February 29, 2012

RIP - Davey Jones

The 'cute' Monkee — from Ed Morrisey at Pajamas Media:

How Davy Jones Changed the World
I still find it hard to believe that Davy Jones, the teen idol star of TV’s The Monkees died today at age 66 of a heart attack. Given that Mick Jagger is still going strong, and while Keith Richards appears to have morphed into Treebeard at some point over the last decade, he recently concluded a tour to promote his best-selling autobiography, 66 isn’t that old for today’s geriatric rock stars – particularly if Jones had stuck with the milk diet implied by the Monkees’ first sponsor, Kellogg’s Cereal.

I wouldn’t go as far as Kathy Shaidle’s claim that they were “better than The Beatles,” but certainly the latter group’s prefab imitators had their moments. In their early days, with Don Kirshner leading their sessions, they had the pick of New York’s Brill Building songwriters, such as Neil Diamond, Carole King, and Gerry Goffin. In their second season, after they fired Kirshner, the hits slowed down, but their quirky attempts at psychedelia were some of their most fascinating songs, along with Mike Nesmith’s proto-country rock experiments, which anticipated ‘70s groups like The Eagles by a good five to ten years. (Nesmith’s experiments in music video in the following decade would be dubbed by some as a direct precursor to ‘80s phenomenon MTV.)

You could make a case that 1966 was a seminal year in boomer pop culture. A young person could turn on the TV and flip through the dial to find:
•Star Trek
•Mission: Impossible
•Batman
•The Green Hornet
•I Spy
•The Avengers
•The Wild, Wild West
•And of course, The Monkees
Those shows would be the backbone of syndicated rerun packages for the next quarter century, and most would also be developed into at least one motion picture, and for the first three, entire franchises that continue to this day.

That show was on regular rotation in my teens. A couple of commentors brought up the missing shows in the roster: Man from U.N.C.L.E., Lost in Space, and of course, IRWIN ALLEN's Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea and Time Tunnel.

I am still waiting for my jetpack. Dammit — they promised me a jetpack. With fricken' laser beams…

Posted by DaveH at 11:00 PM | Comments (1)

Carrington events

Last Saint Valentine's day I posted how Homeland Security was making preparations in the event of another Carrington Event. Take home point — do not be in Seattle or New York City.

Now, someone is saying that we could have a 1 in 8 chance of one before 2020. From Wired:

1 in 8 Chance of Catastrophic Solar Megastorm by 2020
The Earth has a roughly 12 percent chance of experiencing an enormous megaflare erupting from the sun in the next decade. This event could potentially cause trillions of dollars’ worth of damage and take up to a decade to recover from.

Such an extreme event is considered to be relatively rare. The last gigantic solar storm, known as the Carrington Event, occurred more than 150 years ago and was the most powerful such event in recorded history.

That a rival to this event might have a greater than 10 percent chance of happening in the next 10 years was surprising to space physicist Pete Riley, senior scientist at Predictive Science in San Diego, California, who published the estimate in Space Weather on Feb. 23.

“Even if it’s off by a factor of two, that’s a much larger number than I thought,” he said.

Glad I'm hunkered down in the Pacific Northwest.

Ordered a new Fire Control Group for my new Zombie Killah…

Posted by DaveH at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

Feelin' alright

Just got done with the treatment and feeling very dopey and mellow.

Got a Costco roti chicken in the smoker and the toaster oven just finished a baked potato. Small salad and that's dinner and then out for a pint or two.

The snow keeps coming down and sticking — the days may be getting longer but winter still has a thing or two left up his sleeve.

Posted by DaveH at 06:14 PM | Comments (0)

Heading back out to the farm

Have an energy treatment tonight so heading back out to the farm.

Starting to snow in Bellingham so there should be some decent accumulation out there.

Posted by DaveH at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

February 28, 2012

Just a thought

From Saturday's Warrior posting at Simply Because it Is:

I just realized…..
The North Korean's hyperfocusing on the events of the 1950's war between North and South and the US involvement and our “atrocities” - being kept alive from over half a century ago today as a reason for revolution and the keeping of the leaders in power - is less stupid than the leaders of the black communities in America today (Louis Farrakhan, Sharpton et al.) keeping alive the issues of slavery in America back in the 1850's (and before) to keep Louie and his friends in power and Obama in power…….just a thought.

It was never about the rights of the little people; it was just a naked power grab for the few and the very rich.

