Our area has two petroleum refineries, one near Anacortes and one North of Ferndale.

Reports on the radio of odd things (sounds and lights) happening at the Ferndale plant. Nothing on the emergency email lists - heading upstairs to bed and will post more tomorrow.

I present for your edification, a preserved mount of one of our local fish species:

20160525-sockeye.jpg

His own words give him away - take this speech given when visiting Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. An excerpt:

You think about the United States of America. We have a really good story called the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal; that we're endowed with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” That's a wonderful story. There’s no -- when the Declaration was made, there really was not United States. It was just a good story that they were telling about what could be. And then people were attracted to that story. And it led to independence, and it led to immigrants from around the world who wanted that vision for themselves -- it led Ho Chi Minh to adapt it when Vietnam was trying to declare independence. It inspired movements around the world.

Emphasis mine - the Declaration of Independence is not a "story". It is the cultural DNA of the United States of America. It is what we stand for.

Barry also misquotes the Declaration - the correct text reads:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Missed that pesky Creator part - were you absent from school when they were teaching that?

The Japanese

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Planning for the future:

Inflation in Venezuela

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When you try to print yourself out of a financial crisis, inflation will happen - always.

Venezuela is running around 700% at the present time. This image is a stack of 100 Bolivar notes and is the maximum you can withdraw from an ATM each day.

20160525-bolivar.jpg

Hat tip to Tyler Durdin from Zero Hedge.

Oh yeah - you are looking at about $25 worth of money...

From FOX News/Business:

Fmr. McDonald's USA CEO: $35K Robots Cheaper Than Hiring at $15 Per Hour
“I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry -- it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries -- it’s nonsense and it’s very destructive and it’s inflationary and it’s going to cause a job loss across this country like you’re not going to believe,” said former McDonald’s USA CEO Ed Rensi during an interview on the FOX Business Network’s Mornings with Maria.

I do not doubt it - they never call in sick or late and work for peanuts - the one-time investment and minimal operating costs make them pay for themselves within the year.

Factoring in all the hidden costs of hiring someone (FICAFUTA, etc...) it costs the employer about $45K to hire someone for 2,000 hours at $15/hr. (2,000 hours = 50 weeks employment at 40 hours/week - two week vacation).

Heh - quite the foe

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I love Bernie but he is pitifully innumerate - this cartoon sums it up very well:

20160525-bernie.jpg

Swiped from Irons in the Fire.

Damning little chart

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Great idea for presenting the numbers from Lord Christopher Monckton of Brenchley - at Anthony's:

Introducing the global warming speedometer
The new global warming speedometer shows in a single telling graph just how badly the model-based predictions made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have over-predicted global warming.

20160525-speedo.jpg

And yes, we are warming - that has never been in doubt - we are between glacial periods. What is very much a matter of political maneuvering is that this warming is #1 caused entirely by humans and #2 is approaching some kind of tipping point at which time the warming will enter an irreversible runaway phase.

Both of these have been proven to be false multiple times. Anthropogenic Global Warming is a matter of political expediency and not science - the politicians want their power and money.

Nothing much today

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Lulu's nephew Jimmy came out yesterday afternoon and is working on some projects around the house.

Heading out for coffee and propane in a few minutes - busy day today.

Getting the equipment ready for Sunday's Ski to Sea race

Lulu and I have gotten hooked on the Bones television series. Really funny and great writing. I love the guest actors too. They have taken pains to have the science be correct - my knowledge is pretty scattered but every time they referenced something I know about, they are usually more than 90% correct and that 10% is more for plot development and keeping within the one hour format than anything else.

There is a wiki for the series: Bones_wiki

Been watching two or three episodes with dinner - hence the lack of posting....

Good news is that Grace's ear problems are easily fixed with a topical ointment.

The bad news is that the Doctor noticed the early stages of Pannus in her eyes. This is treatable in that application of drops can halt the progress but whatever damage is there is irreversible. Her eyesight is really good - she can spot a coyote from 500 feet away in the grass at dusk. The object is to keep it that way.

