September 2015 Archives

Got the tee shirt

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Ever wonder what a recording engineer does?

Like they say - been there, done that, got the tee shirt...

An icon ceases production

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The synthesizer that Dr. Robert Moog is best remembered for is his small performance synth - the MiniMoog. His last design before his death in 2005 brought the MiniMoog into the 20th century. This project was named Voyager.

Moog just announced that they are winding down production. This is a shame as it is a beast of a synth.


Experts say...

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From the Sydney, Australia The Daily Telegraph:



So glad I have the horse and mule now that we are out of petroleum...

What is it about Malthusians - they are always wrong

Domain dilution

Used to be that there was just xyzzy.COM, xyzzy.ORG xyzzy.NET and a few others. xyzzy.BIZ worked its nose under the tent and now we have a plethora of top-level domains.

I just ran into a canonical list of all the TLDs available now (over 150) and there are some fun ones but there are some silly ones too.

You can register your domain as xyzzy.TECH if you want - that is kinda cool. Some others include .ACTOR, .BAR, .BEER, .BEST, .BLACKFRIDAY, .CATERING, .CODES, .COOL, .GRATIS, .PIZZA, .TIRES, .VOYAGE, .XXX, etc...

What gets me is that if you don't remember the name of the domain that well, you can try it as somename.COM, somename.NET and see if you can find it. Adding 150 additional choices will dilute the ability of someone to find you in all the "noise" of the other domain names. What was intended to be a feature may well turn out to be a bug.

Hope on the horizon - Sweden and Nuclear

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Some nations run very successful nuclear power programs. France gets 70% of its electricity from Nuclear power plants. Other nations yield to the misinformation of the radical greenies.

Sweden is doing just fine - from the Scientific American:

The World Really Could Go Nuclear
Nothing but fear and capital stand in the way of a nuclear-powered future
In just two decades Sweden went from burning oil for generating electricity to fissioning uranium. And if the world as a whole were to follow that example, all fossil fuel–fired power plants could be replaced with nuclear facilities in a little over 30 years. That's the conclusion of a new nuclear grand plan published May 13 in PLoS One. Such a switch would drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, nearly achieving much-ballyhooed global goals to combat climate change. Even swelling electricity demands, concentrated in developing nations, could be met. All that's missing is the wealth, will and wherewithal to build hundreds of fission-based reactors, largely due to concerns about safety and cost.

"If we are serious about tackling emissions and climate change, no climate-neutral source should be ignored," argues Staffan Qvist, a physicist at Uppsala University, who led the effort to develop this nuclear plan. "The mantra 'nuclear can't be done quickly enough to tackle climate change' is one of the most pervasive in the debate today and mostly just taken as true, while the data prove the exact opposite."

A bit more:

The data Qvist and his co-author Barry Brook, an ecologist and computer modeler at the University of Tasmania, relied on comes from two countries in Europe: Sweden and France. The Swedes began research to build nuclear reactors in 1962 in a bid to wean the country off burning oil for power as well as to protect rivers from hydroelectric dams. By 1972, the first boiling water reactor at Oskarshamn began to host fission and churn out electricity. The cost was roughly $1,400 per kilowatt of electric capacity (in 2005 dollars), which is cheap compared to the $7,000 per kilowatt of electric capacity of two new advanced nuclear reactors being built in the U.S. right now. By 1986, with the addition of 11 more reactors, half of Sweden's electricity came from nuclear power and carbon dioxide emissions per Swede had dropped by 75 percent compared to the peak in 1970.

France, a larger nation, has a similar nuclear tale to tell, weaning itself from imported fossil fuels by building 59 nuclear reactors in the 1970s and 1980s that produce roughly 80 percent of the nation's electricity needs today.

All that would be required for the Chinas, Indias and U.S.s of the world to emulate these two nuclear pioneers is "political will, strategic economic planning, and public acceptance," Qvist and Brook write. For example, nations would need to commit to a single design for reactors, as occurred in France and Sweden, as well as mandates requiring utilities to build said reactors and financial support for the construction from the national government. "The state reacted to a crisis, at that time the oil prices, and implemented a plan, which quickly in 15 years had solved the problem," Qvist says. "Analogies could be drawn to the crisis we have today: climate change."

More at the site - this would be a lot better if they were building Thorium reactors but you need to start somewhere. Much more at the site and Kudos to Scientific American to publish an article like this. The last 20 years have seen them publish a lot of politically safe articles and not the kind of penetrating actual looks at numbers kinds of stuff they used to. I remember them back when they were a respectable source of information.

So true - sad to say...

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Dinner was amazing

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Been a while since I sprung for Ahi but it was wonderful and there are leftovers for a salad tomorrow. Sautéed some rainbow chard with sesame oil and a bit of oyster sauce and did a pot of rice. Perfection.

Surfing for a bit and then to bed...

Well that was a bust

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Wrote a nice long post and the blogging software ate it. Usually, it saves a copy every few minutes and when I close the browser and re-open it, offers to load that.

This time? Nada...

Fixing dinner and will post some more later.

UPDATE: Of course, now it shows up again as sweet as can be... Disregard the text above...

Back home again

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Got a lot done in town. Costco used to have really nice AI tuna (previously frozen but really nice pieces). Over the last year, they have been getting less and less red with more and more of the white silverskin and connective tissue. For that price, I am expecting sashimi grade.

Picked up a piece today that only had a little bit of the silverskin - it has been seasoned, is resting at room temperature and will be seared for a few moments on top and bottom. The wasabi is resting (using regular sushi wasabi and some stuff that is supposed to be pure freeze-dried root - do a taste test...

Surfing after dinner - also got something interesting in the mail, project for this weekend. A guy in England is making a Software Defined Radio called the SDRplay. It has a USB port and an antenna jack and will receive from 100kHz up to 2 GHz. The bandwidth is 8MHz so I can be monitoring all of a given ham radio band and look for signals outside of where I am currently listening. It is not a transmitter - receive only but it is a great add-on to my station and it appears to play nice with the software I already use for my HF rig. Works with Linux, Windows and Mac and others. I will have to try the Android platform as this would make for a very portable rig...

Finally, I received a copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere 14. These are stripped-down versions of the two major Adobe programs but they are just fine for me. I use Lightroom for 99% of my photography and there are enough of the 'pro' features in both apps to let me do what I want.

Off to town

Running some errands, shopping and paying some bills.

Back around 4:00PM or so.

Digging through the remains takes a lot of time so even though the accident happened in 2011, this news is current.

From Russia Today:

Fukushima reactor could have suffered total meltdown – report
Fukushima’s reactor No.2 could have suffered a complete meltdown according to Japanese researchers. They have been monitoring the Daiichi nuclear power plant since April, but say they have found few signs of nuclear fuel at the reactor’s core.

The scientists from Nagoya University had been using a device that uses elementary particles, which are called muons. These are used to give a better picture of the inside of the reactor as the levels of radioactivity at the core mean it is impossible for any human to go anywhere near it.

However, the results have not been promising. The study shows very few signs of any nuclear fuel in reactor No. 2. This is in sharp contrast to reactor No.5, where the fuel is clearly visible at the core, the Japanese broadcaster NHK reports.

The team believes that 70 to 100 percent of the fuel has melted, though they did add that further research was needed to see whether any fuel had managed to penetrate the reactor.

They should just do what they did for Chernobyl - encase the whole thing in a concrete sarcophagus and be done with it. This technology is over 60 years old and we are still building them. Do we still use 60 year old computers? Automobile engines? Airplanes? Medical equipment? Televisions? Thought not. Why hasn't the next generation of nuclear power been developed? Because there is too much money in uranium pressurized water reactors. We need to shift to Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors - the fuel for the next thousand years.

And also, just to remember. Not one person died from radiation at Fukushima or anywhere else in the world. From the New York Times:

When Radiation Isn’t the Real Risk
This spring, four years after the nuclear accident at Fukushima, a small group of scientists met in Tokyo to evaluate the deadly aftermath.

No one has been killed or sickened by the radiation — a point confirmed last month by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Even among Fukushima workers, the number of additional cancer cases in coming years is expected to be so low as to be undetectable, a blip impossible to discern against the statistical background noise.

But about 1,600 people died from the stress of the evacuation — one that some scientists believe was not justified by the relatively moderate radiation levels at the Japanese nuclear plant.

And a bit more:

“The government basically panicked,” said Dr. Mohan Doss, a medical physicist who spoke at the Tokyo meeting, when I called him at his office at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. “When you evacuate a hospital intensive care unit, you cannot take patients to a high school and expect them to survive.”

Among other victims were residents of nursing homes. And there were the suicides. “It was the fear of radiation that ended up killing people,” he said.

The whole thing was poorly managed (TEPCO - I am looking right at you). The reactor was going to be decommissioned a few months later, a similar reactor with a better protected backup generator withstood the tsunami wonderfully and in fact, was the community gathering point for the area.  Done correctly, nuclear is very safe.

Now this is interesting

I'm going to be ordering one of these - a couple applications come to mind right off the bat...

From the Raspberry Pi Blog:

When we released Raspberry Pi 2 in February this year, we announced that Microsoft’s Windows 10 IoT Core, a version of Windows 10 for small Internet-of-Things devices that may or may not have a screen, would be available for the device. Since the Windows Insider release of Windows 10 Core in August, we’ve found that lots of people looking for a Pi 2 are arriving at sellers’ websites from sites catering for Windows developers. Many Windows developers are coming to Raspberry Pi for the first time; we couldn’t be more pleased to welcome them, and we hope they’ll encounter much success and plenty of fun building with Raspberry Pi.

Yesterday, Microsoft and Adafruit announced the release of a new Windows 10 Core Starter Pack for Raspberry Pi 2.

The pack is available with a Pi 2 for people who are are new to Raspberry Pi or who’d like a dedicated device for their projects, or without one for those who’ll be using a Pi they already own. The box contains an SD card with Windows 10 Core and a case, power supply, wifi module and Ethernet cable for your Pi; a breadboard, jumper wires and components including LEDs, potentiometers and switches; and sensors for light, colour, temperature and pressure. There’s everything you need to start building.

Be sure to read the comments as there are a few gotcha's - you need an external computer already running Win10 and you need VisualStudio to link and upload your applications. Still...

Adafruit is out of stock but placed my name on the wait-list. Looks like fun! Worst case scenario, I can always install Linux on it.

How to fix our educational system

Hint - do not throw more money at it. From Business Insider:

Mark Zuckerberg's $100 million donation to Newark public schools failed miserably — here's where it went wrong
In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to Newark, New Jersey's failing public-school system with the intention of turning around the schools in five years.

The goals Zuckerberg set out to achieve — to enact a number of reforms that would make Newark a model city for education reform — are widely seen as a failure, journalist Dale Russakoff told Business Insider.

So where exactly did that $100 million go if the turnaround was a failure?

The union bureaucracy is too entrenched and powerful - they are negotiating themselves into irrelevancy. I am reminded again of this graph:


Heh - now we know where it went

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Swiped from Grouchy Old Cripple:


Remembering the good old days

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Click to embiggen:


More here: Bolt Carrier

Quote of the day - Russell Kirk

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“I am a conservative. Quite possibly I am on the losing side; often I think so. Yet, out of a curious perversity I had rather lose with Socrates, let us say, than win with Lenin.”
Russell Kirk

A cautionary note

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This has been a public service announcement:

Some encourging news

From J. Christian Adams writing at PJ Media:

The Revolution Has Begun
You can almost see the circuits blowing.” – Neil Peart, in Far Cry
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it started, but with Speaker John Boehner’s resignation announcement, there’s no doubt the revolution has begun. Perhaps it was the first time you bookmarked the Drudge Report. Or maybe, when at the Drudge Report, you said: “Who is this Breitbart?” Eric Cantor’s primary loss to Dave Brat was certainly a moment when the revolution was stirring and produced tangible results rather than just internet narrative.

Regardless of when the revolution started, it’s clearly underway.

First, what do I mean by revolution? Like with all revolutions, the old ways are being replaced. But this revolution has a twist: the revolution is trying to replace the old ways of doing business with even older, and more timeless ways. Namely, this revolution is a revolution against centralized power.

It could be that this revolution really started two centuries ago. Perhaps it never stopped. We were warned about the price of eternal vigilance, weren’t we?

There was a time when the Republican Party stood as the bulwark against centralized power, against Washington, D.C., eroding personal space. When both houses of Congress were held by President Obama’s party, the Republican Party stood as the most well-placed institution to oppose his agenda.

Things were bad. But if only we had the House! That was the rallying cry from fundraisers, politicians in the minority, and their consultants. So the revolution delivered the House in 2010. But things didn’t seem to change. Obama consolidated his gains and entrenched. There was no consequence.

If only we had the Senate! That was the new rallying cry from the fundraisers, politicians in the House majority, politicians in the Senate minority, and their consultants.

So the revolution delivered the Senate in 2014. Again, things didn’t seem to change. Instead of opposing Obama with every constitutional tool available, yes including the power of the purse, the new leadership failed to return the favor that the revolution bestowed on them in 2010 and 2014.

There is a lot to read at the article and it is spot on. Mr. Adams closes with the following::

Let’s get one thing straight. Fixing Washington requires someone who understands Washington. I’ve been inside the bureaucracies and know how the entrenched bureaucrats can hoodwink even the most zealous overseer. Utilizing someone who understands their language and has tangled with them will be the only way to make progress. It takes an outsider who understands the language and tricks. Not all outsiders need apply.

So what’s up next for the revolution? Some accounts say Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is on deck.  One thing seems likely: the revolution will play a central role in picking the next Republican nominee. The establishment GOP needs the revolution far more than the revolution needs the establishment GOP.

While Democrats might enjoy the intra-party bloodletting, the institutional left might have even more to fear: as they say, these people don’t play around. They are coming after you next.

The revolutionaries place themselves in the pedigree of Americans who accept risk because of the ideas at stake. They aren’t sunshine patriots. They love America and fear for it in ways that the comfortable class in Washington doesn’t seem to appreciate.  All of this might sound silly to some, but go ask John Boehner what he’ll be doing next.

Emphasis mine - great line and the sooner McConnel fades into the background the better.

More faster please!

A fun evening

We shared a small Sirloin at a local restaurant and then headed up the hill to Heather Meadows.

Bailed on Artist Point because we were running a bit late. Parked heading East (towards the other people in the network) and set up just in time to hear net control opening the net for the evening. I could not talk directly but a couple of people were able to hear me and act as relay. I was telling Lulu that radio nets are set up a lot like TCP/IP (here and here) that binds the Internet together. It is designed to route around any damage or dead connections.

Got some great photos of the eclipse - here is one:


Taken at Heather Meadows with Picture Lake in the foreground. Tried to take a photo from home but the mist is rising in the valley and did not get a clear shot. Spending some time with Lightroom tomorrow adjusting colors and contrast.

Packing the truck

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Getting ready for the big expedition - camera batteries are charging, loading the radio equipment into the truck. Walking very gingerly because of the bum hip but getting things done slowly and carefully.

Minimal posting tonight as we will not be off the mountain until 9:00PM or so. It will still be twilight when the moon rises and want to get a good dark-sky photo.

Reprogramming the radio for tonight's drill - last Sunday of the month is simplex operation on a different frequency with fall-back on two repeaters. Good to mix things up a bit. Had this been a real emergency...

Windows 10 - not that shabby

The alternating generations of Windows releases happened again. I took one look at someone else's Windows 8 install and threw up in my mouth a little... Windows 10 is actually pretty nice and runs the software I use regularly.

Looks like I'll be adopting it on some of my production machines (music, video and photo) - got to run some real-world benchmarks first...

An appropriate sending

Last night, Lulu woke up suddenly from a dream with the number 54 on her mind. This morning she realized that it was from Isaiah 54:

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.

Considering that we are packing up some radio equipment and will be doing an emergency communications drill tonight on the side of Mt. Baker at the Heather Meadows ski area tonight at 7:00PM, this is a curious thing to be dreaming about. Mt. Baker is an active volcano and our area is very prone to landslides...

I will also be photographing the lunar eclipse. Having an early dinner in Glacier on the way up the hill...

Understanding the Syrian Race

With all the Syrian "refugees" streaming into Europe and the USA (80% men in their 20's to 30's and about 10% of these known to be allied with ISIS or other terror groups), it would be good to spend some time getting to know our new brothers.

Abu Sa'eed Al-Britani writes the following:

Culture Clash: Understanding The Syrian Race
All praise is due to Allāh who gathered the Arab and the non-Arab here in Shām. All praise is due to Allāh who united our hearts with the bond of faith. All praise is due to Allāh who gives understanding to those He wills.

Here in Shām, the Arabs and the non-Arabs are united in one line, under one banner, defending each other’s life with their own blood. However, with the unification of tribes and cultures, there will be clashes which are inevitable. Clashes which arise due to many reasons. Some are due to the level of knowledge which people possess, and some are due to different upbringings and cultures.

The clashes which are due to the level of knowledge is something which is not new and everyone has experienced this irrespective of country of origin. There are many people who come from the same country but differ in knowledge, so this is a concept known to all.
However, when cultures clash it is somewhat harder to deal with it as you may be telling someone to do something which he has never done before nor knows the reason behind (even though it may seem quite obvious to you).

Arabs as a whole have a unique culture, which differs dramatically from the western lifestyle. If one is unaware of these cultural differences, then it could be quite peculiar, annoying, and at times somewhat stressful to interact and associate with them. Arabs are quite unique in their habits, so it is vital for the western Muhājir to acquaint himself with their cultures to prevent clashes and disputes.

Below I shall list a few of their habits which Arabs are known for:

1) A lack of privacy for other’s space
This is a common habit for Arabs in the Middle East. I remember an incident from when I first came to Shām; I was sitting in ribāt next to another British brother, and as we were talking a Syrian brother came into the room and sat between me and the brother, he then reached for my backpack and opened it. The brother didn’t ask my permission but apparently that was not needed as it’s the habit of Arabs to go through other people’s property without their permission. As I sat there, he took out all my clothes and other gear from my backpack and examined each item before placing it on the floor.

As he was doing this, I was speaking to the other British brother asking him what was going on, and he told me that this was the norm here in Syria.  Initially, I thought this was just a one off incident, but as time went on I realized this was a habit of our Arab brothers.

On another occasion an Indonesian brother was working on his laptop and was using it to speak to his family (or friends) back in Indonesia. After some time he went to go eat so he left his laptop open not expecting anything to happen, as no one really goes through other people’s property without permission, right? Wrong! As he was in the other room eating, an Arab brother went through his laptop and deleted all his conversations the brother was having with his family on his Messenger service. He also deleted his web server and was browsing the net without hesitation. When the Indonesian brother returned and realized what happened, he got upset and thereafter put a password on his laptop.

Another common trait is that they see no issue in unplugging your mobile phone to charge their own phone. Even if it’s your own charger, they would casually take your phone off charge to charge their own phone, even if there is no real need for them to charge their phone at that current time.

During my time with Arabs, I have only noticed one Syrian brother who asked permission before going through my bag, and due to him asking permission I allowed him to go through my stuff, even though I didn’t like it.

Arabs in general do not know where the red line is in giving another brother his space, and this is in their culture, maybe because they see this as a form of strong brotherhood. Whatever the reason it’s annoying so patience is required.

Much much more at the site - the list extends to twelve more items and is an eye-opening read. The few Muslims I have met bear this out - infantile culture, they think they are on top of the world but this is only supported by the oil money. Once that dries up, they are going to have some serious reconciling to do...

Daniel Craig advertising Heineken

An obvious tie-in to the new Bond movie but still a lot of fun. Heineken does some great advertising from time to time.

Six months of his time spent making a sandwich. From his YouTube channel:

I spent 6 months and $1500 to completely make a sandwich from scratch. Including growing my own vegetables, making my own salt from ocean water, milking a cow to make cheese, grinding my own flour from wheat, collecting my own honey, and killing a chicken myself.

My quest does not just cover food. In my new video series, I set out to challenge myself to make many every day items we take for granted from scratch. Subscribe to my channel and watch the full episode...and catch my next episode, where I make a suit from scratch, which after factoring in production costs and labor totals to around $4,000!

Oopsie - WA State Ferry System

The final chapter on a very expensive mistake by the Washington State Ferry system is coming to a close.

For a bit of background, there is this October 10, 2013 article from Seattle station KING5:

Investigators: Millions spent on ferry generators that can’t be used
Inside a South Seattle warehouse, giant wooden crates contain an expensive mistake made by Washington State Ferries (WSF). Multi-million-dollar, high-powered generators that will never be used are sitting inside.

They were supposed to be installed on the ferries Kaleetan and Yakima. The new equipment would allow the boats to propel through the water using two engines instead of four. They were purchased to help save money on fuel costs.

