August 2014 Archives

The Republic of Bill

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Bill opened his show Friday with this video - just posted to his website: The Republic of Bill


I find it wonderful that he is advocating Thorium as an energy source. Makes a lot of sense. Safe, small, cheap, efficient and safe. Did I mention safe? 

Time for dinner

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Spent a lovely day working around the farm. Ran about 40 feet of conduit - 1.5" from the main panel to a distribution box in the shop. Also, I had a trailer loaded sky-high for a trip to the dump but never drove it off the property. Some of the pieces would have been too large to shift once I arrived at the dump.

With renting the dumpster, it suddenly get a lot more manageable as I could use a sawzall to chop up the larger crap and use Buttercup the Tractor to load them into the dumpster. Got the trailer fully emptied this afternoon and planning to use it to pick up some cement blocks tomorrow (using them for a garden project).

Lulu's son is coming over to help.

Lulu is feeling a bit under the weather -- running a 99°F temp which is hot for her. Having a salad and some chicken fried rice and a baked potato for dinner tonight.


Dinner and then surf for a bit...

Lazy day today - I feel the power!

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We both slept in to about 9:00AM this morning and was about to get up when the power went out. Someone had run into a pole yesterday evening and the utility company was out this morning to replace it. Went back to bed ...

The power was restored about an hour ago. Heading out to the shop to do the wiring for the 200 Amp service. Looking at around four days for this - lots of wire to be strung and getting service to the power hammer will be fun since it is sitting out in the middle of the room.

A bit of schadenfreude for Mr. Al Gore

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File in the OMFG we are all going to freeze to death department.
From the London Daily Mail:

Myth of arctic meltdown: Stunning satellite images show summer ice cap is thicker and covers 1.7 million square kilometres MORE than 2 years ago...despite Al Gore's prediction it would be ICE-FREE by now
The speech by former US Vice-President Al Gore was apocalyptic. ‘The North Polar ice cap is falling off a cliff,’ he said. ‘It could be completely gone in summer in as little as seven years. Seven years from now.’

Those comments came in 2007 as Mr Gore accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaigning on climate change.

But seven years after his warning, The Mail on Sunday can reveal that, far from vanishing, the Arctic ice cap has expanded for the second year in succession – with a surge, depending on how you measure it, of between 43 and 63 per cent since 2012.

Mr. Gore - you are a sex-crazed poodle and an utter buffoon.

Our sun drives our climate and it is a variable star entering a cooling phase and there is fuck-all we can do about it. End of subject.

From Associated Press:

Border Patrol agent fires at armed militia member

A Border Patrol agent pursuing a group of immigrants in a wooded area near the Texas-Mexico border on Friday fired several shots at an armed man who later identified himself as a militia member.

Border Patrol spokesman Omar Zamora said agents had been chasing a group of immigrants east of Brownsville Friday afternoon when an agent saw a man holding a gun near the Rio Grande. The agent fired four shots, but did not hit the man. The man then dropped his gun and identified himself as a member of a militia. Zamora said no other details were immediately available.

Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio, whose agency is involved in the investigation, said the incident occurred on private property and it appeared the man had permission to be there. He was not arrested, Lucio said.

But the border is secure:

But Lucio said, "We really don't need the militia here." He recognized they have the right to carry weapons, but noted that with the Border Patrol, Texas Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement, there are enough agencies working to secure the border.

Two observations:
#1) - bias from Associated Press - these are absolutely NOT immigrants. These are people breaking the law - they are illegal; and
#2) - what caused the agent to have to pursue a group of illegals if the border is so secure.

This is a direct violation of rule two and rule four. Thank God that the agent was incompetent enough to also violate rule three...

And now a couple days of rest

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Just got back from the Car Show - 98 cars registered which is really good considering the lousy weather forecast. Fortunately, the rain held off all morning and only started when the prizes were being handed out. Nobody was going to leave then.

A lot of interest from the tourists passing through - this was the fifth annual show. I ran the PA system and did the announcing. Had a lot of fun.

The library was having its sale today too - scored two cartons of Dover clip-art books. I do a lot of desktop publishing and will scan these when it is not busy at my store and give the scanned pages to the local elementary school for kids to color on.

Fixing dinner, Outlander is showing tonight and then up tomorrow and start working on wiring up the shop.

Bill Whittle live

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Holy crap was that a great show. Bill talked for about two hours and had a nice 30 minute panel discussion with two local conservatives: Ed Kilduff - a licensed hydro-geologist and engineering geologist and Tom McCabe, head of our local Freedom Foundation. They talked about local issues and mentioned that McCabe has been taken to court by a 35,000-year-old Lemurian warrior.

The event was well attended - the lower floor seats about a thousand (the hall total with balcony is 1,509) and it was well over half full.

Big day tomorrow witht he car show but still pumped up from tonights session - surf for an hour and then to bed. Setting the alarm as I don't quite trust myself to wake up on time - normally, I get up at 8:00AM or so but need to make sure of it tomorrow...

A terror two-fer

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Times are dire. First - from Judicial Watch:

Imminent Terrorist Attack Warning By Feds on US Border
Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle born improvised explosive devices (VBIED). High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources have confirmed to Judicial Watch that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued.  Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat.

Specifically, Judicial Watch sources reveal that the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is confirmed to now be operating in Juarez, a famously crime-infested narcotics hotbed situated across from El Paso, Texas. Violent crimes are so rampant in Juarez that the U.S. State Department has issued a number of travel warnings for anyone planning to go there. The last one was issued just a few days ago.

Intelligence officials have picked up radio talk and chatter indicating that the terrorist groups are going to “carry out an attack on the border,” according to one JW source.  “It’s coming very soon,” according to this high-level source, who clearly identified the groups planning the plots as “ISIS and Al Qaeda.” An attack is so imminent that the commanding general at Ft. Bliss, the U.S. Army post in El Paso, is being briefed, another source confirms. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not respond to multiple inquiries from Judicial Watch, both telephonic and in writing, about this information.

September 11th is only 13 days from now - not planning to be in any city for the next couple of weeks.

And it's not just here - second from the UK Telegraph:

Britain facing 'greatest terrorist threat' in history
Britain faces the “greatest and deepest” terror threat in the country’s   history, David Cameron warned as he pledged emergency measures to tackle   extremists. 

The UK threat level was raised to “severe” — its second highest — meaning that   a terrorist attack is “highly likely” in light of the growing danger from   British jihadists returning from Iraq and Syria. 

The Prime Minister said that the risk posed by Isil (the Islamic State of Iraq   and the Levant) will last for “decades” and raised the prospect of an   expanding terrorist nation “on the shores of the Mediterranean”.

Just wonderful.  I am reminded of these lines from Julius Caesar (Act 1, Scene 3)

And why should Caesar be a tyrant then?
Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf
But that he sees the Romans are but sheep.
He were no lion were not Romans hinds.
Those that with haste will make a mighty fire
Begin it with weak straws. What trash is Rome,

(A hind is  a female deer - a male deer is a stag)

The Ushikubi Pongee Silk Factory

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Four minutes of Zen

On the road again...

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The person who normally does our Friday buying run was ill so I just got back from town.  Unloaded and heading back in again for the Bill Whittle event at 8:00PM - grab a light dinner and run a few errands first.

One of the things I love about owning a grocery store in a resort area are meeting the people from out of town who are visiting. There was an extended family (eight people) from the Netherlands who took an interest in Grace when I pulled in.  Spent about 20 minutes with them explaining about the Shiloh breeding program and the sorry state of today's German Shephard Dog with hip and cardiac problems.

Take care of a couple of things and then back to town for the show...

Feeling like a school-kid seeing a live big-name rock band. Bill Whittle is doing a show at our gorgeous Mt. Baker Theater tomorrow night.

I am soooo stoked... Here are a few of his earlier speeches - good stuff.

Very cool technology - Structure

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Check out this site: Structure

This is going to have a very large impact on graphics, CAD, 3D modeling, games, architecture, etc... Price is $379 to $499 - affordable to anyone serious about working in 3D.

I could not embed the video but it is worth going to the site and watching. This is a game-changer and you know the technology is just going to get better and better...

A bit too much fun in Seattle

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Someone must have been thinking about the old Volkswagen commercial (YouTube at the end of this post) - from the Seattle Post Intelligencer:

Man drives car into Ship Canal, refuses rescue
Police recovered a man's body Thursday morning after he drove a Nissan Sentra into Seattle's Ship Canal at high speed overnight then refused to be rescued by a police boat, officials said.

About 11:30 p.m. Wednesday officers were looking for a car that was seen speeding on Queen Anne, said Neil Low of the Seattle police. The car is thought to have been stolen from Phinney Ridge.

As they were investigating, they saw a cloud of dust off Ewing Place, and witnesses pointed them to where a car was seen driving through a gate and into the water at high speed.

"The officers went down to the water -- saw the car in the water, lights in the water," Low said.

The driver of the car came to the surface of the water but refused to be rescued by a police patrol boat. 

Officers in the harbor unit threw him a rope four times, but the man wouldn't grab it, police said. He also pushed away an officer who tried to grab him.

He then went underwater. 

 Thining out the gene pool a little bit...


Yikes - do not drink the water

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Being on our local water board, I am sensitive to stories about other water systems. This one takes the cake.

From the New Orleans, LA CBS affiliate WGNO:

St. John Parish drinking water tests positive for brain-eating amoeba
More than twelve and a half thousand people in St. John parish are at risk of a brain eating amoeba detected in the water system.

A water sample taken two weeks ago by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals tested positive for the potentially deadly amoeba called Naegleria fowleri.

Residents in Reserve, Garyville and Mt. Airy have been advised to take precautions.

Talk about poor water quality - they should have been monitoring a bit more closely. With our little system (200 houses and 30 businesses) we are checking every couple months and regularly flush the pipes.

10,648 neodymium magnets

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Someone with a bit too much time (and money) on their hands - looks fun though...

Hat tip Mental Floss.

Stunningly bad science at the EPA

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Quite the scandal rearing its ugly little head - from Rod Adams writing at Atomic Insights:

How Proposed EPA CO2 Rule Rewards States for Replacing Nuclear With Gas
On August 20, 2014, Remy DeVoe, a graduate student in nuclear engineering at the University of Tennessee, published an earthshaking piece on ANS Nuclear Cafe titled Unintended Anti-Nuclear Consequences Lurking in the EPA Clean Power Plan. Unfortunately, there has been a bit of a delayed reaction; so far, only the most carefully tuned instruments have noticed any movement.

In his article, Remy described how he and Justin Knowles, another UT nuclear engineering graduate student, chose to spend part of their summer in the very “nuclear” activity of digging deeply into a mathematical model to find out the basic assumptions underlying its results. The model they chose was the formula that the EPA has described as a “consistent national formula” for calculating each state’s existing CO2 intensity (CO2 mass per MW-hr) — using 2012 data.

Aside: Please forgive my use of the underline format for a phrase that is not a link. Though underlines generally indicate the existence of a link here on Atomic Insights, I wanted to reproduce the phrase exactly as it appears — including text formatting — on EPA Connect: The Official Blog of EPA’s Leadership in a June 4, 2014 blog post by Janet McCabe titled Understanding State Goals under the Clean Power Plan End Aside.

Remy and Justin entered a hypothetical scenario into the model in which each state with nuclear generating stations shut down all of their nuclear plants and replaced their zero emission electricity generation with natural gas fired generation. Remy and Justin uncovered a starting fact. In 15 states the carbon intensity in pounds per MWhr as calculated by the EPA’s spreadsheet model decreased.

That result made no sense to them. They thought that someone had to have made a mistake somewhere in the formulas used in the model that had not been caught by any of the reviews that must have taken place inside the EPA before the rule was issued for comment.

Much more at the site. The comments are worth reading

From WeatherBELL founder Joe Bastardi writing at Watts Up With That:

Bastardi: warm water brings potential for East Pacific hurricanes
Joe D’Aleo and I have noted that one of the analogs showing up is 1976 with the type of ENSO coming on. In fact, with Tom Downs analogs thrown in, for winter, 76-77 got ranked 2nd as of Aug 10.  We look each month and update.  But  that was one heck of a year for Mexican tropical cyclone hits. We were saying back in spring, the interior  southwest was going to get wet as this pattern evolved and it has, right in the heart of the perma-drought area and back west.  But the September-Oct rain idea was because we have felt the SE pac would be the site of recurring tropical cyclones that can hit Mexico and dump a lot of rain.

The winter went wild that year, we all remember ( the winter of the ice age scare) and for good reason  the SST  by December was similar to what is forecasted this  year  warm water off the west coast and the ENSO event.

Joe compares the sea conditions of 1976 to those of today (very similar) and cites the four hurricanes that hit Mexico. He concludes with this:

The pattern is such that this area will be of concern going forth in Sep. and Oct.  So if ( when???)  it does occur,  the AGW propagandists have been warned.. we are setting it up already to a similar pattern evolution  that in the  following winter people wound up screaming ice age.  We did it with Arthur, so let see if there are a couple of recurves that make headlines, if they take the bait.  ( They will, they have no qualms about walking into traps, no matter how foolish)

They scream about storms out in the middle of nowhere, so certainly the trap is set for them if it occurs.  It happened before, and there is a good chance its about to happen again.

Its a dirty job, but someone has to do it

Heh... It will be interesting to follow.

The times they are a-changin' and some industries are not keeping up. From Billboard:

Album Sales Hit A New Low
As streaming gathers momentum, the U.S. music industry keeps breaking sales milestones -- the wrong kind.

This week's 3.97-million album sales tally is the smallest weekly sum for album sales since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. It's also the first time weekly sales have fallen below four million in that time span.

Last week was fairly slow for the top releases. The top album, Wiz Khalifa's Blacc Hollywood, debuted with sales of 90,000 units, a figure below the first-week sales of many other top debuts of 2014. Three other albums debuted inside the top 10 but averaged only 31,000 units apiece. And the Frozen soundtrack is no longer moving in excess of 100,000 units per week.

To compare, a year ago this past week (ending Aug. 25, 2013), 4.88 million albums were sold. But sales have been losing steam all year. The weekly average number of album sales fell from 4.75 million units in the first quarter to 4.55 million units in the second quarter. In the first 8 weeks of the third quarter, the average has fallen further to 4.2 million.

Any business will be in a constant state of flux and not keeping track is a guaranteed avenue for failure. The music business has been deeply entrenched for way to long - time to shake things up a bit. It used to be that the music industry controlled the recording studios but now, you can set up an amazing facility for under $2,000 in your own bedroom. 

Industrial Music

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Fun stuff - sampling industrial sounds and using them to create music. Nothing new but Matthew does it well.

More here: Soundcloud

Heading into Bellingham this evening

Had a big run on people recieving Western Union funds so heading into town to get some more cash.

Some of the Democrats have their panties in a bunch over Burger King's move to Canada to save on corporate taxes. From Yahoo:

Boycott talk taints Burger King deal
Small, medium or large? The amount of outrage over Burger King’s deal to buy a Canadian donut chain could possibly determine whether the deal goes through — and helps Burger King dodge millions of dollars in U.S. taxes.

Just figured out where I will grab a bite to eat: Burger King. The branch is right across from Home Depot and I need to stop there too for some electrical conduit.


Socalist mayor de Blasio has turned New York City into a workers paradise - he said so himself.

From The New York Times:

Police Sergeants’ Union Warns Against Democratic Convention in Brooklyn

A union of New York City police sergeants warned the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday against holding its 2016 convention in Brooklyn, issuing an open letter that doubled as a broadside against a mayoral administration with which some officers have grown increasingly frustrated.

In the letter, addressed to the group Mayor Bill de Blasio wooed during its visit to New York two weeks ago, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, Edward D. Mullins, said the city was going “backward to the bad old days of high crime, danger-infested public spaces and families that walk our streets worried for their safety.”

He presented a city overrun with “squeegee people” and other panhandlers, with shootings on the rise and morale among police officers flagging.

