January 2016 Archives

I knew it!

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From the UK Telegraph:

Living near a pub makes you happier - and even helps you cut down on drinking, study finds
The research by Oxford University found that regulars with a local pub nearby are "significantly" happier, have more friends, better life satisfaction, and actually drink in more moderation.

It also revealed that social skills improve after a drink, while people were more likely to be engaged in conversations in small community pubs rather than larger establishments.

The study was conducted in pubs in Oxfordshire, and it also found pubs were very important in providing a place where people could meet and make friends.

No link to the Oxford University site. I do like going down to my local and yeah, two pints is just fine for me - no desire for any more. Sit and read, people watch and talk to friends - it's a good third place.

In a nutshell:

Cute commercial for paper

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Big fan of the stuff myself - much prefer books to reading online. Something very nice about the tactile sensation of opening the book and turning a page.

Climate update - Kuwait

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A lot of the graphs being used by the Anthropogenic Global Warming crowd are not based on actual data, they are based on computer models derived from proxy measurement.

There is an interesting post at TechDirt about the problems with this code.

Frequent Errors In Scientific Software May Undermine Many Published Results
It's a commonplace that software permeates modern society. But it's less appreciated that increasingly it permeates many fields of science too. The move from traditional, analog instruments, to digital ones that run software, brings with it a new kind of issue. Although analog instruments can be -- and usually are – inaccurate to some degree, they don't have bugs in the same way as digital ones do. Bugs are much more complex and variable in their effects, and can be much harder to spot. A study in the F1000 Research journal by David A. W. Soergel, published as open access using open peer review, tries to estimate just how much of an issue that might be. He points out that software bugs are really quite common, especially for hand-crafted scientific software:

It has been estimated that the industry average rate of programming errors is "about 15-50 errors per 1000 lines of delivered code". That estimate describes the work of professional software engineers -- not of the graduate students who write most scientific data analysis programs, usually without the benefit of training in software engineering and testing. The recent increase in attention to such training is a welcome and essential development. Nonetheless, even the most careful software engineering practices in industry rarely achieve an error rate better than 1 per 1000 lines. Since software programs commonly have many thousands of lines of code (Table 1), it follows that many defects remain in delivered code -- even after all testing and debugging is complete.

Much more at the site - a lot of the climate models have been written in the R statistical language. Given that most of the code is being written by the grad students of the researchers, there is no real rigorous testing.

When I worked at MSFT, I managed software test labs and they really put their code through the wringer.

One of the key indicators of the quality of the climate models is that they do not hindcast well at all. We have a couple hundred years of decent historical data - plug those into the models and they do not output anything like what the recorded climate was like.

The Zika outbreak in South America

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This is serious - from FOX News:

Impoverished coastal city in Brazil becomes epicenter for Zika outbreak
Around the fifth month of her pregnancy, Daniele Ferreira dos Santos fell ill with a high fever and angry red splotches on her skin.

She soon recovered.

But weeks later, when she went to the hospital for a prenatal exam, the news was horrific: The baby she was carrying likely had a severe brain injury. When Juan Pedro Campos dos Santos came into the world in December, the circumference of his head was just 26 centimeters, about 20 percent smaller than normal.

Santos was never diagnosed with Zika, but she blames the virus for her son's defect and for the terrible toll it has taken on her life. Living in Recife in the northeastern state of Pernambuco, she is at the epicenter of the Zika outbreak, and Pedro's is among 3,400 suspected cases of microcephaly that may be connected to the virus, though no link has yet been proven.

Originally from Africa, Zika spread to Asia and was first registered in Brazil in the middle of last year, spreading like wildfire through the northeast thanks in part to the region's widespread poverty, equatorial heat and chronic infestations of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also spreads dengue fever and chikungunya.

Some more:

"It's the proverbial perfect storm," said Dr. Albert Ko, a professor of epidemiology with the Yale School of Public Health, adding the region was likely at least one of the initial points of entry for the disease — which researchers theorize may have been introduced to Brazil by tourists visiting the country during the 2014 World Cup or an international canoeing event the same year.

"It may have been one of many introductions, but this is the one that took off," said Ko. "In Brazil, infestation rates (of the mosquito) are highest in the northeast because of climactic reasons and socio-economic reasons, so it makes sense that ... it really took off there."

The problem - public health and mosquitos:

But it wasn't always this way. Brazil once succeeded in eliminating the Aedes, which is well adapted to humans, lives within people's homes and can breed in just a bottle cap of stagnant water. Massive eradication efforts in the 1940s and 1950s allowed the country to be declared free of the mosquito in 1958, but over the decades the insect returned, slowly encroaching from neighboring countries and finding fertile breeding ground in Brazil's sprawling, unplanned cities, with their limited potable water systems and garbage collection.

Nothing that a liberal application of DDT would not greatly reduce if not eliminate. We had problems with DDT before because it was so safe - we were marinating in it. Judicious use as well as public education would go a long way to eliminate this problem. Will this happen? Will it gain a foothold in the United States?

Not again?

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From ABC News:

Drug Kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman Escapes Mexican Prison Once Again
Mexico City, Mexico — Early this morning, drug kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, head of the Sinaloa Cartel, escaped from the Altiplano maximum security prison once again.

It is unclear at this point what exactly happened, but these are the details ABC News has received from Mexican officials so far:

2:35 AM: Guzmán was taken in restraints by two prison guards on a routine cell transfer.
3:05 AM: Prison staff could not locate Guzmán or the two prison guards’s whereabouts. The prison was put on lockdown as personnel went looking for them.
4:15 AM: A prison van was found abandoned only a mile away from the prison. Mexican officials believe the two guards, who began working at the prison just months ago, were actually members of the Sinaloa Cartel working for Guzmán.

This is getting downright ridiculous. The new guards should have never been assigned to Guzman - they should have worked in a lower security facility for five years and then been promoted.

I hope they look into the history of the person who hired these two mokes.

Trump v/s Hillary in the media

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The angle of a camera can make all the difference in the world when sending a message. Case in point:


Vote for Canada

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Makes sense...

Off to coffee and working at home

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Woke up at 3:00AM and could not sleep. Got back to sleep at 6:00AM and just woke up an hour ago. Wonder what is causing this - been happening with some regularity in the last six months but have not changed my schedule or eating habbits...

Working at the house today.

Great quote

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Washington DC is twelve square miles bordered by reality
--Andrew Johnson 17th President of the United States 

Hillary's email server - a two-fer

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This just keeps getting better and better - I need to make a bumper sticker that says Hillary for Prison 2016.

First - from the New York Daily News (article dated March 7, 2015):

President Obama discovered Hillary Clinton's personal email use through news reports
President Obama discovered former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email at the same time as news readers.

Obama, after delivering a Saturday speech in Selma, Ala., was asked when he found out about Clinton’s personal email system run from her Chappaqua home.

“The same time everybody else learned it through news reports,” he told CBS News.

Second - from yesterday's New York Times:

22 Clinton Emails Deemed Too Classified to Be Made Public
The State Department on Friday said for the first time that “top secret” material had been sent through Hillary Clinton’s private computer server, and that it would not make public 22 of her emails because they contained highly classified information.

The department announced that 18 emails exchanged between Mrs. Clinton and President Obama would also be withheld, citing the longstanding practice of preserving presidential communications for future release. The department’s spokesman, John Kirby, said that exchanges did not involve classified information.

Emphasis mine - now that is a pants on fire moment if there ever was one.

Back home again

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Ran into town for a few things and had dinner at the new local restaurant - a basket of pulled-pork sliders - they smoke their own meats. Their french dip is epic too.

Back home for a glass or three of wine and to surf the net for a bit.

Forecast is for snow - it got down to the 1,000 foot level last evening - I am in a valley and the two mountains are nicely dusted. Praying that we do not have a repeat of the four inches of solid ice in the driveway again along with a month of freezing rain...

Pushing back against the hypocrisy

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Good to see - from The Daily Caller:

300 Scientists Want NOAA To Stop Hiding Its Global Warming Data
Hundreds of scientists sent a letter to lawmakers Thursday warning National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists may have violated federal laws when they published a 2015 study purporting to eliminate the 15-year “hiatus” in global warming from the temperature record.

“We, the undersigned, scientists, engineers, economists and others, who have looked carefully into the effects of carbon dioxide released by human activities, wish to record our support for the efforts of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology to ensure that federal agencies complied with federal guidelines that implemented the Data Quality Act,” some 300 scientists, engineers and other experts wrote to Chairman of the House Science Committee, Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith.

“In our opinion… NOAA has failed to observe the OMB [Office of Management and Budget] (and its own) guidelines, established in relation to the Data Quality Act.”

And a bit more - these must be crackpots and conspirators:

Of the 300 letter signers, 150 had doctorates in a related field. Signers also included: 25 climate or atmospheric scientists, 23 geologists, 18 meteorologists, 51 engineers, 74 physicists, 20 chemists and 12 economists. Additionally, one signer was a Nobel Prize winning physicist and two were astronauts.

A fun day on the mountain

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Today's snow report sounds wonderful:

SNOW ALERT! There's powder snow at Baker and a lot of it! The temperatures are cold and the snow has been falling fast and thick. It looks like today is THE day to come skiing or boarding; bring your good winter weather gear and best goggles!

Special Note: Chair 1 and 6 did not open yesterday, so for you powder hounds expect between 15 to 20 inches of untracked powder on Pan Dome! Forecasts are calling for a bit of a break in the snowfall this morning, then more light snowfall later in the day and a good amount of new snow expected for Sunday morning. We are looking forward to an EXCELLENT powder weekend! See you at Baker!

Gracias El Niño

Great moneymaking opportunity there - a blizzard. From The Washington Post:

D.C. hands out more than $1 million in tickets for Snowzilla parking violations
Since enacting a snow emergency Friday, the District has handed out tickets totaling more than $1 million in fines for violators of its parking ban. That translates to thousands of pink violation slips slid under windshield wipers, and hundreds of cars towed from city roadways.

As of Wednesday afternoon, D.C. had issued 5,284 snow emergency tickets — each at a cost of $250 — and towed 673 vehicles since the snow emergency went into effect at 9:30 a.m. Friday, according to D.C. Department of Public Works spokeswoman Linda P. Grant. In total, $1,321,000 in fines has been issued, in addition to $67,300 in towing fees at $100 apiece.

Christ on a corn-dog. I can see towing a vehicle that is blocking traffic - that is the responsibility of the vehicle owner if they get stuck. Parking tickets? That is downright brutal.

And of course, being a bureaucracy, nobody steps up and accepts the blame - bunch of dindoo nuffins there.

A problem at CERN

From Motherboard:

CERN Engineers Have to Identify and Disconnect 9,000 Obsolete Cables
CERN, home to the Large Hadron Collider, has grand plans to update the world’s largest particle accelerator complex in the next few years. But engineers have identified a barrier to the upgrade: there’s no space for new cables in the injectors that accelerate particles before they enter the LHC.

In the past, when parts of the accelerators have been upgraded or added to, engineers would often additionally replace the cables that connected them. In the process, they would leave in place the old cables that were no longer in use. Now, a heap of obsolete cables are blocking the way to install new ones needed for the accelerator’s next big upgrade. To make space, CERN engineers have set out to identify and remove the old, unused cables. All 9,000 of them.

Telling apart functioning and out-of-use cables in one of the world’s biggest and most expensive experiments is a high-stakes game. Pull out the wrong cable, and at best you might have lost some data monitoring capabilities. Worst case scenario, you might yank out a crucial safety cable and the accelerator simply won’t work. “That’s why it’s so tricky to complete this operation—because any mistake could start major trouble at the restart of the accelerator,” Sébastien Evrard, the mechanical engineer leading the clean-up project, told me.

They posted a photo of the cable trays:



Quite the rats nest...

Bill Whittle on Trump

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If you do not watch the whole thing, at least start at 7:40 - really good idea.

Do not piss off Anonymous

Anonymous is a loose group of hackers who have been making the news from time to time. Here is one story from Hackaday:

It’s difficult to say if [Aaron Barr], then CEO of software security company HBGary Federal, was in his right mind when he targeted the notorious hacking group known as Anonymous. He was trying to correlate Facebook and IRC activity to reveal the identities of the group’s key figures. In the shadowy world of black-hat hacking, getting your true identity revealed is known as getting doxed, and is something every hacker fears. Going after such a well-known group would be sure to get his struggling company some needed publicity. It would also have the most unfortunate side effect of getting the hacking groups attention as well.

Perhaps [Aaron Barr] expected Anonymous to come after him…maybe he even welcomed the confrontation. After all, he was an ‘expert’ in software security. He ran his own security company. His CTO [Greg Hoglund] wrote a book about rootkits and maintained the website rootkits.com that boasted over 80 thousand registered users. Surely he could manage a few annoying attacks from a couple of teenage script kiddies playing on their parent’s computer. It would have been impossible for him to know how wrong he was.

It took the handful of hackers less that 24 hours to take complete control over the HBGary Federal website and databases. They also seized [Barr’s] Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and even his World of Warcraft account. They replaced the HBGary Federal homepage with this declaration – with a link to a torrent file containing some 50,000 emails resting ominously at the bottom. At the same time, they were able to use social engineering techniques to SSH into the rootkit.com site and delete its entire contents.

It became clear that these handful of Anonymous hackers were good. Very good. This article will focus on the core of the HBGary hackers that would go on to form the elite LulzSec group. Future articles in this new and exciting Dark Arts series will focus on some of the various hacking techniques they used. Techniques including SQL injection, cross-site scripting, remote file inclusion and many others. We will keep our focus on how these techniques work and how they can be thwarted with better security practices.

As the article says, these are not script-kiddies in their mama's basement. Fun stuff! 

Looking forward to more articles in the series.

A great disturbance in the force

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Last Tuesday, the GPS satellite system experienced a major glitch in its timing signal.

They figured it out - software bug. A good analysis can be found at Inside GNSS:

GPS Glitch Caused Outages, Fueled Arguments for Backup
Less than a month after Europe switched off most of its Loran transmitters, a problem with GPS satellite timing signal triggered alarms across the continent and caused an unknown number of outages, including the disruption of some features of critical infrastructure.
The GPS problem was caused by an error in ground software uploaded January 26 as system operators removed space vehicle number (SVN) 23 from service. The long-planned deactivation of SVN 23, the oldest of the GPS satellites, clears the way for a new satellite, the last GPS Block IIF, which is to be launched February 4.
The software problem, however, threw GPS's coordinated universal time (UTC) timing message off by 13 microseconds, which affected the timing data on legacy L-band signals and the time provided by GPS timing receivers, said 50th Space Wing spokesman James Hodges. The problem did not appear to have affected the GPS systems's ability to provide positioning and navigation service.
Even so the impact on timing receivers was broad, said Charles Curry, managing director and founder of Chronos Technology Ltd. in the United Kingdom. Chronos was monitoring the effect of the glitch closely because it provides timing equipment and 24/7 support to most of the major telecommunications operators in the UK, Sweden, and Denmark. It also works with firms in other industries including energy and defense.
"Every support contract that we have that involves GPS timing receivers called in to say, ‘We've got a problem. What's happening?’ Curry told Inside GNSS.
The problem, he said, was widespread.
"It wasn't isolated to one particular manufacturer's equipment. It wasn't isolated to really old or really new [receivers]— it was across the board," Curry explained. "The latest technology, multi-constellation technology, suffered problems as did 25-year-old stuff that's in some of these older networks."

It is a bit worrysome that we are so locked into this system. The alternatives are being considered redundent and are being shut off and dismantled. I had written about LORAN before here, here, here, here and here.

Quote of the year

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From this post at Maggie's Farm

Don't be a crank. Push back against the cranks. They will never be happy, or have a good time.

Great news from Mt. Baker

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They may have lost a foot or two of snowpack from the two recent atmospheric rivers but they are piling it on now - from their Snow Report

The winter storm has arrived and today is turning out to be a great reverse pow day! We have received 6 inches of new snowfall between 9am and Noon and it is continuing to nuke snow! NWAC is calling for another 10 inches of new snow by tomorrow morning, which means chairs 1 and 6 will have 16+ inches of untracked powder snow for opening! We look forward to an excellent, excellent weekend!!

