- Although they are entirely natural, these seeps significantly alter the nature of nearby marine environments. For this reason, they serve as natural laboratories where researchers can learn how marine organisms adapt over generations of chemical exposure. Seeps illustrate how dramatically animal and plant population levels can change with exposure to ocean petroleum".
Emphasis mine -- yes, this is a horrible tragedy and yes, the pollution from this is going to be expansive to clean up. No, this is not the result of a carelessly operated plant -- these people were at the top of their game. You do not get promoted to a job like this is you are cavalier or stupid. And when looking at the pollution, you need to remember that not all pollution is man-made.
From FOX News:
Mexican Hypocrisy? U.S. Neighbor Has Its Own Tough Take on Immigration
Mexican President Felipe Calderon says his government "cannot and will not remain indifferent" in the face of Arizona's new immigration enforcement law, which he says violates human rights. But Mexico itself has "incredibly restrictive" immigration laws, experts told FoxNews.com.

When Arizona's law goes into effect this summer, law enforcement officers in the state will be required to verify the immigration status of individuals they suspect are in the country illegally. President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder quickly criticized the law despite its popularity in Arizona, and a referendum drive and a lawsuit have emerged as potential roadblocks to it.

But Calderon's objection has riled some immigration policy experts, who called his take on the measure misguided given Mexico's policies on unauthorized residents, particularly how the country deals with illegal entry and foreign ownership of property.

"It shows more than anything else that Mexico's restrictive immigration policies have kept that country poor and in conflict for years," said Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy analyst for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based conservative think tank. "The United States should not try to emulate that."

Before last year, when Mexican immigration law was amended, the penalties for entering Mexico illegally ranged from fines to imprisonment for up to two years, followed by deportation. The law now allows for fines up to 5700 pesos (roughly $470), and a $400 fine for overstaying on a visa.
A bit more:
Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin said Mexico's immigration laws are "far more draconian" than those in the United States, adding that Mexican authorities can "exercise any discretion" regarding deportations.
Curious how the 'progressives' will wail and gnash their teeth when Arizona steps up to the plate to defend itself but they are silent as a tomb when it comes to looking at a neighboring nation. The Democrat strategy is plain and simple. Get these people into our Nation, get them voting rights and get them adicted to Welfare. The Democrats are creating an under-class that is cheap to maintain, will never get 'uppity' and will vote solidly for the Democratic party for the rest of their lives. This is the same thing that Lyndon Baines Johnson did with his Great Society and America's Black population and we all know how well that went over...
Not so much according to this article at the Tacoma, WA News Tribune:
Union squelches Tacoma school volunteers at weekend work party
Volunteers at a weekend work party at Fawcett Elementary School in East Tacoma came prepared to get their hands dirty.

But some say they felt like they were working with one grubby hand tied behind their backs last weekend due to school district and union rules.

�There was a lot of work that could have been done, but wasn�t,� said Ron Joslin, whose daughter is a third-grader at the school.

He and other parents complain that district officials scaled back the scope of work planned by several dozen parents working with more than 100 volunteers from Comcast.

�Somebody from the school district said it would take away union jobs,� said Tiesha Williams, one of the parents who turned out Saturday. District and union officials acknowledge that the project list was narrowed at their request. But they say there are good reasons.

Tacoma Public Schools spokesman Dan Voelpel said the district appreciates volunteer efforts to help make schools better, but there�s a protocol for volunteer cleanups. First, volunteers must fill out a form detailing what the work party plans to do.

�Our buildings and grounds supervisory staff need to review it to make sure that what people want to do is safe and up to school standards,� Voelpel said. �And we have to, by union contract, notify the unions affected. They can determine if the work being performed substantially takes away from union labor. They can object to the work proposed.�

Mark Martinez, executive secretary for the Pierce County Building and Construction Trades Council, put it this way: �Sometimes people don�t appreciate our craft.�

His union represents an estimated 60 Tacoma schools employees.
Christ on a corndog -- Sometimes people don�t appreciate our craft Unions have lost sight of what they are for. They were formed to protect the rights and the safety of the workers. Now, they are only about preserving the union itself and about power and control. If the Unions were effective, they would have shut down the Massey Coal mine long before the fire and explosion. The workers knew that working conditions there were below mining standards. The Unions sat back and did nothing. Now thirty workers are dead. If the Unions were effective, they would have shut down the Tesoro Refinery in Anacortes, WA long before the fire and explosion. The workers knew that working conditions there were below refinery standards. The Unions sat back and did nothing. Now seven workers are dead. If the Unions were effective, they would not be negotiating egregious pensions for their workers. Why should a worker who puts $200K into their retirement plan be able to receive almost One Million in pension and benefits on retirement. The workers should be shown that this is not sustainable but the Union bosses tell them that everything is fine and they just go along with it. Those workers that "get it" figure that they will be out of the system before it crashes so they might as well sit back and get theirs. The Unions sat back and did nothing. Now the retirement plan is crashing a lot sooner than expected. Power and Control in the hands of a few. Nothing less, nothing more. Certainly not caring for the workers.

One less wily coyote

It seems that Texas Governor Rick Perry is quite the good shot. From the Washington Post:

Texas gov. shoots, kills 'wily' coyote during jog
Pistol-packing Texas Gov. Rick Perry has a message for wily coyotes out there: Don't mess with my dog.

Perry told The Associated Press on Tuesday he needed just one shot from the laser-sighted pistol he sometimes carries while jogging to take down a coyote that menaced his puppy during a February run near Austin.

Perry said he will carry his .380 Ruger - loaded with hollow-point bullets - when jogging on trails because he is afraid of snakes. He'd also seen coyotes in the undeveloped area.

When one came out of the brush toward his daughter's Labrador retriever, Perry charged.

"Don't attack my dog or you might get shot ... if you're a coyote," he said Tuesday.

Perry, a Republican running for a third full term against Democrat Bill White, is living in a private house in a hilly area southwest of downtown Austin while the Governor's Mansion is being repaired after a 2008 fire. A concealed handgun permit holder, Perry carries the pistol in a belt.

"I knew there were a lot of predators out there. You'll hear a pack of coyotes. People are losing small cats and dogs all the time out there in that community," Perry said.

There are three coyote families within earshot of the farm. Wonderful to hear them singing at night. There is one first-year male who has been getting a little bit too bold for my tastes. I do not mind them in the woods -- in fact I encourage them as a healthy food chain indicates a healthy ecosystem. When an individual member of a family loses its caution and starts coming out of the woods, crossing several hundred feet of pasture and coming to within 30 feet of my house and my critters, I start reaching for the hunting rifle. I haven't had to do it often but that is one critter that needs to be removed will be removed from the population at large...

Kerri Toloczko writes about California at Breitbart's Big Government:
Junk Science Has Consequences: Environmental Lobby Shows No Concern for California�s Financial Woes
California is broke. Its nearly bankrupt status leaves residents with few financial resources to deal with imaginary threats to health and safety.

Yet in the face of an economic meltdown, the state still allows special interests to dictate high cost administrative procedures.

The reasons California is suffering severe economic woes is clear: It has the highest sales tax in the country and the 6th largest overall tax burden. As its voluminous environmental restrictions are based on political interests rather than sound science, they significantly hamper the ability of California�s entrepreneurs to conduct business profitably.

According to a recent California Legislative report, regulation costs Golden State businesses approximately $493B in lost output and 3.8M jobs � resulting in a tax revenue loss of $16M.

The annual regulatory burden per person is $13K.
She goes on to talk about the Bisphenol A bullshit -- agency after agency have said that it is harmless in the quantities used but the California regulators wanted it to be evil so they made it evil and banned it.
The California Development and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee (DART-IC) operates under the state�s Safe Water and Toxic Enforcement Act to identifying and ban harmful chemicals in water. Like most California agencies, it generally leans left.

Yet in July 2009, DART-IC determined that Bisphenol A (BPA), a major component in plastic products was safe and refused to classify it as a toxicant under California�s strict safe drinking laws.

BPA is a resin used in sports and baby bottles, shatterproof windows, medical devices and other consumer and commercial products. DART-IC�s decision was based on testimony as well as reports from the National Toxicology Program, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control, and investigative scientific bodies in Canada, Australia, Japan and the EU, all of which found BPA posed no threat.

Enter the media, trial lawyers and environmental extremists.
What do you call 1,000 lawyers at the bottom of a clif. A good start.

Silly little moonbats

Talk about stupidity -- from the New York Daily News:
Opponents of immigration law call for boycott of Arizona Iced Tea - but it is brewed in New York!
Opponents of Arizona's new anti-immigrant law are calling for a boycott of the state's products - including the popular Arizona Iced Tea.

The problem: Arizona Iced Tea is actually brewed in New York.

Online, misguided tea fans vowed to switch to Lipton or Snapple.

"Dear Arizona: If you don't change your immigration policy, I will have to stop drinking your enjoyable brand of iced tea," Twittered Jody Beth in Los Angeles.

"It is the drink of fascists," wrote Travis Nichols in Chicago.

The company did not return messages asking if they planned to set the public straight.

Founded in Brooklyn in 1992, the firm was based in Queens before moving into a new $35 million headquarters in Nassau County last year.
The article concludes with this:
Actual Arizona firms facing a boycott: Cold Stone Creamery, U-Haul and Best Western.
Three companies I will make an effort to patronize in the future. Sheesh -- boycotting is sooooo '60's...

Now why is this news?

From MyWay/Associated Press:

Illegal immigrants plan to leave over Ariz. law
Many of the cars that once stopped in the Home Depot parking lot to pick up day laborers to hang drywall or do landscaping now just drive on by.

Arizona's sweeping immigration bill allows police to arrest illegal immigrant day laborers seeking work on the street or anyone trying to hire them. It won't take effect until summer but it is already having an effect on the state's underground economy.

"Nobody wants to pick us up," Julio Loyola Diaz says in Spanish as he and dozens of other men wait under the shade of palo verde trees and lean against a low brick wall outside the east Phoenix home improvement store.
The article then closes with this sob story:

Natalia Garcia, 35, from Mexico City, says she and her husband - a day laborer - will stay so their daughters - both born in the U.S. - can get a good education and learn English. The couple have been living in Arizona illegally for the last 10 years.

"Mexico doesn't have a lot of opportunities," she says. "Here, we work honestly, and we have a better life."

Olga Sanchez, 32, from southern Mexico, lives in Phoenix illegally with her two brothers, who are 21 and 17. While the youngest boy is in high school, all three work and send money back home to their parents.

"This law is very bad for us," says Sanchez, who gets about $250 a week cleaning three houses. "I'm afraid of what's going to happen."

She says the family is going to wait and see if the law takes effect and what the fallout will be before deciding whether to leave. The law is certain to be challenged in court; Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff already are considering lawsuits.

"All I ask from God is a miracle for us to stay here and work," she says.
Natalia -- the miracle is not going to come from God. You need to apply for a green card and then work to get your citizenship. Yes, it is hard but if you want to be here legally, that is your only option.

A telling insight

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From the UK Financial Times:
Not an exact science but getting there
Sir, P.A. Stahl (Letters, April 26) argues that economic theory fails to generate quality predictions, such as the recent financial crisis, yet allows it to be �a rudimentary forerunner to a real science�. However, his description of economics as a pseudo-science follows exactly Thomas Kuhn�s structure of scientific revolutions. Kuhn argues that scientific theory does not evolve in a straightforward manner, but from successive phases of paradigm shifts.

Mr Stahl suggests that economics is not to be compared with a real science such as atomic physics. Yet, to disqualify economic theory because it failed in the crisis is to suggest that physics has failed as a science because it does not have a unified theory for quantum mechanics and the general theory of relativity. It was more than 200 years before Einstein improved Newton�s laws of gravity and now, a century later, there still is no consensus on the role of gravity in quantum mechanics.

Recent qualifications on the theories of efficient markets and rational investor behaviour imply that economics as a science is at least in the pre-scientific phase of Kuhn. I have to agree that the current phase suggests that economics is not an exact science. However, if one allows for the development of economic theory, Kuhn would agree that advancement is expected.

A serious empiricist would see the recent discussion as nothing more than the development of normal science.

Dr. Sanjay Bissessur
Assistant Professor,
University of Amsterdam Business School,
The Netherlands
The issue I have is with the opening line: "economic theory fails to generate quality predictions, such as the recent financial crisis, yet allows it to be �a rudimentary forerunner to a real science" The problem here is that we think that if only we can improve our models enough, that we will finally "get a handle" on how markets work and we can successfully steer them. Keynes and all that. The marketplace is simply too complex to model -- any attempt by us to do so will always result in abject failure and the problem is that failure has an adverse financial effect on all of us. When the markets are set free -- left to their own devices; you see some surceases, some failures but you also see an overall rapid rise in growth and healthy business activity. Why John Maynard Keynes remains so popular beggars my imagination. It is the Austrians turn... I remind you of this:

Oracle fun and games

I have used Oracle before and it is a good database but, like any large application, there are a lot of ancillary programs that go along with an operating database and I swear that they farm the programming of these out to drunken paralytic imbeciles (and I am not intending to besmirch the honorable reputations of any drunken paralytic imbeciles that might be reading this). For a wonderful example read Lennart's tale of woe from The Daily WTF:
What's Gone and What's Past Help
Lennart wasn't quite out of college yet. He still had a semester to go after his co-op job, and he had used everything he'd learned from his Career Integration course to land a job with a respectably-sized, multi-national corporation. The position was end-user support for the company's Oracle installs. It wasn't an ideal position, especially considering some sentiments he agreed with -- but given the dry job market, he couldn't complain.

On his first day, he was given a desk, and a dust-coughing beige box. It was just like a computer, only slower. He spent the better part of the morning uninstalling a plethora of memory-hoggers. That, and rebooting. So much rebooting. Each uninstall brought him one logarithmic step closer to a usable computer.

He'd just uninstalled Oracle Instant Client and was about to install the full blown Administrator-Client, when the support phone rang.

"The database is gone!" said the frantic voice on the other end.
For those that have worked with Oracle before, continue reading the story. For those not familiar with it, there is a central server (or cluster) that hosts the database. Where to locate that server(s) is handled by a text file named "tnsnames.ora" The database user will have a database client installed on their personal workstation. The client (one of the perfidious ancillary applications I talked about) will access the tnsnames.ora file and from that, determine the IP address it needs to access to find the database. This file is located on another machine connected to the network so that all users can see the same file and if changes need to be made, only the one file needs to be changed. When Lennart uninstalled his database client application, the uninstall program not only deleted all of the application files, it deleted all of the files it referenced including the hapless tnsnames.ora file. This is not a good way to run a database -- cleaning up after yourself is a wonderful thing. A lot of applications do not do this (cough)Adobe(cough) but to delete a file that is on a network share and not on your personal hard drive is absolute idiocy. For a company with such an ego, they really should write better code. Reminds me of that line about what is the difference between God and Larry Ellison. God doesn't think he is Larry.
Talk about clueless perception and response -- from Jim Hoft writing at Breitbart's Big Government:
Team Obama Calls Out Swat Team on Tea Party Patriots!
The SWAT Team was called in today at the Quincy Tea Party Rally. Obama was speaking at the convention center this afternoon.
Sure looks vicious to me... And, there was someone with a camcorder:
Here is the website for the Quincy TEA Party.

The Beer Cave - an update

The crew started installing the Beer Cave this morning.

There is actually a name change going on -- it is being renamed to the Water Cave. The room used to be leased by a Baptist Church that downsized as their congregation has fallen off a bit. The room I took over used to be their Sunday School room and installing a Beer Cave in that might be a wee bit problematic when I get to the next life. Hence the renaming.

We will have water in there, nice and cold and bubbly, for sale to our customers. Any miracles that happen -- well, we will be more than happy to defer to the higher power...




The construction is pretty clever -- a system of cams and pins locks everything together. Took them just a day to put the whole thing in. Tomorrow, they come and haul out an old 3-door freezer that died. This will require removing the rear door frame and sill plate. Fun Fun Fun...

The Costco Prank

Inveterate prankster Rob Cockerham has outdone himself. From Cockeyed.com:
The Costco Prank
I am a Costco member, specializing in purchases of bananas and milk.

On a recent visit in search of a quality, yet low-priced tequila, I realized that their on shelf price tags are rather generic.

They are printed without decoration, black on white paper measuring four by seven inches, with a straightforward layout using common fonts.

And if I can make it, I can prank it.

I made a list of all the absurd products that Costco should have, and dropped them into my new Costco shelf pricetag template. Mike suggested a tag for 1944 Chateau La fete boxed wine. Rob Jordan suggested "Goat Balls" and a "Get out of Jail Free Gift Card". Chris suggested "Gift of the Magi".

Finding identical plastic sign holders looked like it was going to be expensive, so I faked it with a laminated version instead. I used adhesive/magnetic tape on the reverse.

Once I knew I could make pretty good copies, I solicited a few helpers. But first, I had to find out if they phony tags would actually work!

My target was the Costco on Expo Blvd. in Sacramento. It was super busy on Saturday afternoon, so I had almost no fear of being seen. I kept my fake tags hidden under the child seat of my shopping cart until I was ready to strike. But no one noticed. I placed three tags, trying to get them placed in an appropriate spot of the store.
A few of the tags:



More of Rob's wonderful work at his website: Cockeyed

The new iPad

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Looks cool but it is missing a few items. A way to print is one of them. Fortunatly, the ever wonderful Miss Cellania found a quick workaround:
From The Hollywood Reporter:
Redstone rips Rupert Murdoch over print biz
Sumner Redstone said his CBS-Viacom empire doesn't need a financial channel akin to CNBC or Fox Business Network, then for good measure he tossed a few insults at fellow media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

"He paid $5 billion for the Wall Street Journal without competition. And you know what? There won't be any newspapers in a few years," he told a crowd late Monday at the Milken Institute Global Conference.

"The difference between me and Murdoch is, he lives in ink and I live with movies and television," Redstone said. "Ink is going to go away, and movies and television will be here forever -- just like me."
Clarke's Number One Law?
1.When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
Redstone is not a scientist but this law still applies. All three can be found here: Clarke's three laws I will not mourn the passing of the New York Times -- they have not aged well and are being run into the ground by clueless management and ownership. Publications like the Wall Street Journal will still be strong thirty years from now. They may transition from print to digital media but they will survive and thrive. What Murdoch was buying was not a bunch of printing presses, it was the corporate culture. Even if the existing staff start leaving in droves, there is still the corporate culture that will train new staff and continue the WSJ's tradition of fact checking and relevant reporting.

James Hance - artist

An artist with a wonderful sense of humor. His primary website is here: James Hance and it links to his store at Artbreak Three tastes:
Force by Northwest

Homeless Stormtrooper

Lord Vader and Binkey

Now this could be interesting

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From the Herald Scotland:
Scientists make cancer cells vanish
Scottish scientists have made cancer tumours vanish within 10 days by sending DNA to seek and destroy the cells.

The system, developed at Strathclyde and Glasgow universities, is being hailed as a breakthrough because it appears to eradicate tumours without causing harmful side-effects. A leading medical journal has described the results so far as remarkable, while Cancer Research UK said they were encouraging.

Dr Christine Dufes, a lecturer at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences and leader of the research, said: �The tumours were completely gone within 10 days. It is fantastic. When you talk about 10 days that is the time frame for curing a cold. Imagine if within 10 days you could completely make a tumour disappear.�

Researchers around the world are trying to find ways to use genes as a cancer treatment, but one problem is ensuring they attack the tumour without destroying healthy tissue.

In laboratory experiments the Strathclyde research team used a plasma protein called transferrin, which carries iron through the blood, to deliver the therapeutic DNA to the right spot. Once in situ the DNA produced a protein that attacked the tumour cells.
There is a long road from mouse to man but if this pans out, it will be wonderful.
Not so much. From Forbes:
Still Government Motors
GM CEO Ed Whitacre announced in a Wall Street Journal column Wednesday that his company has paid back its government bailout loan "in full, with interest, years ahead of schedule." He is even running TV ads on all major networks to that effect--a needless expense given that a credulous media is only too happy to parrot his claims for free. Detroit Free Press' Mike Thompson, for example, advises bailout proponents to start "warming up their vocal chords" to jeer their opponents with chants of "I told you so."

But before belting out their victory aria, GM-boosters ought to hear the whole story--not just the fairytale version about Government Motors' grand comeback that Mr. Whitacre is feeding them.

Uncle Sam gave GM $49.5 billion last summer in aid to finance its bankruptcy. (If it hadn't, the company, which couldn't raise this kind of money from private lenders, would have been forced into liquidation, its assets sold for scrap.) So when Mr. Whitacre publishes a column with the headline, "The GM Bailout: Paid Back in Full," most ordinary mortals unfamiliar with bailout minutia would assume that he is alluding to the entire $49.5 billion. That, however, is far from the case.

Because a loan of such a huge amount would have been politically controversial, the Obama administration handed GM only $6.7 billion as a pure loan. (It asked for only a 7% interest rate--a very sweet deal considering that GM bonds at that time were trading below junk level.) The vast bulk of the bailout money was transferred to GM through the purchase of 60.8% equity stake in the company--arguably an even worse deal for taxpayers than the loan, given that the equity position requires them to bear the risk of the investment without any guaranteed return. (The Canadian government likewise gave GM $1.4 billion as a pure loan, and another $8.1 billion for an 11.7% equity stake. The U.S. and Canadian government together own 72.5% of the company.)

But when Mr. Whitacre says GM has paid back the bailout money in full, he means not the entire $49.5 billion--the loan and the equity. In fact, he avoids all mention of that figure in his column. He means only the $6.7 billion loan amount.

But wait! Even that's not the full story given that GM, which has not yet broken even, much less turned a profit, can't pay even this puny amount from its own earnings.

So how is it paying it?

As it turns out, the Obama administration put $13.4 billion of the aid money as "working capital" in an escrow account when the company was in bankruptcy. The company is using this escrow money--government money--to pay back the government loan.
And this is only the first half of the story -- G.M. is using our taxpayer money to pay back a loan so they can apply for another low interest loan of $10 Billion -- again, our taxpayer money. The payback of the $49.6 Billion has been pushed back. I have been a General Motors driver since the 1970's. My last truck was about 12 years old and was close to 200 thousand miles. I recently purchased its replacement:

Note the pretty blue oval logo...

That is it for today

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The next couple weeks will be busy -- the beer cave is in and installation will start Wednesday morning so tomorrow will be spent pulling up carpet and making space for the installers. I went into Bellingham today. At the Blacksmithing conference, I attended a seminar on finishing metal, adding patinas, treatments for weatherproofing, etc... so visited a couple paint stores and dropped about $80 on small containers of the various things that were referenced. Came home and went right out again for the monthly Water Co-op meeting. The T1 install for my house has been pushed back another week -- my engineer is out of office but I have another contact person and am trying to get a local contact person. If it is taking this long to provision a single T1 for this area, I need to know if Verizon actually has the cable capacity to deliver on the ten additional T1 lines that I plan to order over the next six months. And there is more -- details at some point in the future... Heading off to the DaveCave(tm) to check email...

The new banking regulations

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This Congress is really doing right for their constituents if by constituents you mean the large banks. From Breitbart's Big Government:
Dodd Bill�s Hidden Target: Community Banks
Sen. Chris Dodd�s financial regulatory reform bill, on which the Senate is slated to take a cloture vote this afternoon, has been the subject of much criticism of late, primarily for what opponents say amounts to a de facto institutionalization of �too big to fail� with regard to the biggest power players in the financial sector.

However, Capitol Confidential has learned that there is another, equally troubling aspect of the bill that observers say is going unnoticed in the debate surrounding Dodd�s proposals: Its hammering of community banks. Relatively small institutions compared to the names often cited in the news, community banks typically operate in small towns, urban neighborhoods or the suburbs. Their remit usually involves funding small businesses that require credit in order to operate payrolls and to expand, and lending to families financing home purchases or college. Many of those familiar with the banking industry, overall, say that community banks bore little to no responsibility, on balance, for the financial meltdown that occurred in 2008. Nonetheless, an analysis of the Dodd bill indicates that if it passes, community banks will be subject to a whopping 27 new regulations that one individual who has worked with banks professionally and is closely tracking the legislation says �could threaten to put many community bankers out of business, thus reducing competition in the banking sector overall, and diminishing consumer choices.�

That individual further asserts that while the bigger, Wall Street banks will likely be able to adapt to the bill (though their efficiency and ability to compete internationally could take a knock), the community banks will not�potentially making the system more risk-prone, also.

At some community banks, staff already work with what can be 1,000 pages or more of regulation with which they must comply daily. The Dodd bill would notably add to this, and observers say its 27 new regulations would, were the bill passed and signed into law, vastly increase administrative costs to banks, and diminish their ability to provide valuable customer service by focusing employees� attention on compliance, rather than meeting customers� needs. One example of such new, burdensome regulation might be the requirement that banks ascertain upfront whether small businesses seeking loans are women or minority owned, and then handle that information in ways that could potentially prove cumbersome in terms of internal administration. Another would be the requirement that banks itemize each loan according to 12 specific criteria, in addition to others that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) may deem appropriate.
This new socialism, this social justice instead of rules of law -- this is not about treating US Citizens fairly, this is a pure naked power grab by big business and the political machine and if they get away with it, it will take a long long time to undo. Look at the shit that Obama et. al. are piling on Goldman Sachs. This is just for show -- Obama and Goldman Sachs are in bed with each other. Rahm Emanuel worked for Goldman Sachs Goldman Sachs was Obama's largest political contributor in 2008 ($996,595) Goldman Sachs CEO has visited the White House at least four times and has met with Larry Summers, Obama's top economic adviser. Gregory Craig, a former White House counsel who served during the first year of Obama's presidency is now (drumroll) working for Goldman Sachs. The list goes on and on and on... The thing that gets me is that the people in Washington believe they are pulling something over on us and they are not. 2010 and 2012 will be interesting...