Wilkow again: Socialism — ideas so good they have to be mandatory.

Posted by DaveH at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)

What passes for journalistic standards these days

From James Politi writing at the UK Financial Times:

Democrats grow confident of House win
Democrats say they are optimistic that they can regain control of the House of Representatives in the November election, an outcome that would mark a sharp reversal from the thumping defeat dealt to the party in 2010.

“We’ve gone from a gale force wind against us to a sustained breeze at our backs,” said Steve Israel, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, on Tuesday.

Hey James, while you were giving Mr. Israel his loving tongue-bath, did you happen to think about checking the political winds hmmmm? Check a few polls? Fact check anything?

Or did you just regurgitate Mr. Israel's press release verbatim like the good little lap-dog that you are.

The comments are a fun read.

Posted by DaveH at 09:16 PM | Comments (0)

Hope and change in Afghanistan

From CNS News:

Two-Thirds of U.S. Deaths in Afghanistan Have Occurred Since Obama’s Surge
Two-thirds of U.S. military fatalities in the decade-long Afghan war have occurred since May 15, 2009, when the first wave of the troop surge ordered by President Barack Obama arrived in Afghanistan.

The 1,180 U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan reported between May 15, 2009 and today account for approximately 66 percent of the total of 1,792 U.S. military fatalities in that country since the beginning of the war in October 2001, according to CNS News.com’s database of all fatalities in the war.

That is what you get when your top leadership bows to hostile leaders and projects an aura of appeasement instead of being resolute and going in to win. It encourages the enemy and since the 'progressive' morons cannot comprehend that someone would simply hate us and want to destroy our culture. They fail to project the strength needed to quell the terrorists.

In words of as few syllables as possible: We cannot reason with these people; they are our sworn (by them — not us) enemy.

Posted by DaveH at 08:55 PM | Comments (0)

Long day

We just got back from dinner. Lulu's first day was hectic but good.

Son is getting sucked into the Vector Marketing scam — his first training day is tomorrow so we will see what is happening there. He is pretty sharp so we will see how soon he picks up on it.

Posted by DaveH at 08:52 PM | Comments (0)

Staying lighter later

Just noticed that we now have really usable light at 6:00PM

Solstice was December 21st and pitch black at 5:00PM

January 6th there was usable light at 5:00PM

Now tonight at 6:00PM — the back of winter is broken. Time for a new year…

Posted by DaveH at 06:09 PM | Comments (0)

The Con Artist

Heh… Swiped from Denny

Posted by DaveH at 05:51 PM | Comments (0)

In town today

Met with real-estate people — there is a good offer on the building and store but their price was a bit low. I countered and we are now waiting to hear back. Financial tennis match: boink — boink — boink — boink…

Lulu's first day on her new job was today and she just called saying that she was also going to be taking a CPR class and would be another two hours late. She is doing activities at a senior living center. She did this in Hawai'i and it is a perfect match for her. Son and I will go to a nearby restaurant to get a bite in an hour or so.

Surfing a bit…

Posted by DaveH at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2012

Just wonderful - England has run out of other people's money

From the UK Telegraph:

George Osborne: UK has run out of money
In a stark warning ahead of next month’s Budget, the Chancellor said there was little the Coalition could do to stimulate the economy.

Mr Osborne made it clear that due to the parlous state of the public finances the best hope for economic growth was to encourage businesses to flourish and hire more workers.

“The British Government has run out of money because all the money was spent in the good years,” the Chancellor said. “The money and the investment and the jobs need to come from the private sector.”

What is really sobering is that there is an inline poll asking readers to select between these three options:

  • Tax the rich more to allow the income tax rate to be lifted to £10,000
  • Borrow more and worry about reducing national debt in future years
  • We can't afford any tax cuts

Odd that cutting government spending was not included.

Title? Margaret Thatcher. From a Feb. 5, 1976 television interview:

“…and Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They [socialists] always run out of other people's money. It's quite a characteristic of them.”
Posted by DaveH at 07:44 PM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2012

Another 'progressive' with legal issues

Could not be happening to a nicer person hypocrite. From Sacramento, CA station KXTV:

Feds sue anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan over back taxes
The federal government has filed a lawsuit to force anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan to provide her financial records to the Internal Revenue Service.

An IRS revenue officer said Sheehan refused to answer any questions about her finances after receiving a summons at her Vacaville home.

The U.S. Attorney's office on Tuesday filed a petition to enforce the IRS summons.