Very good news indeed!

Just wonderful - Hillary's emails

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This scandal keeps getting worse and worse - from FOX News

Official: Some Clinton emails 'too damaging' to release
The intelligence community has deemed some of Hillary Clinton’s emails “too damaging" to national security to release under any circumstances, according to a U.S. government official close to the ongoing review. A second source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, backed up the finding. 

The determination was first reported by Fox News, hours before the State Department formally announced Friday that seven email chains, found in 22 documents, will be withheld “in full” because they, in fact, contain “Top Secret” information.

The State Department, when first contacted by Fox News about withholding such emails Friday morning, did not dispute the reporting – but did not comment in detail. After a version of this report was first published, the Obama administration confirmed to the Associated Press that the seven email chains would be withheld. The department has since confirmed those details publicly.

We know that the Chinese hacked into her server and most likely the Russians too - who knows who else. Our enemies know our foreign policy.

Yes, I am a geek - Pi

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My new truck just hit 31415.9 miles yesterday - Pi


Only 282,743.3 miles until I hit it again with 314159.2

And just as a heads up, I usually get 20-25MPG. I was heading up a hill when the odomoter turned over. Was halfway thinking about turning around and coasting to give an artificially high MPG to mess with people's minds but no.

Chemist Derek Lowe sometimes posts about interesting chemicals - today's is ClF3 and it's a doozey...

Sand Won’t Save You This Time
In a comment to my post on putting out fires last week, one commenter mentioned the utility of the good old sand bucket, and wondered if there was anything that would go on to set the sand on fire. Thanks to a note from reader Robert L., I can report that there is indeed such a reagent: chlorine trifluoride.

I have not encountered this fine substance myself, but reading up on its properties immediately gives it a spot on my “no way, no how” list. Let’s put it this way: during World War II, the Germans were very interested in using it in self-igniting flamethrowers, but found it too nasty to work with. It is apparently about the most vigorous fluorinating agent known, and is much more difficult to handle than fluorine gas. That’s one of those statements you don’t get to hear very often, and it should be enough to make any sensible chemist turn around smartly and head down the hall in the other direction.

The compound also a stronger oxidizing agent than oxygen itself, which also puts it into rare territory. That means that it can potentially go on to “burn” things that you would normally consider already burnt to hell and gone, and a practical consequence of that is that it’ll start roaring reactions with things like bricks and asbestos tile. It’s been used in the semiconductor industry to clean oxides off of surfaces, at which activity it no doubt excels.

There’s a report from the early 1950s (in this PDF) of a one-ton spill of the stuff. It burned its way through a foot of concrete floor and chewed up another meter of sand and gravel beneath, completing a day that I’m sure no one involved ever forgot. That process, I should add, would necessarily have been accompanied by copious amounts of horribly toxic and corrosive by-products: it’s bad enough when your reagent ignites wet sand, but the clouds of hot hydrofluoric acid are your special door prize if you’re foolhardy enough to hang around and watch the fireworks.

Ho. Li. Crap. I have played with some interesting chemicals in my day but Chlorine Trifluoride takes the cake. Great story.

The 90+ comments are a fun read as people relate their own anecdotes with ClF3 and other 'interesting' chemicals.

Those pesky emails

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The turd in the punchbowl for Hillary - from the Washington Examiner:

Former House Oversight chairman: 'FBI director would like to indict Clinton and Abedin'
California Congressman Darrell Issa, who previously led an investigation into Benghazi as former chairman of the House Oversight Committee, says the FBI "would like to indict both Huma [Abedin] and Hillary Clinton" for conducting sensitive government business on an unsecure, private email server.

"I think the FBI director would like to indict both Huma and Hillary as we speak," the Republican heavyweight told the Washington Examiner Thursday, during a debate watch-party at Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's New Hampshire campaign headquarters.

"I think he's in a position where he's being forced to triple-time make a case of what would otherwise be, what they call, a slam dunk," Issa said, referring to FBI Director James Comey, who previously told the Senate Judiciary Committee he would conduct a "competent," "honest" and "independent" probe into Clinton's handling of classified information during her tenure as secretary of state.

But unfortunately:

"I've worked with both the last attorney general... and this attorney general, and I really don't believe they'll do it," Issa told the Examiner. "Doing it, by definition, would end her run for president."

He continued, "So do I think the Democrats are in an odd situation where the only thing they can do is hold their nose and hold back on and indictment?"

"Sadly, yes," Issa said.

Time to drain the swamp and start over.

Just wonderful - more snow

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The atmospheric river has passed by and now we have snow forecast for Saturday.

That is it for the night

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Been a long week.

Still no water - got the electrical fixed but no joy from the pump. I am just going to hire the well person to bring a crew in and fix the damned thing...

Nothing on the intarwebs catches my attention - the few developing stories are still well within their 48 hours of confusion so cannot comment. Two tragic local deaths from traffic accidents. Dealing with that too.

More tomorrow...

The flood is easing off a bit

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Current flow is at 23,900 cubic feet per second - still a lot but less than it was around 4:00PM


State Route 9 is closed South of us with water over the highway - the joys of winter...

From the San Francisco Gate:

Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner dies at 74
Paul Kantner, one of the giants of the San Francisco music scene, died Thursday. Mr. Kantner, a founding member of the Jefferson Airplane, was 74 and had suffered a heart attack this week.

His death was confirmed by longtime publicist and friend, Cynthia Bowman, who said he died of multiple organ failure and septic shock.

Mr. Kantner had a string of health problems in recent years, including a heart attack in March.

With Jefferson Airplane, Mr. Kantner pioneered what became known as the San Francisco sound in the mid-1960s, with such hits as “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit.”

One of my favorite bands when I was in my early 20-30's - well crap!

This is just evil - Obama and Israel

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From Breitbart:

Obama Joins Israel Boycott, Labels West Bank Goods
In a step towards joining an Israel boycott, the U.S. is now requiring goods originating from the West Bank (also known as Judea and Samaria) to be labeled separately from products from the rest of Israel, following the European Union’s crackdown on products from the disputed territories.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection service, which falls under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has issued new mandates requiring that West Bank products not be marked “Israel,” citing a notice from the year 1997 that offers such instructions.

The memo from DHS, titled, “West Bank Country of Origin Marking Requirements,” reads: 

“The purpose of this message is to provide guidance to the trade community regarding the country of origin marking requirements for goods that are manufactured in the West Bank.”

A bit more:

Groups advocating “boycott, divestment, and sanctions” (BDS) against Israel have demanded separate labeling of Israeli goods from the West Bank and the Golan Heights as a step toward a total boycott of Israeli products.

Israel maintains that under international law, the West Bank is “disputed,” and not “occupied,” since there was no legitimate sovereign in the territory when Israel took control of it in self-defense after Jordan attacked Israel in 1967.


The new instructions were published by DHS over the weekend, following complaints from Palestinian and fringe leftist outfits that the U.S. was not complying with a 1995 law that calls for the marking of goods from the West Bank, Israel National News reports.

Of course, they wait until the weekend to pull crap like this.

If you read your history, you will see that the idea that there was a palestinian nation is a complete fabrication of the Soviet KGB in the 1950's. Yasser Arafat was the son of an Egyptian dentist and was courted by the USSR. Arafat spent nine years at Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow (their school for scoundrels). Russia wanted to destabilize Israel.

The so-called palestinians are Hashamites from Jordan. It is impossible for them to buy land in any other nation in the Middle East.

Another flood shot

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Here is the Nooksack River near Mosquito Lake road - it has filled the valley bottom completely overflowing its banks.

This does happen fairly regularly though so nobody builds or farms there.


And yes, there is a Mosquito Lake - it is in a very shallow bowl and very marshy. Prime mosquito breeding ground...

Heading into town

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Do some banking and get some stuff from the hardware store.

Nooksack River officially entered flood stage at 146.81 feet of elevation. Flowing at 30,500 cubic feet per second. That is a lot of water!

The Religion of Peace in Paris

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From the New York Post:

Man arrested with handguns, Koran at Disneyland Paris
French police arrested a man carrying two handguns at the Disneyland Paris amusement park outside Paris on Thursday, an Interior Ministry official said.

A police source said the 28-year-old man of European origin had been carrying the two guns, including an automatic handgun, concealed in a bag that also contained a copy of the Koran religious text.

I may be guilty of profiling but I say we should round them all up and ship them back to where they came from. This moke was of euro origin but he had obviously been converted and falls into the same catagory.

I wish we could get away with what General John 'Black Jack' Pershing did to the Moros in the 1900's

A couple of photos from today

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Shot some photos while out for my morning coffee:


Yes, there really is a Maple Falls - usually not to inspiring but today, it was a torrent.


This is Boulder Creek on the way from Maple Falls to Glacier.


Here is the Nooksack River greatly overstepping its banks.

A lot of the water came from snowmelt as the freezing level is now around 8,000 feet. It was 40°F at the ski area this morning.

The Nooksack is now at 28,900 cubic feet per second - up from 23,100 just two hours ago.

Quite the rainfall

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Current flow of the Nooksack is 23,100 cubic feet per second - about seven times the average:


Still coming down - made it through the night with no power outages. Snow level is around 8,000 feet - skiing sucks for the next couple of days...

It is here

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Getting wind gusts to 48MPH, temp is up eight nine degrees (56°F) and rain is starting to really kick in.

Turning off the computer and heading up to bed - power will probably get knocked out tonight so preemptively shutting everything down.

A suggestion

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Marco Rubio

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Great commercial - he is my second choice after Ted Cruz:

Meet Bernie Sanders

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Great biography at Investors Business Daily:

Bernie Sanders, The Bum Who Wants Your Money
Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said Monday his parents would never have thought their son would end up in the Senate and running for president. No kidding. He was a ne’er-do-well into his late 30s.

A bit more:

It wasn’t as bad as he says. His family managed to send him to the University of Chicago. Despite a prestigious degree, however, Sanders failed to earn a living, even as an adult. It took him 40 years to collect his first steady paycheck — and it was a government check.

“I never had any money my entire life,” Sanders told Vermont public TV in 1985, after settling into his first real job as mayor of Burlington.

Sanders spent most of his life as an angry radical and agitator who never accomplished much of anything. And yet now he thinks he deserves the power to run your life and your finances — “We will raise taxes;” he confirmed Monday, “yes, we will.”

One of his first jobs was registering people for food stamps, and it was all downhill from there.

Sanders took his first bride to live in a maple sugar shack with a dirt floor, and she soon left him. Penniless, he went on unemployment. Then he had a child out of wedlock. Desperate, he tried carpentry but could barely sink a nail. “He was a shi**y carpenter,” a friend told Politico Magazine. “His carpentry was not going to support him, and didn’t.”

Then he tried his hand freelancing for leftist rags, writing about “masturbation and rape” and other crudities for $50 a story. He drove around in a rusted-out, Bondo-covered VW bug with no working windshield wipers. Friends said he was “always poor” and his “electricity was turned off a lot.” They described him as a slob who kept a messy apartment — and this is what his friends had to say about him.

The only thing he was good at was talking … non-stop … about socialism and how the rich were ripping everybody off. “The whole quality of life in America is based on greed,” the bitter layabout said. “I believe in the redistribution of wealth in this nation.”

The article closes with this sobering thought:

The choice in this election is shaping up to be a very clear one. It will likely boil down to a battle between those who create and produce wealth, and those who take it and redistribute it.

Our next leader? I am going from throwing up in my mouth a little bit to an impending session of projectile vomiting.

Just no - make it stop!

From the New York Daily News:

With mom still running, Chelsea Clinton’s already gearing up for White House bid
The private invite to Chelsea Clinton’s Wednesday night fund-raiser, to be held at a swanky Upper East Side residence, reads that it’s in support of her mother’s 2016 presidential bid. But some of the big spenders plunking down the big bucks to attend say Chelsea’s future in politics has been the talk of her campaign rallies.

“You’re seeing the beginning of Chelsea Clinton preparing to run,” says a donor who attended Chelsea’s rally at Dr. Paul Boskind’s Midtown home last week, where “limited availability guest” entry started at $250 and $2,700 “champion” tickets included a photo with Chelsea. Our insider says: “A dynasty is on the way.”

The former first daughter, 35, has not been shy about her political ambitions, though where she’d begin her career in politics is anyone’s guess. Last March, Chelsea reportedly told Sky News that she’d “absolutely" consider seeking office.

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. This is just so wrong on so many levels.

The river

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Cliff Mass posted about the incoming atmospheric river and has this wonderful satellite photo:


The word you are looking for is 'bullseye'

The coming storm

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It has warmed up a lot and we had some winds moving through. It was 40°F at the ski area at 3:30PM - it is 58°F now at the store.

Waiting for the rain. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch, a Flood Watch and a Special Weather Statement - talk about a trifecta.

The Special Weather Statement is of some concern:

Rainfall over the last several months and in particular the last Couple of weeks has increased soil moisture to high levels across Western Washington. Heavy rainfall of 3 to 6 inches in the mountains and about a half an inch in the lowlands expected this afternoon through tomorrow afternoon. The rainfall will be particularly heavy tonight as the cold front rolls through. This amount of rain will put extra pressure on soil instability leading to an increased threat of landslides. Because of the long term saturation of the soil and the intensity of the rain tonight this storm is capable of triggering isolated landslides in landslide prone areas. These areas include steep hillsides and coastal bluffs.

The usual routine

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Critters taken care of - heading out for a shower and coffee.

Anyone want to buy a store?

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Just got a call from my night clerk. He bumped the battery out of our alarm system box. Tried hooking it back up but the alarm box started beeping very very loudly.

Had to run down and enter the silence mode - I only live less than two miles away so it was not a big deal but I am on my third glass of wine and was peacefully surfing the internet.

Oh well - joys of small business ownership and yes, I did build that,.

Another member of the Religion of Peace

The good thing is that they are generally not that bright - from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel

FBI thwarts mass shooting at Milwaukee Masonic center
A terrorist-style plot intended to kill dozens of people with automatic weapons at a Masonic center in Milwaukee was foiled this week by FBI agents, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Samy Mohamed Hamzeh discussed his plan to attack the center with two others, detailing how they would quickly and quietly kill the first people they saw and then methodically move through the building, "eliminating everyone" they encountered, according to a federal criminal complaint.

Hamzeh, 23, has been charged with possessing a machine gun and a silencer. Despite indications of an attempted act of terrorism, Hamzeh is not charged with any terrorism counts.

"We are Muslims, defending Muslim religion, we are on our own, my dear, we have organized our own group," Hamzeh said, according to the criminal complaint, adding he was confident it would trigger more attacks in the United States.

"Such operations will increase in America, when they hear about it. The people will be scared and the operations will increase, and there will be problems all over,... this will lead to people clashing with each other. This way we will be igniting it. I mean we are marching at the front of the war," he said, according to the complaint.

Acting U.S. Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad called it a "detailed plan to commit a mass shooting intended to kill dozens of people."

Owning an automatic weapon (machine gun) is not illegal but manufacturing one is very much so.

Blame the Gun Control Act of 1968 - signed into law by President Lyin' Bastard Lyndon Baines Johnson - him of the Great Society (this will have those niggers voting Democrat for the next 200 years) and the war on poverty.

A machine gun manufactured before 1968 is perfectly legal but must be licensed and since they are relatively scarce, the market value starts at $30K and goes up rapidly. What this a-hole probably had was an illegal conversion of a semi-automatic firearm. This is something anyone reasonably mechanical can do but don't because spending ten+ years behind bars is not anything to contemplate. I hope he spends a long time behind bars.


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Unintended consequences - green electricity

Why do they think otherwise - from the England's The Sun:

Greener energy bills to rocket with up to 55 per cent electricity shortage
ENERGY bills will soar as green policies shut coal-fired power stations and cause an “electricity supply crisis”, experts say.

Prices will be forced up as the UK has to import more power, according to a report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers today.

It said Britain could have less than half the electricity it needs because plans to build nuclear and gas power stations are “unrealistic”.