Other good news is that there is now a canine ophthalmologist practicing in Bellingham. Back when Finnegan was starting to develop his cataracts, the only options were in Spokane or Seattle. Now Bellingham has a eye veterinarian.

Barrels of fun

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Check out the AA-12:

Off to the vet

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See what is bothering Grace's ears...

Katie has edited an interview and one of the interviewees has proof of it - from Ammoland Shooting Sports News:

Katie Couric Twists Pro Gun Groups Comments For Phony “Documentary” “Under The Gun”
“Creative” editing by Katie Couric, who must have graduated from the Joseph Goebbels School of Journalism, has intentionally and significantly changed the response of Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) members in a new video called “Under the Gun” – and I have PROOF.

And the story:

Watching the video, you hear Katie ask, “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorist from walking into, say, a licensed gun dealer and purchasing a gun?” The camera then shows the group members TOTALLY SILENT FOR EIGHT SECONDS. The camera zooms in on one member, who looks down.

The clear implication is that none of the group had an answer for that question and was being evasive and avoiding eye contact.

The truth is, and as you will hear in the audio, below, that the group responded to Katie immediately, with answers to her question! Yet the video shows no one responding. Clearly, when Katie didn’t get the answer(s) she wanted, she changed the group’s answers by replacing them with other video of the group sitting around quietly between questions.

Not cool at all. Makes you wonder just how much of our news has been selectivly edited like this.

Tip of the hat to Irons in the Fire for the link.

Big surprise - voter fraud

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From the Los Angeles CBS affiliate KNX:

CBS2 Investigation Uncovers Votes Being Cast From Grave Year After Year
A comparison of records by David Goldstein, investigative reporter for CBS2/KCAL9, has revealed hundreds of so-called dead voters in Southern California, a vast majority of them in Los Angeles County.

“He took a lot of time choosing his candidates,” said Annette Givans of her father, John Cenkner.

Cenkner died in Palmdale in 2003. Despite this, records show that he somehow voted from the grave in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010.

But he’s not the only one.

Of course, the County Registrar has this to say:

The Los Angeles County Registrar told CBS2: “We remove 1200 to 2000 deceased records from the database per month.”

How many dead people are voting?  If they are removing 1,200 to 2,000 per month and some of these people had been voting for ten or more years, that is a significant chunk of the population.

Pay for play in New York City

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Mayor Bill de Blasio is in a little hot water over some trash-bags. From the New York Post:

Only fitting de Blasio could be taken down by trash bags
As metaphors go, it would be hard to top this one: Garbage bags could help bring down the de Blasio administration.

Yes, garbage bags. How perfectly fitting.

Of the many revelations about City Hall’s pay-to-play culture, the case of how New York came to buy a certain brand of trash bags for parks caught the attention of prosecutors.

A bit more:

As The Post first reported, the seller, Joseph Dussich, tried for nearly a decade to get the city to buy his Mint-X bags, which he says deter rats and squirrels.

But he got the brush-off — until he contributed $100,000 to the Campaign for One New York, a slush fund Mayor Bill de Blasio created. Presto, Dussich got a meeting with the mayor, a trial contract for $15,000, and then, through a middleman, a deal worth nearly $6 million.

And two items from the You lay down with dogs and wake up with fleas department:

Even then, de Blasio’s reprehensible behavior would still stand out. He beats his chest to declare himself an enemy of income inequality and claims to be in favor of getting big money out of politics.

And:

Even the names of his slush funds — the Campaign for One New York, The Progressive Agenda Committee and United for Affordable Housing — reflect a profound cynicism. Their names suggest the exact opposite of what they actually do.

This is Democrat big politics writ large.

Off for coffee and veterinarian

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Grace has something going on with her left ear so a trip to the vet is in order. Scheduled for 3:30 this afternoon - doing a regular check-up and some vaccinations as well.