“The D.N.C. should choose another venue,” said the letter, which appeared as an advertisement in The New York Times and The New York Post. “Mayor de Blasio,” it continued, “has not earned the right to play host to such an important event.”

And of course, like a true statist, Mr. de Blasio counters with name calling and finger pointing (not facts - because the facts don't look good for his agenda): 

Mr. de Blasio, speaking at an unrelated news conference in Brooklyn on Tuesday, called the union’s actions “opportunistic” and “irresponsible.”

“It’s fear-mongering to try and benefit their own position in contract talks,” he said. “Don’t stoke fear in the city we love.”

Looking to see a conservative become mayor within two election cycles. 

From The New York Times:

Obama Pursuing Climate Accord in Lieu of Treaty
The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.

In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a “politically binding” deal that would “name and shame” countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path.

One of the worst things that President Eisenhower did was to shoot down the Bricker Amendment:

Bricker Amendment
The Bricker Amendment is the collective name of a number of proposed amendments to the United States Constitution considered by the United States Senate in the 1950s. Each of these amendments would have placed restrictions on the scope and ratification of treaties and executive agreements entered into by the United States and are named for their sponsor, Senator John W. Bricker of Ohio, a conservative Republican.

Non-interventionism, the view that the United States should not become embroiled in foreign conflicts and world politics, has always been an element in American politics but was especially strong in the years following World War I. American entry into World War II temporarily suppressed non-interventionist sentiments, but they returned in the post-war years in response to America's new international role, particularly as a reaction to the new United Nations and its affiliated international organizations. Some feared the loss of American sovereignty to these transnational agencies, because of the Soviet Union's role in the spread of international Communism and the Cold War.

Frank E. Holman, president of the American Bar Association (ABA), called attention to state and Federal court decisions, notably Missouri v. Holland, which he claimed could give international treaties and agreements precedence over the United States Constitution and could be used by foreigners to threaten American liberties. Senator Bricker was influenced by the ABA's work and first introduced a constitutional amendment in 1951. With substantial popular support and the election of a Republican President and Congress in the elections of 1952, Bricker's plan seemed destined to be sent to the individual states for ratification.

The best-known version of the Bricker Amendment, considered by the Senate in 1953–54, declared that no treaty could be made by the United States that conflicted with the Constitution, was self-executing without the passage of separate enabling legislation through Congress, or which granted Congress legislative powers beyond those specified in the Constitution. It also limited the president's power to enter into executive agreements with foreign powers.

Bricker's proposal attracted broad bipartisan support and was a focal point of intra-party conflict between the administration of president Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Old Right faction of conservative Republican senators. Despite the initial support, the Bricker Amendment was blocked through the intervention of President Eisenhower and failed in the Senate by a single vote in 1954. Three years later the Supreme Court of the United States explicitly ruled in Reid v. Covert that the Bill of Rights cannot be abrogated by agreements with foreign powers. Nevertheless, Senator Bricker's ideas still have supporters, and new versions of his amendment have been reintroduced in Congress periodically.

Much more at the site - an interesting look at history.

If President Stompy-feet is able to get away with this, I am hoping that it will trigger a major shift in the way people vote. We really need some adults in the room now, especially in the Senate...

Taking care of a lot of stuff this morning - minimal posting until later today.


I have done the announcing for these and will be there Saturday. The weather forecast does not look that good - 70% chance of showers but it is clear today so we will see...

This about sums it up...

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The sooner we follow this path, the sooner we reach economic recovery and prosperity as well as world political security. It is just that simple.

Karl Marx's big screw-up is that there is not a fixed pool of capital. Money can be created or destroyed. Letting the rich prosper will let those poorer to prosper as well. Maintaining barriers to wealth through crony capitalism and statism does more to hinder growth than any kind of free market.

A clever business move - Have it your way...

Burger King got tired of the US 39.10% Corporate tax rate (the highest in the world) and figured out how to lower it to 26.3%

From The Washington Post:

Have taxes your way: Why Burger King wants to become a Canadian citizen
Yet another American company is aiming to move its headquarters out of the country.

International fast food behemoth Burger King Worldwide Inc. confirmed Tuesday that it will pay about $11 billion to buy Canadian chain Tim Hortons Inc., which sells coffee, donuts, and other breakfast food fare. The deal would merge America's second-largest burger chain, which is valued at nearly $10 billion, with the Canadian equivalent to Dunkin' Donuts, which is valued at more than $8 billion. It would also move the new company's headquarters to Canada, where corporate taxes are significantly lower.

The newly merged company would become the world's third-biggest "quick service restaurant company," with more than 18,000 restaurants in 100 countries, said Burger King and Hortons in a statement Monday. The deal would create a business capable of rivaling Yum Brands, which owns Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, and is valued at more than $30 billion. But while Yum Brands operates from Louisville, KY, the new Burger King and Tim Hortons parent company would likely station itself in the Ontario province of Canada.

On the surface, the reason for a headquarter shift across the country's northern border is simple: lower corporate taxes.

As we have have noted before, when a company reincorporates abroad, as the practice is known, what it's really doing is shifting its corporate citizenship; and when a company shifts its corporate citizenship, what it's really doing is trying to pay less in taxes. The nominal corporate tax rate in the U.S., which combines national, state, and city-level tax rates, is nearly 40 percent—the highest across all 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries. Canada's, by comparison, is just over 26 percent.

Of course, the Democrats are trying to stop this by doing absolutley the wrong thing - passing another law - from the Ways and Means Committee website:

H.R.4679 : Stop Corporate Inversions Act of 2014
On May 20, a group of nearly a dozen House Democrats today introduced legislation to tighten restrictions on corporate tax inversions, limiting the ability of American companies to avoid U.S. taxation by combining with a smaller foreign business and moving their tax domicile overseas. The House legislation – the “Stop Corporate Inversions Act of 2014” (H.R. 4679) – and companion Senate legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) largely mirror the inversion proposal included in the President’s FY 2015 budget.

Co-sponsors of the legislation include Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-MA), Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Rep. John Larson (D-CT), Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).

Gee - all they would have to do is cut back on Federal spending and cut taxes. If we lowered Corporate taxes to 25%, business would flock back to the USA. Overseas manufacturing would flock back to the USA. Profits and jobs would flock back to the USA.

But nooooo - we must smash the free market.

Humans need not apply

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Great video from C.G.P. Grey:

Here is his website: C.G.P. Grey, and YouTube channel

The ALS Ice Bucket challenge - Nancy Pelosi

A weak link in the chain - Bearings

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From Eric Worrall writing at Watts Up With That:

Bearings: The Achilles Heel of Wind Turbines
A few years ago, I used to know a senior wind turbine engineer. One evening, over a few beers, he told me the dirty secret of his profession:

“The problem is the bearings. If we make the bearings bigger, the bearings last longer, but making the bearings larger increases friction, which kills turbine efficiency. But we can’t keep using the current bearings – replacing them is sending us broke. What we need is a quantum leap in bearing technology – bearing materials which are at least ten times tougher than current materials.”

At the time there was very little corroborating online material available to support this intriguing comment – but evidence seems to be accumulating that bearings are a serious problem for the wind industry.

Siemens citing bearing failures as part of the reason for a substantial fall in profit;

In the announcement of the opening of a new Siemens research facility;
“… The Brande test center would evaluate the main parts of their wind turbines such as main bearings …” (an attempt to make direct drive turbines, to reduce bearing wear)
“… More accurately, it is typically the bearings within the gearbox that fail, in turn gumming up the gearbox, but that’s a story for another time. …”
“… During summer 2010 Siemens decided to change the blade bearings on all 25 turbines as a pre-emptive measure after corrosion was found in blade bearings found on other sites. …”

And of course, there is the obligitory YouTube video: is a dead end for baseline energy. For remote areas -- sure. For the National Electric Grid -- no frickn' way.

 How many of our tax dollars are being sent down this rat-hole...

Quote of the day - academia

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Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities, we didn't have to produce anything! You've never been out of college! You don't know what it's like out there! I've *worked* in the private sector. They expect *results*.
--Dr Raymond Stantz


Dr. Stantz? Ghostbusters


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We both spotted a fox about two weeks ago - just a blur running off into the woods.

Saw it again this morning and it is peacefully hanging out in the field chowing down on wood mice.

Curious because the dogs are normally very good about running other critters off - deer and coyote set them to barking and they will chase them to the fence. This guy? Meh. Another canine friend.

From The Local - Norway's News in English:

Buy your own Viking warship for just €160,000
Fancy owning your own Viking ship capable of carrying an 80-strong landing party to ravage the destination of your choice? The craftsmen at The Viking Ship Museum are now selling replicas of Norway's Gokstad ship for a mere €160,000.

The construction of the 10-metre long Gokstad battle cruiser is scrupulously authentic, with the Roskilde-based craftsmen hewing each model out of oak using tradition tools, putting it together with handmade nails, and equipping it with woollen sails. 

But the design has nonetheless proven extremely seaworthy since the first replica, the Viking, crossed the Atlantic from Bergen in 1893. 

The original boat was discovered in a burial mound near Sandefjord in 1880, and is now kept at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History outside Oslo. 

The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark, will also build you a 12m cargo vessel, based on the Skuldelev 6 ship found in Roskilde in 1962, for less than €400,000. 

The cheapest viking ship for sale is a replica of one of the smaller ships found at Gokstad, which can be had for under €53,000. 

€160,000 is only about $210,000. I could see us crusing Silver Lake in the mornings. Raising the skull and cross-bones. Plundering the cabins.

Tip of the hat to Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man for the link.

More faster please

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This is huge - from the Beeb:

Whole organ 'grown' in world first
A whole functional organ has been grown from scratch inside an animal for the first time, say researchers in Scotland.

A group of cells developed into a thymus - a critical part of the immune system - when transplanted into mice.

The findings, published in Nature Cell Biology, could pave the way to alternatives to organ transplantation.

Experts said the research was promising, but still years away from human therapies.

Say bye-bye to immune response and tissue rejection problems. This is a long long way from being able to grow a new heart or liver or kidneys but still, a step in the right direction.

Politics these days - a two-fer

First - talk about being out of touch - from FoxNews:

More White House officials at Michael Brown’s funeral than Thatcher’s
The White House sent three officials to attend Monday's funeral for Michael Brown in St. Louis -- three more than it sent for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's funeral last year. 

Thatcher was a class act, Brown, a common street thug.

Second - from CNS News:

Obama Sent No Representative to Memorial Mass for Beheaded Journalist James Foley
President Barack Obama sent no White House representative to the memorial Mass held yesterday in Rochester, New Hampshire, for James Foley, the American journalist beheaded by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) terrorists.

President Obama, however, did send three White House aides to Monday’s funeral for Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American fatally shot in an encounter with a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

Disgusting - these people are so far out of touch with what is decent and right it sickens me.

 Brilliant marketing tactic - people will not forget that beer!  I will have to see if we can get a carton or two for the store.

 Bring that to a party!

The Feynman Lectures on Physics

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Now available online - an amazing resource: The Feynman Lectures on Physics

Oh Bother...

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From the Canadian Broadcasting Company:

Winnie the Pooh saga turns 100 years old today
One hundred years ago today a Canadian soldier adopted a black bear cub and named it after his adopted hometown of Winnipeg, launching the saga of Winnie the Pooh.

Lt. Harry Colebourn, a Canadian veterinarian and soldier with the Royal Canadian Army Veterinary Corps, came across the orphaned female bear cub on Aug. 24, 1914.

"It's such a fascinating story to me that something from such a different, ancient time and far away is so directly connected to this city of ours," said Mary Anne Appleby, a Winnipeg author who penned the 2011 biography Winnie the Bear.

As the story goes, when Colebourn's troop train stopped in White River, Ont., he met a hunter who had shot and killed the bear cub's mother, without whom the cub was almost certain to die.

Colebourn offered the hunter $20 for the cub, whom he named Winnipeg Bear to commemorate the city where he had lived before the war. The name was soon shortened to Winnie.

Winnie accompanied Colebourn to England, where the cub played with Canadian soldiers during their off-hours in their encampment on the Salisbury Plains.

Colebourn later donated Winnie to the London Zoo, where the bear inspired the creation of A.A. Milne's famous children's book character. Winnie died at the zoo in 1934.

The Winnie the Pooh story endures a century later. A survey in the United Kingdom named Milne's book the most beloved children's book of the past 150 years, while the "silly old bear" came in second to Anne of Green Gables' Anne Shirley in CBC Books' Great Canadian Character Showdown.

Appleby, whose father was a close friend of Colebourn's son, says this weekend is a time to celebrate a wee bear that has become a household name.

I so want to get a bear cub as a pet. You have to get them fresh out of the womb - eyes still closed - so the imprint is perfect otherwise, they can be trouble when they hit puberty.

I grew up on these stories. Great stuff...

Water Board meeting tonight

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Should be an interesting one - one of our goals this year was to install a fire hydrant at the further reach of our system. We are pretty well covered except for this area and there are about 20 residences that don't currently have access.

Our local VFD does have pumper trucks but deploying these takes time - crucial in an emergency situation.

We had budgeted for this but the engineering costs were a lot higher than what we initially thought -- this project is about double the planned budget. We can do it but we need to watch our pennies for the next year or two.

About that global warming

Glaciers starting to form in Scotland - from the Beeb:

Glacier-like hazards found on Ben Nevis
A team of climbers and scientists investigating the mountain's North Face said snowfields remained in many gullies and upper scree slopes.

On these fields, they have come across compacted, dense, ice hard snow call neve.

Neve is the first stage in the formation of glaciers, the team said.

The team has also encountered sheets of snow weighing hundreds of tonnes and tunnels and fissures known as bergschrunds.

The large, deep cracks in the ice are found at the top of glaciers.

A bit more:

Lead survey botanist, Ian Strachan, said: "Many of the rare arctic-alpine species we are searching for are relics from soon after the last ice age.

"Ben Nevis and a few other peaks in the Scottish Highlands provide the most southerly refuge for some of these species which can only survive due to the altitude and presence of semi-permanent snow fields."

And the next ice age is scheduled to start in 3... 2...

Prescient - The Twilight Zone

What with all the police action in the states and the rapidly deteriorating conditions overseas - from Rod Serling:

As we continue to lurch towards tyranny. These fools voted for big government - now they have it and they do not like it.

Staying at the farm today

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Lulu is a bit under the weather today so we will not be heading into the Baconfest. This is just as well as there is a lot of stuff that needs attention out here.

Successful sauerkraut

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A couple days ago, I prepared a batch of sauerkraut and we tried it this evening with dinner. WOW!

I had tried a few times before and got mold and mush. This time, I used a kit from Perfect Pickler which came with a brewer's air-lock, a cap which fit a wide-mouth Mason jar and a DVD with instructions and recipes.

Big difference - I added a bit too much red pepper flakes and caraway seeds but the overall flavor profile is really really nice. The batch started fermenting actively on the second day (a burp through the airlock every 10-20 seconds).

I am going to order a Lactobacillus culture and try culturing that and re-culturing the wild bacilli. There is a huge body of evidence that points to gut health=body health. Have always been careful about diet but it is nice to have another tool in the box...

We Have the Power (Hammer)

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Got that puppy running for the first time in five years. A wonderful sound.  I need to tear it apart and re-lube everything as the original oil has polymerized to varnish. Fortunately, when I picked it up, the seller showed me how to do this on another machine he was working on and this is something that doesn't need to be done again as the hammer will now get constant use -- there is a constant flow of fresh oil through the two cylinders when it is running. I will post videos in a week or two.

Lulu is coming inside too - we both had a productive and wonderful day outside.  I have a couple things I want to do in the music room but this is just an hour or two.

Working outside

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Gorgeous weather - low 70's and clear with a light breeze. Got the dumpster filled up again (to the point of using the tractor's blade to tamp the trash down). Place is starting to look a bit better.

Taking a short break and working on wiring up the power hammer. A bit bummed as I installed the wrong kind of electrical panel and only noticed it now - too late.