Ferry design engineers conducted studies before ordering the new generators but they made a big mistake. They didn't do enough testing to realize the equipment would be too powerful to use on the boats. Connector cables on the two ferries can't handle generators that powerful. If installed they could cause an electrical explosion called an arc flash. An arc flash is a short circuit through air that flashes over from one exposed live conductor to another conductor or to ground. There are studies estimating arc explosions cause one to two deaths per day in the U.S.

The KING 5 Investigators obtained an internal state memo which says the generators would create a possible life-threatening incident... in locations where vessel personnel are likely to be present.

Without knowing about the potential danger, in 2006 WSF ordered nine generators from the Texas company TECO-Westinghouse.

So far the state has paid $1 million for four of the nine. When problems cropped up, the state threw more money at the project.

In 2007, a million dollars was spent on a design change.

Last year, they spent $100,000 on consultants hired to find ways to fix the mistake.

So far the cost to taxpayers is $2.1 million. That number could grow to millions more to pay TECO-Westinghouse for work already performed.

In 2008, ferry engineers began to suspect the generators were too powerful to be used. The state hired the engineering firm Siemens Energy and Automation to conduct an analysis.

In February2009, Siemens reported to WSF that, indeed, the switchgear on the boats could not handle that powerful of a generator.

State ferries didn t scrap the project just yet. They hired another consultant -the Seattle-based naval architectural firm Guido Perla and Associates-to look for ways to allow the generators to interface safely with the cable connectors.

On April 28, 2010, Guido Perla reported to the ferry system that nothing could be done: There is no viable, economically feasible device or technology that can safely (fix the problem), wrote Perla engineers.

It wasn t until three month later, in July, that state ferries officially told TECO-Westinghouse to pull the plug and stop all production.

Ferries Director of Vessel Maintenance Paul Brodeur signed off on the original order. He declined our requests for an interview.

Emphasis mine - no shit...

Anyway, the final chapter on this boondoggle is coming to a close - from the WA State Public Surplus website:

Auction #1448486 - Propulsion DC Generators (ct.9) 2300 kw (13-3195 #2 WSF) JF (At Agency Location)
The Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division, operating as Washington State Ferries (WSF), has nine (9) direct current (DC) generators for sale.  The generators are new / never used. This auction is for the entire lot of nine (9) generators.

Generator Nos. 1 through 6 are complete, tested inspected and crated. Generator Nos. 7, 8 and 9 are completed to component level only and crated. Note: Generator Nos. 1 through 4 are stored at WSF's warehouse in Seattle, Washington. Generator Nos. 5 through 9 are stored at a warehouse in Longview, Washington. 

WSF Purchase Summary:
WSF intended to replace the existing DC generators on the Super class ferries M.V. Kaleetan and M.V. Yakima with higher voltage DC generators to enable the vessels to operate on fewer engines to save fuel and reduce maintenance costs. To accomplish such upgrade, in 2006 WSF purchased nine (9) 2300 kw generators from Teco Westinghouse, at an aggregate price of $5.3 million. However, WSF subsequently discovered that the control system on the vessels would not support the higher voltage generators. Rather than upgrade the control system, WSF decided to sell the new generators and retain the existing control system and generators. The new generators are not restricted to a certain engine make / model.  Any engine that meets the power requirements will work with modifications based on the end user’s needs.

Emphasis mine again - opening bid is $300,000 with no takers so this is 5.66% of the initial purchase price. Not surprising as each unit is essentially a custom one-off design and will not fit into any other situation without a lot of modification.

Wikipedia has a nice writeup on the Washington ferry system - it is heavily subsidized and the fares that people pay cover less than half the total cost of operation, maintenance and replacement.

Generators in question - field cage and rotor:



Win10 install - not too bad

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Office 2003 runs just fine on Windows 10 - it asks me to swear that I have a legitimate copy and we will see what happens when this copy gets installed on the rest of my machines (duplicate registration numbers being sent to MSFT). All the other ham radio software runs just fine.

The machine I am using is a small form-factor box and I want to swap out the power supply for a 12-volt unit and make it part of my portable station.

A busy Sunday

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We have the Blood Moon / Lunar Eclipse coming up this Sunday so I will be driving up Mt. Baker to photograph it and possibly shoot a timelapse if sky conditions allow. Last one was in 1982 and the next one will be 2033.

Remembered this morning that my emergency communications radio network is Sunday at the same time. I will be packing up my equipment into the truck and doing both from 4,300 elevation at Heather Meadows. Maybe Artist Point if there is a good backdrop for the moonrise.

Oh. Wait. Stanislav Petrov was on watch 32 years ago today.

From the Wikipedia entry:

Stanislav Petrov
Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov (Russian: Станисла́в Евгра́фович Петро́в; born 1939 in Odessa, Ukraine) is a retired lieutenant colonel of the Soviet Air Defence Forces. On September 26, 1983, just three weeks after the Soviet military had shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007, Petrov was the duty officer at the command center for the Oko nuclear early-warning system when the system reported that a missile, followed by another one and another up to five, were being launched from the United States. Petrov judged the report to be a false alarm, and his decision is credited with having prevented an erroneous retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States and its NATO allies that could have resulted in large-scale nuclear war. Investigation later confirmed that the satellite warning system had indeed malfunctioned.

It really was that close. The website for the movie is here The Man who Saved the World - scroll down for the trailer. Link to IMDB

Having a bad day with the hip so spending it plunked in front of the computer playing around with various antenna design software (and some homebrew excel spreadsheets) looking at options for the radio room. Antenna tuners, etc...

Did some notarizing today - nice guy, new to the area. He brought a carton of garden fresh veggies - some heirloom 'maters and a couple ears of corn as payment. I love living here!

Installed Win10 on a test system - it requires a few "Hit Yes to continue" so it hung on one of those yesterday. Should be done by tomorrow so will answer the big question - will Office 2003 run on Win10. I am hoping yes.

A vendor - ERICO

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ERICO - stands for Electric Railway Improvement Company.

Founded in 1903 - from About Us page:

Serving Customers for Over 100 Years
In 1903, the Electric Railway Improvement Company (ERICO®) was created to supply power bonds, signal bonds and related welding equipment to railroads, mining and street railway industries.
ERICO is a leading global manufacturer and marketer of superior engineered electrical and fastening products for niche electrical, mechanical and concrete applications. The company is headquartered in Solon, Ohio, USA, with operations in more than 30 countries and sales and distribution facilities worldwide. ERICO products are sold under market-leading brands: CADDY® fixing, fastening and support products; ERICO® electrical grounding, bonding and connectivity products; and LENTON® engineered systems for concrete reinforcement. 

I am buying some of their Cadweld ground rod connectors. They use a copper based "thermite" and a one-shot ceramic crucible to fuse the ground rod with the ground wire. Normal use calls for a mechanical clamp but this is a lot better.

Needless to say, when these arrive, video will be taken and posted...

Gun free zones in the news - WA State

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From Seattle station KOMO:

Armed robbers hold up three state fair workers in one night
Puyallup police are beefing up patrols around the Washington State Fair after armed robbers hit three times over the weekend.

No one was hurt in the incidents that happened several blocks away from the fair. The robbers struck Sunday night just after the fair closed and workers were heading home.

The State Fair had been operating only three days when robbers decided to move into the surrounding neighborhoods.

Robbery victim Leif Strom was walking in the 1000 block of 7th Avenue Southeast when he got held up. He and another worker at the State Fair were heading east toward home when confronted by four men in a white Buick.

"One of them came up and the other one was behind him and he asked me for all my money and I gave him $6 at first," Strom said.

But Strom had just finished a 10-hour shift selling items at the fair and had been paid $100 in cash.

"But then he pulled out a gun and he asked me for it all, and so I gave him $100 and just walked away before he asked me for my phone or anything," Strom said.

Strom said the robber was only 5'8" tall. Strom stand 6'6" tall. Strom said the man's gun made up for the size difference.

"I guess you feel pretty big when you have a gun," he said.

 And the Fair is a Gun Free Zone:


 Hat tip to Grouchy Old Cripple for the initial link.

The last one standing - High Bridge Arms Inc.

The last gun store in San Francisco is closing. From FOX News:

Surrender: San Fran's iconic, last gun shop to close over new regulations
Ever since it was opened in the 1950s by a celebrated Olympic shooter, High Bridge Arms has been a defiant fixture in San Francisco's Mission District, but a coming wave of new firearms restrictions has prompted the last gun shop in the liberal City by the Bay to pack it in.

The proposed new city regulations, which could only be aimed at High Bridge Arms, would have required the shop to take and preserve video of all transactions and turn customers' personal data over to police on a weekly basis. General Manager Steven Alcairo said the shop's owners finally threw in the towel after years of what they consider being unfairly targeted with burdensome rules and regulations. Past regulations have required the shop to bar ads and displays from its windows and install cameras and barriers around its exterior. The shop has 17 cameras as it is, and turns video over to police on request, he said.

"This time, it's the idea of filming our customers taking delivery of items after they already completed waiting periods," Alcairo said. "We feel this is a tactic designed to discourage customers from coming to us.

"This year, it's this and next year will probably be something else," Alcairo added. "We don't want to wait for it."

A bit more about the store:

Situated in the prominent city heart of Mission Street, High Bridge Arms was founded in the mid-1950s by Bob Chow, who competed in the 1948 Olympics 25-yard pistol shooting event. By some accounts a Bay Area institution, it has long been a tourist destination - specially for members of the law enforcement community who visit the city.

“I found the staff to be friendly, decent, law-abiding people who have been harassed by the San Francisco anti-gun crowd for quite some time,” Jim Wilson, a retired sheriff from Alpine, Texas, told as he recalled stopping by the shop during a visit to San Francisco a few years back.

And of course, because of the vigilence of its lawmakers, the City of San Francisco has no gun crime at all. They should just make the whole city a gun free zone.

Here is High Bridge's Facebook page

What a surprise - not. The EPA

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The sense of entitlement is over the top with this agency. From The Washington Times:

EPA’s fondness for high-end furniture costs taxpayers $92 million
The federal agency that has the job of protecting the environment doesn’t seem to have too much concern for trees, at least the ones cut down to make furniture.

The Environmental Protection Agency over the past decade has spent a whopping $92.4 million to purchase, rent, install and store office furniture ranging from fancy hickory chairs and a hexagonal wooden table, worth thousands of dollars each, to a simple drawer to store pencils that cost $813.57.

The furniture shopping sprees equaled about $6,000 for every one of the agency’s 15,492 employees, according to federal spending data made public by the government watchdog

And the EPA doesn’t buy just any old office furniture. Most of the agency’s contracts are with Michigan-based retailer Herman Miller Inc. According to the contracts, the EPA spent $48.4 million on furnishings from the retailer known for its high-end, modern furniture designs.

Just one of Herman Miller’s “Aeron” office chairs retails for nearly $730 on the store’s website. The EPA has spent tens of thousands of dollars to purchase and install those types of chairs in its offices.

I like Jeff Bezos' furniture choices for Amazon desks - solid core doors on 4X4 posts - cheap, sturdy and lots of surface area. Why are our tax dollars being squandered like this - the EPA needs to have their budget cut by 80%. Get them back to their core intent.

Great news - this will not fix all the problems in Washington but it is a good start.

From the New York Times:

John Boehner, House Speaker, Will Resign From Congress
Speaker John A. Boehner, under intense pressure from conservatives in his party, announced on Friday that he would resign one of the most powerful positions in government and give up his House seat at the end of October, as Congress moved to avert a government shutdown.

Mr. Boehner, who was first elected to Congress in 1990, made the announcement in an emotional meeting with his fellow Republicans on Friday morning.

“My first job as speaker is to protect the institution,” Mr. Boehner said at a news conference at the Capitol, adding, “It had become clear to me that this prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable harm to the institution.”

There was a strong move to oust him and he saw the writing on the wall. Time to get someone effective and not another Obama sycophant. Let us just hope that he did not cut a bunch of backroom deals to be implemented after he leaves office - some little turds in the punchbowl that will not float to the surface until after he is safely back in Ohio.

Parenthood - testing the waters

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Check out PetBaby


Not happy with the experience? Free return shipping. What's not to love!

Pure genius - this girl will go far!

From Tech Insider - meet 16 year old Oliva Hallisey:

This 16-year-old won the Google Science Fair with a way to detect Ebola
Oliva Hallisey, a 16-year-old from the United States, won the 2015 Google Science Fair with her project to develop a fast, cheap, and stable test for the Ebola virus, which she says gives easy-to-read results in less than 30 minutes — potentially before someone is even showing symptoms.

According to her project description:

Current Ebola detection methods are complex, expensive, require unbroken refrigeration from manufacture to use and up to 12 hours from testing to confirmed diagnosis ... The [test] provides rapid, inexpensive, accurate detection of Ebola viral antigens based on color change within 30 minutes in individuals prior to their becoming symptomatic and infectious.

Much more at the site - the detector is printed onto a piece of cardstock and is shelf-stable - no refrigeration needed. You activate the test by adding three seperate small doses of water to develop and stop the detection reaction.

And, there is this little side benefit:

Hallisey, who is currently entering her junior year at Greenwich High School in Connecticut, says her test could also be adapted to detect HIV, Dengue and Yellow fever viruses, Lyme disease, and even certain cancers. 

This is serious work from someone who is wise beyond their time - her technique for stabilizing the reagents is pure brilliance in its simplicity (silk fibers).

Carly and Hillary

The polls are getting interesting and it is still more than a year before the election. From Don Surber who references this article at The Washington Post:

Carly 44, Hillary 43
Carly Fiorina -- who shattered the glass ceiling at Hewlett-Packard -- is ahead in a new poll of Hillary Clinton, a bore who rode her husband's coattails to government jobs.

The Washington Times reported: "In the head-to-head match-up, Ms. Fiorina tops Mrs. Clinton 44 percent to 43 percent, which is well within the margin of error, making it a statistical tie."

Actually, it is not a statistical tie. A statistical tie would be if they had the same number. They can call it a virtual tie, a bowtie, or Tie A Yellow Ribbon, but it is not a statistical tie.

Carly is emerging at the rational alternative to Donald Trump by those of us who refuse to vote for Jeb Bush under any and all circumstances.

Dr. Ben Carson, though, leads Hillary by 7 points in the poll. He is a viable alternative to Trump, who is a viable alternative to Jeb.

Hillary is an icon of feminism -- raised rich, attended one of the Seven Sisters colleges to land an Ivy League husband, and pushed the legalization of aborting babies.

Carly's father was a prominent judge and legal scholar. She attended Stanford, earned a degree in philosophy and medieval history, and did not know what she wanted to do, but eventually she decided on business. She worked as a secretary, got an MBA, and worked hard to obliterate the glass ceiling as CEO at H-P.

She's the genuine article. She know computers.

Hillary is a bimbo who cannot figure out email.

Hey Don - tell us what you really think...

Off to town

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Running out to Glacier to get some coffee and to notarize a document for a client.

Quick run into town - banking, some stuff at Costco and Hardware Sales, back home by 4PM or so.

Ionizing radiation is the stuff that gives greenies the willies. We are talking good old fashioned radioactivity - the stuff that nuclear reactors produce.

Turns out that there is a major body of science that suggests that small amounts of radiation are actually very beneficial to you. Of course, large amounts are lethal but current policy treats all radiation as bad.

Fortunately, this is up for a change - from the Federal Register:

Linear No-Threshold Model and Standards for Protection Against Radiation
SUMMARY: On June 23, 2015, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requested public comment on three petitions for rulemaking (PRM) requesting that the NRC amend its “Standards for Protection Against Radiation” regulations and change the basis of those regulations from the linear no-threshold model of radiation protection to the radiation hormesis model. The public comment period was originally scheduled to close on September 8, 2015. The NRC is extending the public comment period to allow more time for members of the public to develop and submit their comments.

Wikipedia has a writeup on Radiation Hormesis :

Radiation hormesis
Radiation hormesis is the hypothesis that low doses of ionizing radiation (within the region of and just above natural background levels) are beneficial, stimulating the activation of repair mechanisms that protect against disease, that are not activated in absence of ionizing radiation. The reserve repair mechanisms are hypothesized to be sufficiently effective when stimulated as to not only cancel the detrimental effects of ionizing radiation but also inhibit disease not related to radiation exposure (see hormesis).

The New York Times has a decent article on this:

When Radiation Isn’t the Real Risk
This spring, four years after the nuclear accident at Fukushima, a small group of scientists met in Tokyo to evaluate the deadly aftermath.

No one has been killed or sickened by the radiation — a point confirmed last month by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Even among Fukushima workers, the number of additional cancer cases in coming years is expected to be so low as to be undetectable, a blip impossible to discern against the statistical background noise.

But about 1,600 people died from the stress of the evacuation — one that some scientists believe was not justified by the relatively moderate radiation levels at the Japanese nuclear plant.

Much more at the article. We evolved in a mildly radioactive environment - it seems silly that in the millions of years, we have not found a way to adapt or use this low level radiation to our cellular advantage.

From Steve Goddard:


Paging Mr. Galileo Galilei - Mr. Galilei to the white courtesy phone please.

Another day at the farm

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Those damn robots are getting to be a real pain...


Two polls from Gallup

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These two polls present an interesting portrait of We The People

First - 75% in U.S. See Widespread Government Corruption

and Second - Half in U.S. Continue to Say Gov't Is an Immediate Threat

Now this is clever - photography

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One problem with digital photography is that dust can sit on the image sensor and makes dark spots in your image file. You do not want to use compressed air to clean it off - special swabs are recomended instead. Cleaning a camera is not difficult but it does take 30 minutes to do it right.

Enter the Fujin Mark II Vacuum Lens - from DIY Photography:

This funky little “lens” is actually not a lens, but a specialty camera vacuum called the Fujin Mark II. The device uses an electric fan which the manufacturer says, “can easily remove the type of dust, dirt, and sand that could not be removed before.” All you have to do is mount the lens on your camera, flip on the power switch and let the device extract the dust from inside your camera.

Fujin suggests you use the vacuum in conjunction with certain camera functions (they specifically mention sensor cleaning, mirror-lockup, and continuous shooting) for an even more effective cleaning.

Clever idea! Online store here. Just Canon mount for now with Nikon F mount coming in a month or two.

An interesting omission

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Ran into a news story about three men building a pipe bomb (it went off accidentally). Here is one from Seattle television station Q13FOX

3 men injured while making pipe bomb in Woodinville, cops say
Officials with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office say three men who were assembling a pipe bomb were injured when the device detonated in a Woodinville outbuilding.

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Shari Ireton said in a news release deputies were notified of a large explosion at about 5:15 a.m. Sunday.

A 34-year-old man that deputies say had an outstanding warrant for escaping the Department of Corrections had his hand severed when the device exploded.

A 42-year-old man assisting in the assembly of the bomb severely injured his leg. A 52-year-old man who was also assisting also suffered leg injuries.

What is missing is the names of the three perpetrators. Checked a bunch of other reports and they are missing there too. Wonder what their nationality is or if they are just plain old white trash.

Bookmarked the Snohomish Sheriff's Office website so will check every day or so.

Celebrating the Atumnal Equinox

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Nothing much happening at the farm. J.B. just dropped several loads of gravel in the driveway and is coming back to spread it around. Need to do a quick trip into town either today or tomorrow. Staying off the hip - organising the radio room and taking care of some paperwork.

Lulu has the beef barley soup in the slow cooker for tonight's dinner.

The United Nations - stayin' classy

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The United Nations is a group of corrupt kleptocrats whose only law is themselves. UN Peacekeepers are a joke.

The latest from gCaptain/Reuters:

Undeclared Weapons Found on Höegh Car Carrier Inside UN Vehicles, Owner Confirms
Weapons found by Kenyan police on a ship last week had been stashed inside a shipment of United Nations vehicles, the Norwegian company that owns the vessel said on Wednesday.

Kenyan police said security agents on Thursday discovered firearms and drugs on the Norwegian-flagged Höegh Transporter, which is docked at the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa.

Coastguards and navies in East Africa have struggled to stem the flow of drugs through their waters as the region has become a key export route for Afghan heroin destined for Europe.

Höegh Autoliners confirmed weapons were found inside some of the vehicles on its vessel, which was carrying a consignment from Mumbai to the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, MONUSCO.

“It is our understanding that these weapons belong to the U.N. vehicles in which they were found, and were for use by the U.N. during their peacekeeping mission,” the company said in a statement on its website.

“The weapons were not declared to us at the time the cargo was loaded, and the fact that weapons were in the vehicles is in violation of our terms of transportation, which clearly states that no arms or ammunition are accepted for shipment.”