Old Time Radio

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I will have to check this out - from their website:

RADIO1610.US AM & ONLINE
Radio1610 is a micropowered AM and streaming web radio station.
It is what is known as hobby radio, and is a legal unlicensed station under FCC Part 15 and not pirate radio. I transmit on 1610 KHZ AM and the signal has a usable reception area of about 400 feet in diameter (a very small coverage footprint in our neighborhood).

The station format is Old-Time Radio. We play old dramas, comedies, mysteries, adventure programs that have long since expired their copyrights and are now generally accepted to be in the public domain. Most of these programs are from the 1930's and 1940's, but perhaps you might recognize some of them.

The micropower broadcast location is in Everett, WA near the corner of Colby Ave. and 37th St.

We also have an internet stream of the broadcast running simultaneously with the AM broadcast. If you are not close enough to receive the AM broadcast, you can get a stream of the station from anywhere in the world on the internet.

Link to the stream is here: Listen Now

When I was going to college, I majored in Marine Biology and Physical Oceanography at Boston University. I dropped out after three years because this was the time that all the kids who grew up watching the Jacques Cousteau movies were in college studying to be the next Jacques Cousteau themselves. There was no work available and what work there was was horribly paid. Also, at that time (1975), Popular Electronics published an article on building your own personal computer with the 8080 chip - other computer articles had been published the year previous but this was the first real system. I started working for a public aquarium in Boston - spent five years there - and built up my computer skills on the side.

I am still very interested in matters maritime and ran into this tonight - a company down in Everett, WA is building submarines and doing a very good job of it.

One project they have planned sounds really fascinating - from the OceanGate website:

Andrea Doria Survey Expedition
OceanGate has been contracted by Argus Expeditions to provide a manned submersible and marine operations team on an expediton to survey the iconic wreck of the Andrea Doria, an Italian flagged passenger liner that sank near Nantucket after colliding with the Stockholm, a Swedish passenger vessel outbound from New York.

The primary objective of the Andrea Doria Survey Expedition is to capture high-definition video footage and 3D sonar images of the shipwreck to document its current condition. The expedition goal is to establish accurate and reliable baseline data so explorers and scientists can better assess the decay of the wreck over time.

This iconic shipwreck has been explored by scuba divers and mixed-gas divers for decades – with the first dive occurring within hours of the sinking. These dives have resulted in limited views of the wreck due to the short bottom time available to divers (approx 20 minutes per dive) and limited visibility.

The sub they are going to use is the Cyclops 1 and one very cool feature is that it is built using COTS - Commercial Off The Shelf technologies. The piloting is done through a game controller, air circulation is done using computer fans, navigation and sonar data are displayed on consumer flat-screens, that sort of thing. This greatly lowers the cost of the building and operation.

Going to have to arrange for a tour through their place one of these days...

If you are curious about obsolete forms of data storage, check out the Museum Of Obsolete Media

From the About page:

About the Collection
I began collecting examples of media formats in early 2006, and now have at least one example of over 380 different types covering audio, video and data, with lots more identified that I have yet to collect.

In 2014, I also began to collect film formats.

A very deep site - I used to have machines for some of these formats. Standards are great - that is why we have so many of them...

Curious development in time

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Readers will know that I am a bit of a time-nut and interested in the technology of accurate time measurement.

Things just got interesting - from Nature:

Direct detection of the 229Th nuclear clock transition
Today’s most precise time and frequency measurements are performed with optical atomic clocks. However, it has been proposed that they could potentially be outperformed by a nuclear clock, which employs a nuclear transition instead of an atomic shell transition. There is only one known nuclear state that could serve as a nuclear clock using currently available technology, namely, the isomeric first excited state of 229Th (denoted 229mTh). Here we report the direct detection of this nuclear state, which is further confirmation of the existence of the isomer and lays the foundation for precise studies of its decay parameters. On the basis of this direct detection, the isomeric energy is constrained to between 6.3 and 18.3 electronvolts, and the half-life is found to be longer than 60 seconds for 229mTh2+. More precise determinations appear to be within reach, and would pave the way to the development of a nuclear frequency standard.