Tiptoeing around the truth - North Korea

From Google/AFP:

N.Koreans believe torpedo sank warship
North Korean soldiers believe a South Korean warship that sank last month was hit in a premeditated military operation approved by leader Kim Jong-Il, a South Korean activist said on Wednesday.

Pyongyang has denied it was responsible for the mystery blast near their disputed sea border, which left 46 sailors dead and further stoked tensions between the neighbours.

The suggestion that the North may have been responsible came as South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak called the communist North the world's "most belligerent" state.

Choi Sung-Yong, a campaigner for the return of South Koreans abducted by Pyongyang, told AFP: "Despite Pyongyang's denial, many North Korean soldiers believe a torpedo sank the ship."

Choi said his claim was based on a telephone conversation with an unnamed North Korean army officer. South Korean officials refused to comment.

Seoul has so far refrained from pointing the finger at the North over the sinking of the 1,200-tonne Cheonan on March 26 and said only that an "external explosion" was the most likely cause.

Pyongyang has accused Seoul of seeking to shift the blame in order to justify its hardline policy toward its neighbour.

It will be interesting to see if some North Korean piece of military hardware goes ka-boom in the next year or so...

Ouch! P. J. O'Rourke in fine form.

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From the Weekly Standard:
A Plague of �A� Students
Why it�s so irksome being governed by the Obami.

Barack Obama is more irritating than the other nuisances on the left. Nancy Pelosi needs a session on the ducking stool, of course. But everyone with an ugly divorce has had a Nancy. She�s vexatious and expensive to get rid of, but it�s not like we give a damn about her. Harry Reid is going house-to-house selling nothing anybody wants. Slam the door on him and the neighbor�s Rottweiler will do the rest. And Barney Frank is self-punishing. Imagine being trapped inside Barney Frank.

The secret to the Obama annoyance is snotty lecturing. His tone of voice sends us back to the worst place in college. We sit once more packed into the vast, dreary confines of a freshman survey course��Rocks for Jocks,� �Nuts and Sluts,� �Darkness at Noon.� At the lectern is a twerp of a grad student�the prototypical A student�insecure, overbearing, full of himself and contempt for his students. All we want is an easy three credits to fulfill a curriculum requirement in science, social science, or fine arts. We�ve got a mimeographed copy of last year�s final with multiple choice answers already written on our wrists. The grad student could skip his classes, the way we intend to, but there the s.o.b. is, taking attendance. (How else to explain this year�s census?)

America has made the mistake of letting the A student run things. It was A students who briefly took over the business world during the period of derivatives, credit swaps, and collateralized debt obligations. We�re still reeling from the effects. This is why good businessmen have always adhered to the maxim: �A students work for B students.� Or, as a businessman friend of mine put it, �B students work for C students�A students teach.�
Heh - nails it. Hat tip to Firehand for the link.

RIP - Floyd Dominy

Great obituary over at High Country News:
Floyd Dominy, the colossus of dams, dies at 100
Floyd Dominy, who made it his mission to improve nature by, among other things, damming the Colorado River at Glen Canyon and creating the more user-friendly Lake Powell, has died at the age of 100.

Some had hoped that Glen Canyon Dam would go first, draining Lake Powell and restoring the river�s ecosystem. But Dominy, who was commissioner for the Bureau of Reclamation from 1959 to 1969, spoke of his pride in his achievement during an interview a decade ago: �Glen Canyon Dam and the creation of the most wonderful lake in the world, Lake Powell, is my crowning jewel."

One week before Dominy passed away in Virginia at his Angus farm, I spoke to him by telephone. I wanted to talk to the man I�d first learned about long ago from reading John McPhee�s Encounters with the Archdruid. I can think of no better way to write a story than the way McPhee did: You put two enemies in a rubber raft (along with a handful of unsuspecting strangers) and send them all down a wild river together.

That�s what McPhee did with Dominy and David Brower, the Sierra Club president who considered the construction of Glen Canyon Dam his biggest environmental policy failure. McPhee set the stage with both scenery and character. His canvas was the Colorado River, with its mile-high rock walls and hundreds of side canyons. And his characters were equally memorable: Brower, the environmental leader, who saw what would be lost to the rising waters; and Dominy, the determined dam-builder, who learned as a young man in Nebraska that water in a river does no good at all if isn�t made available for people to use.

In the end, it seemed that Dominy and Brower had a blast, drinking beer and occasionally bickering about whether remote stretches of the Colorado were valuable because they were untouched, or wasted because they weren�t being developed.
Sounds like he would have been a great person to know. Dams are a stickey question -- hydroelectricity is a great source of power and there are lots of people recreating on the lakes. Does every single river need to be protected -- can't we have some protected and some developed? The environmentalists are a great one for telling people to coexist. How about they take their own words at face value... There is a group up here wanting to enroll one of our rivers in the Federal Wild and Scenic Rivers program. This is awesome and would bring a lot of eco-tourists into the area. The problem is that the area they are laying claim to includes a tributary of another river that has active logging on the hillsides above. The loggers do not want to give up their income and that particular river is not used very much for recreation or fishing even today.

Curious comment spam

I few weeks ago, I mentioned that it might be interesting to keep closer track of the IP addresses of the comment spammers. Before, anyone getting flagged would have their IP address put into a killfile and that was that. I got to thinking that an infected system is probably cleaned out after a month or two so I could keep my killfile smaller (and the processing faster) by deleting old IP addresses. What has been interesting is that there are now two groups of comment spammers. The first are those who hit from the same IP address several times/week. There are not that many of them. The second are interesting and a bit worrying -- these will attempt a spam once and only once. That IP addresses never cruises my system again. In the last four weeks that I have been gathering this data, I have about 20 of the former and over 250 of the latter! I have the vision of this big bot-net sitting there waiting. It is mostly the large commercial ISPs too -- Comcast, RoadRunner, etc...

Haiti in the news again

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Since Helen from my last rant post mentioned Haiti, I did some checking and found this wonderful little bit of news.

From FOX News:

U.N.'s Ballooning $732 Million Haiti Peacekeeping Budget Goes Mostly to Its Own Personnel
The United Nations has quietly upped this year's peacekeeping budget for earthquake-shattered Haiti to $732.4 million, with two-thirds of that amount going for the salary, perks and upkeep of its own personnel, not residents of the devastated island.

The world organization plans to spend the money on an expanded force of some 12,675 soldiers and police, plus some 479 international staffers, 669 international contract personnel, and 1,300 local workers, just for the 12 months ending June 30, 2010.

Some $495.8 million goes for salaries, benefits, hazard pay, mandatory R&R allowances and upkeep for the peacekeepers and their international staff support. Only about $33.9 million, or 4.6 percent, of that salary total is going to what the U.N. calls "national staff" attached to the peacekeeping effort.

Presumably, the budget also includes at least part of some $10 million that the U.N. has spent on renting two passenger vessels, the Sea Voyager (known to some U.N. staffers as the Love Boat and the Ola Esmeralda, for a minimum of 90 days each, as highly subsidized housing for some of its peacekeepers and humanitarian staff. The tab for the two vessels, which offer catered food, linen service and comfortable staterooms and lounges, is about $112,500 per day.

And why we should care:

Under a cost-sharing formula, the U.S. pays a 27 percent share of the entire $732.4 million peacekeeping tab for Haiti during this 12 month period, or about $197.7 million.

We should take the $200M and gave it to agencies like Team Rubicon or Doctors without Borders. Even the Red Cross has a lower administrative overhead. Our funding the United Nations has probably resulted in several thousand preventable deaths in Haiti had competent medical care been present.

We have a comment from Helen in Virginia

Apparently, I gored her favorite Ox -- that being Sean Penn.

Here is what Helen wrote today:

Just tell me one thing. Do you do anything to help those people in Haiti? Do you think writing bad things on people, that actually realize good things to help others, make it better for them or for you? Do you do anything else except spiting you poisoned words on a man that at least tries to do good for other?

Why do you even care about what goes wrong in his life when you're just wasting our oxygen writing shit in front of your computer. I guess you're having the time of your life minding the business of others right?! Well its probably because there is a lot of jealousy inside of you. PFFF you know what, after all, he's probably right to wish you cancer, it's not the people that keep their anger inside of them that are the most likely to be nice to you. Those people are hypocrites, afraid to say what's on their mind because people like you are going to critic them even if they have nothing to say. So at least think before writing your shit and please open your mind! It's not in staying discrete and politicly correct that you're gonna change anything around here!

Wow... Talk about sweetness and light. If this is what liberalism does to your heart and mind, I want nothing of it. The level of vituperation without any corresponding knowledge is stunning.

Helen -- let me address your points:

Just tell me one thing. Do you do anything to help those people in Haiti?

Yes I did -- I gave a chunk of money to these people: Team Rubicon

What the people in Haiti needed was immediate medical triage and services and these were the only people on the ground who were doing it. It's all volunteer and there is no money taken out for "administrative services" as is the case with the institutional charitable organizations.

A lot of people in my community were trying ways to help -- one school was collecting soap to be sent to Haiti but the plain and simple fact was that the money being spent to ship -- say -- ten pounds of soap could have been used to purchase fifty pounds delivered to Haiti via a commercial carrier.

Since Haiti's airports and ocean ports were so damaged, flights and ships in an out were limited and any non-essential craft simply took space away from essential life-saving craft.

Which brings us to point two:

Do you do anything else except spiting you poisoned words on a man that at least tries to do good for other?

Sean Penn's trip was, by classical definition, non-essential. Mr. Penn does amazing work in front of the camera but in his personal life, he is a low-level poseur only seeking publicity for himself and he could care less about helping the common man.

Helen -- before you start huffing and puffing (wasting Oxygen if I might add) ask yourself this. If Sean Penn was taking a boat ride through New Orleans looking to rescue people, why did he bring a publicist and a photographer. Take a look at the boat in this picture:


Where is the room for the people he is so intent on rescuing? The list of people on board is well known, why were there no Doctors or Nurses along. Only publicists and photographers. He did eventually pull one person from his house and brought him to dry land but nothing else was solidly documented:

Thankful Johnnie Brown, 73, who was picked up by Penn, told his sister over the phone: "Guess who come and got me out of the house? Sean Penn, the actor. The boys were really nice."

Awww - again, if Mr. Penn was interested in doing something, he could have contributed a chunk of his money to the people that were doing effective work down there. The only reason for him to be down there in the first place was to narcissisticly bask in the public eye, not to be effective at helping people.

Helen again:

Why do you even care about what goes wrong in his life when you're just wasting our oxygen writing shit in front of your computer.

Helen, I do not care.

I think that Sean Penn is a fscking joke and I like to write about funny things.

That being said, I am honestly worried about the direction this country is heading and useful idiots like Mr. Penn are speeding it along with their muzzy-headed activism. Mr. Penn is adept at capturing the public eye both at work and at play and to have fools like him show people that it is OK to meet with monsters like Chavez and Castro seriously sends the wrong image. He should be a lot more circumspect in his actions.

It is the standing joke that our "cultural elite" who like to cozy up with dictators would never, ever in a heartbeat actually move there.

One man who did was Eldridge Cleaver -- here was a man who walked the walk and moved to Russia.

He moved back and had nothing but bad things to say about socialism and communism and he became an ardent supporter of Freedom and Capitalism until his death.

Helen again:

I guess you're having the time of your life minding the business of others right?!

It is not private lives that I am minding. It is only when an individual takes his or her life public and uses it to influence the state of this Nation that I mind. Writing a post on Penn is just the same as voting. It is my right and my duty to let my feelings be known in a quiet, strong and clear voice.

Helen shows that she doesn't read this blog at all and only swooped down to drop her little comment:

Well its probably because there is a lot of jealousy inside of you.


Helen again:

PFFF you know what, after all, he's probably right to wish you cancer, it's not the people that keep their anger inside of them that are the most likely to be nice to you.

Flinging poo again? Talk about psychological projection.

When confronted with an inconvenient fact backed up with links to the original sources to prove it, liberals start frothing at the mouth.

The next sentence is wonderfully enlightening as well:

Those people are hypocrites, afraid to say what's on their mind because people like you are going to critic them even if they have nothing to say.

Helen, help me out a bit here because if I read what you wrote at face value: "Those people are hypocrites" will refer to Sean Penn. Looking at how you started your comment, I would think that you should be referring to me and not Mr. Penn as a hypocrite.

But if you are referring to me as a hypocrite, could you point out what I said that would lead you to that conclusion. Every fact I write about is backed up by links to the news reports. Every opinion I have is mine and I have a right to make it known on this little sandbox of mine.

To look at the second half of that comment: "people like you are going to critic them even if they have nothing to say" I am sorry but I am unable to parse out what you are trying to express. If someone is in the public eye and if they do something I feel is downright stoopid then yes, I am going to critique them. There is a big difference between a public figure and a private one. Go and read the more than ten thousand posts I have made here at Synthstuff since October 2003 and you will not find any instance where I have publicly criticized a private individual. Everyone I poke fun at is a public individual -- again, there is a big legal, ethical and moral difference between the two...

Finally, Helen closes with the following:

So at least think before writing your shit and please open your mind! It's not in staying discrete and politicly correct that you're gonna change anything around here!

I believe that I do think things through very carefully.

Again, if you read this blog on a regular basis, you will see that I update a post when I find different or contradictory facts. I have never deleted a post (something that the mainstream media does all the time). I stand by my word.

As for staying discrete and politically correct; I find these to be an insidious form of NewThink straight out of George Orwell.

We must always respect our fellow man but it needs to come from the Love, the Truth and the Charity that lies in our hearts.

This must never be put-upon from some elite sense of what society should be as that is not an honest path and leads to corruption and loss of freedom.

Helen, I hope that you revisit this blog and read what I have said. I would be interested to see if you are actually concerned and are thinking about what I said or if you are just another random Google-search drive-by (I get a lot of those).

Have a good evening and I sincerely hope you wake up one of these days...

Seems that the good Dr. Stephen Ambrose (Band of Brothers) was not adverse to making stuff up when writing a book. From the UK Guardian:
Band Of Brothers author accused of fabrication for Eisenhower biography
His book Band of Brothers � which chronicled the exploits of one company of US airborne troops in second world war Europe � was turned into a highly praised TV series.

But now American historian Professor Stephen Ambrose, who was President Dwight D Eisenhower's official biographer and wrote or edited more than a dozen books about him, is embroiled in a posthumous controversy. It is alleged that he invented many meetings he claimed to have had with Eisenhower, and even fabricated entire interviews with him. The revelations have sent shock waves through the scholarly community in the United States.

The books written by Ambrose, who died in 2002, brought him popular acclaim, and director Steven Spielberg used him as a military adviser on his 1998 Oscar-winning film Saving Private Ryan. Band of Brothers became a cultural milestone when it was turned into a TV series on which Ambrose was a producer. It was hailed for educating an entire generation about the sacrifices of their forefathers. But it appears that Ambrose indulged in some sort of fantasy about the extent of his relationship with Eisenhower. In TV interviews, he claimed to have spent "hundreds and hundreds of hours" with the former president. He even once said he would spend two days a week working with Eisenhower in his office.

However, recently studied records of Eisenhower's meetings contradict the notion that the pair had any lengthy face-to-face contact. "I think five hours [in total] is a generous estimation of the actual time they spent together. I personally would push it back to less than two or three," said Tim Rives, deputy director of the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas.

The discovery came to light almost by accident. The museum had been planning an exhibition exploring the relationship between Ambrose and Eisenhower. Rives found that the records showed that Ambrose and Eisenhower had met only three times, and never alone. He found that on seven occasions when Ambrose had claimed in the footnotes to his book Supreme Commander to have met Eisenhower, his subject was either elsewhere in the country or holding meetings with other people at the time. In one example, Ambrose claimed to have had an interview with Eisenhower in Pennsylvania, when Eisenhower was in Kansas. "The whole story kind of unravelled from there. It was quite a surprise. We were not looking for it, so it sort of happened almost by accident," Rives said.

Given that the lives of former presidents are meticulously detailed by their staff, there is almost no chance Ambrose could have held interviews with Eisenhower that went unrecorded.

Later claims by Ambrose in other books to have interviewed Eisenhower lack specific dates or places, but were just footnoted as "Interview with DDE". However, the range of subjects Ambrose claimed to have discussed with Eisenhower increased to take in topics such as giving up smoking or the Vietnam war.

Rives believes there is no way that Ambrose could have discussed such a vast array of subjects in the tiny amount of time he actually spent with his subject. "I find that very doubtful. That should be something that would be a concern for scholars. It could cast doubt."

Ambrose claimed that Eisenhower asked him to be his biographer by ringing him out of the blue in 1964. But Rives found letters from Ambrose to Eisenhower introducing himself and then asking him to agree to Ambrose writing his biography. This is not the first scandal over Ambrose's work. In 2002 he was accused of plagiarism in his book The Wild Blue. His publisher issued an apology but Ambrose said he had merely failed to put some short passages taken from elsewhere in quotation marks.
Nothing like having an academic use their position to push an agenda. Of course, this has never ever happened before (cough)Michael A. Bellesiles(cough) And silly little moonbats like Ward Churchill are beneath contempt (here, here, here, here and here)

That's it for the evening

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Nothing too much happening on the intarwebs. Heading out to the DaveCave(tm) to check emails and then unpack the truck. This has been a busy geek weekend what with the Blacksmithing Conference yesterday and today. Tomorrow, I will be heading into Bellingham for the second day of the Linuxfest Northwest and driving home today, I passed through the Kingdom of An Tir where the annual Sir Edwards Memorial Tournament was taking place.
From Frank Ross at Big Journalism:
Re �South Park,� the Silence of the Media Lambs Continues
That sound you�re not hearing is the media, holed up in their towers along Sixth Avenue and across the street from the old Show World Center porn palace on Eighth Avenue, noisily rising to the defense of Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the South Park creators who recently upset the tender Muslim sensibilities of this guy:
That would be Zachary Chesser, or as he currently styles himself, Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee. This 20-year-old from Fairfax, Va., trolling away on his blog, was able to get Comedy Central to censor one of the most popular and lucrative shows in its lineup merely by suggesting that Stone and Parker might meet the same fate that befell Theo Van Gogh when he �outraged� Muslim sensibilities.
Seattle's Dan Savage responds with brilliance:
I remember back in 1989 when Salman Rushdie was facing death threats after a fatwā was issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. A lot of people in Seattle were wearing buttons that said: "I am Salman Rushdie" Seattle may be a liberal's paradise but it does have a backbone when needed...

Back in town

Just drove home from the Blacksmithing Conference in Mount Vernon.

Very nice little town -- always enjoyed visiting but had some time to explore and there are some cool areas of town not evident from the main drag.

Also found an amazing Bar-B-Que shop When your tagline is "Meat, Wood & Smoke - - - It's a primal thing" you know it's going to be good.

Texas style so a little bit dryer than Southern but the flavor was amazing and they gave away more sauce so I could make it as wet as I wanted. The coleslaw was a bit of heaven. For some genetic quirk, raw dark red foods taste very bitter to me. Raw red cabbage is a mouthful of Mr. Yuck but when cooked, it is fine. Same with Aurigula - dark brown plants like oak-leaf lettuce don't have this problem. So I asked about their slaw and was reassured that it was just white and she asked if it was OK that it was a bit on the hot side. I said sure.

They make it was a good measure of horseradish. On the way home, I bought a small head of cabbage and will be making some for home. The other side I had was their potato salad -- red spuds with bacon.

The only complaint is that this place is a ninety minute drive from home -- a bit of a stretch for dinner... The Blacksmithing conference was awesome -- there were about 400 people there this afternoon. Lots of hands on demonstrations -- forge technique, I took a metal finishing class that was very informative. Lots of cool tricks and ideas. Came home with a few necessary tools for the forge - a couple of hardie tools and one specialty tong (for handling angle stock). At the store now -- heading home to unpack and will post some more. Took lots of pictures.

Dinner tonight

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Every so often we buy part of a cow. This way, we can get really top-quality beef for a fraction (under $3/pound finished weight) of what we would pay in a store. This afternoon we picked up this year's hind-quarter and thawed out these two New York Strip steaks. Dust them with kosher salt and fresh ground black people Pepper, kiss them on a hot grill for a little over two minutes/side, let them rest for five minutes and they were perfect.
The fat takes on a wonderful old ivory color when the critter is grass fed -- much higher nutritional value. Served with a couple of ears of California sweet corn (still four months away from the local product) and some baby lima beans cooked with salt and butter. I am very happy and stuffed... Heading down to the Blacksmithing conference for tomorrow and Saturday.

Methane in the news

The AGW hippies are so very worried about Methane as it has a significantly greater greenhouse potential than something as trivial as CO2. Since Methane is not a direct result of our economy, they are not looking at limiting its production. Which is a good thing as they would be in a lot of trouble if they tried... From Science News:

Methane-making microbes thrive under the ice
Microbes living under ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland could be churning out large quantities of the greenhouse gas methane, a new study suggests.

In recent years scientists have learned that liquid water lurks under much of Antarctica's massive ice sheet, and so, they say, the potential microbial habitat in this watery world is huge. If the methane produced by the bacteria gets trapped beneath the ice and builds up over long periods of time -- a possibility that is far from certain -- it could mean that as ice sheets melt under warmer temperatures, they would release large amounts of heat-trapping methane gas.

Jemma Wadham, a geochemist at the University of Bristol in England, described the little-known role of methane-making microbes, called methanogens, below ice sheets on March 15 at an American Geophysical Union conference on Antarctic lakes.

Her team took samples from one site in Antarctica, the Lower Wright glacier, and one in Greenland, the Russell glacier. Trapped within the ice were high concentrations of methane, Wadham said, as well as methanogens themselves -- up to 10 million cells per gram in the Antarctic sample and 100,000 cells per gram in Greenland. That's comparable to the concentration of methanogens found in deep-ocean sediments, she said. The species of microbes were also similar to those found in other polar environments, such as Arctic peat or tundra.

The team then put scrapings from both sites into bottles and incubated them with water to see which microbes might grow. For the Antarctic samples, Wadham said, "nothing happens for 250 days and then bam! You get tons of methane." The Greenland samples haven't been growing for as long and so far don't show much signs of giving off methane -- but perhaps they just need more time, she reported at the meeting.

Other researchers have also recently found methanogens in icy settings. Mark Skidmore, a microbiologist at Montana State University in Bozeman, reported at the conference that his team has found methanogens in the Robertson glacier in the Canadian Rockies. "It underscores the importance of subglacial methanogenesis," Skidmore said.

The studies flesh out a picture of Antarctica as a much more dynamic and watery environment than the frozen, static one once envisaged. At least 386 lakes have been identified buried beneath the ice sheet, scientists from the University of Edinburgh reported at the meeting. Plans for major drilling projects are underway for several of them.

Since Methane is the simplest hydrocarbon by definition, maybe this is part of the cycle from which we get our petroleum. Wouldn't it be fun if our gasoline was constantly being produced by deep hot bacteria and that the earth was creating a limitless supply for us... Also explains the Methane Clathrates we keep finding.

Awwww - poor widdle Scotty Roeder

Scott Roeder? He is the guy who was convicted of murdering Dr. George Tiller. From the Kansas City Star:

Scott Roeder files petition claiming that his rights have been violated
The man who killed Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller has filed a petition complaining that his rights have been violated and asking to be released from custody.

Scott Roeder, 52, of Kansas City, criticized the judge, the jail, prosecutors and his lawyers in a habeas corpus petition that he filed in Sedgwick County, Kan. A hearing is scheduled for June 4. Such a petition requires a judge to determine whether a person has been imprisoned lawfully and whether he should be freed.

Roeder was convicted of first-degree murder in January and sentenced April 1 to life in prison with no chance of parole for 50 years. That case is under appeal.

In the 24-page petition - seven of the pages handwritten - Roeder said that the judge's imposition of a $20 million bond, along with a suggestion that I might enact more violence if I make bond demonstrates heightened disregard for the presumption of my innocence. He also said that after his arrest, the judge "made a public spectacle of me, forcing me to appear on television without the assistance of counsel or court clothes".

I do not personally agree with what Dr. Tiller was doing -- third trimester abortions are murder, pure and simple. The foetus is a viable living entity at that stage and there are thousands of people who would dearly love to adopt that child and give it good home.

It speaks volumes that besides Dr. Tiller, there were only two other doctors in the USA who made this their practice at that time. That being said, to murder someone in cold blood; to shoot them in the face as they were in Church worshiping on Sunday is beyond the pale. I am sure that Mr. Roeder will have a long and successful career in prison and I wish him well with his Obamacare-funded anal reconstruction surgery every year.

The Numbers - from a credible source

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Byron York writes at The Washington Examiner:
What's behind the anti-Tea Party hate narrative?
There's a new narrative taking hold in the wake of the recent Tea Party protests and the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing: The Tea Partiers' intense opposition to the Obama administration has led to overheated political rhetoric, which could in turn lead to violence, perhaps as devastating as Oklahoma City.

Former President Clinton is the leading voice of this new narrative. In newspaper interviews, television appearances and a widely discussed speech Friday, Clinton said it's "legitimate" to draw "parallels to the time running up to Oklahoma City and a lot of the political discord that exists in our country today."