A bit more:

But the IME said 30 gas-fired plants would be needed in under ten years when four have been built in a decade. It said Britain would face an electricity supply gap of 40-55 per cent.

And of course, those hit will be the poor and elderly - not being able to afford to heat their homes. More die from cold than from heat.

Don't forget Barry's 2008 comment: Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket

Staring down the barrel - some rain due

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An atmospheric river - the second one in a few weeks. Cliff Mass explains:

Major Atmospheric River Period for the West Coast
The weather action is about to move from the eastern U.S. to the western U.S. as strong atmospheric rivers pummel the West Coast with heavy precipitation, with the potential for a major cyclone to strike California later on the weekend.

One of the best ways to see plumes of moisture associated with atmospheric rivers is to view the integrated water vapor forecasts:  predictions of the total water vapor in a column.  Atmospheric rivers are generally warm and juicy....lots of water in the column.  And when these rivers hit the western U.S. terrain, heavy rain or snow (at high elevations) can occur.

The water vapor image for Wednesday evening shows an atmospheric river reaching the Northwest.

Here is the forecast for Wednesday evening:


Gonna get wet...

Also, just as a heads up, the place where Cliff gets these wonderful charts is at the Pacific Northwest Environmental Forecasts and Observations at the University of Washington.

Page with the charts: GFS-Initialized Pacific Northwest WRF Weather Forecasts

The storms from El Niño are eroding the cliffs in Pacifica and buildings on the edge are in danger of falling into the sea.

From CBS News - they have a brief clip of the apartment owner - what person in their right mind would buy a building in that location.

This looks interesting

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Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World directed by Werner Herzog

Rainy day in paradise

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Got the critters taken care of, heading in for a shower (water still not working - pump problem) and coffee.

Back home to work on some stuff.

Well crap - R.I.P. Marvin Minsky

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Too many icons are leaving us these days. Minsky was one of the powers behind the scenes of computers.

From the New York Times:

Marvin Minsky, Pioneer in Artificial Intelligence, Dies at 88
Marvin Minsky, who combined a scientist’s thirst for knowledge with a philosopher’s quest for truth as a pioneering explorer of artificial intelligence, work that helped inspire the creation of the personal computer and the Internet, died on Sunday night in Boston. He was 88.

His family said the cause was a cerebral hemorrhage.

Well before the advent of the microprocessor and the supercomputer, Professor Minsky, a revered computer science educator at M.I.T., laid the foundation for the field of artificial intelligence by demonstrating the possibilities of imparting common-sense reasoning to computers.

“Marvin was one of the very few people in computing whose visions and perspectives liberated the computer from being a glorified adding machine to start to realize its destiny as one of the most powerful amplifiers for human endeavors in history,” said Alan Kay, a computer scientist and a friend and colleague of Professor Minsky’s.

He saw where computers could go and took us down that path. Met him a couple times in Boston when I was living there in the late 1970's - computer people were a small group back then,

88 is a good run - I am shooting for 100 but will be happy with 95 - Dad passed at 94 and I am healthier than he ever was.

A list of ten items - climate

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An excellent article from Anthony on ten inconvenient truths about the climate. From Watts Up With That:

State of the Climate: 10 years after Al Gore declared a ‘planetary emergency’ – top 10 reasons Gore was wrong
As I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, ten years ago today, Al Gore said we had only a decade left to save the planet from global warming. But Earth and humanity has been doing just fine since then.

People that know money over at Investor’s Business Daily, said that “We Know Al Gore’s Been Running A Global Warming Racket” and listed five ways they ascertain this, I’m going to list those, embellish them, and add a few of my own.

Item number one

Satellite data says that Earth hasn’t warmed in nearly 20 years. Yes, 2015 supposedly “smashed” the previous temperature record. But actually it was the third-warmest year on record according to satellites.

Claims of “hottest ever” in 2015 have been due in part to a strong El Niño in 2015 (which even climate scientist Dr. Richard Betts grudgingly admits to) and some statistical sleight of hand by NOAA to boost temperatures. They said in 1997, that the current absolute temperature of the Earth was warmer by several degrees that today, but they’ve since changed their methodology and say that’s no longer the case…however, their initial claim lines up with what we see in the satellite record above about 1997 and 1998 when the supersized El Niño happened.

Nine more at the site - well worth reading as the actual facts contradict a lot of the "information" being spread around. Polar Bears are fat and happy, arctic ice extent is just fine (not going away), snows of Kilimanjaro are due to illegal logging and not warming, etc... And of course, Anthony posts links to the source data so you can see for yourself.

Quite the demonstration

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Crashing a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu into a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air


A big difference. I would have thought with all the chrome, fins and tonnage of the Bel Air, it would have survived better.

Makes me glad that I never caught the classic car bug - I love doing our local car show and have a blast looking at all the work other people have put in but have zero desire to sink the $20K+ into one of my own.

Punching back twice as hard

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Good riddance - she needs to learn the consequences of her actions.

From the Kansas City Star

MU professor Melissa Click, who called for ‘muscle’ to remove reporter, charged with assault
Melissa Click, the University of Missouri communications professor who garnered widespread scorn for trying to physically remove a student reporter from a campus protest, was formally charged with assault Monday morning.

A spokeswoman for the Columbia Prosecutor’s Office said Click was being charged with third degree assault, a class C misdemeanor that carries a possible 15-day jail sentence.

Click was caught on video calling for “some muscle” to remove a student reporter from an area on the university’s flagship campus where protesters had gathered. The protests eventually led to the resignation of University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe and Mizzou Chancellor R. Bown Loftin. Click, however, remains as an assistant professor in the Department of Communications.

Last month a group of 100 Republican state legislators publicly called for the university to fire Click. They were joined last month by David Steelman, a member of the university system’s board of curators.

The title of this post? Those people on the left get away with murder and the conservatives just blink and let it happen - they want to go along to get along.

We need to stop this behaviour and punch back twice as hard - Click needs to be fired.

Ho. Li. Crap.

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Talk about craftsmanship:

The Pistol and its Songbird from Parmigiani Fleurier on Vimeo.

Some history of Parmigiani Fleurier

Story of the restoration here: The Pistol and its Songbird

A bad weekend

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Two accidents and one fatality - from the Bellingham Herald:

Avalanche kills one near Mt. Baker Ski Area
The body of a man who died in an avalanche on Mount Herman was found Monday, Jan. 25.

Whatcom County Search and Rescue, along with air support from a King County Sheriff’s helicopter, were hoping to remove the body Monday afternoon, according to Whatcom sheriff’s Chief Criminal Deputy Doug Chadwick.

And also from the Herald:

Hiker rescued near Nooksack Falls
Firefighters rescued a hiker in a daring high-angle rope operation Sunday, Jan. 24, after she was seriously injured in a 50- to 75-foot fall from a cliff near the scenic Nooksack Falls east of Glacier.

“It was kind of a complicated rescue, but we got it done with some great effort by the folks from (Whatcom County Fire) District 19, who are very well trained and equipped,” said Chief Jerry DeBruin of Whatcom County Fire District 14, who was incident commander at the scene.

And a bit of good luck:

Fire District 19 firefighters arrived first and Fire District 14 crews were summoned for mutual aid, DeBruin said. A Bellingham Fire Department Medic One unit was dispatched and by coincidence, one of the medics assigned to that unit Sunday was Jared Trow, a Bellingham firefighter-paramedic with extensive experience in technical rope-rescue operations.

We are very lucky to have our crew of firefighters - they train a lot and are very competent. Great people too.

We have a comment

Back in 2005, I had posted this story: People unclear on the concept - the neighborhood Cyclotron

It was about Albert Swank Jr. and his setting up a cyclotron in his house to provide Anchorage, Alaska hospitals with nuclear isotopes for PET scans, etc...

His wife Cindy just left a nice comment last evening:

I fully realize the age of this article. However, this is the first time I've seen it. I wanted to thank you (albeit belatedly) for a rational and correct commentary about Al's project.

It is great to see that he has been sucessful - best wishes to the two of them.

Guy on a buffalo

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Take clips from a public-domain 1978 movie based on the life of Charles "Buffalo" Jones, write your own songs for the soundtrack and you have Guy on a Buffalo.

Episodes #1 and #2 are presented for your entertainment:

You are welcome. More at their Youtube channel

Washington D.C. needs a bunch of these

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From Bill Whitehead at Free Range Comics


Rain rain go away

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The sunshine was nice while it lasted but it is raining now. Wasn't supposed to start until Tuesday...

Too cold and wet to do any more tractor work outside so doing some chores inside until it is time for dinner and the meeting.

Unintended consequences in Germany

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From Gateway Pundit:

After Importing 1.1 Million Middle East Migrants in 2015 – Merkel Perplexed by Rise in Anti-Semitism
Germany, a country of 80 million, received over one million migrants and unvetted “refugees” in 2015. Angela Merkel is expecting another million migrants this year.

In five to seven years the migrants will bring in their family members.

Suddenly, anti-Semitism in Germany is rampant again and Chancellor Merkel is baffled by this recent development.

You just can not bring in that many people and not have problems. It is especially telling that nations like Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait are having nothing to do with these people. Those borders are closed. And then, there is this:

An oldie but a goodie

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Cold Winter
Late last fall, the Indians on the Aamjiwnaang First Nation reservation in Grand Bend asked their new chief if the coming winter was going to be cold or mild.

Since he was a chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets. When he looked at the sky, he couldn't tell what the winter was going to be like.

Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he told his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect firewood to be prepared.

But, being a practical leader, after several days, he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the Environment Canada Weather Service and asked, 'Is the coming winter going to be cold?'

'It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold,' the meteorologist at the weather service responded.

So the chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more firewood in order to be prepared.

A week later, he called the Environment Canada Weather Service again. 'Does it still look like it is going to be a very cold winter?'

'Yes,' the man at Weather Service again replied, 'it's going to be a very cold winter.'

The chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of firewood they could find.

Two weeks later, the chief called the Environment Canada Weather Service again.

'Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?'

'Absolutely,' the man replied. 'It's looking more and more like it is going to be one of the coldest winters we've ever seen.'

'How can you be so sure?' the chief asked.

The weatherman replied, 'The Indians are collecting a crapload of firewood'

Swiped from Maggie's Farm

Nice day for mucking out the barn

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Got Buttercup the tractor warming up and will muck the hay out to the compost pile in a bit. A little bit chilly (44.2°F out now) but the sun is out and it looks gorgeous.

The secretary for the water board had a Quickbooks question so I am coming to the meeting 30 minutes early - leftover pea soup and a salad for dinner.

Taking a break for lunch now...

From the Toronto, CA Star:

Reality didn’t always match the menu at Toronto restaurant
Wild Canadian salmon. “Organic” granola, “homemade” salad dressing and grilled “Wagyu skirt steak.”

Toronto’s Azure Restaurant & Bar, in Intercontinental Hotel Toronto Centre on Front St., boasted some of the best ingredients — and today’s biggest foodie buzzwords.

Turns out, some of the good stuff was only in the description.

Unbeknownst to customers, when the “wild” salmon appeared on the table it was a farmed Atlantic variety, according to food inspection documents obtained by the Star. The “organic” granola was boxed Quaker Harvest Crunch and the “homemade” dressing was bought from Renée’s Gourmet. The promised Japanese beef, a rare, well-marbled delicacy that reportedly can fetch around $200 a strip, was really regular skirt steak from a lesser breed of cow.

A bit more:

A “Wagyu” beef burger contained a fraction of Wagyu, the report shows. And the CFIA also found that a menu item labelled “BC Organic Salmon” did not live up to its name. “The letters ‘BC’ listed on the restaurant menu descriptions can mislead consumers to believe that the salmon is from British Columbia,” the inspector stated after finding no evidence the salmon was from the province. Instead, the inspector noted that the “B/C” on the Toronto supplier invoice may refer to an acronym for “Boned & Cut or Boned & Cleaned.”

Additionally, Azure’s menu falsely claimed that in preparation of its menu it used the “region’s freshest artisan ingredients,” when, the inspection report says, “frozen, processed and preserved” products were used to prepare some food items.

That will take a long time to live down. It helps that they are in a hotel - lots of transient business - still. When you start cutting quality, you kill the business. I wrote about a local business - Dutch Mothers - that did the same thing.

Another day in paradise

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We have a day or two of respite between two very large rain systems. Enjoying the day, taking care of the critters, heading out for coffee, a meeting at the store, some work outside and a water board meeting tonight capped off with a ham radio network.

Fun stuff!


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Interesting service from Department of Homeland Security - Government Emergency Telecommunications Service

From their About page

About GETS
During emergencies, the public telephone network can experience congestion due to increased call volumes and/or damage to network facilities, hindering the ability of national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) personnel to complete calls. The Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS) provides NS/EP personnel priority access and prioritized processing in the local and long distance segments of the landline networks, greatly increasing the probability of call completion. GETS is intended to be used in an emergency or crisis situation when the network is congested and the probability of completing a normal call is reduced.

GETS is an easy-to-use calling card program; no special phones are required. There is no cost to enroll in GETS, though usage fees may apply. GETS calls will receive priority over normal calls; however, GETS calls do not preempt calls in progress or deny the general public’s use of the telephone network. GETS is in a constant state of readiness. It also provides priority calling to most cell phones on major carrier networks.

You dial a toll-free number from any phone, enter your PIN and then the desired destination number. Your call gets priority in the telephone system and can be routed around overloaded or damaged networks. Might be handy for the CERT team out here...

Winding down the day

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Busy day today working on a couple projects at the store and home.

Was out for a few beers, enjoying a glass of wine and heading upstairs in an hour or so - busy day tomorrow as well.

Monster lizard

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Quite the snowfall on the East Coast

And meanwhile, from just one year ago:


Speaking truth to power - Al Gore

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Great editorial at Investors Business Daily:

Five Ways We Know Al Gore’s Been Running A Global Warming Racket
Fraud: Ten years ago Monday, Al Gore said we had only a decade left to save the planet from global warming. But Earth has been doing just fine. Why do we listen to this man?

While preening at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2006 during the premiere of his “An Inconvenient Truth” fib-umentary, Gore made his grand declaration. The former vice president said, in the words of the AP reporter taking down his story, that “unless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return.” In Gore’s own words, he claimed we were in “a true planetary emergency.”

Ten years later, he’s probably hoping that everyone has forgotten about his categorical statement.

The terrible truth for Gore is that there is no planetary emergency. Not one of the dire predictions he and the rest of the alarmist community made has come to pass. In fact, there is plenty of evidence that they have been running a racket. Here’s how we know:

One, Earth hasn’t warmed in nearly 20 years. Yes, 2015 supposedly “smashed” the previous temperature record. But actually it was the third-warmest year on record — or maybe “not even close to the hottest year on record,” says James Taylor of the Heartland Institute.

Four more at the site - worth reading to help campaign against the kool-aid

Good Lord No - Just NO!

Silly season indeed - from Politico:

Bloomberg drawing up plans for presidential run
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – a onetime moderate Republican who has crusaded on gun control -- is considering throwing $1 billion of his vast fortune into an independent bid for president, according to several sources familiar with his plans.

He has set March as a deadline, according to one, and his decision will likely be contingent on the results of early primaries, and he's more likely to take the leap if the "extremes" -- meaning Trump, Ted Cruz or Democrat Bernie Sanders -- prevail.

"If you have a Democratic frontrunner who is opposed to capitalism, and a Republican frontrunner who wants to deport 10 million immigrants, yeah, that'll make a difference," said the person, who has direct knowledge of his preparation, which includes polling and message-testing.

Just crawl back under your rock - there is a reason he is the ex-Mayor of New York City. Nanny-stater and control freak.

More on the A-10 Warthog

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One of the best of designs:

Pierre Sprey is an aviation god.

Finally ice (and rain) free

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Sky cleared up a bit and a gorgeous almost full moon tonight. Lots of low-lying fog so a very chiaroscuro evening.

Was out for a bite to eat and two beers. Coming back, the driveway was finally free of ice.

More rain - unstable slopes

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Got about 1.8 inches over the last two days. The local river is rising with all the snow melting.


Compared to yesterday - quite the flow.