Very cool. Is there anything that Thorium can't do...

Department of the obvious - guns

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From Breitbart:

Sheriff David Clarke: ‘The Only Person Safe in a Gun-Free Zone Is the Criminal’
During his May 20 speech to the NRA Leadership Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, Sheriff David Clarke Jr. said, “The only person safe in a gun free zone … is the criminal.”

As the data shows, more guns, less crime.

As Robert Anson Heinlein said: An armed society is a polite society.

From the New York Post:

How corporate America bought Hillary Clinton for $21M
“Follow the money.” That telling phrase, which has come to summarize the Watergate scandal, has been a part of the lexicon since 1976. It’s shorthand for political corruption: At what point do “contributions” become bribes, “constituent services” turn into quid pro quos and “charities” become slush funds?

Ronald Reagan was severely criticized in 1989 when, after he left office, he was paid $2 million for a couple of speeches in Japan. “The founding fathers would have been stunned that an occupant of the highest office in this land turned it into bucks,” sniffed a Columbia professor.

So what would Washington and Jefferson make of Hillary Rodham Clinton? Mandatory financial disclosures released this month show that, in just the two years from April 2013 to March 2015, the former first lady, senator and secretary of state collected $21,667,000 in “speaking fees,” not to mention the cool $5 mil she corralled as an advance for her 2014 flop book, “Hard Choices.”

Throw in the additional $26,630,000 her ex-president husband hoovered up in personal-appearance “honoraria,” and the nation can breathe a collective sigh of relief that the former first couple — who, according to Hillary, were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001 with some of the furniture in tow — can finally make ends meet.

No wonder Donald Trump calls her “crooked Hillary.”

There is a lot more at the article including a list of speeches and money paid - this is corruption writ large.

Good news - food safety

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Justice has been served - from the London Daily Mail:

'You threw it all away in pursuit of profit': Curry house boss who killed allergic customer by switching almonds for cheap nut powder is jailed for six years
A penny-pinching restaurant boss was today jailed for six years after being found guilty of killing a customer by serving him a meal containing ground peanuts and triggering a fatal allergic reaction.

Mohammed Zaman, 53, used cheaper ground peanuts at his restaurants, rather than almond powder, resulting in the manslaughter of nut allergy sufferer Paul Wilson, 38, in North Yorkshire.

Mr Wilson never recovered after eating a takeaway curry from the Indian Garden in Easingwold, despite telling staff he could not eat nuts – and a judge has now blasted Zaman as ‘reckless’.

Recorder of Middlesbrough Judge Simon Bourne-Arton said Zaman had built up his businesses since arriving in Britain 40 years and gathered a property portfolio worth more than £2million.

He added: ‘You threw all that away. You have done so in pursuit of profit. You have done so in such a manner as to bring about the death of another individual. Paul Wilson was in the prime of his life. He, like you, worked in the catering trade. He, unlike you, was a careful man.’

The restaurant owner was a real piece of work:

During a trial that led to his conviction it emerged that Zaman ran up £294,000 debts in his restaurants so was substituting ingredients for cheaper alternatives.

Yet he was still paying for his son to go to the prestigious private St Peter's School in York from his business account.

And it is not like he didn't have any warning:

Mr Wilson died three weeks after a teenage customer at another of Zaman's six restaurants suffered an allergic reaction which required hospital treatment.