SquareD makes two grades of panel, their HOM for residential use and their QO for industrial. I had been buying QO breakers but failed to realize that I took home and installed a HOM panel. Oh well... That's what Craigslist is for.

I will sacrifice a little reliability but it's not a big deal. Pissed off at myself for not catching the difference, I use QO for everything I do.


Breaks over - back to work...

From RUV:

Small eruption near Bárðarbunga
A small sub-glacial volcanic eruption has started near Bardarbunga volcano, under the icecap of Dyngjujökull glacier in the northern part of Vatnajökull glacier, according to the Icelandic Met Office. All air traffic is now prohibited in a large radius around the volcano.

The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police has raised the alert phase to emergency phase accordingly. Furthermore, the Met Office has raised the aviation color code from orange to red resulting in the air space above the eruption site being closed.

The eruption is considered a minor event at this point. Because of a pressure from the glacier cap it is uncertain whether the eruption will stay sub-glacial or not.

The Coast Guards aircraft, TF-Sif, is currently monitoring the area and there are no visible signs of a plume at this moment. Nothing indicates floods because of the eruption.

At this stage measurements taken are based on a small event. The Jökulsárgljúfur canyon has been closed and evacuation of tourists in that area and around Dettifoss waterfall has started. The situation at this stage does not call for evacuation of habitants in Kelduhverfi, Öxarfjördur and Núpasveit. People in those areas are encouraged to watch news closely and have their mobiles switched on at all times.

There is a great 3D visualiazation of the earthquakes along with a webcam at this page: Baering

As if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happned.

From cNet:

'MythBusters' drops hosts Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci
In a video announcement Thursday on Discovery Channel, "MythBusters" hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman revealed that longtime co-hosts and fan favorites Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, and Tory Belleci are no longer on the show.

"This next season we're going back to our origins with just Adam and me," Hyneman said in the video, which explained that the change took hold as of the season's last episode on August 21.

"We're gonna take a brief moment to thank you guys for your incredible work over the last 10 years," Savage said in the video. "You've given literally your blood, sweat, and tears in the name of science and it has been a total pleasure not only to work with you but to call you our friends."

Added Hyneman, "We wish you the very best of luck and thank you."


Title? From here of course:

First annual Bacon Fest

Hapening this Sunday in town. Lulu and I are planning to take the day off and head in for this event.

More information from the Max Higbee Center:

Delectable bacon treats from local restaurants including Green Frog, Copper Hog, Evolve Truffles, StrEAT Food, Silver Reef Casino, and more! Click HERE to see a full list of vendors.
Beer Garden with Boundary Bay and Kulshan Breweries (including a few bacon infused beers) and bacon and egg cornhole!
Entertainment by Moongrass and Bellingham Circus Guild
Kids Zone with bacon inspired games and activities
Prizes for raffle and costume contests, including a 20 POUND SLAB OF BACON FROM CARNE!


Nothing much tonight

Busy day today and tomorrow. Our local electrical utility just put a meter on my shop. Instead of leaching a 40 Amp service from the house panel, I now have a dedicated 200 amp service for the shop and barn.

40 amps was fine for wire-welding up to about 1/4" but anything more and it felt like I was browning out the whole valley. My spiffy new power hammer was unable to start so it has sat idle for five years. I am planning to get it running tomorrow.

Now that the new panel and meter are in and inspected, I got the permit this afternoon to add ten branch circuits and will take it from there. One of my pet peeves is to have the lighting separate from all other electrical outlets. If a tool you are using causes the breaker to trip, you do not want to be plunged into darkness. Planning to do it right this time around.

Five Finger Death Punch

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Heard this on the radio today - pretty powerful stuff:

It's an Outrage I tell you!

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Back in 2008, I had posted about a search for XXXX Outraged and the number of hits returned. I decided to update it.

Quite the shift from then to now - searching with Google this time:

Democrats Outraged - 795,000 results - 2008 results: 45,600
Muslims Outraged - 647,000 results - 2008 results: 35,600
Republicans Outraged - 664,000 results - 2008 results: 13,800
Catholics Outraged - 392,000 results - 2008 results: 11,500
Christians Outraged - 696,000 results - 2008 results: 2,990
Jews Outraged - 613,000 results - 2008 results: 2,060
Libertarians Outraged - 644,000 results - 2008 results: 57
Buddhists Outraged - 511,000 results - 2008 results: 24

Looks like Being Outraged is now an equal opportunity employer.

People cannot bring facts to the table so they raise the noise level...

Nothing tonight either

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Working on reorganizing the music room. The new monitor stand makes all the difference in the world - should have spent that $50 years ago...

 Also, since changing the blog over to the newer software, I have been having a lot of problems with comment spam. I just finished rewriting my script for spam filtering. One attempt today where I was some days getting over 20.

Run back to your mommy's basement kiddies - this is the real world we are dealing with, 'ya know - people who actually do stuff...

So near and yet so far - coal in the news

There is an area North of Bellingham called Cherry Point. It was set aside for heavy industry and was created so that all of the environmental concerns could be kept in one location. It hosts a petroleum refinery and an Alcoa Aluminum plant.

Recently, there has been a push to add a coal terminal.  The Western states are sitting on several hundred years worth of coal reserves and China is hungry for the energy.

Needless to say, this has been a cause celebre for the environmentalists. People who have never seen a coal mine are wailing about how evil and dirty coal is. Lulu and I toured a coal mine when we went to the Blacksmithing conference in South Dakota and coal is perfectly clean. Adding to the irony, even our oldest coal-burning plants are orders of magnitude cleaner than the plants that China is building so it would be better for the environment to burn it here.  [set rant=off]

Anyway, our friends to the North have grown tired of waiting for us to act. From Reuters:

Canada's largest port approves $15 mln coal transfer project
Port Metro Vancouver, Canada's largest port, said on Thursday it has approved a new facility to transfer coal from trains onto barges at Fraser Surrey Docks, a decision that followed lengthy public scrutiny over the project's environmental and health impact.

After a permitting process lasting more than two years and including environmental impact, air quality and other human health assessments, the port said it found no "unacceptable risks" in allowing the $15 million project to move forward.

The Fraser Surrey Docks terminal would handle up to 4 million metric tonnes of coal from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co (BNSF) each year, loading it on barges bound for Texada Island, north of Vancouver, where it would be transferred to large vessels for export.

Every ton of coal that moves through that terminal will be taxed. Every ton of coal that moves through that terminal will need people to move it - hundreds of jobs. Our county just lost out on a major economic boon.

From the London Daily Mail:

Buy a powerful vacuum cleaner before they are BANNED: New EU rules 'will outlaw best models in 10 days because they're not eco-friendly'
Many of the best vacuum cleaners will be taken off the market from next month when a new EU rule comes into force banning the most powerful models

Households that need a powerful vacuum cleaner should ‘act quickly’ before all of the models currently available sell out, consumer watchdog Which? warned.

From September 1, manufacturers will not be able to make or import vacuums with a motor that exceeds 1,600 watts.

Have they taken leave of their senses? The more watts the vacuum consumes, the greater suction it has.  A weaker vacuum will require more operating time to do the same work.

And of course, this reminds me of that great Steven Wright line:

I sold my vacuum. It was just gathering dust.

Busy day today

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Working on a couple of large projects so minimal posting today

Bárðarbungu heating up

Today's report from the Icelandic Meteorological Office:

Updated summary from Bárðarbunga
Around 1.000 small earthquakes were detected in the Bárðarbunga region from midnight (18/19) until Tuesday evening 19th August at 20:00. All of them were smaller than magnitude 3 and most were located in the cluster east of Bárðarbunga.

While the northern cluster close to Kistufell has calmed down significantly following the M4.5 earthquake on early Monday morning, event rates in the eastern cluster are still high. Similar to recent days, two pulses of comparably strong seismic activity have been measured between 04:00 and 08:00 this morning, as well as 16:00 and 18:30 in the afternoon. The cluster east of Bárðarbunga continued to slowly migrate northeastwards today. Events are still located at around 5-12 km depths, no signs of upwards migration has been seen so far.

Something is happening - good thing that there are no towns or cities of any size nearby.

Where did that come from?

We banned use of Carbon tetrachloride back in 1987. It was a great chemical for cleaning clothes and electronics - it evaporated completely, dissolved most organic dirt but didn't touch fabric or components and was non-conductive. It was also a great conductor of heat and used for cooling in some electronics designs. It was also highly effective for fighting fires. A stream of CCl4 would evaporate into a large cool cloud displacing all the Oxygen the fire needed to sustain itself.

It was also a great destroyer of Ozone and considering that our Ozone layer is what keeps us from getting terminal sunburn every time we step outside, the ban was a good thing.

The funny thing is, it is not going away. From the American Geophysical Union:

Ozone-depleting compound persists, new research shows
New research shows Earth’s atmosphere contains an unexpectedly large amount of an ozone-depleting compound from an unknown source decades after the compound was banned worldwide.

Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), which was once used in applications such as dry cleaning and as a fire-extinguishing agent, was regulated in 1987 under the Montreal Protocol along with other chlorofluorocarbons that destroy ozone and contribute to the ozone hole over Antarctica. Parties to the Montreal Protocol reported zero new CCl4 emissions between 2007-2012.

However, the new research shows worldwide emissions of CCl4 average 39 kilotons (about 43,000 U.S. tons) per year, approximately 30 percent of peak emissions prior to the international treaty going into effect.

“We are not supposed to be seeing this at all,” said Qing Liang, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study published online in the Aug. 18 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. “It is now apparent there are either unidentified industrial leakages, large emissions from contaminated sites, or unknown CCl4 sources.”

My bet is marine algae - there is so much that we do not know about the Ocean that covers 70% of our Planet.

Heh - Bird Feeder v/s Squirrel

And since our Sun is a variable star, our climate will vary. From Gizmag:

Sun’s activity shown to influence natural climate change
In a new study that may greatly add to our understanding of the drivers behind climate change, researchers from Lund University in Sweden claim to have accurately reconstructed solar activity levels during the last ice age. By analyzing trace elements in ice core samples in Greenland and cave mineral formations in China, the scientists assert that regional climate is more influenced by the sun than previously thought.

The effect of the sun on natural climate change has been one of constant debate, and its degree of influence varies dependent upon the climate modelling used. However, this recent study by Lund University may suggest that direct solar energy input affects parts of the atmosphere which then indirectly changes atmospheric circulation, resulting in increases or decreases in temperature over certain regions.

According to the researchers, a measurable variance in solar activity during the last glacial maximum (22,500 - 10,000 years ago) resulted in increased winter precipitation during periods of low solar activity. The team claims that these results may explain the positive correlations between their solar activity reconstruction and the study of indicator isotopes they used as a measure of historical precipitation temperatures in the examined ice cores.

"Reduced solar activity could lead to colder winters in Northern Europe. This is because the sun’s UV radiation affects the atmospheric circulation. Interestingly, the same processes lead to warmer winters in Greenland, with greater snowfall and more storms." said Dr said Raimund Muscheler, Lecturer in Quaternary Geology at Lund University. "The study also shows that the various solar processes need to be included in climate models in order to better predict future global and regional climate change."

And this is evident as our Sun has entered an abnormally quiet time while there has been no detectable rise in the Earth's temperature. Cause --> Effect

Why Radiation is safe

Excellent presentation - well worth the 45 minutes to watch.

Iceland's Bárðarbungu volcano - webcams

Two sites for Bárðarbungu webcams: Here and Here

From Nuclear Street:

Fusion Power Firm Helion Energy Wins Silicon Valley Backing
Helion Energy announced Thursday that it will receive backing from two prominent venture capital firms to help commercialize a fusion reactor for small power plants.

The company's technology relies on magneto-inertial fusion, a process that heats deuterium and helium until it forms masses of plasma that are driven together within a powerful magnetic field. The plasma physics at the heart of the reactor has been researched for decades, but Helion scientists believe the design concept they developed at University of Washington spinoff MSNW can be developed to produce as much energy as it consumes in the next three years.

Helion's website is here: Helion Energy

They have designs for a 50 MegaWatt reactor that fits into a shipping container.

Now this is curious...

From Russia's ITAR-TASS News Agency:

Scientists find traces of sea plankton on ISS surface
An experiment of taking samples from illuminators and the ISS surface has brought unique results, as scientists had found traces of sea plankton there, the chief of an orbital mission on Russia’s ISS segment told reporters.

Results of the scope of scientific experiments which had been conducted for a quite long time were summed up in the previous year, confirming that some organisms can live on the surface of the International Space Station (ISS) for years amid factors of a space flight, such as zero gravity, temperature conditions and hard cosmic radiation. Several surveys proved that these organisms can even develop.

Origins of life? Star pollen? Someone's pet project a few million years ago?

Obama's visit to Washington

In the middle of his vacation on Martha's Vinyard, Obama flew to Washington for a day and then flew back. No reason was given.

Machael Ramirez has the answer:


Some moving and shaking in Iceland

Another volcano is showing signs of life - from the Icelandic Meteorological Office:

Summary of activity in Bárðarbunga
Since the onset of the earthquake swarm at Bárðarbunga on Saturday morning 16th August 03:00am, around 2.600 earthquakes have been detected with the earthquake monitoring network of the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO), of these around 950 since midnight (17/18th August). Several of these events were larger than magnitude 3. The swarm initially started in the Bárðarbunga caldera and has been migrating in two clusters towards the north and the east of the volcano.

On Sunday 17th of August, these two clusters were active east and north of Bárðarbunga. The activity in both clusters was migrating northeastwards. While the strongest events were located in the northern cluster, the highest number of events was detected in the eastern cluster. The strongest event since the onset of the swarm was detected on Monday morning 02:37 in the northern cluster. Detailed analysis revealed that its magnitude was 4.5 and it was felt in Akureyri and Lón. By Monday evening, activity has significantly decreased in the northern cluster.

The eastern cluster remains active. Two stronger pulses of activity have occurred between 10:45 and 12:00 as well as 16:50 and 17:30 this morning. Within the first pulse around noon, the cluster was again migrating northeastwards, most events are now located between Bárðarbunga and Kverkfjöll. As reported earlier, GPS ground deformation data has evidenced that the earthquake swarm is caused by magma intrusion.

Throughout the whole sequence until now (18th August at 20:45) the majority of events has been at 5-10km depth. No signs of migration towards the surface or any other signs of imminent or ongoing volcanic activity have been detected so far. IMO is monitoring the area around the clock very closely and will update in case of any changes.

The last volcano to erupt shut down European air travel for a week because of the ash clouds.

From the St. Louis, Mo FOX News affiliate:

St. Louis City police shoot, kill knife-wielding suspect
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson says officers warned a suspect multiple times to put down his weapon before they shot and killed him.

The shooting happened around 1 p.m. Tuesday  at McLaran and Riverview.  Police say the suspect tried to rob the Six Star Market convenience store with a knife.  Chief Sam Dotson said the store owner let the man leave the store.    A St. Louis City Alderwomam witnessed the man walking erratically around and called police.

When officers arrived, the suspect refused to put down weapon despite multiple verbal command by police.    Chief Sam Dotson says the man yelled at officers “shoot me now” several times. Witnesses also confirmed what the man said.

Dotson says the man continued to refuse the officer’s commands, approached within three to four feet of them with the knife in an attack posture.

Both officers opened fire on the suspect killing him.   No officers were injured.

And the riots will really take off.

Niels Provos - Blacksmith

Not only a great blacksmith, a really good filmmaker. Here he is making a Kabab Barg Knife:


Here is his YouTube series on forging a Viking Sword (nine episodes).

Here is his full YouTube channel - many hours of great video.

Dr. Provos is Distinguished Engineer at Google and has quite the computing background.

These days in two images

These two images speak more than 2,000 words:



The first image is from Ferguson, MO this weekend.

These people voted for big government and they got it.

