May 2015 Archives

Origins of the Algonquin language

An interesting idea - from Frozen Trail:

Frozen Trail to Merica
Hypothisis: During the Little Ice Age ancestors of the Lenape-speaking people walked, en masse, on the ice from Norse Greenland to Merica

The similarities between the Old Norse and the Algonquin languages are erie. From this page:

Little Known American History - Names Found to be Norse
Quite by chance, many years ago, Reider T. Sherwin heard a certain New England place name before he saw it in print. The speaker said it the name was of American Indian origin, but Sherwin, a native of Norway before moving to the United States, disputed that because he recognized the word as one he had long known.

Sherwin was familiar with dialectal Norwegian, which is much closer to the Old Norse language than literary Norwegian. And the meaning of the word Sherwin knew was identical to the meaning of the place name the speaker was identifying as Indian.

His curiosity piqued, Sherwin began to look upon New England maps for other place names of Indian origin. He closed his eyes to the spelling and considered only the pronunciation. Several of these he could readily identify as Norwegian or as strings of Old Norse root words put together.

Familiar with Leif Ericson’s attempted settlement of Vinland (later known as America) around 1000 A.D., Sherwin began to study the Old Norse language more intensely to see if it was more than coincidence that certain places bore descriptive names which were called Indian names but which mirrored the sound and meaning of Old Norse names for the same types of places.

He also studied the language of the Algonquin tribes in dictionaries compiled by early French, English, Swedish and German missionaries who worked among various tribes of these Indians as European colonists began to arrive in great numbers in the early 17th century. Those tribes included the Cree, Chippewa (Ojibway), Ottawa, Algonquin, Potawatomi, Sauk, Fox, Kickapoo, Abnaki, Micmac, Mohican, Shawnee, Illinois, Blackfoot, Pequot, and others who speak dialects of the Algonquin language.

Some examples:

SASKATCHEWAN (name of a province in western Canada and also of a river) — saxad sjoe vann (choppy watercourse); note that in Old Norse, v is sounded as in the German u or w.

MICHIGAN (one of several states in the U.S.A. with Old Norse names) — midh sjoe-kumme (midh means “middle” or “lying in the middle,” while sjoe-kumme means “sea basin” or “sea reservoir,” which is very fitting as Lake Michigan is the middle of the Great Lakes.

SUNWICK (a creek at Astoria, Long island) — sunds vik (a small bay in the sound); Sherwin writes, “It is quite easy for me to determine which names were given to places by the Indians and which were given by the Norsemen. There is no doubt at all in my mind that this name was given to this place by a Norseman. There are any number of Sunwicks in Norway.”

MILWAUKEE (Milwaukee, in Wisconsin, the Indian name meant good, beautiful land) — milde aake (the pleasant land)

GITCHE GUMEE (this is from Longfellow’s poem and means “big sea water, or what is now known as Lake Superior) — geis sjoe-kumme (great sea reservoir)

And then there is this:

The “Indian” game of lacrosse is almost identical to the Old Norse game knattilikr. Bone with Scandinavian rune (letters of an alphabet) have been dug up from Indian sites.

Very curious...

Water board - life in a small town

I am involved with our local water board and we meet each month, usually on the last Sunday evening.

This is one aspect of small town living that I dearly love - we spent 12 minutes on the meeting, called it closed and then spent the next 40 minutes gossiping about stuff in town. A person and a vehicle that are doing opportunistic robberies, fund raising for a new local park, the cougar that has been sighted, the new logging operation going on, people's schedules for the summer, etc...

Rural America has such a different pulse and set of values than urban America.

Fun stuff!

The Ferguson Effect

John Nolte nails it - from Breitbart:

‘Ferguson Effect': America’s New Crime Wave Is All Part of the Plan
The Wall Street Journal is calling the dramatic end of America’s two-decade-long drop in crime “The Ferguson Effect.” Led behind the scenes by President Obama, America’s fraudulent civil rights leaders (Al Sharpton) and the mainstream media (especially CNN), worked together — starting with their lies in Ferguson — to launch hate campaigns against the police.

The result is an empowered criminal element and by extension a horrific increase in murders, shootings, and other violent crimes:

Gun violence is up more than 60% compared with this time last year, according to Baltimore police, with 32 shootings over Memorial Day weekend. May has been the most violent month the city has seen in 15 years.

In Milwaukee, homicides were up 180% … Through April, shootings in St. Louis were up 39%, robberies 43%, and homicides 25%. “Crime is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said St. Louis Alderman Joe Vacarro at a May 7 City Hall hearing.

Murders in Atlanta were up 32%… Shootings in Chicago had increased 24% and homicides 17%. Shootings and other violent felonies in Los Angeles had spiked by 25%; in New York, murder was up nearly 13%, and gun violence 7%. …

Shooting incidents are up 500% in an East Harlem precinct compared with last year; in a South Central Los Angeles police division, shooting victims are up 100%.

And who are the victims here?

Not just the predominantly poor people who huddle in these cities, these are mostly black people.

For nearly two years in the mid-eighties I lived in the worst parts of Milwaukee’s inner-city. Crime and the fear of crime is by far the worst part of being poor. If you have a place to live, heat, and food, you can deal with not having much money. Living in constant fear, though, of opening your front door, walking to your car, waiting for a bus, or taking the stairs, is a living nightmare.

It’s like living in a Vampire movie. No, really. Unless you’ve experienced it, I know of no other way to describe it. Anything outside of a locked home after dark is filled with an indescribable dread of a very real danger.

And that’s what life is like for everyone. Now imagine being mugged, having your car stolen and your apartment burglarized on top of all that. All of that happened to my wife and I during those two years. We got the hell out. It wasn’t easy but we did. A lot of people don’t.

Sadly, this stunning and unnecessary increase in crime is all part of the Left’s plan. You paralyze the cops with persecution, justify riots and looting, and by extension empower the criminals. The result is city-wide chaos, despair, and hopelessness. The result is victims desperate for someone to blame and even more dependent on a central government. The result is an empowered central government with even more control over the lives of those most in need of empowerment, not dependence.

Keep ‘em down. Keep ‘em angry. Pretend you are their savior not their oppressor, and keep ‘em voting for the very thing destroying them: big government and the Democrats who control it.

This sinister plot is no secret. It’s openly called the Cloward-Piven Strategy.

The Ferguson Effect isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.


Don’t make me laugh.

Black Lives are nothing more than sacrifices to the cause of empowering the elite few who control the levers of Central Government.

Copied in full because it was impossible to excerpt. It is not racial - it is dependency on entitlements, lies from people who claim to be leaders and manipulating the public narrative to ensure re-election.

This was published yesterday and already has over 3,200 comments - themselves a good read.

Cloward-Piven outlines overloading and crashing the current system of welfare and having the central planning office institute a guaranteed annual income. This will eliminate poverty.

Believe that and I have some oceanfront property in Montana you might be interested in... We have already spent about $9,000 per person per year over the last 50 years and have precious little to show for it except a huge national debt.

Happy 40th birthday Bruce

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A day early but... From the International Business Times:

Jaws 40th Anniversary: 40 facts about Spielberg's infamous shark movie and Great Whites
The 40th anniversary of the initial release of Jaws is marked on 1 June 1975, striking a fear of sharks into a whole generation to follow. It opened in cinemas across the US a few weeks later and would go on to become the highest grossing film of the time.

To mark the event, IBTimes UK has looked at some facts and figures about Stephen Spielberg's infamous movie.

1. The great white shark in the film was estimated to be around 25ft long. The biggest great white to have ever been caught in real life was around 20ft.

2. The film was based on the book by Peter Benchley. He based it on a series of shark attacks that took place off the coast of New Jersey in 1964 and a 4,500lb shark caught in 1964 off the coast of Montauk.

3. Other titles for the bestseller included The Silence of the Deep, Leviathan Rising, and The Jaws of Death.

4. Despite widespread belief, stunt woman and actress Susan Backlinie did not break her ribs or hip while filming the opening scene, meaning her screams of terror were real. However, Spielberg did not warn her when she would be 'attacked', so her reactions were more genuine.

5. Richard Dreyfuss was not Spielberg's first choice for the role of Matt Hooper – Jeff Bridges, Timothy Bottoms and Jon Voight were all approached first.

And Bruce?

13. Three mechanical sharks were used in the filming with each having specialised functions. They were nicknamed "Bruce" after Spielberg's lawyer. 

Good movie - scared the shit out of me when I first saw it in the theater. I was 24 and studying Marine Biology and Physical Oceanography at Boston University. 

A graph of temperatures

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Here is a graph of Earth's temperatures from  1975 through 2025

The circles and squares are observed temperatures - circles are the average of four different sets of balloon data and the squares are the average of two seats of satellite data.

The big red line is the average of 102 IPCC climate models.

See the problem?


This graph is from Dr. John Christy - here is a bit of his bio from the University of Alabama website:

About John
Dr. John R. Christy is the Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville where he began studying global climate issues in 1987. Since November 2000 he has been Alabama's State Climatologist.

The New York Times had a nice writeup of him last year: Though Scorned by Colleagues, a Climate-Change Skeptic Is Unbowed

The truth is out there...

Good news from India

They are recognizing coal as the fantastic energy source that it is - from Yahoo/Reuters:

India douses century-old coal fires as Modi seeks output boost
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is determined to move more than 100,000 people living near coalfields in eastern India to new homes, making it easier to douse underground fires that have burned for a century and mine huge reserves of premium coal.

Reviving output from India's nationalized coal sector has been one of Modi's most tangible achievements during his first year in office, one that he hopes will secure continuous power to all and eat into an annual coal import bill of $15 billion.

The burning deposits of Jharia, in Jharkhand state, are particularly prized because they are the only source of top quality steelmaking coal in the country. India spends $4 billion a year on importing that grade alone.

Modi traveled to Jharkhand in February and urged the chief minister to speed up work on putting out the fires and shifting the people living there.

"The fact that the prime minister is directly involved shows that the government is very serious about it," Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said in New Delhi. "It's a huge task but the good news is that we have started moving in the right direction."

For some of the thousands living in run-down settlements around the coal deposits, the urgency is clear.

Shakili Devi, 60, has lost count of the number of huts she inhabited over the years that caved in because of intense heat and shifting ground around her.

What the greens fail to admit is that cheap and clean energy will lift people like Ms. Devi out of poverty. The rising tide floats all boats.

The "dirty coal" talking point is failing as people aren't seeing it - you can stand beside a one hundred car coal train and not see any dust coming from it. Two years ago when we were driving to the blacksmithing conference in South Dakota, we visited three coal mines - no dust.

Now, the anti-energy/anti-progress people are claiming that burning coal releases huge amounts of mercury and other toxins into the atmosphere. Those talking points were valid with the older plants but technology marches forward and the new plants (and retrofitted older plants) have very low emissions. A good writeup on this can be found here:

The Facts About Air Quality and Coal-Fired Power Plants
Coal-fired electricity generation is far cleaner today than ever before. The popular misconception that our air quality is getting worse is wrong, as shown by EPA’s air quality data. Modern coal plants, and those retrofitted with modern technologies to reduce pollution, are a success story and are currently providing about 50% of our electricity. Undoubtedly, pollution emissions from coal-fired power plants will continue to fall as technology improves.

Much more at the site - lots of links to source materials for verification. Coal is cheap, clean (when processed correctly) and abundant - the USA has about 500 years of known reserves.

Teslagate - updated

I had posted before about Teslagate and a web site outlining the deceit behind Tesla's marketing and financials.

Now this from Jerry Hirsch writing at the Los Angeles Times:

Elon Musk's growing empire is fueled by $4.9 billion in government subsidies
Los Angeles entrepreneur Elon Musk has built a multibillion-dollar fortune running companies that make electric cars, sell solar panels and launch rockets into space.

And he's built those companies with the help of billions in government subsidies.

Tesla Motors Inc., SolarCity Corp. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, together have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support, according to data compiled by The Times. The figure underscores a common theme running through his emerging empire: a public-private financing model underpinning long-shot start-ups.

"He definitely goes where there is government money," said Dan Dolev, an analyst at Jefferies Equity Research. "That's a great strategy, but the government will cut you off one day."

And a bit more:

Tesla and SolarCity continue to report net losses after a decade in business, but the stocks of both companies have soared on their potential; Musk's stake in the firms alone is worth about $10 billion. (SpaceX, a private company, does not publicly report financial performance.)

Musk and his companies' investors enjoy most of the financial upside of the government support, while taxpayers shoulder the cost.

And this:

Musk declined repeated requests for an interview through Tesla spokespeople, and officials at all three companies declined to comment. 

I can see why - this is almost a Ponzi scam, using subsidies (our tax dollars) to fund putting the cars in people's hands - the cars are being sold at a loss... 

Much more at the site. There is some ground-breaking development going on here but the cost is being borne by us and we will probably not get to enjoy the results unless we by a souvenir of their technology at their bankruptcy auction. Solyndra had some nice swag going for pennies on the dollar...

Missed it by ─><─ that much

I knew I was getting up there but missed the actual post by 28. Here is the screencap in all its effulgent glory:


20,027 20,028 posts since my first on October 27, 2003

It has been a lot of miles since that first Hello world! and still no desire to slow down. Having more fun than ever.

The jury is out

There is a new wind generation technology out there but I am waiting to see some real numbers.

From I.F.L.Science:

New Wind Turbine Generates Electricity Without Rotating Blades
This new wind turbine wobbles elegantly in the wind, generating electricity without rotating blades. “It looks like asparagus,” says David Suriol, one of the founders.

A Spanish company called Vortex Bladeless has produced a wind turbine that takes advantage of the vortices produced when wind moves around an obstacle.

If you put any object in the path of the wind, it will create an undulating vortex behind the barrier. This is a problem that has plagued engineers for years: bridges have fallen due to wind eddies. 

Vortex Bladeless engineers have designed their turbine to take advantage of this vortex. The thin, cone-shaped turbine is made of carbon fiber and fiberglass with the motor at the bottom instead of the top (like traditional turbines) to improve sturdiness. The design ensures that the wind's vortex spins synchronously along the entire cone. “The swirls have to work together to achieve good performance,” Villarreal explains. There is also a ring of magnets at the base of the cone that give the rotations a boost regardless of wind speed. 

There are many advantages to the new Vortex design: It is cheaper to manufacture than current pinwheel turbines. Maintenance prices are also lower because there is no friction from mechanically moving parts (e.g., the blades on a traditional turbine), which reduces the need for oiling and bolt replacement. It is completely silent and birds can fly around them safely.

What I am seeing is that the cross section is a lot smaller than a traditional propeller turbine. The motion is a lot more complex - wobbling instead of spinning. Both of these point to lower efficiency when compared to a traditional propeller.

I would love to see wind power simply go away except for areas where conventional power was impossible - wind farms require backup generators running on hot-standby to compensate for lulls in the wind. I predict that this technology will raise a lot of money without publishing a lot of hard numbers. They will build one or two pilot plants (funded with our tax dollars as subsidies) and then quietly fade into bankruptcy.

Do not forget that wind power has quite the dirty little secret - more here and here.

Do not use SourceForge any more

This used to be the go-to place for software - they allowed people to host software and a lot of the big applications used SourceForge as their home base.

Now it seems that they have tampered with the files, adding ad-ware and mal-ware to the original content.

From Ars Technica:

SourceForge grabs GIMP for Windows’ account, wraps installer in bundle-pushing adware
SourceForge, the code repository site owned by Slashdot Media, has apparently seized control of the account hosting GIMP for Windows on the service, according to e-mails and discussions amongst members of the GIMP community—locking out GIMP's lead Windows developer. And now anyone downloading the Windows version of the open source image editing tool from SourceForge gets the software wrapped in an installer replete with advertisements.

Update: In a blog post issued shortly after this story posted, an unidentified member of SourceForge's community team wrote that, in fact, "this project was actually abandoned over 18 months ago, and SourceForge has stepped-in to keep this project current." That runs counter to claims by members of the GIMP development community.

The GIMP project is not officially distributed through SourceForge—approved releases are only posted on the GIMP project's own Web page. But Jernej Simončič, the developer who has been responsible for building Windows versions of GIMP for some time, has maintained an account on SourceForge to act as a distribution mirror. That is, he had until today, when he discovered he was locked out of the Gimp-Win account, and the project's ownership "byline" had been changed to "sf-editor1"—a SourceForge staff account. Additionally, the site now provided Gimp in an executable installer that has in-installer advertising enabled. Ars tested the downloader and found that it offered during the installation to bundle Norton anti-virus and remote backup services with GIMP—before downloading the installer authored by Simončič (his name still appears on the installer's splash screen).

Talk about blowing your credibility - most people now use GitHub but the fact that SourceForge is tampering with the packages is fscked.

Cool invention - ball bearings revisited

A Japanese company figured out how to cut a lot of friction from a ball bearing.

From Gizmag:

Greaseless ball bearings: A revolutionary spin on a design that's been around for ages
While the ball bearing might be among Leonardo Da Vinci's less celebrated inventions, it's arguably one of his most important. Though it was initially designed as part of his failed helicopter invention, it has stood the test of time – there are ball bearings of a similar design to Leonardo's in just about every moving machine.

The basic design in simple: in order to reduce rotating friction between two pieces, the bearing has an inner and an outer race. A number of balls roll in between these two races, allowing the smallest possible contact points between the inner and outer races. The balls roll a lot easier than the two pieces would slide against each other.

The ball bearing can only work if the balls are kept separated and evenly spaced throughout the races. Touching each other would produce friction, and uneven spacing would cause the bearing to be weak under loads from a certain direction. So most bearings use cages to separate and evenly space the balls.

These cages cause friction and to reduce this friction, you generally need to lubricate your bearings, often with thick grease to ensure a long lifespan.

All of which is a long way of getting around to this: Japanese company Coo Space has come up with a way to reliably space the balls out without needing a cage.

Big difference and all they did was machine a small depression in part of the outside groove - it slows that one ball down a little bit so they do not bunch up.

More at the site including a couple videos - fascinating technology. The website for the company is here: Coo Space.

The city of Pawnee, Indiana

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We have been watching Parks and Recreation - funny funny show.

Just for the hell of it, I went and looked and yes, there is an official Pawnee, Indiana city web site.

Now this is curious...

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I subscribe to the U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Notification Service - they send me an email whenever there is a significant earthquake anywhere.