The Galileo Movement

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Great australian science and sanity site for Anthropogenic Global Warming. Check out The Galileo Movement

A couple of line items from their Scientific Facts page:

    • Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the air are less than 0.04%;
    • Annually, all human activity produces 3% of Earth's CO2, Nature 97%, 32 times more;
    • Driven by temperature, oceans release and absorb CO2. Oceans contain in dissolved form, fifty times the CO2 contained in Earth's entire atmosphere;
    • Nature alone controls the air's CO2 levels. Total human production is one quarter of just the variation in Nature's production. Despite continuous human CO2 production, every year during the southern hemisphere winter Nature reduces Earth's global CO2 levels;

A couple of line items from their Scientific Untruths page:

    • 4,000 scientists did not claim human production of CO2 caused global warming. Only 5 IPCC reviewers endorsed its core claim - and there's doubt they were even scientists;
    • For its 1995 report, UN IPCC scientists advised five times there was no evidence of humans causing warming. Yet IPCC politicians' reported to national governments and media: "The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate";
    • UN IPCC data on the air's carbon dioxide (CO2) levels show carbon dioxide is a consequence of temperature, not a cause. This is true for every period in Earth's history and over every duration;
    • The 2007 report's sole chapter claiming warming and attributing it to humans contains no specific scientifically measured real-world evidence (AR4, chapter 9) for its claim. It relies on computer models programmed to predict warming. Yet cooling has occurred;

The site has not been updated in a while but the facts are accurate and damning to the global warming crowd. Lots of pesky data here...

Out for coffee and pastry run

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Working at home most of today.

Well that is it

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I reached the last page of the internet - nothing more tonight.

I will leave you with this little earworm:

Nothing on the net catches my eye. About halfway through reading the entire net so maybe I'll catch something later. Sure is quiet out there...

Good meeting, dinner, etc...

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Water board meeting went well - any meeting under 30 minutes is a good one. Played hooky from the radio network. Dinner was marinated (rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, lemon juice and sugar) chicken breast grilled and some rice and bok choy sauteed with sesame oil and dressed with some oyster sauce.

Thinking of doing a batch of mac salad next day or two - I do a decent one and a little taste of Hawaii is always a good thing. Maybe smoke some brisket next day or so - got a couple in the freezer...

A shift at home - Trump

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From the Washington Examiner:

Begrudging WaPo poll: Trump 46%, Clinton 44%
It's not the headline, and it takes 219 words to get there, but a new Washington Post poll on the presidential race reveals that Republican Donald Trump leads Democrat Hillary Clinton among registered voters 46 percent to 44 percent.

Inside the Post's story about the poll is this paragraph:

"At this point, the two candidates are in a statistical dead heat among registered voters, with Trump favored by 46 percent and Clinton favored by 44 percent. That represents an 11-point shift toward the presumptive Republican nominee since March. Among all adults, Clinton holds a six-point lead (48 percent to 42 percent), down from 18 points in March."

Heh - first time that Trump has lead over Hillary.He was not my choice for President but I really hope he hands Hillary a resounding defeat - something that makes the rubble bounce. The political class needs to be reminded that they are where they are so that they can serve us and represent us. Not the other way around.

As the pendulum swings

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Swings to the left more and more - here comes the corresponding swing to the far right. From Yahoo News/Agence France Presse:

Austria on knife-edge as presidential race too close to call
Austrian far-right hopes of winning a presidential runoff remained on hold Sunday as the candidates were neck-and-neck in a battle closely watched by the EU, which is struggling to contain a surge of anti-immigrant parties.

A win would see Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party (FPOe) become the European Union's first far-right head of state.

On Sunday evening, the vote was evenly split between Hofer of the Freedom Party (FPOe) and Green-backed economics professor Alexander van der Bellen, with both on 50.0 according to projections based on almost all the votes cast at polling stations Sunday.

And what could be the reason?

A huge influx of asylum-seekers, rising unemployment and frozen reforms has driven voters away from the two centrist parties that have dominated Austrian politics since 1945.

Expanded social services for outsiders who are not assimilating into the Austrian culture. Where have we seen this before? Hmmm...

Lazy day

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Sitting here sipping my coffee and planning the day. Overcast with chance of showers - picked up a couple plants yesterday (hydrangeas) and will get them in the ground this afternoon.