"Watch your words," warned ABC News, reporting that Clinton "weighed in on the angry anti-government rhetoric, ringing out from talk radio to Tea Party rallies."

The reports dovetailed with earlier media stories depicting Tea Party gatherings as angry mobs, accusing protesters of throwing racial epithets at black lawmakers and of making threats of violence. The implication was that all this could be part of a nationwide trend. "Just this month, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that it had tracked an explosion in extremist anti-government patriot groups fueled, in large part, by anger over the economy and Barack Obama's presidency," NBC's David Gregory said on "Meet the Press" in early April. "In this highly charged political atmosphere, where you've got so much passion, so much disagreement, this takes it, of course, to a different level."
Ahhh - the old Southern Poverty Law Center. A true bastion of honor and truthfulness. An agency with no agenda and no political bent. And what does the SPLC have to say about the TEA Party violence - Byron again:
In 1989, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of skinheads, saying, "Not since the height of Klan activity during the civil rights era has there been a white supremacist group so obsessed with violence. ..."

In 1992, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of other white supremacist groups, which it claimed had grown by 27 percent from the year before.

In 1995, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of right-wing militias.

In 1998, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of Internet-based hate groups, which according to one press account had "created the biggest surge in hate in America in years."

In 1999, the SPLC warned that the growing threat of Web-based hate groups was growing even more, with a 60 percent increase from the year before.

In 2002, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of post-Sept. 11 hate groups, which it said had grown 12 percent between 2000 and 2001.

In 2004, the SPLC warned (again) of the growing threat of skinhead groups, whose numbers it said had doubled in the previous year.

In 2008, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of hate groups overall, whose number it said increased 48 percent since 2000.

And in 2010, just a few weeks ago, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of "patriot" groups, which it said increased by 244 percent in 2009.
Snork at The Blogmocracy has this to say:
Man, that�s what I call growth. With numbers like that, 387% of every American man, woman, and child, white, black, yellow, red, and other, gay, and straight are violent white supremacists.

With them as a �credible source�, it�s no wonder the left is wetting their pants at all the white supremacists hiding in the McDonald�s bathroom, and neighbor�s dog house.
To get a better idea of what the Southern Poverty Law Center is all about, check with Discover The Networks -- one example:
Southern Poverty Law Center: Activities, Agendas, and Worldview
By Jacob Laksin
Discover The Networks -- 2005

The Southern Poverty Law Center is characterizing critics of last week�s pro-open borders rallies (held in several U.S. cities) as �anti-immigration extremists� who have made �open calls for terrorist violence, including truck bombs, machine gun attacks, and assassinations of U.S. senators and members of Congress.� To make the point, the SPLC website quotes extremist New Jersey radio host Hal Turner, who said, �I advocate using extreme violence against illegal aliens. Clean your guns. Have plenty of ammunition. Find out where the largest gathering of illegal aliens will be near you. Go to the area well in advance, scope out several places to position yourself and then do what has to be done."

To further buttress its condemnatory portrayal of those who oppose amnesty and open borders, SPLC quotes several anonymous individuals who recently posted similarly incendiary comments on various Internet websites. For example, it cites the comments of �a neo-Nazi using the pseudonym �Mr. 88� � in a post on the white supremacist website Stormfront.� Said Mr. 88: �We are headed for civil war, folks. Are you ready? We have to start killing in massive numbers so that the savages of the world have fear of the almighty white man again! Killing is the only way to cure these ills!" SPLC also quotes what it called an �anti-immigration hardliner� identifying himself (or herself) as "GoHomeIllegals," who, in a post on the "Close Borders" Yahoo user group, advocated running over young protesters with automobiles. Moreover, SPLC notes that another Closed Borders user wrote: �When violent responses occur, the amount of support they receive will amaze you. Furthermore, when people see how utterly unable to stop them the government is, it will incite further acts, and so, until it snowballs into a full-scale shooting war. Picture every major city within 500 miles of Mexico turned into Beirut in 1983. All that's missing is the spark, and it won't be long in coming.�
And the SPLC's founder:
Morris Seligman Dees is the founder and chief trial lawyer of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Dees has represented SPLC in a number of high-profile legal victories against hate and extremist groups, propelling the organization into the national spotlight. These included lawsuits against the Ku Klux Klan, the United Klans of America, and the White Aryan Resistance.

Dees is known to be the architect of one of SPLC's most effective�and most controversial�tactics: exaggerating the prevalence and capabilities of racist and extremist rightwing groups operating in the United States in order to frighten supporters into donating money to SPLC.

Many critics charge that this fundraising revenue, instead of bankrolling SPLC's civil rights work, is funneled disproportionately into the coffers of SPLC officers like Dees. Several studies conducted in the 1990s indicated that the Dees and other top SPLC figures earned significantly higher salaries than the leaders of most non-profit organizations.

Because SPLC perennially disburses twice as much on fundraising as it does on legal services (while skimming off substantial amounts of revenue for its own endowment), Dees' income has provoked accusations of fraud. Stephen Bright, a director of the Southern Center for Human Rights, a leftwing Atlanta-based group that opposes the death penalty, put it bluntly in a 1996 letter to Dees, in which he denounced the latter as a "a fraud and a conman," and upbraided Dees because "you spend so much, accomplish so little, and promote yourself shamelessly."

Similarly, leftwing journalist Alexander Cockburn accused Dees of raising funds �by frightening elderly liberals that the heirs of Adolf Hitler are about to march down Main Street.�

The accusations against Dees have also come from some of the people closest to him. As Dees� onetime business partner Millard Fuller once said: �Morris and I ... shared the overriding purpose of making a pile of money. We were not particular about how we did it; we just wanted to be independently rich.�
Just a wonderful bunch of people...
Make a bowl of popcorn and tune in to C-SPAN -- from Google/Associated Press:
Blagojevich wants Obama to testify at his trial
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's lawyers asked a federal judge on Thursday to issue a subpoena for President Barack Obama to testify as a witness at his corruption trial.

Blagojevich said in court papers filed by defense attorney Sam Adam that Obama would be able to resolve questions surrounding the government's allegation that the former governor sought to sell or trade the seat left vacant following the president's November 2008 election.

"President Barack Obama has direct knowledge of the Senate seat allegation," Blagojevich's 11-page motion filed with U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel said.

There was no allegation in the court papers of any wrongdoing on Obama's part.
Not that there is any chance of Obama actually being placed on the stand -- deals will be done and someone somewhere will get a cushy Cabinet post or an Ambassadorship in a year or two. Still, the idea of Obama being sworn in (hand on the Bible or the Koran) and testifying under oath is a delightful one...

Well crap: RIP Harry Wappler

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Longtime weather reporter for Seattle TV Station KIRO passed away this morning after suffering a stroke yesterday. From KIRO:
Long-Time KIRO 7 Meteorologist Harry Wappler Dies
Harry Wappler, the legendary KIRO 7 meteorologist who appeared on Seattle-area television screens longer than any other TV weatherman, died today.

"It is with great sadness that I share with you that we have lost one of our truly special gems today," wrote KIRO 7 Vice President and General Manager Eric Lerner in an e-mail to KIRO 7 employees Wednesday. "Harry Wappler and KIRO will always be connected, and we could not be more proud."

Known for his wit and ability to ad-lib on live television, Harry said his favorite moments were the ones when he made people laugh.

"I think any time you can get a run as long as I�ve had, you can�t have any regrets about it," he told an interviewer when he was awarded a National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle award in 1996.
Cliff Mass has a nice memorial on his blog:
Harry Wappler (1936-2010)
It is with great sadness that I note the passing of Harry Wappler, the dean of Northwest weathercasters for over a quarter century. As many of you remember, Harry was the lead meteorologist on KIRO-TV during the 70s, 80s, and 90s. He was one of the most genuine, kind, warm-hearted individuals I have ever met, and a passionate, enthusiastic member of the local weather community.

I got to know him quite well when I returned to UW to join the atmospheric sciences faculty. Although Harry did not have a degree in atmospheric sciences (he had a B.A. in speech from Northwestern and a graduate degree from Yale Divinity School!), he was an avid student of Northwest weather and I learned a great deal from him about the convergence zone and other local weather features. Harry was the TV weathercaster that I would watch. He was a mainstay of the local weather community and secured substantial funding from KIRO to invite a distinguished meteorologist to town each year. The local chapter of the American Meteorological Society would meet at KIRO once a year and Harry always supplied a nice carrot cake. I still remember that carrot cake fondly.

To give you an idea of Harry's involvement with the community, on November 13, 1981 a major storm was offshore. The numerical prediction technology at that time was fairly primitive and without much skill for such events. Harry had a new-fangled invention that the National Weather Service did not possess: a device that could animate satellite imagery, something we take for granted today. An intense storm was obvious in the animation and headed our way. Harry made a tape of the satellite loop and rushed it to the National Weather Service folks who put out a timely and accurate warning. He could have kept it to himself and smoked the other stations, but that was not Harry's way.
Always classy! My favorite of the Seattle television weathermen. His son Andy is filling his shoes but it's not the same dammit!
First images were released today and it looks gorgeous.
More to be found at NASA's website: First Light for the Solar Dynamics Observatory Good God! I thought TRACE was awesome when it went online. SDO is the difference between a Brownie Hawkeye and a Hasselblad...
The Minnesotans for Global Warming did a wonderful video (over 500,000 views on YouTube) lampooning Michael Mann's hockey stick and his emails talking about the Medieval Warm Period and how a 'trick' was used to hide the decline in temperature during the Little Ice Age that followed. Well, it seems that Dr. Mann has a lousy sense of humor or is just a wee bit sensitive to his shortcomings as he lawyered up and sued to have the video taken off the web (like that is going to be effective). The suit requested that Dr. Mann's image be removed. Well, The Minnesotans for Global Warming went and made another video: Hide the Decline II -- now with no images of Mikey. Both can be seen (for now) at this link No Cap and Trade TAX And of course, both videos have been downloaded to my hard disk along with tens of thousands of other bloggers out there... Trying to stuff this Genie back into the bottle is an exercise in futility and only shows the world just how much of a stupid pratt Dr. Michael Mann really is -- if he is this clueless about the intarweb tubes that Al Gore invented, imagine what the quality of his mathematical models must be...

Well piffle - no acupuncture today

Our practitioner came down with a touch of food poisoning and didn't feel like sticking needles into people while she was potentially contagious. Where's the fun in that?

Worked at the store most of the day -- we have been having a lot of trouble with bad checks so I installed a new Check imaging system that will capture the MICR number and then directly deduct the funds from the account. No funds? No transaction. There is also a level of insurance that if the check is fraudulent or the funds really were not available, we are covered and they process the debt directly with the customer.

This is an extra hassle but since January, we have had close to $2K in fraudulent checks and in three cases, these were from three regular long-time customers who were planning to move away, did not tell us, wrote a string of large checks and they all bounced. Of course, since these were long term customers, we never bothered getting Drivers Licenses or anything. A lot of running the store is community service -- if we wanted to make money, I would still be at Microsoft. It annoys the hell out of me to be willfully taken advantage of like that -- we had been feeding these families for several years...

Also started processing the legal crap from my Dad's death -- contacting the investment companies, Social Security, his University Pension, etc. The funeral home didn't get my copies of the Death Certificate until a few days ago and I didn't get into town until yesterday.

Looking forward to this weekend though: NWBA SPRING CONFERENCE 2010

The MET Office and computer models

The British Meteorological Office (the MET Office) has been in the news recently and not in a good light.

They have been constant in their erroneous weather predictions for the last ten out of ten years.

From the UK Independent (03/20/2000): Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
The London Times (12/01/2005): Britain faces big freeze as Gulf Stream loses strength
The Daily Mail (03/24/2010): National Trust campaign highlights how gardens will look if global warming brings Mediterranean weather to Britain

Well, add this egg-on-face to the Met Office's long string of career successes -- from the UK Daily Telegraph:

Volcanic ash cloud: Met Office blamed for unnecessary six-day closure
The government agency was accused of using a scientific model based on "probability" rather than fact to forecast the spread of the volcanic ash cloud that made Europe a no-fly zone and ruined the plans of more than 2.5 million travellers in and out of Britain.

A senior European official said there was no clear scientific evidence behind the model, which air traffic control services used to justify the unprecedented shutdown.

Eleven major British airlines joined forces last night to publicly criticise Nats, the air traffic control centre, over the way it interpreted the Met Office's "very limited empirical data".

The MET Office's problem is that they luuuves their computer models and they don't ever bother to stick their heads outside the window to see what is actually happening. There are aircraft that have been specially hardened to fly through all kinds of debris and ash (we use them to fly through hurricanes) and the MET Office could have sent one of theirs or borrowed one of ours and gotten some real world numbers but noooooo... They stayed indoors and played with their fancy new (and polluting) supercomputer. From the UK Telegraph:

The Met Office super computer by numbers
Here is a rundown of the Met Office super computer by numbers:

:: The £30 million computer -- more powerful than 100,000 standard PCs -- was installed in the Met Office's new £80 million headquarters in May.
:: It is capable of 1,000 billion calculations every second to feed data to 400 scientists.
:: The computer uses 1.2 megawatts of energy to run -- enough to power a small town.
:: In terms of pollution the computer produces 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.
:: This makes the Met Office building one of the most polluting public buildings in the UK as 75 per cent of its carbon footprint is produced by the super computer.

Talk about "blinded me with Science".

That;s it for the evening...

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Off to check email and then to bed. Long day tomorrow - lots of office work and then an acupuncture session. A member of an email list is selling me an older piece of music synthesizer technology so looking forward to playing with that. Back in 1983, Yamaha released the DX7 music synthesizer -- this was the first commercial all-digital synth and it used a Frequency Modulation Synthesis technique developed by John Chowning at Stanford University. Yamaha sold over 160K of them. These were a full keyboard instrument. Later, Yamaha released a few synth modules based on the FM Synthesis design. I own two TX81Zs and love them for some very specific sounds but they are fairly limited in what they can do. The unit I am buying is a TX816 which is eight full DX7's with full MIDI control and individual outputs for each channel. I have played with these before and it is a monster. One very cool tweak is to very slightly detune the individual modules and to use a very low frequency operator to vary the tuning on a few of them. You get an incredibly lush choral effect that it very difficult to duplicate without a much larger compliment of equipment. Back in the 80's and 90's, the sound of the presets became clich� but now people have forgotten and all is new again. Looking forward to the new toy!
A lot of the pro-Anthropogenic Global Warmers are saying that the MWP (Medieval Warm Period) and the following Little Ice Age were a localized weather anomaly and not an overall shift in the climate. The same temperature anomaly has been spotted in Foraminifera deposits in the South Pacific near Malaysia. Oops... From Anthony at Watts Up With That:
Another indication of MWP and LIA being global
From CO2 Science, another peer reviewed paper with a paleoclimatology reconstruction based on cores containing plankton shells, show that both the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and the Little Ice Age (LIA) can be seen in Indonesia. In the past, critics have said these events to be �regional� implying they occurred only around Europe, due to lack of historical records in other regions of the world.

Since the Oxygen18 isotope dating method seems well proven, it would seem this study has a good basis for its claims. Even RC�s Gavin Schmidt likes it.

Co2 Science writes:
From the authors� Figure 2b, adapted below, we calculate that the Medieval Warm Period was about 0.4�C warmer than the Current Warm Period.
Heh - same temperature cycles, same years, same Climate Change. Not localized at all...

That T1 line? Still waiting...

No word as yet from my Verizon engineer about getting the flying cable monkeys out to hook up my T1 line. Getting impatient and since I am planning to do a bunch of office work tomorrow, I'll spend the time to call around and raise some hell... Went into town to get the conduit and to look at the options for the suspended ceiling and lighting for the new store space. It will be a couple $K outlay but it will make the room look a lot better. Conduit is the only thing I need as I have been to enough auctions and have all the other bits and pieces needed for the wiring including several thousand feet of THHN wire. Pennies on the dollar... Picked up the copies of my Dad's death certificates too -- they didn't get to the funeral home when I was there picking up his ashes. Now I can start dealing with a lot of the stuff relating to his passing (banks, investment accounts, etc...).
The Boston Globe's Big Picture section has some more gorgeous photos of the Eyjafjallajokull eruption.
A good compendium of Free-Energy devices From the main page:
The purpose of this web site is to provide you with an introduction to a series of devices which have been shown to have very interesting properties and some are (incorrectly) described as 'perpetual motion' machines.

What's that you say - perpetual motion is impossible? My, you're a difficult one to please. The electrons in the molecules of rock formations have been orbiting steadily for millions of years without stopping - at what point will you agree that they are in perpetual motion?

So, why don't electrons run out of energy and just slow down to a standstill? Quantum Mechanics has shown that the universe is a seething cauldron of energy with particles popping into existence and then dropping out again. Knowing that E = mC2, we can see that a tremendous amount of energy is needed to create any form of matter. Scientists remark that if we could tap even a small part of that energy, then we would have free energy for our lifetime.

The Law of Conservation of Energy is undoubtedly correct when it shows that more energy cannot be taken out of any system than is put into that system. However, that does not mean that we cannot get more energy out of a system than we put into it. A crude example is a solar panel in sunlight. We get electrical power out of the panel but we do not put the sunlight into the panel - the sunlight arrives on its own. This example is simple as we can see the sunlight reaching the solar panel.

If, instead of the solar panel, we had a device which absorbs some of the energy which Quantum Mechanics observes and gives out, say, electrical power, would that be so different? Most people say "yes! - it is impossible!" but this reaction is based on the fact that we cannot see this sea of energy. Should we say that a TV set cannot possibly work because we cannot see a television transmission signal?

Many people have produced devices and ideas for tapping this energy. The energy is often called "Zero-Point Energy" because it is the energy which remains when a system has its temperature lowered to absolute zero. This presentation is introductory information on what has already been achieved in this field: devices which output more power than they require to run. This looks as if they contradict the Law of Conservation of Energy, but they don't, and you can see this when you take the zero-point energy field into account.

The material on this web site describes many different devices, with diagrams, photographs, explanations, pointers to web sites, etc. As some of the devices need an understanding of electronic circuitry, a simple, step-by-step instruction course in electronics is also provided in Chapter 12. This can take someone with no previous knowledge of electronics, to the level where they can read, understand, design and build the type of circuits used with these devices.

This is a very interesting field and the topic is quite absorbing once you get past the "it has to be impossible" attitude. We were once told that it would be impossible to cycle at more than 15 mph as the wind pressure would prevent the cyclist from breathing. Do you want to stay with that type of 'scientific' expert? Have some fun - discover the facts.
These engines all have logical holes big enough to drive an 18-wheeler through but sometimes it's fun to read about what some people are spending so much energy (literally) and time on. Observations of zero-point energy are a direct result of stunningly poor lab practices or are attempts at out and out fraud.

Late night

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Just got in from Bellingham where we heard an incredible concert from John Prine. The venue was a real treat too -- the Mt. Baker Theater A quick email check and then off to bed...

Dear President Obama

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From an email list:
Dear President Obama:

I'm planning to move my family and extended family into Mexico for my health, and I would like to ask you to assist me.

We're planning to simply walk across the border from the U.S. Into Mexico, and we'll need your help to make a few arrangements.

We plan to skip all the legal stuff like visas, passports, immigration quotas and laws.

I'm sure they handle those things the same way you do here. So, would you mind telling your buddy, President Calderon, that I'm on my way over?

Please let him know that I will be expecting the following:

1. Free medical care for my entire family.

2. English-speaking government bureaucrats for all services I might need, whether I use them or not.

3. Please print all Mexican government forms in English.

4. I want my grandkids to be taught Spanish by English-speaking (bi-lingual) teachers.

5. Tell their schools they need to include classes on American culture and history.

6. I want my grandkids to see the American flag on one of the flag poles at their school.

7. Please plan to feed my grand kids at school for both breakfast and lunch.

8. I will need a local Mexican driver's license so I can get easy access to government services.

9. I do plan to get a car and drive in Mexico, but, I don't plan to purchase car insurance, and I probably won't make any special effort to learn local traffic laws.

10. In case one of the Mexican police officers does not get the memo from their president to leave me alone, please be sure that every patrol car has at least one English-speaking officer.

11. I plan to fly the U.S. Flag from my house top, put U S. Flag decals on my car, and have a gigantic celebration on July 4th. I do not want any complaints or negative comments from the locals.

12. I would also like to have a nice job without paying any taxes, or have any labor or tax laws enforced on any business I may start.

13. Please have the president tell all the Mexican people to be extremely nice and never say critical things about me or my family, or about the strain we might place on their economy.

14. I want to receive free food stamps.

15. Naturally, I'll expect free rent subsidies.

16. I'll need Income tax credits so although I don't pay Mexican Taxes, I'll receive money from the government.

17. Please arrange it so that the Mexican Gov't pays $4,500 to help me buy a new car.

18. Oh yes, I almost forgot, please enroll me free into the Mexican Social Security program so that I'll get a monthly income in retirement.

I know this is an easy request because you already do all these things for all his people who walk over to the U.S. From Mexico. I am sure that President Calderon won't mind returning the favor if you ask him nicely.

Thank you so much for your kind help. You're the man!!!
Can anyone point out where this is factually wrong?

T1 fun and games

I have an email thread with my Verizon engineer about scheduling the T1 installation to my house.

There have been a bunch of back and forth emails and one blown installation date.

This morning, she asked me who my local service provider was.

Uhhhmmmnnnnn - Verizon...

I had initially contacted Speakeasy as they had great service and pricing and I had worked with them in Seattle on several projects before moving up here. They told me that my only option was Verizon.

I just got off the phone with Speakeasy and I told them that I could commit to ten T1 lines if they were interested in bringing their service up here.

Playing one vendor off another is a fun thing if you are the buyer...

Bill Whittle on politics

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A great rant/essay from Bill Whittle -- this was written after the passing of Obamacare; almost a month old but timeless and worth remembering come Novembers 2010 and 2012:
And so now we have it.

I thought I might need to try my small part to cheer people up and calm them down, but for once I have underestimated the American people. People, by and large, seem not only calm but absolutely determined. Everywhere I have looked this morning the reaction seems to be more or less the same: a nation of steely-eyed missile men. These Marxist bastards have no idea what is coming for them. No idea.

Laugh while you can, Monkey Boys.

What passed last night is a long way from the single-payer, socialist dream its supporters secretly � and not so secretly � really want. As a matter of fact, it�s hard to imagine a bill more perfectly constructed to tee off everyone: Conservatives hate it for it�s regulation, cost and explosive growth of government; liberals hate it because it forces people (so far, so good!) to buy premiums form the hated private insurance companies. (What the�!)

So, in terms of limiting the practical and immediate damage, holding it here � just holding it � is important and essential. Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have an IQ of 130 � that would be combined between the three of them and you can get to 150 if you throw in Biden � and so they actually believe that a few months from now, they will be able to add single-payer to this goat rodeo, this bloodbath, this circus of incompetence conducted by this museum-grade confederacy of dunces. It got them a bill that requires people to pay for private insurance � which I am, of course, utterly opposed to on every level � but that is way short of single payer and we MUST hold the line here and not an inch further until reinforcements arrive in January. And they will. In numbers that will astonish and amaze the most optimistic among us.

We need to understand the great lesson we have learned about these people in this debate. Barack Obama is, to the liberal cause, a politician that comes not once in a decade, or once in a generation, or even once per century. Barack Obama is, to them, a once in history opportunity for progressives to control this country, and they will fall on a forest of swords to achieve those ends because this is the best chance they have ever had or ever will have to permanently shackle the people to the state. They know that this Health Care fiasco will cost them the House and now perhaps the Senate in November, but that new Congress will not seat until January and in the ten months between now and then they will, I predict, start an orgy of legislation that will make this Health Care circus look like a tea party.

But it seems to me that they have spent every dime of political capital in the bank and have done nothing less than awoken from its long and deep slumbers the American Giant, who in attempting to sit upright discovers the Lilliputian threads that have been staked into the ground with finishing nails and who looks around, blinking and disoriented, fatter and softer and much, much poorer than he was when he last opened his eyes back in 1941, but possessed now as then with a terrible anger and capable still of mighty exertions.

So, to the short term: everybody knows that Reid and Pelosi and The Lightworker himself, obviously, are all hoping to use this bill as the foot in the door for the stuff they really want: a single-payer National Health System, or at least the �public option,� which is simply single-payer on the installment plan. We can�t let them get that. Going forward, we can�t let them get single-payer, or cap and trade, or amnesty, or any of it.

We can learn some lessons here. We have to. One lesson is message discipline. What is message discipline? I�ll give you an example:

What�s in a Big Mac? Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun! That�s what�s in a Big Mac. We have got to understand that saying NO! to this socialism is admirable and essential, but that from now on there has to be a counter-narrative to what these Marxists are selling, because like it or not the human brain is wired for stories � that�s how we learn (and why the real fight is not for Washington but rather Hollywood � but that�s a story for another time.)

If we want to win on health care, or any other issue, we need to have an answer to what they are selling and that answer needs to be as simple and comprehensive as the Big Mac slogan.

Our position on health care? Two tax incentives, health accounts, crossing state lines, tort reform, competition on an auto insurance bun. And if we don�t learn how to do this we will lose.

A final thought on this darkish day: much is said about the �inevitability� of these kinds of legislation, that once enacted they are impossible to repeal or roll back.

This kind of thinking is self-fulfilling defeatism and has to stop. ANY law enacted can be repealed. We repealed a constitutional amendment, for God�s sake. From now on we must change our message from one of limiting government growth and spending and regulation to one of reducing it.