The rules? Those are for the little people...

The UN needs to be moved out of New York City and the USA needs to cut its funding by 80%. These a**holes are being given a free ride on our dime.

Ahmed's clock - a matter of timing

Looking at the timeline of this story, some things simply do not add up.

From Debra Heine writing at the PJ Tatler:

The Strange Story of Ahmed Mohamed & His Suspiciously Bomb-Like Clock
Irving Texas Mayor Beth Van Duyne made news on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze TV show Monday night regarding the strange case of “clock-boy” Ahmed Mohammed.

Ahmed is the 14-year-old freshman from Irving, Texas, who ran into trouble with school and police authorities when he brought a clock to school that looked suspiciously like a briefcase bomb. Ahmed claims to have “invented” the clock and brought it to school to show his shop teacher.

Here is a video demonstration of someone putting together a clock like the one Ahmed brought to school:

As you can see, Ahmed didn’t “invent” squat.

He was arrested and briefly detained by police for assembling what looked to all the world like a hoax bomb.

Mayor Van Duyne revealed that the family of Ahmed Mohammed has not only repeatedly refused to meet with city officials but refused to sign a school release form that would explain the school and police’s side of the story.

Instead, the family held a press conference in their front yard flanked by CAIR lawyers.

The mayor of Irving became a target of Islamists and leftists last February, when she opposed sharia-based arbitration courts that were trying to get a foothold in town.

She immediately took action, proposing a law that was passed by the city council forbidding the establishment of sharia courts.

Since then, as Glenn Beck noted, she has been “hammered” by well-funded Muslim activists and their left-wing sympathizers.

A bit more:

She later noted that the president had tweeted about the case and invited Ahmed to the White House before the pictures of the clock were even publicly available. Obama made no attempt to contact her office before making public comments in support of the Muslim teen.

The mayor also said: “I now have our police chief who is a wonderful, wonderful man, a family man, a churchgoing man, and I now have our police officers as well as a number of teachers, school administrators, receiving death threats as a direct result of this. It is unfortunate, and it has got to stop.”

“As a juvenile, they can not release those records. The school district, a number of times, has asked the family, to release the records, so that you can have the balanced story out there. The family is ignoring the request from the ISD.”

This whole thing was just a publicity stunt - if it was not, the family would release the records so that the world could see their side of the story. Unless there is something deeply incriminating, they would do this.

Time to move on - nothing to see here, just muslims behaving badly...

An interesting discovery in Liverpool

Check out the Williamson Tunnels:

The Williamson Tunnels are a labyrinth of tunnels and underground caverns under the Edge Hill district of Liverpool in north-west England.

They were built in the first few decades of the 1800s under the control of a retired tobacco merchant called Joseph Williamson.

The purpose of their construction is not known with any certainty. Theories range from pure philanthropy, offering work to the unemployed of the district, to religious extremism, the tunnels being an underground haven from a predicted Armageddon.

Although some of the tunnels have been lost over the years, a lot of them still exist today, under what is now a residential area.

One section of the tunnels has been cleared and renovated and is open to the public. The remaining parts of the labyrinth are closed, with many suspected tunnels yet to be rediscovered.

Friends of Williamson's Tunnels is a voluntary organization which is trying to find and excavate the whole of the system. We are one of the biggest local history societies in Britain.

Much more at the site - fascinating bit of history. Here is a photo from the site - the tunnels are quite extensive. All being excavated by volunteer labor.


Memo to self - when taking a selfie

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News you can use from the UK Independent:

Selfies are killing more people than shark attacks
More people have died while trying to taking a ‘selfie’ than from shark attacks this year.

So far, 12 people have lost their life while trying to take a photo of themselves. But the number of people who have died as a result of a shark attack was only eight, according to the Huffington Post.

A 66-year-old tourist from Japan recently died after falling down some stairs while trying to take a photo at the Taj Mahal in India.

In July, a woman from Mississippi was gored to death by a bison while visiting Yellowstone National Park. She had been trying to take a selfie in close proximity to the animals, the Telegraph reported.

Earlier this year the Russian government distributed an illustrated booklet to warn people of dangerous scenarios involved in taking such pictures as part of its Safe Selfie campaign.

And those fools who pose hanging off the edge of tall buildings especially give me the willies...

No free ice cream tonight

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Heading out to the radio room for a while and then to an early bed.

Lulu's son may be coming out to the farm tomorrow - got a bit of a honey-do list for him but we will feed him well (have a bunch of New York strip steaks in the freezer).

A change in dinner plans

Zero problem though - Lulu thawed out two Tri-Tips and tonights dinner was a roast with a nice italian basil/hot pepper sort of chimichurri sauce and some roasted potatoes. The beef barley soup is for the next couple of days. Just finished taking it out of the slow-cooker, portioning into some Cambros and letting them cool off before putting them into the fridge.

We have been watching the Inspector Morse mysteries - very well done.

Nothing much today

Been hobbling around on crutches. Hip feels better (is able to bear some weight) but want to keep as much weight off as possible. See the Doctor in a week and a half.

Ran out for coffee and to do a bit of stuff in the office. I have the machine that I used for my shipping and point of sale software - uninstalled that software, installed Office 2003 (in my opinion, this is the Acme of the MSFT Office suites - nice functionality and no creeping featuritis), installed Acronis disk imaging software and took a disk image. I will install Win10 tomorrow - see if Office 2003 will run under Win10. Spending the rest of today at home.

Lulu is fixing dinner (beef barley soup with roasted veges from the garden) so we will tuck into that in 30 minutes or so. More surfing later tonight - working in the radio room too.

The store was able to get someone else to do the Monday shopping runs until the hip issue gets resolved.

Hip blogging then, hip blogging now

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Here is a post with a couple of X-RAYs from November 2008. This is two months after my initial surgery.

I go in to see the Orthopedic surgeon on October 2nd to see what is up. Quite honestly, I was expecting 15 to 30 years of relief until remediation was required. Nine is a bit too soon...

My Dad passed away at 94 - went out for his usual morning walk and keeled over. A neighbor saw him fall and called 911 but he was gone when he hit the ground. My health is better than his ever was. I am expecting a lot longer.

Delightful Honda advertisement

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Honda makes great stuff - had a CVCC 1500 (2nd generation 3-door hatchback) a long time ago and loved it - drove it for 300K miles. Had one of their outboards, have one of their generators and Lulu drives one of their Sport-Utes.

Great company, great product.

True words from the IT trenches

I got my start owning two computer stores in Seattle back in the early 1980's back when the first IBM clones started coming out. Since, I had worked for a couple companies including MSFT doing hardware and network security. One of my daily reads is a website called Slashdot. Today, reader timothy posted a question about being a recent hire at a business in the UK. From timothy:

I've recently started a job at a medium-sized enterprise in the UK. They claimed to be an advocate of open-source. The job was advertised as a Linux sys-admin. I've been in the role a short while and the systems right across the business are end-of-life: lots of XP and 2003 servers, a handful of LAMP web servers, and a large IT department with almost no skills in the technologies on site. Most boxes have the default password still. As a senior techie, I've been tasked with helping bring the skillset of the rest of the staff up. Where would you start, given that most of the kit is EoL?

Reader A. M. offers the following advice:

Before you bring in supported systems, you have to have a budget. Without a budget delineated, the rest of the decision making process is pure insanity.

My first response is, estimate what the "golden" cost will be, and quadruple it. They will cut it in half, and it will cost you twice what you think it will, and you'll end up with an excellent system that is designed well and built right.

If you need "enterprise" grade systems, make sure that you are identifying the vendors in the space and calculate budget accordingly. And remember, vendors lie.

Truer words were never spoken - A. M. has fought in the trenches and knows what they are talking about...

The following was also mentioned:

Good IT is expensive. Bad IT is costly 

Words to live by...

Fun times in the workers paradise of California

People are leaving California in droves so the State keeps trying to figure out how to pay for the expensive large (and growing) central government.

From Reason:

Forget Justice: Cops Just Want Money
The justice system is supposed to be about, well, justice. It's why district attorneys are ethically obliged to pursue convictions only against people they believe to have committed the crime. They are not supposed to pursue convictions at all costs to bolster their careers.

Likewise, when police agencies use "civil asset forfeiture" to take private property, they are not allowed to build their budgets around such takings. The funds are supposed to support extra programs – not supplant current dollars. That's so agencies don't replace the pursuit of justice with the pursuit of cash.

Unfortunately, forfeiture has become a widely abused practice. Instead of targeting drug kingpins as intended, police often target average citizens who haven't been convicted or even accused of a crime. For instance, officials tried to take a $1.5 million Anaheim office building because one of the owners' tenants was accused of illegally selling $37 in marijuana. Reports show that more than 80 percent of targets haven't even been indicted for anything.


SB 443 was a bipartisan effort to rein in the abuses. Mainly, it would have required a conviction before police can take property. It also was designed to stop police from bringing in the feds to circumvent state law as well as make it easier for people to contest a taking. It tried to force police to use this fearsome tool as intended – to target criminal enterprises – rather than to grab the cars of people caught in a minor offense.

The bill was defeated on its final vote on Thursday after law-enforcement lobbies swarmed the Capitol. Police chiefs were calling legislators. Legislators from both parties went wobbly. That's so – even though the bill already has been severely watered down to mainly require a conviction. At the last moment, some past supporters of reform started claiming it needed yet another amendment. California Republicans constantly blather about the Constitution, but only four GOP Assembly members backed this bill. And so much for Democratic concerns about police abuse.

Much more at the site and all of the links point to source and corrborating data. The Californian government is outstripping its revenue stream and is seeking any and all aditional sources of money to stuff into its gaping maw.

A wonderful metric of a given location's popularity can be found in the cost of renting a moving truck. Here is the price of a 10' truck going from San Francisco, CA to Dallas, TX and one going from Dallas to San Francisco. Click to embiggen:


20150921-d-to-sf.jpgNote the $1,000 price difference. U-Haul has a lot of trucks in Dallas and not many Texans wanting to move to San Francisco. San Francisco has a shortage of trucks.

This is pure capitalism at work - the price the market will bear.

Yet another clock

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This new Pope

George Will has an excellent column at National Review:

Pope Francis Doesn’t Understand How to Alleviate Poverty
Pope Francis embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony. With a convert’s indiscriminate zeal, he embraces ideas impeccably fashionable, demonstrably false, and deeply reactionary. They would devastate the poor on whose behalf he purports to speak — if his policy prescriptions were not as implausible as his social diagnoses are shrill.

Supporters of Francis have bought newspaper and broadcast advertisements to disseminate some of his woolly sentiments that have the intellectual tone of fortune cookies. One example: “People occasionally forgive, but nature never does.” The Vatican’s majesty does not disguise the vacuity of this. Is Francis intimating that environmental damage is irreversible? He neglects what technology has accomplished regarding London’s air (see Page 1 of Dickens’s Bleak House) and other matters.

And the Earth is becoming “an immense pile of filth”? Hyperbole is a predictable precursor of yet another U.N. climate-change conference — the 21st since 1995. Fortunately, rhetorical exhibitionism increases as its effectiveness diminishes. In his June encyclical and elsewhere, Francis lectures about our responsibilities, but neglects the duty to be as intelligent as one can be. This man who says “the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions” proceeds as though everything about which he declaims is settled, from imperiled plankton to air conditioning being among humanity’s “harmful habits.” The church that thought it was settled science that Galileo was heretical should be attentive to all evidence.

A bit more - some pesky numbers:

Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist, notes that coal supplanting wood fuel reversed deforestation, and “fertilizer manufactured with gas halved the amount of land needed to produce a given amount of food.” The capitalist commerce that Francis disdains is the reason the portion of the planet’s population living in “absolute poverty” ($1.25 a day) declined from 53 percent to 17 percent in three decades after 1981. Even in low-income countries, writes economist Indur Goklany, life expectancy increased from between 25 to 30 years in 1900 to 62 years today. Sixty-three percent of fibers are synthetic and derived from fossil fuels; of the rest, 79 percent come from cotton, which requires synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. “Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides derived from fossil fuels,” he says, “are responsible for at least 60 percent of today’s global food supply.” Without fossil fuels, he says, global cropland would have to increase at least 150 percent — equal to the combined land areas of South America and the European Union — to meet current food demands.

Much more at the site. Be sure to click on the View Comments link - lots (1,080+) of interesting comments from a wide range of viewpoints. Will also reminds us that Pope Francis grew up in the height of the Juan Peron cult of personality - Peron's ideas were responsible for taking Argentina from the 14th highest GDP to the 63rd today.

Well this is no fun at all...

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Readers will know that I have been having problems with my hip the last few weeks. I bruised it a few weeks ago and it has been taking a long time to heal. This morning it was fine - I got up, showered, drove out for coffee and to pick up the store's order of pastries from Wake 'n Bakery and drove back to the store - I have the Monday shopping run.

Stepped out of the truck at the store and whammo! It hurt. Got the truck loaded up and drove into Bellingham to my first stop (one of the two bread stores) and I could not walk. Fortunately, an employee is able to do the shopping run themselves so they are out and I am now at home. Scheduled to see the orthopod on October 2nd - this is the guy who did the hip replacement surgery in the first place so he will see what is happening to it.

Having to pay for this out of pocket - the only insurance I could afford was $900/month with a $10,000 deductible (up from $600/$2,000 in five years - thanks Barry!!!) so that will be fun. Medicare kicks in in six weeks so biding my time until then...

Compare and contrast

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Yesterday's Nooksack River flow chart with today's -- from 2500 cu ft/sec to over 10,000 cu ft/sec. That is a lot of water under the bridge!



The new Pope is not as good as I thought.

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He is a man of the 1%, not a man of the masses. In Cuba, he is meeting with the elite, not the dissidents.

From MyWay/Associated Press:

Pope plans to duck dissidents in Cuba, spawning criticism
Pope Francis plans to meet with Cuba's president and its priests, its young and its sick, its churchgoers and its seminarians as he travels around the island starting Saturday. But not its dissidents.

The absence on Francis' agenda of any meeting with the political opposition has sparked bitter critiques from dissidents who say they feel let down by an institution they believe should help push for greater freedom in Cuba.

"He should exert more pressure," said Antonio Rodiles, head of the hardline group Estado de SATS. "In many cases political systems have come under international pressure that has resulted in change, and that's what needs to be happen with Cuba."

Such great hope and promise but he is just another Marxist/Communist - centralized power and knowing what is best for the 'proles' as they cannot deal with the "messy world" of capitalism without the help of their cultural elites.

Reminds me of the quote from Eric Hoffer a few days ago

Intellectuals cannot operate at room temperature.
Nothing so offends the doctrinaire intellectual as our ability to achieve the momentous in a matter-of-fact way, unblessed by words.
Nowhere at present is there such a measureless loathing of their country by educated people as in America. 

And this story about the dismay at Obama's choices for the Guest List - crocodile tears most likely. Makes a lot of sense when you look at the larger picture.

Going to have to memorize the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

With all the rain in the air, my signal from the repeater was grim at best and a lot of other people were barely able to connect. I know my own callsign (Kilo Three Delta Golf Hotel) but trying to discern between a 'Y' and an 'I', a 'G' or a 'Z' was difficult tonight. This is what these training sessions are all about. In a real emergency, we would not have the time to practice on air. Cannot afford to have a Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot moment when the chips are down...

The repeater I use is 38 miles away as the crow flies and I have several large mountains in the way - had to install a large antenna to be even able to reach it but this has been a good thing as I can now hit all the major repeaters in my area including some from Seattle, Port Angeles and Vancouver. Next effort is to get it up on the roof...

Radio Active

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Sunday's emergency communications radio network is in 20 minutes. The lights have been flickering a lot and the nearby town of Everson is without power.

Just pulled my radio off house power and put it onto one of my car batteries. I keep three of these on a trickle charge and have the option of using a 100 watt solar panel as well.

Have a generator if we absolutely need power but it's noisy so prefer candles and books. Power is usually restored in a few hours...

The SciFi Airshow

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This site's geekdom is off the charts.

Go here and visit: the SciFi Airshow - I'll wait...

Rain rain go away...

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Got almost an inch and a half here over the last two days. The land can use it but it's a harbinger of Winter and although Winter has its definite charms, the transition is always anoying...

Our river certainly shows the effect of the rain:


Upgrading my home security system

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From an email:

Took down our Rebel flag and peeled the NRA sticker off the front door.  We've disconnected our home alarm system and quit our candy-ass Neighborhood Watch.

Bought two Pakistani flags on eBay and raised them in the front yard, one at each corner, plus a black flag of ISIS in the center.

Now, the local police, sheriff, FBI, CIA, NSA, Homeland Security, Secret Service and other agencies are all watching the house 24/7.

I've never felt safer and we're saving $49.95 a month! Finally some return on our tax dollars!

Off for coffee and bookeeping

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Heading out for coffee and then in to the office to pay bills and catch up on bookeeping.

Ham radio net tonight.

Military news from Iceland

Iceland was once a major US and then NATO airbase as it was a convenient refueling and maintenance stop between North America and Europe. Now, with the Bear buzzing around, Iceland is looking at returning to this activity.

From Defense News:

Resurgent Russia Drawing Northern Nations Closer
Russian aircraft and ships are on the move again, flying and sailing provocative missions that challenge the security and territorial boundaries of many nations — none more so than in northern Europe.

Several northern nations, prompted by those concerns, are meeting in Oslo on Tuesday, joined by the US, to discuss mutual security and cooperation. US Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work, on a seven-day trip to the region, will be joined by his counterparts from founding NATO members Denmark, Iceland and Norway, along with traditionally neutral Finland and Sweden.

“NATO is faced with three problems,” Work explained Sept. 6 while en route to Iceland. “Two are directly related to a resurgent Russia,” he said, referring to Russia’s actions in Crimea and the Ukraine and to heightened activity around Europe. “And in the south of Europe they’re faced with a terrorist problem and a migrant problem — the result of situations in the Middle East.

“I’m focusing on the northern problem.”

Iceland, Work said, has become increasingly concerned with the Russian activity.

“The Russians have long done transit flights where they pass close by Iceland,” Work said, “but they’ve recently made several circumnavigation flights” — flying completely around the island nation. As a result, “Iceland is interested in increasing military cooperation.”

Good. Up until a short while ago, Russia was funded by oil and gas sales and now that prices are tanking, they have to find other sources of income. Taking over neighboring nations is one. Ordnance sales are another.

Glad to see that everyone is stepping up to the plate to discourage this.

The Donald's grandfather came over from Germany and spent a good bit of time in the Canadian Yukon Territories and in Seattle.

From the Canadian National Post:

Yukon roadkill, prostitution and gold: How Canada played a role in building the Trump family empire
Canadians amused by the improbable presidential run of Donald Trump might be surprised to learn the role their own country played in shaping his story.

Trump’s grandfather started the family fortune in an adventure that involved the Klondike gold rush, the Mounties, prostitution and twists of fate that pushed him to New York City.

Friedrich Trump had been in North America a few years when he set out for the Yukon, says an author who’s just completed a new edition of her multi-generational family biography.

Speaking of the Grandfather

He’d left Europe in 1885 at age 16, a barber’s apprentice whose father died young.

Trump wanted a life outside the barber shop, far from the family-owned vineyards his ancestors had been working since they’d settled in Germany’s Kallstadt region in the 1600s carrying the soon-altered surname Drumpf.
He sailed in steerage to join his sister in New York.

Within five years he’d anglicized his name to Frederick; moved to the young timber town of Seattle; and amassed enough cash to buy tables and chairs for a restaurant.

His next big move was heralded by the front page of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer of July 17, 1897, and its exclamatory headline: “Gold! Gold! Gold!”

In the Yukon - ever the entrepreneur:

In his three years in Canada, Trump opened the Arctic Restaurant and Hotel in two locations with a partner — first on Bennett Lake in northern B.C., and then moving it to Whitehorse, Yukon.

Their two-storey wood-framed establishment gained a reputation as the finest eatery in the area, Blair said — offering salmon, duck, caribou, and oysters.

It offered more than food.

“The bulk of the cash flow came from the sale of liquor and sex,” Blair wrote. She cited newspaper ads referring obliquely to prostitution — mentioning private suites for ladies, and scales in the rooms so patrons could weigh gold if they preferred to pay for services that way.

Sounds like a fun read and looks like The Donald has sidestepped the shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations (here, here and here) curse that hits so many other people.

Shake, rattle, and roll

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Mag 4.4 quake off Vancouver Island right at the subduction zone. Only 6 miles down so relatively shallow.

No news in the Canadian press right now. Will keep a watch on this.