Just got this link in my email from the Washington State Department of Transportation:

SR 20 to remain closed east of Concrete due to unstable slope
To keep drivers safe, the Washington State Department of Transportation will keep State Route 20 closed between Concrete and Rockport until further notice. Heavy rainfall on Thursday, Jan. 21, caused an already unstable slope at milepost 92 to become increasingly unstable.

And the money quote:

Our geotechnical engineers inspected the area during Thursday’s heavy rainfall and discovered an active, slow-moving landslide that’s 350 feet wide and 200 feet high. We are now working on an emergency contract to stabilize the slope.

Great idea - B4UFLY app

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From the Federal Aviation Administration:

B4UFLY Smartphone App
B4UFLY is an easy-to-use smartphone app that helps unmanned aircraft operators determine whether there are any restrictions or requirements in effect at the location where they want to fly.

Key features of the B4UFLY app include:

  • A clear "status" indicator that immediately informs the operator about the current or planned location. For example, it shows flying in the Special Flight Rules Area around Washington, D.C. is prohibited.
  • Information on the parameters that drive the status indicator
  • A "Planner Mode" for future flights in different locations
  • Informative, interactive maps with filtering options
  • Links to other FAA UAS resources and regulatory information

Clever idea - wonder if it uses the smartphone to call home with the proposed flight information...

From PJ Media:

Robert Gates: 'Odds Are Pretty High' That Russia, China and Iran Compromised Hillary's Server
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates believes that "the odds are pretty high” that countries like Iran, China, and Russia hacked Hillary Clinton’s email server when she was secretary of State.

Gates made the statement on Hugh Hewitt's radio talk show on Thursday, where he discussed his new book “A Passion for Leadership,” as well as a host of other issues in the news.

A bit more - quoting Gates:

“Yeah, that’s a concern for me,” Gates said. “I never used email when I was head of CIA or head of the Department of Defense. As I used to joke, I didn’t want to have some chief of station overseas email me and say he was going to do something if I didn’t get back to him in three hours, and I would get back from a five hour hearing to discover I was two hours too late. I preferred dealing with people face to face and putting a signature on a piece of paper on matters of real national security and importance.”

And this:

"Well, given the fact that the Pentagon acknowledges that they get attacked about 100,000 times a day, I think the odds are pretty high," Gates agreed.

She was hacked - the Chinese and the Russians know more than we do. Remember the Office of Personnel Management hack last summer? Personal data on 21.5 million Government employees stolen and we didn't have a clue - it was found when a vendor was demonstrating some security software. We have some great IT people but some clueless users.

Some good news - the A-10 Warthog

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From Defense News:

USAF Vice Chief: ISIS, Russia Prompted Reconsideration of A-10 Retirement
The spread of the Islamic State group and a resurgent Russia have prompted the US Air Force to reconsider immediate plans to retire the A-10 Warthog, according to a top service official.

In an exclusive television interview on the Jan. 24 broadcast of Defense News with Vago Muradian, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said when the service decided to begin sunsetting the A-10, the global threat environment looked very different. The A-10’s retirement plan — unveiled in the fiscal year 2015 budget request — was developed before the rise of IS and before Russia’s aggressive moves in Eastern Europe, he said.

A bit more:

The service had hoped to decommission the A-10 fleet in part to move maintenance crews over to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, planned to replace all of the Air Force’s fighter planes. But capacity, especially in the face of increased demand in the Middle East, is a concern for the Air Force right now, Carlisle said.

Good news - the F-35 was designed by a committee and seriously under-performs its competition. It should be axed.

Here is a video of the A-10 firing its Gatling gun at a Nevada test range.

Like the SR-71 Blackbird, the A-10 is an example of form following function - a gorgeous aircraft.

From Chart Attack:

Old music is outselling new music for the first time in history
Despite the massive success of Adele's album 25, which sold a whopping 7.4 million copies in only six weeks, 2015 marked the first time in U.S. history that new releases were outsold by catalogue albums. Seems like everyone's been feeling extra nostalgic lately.

The term "catalogue" refers to albums released more than 18 months ago. According to Nielsen's annual year end music report, catalogue albums outsold current releases by 4.3 million copies, something never before seen in the industry. Just 10 years ago, current music sales outpaced catalogue music by over 150 million albums. Keep in mind that these stats don't include album streams, but regardless, it's a significant turning point.

I am reminded of that wonderful Hunter S. Thompson quote:

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.

Wish that this was not a transient event

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We would be a lot better off with Washington D.C. permanently buried in a snowbank. From The Washington Post

The final forecast: Crippling blizzard bears down on Washington, D.C.
A dangerous and historic snowstorm is closing in on the D.C. area. It is one we will remember for years if not generations and will likely take many days to recover from.

A blizzard warning takes effect at 3 p.m. and continues through early Sunday morning. Light snow begins around midday and becomes heavier by the late afternoon. Wherever you are by late afternoon, plan to be there until at least Sunday or Monday.

Overnight, the snow really starts to rip, and winds intensify. Through Saturday, the combination of strong winds and heavy snow may produce whiteout conditions which make travel difficult to impossible.

Anthropogenic global what?

Nothing much to report

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Heading out for coffee and to pick up pastries for the store.

We will see what the day brings - raining a lot and 44.2°F outside

A Zoo keeper's trick

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Cute video:

The photographer is Joel Sartore and more of his animal project can be found on Instagram.

I love bears totes - big cats almost as much.

Well that was a lot of fun

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Just got back from a CERT radio training class - about 20 people showed up and we covered operating those little walkie-talkie sets you see for sale at Costco in various scenarios. Also covered was inter-operating with ham radio. Useful stuff and good teachers. There were about eight other ham radio operators there - recognized most of them - getting to know the community. A lot of good people.

It's not if, it's when so it pays to get prepared.

Just in the last year alone, the Mt. Baker Highway has been reduced to a single lane in two places and been completely relocated in one place due to earth movement. It was also shut down completely due to another slide crushing a drainage culvert. There is a large (quarter-mile section) slow earth movement on South Pass road that settles an inch or two every time we get a lot of rainfall.

We live in an interesting place - beautiful but interesting. My driveway still has patches of ice in it - the critical spot where I get out of the truck to open and close the gate is now ice free but there is still a good bit left by the barn.

To top it all off, we are in a state of flood watch with a heavy rainstorm starting to move in. Our local river is running about three times its normal discharge:


Have a class tonight for CERT people - learning protocols for radio communication. Fun stuff in a nerdy sort of way...

The joys of country living - #481

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Turns out that that router is fried as well - our telco is sending out a service rep to fix it.

Meanwhile, we can process sales but cannot rent videos or run any form of credit card.

Anyone wanna buy a store?


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Got a call this morning - the power failure affected the store as well as home. The point of sale computers are down.

Happy happy joy joy...

Ho Li Crap - Knight Fighting

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Russia - where else...

Additional links and information here, here and here. SCA on steroids...

The joys of country living - #480

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Was sitting down at the computer, blogging about how a favorite restaurant of mine had lost power. I had a couple of links opening up to surf and *bink*

Spent the last three hours reading a book by candlelight.

Fast and Furious - a two-fer

Fast and Furious was a program run by Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder which required gun dealers near the Mexican border to relax the background checks on guns. The intent was to track these guns and see if they fell into cartel hands. Discovery resulted in a major scandal -- from the Wikipedia article:

As a result of a dispute over the release of Justice Department documents related to the scandal, Attorney General Eric Holder became the first sitting member of the Cabinet of the United States to be held in contempt of Congress on June 28, 2012. Earlier that month, President Barack Obama had invoked executive privilege for the first time in his presidency over the same documents.

Today brings a two-fer. First, from The Hill:

Judge rules against Obama on 'Fast and Furious'
A federal judge on Tuesday ruled President Obama cannot use executive privilege to keep records on the “Fast and Furious” gun-tracking program from Congress.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered the administration to release documents that it has been attempting to withhold by asserting executive privilege.

The ruling also requires the administration to release to Congress all "segregable portions" of records they are withholding that are considered “attorney-client privileged material, attorney work product, private information, law enforcement sensitive material, or foreign policy sensitive material.”

Second - from FOX News:

‘Fast & Furious’ rifle capable of taking down helicopter found in 'El Chapo' cache
A .50-caliber rifle found at Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman’s hideout in Mexico was funneled through the gun-smuggling investigation known as Fast and Furious, sources confirmed Tuesday to Fox News.

A .50-caliber is a massive rifle that can stop a car or, as it was intended, take down a helicopter.

More at each site. The Judge's ruling is a good one - Obama is getting carried away with his pen and his phone. Time to put some constitutional limits on it.

The joys of country living - #479

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I got back from town, did some paperwork at the store and posted a few things. I then went out for a beer.

Halfway through my beer, the lights flickered and went out. Odd little power failure too - only for a couple businesses/residences down the main highway - everyone else was up and there was no sign of a car having hit a pole. The area was covered by more than one pole pig so it was not a transformer failure.

Major hassle for the restaurant - they were completely full and this was the inaugural night of their all-you-can-eat wings Wednesday.

Spring is on its way

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Was driving home and noticed that there was usable light at 5:00PM - been a long winter.

Picked up some pea seeds to perform an assay on my hay to see if there is any herbicide contamination - I had posted about this yesterday.

Instructions can be found at Washington State University agricultural website: Bioassay Test for Auxinic Herbicide Residues in Compost: Protocol for Gardeners in Washington State

More here: Herbicide Contamination of Dairy Derived Organic Matter in Whatcom County

Nothing much today

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The intarwebs are quiet - I am heading into town for a few hours.

Paint in slow motion

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Beautiful - Jackson Pollock eat your heart out:

Looks like a fun documentary

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Their website is here: Bright Sparks

I already have the very excellent I Dream of Wires which is more oriented around analog modular synthesizers..

A nasty bit of chemistry - Picloram

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Just ran into this cheery bit of news. Some of the herbicides that ranchers spray on their grazing fields are very long lived.

Here is just one story from Canadian magazine Northword:

Mean Manure & Killer Compost: Grazon after-effects in the Bulkley Valley
Cheryl and Les Harmati had been successfully gardening on their property outside Smithers for 25 years. But last year something strange was happening: plants in the garden and greenhouse were curling and wilting. The deformed growth was alarming—and mysterious. What had they done that was different from other years?

The previous summer, their neighbour had his hayfields sprayed with Grazon, a herbicide that selectively kills broadleaf plants without harming grasses. His cows grazed the treated hay later in the summer. That fall, in a gesture of neighbourly generosity, he dumped a couple tractor-loads of manure into their garden. In the spring, the Harmatis spread some on the garden and into the greenhouse soil.

It wasn’t long before their troubles began. “We didn’t know what was going on,” Cheryl recalls. “We finally figured it out by talking with others who had similar experiences and by researching online.” The manure—and now their garden and greenhouse soil—was apparently contaminated with herbicide.

Picloram is the active ingredient in the herbicide Grazon. Because of picloram’s persistence in soil—it breaks down very slowly and continues to prevent weed growth in subsequent years—it is favoured by many in the weed-control business. Here in northwest BC its main use of late has been in hayfields and pasture, prompted most recently by widespread infestations of the non-native and very invasive yellow hawkweed.

Although quite toxic to certain plants, picloram has very low toxicity to mammals, so cows and horses that consume sprayed hay appear to be unharmed. However, picloram is not broken down during digestion, and is excreted unchanged in urine and manure. Even composting does not break down the chemical, and in fact may concentrate it. Picloram is very potent: sensitive plants like potatoes, tomatoes and peppers are affected by concentrations of less than 10 parts per billion.

Emphasis mine. Yikes - I am going to have to test the hay I bought last summer. The article outlines how to run the test.

There is a lot more online including this PDF report from manufacturer Dow Chemical. None of it good.

Hey hipsters...

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Nice people

From The Times of Israel:

Kuwait Air ends New York service Monday over refusal to carry Israelis
Kuwait Air is ending its New York to London service over the carrier’s refusal to carry Israeli passengers.

“The US Department of Transportation will not tolerate unlawful discrimination, and has mandated that the airline immediately cease that practice and allow Israeli passengers to travel between the US and London,” Anthony Foxx, the transportation secretary, said in a statement on Friday.

“In light of our demands, Kuwait Airways has chosen to cease passenger service from New York JFK airport to London Heathrow by January 18.”

We should just build a wall around these nations and let them sort out their own pathologies.

From an email:

Democrats don't understand THE DEBT CEILING

Republicans don't understand THE DEBT CEILING

Liberals don't understand THE DEBT CEILING


SO, allow me to explain ...

Let's say you come home from work and find there has been a sewer-backup in your neighborhood. Your home has sewage all the way up to your ceiling.

What do you think you should do?

1. raise the ceiling, or
2. pump out the shit?

It Is With The Heaviest of Hearts

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Crap - people whose art I really like are dropping like flies these days. Now it's Glenn Frey.

From the Eagles website:

It Is With The Heaviest of Hearts That We Announce…
...the passing of our comrade, Eagles founder, Glenn Frey, in New York City on Monday, January 18th, 2016.

Glenn fought a courageous battle for the past several weeks but, sadly, succumbed to complications from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Acute Ulcerative Colitis and Pneumonia.

The Frey family would like to thank everyone who joined Glenn to fight this fight and hoped and prayed for his recovery.

Words can neither describe our sorrow, nor our love and respect for all that he has given to us, his family, the music community & millions of fans worldwide.

Their music was the soundtrack to many many years of my life - great musicians and great songwriting.

Object of desire - Nissan tracked Rogue

I seriously need one of these to navigate my driveway:

More at Car and Driver.

Our best friend - the Carbon atom

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Specifically Carbon Dioxide - from this paper at Science Direct:

Physiological and ecological factors influencing recent trends in United States forest health responses to climate change
The health of United States forests is of concern for biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services, forest commercial values, and other reasons. Climate change, rising concentrations of CO2 and some pollutants could plausibly have affected forest health and growth rates over the past 150 years and may affect forests in the future. Multiple factors must be considered when assessing present and future forest health. Factors undergoing change include temperature, precipitation (including flood and drought), CO2 concentration, N deposition, and air pollutants. Secondary effects include alteration of pest and pathogen dynamics by climate change. We provide a review of these factors as they relate to forest health and climate change. We find that plants can shift their optimum temperature for photosynthesis, especially in the presence of elevated CO2, which also increases plant productivity. No clear national trend to date has been reported for flood or drought or their effects on forests except for a current drought in the US Southwest. Additionally, elevated CO2 increases water use efficiency and protects plants from drought. Pollutants can reduce plant growth but concentrations of major pollutants such as ozone have declined modestly. Ozone damage in particular is lessened by rising CO2. No clear trend has been reported for pathogen or insect damage but experiments suggest that in many cases rising CO2 enhances plant resistance to both agents. There is strong evidence from the United States and globally that forest growth has been increasing over recent decades to the past 100+ years. Future prospects for forests are not clear because different models produce divergent forecasts. However, forest growth models that incorporate more realistic physiological responses to rising CO2 are more likely to show future enhanced growth. Overall, our review suggests that United States forest health has improved over recent decades and is not likely to be impaired in at least the next few decades.

Emphasis mine - CO2 is good for plant growth. Tip of the hat to Anthony for the link.

About that new minimum wage

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Going to see a lot more of these - $15/hour adds up pretty quick:

From the Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC)

Quote of the month

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"True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."
--Martin Luther King Jr.

Good idea for a traffic law

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From Seattle station KING:

Left lane hogs bill gets hearing in Legislature Monday
A state senator is re-introducing a bill aimed getting slow left lane drivers out of the way by making it more expensive for them to stay there. 

Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, initially introduced his “aggravated left lane driving” bill last April, but it was referred to the transportation committee and never voted on. The bill calls for special penalties on drivers who drive slower than the speed limit in the left lane.

Great idea - when driving through a city where there are lots of on-ramps close to each other, I will stay in the left lane but when I am on the freeway, I keep to the right unless there are a lot of 18-wheelers engaged in pissing matches to see who can pass the slowest.