It is true that no nation has in the past ever recovered from the cycle of entitlement, moral decay and aristocratic rot that we find ourselves in. But it is also true that no nation � not one in history � was established precisely in opposition to these cancers. It is also true that never before have common people � otherwise known as the Host Organism � had the means to speak directly to one another, as we are here. It is true that if there is to be an historical exemption to the Cycle of Civilization it is only here that it will occur, and it is also true that the concepts of Free Will and Destiny are antithetical to one another. One of them is true and the other is not. It is my belief that you can chose to abandon Free Will and chose to believe in destiny and historical inevitability, or you can take the risk to believe instead that there is a new world populated by optimists and dreamers, but dreamers with rifles as well as quills and parchment� People who have never surrendered and for whom the very idea of defeat and despair is anathema.

That�s a choice I make every day. What we see before us is the result of lost elections and redemption will come from winning elections. Mark these words, my friends: We are going to whip these Marxists out of their little commie boots!
What he said. The 160+ comments are a great read as well. Here is one that caught my eye:
I would like to see the lid ripped off the Gramscian stealth march through the institutions that has been going on since 1972. It has in effect established a state religion with which children are brainwashed from pre-K through post-graduate work. The founders may not have known the word �ideology,� but I am confident that they would see the connection at once.
A good mix of ideologies -- Red Pill and Blue Pill. Curious to see the level of articulation of the one and the poo-flinging of the other...

A volcano Meme

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There is the thought drifting around out there that since Europe was playing fast and loose with Iceland's three major banks and since Europe's own financial problems caused these banks to fail -- maybe -- just maybe -- Eyafallaj�kull is paying back a bit of Karmic deubt... The old Icelandic Gods are very protective and very strong. If they wake up, times are going to get interesting.

How our betters live

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It is nice to get a little insight into our ruling class once in a while. From The Palm Beach Post:
Nancy Pelosi�s Palm Beach party had more security than guests
When she showed up for a private dinner in Palm Beach, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi walked into the home of businessman and Democratic moneyman George Cloutier with a security detail 12 strong, mostly US Capitol Police.

There were four additional Palm Beach cops. And two sheriff�s deputies.

Oh, yes! Two police boats in the Atlantic Ocean, across the street from Cloutier�s house.

And with 18 guests at the dinner last weekend, the wingding had fewer guests than lawmen!
And a bit more:
I�m told the cocktail party and sit-down dinner for the San Francisco Democrat Pelosi raised $100,000 for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. New U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch was there, as was the Boca U.S. Rep. Ron Klein.

Since cops don�t talk about security for high-ranking government officials, there�s no telling if the setup at Cloutier�s house cost the taxpayers more than what was raised for political purposes.

The surgically-beautified Pelosi, meanwhile, appreciated particularly the treats that Tiffany Cloutier had flown over for the occasion and placed on everybody�s plate: 10-inch-long, 8-inch-tall replicas of San Francisco cable cars made of hand-painted chocolate!

Among the civilians at the shindig: Local landowners Rick and Tricia Keitel and lawyer Michael Steiner with his wife Janet.

After catching some Zs at The Breakers, Pelosi spent Sunday with personal friends in Vero Beach.
And of course, all of the security costs were paid out of her own pocket -- yeah and I have some oceanfront property in Nevada you might be interested in. Clueless, ugly and tone-deaf. This is not the way to go through life...

Some amazing Eyafallajokull photographs

Check out the photos from this site (two parts) Stromboli online - Volcanic and glacial landforms of Iceland here and here

Just a taste:


From the UK Independent:
Gore takes cash for water campaign from chemical firm
Al Gore, the self-styled squeakiest-clean and deepest-green politician in American history, has some explaining to do this weekend. His environmental organisation has taken money to raise awareness about the need for clean water from a controversial chemicals company involved in the aftermath of one of the world's worst pollution disasters.

Dow Chemical, the US firm which now owns the leaking pesticides factory responsible for thousands of deaths in Bhopal, India, is sponsoring Life Earth events in 150 cities today. The event aims to raise money for clean water programmes. Research by environmental organisations has found dangerous levels of highly toxic chemicals in rivers, lakes and other water supplies close to several other factories owned by Dow and its subsidiaries in countries including the United States, Brazil and South Africa.

Dow's factories at its global headquarters in Midland, Michigan, have been accused of contaminating the region, including the Tittabawassee River floodplains, with high levels of dioxin � one of the "dirty dozen" most dangerous chemicals. In 2007, the highest level of dioxin contamination ever measured by the US Environmental Protection Agency was found in the Michigan Saginaw River. Residents are advised to avoid contact with river sediments and not to eat locally caught fish.

Campaigners are outraged by what they call Dow's "blatant attempt" to paint itself as a green company and divert attention from the Bhopal scandal, where 25 years after the 1984 disaster at the plant (then owned by Union Carbide) thousands of villagers are still forced to use contaminated water which causes birth defects, cancer and skin disorders.

Live Earth, which has accumulated celebrity supporters and thousands of activists worldwide since its climate change concert in 2007, has been criticised by campaigners for joining forces with a company which has a track record of, at best, being slow to clean up toxic spills that pollute water, damage ecosystems and endanger lives.

Three weeks ago, Amnesty International asked Live Earth to reconsider the sponsorship unless Dow publicly agreed to clean up Bhopal. Live Earth did not respond.
Why do stories like this have to come from overseas media -- where are these being reported in our own mainstream media? . . . crickets Al Gore will accept money from anyone with two provisions: #1) - it will not tarnish the image of Al Gore and #2) - it will help promote Al Gore as a wise and caring person Fscking hypocrite...

Sticks and Stones - Iran

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Talk about drinking your own Kool-Aid - from CNN:
Ahmadinejad: Iran too 'mighty' to attack
Iran is so powerful today that no country would dare attack it, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday during an annual army parade.

"Iran's army is so mighty today that no enemy can have a foul thought of invading Iran's territory," the Iranian leader said, according to state media.

"Of course, Iran is a friend and brother of regional and independent nations and it wants peace, progress and security for all countries," Ahmadinejad said.
Delusional -- Iran may be hiring consultants and running training exercises but they have never been in an armed conflict. Israel will hand them their asses on a silver platter if they try to start something.

The Whiskey Standard

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I was thinking about the Einstein photographs where:
"...On the way there, I stopped and bought a case of scotch. I knew people might be reluctant to talk to me, and I knew that most people were happy to accept a bottle of scotch instead of money if you offered it in exchange for their help. So, I get to the building and nobody's there. I find the superintendent, give him a fifth of scotch, and he opens up Einstein's office so I can take some photos.�
Today I ran into this from Liquor Locusts:
The Whiskey Standard
In writing and thinking about these blog posts, I ponder what went into making me a liquorlocust, as it were. There are many things and as time goes by I will try and share some of my formative years.

One thing that comes to mind is playing in my Grandmother�s house when I was a kid. There was a spare bedroom in the basement that us kids played in a lot to get out of the adult�s hair. In the closet, there were always three cases, full, of Old Crow bourbon. My grandmother was certainly a woman who would enjoy a drink, but she did not drink all that much to my knowledge. At the time I did not think much of it, the bourbon was just something that was in the closet, just like old, out of date clothes and knick-knacks.

As I got older, though, I kind of wondered about it. As far as I could tell, it never varied, there were always three cases. Finally, asking the reason, it was all made clear to me. My Grandmother, it should be said, lived through the Depression as an adult, raising children. (She also lived through Prohibition as an adult for that matter) And that, as for most people, was an experience that made a lasting impression on her.

One impression was that you could count on whiskey. It did not go bad. If you wanted, you could drink it. But more importantly you could always spend it. In some ways, it was better than money. It was inflation proof. It did not suffer from devaluation or inflation. There were always people who would trade you for whiskey. They would fix your car, paint your house, doctors would look at your kids, people would sell you food, all for that wonderful commodity-whiskey. So, the Old Crow in the basement was just another example of frugality and preparation by a generation who learned that it was important. Kind of like having money in a coffee can in the pantry, Grandma always had whiskey in the basement to pay for things if that became necessary. I took this lesson to heart. My Grandma instilled in me the idea that whiskey is as good as gold � perhaps better if you are thirsty or snakebit.

As to why Old Crow, I never learned. This was not her bourbon of choice, although she did drink it. But, for whatever reason, this was the whiskey she used for her emergency savings plan. Thanks for the lesson, Grandma.
An interesting thought -- Whiskey was certainly a valuable trade-good in colonial America and in fact, the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790's was in direct response to treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton's program to centralize and fund the national debt. One of the comments left at Liquor Locusts had a wonderful insight to early American life:
In one of our old family wills the old man leaves the still (Yes, we lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Did you need to ask?) to a son, and the son was required to provide his mother with some outrageous amount, several gallons if I remember correctly, of whiskey every month for the duration of her life. We speculated that the old man either wanted her to have money or stay blasted. There was no indication of which in any surviving document.


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Great short film:
Film and CGI by Patrick Jean

That is it for the night

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I was up at 6:00AM to prep for the work party. Took a three hour nap this afternoon but still tired and sore. Heading out to the DaveCave(tm) to see what the email faeries drug in and then off to an early bedtime. At the work party, I brought my iPod and some speakers -- building a small PA system for local use. Today was the first use of some new speakers; a pair of 18" Mackie subwoofers. They were not obvious in their use but the quality of the sound was greatly improved over just the two-way PA speakers. This is just the way I want it -- accurate sound but no noticeable brumph - brumph - brumph - brumph. I pity the poor fools that drive the cars with these kinds of sound systems. They love music but they are willfully causing permanent hearing loss. If I was casting about for a new career, I would take a close look at Audiology. Your patients seldom get better but they never die from their disease and they are always interested in upgrades to better products. Get a couple whales on the hook and you can start budgeting for that new Mercedes and the boat.
From FOX News:
Aussie Cookbook Recalled After Recipe Includes 'Freshly Ground Black People'
It is a tiny misprint, but an Australian publisher had to pulp a cookbook after one recipe called for "salt and freshly ground black people" to be added to the dish, AFP reported Saturday.

Penguin Group Australia pulped and reprinted about 7,000 copies of "Pasta Bible" after the typographical error was found in the ingredients for spelt tagliatelle with sardines and prosciutto, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

"We're mortified that this has become an issue of any kind, and why anyone would be offended, we don't know," head of publishing Bob Sessions was quoted as saying.

Penguin said almost every one of the more than 150 recipes in the book called for salt and freshly ground black pepper but a misprint occurred on just one page, probably as a result of a computer's spellchecker program.

"When it comes to the proofreader, of course they should have picked it up, but proofreading a cookbook is an extremely difficult task. I find that quite forgivable," Sessions said.

He said it would be extremely hard to recall the stock but if anyone complained about the "silly mistake" they would be given the new version.
I am offended I tell you. OFFENDED! Spell checkers do not check grammar. Reminds me of this little poem (PDF).
An international research team is looking to explore the Nutrino. We have detected them and have some knowledge about them but not that much. Not anywhere near as much as we know about the other particles. Enter the CUORE Project -- The Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events. One of the issues in looking for such a ghostly particle is that you need to minimize any other background radiation. The team is doing this by locating the Observatory 11,200 feet under Gran Sasso mountain in Italy. The Team is also using lead as shielding. Not just any lead, this lead - from Nature News:
Roman ingots to shield particle detector
Around four tonnes of ancient Roman lead was yesterday transferred from a museum on the Italian island of Sardinia to the country's national particle physics laboratory at Gran Sasso on the mainland. Once destined to become water pipes, coins or ammunition for Roman soldiers' slingshots, the metal will instead form part of a cutting-edge experiment to nail down the mass of neutrinos.

The 120 lead ingots, each weighing about 33 kilograms, come from a larger load recovered 20 years ago from a Roman shipwreck, the remains of a vessel that sank between 80 B.C. and 50 B.C. off the coast of Sardinia. As a testimony to the extent of ancient Rome's manufacturing and trading capacities, the ingots are of great value to archaeologists, who have been preserving and studying them at the National Archaeological Museum in Cagliari, southern Sardinia. What makes the ingots equally valuable to physicists is the fact that over the past 2,000 years their lead has almost completely lost its natural radioactivity. It is therefore the perfect material with which to shield the CUORE (Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events) detector, which Italy's National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) is building at the Gran Sasso laboratory.
A bit more:
This is where the shipwrecked lead comes into the picture. Lead is, in principle, a shield against radiation, but freshly mined lead is itself slightly radioactive because it contains an unstable isotope, lead-210. "We could never use it for our experiment, which is exactly about keeping background radioactivity to a minimum," says Ettore Fiorini, a physicist at the University of Milan-Bicocca and coordinator of the CUORE experiment. After it is extracted from the ground, however, lead-210 decays into more stable isotopes, with the concentration of the radioactive isotope halving every 22 years. The lead in the Roman ingots has now lost almost all traces of its radioactivity.
Very cool...


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The work party was great -- about fifteen people showed up and we assigned plots to everyone. I brought down a load of sheep and goat poop compost that had been sitting for a year. The trailer is not a dump unit so had to shovel the whole thing onto a tarp. I will be stiff tomorrow -- going home and taking a nap...

A list

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From McSweeney's: Death Metal Lyric or William Blake Quote?
1. "Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead."

2. "We are Satan's generation."

3. "As I was walking among the fires of hell, delighted."

4. "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom."

5. "The child of burning time has gone. He hasn't come back."
Five more and the answers at the site.

Word up

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Aye-ya fyah-dla jow-kudl (the double ll's in Icelandic have a soft d sound to them) You're welcome!

Allen West

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I would vote for him in a heartbeat:
I have seen a number of his speeches and they are always very focused and articulate without a single TelePrompter in sight. 2016 anyone?
55 years ago today, Albert Einstein died at age 76. Life magazine photographer Ralph Morse was in New York. He grabbed his cameras, stopped to buy a case of Scotch and drove to Princeton to Einstein's office. From Life Magazine:
Albert Einstein, the genius physicist whose theories changed our ideas of how the universe works, died 55 years ago, on April 18, 1955, of heart failure. He was 76. His funeral and cremation were intensely private affairs, and only one photographer managed to capture the events of that extraordinary day: LIFE magazine's Ralph Morse. Armed with his camera and a case of scotch -- to open doors and loosen tongues -- Morse compiled a quietly intense record of an icon's passing. But aside from one now-famous image (above), the pictures Morse took that day were never published. At the request of Einstein's son, who asked that the family's privacy be respected while they mourned, LIFE decided not to run the full story, and for 55 years Morse's photographs lay unseen and forgotten.
"I grabbed my cameras and drove the ninety miles to Princeton," Morse recalls. "Einstein died at the Princeton Hospital, so I headed there first. But it was chaos -- so many journalists, photographers, onlookers milling around outside what, back then, was a really small hospital. 'Forget this,' I said, and headed over to the building where Einstein's office was. On the way there, I stopped and bought a case of scotch. I knew people might be reluctant to talk to me, and I knew that most people were happy to accept a bottle of scotch instead of money if you offered it in exchange for their help. So, I get to the building and nobody's there. I find the superintendent, give him a fifth of scotch, and he opens up Einstein's office so I can take some photos."

A good meeting

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There are about 300 households in that community -- I knew it had a good number of people but there is not that much visible from the road. A lot of houses within sight of each other so it should be really easy to run broadband out to them. They do have a satellite dish for the clubhouse but people come up there to stream videos and use up all the allocated bandwidth. With the T1, I'll be able to monitor traffic and load limit the more egregious bandwidth hogs. Looking at something cool on YouTube is one thing but trying to watch a football game on the computer is another. There is a great local Mexican bar whose owner is into sports and she usually has two or three games on the TV. Serves awesome margaritas too. You want game? Go there. A couple of the board members were technological savvy so I got asked some good questions and they seemed happy with my answers. Heading out to the DaveCave(tm) for an early evening -- still have stuff to do for tomorrow's work party.

A small observation

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I listen to both US and Canadian stations and the Eyjafjallaj�kull volcano is very much in the news. I have yet to hear a single announcer make any attempt to pronounce the name. It is always: "And in further news today, the Icelandic Volcano is tieing up airline traffic for Europe and conditions are not expected to improve as the Icelandic Volcano continues to erupt." Also, light posting for tonight - had to get some stuff prepped for tomorrows work party and have a 7:30 meeting tonight with the board of another local community -- rolling out the broadband...

Light posting today - busy

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The Community Garden work party is tomorrow morning so I am bringing a load of compost and the tractor down to the site. Should be fun -- also bringing the PA system and an iPOD full of tunes...

Eyjafjallaj�kull - Big Picture

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The Boston Globe's Big Picture feature is covering the Eyjafjallaj�kull eruption. Check it out: Iceland's disruptive volcano

Cool radar imagery of the Icelandic volcano

And OMFG -- it's coming to eat our souls!!! From the Iceland Review Online:
Iceland Volcano: Radar Pictures of the Craters
On Thursday scientists got the first radar pictures of the craters in Eyjafjallaj�kull. Until then it had been impossible to take such photos. The radar pictures are taken by the ELTA radar on the Coast Guard airplane TF-SIF. The pictures show three craters and how large they are.
At the time of the flight the flood from G�gj�kull was beginning and the scientists could confirm that a gigantic flood was making its way towards Markarflj�t. The flood has since subsided.
Elta makes some very cool radar equipment: here and here
From Popular Science:
Compound LJ001 Acts Like Antibiotic Against Viruses
Unlike antibiotics, which kill many different types of bacteria, antiviral drugs for the most part need to target individual, specific viruses. A drug that attacks a multitude of viruses -- an antibiotic for viruses, effectively -- would be a significant boon for medicine. And a group of researchers led by UCLA scientists just may have discovered exactly that.

Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers describe an early proof-of-concept study on a chemical they call LJ001. The chemical attacks the structure of viruses themselves, and may potentially cure a wide swath of disease ranging from influenza to AIDS to Ebola.

For all the complexity of the diseases they cause, viruses are very simple; just a bunch of DNA in a lipid sack. LJ001 attacks that lipid sack, as well as the lipid membrane of healthy cells. But whereas the healthy cells can easily repair the damage, the inert viruses simply fall apart.

Previous attempts at creating wide-spectrum anti-viral drugs have largely failed. Some are in use, but they are very expensive, and because they work by attacking RNA and DNA replication, they often carry significant side effects. By attacking the structure of the viruses, not the replication, LJ001 may end up as the first drug in a new age of medicine.
Delivery and dosing are going to be a royal bitch to work out but this could be really cool if they get the bugs out. And this is just the first example of a new technology -- get a couple more revisions and see what happens...

Stupid spammers die die die

Got a new pathology out here -- they are trying to defeat my flat-file list of keywords so instead of trying to sell v|agra, they are listing v|agra12 or v|agraxx. Complete and total fail. Like I said, stupid little spammers...

Well crap - no sign of the T1 dude

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DirecTV came and went but no sign of the person who was supposed to be installing the T1 line. I emailed my contact person at Verizon but no reply. Try again tomorrow I suppose...

Waiting on bandwidth

I am at the house today waiting for the installer from Verizon for the T1 broadband and for the installer from DirecTV to upgrade to HD and a DVR. The DirecTV guy called about 30 minutes ago and is on his way. I am still waiting for the Verizon installer. I went back and reviewed the scheduling email to see if I missed anything and I did:
Please ensure your local site contact is available during normal business hours to provide access to the technician as required.

Also, please note the FOC date is for your access loop delivery only. When the service has been tested and completed out (approximately 3-5 business days); you will receive notification from me with instructions on how to test and activate your service.
So no T1 for a few more days. Whine... Pout...

Eyjafjallajokull heats up again

The volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier started erupting again about a month ago. It died back, people went on with their lives and then, two days ago, blammo! From Yahoo News/Reuters:
Icelandic volcano eruption intensifies
A volcanic eruption in Iceland, which has thrown up a 6-km (3.7 mile) high plume of ash and disrupted air traffic across northern Europe, has grown more intense, an expert said on Thursday.

The eruption under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier continued to spew large amounts of ash and smoke into the air and showed no signs of abating after 40 hours of activity, said Pall Einarsson, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland.

"The seismographs are showing that since this morning the intensity of the eruption seems to be growing," he said.

Hot fumes had melted up to a third of the glacial ice covering the crater, causing a nearby river to burst its banks, and frequent explosions on the floor of the crater sounded like bombs going off, he said.

The floods were abating, however, and some of those living in the sparsely populated area near the volcano had returned to their homes.

Another scientist said the eruption was 10 times more powerful than one which occurred last month on the flank of the volcano, though the two were part of the same event.
Enough ash is being kicked up to cause airplanes to be re-routed. Should be some gorgeous sunsets in Europe for the next week or so. Still no word as to whether the geologically-linked Mt Katla is showing any signs of activity. That would be a major event.

Knowing one's faults - Obama

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This is unreal -- from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:
Obama opens up on Rudd relationship
United States president Barack Obama says he and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd share several personality traits - one of which is humility.
A little bit of projection there Barry?

The 545

Excellent rant from Charlie Reese -- first printed in 1995 and recently updated:
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them..

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don�t propose a federal budget. The president does.

You and I don�t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don�t write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don�t set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don�t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don�t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator�s responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits�.. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? Nancy Pelosi. She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted � by present facts � of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can�t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it�s because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it�s because they want it in the red ..

If the Army & Marines are in IRAQ, it�s because they want them in IRAQ

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it�s because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like �the economy,� �inflation,� or �politics� that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power..

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees�

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!
Verified by Snopes Hat tip The Blogmocracy

Deaths from energy

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An interesting note -- more people have been killed from Oregon's Wind Power program than were killed by the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear melt-down. Hat tip to Small Dead Animals

How to build a team - NOT!

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Talk about a sterling example of the Peter Principle. From the New York Daily News:
Brooklyn principal Yolanda Ramirez under investigation for intimidating teachers over school surveys
An angry Brooklyn principal was caught on tape berating teachers after they trashed her on a crucial school survey, the Daily News has learned.

Public School 38 Principal Yolanda Ramirez is under investigation for threatening teachers after she received harsh reviews on last year's survey.

The News obtained a secret recording of Ramirez lashing out at her teachers for nearly 40 minutes, telling them their brutal answers could cost the school - and all of them.

"If you don't trust me, you air that in the school," Ramirez is heard saying in the tape from June 2009, just after she learned the survey's results.

"You don't put that out there for the public because if I were to begin putting out some of your dirty laundry, a lot of you wouldn't be here."

Confronted about charges of intimidation, Ramirez denied she received any poor marks on the survey. "That was good," she claimed.

The survey results paint a different picture. Nearly 60% of teachers said they don't "trust the principal at his or her word."

And 58% disagreed with the statement, "The principal is an effective manager who makes the school run smoothly."
Sheesh -- to deny that she received poor marks on a publicly published document is an out and out lie. I hear that Wal-Mart is hiring...

Color me surprised - NOT!

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From the Washington Post:
Academic experts clear scientists in 'climate-gate'
In the second of three investigations of the scandal known as "climate-gate," a panel of academic experts said Wednesday that several prominent climate scientists did not engage in deliberate malpractice but did not use the best statistical tools available to produce their findings.

The University of East Anglia's Climactic Research Unit has been under intense scrutiny since November, when hackers posted more than 1,000 pirated e-mails and a raft of other documents that highlight the scientists' hostility toward global warming skeptics. But the review -- which follows a British parliamentary review that defended the institution's research but faulted its tendency to withhold information -- did nothing to bridge the divide between many climate researchers and their critics.

After interviewing staff members and analyzing 11 peer-reviewed articles published between 1986 and 2008, the panel concluded: "We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it."

They also said it was "very surprising" that the researchers did not work more closely with statisticians. But, they added, it was "not clear" that "better methods would have produced significantly different results."
This "investigation" and its outcome more than anything else shows that the "research" into climate change is a politically driven agenda and not science as I know her. The 1,073 emails are just icing on the cake. The real Earth Shattering Ka-Boom is found in the over 200 Megabytes of source code and data that accompanied the package that was leaked by the still unknown whistle-blower. A perfect excerpt would be this comment from the HARRY_READ_ME.txt file. Harry was hired by the Climatic Research Unit from 2006 through 2009 and this file is his daily logbook. He was hired to help clean up the code.
So, to station counts. These will have to mirror section 3 above. Coverage of secondary parameters is particularly difficult - what is the best approach? To include synthetic coverage, when it's only at 2.5-degree?

No. I'm going to back my previous decision - all station count files reflect actualy obs for that parameter only. So for secondaries, you get actual obs of that parameter (ie naff all for FRS). You get the info about synthetics that enables you to use the relevant primary counts if you want to. Of course, I'm going to have to provide a combined TMP and DTR station count to satisfy VAP & FRS users. The problem is that the synthetics are incorporated at 2.5-degrees, NO IDEA why, so saying they affect particular 0.5-degree cells is harder than it should be. So we'll just gloss over that entirely ;0)

ARGH. Just went back to check on synthetic production. Apparently - I have no memory of this at all - we're not doing observed rain days! It's all synthetic from 1990 onwards. So I'm going to need conditionals in the update program to handle that. And separate gridding before 1989. And what TF happens to station counts?

OH FUCK THIS. It's Sunday evening, I've worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done I'm hitting yet another problem that's based on the hopeless state of our databases. There is no uniform data integrity, it's just a catalogue of issues that continues to grow as they're found.
Even as a non-programmer, looking through the code and the data I can see that this is egregiously shoddy work at best and a willful contamination and forcing of data at the worst. Like I said, the very fact that this "investigation" found nothing wrong proves that it is politics and not Science.