Water board meeting at 6:00PM and ham network at 7:00PM

From HeatStreet:

Facebook Censors Conservative Lauren Southern for Mentioning Censorship
We wish this wasn’t true – but it looks like Mark Zuckerberg’s message hasn’t got through to Facebook’s employees. Conservative activist and Donald Trump supporter Lauren Southern was just kicked off the site for a totally inoffensive post noting its censorship of another conservative.

The good news is that she had a screen-capture running all the while this happened - Facebook tried to deep-six the censorship but she has the video. The story unfolds through a sequence of tweets - visit the site and bask in the glory that is Zuckerberg’s hypocrisy.

Is Motorola coming out with a re-launch of the Razr?

It was a great phone but the form factor would really limit the screen real estate.

A letter from Hell

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One family's story of evacuating from the Fort McMurray wildfire - from The Scientific Parent:

We Are Not Fine. We Are Not Prepared: Escaping Fort McMurray
I don’t know if you’re religious or not, but if you believe in some version of hell my family just drove through it. A few hours ago my family and I escaped the city of Fort McMurray, Alberta which as you may have seen on the news is burning.

We drove through the fire, avoiding dangling electrical wires. We are alive, we have found shelter for tonight in a motel. But like so many others we were unprepared to evacuate when we were told we needed to.

I am going to ask you to do what my family did not do, but wish we did: have an emergency kit ready.

Forest fires are not uncommon in Northern Alberta. Each year many fires occur in the vast Boreal forest that covers the Northern Region of the province, but most of them stay contained, or burn a safe distance from inhabited communities.

Living in Fort McMurray for the past three years (past two years for my wife Amanda and son Odin) we have been witness to these yearly events. Each time, my wife and I will say to each other “We should really think about having an Emergency Preparedness Kit”. We talk about it. We say what a good and practical idea it is. Then, like so many others, it gets put to the wayside and forgotten. We’ll get to it, we say, just like how we’ll get to all the other things in life we say we’ll get to eventually.

Today that forgetfulness put us in danger.

Much more at the site. Author Mathew Clements was able to get his family together and get out but it was a harrowing experience for them and it would have been a lot better if they had a grab-n-go kit already put together. Denial is a very strong human emotion and a lot of people practice it when thinking about disaster preparedness.

The purest definition of a disaster is an event which outstrips your ability to cope. How prepared are you?

The news from Venezuela

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Just keeps getting better and better - not only is their biggest brewery unable to produce beer (they have no money to buy grains), now the Coca-Cola bottler is shutting down because they cannot afford to buy the sugar.

From CBS News:

Coca-Cola halts production in Venezuela
Coca-Cola is halting production in Venezuela of its namesake beverage due to a sugar shortage brought on by the country's grinding economic crisis.

The Atlanta-based company said in an emailed statement Friday said that its production of sugar-sweetened beverages will be suspended in the coming days after local suppliers reported they had run out of the raw material. Sugar-free beverages are not affected and the company said its offices and distribution centers remain open in Venezuela.

The move comes as Venezuela's economy is teetering on the edge of collapse with widespread food shortages and inflation forecast to surpass 700 percent. Last month, Empresas Polar, Venezuela's largest food and beverage company, stopped production of beer because of a lack of imported barley.

The best thing for the Venezuelan people is for Maduro to step down and let a capitalist run things for a while.

Another day in town

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Worked on the condo for a couple of hours and then had dinner. Back home - unpacked the truck (picked up some groceries)

Another morning, more coffee

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Got the critters fed and watered so heading out for coffee.

Nothing planned for today - may run into town later.

How to move a city - Kiruna, Sweden

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Sweden's most Northern city - it was founded because of a large deposit of high grade iron ore. Mining has caused the surface to settle, the ore is such a high grade that it would be stupid to close the mine so they are moving the entire city a couple miles.

I would love to visit there and hang out for a few weeks. I have always been attracted to polar regions.

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