Chappie is a must-see for me.

And then, there is this one: Mr. Holmes


Good news from Iraq

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This came in over the transom:

The U.S. Marines just rescued 34 ISIS sex slaves


Momo who? Invented instant Ramen.

From Vox:

How Momofuku Ando invented instant ramen — and transformed Japanese cuisine
Momofuku Ando, who invented ramen instant noodles, would have celebrated his 105th birthday today. In addition to inspiring hip restaurants (and Google Doodles), he earned the adoration of a nation. In a 2000 poll, Japanese respondents said instant ramen was the country's top invention of the 20th century.

Ando died at 96 in January 2007, but his legacy endures — not least due to the widespread popularity of his most famous invention.

I have certainly consumed my share of them. Tasty and quick to cook.

Rodham actually - her brother.

From Breitbart:

Gold Mine: Hillary Clinton’s Brother Granted Super-Rare Mining Permit from Haiti After State Dept. Sent Country Billions
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s brother, Tony Rodham, sat on the board of a self-described mining company that in 2012 received one of only two “gold exploitation permits” from the Haitian government—the first issued in over 50 years.

The tiny North Carolina company, VCS Mining, also included on its board Bill Clinton’s co-chair of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), former Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive.

The Rodham gold mine revelation is just one of dozens featured in a forthcoming bombshell investigative book by three-time New York Times bestselling author Peter Schweizer, according to a Thursday statement from publishing giant HarperCollins.  The publisher says the book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, is the culmination of an exhaustive one-year deep dive investigation into the nexus between the Clintons’ $100+ million personal wealth, the Clinton Foundation, and the decisions Hillary made as Secretary of State that benefited foreign donors, governments, and companies.

VCS’s coveted gold mining exploitation permit was apparently such a sweetheart deal that it outraged the Haitian senate, since royalties to be paid to the Haitian government were only 2.5%, a sum mining experts say is at least half the standard rate. Moreover, the mining project in Morne Bossa came with a generous ability to renew the project for up to 25 years. Nevertheless, the fledgling company proudly touted its luck in landing the deal.

 Looking forward to the book - the Clinton's are about as dirty as they come. Anyone else would be serving serious time in jail - for Tony, this is a resume enhancer.

Off to town - Lulu's birthday

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Got the critters taken care of and then doing a quick run into town to get a present and stuff for dinner. Lulu's B-Day is tomorrow.

Our water board annual general meeting is the next day - Saturday - so calling a bunch of the members to remind them this afternoon.


Zac Brown song is here: Colder Weather - great song and video.

Nothing much tonight

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Working on a community website and downloading some software for the upcoming trip.

Been doing a lot of time-lapse photography and looking to do sunrise/set and star photography on our travels through the Southwest. Learning Stelarium and The Photographer's Ephemeris

I already have one of the Samsung Android tablets that Costco sells and am installing TPE and some camera control software on this device and Stelarium on my laptop.

Quick trip into town to return some stuff at Lowe's (their prices have been creeping up a lot lately compared to Home Depot) and checking in on my Mom and Dad's condo (they are both deceased but I am remodeling it and will be using it as a home base to eBay a lot of their stuff). I have plenty of cardboard shipping boxes (1,200+) from my 'Business Center' flop.

Very cool news from the SciFi front

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From The Hollywood Reporter:

Bryan Singer Tackling Sci-Fi Classic 'The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress' for Fox (Exclusive)
Bryan Singer is tackling an adaptation of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, based on the classic sci-fi book by Robert A. Heinlein. Twentieth Century Fox recently picked up the movie rights.

Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim will adapt the book for the project, which will be titled Uprising. Singer is producing with Lloyd Braun of Whalerock Industries and Thor Halvorssen. Executive producers are Andrew Mittman and Jason Taylor.

Heinlein's 1966 sci-fi novel centers on about a lunar colony's revolt against rule from Earth. The novel was nominated for the 1966 Nebula award (honoring the best sci-fi and fantasy work in the U.S.) and won the Hugo Award for best science fiction novel in 1967.

A great story and relevant to today's politics. Looking forward to it!

Just finished watching his speech last night. He really is the Winston Churchill of our time and Obama is the Neville Chamberlain - war is looming and Obama has this delusional idea that his administration alone can negotiate with the forces of Islam.


Michael Ramirez sums it up perfectly:



Hillary's email problems

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Hillary seems to have taken note of Lois Lerner's email problems and decided to side-step the issue by hosting her own email server.

From Business Insider:

Hillary's emails are on a homebrew server registered to a pseudonym
The computer server that transmitted and received Hillary Clinton's emails — on a private account she used exclusively for official business when she was secretary of state — traced back to an internet service registered to her family's home in Chappaqua, New York, according to internet records reviewed by The Associated Press.