The summons ordered Sheehan to produce bank account statements for the period from August through early November 2011.

According to IRS revenue officer Jose Arteaga, the financial information may be relevant to the collection of Sheehan's federal income tax liabilities for tax years 2005 and 2006.

As with Mr. Ritter; Cindy baby, you had your fifteen minutes now please go.

Here is a list of the earlier posts I have made on this media whore
A few of my favorites are here, here, here and this one is beyond the pale: here.

To capitalize on her son's tragic death for her own self advancement.

And note the lack of headstone — the military provides a plaque set into the ground. Family members can purchase a headstone. If she loved her son that much and wanted to memorialize him, she could have ponied up the couple thousand to buy a nice monument. But no, she would rather keep the money for herself and keep the 'progressive' lifestyle to which she has become accustomed.

Vanity Fair indeed…

Posted by DaveH at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

Barry's PR campaign

From Bloomberg:

Obama Enlists Guggenheim for Campaign Film
With Hollywood gathering this weekend for the 84th Academy Awards, President Barack Obama has recruited Oscar-winning documentary director Davis Guggenheim to again produce a short film for his campaign.

Obama’s re-election staff in Chicago spent $162,834 on the film last month, according to the January Federal Election Commission filing. Currently in post-production, the film focuses on the president’s first three years in office, according to a campaign official.

The film will be less than 30 minutes long and released in weeks, though the exact date hasn’t been decided, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The campaign is still considering how it will be used, the official said.

Guggenheim's Oscar was for the Al Gore Powerpoint session “An Inconvenient Truth” which has been thoroughly debunked.

Posted by DaveH at 11:00 PM | Comments (0)

Interesting legislation in Wyoming

From the Casper Wyoming Star Tribune:

Wyoming House advances doomsday bill
State representatives on Friday advanced legislation to launch a study into what Wyoming should do in the event of a complete economic or political collapse in the United States.

House Bill 85 passed on first reading by a voice vote. It would create a state-run government continuity task force, which would study and prepare Wyoming for potential catastrophes, from disruptions in food and energy supplies to a complete meltdown of the federal government.

A bit more:

Several House members spoke in favor of the legislation, saying there was no harm in preparing for the worst.

“I don’t think there’s anyone in this room today what would come up here and say that this country is in good shape, that the world is stable and in good shape — because that is clearly not the case,” state Rep. Lorraine Quarberg, R-Thermopolis, said. “To put your head in the sand and think that nothing bad’s going to happen, and that we have no obligation to the citizens of the state of Wyoming to at least have the discussion, is not healthy.”

Wyoming’s Department of Homeland Security already has a statewide crisis management plan, but it doesn’t cover what the state should do in the event of an extreme nationwide political or economic collapse. In recent years, lawmakers in at least six states have introduced legislation to create a state currency, all unsuccessfully.

Not a bad idea — might be a good move for our local county. The bill allocates $32K for the task force so it's not like this is another burgeoning governmental agency being created.

Posted by DaveH at 06:28 PM | Comments (0)

Gorgeous day today

There are a couple inches of snow on the ground but the sky is clear, the sun is out and air temp is 43°F so it feels nice and warm. Goats are lounging and the Llamas are stuffing their faces — put out fresh hay yesterday.

Fixing lunch and then back to work.

Posted by DaveH at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

Good riddance - Scott Ritter finally sentenced

Talk about a change in personality - excerpted from the article is this brief bio:

Ritter, a former Marine major and United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq, who quit the U.N. inspection team in 1998 and railed against Saddam Hussein’s government for misleading inspectors and scamming the international community. And it was Ritter who then did an about-face and emerged, during the long period that led to the war, as the loudest and most credible skeptic of the Bush administration’s contention that Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction. In a bizarre moment in 2002, Ritter even made the long journey back to Baghdad to address the Iraqi Parliament as a private citizen, warning that his own country was about to make a “historical mistake” and urging the Iraqis to allow inspections to resume. For this, and for his relentless insistence that the presence of hidden W.M.D.’s was nothing but a political pretense for war, Ritter was dismissed and even mocked by much of the media establishment (including writers for this magazine and The New York Times).

What people do not talk about is the weeks-long convoy of matériels from Iraq north to Syria. Want to know where the WMD's are? Syria.

