April 17, 2014
That is it for the night - into Bellingham tomorrow
Got an early run into town tomorrow and then back home to open the store at 10:00AM
Heading upstairs to sleep…
Another possible auction - Weyerhaeuser R&D Machine Shop
Auction on May 16th. Looked interesting at the outset — Weyerhaeuser is one of the world's largest private owners of timberlands (six million acres). Founded in 1900.
Murphy Auctions is selling machine tools from their R&D Machine Shop. Looking at the auction listing, the tools look pretty well picked over and a lot of the larger machines show signs of heavy rusting. Murphy will post more information closer to the sale date so I'll keep an eye on this listing but I don't think it is worth the drive down at the moment.
J.D. Winteregg for Congress
J.D. Winteregg is running for Ohio Representative John Boehner's seat in Congress. I love the commercial:
J.D.'s campaign site is here: J.D. Winteregg for US Congress
If he wins, that would send a wonderfully strong message to the entrenched Republican machine.
About that murderer
From American Power:
Frazier Glenn Miller, Jr., Kansas Jewish Murder Suspect, Made Democrat Congressional Bid in 2006
The suspect ran for office numerous times, but he started as a Democrat in 1984, running in the North Carolina gubernatorial primary. After a number of other attempts at elected office, he returned home to the Democrat/Ku Klux Klan/Party in 2006, running in the Democrat primary for Missouri's 7th congressional district in 2006. His candidacy had the far-left hate site Daily Kos freaking out, “Racist felon running for the Dem nomination in MO-7.”
Frazier Glenn Miller is a Democrat to the core.
The KKK was always Democrat to the core. Dr. Martin Luther King was a Republican.
Reaching the tipping point
From CNS News:
86M Full-Time Private-Sector Workers Sustain 148M Benefit Takers
Buried deep on the website of the U.S. Census Bureau is a number every American citizen, and especially those entrusted with public office, should know. It is 86,429,000.
That is the number of Americans who in 2012 got up every morning and went to work — in the private sector — and did it week after week after week.
These are the people who built America, and these are the people who can sustain it as a free country. The liberal media have not made them famous like the polar bear, but they are truly a threatened species.
It is not a rancher with a few hundred head of cattle that is attacking their habitat, nor an energy company developing a fossil fuel. It is big government and its primary weapon — an ever-expanding welfare state.
Details on the number of makers:
In 2012, according to the Census Bureau, approximately 103,087,000 people worked full-time, year-round in the United States. “A full-time, year-round worker is a person who worked 35 or more hours per week (full time) and 50 or more weeks during the previous calendar year (year round),” said the Census Bureau. “For school personnel, summer vacation is counted as weeks worked if they are scheduled to return to their job in the fall.”
Of the 103,087,000 full-time, year-round workers, 16,606,000 worked for the government. That included 12,597,000 who worked for state and local government and 4,009,000 who worked for the federal government.
The 86,429,000 Americans who worked full-time, year-round in the private sector, included 77,392,000 employed as wage and salary workers for private-sector enterprises and 9,037,000 who worked for themselves. (There were also approximately 52,000 who worked full-time, year-round without pay in a family enterprise.)
At first glance, 86,429,000 might seem like a healthy population of full-time private-sector workers. But then you need to look at what they are up against.
And the number of takers:
All told, including both the welfare recipients and the non-welfare beneficiaries, there were 151,014,000 who “received benefits from one or more programs” in the fourth quarter of 2011. Subtract the 3,212,000 veterans, who served their country in the most profound way possible, and that leaves 147,802,000 non-veteran benefit takers.
The 147,802,000 non-veteran benefit takers outnumbered the 86,429,000 full-time private sector workers 1.7 to 1.
A lot more at the site — the author breaks down the numbers in detail and the overall picture is not sustainable. We are a few years behind Greece with zero attempt to reverse.
Another Open Source project - seeds
Great idea — from the University of Wisconsin at Madison:
Novel Open Source Seed Pledge aims to keep new vegetable and grain varieties free for all
This week, scientists, farmers and sustainable food systems advocates will gather on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus to celebrate an unusual group of honored guests: 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains that are being publicly released using a novel form of ownership agreement known as the Open Source Seed Pledge.