My new clock

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Tip 'o the hat to Mostly Cajun

Brittan bowing down to their new overlords

Where is their spine? The "commoners" of course. From the Sunday Express:

Shoppers threaten to boycott Asda supermarket which ONLY sells halal meat on hot counter
Furious shoppers have set up a Facebook page calling for the public to stop buying groceries at the Asda supermarket until it agrees to sell non-halal chickens, ribs, bacon joints and sausages again.

Meat sold on the store's rotisserie stand is now killed in the Islamic tradition, which directs that animals must be alive and healthy at the time of slaughter and all blood drained from the carcass.

This takes ten to fifteen minutes and the animal is alive through the whole process. They do not stun the poor creature, it is hoist upside down, throat cut and left to slowly die. This may have had some relevance in the 9th century when sanitation was a different concept entirely but it has zero place in modern society.


Ms Glover, who cares for her 87-year-old mother, said she takes her shopping at Asda every Tuesday, usually buying her cooked chicken to last her three days.

She said: "We do not have a problem with the store supplying halal meat.

"We understand there is a demand, but to not offer non-halal meat takes away our choice as consumers."

She added: "This country has made huge progress in the cruelty of animals and providing meat humanely killed. We feel this type of slaughtering is barbaric."

We need to remember that the muslims account for less than ten percent of the British population but they are getting this preferential treatment. Let enterprising muslims open their own butcher shops if they want special treatment... Be sure to read the comments.

Pat Condell has an excellent rant on the subject:

Start over from the beginning...

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From Andrew Malcom - hat tip Don Surber.

Back from town

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Did a quick run into town for a few things. The radio room has only one window that opens - the other two are fixed. I am hesitant to run my antenna lines through a hole in the wall as I will be changing them from time to time. Instead, I will be removing the opening window and fitting a piece of plywood into the frame. Since this is the only source of outside air in the room, I picked up an 18"X24" window that will fit perfectly into the 24"X40" space leaving plenty of room for a hole for the cables. I will use two pieces of plywood with weatherstripping to seal the hole from rain and bugs.

I also picked up the parts to fix the busted drain pipe. Fortunately, there is nobody using the facilities in the DaveCave(tm) so it doesn't need to be fixed yesterday. I will do it when there is a lull in the rain.

Finally, got a good assortment of stainless steel nuts and bolts - I use a lot of these for antennas so better to have a good assortment than to have to wire-tie a critical connection. A firm believer in having spares for my spares.... Living 30 miles from town tends to foster behavior like that.

Re-heating the stew for dinner - I didn't have any potatoes or celery when I made it yesterday so skimmed off a bunch of the broth and am cooking them in it - that way the other components will not be overcooked. Dinner in an hour or so.

That's it for the night

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Made beef stew for dinner and we watched a couple of the Inspector Morse mysteries on ROKU.

Heading out to the radio room - discovered a radio network called the Insomniac Net (here, here and here) - starts at 11PM my time so a bit late but the people seem to be a lot of fun.

Heading into town tomorrow to get the parts to fix the broken drain line.

A clear head - Putin

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I wish he was President of the United States instead of the little quisling we have now. From Russia Today:

Putin: ISIS has designs on Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, endangers Europe & Russia
Islamic State has designs on the holy cities of Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem and endangers Europe and Russia, Vladimir Putin said. Moscow is concerned about IS-trained jihadists returning to EU countries, the CIS and Russia.

The situation is very serious, Putin said, adding that Moscow is very worried that IS terrorists are publicly announcing their designs on Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. The jihadists also plan to spread their activities to Europe, Russia, central and southeastern Asia.

"Extremists from many countries of the world, including, unfortunately, European counties, Russia and the  Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) undertake ideological and military training in the ranks of Islamic State [IS, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL]," said Putin, speaking at the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit in Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe. "And certainly we are worried that they could possibly return."

Putin said it’s necessary for geopolitical ambitions to be set aside in the fight against IS terrorists.

Putin sees it for what it is and is not afraid to call the islamists out on their sponsorship of terrorism. We employ a sense of denial and belief that we can negotiate out of any unpleasentness...

Our Solar System

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Great video:

A slap in the face - Pope Francis' visit

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From the Wall Street Journal:

Vatican Disputes White House Guest List for Papal Visit
On the eve of Pope Francis’s arrival in the U.S., the Vatican has taken offense at the Obama administration’s decision to invite to the pope’s welcome ceremony transgender activists, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop and an activist nun who leads a group criticized by the Vatican for its silence on abortion and euthanasia.

According to a senior Vatican official, the Holy See worries that any photos of the pope with these guests at the White House welcoming ceremony next Wednesday could be interpreted as an endorsement of their activities.

The tension exemplifies concerns among conservative Catholics, including many bishops, that the White House will use the pope’s visit to play down its differences with church leaders on such contentious issues as same-sex marriage and the contraception mandate in the health care law.

The White House didn’t respond to requests for comment on the Vatican’s reaction to the ceremony’s guest list. White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday he was unaware of the names of individuals on the guest list, but cautioned against drawing any conclusions on specific guests “because there will be 15,000 other people there too.”

Good God! Does everything have to be a political 'statement' with this administration. Show some respect for the Pope - if not the Man at least the Office. This is pure grandstanding for the President when it should be respect for Pope Francis.

Pushing pushing. Always pushing.

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From Questions and Observations:

First they came for the beer …
You have to wonder when the real backlash is going to begin … if ever.  But until then, these people are going to push the West until finally the West pushes back.  For example, a petition is being circulated and the following letter was sent to the City Council of Munich, Germany:

Dear City council of Munich,
I am writing this letter to bring to your attention something that I and many Muslims believe is unfair and requires attention.

I would like to inform you that the Oktoberfest is an Intolerant and Anti-Islamic event. We tried to ignore the event, but there too many Un-Islamic acts done at the Oktoberfest. Such as alcohol consumption, public nudity etc.

We understand that the Oktoberfest is a yearly German tradition, but we, Muslims, can not tolerate this Un-Islamic event, because it offends us and all Muslims on the earth.

We are requesting the immediate cancellation of the upcoming Oktoberfest event.

We also believe that the Oktoberfest might also offend all the Muslim refugees coming from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan. The cancellation of the Oktoberfest event will help refugees not to forget their Islamic history. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Morad Almuradi

Now, obviously, a tradition that has been going strong since 1810 isn’t likely to be canceled anytime soon.  What’s interesting about this letter is its effrontery.  And note too that it is Saul Alinsky fueled.  Focus on the words used – “tolerate”, “offends”, “unfair”.  Using the West’s own rhetoric against it.  Of course, it seems obvious after you read the letter the irony must be “Un-Islamic” too.

But in the West, most folks would say, “hey, if you don’t like it, don’t attend, don’t drink and don’t get nude”.  That’s apparently the Western notion of “tolerance”.  But apparently the Muslim notion of tolerance is vastly different. They want the whole affair canceled because it is “Un-Islamic”.  And whatever they determine to be “Un-Islamic” can’t coexist with them, it must be banned.

They need to push back twice as hard - make learning German mandatory. Make welfare dependent on job training, drug and alcohol testing and public service (cleaning up parks and streets, etc...)

Microsoft branches out

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And Lucifer has been complaining about the sudden drop in temperature.

From The Register:

Microsoft has developed its own Linux. Repeat. Microsoft has developed its own Linux
Sitting down? Nothing in your mouth?

Microsoft has developed its own Linux distribution. And Azure runs it to do networking.

Redmond's revealed that it's built something called Azure Cloud Switch (ACS), describing it as “a cross-platform modular operating system for data center networking built on Linux” and “our foray into building our own software for running network devices like switches.”

Makes sense -- Linux is very stable and has decent security features. I run CentOS on two machines and have been playing with PuppyLinux for an information kiosk at the store.

UPDATE: Mohamed 's Clock - bullshit

Reader Mike linked to this post: Reverse Engineering Ahmed Mohamed’s Clock…

In that post, Anthony found the exact clock that Mohamed used for his "clock" - a Radio Shack unit from the 1970's

It seems that Mo's dad is quite the rabble-rouser so he got indoctrinated from an early age. For more, check out Pamela Geller's article at Breitbart.

Legislation I can support

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The American Red Cross puts on a show of doing great work but their administrative overhead is very high. I used to know someone who worked in the Seattle office and the sheer number of high-end catered lunches for the staff was staggering. Very cushy offices too.

From Propublica - Journalism in the Public Interest:

‘American Red Cross Sunshine Act’ Would Open Charity to Outside Scrutiny
Federal legislation is being unveiled today that would force the American Red Cross to do something that it has repeatedly  resisted: open its books and operations to outside scrutiny.

The proposed American Red Cross Sunshine Act comes in response to a government report, also being released today, that finds oversight of the charity lacking and recommends Congress find a way to fill the gap.

Though the Red Cross has a government-mandated role responding to disasters, “no regular, independent evaluations are conducted of the impact or effectiveness of the Red Cross’s disaster services,” the Government Accountability Office report found.

The inquiry cites reporting by ProPublica and NPR about the Red Cross’ failures during Superstorm Sandy and misleading statements by CEO Gail McGovern about how the group has spent hundreds of millions of donated dollars.

The 18-month GAO examination was requested by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who also authored the proposed legislation. The bill would require regular government audits of the Red Cross’ finances, its response to disasters in the United States, and its work abroad.

“The public deserves and needs to know that money is going for which it is intended,” Thompson said in an interview, citing the troubled Red Cross responses after Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti, and Superstorm Sandy.

Much more at the site. These people are taking our money and spending a good chunk of it on themselves and as little as possible on their professed charities. Time to clean house or shut down. My personal choice? Team Rubicon.

A real solution - not hashtag XYZZY

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There is hope for the Millenials yet - from Matthew R. Costlow writing at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

A realist Millennial’s view of nuclear weapons
The “problem” of nuclear weapons seems to be an intractable one. Since the dawn of the nuclear age more than 70 years ago, great thinkers in every generation have proposed various solutions for how to reduce nuclear dangers while increasing global security. Some have put their faith in technological solutions, such as “Atoms for Peace” or “social verification” of arms control treaties. Others place their hope in the social sciences, favoring such methods as the “rational actor model” to study the functioning of deterrence; or the physical sciences, whose practitioners promote theories such as neurodeterrence, which may help explain how individuals process information relating to deterrence.

A member of the Millennial generation, Natalya Wallin, recently proposed using the seemingly boundless energy of her generation to focus on “creative problem-solving and innovating for the future” in order to solve the “problem” of nuclear weapons. As a fellow Millennial, however, I find such proposals to be a prime example of all that is wrong with much of my generation’s thinking on the issue of nuclear weapons.

Demanding change is not a solution. Unfortunately, my generation is well known for “hashtag activism,” whereby sharing one’s thoughts about current events on social media has become a vacuous and cathartic activity. When my generation shares #BringBackOurGirls or #Kony2012, it makes us feel better because we are “raising awareness.” Yet here we are today: Most of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram have not been brought back, and Joseph Kony apparently still roams free. Vague suggestions, like “Let’s get creative,” do not advance any solutions to problems like these. They merely add to the rhetoric.

Worse still, many Millennials fail to acknowledge previous generations’ work, as if they had made no progress on the issues our generation inherits. Remember, it was previous generations who proposed and implemented highly successful diplomatic efforts that reduced Cold War tensions and stymied nuclear proliferation. Instead of bemoaning “old nuclear arsenals and mindsets,” my generation would do well to learn the lessons of the past, understand why certain nations increased or decreased their nuclear arsenals, and not be so quick to assume that newer ideas are inherently better.

Lastly, my generation has a nasty habit of encountering a problem and insisting that we do something about it. If you press us for specifics, you only hear crickets. So when we are confronted with the problem of, say, nuclear crises, a Millennial response goes something like this: “If humanity is ever to be free from the threat of nuclear catastrophe, people need to stand up and demand further action on nuclear reductions from their representatives.” What specific actions would free humanity from the threat of nuclear catastrophe? Why were these actions not taken earlier? How would unilateral nuclear reductions enhance our security? Crickets.

Be sure to follow the embedded links in this post and visit the site for a lot more. There is a lot of navel gazing with this generation but there is also some measure of hope.

How about a new hashtag: #shut-up-and-do-something

The wildfires - pointing fingers

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Not unexpected - from FOX News:

Federal land management to blame for out-of-control fires, say critics
Wildfires are continuing to plague drought-stricken California and federal funding to fight them has dried up like parched El Dorado County farmland, leading critics to say the real problem lies nearly 3,000 miles away, in Washington.

For the year, more than 6 million acres -- an area the size of New Jersey -- have been burned, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. For the first time, the U.S. Forest Service will spend more than half its budget, some $1.2 billion, on fighting fires on the vast acreage it manages from the nation’s capital.

There is a better way, according to some experts, who believe more private ownership of land would divert the responsibility and cost from taxpayers.

“The federal government has shown itself to be a poor steward of its massive land holdings,” said Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at public policy think tank the CATO Institute. “The issues with Western lands are far too complex and sensitive for far-away politicians and bureaucrats in Washington to be able to solve.”

Absolutely! The problem in a nutshell:

“Private owners cannot afford to let their forests die of disease, insect infestations or wildfire,” Smith said. “They are on the job 24 hours a day, unlike 9-5 government bureaucrats. If private owners fail they go bankrupt. If Forest Service managers fail, at worst they are transferred to another forest.”

No accountability. Time and time again, when a Federal bureaucrat fails, they are removed from office and public scrutiny for six months and then they are quietly given a same level or higher post in some other branch of the agency - frequently with a pay raise "for the inconvenience".

We need to break this cycle and make Washington accountable again. Demand that our representatives work for us and not their special interests.

Carlos Danger out of work again

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From the New York Post:

Anthony Weiner out of his job at powerhouse PR firm
Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner is out of work again after just two months on the job at the powerhouse public relations firm MWW.

According to an internal memo from MWW chief Michael Kempner, Weiner was a victim of the media who left of his own accord to start his own company and “He understands that his presence here has created noise and distraction that just isn’t helpful.”

The reason he resigned from Congress?

The married Weiner was forced out of the House after he sent revolting pictures of his penis to young women under the moniker “Carlos Danger” and then lied about it.

And this isn't the whole of it - google Sydney Leathers (here, here and here) if you want more.

The joke of it is that Weiner's wife is none other than Hillary confidant Huma Abedin who has quite the baggage herself. (here, here and here)

Our nation is in the best of hands...

Mohamed 's Clock - bullshit

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The story of 14 year old Ahmed Mohamed has been floating around the intarwebs for the last couple of days.

From Breitbart:

Following news that high school freshman Ahmed Mohamed brought a homemade clock which police described as a “hoax bomb” onto campus, police declined to file charges and President Obama reached and invited Mohamed to bring his clock and visit the White House. Contrast that with the experience of an unnamed elementary school student who was threatened with expulsion–and ultimately pulled from the school–for drawing a picture of a Ninja holding a gun.

A bit more:

According to the New York Daily News, Mohamed’s homemade clock came to a teacher’s attention when the alarm on the clock went off during English class. He pulled the clock out of his backpack to turn it off and the teacher confiscated it, believing it could be a bomb. Mohamed was subsequently “called into a meeting with the principal — and five police officers.”

Police were quick to announce that Mohamed would not face any charges and he now has an invitation to the White House and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has extended an invitation for him to visit Facebook headquarters as well. Democrat presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton also chimed in by tweeting, “Assumptions and fear don’t keep us safe — they hold us back. Ahmed, stay curious and keep building.”

I finally found a picture of his 'clock' and I am calling bullshit on it. Here is the picture:



This is a commercial alarm clock that little Mohamed uncased and crudely mounted into a box.

He did not design the circuit. He did not make these circuit boards. He did not solder the ribbon connector between the display and the main clock board. If you look at the left of the box you can see a blue oval that is the connector for a 9 Volt battery to keep the commercial clock running during a power outage. Mohamed did not secure the power transformer (blue and tan cube to the left of the checkered bag in the lower right corner.

The ribbon connector between the display and the main board is what cinched it for me - these are assembled and soldered by machine. It is very difficult - even for me with 50+ years of soldering experience) to do as uniform and neat a job. No way is a high-school student going to be able to do this especially with the sloppy level of craftsmanship on display here.

Sorry but I am calling bullshit. In the words of our President: You didn't build that:

Alinsky simplified

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Saul Alinsky wrote the book that progressives are using to subvert the Constitutional process and take over the government. Hillary's college thesis was on Alinsky. If you know his "rules for radicals" you can see his work writ large in today's administration.

Here is a helpful infographic:


Hat tip to Springer's Blog.

Pure coincidence of course - the IRS

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From Associated Press:

The Internal Revenue Service revoked the nonprofit status of the veterans benefit organization that hosted and sold tickets to a foreign policy speech by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump aboard a retired U.S. battleship, The Associated Press has learned. The group's endorsement of Trump at the event also could raise legal problems under campaign finance laws.

Trump's campaign did not respond to questions from the AP about whether it was aware that the IRS had revoked the nonprofit status of the Veterans for a Strong America, which sold tickets to Trump's event for up to $1,000 as a fundraiser.

There is a dark aspect to the group:

The IRS issued its decision Aug. 10, citing the group's failure to file any tax returns for three consecutive years, according to IRS records reviewed by the AP.

The group's chairman, Joel Arends of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said the organization was appealing the IRS decision. He would not provide AP with copies of any tax returns, which would show how much money the group has collected over the years and how it spends its money. By law, such records are supposed to be available to the general public for inspection.

Digging into the legal aspect of this:

U.S. law also generally prohibits candidates from coordinating their campaign activities with outside groups, and prohibits corporations from spending more than a minimal amount announcing their endorsements.

"You can do what you want so long as you're independent. But if the FEC finds coordination, a whole lot of rules kick in," said Kenneth Gross, a former Federal Election Commission attorney who now works for Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom LLP in Washington.

Of course, Democrats do this all the time. Obama and the Clintons have long held fundraisers at Churches and Schools - both 501(c)3s. In Bellingham, a local recycling non-profit just got it's pee-pee whacked for becoming very involved in county politics.

Let a Republican try this and it's lights-out. Only took the IRS two days from the event to the change of status.

Spending the next two days at home

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Both of us were a little bit overextended from yesterdays outing - Lulu has a bad sprain on her right hand which is healing very slowly. My hip is definitely talking to me today. Spending the next two days mostly at home. Got the propane guy coming out today to install a new line and got the backhoe guy coming in Friday to cover up the trench and spread out ten yards of gravel on the driveway. It will be nice to have the cooktop back again - the camp stove works well but a bit inconvenient.

Heading out for coffee and then playing with my new antenna analyzer.

Yikes - earthquakes in Chile

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Repeated reports of major (Mag 6+ to 8+) earthquakes off the coast of Chile. No word as to how deep or tsunami warnings but my heart and prayers go out to these people.

This is the same kind of event that we will be facing at some point in the future - subduction zone and slip-strike fault. Every 300 years. Give or take.

Bill Whittle on The Donald

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Great video:

Now it really is silly season

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From The Weekly Standard:

Jerry Brown Considering Running for President?
California governor Jerry Brown gave signs in a Wednesday interview on CNN that he may be considering running for president.

Brown, who has run for president three before, spoke with Wolf Blitzer about the current Democratic field. The Democrat said he has not yet endorsed a candidate, calling frontrunner Hillary Clinton "formidable" and refused to give advice about Vice President Joe Biden, who is reportedly mulling a run.

Please tell me that the date is actually April 1st, 2016 and I have been in a coma for 199 days...

Long day today

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Ran into town to return the utility locater and drop the dogs off at the groomer. Grace is blowing her coat something fierce - little white puffs of hair over everything. Her hair is now about 1/4" long and she looks like a much smaller critter.

We spent the afternoon rumbling around town while waiting for the groomer - had lunch (actually breakfast at noon at the Old Town), went to the Sehome arboretum, visited a farmers market, walked along the beach, did some more beach walking and had coffee, shopped a little bit and visited the Bellewood Cidery and spent a fun 45 minutes with John the owner (he and I had taken the same cider making class about ten years ago and have maintained contact every since).

Back home to find that UPS had dropped off my antenna analyzer (back-ordered for two months). Had the last of the left-over chinese food and watched TV for a while (The Blacklist - a lot of fun!). Hip is talking to me but not that bad.

Settling in to surf for a bit... Ordering some antenna wire and fittings. Propane line goes in tomorrow and driveway gets fresh gravel Friday. Buttoning things up for Winter.

Eric Hoffer - a quote

In 2003, Thomas Sowell wrote this wonderful essay on the twentieth aniversary of Eric Hoffer's death but it is timeless. Events these days make it worth quoting this little excerpt:

Hoffer’s strongest words were for the intellectuals — or rather, against the intellectuals. “Intellectuals,” he said, “cannot operate at room temperature.” Hype, moral melodrama, and sweeping visions were the way that intellectuals approached the problems of the world.