Handy basic business phrases

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Here are a couple of handy phrases for business use:
Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.
The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist.
I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce.
Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.
I have plenty of talent and vision. I just don't care.
I like you. You remind me of when I was young and stupid.
What am I? Flypaper for freaks!?
I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant.
I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.
I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.
It's a thankless job, but I've got a lot of Karma to burn off.
Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.
No, my powers can only be used for good.
How about never? Is never good for you?
I'm really easy to get along with once you people learn to worship me.
You sound reasonable...Time to up my medication.
I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter.
I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message...
I don't work here. I'm a consultant.
Who me? I just wander from room to room.
My toys! My toys! I can't do this job without my toys!
It might look like I'm doing nothing, but at the cellular level I'm really quite busy.
At least I have a positive attitude about my destructive habits.
You are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers.
I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.
Someday, we'll look back on this, laugh nervously and change the subject.
Swiped from Theo

Not so fast - Waxman and Stupak

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Good to see that these two odious little men got their pee-pee's whacked for overstepping the boundaries of what really drives this nation. From Reuters:
US lawmakers cancel company healthcare tax hearing
U.S. lawmakers planning to grill executives from AT&T Inc, Deere & Co. and others over predicted financial hits blamed on the recent health care overhaul have abruptly canceled the hearing.

Two Democrats on the House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee, Henry Waxman and Bart Stupak, sent colleagues a memo on Wednesday citing "the request of several of the companies" in nixing the hearing.

Companies asked for more time to examine the issues, they said. There is no immediate word on when or if the hearing will be rescheduled.
Emphasis mine. ORLY? RLY! Dang, was looking forward to seeing the little guy getting his ass handed to him.

Nice allies - Russia

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They are a sovereign nation and we have no say in whom they can sell to but still, there should be some bounds of decency when it comes to totalitarian regimes. From Reuters:
Russia says Iran reactor on track for August launch
A reactor being built by Russia at Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant is scheduled to open in August, the head of Russia's state nuclear corporation said on Wednesday.

"The launch is scheduled for August. We're on schedule," Sergei Kiriyenko told reporters in Argentina during a visit. "Bushehr doesn't threaten the regime of nonproliferation in any way. No one has any concerns about Bushehr."
We will see how often they change their fuel rods... If they leave them in for three or four years, they get all of the energy out of them but the rods are contaminated with the Plutonium 240 isotope. If they change them after a few months, the Pu-240 is minimal and the yield of Pu-239 is much higher. If you are building a weapon, 239 is what you want as 240 pops off at the drop of a hat -- the weapon disintegrates before any significant power is developed. It is a royal bitch to separate the two and why Carter thought the used rods would be dangerous is beyond me. President Jimmy Carter is the bozo who is responsible for banning the reprocessing of nuke waste -- we could be getting more fuel, burning up the long-lived isotopes and minimizing the storage requirements but no...

Heh - nails it!

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I wish that I could attend tomorrows TEA . Party in Bellingham but I'm waiting for the T1 party at my house (along with the HD satellite upgrade) John Cox of the late and lamented Cox and Forkum did this and it is almost perfect (needs an elephant in the boat):
Hat tip to Mostly Cajun for the link.
From the Columbia, MO Daily Tribune:
Discarded beer causes stir
One man�s treasure is another man�s trash.

This was true for two city employees who were alerted to hundreds of cases of recently expired beer dumped in the city landfill.

On April 1, N.H. Scheppers Distributing Co. of Columbia dropped off 1,500 cases of expired beer at the landfill. The unusually large load consisted mostly of cans of Budweiser and some Michelob Ultra, said Scheppers President Joe Priesmeyer, and was delivered in two shipments.

The first half was destroyed by landfill crews upon delivery. The second load, roughly 700 cases, remained intact.

Margrace Buckler, the city�s human resource director, said after the second load was dropped off, two employees of the city�s Solid Waste Division came to the site with a city-owned pickup and loaded up as much beer as they could carry away � about 50 cases.

Buckler said it is likely that at least one landfill employee played a role in the matter.

�Someone needed to tell them that it was there,� she said. �The assumption is that someone made a phone call.�

Suspicion didn�t arise until a week later when rumors spread, Buckler said. Management looked at security tapes and saw the city-owned vehicle entering the landfill empty and leaving with the beer.
I cannot find it on Google but when I was growing up, there was a great Free Beer story. The Iron City brewery was located on one of Pittsburgh's three rivers and they dug lagering tanks into the hillside. Someone living on the top of the hill was drilling a well and penetrated into one of the tanks. It was several months before the pipe was noticed -- all the while this guy was enjoying free beer.

Cool technology advancement

The folks at MIT have not lost their touch... From Nature Nanotechnology:

Biologically templated photocatalytic nanostructures for sustained light-driven water oxidation
Over several billion years, cyanobacteria and plants have evolved highly organized photosynthetic systems to shuttle both electronic and chemical species for the efficient oxidation of water. In a similar manner to reaction centres in natural photosystems, molecular and metal oxide catalysts have been used to photochemically oxidize water. However, the various approaches involving the molecular design of ligands, surface modification and immobilization, 7 still have limitations in terms of catalytic efficiency and sustainability. Here, we demonstrate a biologically templated nanostructure for visible light-driven water oxidation that uses a genetically engineered M13 virus scaffold to mediate the co-assembly of zinc porphyrins (photosensitizer) and iridium oxide hydrosol clusters (catalyst). Porous polymer microgels are used as an immobilization matrix to improve the structural durability of the assembled nanostructures and to allow the materials to be recycled. Our results suggest that the biotemplated nanoscale assembly of functional components is a promising route to significantly improved photocatalytic water-splitting systems.

Running this through the Google translator (Science geek to English) we find:

We designed this bacteria that when hit by light, breaks the H2O into H2 and O.

Very cool -- probably more useful for fuel cells and not generation of hydrogen for combustion but still, this is only version 0.1

UPDATE at the bottom: An announcement that opens a can of worms. From the Vancouver Sun:
Vatican under fire for linking gays to pedophilia
Gay groups and politicians condemned Pope Benedict's number two on Wednesday for calling homosexuality a "pathology" and linking it directly to sexual abuse of children.

The comments made by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone during a visit to Chile, and the controversy they caused, were splashed on mainstream Italian newspapers on Wednesday.

The French foreign ministry and some Catholic blogs that support the pope also condemned the cardinal's remarks.

As the scandal over sexual abuse of children by priests has spread, some in the Catholic Church have called for a review of the Church's rule that prohibits priests from marrying, saying marriage would allow priests to enjoy a healthy sex life.

Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, who is sometimes called the "deputy pope," told a news conference in Santiago on Monday:

"Many psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that there is no link between celibacy and paedophilia, but many others have shown, I have recently been told, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and paedophilia."

"This pathology is one that touches all categories of people, and priests to a lesser degree in percentage terms," he said. "The behaviour of the priests in this case, the negative behaviour, is very serious, is scandalous."
This will be interesting to follow -- Cardinal Bertone would not say something that inflammatory without the Pope's say so. Being gay is no skin off my ass -- I know people who are gay and I care for them and hope that they find happiness in their lives. That being said, I cannot but think that it is some genetic quirk that causes the predisposition. If this is so and it alters someone's sexual preferences, why could it not also alter their age preferences. The morals of society have become lessened to where someone can "come out" and have that celebrated instead of shamed. Society's morals still shun the sexualizing of children -- groups like NAMBLA are considered pariahs (despite Obama's School Safety Czar promoting them). How long will this be? Like I said -- it will be interesting to follow... UPDATE -- Jen brought up the thought that there are more pedophile assaults by straights than by gays. I ran into this paper from the UC Davis psychology department that breaks a lot of the numbers down. It is a very mixed survey between bi, hetero and homo and pre-adolescent and post-adolescent and she was 100% correct. It's not a big slam-dunk number but there is a statistical preference for hetero and bi men for post adolescent children. The Church needs to check its facts and apologize. The whole website is an excellent reference.

So close I can taste it...

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Very high geekdom. I get my own personal T1 line installed to the house tomorrow. In about two weeks, I will be selling chunks of it to the neighbors but for now, it will be mine all mine. Cue up Bach's Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor Cue up thunder and lightning sfx.


That is all...

CO2 is plant (and Coral) food

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A lot of people are touting that Carbon Dioxide is an evil gas. It is not, it is plant food. We are currently at around 380 Parts per Million. Ice cores have told us that it has been as high as 6,000 PPM. For those that consider it to be toxic to life (in addition to the Global Warming greenhouse gas scare), ask yourselves why people who run hydroponics grow-ops add CO2 to their rooms. Check out the CO2 calculator. From the site:
CO2 is an odorless, invisible, and non-flammable gas. It is also safe for humans in the maximum concentrations recommended for plant growth. The average level of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 300 PPM (parts per million). If the level decreases down below 200 PPM in an enclosed growing area, plant growth slows to a halt. Through the years of testing and research, the optimum enrichment level of CO2 for plant growth has been agreed to be about 1500 PPM. With CO2 enrichment, under good conditions, plant growth rates and flowering will increase 20-100%. CO2 can be used from seedling right through harvest.
Also, the CO2 page from Discount Hydroponics. For people who are concerned about Ocean Acidification, there is nothing to worry about. In fact, aquarists who keep salt-water tanks and who grow coral will add CO2 to their tanks to promote growth and (from the Wikipedia article):
In marine and reef aquariums, a calcium reactor is a device used to create a balance of alkalinity in the system.
Marine and Reef has a nice page on them. All of this leads up to this wonderful two minute time-lapse movie of a Cowpea seedling growing in 450PPM and 1,270PPM CO2:
Yes, it really is this simple. CO2 is a greenhouse gas and yes, we have had some influence on the overall warming trend of this planet but no, there is no 'tipping point' -- in fact, our climate regulates itself within a close range with wonderful stability. Yes, there is variation that affects our lives but no, it is not something we need to pump billions of dollars into and if we did, we would have little or no effect on the outcome. We need to sit back and concentrate on the things that matter and over which we can have a real effect -- clean water, reduce pollution, effective Science education for our Elementary and High School students. There is less of a feel-good 'aura' about these and these actually take real work and thought on our parts but these are what needs to be done and done soon. Not some watermelon environmentalist emo view of what a perfect world will be like... And a big tip 'o the hat to Daily Bayonet for the link.

Obama's soccer game

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This struck me as curious when it was first reported. Now that people have been digging, it is more than curious. From Cat Corbin at American Thinker:
Obama Attends Non-Existent Soccer Game?
Reading the story about President Obama breaking tradition and ditching the presidential press pool over the weekend to watch one of his daughter's soccer games, it appears harmless, right? Not so. It is rather disturbing when you dissect it. So let's do just that. According to the Chicago Sun Times, the press pool was to assemble at 11:30AM.

However, Time reported:
The president left the White House at approximately 9:20 to attend one of his daughter's soccer games at 40th and Chesapeake NW. A pool was hastily called at around 9:35 and drove north at 9:43 to catch the president before the game ended. We didn't make it. The President returned to the White House at 10:17. The pool returned at 10:30. We now return you to your regularly scheduled pool call time.

Seems simple enough. But the story has several problems. The first one is a biggie in that there were no scheduled soccer games for Sidwell Friends April 10, as evidenced here. The second is that the area reported that the game was played at appears to be one of high crime, as documented here and here...
Most curious -- 140 comments and pjt36 voices what came to my mind:
Folks, lighten up here a minute, he's the President of the United States. That makes him the most powerful man on the planet. Presidents sometimes have to do secret stuff. It's part of the job.

My only concern, of course, is the lousy cover story. The staff needs to come up with something more believable. I suppose it's just another example of the incompetents with which he surrounds himself.

Doofus of the month award

It goes to little Dominica Juliano of Erie, Pennsylvania -- from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Girl claims injuries from price scanner
An Erie County jury has been asked to decide whether a 12-year-old girl was burned and later developed psychological problems when a convenience store clerk allegedly aimed a hand-held price scanner at her face.

Dominica Juliano was 12 when she and her grandmother entered the Country Fair store in Erie in June 2004.

A clerk allegedly called the girl "grumpy" before flashing his hand-held bar code scanner over her face and telling her to smile.

Attorneys for Ms. Juliano and her guardian say the girl was sensitive to light and burned, and later developed post-traumatic stress and Tourette's syndrome.

An attorney for the store says the scanner uses a harmless LED light and that the child had serious health problems before the incident. The trial began Monday.

Any scientist, any engineer, any 12-year-old electronics hobbyist would be able to call bullshit in a mater of moments and be able to cite the reasons. I could see the potential of a burn if it used UV LEDs and ran several tens of watts but the few hundred milliwatts of visible red will do nothing.

The lights of some scanners pulse and that could be scary to a kid being raised in a household that didn't assign any value to science, education or even just plain thinking.

I have bad skin and when I am stressed out, I can get patches of rash -- little Dominica is probably suffering from something like this.

If Dominica's guardian knows that she is sensitive to light, WTF was she doing outside. The radiation from the sun is millions of times more potent than the few hundred milliwatts of an LED.

It is a shame to be teaching the kid to become a professional victim and it is even more a shame for the lawyers to buy into such a patently bogus case.

The pathology of Joy

A fun article by Dennis Prager at National Review Online:

Squashing Life's Little Pleasures
Reading the onslaught of angry denunciations of Burger King by mental-health organizations and mainstream-media reporters this past week reminded me of a characteristic of the Left not often commented on: a certain joylessness, even an antipathy to the little joys that contribute more than almost anything else to most people's ability to endure life's difficulties.

These characteristics further reinforce the view that Leftism functions as a secular religion. Like the medieval Christians who wore hairshirts and the Puritans who thought dancing was sacrilegious, the Left, consciously or not, is uncomfortable with many of the joys people experience (with such notable exceptions as sex and drugs).

Needless to say, the Left always has noble explanations - usually the protection of people's emotions and health - for opposing and even banning these joys, but the end result is fewer of the little joys that mean a great deal to people.

Burger King's ad is innocuous and innocent. It features the company's royal mascot running through a building, knocking a person over, and crashing through a glass window to deliver the new Burger King Steakhouse XT burger. Called "crazy" by those present, he is finally tackled by men in white coats. The "king's insane," the ad notes, for "offering so much beef for $3.99."

This has triggered a storm of criticism from activists (a term which, unless otherwise specified, always refers to liberal or left-wing activists).

Michael Fitzpatrick, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, called the ad "blatantly offensive. . . . I was stunned. Absolutely stunned and appalled." David Shern, president and chief executive of Mental Health America in Alexandria, echoed this assessment. And reporters at outlets from the Associated Press to the Washington Post all agreed.

If this were isolated, it would be worth mentioning only in the context of wondering why people who run mental-health - and most other activist - organizations seem to have so little common sense. They should listen to William Gardner of Los Angeles, who wrote to me:
I am a father of a 24-year-old son with [a] mental-health issue. I am particularly tuned to protecting my son's self-image. My son and I have both seen the Burger King ad that you have referred to. It did not occur to either of us that the Burger King ad was offensive in any way. Why would I raise my son to be hypersensitive about his disability? My objective as a parent is to strengthen him. Making him hypersensitive would have the opposite effect.
But the Left has problems with much else as well: smoking (including cigars and pipes); virtually all kids' games that can make a kid feel at all bad or get at all hurt; wood-burning fireplaces; cars; most jokes and any flirting in the workplace; incandescent light bulbs; cool homes in summer; and more.

Heh -- hits it right on the nose...

Back home again

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Picked up the new (to me) truck around 2:00PM this afternoon and promptly headed south 60 miles to visit Harbor Freight and Homebrew Heaven. Picked up what I wanted, gassed up and headed home. I will need to run into Bellingham tomorrow to finish some things I didn't get to today -- pick up my Dad's ashes, get a stand for the new credit card reader at the store, check on the price of a LINE-X bed liner. Got a canopy on order so that should be in in a few weeks. Very happy with the truck -- gas mileage is much better than expected with 8-15 in stop and go traffic and 12-20 on the highway. The canopy will smooth out a lot of turbulence and I should see a little boost on the highway miles. Thirty gallon tank so I am good for five hundred miles per fill -- makes shopping for cheap diesel worth doing. The local Tribal gas station doesn't carry diesel... Heat up some leftover leftover beef and barley soup -- had pot roast for dinner when we went to the Jonsi concert and I took the scraps from that home and cooked up a nice soup -- and then onto the web. Very stoked about this coming Thursday -- the T1 is scheduled to be installed and also, Dish Network will be coming out to upgrade our receiver to HD -- I nicked the smaller flatscreen from my Dad's house and put it on the wall here. Enough rambling -- time for dinner...

Light posting today as well

My truck is about twelve years old, close to 200K miles and due for a bit of an upgrade. Picking up a three year old Ford F-350 with 20K miles this morning. It's got a big diesel engine so it isn't even broken in yet. It will be interesting as I have been a General Motors driver since the late 1970's. Making the conscious decision to vote with my dollars and buying a Ford. Maiden voyage will be to drop some tax stuff off at the bookkeepers, pick up my Dad's ashes from the Funeral home and then drive down to beautiful Everett, WA to visit the Harbor Freight store and Homebrew Heaven. Harbor Freight is having a $20/off sale on this hydraulic wire crimper. I don't work with enough large gage wire to warrant the cool $300 tool so this will work just fine. Homebrew Heaven is having their annual Hop Rhizome sale. I have a perfect place for some hops plants and have been meaning to get some for a couple years. I'll be planting two each of the Cascade and the Chinook hops -- my two favorites for brewing. Costco has one of their business centers in that area so I'll swing by there as well...

A wonderful heart-warming story from the Florida station CBS4:

Mom With Cancer Gets Insurance Help For Transplant
A Hollywood woman who was dropped from Medicaid coverage while needing a bone marrow transplant is finally getting the coverage and treatment she needs to stay alive.

Diana Smith is battling a rare form of Leukemia and needs the transplant to survive. She managed to raise money to pay for it thanks to her friends and the community, but then last week she found out her Medicaid coverage was dropped - putting her operation on hold.

Smith had gone through six months of radiation and chemotherapy -- one week out of every month. She is in remission and had a donor for a transplant; being in remission is a prerequisite for the transplant.

But her hopes of receiving the transplant were dashed in March, when she says, the Social Security Administration contacted her - without her soliciting it -- and told her that her three year-old son was entitled to receive Social Security disability payments. Even though she didn't ask for it, she signed the form and received her son's first check.

In April, Medicaid canceled her universal health care policy because her income level had risen with her son's payments - making her ineligible for the insurance program.

A perfect example of the difference between Government run care and citizen run care. Her friends and neighbors rallied and raised the money. The Government 'death panel' reviewed the case and without mercy, declared her to be ineligible because enough money had already been spent on her.

Fortunately, with all the publicity, the hospital, Social Security and Medicaid are going to 'work something out'. Scum sucking bottom feeders -- it takes holding their feet to the public fire to get them to do a compassionate act -- how many other people have died because the were not able to get their story known...

Multiple drink alert

The Argyle Sweater is a favorite daily read -- very similar in sick twisted humor to Gary Larson's The Far Side.

Today's was wonderful:


A magnetic personality

Og over at Neanderpundit writes about some experiences with metal shavings and the new Neodymium magnets:

Afraid of what?
Had I never done work with Neodymium magnets, I would never have guessed that I would someday say "I'm afraid of magnets". There are neodymium magnets out there that are so potentially dangerous that the danger escapes most people until they are missing a finger or a chunk of forearm.

I have a few small neos and a pair of samarium cobalt magnets on my desk, and I play with them from time to time, they're small and less dangerous. But they still have their moments.

Last week I spent a day working on a machine cutting cast iron and inevitably, gathered handful of tiny slivers. It's unavoidable. So tonight when I picked up the magnets to play with them I was presented with the sensation of all those tiny slivers of cast iron standing on their heads to salute the magnetic field of the magnet, with the sharpest of them tickling previously unreachable nerve endings. Yay me.

I sanded the fingertips in question and oiled them (oil makes the filings more likely to come out) and used the magnet to remove them. In the end, it was handy, but the moment when I got whanged by the slivers jumping around in my fingertips was no fun.

Brings to mind the old joke -- how can you tell if someone is a machinist?

They are the people who wash their hands before using the Urinal.

Back from the meeting

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The meeting was a good one -- a person was there to talk about the Wild and Scenic Rivers program. They are looking at classifying the river near where we live -- this will be a big boon as this attracts a lot of fishermen, river rafters and tourists. The North Fork of the Nooksack is certainly a gorgeous piece of river -- starts off as a wild mountain stream and gradually rolls its way down to the ocean. Surf the web a little bit and then off to the DaveCave(tm) for email.

Light posting today

Had to run some errands in town and there is a Chamber of Commerce meeting tonight so posting will be lighter than usual. The Chamber is doing an annual fundraiser at the end of May so a lot of planning meetings are happening. This will be the third year and last year went off without a hitch so this year should be a piece of cake (knock on wood).

Rubbing the sand out of their eyes

In Hungary -- we need it to happen here too. From ABC News:
Hungary's Ruling Socialists Suffer Stinging Defeat
Hungary's center-right party reclaimed the right to govern on Sunday, winning over 50 percent of the vote and handing the ruling Socialists a humiliating defeat. Extreme rightists backed by black clad paramilitary troops took more than 15 percent to come in third.

While widely forecast, the strong gain of the extreme right Jobbik party represented the greatest political shake-up of the election, shattering Hungary's traditional post-communist status quo of a parliament dominated by the center right and the left.

Fidesz's landslide victory had been expected by pollsters and its result of 52.8 percent in the first round translated into 206 seats for now in the 386-seat legislature.

The governing Socialists, whom many Hungarians blame for their dismal economy, were far behind with 19.3 percent and 28 seats, followed closely by the far-right, anti-Gypsy Jobbik with 26 seats and 16.7 percent � over three times as much as any other far-right party since the country's return to democracy from communism in 1990.

The depth of the Socialist fall was reflected in a comparison of their present showing to that of the last election four years ago, when they garnered 43 percent support.
Most nations are centrist or center right -- the nature of politics dictates a swing back and forth so it is nice to see the socialists getting pushed out of office and the center-rights returning. The extreme right is just as much a danger as the extreme left -- neither of them have had a successful economy. Let's hope we get a strong swing back here in November...

Well dang!

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The local TEA Party people are planning a big event on tax day -- April 15th. I will not be able to attend as there is another event that takes priority. April 15th will be my T1 Party -- they are scheduled to install sometime then. Lighting up the valley - the town of Glacier is next... WOOT!!!

Last post for the night

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Heading out to the DaveCave(tm) Got an early start tomorrow -- we are switching credit card factoring services and instead of shipping a pre-programmed card reader, they ship a virgin one and we have to leave it connected to our telephone line for abut 25 minutes. This means that we will be unable to process credit cards with our old system while this is going on. Hella way to run a business but we do get very good rates and the service is otherwise excellent. The reason for the switch is to add a check imager -- we have had a couple households move out of the area without telling us. They would write checks as normal and then all of a sudden, three or four of their checks would bounce and none of the contact information would work. This added up to about $2K since the beginning of the year so it is time to opt for plan B. This will add a 40 cent transaction fee but unless they are just buying a stick of gum, we should still come out ahead...

Gorgeous day today

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We have had a couple cold winter storms roll through here in the last three weeks -- the ski season is going out with a bang! Today is quite different though -- clear skies, temps in the low 60's. Had to run into town to get my Dad's garbage can out onto the street for tomorrows pickup -- got a bunch of stale food and don't want the house to turn rancid. Got a lot of sorting and tossing to do -- my Mom was not a hoarder in the classical sense; no towering stacks of newspapers and rotting garbage but everything was filed away in an organized fashion. Going though old telephone bills, I find the bill, the envelope it was mailed in, the promotional mat�riels that were mailed with the bill, etc... Add to that, there have been the occasional Certificate of Shares of any number of Stocks found in stacks of other papers so each sheet of paper has to be gone through before it can be tossed. There is a good friend of ours who has just started cleaning and organizing our house so we will be hiring her to help -- having someone who is not emotionally involved will be really good.

Odd spam attack

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Again, with the exception of one IP address, all of the 20 IP addresses were unique, all came in within a few minutes and this time, they were touting something that I had last seen six months ago. I still had the search terms in the flat-file database so they still, all of them, got put into moderation. I had mentioned earlier converting over to a MySQL database so I can keep track of how old the attempts are -- that way, I can figure if a given IP address has not spammed me in six months, the owner probably removed the malware or zombie from his system and is clean again. Been getting phishing emails from Korea too this last couple of days. Curious...
There is a wonderful dialogue going on over at Anthony Watt's blog between Willis Eschenbach -- best classified as a climate skeptic but one who is more than willing to participate in a debate -- and Dr. Walter Meier from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). It starts here: Trust and Mistrust with Willis posing fourteen questions and two preface questions. Walt's replies are here: NSIDC�s Walt Meier responds to Willis Willis in turn posts Walt's replies and offers some commentary and debate here: My Thanks and Comments for Dr. Walt Meier
First, I would like to thank Dr. Meier of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) for answering the questions I had posed (and had given my own personal answers) in �Trust and Mistrust�. I found his replies to be both temperate and well-reasoned. Also, I appreciate the positive and considerate tone of most of those who commented on his reply. It is only through such a peaceful and temperate discussion that we can come to understand what the other side of the debate thinks.