Anyway, it seems that he has gotten his come-uppance — from the New York Times:

Scott Ritter’s Other War
On a February afternoon in 2009, Ryan Venneman, one of only five full-time police officers in tiny Barrett Township, Pa., decided to spend some time hunting for sexual predators online. Venneman entered a Yahoo chat room, where the minimum legal age is supposed be 18, and passed himself off as a teenager named Emily. Before long, he was contacted by a man who said he was 44 and called himself delmarm4fun — a reference to Delmar, N.Y., an Albany suburb about three hours from where Venneman was sitting in the Poconos.

“Age?” delmarm4fun asked.
“15.”
“Aha,” came the response. “New York or Pa.?”

A graphic flirtation ensued. At one point, delmarm4fun asked “Emily” again if she was 18.

“No, I’m 15,” Venneman replied.
“Aha,” delmarm4fun said again. “My bad.”
“What’s wrong?” Venneman asked.
“Didn’t realize you were 15. . . .”
“So why u don’t like me,” Venneman typed, mimicking an adolescent’s mangled syntax.
“I do, very much. LOL. Just don’t want any trouble.”

After about an hour of this, according to logs later presented in court, the man Venneman was talking to masturbated in front of a webcam and announced he was off to take a shower.
“U know ur in a lot of trouble, don’t you,” Venneman typed.
“Huh?”
“I’m a undercover police officer. U need to call me A.S.A.P.
“Nah,” delmarm4fun wrote. “Your not 15. Yahoo is for 18 and over. It’s all fantasy. No crime.”

“I have your phone number and I will be getting your IP address from Yahoo and your carrier,” Venneman wrote. “We can do this 2 ways call me and you can turn yourself in at a latter date or I’ll get a warrant for you and come pick you up.”

The perpetrator turned himself in almost immediately. Delmarm4fun, it turned out, was Scott Ritter, one of the most controversial figures in American foreign policy for the past decade and a half.

And his response is pure hubris:

Even after he was convicted on five felony counts and two misdemeanors last year, Ritter remained, as he always has, self-righteous and inclined toward seeing conspiracies. “I’m not humiliated,” he told me recently, when I suggested he should be. “It’s nobody else’s business. And anybody who seeks to make it their business, they should be humiliated. They should be ashamed. They should be embarrassed. What I did or what I didn’t do is nobody’s business but my own and my wife’s. And the fact that this had been dragged out into the public eye the way it has speaks volumes about our society.”

And this isn't the first time he has been in trouble:

Except that it wasn’t slander, inasmuch as slander is, by definition, untrue. In fact, the police in Colonie, N.Y., encountered Ritter twice in 2001 — and quietly arrested him once — after he contacted cops posing as under-age girls in chat rooms. (Ritter was caught using the unsubtle screen name OnExhibit.) In both cases, Ritter agreed to meet the fictional teenagers in the parking lots of fast-food joints, with the intent of masturbating in front of them, only to be confronted by cops when he got there. For reasons that still aren’t entirely clear, the prosecutor dismissed the charges, on the condition that Ritter enter intensive counseling, and a local judge sealed the records.

Hey Scott — you had your fifteen minutes now go away…

Posted by DaveH at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2012

Living in Detroit

How's that hope and change working out for you. From The Daily:

911 IS A JOKE
The people of Detroit are taking no prisoners.

Justifiable homicide in the city shot up 79 percent in 2011 from the previous year, as citizens in the long-suffering city armed themselves and took matters into their own hands. The local rate of self-defense killings now stands 2,200 percent above the national average. Residents, unable to rely on a dwindling police force to keep them safe, are fighting back against the criminal scourge on their own. And they’re offering no apologies.

“We got to have a little Old West up here in Detroit. That’s what it’s gonna take,” Detroit resident Julia Brown told The Daily.

The last time Brown, 73, called the Detroit police, they didn’t show up until the next day. So she applied for a permit to carry a handgun and says she’s prepared to use it against the young thugs who have taken over her neighborhood, burglarizing entire blocks, opening fire at will and terrorizing the elderly with impunity.

“I don’t intend to be one of their victims,” said Brown, who has lived in Detroit since the late 1950s. “I’m planning on taking one out.”

A bit more:

In this city of about 700,000 people, the number of cops has steadily fallen, from about 5,000 a decade ago to fewer than 3,000 today. Detroit homicides — the second-highest per capita in the country last year, according to the FBI — rose by 10 percent in 2011 to 344 people.