Bill Whittle



We are so looking forward to his presentation in town on the 29th

Light posting today - busy

Had to make an early run into town (a meeting) along with the usual Monday shopping run for the store.

Lulu tried out a recipe for Daube a la Provençal. OMFG - that will be showing up here again! Traditionally, it is served with thick noodles but I made garlic smashed red potatoes and that was not shabby. Served with fresh kale stir fried with some sesame oil and finished with a touch of oyster sauce (I put a splash of water in the wok and cover for a few minutes to steam - when the water evaporates, I lift the lid and stir-fry.)

Surf for a bit - I'll post if I see anything interesting...

Oh - and the DaveCave™ too

I just posted a photo of my workshop in the equipment barn. Thought that I would post a photo of what is happening out in the DaveCave™ these days.

I moved most of the music production stuff out and into the old Loom Room in the main house but the equipment needed to run this weblog and satisfy my numerical needs are still located in that critical outbuilding.
The flux-reactor is located nearby in a small structure disguised as two old dairy tanks.

Here is a photo of the computational machinery running this blog along with my two buddies - Nick and Jim:


The world (at least this corner of it) is in good computational hands...

Home workshops

With the post about Makerhaus shutting down, I thought I would post a photo of my own shop - got a few friends over working on some projects:


I wish!

Swiped from the excellent Shorpy website with this caption:

Nov. 17, 1953. "F&R Machine Works, 44-14 Astoria Blvd., Long Island City, N.Y. General view from balcony. C.M. Johnson, client." Busy making whatchamacallits. Large-format acetate negative by Gottscho-Schleisner. View full size.

Gorgeous old machines. They may put more electronics in them and tweak the alloys and fabrication, but the basic technology reached 90% over 50 years ago. You cannot get much more accuracy from today's machines.. Automation and convenience - yes. You can just push a button and walk away. These guys actualy knew how to make stuff.

Joe Bastardi from WeatherBell Analytics: 

 The cold weather's impact on the Electrical Grid - a transcript from the video:

Joe Bastardi: … It’s flowing along right now into the type of El Nino situation that is notorious for giving the United States cold, snowy winters, especially in the eastern part of the United States, relative to the averages. That would be significant because we were within one power plant last year of having the grid overload …

Question: This is sounding horrific. I know that in the first quarter, the weather was said to be to blame for the slow economic growth. Are we going to stop working, basically is what you’re saying?

Joe Bastardi: This year, if you get the kind of winter that we had in 2009-2010 or 2002-2003 with the nation’s grid on the ropes the way it is and some of these regulations that I hear about coming down that are supposed to close plants on January 1st – and what I know, because we’re involved in getting people ready to fight snow in cities around the country – this could be a very, very big economic impact on the winter. And we’re very concerned about that.

About 'the nation's grid on the ropes' comment - from The Daily Caller:

America’s power grid at the limit: The road to electrical blackouts
Americans take electricity for granted. It powers our lights, our computers, our offices, and our industries. But misguided environmental policies are eroding the reliability of our power system.

Last winter, bitterly cold weather placed massive stress on the US electrical system ― and the system almost broke. On January 7 in the midst of the polar vortex, PJM Interconnection, the Regional Transmission Organization serving the heart of America from New Jersey to Illinois, experienced a new all-time peak winter load of almost 142,000 megawatts.

Eight of the top ten of PJM’s all-time winter peaks occurred in January 2014. Heroic efforts by grid operators saved large parts of the nation’s heartland from blackouts during record-cold temperature days. Nicholas Akins, CEO of American Electric Power, stated in Congressional testimony, “This country did not just dodge a bullet ― we dodged a cannon ball.”

Environmental policies established by Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are moving us toward electrical grid failure. The capacity reserve margin for hot or cold weather events is shrinking in many regions. According to Philip Moeller, Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, “the experience of this past winter indicates that the power grid is now already at the limit.”

Fun times ahead - I would not live on the East Coast these days if you paid me. It was a lot of fun 40 years ago but I am glad I moved West. The infrastructure is a lot less tender.

Classic Shell for Windows

Forced to run Windows 8? Check this out: Classic Shell

Classic Shell™ is free software that improves your productivity, enhances the usability of Windows and empowers you to use the computer the way you like it. The main features are:

    • Highly customizable start menu with multiple styles and skins
    • Quick access to recent, frequently-used, or pinned programs
    • Find programs, settings, files and documents
    • Start button for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1
    • Toolbar and status bar for Windows Explorer
    • Caption and status bar for Internet Explorer

Classic Shell has been in active development for 4 years and has over 15 million downloads.

The latest version of Classic Shell is 4.1.0

I will be trying this out on a couple Win8 machines and will report back...

Update on that Ebola Center

Yesterday, I had posted a two-fer about the current Ebola outbreak.The second entry was this:

Mob Destroys Ebola Center In Liberia Two Days After It Opens

Today, I find out more and it is not good. From CBS News:

Report: Armed men attack Liberia Ebola clinic, freeing patients
Liberian officials fear Ebola could soon spread through the capital's largest slum after residents raided a quarantine center for suspected patients and took items including bloody sheets and mattresses.

The violence in the West Point slum occurred late Saturday and was led by residents angry that patients were brought to the holding center from other parts of Monrovia, Tolbert Nyenswah, assistant health minister, said Sunday.

Local witnesses told Agence France Presse that there were armed men among the group that attacked the clinic.

"They broke down the doors and looted the place. The patients all fled," said Rebecca Wesseh, who witnessed the attack and whose report was confirmed by residents and the head of Health Workers Association of Liberian, George Williams.

If you were looking to use Ebola as a terrorist weapon, stealing bloody sheets is exactly what you want to do. A bit more:

West Point residents went on a "looting spree," stealing items from the clinic that were likely infected, said a senior police official, who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the press. The residents took medical equipment and mattresses and sheets that had bloodstains, he said. Ebola is spread through bodily fluids including blood, vomit, feces and sweat.

This is not some random mob, this is being done with intent.

To compound this, we get this wonderful bit of news from The New York Times:

Hospitals in the U.S. Get Ready for Ebola
Hospitals nationwide are hustling to prepare for the first traveler from West Africa who arrives in the emergency room with symptoms of infection with the Ebola virus.

Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said such a case is inevitable in the United States, and the agency this month issued the first extensive guidelines for hospitals on how recognize and treat Ebola patients.

The recommendations touch on everything from the safe handling of lab specimens to effective isolation of suspected Ebola patients. But one piece of advice in particular has roused opposition from worried hospital administrators.

The C.D.C. says that health care workers treating Ebola patients need only wear gloves, a fluid-resistant gown, eye protection and a face mask to prevent becoming infected with the virus. That is a far cry from the head-to-toe “moon suits” doctors, nurses and aides have been seeing on television reports about the outbreak.

Just wonderful...

Well crap - RIP Makerhaus

Seattle based Makerhaus is closing their doors. From their website:

THANK YOU!!! It’s been an AMAZING journey!
Dear Makerhaus members, students, educators, and creative community,

Over the last eighteen months you have helped cultivate an amazing HAUS of learning, making, and connection by attending events, classes, workshops, joining our membership programs, and supporting us through social media and word of mouth.  Our goal to empower creative minds and make a meaningful contribution to our community would not have been possible without your involvement and interest.  We sincerely thank you for your support.

While there has been great love for our mission, customer demand has fallen short of what is needed to continue to run the business. That said, it is with extreme regret that we are announcing Makerhaus will be closing its doors on September 16th.

Makerhaus has been home to some amazingly talented people.  Many of which have directly contributed their time to building the space and cultivating a uniquely creative culture.  Without their shared belief in our mission and passion for our goals none of this would have been possible.  We are also extremely grateful and fortunate to have been backed by a team of forward thinkers who believe in our mission and shared our vision of helping our society move ahead.

We still believe in the makers, teachers, entrepreneurs, and curious minds who have come to visit us over the past eighteen months.  Some came by for a day, some have stayed with us for over a year.  Many built new personal and business relationships resulting in Kickstarter campaigns, jobs, new found awareness for their skills & services, and the incubation of their own companies. We are glad to have been able to help others bridge the gap in their lives and realize their dreams.

Our immediate goal is to ensure our members and stakeholders are properly taken care of during this transition.  We will continue to operate under our regular business hours during our final days.  If you have any questions please contact us at and we will respond as quickly as possible.

Thank you again for an amazing experience.  We which you all the very best!


Mike & Ellie Kemery

Sad to see - the Maker movement is one of the really bright creative lights in today's society. Fund a large space and tools of various kinds and charge people money for access. I would love to have access to a laser cutter and a CNC plasma table and would be more than willing to pay $100/month or so for this. Let us hope that the economy turns around soon - our current administration is hell on small businesses...

Ebola update - a two-fer

The news is not good.

First - from The New York Times:

Ebola Epidemic Most Likely Much Larger Than Reported, W.H.O. Says
West Africa’s deadly Ebola epidemic is probably much worse than the world realizes, with health centers on the front lines warning that the actual numbers of deaths and illnesses are significantly higher than the official estimates, the World Health Organization said.

So far, 2,127 cases of the disease and 1,145 deaths have been reported in four nations — Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone — the W.H.O announced Friday. But the organization has also warned that the actual number is almost certainly higher, perhaps by a very considerable margin.

“Staff at the outbreak sites see evidence that the numbers of reported cases and deaths vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak,” the group said in a statement on Thursday.

Part of the problem is simple ignorance and lack of education.

Second - from BuzzFeed:

Mob Destroys Ebola Center In Liberia Two Days After It Opens

Impossible to excerpt - go and read the whole thing. We have propped up African nations giving their "leaders" the chance to amass huge amounts of money and power while doing nothing to help the common man.

Come on now - what would you rather do - build a network of schools or another palace? Oh - your old palace is kind of cramped? Well go for it then your highness.

Just this one excerpt - the whole thing is a must read: Michael Brown The media myth and false narrative regarding the gentle giant of Ferguson Missouri

Typically black males of Brown's proclivities end up killed by like minded shit heels of their own ilk, this time it  was a cop.  The cop, apparently doing his job , even if found to be innocent of any misconduct, will have to live in hiding. The Browns lost a son, and shit heel or not, he was theirs. A parents loss of a child is a hard hard thing to live with. The town of Ferguson will wither and die on the vine as the remaining businesses and white residents will leave for less hostile pastures. The media will move on to the next dubious narrative of evil racists vs the disadvantaged minorities. And the beat goes on.

So true - how's that "War on Poverty" going Democrats?

Used to be that Blacks were a pretty strong Republican base - that was back when they still had families with Mothers and Fathers and they valued education and hard work. When Detriot was an economic powerhouse. Dr. Martin Luther King was a Republican. Malcom X was a Republican. And then came Lyndon Johnston and in fifteen years, he moved the Black population onto the gimme plantation.

With all of the 'refugees' streaming across our Southern Border, it would do us well to read this report from San Diego, CA television station KGTV:

Terrorist Group Setting Up Operations Near Border
A terrorist organization whose home base is in the Middle East has established another home base across the border in Mexico.

"They are recognized by many experts as the 'A' team of Muslim terrorist organizations," a former U.S. intelligence agent told 10News.

The former agent, referring to Shi'a Muslim terrorist group Hezbollah, added, "They certainly have had successes in big-ticket bombings."

A bit more:

"We are looking at 15 or 20 years that Hezbollah has been setting up shop in Mexico," the agent told 10News.


Hezbolah has operated in South America for decades and then Central America, along with their sometime rival, sometime ally Hamas.

Now, the group is blending into Shi'a Muslim communities in Mexico, including Tijuana. Other pockets along the U.S.-Mexico border region remain largely unidentified as U.S. intelligence agencies are focused on the drug trade.

On our doorstep and our government still refuses to do anything.

What makes this even more chilling is that the above was written on June 12, 2011 and our government still faiils to admit to the threat.

We have zero idea who is coming across our borders, only that they number in the 60,000's for the last four months.

Putting on a great face - 100 of them

A nice compilation of 100 free typefaces - some gorgeous work there.

Check out The 100 Greatest Free Fonts for 2014

Off to town - projects in the works

Heading into town today to get some things for a couple of projects at the farm.

Comment spam

A new commenter has been getting past my anti-spam scripts so I have tightened down the ability for people to post comments.

Of the several hundred attempts they have made in the last two days, their success rate has been absolutely zero - a total fail.

Still, each attempt is still saved in the database and having to go in and clear them out is a royal pain so I am just going to make comments a bit more difficult for a while until they get bored and move on to another pastime. Or their mom calls them up from the basement for dinner.

They should just go back to masturbating to that poster of Obama I see on their wall. Fap away little man-child...

That is it for today

Came back from having a bowl of soup and two pints of hard cider and now working on some stuff in the music room -- I had ordered a clamp-on stand that holds two monitors and it arrived today.

Looking to get rid of the shelves over my control and mixing surfaces.

I'll post some photos in a few days - this had previously been set up in the DaveCave and it is wonderful to have it in the house - get an idea for something, I can just walk into the room and put it on disk.

A mixed bag today

One of my employees is out of town for a bit so I am taking over her buying runs on Friday as well as mine on Monday.

A few days ago, I had left some peaches out a little to long and my office was swarming with fruit flies. This morning, I brought in a small room fogger - Pyrethrin based.

I closed the windows, set the fogger and locked the door only to have all hell break loose with the fire alarm going off. With the sirens and strobe lights, it is loud enough to be heard for several blocks and our volunteer fire department is automatically dispatched.

Of course, it was the fogger - I reset the system but the dispatch had already gone out. Fun times in small-town America.

Just got back, Lulu is at her house for tonight and tomorrow so I am heading out for a pint or two of local beer and then home to surf for a bit.

Time-lapse sunset

A couple weeks ago, we had an amazing sunset. I posted some photos here. Even local weather guru Cliff Mass had a post - it was that spectacular.

I was shooting a time-lapse and caught a little bit of the action towards the end:


There are some artificats at the end (blockiness and banding) that result from greatly reducing the image size from 6000 by 4000 RAW original down to 640 by 480 JPG) for processing. Some of the artifacts also result from the way JPG handles low light levels. I have the original 500 RAW images and will be playing around with them in Adobe Lightroom and will try rendering another series at higher resolution. Even on a decent machine, 30 seconds of time-lapse at 6000 by 4000 can take 20-30 hours to render but the results are gorgeous!!!

More later...

Three years ago today

An edited repost from this date two years ago:

Three years ago today
Readers will know that I have been through a divorce. Jen (my ex) filed for divorce in July 2011. We had been married for eight years - the first couple of years were really good. Had some fun times. Our personalities were not that good of a match and after the 'honeymoon' it got to where we were awkward roommates more than man and wife. I moved some computer stuff into the DaveCave and would spend my evenings out there waiting for her to go to bed.

I had some chances for affairs - a couple local ones, a few in Bellingham and on the road but, even though I considered the marriage to be broken, I held true to the vows I gave Jen.

Jen filed the legal paperwork for divorce in August and I knew that a process server would be coming out to my farm on Monday, August 15th 2011 to deliver the first set of paperwork. I ran into town Sunday, August 14th to shop at Costco for some groceries.

I consider myself to have a very stable mind. Not prone to hearing voices in my head or behaving compulsively.

I was sitting in my truck waiting to make the cross-traffic left turn into the Costco parking lot - lots of oncoming traffic. I felt an urge to head North up to the next traffic light and take the turn there. That road leads past a Micheal's art store. I felt an urge to stop in there. Not that I needed anything, just to stop in there.

There is a type of spiral-bound 3X5 file card that I like and I keep them around me for note taking but I don't usually walk around with one. I had this urge to carry one (with a pen) into Micheal's.

So I am walking into the store and there is this drop-dead gorgeous woman walking down the aisle. We look at each other but nothing else happens. I am thinking: "Damn, that is a good looking woman!"

I pick out a couple of glass tea-light candle holders (I like making sconces for lamps) and am at the checkout line when the same woman comes in behind me. Something in me prompts me to ask how her day is going and we start chatting about art and life.

