Looking forward to this

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

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

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

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

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

From Breitbart:

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

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

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

Off to pick up my truck

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

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



Quote of the year:

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From an email:

The difference between Texas and Paris is guns.

Markets of Britian

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Filmed in Titt-Vision (no really):

Photography on public lands

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Interesting video:

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

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

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

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

From James Rowlatt writing at Watts Up With That

Would the School please explain - indeed.

From Steven Goddard at Real Science:

UN Says Earth Was Destroyed Yesterday

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


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


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


We are doomed I tell you DOOMED!

From Associated Press:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intolerance - Gluten

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Everyone is on the Gluten bandwagon these days.

From Salon:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Great article - lots more at the site...

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

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

Now it has come to this - from Bloomberg:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

A bit more:

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

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

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


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

Off to town again

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

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

Reminding everyone that today

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is Star Wars day:



That darn ROKU box

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Lulu got us started on Foyle's War

Excellent series set in England during WWII - murder mysteries.

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

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

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

Carly Fiorina announces

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

Daily routine

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

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

Cool website for Physics Phun

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Just found out about DIY Physics

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

They also have this site for general DIY geekery

Terrorism in the USA

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From the Dalas, TX ABC affiliate WFAA:

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

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

Garland Police shot and killed the two men.

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

Which prompted this wonderful tweet from Daniel Foster:



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


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

An interesting bit of computing history. From GE Reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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