Text of the Bill can be found here (PDF): SENATE BILL 6105

An earth-shattering Ka Boom

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Ripple Rock - the largest non-nuclear explosion at the time. From the Wikipedia entry:

Ripple Rock is an underwater mountain that had two peaks in the Seymour Narrows of the Discovery Passage in British Columbia, Canada, a part of the marine trade route from Vancouver and coastal points north. The nearest town is Campbell River. Only 2.7 metres (9 feet) underwater at low tide, it was a marine hazard in what the explorer George Vancouver described as "one of the vilest stretches of water in the world." The hazard was not only hitting the rock but also big, dangerous eddies caused by tidal currents round the rock. Ships using the strait preferred to wait until slack tide.

Its top was removed by a planned explosion on 5 April 1958. This is a National Historic Event in Canada. The Ripple Rock explosion was seen throughout Canada, live on CBC Television. It was one of the first live coast-to-coast television broadcasts of an event in Canada.

It was so named in 1860 by Captain Richards, RN, because its summits were about at sea level and made a prominent standing wave in the fast tidal current of the strait.

Yet another day

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Spending the day working at home but shower and coffee first.

Things are starting to thaw out a bit - low air temp last night was 35.8°F. Ground still frozen though.

Shall not be infringed

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Great graphic:


Nothing much to report here

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It is finally starting to warm up a bit and the rain is doing a great job of knocking the ice down in the driveway - still over an inch thick and slick as snot but another day or two should do it.

Was talking to a neighbor to the North and they also did not bother to plow - snow down here never lasts for more than a few days - certainly not three weeks or more. If I had known, I would have used Buttercup to scrape it off the driveway.

All hail Chemist Louis-Camille Maillard

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Anyone serious about cooking should know about the Maillard Reaction - this is what causes cooked foods to brown.

A very nice detailed article on the Maillard Reaction can be found at Khymos - it is very pH sensitive so adding a pinch of Sodium Bicarbonate to your sautéing onions can help caramelize them a lot faster. Interesting reading!

Garden pron

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Seed catalogs are starting to come in the mail.

Some of my favorites: Kitazawa, Baker Creek and Territorial

Also good for herbs, teas, butters, and oils - Mountain Rose

Spring is in the air...

Heh - nails it

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Nothing much this morning

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Got hay out to the critters. Still no water - ground is frozen and need to dig up the electrical line to the wellhouse. Raining now so the critter stock tank is filling up nicely - have a heater in there to keep it ice free and was shoveling snow to top it off.

Out to shower at the store and then get coffee.

Ham radio network tonight at 7:00PM

So true - Tesla

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Saw this on Facebook - had to swipe it:


Well that was a big bust

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I was getting ready to head out to the lecture when I went into the store and saw the telephone guy working and one of our cash lanes trying to reboot.

The router for our ISP went bad, we got a new replacement and nothing was able to talk to anything else - IP configuration issues. Spent about an hour getting everything resolved. There is a back-office server that holds the customer information and two dedicated PCs that run the two cash lanes. They need to be able to talk to one another. They do now.

Going to grab a bite at a local restaurant and then home.

Cool news from Microsoft

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Microsoft purchased Revolution Analytics last year. Revolution was known for the R programming language - this is the most commonly used language for statistical work.

They just announced that it will now be known as Microsoft R Open and development will continue for Windows, MAC and Linux platforms.

Well done!


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Great collection of why kerning (letter-spacing) really matters.

Check out: 15 Images That Show Why Letter-Spacing Is Important

Cute video - An object at rest

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Working at home today

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Came home last night to find the critters had torn down part of the electric fence. I did a hack job to get it back up last night.

Heading out for coffee and then coming home to repair it.

Got a 2:00PM event up at the ski area - thinking about asking the organizers if they would offer some time for AGW skeptics.

Shipping news

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One measure of the economy is how much it costs to ship something from Point A to Point B - this is known as the Baltic Dry Index.

I had written about this back in November, 2015 - the index was then at an all-time low of 650. Things have not gotten better.

From gCaptain:

Hope Fades for Dry Bulk Recovery as Baltic Index Crashes Below 400 Points
The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying industrial commodities, slumped to an all-time low on Wednesday as gloom over global demand and too many ships for hire continued to batter prospects.

The overall index, which gauges the cost of shipping dry bulk cargoes including iron ore, cement, grain, coal and fertiliser, was down 8 points, or 1.99 percent, at 394 points – below 400 points for the first time – and the lowest level in records that date back to January 1985.

“Dry bulk shipping is in the throws of a generational recession,” said Ben Nolan of brokerage and investment bank Stifel. “The recovery in demand no longer appears to be a 2016 event and even 2017 is in question.”

Here is the chart from Bloomberg:


Cool find in Australia

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Quite the meteorite - from the Australian Broadcasting Company:

Ancient meteorite 'older than Earth' from beyond orbit of Mars found at Lake Eyre
A meteorite estimated to be 4.5 billion years old has been recovered by Perth researchers from a remote part of Lake Eyre in outback South Australia.

In a race against time, the geologists dug the 1.7-kilogram meteorite out just hours before heavy rains would have wiped away any trace of it.

The team from Curtin University had been trying to track the fall site since the meteorite was spotted by locals and five remote cameras in late November in the William Creek and Marree areas.

A bit more:

The meteorite is the first result of a new observation network of 32 remote cameras across WA and South Australia.

Called the Desert Fireball Network, the cameras helped to narrow the search area to a 500 metre line.

The camera array is a great idea - triangulate the path of the meteor.

Always probing - Vancouver, BC

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From the VanCityBuzz:

Vancouver Police searching for 3 Middle Eastern men videotaping Pacific Centre Mall
Vancouver Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying three Middle Eastern men who were seen taking 360 video within Pacific Centre Mall in downtown Vancouver on Tuesday, January 12 at approximately 6:30 p.m.

The men were seen taking video of exits and entrances and specifically capturing shots of the Dunsmuir Street exit. Mall security tried locating them but were unsuccessful.

Police initially believed four men were taking video, but the number of persons of interest has since been reduced to three men, Vancouver Police told Vancity Buzz.

Pacific Centre is downtown Vancouver’s main shopping mall, with approximately 100 shops over three city blocks in the Central Business District and direct footpath connections to SkyTrain’s Expo, Millennium, and Canada lines.

At lest they are calling them Middle Eastern if not Islamic.

Running out of oil in 2011

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All long-range predictions fail - especially those dealing with climate and resources.

Here is just one from Jimmy Carter:

RIP Alan Rickman - one of my favorite actors. Here he is in Galaxy Quest, one of my favorite movies:


Another master dying all too young.

Faith in humanity restored

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Turns out I was looking at the wrong van. The guy had said that he was driving a Ford van and when he left, he was walking across the street to where the other one was and I assumed that this was the rig with the flat. He brought the jack back to the store a few hours later. I didn't keep watching to see him work on the actual vehicle - was this my first Senior Moment?

He was very thankful to be able to borrow it.

Just got back from my monthly Emergency Communications Meeting - had a demonstration of solar power for amateur radio. This is something that I am exploring as well as when the power goes out, I can run on car batteries but having a nice silent backup is a good thing to have. Do not like having to run the generator when I do not have to. Got some good tips from tonight's session.

Wanna buy a horse?

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Was working at the store when someone drove up and said that there were llamas and horses in the road a few miles up.

That would be me - got them all corralled back into the paddock pretty easily. Amazing what a handful of oats can do.

They were bored, the road was nice and dry - the rest of my property is a sheet of ice and snow. Gorgeous day out - clear and temp is 40°F so the ice is gradually melting but what is left is slicker than snot.

The joys of country living

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Sometimes, people can be assholes.

Loaned out my truck jack to someone driving a van from some social organization (did not take note of what it was but the truck had some logo on it). There were some kids so they were probably on their way to/from the ski area.

Stuck my head out the door about 20 minutes later to see how they were doing and saw no van. Nowhere, not at the gas station, gone. Along with my truck jack. Did a quick google and the jack is over $100 to replace...

Down for the count

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And about fscking time too - from Dan Gorski thanks to Vanderleun:

Joe Biden is not Leon Trotsky, Hillary Clinton is not Rosa Luxemburg. Time has taken its toll on their movement. It has evolved into a stinking mélange of government corruption and crony capitalism and self-interest. Their hatred of traditional America is unabated but they are old and soft and have not had a new idea in fifty years. Their entire political base is on the take and is bought and paid for with our money. Tenured, overweight, overaged, academic leftovers from the 60's and 70's. Taxpayer funded race hustlers, the professional grievance industry, and all the other assorted thugs, criminals and perverts we see on TV every night. The beer drinkers and pot smokers sitting home living on your back. The young inmates of our university system, a bunch of overeducated, overindulged, overprotected, overmedicated punks who will vanish like the morning fog at the first drop of sweat or first pang of fear. Self-aggrandizing celebrity and media air heads who equate a tight ass with intellect.

This movement has no grassroots, unless it refers to what is being smoked. Other than environmental crap they have no ideological underpinning. They are simply the mother of all kleptocracies. Their soldiers will not march to the sound of cannon. They are ripe for a fall. They are as vulnerable as they are stupid and will be as inept at defending themselves as they are at running your life.

Makes me wonder just where we are on the Tytler Cycle

The daily grind

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Heading down to the store to take a shower (day seven wtihout water) and then out for coffee.

Home and working on some stuff.

Netflix is doing some wonderful stuff

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Check out the trailer for their sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (Feb. 26)

Love the soundtrack!

Welcome to World War Three

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The Saudis are flooding the world with cheap petroleum. Nice for us with the low gas prices but many of the oil companies that were drilling in the Dakotas are now closed as it costs about $65/barrel to extract and the Saudis are now charging about $30/barrel.

This is hitting Russia too - from Bloomberg:

Russia's $59 Billion Budget Cushion May Not Last the Year
Russia’s Reserve Fund, which it uses to plug gaps in the budget, has slumped 30 percent since the start of last year. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov warned Wednesday that the buffer may be depleted entirely in 2016 if the government doesn’t enact bold spending cuts.

The fund, which was built from windfall oil revenue, stood at $59.35 billion at the end of November. That compares with a five-year high of $91.72 billion in August 2014. Russia’s budget is based on an average oil price of $50 per barrel, while Brent is trading near the lowest level in 12 years, slightly above $31. December fund figures are due to be released on Wednesday.

Two things come to mind. I like that Russia does not run a national debt. We didn't either for a long time and now we owe foreign nations over 18 Trillion dollars. We are making payments on the interest but not the principal. Time to change. Second, the USA and Russia now have a common enemy. We were close friends once - before the communism stupidity - and can be again. The followers of that false prophet need to have a reformation of their own. Christianity used to be a lot more rough and tumble until we had ours - they need to step up to the plate.

Time to buy some stock

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Sixth day without water at the house.  Going through Red Solo Cups like they were... water?

Maybe I should buy stock in the company.

Hopefully get the backhoe out tomorrow...

Back from the auction

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The auction was a bust - too many people had zero idea of what they were bidding on and the prices were way higher than they should have been. I stayed through the whole thing as the items I wanted were at the end of the lot numbers.

Some poor fool bid $400 on one of these:


This photo is of a new one from Harbor Freight which retails for $550 - it has an electronic variable speed drive and a number of safety features and guards all of which were missing from the unit being auctioned off today. No tooling, horrible backlash on all axes and copious amounts of surface rust throughout.

To get a sense of scale, the longest piece you can work with is only 10" - this is for use on a tabletop and when you are done, you pick it up and shake it over a wastebasket to clean off the chips and shavings.

I went looking for a belt grinder - new ones sell for around $3K on up - the one I wanted was beat-to-shit and sold for $1,800. I stopped bidding at $800. Like I said earlier, this stuff is being sold as-is where-is and if it needs new bearings or an expensive repair to be functional, this is no bargain.

All in all, a good breakfast and a nice drive. Nothing more.

Gone to ground

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Staying at a local motel and there is a decent breakfast place nearby (on the way).

Spent a couple hours yesterday looking at the listed equipment and finding out new and used prices for the items I am interested in. So many people overbid - the auctioneer is doing pure theater. Part of what I love is watching two or three people bidding on an expensive item.

For me, it is half theater and half getting cool stuff at a decent price.

Offline for two days

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Dealing with the water outage (day five), doing some errands into town and heading down south for this auction.

I will be bringing the laptop and will post a bit when I get to the motel but no posting today (to speak of). Back sometime Wednesday evening.

Still waiting for the forecasted rain showers and 40°F temperatures - it is drizzling and a few tenths above 32° - the ground is slick as can be

What a farewell - David Bowie

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Just got around to watching the video for his single - released just a few days ago:

Going to have to see if The Prestige is on Netflix - David Bowie was incredible as Nikola Tesla - one of my heroes. A lot of what was shown in the movie was actually done by Tesla at his Colorado Springs laboratory - the lighting of the lamps in the field, etc...

Earth movement - US Route 2

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From the Washington State Department of Transportation:


No word as to when Route 2 will re-open - Waterville, WA is a sweet old historic small town. Been through there a bunch of times. Coyote Pass Café is a good place for lunch - just sayin'

A very wet California

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They are getting hit by storm after storm. El Niño is in force. Here is a 40 second time lapse running from January 5th through the 7th.

The next storm is expected to hit CA tonight. More at Watts Up With That.

Me in the radio room

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Lulu took a video of me working on some electronics equipment:


Whole lotta shaking going on

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The Pacific Nortwest is getting rattled with lots of small tremors - the map shows the date of the tremor: blue is just before Christmas (Dec 22nd) and Red is last Saturday (Jan 9th):


Wonder what is moving down there - this is where the 4.8 quake hit on Dec 29th

Rain rain go away

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Back home and no word from backhoe person - giving them another call.

Raining and 32°F - wonderful. Driveway is a sheet of ice. Truck handles it just fine but I feel for those people who don't know how to drive in conditions like this. The roads are going to be treacherous when it cools down tonight...

Must be a day for Canadian news - this one from the Canadian website Global News:

‘They saved lives last night’: Bouncers tackle gunman opening fire in Ten X nightclub
Police said they responded to a shooting at Ten X Nightclub at the 1100 Block of 10 Avenue southwest just before 2 a.m. Sunday morning.

A 38-year-old man was shot and taken to hospital in stable condition.

Two men are now facing charges after a gunman opened fire inside the Calgary nightclub.

Two of the club’s bouncers are being credited for saving more people from being shot, as they put their lives on the line to tackle the gunman.

Heroes both of them - I hope they get a major award from the Calgary government. And the mokes who did this?

Mohamed Elmi, 31, and Mohamed Salad, 29, both of Calgary.

And of course, this was not a terrorist attack - these are just disgruntled Baptists.

Light rail failure - Edmonton, Canada

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The stupidity - it burns.

Light rail works well once you reach a certain critical mass - cities with a population greater than three million people will find light rail a good addition to their public transit system. Boston, Vancouver, BC, New York City, San Francisco - these cities have functional subway and light rail systems. Seattle and Portland are right on the line and have some problems.

Albuquerque, NM (907,000) and Edmonton, Alberta (1,290,000) - not so much. In Albuquerque's case, it would have been cheaper to take the construction costs and buy every regular rider a Prius. The annual maintenance and operation costs would amount to about $10K per regular rider - that buys a lot of gasoline.

My key nit with light rail is that as the city's demographics change, the rails are fixed and cannot change to accommodate. I lived in Seattle for 20 years and there was a definite progression of gentrification and new "hip" neighborhoods coming into vogue.

Edmonton? From the Edmonton Journal:

Tristin Hopper: The $600 million Edmonton train that snarls traffic, slows down transit times and increases emissions
Canada needs public transit. We have clogged roads, densifying cities and — save for this weird Saudi Arabian orchestrated oil glut — rising fuel prices.

Bike lanes won’t fix it and new highways won’t fix it; the only way we can live in a Canada that isn’t a squished, congested mess is if we spruce up the place with a whole bunch of trains, buses and subways.

Which is why, to ensure the prosperous and happy future of this great country, we must all now take a look at the City of Edmonton and solemnly vow to do the exact opposite of whatever the hell they just did with their new $665 million Metro Line LRT.