The highly unusual practice of a Cabinet-level official physically running her own email would have given Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, impressive control over limiting access to her message archives.

Not surprised - these people are not stupid, just corrupt and power hungry.

Freedom of Information Act doesn't apply to them - laws for thee and not for me.

Sir Spamalot

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Been having a sudden uptick in email spam these days - this morning was exceptional with 51 legitimate incoming emails and 136 SPAM.

Needless to say, 90% of these were captured by my filter and it was the matter of a mouseclick to permanently banning the IP and sender information.

Renaming the mule

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Our horse and mule were named (respectively) Rocky - an Appaloosa/Morgan cross and Sam the mule (Samuel).

Sam has now been christened Bullwinkle.

Also on the animal front, we have a pair of juvenile Bald Eagles hanging around the property. Lulu noticed them early this morning and they were still here in the early afternoon. They will be great to keep the rodents down.

Also, we had the first contractor visit and take measurements for some new fencing. Compare bids and take it from there.

A physics two-fer

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Physics is Phun!

First - from the UK Telegraph:

Homer Simpson 'discovered the Higgs boson'
Homer Simpson predicted the mass of the Higgs boson in a 1998 episode of The Simpsons, according to a science writer.

In The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace episode, Homer is shown in front of a blackboard working on an equation.

Twelve years later, scientists at the Large Hadron Collider discovered the Higgs boson.

A bit more - from Science author Simon Singh:

"That equation predicts the mass of the Higgs boson. If you work it out, you get the mass of a Higgs boson that's only a bit larger than the nano-mass of a Higgs boson actually is.

"It's kind of amazing as Homer makes this prediction 14 years before it was discovered."

 A perfectly cromulent show!

Second from the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of...):

Physicists gear up to catch a gravitational wave
This patch of woodland just north of Livingston, Louisiana, population 1893, isn’t the first place you’d go looking for a breakthrough in physics. Standing on a small overpass that crosses an odd arching tunnel, Joseph Giaime, a physicist at Louisiana State University (LSU), 55 kilometers west in Baton Rouge, gestures toward an expanse of spindly loblolly pine, parts of it freshly reduced to stumps and mud. “It’s a working forest,” he says, “so they come in here to harvest the logs.” On a quiet late fall morning, it seems like only a logger or perhaps a hunter would ever come here.

Yet it is here that physicists may fulfill perhaps the most spectacular prediction of Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity, or general relativity. The tunnel runs east to west for 4 kilometers and meets a similar one running north to south in a nearby warehouselike building. The structures house the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), an ultrasensitive instrument that may soon detect ripples in space and time set off when neutron stars or black holes merge.

This would be a major discovery if they find them. More:

Einstein himself predicted the existence of such gravitational waves nearly a century ago. But only now is the quest to detect them coming to a culmination. The device in Livingston and its twin in Hanford, Washington, ran from 2002 to 2010 and saw nothing. But those Initial LIGO instruments aimed only to prove that the experiment was technologically feasible, physicists say. Now, they’re finishing a $205 million rebuild of the detectors, known as Advanced LIGO, which should make them 10 times more sensitive and, they say, virtually ensure a detection. “It’s as close to a guarantee as one gets in life,” says Peter Saulson, a physicist at Syracuse University in New York, who works on LIGO. 

They are using optical interferometry - great for tiny measurements but very sensitive to external vibration. It will be interesting to see if they get a positive signal. 

What energy crisis?

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From Yahoo/Associated Press:

US running out of room to store oil; price collapse next?
The U.S. has so much crude that it is running out of places to put it, and that could drive oil and gasoline prices even lower in the coming months.

For the past seven weeks, the United States has been producing and importing an average of 1 million more barrels of oil every day than it is consuming. That extra crude is flowing into storage tanks, especially at the country's main trading hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, pushing U.S. supplies to their highest point in at least 80 years, the Energy Department reported last week.

If this keeps up, storage tanks could approach their operational limits, known in the industry as "tank tops," by mid-April and send the price of crude — and probably gasoline, too — plummeting.

"The fact of the matter is we are running out of storage capacity in the U.S.," Ed Morse, head of commodities research at Citibank, said at a recent symposium at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

That will put a crimp in the Russians and the Saudis. Good.

Now let's build the damn Keystone XL and really have a glut of cheap energy. This would be a major boost to our economy and employment.