The pledge, which was developed through a UW-Madison-led effort known as the Open Source Seed Initiative, is designed to keep the new seeds free for all people to grow, breed and share for perpetuity, with the goal of protecting the plants from patents and other restrictions down the line.
“These vegetables are part of our common cultural heritage, and our goal is to make sure these seeds remain in the public domain for people to use in the future,” says UW-Madison horticulture professor and plant breeder Irwin Goldman, who helped write the pledge.
Goldman will release two carrot varieties he developed-named Sovereign and Oranje in the spirit of the event-at a public ceremony Thursday's public ceremony, which is set for 11 a.m. on the front lawn of the UW-Madison's Microbial Sciences Building, 1550 Linden Drive.
Great idea but there is no real one-size-fits-all variety. Too many different climates in the USA. I get my seeds from a grower about 20 miles away and they grow like gangbusters.
Kermit Gosnell - the movie
Kermit who? Kermit Gosnell was America's most prolific serial killer until his capture and trial.
A great group of people are making a movie about him and raising funds through indiegogo.
A nice milestone for open source software
The Apache Software Foundation Announces 100 Million Downloads of Apache OpenOffice
The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 170 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today that Apache OpenOffice has been downloaded 100 million times.
Apache OpenOffice is the leading Open Source office document productivity suite, available in 32 languages on Windows, OS X, and Linux. OpenOffice includes a word processor (“Writer”), a spreadsheet (“Calc”), a presentation editor (“Impress”), a vector graphics editor (“Draw”), a mathematical formula editor (“Math”), and a database management program (“Base”). As Open Source software, Apache OpenOffice is available to all users free of charge; the C++ source code is readily available for anyone who wishes to enhance the applications.
OpenOffice works with Microsoft Office files so it is a nice alternative to the $$$ that MSFT charges.
Download here: OpenOffice
Peak gas (methane) coming online in 3... 2... 1...
From the Beeb:
Japan extracts gas from methane hydrate in world first
Japan says it has successfully extracted natural gas from frozen methane hydrate off its central coast, in a world first.
Methane hydrates, or clathrates, are a type of frozen “cage” of molecules of methane and water.
The gas field is about 50km away from Japan's main island, in the Nankai Trough.
Researchers say it could provide an alternative energy source for Japan which imports all its energy needs.
Other countries including Canada, the US and China have been looking into ways of exploiting methane hydrate deposits as well.
Pilot experiments in recent years, using methane hydrates found under land ice, have shown that methane can be extracted from the deposits.
A Japanese study estimated that at least 1.1tn cubic metres of methane hydrate exist in offshore deposits.
This is the equivalent of more than a decade of Japan's gas consumption.
Peak Oil - not so much
Great verification from Forbes Magazine:
Peak Oil, Entirely Nonsense: As is Peak Gas
One of the things that really rather annoys me about the peak oil (and in the UK, there’s a similar one about peak gas) argument is that it entirely ignores the impact of changing technology. The point is indirectly made here at The Guardian:And to make the point more directly. Once we invent a new technology to extract oil or gas (or indeed any other mineral you might like to think of) this does not mean that we’ve just found that one new field that we’ve developed the new technology to extract oil or gas from. It means that we’ve just created a whole new Earth, an entire new planet that we can prospect for similar deposits that can be exploited with the new technology.The Earth’s crust is riddled with fossil fuels. The issue is not whether there is a shortage of the stuff, but the costs of getting it out. Until recently, the sheer abundance of low-cost conventional oil in places like the Middle East has limited the incentives to find more, and in particular to go after unconventional sources. But technical change has been driven by necessity – and the revolution in shale gas (and now shale oil, too) has already been transformational in the US, one of the world’s biggest energy markets.
And of course, there is the whole abiogenic petroleum origin theory.
Drill here, drill now. We could shut down Russia and the Saudis in a heartbeat if we started using our own resources…
April 16, 2014
This is My Money
British Pathé online
British Pathé is an English film company. From their About page:
British Pathé is one of the oldest media companies in the world.
Their roots lie in 1890s Paris where their founder, Charles Pathé, pioneered the development of the moving image.
They were established in London in 1902, and by 1910 were producing their famous bi-weekly newsreel the Pathé Gazette. After the First World War they started producing various Cinemagazines as well. By 1930 they were producing the Gazette, the Pathetone Weekly, the Pathé Pictorial and Eve's Film Review, covering entertainment, culture and womens' issues.