It’s slower than a bus. It has slowed down the buses that existed. And it is almost certainly increasing Edmonton’s net amount of carbon emissions. In short, it fails on every single possible justification for why cities should build light rail.

I am a fervent — almost fanatical — supporter of public transit. I’ve taken pleasure trips to foreign cities largely to soak up the sublime efficiency of an S-Bahn or a New York City A-train. But lately  I have trouble sleeping until I comfort myself with visions of the Metro Line LRT tracks being torn up, French résistance-style, so the tyrannical train can never, ever run again.

Gee Tristin - why don't you tell us what you really feel? Some more - the location was not well thought out:

The chief problem is that the train was built at grade and cleaves through several major intersections. Traffic needs to be halted well in advance of its arrival, leading to the Kafkaesque nightmare of an intersection where all sides are given a red light for up to 90 seconds before a train arrives (if it does at all).

I’ve personally clocked a six-minute wait. A co-worker clocked an incredible 12 minutes. Online, disbelieving drivers have taken to Reddit to report waits of 15 minutes.

To put it in context, that’s about half the time needed to cross the entire city by highway from one “Welcome to Edmonton” sign to the other.

During these frequent traffic stoppages, a huge swath of northern Edmonton becomes a gridlocked nightmare of idling cars, trucks and city buses.

And this wonderful bit of planning:

And did I mention that the Metro Line is right next to a major hospital? Ambulances can’t drive through railway barriers, even if they’re in a hurry. Thus, any Edmontonian unlucky enough to have a heart attack in one of the northwestern quadrants of the city must wait as paramedics wend a circuitous route through downtown.

Tristin had this observation:

Taken together, the whole project is the equivalent of a candy company releasing a new chocolate bar called Herpes Al-Qaeda. I struggle to understand how such an obviously horrific idea was able to pass so many levels of approval and be unleashed on an innocent and unsuspecting citizenry. And I’ve lived in Toronto.

Fortunately, other Canadian cities are waking up:

Recently, a referendum to fund critical Metro Vancouver transportation infrastructure with a sales tax levy was roundly rejected. The “no” vote succeeded largely on the strength of a campaign led by the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation to convince Metro Vancouverites that TransLink, the regional transit authority, was full of untrustworthy spendthrifts.

The key problem is that nobody in the planning stage bears any responsibility if things aren't planned well - they show up, clock in their hours and go home at night without a care in the world. Only when something really egregious happens do they get punished and that is usually a promotion to a different office, lying low for a couple months and then resurfacing in another public office, usually at a higher salary.

Busses work - they are not as 'sexy' as light rail but they are a lot cheaper and offer better service. As the city demographics change, the busses can change their routes. Light rail is a smoking money pit with no rredeemingvalue as long as your greater population is lower than three million.

Single point of failure

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From an engineering standpoint, this is a very very bad thing. You always want a backup in case WHEN something fails.

A perfect example from the Canadian Broadcasting Company:

Ontario's Nipigon River bridge fails, severing Trans-Canada Highway
'This is the one place in Canada where there is only one road, one bridge across the country'
A newly constructed bridge in northern Ontario has heaved apart, indefinitely closing the Trans-Canada highway — the only road connecting Eastern and Western Canada.

The Nipigon River Bridge has been closed for "an indefinite time due to mechanical issues," according to the Ontario Provincial Police. The bridge remains open to pedestrian traffic.

Steven Del Duca, minister of transportation for Ontario, said in a statement late Sunday the ministry "will do everything they can do to restore the bridge quickly, while also making sure that the safety of the traveling public remains of paramount importance."

The west side of the bridge has pulled away from the abutment connecting it to the river bank's edge, lifting up about 60 centimeters.

 The only solution is to detour through the USA - no mention of who the contractor or engineering company was and I bet there is serious wailing and gnashing of teeth at both businesses.

Day four of no water

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Waiting to hear back from the backhoe operator. Heading into the store for a shower then out for coffee and to deliver the pastries (baked at the coffeehouse) back to the store.

Helping someone move some stuff after that and then back home, feed the critters and wait.

Crap - RIP David Bowie

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From The Hollywood Reporter:

Legendary Artist David Bowie Dies at 69
The singer-songwriter and producer excelled in glam rock, art rock, soul, hard rock, dance pop, punk and electronica during an eclectic 40-plus-year career.

David Bowie has died after a battle with cancer, his rep confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 69.

"David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief," read a statement posted on the artist's official social media accounts.

The influential singer-songwriter and producer dabbled in glam rock, art rock, soul, hard rock, dance pop, punk and electronica during his eclectic 40-plus-year career. He just released his 25th album, Blackstar, Jan. 8, which was his birthday.

One of my favorites - didn't always follow along with what he was doing but he was always pushing the envelope and was a complete class act.

The value of drinking, fishing and hunting

A joke from Terrierman:

I was walking down the street when I was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless man who asked me for a couple of dollars for dinner.

I took out my wallet, extracted ten dollars and asked,"If I give you this money, will you buy some beer with it instead of dinner?"

"No, I had to stop drinking years ago," the homeless man replied.

"Will you use it to go fishing instead of buying food?" I asked.

"No, I don't waste time fishing," the homeless man said.."I need to spend all my time trying to stay alive."

"Will you spend this on hunting equipment?" I asked.

"Are you NUTS!" replied the homeless man. "I haven't gone hunting in 20 years!"

"Well," I said, "I'm not going to give you money. Instead, I'm going to take you home for a shower and a terrific dinner cooked by my wife."

The homeless man was astounded. "Won't your wife be furious with you for doing that?"

I replied, "Don't worry about that. It's important for her to see what a man looks like after he has given up drinking, fishing and hunting."


How to bid at an auction

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Here is an example of how not to do it:


This is why I am heading down there Tuesday evening - the site is open for inspection at 8:00AM the day of the auction so I want to be able to go through everything first. A piece of machinery may not be such a good deal if the bearings are shot and no replacements are available off the shelf. Custom fitting a replacement part can get really expensive really fast...

Back from town - radio net in an hour

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Did some shopping today after taking care of some bills. Waiting on the backhoe - hopefully tomorrow. Being without water is not as bad as being without electricity or heat but it still sucks bigtime...

Heading down to Mt. Vernon Tuesday night to be at this auction: GEORGE'S SPIRAL STAIRS - looks like a few things for blacksmithing and knife-making. See what kind of condition things are in and who shows up.

Got the radio room warming up - the weekly network is in 45 minutes. Gobbling down some Costco roti chicken for dinner - great stuff!

More posting after 8:00PM or so (I check in on a couple other networks on Sunday)

Day three of no water

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Waiting for a call back from the backhoe operator - the electrical line is a couple feet deep.

Heading into the store to use the shower there and then to coffee.

Helping someone move some stuff tomorrow and have an auction down south on Wednesday. Shaping up to be a busy week with all that is going on...

Cultural Marxism - the Frankfurt School

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Excellent seven minutes video - absolutely nails it.

It is amazing that this discredited political theory from the 1920's could still have such traction in today's society. These people should have been tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail, not brought over to the US and given such academic prestige.

The sooner we wake up, the better.

Tip of the hat to Peter over at Bayou Renaissance Man - he has some links to additional reading.

Lil' Kim's Hydrogen Bomb

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A great analysis by Alex Wellerstein at The New Yorker:

A Hydrogen Bomb by Any Other Name
At ten in the morning on Tuesday, Pyongyang time, a mountain in northeastern North Korea shuddered. Seismographs in nearby countries picked up the telltale signs of moving earth. These signals, and their source, suggested to many observers that the tremor was a non-natural event. Not long afterward, the North Korean government announced that it had not only tested a nuclear weapon, as was already suspected, but that it was the country’s first “H-bomb test,” and that it had been “successfully conducted.” The skepticism from Western experts came swiftly. The power of the explosion seemed on par with the largest of North Korea’s previous tests—the equivalent of around ten kilotons of TNT. But hydrogen bombs are typically measured in the hundreds or thousands of kilotons. Was this a bluff, an exaggeration, or something else?

A long and readable article - Alex covers some of our bomb development history as well as a good analysis of North Korea's capabilities.

Alex also writes the blog: Restricted Data - The Nuclear Secrecy Blog and is the creator of the ever popular NUKEMAP

The progressives are in a twitter because Donald Trump had a Muslim woman removed from his rally. She was a known 'activist' and quite the character.

From Breitbart:

Islamic Protester Booted from Trump Rally Is Anti-Israel Activist, Promotes Radical Imams
Rose Hamid, an Islamic protester who made headlines when she was removed from a Donald Trump rally in South Carolina Friday night and attempted to position herself as a victim of ‘Islamophobia’ thereafter, has a history rife with extremist advocacy.

In a CNN article titled, “Silently protesting Muslim woman ejected from Trump rally,” Hamid, 56, is described as an innocent “flight attendant” who came to the rally in hopes that Trump supporters could better understand Muslims. When the Republican frontrunner started to discuss the refugee situation in Syria and President Obama’s policies in the region, a group of protesters alongside Hamid started a “commotion,” the Washington Post reports. Then, the group–who were sporting provocative yellow stars reminiscent to those that Jews were forced to wear under the Third Reich–was promptly ejected from the rally.

Trump does not suffer fools - if they were creating a disturbance, he had them ejected. See the Jorge Ramos story.

And of course, Barry, the Magic Negro would never ever do anything like that.

From Ben Smith writing at Politico:

Muslims barred from picture at Obama event
Two Muslim women at Barack Obama’s rally in Detroit on Monday were barred from sitting behind the podium by campaign volunteers seeking to prevent the women’s headscarves from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate.

Thought not...

Must be nice - feeding at the public trough

Liberals behaving badly - this time, it is our neighbor to the North. From The Toronto Star:

Ontario tire recycling fees fund boozy board dinners
The private agency designated by the Liberal government to recycle Ontario’s used tires has spent thousands on wine tastings, fine dining, a boat cruise, luxury hotels — and donations to the Liberal Party of Ontario.

The private agency designated by the Liberal government to recycle Ontario’s used tires has spent thousands of dollars on wine tastings, meals at fine restaurants, a boat cruise, luxury hotels — and donations to the Liberal Party of Ontario.

The Ontario Tire Stewardship is funded by car and truck drivers who collectively have paid millions of dollars in tire recycling fees since the program began in 2009. Each consumer pays $4.25 as an “eco fee” when a tire is purchased. Proceeds of the recycling program fund the stewardship’s operations.

And where was this money being spent?

At the Fairmont Château Laurier in Ottawa, $16,104 was spent for 13 board and staff members for a three-day stay for a board meeting of the Etobicoke-based agency in 2015. Another event, this one on Lake Rosseau in Muskoka last summer, included a sunset boat cruise.

I get it - organizations have board meetings but this could have easily been held at a nearby Best Western and catered by the hotel kitchen. These are public funds entrusted to your care and they blew it. The article lists a lot more of the expenses - this was not just a one-time faux-pas.

Holy crap - this is just plain crazy

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From the Investor's Business Daily:

Fannie Mae Rolls Out Easy Mortgage, Catering To High-Risk Immigrants
Subprime 2.0: The White House is rolling out a new low-income mortgage program that for the first time lets lenders qualify borrowers by counting income from nonborrowers living in the household. What could go wrong?

The HomeReady program is offered through Fannie Mae, which is now controlled by Obama's old Congressional Black Caucus pal Mel Watt. It replaces the bankrupted mortgage giant's notorious old subprime program, MyCommunityMortgage.

In case renaming the subprime product fails to fool anybody, the affordable-housing geniuses in the administration have re-termed "subprime," a dirty word since the mortgage bust, "alternative."

So HomeReady isn't a subprime mortgage program, you see, it's an "alternative" mortgage program.

After the catastrophe of 2007, I hope they will be a bit more careful in issuing these loans:

At least before the crisis, your income had to be your own. But now, as a renter, you can get a conventional home loan backed by Fannie by claiming other people's income. That's right: You can use your apartment roommate's paycheck to augment your qualifying income. Or your abuela.

You can even claim the earnings of people who are not occupants, such as your parents, under this program.


You don't need good credit either. You can qualify with a FICO credit score as low as 620, which is subprime. And you can put as little as 3% down.

And of course:

Fannie and its regulators say, don't worry — this new program won't introduce any undue risk into the mortgage-finance system.

And this:

Most troubling, Wells Fargo and other big mortgage lenders have already signed on. More will soon follow as the program rolls out in a big way through Fannie's automated underwriting system later this year.

The stupid - it burns! It was just this kind of idiocy that caused the financial meltdown of 2007 and 2008 - the one we are just starting to recover from. Now they want us to go through it again?

I behaved myself very well

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The room was full of Kool-Aid drinkers and I didn't feel like upsetting anyone.

Lots of basic errors:

Polar Bear population in decline when in fact, it is booming
Humans are the primary source of atmospheric CO2 - that would be our oceans, volcanoes and decaying vegetable matter
No mention of the 18 year pause or the sensitivity of our climate to solar radiation
CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas - it's water and methane

No use trying to educate the converted - like putting lipstick on a pig.

The Darknet

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A surprisingly well written article at Rolling Stone on the Darknet and how to access it.

Privacy concerns? This is an excellent starting point.

Download the TOR browser here.

An interesting series of talks are being given at the Mt. Baker ski area starting today.

Today's talk is titled: THE FUTURE OF ICE FAR AND NEAR and is being given by Cecilia Bitz - Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Washington

It will be interesting to see if they just do the standard talking points or if they are actually citing current data.

Heading up there in an hour or so - at the office paying bills...

Feeling downright civilized

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Amazing what a few hours sleep can accomplish.

Ready to face the world...

Boundaries - update

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Got a phone call from the well guy this morning at 7:30 that he and the locator guy were on their way.

Ho. Li. Crap.

9:00AM is decent working time for me and 10:00AM gives me time to get some breakfast in my pie-hole and take care of the critters. Who the @#$% is so fscking chipper at 7:30AM?

UPDATE: They found the break in the wiring. Calling my backhoe person and will take it from there. Heading upstairs for a two hour nap and then out for coffee. NOT a morning person...

From ABC/The Associated Press:

The Latest: 'Affluenza' Teen's Mom Complains About Jail Cell
The latest on the case of a Texas teenager serving probation for killing four people in a drunken-driving wreck after invoking an "affluenza" defense (all times local):

A sheriff says a "woman with means" whose fugitive teenage son used an "affluenza" defense to avoid prison after killing four people in a drunken-driving wreck has complained about the conditions in her Texas jail cell.

Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said at a news conference Friday that he responded to Tonya Couch's complaints by saying it "is a jail, not a resort."

Couch made an initial appearance at court Friday on a charge of hindering the apprehension of a felon.

Authorities believe Couch and her 18-year-old son, Ethan Couch, fled Texas in November as prosecutors investigated whether the teenager had violated his probation.

The mother and son were arrested in the Mexican resort city of Puerto Vallarta late last month.

But those laws don't apply to me - I'm rich.

The good news:

Bond has been set at $1 million. Couch's attorney has requested a bond reduction.

Fscking snowflakes - time to get a dose of reality. Your actions have consequences. Four people are dead because your son got drunk.

Great archaeological find in Alaska

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From Heritage Daily:

Remains of lost 1800s whaling fleet discovered off Alaska’s Arctic coast
NOAA archaeologists have discovered the battered hulls of two 1800s whaling ships nearly 144 years after they and 31 others sank off the arctic coast of Alaska in one of the planet’s most unexplored ocean regions.

The shipwrecks, and parts of other ships, that were found are most likely the remains of 33 ships trapped by pack ice close to the Alaskan Arctic shore in September 1871. The whaling captains had counted on a wind shift from the east to drive the ice out to sea as it had always done in years past.

The ships were destroyed in a matter of weeks, leaving more than 1,200 whalers stranded at the top of the world until they could be rescued by seven ships of the fleet standing by about 80 miles to the south in open water off Icy Cape. No one died in the incident but it is cited as one of the major causes of the demise of commercial whaling in the United States.