Just received three emails like this one:


Makes me wonder what the seismograph picked up - electrical noise or was there a massive Ka-Boom somewhere that registered as a quake.

Nothing in the news as yet - 5.5 is a quake big enough to be felt over a large area...

A blast from the past - Nintendo

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John Stossel on 20/20 in 1988: Nuts For Nintendo

Life on the farm

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Got two photos to share:


A local bluegrass band - Bentgrass - playing at the Maple Falls Café (here and here)



Flowering Dogwood tree - this is planted over my Mom and Dad's grave site. A bit of the story can be found here: Today I hit my Mom, buried my Dad and planted a tree

The tree took off this spring and seems to be really happy - I was not expecting to have it bloom for the first year or two.

Intermittent USB port activity

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A few months ago, the USB port on my computer became intermittent. It would not always pick up the memory card I inserted into the USB card reader.

Just discovered USB Oblivion - a nifty small utility that deletes all references to USB ports in your computers registry. Nuke it and start over.

It runs by default in simulation mode so you can see what it will be doing. It also defaults to saving a .REG file so you can restore any changes/deletions it makes.

Very well done and works great!

A life - Timothy Blair Drafs

A year and a half ago, I posted about an article in a local newspaper that caught my eye.

It involved the 48 year old man named Timothy, a wrong backpack, a lot of money, a 21 year old 'girlfriend', drugs and a robbery.

While checking my blog comments tonight, I saw this one:

Well Drafs is dead now committed suicide. I hope these other creeps who prey on the poor suffer in jail. The poor prey on the poor. The poor victimize the poor. I have no idea who Timothy Drafs is but a Google search shows a court memo from 1979, he must have been abused,molested or traumatized as a child and never got out of a cycle of destruction. His first court record goes back to 1987 where he was committed to a mental health facility.

Too many lives wasted on drugs, crime, childhood abuse from parents or even abuse from non-family. It is really sad.I would never excuse violence from a guy like this but have to wonder how many misfortunes and heartbreaks and traumas he went through before he committed suicide at age 50.

If the histories of people like this were being accurately documented it could help others not go through the same thing. The mental health industry has to do more to document the histories of people who had tragic pasts and do less to antagonize these people so that they will be willing to get a treatment that helps them.

From The Bellingham Herald:

Inmate kills himself with razor at Whatcom County Jail
A Whatcom County Jail inmate killed himself with a shaving razor this week in his jail cell, according to investigators.

Timothy Blair Drafs, 50, a homeless man from Bellingham, was being held earlier this week in a cell block on the second floor of the jail. He did not have a cellmate.

Around 11 or 11:30 p.m. each Wednesday, inmates are given Bic safety razors so they can shave before going in front of a judge on Thursday morning, said Chief of Corrections Wendy Jones. Only inmates who aren’t flagged as mentally unstable are given razors, she said.

Early Thursday, just a few minutes after midnight and around the time deputies would have been rounding up the razors from inmates, corrections deputies found Drafs in his cell with a serious wound to his neck. Aid responded but found he had died, according to the sheriff’s office. Bellingham police were called in as an outside agency to investigate.

According to a sheriff’s office press release, guards had checked on him “within the preceding hour,” though an exact timeline hasn’t been released.

An autopsy found Drafs cut himself with the razor. Medical Examiner Gary Goldfogel ruled the death a suicide.

A bit more:

A family friend, Abbey Nightingale, said Drafs suffered from post-traumatic stress, severe depression and an anti-social disorder. He struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction, the root of many of his run-ins with the law, Nightingale said.

“He has a horrible, horrible, horrible criminal history because he is an addict,” Nightingale said. “He was mentally ill.”

The way we "treat" the mentally ill is unconscionable. It is one of the biggest failures of the progressive mindset to dictate that we cannot confine and medicate people who are dangerous to themselves and to society because that would impose on their free will. As though they had a functioning free will to begin with.

We used to have state funded (and I do mean state - like Washington state - not Federal - the Tenth Amendment again) institutions where the mentally ill could live out their lives. Not the best of places by any means but they received custodial care, food and housing. Those that could work could do what they wanted to. There was art, education and structure in their lives so they could make the best of themselves.

Now, thanks to the politically correct, these facilities were closed and the burden of care was handed over to the hospitals and prisons. Not like they aren't busy with anything else and of course, this is a quiet, peaceful, stable and comforting environment (set sarcasm=off)

I never met Timothy Blair Drafs but I just came back from outside pouring one for my homie - a shot of nice whiskey.

Timothy Drafs - I stand here and honor your life - rest in peace brother!

Well crap - say hello to El Niño

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Looks like we are getting solid El Niño conditions. NASA is saying that this is the cause for the flooding in Texas and it matches up with prior El Niños.

Last ski season sucked for everyone - looks like this winter will be just as bad. Good news is that California will get rain again - maybe this time, they will build some water storage - i.e. dams like Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada.

From NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center:

Severe Flooding Hits Central Texas, Oklahoma
A stagnant upper-air pattern that spread numerous storms and heavy rains from central Texas up into Oklahoma has resulted in record flooding for parts of the Lone Star State.  One of the hardest hit areas was in Hays County Texas south of Austin where the Blanco River rose rapidly and set a new record crest at over 40 feet, 13 feet above flood stage, following a night of very heavy rain in the area, with over 12 inches reported locally in a short period of time, in an area already wet from previous storms.  The combination of high pressure over the southeastern United States and a persistent southerly flow of moisture up out of the Gulf of Mexico ahead of a deep upper-level trough that was slow to leave the central and southern Rockies set the stage for persistent widespread storms across the Southern Plains from the eastern half of Texas, through Oklahoma, and into southern Kansas. 

More at the site - delightfully missing is any comment about Global Warming. Looks like NASA is seeing the writing on the wall (and the funding cuts to one particular office)

Our economy - so true

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Recent numbers were posted and our economy is in the terlit. Not like this was any news.

Michael Ramirez sums it up perfectly:


Quote of the month

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From an email list:

I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people.
I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem work itself out.

The culture of entitlement

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Looking back on the riots in Baltimore and Ferguson, one can be tempted to add race to the picture. The issue of Race has certainly been brought up by the Obama administration (thanks Holder, Sharpton, etc...) but is not the cause - welfare and entltlement is.

Consider the riots of 2011 - I wrote about them here: The UK Riots

White on white. No issue of race there. What is happening is the destruction of civil society by dependency of welfare and subsidies. My solution?

And of course, the liberals are clueless:

Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, is pushing a system that would see some benefits removed from looters, and others made conditional on attending a rehabilitation programme, which would include counselling and regular behavioural checks. It would apply only to those receiving lesser sentences, as anyone who goes to jail already automatically loses their benefits.

Nudge nudge wink wink. We all know you have been a naughty boy. Here is what we are going to do. You sit nicely in this classroom for two weeks and we will give you all of your benefits right back again.

Rehabilitation my sweet ass.

Give them this option: you will be given a battery of aptitude tests and after the results come back, you will have four weeks to choose a trade. If you choose a trade, you will be given two years of free schooling and a four year apprenticeship in the field while you are earning a minimal wage. If you do not maintain a B grade average, your school funding is terminated.

If you choose to not participate in this program, you get your dole back again but it will be 70% less. Were you getting free housing and $500/month for food? You will now have to pay $100 rent and you will get $200/month for food (no booze or tobacco).

Government assistance is not supposed to be comfortable -- it is supposed to incentivize the recipient to get their ass in gear and join the workforce.

Nobody has the guts to define the real problem and to do what needs to be done...

Want to lose weight? Eat chocolate

Have you seen this on popular nutrition sites recently? The data stems from research done by Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D. at the prestigious German Institute of Diet and Health.

Only problem is - this was an absolute hoax. For the inside scoop, read on - from io9:

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.
“Slim by Chocolate!” the headlines blared. A team of German researchers had found that people on a low-carb diet lost weight 10 percent faster if they ate a chocolate bar every day. It made the front page of Bild, Europe’s largest daily newspaper, just beneath their update about the Germanwings crash. From there, it ricocheted around the internet and beyond, making news in more than 20 countries and half a dozen languages. It was discussed on television news shows. It appeared in glossy print, most recently in the June issue of Shape magazine (“Why You Must Eat Chocolate Daily,” page 128). Not only does chocolate accelerate weight loss, the study found, but it leads to healthier cholesterol levels and overall increased well-being. The Bild story quotes the study’s lead author, Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D., research director of the Institute of Diet and Health: “The best part is you can buy chocolate everywhere.”

I am Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D. Well, actually my name is John, and I’m a journalist. I do have a Ph.D., but it’s in the molecular biology of bacteria, not humans. The Institute of Diet and Health? That’s nothing more than a website.

Other than those fibs, the study was 100 percent authentic. My colleagues and I recruited actual human subjects in Germany. We ran an actual clinical trial, with subjects randomly assigned to different diet regimes. And the statistically significant benefits of chocolate that we reported are based on the actual data. It was, in fact, a fairly typical study for the field of diet research. Which is to say: It was terrible science. The results are meaningless, and the health claims that the media blasted out to millions of people around the world are utterly unfounded.

Here’s how we did it.

Cherrypicking the numbers and p-hacking. Much more in the article - it is sad that much of scientific research suffers from the same corruption.

The same problem happens in some of the most respected Journals. Dr. Richard Horton, editor of the British medical journal Lancet has this to say (PDF):

Offline: What is medicine’s 5 sigma?
“A lot of what is published is incorrect.” I’m not allowed to say who made this remark because we were asked to observe Chatham House rules. We were also asked not to take photographs of slides. Those who worked for government agencies pleaded that their comments especially remain unquoted, since the forthcoming UK election meant they were living in “purdah”—a chilling state where severe restrictions on freedom of speech are placed on anyone on the government’s payroll. Why the paranoid concern for secrecy and non-attribution? Because this symposium—on the reproducibility and reliability of biomedical research, held at the Wellcome Trust in London last week—touched on one of the most sensitive issues in science today: the idea that something has gone fundamentally wrong with one of our greatest human creations.

The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant  conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. As one participant put it, “poor methods get results”.

A bit more:

One of the most convincing proposals came from outside the biomedical community. Tony Weidberg is a Professor of Particle Physics at Oxford. Following
several high-profile errors, the particle physics community now invests great effort into intensive checking and rechecking of data prior to publication. By filtering results through independent working groups, physicists are encouraged to criticise. Good criticism is rewarded. The goal is a reliable result, and the incentives for scientists are aligned around this goal. Weidberg worried we set the bar for results in biomedicine far too low. In particle physics, significance is set at 5 sigma—a p value of 3 ×10–7 or 1 in 3.5 million (if the result is not true, this is the probability that the data would have been as extreme as they are).

The conclusion of the symposium was that something must be done. Indeed, all seemed to agree that it was within our power to do that something. But as to precisely what to do or how to do it, there were no firm answers.

As you may well recall, Lancet was the journal that published Dr. Andrew Wakefield's groundbreaking work on Childhood Autism and the link to MMR Vaccines. Wakefields sample size was 13 children - cherry picked of course - and he was being paid by some lawyers who wanted to be able to sue the vaccine companies. His work was found to be completely fraudulent. Lancet retracted the article and Dr. Wakefield now goes by Andy - his Medical License was stripped from him.

The first article talks a bit about p-hacking:

Here’s a dirty little science secret: If you measure a large number of things about a small number of people, you are almost guaranteed to get a “statistically significant” result. Our study included 18 different measurements—weight, cholesterol, sodium, blood protein levels, sleep quality, well-being, etc.—from 15 people. (One subject was dropped.) That study design is a recipe for false positives.

Think of the measurements as lottery tickets. Each one has a small chance of paying off in the form of a “significant” result that we can spin a story around and sell to the media. The more tickets you buy, the more likely you are to win. We didn’t know exactly what would pan out—the headline could have been that chocolate improves sleep or lowers blood pressure—but we knew our chances of getting at least one “statistically significant” result were pretty good.

Whenever you hear that phrase, it means that some result has a small p value. The letter p seems to have totemic power, but it’s just a way to gauge the signal-to-noise ratio in the data. The conventional cutoff for being “significant” is 0.05, which means that there is just a 5 percent chance that your result is a random fluctuation. The more lottery tickets, the better your chances of getting a false positive. So how many tickets do you need to buy?

P(winning) = 1 - (1 - p)n

With our 18 measurements, we had a 60% chance of getting some“significant” result with p < 0.05. (The measurements weren’t independent, so it could be even higher.) The game was stacked in our favor.

It’s called p-hacking—fiddling with your experimental design and data to push p under 0.05—and it’s a big problem. Most scientists are honest and do it unconsciously. They get negative results, convince themselves they goofed, and repeat the experiment until it “works”. Or they drop “outlier” data points.

A classic example of this in Global Warming is Michael Mann's Hockey Stick where a few cherry-picked trees provided the ring measurements that was the 'knee' of the hockey stick - the place where the even temperatures soared off into the stratosphere. The tree rings accounted for the knee and all the numbers after them are actually derived from flawed computer models.

The actual boots-on-the-ground numbers simply are not there - there is no tipping point, there is no sudden acceleration of warming, the oceans are rising but will be about 0.2mm higher by the end 2100 and not the eight inches to one foot that Obama was talking about recently.

Back from town

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The farrier was late so I headed into town anyway and Lulu hung out with them while Sam and Rocky had their mani-pedi.

Sam and Rocky's previous owner was here too and he brought along a nice saddle for Sam the Mule so we are now set up to ride both critters. Lots of logging roads around here and they love the change of scenery...

Picked up a Costco rotisserie chicken for dinner - having that and then heading over to the restaurant for the show.

More later...

Quite the proposal

From the London Daily Mail:

Lawyer offers 50 cows, 70 sheep and 30 goats to marry Barack Obama's 16-year-old daughter Malia in Kenya... and says he has been 'interested' in her since she was 10
A Kenyan lawyer has offered President Obama 50 cows, 70 sheep and 30 goats in return for daughter Malia's hand in marriage.

Felix Kiprono Matagei, who is also a student at Oxford University according to his Facebook profile, offered the livestock in order to fulfill his 'dream' of marrying Malia.

He added that he has been 'interested' in Obama's daughter since his first presidential campaign in 2008, when she was just 10 years old.

Speaking to The Nairobian newspaper, he said: 'As a matter of fact, I haven't dated anyone since and promise to be faithful to her.

'I have shared this with my family and they are willing to help me raise the bride price. People might say I am after the family's money, which is not the case. My love is real.'

Kiprono says he will propose on a hill near his home village of Litein, and at the wedding will shun champagne in favour of a traditional drink of sour milk, called mursik.

As for life after marriage, Malia can look forward to learning how to milk a cow, cooking ugali - which is a thick maize porridge - and -preparing the mursik drink 'like any other Kalenjin woman'.

Kiprono said he hopes to put the offer of marriage to Obama when he makes his first presidential visit to Kenya, the country where his father was born, in July.

Obama's Kenyan grandmother, who is in her early 90s, still lives in Kogelo, in western Kenya, home to a number of the president's relatives.

Heh... Waiting for some Texas rancher to up the ante and offer 100 cows, 200 sheep and 100 goats.

Let the bidding wars commence!

Waiting for the farrier to arrive - he is from about 200 miles away and maintains a circle of critters that he calls on every three months. He does excellent work so we have not looked for anyone more local.

Heading into town for a couple errands after then. Have a network person doing some wiring at the store Friday so need to be there to keep an eye on the project.

A local restaurant is having its last night tonight and a favorite bluegrass band is playing so we will be there. I am so tempted to take the place over. Had a blast running the Bakery and I know I could do a good job with this. Have too many other irons in the fire to take on anything new...


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An interesting (and well researched) post about Tesla Motors and how what they claim does not match up with what they do. Business practices, numbers and rebates from the California taxpayers.

Check out: Whopperpedia: the Ultimate Guide to Teslagate

Tesla maintains that it makes as many cars as it can. Production-constrained, then, means that demand exceeds capacity (or production, or supply if you prefer to call it that). They have used this mantra from the moment the Model S started production (June 2012) to the latest earnings report, which covers January-March 2014.

How anybody with any business knowledge can believe this bullshit is beyond me.

a) If demand exceeds capacity then you simply increase capacity and/or price
Of course, in the real world demand usually outpaces capacity for a short period of time; in such case the company will be reluctant to raise prices for fear of killing momentum. This happens not so much because a product is popular (the iPhone doesn't sell out) as when it's more popular than expected, as happened to the Wii and PS4. Surprises do happen, and sometimes a product is in fact low on stock for a year or so (as with the aforementioned Wii). But to the best of my knowledge it's unprecedented for a product to remain supply-constrained for nearly three years.

Oh, and there may be occasional sell-outs later in a product's cycle. As in, the Wii sold out first at launch and three years later with New Super Mario Bros. Most of the time in the middle it wasn't sold out. The same has happened with the Galaxy S, Nespresso coffee machines or any other product you may think of: occasional sell-outs here and there, available 98% of the time at 98% of the stores.

A quick google search reveals how rare these "constraints" are: Tesla is virtually the only company using the production-constrained mantra, while supply-constrained is mostly used in economics, natural resources and occasionally by Tesla too.

Capacity rises to meet demand, whether it's in oil, diamonds or massages. Of course, some demand may simply be unprofitable; Sony may be reluctant to launch operations in Chad even if some people there want to buy a PS4. This is not a demand constraint but a logistics/operational one. In fact, it is an indication that there is not enough demand for the PS4 in Chad for Sony to bother, i.e. a sign of weakness rather than strength.

Of course, the use of this term in natural resources has an explanation: it may be difficult to increase production for physical reasons, and this situation can persist far longer than in manufacturing, food retail, etc; the oil run of 2004-2014 is a good example, as it took several years for producers to increase supply in response to high-and-growing prices. Looking at it the other way, if demand exceeds capacity and capacity is fixed for the time being, the price will rise.

So can't Tesla raise prices, just like the Saudis?

The author develops this WHOPPER #1 with five more chapters and then goes on with 19 more WHOPPERS

They conclude with a bunch of quotes from Elon Musk, misleading statements and numbers as well as potential frauds. A long and interesting read. I would love a reliable electric car but they are still waaay off in the future. We simply do not have the battery technology available.

Aaaand the other shoe drops...

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That $15 minimum wage? It was to benefit the labor unions. I knew that a lot of the contracts pegged union salaries to minimum wages and increasing the minimum wage was an easy way to increase the union workers salaries without having to enter into bargaining.