By the time Pathé finally stopped producing the cinema newsreel in 1970 they had accumulated 3500 hours of filmed history amounting to over 90,000 individual items.
Leaving well enough alone - Yahoo email groups
There are email lists for an amazing number of topics ranging from accurate time keeping to My Little Pony to collecting Edison cylinders to Civil War re-enactment to… You get the picture. Many of these are hosted on the Yahoo Groups website.
Yahoo makes money by selling targeted advertising to those people reading the groups through a web browser. You can also have new emails sent directly to your own email account to be read by your email app (Outlook, etc.).
The Yahoo system had a clean interface and worked really well — fast message handling.
Unfortunately, a couple months ago, Yahoo made a major change to their email software and screwed up the user interface. This not only hurt web based email readers, this also hurt group administrators as they can only do their administrative functions through the Yahoo web interface.
Rather than retract the new UI (like Slashdot did a month ago THANK YOU!!!), Yahoo is forging ahead to the extent that — from The Register:
'Yahoo! Breaks! Every! Mailing! List! In! The! World!' says email guru
Email luminary John Levine has accused Yahoo! of sabotaging email lists for everyone, everywhere.
In a post titled “Yahoo! Breaks! Every! Mailing! List! In! The! World! Including! The! IETF's!'”, Levin explains “an emerging e-mail security scheme” called DMARC that “lets a domain owner make assertions about the From: address, in particular that mail with their domain on the From: line will have a DKIM signature with the same domain, or a bounce address in the same domain that will pass SPF [sender policy framework.”
Levine explains that DMARC has weaknesses, notably because “Lists invariably [sic] use their own bounce address in their own domain, so the SPF doesn't match. Lists generally modify messages via subject tags, body footers, attachment stripping, and other useful features that break the DKIM signature. So on even the most legitimate list mail like, say, the IETF's, most of the mail fails the DMARC assertions, not due to the lists doing anything 'wrong'.”
Most of the time that's not a big problem for the world at large. But Levine says “over the weekend Yahoo published a DMARC record with a policy saying to reject all yahoo.com mail that fails DMARC.”
Aside from lots of bounced emails that should go through, here's what Levine says will result from Yahoo!'s change:In other words lots of email not getting through, lots of automatic unsubscribes and lots of angry users and sysadmins.“Since Yahoo mail provokes bounces from lots of other mail systems, innocent subscribers at Gmail, Hotmail, etc. not only won't get Yahoo subscribers' messages, but all those bounces are likely to bounce them off the lists.”
Of the 33 lists I subscribe to, 24 are running through Yahoo Groups. Performance over the last two months has sucked. I can send 30 emails and they each show up in a few minutes but then I send one to the same group and it takes forever.
Someone needs to get their collective crap together or Yahoo Group's client base will start moving somewhere else and they lose their advertising revenue and goodwill…
Heh - data mining for fun and profit
From The Atlantic:
The (Unintentional) Amazon Guide to Dealing Drugs
One day, some drug dealer bought a particular digital scale — the AWS-100 — on the retail site, Amazon.com. And then another drug dealer bought the same scale. Then another. Then another.
Amazon's data-tracking software watched what else these people purchased, and now, if you buy the AWS-100 scale, Amazon serves up a quickstart kit for selling drugs.
Along with various scale-related paraphernalia, we find:
This is classic data mining at work. Even if each scale purchaser only made one other drug-related purchase, when you look at the clusters, the pattern becomes obvious.
- Many “spice” grinders
- Pipe screens
- A rolling paper and tray bundle
- Bulk pure caffeine powder (perhaps to cut heroin?)
- More baggies
- Skull baggies
- Pot-leaf baggies
- An encapsulation machine and gelatin capsules
- A scientific spatula
- A diamond tester (?!)
- “Air Tight Odorless Medical Jar Herb Stash Medicine Container”
- Digital caliper
- Tweezer and snifter set for “miners and prospectors”
- A tool for cleaning a gun part
- A safe in the form of a Dr. Pepper can
- Potassium Metabisulfite (for decontamination?)
- A drug testing kit (“this kit contains the same reagent chemicals as found in Justice Department test kits”)
- A really powerful magnet
- “TAP DAT ASH” ashtray
- Beta alanine powder (maybe for bodybuilders?)