Onwards to the questions, Dr. Meier�s answers, and my comments:

Question 1. Does the earth have a preferred temperature, which is actively maintained by the climate system?
Willis says that he �believes the answer is yes�. In science �belief� doesn�t have much standing beyond initial hypotheses. Scientists need to look for evidence to support or refute any such initial beliefs. So, does the earth have a preferred temperature? Well, there are certainly some self-regulating mechanisms that can keep temperatures reasonably stable at least over a certain range of climate forcings. However, this question doesn�t seem particularly relevant to the issue of climate change and anthropogenic global warming. The relevant question is: can the earth�s temperature change over a range that could significantly impact modern human society?
My comment: Since unfortunately so little attention has been given to this important question, my idea of how it works is indeed a hypothesis. Therefore, �belief� is appropriate. However, I have provided several kinds of evidence in support of the hypothesis at the post I cited in my original answer to this question, �The Thermostat Hypothesis�.

Next, Dr. Meier says that there are �some self-regulating mechanisms that can keep temperature reasonably stable at least over a certain range of climate forcings.� Unfortunately, he does not say what the mechanisms might be, at what timescale they operate, or what range of forcings they can handle.

However, he says that they can safely be ignored in favor of seeing what the small changes are, which doesn�t make sense to me. Before we start looking at what causes the small fluctuations in temperature that we are discussing (0.6�C/century), we should investigate the existence and mechanism of large-scale processes that regulate the temperature. If we are trying to understand a change in the temperature of a house, surely one of the first questions we would want answered is �does the house have a thermostat?� The same is true of the climate.
A wonderful read... Over 140 comments to look through too. It is nice to finally see this sort of measured dialog happening. All too often throughout the Anthropogenic Global Warming debate matters have degraded to poo-flinging with no real science, just opinion and political agendas. The Science is not settled. In Science there is never a consensus. In Politics yes but not in Science.

The gun "debate"

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Oleg Volk is a photographer, a Russian �migr� and a very eloquent spokesman for gun ownership, training and the Second Amendment. Check out A Human Right and be prepared to spend some time reading. Also check out his blog and The High Road, an online forum he started.
Instead of having a few seismometers scattered around, what if there were thousands. From Popular Mechanics:
Earthquake Prediction? There's an App for That
As part of their battle to understand and protect against the destructive force of earthquakes, seismologists have gone to extraordinary lengths. They have bored holes deep into the earth's crust, laid out arrays of sensors hundreds of miles across, and built supercomputers capable of running simulations at teraflop speeds. But the most exciting new effort in cutting-edge seismology involves a piece of instrumentation that's a good deal less exotic. It's called an iPhone.

"Each smartphone has an accelerometer built into it," says Robert W. Clayton, a professor of geology at Caltech. "It's primary function is to determine the orientation of the phone and to allow gaming. But it can also be used to detect seismic activity." What's more, the phone's internet connection allows it instant access to remote servers. In essence, though consumers think of them that way, iPhones have the capability to serve as nodes in a distributed seismic sensor network. All they need is someone to organize that network. Clayton is part of a team aiming to do just that. Called Community Seismic Network, the project will debut this summer with a tight cluster of sensors in the Pasadena area.

Volunteers are being issued inexpensive three-axis accelerometers, each about the size of a stopwatch, that can plug into any computer's USB port. Later, the network will expand to include laptops equipped with built-in accelerometers and then to smartphones. The project is running in parallel with a Stanford-based effort called the Quake Catcher Network that is already collecting data from volunteers around the world.

When a sensor detects a vibration that could be an earthquake, it automatically sends a report over the Internet. "The goal is to pass on the key information within a second, so it beats the destruction of the earthquake," Clayton says. "We call it the Temple of Doom scenario," after the scene where Indiana Jones runs out of the imploding temple just before it collapses around him. The plan is to have 1000 to 2000 sensors in the network within a year, and eventually as many as 100,000 spread out across the greater Los Angeles area.

When completed, the network will include both stationary computers and mobile devices, providing block-by-block level of detail. Mobile devices have one huge drawback when it comes to sensing earthquakes: they're subject to all sorts of extraneous vibration and movement as their users navigate around a noisy world. The key will be to develop software that can discriminate between the kinds of signals generated by temblors from everything else. Helping the cause will be the fact that, since each iPhone is part of a much wider network, false positives will be easy to spot against an otherwise quiet background.
Very cool -- here is the website for Community Seismic Network Not much there yet -- it would be fun to have a small array up here as there is a large fault running about ten miles away and Mt. Baker is an active volcano.

Sir Edmund Hillary's ashes

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Sir Edmund Hillary was the first western person to successfully climb Mt. Everest. He was accompanied by his friend and Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay for the 1953 climb. From the BBC:
Sherpas cancel plan to spread Hillary ashes on Everest
A plan to scatter some of the ashes of explorer Sir Edmund Hillary at the peak of Mount Everest has been called off.

Buddhist lamas had warned it would bring bad luck, so the Sherpas behind the plan said the ashes instead would be kept at a monastery near Everest.

The world's highest mountain is considered sacred to the Buddhist Sherpas who live in the region.

Sir Edmund climbed Everest in 1953 and after his death in 2008 most of his ashes were spread in Auckland harbour.

The rest were given to the Sherpa community.

Possible precedent
Apa Sherpa, who has scaled Everest a record 19 times - and is planning a 20th attempt - had wanted to honour the New Zealander by spreading his ashes at the summit.

The organisers of Apa's expedition said they decided against the plan after a committee of Sherpas, including Buddhist lamas, advised against it.

"The old lamas said that it would be inauspicious to take the ashes to a holy place," said expedition organiser Dawa Steven Sherpa.

"There were also concerns that placing Hillary's ashes on the summit could set a precedent, with other people wanting their ashes also to be scattered there," he told AFP news agency.

Sir Edmund's ashes will remain at a monastery near Everest where they have been kept since being transferred to Nepal.

There are plans to scatter them in a park that is being built to commemorate the mountaineer.
My bet? His ashes will be up on the summit this summer if they aren't there already. In addition, there will be an anonymous and somewhat larger than usual cash donation to the old lamas retirement home and everyone will be happy. Hillary was incredibly good to the Sherpas -- loved them:
He and the Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were the first to reach the the 8,847m (29,028ft) peak of Everest and the New Zealander kept strong ties with the Sherpa community.

He opened a charitable foundation to help the people in the Solukhumbu region at the base of the mountain.

Apa, 50, said he had met Sir Edmund many times and would pray for him at the summit.

"Without him we would have no clinics and we would have no schools," he said
It would have been so easy for Sir Edmund Hillary to hog all the glory but he did not -- he was the kind of man that you sadly do not find very often these days...
Cue the soundtrack to Mad Max -- from Cleveland, Ohio station WKYC:
Ashtabula County: Judge tells residents to "Arm themselves"
In the ongoing financial crisis in Ashtabula County, the Sheriff's Department has been cut from 112 to 49 deputies. With deputies assigned to transport prisoners, serve warrants and other duties, only one patrol car is assigned to patrol the entire county of 720 square miles.

"I did the best with what they (the county commissioners) gave me. If it wasn't enough, don't blame me, don't blame this department," said Sheriff Billy Johnson.

Johnson said he is suing the commissioners to get a determination of whether he should use his limited budget to carry out obligations defined by law or put more patrol cars on the streets.

"I just can't do it anymore," he said. "I have to have the court explain to the commissioners and to me what my statutory duties are."

The Ashtabula County Jail has confined as many as 140 prisoners. It now houses only 30 because of reductions in the staff of corrections officers.

All told, 700 accused criminals are on a waiting list to serve time in the jail.
Are there dangerous people free among the 700 who cannot be locked up?
"There probably are," Sheriff Johnson said, "but I'm telling you, any known violent criminal, we're housing them. We've got murderers in there."

Ashtabula County is the largest county in Ohio by land area.

Ashtabula County Common Pleas Judge Alfred Mackey was asked what residents should do to protect themselves and their families with the severe cutback in law enforcement.

"Arm themselves," the judge said. "Be very careful, be vigilant, get in touch with your neighbors, because we're going to have to look after each other."
To give you an idea about the leadership of the county:
Ashtabula County, where unemployment is higher than the state average, is asking voters to approve a one half per cent sales tax increase in May.

The tax hike would raise the tax in the county to seven percent.
How about cut the size of the government, cut taxes and give large and long-term incentives to businesses willing to locate there. It has worked for other areas and it can work here.

Odd spam activity

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Seeing a lot of random spam attempts coming from unique IP addresses. Almost like a new botnet is being started up -- the IPs are all over the place in ComCast, SW Bell and RoadRunner land -- also corporate land as I have some from Adaptec, Amazon and a couple Universities. A lot of times, the same IP will rack up a couple of spam attempts over the course of an attack -- this is just single attempts. A lot of random things too -- the usual Pills but also software. Odd... Of course, none of these got through. LUSERS! Here is YR LTTL PWNY!

A good meeting

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I met with the Homeowners Association for one of the communities in this area regarding rolling out broadband. The meeting was a lot of fun as people were very eager to get this service. One of the members works as a geologist for a large University and deals with some large networks so he had a few pointed questions -- fortunately, I had the answers. This thing is taking on a life of its own -- very very cool. Now to home and to nap for a couple of hours -- running on five hours of sleep and didn't sleep well yesterday...

Just WOW!

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One of the more amazing shows I have seen in a long long time. Jonsi is touring the world and this was his fourth night (including a dress rehearsal) so there are lots of gigs left. It's close to 2:00AM, I have to get up at 7:00AM for a meeting. I'm off to bed...

Last post for today

Heading down to Seattle for a show. Jonsi is the lead singer from the Icelandic band Sigur Ros and has been doing a solo tour. They are playing tonight at the Showbox SoDo. I have an 8:00AM meeting tomorrow with a local community homeowners association regarding rolling out broadband in their development so we will be driving back home late tonight -- probably getting in around 1:00AM or so. The meetings are once/month so it's not like I can push it back a few days...
The FCC is rolling out rural broadband. And I have some ocean-front property in Nevada you might be interested in... From Government Technology:
FCC Announces National Broadband Agenda
The FCC announced Thursday, April 8, its 2010 agenda for putting the National Broadband Plan into action.

The agenda "explains the purpose and timing of more than 60 rulemakings and other notice-and-comment proceedings the plan recommends for FCC action," according to the agency, and will "implement plan recommendations requiring rulemakings through a series of open, participatory notice-and-comment proceedings."

Progress on the plan's implementation can be tracked at www.broadband.gov/plan/broadband-action-agenda.html. An implementation schedule is also available at www.broadband.gov/plan/chart-of-key-broadband-action-agenda-items.pdf.

"Our implementation plan lays out a road map for reforming universal service to connect all Americans to broadband, including in rural areas; unleashing spectrum, promoting competition and supporting small businesses; protecting and empowering consumers; safeguarding online privacy; increasing adoption in all communities and ensuring fair access for people with disabilities; protecting broadband networks against cyber-attack and other disasters; and ensuring that all users can reach 911 in an emergency," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement.
They will be spending $20BN of our tax dollars for this. We already did this back in the Clinton administration with the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996. Back then, it was just $3BN of our tax dollars that went down the rat-hole with nothing to show. This is why I am rolling out the T1 lines in our nearby communities. If and when the FCC ever gets here, I will have the last mile covered with equipment that can handle 100MB/Sec so they can just drop the fiber at my access points and cut me a nice check. If they don't, I'll be providing broadband for a couple hundred households and businesses.

A big bump at the pump

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Wrote yesterday that gas will be going up. People are now predicting $4/gallon prices and that this will have a dampening effect on the recovery. From Chicago station CBS2:
Gas Prices Are Up, But Is That A Good Thing?
Don't look now, but a gradual rise in gasoline prices has suddenly turned into a gallop, with drivers facing a new round of sticker shock.

But as CBS 2's Derrick Blakley reports, the higher prices might actually be a good thing.

The growing pain at the pump kind of snuck up on many Chicago drivers, but now they're really feeling the bite.

"I just paid $3.54 for gas," said Michelle as she filled up at a Chicago gas station. "It's just outrageous."

Just a month ago, according to AAA Chicago, unleaded regular averaged $2.86 a gallon in the Chicago area.

Last week, it was $3.02.
And the economy:
"The last thing we want to see is higher energy prices at this time," said Flynn, because it can impact the rest of the economy negatively.

"I'm not happy with it," grumbled motorist Don Davis as he filled up. "I think it's gonna kill our recovery."

Davis fears a repeat of July 2008, when oil prices hit a record.

"It was $140 a barrel for oil and gas was $4 a gallon. I feel it's happening again. And it's not good news for the average person, that's for sure."

Bad news because money that's spent on higher energy costs is money diverted from other parts of the economy.

"Anytime you're spending more money on gas, it's gonna dip into your pockets a little," noted Brad, another driver topping off his tank.

Plenty of analysts believe with unemployment still over 10 percent, the economy's just too weak to sustain gas prices of $4 a gallon.
Pain at the pump but compared to England, we have it good. From the UK Daily Express:

THE �6 gallon arrived at Britain�s petrol pumps yesterday as motorists �continue to be hammered by Labour.

Unleaded hit an average of 119.9p a litre for the first time ever, breaking the previous July 2008 record of 119.7p.

But some forecourts are already charging 131.9p a litre � just a penny short of the �6 gallon.

�This is a dark day for Britain�s hard-pressed motorists,� said the RAC. And there is worse to come, warned experts last night.

A �perfect storm of rising wholesale costs, the weak pound and more Government tax hikes will propel fuel costs even higher. Drivers were warned to brace themselves for a 5p-a-litre surge in the next three months, pushing unleaded prices to a 125p a litre average by the summer holidays.
The GBPound is trading around $1.54USD so this is $9.23USD/Gallon for Gasoline. The sad thing is that if we started drilling now and started building refineries now, we would remain in pain for another five to ten years before the increased supplies kicked in and the prices adjusted downward. As it stands now, we sent a good chunk of our money over to nations that don't really like us all that much and which use the money to foment terrorist organizations (Saudi . Wahhabism) Why are we doing that? Who is getting paid off?
There is an interesting discussion between a few blogs regarding the economy and why Keynesian stimulus is not working and why it is impossible for it to ever work. Glenn Harlan Reynolds (Instapundit) writes in the Washington Examiner:
Progressives can't get past the Knowledge Problem
"If no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?"
-- President Reagan, Jan. 20, 1981.
Economist Friedrich Hayek explained in 1945 why centrally controlled "command economies" were doomed to waste, inefficiency, and collapse: Insufficient knowledge. He won a Nobel Prize. But it turns out he was righter than he knew.

In his "The Use of Knowledge In Society," Hayek explained that information about supply and demand, scarcity and abundance, wants and needs exists in no single place in any economy. The economy is simply too large and complicated for such information to be gathered together.

Any economic planner who attempts to do so will wind up hopelessly uninformed and behind the times, reacting to economic changes in a clumsy, too-late fashion and then being forced to react again to fix the problems that the previous mistakes created, leading to new problems, and so on.

Market mechanisms, like pricing, do a better job than planners because they incorporate what everyone knows indirectly through signals like price, without central planning.

Thus, no matter how deceptively simple and appealing command economy programs are, they are sure to trip up their operators, because the operators can't possibly be smart enough to make them work.

Hayek's insight into economics and regulation is often called "The Knowledge Problem," and it is a very powerful notion. But recent events suggest that it's not just the economy that regulators don't understand well enough -- it's also their own regulations.
Kevin at The Smallest Minority zeros in on a key problem and reiterates it:
The United States Code -- containing federal statutory law -- is more than 50,000 pages long and comprises 40 volumes. The Code of Federal Regulations, which indexes administrative rules, is 161,117 pages long and composes 226 volumes.

No one on Earth understands them all, and the potential interaction among all the different rules would choke a supercomputer. This means, of course, that when Congress changes the law, it not only can't be aware of all the real-world complications it's producing, it can't even understand the legal and regulatory implications of what it's doing.
But Big Business is "unregulated" to hear it from some people.
One of Kevin's readers left this passage as a comment:
"Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We WANT them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted -- and you create a nation of law-breakers -- and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."
-- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
Yesterday, Kevin quoted from a relevant article in The Atlantic:
Today I read an interesting piece by Lane Wallace in The Atlantic, The Bias of Veteran Journalists. In that piece Lane noted that she was disturbed when she recognized her fellow journalists were asking questions that indicated that they'd already chosen a story line and only asked questions that would further that story line. I recommend you read the whole piece.

But what jumped out at me was this:
In his new book, How We Decide, Jonah Lehrer cites a research study done by U.C. Berkeley professor Philip Tetlock. Tetlock questioned 284 people who made their living "commenting or offering advice on political and economic trends," asking them to make predictions about future events. Over the course of the study, Tetlock collected quantitative data on over 82,000 predictions, as well as information from follow-up interviews with the subjects about the thought processes they'd used to come to those predictions.

His findings were surprising. Most of Tetlock's questions about the future events were put in the form of specific, multiple choice questions, with three possible answers. But for all their expertise, the pundits' predictions turned out to be correct less than 33% of the time. Which meant, as Lehrer puts it, that a "dart-throwing chimp" would have had a higher rate of success. Tetlock also found that the least accurate predictions were made by the most famous experts in the group.

Why was that? According to Lehrer,
The central error diagnosed by Tetlock was the sin of certainty, which led the 'experts' to impose a top-down solution on their decision-making processes ... When pundits were convinced that they were right, they ignored any brain areas that implied they might be wrong.

Tetlock himself, Lehrer says, concluded that "The dominant danger [for pundits] remains hubris, the vice of closed-mindedness, of dismissing dissonant possibilities too quickly."
It's not just pundits. It's the people that Thomas Sowell characterizes as "The Anointed" who gravitate into government to save us poor rubes from ourselves.

Apply Tetlock's observations, for example, to the Anthropogenic Global Warming Intelligentsia. Or the gun control organizations that constantly predict "Wild-West shootouts" and blood in the streets after each incremental repeal of gun control.

"Dart-throwing chimps" indeed.
Make that Blind Dart-throwing chimps. Deaf too. How can someone live with that level of cognitive dissonance in their lives...

Heh -- Bart Stupak to 'retire'

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After being bought off with a few coins and allowing his bloc to vote for Obamacare, Stupak is now retiring from the House of Representatives. From CNN/Politics:
Michigan's Stupak retiring from Congress, sources say
U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, a nine-term Democratic congressman from Michigan, will announce Friday he is retiring from Congress, Democratic sources close to Stupak said.

The anti-abortion Democrat has been facing opposition from both the right and the left for his eleventh-hour deal with the White House to support the administration's health care legislation.

Stupak said he struck the deal because he was convinced that the measure bans federal funding for abortion.
It will be interesting to see what happens to him next -- in about six months to a year. He was bought off -- now we just have to wait to see what the price was...

Our friends the Israelis

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First Obama snubs the Israeli Prime Minister on his visit to the United States. Now this -- from Roger Simon translating this article at NRG/Maariv:
Translation of Maariv article 4/7/2010 on Dimona nuclear scientists
NRG/Maariv reports today that workers at the Dimona reactor who submitted VISA requests to visit the United States for ongoing University education in Physics, Chemistry and Nuclear Engineering - have all been rejected, specifically because of their association with the Dimona reactor. This is a new policy decision of the Obama administration, since there never used to be an issue with the reactor's workers from study in the USA, and till recently, they received VISAs and studied in the USA.

Israeli Defense Officials have stated that these reactor researches have no criminal background in Israel or in the USA, and yet they are being singled out purely because of their place of employment at the reactor.

Professor Zeev Alfasi, the head of Nuclear Engineering at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev stated that "the United States doesn't sell anything nuclear-related to the Dimona reactor, and that means absolutely nothing. Radiation detectors, for example have to be purchased now in France because the USA refuses to sell these to Israel."

Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor's employees have told Israel's Maariv daily that they have been having problems recently getting visas to the United States where they have for years attended seminars in Chemistry, Physics and Nuclear Engineering (link in Hebrew, Hat Tip: BA Wilson). They also complain of being treated in an 'insulting manner' by President Obama's people. Until recently, employees of the Nuclear Research Center routinely traveled to the United States for seminars and courses. But reactor employees also complain of an American refusal to sell them reactor components that have routinely been sold to them by the United States. Instead, the components are being purchased from� France. This is from a Google translation that I've tried to fix up a little bit.

Professor Zeev Alfasi, the Chairman of the Nuclear Engineering Department at Ben - Gurion University, who is aware of what is going on, describes the deterioration of the American attitude regarding the nuclear reactor. "Some of our people did not receive visas to the United States because they are employees of Nuclear Research Center," explained Professor Alfasi, "The United States does not sell anything nuclear to the Nuclear Research Center, and this includes everything. For example, the Nuclear Research Center in Dimona is buying radiation detectors in France, because the Americans are not selling to the Nuclear Research Center's employees."

Prof. Alfasi added that "the Americans want to know for what each item of equipment is used. They sell to universities, but they refuse to sell these same items of equipment to the Nuclear Research Center. I do not whether they will sell the same items that they refuse to sell us to Iran." The Nuclear Research Center refused to comment on the claims.
This is the only Democratic nation in the middle east, these are our allies. Seriously WTF Obama? What the hell are you trying to accomplish or are you so seriously out of your depth that you are just flailing.

The Democratic Socialists of America

Doing a spot of digging and not liking the stench that is coming out of this particular hole. There is an organization called the Democratic Socialists of America. From their website:
Democratic Socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically�to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Americans can participate in the many decisions that affect our lives.
Couple of points: #1) -- we are not a democracy. The United States of America is a republic. There is a very very big difference. #2) -- that line about: "to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few" is straight out of the Marxist playbook. The classical re-distribution of wealth. The problem here is that Marx, although he was intelligent, completely fucked up one of the most basic fundamentals of economics. Money is fungible. There is not a fixed pool of it that is being hoarded by the evil rich; money can be created and it can be destroyed. When Lehman Brothers tanked in 2008, there were no dollar bills flying out the doors and windows -- all of Lehman's bad assets were electronic. Promises to pay XYZZY on a certain date. #3) -- that line about: "many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed" is so opposed to what is written in our Constitution and our Bill of Rights that it is not even funny. That a group of American citizens actually promotes this is bordering on treason and sedition. And finally: #4) -- that line about: "so that ordinary Americans can participate in the many decisions that affect our lives" WE ALREADY HAVE THIS. It's called voting and we do it whenever there is an election. Anyway, the Democratic Socialists of America are not afraid to state on their website what they believe in. Discover the Networks has some interesting information:
Formed in 1983 during the Cold War by merging splinter factions of the Socialist movement, DSA brought together what it calls �former Socialists and Communists, former old leftists and new leftists, and many who had never been leftists at all.� In its early years, DSA supported the Soviet-backed nuclear freeze program that would have consolidated Soviet nuclear superiority in Europe � under the banner of promoting �peace.�
And some more:
DSA seeks to increase its political influence not by establishing its own party, but rather by working closely with the Democratic Party to promote leftist agendas. "Like our friends and allies in the feminist, labor, civil rights, religious, and community organizing movements, many of us have been active in the Democratic Party," says DSA. "We work with those movements to strengthen the party�s left wing, represented by the Congressional Progressive Caucus. ... Maybe sometime in the future ... an alternative national party will be viable. For now, we will continue to support progressives who have a real chance at winning elections, which usually means left-wing Democrats."

Until 1999, DSA hosted the website of the Progressive Caucus. Following a subsequent expose of the link between the two entities, the Progressive Caucus established its own website under the auspices of Congress. But DSA and the Progressive Caucus remain intimately linked. All 58 Progressive Caucus members also belong to DSA. In addition to these members of Congress, other prominent DSA members include Noam Chomsky, Ed Asner, Gloria Steinem, and Cornel West, who serves as the organization's honorary Chair.
So we go to Discover the Networks entry for the Progressive Caucus:
The Progressive Caucus is an organization of Members of Congress founded in 1991 by newly-elected House Representative Bernie Sanders (Independent-Vermont), who is a self-described socialist.

As of April 2007, the Progressive Caucus included Sanders (who became a U.S. Senator in 2006), Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and 69 members of the House of Representatives, all of them leftist Democrats and almost all in districts heavily gerrymandered to guarantee the re-election of any Democratic Party incumbent, no matter how extreme.

On November 11, 1999, the Progressive Caucus drafted its Position Paper on economic inequality. It reads, in part, as follows: "Economic inequality is the result of two and a half decades of government policies and rules governing the economy being tilted in favor of large asset owners at the expense of wage earners. Tax policy, trade policy, monetary policy, government regulations and other rules have reflected this pro-investor bias. We propose the introduction or reintroduction of a package of legislative initiatives that will close America's economic divide and address both income and wealth disparities. � The concentration of wealth is a problem because it distorts our democracy, destabilizes the economy and erodes our social and cultural fabric."
And this:
As of June 2006, the following Members of Congress belonged to the Progressive Caucus: Neil Abercrombie; Tammy Baldwin; Xavier Becerra; Madeleine Z. Bordallo; Corrine Brown; Sherrod Brown; Michael Capuano; Julia Carson; Donna Christensen; William "Lacy" Clay; Emanuel Cleaver; John Conyers; Elijah Cummings; Danny Davis; Peter DeFazio; Rosa DeLauro; Lane Evans; Sam Farr; Chaka Fattah; Bob Filner; Barney Frank; Raul Grijalva; Luis Gutierrez; Maurice Hinchey; Jesse Jackson, Jr.; Sheila Jackson-Lee; Stephanie Tubbs Jones; Marcy Kaptur; Carolyn Kilpatrick; Dennis Kucinich; Tom Lantos; Barbara Lee; John Lewis; Ed Markey; Jim McDermott; James P. McGovern; Cynthia McKinney; George Miller; Gwen Moore; Jerrold Nadler; Eleanor Holmes Norton; John Olver; Major Owens; Ed Pastor; Donald Payne; Nancy Pelosi; Charles Rangel; Bobby Rush; Bernie Sanders; Jan Schakowsky; Jose Serrano; Louise Slaughter; Hilda Solis; Pete Stark; Bennie Thompson; John Tierney; Tom Udall; Nydia Velazquez; Maxine Waters; Diane Watson; Mel Watt; Henry Waxman; and Lynn Woolsey.
This explains a lot of the crap that is coming to a head these days. It has been steadily advancing below the political radar screens for over a decade and now, they are within pouncing distance. The 2010 and 2012 elections are going to be crucial votes.
From Jed Babbin writing at Breitbart's Big Government:
Waxman Plans Industry Show Trials
Democrats understand that passage of Obama�s healthcare �reforms� will probably hurt them in November, so they�re doing everything they can to dampen the anger directed at them and turn it against someone � anyone � else.