And the private sector is always ready to step in:

The city’s wealthier enclaves have hired private security firms. Intimidating men in armored trucks patrol streets lined with gracious old homes in a scene more likely seen in Mexico City than the United States.

That kind of paid protection can run residents anywhere from $10 to $200 per month, and companies say business is good.

“We’re booming,” said Dale Brown, the owner of Threat Management Group, which along with Recon Security patrols neighborhoods like Palmer Woods in black Hummers.

“We’re paramilitary, but we’re positive. I’m not a vigilante. I’m an agent of change.”

Got to love capitalism. Sadly, this is the fate of larger cities if we follow Obama's plans.
To quote Andrew Wilkow: Socialism — ideas so good they have to be mandatory.

Posted by DaveH at 12:49 PM | Comments (0)

RIP - Steve Kordek

Steve Kordek? Who he? From the New York Times:

Steve Kordek, a Pinball Innovator, Dies at 100
Steve Kordek, who revolutionized the game of pinball in the 1940s by designing what became the standard two-flipper machine found in bars and penny arcades around the world, died on Sunday at a hospice in Park Ridge, Ill. He was 100.

His daughter Catherine Petrash confirmed his death.

Mr. Kordek actually revised a revision of what until the 1930s had been called the pin game. In that version a player would pull a plunger to release the ball, then shake the table in an often frustrating attempt to redirect the ball toward a scoring target — a cup or a hole.

In 1947, two designers at the D. Gottlieb & Company pinball factory in Chicago, Harry Mabs and Wayne Neyens, transformed that rudimentary game into one called Humpty Dumpty, adding six electromechanical flippers, three on each side from the top to the bottom of the field.

It was an instant hit — until, at a trade show in Chicago 1948, Mr. Kordek introduced Triple Action, a game that featured just two flippers, both controlled by buttons at the bottom of the table. Mr. Kordek was a designer for Genco, one of more than two dozen pinball manufacturers in Chicago at the time.

Not only was Mr. Kordek’s two-flipper game less expensive to produce; it also gave players greater control. For someone concentrating on keeping a chrome-plated ball from dropping into the “drain,” two flippers, one for each hand, were better than six.

“It really was revolutionary, and pretty much everyone else followed suit,” David Silverman, executive director of the National Pinball Museum in Baltimore, said in an interview. “And it’s stayed the standard for 60 years.”

Quite the career — a bit more:

Mr. Kordek’s career spanned more than six decades and the industry’s evolution from battery power to computers. While the two-flipper standard is perhaps his most significant contribution, he would go on to lead design teams that created more than 100 games — at Genco and later for Bally Manufacturing and Williams Manufacturing — many of which were hits. Among them are Space Mission, which was inspired by the Apollo and Soyuz satellite missions; Grand Prix, with a car-racing theme; Contact, in which humans and space aliens meet; and Pokerino, based on poker.

The last game to which Mr. Kordek contributed was Vacation America, a computerized game released in 2003 that was inspired by the National Lampoon “Vacation” movies.

“Steve’s impact would be comparable to D. W. Griffith moving from silent films through talkies and color and CinemaScope and 3-D with computer-generated graphics,” Mr. Sharpe said. “He moved through each era seamlessly.”

Spent quite a lot of time with Mr. Kordek’s machines as a kid — used to love the game…

Posted by DaveH at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

Guns in Canada

Wonderful story from the Toronto National Post:

Police arrest and stripsearch innocent man after child doodles a gun
Even in a country with gun laws as warped as Canada’s, the story of Jessie Sansone is still mindboggling.

Sansone, 26, is a father of three and Kitchener, Ont., resident. As a younger man, he admits getting into trouble with the law, but claims to have lived clean for years. He’s now a certified personal support worker, husband and father of three. He was even reportedly offered a job at the very same school where this bizarre story begins. On Wednesday, Sansone arrived at his children’s’ school to pick them up. He was asked to step inside and meet with the principal. In the principal’s office, Sansone was met by three Waterloo Regional Police officers and immediately arrested. He was taken to a nearby station, strip searched and locked in a cell. His wife was also summoned to the station, and their children taken by Family and Children’s Services. At no point were they told why this was happening. It was not until officers had told Sansone that he’d be held in custody overnight before a bail hearing in the morning that his lawyer was finally able to tell Sansone that he had been arrested for possession of a firearm.