This turn of events is downright nasty - from the Los Angeles Times:

L.A. labor leaders seek minimum wage exemption for firms with union workers
Labor leaders, who were among the strongest supporters of the citywide minimum wage increase approved last week by the Los Angeles City Council, are advocating last-minute changes to the law that could create an exemption for companies with unionized workforces.

The push to include an exception to the mandated wage increase for companies that let their employees collectively bargain was the latest unexpected detour as the city nears approval of its landmark legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

For much of the past eight months, labor activists have argued against special considerations for business owners, such as restaurateurs, who said they would have trouble complying with the mandated pay increase.

But Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that mandated by the law.

"With a collective bargaining agreement, a business owner and the employees negotiate an agreement that works for them both. The agreement allows each party to prioritize what is important to them," Hicks said in a statement. "This provision gives the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement. And that is a good thing."

A great thing for the union bo$$e$ but not a good thing for their workers and for us general consumers. Great for robot and automation makers - their businesses are going to take off. There is already a machine that can cook burgers to order and can pay for itself in two years. Add ordering kiosks to eliminate wait-staff and you have a well run restaurant with 10% of the usual warm bodies earning a wage.

The fools keep voting for free crap without realizing where the money to pay for it comes from...

Just as a heads up, labor unions represent about 5% of the American work force. No wonder they are scrambling for relevancy in today's market place.

Oh hell no - EPA and their water-grab

This agency really needs to have their funding cut by 80% - they did great work when they were first formed but they have become an entrenched bureaucracy looking for more power to grab from We the People.

From The Washington Times:

Obama admin asserts dominion over creeks, streams, wetlands, ditches — even big puddles
President Obama’s administration on Wednesday claimed dominion over all of America’s streams, creeks, rills, ditches, brooks, rivulets, burns, tributaries, criks, wetlands — perhaps even puddles — in a sweeping move to assert unilateral federal authority.

The Environmental Protection Agency, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, says it has the authority to control all waterways within the United States — and will exercise that authority.

“We’re finalizing a clean water rule to protect the streams and the wetlands that one in three Americans rely on for drinking water. And we’re doing that without creating any new permitting requirements and maintaining all previous exemptions and exclusions,” EPA head Gina McCarthy told reporters Wednesday.

Want to fill in a soft spot in your pasture to grow some crops? No!
Have a creek that once flooded and is now filled with gravel runoff - want to excavate back to the nominal creek bed? No!
Own water rights to a creek and want to build a new water system? No!

These should be well beyond the scope of the EPA - these are more suited to the County and State regulatory boards - they know the land in question. The Tenth Amendment comes to mind again:

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

If it is not specifically enumerated in the constitution, it belongs to the states or We the People.

Yes, you could defeat this on a case by case series of lawsuits but the EPA has free lawyers on tap and the average citizen would have to spend $300K to litigate up to a higher court. Who has that kind of money just to fill in a soft spot in their pasture.

Life in NYC - an update

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De Blasio is doing what a Progressive does when his leadership is failing - playing the blame-game. It is not him, it is those pesky gangs that are causing the problems. Gangs that were there when De Blasio took office.

From the New York CBS affiliate:

Mayor De Blasio Blames Gang-On-Gang Violence For Recent Crime Spike
The number of shootings and murders is up in the city, but Mayor Bill de Blasio says gang-on-gang crime is to blame for the recent upswing.

Although the number of murders is on the rise, de Blasio said the situation is better than it has been in recent years, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports.

“We are down compared to last year to date, we’re down from the year before that,” de Blasio said. “Where we’re at this year compared to last year, and previous years, we are still at one of the lowest murder rates we have ever had in the history of the city.”

Play the blame game and cherry pick some numbers. Typical...

From ABC News:

Pentagon Inadvertently Shipped Live Anthrax to Labs in Nine States
Samples of live anthrax were inadvertently shipped to private research laboratories in nine states and one in South Korea that were supposed to have received dead anthrax samples, the Pentagon confirmed today.

There is no known risk to the general public and there have been no suspected or confirmed cases of anthrax infection as a result of the inadvertent shipment, officials said.

"The Department of Defense is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in their investigation of the inadvertent transfer of samples containing live Bacillus anthracis, also known as anthrax, from a DoD lab in Dugway, Utah, to labs in nine states,” said Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

They use the killed bacteria to verify their ability to test for Anthrax. This is a major error on someone's part - live diseases are stored differently and in different facilities from their killed counterparts.

Life in New York City

Why do people keep electing these fools - from the New York Post:

You’re 45% more likely to be murdered in de Blasio’s Manhattan
Murders are way up so far this year in Manhattan, The Post has learned.

Sixteen people were killed around the borough between the first of the year and Sunday. Over the same period last year, the figure was 11. That’s an increase of about 45 percent.

Shootings in the borough have also soared.

There have been 50 “shooting incidents’’ since Jan. 1, compared with 31 in the same time period in 2014 — an increase of about 38 percent. Some of these “incidents’’ involved more than one victim.

The number of shooting victims nearly doubled, from 33 to 61.

The guy cannot manage the city - he got elected because enough people thought his narrative was a good one but he is in over his head.

In a parallel universe

If computers had never been invented, I would probably have been a locksmith. I am changing the locks on some vacation rentals - key security was not good so starting over.

Fun work - meditative, it either works correctly or it does not. When a key is not available, getting the lock open can be interesting - these people have some great toys for sale.

First strawberries of the season

We took a walk through the garden a few minutes ago and the first strawberries are ripe. No comparison to store-bought - talk about flavor-bomb...

Rest of the garden is coming along nicely - lettuce should be harvestable in another week.

A brilliant hack - Dragonfly

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Instead of going for larger and larger telescope mirrors, how about taking some off-the-shelf telephoto lenses and combing them into an array.

From the University of Toronto:

Dragonfly is an innovative, multi-lens array designed for ultra-low surface brightness astronomy at visible wavelengths. Commissioned in 2013 with only three lenses, the array is growing in size and proving capable of detecting extremely faint, complex structure around galaxies.

According to Cold Dark Matter (CDM) cosmology, structure in the Universe grows from the “bottom up”, with small galaxies merging to form larger ones. Evidence of such mergers can be seen in faint streams and filaments visible around the Milky Way Galaxy and the nearby M31 galaxy.

But the CDM model predicts that we should see more of this structure than is currently observed. However, images obtained using even the largest, most advanced telescopes today contain scattered light that may be hiding this faint structure.

Dragonfly is designed to reveal the faint structure by greatly reducing scattered light and internal reflections within its optics. It achieves this using ten, commercially available Canon 400mm lenses with unprecedented nano-fabricated coatings with sub-wavelength structure on optical glasses.

Also, Dragonfly images a galaxy through multiple lenses simultaneously—akin to a dragonfly’s compound eye—enabling further removal of unwanted light. The result is an image in which extremely faint galaxy structure is visible.

The array began imaging targets in 2013 from its home at the New Mexico Skies hosting facility. Images have shown Dragonfly is at least ten times more efficient than its nearest rival and will be able to detect faint structures predicted by current merger models.

Here is a photo in its current configuration:



There is a nice paper describing the hardware, software and performance of the scope here: Ultra Low Surface Brightness Imaging with the Dragonfly Telephoto Array

Very clever hack as all the hardware and software costs about $135K - much less than an equivalent quality scope of the same capabilities.

Their paper currency is now worth less than toilet paper.

From Reason:

Venezuelan Bolivar Now Worth More as Toilet Paper Than as Money
Back in February, when the Venezuelan government introduced its official and complicated three-tier exchange rate, 190 bolivars bought you one U.S. dollar on the black market—which is where real people without government connections shop for hard currency in Caracas. Now, just a few months later, the bolivar is worth about half that much. This is a brilliant testimony to the innovative power of the government's socialist policies: faced with a crushing shortage of toilet paper, the Bolivarian regime has converted its own currency into butt-wipe.

Bloomberg notes:

The stunning collapse of Venezuela's bolivar in black market trading this month -- it fell to as low as 423 bolivars per dollar from 279 at the start of the month -- has left Venezuelans scratching their heads,  with many wondering why it has sunk below the value of gold and hard currency the central bank has to back it.

And the end result:

Actual buying and selling of goods and services in Venezuela now requires dollars.

Now tell me again how all the woes of the world can be cured by big central government and top-down planning...

Self-driving car FAIL

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Autonomous cars still have a long way to go:

Hat tip to the UK Independent:

Self-parking Volvo ploughs into journalists after owner neglects to pay for extra feature that stops cars crashing into people
A video showing a car attempting to park but actually plowing into journalists might have resulted from the Volvo’s owner not paying an extra fee to have the car avoid pedestrians.

The video, taken in the Dominican Republic, shows a Volvo XC60 reversing itself, waiting, and then driving back into pedestrians at speed. The horrifying pictures went viral and were presumed to have resulted from a malfunction with the car — but the car might not have had the ability to recognize a human at all.

The accident may have happened because owners have to pay for a special feature known as “pedestrian detection functionality”, which costs extra. The cars do have auto-braking features as standard, but only for avoiding other cars — if they are to avoid crashing into pedestrians, too, then owners must pay extra.

Seriously WTF???  To not run over humans is an optional upgrade? Expect major back-pedaling from Volvo in 3... 2... 1...

I used to own one - an older 740 turbo station wagon and loved driving it but the scheduled maintenance costs were way too high. It was a fun ride but not worth the couple grand each year for basic oil change and scheduled parts changes.

Loving my Ford Truck - dead simple and great engineering.

This is shaping up to be a long hot summer - from the Z Man:

Charm City
George Soros spent $33 million trying to incinerate Ferguson Missouri, but the little city is still there. The problem is that he bet on a weak horse. While Ferguson is a vibrant example of post-racial America in the era of Obama, it lacks the sort richness and diversity of other cities. Try as they might, the locals just can’t take down a city, even a small one.

Soros should have invested more heavily in Baltimore where the locals really know how to put on a show. Since the police have went on an unofficial strike after the Freddy-Poo Gray incident, the locals have been celebrating diversity with a vengeance. This long weekend has seen 26 shootings and and 9 murders. Granted, it is a three day weekend, but it has been unseasonably mild of late so the murdering season is late starting.

What no one wants to say, but everyone knows is that the cops are now in their cop houses filling out paperwork and doing as little as possible. They see no reason to risk prison for a city government that would rather arrest cops than criminals. The gangsters know it is open season so they are doing what they do and that means taking over the streets, without fear of the cops.

Fundamentally, this is the problem with race relations in microcosm. Blacks did best when whites were completely intolerant of black culture. The talented tenth took the lead in keeping order in the black community, but quietly welcomed help from white society. It was not ideal, but black crime rates, literacy rates, illegitimacy rates and addiction rates were their best in the years before the Civil Rights movement.

Once those constraints were removed, all of the worst instincts of black America were unleashed, mostly on other blacks. That’s what’s happening in Baltimore right now. The cops were doing a good job keeping the problem contained to the ghettos. They were having some success policing the ghettos, lowering crime rates over the last decade. Now, the cage door has been swung open and all hell is breaking loose.

The progressives are trying to overwhelm the system so they can say it doesn't work and install a Utopian workers paradise of their own (coughMarxismcough). Immigration, racial tensions, lowering the standards for public education (Common Core) and limiting access to alternatives (Charter Schools). These are tactics right out of the 1848 manifesto of the ten planks.

Obama has done nothing to calm people - he is intent on stirring the pot and this summer is going to be a bad one. I lived through the riots in the 1960's and I think this is going to be worse.

Call me an old fart as much as you want but I will be happy to spend this summer in the country, playing with my guns and running my small store away from Progressive-run 'big' America. The sooner we get some adults in the room the better...

Picture is worth 1K words:


Swiped from Rude Science

But I have three manuals as well - my college Olivetti and my Mom and Dad's old machines (Underwoods both)

From the London Daily Mail: (this link is from last year but just finding it now - even more relevant)

Typewriter sales boom in Germany as thousands go back to basics in bid to avoid U.S. spies in wake of NSA allegations
Typewriter sales are booming in Germany as government departments, businesses and people go back-to-the-future to thwart spying by American spooks.

Old tech is trumping the new in the wake of the NSA spying scandals which saw Chancellor Merkel's phone hacked on numerous occasions by Washington and culminated in the expulsion of the CIA spy chief from Berlin earlier this month.

The head of the parliamentary inquiry into spying by the US National Security Service in Germany said his committee is considering using typewriters. But many have already made the switch.

Or you can get an old machine, install Linux and just stay off the internet.

I have been buying the Selectrics at auctions - a lot of times the office equipment from a dead business will go for $50 or less. The furniture (desks, conference tables, etc...) is still valuable but the 'old' typewriters are considered one step above junk. A lot of times I have to fill out forms or multi-part documents - a typewriter is the only way to go.

Rumblings from China

If one of their reactors melts down would it be an America Syndrome? From the UK Guardian:

China warned over 'insane' plans for new nuclear power plants
China’s plans for a rapid expansion of nuclear power plants are “insane” because the country is not investing enough in safety controls, a leading Chinese scientist has warned.

Proposals to build plants inland, as China ends a moratorium on new generators imposed after the Fukushima disaster in March 2011, are particularly risky, the physicist He Zuoxiu said, because if there was an accident it could contaminate rivers that hundreds of millions of people rely on for water and taint groundwater supplies to vast swathes of important farmlands.

China halted the approval of new reactors in 2011 in order to review its safety standards, but gave the go-ahead in March for two units, part of an attempt to surpass Japan’s nuclear-generating capacity by 2020 and become the world’s biggest user of nuclear power a decade later.

A bit more:

He, who worked on China’s nuclear weapons programme, said the planned rollout was going too fast to ensure it had the safety and monitoring expertise needed to avert an accident.

“There are currently two voices on nuclear energy in China. One prioritises safety while the other prioritises development,” He told the Guardian in an interview at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

He spoke of risks including “corruption, poor management abilities and decision-making capabilities”. He said: “They want to build 58 (gigawatts of nuclear generating capacity) by 2020 and eventually 120 to 200. This is insane.”

Reminds me of the old Engineering statement: Fast, cheap, high quality. Pick two.

Unfortunately, it seems China is going for the first two.

From Associated Press:

APNewsBreak: IRS says thieves stole tax info from 100,000
Thieves used an online service provided by the IRS to gain access to information from more than 100,000 taxpayers, the agency said Tuesday.

The information included tax returns and other tax information on file with the IRS.

The IRS said the thieves accessed a system called "Get Transcript." In order to access the information, the thieves cleared a security screen that required knowledge about the taxpayer, including Social Security number, date of birth, tax filing status and street address.

"We're confident that these are not amateurs," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

Koskinen said the agency was alerted to the thieves when technicians noticed an increase in the number of taxpayers seeking transcripts.

The IRS said they targeted the system from February to mid-May. The service has been temporarily shut down.

Three and a half months that the system had consistently higher volumes and nobody bothered to check the traffic? If this was a commercial IT group, someone would be fired for incompetence.

Wonder if they found any of Lois Lerner's emails...

Was in town shopping for the store and saw a big plume of black smoke right near where I was heading next. Flipped the radio to a local news station and heard about this.

From station KGMI:

Dump truck tumbles from I-5 onto Bellingham street, catches fire
A dump truck smashed through barriers on Southbound I-5, fell down to the street below near the corner of Iowa and Lincoln and burst into flames today.

KGMI’s Karen Taylor talked to Sergeant Shane Rogers of State Patrol.

Here’s what we know:

Cause was a mechanical issue/failure of one of the front steering wheel columns.
It should have come up in an annual inspection.

The dump truck should never have been on the roadway.

It was carrying a load of gravel/dirt, spilled onto embankment.

Fluids and oils from truck had to be contained by booms to keep it from going down the storm water drains.

Dump truck being inspected before it’s towed away, information will be sent to federal inspectors, who will determine if the dump truck company will face any fines or penalties.
It is NOT the driver’s fault, there is nothing he could have done to prevent it or see it ahead of time.

He is surprisingly unhurt, jumped out as the dump truck was on fire.

There are a bunch of photos on the KGMI site including this one:


Food coma - chicken barley soup

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Got this recipe nailed.

Boiled a couple chicken breasts in water (with bay leaves, a little bit of tarragon***, some Better than Bouillon Chicken base and lots of black pepper) to make a broth. Removed bay leaves and chix breasts and let everything cool. Washed and pre-soaked the pearled barley. This prep time was about 45 minutes including thawing out the chicken breasts (hot tap water).

Went and did something else for three hours (cleaned out the garage, hung out with the critters and worked on the music room project).

Skimmed the crud off the broth and shredded the chicken, added a chopped onion, a big teaspoon of Marmite (pure Umami bomb - here and here), chopped celery, two cans of diced 'maters, the chicken and the barley.

Got this up to a low simmer and went and did email and some surfing for an hour. Come back, adjust and dinner was ready.

The new apples are starting to come in so did a Waldorf salad with Honeycrisp, Pecans and Crasins with a bit of lemon juice and mayo.

Mmmmmm - Food coma...

*** Tarragon - I do mean a very little bit. I made a gallon of soup today and used about a half teaspoon. If you can taste the soup and think: "Hmmm - Tarragon" you used too much. A little bit adds a lot of flavor without being overpowering. It balances the Umami very nicely.

Ted Turner - moron

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The guy was able to amass quite the fortune but his brain has gone soft in the last couple of decades. He is buying into something that is against the interests of any thinking man or woman in the world.

The United Nations is a group of corrupt kleptocrats whose only desire is to build their own power-base. It seems that Turner (and Reuters) is helping them along by subsidizing the indoctrination of future generations of media reporters.

From FOX News:

Foundations plan to pay news media to cover radical UN agenda
The United Nations Foundation created by billionaire Ted Turner, along with a branch of media giant Thomson Reuters, is starting to train a squadron of journalists and subsidize media content in 33 countries—including the U.S. and Britain--in a planned $6 million effort to popularize the bulky and sweeping U.N.-sponsored Sustainable Development Goals, prior to a global U.N. summit this September. where U.N. organizers hope they will be endorsed by world leaders.

The unprecedented media push is formally intended to start on May 25 but is already underway. It is intended to help breathe some new life into a sprawling U.N. effort--supported by, among others, the Obama administration--to create a global social and environmental agenda for the next 15 years.