I check out and am walking out the door and have another urge to write down my phone number on one of the 3X5 cards I have in my pocket. I do that and turn around to find that Lulu is writing down her phone number to give to me.

This happened three years ago today. I cannot imagine a more perfect match - we are both children of the 60's so have a lot of cultural cognates, both devout but not Church-going Christians. Both politically engaged and conservative. Both serious foodies. It is a delight being with her.

Lulu is my joy. Lulu - I love you with all of my heart - here's to the next 30 years!

Fun times in Ferguson, Missouri

A couple days ago, a cop shot and killed an 18 year old kid. The kid was no choirboy - multiple prior arrests and he was wrestling with the cop trying to get the cops gun.

Since the kid was black and it was said that the cop was white, the black community rioted and looted in "protest" - one of those arrested came from Texas.

The news media were there covering this - here is a video of one of the teams recording the riot when a tear-gas grenade goes off, the crew flees and a SWAT armored van pulls up and starts dismantling their gear. Those cameras are about $80K.

NOTE: I tried embedding the video but it self-starts. I hate that.
Here is the link to the self-starting video at St. Louis television station KSDK

Talk about showing restraint and having the moral high-ground. These popo are acting just as bad as the rioters.

A very clever hack - using cosmic rays

Talk about clever idea. The people dealing with the Fukushima Daiichi reactors do not have any idea what the core looks like or where it is - it melted down and is to hot to observe either in person or with instrumentation. Anything that gets close to it will be burned out.

From World Nuclear News:

Cosmic rays to pinpoint Fukushima cores
Middleburg, Virginia-based DSIC will design, manufacture and deliver two muon detectors that will fit into the power plant building. The detectors will be part of Toshiba's overall Fukushima Complex project to determine the location and condition of the nuclear fuel inside the plant. The value of the contract has not been disclosed.

Muons are high-energy subatomic particles that are created when cosmic rays enter Earth's upper atmosphere. These particles naturally and harmlessly strike the Earth's surface at a rate of some 10,000 muons per square meter. Muon tracking devices detect and track these particles as they pass through objects. Subtle changes in the trajectory of the muons as they penetrate materials and change in direction correlate with material density. Nuclear materials such as uranium and plutonium are very dense and are therefore relatively easy to identify. DSIC has already applied the technology in its Multi-Mode Passive Detection System, used at ports for scanning containers for radioactive materials.

The 3-D image produced by the detectors should give a clear picture of the condition and location of the fuel in the cores of the three damaged reactor at Fukushima Daiichi. This will assist Toshiba in developing a safe and effective remediation plan.

Very clever - they are doing tomography on the cores using cosmic muons. 

DSIC's website is here: Decision Sciences International Corporation - they do a lot of nuclear security - scanning shipping containers, etc...

Sorry but no free ice cream this evening.

Surfing aimlessly but not finding anything that catches my eye. Finnegan (our old dog) is fading away and we are both exhausted from it.

Lulu got Grace for me two and a half years ago and it was Finnegan that showed this new puppy the ropes. Property boundaries, not to mess with the critters or birds but to bark at the deer, etc...

Now, it is Grace that is taking care of Finnegan - she knows that he has sensory problems. When I let them both out the door, Grace will bark once sharply at Finnegan and gather Finnegan's snout in her muzzle ever so lightly -- Don't worry, I got you buddy! Let's go over here where we can run...

Also, very big day tomorrow.

Mmmmmmm - Bacon!

Is there anything that Bacon cannot do?

Detroit, poor management and climate change

Easier to blame the climate than your own administration.

From Eric Worrall writing at Watts Up With That:

Global Warming: The Incompetent Politician’s Excuse?
The US City of Detroit is currently in the midst of a crisis – a massive rainstorm has overwhelmed the city’s sewer system, causing extensive flooding.

However, Craig Covey, spokesman for Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash, has blamed global warming for the floods.

According to Covey;

“The system worked exactly like it was supposed to, but we’re seeing these rain events that used to be unusual but just aren’t anymore,” Covey said. “This is going to become more normal and we need to understand that ‘100-year storm’ is an outdated term.”

Covey blamed climate change, and said federal and local governments need to make major investments in infrastructure because “this is exactly what Southeast Michigan’s weather is going to be like in the future.”

If the people of Detroit accept the explanation that global warming is to blame for the disaster, then nobody will be looking to blame the politicians who are responsible for maintaining the city’s waste water system.

Eric then proceeds to demolish this claim with data including this chart:


No abnormal rainfalls for over 100 years and this moke talks about the 100 year storm?

The comments are a good read - some people live in cities near Detroit and had zero flooding during the rainstorm. As one commentor said:

The 1967 riots happened because it was windy. Kilpatrick was put in prison because it was humid. Nearly 1.5 million residents have fled the city because of the dew point.


Calico - a Google company

They were announced last September but they have only now put up a website.

Check out Calico

We’re tackling aging, one of life’s greatest mysteries.
Calico is a research and development company whose mission is to harness advanced technologies to increase our understanding of the biology that controls lifespan. We will use that knowledge to devise interventions that enable people to lead longer and healthier lives. Executing on this mission will require an unprecedented level of interdisciplinary effort and a long-term focus for which funding is already in place.

Not much on the site yet - short bios of the principles and minimal contact information. They have some very good people -- this should be interesting to follow...

Heh - talk about being hoist with his own petard - from Borepatch:

If NSA strikes him down he will become more powerful than they can possibly imagine
The secure email service Lavabit shut itself down rather than expose its customers to court ordered NSA surveillance.  And so Lavabit's founder decided to build it better, so that it would be impossible for NSA to do it again:

DefCon Lavabit founder Ladar Levison will within six months carve out a military-grade email service from the ashes of Ed Snowden's favourite email client.

As many of you will remember, Levison killed the service to prevent his clients' information from getting into the clutches of the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

Dark Mail has since expanded to include the Magma email server and the Volcano Mozilla Thunderbird desktop client, and has been re-badged as the Dark Internet Mail Environment (DIME).

The platform broke up email headers encrypting each piece before it was sent and was built so that no single service could hold all of the data - a bid to shake off further Lavabit-style requests from government spy agencies.

The NSA has shot itself in the foot.  Not only have many people in the security community refused to cooperate with them anymore, some very smart folks have chosen to actively try to make NSA's life more difficult.

Me, I don't expect that NSA can possibly reform itself, and likely it will double down on its counter productive domestic snooping.  That will keep pouring gasoline on this fire, leading to even less cooperation and even more active monkey wrenching.

Smart guys there at Ft. Meade.

Title and body quote? 'Cmon now... 


Remember, all that encryption does is trade legibility for time.  Given enough resources, anything can be broken but what if 40% of all emails were so well encrypted as to take a year to decrypt. Defeats the purpose.

I realize that we are fighting an asymmetrical war here but we must not forget our Constitutional Rights. Get the warrant -- it is not that difficult a proceedure...

Still more heavy weather for tonight

Thunderstorms last night, even more for tonight.

From the National Weather Service

213 PM PDT TUE AUG 12 2014



Cliff Mass has more on his blog: Serious Rain

Here is a real-time display of lightning stikes in the USA. The data is provided by Blitzortung, a European lightning network. I emailed them a few months ago about joining the network.  They were out of office for July and most of August -- looking forward to adding this to my weather station (also looking at building a small seismograph).

Our Southern Border - Do you feel safe?

James O'Keefe was the guy that busted ACORN a few years ago. His main website is Project Veritas. More on the border here and here.

His previous project was this undercover video - here is the gist:

Within the video, actor Ed Begley Jr., an outspoken environmental activist and current Governor on the board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, Golden Globe and Oscar-nominated actress Mariel Hemingway, and liberal producer and director Josh Tickell are approached by an undercover reporter posing as a member of a Middle Eastern oil dynasty named “Muhammad” and his “ad executive” Steven Sanchton in the Beverly Hills Hotel located in Los Angeles, California. The pair offer $9 million in funding to American filmmakers to fund an anti-fracking movie.

“If Washington D.C. continues fracking, America will be energy independent and then they won’t need our oil anymore,” Muhammad states within the video. The “ad executive” accompanying him to the meeting later follows up, “Knowing where the money comes from..” At this point, he is interrupted by Hemmingway, who assures him none of the information regarding where the money is coming from to produce the movie will leave the table.

“Washington and Hollywood are a lot alike; illusions, special effects, smoke and mirrors,” Begley says of the relation between the two entities. Hemingway agrees. Both actors seem eager to help with the endeavor.

And our politicians still tell us that there is nothing to worry about...

A couple more photos from Saturday

Here are some other photos:


Here is Lefty waiting for the shearing - the posture is called Kushing


Here, Jeff is shearing Lefty and Lefty is doing his best alarm call. A nearby neighbor came into my shop yesterday and asked if we had any goats bleating last weekend.  It seems their dogs were picking up on the noise.



It was a nice day so Finnegan and Grace were enjoying the sun.  Finnegan (in the top photo) is really old and deaf and blind so he mostly just hangs out. Grace is three years old and has turned into an amazing dog. She is a Shiloh Shepherd - a 40 year quest to return the German Shepherd Dog back to the original breed standards.

About that global warming - Australia

Being in the Southern hemisphere, Australia is entering their spring and it is the beginning of their growing season.

From the Australian Broadcast Corporation's ABC Rural:

Severe frosts damage grain crops in south-east Australia
Widespread, severe frosts across South-East Australia are having an unprecedented effect on grain crops.

It's not uncommon to grain growers to get frosts during winter in the region, but the severity of the frosts and the subsequent damage have surprised many.

Senior researcher at the CSIRO's agriculture flagship, James Hunt, says it's hard to assess the damage of such an unusual event.

Some more - this is not an isolated weather phenomenon:

Rowan Brill a research and development agronomist from the Department of Primary Industries, based in Wagga, said everyone was caught by surprise.

"But it is very hard to tell how widespread the damage is or how much of the crop has been wiped out. "And the reason the damage is turning out to be so common is the way large areas were hit with record low temperatures."

"Overnight lows in a number of regions saw temperatures so low we would only see them once in one hundred years."

As the cooling continues. I wonder how long we will have to wait for people to realize that the computer models are simply not showing any relationship to the observed data.

Llama Draama - the video

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We had our Llamas sheared last Saturday - Pancho and Waylon didn't like it but they submitted gracefully and were very happy with the end result.

Lefty on the other hand...

I love the way he sounds at the very beginning - a lot like the small make-and-break gasoline engines from 100 years ago.

Reality, not models - finally, someone gets the picture. From the University of Wisconsin - Madison:

A global temperature conundrum: cooling or warming climate?
When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently requested a figure for its annual report, to show global temperature trends over the last 10,000 years, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Zhengyu Liu knew that was going to be a problem.

“We have been building models and there are now robust contradictions,” says Liu, a professor in the UW-Madison Center for Climatic Research. “Data from observation says global cooling. The physical model says it has to be warming.”

Says it all. Boots on the ground measurement, not mathematical models constructed to deliver the data points you need to get that new Federal $$$ grant for your department.

Blacksmithing PRON

I changed the spelling a bit on that last word. Pure "PRON" at its finest:


Long hot day today

Got up to 95°F at the house - Bellingham was not as bad, got up to the mid 80's there. We are supposed to get thunderstorms tonight so it should cool off a bit. (We are in fire zone 658.)

Did the shopping run and a couple extra errands - still need to run into town again but doing the shopping run for another employee on Friday. She is out of town for a few days.

Heard on the radio that Robin Williams committed suicide. A tragic end to an amazing talent - he had some serious ongoing problems with depression and it got the upper hand this time around.

From IBM Fellow Dharmendra S Modha's Cognitive Computing Blog:

Breaking News: One Giant Leap for the SyNAPSE Team, One Small Step for Mankind
Six years ago, IBM and our university partners embarked on a quest–to build a brain–inspired machine–that at the time appeared impossible. Today, in an article published in Science, we deliver on the DARPA SyNAPSE metric of a one million neuron brain–inspired processor. The chip consumes merely 70 milliwatts and is capable of 46 billion synaptic operations per second per watt–literally a synaptic supercomputer in your palm. Here are links to IBM Press Release, DARPA Press Release, and Steve Hamm's blog.

Along the way–progressing through Phase 0, Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3–we have journeyed from neuroscience to supercomputing, to a new computer architecture, to a new programming language, to algorithms, applications, and now to a new chip—TrueNorth.

A lot more at the site - their goal is as follows:

To support these algorithms at ever increasing scale, TrueNorth chips can be seamlessly tiled to create vast, scalable neuromorphic systems. In fact, we have already built systems with 16 million neurons and 4 billion synapses. Our sights are now set high on the ambitious goal of integrating 4,096 chips in a single rack with 4 billion neurons and 1 trillion synapses while consuming ~4kW of power.

4 Billion Neurons is human brain capacity. This is amazing stuff.

An oldie but a goodie

From 2006 - still just as relevant today:



Another day, another list of crap to do

Fixing some electrical stuff - inspector coming out tomorrow so need to have everything ready to go. Really looking forward to having 200 amp service to the shop - the power hammer has been sitting unused for four years now. Time to get working!

Lulu is out mowing and weedwacking the garden.

Stiff as a board

Spent this afternoon assembling something for a project -- a kit that didn't quite fit well (go figure: Harbor Freight) so doing some welding tomorrow.

The finished kit weighs about 280 pounds and the final project will top out around 500.

Having Buttercup the Tractor is handy but there is still a lot of human-powered heaving and wrenching that is needed.

That plus this morning's Llama Draama and I am tired and hurtin'

We are hooked

I started reading Diana Gabeldon's Outlander series fifteen years ago, a couple years after it was first published - at that time, there were four books in the canon and it was an exercise in patience to not drive to her house and say: "Hi - I'm your biggest fan - can I see what you are writing?"

Outlander is an amazing body of work -- Lulu likes to read a lot and she took up the first book in her teeth and dove through the series like the trooper she is. Needless to say, we were both really psyched to see what Starz Network would do.

Tonight was the premiere -- it was drop-dead gorgeous. Story adaptation, casting, videography. Everything was absolutely spot on.

Digital is all the rage these days and for good reason. The real world is analog however - temperature, air pressure, sound, electricity - these are always perceived and measured in the analog realm. Unfortunately, most electrical engineering programs focus exclusively on the digital realm.

Texas Instruments' primary business is making chips to do various functions - a lot of these chips are analog. They came out with a training circuit board for university classrooms and at only $99, it fits right into the hobbyist's workbench as well.

From the TI Website:

Everything that an analog engineer needs
ASLK PRO comes with three general-purpose operational amplifiers (TL082) and three wide-bandwidth precision analog multipliers (MPY634) from Texas Instruments. We have also included two 12-bit parallel-input multiplying digital-to-analog converters DAC7821, a wide-input non-synchronous buck-type DC/DC controller TPS40200, and a low dropout regulator TPS7250 from Texas Instruments. A portion of ASLK PRO is left for general-purpose prototyping which can be used for carrying out mini-projects.

There is also a comprehensive parts kit for $70 - the price is actually very good as the kit is extensive. 

Llama drama

Got all three llamas shaved today - only Lefty put up any kind of fuss, the other two didn't like it but they were pretty mellow.

I videoed Lefty and will post it on Tuesday. He was putting up a horrible show - spitting and screaming.

They all remembered the shearers too - as soon as Jeff got out of the truck, boom! They were gone into the far reaches of the field. A bucket of treats had zero effect.

Working on a couple projects in the shop - Lulu had an art meeting in town and is bringing out a late lunch.

Our new President

From Rowan Atkinson - 1980's 

 Hat tip to Bayou Renaissance Man - can't think of anyone better...

Megapods in the news

We also have them on the East Coast - Central New Hampshire/Vermont is quite the hot-spot. The Pacific Northwest is their primal stomping grounds though...

From The Bellingham Herald:

Sasquatch could be lurking in Snohomish County
They are true believers in a mythical beast.