Anger-dampening was built into the bill, postponing the tax increases and other burdens Americans will feel directly until after the 2010 elections (and some until after 2012). Obama and the congressional Democrats are out bragging about the rainbows and unicorns they�ve produced.

But now several major American companies � AT&T, Verizon, Deere & Co. and Caterpillar � are spoiling the carefully-planned narrative by saying that they will incur huge losses (impliedly causing job losses) because of the costs they will incur under the Obamacare plan.

As a result, congressional Dems are planning a public punishment of the heretics.

According to a Washington Examiner report, �Caterpillar stated in an SEC filing they would earn $100M less in 2010, Verizon sent emails to employees informing them of their expected costs to increase in the short term, and AT&T filed with the SEC that they expect a $1B hit because of the new law.�

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Cal), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has asked the CEO�s of AT&T, Deere & Co., Verizon and Caterpillar to testify on April 21 at a hearing into the companies� declared financial losses caused by the new healthcare legislation.

In letters to the CEOs, Waxman has demanded that they produce every piece of paper (and e-mail) seen or prepared or reviewed by senior company officials related to the cost impact projections of the healthcare �reforms.�
Heh... You do not rise to become the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company by being stupid. These people are going to come well-prepared with documentation up the yin-yang. They will have read the whole healthcare bill and will be able to cite line item by line item just where the money will be going. I really hope that CSPAN carries this, just to watch Waxman squirm...

Nice work if you can get it

From Yahoo/Associated Press:
Nearly half of US households escape fed income tax
Tax Day is a dreaded deadline for millions, but for nearly half of U.S. households it's simply somebody else's problem.

About 47 percent will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability. That's according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization.
Nice way to jury-rig the economy. Make 50% of the voters not have to pay taxes and guess how they are going to vote next election -- for the benefit of their wallet or for the benefit of this Nation...

A tale of two companies

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General Motors is partly owned by the US Government. It posted a loss of $4.3 Billion in the last half of 2009. Ford is an independent company, owned by its stockholders. For the full year of 2009:
Full year net income of $2.7 billion, or 86 cents per share, a $17.5 billion improvement from a year ago. Pre-tax operating profits of $454 million, a $7.3 billion improvement from a year ago.
Nuff said...

More financial follies

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Also from the Financial Times: Also in today's Financial Times is this little bundle of joy:
Unexpected rise in US jobless claims
The number of US workers claiming jobless benefits for the first time recorded an unexpected rise last week, diminishing some of the recent signs of hope for the labour market.

Initial jobless claims rose by 18,000 to 460,000 last week, labour department figures showed on Thursday. Economists were expecting claims to decline.
And this is going on while the US Government is hiring 1.6 Million people to work for the US Census. This regime seems to be unable to grasp the simple fact that in a situation like this, a sharp and deep cut in taxes will do more to successfully stimulate the economy than this top-down planning and control that we are doing with little or nothing to show for it...

A bit of a bump at the pump

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Filled up the tank today and the gas was $3.08 -- it had held at $2.99 for more than a month. Come to find out why -- from the Financial Times:
Oil could give kiss of death to recovery
This week oil climbed to $87 a barrel, its highest level since October 2008 and prompted concerns that triple-digit crude was once again in the offing.

This was after a period of eight months when oil traded between $70 and $80, a narrow band that pleased oil producers without hurting consumers too much.

The latest surge seems to have been prompted by rising confidence in a global economic recovery, even if most traders and bankers are still cautious about supply and demand fundamentals.

Worries about the Greek economy have pegged prices back over the last couple of days but the more bullish Wall Street banks see prices climbing further, with Barclays Capital forecasting $97, Goldman Sachs $110 and Morgan Stanley $100 next year.

But the higher prices go, the deeper the concerns that they will stifle global growth. Jeff Rubin, a former CIBC chief economist and author of a book on oil and globalisation, says: �Triple-digit oil prices are going to threaten a world recovery.�
We have been through times of $4 gasoline before. If we drilled our own resources and moved away from Coal as a prime mover we would be a lot better off. Why aren't we doing this -- instead, we are frittering away billions of taxpayer dollars on so-called "renewable energy" that just moves the problems from one area to another.

A bit of excitement in Bellingham today

From the Bellingham Herald

Out-of-staters burglarize Bellingham farm stand
Five out-of-state visitors allegedly stole about $200 worth of fruit and other produce from a Bellingham farm stand early Wednesday, April 7.

Bellingham police received a call about a burglary in progress shortly before 1 a.m. at Youngstock's Country Farms, 2237 James St. Witnesses reported that five people had gone through wire fencing, taken produce, and were leaving the area with several bags of food, Sgt. Ken Brown said.

When police arrived, the suspects began running, but made it only a short distance before being stopped. Three suspects were contacted by police immediately; two others were found hiding behind a trailer, Brown said.

The five people - Justin G. Barnett, 25, of Lakewood, Calif.; Jessie K. Dunn, 23, of Arcata, Calif.; Avi B. Johnson, 19, of Fernley, Nev.; Derek M. Brown, 21, of South Lake Tahoe, Calif.; and Alexander V. Fulsome, 22, of Salt Lake City, Utah - were booked into Whatcom County Jail for investigation of second-degree burglary and third-degree theft.

The suspects told police they were in town because they were following a band that is currently in Bellingham. Johnson said he did not know what band they were following.

The manager of the stand was interviewed by a local radio station. What the Herald didn't mention was that she was in the office at the time and watched the whole thing transpire through the closed-circuit TV. She placed the call to 911 and waited until the police showed up. Youngstock's is one of the places we go for produce for the store -- a great business and really nice people. Over 60 comments to the story -- I liked this one:

Interesting crop of ideas being germinated as to the appropriate fate of these worthless heavy metal band groupies who apparently don't care about the rules of society. Makes one long for the days of the public stocks and accompanying humiliation. After the community had an opportunity to dispose of several bushels of rotten fuits in the smirking faces of this collection of simpletons, they could wash them off with firehoses and send them on their way, back to California and Utah.

I can contribute several buckets full of llama poop to the cause...

Unions - shirking their responsibilities

Jen had a good comment to my post from last night about the mine disaster.

I complain a lot about labor unions and how they used to be a great idea but now, they have fallen victim to Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy.

Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representative who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.

All that the Unions are doing now is gaining unreasonably high pensions for people that stick it out for twenty years.

They used to be a lot more proactive for their workers -- making sure that the workplace was clean and safe and that there was a sufficient level of industrial hygiene to keep the workers healthy (exposure to pollution and particulates etc...)

The Unions also benefited the factory owners too -- if the "Bosses" needed five workers skilled in the operation and maintenance of an Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator, they could call the Union Hall and five well-trained workers would show up that next morning.

All of this is gone. Dust in the wind.

Now the unions are just another dull bureaucracy -- for every 100 new members, probably one or two will stick it out for the required twenty years until they can retire. This retirement is a scam as the pensions offered greatly exceed any financial contribution from the worker to either the union or the business that employed the worker.

The unions are forcing an untenable situation here as fewer and fewer people are joining the unions so less and less money is coming in. This Pyramid scam, this Ponzi scheme is about ready to burst and now that SEIU and other unions are making a naked grab for power in Washington, who is going to be forced to pick up the pieces.

Got a mirror handy.

And this whole thing is being paid for by our dollars -- there is no Federal money, it is only money that has been taken from us through our taxes.

I feel sorry for the miners that lost their lives and for the families that are grieving. I am pissed at Massey for not doing required preventive maintenance on the mines. I am royally furious at the Unions for fucking this up and for not doing their job and for their loss of focus.

The Miners Union was willfully complicit in the deaths of those poor souls.

There is no other way to say it.

A Thesis Project

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From the ever wonderful Miss Celania:
One fine, sunny day, a rabbit sat outside his burrow, typing on his laptop. Along came a fox, out for a walk.

"What are you working on, Rabbit?" asked the fox.

"My thesis," said the rabbit.

"Hmm. What's it about?" asked the fox.

"It's about how rabbits eat foxes," replied the rabbit.

"That's ridiculous!" exclaimed the fox. "Any fool knows that rabbits don't eat foxes."

"Sure they do," said the rabbit. "And I can prove it! Come into my burrow."

They disappeared inside and after a few minutes, the rabbit emerged alone, returned to his laptop, and resumed typing.

Soon, a wolf came along. "What are you working on, Rabbit?"

"My thesis," the rabbit replied.

"Hmm. What's it about?" asked the wolf.

"It's about how rabbits eat wolves," said the rabbit.

"That's ridiculous!" exclaimed the wolf. "Any fool knows that rabbits don't eat wolves."

"Sure they do," said the rabbit calmly. "And I can prove it! Come into my burrow."

They disappeared inside and after a few minutes, the rabbit emerged alone, returned to his laptop, and resumed typing.

Meanwhile, inside the rabbit's burrow there was a pile of fox bones and a pile of wolf bones -- and a lion picking his teeth.

The Moral: It doesn't matter what you choose for a thesis subject. It doesn't matter what you use for data. What matters is who you have for a thesis advisor!

I wanttsss my Precioussesssssss

Living a couple miles south of the Canadian border means that we have helicopters flying overhead doing serious search patterns a couple times/month.

I soooooo want one of these. From Bayou Renaissance Man:

The old is new again
I was very interested to read of inflatable dummy aircraft and tanks produced by a Russian company.

These inflatables are made by the Russian manufacturer Rusbal.

The company was approached by the Russian defence ministry to supply full-scale decoys to protect the true capabilities of their strategic installations from being seen by surveillance satellites.

Weighing around 220lb (100kg), the decoys can easily be transported and installed by small teams of soldiers in minutes.

They imitate the heat signature of combat units, fooling enemy infra-red detectors.

And they even stay intact after suffering minor damage from bullets or explosions.

Demand from other nations has been so strong that Rusbal is now offering imitations of Western military equipment as well as Russian.

Heh. Stash it in the barn and wait for the helicopters periodic sweep. Run it out and power up the heaters and walk around it wearing some overalls and a motorcycle helmet and wait for the fun to begin.

Getting back into the USA from Canada is interesting enough -- it will be real fun after a few times with one of these...

A bit of hail

OUCH! From Des Moines, Iowa station KCCI:
Runners Caught Outside As Hail Storm Hits
Four Grinnell College students out for a run Tuesday were caught outside in a hail storm and had to be taken to the hospital.

Pat Crawford told KCCI that she and her husband were driving near Grinnell when they found one of the students along the road.

"We saw right up here, there was a kid in the road looking like he was flagging things down. And you could tell he was a runner because he had the running shorts on, he was barefooted, and he looked pretty beat up," said Crawford.

The student told Crawford that he, another man and two women tried to hide in a ditch when the storm hit, but they were forced to seek shelter when the hail became too intense. They were also worried they might drown as water started flooding into the ditch.

"They thought it was a tornado, which a lot of us thought it was a tornado. So they laid in the ditch, which was a good idea but they were just getting the tar beat out of them and the ditches were filling with water, so they knew they couldn't stay there," said Crawford.
Why yes, in fact, the weather there is actually trying to kill you... Very glad I live where I do. We get wind gusts and snow but nothing like this.

Little Green Democrats

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A number of people are using the picture below to support the idea that a vocal protest is comprised of regressive idiots with signs. The example I show is from Charles Johnson's Little Green Footballs website. Charles was one of the first conservative sites I ran into and started reading after the terrorist attack of 9/11 caused me to ask some very honest questions. Charles had a very famous change of heart/Dementia onset and is now raking in the big bucks as a high-profile progressive blogger. The photo in question:
Click to embiggen...
and guess what -- all of these people are Democrats! From The Blogmocracy:
Rewriting History & The Hypocrisy Of The Left
Certain leftwimp blogs and twits are going scooters trying to paint the Tea Party movement and the G.O.P. in particular with the foul stain of racism. The photo below began circulating last year, generally with the sentiment that it�s a photo of the Tea Partiers from not-so-long ago.

There�s one pesky little problem with their attacks.


The photo was taken 20 August 1959 in front of the Little Rock State Capital Building. The protesters were opposed to racial integration, and were marching in support of Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus� segregationist platform. Faubus was the one who called on the Arkansas National Guard in 1957 to prevent integration. Faubus was an indoctrinated communist who couldn�t get elected unless he ran as a Democrat.
Charles was a big one for fact checking back when he ran a good blog. Now? Meh...


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Got another crop of stupid spammers -- they still fall victim to the idea that if they list one domain, listing 20 will be twenty times more effective. Generally I will have one or two domains that I know are bad and when one of these ID_10_T's comes along, I get to add 18 new domains to my kill list. So sad, too bad. The current lusers are utilizing sites that allow for online members and fora. They register, post about how to get great pills without a subscription and then sit back and wait for the big money to start rolling in. And chicks for free...

Clean and Safe

Nice Editorial from Investor's Business Daily:

Clean And Safe
Nuclear Power: Twenty-five killed and four missing in West Virginia. Six dead, dozens missing in China. How many more must perish in coal mines before the green lobby ends its opposition to a safer energy source?

More than 100 Americans have died in coal mines since 1984. Over that same period, not one American has died in a nuclear energy accident. In fact, no American has ever been killed in an atomic energy accident - and that includes any sailor in a Navy that makes extensive use of nuclear fission to power its fleet.

Worldwide, only 56 deaths are directly traceable to a nuclear energy accident. And all of those were the result of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster that has correctly been blamed on poor Soviet engineering and design, not atomic power's inherent risk.

When properly harnessed, nuclear power is a clean, steady source of renewable energy. It doesn't sling out ash, generate acid rain or emit mercury or arsenic. It has been safely used for decades in the U.S., Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea, Belgium and France. The last two use nuclear energy to meet more than half of their electricity needs.

France and Japan generate about 70% of their power through nuclear plants. France exports enough power to neighboring nations that it makes it France's fourth largest export.

On this side of the Atlantic, coal provides roughly half of America's electrical power and serves as an indispensable link in our energy chain. With 275 billion tons in recoverable reserves, no other nation is as rich in coal. We have enough to meet domestic demand for 250 years.

These facts compel us to be strong supporters of coal and the jobs it provides. We also support nuclear energy and are convinced it can provide a much larger portion of our electrical energy needs.

The numbers, however, suggest that America - the world's top economy and biggest energy consumer - has mishandled its energy policy.

While the U.S., with 104 commercial reactors at 65 plants, is the largest nuclear power provider on Earth, atomic energy generates just 20% of our electricity. Of the plants that the federal government once predicted we'd have by now, only a 10th are in operation. A new reactor hasn't opened since Watts Bar 1 went on-line in Tennessee in 1996.

During the 2008 campaign, President Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle he wanted to put in place policies that would bankrupt anyone who tried to build a new coal plant. "Once we make dirty energy expensive," he said, the plan is to develop and deploy clean, affordable energy.

He probably wasn't thinking then about nuclear energy as a clean, affordable alternative. But he should have been. Under a reasonable policy framework, men, rather than dying tragically in the mines, could be building and operating the nuclear reactors that will power a growing U.S. economy to midcentury and beyond.

We have 250 years of coal but we also have over 500 years of Uranium and many more if we move to Thorium-Fluoride reactors.

Nice to see these thoughts out in public fora...

Planting 3,000,000 trees - win/win

Planting 3,000,000 specimens of a highly invasive and non-native species - lose/lose From the Reno Gazette:
'Miracle tree' plantation outside Winnemucca Ranch to bring jobs
Plantations of a fast-growing tree native to China will be planted in the high desert north of Reno, generating $1.5 billion in revenue and creating 280 local jobs, representatives of an international forestry company announced Tuesday.

Working with landowners, Jaksick Entities, Sacramento-based ECO2 Forests Inc., is pursuing its plans on 14,000 acres near Winnemucca Ranch.

Initial planting should begin within six weeks, with up to 3 million of the hardwood trees ultimately grown, said Collie Christensen, the company's CEO.

The Washoe County project is the first of many to establish up to 100,000 acres of kiri plantations across the country and up to 1 million acres globally, company officials said. Other plantations are being planted or are planned in the South Pacific, Brazil and Mexico.

Harvested lightweight lumber will be used primarily for such things as furniture and boat making, but value also is associated with the broad-leafed tree's ability to strip carbon dioxide from the air that will result in the ability to make money in the carbon-credit market, Christsensen said. He said the tree can hold more carbon than any other.
Emphasis mine -- follow the money... As for the tree in question: Paulownia tomentosa Who says that it is an invasive species? The Plant Conservation Alliance The Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council The United States Department of Agriculture The Invasive Plants of the Eastern United States A Google search for Paulownia invasive turns up over 56K hits. Here is the website for ECO2. This is not about the environment, this is about making money from the carbon trading scam...

Fun and games with T1's

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Just got an email from my Verizon engineer -- the T1 for the town of Glacier is going in soon. Got the IP addresses assigned. Last communication said that we should be online there first week of May. Still waiting on the line to the house.

April 7th - a bit of Geek history

Chris Byrne posts about the importance of April 7th over at The AnarchAngel:
Happy Birthday to Information Technology
Today is one of the most important single dates in information technology. It could reasonably be called ITs birthday.

On April 7th 1927, the first long distance television broadcast was made... Information technology isn't just about computers after all...

On April 7th 1964, the modern mainframe, the IBM System 360, was officially announced. There were of course other large computers before the System 360, but the 360 represented the first truly modern mainframe... and more importantly, the modern generation of mainframe system software, and applications.

So much so, that many core mainframe applications running today, are at least in part, binary compatible back to the programs of the S/360 in 1964.

The system 360 pioneered so many things we consider standard today, it can be fairly said that all modern computing is in some way descended from it.

Five years later, April 7th 1969, RFC-1 was published, setting the first basic standards of what would become the internet.

So, happy birthday to the industry that pays my bills.
That industry paid my bills too -- bought me a nice house and let me move up to 30 acres in paradise... My first programming experience was FORTRAN on a 360 -- punch your cards, submit your batch, retrieve your work after the run, debug, goto step one. I moved over to an interactive PDP-8 running FORTRAN and Focal (their BASIC runalike) and then on to the PDP-11 and VAX. On the personal side, I was running an S-100 CP/M system and when the IBM PC came out, I spent close to $10K for an IBM System 5150 with the 5161 disk expansion chassis and a Seagate ST-225 20MB hard disk. It was a fun time -- still is!

That's it for the night

Heading out to the DaveCave(tm) for email and some other stuff. Busy day tomorrow -- the electricians will be starting work at the store which means that their permits have been approved. Now I can go and apply for my permits to add on to their work. They are installing a 125 Amp panel and I will be running conduit around the room for the various coolers and the beer cave as well as lighting. Rip up the existing carpet, lay some tile and put in a drop ceiling and that room should be ready for the expansion. I'll post photos as it happens.
Let's see -- article is dated April 5th, not April 1st. Article is from AOL News -- not the Onion. OK then -- from AOL News:
Chopra Blames Own Meditation for Baja Quake
The U.S. Geological Survey is blaming day-to-day seismological changes for Sunday's 7.2 earthquake along the U.S.-Mexico border. But Deepak Chopra, the famed alternative-medicine practitioner and transcendental meditation guru, is pretty sure he knows what really happened.

"Had a powerful meditation just now -- caused an earthquake in Southern California," Chopra wrote to his nearly 179,000 Twitter followers shortly after the quake.

And then, to clarify: "Was meditating on Shiva mantra & earth began to shake," he tweeted. "Sorry about that."
Talk about being full of yourself...
One of the old-school outdoor outfits in the USA is The Mountaineers. From their about page:
The Mountaineers was formed in 1906 to explore the wild areas and peaks surrounding the still-young city of Seattle.
They lead hikes, do trailwork, offer classes, publish books, etc... They are now offering a class that deals with the complexities of Car Camping. From the entry for Camping 101:
Never been car camping before and interested in learning how? If you�re not sure what you need to do to try camping, or would like to learn some handy tips on how to make your camping trips even more enjoyable, join us at the Tacoma Clubhouse (2302 N. 30th, Tacoma) for this information-packed evening. Register online at www.mountaineers.org Non-members are most welcome.
Good lord... OK - Car Camping 101
#1) - throw your shit into the car. Make sure you have a flashlight, sleeping stuff, food and a cookstove.
#2) - stop off along the way to get sufficient booze. Estimate the quantity of booze needed times the number of nights camping. Triple that and then double it again. You will still run out.
#3) - find a place and park.
And there are people who feel they need to take a class for this???
Take that you dirty hippies. Heh... From Bret Jacobson writing at Breitbart's Big Government:
For First Time, Energy Trumps Hippies
What happens in economic lean times? It helps clarify the mind on how we spend scarce resources and, in particular, it forces us to reconsider costly �feel good� environmentalist policies.

So it�s not entirely surprising to get the news from Gallup that �Americans are more likely to say the U.S. should prioritize development of energy supplies than to say it should prioritize protecting the environment, the first time more have favored energy production over environmental protection in this question�s 10-year history.�
Bret included this lovely graphic:
Click to embiggen...
Gotta love that line about: "costly �feel good� environmentalist policies" There is so much being done in the name of environmentalism that is such a useless spinning of the wheels that it makes me ashamed that I was once (20 years ago when they still used Science) a member of Greenpeace. You offer someone something that is practical and offers a significant reduction in pollution (use Nuclear power to generate our electricity) and they recoil in disgust and blather on about the high-level waste that would generate. Waste that could be safely reprocessed (thank you Jimmy Carter) and reused. They complain about reactor safety (best in the world) but block development of even safer units (Thorium-Fluoride). I sometimes wonder if they are acting this way on purpose with some nefarious plan -- this large a group of people could not be this downright stupid accidentally...

Obama�s nuclear strategy

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He thinks that he is being a wise leader but instead, he is a tone-deaf ruler. From the New York Times:
Obama�s New Nuclear Strategy Is Intended as a Message to Iran and North Korea
At the heart of President Obama�s new nuclear strategy lies a central gamble: that an aging, oversize, increasingly outmoded nuclear arsenal can be turned to the new purpose of adding leverage to the faltering effort to force Iran and North Korea to rethink the value of their nuclear programs.

The 50-page �Nuclear Posture Review� released on Tuesday acknowledged outright that �the massive nuclear arsenal we inherited from the cold-war era� is �poorly suited to address the challenges posed by suicidal terrorist and unfriendly regimes seeking nuclear weapons.�

Nonetheless, the new strategy aims to use the arsenal to do just that, despite considerable skepticism that any new doctrine or set of White House announcements is likely to change the calculus for North Korea or Iran.

Mr. Obama�s new strategy makes just about every nonnuclear state immune from any threat of nuclear retaliation by the United States. But it carves out an exception for Iran and North Korea, labeled �outliers� rather than the Bush-era moniker of �rogue states.� The wording was chosen, Mr. Obama�s senior advisers said, to suggest they have a path back to international respectability � and to de-targeting by the United States.
Obama is outlining what defense strategy we will employ if someone attacks us and specifically directs that we will not use nukes if the attacking nation does not have advertised nuclear capabilities. If the nation has nuclear capabilities, they are 'welcomed' into the club and nothing else changes. What saved our bacon during the cold war of the 1950's and 1960's is that Russia knew that we would throw everything we had back at them if they attacked and despite their having the largest bomb in the world at the time, we had more of them and better targeting. This deterrent carried us through up to 09/11/2001 when we had been soft enough for long enough that a couple yahoos decided to take a jab at us and see what we would do. Now that Iran and North Korea are arming themselves (and, I suspect, developing marketable nukes for anyone with enough cash), the equation changes and we really need to be walking down a different path than the one that Obama is taking us.
The horrible mine explosion yesterday? Preventable. From ABC News:
Records Show Upper Big Branch Mine Amassed Scores of Safety Citations, Thousands in Fines
The West Virginia coal mine where an explosion killed 25 workers and left another four unaccounted for in the worst mining disaster since 1984 had amassed scores of citations from mining safety officials, including 57 infractions just last month for violations that included repeatedly failing to develop and follow a ventilation plan.