It is taking place in parallel with an equally strong but unrelated media cheerleading push by supporters of strong climate change action to help set in stone a new global greenhouse gas emissions treaty at a Paris summit in December.

Much more at the article - they cannot control us but they can control what we see and hear. The idea that any problem can be fixed by a bigger and more centralized government is insane. It has never ever worked. Want to fix poverty in Africa? Get rid of the foreign aid that enables and props up the corrupt regimes. Zimbabwe used to be the agricultural powerhouse of Africa exporting crops to the other nations. Now it has to import wheat and corn.

How to be a filmmaker in 32 steps

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Great video:

A cheery thought for today - a two-fer

First, from the UK Telegraph:

HSBC fears world recession with no lifeboats left
The world economy is disturbingly close to stall speed. The United Nations has cut its global growth forecast for this year to 2.8pc, the latest of the multinational bodies to retreat.

We are not yet in the danger zone but this pace is only slightly above the 2.5pc rate that used to be regarded as a recession for the international system as a whole.

It leaves a thin safety buffer against any economic shock - most potently if China abandons its crawling dollar peg and resorts to 'beggar-thy-neighbour' policies, transmitting a further deflationary shock across the global economy.

And the meat of the story:

Stephen King from HSBC warns that the global authorities have alarmingly few tools to combat the next crunch, given that interest rates are already zero across most of the developed world, debts levels are at or near record highs, and there is little scope for fiscal stimulus.

"The world economy is sailing across the ocean without any lifeboats to use in case of emergency," he said.

And second - also from the UK Telegraph:

The world is drowning in debt, warns Goldman Sachs
The world is sinking under too much debt and an ageing global population means countries' debt piles are in danger of growing out of control, the European chief executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management has warned.

Andrew Wilson, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), said growing debt piles around the world posed one of the biggest threats to the global economy.

"There is too much debt and this represents a risk to economies. Consequently, there is a clear need to generate growth to work that debt off but, as demographics change, new ways of thinking at a policy level are required to do this," he said.

Geee Mister Wizard, how about cutting taxes and letting the economy roar to life. Hasn't anyone ever heard of the Laffer Curve? Hasn't anyone learned that redistribution of wealth simply does not work? 

A day of rest

Slept in after all of yesterday's excitement. Lulu is feeling under the weather so she is upstairs dozing. Making some chicken barley soup for dinner tonight and working on a couple of projects in the house.

Minimal posting this afternoon. Shopping run tomorrow.

Summer camp - a letter

From an email list:

Dear Mom,
Our Scoutmaster told us to write to our parents in case you saw the flood on TV and got worried. We are okay. Only one of our tents and 2 sleeping bags got washed away. Luckily, none of us got drowned because we were all up on the mountain looking for Adam when it happened.

Oh yes, please call Adam's mother and tell her he is okay. He can't write because of the cast. I got to ride in one of the search and rescue Jeeps. It was great. We never would have found Adam in the dark if it hadn't been for the lightning.

Scoutmaster Ted got mad at Adam for going on a hike alone without telling anyone. Adam said he did tell him, but it was during the fire so he probably didn't hear him. Did you know that if you put gas on a fire, the gas will blow up?

The wet wood didn't burn, but one of the tents did and also some of our clothes.
Matthew is going to look weird until his hair grows back.

We will be home on Saturday if Scoutmaster Ted gets the bus fixed. It wasn't his fault about the crash. The brakes worked okay when we left. Scoutmaster Ted said that with a bus that old, you have to expect something to break down; that's probably why he can't get insurance.

We think it's a super bus. He doesn't care if we get it dirty, and if it's hot, sometimes he lets us ride on the bumpers. It gets pretty hot with 45 people in a bus made for 24. He let us take turns riding in the trailer until the policeman stopped and talked to us.

Scoutmaster Ted is a neat guy. Don't worry, he is a good driver. In fact, he is teaching Horace how to drive on the mountain roads where there aren't any cops. All we ever see up there are huge logging trucks.

This morning all of the guys were diving off the rocks and swimming out to the rapids. Scoutmaster Ted wouldn't let me because I can't swim, and Adam was afraid he would sink because of his cast (it's concrete because we didn't have any plaster), so he let us take the canoe out. It was great. You can still see some of the trees under the water from the flood.

Scoutmaster Ted isn't crabby like some scoutmasters. He didn't even get mad about the life jackets. He has to spend a lot of time working on the bus so we are trying not to cause him any trouble.

Guess what? We have all passed our first aid merit badges. When Andrew dived into the lake and cut his arm, we all got to see how a tourniquet works.

Steve and I threw up, but Scoutmaster Ted said it was probably just food poisoning from the left-over chicken. He said they got sick that way with food they ate in prison. I'm so glad he got out and became our scoutmaster. He said he sure figured out how to get things done better while he was doing his time By the way, what is a pedal-file?

I have to go now. We are going to town to post our letters and buy some more beer and ammo. Don't worry about anything. We are fine and tonight it's my turn to sleep in the Scoutmaster's tent.

Crap - RIP John and Alicia Nash

If you ever saw the movie A Beautiful Mind you will know who I am talking about.

From the New Jersey news aggregator NJ.COM:

Famed 'A Beautiful Mind' mathematician John Nash, wife, killed in N.J. Turnpike crash
John Forbes Nash Jr., the brilliant Princeton University mathematician whose life story was the subject of the film "A Beautiful Mind," was killed with his wife Alicia on Saturday in a crash on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Nash was 86. Alicia Nash was 82. The couple lived in Princeton Junction.

Police said the two were in a taxi traveling southbound in the left lane of the turnpike when the driver of the Ford Crown Victoria lost control as he tried to pass a Chrysler in the center lane, crashing into a guard rail near Interchange 8A in Monroe Township, according to State Police Sgt. Gregory Williams.

Much more at the site - a nice obituary. Nash was a top-notch mathematician and a very modest, down to earth human being.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Custom punched tape for a player organ that is over 100 years old:

More on this instrument and Bill Nunn's amazing collection here: Skyrock Farm

Ski to Sea successful

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Had a lot of fun today and it went very smoothly. We used the same frequencies as last year so it was just a matter of reprogramming the radio sets (two) with that file and boom! I use two radios so I can monitor other frequencies while maintaining a dedicated contact with my spotters (and also as a spare in case of trouble). I have the local Search and Rescue as well as Police frequencies programmed. If there is any trouble, I can inform the race leaders and keep them apprised.

Weather was cool and overcast - perfect for athletic exertion - I dressed in layers so was able to keep comfy.

Picked up some Chinese food in town so having that for dinner - time to portion out and cryovac the remaining beef brisket. It is absolutely delicious but eating it for five days in a row is a bit tiring...

Off to the RACES

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Pun in the title - RACES stands for Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service.

Heading out to the Ski to Sea - on air in two hours. Grab a quick coffee, load up my dog and head out...

Quote of the month

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With all the protests going on - the Shell drilling rig in Seattle, Baltimore and Ferguson, this quote comes to mind:

Moral indignation is a technique used to endow the idiot with dignity.
--Marshall McLuhan 1967

Well crap - good to find out now

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My portable ham rig is in a plastic tote with mics, speakers, cables, etc... ready to go.

I opened it up to check everything and program the race frequencies and realized that the main power cable was AWOL - gone - missing - not in the house...

Spent 20 minutes looking for it and finally soldered a new one. Got the two radios programmed with the race frequencies (and have a cheat sheet printed out in case), and am good to go.

Feeling very embarrassed as if this had been an emergency bug-out scenario, I would have been dead in the water. I will be checking through each of my emergency kits on a monthly basis to eliminate situations like this...

Sitting down to a very late dinner.

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You stick your hand in a box, a video camera records your movements and software edits the image to produce interesting results in realtime - a fun project!

The Betrayal Papers

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This just came in over the transom and all I can say is Ho. Li. Crap.

A group of people have worked together tracing the network of people and organizations that put Obama in the Presidency. It would be a candidate for an AFDB but each article provides the links to the corroborating data so fact checking is as simple as a few mouse clicks.

Check out The Betrayal Papers:

Part #1
Part #2
Part #3
Part #4
Part #5
Part #6

This kind of thing is exactly what the Internet is for - read it and spread the word.

Packing the truck

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Back from the organizational meeting, got my Tee Shirt (this year's is really nice!) and loading the ham radio equipment into the truck.

Leftover brisket for dinner and then an early bed - the race starts at 7:30AM tomorrow and I need to be set up and on the air by 8:30AM

Surf a bit later...

Light posting today - a mad scramble

I am part of the ham radio link for the Ski-to-Sea race and had always had it in my mind that it was on the next weekend.

Was in town running some errands and it hit me that today is the Saturday of the next weekend and the race is tomorrow AM.

Running a bit of a mad scramble here getting equipment together - pretty easy actually as I have the portable station already packed in totes - just need to power it up and program the frequencies for the event.

To make things interesting, Lulu is in town yesterday and today planning to head out here Sunday afternoon. Have left a couple messages on her phone but I may be doing this by myself. This will not be horrible, just busy.

Heading out for the pre-race meeting at the WECG headquarters in a few minutes...

Happy 40th Birthday

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Industrial Light & Magic was founded in May of 1975

Here is an all-too-short brag reel of their work:

Their homepage is here: ILM

One of the videos from the Internet Archive in the last post:

Lots of Government Educational films - great stuff and free - our tax dollars at work!

Manuals - a collection

Ho. Li. Crap. The Internet Archive is an amazing website.

Just found out that they have a collection of manuals for various products - Music Synthesizers, Computers, Firearms, Vending Machines, and much much more. Plan to spend several hours...

From Warren Meyer writing at Coyote Blog:

Heisenberg's Theorem on Green Energy Measurement
Theorem:  A media article on a wind or solar project will give its installation costs or the value of its energy produced, but never both.

Corollary 1:  One therefore can never assess the economic reasonableness of any green energy project from a single media article

Corollary 2:  For supporters of green energy, there is a good reason for Corollary #1.

So true - it is very difficult to get these numbers because the 'green' energy projects are not profitable without huge government subsidies. Given that the government does not make any money to speak of, it only spends what it takes from us as taxes, that is our money being used to prop up unworkable scams.

Happy 35th Birthday

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Pac-Man was released on May 22, 1980 - from Wired:

PAC-Man turns 35 today
Pac-Man, the biggest arcade game of all time, turns 35 today. Here’s a look back at the era when Pac-Man fever ruled the world.

Released by the Japanese company Namco on May 22, 1980, Pac-Man was like nothing else at the time. At a time when Space Invaders and Asteroids and other games with abstracted, monochrome graphics ruled the arcade, Pac-Man offered a colorful cartoonish design with an appealing central character. It revolved around eating, not shooting; and it was designed to appeal to young women and couples, not dudes in sketchy bowling-alley bars (although they all played it too).

The colorful design and unique collect-the-dots maze gameplay—plus the wonderful tension of running away from those darned ghosts, then scrambling to eat them once you got a power pellet—made Pac-Man almost instantly addictive, eating quarters as rapaciously as its protagonist swallowed pixels. By one count, Namco sold 400,000 Pac-Man machines, head and shoulders above anything that had come before, or since. And it’s still highly playable and popular in a way its contemporaries are not—few people are paying for Asteroids or Space Invaders updates today, but Namco Bandai still makes and sells variations on Pac-Man on every platform imaginable.

WikiPedia has a nice write-up.

Patriot Act? Give me a break. From The Washington Times:

FBI admits no major cases cracked with Patriot Act snooping powers
FBI agents can’t point to any major terrorism cases they’ve cracked thanks to the key snooping powers in the Patriot Act, the Justice Department’s inspector general said in a report Thursday that could complicate efforts to keep key parts of the law operating.

Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said that between 2004 and 2009, the FBI tripled its use of bulk collection under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows government agents to compel businesses to turn over records and documents, and increasingly scooped up records of Americans who had no ties to official terrorism investigations.

The FBI did finally come up with procedures to try to minimize the information it was gathering on nontargets, but it took far too long, Mr. Horowitz said in the 77-page report, which comes just as Congress is trying to decide whether to extend, rewrite or entirely nix Section 215.

It's not about protecting United States citizens, it's about grabbing power and building your bureaucracy. The 'protection' is just a scam to justify the agencie's existence.

The Israelis are doing incredible work without this wiretapping of innocent citizens. They are using their brains and actually profiling their enemies.

Ted Cruse rocks!

Here he is talking to a reporter:

He would make an amazing President.

Tip of the hat to always awesome Maggie's Farm.

Light posting next few nights

Finishing off a very large electronic music project I had started over six months ago. A voyage of discovery and the end result is turning out to be pretty frikkin' awesome...

More in a month or two.

Stormy weather

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Forecast is for T-Storms with possible hail tonight - had some last night and I can hear rumblings over Mt. Baker. Gorgeous clouds driving back from town tonight.

Email spam

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Been an interesting couple of months as I have been getting increasingly more and more email spam in my inbox. I have a script that eliminates 99.9% of the comment spam on this blog so now have been looking at a similar treatment for my email.

A lot of servers are hacked - I will see clusters of spam coming from the same subnet of an ISP or web hosting company. I found an application that allows me to scrape the email messages and write them to one big text file. I then use Windows PowerShell to extract the offending IP Addresses of the spammer and upload them to my mail scanner on my server.

Only problem is that this is like playing Whack-A-Mole as the spam is coming in from new IP addresses every day. Time to sign up with Spamhaus and get rid of the problem once and for all...

Script kiddies living in their mommy's basement.

Pournelle's Iron Law:

Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people:

First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

This is happening with NOAA, Humpback Whales and Hawaii - from the Cornwall Alliance:

NOAA Seeks to Expand Federal Oversight of Hawaiian Waters: New plan will limit use of Hawaiian coastal waters by surfers, fishermen and tourists
With the incredible recovery of humpback whales, NOAA recently proposed to delist them as an endangered species. The logical follow-up step is to dismantle the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Instead, NOAA is moving forward with a 24 million dollar proposal to expand their focus to much more than whales, while increasing regulations and restricting use and enjoyment of areas within the revised sanctuary boundaries.

Located mostly in state waters, the current sanctuary encloses only a fraction of the whales’ Hawaiian wintering grounds. Not only that, when the sanctuary was finally, and somewhat reluctantly, approved by the state in 1997, humpbacks were already well on the road to recovery.

While it is impossible to measure the effect of the sanctuary on whale populations, it has at least raised awareness and educated many about humpback whales. However, a laundry-list of non-governmental whale conservation organizations have been at least, if not more effective, including the Pacific Life Foundation, who recently released a giant screen film on humpback whales. An artistic masterpiece, I was glad to see the filmmakers describe how increasing whale populations are benefitting some Pacific Island economies like Hawaii by bringing in whale-loving tourists.

If the Hawaiian sanctuary were dismantled today, the scores of NGOs and businesses, together with the Hawaiian government, would make sure that humpback whales are here to stay. Unfortunately, NOAA’s monstrous 456-page Draft Management Plan reveals they have no intentions to dismantle the sanctuary. Instead, they want to expand it and attempt to micromanage everything from climate change to sea turtles. The new proposal also includes a name change to Hawaiian Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

Of course, along with their expanded focus comes an increase in federal regulations that could have a significant negative impact on the Hawaiian economy in three key areas: whale and dolphin viewing, surfing, and commercial fishing. NOAA’s new proposal seeks to place excessive restrictions on approaching whales and other marine mammals. And the proposed increase in sanctuary size, together with increased restrictions on anchoring within the sanctuary, could restrict access for both commercial fishermen and surfers. Big wave surfers must anchor boats and jet skis in order to access choice surfing spots.

Classic Bureaucratic power grab - more at the site. Click here to place your comment - this needs to be stopped.

The Hillary interview

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Dan Joseph from the Media Research Center:

Takata air bag recall

U.S. DOT Announces National Recall of Takata Air Bags
At the insistence of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Takata has determined that a defect exists in some of its air bag inflators. Takata has agreed to a national recall of certain types of frontal driver and passenger side air bag inflators used in vehicles manufactured by BMW, Chrysler, Daimler Trucks, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota. These inflators were made with a propellant that can degrade over time and has led to ruptures that have been blamed for six deaths worldwide. The action expands the number of vehicles to be recalled for defective Takata inflators to nearly 34 million.

34 Million is a lot of vehicles - check out your vehicle's VIN at this site.

Unemployment in Ferguson, Missouri

Remember the riots last January?

It was discovered that many of the rioters were from out of town and funded by one of George Soros' front groups. Read about it here, here and  here.

Now, five months later, it seems that the flow of money has shut down. From The Washington Times (sorry for the very obnoxious self-loading video clip):

Hired Black Lives Matter protesters start #CutTheCheck after being stiffed by ACORN successor group
Hired protesters with the Black Lives Matter movement have started a #CutTheCheck hashtag and held a sit-in at the offices for the successor group to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in Missouri after the group allegedly stopped paying them.

FrontPage Magazine reports that Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) has been paying protesters $5,000 a month to demonstrate in Ferguson. Last week, hired protesters who haven’t been paid held a sit-in at MORE’s offices and posted a demand letter online.

MORE is the re-branded Missouri branch of ACORN, which filed for bankruptcy in late 2010, FrontPage reported. MORE and other groups supporting the Black Lives Matter movement have received millions of dollars from billionaire financier George Soros.

The group Millennial Activists United posted a letter on their blog demanding MORE “cut the checks” to demonstrators.

There was a flurry of tweets about this which have since been scrubbed - fortunately, Weasel Zippers saved them for posterity. Check them out in all their millenial self-absorbed glory here and here.

More at American Thinker.

You will remember ACORN as the group that got seriously pranked by James O’Keefe when he secretly video taped their members in several offices. Congress quickly voted to defund them and they went bankrupt only to re-emerge with different covers:

Corruption at ACORN
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) was a massive, unaccountable taxpayer-subsidized group that the Obama Administration was using to conduct the Census, register voters and sign people up for government programs. Posing as a “pimp and prostitute,” James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles visited eight ACORN offices around the country, seeking advice on how to secure a home loan to run a brothel.

The corruption was shocking and widespread. In Maryland, Giles was told to list her stated occupation as “performance artist.” Another office gave O’Keefe advice on being a landlord… of the brothel. Time after time, O’Keefe and Giles were advised by ACORN employees to lie to the police, lie on government forms and illegally secure government funding for their clearly-stated goal of opening and operating a brothel.