After hours in custody, during which time Sansone understandably became alarmed, he was suddenly released, without charges or conditions. A detective with the Waterloo Regional Police service apologized to Sansone, and explained that the entire sequence of events had been set in motion because a teacher at the school became alarmed when his four-year-old daughter drew a gun and said the picture was of her father. The teacher then notified Family Services, who decided that the police needed to be involved, telling the police that they had reason to believe that there was a gun in Sansone’s home that his children had access to. That is what led Waterloo’s finest to bust Sansone in front of the entire school, strip him naked, confine him in a cell, bring his wife to a police station and take away their children.

That sounds bad, but it’s actually worse even than that. The drawing that set all this off was a drawing of Sansone being a good guy — according to what his daughter told her kindergarten teacher, the picture was of her daddy using a gun against “bad guys and monsters.” Protecting her, in other words. It was essentially a comic strip with her father in the role of the hero. Good Lord! We’d better call in the SWAT team, quick

The police did have the grace to apologize but the power that these bureaucracies have is beyond the pale — especially when they are staffed with idiots. More government will fix everything.

And I am having to drive up to Canada to buy a toilet that uses more than six liters of water to flush — I live on a septic system and need the extra flow but the Environmental Protection Agency reaches into my house and dictates what kind of toilet I am allowed to install.

We need to starve the beast…

Posted by DaveH at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2012

Working at the farm

Putting in some bright lights in the garage, working a bit at the forge and got hay out to the critters.

Will stop for dinner in an hour or so and then surf for a bit.

Posted by DaveH at 05:05 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2012

Back home again

Borrowed the neighbors back-hoe and buried Seamus the sheep right alongside the Willie the llama's gravesite. It overlooks a nice view of Mt. Baker and they are both lying down and facing East.

Had a Chinese energy treatment so feeling good — did a pressure cooker with smoked ham hocks, navy beans and veggies so finishing off a salad and will have that for dinner. Heading out for a pint or two so probably no posting tonight. The treatments wipe me out (sleep ten hours) but I feel amazing for the next five/six days.

Lots of projects for me at the farm…

Posted by DaveH at 06:38 PM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2012

Increasing your vocabulary

A wonderful collection from Project Gutenberg:

1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue
The merit of Captain Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue has been long and universally acknowledged. But its circulation was confined almost exclusively to the lower orders of society: he was not aware, at the time of its compilation, that our young men of fashion would at no very distant period be as distinguished for the vulgarity of their jargon as the inhabitants of Newgate; and he therefore conceived it superfluous to incorporate with his work the few examples of fashionable slang that might occur to his observation.

But our Jehus of rank have a phraseology not less peculiar to themselves, than the disciples of Barrington: for the uninitiated to understand their modes of expression, is as impossible as for a Buxton to construe the Greek Testament. To sport an Upper Benjamin, and to swear with a good grace, are qualifications easily attainable by their cockney imitators; but without the aid of our additional definitions, neither the cits of Fish-street, nor the boors of Brentford would be able to attain the language of whippism. We trust, therefore, that the whole tribe of second-rate Bang Ups, will feel grateful for our endeavour to render this part of the work as complete as possible. By an occasional reference to our pages, they may be initiated into all the peculiarities of language by which the man of spirit is distinguished from the man of worth. They may now talk bawdy before their papas, without the fear of detection, and abuse their less spirited companions, who prefer a good dinner at home to a glorious UP-SHOT in the highway, without the hazard of a cudgelling.

But we claim not merely the praise of gratifying curiosity, or affording assistance to the ambitious; we are very sure that the moral influence of the Lexicon Balatronicum will be more certain and extensive than that of any methodist sermon that has ever been delivered within the bills of mortality. We need not descant on the dangerous impressions that are made on the female mind, by the remarks that fall incidentally from the lips of the brothers or servants of a family; and we have before observed, that improper topics can with our assistance be discussed, even before the ladies, without raising a blush on the cheek of modesty. It is impossible that a female should understand the meaning of TWIDDLE DIDDLES, or rise from table at the mention of BUCKINGER'S BOOT. Besides, Pope assures us, that “VICE TO BE HATED NEEDS BUT TO BE SEEN;” in this volume it cannot be denied, that she is seen very plainly; and a love of virtue is, therefore, the necessary result of perusing it.

The propriety of introducing the UNIVERSITY SLANG will be readily admitted; it is not less curious than that of the College in the Old Bailey, and is less generally understood. When the number and accuracy of our additions are compared with the price of the volume, we have no doubt that its editors will meet with the encouragement that is due to learning, modesty, and virtue.