John Ray, of Marysville, and Rob Parker, of Snohomish, have spent years hunting in the old-growth forests of Snohomish County for evidence of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch.

They haven't convinced the scientific community, but the "squatchers" say it's only a matter of time.

Parker, 60, is a former policeman and compliance officer for the state Department of Labor & Industries. He now oversees safety for a Bellevue contractor. Ray, 49, works as a procurement agent and contract administrator for a "large airplane manufacturer," but he didn't want to say which.

Some more:

Ray started actively hunting the creatures following a BFRO expedition in 2008. A large, dark figure emerged on a ridge near his campsite, he said. "I saw these two huge, glowing red eyes," he said. "They were the size of 50 cent pieces, nine feet off the ground."

The beast looked right at him.

"I just stood there with my mouth wide open," Ray said. "I never expected that would happen. I'm a logical person."

That's when a hobby turned into something more. He was hooked. "You get this thrill of seeing something that doesn't exist," he said.

 BFRO would be the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization

Our own little community used to have a Sasquatch Days festival -- something I would love to revive...

What box?

Thinking outside of the box - a set of GoPro videos:


A Camera Drama – Workshop with Roel Wouters from ECAL on Vimeo.

Some really clever ideas

The thin veneer of civilization

A small town in Eastern Washington suffered a large windstorm one week ago and some people are still without power.

From Spokane station KREM


Windstorm frustrations escalate to physical fight in Chattaroy
The July 24th windstorm that blew through Spokane County has created chaos at a Chattaroy mobile home park.

One week after the storm hit, tensions erupted at the Riverside Village Mobile Home Park along Newport Highway leading to a physical fight. Witnesses called authorities to the scene and they broke up the fight. 

 How long would you last?

 Also, they are griping that nobody "trained them" - Excuuuuse me - that falls under Responsibility, Personal -- nut up or shut up...

Fun fun fun

The new copier failed yesterday, just hours after it was delivered. I went to print for a client and it just sat there making sad little ticking noises. Turns out a gear had broken for the second tray and when I changed the paper in it, it had failed to re-engage properly.

Their repair guy came out today, diagnosed the problem and will return Tuesday to fix it - I am off Monday so this was at my convenience.

Had to do a quick run into town so had dinner at Five Guys and just getting back.

There was a big earthquake in China a few days ago - several hundreds of people were killed. I subscribe to the USGS email list but didn't see anything about it. I'll post more if I find anything.

Photograph of the year

A fun weekend - Abbotsford Air Show

We aren't planning on traveling there but there are usually some interesting aircraft visible from the house.

Check out the Abbotsford Airshow

The airport is about 20 miles from where we live as the crow flies.

Our immigration policy

From the London Daily Mail:

'We're getting overrun and the danger is increasing. We need to open our eyes': Sheriff leading probe into murder of Border Patrol agent claims armed illegal immigrants in military fatigues have been spotted on Texas ranches
The Sheriff leading the investigation into the brutal slaying of a Border Control Agent by two illegal immigrants has revealed local farmers in his county have reported spotting gangs of armed Mexicans 'in military fatigues' marching through their fields.

Sheriff Larry Spence’s department played a key role in catching Ismael Hernandez and Gustavo Tijerina after they allegedly gunned down hero officer Javier Vega Jr. in front of his mother, father, wife and three sons while they were on a family fishing trip.

Since their capture,Fox News reported that the suspects are both Mexican nationals who were in the U.S. illegally and have been deported SIX times between them.

Spence, who has been Sheriff of Willacy County in south Texas for 29 years, said the problem on the border is reaching a crisis point.

He said ranchers with land 25 miles north of the border have reported groups of men - believed to be illegal immigrants - walking single file, through farm land in military fatigues. Some were armed with rifles.

This is classic Cloward-Piven tactics - overwhelm the system, create a crisis and use it to drive your agenda and institute tyranny -- for the sake of the people.
Follow the previous four links if you want to see what is heppening right before our eyes...

All the king's horses and all the king's men

President Stompy-feet declared us to be finished in Iraq and he is now interfering in a civil war and ignoring the two allies who could be our greatest friends (Israel and the Kurds).

First - from the New York Times:

U.S. Warplanes Strike Militants in Iraq
American warplanes struck Sunni militant positions in northern Iraq on Friday, the Pentagon and Kurdish officials said, returning American forces to a direct combat role in a country they withdrew from in 2011.

Two F-18 fighters dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs on a mobile artillery target near Erbil, according to a statement by Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary. Militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria were using the artillery to shell Kurdish forces defending Erbil, “near U.S. personnel,” Admiral Kirby said.

The strike followed President Obama’s announcement Thursday night that he had authorized limited airstrikes to protect American citizens in Erbil and Baghdad, and, if necessary, to break the siege of tens of thousands of refugees who are stranded on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq.

Second - from The Daily Caller:

ISIS Threatens America: ‘We Will Raise The Flag Of Allah In The White House’
The terror group President Barack Obama threatened to strike in Iraq Thursday evening is itself threatening to strike the American homeland.

“I say to America that the Islamic Caliphate has been established,” Abu Mosa, a spokesman for the terror group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), told VICE Media in a video interview posted online Thursday. “Don’t be cowards and attack us with drones. Instead send your soldiers, the ones we humiliated in Iraq.”

“We will humiliate them everywhere, God willing, and we will raise the flag of Allah in the White House,” he added.

Excuse me but the "flag of allah" is already at the White House. That fact is behind the majority of our problems...

The best and brightest

“My accomplishments as Secretary of State? Well, I'm glad you asked! My proudest accomplishment in which I take the most pride, mostly because of the opposition it faced early on, you know… the remnants of prior situations and mindsets that were too narrowly focused in a manner whereby they may have overlooked the bigger picture and we didn’t do that and I’m proud of that. Very proud. I would say that’s a major accomplishment.”
-- Hillary Clinton 11 March 2014

An interesting day at work - notarizing

Had to run into town this AM to sign some documents and take care of some legal stuff. This afternoon, I got an email from someone asking if I would be there at a certain time to notarize something.

Turns out that it was the sale of a local landmark (24 years in operation)  restaurant from its original owners to a guy I have known for a couple years. The three people in question met at my office, I proceeded to print out copies of the various contracts and provided a place for them to independently review it and then I notarized their signatures. Fun to be a small cog in such a large transaction.

I had known that something was up because the new owner was having me print out sample menus and staff process and procedure lists, etc. Didn't know that this was going to actually happen until earlier today.

Tonight was the last night under the original management so I went up there for dinner (Lulu is in town for a few days). The place was jammed.

Busy day tomorrow too and Saturday, the llamas get sheared. There will be lots of llama draama at the farm -- they feel so good after but they really do not like being sheared...

Bad news from the New York Times:

Rebels Capture Iraq’s Largest Dam
Sunni militants captured the Mosul dam, the largest in Iraq, on Thursday as their advances in the country’s north created an onslaught of refugees and set off fearful rumors in Erbil, the Kurdish regional capital.

Residents near the dam and officials in the region confirmed that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, held the dam, a potentially catastrophic development for Iraq’s civilian population.

The dam, which sits on the Tigris River and is about 30 miles northwest of the city of Mosul, provides electricity to Mosul and controls the water supply for a large amount of territory. A report published in 2007 by the United States government, which had been involved with work on the dam, warned that should it fail, a 65-foot wave of water could be unleashed across areas of northern Iraq.

Atheel al-Nujaifi, the governor of Nineveh Province, whose capital is Mosul, said in a telephone interview from northern Iraq, where he has fled, that ISIS had secured the dam after what he called an “organized retreat” of Kurdish security forces, known as pesh merga.

And the Kurds have asked the USA and the United Nations for help and we sit on our thumbs. These people could be loyal allies and we are hanging them out to dry.

What is going on in Washington? Something in the water? A stunning failure of academia? My vote is for the latter - the toxin is accumulated as it reaches the higher and higher strata to where those at the top are utterly unable to function in normal society.

From the Seattle Post Intelligencer:

Fugitives accused of duping City Light superintendent nabbed
Two men accused of impersonating American Indians to dupe Seattle City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco out of 21 tons of copper have been arrested after months on the run.

Charged in the wire theft in December, Michael George and Jim Costa were arrested earlier this month in separate states. The men are accused of posing as Cherokee Nation charity workers to steal the copper wire from the publicly owned utility.

King County prosecutors contend George and Costa – known as “Chief Little Bear” and “Joe Wolf” to their marks – wandered the halls of Seattle Municipal Tower and talked their way into a meeting with Carrasco, who runs the municipally owned utility.

Posing as do-gooders running an arts and crafts program for Cherokee children, Costa and George are alleged to have raided the City Light supply lot after Carrasco agreed to a small donation of scrap wire. Writing the court, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Scott Peterson said George, Costa and Costa’s son hit the utility as part of a nationwide scheme that’s seen them defraud businesses in at least three other states.

“They flew to Washington state exclusively for the purpose of committing these crimes and either attempted or were successful in doing so in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Whatcom” counties, Peterson said in December.

Some more:

Though Carrasco’s role in the theft was first publicized in December, the incident drew renewed attention in June when Carrasco was up for a major pay raise. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray ultimately denied Carrasco the raise, which would’ve pushed the longtime City Light leader’s salary above the $300,000 mark.

Carrasco issued an apology for his “mistakes” after the raise was denied. Chief among them, apparently, was falling for professional conmen.

A guy this gullible stupid was standing in line to receive a $300,000 salary? I am in the wrong business. That is over $800/day. And Seattle City Light is a publicly held utility - the shareholders should demand Mr. Carrasco's immediate resignation.

Meanwhile, we sit around and do nothing

From The Washington Times:

Russian bombers penetrated U.S. airspace at least 16 times in past 10 days
Russian strategic nuclear bombers conducted at least 16 incursions into northwestern U.S. air defense identification zones over the past 10 days, an unusually sharp increase in aerial penetrations, according to U.S. defense officials.

The numerous flight encounters by Tu-95 Russian Bear H bombers prompted the scrambling of U.S. jet fighters on several occasions, and come amid heightened U.S.-Russia tensions over Ukraine. Also, during one bomber incursion near Alaska, a Russian intelligence-gathering jet was detected along with the bombers.

And our fighters were where? This is nuts...

I bet Prince Barry sent off a strongly worded memo.

From Watts Up With That:

Told ya so – Washington Post links Ebola to Climate Change
Eric Worrall writes:

The Washington Post has in my opinion stooped to a new low, by trying to tie the ongoing Ebola misery in Africa to the issue of Climate Change. According to the Post;

“A 2002 study published in the journal of Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing found that sudden shifts from dry to wet conditions were associated with Ebola outbreaks from 1994 to 1996 in tropical Africa.
As the globe warms, precipitation extremes are projected to increase.  Periods of drought are expected to become more frequent in some areas while heavy rain events, when the occur, are forecast to become more intense.  Presumably, those areas which see precipitation variability increases – with abrupt shifts from extremely dry to extremely wet periods –  would be most vulnerable to Ebola outbreaks.” (h/t Breitbart)

Ebola is a horrible disease which is ravaging the poorest people of Africa. The new outbreak, which has demonstrated a frightening ability to spread to new victims, and to infect and kill health workers, may yet become the new global plague we all fear – with every new victim, Ebola improves its ability to strike at our vulnerabilities. We are all at risk.

To try to tie this continent wide tragedy to the promotion of global warming alarm, to exploit a catastrophe which is afflicting the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world, and to play on people’s deepest fears, to advance an unrelated political position, is in my opinion a new and disgusting low point in the current standards of what passes for mainstream journalism.

The constant drumbeat of Anthropogenic Catastrophic Global Warming is getting to be a real joke especially when there has been no increase in global temperatures in the last seventeen years. That plus the plain fact that our Sun - a variable star - has entered a cooling period much like the one that caused the Maunder Minimum. We, as a planet, should be preparing for several hundred years of cooling, not some falsified fever dream of warming.

From the excellent gCaptain:

Fugro Vessels to Conduct Deep Sea Search for Missing Flight MH370
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has awarded Dutch engineering company Fugro an additional contract for a comprehensive deep-water search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean.

In June, the ATSB announced a new high priority search area of up to 60,000 square kilometers located in the Southern Indian Ocean along the so-called “seventh arc”, a thin but long line that marks where the missing aircraft last communicated with satellite.

Since then, the Fugro Equator, along with the Chinese survey ship Zhu Kezhen, have been involved in the bathymetric survey, or mapping of the sea floor, within this search area, while a public tender was issued seeking a primary contractor for the expertise, equipment and vessels to carry out a more comprehensive search.

Fugro says it will mobilize its vessels Fugro Equator and Fugro Discovery, both fitted with deep tow survey systems, for the work. Fugro and ATSB expect the Fugro Discovery to begin the deep tow search in late September, with Fugro Equator joining shortly thereafter.

MH370 is sitting in a hangar somewhere with a new coat of paint and waiting for the bomb to be installed.
The known-knowns are just too strange to be anything else.

Mr. Tank - meet Mr. Prius

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People having way too much fun:


 Hat tip Gerard.

It's not LFTR but it's pretty durn close - from Gigaom:

Nuclear startup Transatomic Power scores seed funding from Founders Fund
Science is becoming cool again in Silicon Valley and that means the reemergence of funds from Silicon Valley for “tough problems” like energy innovation, though at a much smaller level than the cleantech boom of years past. On Tuesday, nuclear startup Transatomic Power announced that it has closed a seed round of $2 million from the Founders Fund’s newly-launched science-focused fund FF Science.

The Founders Fund is the firm behind some of the more successful Internet startups out there including Facebook, Yammer and Spotify, but also some science-focused companies such as Climate Corporation, Space-X and satellite startup Planet Labs. The fund, which was created by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and his partners, promotes this manifesto: “we wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.”

Transatomic Power was founded in 2011 by MIT nuclear scientists Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie, and the company is at the early stage of developing a molten salt nuclear reactor, which can use nuclear waste as a power source. Molten salt reactors were first developed at Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) in the 1950s and 60s, but Dewan and Massie have developed created new designs, and new materials for the older tech.

The technology is good. These designs are inherently safe and operate at normal air pressure (as opposed to boiling water under very high pressures). If a coolant breach happens, nothing goes Ka-Boom, a fusible plug melts and the stuff drains into a shallow tank - end of problem.

We have several tens of thousands of years worth of known resources in the earth's crust right now - Thorium is as common as dirt.

Words fail - Dr. Ben Pitcher is an idiot

From the UK Telegraph:

Is Gardeners' Question Time racist?
It is the softly spoken radio show that provides good-natured help and advice to thousands of gardeners every week.

So regular listeners to Gardeners’ Question Time may be horrified to discover it has been accused of peddling racial stereotypes.

According to an academic, the sedate Radio 4 panel show is riddled with "racial meanings" disguised as horticultural advice.

One current presenter, Bob Flowerdew, rubbished the idea, calling it “ridiculous”, and asked whether experts on the show “should stop using Latin names to avoid offending the Romans”.

But Dr Ben Pitcher, a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Westminster, claimed the programme’s regular discussions on soil purity and non-native species promoted nationalist and fascist beliefs.

Talk about being a complete and utter prat.

Here is his university website: Dr Ben Pitcher - Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Here is his personal website: Dr Ben Pitcher

What an out-of-touch maroon...

A we bit of rain - Hawaii

Hawaii is about to be hit by two tropical storms. From AccuWeather:

Iselle to Impact Hawaii With Rain, Wind and Rough Seas
Hurricane Iselle will weaken before reaching Hawaii later this week, but heavy rain, strong winds and rough seas will affect the islands. A second hurricane, Julio, also bears watching.

AccuWeather meteorologists expect Iselle to continue to weaken over the next couple of days and become a tropical storm before reaching the islands. Iselle will be moving into a wedge of cool water and dry air just east of the Hawaiian Islands.