This scandal was what put Andrew Breitbart on the map for most people.

Beware the dangers of Selfie Sticks...

This Public Service Announcement is brought to you by Pizza Hut:

Pack my own food - from Arab News:

2,745 restaurants shut for health violation
Samples of food items and drinks taken from more than 2,000 restaurants in Jeddah were found to be contaminated with 11 types of harmful bacteria, a municipal source has said.

The shocking results of food samples, which were tested at municipal laboratories, forced the authorities to close down as many as 2,745 restaurants in the last four months, local media reported on Monday.

The bacteria found in the food samples included coliform, which thrive on contaminated food and can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and fever.

More at the site - it is like nobody cares. The royals are above it all and the slaves they import have no motivation. Talk about dysfunctional culture - no desire to visit there.

Tell me again why we are beholden to these ticks for their petroleum?

Wonderful essay from Alan Carlin - a senior (45 years) EPA analyst:

Why Skeptics Should Encourage Energy Use from Fossil Fuels Where Economically Justified
I was actively involved in environmental protection as a Sierra Club activist and senior EPA analyst for over 45 years, but about eight years ago I concluded that I could not support the energy use/CO2 reduction objectives of the environmental movement and many governments in the developed world. These objectives are not just unlikely to be successful; they are genuinely harmful to humans and the environment.

What the world needs is not decreased fossil fuel use but increased use with careful control of conventional pollutants using conventional controls where needed and justified. Conventional controls are much less expensive and much more certain to be effective than attempting to reduce fossil fuel use in order to reduce conventional pollution.

The much maligned carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, as EPA and Obama claim, but rather a basic input to plant photosynthesis and growth, which is the basis of life on Earth. Decreasing atmospheric CO2 levels would decrease plant productivity and therefore the food supply for the rest of the ecosystem and humans, and vice versa. Further, attempts to reduce it will prove enormously expensive, futile, harmful to human welfare, and in the longer run, to environmental improvement. It is now increasingly evident that efforts to reduce CO2 emissions by governmental coercion will have important non-environmental adverse effects in terms of loss of freedom of scientific inquiry, economic growth and development, and the rule of law.

Much more at the site. Dr. Carlin's book is available at Amazon - am looking forward to reading it.

Food coma - Beef Brisket

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It was in a low and dry smoke (Applewood) for eight hours and the taste was amazing - we cleaned our plates.

There are still about five pounds remaining and am putting it in the oven tomorrow under wet steam to get it to the 'pulled' state.

The brisket had a nice large fat cap and we chewed that to get the flavor but the dogs were especially happy to get what we left on our plates!

My old dog Finnegan is starting to have some health issues (beyond being deaf, senile and blind) and the other critters are a bit on edge tonight - aware of his plight or reading our concerns. I do not know how old he is as he was a pound puppy - he came to me as an adult dog eight years ago. A really dear friend and boon companion.

Another UN power grab - they are irrelevant and trying to accumulate power by presenting the fantasy of 'world governance' to socialist nations who salivate at the idea of large government just as long as they get to sit at the big table with the rest of the elites. We are funding most of this organization - time we stopped and let the kleptocrats pick up the tab.

From Reuters:

California, international leaders sign climate change agreement
May 19 California and leaders of 11 states and provinces signed an agreement on Tuesday to limit their output of heat-trapping greenhouse gases 80 to 95 percent by 2050, a goal they hope will help prevent runaway climate change.

The target, which is based on a 1990 benchmark, will allow the individual governments, which collectively represent more than $4.5 trillion in GDP and 100 million people, to tailor reduction plans to fit their regional needs.

Called "Under 2 MOU" for a Memorandum of Understanding designed to help keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius, the pact seeks to provide a template for countries to follow to cut emissions.

The temperature mark is the warming threshold at which governments say climate change could become catastrophic and irreversible.

Later this year at a United Nations climate change conference in Paris, negotiators will attempt to reach an international agreement for nations to cut emissions.

"This global challenge requires bold action on the part of governments everywhere," California Governor Jerry Brown said on Tuesday. "It's time to be decisive. It's time to act."

Signatories of the agreement were Acre, Brazil; Baden-Württemberg, Germany; Baja California, Mexico; Catalonia, Spain; Jalisco, Mexico; Ontario, Canada, British Columbia, Canada; Wales, and the U.S. states of Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

Yeah, you read that right - Oregon and Washington signed on to this nasty piece of anti-growth. Nothing about it in the local media as yet (Bellingham, Everett and Seattle) You might want to write some letters to the Governor and your State representatives.

Here is the website for Under 2 MOU

Here is the page for Washington State

The idea that we are causing a significant warming of this Earth by our industry is laughable - it is all based on the predictions of computer models - computer models which have failed every real-world test given to them. These models, when fed purely random numbers will show "dangerous runaway warming". These models can not hind-cast - we have 200 years of decent weather records - plug this data into the computer models and the results have zero bearing on what the Earth did during that time. The models do not take into account the fact that our Sun is a variable star and has been very quiet for the last 20 years or so. Our surface temperature has not risen for over eighteen years.

Anthropogenic Global Warming? Bollocks!

And in other news - California continues to hemorrhage jobs - from Breitbart:

Abbott Continues Texas Tradition of Taking California Jobs
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has successfully moved yet another California Company to Texas. Abbott announced on Thursday that Kubota Tractor and Credit Corporation is relocating its corporate headquarters to Texas. It is expected the move will create at least 344 new Texas jobs and $51 million in capital investment in the Lone Star State. The State has made a grant offer of $3.8 million to Kubota from the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF).

“I’m proud to extend a warm Texas welcome to Kubota and I know their investment in Texas will allow their company to grow, prosper and create even more jobs in the coming years,” said Governor Abbott in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “Thanks to our low-tax, low-regulation environment that allows all businesses to thrive, we are able to bring job creators like Kubota to Texas. As the top state in the nation for agriculture, Kubota is sure to find fertile ground for its products and distribution network.”

Kubota will be moving from Torrance, California to Grapevine, Texas. A team effort that included the City of Grapevine, the Dallas Regional Chamber and the Governor’s Office worked together to convince the tractor manufacturer to move to Texas.

Kubota is a great company - I own their products and love them. Glad to see them taking some decisive action.

Gorgeous day - working outside

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Title says it all - lighting the burn pile later this afternoon (if the wind stays quiet).

Needs a switch

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The people who installed the new network plugged their stuff into a wireless router that was handy. It worked kinda but a lot of extra traffic and security issues.

In town tomorrow so picking up a small 4-port unmanaged switch and will implement the static IP scheme - should be fine from then on...

The beef brisket is looking really good - should be fall-apart tender in time for dinner tonight. Making some coleslaw to go with - Memphis Style!

Off to the store - computer problems

The people who installed our new Point of Sale system overlayed their network on top of ours and there have been some persistent glitches.

Heading down in a few minutes to get the printer back online - planning to spend a couple hours later this week getting everything off DHCP and onto static IP addresses with a hosts file. Should fix things.

DHCP is great for a fluid network where you will have machines connecting ad hoc. To maintain any kind of partition, Static is the way to go - nobody with a laptop in our parking lot will be able to even see the POS terminals and the back-office computer let alone hack into them.

Come back and spend another wonderful day playing in the garden. Got a beef brisket smoking for tonight's dinner...

A curious problem - some GPS receivers

I am on an email list for Time Nuts - people who are fanatically obsessed intellectually curious about accurate time-keeping. It seems that a number of older high-end GPS receivers are reporting that they are now operating in the year 1995.

It seems that the people who wrote the code for these particular units never realized that their units would still be operating twenty years later so they encoded the date function as an integer counting up from week one of GPS origin and allowed for only 1024 possible weeks. Well guess what - week 1025 has been reached and the counter has rolled over back to the starting position in 1995.

GPS is great for finding your position on the planet but it is not as well known that they can serve as a very accurate clock and provide timing functions - some of these units are in large astronomical observatories

Needless to say, the programming staff has long since been disbanded, the parent company has zero desire to support a 20-year old product but will not release the source code. There is a deep rumbling of consternation running through the Time Nuts world...

John Kerry - as clueless as ever. From The Weekly Standard:

Kerry: Internet 'Needs Rules to Be Able to Flourish and Work Properly'
In a speech today in South Korea, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the Internet "needs rules to be able to flourish and work properly." This, according to Kerry, is necessary even for "a technology founded on freedom."

Speaking on behalf of the Obama administration, Kerry said that Internet policy is "a key component of our foreign policy."

Keep your ideas of a nanny-state to yourself. Ideas so great they have to be mandatory.

That's one way to cut water usage

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A painful truth from California - from the Daily Caller:

Economists: Tax Organic Products To Solve CA Water Crisis
Environmentally-savvy economists have a novel solution for tackling the California water crisis that may anger some on the left: tax organic products.

Why tax organic products? Organic farms, for example, don’t use water nearly as efficiently as conventional farms do, argue economists with the Property and Environment Research Center and the Hoover Institution. Price the inefficiencies into products and consumers will use less of it, the economists say.

Economists Terry Anderson and Henry Miller wrote that “water-policy analysts agree that California’s thirst for water won’t be significantly reduced until consumers are faced with a more realistic price for the ‘clear gold.’”

“In that spirit, we propose a revenue-neutral tax on all organic products — food, linens, clothing, pillows, tobacco, etc,” they wrote.

And how are they going to deal with that linen made with fabric from Thailand? Or tobacco from Virginia. This is just more of a money grab than any real solution. California needs to build more water storage systems (ie: Dams) like New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Arizona. None of them are having this much problem with the drought...

Fun fun fun - studying for my General

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I am licensed as a Technician Amateur Radio operator - I can work a few ham bands but none of the ones that offer any long distance communication. I need to get the General (and then, the Extra) for that.

Been spending tonight using the excellent online sample exams at QRZ.COM - averaging in the 60% range and I need more than that to nail the exam. It is actually just a matter of rote memorization as there is a pool of 300 multiple-choice questions and you are given 50 of them for your exam - the FCC publishes the questions used. Still, I want to understand the thinking behind these answers so have been studying my theory as well as chewing through some exams.

This is in preparation for the Cascadia Rising drill next year - I want to be up to speed on long-distance communications well before then... Already have the hardware - picked up a really nice older transceiver on Craigslist a few months ago. I listen, I just do not hit the transmit button - yet...

A no-brainer - cell phones in school

A two-fer

First - from the UK Guardian:

Schools that ban mobile phones see better academic results
It is a question that keeps some parents awake at night. Should children be allowed to take mobile phones to school? Now economists claim to have an answer. For parents who want to boost their children’s academic prospects, it is no.

The effect of banning mobile phones from school premises adds up to the equivalent of an extra week’s schooling over a pupil’s academic year, according to research by Louis-Philippe Beland and Richard Murphy, published by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics.

“Ill Communication: The Impact of Mobile Phones on Student Performance” found that after schools banned mobile phones, the test scores of students aged 16 improved by 6.4%. The economists reckon that this is the “equivalent of adding five days to the school year”.

A bit more:

“We found that not only did student achievement improve, but also that low-achieving and low-income students gained the most. We found the impact of banning phones for these students was equivalent to an additional hour a week in school, or to increasing the school year by five days.

And of course, in the workers paradise of New York City - from The Official Website of the City of New York:

Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña to Lift School Cell Phone Ban
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña today announced the City will lift the ban on cell phones at schools, a policy affecting all 1.1 million students. The change will better enable parents to stay in touch with their children, especially before and after school. It will also end the inequity under the current ban, which was enforced mostly at schools with metal detectors in low-income communities.

Clueless - living in a bubble of their own making...

From The Daily Caller:

Like Father, Like Daughter: Al Sharpton’s Kid Sues NYC for $5 Million For Sprained Ankle
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, especially when the tree is rotten.

Dominique Sharpton, the 28-year-old daughter of MSNBC host and race activist Al Sharpton, sprained her ankle last October on the corner of Broome Street and Broadway in New York City, and now she wants the city to pay – big time.

Claiming to have been “severely injured, bruised and wounded” by uneven pavement, Dominique is seeking $5 million in damages from taxpayers for the sprain.

 And papa:

Dominique’s father Al currently has roughly $4.5 million in tax liens against him and his for-profit businesses.

Five years in the slammer for both of them would go a long way to set things right - serve as an example and let them fade away into obscurity.

Meet Conrad Milster - Pratt Institute’s chief engineer

Yesterday's welding rodeo

Here are some photos from Saturday's event:


The Blacksmith's table - nice work!


Hands-on instruction


Cutting some chain


The face of the dragon - this was Friday's first place winner - gorgeous work!

A day of sloth

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Heading in to look at a cranky computer at the store and then back home - working on one project but that's it for the day. Monday is the usual shopping run so want to get nice and rested for that.

More content later - after I get coffee and make the computer see the printer.

But a bunch of low-information voters voted for free stuff.

Three photos - two of men and one of what we have now:




Saw on a tee-shirt today

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Laughed out loud:


Well crap - CERT Muster

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Turns out it was Friday night and not tonight.

Oh well...

Hitting the welding rodeo again - today is the professional teams as well as the culinary competition. Doing a bit of shopping too - groceries and some hardware for two projects.

Have a CERT meeting tonight at our local resource center - taking stock of who is out here and looking for fresh meat new people to volunteer for the training.

Also checking in at our local ranger station to see about overnight time-lapse photography in the park - want to catch the June 2nd moonrise if the weather cooperates.

Minimal posting today.

WTF? Now I really do not like John Deere

When I bought Buttercup the Tractor, I liked that it was a pure diesel machine - no electronics. I had heard too many stories of tractors with electronics getting bricked because a chip burned out.

I did not want to pay a couple hundred bucks to replace some hermetically sealed module when it was a 25¢ Integrated Circuit that was at fault.

Now, it seems that we do not even own the modules - from Consumerist:

John Deere Wants To Be Able To File Copyright Claims Against The Way You Use Your Tractor
In the modern, digital economy, there are a whole lot of things you buy but still technically don’t own. Nearly all entertainment, for example: digital books, video games, music, and so on. Other software, too. But as basically everything continues to become some kind of computer in a specialized body, plenty of other goods are starting to be subject to licensing, copyright law, and non-ownership problems, too. Like tractors.

Famous farming machinery company John Deere is making the case that you don’t own your vehicles, Wired reports this week. In filings with the copyright office (PDF), the maker of the ubiquitous green and yellow tractor argues that because your tractor has a chip and some code in it, you don’t actually own it. You’ve just got an “implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.”

I am sorry but this is FUBAR - F**ked Up Beyond All Recognition. I will never buy a new John Deere product and am a very happy Kubota owner (two large pieces of equipment and a generator).

Not as sturdy as a traditional finger joint but not shabby - here is the video:

Clever in that you only need to adjust your dado stack to adjust for different wood thicknesses...

Hypocrite - from The Daily Caller:

Climate Alarmist John Kerry Invests Massively In Fossil Fuel Stocks
In a March 12 address to the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C., Secretary of State John Kerry warned that climate change outranks terrorism, epidemics and poverty as the worst threat facing the world today. Our only salvation, he asserted, lies in an energy policy that replaces fossil fuels with solar, wind and other “clean energy.”

However, at the same time he gave this crisis speech, public records indicated that Secretary Kerry personally owned an estimated three to six million dollars in stocks of more than 50 oil and gas-related companies. Records from 2004 show that he’s been constantly and deeply invested in fossil fuels for at least a decade, and is still injecting millions in working capital into the very industries he condemns. What is the public to think of a cabinet-level prophet of climate doom who says one thing and does such another?

There is some measure of conflict of interest here:

On January 8, 2013, John Kerry signed an agreement letter to the government to relinquish specified assets within 90 days of taking the oath of office. He agreed to have his trustees segregate forbidden stocks, mostly large holdings of a single stock, into a custodial account and sell them off so questions could not come up. He also agreed to diversify and downsize his investments so that even the fossil fuel stocks qualified as “non-conflicting assets.” Kerry pledged to take no action as Secretary of State that would affect his financial interests “unless I first obtain a written waiver, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 208(b)(l), or qualify for a regulatory exemption, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 208(b)(2).”

And then, of course:

We’ll never know the exact details of the divestiture because the Office of Government Ethics apologetically informs the online searcher looking for Kerry’s monthly reports for 2013 that “it appears the link you’ve selected is no longer available.” Financial records of Kerry’s first year as Secretary of State, January to December 2013, are all gone.

The people selling computers in Washington, D.C. must be using oatmeal for components - they work and then, POOF! - all the data gets destroyed.

B.B. King

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Passed away last night. He will be sorely missed.

Montreaux festival 1993

A joke

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From an email list:

While strolling around the Harbor this morning around 7:00 a.m., I noticed a character shouting "Allah be praised" and "Death to all infidels" and suddenly he tripped and fell into the water.

He was struggling to stay afloat because of all the explosives he was carrying. If he didn't get help, he would surely drown. Being a responsible citizen, and abiding by the law of the land that requires you to help those in distress, I informed the Police, the Coastguard, the Immigration Office and even the Fire Dept. It is now 11 a.m., the terrorist has drowned, and none of the authorities have yet responded. I'm starting to think I wasted four stamps.


Welding Rodeo 2015

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Lulu and I went to the Welding Rodeo this afternoon - here are a couple shots:


Grinding away.


An 'arty' shot of some welding rods.


The county brought it's MRAP for people to drool over - that would be fun to take off-roading!

Sorry for the blue cast to the photos - I forgot to reset my white balance. This will be corrected in Lightroom.

Recycling - Walt Disney

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Makes perfect sense - old animation cells were re-used for other movies - here is a two-minute example:

Well done!

Microsoft Hyperlapse

Very cool application - takes in video from your camera and speeds it up while doing vibration and shake removal. Not perfect but durn good:

The Microsoft website: Hyperlapse

Free download (for now) on a couple different platforms.

Here is the website for their Computational Photography Group and their other Photo applications

Early opening - Artists Point

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Earliest opening yet - from the Washington State Department of Transportation:

May 14, 2015
Status: OPEN!!!

    • The final 2.7 miles of SR 542 to Artist Point opened at about 4 p.m. Thursday, May 14. It's the earliest opening ever.  In the event of a late season snowfall, the highway could close until conditions improve.
    • Weather can change suddenly in the mountains. Drivers who visit Artist Point between now and the end of June should be prepared for winter driving conditions. Motorists should carry tire chains, food, water, warm clothes and blankets.