But that was not the way progress was usually achieved in America. “Nothing so offends the doctrinaire intellectual as our ability to achieve the momentous in a matter-of-fact way, unblessed by words.”

Since the American economy and society advanced with little or no role for the intelligentsia, it is hardly surprising that anti-Americanism flourishes among intellectuals. “Nowhere at present is there such a measureless loathing of their country by educated people as in America,” Eric Hoffer said.

Emphasis mine - read Hoffer (and Mumford) a long time ago - going to have to go back and revisit some of his writings - more relavent than ever. Timeless.

A couple of photos from around the farm

Got a couple of photos to post:


Going to have some large pumpkins in about a month. The can is Mountain Dew Throwback - made with real cane sugar and the original formula. There is a big taste difference (for the better).


Grace is outstanding in her field...


Trench for the new propane line - the existing line is at the bottom (yellow pipe) and the (broken) sewer connection from the septic tank to the DaveCave(tm) is the 3" white PVC pipe. I knew it was out there somewhere. This will be an easy fix and at least, now I know where it is and how shallow.


Here is ground hole number six and the original propane line break. DERP!

The locater is fantastic - if they weren't over $1K I would get one just to have for general use. Spent the afternoon locating the electrical lines around the house so now I know where (almost) everything is.

Ho. Li. Crap. From DIY Photography:

The joys of traveling to Mexico

Hint - don't use the ATMs... A two-fer from security guru Brian Krebs:

First - Tracking a Bluetooth Skimmer Gang in Mexico

In June 2015, I heard from a source at an ATM firm who wanted advice and help in reaching out to the right people about what he described as an ongoing ATM fraud campaign of unprecedented sophistication, organization and breadth. Given my focus on ATM skimming technology and innovations, I was immediately interested.

My source asked to have his name and that of his employer omitted from the story because he fears potential reprisals from the alleged organized criminal perpetrators of this scam. According to my source, several of his employer’s ATM installation and maintenance technicians in the Cancun area reported recently being approached by men with Eastern European accents, asking each tech if he would be interested in making more than 100 times his monthly salary just for providing direct, physical access to the inside of a single ATM that the technician served.

One of my source’s co-workers was later found to have accepted the bribes, which apparently had only grown larger and more aggressive after technicians in charge of specific, very busy ATMs declined an initial offer.

And Second - Tracking Bluetooth Skimmers in Mexico, Part II

I spent four days last week in Mexico, tracking the damage wrought by an organized crime ring that is bribing ATM technicians to place Bluetooth skimmers inside of cash machines in and around the tourist areas of Cancun. Today’s piece chronicles the work of this gang in coastal regions farther south, following a trail of hacked ATMs from Playa Del Camen down to the ancient Mayan ruins in Tulum.

As I noted in yesterday’s story, the skimmers that this gang is placing in hacked ATMs consist of two Bluetooth components: One connected to the card reader inside each machine, and another attached to the PIN pad. Both components beacon out a Bluetooth signal called “Free2Move.” The thieves can retrieve the purloined card and PIN data just by strolling up to the hacked ATM with a smartphone, entering a secret passcode, and downloading all of the collected information.

Having found two hacked ATMs in Cancun — including one in the lobby of my hotel (the Marriott CasaMagna) — I decided to check out other tourist destinations in the region. On the way to Tulum, I dropped in at the Barcelo, a huge, all-inclusive resort. The security guards at the front gate at the resort initially prevented me from entering the complex because I didn’t have reservations.

After 10 minutes of Googling on my phone and a call to the front desk, the guards seemed satisfied that I was interested in buying a day pass to the hotel’s various facilities. The gate lifted and I was let in. Five minutes later, the very first ATM I stopped at was found to be emanating the telltale Free2Move Bluetooth signals indicating a compromise.

Organized crime at its finest - curious that Eastern European criminals are able to gain traction in Mexico. A lot of comments to these posts from people who have had their accounts scammed.

The Iran Treaty

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A few words from Admiral James 'Ace' Lyons (Ret):

Muammar Gaddafi - in his own words

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Remember Muammar Gaddafi? He was the 'evil' dictator who ruled Libya from 1969 to 2011. The USA, aided by NATO forces deposed and killed him in 2011. Our actions brought great peace and stability to that land. And if you believe that, I have a bridge in New York City that you may be interested in buying - cash and small bills please.

While looking for something else, I ran into this: Recollections of my life: Gaddafi, Sri Lanka Sunday Times, Apr 17, 2011

For 40 years, or was it longer, I can't remember, I did all I could to give people houses, hospitals, schools, and when they were hungry, I gave them food. I even made Benghazi into farmland from the desert.

I helped my brothers and sisters from Africa with money for the African Union; I did all I could to help people understand the concept of real democracy, where people's committees ran our country. But that was never enough, as some told me, even people who had 10-room homes, new suits and furniture, were never satisfied. As selfish as they were they wanted more, and they told Americans and other visitors they needed "democracy" and "freedom," never realizing it was a cut-throat system, where the biggest dog eats the rest.

But they were enchanted with those words, never realizing that in America, there was no free medicine, no free hospitals, no free housing, no free education and no free food, except when people had to beg or go to long lines to get soup.

No, no matter what I did, it was never enough for some, but for others, they knew I was the son of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the only true Arab and Muslim leader we've had since Salah'a'Deen, when he claimed the Suez Canal for his people, as I claimed Libya, for my people. It was his footsteps I tried to follow, to keep my people free from colonial domination -- from thieves who would steal from us...

Now, I am under attack by the biggest force in military history. My little African son, Obama, wants to kill me, to take away the freedom of our country, to take away our free housing, our free medicine, our free education, our free food, and replace it with American style thievery, called "capitalism."

Emphasis mine.

How is Benghazi now Mr. President? How happy are the Libyan people? Is this your great legacy Mr. President? Wasn't Hillary the Secretary of State when Benghazi blew up and Ambassador Stevens was murdered?

Media and climate change

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It seems that the media is being bribed to report on climate change - nothing outright but a nice award and some paid travel funded by advocacy groups is still a bribe.

From Ian at Watts Up With That:

This is why media coverage of climate debate has been corrupted
News journalists are being bribed by the United Nations and the Oxfam charity to write scare stories about climate change ahead of the global climate treaty negotiations in Paris later this year.

Details of the bribes – which take the form of ego-boosting “awards”, global travel in CO2 generating airliners and financial payments – are contained in a news release just published by the UNDP today, an organisation headed by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Journalists’ codes of ethics prohibit being induced to give favourable coverage, but those rules have increasingly been ignored in recent years by the use of backdoor mechanisms like funding journalism “awards” as a means of generating content and rewarding propaganda-writers.

New Zealand’s major media, like the TV3 network, have frequently covered climate stories in the Pacific with the financial “assistance” of lobby groups like Oxfam and Greenpeace.

The full text of the news release follows

Much more at the site. The link to the parent story is here: UN and Oxfam caught bribing journalists to write climate change scare stories with more information and links. Of course, the buzzword "social justice" features quite prominently in the press release. Got to get the correct Newspeak for the proles - no thoughtcrimes here...

Playing in the mud today

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Got the backhoe coming in an hour - spending the day digging in the mud. New propane line, fresh gravel on the driveway and repairing a garden faucet.

Good to get these done before winter sets in...

Got nothin' for tonight

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Been surfing for an hour or so and nothing really catches my eye. S.O.S. (same old ....)

Need to be up early tomorrow to work with the backhoe operator so heading upstairs to an early bedtime.

Of course, the next link I click on will be an Earth-shattering Kaboom and I will post...

Back from town with Chinese

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Stopped at my favorite Chinese restaurant and got take-out for a couple of days. Lulu made a big pot of rice.

Sitting down to dinner in a few minutes - blogging in an hour or two.

Got the backhoe coming out tomorrow so heading into town to rent a utility line locater for a couple of days. Planning to map out the entire lot for water, propane and electrical so there will be no 'incidents' in the future. Should have done this at the outset.

Will be moving Beautiful Dreamer as the backhoe guy is also bringing a bunch of crushed limestone to re-grade the driveway and put in a pad for where Lulu parks her car. The stone gradually sinks into the ground and last winter, the drive got really muddy.

More posting later tonight.

A double eclipse

A matter of chance as the satellite had to be where it was to see it but still - science fun!


Hmmmm - curious

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Regarding my post earlier today: Hang on to your breeches - this may be a wild ride

From The Salt Lake Tribune

Some Mormons stocking up amid fears that doomsday could come this month
Mixing a brew of biblical prophecies, the Hebrew calendar, a volatile economy, world politics, a reported near-death experience and astronomical occurrences, hordes of Utahns have become convinced that calamitous events are imminent — maybe by month's end — and are taking every precaution.

They are called "preppers" and are buying up food-storage kits, flashlights, blankets and tents. Some are even bracing to leave their homes — if need be.

At American Fork's Thrive Life, which sells mostly freeze-dried food, sales have shot up by "500 percent or more in the past couple of months," says customer- service representative Ricardo Aranda. "There is a sense of urgency, like something is up. A lot of people are mentioning things about September, like a financial collapse."

Jordan Jensen, a salesman at Emergency Essentials, said his Bountiful store has been "crazy busy, sales up by definitely a large amount."

Those 72-hour emergency kits are "almost impossible to keep on the shelves," Jensen says, "and we get a shipment every day."

A lot of customers, he says, believe "this is the month it will all happen — with a 'blood moon' and a currency collapse and everything."

Even if nothing happens, being prepared is not a bad thing.

Day of rest

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Been working on some stuff indoors - favoring the hip. Heading outside to set up a different antenna for tonight's radio net. Getting the radio room set up although I still need to move the electronics bench out of the DaveCave(tm) and get it set up.

Fun stuff! Someone else is doing the store shopping run tomorrow - let the hip heal as much as possible.

Big salad and leftover spaghetti for dinner tonight.

Major earthmoving on Tuesday. Bringing in eight yards of gravel for the driveway - it was very muddy last winter. Fixing a waterline issue and digging a new trench to relocate the propane line to the house.

The 256th day of the year. From the Programmer Day website:

Celebrating Programmers on the 256th Day of the Year
Welcome to!
This year Programmer Day falls on September 13th for 2015.

Thank You Programmers!
Programmer Day is a day to celebrate Programmers and thank them for all that they do. was created to promote and provide a home for the day. The history of Programmer Day is longer than the life of this site, but unfortunately a lack of comments and poor documentation have obfuscated that history.

Frequently Asked Questions
: When is Programmer Day?
A: Programmer Day is the 256th day of every year, September 13th or the 12th on leap years.

Q:Why the 256th Day of the year?
A: A byte can have 256 possible values, bytes are very important to programmers. Not because they are required for programs to work, but because the payroll system and Krispy Kreme doughnut cash registers require them.

Q: How is Programmer Day celebrated?
A: Anyway you want! Here are some suggestions:

    • Speak in code (or pseudocode) all day - Thanks to Sam Pospischil!
    • Decorate a tree with zeros and ones to make a binary tree
    • Make Happy Programmer Day cards using ASCII art
    • Have a contest for the best binary pun / programming joke
    • Have a programmer themed cocktail

Q: Your logo has 1111 1111 that's 255, not 256, right?
A: While 1111 1111 = 255 as a direct conversion, it's the 256th value so it is correct. January 1st is 0000 0000 so if you celebrate Programmer Day on the 255th day you're guilty of an off by one error.

 There is a collection of programming appropriate cocktails at GitHub: Cocktails for Programmers

Economic indicators are pointing to a second recession (the second of the double-dip) starting in 10... 9... 8...

A ray of hope - the EPA

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From The Washington Examiner:

Lawmaker seeks impeachment of EPA chief
A Republican lawmaker from Arizona wants the head of the Environmental Protection Agency impeached.

A resolution introduced Friday by Rep. Paul Gosar calls for the removal of Gina McCarthy as EPA administrator for making false statements on multiple occasions during congressional testimony. The resolution has 20 co-sponsors.

"Perjury before Congress is perjury to the American people and an affront to the fundamental principles of our republic and the rule of law," Gosar said. "Such behavior cannot be tolerated. My legislation will hold Administrator McCarthy accountable for her blatant deceptions and unlawful conduct."

Needless to say:

The EPA declined to comment. 

This agency has done what it was created to do - get the majority of pollution out of the air, water and ground. Now that it has accomplished its goal, it is seeking to expand its scope into every aspect of our lives. A bureaucracy will never shut itself down after it completes its initial mission. 

Last Thursday, the Democrats in the Senate removed the last roadblocks to Obama's unconstitutional treaty with Iran. One of the reasons we were so generous was that we understood that Iran had very little in the way of uranium ore deposits and would be beholden to other nations for their raw materials.

Now today - from FOX News:

Report: Iran finds 'unexpectedly high' uranium reserve after Dems seal nuke deal for Obama
Iran has reportedly found an unexpectedly high reserve of uranium, following assessments that the country is running low on the nuclear raw material and just days after President Obama essentially secured an international nuclear deal with the country's leaders.

The discovery was reported first by Reuters and based on comments made by Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi to the state news agency IRNA.

"I cannot announce (the level of) Iran's uranium mine reserves," Salehi was quoted as saying. "The important thing is that before aerial prospecting for uranium ores we were not too optimistic, but the new discoveries have made us confident about our reserves."

Munich. 1938. WWII
Tehran. 2015. WWIII

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
--George Santayana 

Everybody gets a trophy diploma

EGAT (everybody gets a trophy) is a cultural rot that is making our children a nation of wusses. The idea that some people will fail and that it takes work to succeed is lost on too many people out there.

Here is the latest from the San Francisco Gate:

40,000 could get high school diplomas under bill sent to Jerry Brown
An estimated 40,000 former high school students would receive their diplomas under a bill headed to Gov. Jerry Brown.

The bill was approved 23-14 Thursday by the Senate during the final rush of the state Legislature, which has until Friday to send legislation to Brown.

Under SB172 students who failed the California High School Exit Exam since it debuted in 2006 would be eligible to receive their diplomas if they met all other graduation requirements. The bill, which is supported by the California Department of Education, also suspends the Exit Exam for the next three years while the state considers updating it to reflect the Common Core standards now being taught.

“We cannot in good conscious continue a graduation requirement that no one can meet,” said bill author Carol Liu, D-La Canada Flintridge. “SB172 does not permanently eliminate the Exit Exam ... it simply suspends the requirement to pass the Exit Exam while the issues are being studied.”

The test can be found here - if someone is trying to get into college without the ability to get a passing grade on this, they are going to fail spectacularly and this time will be wasted for everyone. California needs to examine their high school system as from 2006 to 2014, 249,000 students failed to pass this test. Maybe introduce merit-based promotions in the next round of collective bargening. I am reminded of this graph:


The right kind of crazy

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Stumbled across this - Chef Anthony Bourdain has a new show out: Raw Craft. In episode four, Anthony travels to Olympia, WA and visits with Bob Kramer. I had the great pleasure to attend a couple seminars with Bob at the Mt. Hood blacksmith conference as well as take two hands-on classes with him. Great teacher and a lot of fun! Here is the video:

All the non-conformists look alike

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That was true in my youth and is still true today - case in point:


Not just hacked - hacked more than 150 times in four years. From USA Today:

Records: Energy Department struck by cyber attacks
Attackers successfully compromised U.S. Department of Energy computer systems more than 150 times between 2010 and 2014, a review of federal records obtained by USA TODAY finds.

Cyber attackers successfully compromised the security of U.S. Department of Energy computer systems more than 150 times between 2010 and 2014, according to a review of federal records obtained by USA TODAY.

Incident reports submitted by federal officials and contractors since late 2010 to the Energy Department's Joint Cybersecurity Coordination Center shows a near-consistent barrage of attempts to breach the security of critical information systems that contain sensitive data about the nation's power grid, nuclear weapons stockpile and energy labs.

The records, obtained by USA TODAY through the Freedom of Information Act, show DOE components reported a total of 1,131 cyberattacks over a 48-month period ending in October 2014. Of those attempted cyber intrusions, 159 were successful.

"The potential for an adversary to disrupt, shut down (power systems), or worse … is real here," said Scott White, Professor of Homeland Security and Security Management and Director of the Computing Security and Technology program at Drexel University. "It's absolutely real."

And some of these are really bad:

Records show 53 of the 159 successful intrusions from October 2010 to October 2014 were "root compromises," meaning perpetrators gained administrative privileges to Energy Department computer systems. 

If you have root, you have the entire machine and, by using network password sniffers, the entire network the machine is attached to. There are ways to brute-force root access but they require physical access to the machine and a thumb-drive with software and a re-boot of the machine - to do this remotely means that someone left the default password in place or their choice of password was too simple. If you can recite your root password from memory, it is too simple.

The article closes with these two paragraphs:

The congressional committee's charter for Thursday's meeting, citing USA TODAY's report in March, notes the growing vulnerability of the nation's increasingly sophisticated bulk electric system.

"As the electric grid continues to be modernized and become more interconnected," the charter states, "the threat of a potential cybersecurity breach significantly increases."

 What they are talking about here is SCADA or Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition. These systems are a pet peeve of mine. They are what control a factory or a power grid and in the pre-internet days, there was never any intent for this system to be connected to the internet. And then, someone at the central office wanted to log in to see what was happening. The SCADA software engineers added a network port without any attempt at security beyond a simple password. Wait about six months and SCADA systems were being PWNED (here and here) left and right much to the embarrassment of the developers. Now things are better but there are still major security breeches now and then.

Good news from the front

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Another one bites the dust. From the Beeb:

Navitus Bay: Reactions to government's decision to refuse wind farm
The government has refused permission for a £3.5bn offshore wind farm to be built off the south coast of England.

The 121-turbine Navitus Bay project proved highly contentious with opponents claiming it would "desecrate" the Jurassic Coast and harm tourism in the area.

Supporters pointed to the benefits of renewable energy and jobs created in constructing and maintaining the turbines.

Earlier Lord Bourne, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), announced development consent had been refused for the proposed project.

 What follows is the usual mix of bleating from the greens and good words from those people who realize that the site was an important tourism resource and England's only natural Unesco World Heritage Site. As MP Richard Drax says:

"Yes, we need renewable energy sources for the future and already offshore wind generation forms a significant part of that, but to attempt to site it here, near some of the most highly designated coastline in England, would have been willfully destructive... a more sensitive site is hard to imagine.

"Ultimately, I believe the threat to our Jurassic Coast, combined with damning research from Bournemouth Borough Council, which showed the wind farm could cost the area 5,000 jobs and £6.3bn in tourism revenue, swung the balance."

Well said... The vision that the greens have for our world is a uniform monochrome sameness with people living in energy poor hovels and huge wind turbines and solar fields littering the landscape. They fail to realize that the best way to lift people out of poverty is to give them cheap and abundant energy.

A Federal cash grab

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Our government is doing a major cash grab from its constituants. From The Washington Free Beacon:

$2.88 Trillion: Gov’t Collects Record-High Taxes in First 11 Months of FY 2015
The federal government collected a record amount of taxes in the first 11 months of fiscal year 2015, exceeding $2.88 trillion in revenue, according to the latest monthly Treasury Department statement. Despite the revenue, which is still a record amount when adjusted for inflation, the federal government ran a deficit of $529 billion.

Treasury receipts include tax revenue from individual income taxes, corporate income taxes, social insurance and retirement taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, excise taxes, estate and gift taxes, customs duties, and other miscellaneous items.

In the first 11 months of fiscal year 2015, the amount of taxes collected by the federal government outpaced the first 11 months of all previous fiscal years, even after adjusting for inflation. The 2015 fiscal year begins Oct. 1, 2014, and runs through Sept. 30, 2015.

And do not forget that there is a huge difference between the Federal Deficit and the National Debt (currently standing at a bit over $18.38 trillion or $57,141 per citizen).

Lazy day today

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Hip was hurting a bit from yesterday's shopping run so slept in. First couple hours last night I could not find a position that didn't throb so only got solid sleep after about 3:00AM. Someone else is taking next Monday's shopping run!

Heading out for coffee and then spending the day cleaning up the radio room and then doing some wiring.

My major gripe about Bernie Sanders

His heart is in the right place but he has zero clue about economics or how businesses run and my gut feeling is that he will continue to surround himself with YES-men instead of casting a wider net and getting respected industry advisers.

This meme sums it up:


Nothin' much tonight

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Working on some other stuff. Shopping run was uneventful - hip is feeling a lot better.

Got a lot on my plate this weekend and then a very busy Monday through Wednesday.

Fridge is making a very loud noise - just bought the thing eight months ago.