And then, three days later

The tropical threat for Hawaii may not end with Iselle. There is potential for a second tropical system to hit about three days later with another round of pounding waves, flooding rain and strong winds.

Hurricane Julio is also churning over the eastern Pacific and is forecast to track towards the Hawaiian Islands right on the heels of Iselle, but perhaps on a slightly different trajectory.

AccuWeather meteorologists believe that this storm will approach the chain of islands late in the weekend or early next week. However, the exact track that it will take remains uncertain.

Doesn't sound too bad - I know a bunch of people who lived through Iniki in 1992 - that was a strong Cat4.

Just wonderful - another leaker

From Business Insider:

The Government Believes There's A New Edward Snowden
On Tuesday, The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald's journalism startup launched with the backing of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, published a major reporton the composition of the U.S. government's terrorist watch list.

According to CNN, this has convinced the U.S. government there is a new leaker within its ranks — a second Edward Snowden-type with access to closely held national security secrets and the intention to make them public.

If the CNN report is true, the U.S. government is convinced the leaks that appeared on The Intercept include information that post-dates whatever Snowden once had access to. It also validates earlier speculation that there is an additional well-positioned leaker of national security secrets.

As U.S. News and World Report recounted in early July, there was abundant evidence that NSA-related leaks appearing in two German newspapers did not seem to come from Snowden's cache of documents. Greenwald responded to the revelations by tweeting that it "seems clear" there's a second leaker within the U.S.' national security apparatus.

Now, that tweet looks like evidence Greenwald is indeed sitting on documents totally independent from the Snowden leaks. The U.S. government reportedly believes this to be the case.

Unknown at the moment is who might be doing the leaking, and how much that person has handed over.

Heh - I love it! There is a big difference between what that little putz Bradley Manning did and what Snowden and this new moke are doing.

Manning just blatted out whatever he could gather resulting in the torture and deaths of over 50 of our people (and their families probably) in the middle east.

Snowden and this new leaker have been carefully redacting the information and are releasing - to use a term - the metadata. What the government is doing not names and places. This is a very good thing - there are some corners that need the harsh light of day.

New toy today

Expecting delivery on a new copier machine - this one does color up to 11X17 and banners up to 11X48

The unit is a couple years old and I am the second owner but I am getting killer pricing and a full service warranty.

The new business is starting to pick up - Mt. Baker Business Center, Inc.

Gaza and the palestinians

Sounds like the name of an 80's rock band. A two-fer.

First - The Belmont Club:

The Return of the Natives
With  Gaza now looking more and more like a fight to the finish and president Obama vowing to ‘act alone’ to solve the ‘historic influx of migrants’ it may be time to examine some of the finer points of the ongoing world crisis.

And the money quote (hat tip Gerard):

Why does the region, after decades of petrodollars, still have to import managerial, technical from the West and ‘slave’ labor from places like the Philippines? Consider: foreign workers make up four fifths of the population of Qatar. One third the population of Saudi Arabia are ‘non nationals’.  And they can’t even practice their Christian religion in the KSA, despite the UN convention of universal rights. Who’s the apartheid state? Yet if these despised ‘slaves’ leave these host countries will be toast.  Who’s going to change the bedpans, run the x-ray machines, operate the scanner, do the operation, stick in the IV?  Who’s going to pump out the oil?

You can make the world’s best playground-based missile, but you can’t eat it. Time and distances still matter in military operations; the persistence of hatred still drives policy; the everlasting character of slavery breeds dependency among the masters. It’s too bad the left has forgotten its Brecht. He had some good lines.

Who built the seven gates of Thebes?
The books are filled with names of kings.
Was it the kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?
And Babylon, so many times destroyed.
Who built the city up each time? In which of Lima’s houses,
That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it?
In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished
Where did the masons go? Imperial Rome
Is full of arcs of triumph. Who reared them up? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Byzantium lives in song.
Were all her dwellings palaces? And even in Atlantis of the legend
The night the seas rushed in,
The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.

Second - from Clash Daily:

CAN OF WHOOP ASS: Comedian Larry Miller Schools ‘Palestinian’ Sympathizers
The Palestinians want their own country. There’s just one thing about that: There are no Palestinians. It’s a made up word. Israel was called Palestine for two thousand years. Like ‘Wiccan,’ ‘Palestinian’ sounds ancient but is really a modern invention. Before the Israelis won the land in the 1967 war, Gaza was Owned by Egypt , the West Bank was owned by Jordan , and there were no ‘Palestinians.’

As soon as the Jews took over and started growing oranges as big as basketballs, what do you know, say hello to the ‘Palestinians,’ weeping for their deep bond with their lost ‘land’ and ‘nation.’

So for the sake of honesty, let’s not use the word ‘Palestinian’ any more to describe these delightful folks, who dance for joy at our deaths until someone Points out they’re being taped. Instead, let’s call them what they are: ‘Other Arabs Who Can’t Accomplish Anything In Life And Would Rather Wrap Themselves In The Seductive Melodrama Of Eternal Struggle And Death.’ I know that’s a bit unwieldy to expect to see on CNN. How about this, then: ‘Adjacent Jew-Haters.’ Okay, so the Adjacent Jew-Haters want their own country. Oops, just one more thing: No, they don’t. They could’ve had their own country. Anytime in the last thirty years, especially several years ago at Camp David. But If you have your own country, you have to have traffic lights and garbage trucks. And Chambers of Commerce, and, worse, you actually have to figure out some way to make a living.

Much more at the site - a tip of the hat to Firehand for this link. He has more at his site.

I had posted about the amazingly successful Indiegogo drive to fund the purchase of Nikola Tesla's last laboratory.

A major member of the high-voltage community is Jeff Behary. He specializes in electrotherapy machines - the "quack medicine" of the 1800's but also, early X-Ray machines, alternatives to Tesla Coils as well as early scientific and physics equipment.

He has been graciously showing his collection in his house but is trying to develop a small, separate museum.

He is running his own Indiegogo drive and you seriously need to go there and chip in some cash - I just did. From Jeff's website:

Nikola Tesla Archive & Electrotherapy Museum
My name is Jeff Behary and I am curator of the Electrotherapy Museum (  What started off as an eccentric antique collection of medical and scientific oddities quickly grew into a large archive of obscure knowledge regarding the origins of electrical  technologies, electricity in medicine, and rare historical pieces stemming from the researches of famed inventor Nikola Tesla.  For 18 years I've opened my home to visitors from around the world... but now I have a family and my house outgrew my collection in a hurry.

    • Our website currently gets over 7.5 million hits per year worldwide
    • If it looks ancient and makes arcs, sparks, shocks, vibrates, irradiates, lights up, cures, kills, or interferes with your neighbors TV and radios:  we have it.

You can help keep the sparks alive!
We are not trying to compete with million dollar museums.  We just need a small building to safely preserve 200 years of rare books, machines, and documents.   In most museums things are behind glass cases.  Those cases cost more than we are asking for.  In this museum, everything is out in the open.  You can pick up a priceless piece of history, or read a 200 year old book.  Turn the crank on a machine from the 1800s and see sparks...  Everything is functional and able to be demonstrated in an up-close and personal manner.  And I can talk for hours about any of it if you really want to listen...

A warehouse would be a dream come true...but honestly it can be a large air-conditioned shed.  It doesn't have to be fancy.  It just needs to protect what is really important:  the contents.

It is altogether too easy to dismiss these works as a 'lesser' science when, in fact, they are the bedrock on which all current technology rests.

Cool website for conversions

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I find myself frequently needing to convert from one unit to another.

Here is a go-to website:

For an offline utility, nothing beats Josh Madison's CONVERT.EXE

Nuclear Power - a two-fer

First - from Texas' The Dallas Morning News:

Lockheed goes global to build its nuclear business
In a nondescript strip mall across town from the heavy security of its fighter jet operations, defense contractor Lockheed Martin opens its doors each day to a rotating crew of Chinese engineers.

While the U.S. and Chinese governments spar over the theft of classified military data, Lockheed has entered into a deal with China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corp. to help build that country’s next generation of nuclear plants.

The only hitch is that the Chinese want their own engineers working on the project. As a military contractor, Lockheed has to be sensitive about employing foreign nationals anywhere where classified military technology is being developed. So it found alternative digs near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Nowhere is the outlook for nuclear power brighter than in China, where the government is on a campaign to clean up the country’s air. Most of China’s electricity is generated by burning coal, which casts a lung-wrenching haze over its major cities. One of China’s goals is to add to its existing fleet of around 15 nuclear power plants. Analysts believe China will build between 60 and 100 more nuclear plants over the next four decades.

Right now Lockheed has a contract to engineer its reactor control system for China through 2017. But Michael Syring, director of nuclear systems for Lockheed, says the company believes the project will lead to a longer-term relationship helping China develop its nuclear sector.

Good news - bring some jobs to America and when the American Renaissance happens, we will have the necessary skill-set here at home. Lockheed's nuclear history?

Lockheed has more than a 50-year history of building nuclear power systems for U.S. Navy submarines and aircraft carriers. The company took a stab at applying its technical know-how to commercial power plants in the 1970s. But after the partial meltdown of a reactor at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania in 1979, much of the U.S. nuclear engineering industry shut down.

Second - from the Union of Concerned Scientists:

Will California Go Green or Go Gas?
When one of California’s two nuclear plants–the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station (SONGS)–unexpectedly closed last year because of damage to its steam tubes, many clean energy advocates including UCS hoped that the state would replace much of that electricity with generation from renewable resources, as well as increased investments in other carbon-free energy resources, such as energy efficiency, demand response, and energy storage devices. Unfortunately, plans are now in the works to replace most of the SONGS electricity with a new natural gas plant, without a process that gives clean energy resources a chance to compete.

San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) recently filed a plan with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) that contained details on how they would replace the SONGS power. The plan needed to conform to the guidelines set forth by the CPUC (details start on page 141 of the Commission’s decision), which allowed SDG&E to procure up to 800 MW of electrical capacity. At least 200 MW of this must come from “preferred” (aka carbon-free) resources like renewables, energy efficiency, and storage, and the remaining 600 MW could be chosen through a competitive bidding process, although the CPUC said some of this energy could also be picked through a bilateral contract, which means a contract with one project, no competitive bidding.

Heh - suck it up hippies, is a bottomless rathole for effort, money and time. It has a place in remote areas and there is zero reason why research should not be continued - breakthroughs happen. But for now, nuke and gas are the two best solutions to our energy needs and we need to pursue these two aggressively. They are stable and mature technologies with millions of trouble-free hours of operation.

A law I agree with - laser pointers

I had posted about this case last April. From Ars Technica:

“Bored” California man sentenced to nearly two years for laser strike
On Monday, a federal court in Central California sentenced a 26-year-old to one year and nine months in prison for firing two different laser pointers at a Kern County Sheriff’s Office helicopter over a six month period in 2013.

The man, Brett Lee Scott of Buttonwillow, took a plea deal with federal prosecutors according to a May 5, 2014 court filing. Scott explained his actions by saying that he was “bored.”

It may seem like a silly thing, but laser strikes against planes, helicopters, and other aerial vehicles have become an increasing epidemic nationwide. Since the FBI began keeping track in 2005, there have been more than 17,000 laser strikes—one-fifth (3,960) in 2013 alone. During the first three months of 2014, the FBI reported an average of 9.5 incidents daily.

They are sending a message and it is a good one. Fifteen years ago, this would be an annoyance. These days, laser technology has gotten cheap and powerful enough that permanent retinal scaring can result in a moment. Bad enough on the ground but horrible for a pilot.

Here is one horrible example - a Russian Rave from 2008. 12 completely blind with 49 injured with as much as 80% loss of vision. Recovery is impossible.

KINGS from Sunchaser Pictures on Vimeo.

Shot at  King's Canyon and Sequoia National Park
More on their Flickr page
The star trails were created using StarStaX

Antique Tractor show

Lulu and I spent a fun afternoon at the Puget Sound Antique Tractor & Machinery Association's annual event.

Here are a couple photos:


The guy driving this tractor is 91 years old - having a great time!


This guy was 12 years old. Never too young to start!


One of the engines - the engineer seems to not be having a good day.


They were milling cornmeal as a fund-raiser.  We bought five pounds and looking forward to making some cornbread. Getting it fresh from the mill is a huge difference from buying it from the store.

Altogether, a fun time was had by all...

Thomas Sowell on our post-thinking era

Great essay at World Net Daily:

Is thinking now obsolete?
Some have said that we are living in a post-industrial era, while others have said that we are living in a post-racial era. But growing evidence suggests that we are living in a post-thinking era.

Many people in Europe and the Western Hemisphere are staging angry protests against Israel’s military action in Gaza. One of the talking points against Israel is that far more Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli military attacks than the number of Israeli civilians killed by the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel that started this latest military conflict.

Are these protesters aware that vastly more German civilians were killed by American bombers attacking Nazi Germany during World War II than American civilians killed in the United States by Hitler’s forces?

Talk-show host Geraldo Rivera says that there is no way Israel is winning the battle for world opinion. But Israel is trying to win the battle for survival, while surrounded by enemies. Might that not be more important?

Has any other country, in any other war, been expected to keep the enemy’s civilian casualties no higher than its own civilian casualties? The idea that Israel should do so did not originate among the masses but among the educated intelligentsia.

In an age when scientists are creating artificial intelligence, too many of our educational institutions seem to be creating artificial stupidity.

I love it - artificial stupidity explains a lot.

2,500+ comments in 22 hours - he seems to have hit a nerve...

From The Jerusalem Post:

Analysis: Military eradicates Hamas’s crown jewel
The IDF has destroyed Hamas’s flagship terrorism project: its network of tunnels that snuck into Israel.

Hamas spent five years preparing this strategic threat; the IDF wrecked 31 tunnels in two weeks.

By Sunday, all of the tunnels that the IDF discovered during the offensive, or knew about before the war, will be destroyed.It is assumed that there are a few tunnels that the army has yet to identify.

Many of the underground passages were designed to send heavily armed murder squads into Israeli communities and to attack army positions from the rear. They were filled with weapons, explosives and other equipment, enabling terrorists to enter a shaft in Gaza dressed in civilian clothing and emerge in Israel, disguised as IDF soldiers and equipped to inflict mass casualties.

In some of the tunnels, the army discovered motorcycles that Hamas had earmarked for speedy raids into Israel and subsequent retreats back into Gaza.

Israel has played too nice for too long. They have given the so-called palestinian people every benefit of doubt. Now, it is time to get serious and defend their nation - the only Democracy in that part of the world.


The Obamas at a Baseball game

This came in over the transom:

Barack and Michelle are at the White Sox baseball game sitting in the first row with the Secret Service seated directly behind them.
One of the Secret Service agents leans forward and says something to the president. Barack stares at the agent, looks at Michelle, looks back at the agent, and shakes his head no.
The agent then says, “Mr. President, it was a request from the team owner who is a big campaign contributor and the fans will love it!”
So, Barack shrugs and says, “Well, if it will help my poll numbers.”
He gets up, grabs Michelle by her collar and the seat of her pants, and tosses her right over the railing into the field. She gets up kicking, screaming and swearing.
The crowd goes wild; cheering, applauding, and high-fiving.
Barack is bowing and smiling, and leans over to the agent and says “You were right. I would have never believed that!”
Noticing the agent has gone totally pale, Barack asks what was wrong.
The agent replies, “Sir, I said they wanted you to throw out the first pitch!”

Another dispatch from the Third World War

We are at war. It has not been declared and our administration and media are complicit.

Our infrastructure is constantly being probed. From Fox News:

13 Illegal Immigrants Arrested in California Wearing U.S. Marine Uniforms
Border Patrol agents recently arrested 13 illegal immigrants disguised as U.S. Marines and riding in a fake military van, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday.

The illegal immigrants were clad in Marine uniforms when they were apprehended at the Campo Border Patrol Westbound I-8 checkpoint at 11 p.m. on March 14 near Pine Valley, Calif., border officials said. Two U.S. citizens in the van also were arrested.