Very nice - Canada celebrates Victoria Day this Monday the 18th so we will be busy - perfect time for a nice drive to the top. It is gorgeous up there. We will be checking it out next week when it is less crowded. Bring the time-lapse equipment. Maybe even Beautiful Dreamer and spend the night while the time-lapse equipment is running.

Late day today - Cascadia Rising

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Ran a few errands in town and then went to the Ferndale Police headquarters for a meeting on communications for the upcoming Ski-to-Sea race and for the Cascadia Rising event planned for next year.

Cascadia Rising is a four-day simulation of what would happen in the event of a Magnitude 9.0 earthquake off our coast. Looking at the geological record, these have happened regularly every 200 to 300 years and the last one was in 1700 - we are seriously overdue for a big one. We are looking at a complete crash of infrastructure, serious damage to Seattle, Portland and Victoria and Vancouver, BC. There is planning in place for some counties to deal with an event of this scope but it has never been put to the test. Our county would coordinate with an emergency center in Spokane, WA - far to the East and out of harms way. The only issue is that communications will be down - forget cell service for at least a week or more. Amateur Radio is posed to fill the gap so they are recruiting local hams to participate. This will be interesting to say the least...

Early bedtime tonight as I will be doing the store shopping run tomorrow - the person who normally does this is working with the POS system at the store and their time is better spent doing that. Meeting up with Lulu for lunch at the Welding Rodeo and then back home again.

This guy could be President in my book - good set of values and he practices what he preaches.

Seems he has caught the eye of a backer - from Politico:

Oracle's Larry Ellison to host fundraiser for Rubio
Sen. Marco Rubio now has another billionaire in his corner: Oracle founder Larry Ellison.

Ellison will host a fundraiser for the Florida Republican’s White House bid at his mansion in Woodside, Calif., on June 9, according to an invitation obtained by POLITICO.

Larry Ellison is not stupid by a long shot. Good for him to see the potential in Rubio. We need some adults in the room...

Some blues - Beth Hart

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Unfamiliar with her until now - WOW!

Here she is with guitarist Joe Bonamassa singing Your heart is as black as night

Ouch - this is going to cut into their business big-time but it is not good that kids got exposed to E. coli.

From the Seattle Times:

Health officials limit Lynden fair events after E. coli outbreak
State health officials have restricted events at the Lynden, Whatcom County, fairgrounds dairy barn, where an outbreak of dangerous E. coli sickened dozens last month, to prevent potential spread of additional illness.

Dr. Scott Lindquist, the Washington state epidemiologist for communicable diseases, said the move is a precaution while county, state and federal officials determine the source of the outbreak that sent at least eight people to hospitals.

“We’re recommending they not have any more events until we’ve finished our investigation,” Lindquist said, referring to the dairy barn.

The request immediately affects a dog show planned for Saturday by the Mount Baker Kennel Club, expected to attract 800 canines and more than 2,000 people to the Northwest Washington Fair & Event Center.

The fairgrounds are the largest venue of this kind in the area - hope that they get this cleaned up to everyone's satisfaction. Dealing with dairy production requires scrupulous sanitation - the idea that some people willingly seek out raw milk gives me the blue-blind paralytic willies. Milk is such a wonderful culture medium for so many of the wee beasties that can kill us. Sure, we all used to drink raw milk back in the 1880's but our life expectancy was in the 50's and childhood mortality was a very common thing. From the Wikipedia entry for Pasteurization:

For example, between 1912 and 1937 some 65,000 people died of tuberculosis contracted from consuming milk in England and Wales alone. 

Meeting tonight

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Our local Emergency Resource Team - planning for summer events. Fundraising dinner in fall, non-profit status, outreach, community stashes of supplies, radio communications, etc...


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Great version

Sarah Burke: Bet you've NEVER seen AC/DC's Thunderstruck done quite like this...SPOONS!!

Posted by London's Best Rock FM96 on Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Goes to show what 50+ years of democratic rule will do - from Chicago's CBS affiliate:

Moody’s Downgrades Chicago Credit Rating To ‘Junk’ Bond Status
Citing the city’s underfunded pension crisis, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Chicago’s debt to junk bond status on Tuesday.

The Ba1 rating means that Chicago’s $8.1 billion in debt carries a substantial credit risk. That credit rating is also just a few levels above bonds that are in default.

“The Ba1 rating on Chicago’s  debt incorporates expected growth in the city’s highly elevated unfunded pension liabilities,” Moody’s said.

The service cited the state Supreme Court’s recent decision to toss out the state’s pension reform bill as unconstitutional, along with concerns that the city will be able to meet its pension obligations in the future.

And a bit more:

The move is not only financially embarrassing for the city, it will also increase the costs for future borrowing.

Moody’s believes Chicago’s credit challenges will continue, both in the near term and in the long term.

That's going to be expensive - wonder when they will declare bankruptcy. Five years?

Global warming - a two-fer

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Finally, some adults in the room.

First - New York Times:

Obama’s Catastrophic Climate-Change Denial
The Obama administration’s decision to give Shell Oil the go-ahead to drill in the Arctic shows why we may never win the fight against climate change. Even in this most extreme circumstance, no one seems able to stand up to the power of the fossil fuel industry. No one ever says no.

Weepy Bill McKibben - the hypocrite. Hectoring people to use reusable bags but when he goes shopping?

Second - from The Radical Catholic:

Encyclicus Maculatus: Eco-Encyclical To Undergo Revision
According to Vaticanist Sandro Magister, Pope Francis has decided to postpone the publication of his long-awaited encyclical on the environment. The reason, according to Magister, is that the Pope realized that the document in its current state had no chance of receiving the approval of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith under the leadership of Cardinal Gerhard Müller. If it seems somewhat improper for a Cardinal to be telling a Pope what he can and can't write, don't fret, gentle reader: the text wasn't written by Pope Francis at all.

Much more at the site including this wonderful dig - the infighting at the Vatican must be vicious...
We don't know how Cardinal Müller reacted to these sharp words, or whether, as Giuseppe Nardi surmises, he spoke directly with Pope Francis regarding the encylical, but Magister relates that sources inside Santa Marta are reporting that the Pope will not be publishing Archbishop Fernández' already completed text, and has - for the time being - tabled the entire project. It's clear that he can't let it disappear entirely without a tremendous loss of face in the public arena; UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, apparently moonlighting as a Vatican spokesman, has announced that the encyclical is set to appear in June of this year. But who will be behind the next incarnation of the encyclicus maculatus is anybody's guess.


Can't get no

Ho. Li. Crap. I am old...

From yesterday's Flashbak:

The Rolling Stones Recorded ‘Satisfaction’ Fifty Years Ago Today
Keith: We recorded ‘Satisfaction’ at RCA studios in Los Angeles. This time everything went right. Charlie put down a different tempo and, with the addition of a fuzz box on my guitar which took off all the treble, we achieved a very interesting sound.”

Mick: We cut ‘Satisfaction’ in Los Angeles when we were working there. We cut quite a lot of things and that was just one - contrary to some newspaper reports, it took us just half an hour to make. We like it, but didn’t think of it as a single.”

I still prefer DEVO's version:

I could have used it then!


Enquiring minds want to know - cats

From the New Republic:

Why Do Cats Run the Internet? A Scientific Explanation
Cats may not be man’s best friend, but they’re arguably something even better: man’s key to instant Internet pageviews. It’s a long-established fact that Internet content — whether it’s a cutesy video, a photoshopped inside joke, or a longform public health article — has a better chance of achieving coveted “viral” status if it somehow evokes the sound of purring.

But if we’ve come to accept that cats play an outsized role on the World Wide Web, our understanding of why that’s the case still lags. Most of us would simply plead that we happen to think of cats, and their various digital reproductions, as “cute,” but the sheer magnitude of their popularity suggests that there’s something more than a purely subjective phenomenon at work. Fortunately, natural and social scientists have managed to shed some light on the mystery.

Heh - more at the site.

There will always be a Japan

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Here is a game show:

Brain Dump

Figured today would be intense and it was. Learning a lot and only catching the basic 60% of everything. The cashier module is pretty nice but all the back-office management stuff is deep. Powerful but deep.

This is a perfect example of what a well implemented SQL database application can do. Before signing on for this application, I had looked at a bunch of mid-range POS applications and none of them have this level of detail. Using the tools will greatly streamline the store operation and allow us to dial in our margins.

Light posting tonight - time to feed the critters, surf for a bit, chug down a glass or two of red wine and then off to an early bedtime.

Interesting development on the SPAM front. Been getting a lot of email spam and the majority of it has been coming from two USA based ISPs with multiple IP addresses. I have also seen a few spam where the IP address has obviously been faked - a bit worrysome...

A break from training

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Training on the POS system is going well. This puppy is deep!

Back to work...

Crap - Nepal again

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Woke up to find this alert in my mailbox:

Region: NEPAL
Geographic coordinates: 27.843N, 86.153E
Magnitude: 7.4
Depth: 18 km
Local standard time in your area: 12 May 2015 07:05:19

18km is pretty shallow so this will cause some additional damage. The initial quake was 7.8 so this is not that much smaller.

My favorite rescue group - Team Rubicon - is still on site so they will be there to assist.

Off to bed - long day tomorrow

Been surfing a bit but mentally drained. Tired.

Heading upstairs for an early day tomorrow.

Spew will be minimal this week - got the meetings and then the Welding Rodeo is this Friday and Saturday.

POS installation going well

The hardware is being installed as I type. Today was a long shopping day because I had to get the regular grocery items for the store and then additional stuff for the vacation rentals (bedding, kitchen stuff, locksmith, plumbing stuff, etc...) Cheryl and Tina are doing amazing work on this project - I am incredibly lucky to have them working for me!

Coming together but it will be a long week - have the BERT meeting Wednesday and WECG meeting Thursday. The WECG is the group coordinating the radio traffic for the Ski to Sea race (Sunday the 24th) and I will be handling one of the nodes.

Looking forward to taking some time off next week.

Got a Costco roti-chicken for dinner, some mashed potatoes, green peas and a salad.

Hillary's new website

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Check out

Carly Fiorina registered the domain name and it redirects to her campaign website.

She is tech savy and not afraid to punch back twice as hard.

Big day - shopping and POS

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Doing my usual shopping run and then we have two people from our Point of Sale company coming up to install our new system.


A bit of a history lesson

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'Nuff said:


The Early Office Museum

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Fascinating collection of early office photographs and the equipment.

Check out The Early Office Museum

From the AAAS Science Magazine:

Rare African plant signals diamonds beneath the soil
There’s diamond under them thar plants. A geologist has discovered a thorny, palmlike plant in Liberia that seems to grow only on top of kimberlite pipes—columns of volcanic rock hundreds of meters across that extend deep into Earth, left by ancient eruptions that exhumed diamonds from the mantle. If the plant is as choosy as it seems to be, diamond hunters in West Africa will have a simple, powerful way of finding diamond-rich deposits. Prospectors are going to “jump on it like crazy,” says Steven Shirey, a geologist specializing in diamond research at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C.

Miners have long known that particular plants can signal ore-bearing rocks. For example, Lychnis alpina, a small pink-flowering plant in Scandinavia, and Haumaniastrum katangense, a white-flowered shrub in central Africa, are both associated with copper. That’s because the plants are especially tolerant to copper that has eroded into soils from the mother lodes.

But the new plant, identified as Pandanus candelabrum, is the first indicator species for diamond-bearing kimberlite, says Stephen Haggerty, a researcher at Florida International University in Miami and the chief exploration officer of Youssef Diamond Mining Company, which owns mining concessions in Liberia. Haggerty suspects that the plant has adapted to kimberlite soils, which are rich in magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. “It sounds like a very good fertilizer, which it is,” says Haggerty, who has published the discovery in the June-July issue of Economic Geology.

And I bet that it probably has a unique spectral signature (most plants do) so searching for it via satellite will be a piece of cake. Very cool discovery - the kimberlite is rich in a lot of other minerals so discovering these pipes is a good thing - not just diamonds.

So true - The Actual Method

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An oldie but a goodie - from Jorge Cham's PhD Comics:


Now think about the current 'Hypothesis' of Global Warming.

Synthesizers in the Movies

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Great 60 minute documentary - historical to modern:

Gorgeous day today

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Temp got up to 74°F this afternoon and it was down to 35° last night - perfect Summer weather. The garden is starting to flourish (as well as the weeds). Latest forecast shows 20% chance of showers tomorrow. Our burn pile is getting really big so we will have a bonfire tomorrow afternoon.

Spending tomorrow prepping one of the upstairs apartments for the Point of Sale people - they will be visiting Monday for three days to install and train our new system. This is a big investment (bigger than our Beer Cave) but will propel us into the 21st century. Having this will allow us to manage our pricing, sales and set our margins more accurately. On some things, we are almost losing money and on some things, our prices have been too high and this is bad as it makes everyone think that our prices are that high across the board.

Being able to offer a consistent shopping experience will make our store that much better.

CDP - Composers' Desktop Project

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Development on this puppy started in 1986 but I am only hearing about it now. Runs from an MS-DOS command line within Windows or Term from within Unix or MAC OS/X

Website is here: CDP Ltd.  Sound Design with a Difference

The core application is a free download and suplemental files are available for a very reasonable price ($30 - $70)

Here is an eight minute video of a demo:


Note: It is not realtime and is best suited for processing existing sounds - you read the sound file in, specify an output file and add the parameters you want.

Going to be playing with it after I finish a large project at the store - we are installing a full-scale Point of Sale system for my Grocery store.

Red George is out. From Arutz Sheva:

Virulent Anti-Israel MPs Ousted in UK Election
As David Cameron's Conservative party seals its victory in Thursday's UK general elections, two radically anti-Israeli MPs infamous for a long past of comments edging on anti-Semitism have lost their posts.

In Bradford West, MP George Galloway failed in his re-election bid, with Labor's Naseem Shah thrashing him soundly in the polls. Shah won 19,977 votes, whereas Galloway's Respect party fielded a mere 8,557, and George Grant of the Conservative party came third with 6,160.

After winning, Shah said Galloway's election campaign had "demeaned democracy," and she told him "you have been sent on your way."

Adding insult to injury, Galloway was also reported to police for retweeting his own party's exit polls before the voting ended. A screen capture proved he had made the tweet, even after he deleted it. The action is illegal according to section 66 of the Representation of the People's Act; police are currently reviewing the matter.

A bit more with links to events:

"It's true there are plenty of other anti-Israel MPs out there, but these two in particular often crossed the line by openly flirting with anti-Semitism. Their defeat is important at a time of anxiety for British Jewry,  who are facing a worrying rise in anti-Semitism," noted Soffer.

Galloway's antics recently included one of his party's PR people booting a Jewish reporter from an event, and pointing out he was a Jew, at which point Galloway's crowd turned on the man and began physically assaulting him, calling him a "f**king Jew."

The MP also recently declared his constituency an "Israel-free zone," prompting charges of racism, which were also made after he walked out of a public debate when he found out his opponent was Israeli, snarling "I don't debate with Israelis."

As for Ward, he has made a long series of harshly anti-Israel tweets condoning terrorism.

During last summer's terror war by Hamas, he wrote, "The big question is - if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? - probably yes."

Odious little turds.

If Red George leaves politics, he has a career as an entertainer:


From National Review - the mind boggles:

Professor: If You Read To Your Kids, You’re ‘Unfairly Disadvantaging’ Others
According to a professor at the University of Warwick in England, parents who read to their kids should be thinking about how they’re “unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children” by doing so.

In an interview with ABC Radio last week, philosopher and professor Adam Swift said that since “bedtime stories activities . . . do indeed foster and produce . . . [desired] familial relationship goods,” he wouldn’t want to ban them, but that parents who “engage in bedtime-stories activities” should definitely at least feel kinda bad about it sometimes:

“I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally,” he said.

But Swift also added that some other things parents do to give their kids the best education possible — like sending them to “an elite private school” — “cannot be justified” in this way.

“Private schooling cannot be justified by appeal to these familial relationship goods,” he said.

Christ on  a corn-dog - this idiot read Harrison Bergeron and thought it was a good idea.

Professor Adam Swift, you are a putz. His biography from Warwick University reads like a progressives wet dream - all the politically correct 'code words'

Professor of Political Theory, Warwick University
I have worked on the communitarian critique of liberalism, the relation between public opinion and political philosophy, the normative aspects of class analysis and social mobility, the morality of school choice, and the role of philosophy in non-ideal circumstances. I was a member of the British team participating in the International Social Justice Project, which investigated popular attitudes to social justice in 13 countries. I am currently working, with Harry Brighouse, to develop a liberal egalitarian theory of the family and, with Zofia Stemplowska, to disentangle the various issues at stake in debates about 'ideal' and 'non-ideal' theory.

Who the fuck gave him this Professorship?

A bit of history - from Dave Workman writing at the Examiner:

Can Mike Huckabee win a single Washington vote?
Yesterday, CNN ran a story that wondered whether former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee can win back his Iowa flock as the conservative Republican starts shifting into campaign mode, while today’s Rasmussen Report says he “has the best chance of getting the GOP presidential nomination of the three new contenders in the race this week.”

Not so fast, there, Mike. His announcement dredged up a bitter memory for the Evergreen State, one that could become a campaign issue.

A more provocative question, one that is hardly beneath CNN, is whether Huckabee will find a single vote in Washington State, where hard feelings still linger about what happened to four Lakewood police officers at a coffee shop on Nov. 29, 2009. There, a recidivist criminal named Maurice Clemmons – for whom Huckabee had commuted a 108-year prison sentence in May 2000 to 47 years, five months and 19 days – opened fire and killed all four. He was armed with two handguns including one that had been reported stolen in Seattle.

As a convicted felon, paroled in July 2000 by unanimous approval of the Arkansas Parole Board and released a couple of weeks later, Clemmons could not legally possess firearms. He had two, the 9mm pistol and a .38-caliber revolver, both recovered at the crime scene. Clemmons took a Glock pistol from one of the officers he murdered, and was carrying that gun when he was fatally shot about two days later by an alert Seattle police officer working the graveyard shift.

More at the link - the 47 year commutation allowed Clemmons to come up for Parole - with the original sentence of 108 years, he was not.