- An actual drug called kratom (big in Thailand, apparently)
The original article had links to each of the items listed above. Didn't feel like doing a large cut and paste session. Also, the Kratom link is suddenly 404'd for some strange reason.
Unintended consequences — never know when you need some skull baggies or an encapsulation machine…
Environmental Protection Agency - a three-part story
Talk about overstepping their scope.
From Gary Baise writing at Farm Futures:
I just returned from Germany and Poland and was startled to discover the regulatory control the European Union exercises over its farmers and agriculture.
This should not be a surprise, however, when a farmer has the EU paying one-half the cost of his tractor and/or farm equipment.
In eastern Germany, we were also regaled with stories about the old communist government ordering planting on days it was raining.
Unfortunately we are headed in the same direction here.
This must be stopped in its tracks. It may not directly affect a city-dweller but it will most certainly show up in their food prices.
A I have said before, this agency needs to have its budget cut by 90%. They initially did good work — our rivers and air were dirty and now they are clean. Unfortunately, they fell victim to Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy.
Spooky action at a distance
Just when you think you have a handle on something.
Hat tip to NASA Science News
Have fun spending that money Nanny Bloomberg
From the New York Times:
Bloomberg Plans a $50 Million Challenge to the N.R.A.
Michael R. Bloomberg, making his first major political investment since leaving office, plans to spend $50 million this year building a nationwide grass-roots network to motivate voters who feel strongly about curbing gun violence, an organization he hopes can eventually outmuscle the National Rifle Association.
Mr. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, said gun control advocates need to learn from the N.R.A. and punish those politicians who fail to support their agenda — even Democrats whose positions otherwise align with his own.
“They say, ‘We don’t care. We’re going to go after you,’ ” he said of the N.R.A. “ ‘If you don’t vote with us we’re going to go after your kids and your grandkids and your great-grandkids. And we’re never going to stop.’ ”
He added: “We’ve got to make them afraid of us.”
Emphasis mine - from the Wikipedia definition for Grassroots:
The term implies that the creation of the movement and the group supporting it are natural and spontaneous, highlighting the differences between this and a movement that is orchestrated by traditional power structures.
Fscking hypocrite. Nanny Bloomberg has a bit of an ego issue too:
But if he senses that he may not have as much time left as he would like, he has little doubt about what would await him at a Judgment Day. Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”
What a maroon…
A Brewmaster reviews some cheap wines
Hat tip Neatorama
April 15, 2014
A little test
From the Reaganite Republican (lightly edited):
TEST: Are you a Democrat, a Republican… or a Texan?
You are walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children. Suddenly, a terrorist with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, raises the knife, and charges at you…
You are carrying a SIG Sauer 9mm, and you're an expert shot.
You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family.
What do you do?
Republican's Answer: BANG!
- Well, that's not enough information to answer the question!
- Does the man look poor or oppressed?
- Is he really a terrorist? Am I guilty of profiling?
- Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack?
- Could we run away?
- Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand?
- What does the law say about this situation?
- Does the pistol have appropriate safety built into it?
- Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind of message does this send to society and to my children?
- Is it possible he'd be happy with just killing me?
- Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be content just to wound me?
- If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get away while he was stabbing me?
- Should I call 9-1-1?
- We need to raise taxes.
- Can we make this a happier, healthier street that would discourage such behavior.
- I need to debate this with some friends for a few days and try to come to a consensus.
- This is all so confusing!
Texan's Answer: BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! …click…
(sounds of reloading)
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! …click….
Daughter: 'Nice grouping, Daddy! Were those the Winchester Silver Tips or hollow-points?!
Son: 'Can I shoot the next one?!'
Wife: 'You ain't taking that thing to the taxidermist!
Heh - I grew up among academic liberals (9/11 was my Epiphany) and this is just pitch perfect…
Quite the eBay auction - wish I had about $60K or so
A lot of mundane signal and control processing equipment but some amazing nuggets there too. Pieces of music history.
Dodged that catastrophe
From Miss Cellania at Neatorama:
Yikes! Bacteria in the attack
From Ars Technica:
Scientists pinpoint when harmless bacteria became flesh-eating monsters
Bacterial diseases cause millions of deaths every year. Most of these bacteria were benign at some point in their evolutionary past, and we don’t always understand what turned them into disease-causing pathogens. In a new study, researchers have tracked down when this switch happened in one flesh-eating bacteria. They think the knowledge might help predict future epidemics.