September 11th

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Fourteenth anniversary of the Islamist attack on America and the brutal murder of 3,000 innocent souls.

Never forget, never forgive.

I find it encouraging that today of all days was the day that our House of Representatives voted against the Iran capitulation.

From FOX News:

House goes on record against Iran nuclear deal, in symbolic vote
The Republican-led House went on record Friday against the Iran nuclear deal, but the symbolic vote will not stop President Obama from implementing the agreement.

After three hours of hot-tempered debate, the House voted 269 to 162 to reject the deal. Some two dozen Democrats broke with Obama to register their disapproval.

The fate of the agreement on Capitol Hill, however, was sealed on Thursday when Senate Democrats voted to uphold the accord with Iran, overcoming heavy GOP opposition to hand Obama a victory on his top foreign policy priority.

Let us remember who voted against this and who voted for it - November 2016 is not that far away.

Talking about big government

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A sobering statistic - from CNS News:

21,995,000 to 12,329,000: Government Employees Outnumber Manufacturing Employees 1.8 to 1
Those employed by government in the United States in August of this year outnumbered those employed in the manufacturing sector by almost 1.8 to 1, according to data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There were 21,995,000 employed by federal, state and local government in the United States in August, according to BLS. By contrast, there were only 12,329,000 employed in the manufacturing sector.

This is no way to run a Nation - or to reduce National Debt.

When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.
--Benjamin Franklin

The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money
--Margaret Thatcher

Microsoft is pushing Win10 onto people's computers

From the Inquirer:

Microsoft is downloading Windows 10 to your machine 'just in case'
MICROSOFT HAS CONFIRMED that Windows 10 is being downloaded to computers whether or not users have opted in.

An INQUIRER reader pointed out to us that, despite not having 'reserved' a copy of Windows 10, he had found that the ~BT folder, which has been the home of images of the new operating system since before rollout began, had appeared on his system. He had no plans to upgrade and had not put in a reservation request.

He told us: "The symptoms are repeated failed 'Upgrade to Windows 10' in the WU update history and a huge 3.5GB to 6GB hidden folder labelled '$Windows.~BT'. I thought Microsoft [said] this 'upgrade' was optional. If so, why is it being pushed out to so many computers where it wasn't reserved, and why does it try to install over and over again?

"I know of two instances where people on metered connections went over their data cap for August because of this unwanted download. My own internet (slow DSL) was crawling for a week or so until I discovered this problem. In fact, that's what led me to it. Not only does it download, it tries to install every time the computer is booted."

We asked Microsoft to comment on whether it was downloading Windows 10 anyway as the company rushes to build on the 75 million machines with the new OS installed in its first month, putting it in fourth place behind Window 7, 8.1 and the erstwhile XP.

Microsoft told us: "For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they’ll need if they decide to upgrade.

"When the upgrade is ready, the customer will be prompted to install Windows 10 on the device.”

In other words, if you are patching via Patch Tuesday, as you should of course be, then you are going to get a big hefty folder on your hard drive ready so you can update to Windows 10 on demand.

This is just wrong. Out here, a lot of people are on satellite ISPs and having a stealth download of 5GB would put any service provider over it's monthly cap and they would have to wait 30 days for this to reset.  Microsoft must be feeling depeerate for revenue for them to be pushing this on people without their ability to opt-out. Here is my machine:


I am waiting for someone to write a utility to remove the downloaded files and block any future "updates". I am happy with Windows 7 and I want to stay with Windows 7 until I make the decision to upgrade.

Right now, if I upgrade, it will be to Linux. I have two machines that require Windows (audio editing/music production and photography) but neither of them are connected to the internet for specific reasons and they are going to stay that way.

He purchased National Geographic when their other option was bankruptcy. Here is a 1:46 video of him on global warming:

Is this the face of evil? Don't think so - he seems to be very rational. Unfortunately, the folks at BoingBoing fall into the hyperventilating kool-aid camp - sad as I really like the site:

Climate change denier Rupert Murdoch just bought National Geographic, which gives grants to scientists
The National Geographic magazine has been a nonprofit publication since inception in 1888, but that ends today. The long-running American publication becomes very much for-profit under a $725 million dollar deal announced today with 21st Century Fox, the entertainment company controlled by the family of Rupert Murdoch.

Murdoch is a notorious climate change denier, and his family’s Fox media empire is the world’s primary source of global warming misinformation. Which would be no big deal here, I guess, were it not for the fact that the National Geographic Society’s mission includes giving grants to scientists.

What Xeni and her editors at BoingBoing fail to realize is that if Murdoch had not bought out NatGeo, their option would have been bankruptcy and how many grants would have been given out to scientists then? At lest this way, the grants will be given to people who do actual science and not to people who parrot the current political agenda.

A leisurely day for today

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Heading off for coffee, back to the farm to work on some stuff for a few hours and then into town to check with Social Security people (they have my wrong birthday on file), return some stuff, buy some more stuff, pick up Lulu and then attend the Whatcom Emergency Communications monthly meeting. Grab a bite to eat in there somewhere.

Back home around 9:00PM so minimal posting today.

Ran into an article in the Everett, WA Herald.

MicroGREEN Polymers, Inc (here, here, and here) manufactured state of the art high-tech green drinking cups and other items...

They gathered up a bunch of venture capital, assembled a huge factory and promptly went bankrupt. The auction is being conducted by The Branford Group.

Here is the auction home page - over 675 items for bid ranging from huge injection molding machines to dry erase whiteboards. This is one that has not been picked over by the original employees so there are a lot of good small tools and parts.

The Branford Group is also hosting auctions for Bose, Motorola and Music City Replication as well as a lot of others. Will have to keep them in my bookmarks.

Hillary's apology - take 358

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What could possibly go wrong?

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As safe as can be - no worries here. From the UK Telegraph:

Scientists to reanimate 30,000-year-old 'giant virus' found in Siberia
Scientists said they will reanimate a 30,000-year-old giant virus unearthed in the frozen wastelands of Siberia, and warned climate change may awaken dangerous microscopic pathogens.

Reporting this week in the flagship journal of the US National Academy of Sciences, French researchers announced the discovery of Mollivirus sibericum, the fourth type of prehistoric virus found since 2003 – and the second by this team.

Before waking it up, researchers will have to verify that the bug cannot cause animal or human disease.
To qualify as a "giant", a virus has to be longer than half a micron, a thousandth of a millimetre (0.00002 of an inch).

Mollivirus sibericum – "soft virus from Siberia" – comes in at 0.6 microns, and was found in the permafrost of northeastern Russia.

Of course, being the Telegraph, they have to bleat about climate change:

Climate change is warming the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions at more than twice the global average, which means that permafrost is not so permanent any more.

Meanwhile, the arctic ice extent is larger than historical average (in other words, it's cold up there - days are getting shorter and the temperature is falling faster than normal).

Watching a slow motion train wreck - Haggens

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A local supermarket chain tried to grow too fast and are paying the price.

From the Bellingham Herald:

Haggen files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
Bellingham-based grocer Haggen filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday, Sept. 8.

In a news release sent out late Tuesday night, Haggen said the bankruptcy filing was need to help the company reorganize around its core profitable stores. It will also give the company up to $215 million in debtor-in-possession financing options from its existing lenders in order to maintain day-to-day operations.

“After careful consideration of all alternatives, the company concluded that a reorganization through the Chapter 11 process is the best way for Haggen to preserve value for all stakeholders,” said John Clougher, CEO of Haggen, in the news release. “The action we are taking today will allow us to continue to serve our customers and communities while providing Haggen with a process to re-align our operations to be positioned for the future.”

The problem:

The grocer went from a family business to a West Coast power virtually overnight after buying 146 stores from Albertsons in December, growing to a company with 164 stores. The company has struggled in converting many of those stores to the Haggen brand.

The moves comes about a week after Haggen announced it was suing Albertsons Cos. for $1 billion. In its Sept. 1 lawsuit, Haggen alleged Albertsons engaged in “coordinated and systematic efforts to eliminate competition and Haggen as a viable competitor in over 130 local grocery markets in five states.”

Haggen is also facing an Albertsons lawsuit filed in July for fraud, saying the Bellingham-based grocer failed to pay for $41.1 million in inventory.

Clougher's LinkedIn page shows a lot of short positions - a year here, two years there. His longest period of employment was eight years as regional president of Whole Foods in 2002-2010. Wonder how much more damage he will do until he gets booted from Haggens. I am sad because Haggens is my favorite place to shop (except for Crossroads of course). Their prices are reasonable, good quality and great staff.

From The Washington Post:

National Geographic magazine shifts to for-profit status with Fox partnership
The National Geographic magazine, a nonprofit publication since its founding in 1888, will shift to for-profit status under a new partnership with 21st Century Fox, the entertainment company controlled by the family of Rupert Murdoch, the two partners said this morning.

The partnership, which will also include the National Geographic cable channel and the National Geographic Society’s other media assets, will be called National Geographic Partners. Fox will own 73 percent of the partnership, and Washington-based National Geographic Society will own the balance. Fox will pay $725 million to the Society for its stake in the partnership. This will push the Society’s endowment to more than $1 billion.

The monthly magazine, with its famous yellow-bordered cover, has been owned since its inception by the National Geographic Society of Washington, the educational and scientific organization based in Washington that has been a philanthropic organization from its beginning.

The Society will remain a non-profit, separately governed from National Geographic Partners. The partnership will be governed by a board comprised of an equal number of representatives from Fox and National Geographic.

As moonbat heads begin softly exploding...

Good move - the Society itself remains non-profit and independent, the media becomes part of FOX News. Murdoch knows how to run a media empire so this should go well. I also like that Murdoch is a rationalist regarding climate change - he is used to reading a business balance sheet and he is used to the same thing when it comes to Science - numbers and not model outputs.

Now if he would purchase Scientific American and restore it to its former glory...

More, Faster, Please

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From the University of Nottingham - The AncientBiotics Project

A one thousand year old Anglo-Saxon remedy for eye infections which originates from a manuscript in the British Library has been found to kill the modern-day superbug MRSA in an unusual research collaboration at The University of Nottingham.

Dr Christina Lee, an Anglo-Saxon expert from the School of English has enlisted the help of microbiologists from University’s Centre for Biomolecular Sciences to recreate a 10th century potion for eye infections from Bald’s Leechbook an Old English leatherbound volume in the British Library, to see if it really works as an antibacterial remedy. The Leechbook is widely thought of as one of the earliest known medical textbooks and contains Anglo-Saxon medical advice and recipes for medicines, salves and treatments.

Early results on the 'potion', tested in vitro at Nottingham and backed up by mouse model tests at a university in the United States, are, in the words of the US collaborator, “astonishing”. The solution has had remarkable effects on Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which is one of the most antibiotic-resistant bugs costing modern health services billions.

Help to take this research forward by supporting the work via Crowdfunder:

I have been having wonderful results with Elderberry tincture in ethanol for colds and flu. There is a lot of stuff out there that we need to revisit - our ancestors were not stupid and since paper was so expensive, only those remedies that worked would be written down.

From the London Daily Mail:

'Israel will be destroyed within 25 years': Iranian supreme leader issues chilling warning to 'Zionists' – and rejects talks with 'Great Satan' U.S. beyond its nuclear deal
Iran's supreme leader today warned Israel that it would be destroyed within 25 years in a chilling outburst that will spark fresh tensions in the Middle East.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also said Tehran will not expand talks with the United States – which he branded the 'Great Satan' – beyond the negotiations over its controversial atomic program.

Khamenei, who makes the final decision on major policies, said: 'Some Zionists have said that regarding the result of the nuclear deal they (Israelis) have been relieved of concerns about Iran for 25 years.

'But we tell them that you will not see the coming 25 years and God willing there will not be something named the Zionist regime in the region.'

But they promised us Peace in Our Time

Yikes - another crazy on the loose

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From Fox News:

Arizona authorities say nine vehicles possibly hit by gunfire along stretch of Interstate 10
Arizona's state police said Tuesday that nine different vehicles have been hit by gunfire or other projectiles while traveling along an eight-mile stretch of Interstate 10 in Phoenix over the past ten days.

None of the incidents have resulted in fatalities, but Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Col. Frank Milstead warned, "It’s just a matter of time, if this continues, that we have tragedy on our roadways."

Milstead said investigators had not confirmed that all of the incidents were shootings. At a news conference Tuesday, he used the word "projectiles" instead of "bullets." The colonel also declined to say whether the events were the work of a single person, saying that some may have been the work of copycats.

The first shooting took place on Aug. 29, when gunfire shattered the window of an SUV. A tour bus that was empty except for the driver was targeted later that day, A third vehicle was damaged late that night, but investigators said the driver did not spot the damage until the next day.

Someone needs to be behind bars stat.

What a surprise - NOT!

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From The Washington Times:

EPA accused at hearing of doctoring video from Gold King Mine spill
The Environmental Protection Agency was accused Wednesday of doctoring footage from the Gold King Mine spill, removing the audio of a worker saying, “What do we do now?”

During a House committee hearing on the accident, Rep. Bill Johnson, Ohio Republican, showed what he said was an original on-site video taken the day of the Aug. 5 spill, which includes the audio, and then the same video posted on the EPA’s website that beeps out the audio.

“The last few seconds of the audio has been removed to prevent the viewers from hearing the team on the ground saying, ‘What do we do now?’” said Mr. Johnson during the House Science, Space, and Technology hearing.

One can make the argument that it is only a few seconds of audio but this footage was being presented as evidence - you do not tamper with evidence. What else have they done that we have not caught yet?

Busy day at the farm

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Got the backhoe operator coming out to go over the three jobs I have for him. I want to bring in 10 yards of gravel for the driveway, reconnect a broken water hydrant and dig a trench for the new propane line. I am still cooking with a camp stove which fits perfectly on top of my normal propane cooktop.

Just got back from coffee.

My hip was healing just fine and then, last night after the shopping run, it hurt so much I could barely put weight on it. Sleeping was intermittent. It is better today but I checked in at the store and will have someone else do the next two buying runs. See what happens. Digging out some crutches to keep the weight off for a week or two.

The joys of small business ownership

Got a call from my night person - they could not find the key to close up for the evening.

We finally found it in an outside shed but it was inside a plastic baggie and not where it should have been.

Heading into town for a meeting on Thursday so will get a couple more keys made.

Anyone wanna buy a store? Cheap?

From gCaptain:

Ship Photo of the Day – U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Reaches North Pole
The crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy and the Geotraces science team have their portrait taken at the North Pole Sept. 7, 2015.

Healy reached the pole on September 5, 2015, becoming the first U.S. surface vessel to do so unaccompanied. Healy is underway in support of Geotraces, an international scientific endeavor to study the geochemistry of the world’s oceans.


Fun times ahead - Fall of 2015

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A lot of the progressive playbook originates with just three people. Saul Alinsky was a Chicago 'community organizer' and activist - he is best known for his book Rules for Radicals. It is worth noting that Hillary Clinton's college thesis was titled "THERE IS ONLY THE FIGHT" An Analysis of the Alinsky Model. In New York, two teachers at Columbia University - Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven - came up with the idea of overloading the system to create a crisis to which the government can then step in and take over. This is the Cloward-Piven Strategy (more here) and is what Rahm Emanuel was talking about when he said: "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before." Obama is a big fan - read here.

Just ran into this website today:

Flood The System
Fall 2015 – Flood, blockade, occupy and shut down the systems that jeopardize our future!

Imagine in the Fall of 2015 hundreds of self-organized groups of activists, artists and people who care about our future, taking collective action together. Imagine us washing over, occupying, blockading, shutting down and flooding the institutions that exploit us and threaten our survival.


We are in a moment of incredible movement. Hundreds of thousands of people are demanding better wages, an end to police brutality and deportations, a different economic system and real systemic alternatives to a changing global climate.

Governments and corporations will only address the crisis we face with negotiations that propose minor changes and sustain capitalism. They only divert attention away from systems of, white supremacy, colonialism, patriarchy and fossil fuel extraction that created the crisis we face. It is the time to say enough is enough, connect our struggles, and shift power back to our communities.

The site goes on and on with more of this self-entitled twaddle but the idea will be appealing to the low-information voter and Seattle (and Bellingham) will probably see some disturbances.

The website indicates that was initiated by Rising Tide North America and a visit to that site shows that it is about Confronting the Root Causes of Climate Change. This is weapons-grade stupidity. I smell George Soros' hand in this.

Clever idea to raise awareness

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Cannon Beach Oregon is a gorgeous recreational area but it is also ground zero for the Cascadia Subduction Zone and any earthquake (overdue by the way) will cause a large Tsunami.

FEMA is hosting National Preparedness Month this September. The event for Cannon Beach? Race the Wave

Tsunami racers, take your marks! This Sunday, September 13, Race the Wave participants will practice the tsunami evacuation route from the coast to higher ground in Cannon Beach, Oregon. We know that increasing preparedness levels across the board means greater community resilience, and Race the Wave is a great event to highlight during National Preparedness Month this September.

The race finishes at the higher ground of one of the community’s evacuation meeting points, where Cannon Beach will host a preparedness fair with interactive booths to learn more about how to prepare for emergencies and disasters.

Race the Wave: uses the National Preparedness month themes of being disaster aware and taking action to prepare and makes those themes relevant for their community.

    • Know the Plan: Make a plan with your family about where you will meet. Know if you need to pick your kids up from school. Know where you need to go and what to bring with you.
    • Take the Route: Become familiar with signage in your area. Learn the evacuation route from where you live, work, and play. Evacuate on foot and avoid traveling by car if possible.
    • Race the Wave: Natural warnings are the best sign of a tsunami. If you feel the ground shaking, move quickly inland or to a higher elevation. Listen to the radio to learn of tsunami warnings originating from non-local causes.

This is the second annual Race the Wave event, which includes a 10k, 5k and 2k for all abilities to participate in; participants can run, walk or roll the route. Visitors and locals alike will learn about the risks posed by the Cascadia Subduction Zone, and what they can do to stay safe.

Great idea - FEMA is doing a lot of good work. When you see agencies like the EPA and IRS overstepping their bounds so egregiously, it is nice to see an agency that is well run and is listening to We the People.


Gorgeous work - recorded on the Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ (stoplist) on Friday the 13th June 2014

Band website: The Night Terrors

Will post more after dinner - making a big salad too, the garden is going like gangbusters.

Weather looks great for the next week - sunny, clear and warm!

Off to town again

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Shopping run on Tuesday because of Labor Day

More later...

From 2003 but still just as important today:

All too many of the other great tragedies of history — Stalin's atrocities, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Holocaust, to name but a few — were perpetrated by armed troops against unarmed populations. Many could well have been avoided or mitigated, had the perpetrators known their intended victims were equipped with a rifle and twenty bullets apiece, as the Militia Act required here. If a few hundred Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto could hold off the Wehrmacht for almost a month with only a handful of weapons, six million Jews armed with rifles could not so easily have been herded into cattle cars.

My excellent colleagues have forgotten these bitter lessons of history.

The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late.

The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed — where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees.

However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.

Fortunately, the Framers were wise enough to entrench the right of the people to keep and bear arms within our constitutional structure. The purpose and importance of that right was still fresh in their minds, and they spelled it out clearly so it would not be forgotten. Despite the panel's mighty struggle to erase these words, they remain, and the people themselves can read what they say plainly enough:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The sheer ponderousness of the panel's opinion — the mountain of verbiage it must deploy to explain away these fourteen short words of constitutional text — refutes its thesis far more convincingly than anything I might say. The panel's labored effort to smother the Second Amendment by sheer body weight has all the grace of a sumo wrestler trying to kill a rattlesnake by sitting on it — and is just as likely to succeed.

The full text can be found here: Silveira v. Lockyer, 328 F.3d 567 (9th Circuit 2003)

The Supreme Court agreed with the Honorable Justice Kozinski when they nullified the 9th Circuit decision.

Quote of the month

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Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.
―Eric Hoffer, The Temper of Our Time

Like this is going to accomplish anything

From Billboard Magazine:

Paul McCartney, Jon Bon Jovi & More Sing a 'Love Song to the Earth' to Support Climate Action
Paul McCartney, Jon Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, Fergie, Natasha Bedingfield, Leona Lewis and Sean Paul are among the 16 international artists who have lent their voices to “Love Song to the Earth.” Recorded to help spur action on global climate change, the anthem launches worldwide on Friday exclusively through iTunes and Apple Music via Connect. The song will go into wide release on Sept. 11.

Written by Bedingfield, Paul, Toby Gad and John Shanks and produced by Shanks (Stevie Nicks, Kelly Clarkson) and Gad (John Legend, Beyoncé), “Love Song to the Earth” also features Colbie Caillat, Johnny Rzeznik, Krewella, Angelique Kidjo, Kelsea Ballerini, Nicole Scherzinger, Christina Grimmie, Victoria Justice and Q’orianka Kilcher. The artists, producers and directors of the “Love Song” project and Apple are donating their respective proceeds to Friends of the Earth U.S. and the United Nations Foundation.