With less ice in the Arctic as a result of climate change, archaeologists now have more access to potential shipwreck sites than ever before. In September, a team of archaeologists from the Maritime Heritage Program in NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries scoured a 30-mile stretch of coastline in the nearshore waters of the Chukchi Sea, near Wainwright, Alaska. Previous searches for the ships had found traces of gear salvaged from the wrecks by the local Inupiat people, as well as scattered timbers stranded high on the isolated beaches that stretch from Wainwright to Point Franklin.

Very cool - I wish that they did a little more research when writing the article as there is actually a lot more ice in the arctic (and antarctic) than usual so the concept of Global Warming does not factor into this discovery at all.

From FOX News:

Suspect in Pa. cop ambush said he acted 'in the name of Islam,' police confirm
The man caught in surveillance footage ambushing a Philadelphia officer in a squad car, shooting him multiple times, claimed he acted "in the name of Islam," police said at a news conference Friday.

The suspect's gun, a 9mm Glock 17, had been stolen from police in 2013, Commissioner Richard Ross said.

The suspect, 30-year-old Edward Archer, told homicide investigators he "pledges his allegiance to Islamic State, he follows Allah, and that is the reason he was called upon to do this," Captain James Clark revealed.

Notice the line about "pledges his allegiance to Islamic State" - these people are trying to establish a caliphate.

And the mayor beclowns himself - this from Philadelphia's CBS affiliate:

Mayor Kenney On Officer Shooting: ‘It Has Nothing To Do With Being Muslim’
During a police press conference Friday afternoon, Mayor Jim Kenney stated that he believes the shooting of a Philadelphia police officer has “nothing to do with being a Muslim,” despite the suspect claiming he did it in the name of Islam.

Mayor Kenney said, “In no way shape or form does anyone in this room believe that Islam or the teaching of Islam has anything to do with what you’ve seen on the screen.”

Disgusting quisling.

Religion of Peace? Read here.

No joy in mudville - water woes

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Turns out it seems to be a break in the electrical cable running from the house to the pump-house. We get one leg of power but not the whole 220.

Now we need to call a locater, find the break, dig it up, fix it and then we will have water. Oh yes, there is still a good six inches of frozen snow and ice on the ground.

I'll be exploring a bit more tomorrow - thinking of heading into town and getting a couple spools of THHN wire and just float them over the snow - not code by any means but it will get the juices flowing until the permanent repair can be made...

Nice to see someone taking a lead - from The Dallas Morning News

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott calls for Convention of States to take back states’ rights
Gov. Greg Abbott, aiming to spark a national conversation about states’ rights, said Friday that he wants Texas to lead the call for a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution and wrest power from a federal government “run amok.”

“If we are going to fight for, protect and hand on to the next generation, the freedom that [President] Reagan spoke of … then we have to take the lead to restore the rule of law in America,” Abbott said during a speech at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Policy Orientation that drew raucous applause from the conservative audience. He said he will ask lawmakers to pass a bill authorizing Texas to join other states calling for a Convention of States.

Along with the speech, Abbott released a nearly 70-page plan – part American civics lesson, part anti-Obama diatribe – detailing nine proposed constitutional amendments that he said would unravel the federal government’s decades-long power grab and restore authority over economic regulation and other matters to the states.

“The irony for our generation is that the threat to our Republic doesn’t come just from foreign enemies, it comes, in part, from our very own leaders,” Abbott said in a speech that took aim at President Obama, Congress and the judicial branch.

The proposal for a convention, which has been gaining traction among some among conservative Republicans, comes just as the GOP presidential candidates begin to make forays into Texas ahead of the March primary election. The state, with 155 delegates up for grabs, will certainly be a key player in the party’s nominating process.

Much more at the article - this is big.

A bit more about the Convention of States process:

By this point, you may be wondering just what a constitutional convention or Convention of the States is and why it would be a big deal. A convention is one of two ways that the U.S. Constitution can be amended, and it’s described in Article V. One way is that Congress can propose amendments approved by two-thirds of the members of both chambers. The other method allows two-thirds of the state legislatures to call for a convention to propose amendments.

Over 800 comments - this is getting traction.

Got him!

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Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman broke out of jail last year and has been on the run for many months.

No longer - from CNN:

'Mission accomplished': Mexican President says 'El Chapo' caught
Mexican authorities snared drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman in a bloody raid Friday, recapturing one of the world's most notorious and slippery criminals.

"Mission Accomplished," President Enrique Peña Nieto announced via Twitter. "We have him."

Members of Mexico's navy caught Guzman in an operation at about 4:30 a.m. (6:30 a.m. ET) in the coastal city of Los Mochis in Sinaloa state, a senior law enforcement official in Mexico told CNN.

Several people aligned with Guzman died in the raid, the official said. The Mexican navy put the number of dead at five, with six others arrested. No navy personnel were killed, and only one was injured.

Good - one less criminal on the streets. He has ties with terrorist organizations (Hezbollah for one) and although he is somewhat of a popular figure in Mexico (Robin Hood), he is scum and needs to be locked away for life if not hung by the neck until dead.

Water everywhere

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But not a drop in the house. Thinking that it is the pump - it is over eight years old and was a cheap unit. Time to bite the bullet and upgrade to a Grundfoss pump (about $1K but they last forever).

Got a call in to the well guy and he is coming over later this afternoon...

The joy of country living

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Was taking a shower this morning and the water stopped flowing.

Fortunately, I was at the end and rinsing off but there is no water at the farm. Temps are above freezing so it is not that. Heading out to the well house in a few minutes to troubleshoot...

Now this explains a lot!

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It would be interesting to see a Trump presidency and just like the Obama presidency, it would only last for eight years at most and have few if any after-effects.

Washington, D.C. needs a good purging and The Donald would be just the person to do it. My preference is Ted Cruz though. This cartoon explains a lot:


Great show - been wondering what kind of dog to get to replace dear Finnegan - been leaning towards a terrier...

The group has a Facebook page.

Outage in the boonies

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Sat down this morning to read the internet and P*(hO78nO6gI76rbUY65rdvY5d*6rtB987tyh)97yjNO CARRIER


Spent the day offline - the internet faeries were kind enough to get it back up sometime this afternoon but I was out getting a bite to eat at a local restaurant and playing with the critters.

Back online...

So true

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A day spent doing nothing - almost

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Got the milk delivered to the store, ran into town for a few things and had a few beers at my local.

Feeling tired so doing a quick surf (only reading half of the internet tonight) and then to bed.

A few posts tonight but nothing exemplary...

Nothin' today for a while

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Got hay and treats out to the critters - heading out for coffee and then to do a milk run for the store. Our distributor messed up our order so I need to visit the dairy and pick up 15 gallons of moo-juice.

More later today.

Good Lord - just plain NO!!!

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From The Washington Examiner:

EPA chief: Light pollution 'in our portfolio'
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said light pollution is "in our portfolio" and that the agency is "thinking about it."

McCarthy, who has led the EPA in its recent campaigns to put strict regulations on power plants and U.S. waterways, was asked by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson if he could suggest a new mission for the agency.

"So is there a day, is there some occasion, where I can add light pollution to your portfolio," he asked McCarthy during a segment released for Sunday's episode of "Star Talk," a weekly late-night talk show he hosts on National Geographic.

"Well, this is another thing that's been called to our attention for satellites," McCarthy answered. "The imagery of the United States at night shows all those flares from oil and gas in places that are in the middle of nowhere. It is startling to me, to see the change in the night sky."

Talk about clueless - Light Pollution is a big deal for telescopes but the major observatories already have plans in place to deal with it - those "flares from oil and gas" are of no significance. McCarthy is trying to limit fossil fuel production and adding light pollution to her arsenal.

Interesting that she would be pairing up with Neil deGrasse Tyson - he is just not that bright. A personable man and a very fun speaker but he has been dead wrong on a number of occasions. A few of them have been documented here, here, herehere and here...

I had posted a link to a very good site for the Oregon goings on. Now things are just getting crazy - the U.S Attorney for the State of Oregon, Amanda Marshall seems to be a real piece of work. She has since resigned citing health problems. She was an Obama appointee.

From The Last Refuge:

UNBELIEVABLE Update – Oregon “Bundy Militia” Standoff – The U.S. Attorney At The Heart of The Hammond Family Problem…
The media are focused on the “Bundy Militia” angle to the standoff in Burns Oregon, where Aamon Bundy and brothers have taken over a Malheur Wildlife Refuge Headquarters to draw attention to the plight of the Hammond family (Full Complex Back Story Here).

However, a little research (HatTip NeverTooLate) into the original legal battle reveals a rather startling update.

The initial, and regarded by many as overreaching, federal prosecution resulted in a federal court judge Michael Hogan assigning a 3-month sentence and 1-year sentence for Dwight Lincoln Hammond Jr (73) and his son, Steven Dwight Hammond (46) respectively.

A bit more:

You really have to read the whole story, including her sisters arrest on drug charges, her estranged family and how her own daughter views her as eccentric to get the full scope of the person who was in charge of a “Childs Advocacy Section” and then later became U.S. Attorney for the state of Oregon. You really have to read it all.

But wait, it gets better.

After winning the sentencing appeal – In May of 2015 activist Amanda Marshall stepped down from her job as U.S. Attorney for Oregon, citing “health concerns“.

A very strange sketchy exit to use the reasoning “Health Concerns” because she was under internal (Office of Inspector General ) investigation of her for “stalking” a co-worker U.S. Attorney Scott Kerin:

The last couple of links go to this article at The Oregonian which makes for surreal reading. How did this person get appointed to their office?

A number of the comments to the site mention that the area is very rich in mineral deposits and getting the Hammonds off their land is a precursor to selling off the land to China as part-payment for our National Debt. Entirely plausible and disgusting at the same time.

This land is your land, this land is our land - it does not belong to the Federal Government. They only hold it in trust for us - We The People.

Got everything done that I set out to do.

Didn't sleep very well last night so feeling tired - picked up a Costco roti chicken and doing that for dinner along with a pot of rice and some stir-fried Bok Choy with Oyster sauce.

More posting later this evening.

Off to town - stuff to get

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Heading out to town in a few minutes - got some errands to run

More later

Making a drone smoothie

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First, borrow someone's drone - do not tell them what you are planning to do:

A tip of the hat to Neatorama for the link.

Well crap - another one bites the dust

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When I was growing up, industrial and military surplus electronics were the way to go for experimenters looking to try stuff out on the cheap. Companies would shut down a product line and all the excess components would be purchased for pennies on the dollar by a number of 'surplus houses' who would sell them for cheap. There were a few in Seattle that I dealt with on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, with most of the manufacturing moving overseas, these markets are drying up and the houses are closing. Another big one bit the dust this new year.

From Ramsey Electronics:

For more than 4 decades, the name Ramsey Kits has been synonymous with some of the neatest and the greatest electronic products and hobby kits for the do-it-yourself hobbyist.  In those 40+ years, we always thought “outside the box” when we designed a new kit, making us known worldwide as the number one hobby kit manufacturer.

Back in the early 70’s it all started with the infamous “LED Blinky Kit” as our first kit.  As the standard first kit sold to schools, scouting groups, and individuals, that one single kit became the very first electronic soldering kit experience for hundreds of thousands of hobbyists.  And from that very first kit with only 10 components in it, the 16 page manual was written to delve deep into the circuit to cover how and why it works, in a fun and very easy to understand format.  This practice followed over all these years, some 311 products later, earning us praise from everyone from teachers, educators, and engineers, to school children, scouts, and do-it-yourself hobbyists.

While our Hobby Kit Group was busy churning out the kits and products you’ve become so familiar with, our Professional RF Test Equipment Group was busy achieving similar milestones in that industry.  From the largest manufacturer of RF pager test equipment, the world’s largest pager test training school, the world standard for cost effective communications service monitors, to our patented RF Isolated Test Enclosures, Ramsey Test has become equally synonymous as the most trusted RF Test Enclosure manufacturer worldwide.

The rapid changes in technologies have made it difficult for the do-it-yourself hobbyist.  You just don’t go out and build yourself an 802.11ac wireless router these days!  You buy one at the corner big-box store for fifty bucks!  One of my favorite kits I personally built was a 25” Heathkit GR295 color TV!  It was considered ahead of its time for TV’s, and you had to build it.  You just can’t do that today either.

Therefore, following our well respected predecessors like Heathkit, KnightKit, Eico, and others in the past, we are discontinuing our Hobby Kit Group January 1, 2016.

I have built a lot of Ramsey kits. Their little FM stereo transmitters were awesome - great sound and range in a $40 kit. Amazon is selling off the residue of their kits - these are excellent value for the money.

So true

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Swiped off Facebook:


Size matters - photography

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A fun three minutes:

Nothing much happening this afternoon

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Ran out for coffee, check the mailbox and to deliver the pastries to the store.

Came home, got hay out to the critters and will be installing a heater in the stock tank later this afternoon.

Trip into town is delayed until tomorrow.

Enjoying a light snowfall with very little accumulation - waiting for the 3:30PM NWS forecast to see what tomorrow will bring.

The Montreal Melon

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Fascinating story from Tori Marlan writing at Buzz Feed:

The Rise, Fall, and Almost Rise of The Caviar of Cantaloupe
During the early 20th century, the Montreal melon was a culinary delicacy and an agricultural moneymaker. But as industrial farming took hold, the hard-to-grow fruit went the way of the dodo bird. What one farmer’s attempt to revive it says about taste and technology.
It’s been a lousy growing season for Ken Taylor’s cantaloupes. The weather has been terrible — cool and wet, when it should have been hot and dry — and the leaves on the vines are browning and riddled with small holes from fungal disease.

Standing on his 70-acre organic farm on Île Perrot, about 30 miles west of Montreal, Taylor surveys the damage through a pair of thick-framed glasses. It’s late July, and there’s not much to see. Finally he spots a tiny cantaloupe. “This is basically what it looks like, off and on, all the way down: one fruit here and there.”

Those aren’t just any fruit. They’re specimens of the Montreal melon — a large and particularly hard-to-grow cantaloupe that Taylor saved from extinction. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Montreal melon was considered a delicacy. Sweet and juicy with hints of nutmeg, it has green flesh like a honeydew, but its exterior is netted, rather than smooth. According to Taylor, it’s probably Canada’s most famous heritage food.

“There wasn’t a Vancouver kiwi or a Halifax oyster,” he later said. “It was the Montreal melon!” While he acknowledges that other foods originated in Canada — the Laurentian turnip, for example — Taylor says nothing else had the melon’s renown.

“Russian caviar; champagne from Reims, France; and the Montreal melon — those were the three snob foods in the early 1900s,” Taylor says.

A fun read - Taylor seems like an interesting character and now I want to try growing some of these here. A lot of the really delicious foods do not stand up to commercial processing. There are several incredibly delicious apples that do not last in shipping - Ashmead's Kernal for one.

Snow on the ground

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Got an inch of more white stuff last night with more likely this morning. Turning to rain later this afternoon so the roads will be fun.

Heading into town for a few things.

Propane truck just showed up so we will be warm again today...

Quite the field trip - Antarctica

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I have always been fascinated by the extreme places on this Earth. I have spent time in Alaska, backpacked through Iceland, visited Antarctica (the French station at Dumont-D'Urville as well as a few of the other outer islands - left from N.Z. and was traveling on the Explorer).

I would love to spend a few months in Antarctica like this guy. Shaun O'Boyle spent two months there last year and has an extensive blog about his experiences.

Some amazing photography - it defies excerption so just visit the site and prepare to spend an hour scrolling through. Gorgeous stuff!

Sean's main photography site can be found here: Shaun O'Boyle - Portraits of Place

An update from the Tri-State Livestock News:

Where there's smoke
The story could be the plot for a western-style soap opera.

The latest scene involved two ranchers being sentenced to five years in federal prison for inadvertently burning about 140 acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rangeland in two separate fires. That is an area big enough to feed about three cow-calf pairs for a year in that neck of the woods.

“I call it ‘as the sagebrush burns,’” said Erin Maupin, a former BLM range technician and watershed specialist and rancher in the area, of the long history involving the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), special interest groups and the cattle ranchers on the Steens Mountain of Oregon.