Also, he was carrying stolen guns - this is an issue that the Gun Control people completely avoid. Their idea of registration and background checks only apply to sane law-abiding citizens and has absolutely zero effect on the mentally ill and the criminals. Looking at the last 20 cases of public shootings, the shooters have been either the mentally ill, fundamental Islamists (but I repeat myself) or simple career criminals.

Got six mattress sets being delivered to the appartments above the store this afternoon. Changing them over to vacation rental units.

Heading out for coffee and working on some stuff until then.

They are offering a line of 'collectible' silver coins with Looney Tunes characters - go to the link and start scrolling down.

A bit rich for my blood but I may just get the Marvin the Martian one:


Earth-shattering Ka Boom indeed!

The number we need

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What with Summer around the corner, here is the answer to the question everyone is asking.

From Business Insider:

Here's how much ice you need to cool your beer, according to math
The best way to get your drinks cold is to put them in a cooler with some ice.

Here is the question: How much ice do you actually need to get your drinks cold?

Let me start with some assumptions.

Suppose you get n drinks and these start at room temperature. Let me say room temperature is 22 °C (about 72 °F).

You start with ice and drinks. The ice is just at 0 °C.

Some math here and then, the answer

Instead of determining the amount of ice, suppose I purchase a 10-pound (4.5 kg) bag of ice? How many drinks would this cool down? Using the same calculations above, I get eighteen drinks.

So, what is the answer? I think I would recommend one 10-pound bag for every twelve drinks. This way, not all the ice will melt and you can keep your drinks cool for a longer period of time.

A bit less if you can pre-chill the refreshing beverages in a fridge first.

Big Difference

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With all that is happening in Baltimore, this really drives it home:


Talk about speaking truth to power...

Auction photos

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Here are six photos from yesterday's auction - this is a large L-shaped machine that takes in raw logs at one end and spits out finished boards out the other.


Fun to see that there is a specific paint for marking trees as well as a color called Corporate Orange


The entire sawmill is controlled from this chair - the sawyer looks at the incoming log and figures out the most efficient way to cut it.


This is the first thing that the log passes through - gets squared up. Subsequent passes through the vertical blades cut off the individual boards. The carriage holding the log can rotate it. The large blade is five feet in diameter. The mill sold as individual lots but it went for around $40K all told - very good price!


This machine cuts the boards to length - each lever drops a saw blade down to cut the board as it passes though - each lever represents a two foot length.


These are the chipper blades that I was bidding on - prices were above what I wanted to spend and I already have a nice stack from an earlier auction.


The three stacks of blades on the tabletop are the ones I won. Great steel - holds an edge for a long time and tough as can be. Perfect for a sawmill and perfect for a knife.

Not so - from Threat Post:

Weak Homegrown Crypto Dooms Open Smart Grid Protocol
In the three years since its inception, the Open Smart Grid Protocol has found its way into more than four million smart meters and similar devices worldwide.

And like its SCADA, industrial control system, and embedded system brethren, it’s rife with security issues.

A bit more - stupid mistake:

The paper, “Dumb Crypto in Smart Grids: Practical Cryptanalysis of the Open Smart Grid Protocol” explains how the authenticated encryption scheme used in the OSGP is open to numerous attacks—the paper posits a handful—that can be pulled off with minimal computational effort. Specifically under fire is a homegrown message authentication code called OMA Digest.

“This function has been found to be extremely weak, and cannot be assumed to provide any authenticity guarantee whatsoever,” the researchers wrote.

And more:

Adam Crain, security researcher and founder of Automatak who has published research on the DNP3 protocol used in industrial control system communication, said the use of a homegrown digest function is a “big red flag.”

“Protocol designers should stick to known good algorithms or even the ‘NIST-approved’ short list,” Crain said. “In this instance, the researchers analyzed the OMA digest function and found weaknesses in it. The weaknesses in it can be used to determine the private key in a very small number of trials.”

By comparison, Crain said he implements DNP3 Secure Authentication, which is an IEEE standard.

“By contrast, they use the NIST-approved digest functions known as HMAC-SHA256 and AES-GMAC which are currently considered ‘strong authentication,'” Crain said. “The No. 1 rule of cryptography is ‘Don’t invent your own.'”

Wikipedia has a decent writeup on SmartGrid technology - the idea is that the flow of power can be directed to manage peak loads (substation and distribution automation) as well as measurement and metering. Someone could bring this to a screeching halt with a few keystrokes and all because some idiot programmer thought it would be cool to write their own encryption routine. Talk about hubris - I hope that person gets fired ASAP - this is an unconscionable lapse in judgment.

Nice to see some people waking up - from The Sydney Morning Herald:

Climate change a UN-led ruse, says Tony Abbott's business adviser Maurice Newman
Climate change is a hoax led by the United Nations so that it can end democracy and impose authoritarian rule, according to Prime Minister Tony Abbott's chief business adviser.

Maurice Newman, the chairman of the Prime Minister's business advisory council, has written in The Australian that scientific modeling showing the link between humans and climate change is wrong and the real agenda is a world takeover for the UN.

A bit more:

Mr Newman's column was written to coincide with an Australian visit by the head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres.

It follows a piece Mr Newman wrote last year in which he said governments had been hijacked by "green gesture politics" and the world was not prepared for the problem of "global cooling".

"It's a well-kept secret, but 95 per cent of the climate models we are told prove the link between human CO₂ emissions and catastrophic global warming have been found, after nearly two decades of temperature stasis, to be in error. It's not surprising," Mr Newman wrote on Friday.

"Why then, with such little evidence, does the UN insist the world spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on futile climate change policies? Perhaps Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN's framework on climate change, has the answer?"

Mr Newman continued that global warming was a "hook" to install a new world order.

"Figueres is on record saying democracy is a poor political system for fighting global warming. Communist China, she says, is the best model," he said.

"This is not about facts or logic. It's about a new world order under the control of the UN."

This is true - the brief period of warming we have had since the early 1950's has stalled. There has been zero warming for the last eighteen-plus years. Our sun is the driver for our climate and it has given every sign of entering into a long cool period. We need to be preparing for cooling instead of warming.

Gorgeous day

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Last two days have been ideal spring days - temps in the 70°'s cooling down to a crisp high 30°'s at night (clear skies - radiation cooling).

Been working outside - latest forecast has clouds moving in Sunday with chance of showers Monday.

Thawing out a ham steak for dinner (mashed spuds and frozen peas and a salad) - looking forward to eating from the garden. The lettuces are doing nicely.

Paying attention in the workplace

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Not surprising - from the Beeb:

Losing focus: Why tech is getting in the way of work
Before you read this article I want to ask you a simple question.

Have I got your full attention?

Probably not. And that's especially true if you are looking at this in your office.

Finding focus is a something almost everyone has to deal with. And research figures in the US show that in the workplace we are having more and more trouble keeping both internal and external stimuli at bay.

Blame it on technology.

A bit more:

"Back in 2004 we followed American information workers around with stopwatches and timed every action," she says.

"They switched their attention every three minutes on average. In 2012, we found that the time spent on one computer screen before switching to another computer screen was one minute 15 seconds.

"By the summer of 2014 it was an average of 59.5 seconds."

This is something near and dear to my heart and I would like to take a few minutes to write my thoughts about...

Oh look! A Squirrel

Seriously though - if this is an issue in your work environment, check out The Pomodoro Technique although I prefer a digital kitchen timer - it is dead quiet - no ticking.

Our local Space Program

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Great story - did not know this was happening here!

From Seattle station KUOW:

Why NASA Called The Northwest Indian College Space Center
It started out as a joke. 

The students at Northwest Indian College on the Lummi Reservation near Bellingham were launching little rockets made from recycled water bottles as a way to do some hands-on science.

Computer science teacher Gary Brandt says calling it a “space center” was just something one of the students came up with.

“And he said, ‘I called us the Northwest Indian College Space Center,'” Brandt said. “I was kind of dumbfounded, basically. And I said, 'OK, let’s do that. That’s kind of grandiose. Let’s really play it up.’”

The joke was funny because this was just a tiny, two-year college, with no engineering program. Getting into space was the last thing on the minds of these students; they were just trying to escape poverty. Next thing they knew, NASA was calling them up.

And the telephone call from NASA:

“She introduced herself and said, ‘I didn’t know you were big enough to have a space center,’” he said. “And I, of course, choked and chortled and told her the story of what happened. And she said, ‘Be that as it may, you are doing what we want, and that’s to get underrepresented students involved in science, technology, engineering and math programs.’”

NASA would give them $5,000 a year for three years. It was enough to get them to take themselves seriously.

The students began entering competitions. Each year, NASA organized a different challenge.

Such as, reach a specific altitude and take scientific readings from the atmosphere. Or use a robot to collect a soil sample, put the sample in a rocket, and prepare the rocket for launch – all with no help from humans.

Big schools like MIT and Vanderbilt University came to the competitions with fancy equipment: digital scales, specialized aluminum parts and fancy servo motors.

Northwest Indian College used discarded computer parts, bubble levels and mouse traps.

Irons said they worked with what they had.

Very cool!

Wisconsin hosted a First Nations Launch program last weekend - nice to see Science and Engineering promoted like this.

First - the UK Mirror:

General election results 2015 LIVE: Miliband, Clegg and Farage quit after Cameron wins with shock majority
David Cameron's Conservatives win a shock election victory heralding 5 more years of Tory rule and leading to the resignation of Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage

Labour and the Liberal Democrats suffered a disastrous results night - which leaves David Cameron's Conservatives with a Parliamentary majority.

The SNP all but wiped both parties off the map in Scotland - while both failed to make progress in England and Wales.

Ed Balls was the biggest Labour name scalp to fall, with major players from both parties losing their seats.

Could not have happened to a nicer bunch of people. The British media was protraying the Liberals to have an easy win (or a close win) but the citizens can see the realities and they turned out to vote.

Second - Yahoo Canada/Reuters:

UK's Cameron promises EU vote, more powers for Scotland
British Prime Minister David Cameron said he would press ahead with a planned referendum on the country's membership of the European Union and he promised Scotland the most devolution "anywhere in the world" after his resounding election victory.

"Yes, we will deliver that in-out referendum on our future in Europe," Cameron said as he addressed the media after visiting Queen Elizabeth to start the process of forming a new government.

Cameron said he would move ahead as fast as possible with a plan to give more powers to Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly for the pro-independence Scottish National Party.

A couple more links:

The Daily Telegraph, 8 May 2015

County Times, 7 May 2015

The Sunday Times, 5 April 2015

The Daily Telegraph, 8 May 2015

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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Translated literally as: Who will guard the guards themselves, more commonly: Who watches the watchmen

From First Look / The Intercept:

Congress Tells Court That Congress Can’t Be Investigated for Insider Trading
In a little-noticed brief filed last summer, lawyers for the House of Representatives claimed that an SEC investigation of congressional insider trading should be blocked on principle, because lawmakers and their staff are constitutionally protected from such inquiries given the nature of their work.

The legal team led by Kerry W. Kircher, who was appointed House General Counsel by Speaker John Boehner in 2011, claimed that the insider trading probe violated the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branch.

In 2012, members of Congress patted themselves on the back for passing the STOCK Act, a bill meant to curb insider trading for lawmakers and their staff. “We all know that Washington is broken and today members of both parties took a big step forward to fix it,” said Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, upon passage of the law.

But as the Securities and Exchange Commission made news with the first major investigation of political insider trading, Congress moved to block the inquiry.

Brings to mind the old saying: Our appearance of careful management is just a careful management of appearances.

Our Nation is in the best of hands...

Schadenfreude - Keurig

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We have a Keurig machine and love it. Sure, there are ways to get a better tasting cuppa but to be able to just hit a button and get a decent dose of black gold, this machine is worth the money.

Needless to say, other companies came out with unofficial pods for their coffee (and tea) in a Keurig brewer. The free market is alive and well. Keurig did not like losing the licensing revenues so they came out with their 2.0 system. This system looks for a small logo on the face of the pod and will not make coffee if that logo is not there.

The free market issued a collective SCREW YOU! and sales of the new system tanked. Ways to hack the new system were broadcast on the internet (it is dead simple).

Now this - from CNN Money:

Keurig Green Mountain gets roasted. Stock drops 10%
Sales of Keurig brewing machines and accessories tumbled 23% in the first quarter compared to the prior year.

The company had a lot of excuses, but the basic problem is there are too many Keurig machines in stores and people aren't buying them, especially the newest Keurig 2.0 model.

"We do have some headwinds," said Chief Financial Officer Fran Rathke on a call with analysts.

Investors are fleeing the stock. Keurig (GMCR) dropped 10% Thursday when the market opened for trading. Shares are now down more than 25% this year.

They initially came out with a good product that filled a niche. Customers flocked to it and Keurig got greedy and wanted to hog all of the market. The customers voted with their dollars. End of story.

Time for a new CEO but I doubt the company can sustain the damage the present CEO did. Digital Rights Management (DRM) is never ever a good idea. Anyone who proposes it should be fired immediately.

Missed all the excitement

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Just give me ten minutes in a room alone with this asshat. From The Bellingham Herald:

Kendall Elementary briefly locked down following hoax threat
Kendall Elementary went on lockdown Thursday afternoon, May 7, after the school received a call from a computer-generated voice that threatened to harm the children.

Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo said the school received the call, which deputies believe to be a hoax, in the afternoon from a female-sounding automated voice.

Elfo said the voice indicated they intended to shoot up the school, kill as many children as possible and commit suicide.

“It’s people being malicious and trying to disrupt the school, trying to terrorize the children and trying to pull law enforcement resources away from where they’re otherwise needed,” Elfo said.

Law enforcement flooded the area to protect the school, which immediately went on lockdown around 2 p.m. Classes carried on until students were released at 3:30 p.m., said Mount Baker School District Superintendent Charles Burleigh.

Turns out this is not the first time this little snowflake has done this:

Similar calls have been received by other schools in Washington in the last couple months, including in Pacific, Thurston and Spokane counties. The Juneau Empire has reported that several schools in Alaska recently received phone threats from an automated voice.

Like I said - ten minutes. I'll bring my baseball bat.


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Picked up about 150 pounds of saw blades. The big ones I showed in a previous post were of great value to the guy who bought the sawmill - the bidding went up to $450 each.

I picked up three lots of trim saws for about $180 - good tool steel and each blade has enough steel for a dozen knife blanks. Our local metal wholesaler has a CNC plasma torch so cutting them to size will be a piece of cake.

Also, took the time after the auction to drive through the neighboring towns of Hamilton and Lyman, both gorgeous - the population is a bit bigger than my little hamlet. A couple of really old buildings nicely maintained.

Took some photos and will post those later after dinner (burgers).

Off to see the wizard

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Heading out for the auction - preview at 8:00AM and auction at 10:00AM - the items I am looking at are around lot numbers 90 so I have plenty of time to dive down (it is about an hour away off of Route 20). I'll be bringing a camera and will post some photos - the auction is a large lumber milling plant so should be interesting.

Looking forward to this

It will be interesting to see if he stays true to the novel - from The Hollywood Reporter:

Steven Spielberg's Amblin, Syfy Adapting Classic Novel 'Brave New World' (Exclusive)
Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television is adapting Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New World as a scripted series for the NBCUniversal-owned cable network, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Brave New World — ranked fifth among the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th Century by Modern Library — is set in a world without poverty, war or disease. Humans are given mind-altering drugs, free sex and rampant consumerism are the order of the day, and people no longer reproduce but are genetically engineered in "hatcheries." Those who won’t conform are forced onto "reservations," until one of the "savages" challenges the system, threatening the entire social order.

Powerful stuff - it will be interesting to see what Amblin does with it. Lots of parallels to today's society.

Just to remember, Brave New World was published as a warning, not an operating manual...

From Breitbart:

Official: FBI Overlooked Texas Shooter’s Violent Tweets Because ‘There are So Many Like Him’
An unidentified “senior law enforcement official” tells the New York Times that, while the FBI had been aware of Garland, Texas jihadist attacker Elton Simpson for nearly a decade, they did not follow his violent, pro-jihad tweets as closely as they could have because “there are so many like him” that the agency is overwhelmed.

How about letting the local police force know - they could do some extra surveillance. What happens when one of these terrorists goes active and bombs a large venue - who will be responsible for the deaths?

We are at war and we need to act like it.

Off to pick up my truck

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Heading into town yet again - this time to pick up Thunderbunny from the dealership.

Off to town again tomorrow for this auction: ANTRIM CUSTOM CUT INC. There are some large saw blades being put up for sale - these are generally a really nice tool steel and perfect for knives - right thickness and easily worked.



Quote of the year:

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From an email:

The difference between Texas and Paris is guns.

Markets of Britian

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Filmed in Titt-Vision (no really):

Photography on public lands

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Interesting video:

The second officer was pretty cool but still - I do not shoot commercially but on our vacation, I did travel with some time lapse and motion rail equipment as well as a few off-camera flash units. High profile.

Bert's website has some excellent information (including a printable flier in PDF format). Also, public lands are paid for by We the People and they are ours to use. They need to realize the difference between a Hollywood production and a photographer shooting some models or a wedding or whatever... 

A great open letter sent to Ms. Marge Dwyer, Harvard T.P. Chan School of Public Health.

It cannot be excerpted. If you have ten minutes, go and read. This exposes the climate change funding hypocracy.

From James Rowlatt writing at Watts Up With That

Would the School please explain - indeed.

From Steven Goddard at Real Science:

UN Says Earth Was Destroyed Yesterday

On May 4, 2007 – UN scientists gave us eight years to avoid planetary doom. That date passed yesterday, and the planet died.


This is a particularly sad day, because it is also the 15th anniversary of UN global warming destroying the planet.


And in only five more years, a new ice age will destroy the planet.


We are doomed I tell you DOOMED!

From Associated Press:

Crater collapse causes lava explosion on Hawaii's Kilauea
Molten lava, rocks and gas went flying through the air on Hawaii's Kilauea volcano after an explosion was caused by the partial collapse of a crater wall.

The collapse triggered a small explosion, spreading lava and debris around the rim of Kilauea's Halemaumau Crater, the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says.

Janet Babb, a geologist with the USGS, compared the blast on Sunday to taking a hammer to the top of a bottle of champagne.

"You look at the bottle and you see the liquid, but you don't see the gas," she said. "There's a lot of gas in the lava. And so, when that rock fall hits the lava lake, it's like the moment you knock the top of the champagne bottle off and that gas is released and it hurls molten lava and rock fragments."