Might be a great song but giving the money to Friends of the Earth and the United Nations Foundation is just pissing it away. The U.N. kleptocrats will spend it on hookers and blow and I didn't know that F.O.E. was still relevant - been a long time since they did anything actually effective. Now, they just raise money. For "causes"

Automated cake decorating

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Cool technology:

Too good - sewage treatment

Interesting case of being too good - from The Sacramento Bee:

Purified wastewater triggers release of arsenic within aquifer, study finds
When it comes to the science of transforming sewage into tap water - or potable reuse - engineers say there's no question the product is clean enough to drink.

The trouble is, researchers are now learning that this drinking water may be too clean to store underground without special treatment.

A study published this week in the journal Environmental Science & Technology found that when highly purified wastewater was stored in an Orange County aquifer, the water caused arsenic to escape from clay sediments in a way that naturally infiltrating water did not.

In some instances, researchers said that arsenic concentrations exceeded the drinking water limit of 10 micrograms per liter, although the increases were only temporary and levels eventually returned to normal. None of the affected water entered the public tap system, officials said.

The root of the problem, according to researchers at Stanford University and the Orange County Water District's Groundwater Replenishment System, was that the purified, recycled water lacked the minerals that native water acquires as it soaks into the earth or flows along rivers.

"Basically the water was too pure," said senior author Scott Fendorf, a Stanford geochemist. "It was devoid of everything other than water molecules."

The solution, according to the researchers, was to add quicklime or another calcium-rich substance to the purified water before adding it to the aquifer - essentially dirtying it up a bit.

Fortunately, our aquifer is in limestone so no problems there. Tastes really good too and great for home-brewing.

More news from Montreal

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Another story from Montreal station CTV:

Shipping container found, but $10 million in silver still missing
The shipping container stolen from the Port of Montreal on Wednesday has been found but the $10 million worth of silver that was inside it is still at large.

The six-metre long grey container inscribed MAERSK was found in Repentigny on Saturday morning, according to the SPVM.


Early on Wednesday, a white 1997 Freightliner truck used for the robbery was stolen somewhere in the city's west end. Within a few hours, that truck made its way over to the port in the east end, and the silver vanished.

Police won't say how they think the silver was stolen but the Port of Montreal prides itself on its security measures, insisting it maintains tight control of its access and exit points with 350 video cameras trained on the sprawling facility.


Religion of peace indeed - from Quebec

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From Montreal station CTV:

Dozens of cars in Repentigny vandalized with pro-jihadist stickers
Dozens of cars in Repentigny were  vandalized with stickers threatening Quebecers with consequences if they don’t convert to Islam.

The stickers feature a picture of a man in a turban with a gun, an ISIS flag and the phrases “Quebec is Allah’s land” and “Convert, or else…”


But these are the nicest people in the world - be sure to check out this website The Religion of Peace and scroll down to this list.

The Bowe Bergdahl case gets interesting

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Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl's case is coming to trial - from Yahoo/Associated Press:

Military selects rarely used charge for Bergdahl case
Military prosecutors have reached into a section of military law seldom used since World War II in the politically fraught case against Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier held prisoner for years by the Taliban after leaving his post in Afghanistan.

Observers wondered for months if Bergdahl would be charged with desertion after the deal brokered by the U.S. to bring him home. He was — but he was also charged with misbehavior before the enemy, a much rarer offense that carries a stiffer potential penalty in this case.

Good! More:

Bergdahl could face a life sentence if convicted of the charge, which accuses him of endangering fellow soldiers when he "left without authority; and wrongfully caused search and recovery operations."

And throw away the key - people died looking for him.

From Slashdot:

Windows Telemetry Rolls Out
Last week came the warning, now comes the roll out. One of the most most controversial aspects of Windows 10 is coming to Windows 7 and 8. Microsoft has released upgrades which enable the company to track what a user is doing. The updates – KB3075249, KB3080149 and KB3068708 – all add "customer experience and diagnostic telemetry" to the older versions. gHacks points out that the updates will ignore any previous user preferences reporting: "These four updates ignore existing user preferences stored in Windows 7 and Windows 8 (including any edits made to the Hosts file) and immediately starts exchanging user data with and"

I wonder how long it will be before someone writes a little app that will uninstall and block these (as well as KB3035583 which is the annoying Free Win10 icon in your system tray)

Like I said, time to start installing Linux. I have it running on three systems already - my music and my photo systems are windows specific but they do not need the internet so will stay as they are.

Ghostbusters and the EPA

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A look at the EPA and it's effect on business through the lens of Ghostbusters:

From EconStories - lots more great stuff at the link.

Another gorgeous day in paradise

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Slept for nine hours and now heading out for coffee, check in at the store and then back home to take care of the critters and do some work in the equipment barn and set up my antennas for the ham radio stuff as well as organizing and posting some photos.

Hip is feeling a lot better and am feeling fully rested.

How not to be ignorant about the world

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Always been a big fan of Hans Rosling's work (here, here and here).

Here he is with his son giving a 19 minute TED talk - well worth watching if you want to understand today's media and public awareness:

Back home from Kelowna, BC

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The sale was a lot of fun and Walter and his wife were fantastic hosts. Their business is operated out of a very large house overlooking a gorgeous lake in the British Columbia Wine Country - lots of vineyards and wineries surrounding their house. The basement of the house is packed with electronics equipment all freshly calibrated and ready for sale.

I spent $120 and purchased a very nice gear motor with IC driver chip (already earmarked for a project), a bunch of short ethernet cables, two 100 Watt RMS audio amplifiers, two nice linear power supplies (brand new!), four old power tubes (project in mind for these - VT Tesla coil), assorted power capacitors (not Flux), 1,500 LEDs (you can never have enough), two tubes of O Ring grease, nine solidly built key-lock switches, 20+ small heat sinks for transistors, a bunch of DB-15 video connectors, some high power crimp connectors (earmarked for my radio stuff) and two nice nylon carry packs for test equipment. A nice haul to say the least!

I took the scenic route back home and very glad I did. Headed South along the Okanagan Lake shore through Penticton and took Route 3 through the Similkameen River valley. Had a nice dinner at the Vermilion Fork in Princeton and headed West on the Crowsnest Highway through the EC Manning Provincial Park. Back on Highway One at Hope and then home. 500+ miles and eleven hours - I want to go back there and spend some time. This is a major recreation spot as there were a lot of camp grounds and RV Parks - find out what the off-season is and take Beautiful Dreamer and Thunderbunny (ninth photo down) out for a week or so. Gorgeous country.

Sitting here with a glass or two of wine and surfing for a bit. Sleeping in tomorrow - last two days were fun but long.

News you can use

This guy's Geek-Fu is off the charts


And Cody has a lot lot more - his science is rock solid.

Oh No.

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

More at the London Daily Mail:

Firenado! 800,000 gallons of Jim Beam accidentally released into a Kentucky lake bursts into flames after being hit by lightning... before a tornado sucks the flaming liquid 100 feet up into the air
A Jim Beam warehouse in Kentucky was struck by lightning releasing 800,000 gallons of bourbon into a nearby lake. Then, the lake was hit by a 'firenado' setting the inflammable liquid alight.

The firenado was caused when a bolt of lighting hit the ground setting a fire which was in the path of a tornado, which sucked up the flames, creating a terrifying spiralling inferno.

Hat tip to Peter Grant at Bayou Renaissance Man - one of my daily reads.

Heh - Donald is shaking things up. I do not know that he would be the best choice for President - I am more Carly Fiorina or Ted Cruz but I love the truth and energy he is bringing to the debate. We have tolerated bullshit for too long and it is time to start over.

Trump's force field is extending into Golf - from Breitbart:

The Professional Golf Association of America canceled the 2015 Grand Slam competition for this year’s major champions.

In March the PGA struck a deal with Donald Trump to play the tournament in October at Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Citing controversial comments made by Trump, the PGA announced a withdrawal from the agreement in July.

Now, two months later, the PGA canceled the Grand Slam entirely, claiming they could not provide a venue in time to meet the “highest standards” of the association.

Sporting News reported that this year’s 36-hole exhibition included 2015 major tournament winners Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, and Zach Johnson, plus 2014 winner Martin Kaymer.

The PGA fell in lockstep with Univision, Macy’s, and others in severing ties with the real estate developer, television personality, author, and 2016 GOP presidential frontrunner based on his comments about illegal immigration.

Heath Ledger's Joker character used a lot of Game Theory in his portrayal (Definition: here & here Dark Knight: here & here). Trump is a master of it. This is not bullying or manipulation, it is a cold and calculated pushing of people's buttons to get them to jump in a way that they never would voluntarily. The entire progressive democrat movement is about the narrative and not the truth. The storyline built into people's heads and not what is actually happening. Trump is doing something called Culture Jamming and I love it.

The liberal progressives think that they are the developers and sole owners of certain techniques - Culture Jamming, the Overton Window and the Rules for Radicals

Sad for their widdle brains, a lot of other people are using the same tools and the next 16 years are going to be very very interesting.

Time for a big bowl of popcorn...

A very long day - Car Show

The Car Show was a resounding success - we had 122 vehicles registered with a couple non-registered ones showing up as well (non-registered do not get to participate in the voting and prize ceremony). We had 169 vehicles last year but planning to attend a Car Show requires some measure of long-range planning and the weather has been so chaotic (trees down and power out last Saturday) that many people decided to bag it for this year.

Lots more tourists visiting than the last years and they seemed to really enjoy themselves.

For the last couple of years, we had an excellent rock and roll band but they bailed on us just a few days prior. I got a Microsoft Zune loaded with a bunch of music and we did just fine. It worked out a lot better for me as I was able to fade the music, announce and then fade back up without having to coordinate with hand signals. The band just shot themselves in the foot as we will be using MP3s for the next year instead of paying them $400 for the event.

Didn't feel like cooking so went out to a restaurant in Glacier and had fish and chips and a couple beers.

Surf for a bit - no radio tonight as the speaker stand I use to hold up the antenna was used today for holding... speakers and is still in the back of my truck.

Heading out to Canada tomorrow morning to this place: Sphere Research Corporation. They had a water pipe burst and are having to repair their floor. They are holding a huge scratch and dent and V.W.O. sale (Very Weird Object) and it is only three hours away through some gorgeous country.

Hip is feeling a lot better - it seems to have been just a deep tissue bruise and nothing to do with my artificial hip.

Off to the car show

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Getting the truck loaded - quick check for email and then off for coffee and spending the next five hours behind a microphone.

Discomfort in the hip is a lot better - just a bruise.

That is it for the night

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Got all the pieces of the PA system gathered and ready to load tomorrow - Car Show starts at 10:00AM so will need to be out of the house by 8:00AM in order to get coffee (hey - a guy has his priorities) and set up without all the spiffy cars blocking my way.

It will be fun in that I will be using a low-power FM transmitter as well as the speakers so cars that are far away can just tune in to 98.1 MHz and follow the proceedings. I was looking at building an AM transmitter as many of the cars still have original equipment. No time.

Did not sleep well last night with the hip pain so am tired today - should sleep well tonight.

Will post photos tomorrow...

The end of an era and a fascinating story

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From gCaptain:

Drillship Built as CIA Spy Ship to Raise Soviet Sub Falls Victim to Oil Crash
A ship built by the CIA for a secret Cold War mission in 1974 to raise a sunken Soviet sub is heading to the scrap yard, a victim of the slide in oil prices.

Christened the Hughes Glomar Explorer, after billionaire Howard Hughes was brought in on the CIA’s deception, the 619-foot vessel eventually became part of the fleet of ships used by Swiss company Transocean to drill for oil.

A bit of the history:

It’s the end of a story that began when a Soviet G-II sub called the K-129 sank in September 1968 “with all hands, 16,500 feet below the surface of the Pacific”, according to an official U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) history.


According to the CIA history of the mission, called “Project Azorian”, the Soviet Union failed to locate the sub in a massive two-month search, but the United States found it, 1,500 miles (2,400 km) northwest of Hawaii.

The CIA wanted to get its hands on the nuclear missiles, as well as cryptography gear to break Soviet codes, but needed a cover story because any recovery ship would quickly be spotted by its Cold War foe.

The CIA brought billionaire Hughes in on the secret. Under a meticulously crafted fiction, the ship was built for Hughes at Pennsylvania’s Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Co, because he needed it to mine sea-bed manganese nodules.

Much more at the site - like I said, a fascinating story. If you are interested in reading more, there was an excellent book published in 2011 called: The CIA's Greatest Covert Operation: Inside the Daring Mission to Recover a Nuclear-Armed Soviet Sub by David H. Sharp

It is available at Amazon

Now this will be interesting - EPA

It seems that none other than Erin Brockovich is joining forces with the Navajo Nation in their lawsuit against the EPA.

From The Hill:

Erin Brockovich takes on EPA
Erin Brockovich is joining Navajo Nation's political battle against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The famed environmental activist will visit Navajo Nation on Sept. 8 to view the affects of a devastating EPA mining leak and could potentially testify on Capitol Hill later this month.

Navajo leaders are prepping a massive lawsuit against EPA officials for their handling of an Aug. 5 mining accident in Colorado.

The leak dumped 3 million gallons of contaminated water into Animas River and ultimately the San Juan River — one of the Navajo Nation's primary water sources.

"I am deeply concerned with the actions of the U.S. EPA and I stand by the Navajo Nation," Brockovich said in a statement. "The U.S. government needs to clean up the mess they caused."

Brockovich gained national fame in 2000 as the source of inspiration for the blockbuster film "Erin Brockovich," starring Julia Roberts. The film chronicled her time as a legal clerk in the 1990s, when she helped investigate illness in a poor California town that was tied to groundwater pollutants.

 Great to see her getting on board with this - the enviros all want big government. What Brockovich and the Navajo Nation are witnessing firsthand is big government.

Who's house is that

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Great little video:

I want this shirt

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Swiped from Denny:


Makes sense to me - Hillary is just dumb

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Plausible thesis from Bruce Walker at American Thinker:

Hillary May Just Be Dumb
Hillary is losing her party's presidential nomination to a man who is not even a Democrat and to another man who has not yet entered the race.  How can a candidate who began with such an enormous edge that twelve months ago she was deemed "inevitable" have fallen so far?  The usual explanation is that the Clintons are too secretive, too paranoid, and too much like lawyers.

Consider another possibility: Hillary may be dumb.  We presume otherwise because she went to Ivy League schools and because she belonged to a prominent Little Rock law firm and because she has held a couple of important offices since her husband left the White House.  But we all know the real source of her success: she has been Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton for forty years.

Hillary's undergraduate degree was in political science, a major that requires nothing more of a student than slavish aping of the radical leftist positions of one's professors.  Her admission to Yale Law School was during the heyday of affirmative action, when schools were desperate to find young women to balance the gender quotas.

And her first real job?

Her first "real" job was with the Rose Law Firm, but did she "earn" that job the way most of us would have?  Well, Hillary was hired a couple of months after her husband was sworn in as Arkansas attorney general.  That continued to be where Hillary worked as her husband was elected again and again as governor of Arkansas.

Hillary was rarely in court.  Her role was that of a "rainmaker," an average sort of lawyer who can nevertheless bring in clients because of her connections.  Hillary certainly had those connections.  Her husband was either Arkansas attorney general or governor of Arkansas for 14 out of the 16 years from January 1977 to January 1993.

A bit more:

So might she not just be sort of…dumb?  She is never unscripted, and the script she reads has been written by other people who are smart.  Hillary almost never takes questions, and her responses to the few questions she condescends to answer are profoundly dull.  Hillary's private email server was a decision that was not just sneaky, but also stupid.  In fact, Hillary's imploding campaign is entirely the result of self-inflicted wounds.

She is not a good extemporaneous speaker which is why she never tries to do it anymore.

My back-office person was busy filing the insurance claim after the storm so I did her shopping run today. Also got the oil changed in Thunderbunny - Grace absolutely charmed all the people in the dealership. She has gotten very good at listening to and obeying quiet commands. There was a bit of initial skittishness but she settled down in a few minutes and was a perfect angel for the remaining 90 minutes.

On  Wednesday, I banged my hip on the kitchen island butcherblock counter. It wasn't that bad yesterday but really tender today. This is the same hip that I had replaced in 2008 so I am watching it carefully - my guess is a deep-tissue bruise but time will tell...

Lulu is recovering from her own war wound - she was climbing the steps to the bedroom in her house and tripped over her dog's exercise ball and severely sprained her wrist to the point that she couldn't drive or do anything. She is feeling a lot better and will try to come out Monday or Tuesday - time to tell the dancing girls they need to move on...

Heating up some dinner and cleaning out the truck in preparation for loading up the PA System for tomorrows car show. The band bailed on us (they were good too!) so it will be me and someone else's MP3 player.

Junk mail

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I am close to turning 65 which is the starting time for Medicare eligibility. Medicare is OK for a lot of things but there are conspicuous holes in the coverage which are plugged by various supplemental plans.

The one reason I will not join AARP is that they lobbied for Obamacare so that they could sell these plans and make money from the deficits in the plan.

But sweet bayby jaysus - the amount of junk mail I am getting these days is stunning - I am going to have to order a second dumpster at the house just to deal with it.

In only 24 hours - thesis, antithesis, synthesis

People are murdering Police Officers with several dead in the last two weeks. The criminals have universally been black men in their teens and 20's. Their victims have been white. The blacklivesmatter group (funded by old rich white guy George Soros)  are fomenting racial wars hoping to get the police to withdraw. They do not seem to grasp the repercussions of their actions.

Yesterday, Instapundit commented on a Micheal Ramirez cartoon and had this to say:

SEE, I LOVE RAMIREZ, BUT I THINK THIS CARTOON GETS IT EXACTLY BACKWARD. Police don’t actually protect law-abiding citizens from criminals so much as they protect criminals from the much-rougher justice they’d get in the absence of a legal system.

Burglars would be hung from lampposts, and shoplifters would be beaten and tossed into the gutter if there were no police, as in fact happens in countries where there isn’t a reliable justice system and a civil-society culture that restrains vigilantism. Reminder to the criminal class: Ultimately, we’re not stuck in this country with you. You’re stuck in this country with us.

Today, Glenn had this post regarding a thief from Venezuela:

JUST YESTERDAY I WAS WARNING ABOUT THIS KIND OF THING: Livid over crime, some Venezuelans resort to mob justice.

When a man they believed to be a thief sneaked into their parking lot in the Venezuelan city of Valencia, angry residents caught him, stripped him and beat him with fists, sticks and stones.

They tied him up and doused him in gasoline, according to witnesses, in one of what rights groups and media reports say are an increasing number of mob beatings and lynchings in a country ravaged by crime.

That August night, as locals say is common, three people had sneaked into Valencia’s Kerdell residential block. In past such break-ins, thieves have made off with car tires, batteries and radios.

But this time, one resident spotted the trespassers and alerted other neighbors, according to the witnesses.

Some more:

The unconscious man, who was not torched, was evacuated and is now in the local hospital’s trauma ward, according to witnesses and Valencia’s police. The police said they had no further details and did not identify the man.

A source at the Interior Ministry, who asked to remain anonymous because the minister is the only person authorized to speak on the record, said it does not usually comment on cases under investigation. Venezuela’s state prosecutor’s office said it had not issued a statement on the incident.

When civil society breaks down, and people no longer believe in the rule of law, this is the kind of thing that happens.

Indeed - the budding anarchists out there might want to reconsider their life choices and actually think about contributing to this society. Our welfare state is not sustainable at the current level and it will be dialed back - what people do when this happens is their own choice but a lot of people have worked hard to build a life for themselves and when freeloaders start storming the gates, they will be met with a measure of resistance.

Title of the post? Those goofy proto-Marxists from the 1780's - these are not the shoulders of Giants, these are self-centered fools who have never had a real accomplishment in their lives. Tried reading a lot of the stuff and it is turgid and just wrong.

You don't have to be a government to cheat people

A Green Energy Ponzi scheme was run from 2005 through 2009 and netted the scammers $54 Million. They were just sentenced today.

From Fox News:

Trio charged with running $54M green-energy Ponzi scheme
Three people were charged Thursday with running a $54 million Ponzi scheme built on promises of a green energy technology that would turn trash into fuel and "carbon-negative" housing developments, neither of which were ever developed, federal prosecutors said.

Troy Wragg, 34, of Georgia, Amanda Knorr, 32, of Pennsylvania, and Wayde McKelvy, 52, of Colorado, were charged with wire and securities fraud and conspiracy. It wasn't immediately clear if they had attorneys who could comment on their behalf.