The flesh-eating culprit in question is called GAS, or Group A β-hemolytic streptococcus, a highly infective bacteria. Apart from causing the flesh-eating disease necrotizing fasciitis, GAS is also responsible for a range of less harmful infections. It affects more than 600 million people every year, and it causes an estimated 500,000 deaths.
These bacteria appeared to have affected humans since the 1980s. Scientists think that GAS must have evolved from a less harmful streptococcus strain. The new study, published in PNAS, reconstructs that evolutionary history.
Lead researcher James Musser of the Methodist Hospital Research Institute said, “This is the first time we have been able to pull back the curtain to reveal the mysterious processes that gives rise to a virulent pathogen.”
Musser could also accurately date the genetic changes in GAS by using statistical models to turn back the clock on evolution. They say the last genetic change, which made GAS a highly virulent bacteria, must have occurred in 1983.
That timing makes a lot of sense. “The date we deduced coincided with numerous mentions of streptococcus epidemics in the literature,” Musser said. Since 1983, there have been several outbreaks of streptococcus infections across the world. For example, in the UK, streptococcus infections increased in number and severity between 1983 and 1985.
Biology is a strange science — something can go along for years and then, a flip happens and the story is re-written. We see this a lot in the evolutionary record.
Busy day today
Had a couple new customers and two repeats — it was actually busy for a while!
Processed my first Western Union funds transfer.
DashCam - cheap insurance
These puppies are about $150 for a decent one — they store an hour or two of video and overwrite the oldest. It also has a GPS receiver so it records your position, velocity and direction.
A good reason for having one comes from Oliver Darcy at The Blaze:
Federal Agent Tried to Blame Him for an Accident — Little Did He Know This Key Piece of Evidence Existed
A video circulating on the Internet appears to show a member of the U.S. Border Patrol crash into a civilians car — then wrongly blame the accident on the other driver, probably not knowing his dash-camera recorded the entire incident.
Heh — video and police report at the site. The dashcam shows that the light was a solid green for the driver and that the Border Patrol officer was turning left at an intersection that was clearly marked for no left turns.
You can get cheaper dashcams but you will want decent resolution for detail and you want the ability to plug in a memory card for extra recording time. Very handy if you are parked and something happens while you have been away for a few hours.
Great news - John Bolton
I would love to see Ambassador Bolton get more involved in the 2016 election cycle.
It seems that he is going gangbusters!
From the National Review:
Bolton PACs Raise Big Money
John Bolton’s political-action committees are pulling in big bucks. Together, the former United Nations ambassador’s groups, a PAC and a super PAC that will back candidates who share Bolton’s belief in a muscular foreign policy, raised nearly $2 million since their launch in November, sources say. They will file a report with the Federal Election Commission later today.
The haul includes an impressive $1.1 million raised in the first quarter of 2014. As of Tuesday, the PAC had $318,000 cash on hand and the super PAC had over $1.1 million cash on hand. Though a good portion of the money came from top-dollar donors — Home Depot cofounder Bernie Marcus and conservative philanthropist Roger Hertog among them — over 7,000 small-dollar donors also contributed online and via direct mail. The group also boasts backers in all 50 states.
“We are very pleased with our results both in the first quarter and since we started,” Bolton tells National Review Online. “The grassroots support and the number of contributors in the early days prove two things: First, Americans care strongly about our country’s national security and second, they are deeply concerned about the harm caused to that security over the last five years. Our results demonstrate that candidates supporting a strong America will have the people behind them.”
His short tenure at the UN was stellar. The fact that he upset so many of the entrenched 'progressives' shows that he was doing good work.
Our Virtual President
Bill Whittle on taxes.
Heh - April 15th
Two aspects of April 15th:
Well that was a bust - April Eclipse
Stayed up through the eclipse hoping for a break in the cover.
Nada. We had a bright fuzzy ball in the sky and then it faded out.
But it came back again so all is good!
Forecast is for rain through Saturday…
April 14, 2014
Eclipse just starting
Got some camera gear set up — not doing a time-lapse, just some telephoto closeups.
The sky is a bit overcast so if it doesn't look decent by 11:45 or so, I will bag it and catch the next one on October 8th…