The federal records catalog the problems at the Upper Big Branch mine, operated by the Performance Coal Company. They show the company was fighting many of the steepest fines, or simply refusing to pay them. Performance is a subsidiary of Massey Energy. Another Massey subsidiary agreed to pay $4.2 million in criminal and civil fines last year and admitted to willfully violating mandatory safety standards that led to the deaths of two miners. The fine was the largest penalty in the history of the coal industry.
Massey had a big fire in the Aracoma mine back in 2006. A bit more:
After the Aracoma accident, Massey Energy released a statement that said the company "is a recognized leader in safety innovation and performance and remains committed to working with federal and state agencies to fully understand the causes of the accident and to prevent a similar occurrence at Massey Energy or elsewhere in the future."
The CEO of Massey is Don Blankenship and has some dubious political dealings:
The company is well known in West Virginia, in part because CEO Don Blankenship grew to become a fixture in state politics, doling out thousands of dollars to candidates he favored � most of them Republicans. In 2004, he spent millions on advertising that attacked a West Virginia state Supreme Court justice, leading to the election of challenger Brent Benjamin.

Massey had a $70 million case before the state Supreme Court and, once elected, Benjamin made the controversial decision not to recuse himself because of Blankenship's support of him and to hear arguments anyway. Another member of the court hearing the case was Chief Justice Elliott "Spike" Maynard. He later recused himself after photographs surfaced showing that he vacationed with Blankenship in the French Riviera.
A good housecleaning is in order -- starting at the top and working down. Not only is this a case of the site foremen not caring for their workers, it is a case of Corporate Culture fostering this sort of environment.

And the other shoe drops -

Representative John Lewis claimed that someone shouted the N***** word at him. Representative Emanuel Cleaver claimed that, at the same time, someone spat on him. Lewis decried the absence of videos so that he could show the world how abused he was. Well over eight videos have come to light and the N***** word is nowhere to be heard. Now Cleaver is backpedaling as fast as his little legs will take him. From FOX News:
Cleaver Steadfastly Refuses to Discuss Spitting Incident
U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver voted in favor of the controversial health care reform bill, but talk isn't raging about how voted, but whether or not he was purposely spit on as he and other congressmen made their way to the U.S. Capitol building to cast their vote.

In video of the incident, a man is seen with his hands around his mouth and yelling at the Kansas City, Missouri, Democrat as he walked by. The footage shows Rep. Cleaver reacting to the man, and is seen a few seconds later wiping his face.

The video is not clear as to whether or not the man spit in Cleaver's face intentionally, or if it was a matter of "say it, don't spray it." Rep. Cleaver never commented on the incident, but it didn't take long before many people claimed that he was spit upon.

In an interview on Tuesday with FOX 4 News, Rep. Cleaver would not directly answer the question of whether or not he was intentionally spit upon.

"I haven't talked about this incident on TV or anywhere, and I've been approached to talk about it on every national TV show," said Rep. Cleaver in an interview with FOX 4 News. "I never, I never reported anything, never a single thing in Washington, not one thing. People assume I went somewhere, never done press conference, never done an interview on it and I'm not going to do it."
What was that line about Content of His Character again??? Hat tip to Maggie's Farm

Comparing three rifles

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A bit of gun humor -- from 7.62x54r.net
AK vs. AR vs. Mosin Nagant
There's an ever present, unending debate over which is best, ARs or AKs, raging across the internet and in gun shops every day sending bile and bitter insults spewing both ways. This debate has turned fathers against sons, best friends against one another, and........well you get the point. The author is of the opinion that there are of course pros and cons to each family of rifle, and I refuse to engage in what is "best". As one who loves them all, especially the AK and AR series, I thought I'd pass on some of the knowledge I have gained over the years concerning these wildly different weapons. As a bonus, I'll toss in my knowledge of another favorite family of weapons at the Bunker, just because they are very popular these days and I often ramble about them. So, here, for the aid of those hammering one another in the debate, is some unbiased, non-slanted, untainted raw knowledge about the AK, the AR, and the Mosin Nagant.
    Stuff you know if you have an AK
  • It works though you have never cleaned it. Ever.
  • You are able to hit the broad side of a barn from inside.
  • Cheap mags are fun to buy.
  • Your safety can be heard from 300 meters away.

  • Stuff you know if you have an AR
  • You have $9 per ounce special non-detergent synthetic Teflon infused oil for cleaning.
  • You are able to hit the broad side of a barn from 600 meters.
  • Cheap mags melt.
  • You can silently flip off the safety with your finger on the trigger.

  • Stuff you know if you have a Mosin Nagant
  • It was last cleaned in Berlin in 1945.
  • You can hit the farm from two counties over.
  • What's a mag?
  • What's a safety?
Heh... 21 more at the site.
From Mostly Cajun:
Collapsing Under Its Own Weight
It�s going to happen sooner or later. Maybe sooner, the way this socialist machine is working with both the executive and legislative branches.

Nothing rolls back. It just gets bigger.

Social security. When it kicked off, it was for old age, poverty, unemployment, and the burdens of widows and fatherless children. And the �old age� part was almost a joke, because the life expectancy in 1935 was low enough that living to collect a social security retirement was almost rare. What is it today? 77 years? So if you wait until 65 to retire, you collect for twelve years. Trouble is, you�re not the only one. Social security covers a multitude of cases outside the original scope, and just in the last month we reached the point where the amount being paid in by the various parties who PAY, that�s me and you and our employers, aren�t paying IN as fast as Uncle Sam is paying OUT.

Welfare: The safety net is a feather bed for untold thousands, no, make that MILLIONS. Your benevolent government runs ads on radio and TV trying to give away money: Section 8 housing. What USED to be �food stamps�, now a convenient plastic card so you don�t have to suffer the taint of whipping out food stamps to pay for stuff in the checkout line. Pregnant (again) and no support? Can�t let the CHILD suffer, so there�s AFDC to buy stuff to feed the kid(s). And if you have more kids, you get more money from the other programs. Kids in school? Free lunches. Free BREAKFASTS! Don�t want mama to have to, like, get up and fix a meal along with getting the little darlings dressed and off to school.

And then there�s the horde of government dollars being dispensed from on high to the appropriate places. Your city need a new park? That�s a federal �grant�. Substandard schools? Another federal grant. Spent your levee money on those parks and your city flooded? More federal money.

This is the deal. The outgo from the government is vastly exceeding the income. This is called �deficit spending� if you�re the government. If it�s you or me doing it, it�s called �stupid�. And it catches up, sooner or later.
This is excerpted from the first half and he is just getting warmed up. An excellent read!
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Housing protest leads to takeover of duplex
A group of homeless people and housing activists took over a privately owned Mission District duplex on Sunday in what served as the climax of a protest designed to promote use of San Francisco's vacant buildings as shelters for the needy.

But the owner of the property - who was targeted over his eviction of a tenant - said the demonstration was nothing more than breaking and entering.

"It's not actually vacant. I use it for my own personal uses," Ara Tehlirian of Daly City said in an interview, adding that he was in contact with the San Francisco Police Department. "I know nothing other than my property was apparently broken into."
OK -- so you want to live in one of the more expensive cities in the US if not the world but you don't want to knuckle down and work for it. You see a piece of real-estate that is currently empty, you smash your way in and proceed to take up residence. (set sarcasm=on)And offering to the building's owner to paint the place and making sure to keep everything spotless as well(set sarcasm=off) You gotta love these people -- clueless useful idiots:
Take what you need / Live by what you desire
People should be taken out and given a good horsewhipping until they come to their senses. If you choose not to work, you should not expect to get a free handout and most certainly, you should not take anything that was not yours to belong with. The article has over 1,000 comments of which this is just a typical example:
Hey, just because someone else worked, earned the money, bought the property and is trying to sell it is no reason why a bunch of grubby freeloaders should not show up to demand their handouts. I think the harshest buzz to hit hippies and socialists is the simple fact that being stoned, exuding peace and love and "just trying to get by, man" does not guarantee that "mother earth" or "karma" will take care of all of your needs. Try washing, shaving, getting a hair cut, learning some skills then actually get a job that pays cash. The rest of us do this; you can as well.
You can see more of these epsilon-minuses on parade at the Annual March 20th Anti-War rally from Zombietime (03/20 is when the Coalition forces invaded Iraq). You may see a bunch of smelly muddleheaded hippies. I see a target rich environment...

The Progressive X-Prize

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And our local University has a good chance of winning it. From the Western Washington University Vehicle Research Institute website:
Automobile magazine dubbed Western Washington University's Vehicle Research Institute "very possibly the best school in the country for total car design." We've assembled a team of eager students to compete in the Progressive Automotive X-Prize Challenge.

The goal of the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles that offer more consumer choices. Ten million dollars in prizes will be awarded to the teams that win a stage race for clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPGe. The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE will place a major focus on affordability, safety, and the environment. It is about developing real, production-capable cars that consumers want to buy, not science projects or concept cars. This progress is needed because today's oil consumption is unsustainable and because automotive emissions significantly contribute to global warming and climate change.
The home page for the X-Prize is here: Progressive Insurance Automotive X-PRIZE A fun way to jump-start innovation and fuel efficiency. WWU has an excellent mechanical engineering program as well -- almost worth taking a couple credits just to use their huge machine shop.
But be sure to check out these two links: Nicki at The Liberty Zone delivers a rant of epic proportions. Humberto Fontova at Breitbart's Big Journalism looks at the political realities of Oil, the environmental movement and the economic consequences... Off to the DaveCave(tm) to work on some stuff.

Nailed it -- teabaggers

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Opponents of the Tea Party (Taxed Enough Already) have been calling them teabaggers -- something entirely different. A sexual practice as defined by this entry in WikiPedia:
Teabagging is a slang term for the act of a man placing his scrotum in the mouth of a sexual partner. The practice resembles dipping a tea bag into a cup of tea when it is done in a repeated in-and-out motion.
A perfect rebuttal can be found at Robert Wm. Gomez's Pages of Fun:
Teabagger / Teabaggee
I have never been in much for political protesting, rallies and the like. About the closest I have ever come to partaking in a political march was two-mile "fun run" in Wildlife Prairie Park back when I was 13 or so. These days, however, I find myself sympathizing quite a bit with the Tea Party movement. Although it is mostly a conservative and libertarian movement, the basic theme of limited government and fiscal responsibility is a constant, and they seem to be committed to calling out big government politicians on both sides of the aisle.

It pains me when I hear my more liberal friends and family members go off on the movement. This ranges from the lefty catch-all of calling anyone who disagrees with them a fascist, to pointing out the one less-than-moron in the crowd of thousands who decided to draw a Hitler mustache on a xerox of the president, to spewing the ever-so-clever insult, "Teabaggers!"

This morning, the news channels are all abuzz with stories about the seething cauldron... er, teapot of hate that is the Tea Party movement. These reports range from being overblown to being downright false. At the moment the movement needs as much support as it can get. So, in order to do my part (without actually having to leave my cave), I have put together this protest sign for you young Tea Party activists to bring to your next rally:
Really glad I wasn't drinking anything as I would now be cleaning off the monitor and keyboard as well as a substantial area of my desk... Hat tip to the E3 Gazette for the link.

President Paul Ryan?

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Great stemwinder speech from Representative Paul Ryan:
Should America Bid Farewell to Exceptional Freedom?
Last week, on March 21st, Congress enacted a new Intolerable Act. Congress passed the Health Care bill - or I should say, one political party passed it - over a swelling revolt by the American people. The reform is an atrocity. It mandates that every American must buy health insurance, under IRS scrutiny. It sets up an army of federal bureaucrats who ultimately decide for you how you should receive Health Care, what kind, and how much...or whether you don't qualify at all. Never has our government claimed the power to decide when each of us has lived well enough or long enough to be refused life-saving medical assistance.

This presumptuous reform has put this nation ... once dedicated to the life and freedom of every person ... on a long decline toward the same mediocrity that the social welfare states of Europe have become.

Americans are preparing to fight another American Revolution, this time, a peaceful one with election ballots...but the "causes" of both are the same:

Should unchecked centralized government be allowed to grow and grow in power ... or should its powers be limited and returned to the people?

Should irresponsible leaders in a distant capital be encouraged to run up scandalous debts without limit that crush jobs and stall prosperity ... or should the reckless be turned out of office and a new government elected to live within its means?

Should America bid farewell to exceptional freedom and follow the retreat to European social welfare paternalism ... or should we make a new start, in the faith that boundless opportunities belong to the workers, the builders, the industrious, and the free?

We are at the beginning of an election campaign like you've never seen before!

We are challenged to answer again the momentous questions our Founders raised when they launched mankind's noblest experiment in human freedom. They made a fundamental choice and changed history for the better. Now it's our high calling to make that choice: between managed scarcity, or solid growth ... between living in dependency on government handouts, or taking responsibility for our lives ... between confiscating the earnings of some and spreading them around, or securing everyone's right to the rewards of their work ... between bureaucratic central government, or self-government ... between the European social welfare state or the American idea of free market democracy.

What kind of nation do we wish to be? What kind of society will we hand down to our children and future generations? In the coming watershed election, the nature of this unique and exceptional land is at stake. We will choose one of two different paths. And once we make that choice, there's no going back.

This is not the kind of election I would prefer. But it was forced on us by the leaders of our government.
The full speech is about a ten minute read -- this guy gets it. It will be interesting to see what he does with his political career... Thanks to Real Clear Politics for printing it.
An amazing post -- Ed Kaitz at American Thinker Back in the 1960's the original Black Panthers were very active. They came together to deal with corrupt landlords and redlining and then, they found their voice in America-hating and Communism. Eldridge Cleaver was their Minister of Information. Ed talks about seeing Cleaver speak in the 1980's in Berkley, CA:
Back in the early 1980s, I was sitting in Wheeler Hall at UC Berkeley with hundreds of other students, waiting rather impatiently to see a man who clearly embodied much of the turmoil, outrage, and overall ethos of the 1960s: ex-Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver.

Cleaver combined his roles as radical philosopher and warrior for the oppressed to serve the Black Panthers as Minister of Information shortly after his release from Folsom prison in 1966. Cleaver hit the national stage in 1968 when he published a collection of his prison writings, Soul on Ice, which combines a visceral hatred for America with black liberation theology, admissions about "insurrectionary" rape, a spiritual odyssey, and a search for personal meaning in a racist environment.

Perhaps Shane Stevens of The Progressive captured the essence of Cleaver's book best when he said in a review, "The hell is there, and its name is America." Indeed, the raw power of Cleaver's remarkable and revealing eloquence in Soul on Ice made him a favorite on college campuses and also among legions of leftist intellectuals.

I read Soul on Ice as a teenager and was floored by the radical difference between the violent and turbulent streets of Cleaver's young life and the strawberry fields and apple orchards that girded the quiet dirt roads I strolled along during my own youth on a farm.

Cleaver's life took yet another violent turn in April of 1968 when he helped organize an ambush of the Oakland city police. The resulting shootout left fellow Panther Bobby Hutton dead, two police officers injured, and Cleaver charged with attempted murder. To avoid more time in prison, Cleaver left the country for Cuba and other communist destinations such as North Korea, China, and the Soviet Union, where he was heralded as a celebrity by authorities in each government, who also helped provide for his living.

By 1975, however, Cleaver had learned firsthand about the crushing weight of the state in the communist world. He experienced a personal transformation that left him longing for life back in America. And despite being vilified and called a traitor by his colleagues on the left, Cleaver began openly defending American values and traditions in speeches and interviews upon his return.

Sitting in the crowd at UC Berkeley some years after Cleaver's repatriation, I again thought about what this compelling and exotic man might be able to teach me about America. When the audience began hissing and sneering, I realized that Cleaver had arrived.
Ed's accounts of the speech really show the difference between someone who has been there, done that and now sees the reality and those who continue to drink the Kool-Aid. The article also links to an incredible interview at Reason Magazine. Cleaver lived from 1935 to 1998 -- quite the life's journey... A bit tip of the hat to Sean Linnane at Stormbringer for this wonderful link.
From the Christian Science Monitor:
Fed in hot water over secret bailouts
The Fed has finally came clean. It now admits it bailed out Bear Stearns � taking on tens of billions of dollars of the bank�s bad loans � in order to smooth Bear Stearns� takeover by JPMorgan Chase. The secret Fed bailout came months before Congress authorized the government to spend up to $700 billion of taxpayer dollars bailing out the banks, even months before Lehman Brothers collapsed. The Fed also took on billions of dollars worth of AIG securities, also before the official government-sanctioned bailout.

The losses from those deals still total tens of billions, and taxpayers are ultimately on the hook. But the public never knew. There was no congressional oversight. It was all done behind closed doors. And the New York Fed � then run by Tim Geithner � was very much in the center of the action.

This raises three issues.

First, only Congress is supposed to risk taxpayer dollars. The Fed is not part of the legislative branch. Its secret deals, announced almost two years after they were done, violate the democratic process, if not the Constitution itself. Thomas Jefferson put a stop to Alexander Hamilton�s idea of a powerful central bank out of fear it would be unaccountable to the public. The Fed has just proven Jefferson�s point.
The other two points are even more serious than this one. There are people suggesting that we audit the FED -- I am thinking that this is a wonderful idea; their power has accreted gradually over time to the point where they are not acting in the best interests of we the general taxpayer. The FED is now in the pockets of the major financial movers and this needs to be separated.
Heading into town to close his prescriptions at the pharmacy and to clear the food out of his fridge. Setting up some timers on the lights for some small measure of security and having his telephone redirect callers to my phone number. His ashes will be ready in about two weeks (the Funeral home has a lot of paperwork on their end -- notifying Social Security, etc...) and then I'll rent a backhoe and put him next to Mom. Funny thing -- as recent as ten years ago, I would never have thought that I would be digging their graves and burying my parents. It is a lot better to be doing it myself rather than pay money to have it done by some anonymous person who never knew them. A better sense of closure. I'll post a bit more later today...

A last post for the very early morning

Almost 2AM here -- still reminiscing about Dad and thinking that he is now in a much better place, surrounded by Alice and friends with more (he was 94) showing up day by day. They are lounging around a table after dinner has been cleared and having a wonderful reunion. One particular friend was William Meredith who passed in May of 2007. A poem of William's (our family has a long connection to the Sea):
The Wreck of the Thresher
(Lost at sea, April 10, 1963)

I stand on the ledge where rock runs into the river
As the night turns brackish with morning, and mourn the drowned.
Here the sea is diluted with river; I watch it slaver
Like a dog curing of rabies. Its ravening over,
Lickspittle ocean nuzzles the dry ground.
(But the dream that woke me was worse than the sea's gray
Slip-slap; there are no such sounds by day.)

This crushing of people is something we live with.
Daily, by unaccountable whim
Or caught up in some harebrained scheme of death,
Tangled in cars, dropped from the sky, in flame,
Men and women break the pledge of breath:
And now under water, gone all jetsam and small
In the pressure of oceans collected, a squad of brave men in a hull.

(Why can't our dreams be content with the terrible facts?
The only animal cursed with responsible sleep.
We trace disaster always to our own acts.
I met a monstrous self trapped in the black deep:
All these years, he smiled, I've drilled at sea
For this crush of water. Then he saved only me.)

We invest ships with life. Look at the harbor
At first light: with better grace than men
In their movements the vessels run to their labors
Working the fields that the tide has made green again;
Their beauty is womanly, they are named for ladies and queens,
Although by a wise superstition these are called
After fish, the finned boats, silent and submarine.
The crushing of any ship has always been held
In dread, like a house burned or a great tree felled.

I think how sailors laugh, as if cold and wet
And dark and lost were their private, funny derision
And I can judge then what dark compression
Astonishes them now, their sunken faces set
Unsmiling, where the contents sluice to and fro
And without humor, somehwere northeast of here and below.

(Sea-brothers, I lower you in the ingenuity of dreams,
Strange lungs and bells to escape in; let me stay aboard last-

We amend our dreams in half-sleep. There it seems
Easy to talk to the severe dead and explain the past.
Now they are saying, Do not be ashamed to stay alive,
You have dreamt nothing that we do not forgive.

And gentlier, Study something deeper than yourselves,
As, how the heart, when it turns diver, delves and saves.)

Whether we give assent to this or rage
Is a question of temprament and does not matter.
Some will has been done past our understanding,
Past our guilt surely, equal to our fears.
Dullards, we set again to the cryptic blank page
Where the sea schools us with terrible water.
The noise of a boat breaking up and its men is in our ears.
The bottom here is too far down for our sounding;
The ocean was salt before we crawled to tears.
RIP -- David Halliday

Thank you -

- for the heartfelt comments regarding my Dad's passing. He is reunited with his wife of 62 years and they are in God's hands. Dave

A hell of a way to start the day...

My Dad went out for a walk this morning. He fell over and was dead when the aid car reached him. It was not unexpected as he was very frail and had recently reached his 94th birthday and all things considered, this was not a bad way to go -- a moment or two of WTF and then on to the next world. Needless to say, posting will be a bit light for the next couple of days.
From America's Website of Record -- The Onion:
U.S. Government To Save Billions By Cutting Wasteful Senator Program
In an effort to reduce wasteful spending and eliminate non-vital federal services, the U.S. government announced plans this week to cut its long-standing senator program, a move it says will help save more than $300 billion each year.

According to officials, the decision to cut the national legislative body was reached during a budget review meeting on Tuesday. After hours of deliberation, it was agreed that the cost of financing U.S. senators far outweighed the benefits they provided.

"Now more than ever, we must eliminate needless spending wherever possible," President Obama said at a press conference Wednesday. "When we sat down to go over our annual budget, we asked ourselves, where can we safely trim back? What programs can we do away with without negatively impacting the American people? Which bloated and ineffective institutions can we no longer justify having around?"

"The answer was obvious," Obama added. "The U.S. Senate just needed to go."
What a wonderful idea...

A spot of weather in the East

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It has been a brutal winter for most of the USA except for the Pacific Northwest. Now that temps are above freezing, the moisture that is plaguing the Northeast is coming as rain and flooding. From the Rhode Island Providence Journal:
Sewage plants overwhelmed; residents, retailers left reeling
The worst arrived in the early hours of Wednesday, an indomitable force of water creeping ever higher through the darkness. Thousands of tired homeowners watched their basement steps incrementally vanish beneath it. Soaked National Guardsmen along Route 95 in Warwick saw it spill over the sandbags they had worked for hours to stack.

By dawn, the unparalleled flood had transformed the Rhode Island landscape into islands of isolation, the region�s web of roadways broken, whole sections of neighborhoods stranded and without power.

Gridlock greeted thousands of commuters weaving like mice through a maze of alternate routes around Route 95, the state�s most vital transportation artery, closed in Warwick by the flooding Pawtuxet River.

And with a half-dozen sewage treatment plants compromised or overwhelmed by the most destructive flood in the state�s recorded history, officials braced for an environmental disaster with huge public health and financial ramifications.

Governor Carcieri shut down state government and urged people to stay home. In the epicenter of grief �� the Pawtuxet River basin where hundreds of homes were already submerged �� the water continued to rise to levels never before seen.
Fortunately Governor Carcieri has already requested aid so FEMA is there cutting checks and arranging things. One of the key issues with New Orleans during Katrina is that Governor Blanco took three long days to make this request and the Federal Government had to sit back and do nothing until she did. State's Rights and all that. Aides urged her, President Bush spoke with her on the phone several times but it took three... long... days... to get the request from her to Washington.

Just one big happy family

From New York television station and CBS affiliate WCBSTV:
27 Arrests At High-Rise Where Child Was Gang Raped
Police raided a New Jersey public housing complex Thursday where officials say a 7-year-old girl was gang raped, and arrested 27 people on outstanding warrants.

Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer said the pre-dawn sweep of Rowan Towers was planned before the girl's attack. He said police hope the arrests will lead to tips that help them find those who assaulted the girl, otherwise the arrests were unrelated to the case.

"This is only the beginning," Palmer said. "We're not going to rest until that area is cleaned up so that decent people can live without the threat of fear and violence."

Police said the young victim's 15-year-old stepsister sold the girl to have sex with as many as seven men and boys at a party in a vacant apartment.

According to police, the teen told her sister to "let the boys do what they want."
Where are the parents. Where are the fathers. This is subhuman behavior -- makes Lord of the Flies look like a walk in the park. And this is not something that can be fixed by the police and courts -- this is a fundamental social problem that needs to be addressed on a house by house level. A lot of it is the easy availability of welfare and entitlement programs -- it removes the incentive to grow up. This is the legacy of 50 years of progressive liberal management of poverty...

Light posting tonight too

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Still at the store -- the meeting for the Harvey Haggard Hoedown is in an hour so I'm staying here for that. Back home around 9PM...

On the road to nirvana

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UPS just dropped off the pre-configured router for the T1 at our house. It is so close I can taste it... Time to order the access point and CPE equipment. Got the server already configured and ready to roll.
Representative Hank Johnson (D)-GA This is the guy that was elected to fill Cynthia McKinney's shoes when the voters had enough of her stupidity. Johnson makes McKinney look good! Here are just two of the more memorable things McKinney has said in her career:
To any honest observer, Zimbabwe's sin is that it has taken the position to right a wrong, whose resolution has been too long overdue--to return its land to its people.

In November 2000, the Republicans stole from America our most precious right of all: the right to free and fair elections... Now President Bush occupies the White House, but with questionable legitimacy.
Nice to see that her post is being filled by someone of equal caliber... Hat tip to Denny for the link.

Sir Spamalot

Finished some stuff at the farm, came in to get a bite to eat and found 47 attempts at comment spam. #1) - None of these attempts were successful. #2) - Added 33 new unique IP addresses to my killfile with a couple mouse-clicks. #3) - Had an idea to take this script into the next century. Use a database, record the time that the IP was added and set a time for it to be removed (four months). The bulk of the spammers are unwitting tools whose machines have been infected with zombie software. They eventually get a cluebat applied to their heads and reload the OS. It's soooo nice to be loved by lusers...

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