Prosecutors said the trio lied to investors that their "biochar" technology and "carbon-negative" housing in Tennessee made millions, but they had almost no earnings and used the money to repay earlier investors and for themselves.

The scam allegedly ran from 2005 until 2009, even after the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil suit against Wragg and Knorr's Mantria Corp. They were ordered in 2012 to pay $37 million each.

And it gets better:

Before the Ponzi scheme was shut down, the company was honored by former President Bill Clinton's Clinton Global Initiative for its effort to "help mitigate global warning" through developing the biochar technology that it said would sequester carbon dioxide and reduce emissions in developing countries. Wragg appeared on stage with Clinton to receive the honor in September 2009.

They were selling the sizzle and not the steak. People wanted to believe and didn't take the couple hours needed to make a few telephone calls.

There is quite the exhaustive timeline at this Weebly (a free web hosting entity) website: Mantria Ponzi Scheme

Truck v/s Tree



An inconvenient truth - wind power

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A two-fer. I had touched on the problem yesterday in part of this post: And another one bites the dust

Now these two - first, from CNBC/Financial Times:

US clean energy suffers from lack of wind
A lack of wind is making the US clean energy sector sweat, with consequences for investors from yield-hungry pensioners to Goldman Sachs.

Electricity generated by US wind farms fell 6 per cent in the first half of the year even as the nation expanded wind generation capacity by 9 per cent, Energy Information Administration records show.

The reason was some of the softest air currents in 40 years, cutting power sales from wind farms to utilities. The feeble breezes come as the White House is promoting renewable energy, including wind, as part of its Clean Power Plan to counter greenhouse gas emissions.

Second, from FierceEnergy:

Slowing wind production blamed on, well, wind
Wind production is dropping across the west coast, but it's not for a lack of trying by the industry. Wind speeds have been slowing down in the region, leading to the reduced generation.

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), average wind speeds in the region dropped in early 2015, and wind plants in California, Oregon, and Washington saw a decrease in generation due to the drop. In the first five months of 2015, wind plant utilization rates were well below the previous five-year average.

"Capacity factors for wind turbines are largely determined by wind resources," EIA explained. "Because the output from a turbine varies nonlinearly with wind speed, small decreases in wind speeds can result in much larger changes in output and, in turn, capacity factors."

Relying on computer models only gets you so far, eventually, the real world rears its ugly face. No use wishing for something that just ain't so...

As I said yesterday:

Promoting nuclear (especially liquid salt Thorium reactors) is  the only viable solution. That we are not promoting this technology is criminal. 

Here is a link to the kind of reactor I am talking about - LFTR - and here is a link to a great five minute video of the technologies involved.

Great hack by Pioneer - from IT World:

Pioneer harnessing laserdisc tech for low-cost LIDAR
Using know-how gained by making laserdiscs of yesteryear, Pioneer is developing a 3D LIDAR (light detection and ranging) sensor that could be a fraction of the cost of current systems.

The company sees technology related to optical pickups once used in laserdisc players, which it made for 30 years until 2009, as key to a compact LIDAR system that could cost less than ¥10,000 (US$83) by 2025.

With some LIDAR sensors now costing tens of thousands of dollars, that would speed the spread of autonomous vehicles such as self-driving passenger cars and smart golf carts that could be used as a shared public transportation system. Such robotic cars use LIDAR to navigate and avoid obstacles.

A little hint about the technology:

There are similarities in manufacturing techniques for optical pickups and LIDAR systems, a Pioneer spokesman said, adding the company is using its know-how in signal processing, chip development and optical module manufacturing for the LIDAR technology.

The LIDARs that Google uses are $80K each - this will be a game-changer.

Oopsie - trouble at the new Panama Canal

They are building a brand new Panama Canal to accomodate wider ships and more traffic. The old canal was first opened in 1914 and it was decided to build a new one rather than try to retrofit the old one.

Lock three was having some leakage problems and a concrete sample was taken.

From gCaptain:

A Concrete Sample Was Pulled from the New Panama Canal Locks and It Does Not Look Good
A core sample pulled from the concrete of the Cocoli Locks where cracks and leaks have appeared does not bode well for the Panama Canal expansion project, which is on a strict deadline for completion in April 2016.

The crack and subsequent leaks appeared recently in the concrete of one of the interior chambers of the new Cocoli Locks on the Pacific side of the waterway during testing of the new locks.

And the contractor?

Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), the main contractor for the Third Set of Locks project, issued a statement last Friday acknowledging the leaks, but has since gone quiet.

The ACP has said previously that the based on preliminary information the crack is not expected to impact the opening of the new locks for commercial operations in April 2016 and that GUPC is solely responsible for the successful delivery and performance of the new locks ‘without defects’.

“GUPC has the obligation to ensure the long-term performance on all aspects of the construction of the locks and to correct this issue,” the ACP said in a statement earlier this week. “Moreover, GUPC’s contract with the ACP dictates that the group is responsible for modifications and corrections,” it added.

Here is a photo of the leakage - I would not want to be working for GUPC...


Trump was right - immigrant welfare usage

From the Center for Immigration Studies:

Welfare Use by Immigrant and Native Households
An Analysis of Medicaid, Cash, Food, and Housing Programs

This study is the first in recent years to examine immigrant (legal and illegal) and native welfare use using the Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). While its complexity makes it difficult to use, the survey is widely regarded as providing the most accurate picture of welfare participation. The SIPP shows immigrant households use welfare at significantly higher rates than native households, even higher than indicated by other Census surveys.

  • In 2012, 51 percent of households headed by an immigrant (legal or illegal) reported that they used at least one welfare program during the year, compared to 30 percent of native households. Welfare in this study includes Medicaid and cash, food, and housing programs.
  • Welfare use is high for both new arrivals and well-established immigrants. Of households headed by immigrants who have been in the country for more than two decades, 48 percent access welfare.
  • No single program explains immigrants' higher overall welfare use. For example, not counting subsidized school lunch, welfare use is still 46 percent for immigrants and 28 percent for natives. Not counting Medicaid, welfare use is 44 percent for immigrants and 26 percent for natives.

Much more at the site - this is a very long report and they quote and link to US Census data to back up their claims.

From gossip site RADAR Online:

Exposed! Libya Security Briefs, Algeria Hostage Info & More — Hacker Threatens To Sell Hillary Clinton’s ENTIRE UNRELEASED Private Emails For $500K
Just as email-gate looked to be winding down, has exclusively learned a person claiming to be a computer specialist has come forward with the stunning news that 32,000 emails from Hillary Clinton‘s private email account are up for sale. The price tag — a whopping $500,000!

Promising to give the trove of the former Secretary of State’s emails to the highest bidder, the specialist is showing subject lines as proof of what appear to be legitimate messages.

“Hillary or someone from her camp erased the outbox containing her emails, but forgot to erase the emails that were in her sent box,” an insider reveals to Radar of the Presidential contender’s latest nightmare.

She needs to spend some time in jail - Pour encourager les autres

And another one bites the dust

And you thought the $535 Million to Solyndra was bad - check this out:

From FOX News:

Green energy company fights for life after getting billions from feds
Abengoa, a renewable energy multinational company headquartered in Spain, has been a favorite of the Obama administration in getting federal tax money for clean energy projects.

Since 2009, Abengoa and its subsidiaries, according to estimates, have received $2.9 billion in grants and loan guarantees through the Department of Energy to undertake solar projects in California and Arizona — as well as the construction of a cellulosic ethanol plant in Kansas.

But in the space of less than a year, Abengoa’s financial health has become critical, leading investors to worry whether the company can survive.

The company’s stock price on NASDAQ has swooned — from $29.32 on Sept. 2, 2014 to $5.62 on Tuesday.

This is yours and my tax dollars being squandered on dead-end technologies.

And then, there is this little article at Bloomberg:

Wind-Power Producers Find Profits as Elusive as a Summer Breeze
Power producers who invested billions in turbines are finding that making money off the wind can be as unpredictable as the energy source itself.

NextEra Energy Inc., NRG Yield Inc. and Duke Energy Corp. all said a lack of sufficiently windy days cut into second-quarter sales. And neither power generators nor forecasters seem to know exactly why.

And what is this costing us?

Tax credits for wind production are expected to more than double to $2.4 billion in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, according to an August 2014 estimate, the latest available from Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation. Wind credits may reach $3.6 billion annually by the fiscal year ending in 2018, the committee reported.

This tax credit is also paid by us - the government is not charging these crony corporations $3.6 Billion per year which the government has to collect from somewhere else. Our pocket books one way or the other. Promoting nuclear (especially liquid salt Thorium reactors) is  the only viable solution. That we are not promoting this technology is criminal.

Hillary's email problem

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Her email problems get bigger - from The Daily Beast:

Will Hillary Clinton’s Emails Burn the White House?
Hillary Clinton’s email problems are already causing headaches for her presidential campaign. But within American counterintelligence circles, there’s a mounting sense that the former Secretary of State may not be the only Obama administration official in trouble. This is a scandal that has the potential to spread to the White House, as well.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation can be expected to be tight-lipped, especially because this highly sensitive case is being handled by counterintelligence experts from Bureau headquarters a few blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, not by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. That will ensure this investigation gets the needed “big picture” view, since even senior FBI agents at any given field office may only have a partial look at complex counterintelligence cases.

And this most certainly is a counterintelligence matter. There’s a widely held belief among American counterspies that foreign intelligence agencies had to be reading the emails on Hillary’s private server, particularly since it was wholly unencrypted for months. “I’d fire my staff if they weren’t getting all this,” explained one veteran Department of Defense counterintelligence official, adding: “I’d hate to be the guy in Moscow or Beijing right now who had to explain why they didn’t have all of Hillary’s email.” Given the widespread hacking that has plagued the State Department, the Pentagon, and even the White House during Obama’s presidency, senior counterintelligence officials are assuming the worst about what the Russians and Chinese know.

And it gets better:

“The whole administration is filled with people who can’t shoot straight when it comes to classified,” an Intelligence Community official explained to me this week. Three U.S. officials suggested that Susan Rice, the National Security Adviser, might be at particular risk if a classified information probe goes wide. But it should be noted that Rice has made all sorts of enemies on the security establishment for her prickly demeanor, use of coarse language, and strategic missteps.

Much more at the site - the rot is at the core of our nation.

156 years ago today

Today is the 156th anniversary of The Carrington Event. From Space Weather:

On Sept. 2nd, a billion-ton coronal mass ejection (CME) slammed into Earth's magnetic field. Campers in the Rocky Mountains woke up in the middle of the night, thinking that the glow they saw was sunrise. No, it was the Northern Lights. People in Cuba read their morning paper by the red illumination of aurora borealis. Earth was peppered by particles so energetic, they altered the chemistry of polar ice.

Hard to believe? It really happened--exactly 156 years ago.

As the day unfolded, the gathering storm electrified telegraph lines, shocking technicians and setting their telegraph papers on fire. The "Victorian Internet" was knocked offline. Magnetometers around the world recorded strong disturbances in the planetary magnetic field for more than a week.

The cause of all this was an extraordinary solar flare witnessed the day before by British astronomer Richard Carrington. His sighting marked the discovery of solar flares and foreshadowed a new field of study: space weather. According to the National Academy of Sciences, if a similar storm occurred today, it would cause a trillion dollars in damage to society's high-tech infrastructure and require four to ten years for complete recovery.

In fact, a similar flare did occur just a few years ago. On July 23, 2012, a CME of rare power rocketed away from the sun. The storm was in all respects at least as strong as the 1859 Carrington event. The only difference is, it missed. no harm done. The July 2012 event serves as a reminder, however, that extreme space weather is not a thing of the past.

It is fortunate that our sun is entering a quiet phase - the cold weather will suck but limited CMEs will be a good thing.

Just wonderful - China rattles sabers

From the Wall Street Journal:

Five Chinese Navy Ships Are Operating in Bering Sea Off Alaska Coast
Five Chinese navy ships are currently operating in the Bering Sea, off the coast of Alaska, the first time the U.S. military has seen such activity in the area, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

The officials said they have been aware in recent days that three Chinese combat ships, a replenishment vessel and an amphibious ship were in the vicinity after observing them moving toward the Aleutian Islands, which are split between U.S. and Russian control.

They said the Chinese ships were still in the area, but declined to specify when the vessels were first spotted or how far they were from the coast of Alaska, where President Barack Obama is winding up a three-day visit.

They have been ramping up their presense in the Pacific and their Communist Party has been building power (and re-writing history).

From Yahoo News/ Agence France Presse:

Communist Party takes star role in China's war parade
The undoubted star of China's giant military parade marking 70 years since Japan's World War II defeat -- and countless television shows on the conflict -- will be the ruling Communist Party, celebrating a victory historians say was largely won by others.

The display will feature 12,000 Chinese troops marching through Tiananmen Square alongside gleaming tanks and missiles, as fighter jets scream overhead.

It will all be overseen by President Xi Jinping -- head of the People's Liberation Army, the ruling party and the government -- in what commentators say is an effort to bend history to bolster the Party's legitimacy.

The parade aims to dramatise "this idea that without the Communist Party, there would be no new China", said Willy Lam, an expert on Chinese politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Communism caused only 100,000,000 deaths - what difference, at this point, does it make...

Here we go - WWIII starts

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Iran is a noted sponsor of terrorism throughout the world and it is their published intent that Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth.

A very similar event happened back in September 30, 1928 with the Munich Pact:

Munich Pact signed
British and French prime ministers Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier sign the Munich Pact with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. The agreement averted the outbreak of war but gave Czechoslovakia away to German conquest.

In the spring of 1938, Hitler began openly to support the demands of German-speakers living in the Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia for closer ties with Germany. Hitler had recently annexed Austria into Germany, and the conquest of Czechoslovakia was the next step in his plan of creating a “greater Germany.” The Czechoslovak government hoped that Britain and France would come to its assistance in the event of German invasion, but British Prime Minister Chamberlain was intent on averting war. He made two trips to Germany in September and offered Hitler favorable agreements, but the Fuhrer kept upping his demands.

On September 22, Hitler demanded the immediate cession of the Sudetenland to Germany and the evacuation of the Czechoslovak population by the end of the month. The next day, Czechoslovakia ordered troop mobilization. War seemed imminent, and France began a partial mobilization on September 24. Chamberlain and French Prime Minister Daladier, unprepared for the outbreak of hostilities, traveled to Munich, where they gave in to Hitler’s demands on September 30.

Daladier abhorred the Munich Pact’s appeasement of the Nazis, but Chamberlain was elated and even stayed behind in Munich to sign a single-page document with Hitler that he believed assured the future of Anglo-German peace. Later that day, Chamberlain flew home to Britain, where he addressed a jubilant crowd in London and praised the Munich Pact for bringing “peace with honor” and “peace in our time.” The next day, Germany annexed the Sudetenland, and the Czechoslovak government chose submission over destruction by the German Wehrmacht. In March 1939, Hitler annexed the rest of Czechoslovakia, and the country ceased to exist.

Emphasis mine. Today, John Forbes Kerry was in Philadelphia, PA speaking at the National Constitution Center (the irony is unreal) - from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Secretary of State John Kerry defends Iran nuclear deal in speech at Constitution Center
Secretary of State John F. Kerry defended the international nuclear deal with Iran as a step toward a safer world Wednesday, even as the Obama administration secured enough backing in the U.S. Senate to carry out the agreement.

"History may judge it a turning point, a moment when the builders of stability seize the initiative from the destroyers of hope," Kerry told an invited crowd of about 200 at the National Constitution Center.


"President Obama has been crystal clear we will do whatever is necessary to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons," Kerry said. "But the difference is we wouldn't have the world behind us as we have today. The deal "sets us on the road to greater stability and security but doesn't require us to give up any option at all," he said. "To vote down this agreement is to solve nothing."

Kerry said it would be impossible for Iran to hide attempts to develop a nuclear weapon, even though the agreement gives a 24-day warning before on-site inspections.

"In truth, there is no way in 24 days, or 24 months - or 24 years, for that matter - to destroy all the evidence of illegal activity that has been taking place regarding fissile material," he said. "You can't eliminate the evidence by shoving it under a mattress or flushing it down a toilet or carting it off in the middle of the night."

The parallels are chilling. Plus, there is the stench of corruption in our Senate - from Frontpage Magazine:

Senator Markey has announced his support for the Iran deal that will let the terrorist regime inspect its own Parchin nuclear weapons research site, conduct uranium enrichment, build advanced centrifuges, buy ballistic missiles, fund terrorism and have a near zero breakout time to a nuclear bomb.

There was no surprise there.

Markey had topped the list of candidates supported by the Iran Lobby. And the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC) had maxed out its contributions to his campaign.

After more fake suspense, Al Franken, another IAPAC backed politician who also benefited from Iran Lobby money, came out for the nuke sellout.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the Iran Lobby’s third Dem senator, didn’t bother playing coy like her colleagues. She came out for the deal a while back even though she only got half the IAPAC cash that Franken and Markey received.

As did Senator Gillibrand, who had benefited from IAPAC money back when she first ran for senator and whose position on the deal should have come as no surprise.

The Iran Lobby had even tried, and failed, to turn Arizona Republican Jeff Flake. Iran Lobby cash had made the White House count on him as the Republican who would flip, but Flake came out against the deal. The Iran Lobby invested a good deal of time and money into Schumer, but that effort also failed.

Still these donations were only the tip of the Iran Lobby iceberg.

Gillibrand had also picked up money from the Iran Lobby’s Hassan Nemazee. Namazee was Hillary’s national campaign finance director who had raised a fortune for both her and Kerry before pleading guilty to a fraud scheme encompassing hundreds of millions of dollars. Nemazee had been an IAPAC trustee and had helped set up the organization.

Bill Clinton had nominated Hassan Nemazee as the US ambassador to Argentina when he had only been a citizen for two years.  A spoilsport Senate didn’t allow Clinton to make a member of the Iran Lobby into a US ambassador, but Nemazee remained a steady presence on the Dem fundraising circuit.

Iran will get the bomb in less than five years - WWIII will erupt soon after. All Obama's fault - both with his policies and with the people he appoints. What would have happened in 1938 if we gave Hitler $56 Billion dollars - this is exactly what is happening with Iran.

Now this will be an interesting lawsuit to watch

From The Hill:

Navajo Nation preps lawsuit against EPA over mine spill
The Navajo Nation is preparing for a legal battle against President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The tribe contends that the EPA's Aug. 5 accident in Colorado, which made national headlines after turning portions of the Animas River bright yellow, also leaked hazardous substances into the San Juan River — one of the Navajo Nation's primary water sources.

Now, they've hired law firm Hueston Hennigan LLP to represent them in what some are predicting could be a multibillion-dollar lawsuit expected to be filed in the coming weeks, as lawmakers on Capitol Hill prepare for a round of hearings examining the issue.

And heading their legal team is powerhouse attorney John Hueston, who was the lead prosecutor in the 2006 case against former Enron executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, who were found guilty of fraud and conspiracy.

Russell Begaye — president of Navajo Nation, which totals roughly 300,000 people — also sent a letter to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials on Monday, calling on them to appoint a FEMA official to coordinate their efforts in the response to the spill.

More at the site including this reminder of what the EPA did:


That was fun - back from town

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Curtis was one of the participants in a Singer/Songwriter competition tonight and did really well. Three judges and they gave great criticism and praise. I thought he was right up there as a couple of the other five performers were not as good - one singer had serious pitch problems and another guy wrote funny but very simple stupid songs although he was an energetic performer.

Back home for another day at the farm. Waiting for my backhoe guy to call about digging the trench for the replacement propane line. With all the rain, the bentonite clay in my new ground holes is swelling up nicely - can't wait to try some DX in a few days.

Checking the weather

Looks like an interesting week ahead - from the National Weather Service Special Weather Statement:

...Several inches of snow will fall in the mountains above 6000 feet Wednesday through Thursday...
The snow level will be around 5500 to 6000 feet Wednesday through Thursday as an unseasonably deep upper trough moves over the Pacific Northwest. Precipitation amounts of a quarter inch to an inch are likely over the higher mountains during this period with locally up to one and a half inches on Mount Baker.

That means that a total of 2 to 6 inches of snow can be expected at elevations above 6000 feet Tuesday through Wednesday with a foot or more of snow at the higher elevations on Mount Baker.

Off to town - K-Boy playing tonight

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Lulu's son Curtis is playing tonight so heading in to catch the set. Also, paying some bills.

Stopping for coffee and bringing a voltmeter and a scope into the store to check the three-phase wiring for our freezer.

Nothing more today until later - people are still without power in places.

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