After the suspicious white van was subjected to secondary inspection, it was determined that the driver of the vehicle and its front seat passenger were U.S. citizens who were attempting to smuggle 13 illegal immigrants into the United States. All of the vehicle's occupants wore U.S. Marine uniforms, reportedly emblazoned with the name "Perez."

The van was driven from Mexico, across the border, the mokes got into their uniforms and a stolen and altered Marine Corps. license plate was swapped out.

Only our best interests at heart...

A great hack - medicine

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Here's how you do it - from The Atlantic:

The Good-Luck Charm That Solved a Public-Health Problem
In 2008, Christopher Charles was living in Cambodia and researching anemia. The condition, which is commonly caused by iron deficiency, afflicts roughly half of Cambodia’s children and pregnant women. Untreated, it can lead to lethargy, impaired growth and cognitive development in children, and increased risks of premature delivery and maternal mortality.

Charles, a Canadian epidemiologist, knew that iron-rich foods and supplements were too expensive for most rural Cambodians. Even cast-iron pots, which safely transmit iron to food as it cooks, were out of reach. But he wondered whether a small piece of iron placed in a standard aluminum pot would have a similar iron-releasing effect. To test his hypothesis, Charles distributed blocks of iron to local women, telling them to place the blocks in their cooking pots before making soup or boiling drinking water. The women promptly put them to use as doorstops.

After talking with village elders, Charles learned of a fish known as try kantrop, which the locals ate frequently and considered a symbol of good luck. When he handed out smiling iron replicas of this fish, women started cooking with them. “People associated it with luck, health, and happiness,” he says. Within 12 months, Charles reports, anemia in villages where the fish was distributed virtually disappeared.

Kudos to Dr. Charles for an elegant solution to a debilitating illness

Breakout - Gatwick Airport?

Nothing specific -- from the UK Mirror:

Ebola terror at Gatwick as passenger collapses and dies getting off Sierra Leone flight
Airport staff tonight told of their fears of an Ebola outbreak after a passenger from Sierra Leone collapsed and died as she got off a plane at Gatwick.

Workers said they were terrified the virus could spread globally through the busy international hub from the West African country which is in the grip of the deadly epidemic.

The woman, said to be 72, became ill on the gangway after she left a Gambia Bird jet with 128 passengers on board.

She died in hospital on Saturday.

It could be anything but...

Earlier outbreaks have had much faster onsets and higher fatality percentages. This has actually been very beneficial as it caused the disease to spread a lot slower and the pocket of infection would soon die out.

This outbreak has a 60% fatality rate and a much slower onset.

Sucked into the boob tube

We were watching television while having dinner and the ScyFi channel was re-broadcasting Sharknado2.

We missed its premiere last Thursday so we watched it -- totaly gratuitous. It was fun to spot the star walk-ons - they even had Jared from the Subway ads. You come away with the feeling that people were having waaay too much fun on the set.

Ernie Kovacs had a wonderful comment about Television:

Television: A medium. So called because it's neither rare nor well done.
--Ernie Kovacs

Done hogging

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Decided to run the brush hog for a couple hours as it wasn't that hot and the flies do not get troublesome until dusk. Even though that puppy has propulsion (four forward and one reverse), it is still a 400+ pound machine and running it is quite the workout. Some nice full cardio today! Got close enough to the creek that I can hear it - it is really low this time of year so I know I'm only 100' away or so.

I can see some downed saplings ahead so the next phase will be with Buttercup the Tractor, a choke chain, chainsaw and string trimmer. For the hell of it, I checked Google Satellite view and the image is from last early Summer. There was a pile of wood chips that I put on a tarp near the garden beds and it is at its fullest.


Surf for a few minutes and then off to the dumpster, thaw and marinate a couple chicken breasts for dinner, head in to fill out the paperwork and then dinner and surf some more.

We just finished Sunday brunch - did the usual pancakes only this time with fresh blueberries. Big difference - quite the intense pop of flavor as opposed to the frozen berries.

Heading into the store to take care of some paperwork that needs to be brought into town tomorrow when I do the buying run.

Finishing off the first load on the dumpster - will have them empty it this week and start over again. Probbly have three more loads to go.  Nice to get the crap taken care of...

Probably post later this evening.

Back from the fair

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We had a lot of fun.  Each year they feature a specific brand of tractor and this year, it was Minneapolis-Moline. The company did a lot of innovation and introduced new items that are now standard with tractors from electric start to fully enclosed cabins with climate control. They were also about twice as expensive as the competition so sales were never strong.  Still, gorgeous machines and great engineering.

The SD Card reader on my 'puter is not working for some reason but I will get some photos up tomorrow when I am in the shop for an hour doing paperwork for Monday morning.

Got the grill heating up for Hamburgers tonight - grilled onions and homemade coleslaw and potato salad.

Fun with machinery

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The Puget Sound Antique Tractor & Machinery Association annual show ends today and we are heading out to attend.

Always a lot of fun - tractor pulling, old engines, blacksmith shop, live steam. What's not to love!

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that strayed off course and was shot down by the Russians a few weeks ago should be in everyone's minds.

Ditto, the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 which executed some very strange maneuvers and disappeared.

An email reminded me of this post from December 26, 2009:

The case of the missing engines
The two missing General Electric J85-21A engines -- each worth about $15M... From the Financial Times:

Missing jet engines spark crisis in Malaysia
The Malaysian government is facing a fresh corruption crisis after officials admitted that two US-made fighter jet engines had disappeared from an air force base after apparently being illicitly sold by military officers to a South American arms dealer.

Najib Razak, prime minister, said there would be a full investigation of the thefts, which happened in 2007 and 2008, when he was defense minister. However, opposition parties accused the government of covering up the incidents.

Lim Kit Siang, parliamentary leader of the opposition Democratic Action party, said the authorities had been "super slow" and claimed that the prime minister's response had painted "a frightening picture of a government of thieves".

And this:

A bit more at the Malaysian Insider:

The police are now saying the engines -- the General Electric J85-21A turbojets -- have been traced to Argentina. It apparently went there by way of a Middle-East nation, believed to be Iran, from Port Klang. And police are now looking for the documentation for the shipping.

Iran in 2009 - Hillary should have known about this (and done something). Obama should have known about this (and done something). Malaysia is getting more and more bold. My personal belief is that Flight 370 is sitting in a hangar somewhere with a fresh coat of paint and waiting to be used to advance the terrorism of Islamofascism.

These people are very patient -- they know our weakness and are quietly building their resouces until they can mount something that will make 9/11 look small...

Our Senator at work - Patty Murray

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How she got into the Senate is beyond me - she is really not that intelligent.

It seems that her staff put together a large memo covering their Anthropogenic Global Warming talking points. Pity they are not based on fact.

From The Daily Caller:

Leaked Memo Gives Away Dems’ ‘Extreme Weather’ Talking Points
Democrats are working hard to convince the public that regulations to limit carbon dioxide emissions are necessary to avoid economic and ecological catastrophe, according to a memo obtained by The Washington Post.

The memo from Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat, tells members how to talk about global warming’s budgetary impact. The memo details how “disaster relief; transportation and infrastructure; national security and agriculture” will all be affected by global warming, reports the Post.

“Climate change, if left unaddressed, will both weaken economic growth and impose additional direct budgetary costs on the federal government,” Murray wrote in the memo sent out Friday. “As a result, climate change poses an increasing threat to the federal government’s already challenging long-term fiscal outlook.”

Murray’s memo puts a lot of focus on budgetary impacts due to “extreme weather” — a major talking point of President Obama during his second term. Murray argues that global warming will increase extreme weather events, like hurricanes and droughts, therefore increasing disaster relief, infrastructure and other types of spending.

“Without action, climate change will undoubtedly affect our country’s ability to produce goods and services, costing jobs and weakening growth,” Murray wrote. “These effects are already being felt due to events such as Hurricane Sandy—which was estimated to have caused $65.7 billion in economic damage—as well as the massive droughts gripping parts of the country.”

Reading through the memo (16 page PDF) is an exercise in bad citations. It cites early IPCC publications, not the later revised ones. It cites the fringe model-makers, not the observed data. The data has been carefully cherry-picked to present one ideological viewpoint.

Yes, Hurricane Sandy caused a lot of damage but New York has been hit by 84 large storms before and the worst on record was the New England Hurricane of 1938. Sandy was only a Cat1 storm when it made landfall. It is people's own responsibility to choose where they want to build and to play the odds with the weather. Sure, I would love to have a house on the coast but I know we get intense storms from time to time. I am currently living at the base of an active volcano and about ten miles from a geological fault-line. We all take our chances.

Ebola update - not good

From Associated Press:

Ebola moving faster than control efforts
An Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 700 people in West Africa is moving faster than efforts to control the disease, the head of the World Health Organization warned as presidents from the affected countries met Friday in Guinea's capital.

Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO's director-general, said the meeting in Conakry "must be a turning point" in the battle against Ebola, which is now sickening people in three African capitals for the first time in history.

"If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives but also severe socio-economic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries," she said, as the WHO formally launched a $100 million response plan that includes deploying hundreds more health care workers.

Medecins Sans Frontieres, also known as Doctors Without Borders, said the WHO pledge "needs to translate to immediate and effective action." While the group has deployed some 550 health workers, it said it did not have the resources to expand further.

Doctors Without Borders said its teams are overwhelmed with new Ebola patients in Sierra Leone and that the situation in Liberia is now "dire."

And they are bringing two Americans with the disease back to the USA for treatment. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control published a map of their quarantine stations.

Too many breweries

Doesn't sound like a problem but it is - the market is getting too crowded. From bon appetit:

America Now Has Over 3,000 Craft Breweries—and That's Not Necessarily Great for Beer Drinkers
There may be no prettier place to discuss a battle than Block Island.

Located off Rhode Island’s coast, the Atlantic Ocean isle is filled with bluffs, beaches, and rolling hills, such as the one atop which the Atlantic Inn is perched. Here, on the lush lawn in front of the 1879 hotel, you can sit in white Adirondack chairs and watch the rippled waters. Or, on a recent summer morning, you could plop beside Dogfish Head president Sam Calagione and discuss craft beer’s coming bottleneck.

“We’re heading into an incredibly competitive era of craft brewing,” he says. “There’s a bloodbath coming.”

This may seem alarmist. After all, the Brewers Association just announced that 3,000-plus craft breweries now operate in America. Last year’s craft sales climbed 17.2 percent, overseas exports have escalated, and breweries such as Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada, and Oskar Blues recently constructed second breweries to spread their bitter ales farther, wider, and fresher. Heck, Stone is building a brewery in Berlin. Berlin!

I’m onboard with America abandoning middle-of-the-road beer and exploring flavorful new directions. The highway, however, is getting mighty crowded. Hundreds of different beers debut weekly, creating a scrum of session IPAs, spiced witbiers, and barrel-aged stouts scuffling for shelf space. For consumers, the situation is doubly confusing. How can you pick a pint on a 100-brew tap list? Moreover, beer shops are chockablock with pale this and imperial that, each one boasting a different hop pun. When buying beer, I can’t count how many times I’ve assisted overwhelmed shoppers, playing the benevolent Sherpa in the wilds of modern brewing.

Just in Bellingham alone, there are ten breweries with more opening this year. The good thing is that as the economy shakes out and some breweries close, there will be some great deals on used equipment for homebrewers.

From Phys.Org:

Ten things to know about invasive fire ants on the march
Heading for a summer picnic or hike, or just out to mow your lawn? In the U.S. Southeast and beyond, you might want to watch where you walk.

Fire . Crossing the border from South America, they're on the march northward. How does habitat—in particular, corridors that connect one place with another—help the ants spread?

To find out, the National Science Foundation (NSF) talked with ecologist and program director Doug Levey of its Division of Environmental Biology, and researcher Julian Resasco, now of the University of Colorado, Boulder (formerly at the University of Florida, Gainesville).

This week Resasco, Levey and colleagues published a paper in the journal Ecology reporting new findings on habitat corridors and fire ants. They conducted their NSF-funded study in an experimental forest in South Carolina, at the USDA Forest Service - Savannah River site.

Much more at the site - they displace native ants and they are a major economic problem in agriculture.

From Carlisle, Pennsylvania's The Sentinel:

Department of Agriculture cracks down on seed libraries
It was a letter officials with the Cumberland County Library System were surprised to receive.

The system had spent some time working in partnership with the Cumberland County Commission for Women and getting information from the local Penn State Ag Extension office to create a pilot seed library at Mechanicsburg’s Joseph T. Simpson Public Library.

The effort was a new seed-gardening initiative that would allow for residents to “borrow” seeds and replace them with new ones harvested at the end of the season.

Mechanicsburg’s effort had launched on April 26 as part of the borough’s Earth Day Festival, but there were plenty of similar efforts that had already cropped up across the state before the local initiative.

Through researching other efforts and how to start their own, Cumberland County Library System Executive Director Jonelle Darr said Thursday that no one ever came across information that indicated anything was wrong with the idea. Sixty residents had signed up for the seed library in Mechanicsburg, and officials thought it could grow into something more.

That was, until, the library system received a letter from the state Department of Agriculture telling them they were in violation of the Seed Act of 2004.

Some more:

Darr explained that the Seed Act primarily focuses on the selling of seeds — which the library was not doing — but there is also a concern about seeds that may be mislabeled (purposefully or accidentally), the growth of invasive plant species, cross-pollination and poisonous plants.

The department told the library it could not have the seed library unless its staff tested each seed packet for germination and other information. Darr said that was clearly not something staff could handle.

And this:

She said the department indicated to her that it would continue to crack down on seed libraries that have established themselves in the state.

Some of the commissioners questioned whether that was the best use of the department’s time and money, but commissioner Barbara Cross noted that such seed libraries on a large scale could very well pose a danger.

“Agri-terrorism is a very, very real scenario,” she said. “Protecting and maintaining the food sources of America is an overwhelming challenge ... so you’ve got agri-tourism on one side and agri-terrorism on the other.”

Good Lord, what a braying ninny.

Updating some 1970's technology

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The Tomahawk cruise missile was first flown in the 1970's nad it is getting quite the technology refresh. From Popular Mechanics:

The Tomahawk Missile Gets Smarter—and Deadlier
In late July, Congress actually agreed on something: House and Senate committees announced plans to add $82 million for Tomahawk cruise missile production in 2015. The venerable cruise missile is coming back, and coming back smarter and stronger.

 The technology in question:

To hunt prey on the move, the Tomahawk needed new eyes—what experts call an electronic support measure, or ESM. This basically means the missile will get an antenna that picks up the target's electromagnetic signature, such as radar and radio emissions. The missile can identify a target by the electromagnetic signature the target emits, such as the radio waves coming from a radar. When the missile gets close, a radiofrequency seeker switches on; it can also automatically and more confidently identify a target by its emissions. And there will be a two-way satellite link that enables controllers to redirect the missile while it's flying. Donelson says all of these systems will be demonstrated in early 2015.

The missile also needed new teeth. The Pentagon developed the Joint Multi-Effects Warhead System (JMEWS), a shaped charge that will enable the Tomahawk to expand its current target set by using leftover fuel to destroy large building complexes (the fuel burns after the warhead penetrates the target). The new warhead can be tailored to detonate against different kinds of targets—even while the missile is in flight.

 Plans are to keep her flying until 2040.  Godspeed little missle - keep us out of harms way.

Poofer Supply

Part of doing blacksmithing is managing the fire - just ran into these people: Poofer Supply

Nice collection of equipment for dealing with Propane - valves, regulators, hose, tools, etc...

From Justin Lewis:

Caught another deer at work today and we were rubbing its belly and it would freak out if we stopped and tried to put it down. #‎Spoileddeer
**UPDATE** The momma deer was watching from the hillside. The fawn was following us around the job site, so we carried it up the hillside and he left with his mother. I assure you she did not reject it.

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