This is a long article and has a lot of background - worth reading if you want the full story. A bit more:

Maupin said prescribed burns to manage juniper were common in the late 1990s and early 2000s, best done late in the fall when the days are cooler.

Prescribed burns on federal land in their area have all but stopped due to pressure from special interest groups, Maupin said. As a result, wildfires now burn much hotter due to a “ladder” of material on the ground – grass, brush and trees.

The special interest groups in question would be the environmental lobbyists operating out of an office building in Washington D.C. with zero direct experience and knowledge of the local ecosystem.

“The fires now burn really hot and they sterilize the ground. Then you have a weed patch that comes back.”

Maupin said planned burning in cooler weather like the Hammonds chose to do improves the quality of the forage, and makes for better sage grouse habitat by removing juniper trees that suck up water and house raptors – a sage grouse predator.

And some (more) egregious activity by the feds:

During her tenure as a full time BLM employee from 1997-1999, Maupin recalls other fires accidentally spilling over onto BLM land, but only the Hammonds have been charged, arrested and sentenced, she said. Ranchers might be burning invasive species or maybe weeds in the ditch. “They would call and the BLM would go and help put it out and it was not a big deal.”

On the flip side, Maupin remembers numerous times that BLM-lit fires jumped to private land. Neighbors lost significant numbers of cattle in more than one BLM fire that escaped intended containment lines and quickly swallowed up large amounts of private land. To her knowledge, no ranchers have been compensated for lost livestock or other loss of property such as fences.

Gary Miller, who ranches near Frenchglen, about 35 miles from the Hammonds’ hometown, said that in 2012, the BLM lit numerous backfires that ended up burning his private land, BLM permit and killing about 65 cows.

We need some serious reform in the other Washington - too many people have way to little knowledge and to much power. It is not public service when you are not serving your constituents. Same thing with the EPA and the Colorado rivers.

The joys of cheap labor

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When building a building, especially one in areas prone to bad weather, you want to make sure your building crew is qualified.

Case in point from the Dallas, TX The Dallas Morning News:

Engineer finds examples of 'horrific' construction in tornado wreckage
An engineer who inspected damage across North Texas after Saturday’s deadly tornadoes says he saw “rampant irresponsibleness” in the way many homes and buildings were constructed.

“We saw a tremendous number of improper attachment of the walls to the foundations, which just made walls fall either in or out,” said Timothy Marshall, a forensic engineer and meteorologist who volunteered as part of a damage survey team created by the Fort Worth office of the National Weather Service.

The construction Marshall flagged as faulty included that of a Glenn Heights elementary school that suffered extensive damage.

“We saw problems at [Donald T.] Shields Elementary school that were horrific in my view as an engineer,” Marshall said. “Walls not attached properly, and they’re just falling down like a house of cards.”

The winds that hit the school building were in the 85 MPH range - not the full tornado. The building should have survived unharmed. Here in Maple Falls, we frequently get windstorms gusting up to 60-70 MPH.

This will hurt people whose houses were damaged by the storm when it comes to insurance claims - if the home was of recent construction and was not to code, the claims could be denied. The article names the construction company (the school was built in 2008) and needless to say, the company has not returned any phone calls. I wonder how much of their framing crew was picked up outside the local Home Depot every morning...

Bringing in 2016 with a bang

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From the Caribbean island of Curaçao (KU-ra-sow)

From Neatorama:

New Year in Curaçao
Jürgen Horn and Mike Powell are in Curaçao for 91 days, and arrived just in time for the holidays. The New Year celebration in Curaçao means fireworks, including pagaras, which are long strings of firecrackers. How long? This one was two kilometers (although they didn’t stretch it out that far)!

Pagaras are super-loud, super-long strings of fireworks, which are set off all over the city, all day long on New Year’s Eve. At two-kilometers in length, Pietersmaai has one of the biggest, and we watched the whole thing explode, deafened by the noise and choking on the smoke. It was awesome… though it was probably a good thing that we already had a few drinks in us. My ears were still ringing the next day.

Had the great pleasure to spend a day in Curaçao in 2008 when my Dad, Jen and I spent a couple weeks in the Caribbean decompressing from the events of my mother's death. Would not mind going back there again for a while - nice people and gorgeous place.

Country life

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It was getting noticeably cool in the house. Was boiling some water to thaw out the horse trough and the flame went out. Walked out to the propane tank and saw the indicator on zero.

They are coming out tomorrow to fill the tank. It was supposed to have been topped off on a regular basis - do not know what happened.Got a nice fire going and the house is well insulated so things are not critical, just an annoyance.

Go and read at Mental Floss.

My favorite? Number 10



There was a disturbance at an art gallery in November that led to an investigation. Four intruders were apprehended. A Facebook post by the Newport, Oregon police department takes the burglary report to the next level, by describing the perpetrators as a gang of thieves with colorful nicknames, including “Squeaky Feets.” The gallery owner, Cris Torp, said that the raccoons got in through roof vents, which has happened before. But when they recently sealed the openings around the vents, no one knew that the raccoons were trapped inside! The animals had been in the gallery for hours, but did little damage to the artwork. “Squeaky Feets” has found fame from the caper, and now has his own Facebook page.

Numbers 9 and 6 are fun too...

Cool news on the atomic front

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Four new elements confirmed! From the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry:

Discovery and Assignment of Elements with Atomic Numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118
IUPAC announces the verification of the discoveries of four new chemical elements: The 7th period of the periodic table of elements is complete.
The fourth IUPAC/IUPAP Joint Working Party (JWP) on the priority of claims to the discovery of new elements has reviewed the relevant literature for elements 113, 115, 117, and 118 and has determined that the claims for discovery of these elements have been fulfilled, in accordance with the criteria for the discovery of elements of the IUPAP/IUPAC Transfermium Working Group (TWG) 1991 discovery criteria. These elements complete the 7th row of the periodic table of the elements, and the discoverers from Japan, Russia and the USA will now be invited to suggest permanent names and symbols. The new elements and assigned priorities of discovery are as follows.

This is big. Not only four new elements being discovered but filling the seventh row of the periodic table.

The news is slanted depending on where you read it. The Last Refuge has a nice timeline of what happened and what is going on now:

Full Story on What’s Going on In Oregon – Militia Take Over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge In Protest to Hammond Family Persecution…
Many people will awaken today to the news of approximately 100 to 150 armed militia taking control of a closed Wildlife Park Headquarters, and not know the full back-story – so here it is:

The short summary is: in an effort to draw attention to a ridiculous arrest of a father and son pair of Oregon Ranchers (“Dwight Lincoln Hammond, Jr., 73, and his son, Steven Dwight Hammond, 46,) who are scheduled to begin five year prison sentences (turning themselves in tomorrow January 4th 2016), three brothers from the Cliven Bundy family and approximately 100/150 (and growing) heavily armed militia (former U.S. service members) have taken control of Malheur Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in the wildlife reserve. They are prepared to stay there indefinitely.

This is a long post as they also give the long story starting from the 1870's when the basin was initially settled and people began ranching and improving the land.

A classic story of government over-reach and micromanagement by a bureaucracy in Washington D.C. with no clue as to what is actually happening. Lots of links at the end of the post for additional backstory and corroborating information.

Something to try for next year

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This looks like too much fun!

2016 lists

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Everyone is doing them.  I am not.

Let this be item #1 on your list;  it is silly season enough with the 2016 elections and Barry's last twelve months in office to be adding anymore craziness to the pyre...

Bummer, yaay!, crap, bummer and bummer

Long day - got coffee and hit the road heading South into the Skagit River Valley.

My first two stops were places that advertised various kinds of surplus. The first one - Coho Liquidation - turned out to be very overpriced junk. Great looking website but the store was a mess of cluttered piles and the stuff they were selling was very overpriced - approaching new list for damaged merch. Not going there again...

The second one was wonderful - Skagit Building Salvage - lots of reclaimed wood and metal, old lockers, sinks, kitchen cabinets, etc... There is a similar store in Bellingham but their prices have been creeping up over the last five years so it is nice to have a decently priced alternative. Definitely going back there again!

My third stop was in response to a Craigslist advertisement for some PA equipment. The stuff was beat to shit, the seller gave every indication of being a serious meth-head and the merch gave every indication of being stolen. No.

There is was a wonderful BBQ place in Mt. Vernon - Reverie BBQ - I swung by there thinking to pick up a pound of brisket or pulled pork for future meals. They were closed with no indication of what happened. As I was driving through Mt. Vernon to get on the freeway, I noticed that they were working with the Hope on the Street people (there was a sign up on a Church). Reverie was always good about turning part of their profits back to feeding the hungry and homeless so it looks like they just closed their storefront but are still operating in some measure. They did good work and I am happy to see that they are continuing.

There is a major electronics retail store in Mt. Vernon - Skagit Whatcom Electronic Supply - I swung by there to see what new stuff they were carrying. I want to get into the Arduino computers - lots of fun stuff happening there. They are only open from Monday to Friday though.

All and all, a very nice drive but if I was out for that, I would have headed East and gone up the mountain or East on Route 20 for a while. At least, now I know these things...

Off to points South

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Coffee first and then South for a Craigslist deal and to check out two vendors.

Back late this afternoon..

Bill Whittle on 2016

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A couple of things to watch out for and one great big beacon of hope:

A couple of New Years resolutions

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From Hillary - I do not think that that laugh of hers is going to disappear anytime soon as much as she would like it to - totally craven.

You take a look at the actual crime-by-gun numbers and they are way down all the while gun ownership is at an all-time high.

Most of the gun murders are black on black in dense urban areas and the liberals do not like to talk about those - doesn't fit the narrative...

Also, more people were murdered by blunt-force trauma (hammers, pipe, baseball bats) than by rifles including those scary "assault" rifles.

A free-market economy - Olive Garden

From the New York Post:

Olive Garden is right to charge $400 for NYE dinner
Why is Olive Garden charging $400 for a meal? Because it’s worth every penny.

If anything, the tickets seem to be a little underpriced: As The Post is reporting, the Olive Garden’s Times Square outlet appears poised to sell out its New Year’s Eve slots at that price. Looks like Olive Garden could have gotten away with even more, judging from the $799 tab at the nearby Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant.

The OG and other restaurants with a view of the Times Square ball drop at midnight — obstructed in the case of the Olive Garden, unobstructed at Gump’s — aren’t charging merely for a meal but for the extremely scarce commodity of experiencing New Year’s Eve at the center of the capital of the world. An Olive Garden dinner on Feb. 26 or July 9 has an entirely different value, which is why it has a very different price.

Like Uber and the airlines and many other businesses (including drivers of New York’s yellow cabs, who commonly switch off their availability lights and negotiate individual fares on New Year’s Eve), Olive Garden uses surge pricing: When lots more people want something that’s severely limited in quantity, prices go way up.

Makes perfect sense - you are getting dinner looking out at Times Square on New Years Evening. Want a cheaper meal, eat a couple blocks away and then walk to Times Square for the celebration.

The author closes with this observation:

If Olive Garden were charging its regular prices for New Year’s Eve in Times Square, it would have sold out long ago. The seats would have been gone in the first few minutes after the restaurant started accepting reservations, meaning the slots would effectively have been distributed randomly, to whoever managed to get through to the reservation desk.

If you think random distribution to the lucky at below-market prices is morally superior to selling to the highest bidder, why not support that in every other area of life? Because then all of life would be a free-for-all. Buying a tube of toothpaste would be like Walmart after they open the doors at midnight for the Black Friday sale. Having prices rise and fall in response to changing demand makes for an orderly society where things go to those who really want something.

Exactly. Look at Argentina where people cannot buy toilet paper because the price has been fixed and it sells out as soon as the government mandated quantity hits the shelves. Central planning never works, free market capitalism does throughout a wide range of conditions.

A hit to Midwest businesses

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The storm that caused so much damage in Texas is still wreaking havoc in the Midwest - causing flooding in the major rivers. These rivers are instrumental in bringing product to port cities so exports are stuck.

From gCaptain:

Floods Choking Everything From Oil to Wheat in U.S. Midwest
The worst flooding across the U.S. Midwest in four years is disrupting everything from oil to agriculture, forcing pipelines, terminals and grain elevators to close and killing off thousands of pigs.

Fifty miles (80 kilometers) of the Illinois River have been closed, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as 81 miles of the Mississippi River in two segments.

The flooding is the worst since May 2011, when rising water on the Mississippi and its tributaries deluged cities, slowed barge traffic and threatened refinery and chemical operations. The current situation increases stockpiles of crude oil and may extend this year’s price slide.

Hog producers in southern Illinois are calling other farmers, hoping to find extra barn space to relocate their pigs, said Jennifer Tirey, executive director of the Illinois Pork Producers Association. Processors are sending additional trucks out to retrieve market-ready pigs, she said. In one case, an overflowing creek took out electricity and made roads impassable, causing 2,000 pigs to drown.

Much more at the site. Like they said, this is not a unique phenomenon, it happened four years ago but still, this will cause a bump in grain prices and a drop in gasoline prices.

Long day tomorrow

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Heading down South for a potential Craigslist deal and to also check in here: Skagit Building Salvage. Heard great things about it so stopping in to see what the buzz is all about.

I would also stop in at Skagit River Steel but they are closed on Saturday...

Food coma

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Ate waay too much turkey. Came out really well - did mashed spuds and homemade gravy and cranberry sauce. We both ate like pigs and saved a little bit on the plate for the dogs.

The tryptophan is kicking in right on schedule...

And, that it was Hitler who was soundly defeated. From the New York Times:

Turkey Says Hitler Comment by President Erdogan Was ‘Distorted’
Turkey issued a statement on Friday saying that comments by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — in which he cited Hitler in response to a question about whether a strong presidency was possible in Turkey — had been misinterpreted.

Mr. Erdogan, who is pushing to imbue the largely ceremonial presidency with sweeping executive powers, told reporters late Thursday that “there are already examples in the world.”

“You can see it when you look at Hitler’s Germany,” he said.

A bit more:

Mr. Erdogan became Turkey’s first popularly elected president in August 2014, having dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade as prime minister. Since assuming the new post, he has aggressively campaigned to rewrite the Turkish Constitution and establish an executive system of government.

His consolidation of power has had a potent effect on Turkish society. Critics say Mr. Erdogan’s divisive rhetoric, in which he has denigrated opponents as terrorists or traitors, has helped polarize the country.

Much more at the article - the good news is that there is a lot of push-back to his Presidency and his attempts to centralize power and establish a tyranny in the name of Democracy. I do hope he enjoys his single term in office and that the good people of Turkey wake up and kick his ass out of office.

They just released another tranche of Clinton emails and there was this little gem - great that he finally realizes it - from The Hill:

Clinton emails: Billionaire Soros said he regretted backing Obama
George Soros, a billionaire Democratic donor, told a close Hillary Clinton ally that he regretted supporting President Obama over her in the 2008 Democratic primary, according to an email released Thursday by the State Department.

Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden said in a May 2012 email to Clinton that Soros made the admission to her during a dinner.

"I told him I worked for you in the primaries and he said he's been impressed that he can always call/meet with you on an issue of policy and said he hasn't met with the President ever (though I thought he had)," Tanden wrote.

A bit more - remember, Soros contributed over $5 Million to Obama's campaign:

"Confidants say that, although he still supports Obama, Soros has been disappointed by him, both politically and personally," the article said. "When Soros wanted to meet with Obama in Washington to discuss global economic problems, Obama’s staff failed to respond."

A bit more:

A Soros confident told The New Yorker: "They pissed on him... He didn’t want a f-cking thing! He didn’t want a state dinner, or a White House party—he just wanted to be taken seriously.”

Could not have happened to a more deserving person - Soros is scum. A sociopath.

How to get through a traffic jam

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Dang - I need one of these.

Traffic on the Mt. Baker Highway can be a bit much at times - those people are between me and my coffee...

Winter wonderland

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Woke up to a wonderland of ice crystals. It got down to 12.9°F last night.

Heading out to pick up pastries and coffee and then spend a day at home.

Doing a turkey breast with all the fixin's for dinner.

January 2021

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