Great Geico ad

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I do not know who does their advertising but they are fantastic

Here is a new one


A wiff of fowl play -

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From Los Angeles Public Television station KCET:

Scores of Birds Killed During Test of Solar Project in Nevada
A test of a solar power tower project in Nevada resulted in injuries to over one hundred birds, the federal government is reporting, though the project's owners say they've fixed the problem.

On January 14, during tests of the 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project near Tonopah, Nevada, biologists observed 130 birds entering an area of concentrated solar energy and catching fire. That's according to Rudy Evenson, Deputy Chief of Communications for Nevada Bureau of Land Management in Reno.

Evenson suggested that the birds may have been attracted by a glow the concentrated solar energy created above the project's sole tower.

Fixed the problem? Some more:

By the time the test ended for the day at 3:00 p.m., biologists had counted 130 such "streamers." A subsequent test on January 15 reduced the number of mirrors aimed at the focal point above the tower, said Evenson, and that apparently ended the injuries to birds.

SolarReserve has confirmed to Rewire that birds were injured at the plant in January, but says that the mitigation measures Evenson described have allowed subsequent testing of the plant with less risk to wildlife -- which the company is touting as good news for management of power tower wildlife issues.

"We had some avian incidents during the week of January 11, in which there were a number of incidents, estimated at under 150 avian safety issues," SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith told Rewire. "As a result, we stopped testing until we successfully developed mitigation procedures to address the identified avian safety issues."

Those mitigation procedures, developed by SolarReserve's engineers, include repositioning the plant's mirrors to reduce the intensity of the solar flux field.

So they reduced the bird kill by defocusing the array - their vaunted 110 megawatt output is now much lower. And their cost per megawatt is? Not talked about. All the while, a LFTR could be providing energy 24/7 for much lower cost and be much safer for the environment.

Our early spring

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Spring is arriving very early this year - flowers are starting to bloom, trees are budding out and mosquitoes are out in force.

Points south are feeling the effects too - from the Skagit Valley Herald:

With daffodils in bloom, can tulips be far behind?
A mild winter could bring an early bloom for tulips this year, but there’s little concern it will hurt the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, organizers and growers say.

Meanwhile, La Conner is starting the celebration of spring flowers early with its inaugural Daffodil Festival.

But it is not unknown:

“We’ve had early years in the past. Exactly how this year compares to the last 30 or 40 years, we’ll know that when it happens,” Roozen said. “When they will bloom exactly, we don’t know that. Everything kind of follows with the weather.”

The Skagit Valley Bulb Farm, which operates Tulip Town on Bradshaw Road, expects to have tulips blooming by the last weekend of March, said co-owner Jeanette DeGoede. Tulip Town will also open in advance of the Tulip Festival, on March 27, she said.

DeGoede said she doesn’t think an early tulip bloom will affect plans for this year’s festival. The farm usually has multiple bloom times each year, and if anything, an earlier start will allow visitors who show up in early April to see full fields in bloom, she said.

These cycles have come and gone before - high pressure ridge over the West coast. Looking forward to the longer growing season - Lulu planted some stuff today while I was in town shopping.

Fence update

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Got replies from three fence companies - first one is out here tomorrow afternoon. Collect bids and take it from there.

Horse and mule are still in their paddock - was just out on the back porch putting part of dinner on the grill and they gave me stink eye again. Are they in for a surprise...

Dinner? Soy and ginger marinated flank steak with grilled onion rings and asparagus. The grill is a Traeger and I am running it with apple wood.

Did not get to sleep until 3:00AM last night - nothing happening, just not sleepy.

Worked my butt off today and feeling nice and sleepy so heading upstairs to bed in a bit.

The Roku box is awesome - only had a few times when the streaming could not keep up. The box gracefully degraded to a lower resolution rather than stuttering - there is some nice software lurking inside...

DirecTV - sorry. At $90/month, you are gone from my house. Also, you were unresponsive to my requests for new channels and limited me to specific channels while giving others for which I had zero interest a free ride. I am already getting broadband and Amazon Prime for my business so instead of movies and some shows for $90/month, I get more with Lulu's $8/month Netflix (streaming only - no DVD delivery) and my $99/year Amazon Prime. Bad business model, no donut.

Shopping run tomorrow.

Working at the farm

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Forecast was for a 40% chance of rain but it was cool and overcast all day - perfect day for shoveling shit.

Literally - got the critter barn almost all mucked out and there is a pile of poop and straw compost about eight feet tall outside the garden. Not for this year - still a bit hot with ammonia - but it will be amazing next.

Horse and Mule are in their paddock giving us stink-eye. The fence there is electrified.

Lulu just fixed a late lunch - some sandwiches and soup for us - have dinner (spaghetti) in two hours or so.

Got a lot done today...

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