Rocks overhanging the lava lake are altered by gases coming from the lava, Babb said. The rocks eventually give way and collapse into the lava, causing an explosion.

The material was hurled about 280 feet skyward, she said.

We do not own this planet - people keep forgetting how much more powerful it is compared with anything we can do. I wonder how many tons of Carbon Dioxide were released during this activity...

Intolerance - Gluten

Everyone is on the Gluten bandwagon these days.

From Salon:

Diet fads are destroying us: Paleo, gluten-free and the lies we tell ourselves
The numbers are hard to pin down, but roughly 1.1 million Americans keep kosher in their homes. Around 15 million are vegetarian. Meanwhile, according to a 2013 survey, more than 100 million Americans are trying to cut down on gluten, and (as of 2014) more than 10 million households are gluten-free. Simply put, gluten avoidance is the reigning dietary restriction of our time.

It’s harder to pin down why gluten-free diets should have conquered the culture so quickly. Few people have the kinds of serious medical conditions, such as celiac disease, that necessitate the elimination of gluten from the diet. Billions of people thrive on gluten-rich foods, all around the world.

Yet somewhere in our collective search for health, security, and purity, gluten transformed into a mainstream taboo. Scientific-sounding language (and savvy marketers) have driven this transformation, though one suspects that mass gluten avoidance has more in common with religious food restrictions than it does with anything premised on actual medical data.

Fittingly, Alan Levinovitz is a religion professor at James Madison University and a chronicler of our peculiar dietary culture. In his new book, The Gluten Lie, Levinovitz digs into the fear and moralizing that surrounds dietary fads, including gluten avoidance and the MSG scare.

There follows a Q&A session with Professor Levinovitz - here are a couple of them:

Food rituals, food taboos, dietary demons, dietary myths, magic diets, guilt, sin: why do we apply so much religious language to food?
Virtually ever religious tradition has had food taboos and sacred diets. I think part of the reason is that food is something that we have direct control over. It crosses the boundary in a very personal way: we take something outside of our body and put it into our body. Eating is very personal, and it’s easy to invest those kinds of things with religious and ritual significance.


I keep thinking of Mary Douglas’ classic Purity and Danger—this idea that cultures declare things unclean not because they’re actually dirty, but because people need to impose order on the world.
What Douglas would say, I think, when she looks at a lot of these diets, is that they’re really about being able to divide up the world into categories—which things are morally pure, and which things are morally impure. It’s so hard for us to understand how something that has an evil origin, such as factory-farmed meat, might not also actually be evil for us physically.

I would agree with Ms. Douglas on this - control over other people is at the heart of this. Here is the way that you must live. Ideas so good they have to be mandetory. Same with our current political classes.

But it’s a lot harder to get a good story out of something like, “Eat a lot of different things in moderation,” even if that’s probably better advice.
Science is not great at constructing narratives. That’s its virtue and its downfall. Scientific inquiry has to divorce itself from what makes the best story, and science writers, myself included, are in the business of making science compelling by telling stories.

So true - a lot of people are intellectually lazy and respond to a narrative instead of verifying the facts for themselves. This is at the heart of the climate change problem. We have lost the ability to think for ourselves.

Great article - lots more at the site...

Venezuela is the poster child for life under Progressive rule. It has suffered under socialist Hugo Chavez since 1999 when he rose to power by promising people free stuff. Venezuela could afford this for a while - it was one of the worlds major oil exporters and used to be an agricultural and fishing powerhouse. As people wanted more and more free stuff and as Chavez's cronies skimmed off more and more of the nation's wealth, Chavez had to start nationalizing those businesses with foreign investors

Of course, the foreign devils left Venezuela and the idea of maintenance and repair went with them. Their power grid is a joke and their urban water and sewage systems are in dire need of repair.

Now it has come to this - from Bloomberg:

Venezuela’s Poor Neighbors Flee en Masse Years After Arrival
Thirty years after leaving the poverty and violence of Colombia for oil-rich Venezuela, Oscar Mina, a 56-year-old construction worker, is heading home.

“Prices are going up every day and the money bills are worthless,”said Mina, sipping beer with compatriots in the Petare slum of eastern Caracas, militant graffiti on the walls, trash in the streets. “Is that governing for the poor?”

In a way, no group has benefited more from Venezuela’s socialist revolution of the past 15 years than the millions of Colombians who have moved here in recent decades. Free housing, education and health care turned them into rock-solid supporters of the late President Hugo Chavez.

So it is telling that tens of thousands of them are leaving -- 200,000 in the past few years, according to Ivan De La Vega, a migration scholar at Caracas’s Simon Bolivar University. As the Colombians’ disillusionment with the collapsing economy mounts, it becomes clear that Chavez’s successor, Nicolas Maduro, is in deep trouble. His party -- which already lost the support of the upper and middle classes (many of whom have also left the country) -- appears headed for defeat when congressional elections are held later this year.

And of course, Maduro and the other elites never felt the problems they were creating - they lived in an artificial bubble of palaces, limousines and the best that money could buy. Complete isolation.


With oil prices slumping, the final straw for many Colombians was Maduro’s ban on remittances last year in an attempt to save scarce foreign reserves and stave off default. Prior to that they could send wages home at the official exchange rate of 6.3 bolivars per dollar, which translated the minimum monthly wage at the time to about $520 dollars. This compared with a Colombian minimum wage of about $300.

Venezuela had the highest gross domestic product per capita in South America at the peak of the oil boom in 1976. By 2013, it was in fourth place.

A bit more:

Discrimination is adding to the economic pain. Maduro has blamed foreign smugglers for food shortages caused by price controls, deporting more than 2,000 Colombians so far this year.

“When they hear our accents in the food line, government activists start abusing us,” said Diaz. “It hurts me to go -- I spent over half my life here -- but this is no longer a country fit for living. It’s completely decayed.”

Chavez' successor, Nicolas Maduro, is compounding the problem by instituting price controls. In the free market, the price would rise and fall with availability. Now, he has introduced price controls which means that when an item is available, the first few people in line hog it all because they do not know when it will be available again. This failed in Soviet Russia and it fails whenever it is implemented - anyone remember the gas lines of the Nixon administration? Same thing - price fixing.


What worries me is that the USA, as a nation, is heading down a very similar pathway. We need to get some adults in the room...

Off to town again

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Taking Thunderbunny off to the dealership for a much needed mani-pedi - oil change, filters, coolant flush. She hauled a travel trailer up and down for 6,600 miles and needs a break.

Lulu is not getting over her cold as fast as I would like so keeping an eye on her. Got a batch of Elderberry tincture I made last fall and will open that and start giving it to her.

Reminding everyone that today

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is Star Wars day:



That darn ROKU box

Lulu got us started on Foyle's War

Excellent series set in England during WWII - murder mysteries.

Watched three hours over dinner and a glass or two of wine.

If you like British murder mysteries, this is a series to watch - plus, there are eight seasons of stuff to catch up on.

Lovin' the ROKU box - not missing the 100 home shopping channels from the $90/month DirecTV

Carly Fiorina announces

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Of the current crop of candidates, I like her the best. Our nation needs someone skilled in management and business operation. She used to be CEO at Hewlett Packard and is one tough cookie.

Daily routine

One of the nice things about heading home after a long trip is settling back into a daily routine.

Heading out for the weekly store shopping run this morning - always a fun trip into town.

Cool website for Physics Phun

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Just found out about DIY Physics

As if I didn't have enough on my plate already...  I'll be ordering their book.

They also have this site for general DIY geekery

Terrorism in the USA

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From the Dalas, TX ABC affiliate WFAA:

Two shot dead outside Muhammad Art Exhibit in Garland
Two men were shot and killed in a parking lot outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland Sunday afternoon, SWAT officials told News 8.

The two suspects drove up and opened fire near the center, which was hosting a Muhammad Art exhibit, and hit a Garland ISD officer.

Garland Police shot and killed the two men.

The Garland ISD officer, identified as Bruce Joiner, was shot in the lower leg and suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to a spokesman for Garland Police. He was in stable condition at a local hospital.

Which prompted this wonderful tweet from Daniel Foster:



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Who snuck in and took a photo of the back of my desk.


At least they got it when it was relatively clean and organized - it can get cluttered from time to time...

An interesting bit of computing history. From GE Reports:

It’s BASIC: Arnold Spielberg and the Birth of Personal Computing
From Thomas Edison to former President Ronald Reagan and novelist Kurt Vonnegut, GE has employed a number of luminaries over the course of its 123-year history. One famous last name that’s been missing from this list is Spielberg.

In the late 1950s, Arnold Spielberg, the father of Hollywood director Steven Spielberg, helped revolutionize computing when he designed the GE-225 mainframe computer. The machine allowed a team of Dartmouth University students and researchers to develop the BASIC programing language, an easy-to-use coding tool that quickly spread and ushered in the era of personal computers. (Young Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs all used the language when they started building their digital empires.)

“I remember visiting the plant when dad was working on the GE-225,” Steven Spielberg told GE Reports. “I walked through rooms that were so bright, I recall it hurting my eyes. Dad explained how his computer was expected to perform, but the language of computer science in those days was like Greek to me. It all seemed very exciting, but it was very much out of my reach, until the 1980s, when I realized what pioneers like my dad had created were now the things I could not live without.”

The Dartmouth team ran BASIC, or Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code, on the GE-225 for the first time a half-century ago, on May 1, 1964.

Little acorns / mighty oaks... My parents lived in Hanover, New Hampshire (home of Dartmouth) for ten years. I got my Dad his first computer (Apple IIe) for Christmas and set him up with an account on the Dartmouth system. He wrote textbooks and the computer was a godsend to him. Got him switched over to IBMs when they got to be decent. John Kemeny, the co-developer of BASIC, was president of Dartmouth at that time.

Now this is interesting

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I knew that much of the Baltimore "protest" was from outside the city. Didn't realize just how far outside.

From the Baltimore Sun:

'Hacktivists' from around the world take to social media to stir Baltimore unrest
After riots overtook West Baltimore on Monday, a hashtag began to appear on Twitter and other social media — #BALTIMORELOOTCREW — linking together posts that depicted pilfered prescription drugs and demolished store shelves..

But that "crew" was not actually in Baltimore protesting the death of Freddie Gray, according to a local cybersecurity company. Many photos shared using that label, and others, were taken years ago, and often not even in the United States, employees at Federal Hill-based ZeroFox found.

Bad actors and so-called "hacktivists" descended on Baltimore — electronically, at least — this past week, flooding social media with automated accounts and inauthentic images, said James C. Foster, CEO of the social media risk management firm. Law enforcement and cybersecurity experts said such barrages increasingly target areas of unrest around the world, spurring violence and challenging efforts to contain it.

A bit more:

The company's specialty is rooting out cyber criminals lurking on social media. And when West Baltimore erupted in rioting Monday, its employees felt compelled to apply their skills. ZeroFox worked into the night tracing tweets and Facebook accounts that shared photos of looting and violence.

What they found was that much of the activity was coming from well outside of Baltimore, in some cases from Russia, China, India and the Middle East.

"I just killed a pig," wrote one tweet, showing a bloodied police officer slumped on the ground. Not only was the photo of an officer in South America, but the account sharing it was not in Baltimore.

Another tweet, which appeared to be coming from the Baltimore police, asked, "Why are we even tweeting?" and suggested that the protesters couldn't read. It also referred to them with a racial slur.

But the account was one of nearly 100 impersonating police, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Gov. Larry Hogan and the Maryland National Guard that popped up amid the protests.

Now why would Russia, China and the Middle East want to destabilize the USA? Because they see that we are weak and ripe for the picking?

The sooner we get some adults in the room the better!

Here is the website for ZeroFOX - good people, well known in the industry.

Ohh the irony - San Francisco. From National Review:

When Minimum-Wage Hikes Hit a San Francisco Comic-Book Store
I’m hearing from a lot of customers, ‘I voted for that, and I didn’t realize it would affect you.’”

So says Brian Hibbs, owner and operator of Comix Experience, an iconic comic-book and graphic-novel shop on San Francisco’s Divisadero Street, of the city’s new minimum-wage law.

San Francisco’s Proposition J, which 77 percent of voters approved in November, will raise the minimum wage in the city to $15 by 2018. As of today, May 1, Hibbs is required by law to pay his employees at Comix Experience, and its sister store, Comix Experience Outpost on Ocean Avenue, $12.25 per hour. That’s just the first of four incremental raises that threaten to put hundreds of such shops out of business.

Hibbs opened Comix Experience on April Fools’ Day, 1989, when he was just 21 years old. Over two-and-a-half decades, the store has become a must-visit location for premier comic-book artists and graphic novelists, and Hibbs has become a leading figure in the industry, serving as a judge for the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and as a member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s board of directors. He notes with pride that his store has turned a profit each year — no small task — since its very first year.

But that may not last. Hibbs says that the $15-an-hour minimum wage will require a staggering $80,000 in extra revenue annually. “I was appalled!” he says. “My jaw dropped. Eighty-thousand a year! I didn’t know that. I thought we were talking a small amount of money, something I could absorb.”

Profit margins on most businesses are very small - Comics and Graphic Novels have the added disadvantage of having their MSRP printed on the front cover. Stupid voters failing to grasp the most elementary of economic principles.

Much is being said about a 'hot spot' in the Pacific Ocean off our coast. Turns out that the answer might be very simple.

From the London Daily Mail:

Scientists monitor undersea volcanic eruption off Oregon coast
An undersea volcano about 300 miles (480 km) off Oregon's coast has been spewing lava for the past seven days, confirming forecasts made last fall and giving researchers unique insight into a hidden ocean hot spot, a scientist said on Friday.

Researchers know of two previous eruptions by the volcano, dubbed "Axial Seamount" for its location along the axis of an underwater mountain ridge, Oregon State University geologist Bill Chadwick said on Friday. But those 1998 and 2011 eruptions were detected months or years afterward, Chadwick added.

Last year, researchers connected monitoring gear to an undersea cable that, for the first time, allowed them to gather live data on the volcano, whose peak is about 4,900 feet (1,500 meters) below the ocean surface.

"The cable allows us to have more sensors and monitoring instruments than ever before, and it's happening in real time," said Chadwick, who also is affiliated with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

 Very cool!

Nothing much today

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Working in the shop (nice day - temps in the high 50°'s) and got a couple projects to take care of.

Got some sous-vide beef for dinner.

More later...

From Seattle station KOMO:

May Day Mayhem: 3 SPD officers hurt as rioters march through Seattle
Police say black-clad May Day marchers hurled wrenches and rocks at officers and hit police with sticks as a Friday evening march through Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood turned violent, injuring three officers -- two seriously.

The police need to punch back twice as hard. These morons feel they can get away with murder - make it expensive for them and they will stop.

Where heavy equipment comes from

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Soundtrack is in German but the visuals explain it all:


Hat tip to Bayou Renaissance Man for the link. I want one of those eggs!

Fun optical illusion

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This video triggers the motion aftereffect illusion.

Do not play the video if you have epliepsy.

The effect wears off in 30 seconds or so.


The Religion of Peace

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Great website that lists all the terrorist attacks committed by Muslim fundamentalists.

Back on March 22, 2008, I noticed that they had logged 10,000 attacks since 9/11

Went back today and saw that this number is now over 25,700.

Here are the stats for April 2015 alone:

  • Jihad Attacks: 260
  • Countries: 26
  • Allah Akbars*: 3822
  • Dead Bodies: 2650
  • Critically Injured: 1784
    *Suicide attacks

Trying to resuscitate an old computer?

Check out the Bitsavers website

Huge archive of old code (languages, operating systems, applications, etc...) and manuals for hardware and software.

Yikes - wages in Los Angeles

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I pity the fool who has their audio equipment worked on by these people. From an advertisement in the L.A. Craigslist - screencap in case the ad goes away:


All this and they start at $12/hour?

In Los Angeles?

Like I said, I pity the fool who sends their vintage synthesizers to them for work.

A return to core values

YES!!! From the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology:

Committee Approves NASA Bill Supporting U.S. Space Leadership
The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee today approved a two-year NASA Authorization bill that restores balance to NASA’s budget and supports its role as the only government agency responsible for space exploration. The NASA Authorization Act for 2016 and 2017 is a budget-neutral bill that was introduced earlier this week by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) alongside lead sponsor Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) and fifteen other cosponsors. The bill’s policy provisions largely mirror that of the House-passed NASA Authorization Act of 2015, a one-year bill that passed with unanimous bipartisan support in February 2015. The bill drew letters of support from the Coalition for Space Exploration, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, the Planetary Society, and the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership/Citizens for Spaceflight Exploration-Texas.  

“Today’s bill is a step in the right direction to ensure that NASA will continue to innovate and inspire,” stated Chairman Lamar Smith. “The Authorization levels for FY16 and FY17 included in this bill provide NASA with the resources necessary to remain a leader in space exploration in a time of tight budget realities. For more than 50 years, the U.S. has led the world in space exploration. We must restore balance to NASA’s budget if we want to ensure the U.S. continues to lead in space for the next 50 years. And we must continue to invest in NASA as the only government agency responsible for space exploration.”

A bit more - reading between the lines: 

The Committee bill focuses NASA’s efforts to develop a capability to access the International Space Station so that we can once again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil. It also increases support for the Space Launch System and the Orion Crew Vehicle – systems being developed to take astronauts to deep-space destinations like Mars – in an attempt to keep the programs on schedule for a 2017 launch date. The Obama administration has consistently cut funding for these human space exploration programs, while increasing funding for the Earth Science Division by more than 63 percent. The bill provides a total authorization level that matches NASA’s budget request, providing that current restraints within the Budget Control Act are satisfied.

Earth Science Division? That would be global warming. Cutting the funding for this unnecessary office is overdue - there has been no warming for over 18 years, our climate is driven by our sun and our sun has been in a cool mode and is showing no signs of warming up. If anything, the warnings about cooling from the 1970's are turning out to be prescient.

Our race to the moon not only boosted our economy, it created thousands of technology spin-offs that we are still enjoying today. Pure research is good for business. Climate science cannot prove their own models.

A day just like yesterday

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Coffee and then bookwork.

Heading into town this afternoon to look at an interesting Craigslist sale. The owner is misidentifying an item and if it is what I think it is, the item is of great use to me.

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