Just a few examples out of the hundreds — some are still in common use but some need to be brought back:

ALL NATIONS. A composition of all the different spirits sold in a dram-shop, collected in a vessel into which the drainings of the bottles and quartern pots are emptied.

Sounds yummy — more:

ALLS. The five alls is a country sign, representing five human figures, each having a motto under him. The first is a king in his regalia; his motto, I govern all: the second, a bishop in pontificals; motto, I pray for all: third, a lawyer in his gown; motto, I plead for all: fourth: a soldier in his regimentals, fully accoutred; motto, I fight for all: fifth, a poor countryman with his scythe and rake; motto, I pay for all.

Considering Obama's regency, this would make a great poster — more:

APPLE DUMPLIN SHOP. A woman's bosom.

Hell yeah — more:

BUG-HUNTER. An upholsterer.

Given the rise of urban bed-bugs, makes a lot of sense — more:

DOG'S SOUP. Rain water

Bringing that one back — and one more:

LEAKY. Apt to blab; one who cannot keep a secret is said to be leaky.

This is a huge collection of words — some are still in common use but some should be revived for their succinctness…

Posted by DaveH at 10:48 PM | Comments (0)

Well, boom goes London, And boom Paris. More room for you, And more room for me.

Fun little interactive Google Map

Hat tip to Neatorama for the link.

Title? The inimitable Randy Newman's: Let's Drop the Big One Now

Posted by DaveH at 10:12 PM | Comments (0)

Never heard of the Laffer Curve

From the UK Telegraph:

50p tax rate 'failing to boost revenues’
The Treasury received £10.35 billion in income tax payments from those paying by self-assessment last month, a drop of £509 million compared with January 2011. Most other taxes produced higher revenues over the same period.

Senior sources said that the first official figures indicated that there had been “manoeuvring” by well-off Britons to avoid the new higher rate. The figures will add to pressure on the Coalition to drop the levy amid fears it is forcing entrepreneurs to relocate abroad.

The self-assessment returns from January, when most income tax is paid by the better-off, have been eagerly awaited by the Treasury and government ministers as they provide the first evidence of the success, or failure, of the 50p rate. It is the first year following the introduction of the 50p rate which had been expected to boost tax revenues from self-assessment by more than £1 billion.

Although the official statistics do not disclose how much money was paid at the 50p rate of tax, the figures indicate that it is falling short of the money the levy was expected to raise.

A Treasury source said the relatively poor revenues from self-assessment returns was partly down to highly-paid individuals arranging their affairs to avoid paying the 50p rate.

England suffers from the same problem that we have — there is no revenue problem, there is a spending problem. We are collecting buckets of money but we are spending it faster than we collect and this rate is only increasing. Bill Whittle says it best with this video:

Laffer Curve? Read more here (Wikipedia):

Laffer curve
In economics, the Laffer curve is a theoretical representation of the relationship between government revenue raised by taxation and all possible rates of taxation. It is used to illustrate the concept of taxable income elasticity – that taxable income will change in response to changes in the rate of taxation. The Laffer curve postulates that no tax revenue will be raised at the extreme tax rates of 0% and 100%. If both a 0% and 100% rate of taxation generate no revenue, but some intermediate tax rate generates some tax revenue, it follows from the extreme value theorem that there must exist at least one rate where tax revenue would be a non-zero maximum. The Laffer curve is typically represented as a graph which starts at 0% tax with zero revenue, rises to a maximum rate of revenue at an intermediate rate of taxation, and then falls again to zero revenue at a 100% tax rate.
Posted by DaveH at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)

Wonderful find in China

From Gizmodo:

Extraordinary 298-Million-Year-Old Forest Discovered Under Chinese Coal Mine
American and Chinese scientists are flabbergasted after discovering a giant 298-million-year-old forest buried intact under a coal mine near Wuda, in Inner Mongolia, China.

They are calling it the Pompeii of the Permian period because, like the ancient Roman city, it was covered and preserved by volcanic ash.

Like Pompeii, this swamp forest is so perfectly maintained that scientists know where every plant originally was. This has allowed them to map it and to create the images above. This extraordinary finding “is like Pompeii”, according to University of Pennsylvania paleobotanist Hermann Pfefferkorn, who characterized it as “a time capsule.”

A bit more:

The researchers discovered the 10,763-square-foot (1000-square-meter) area hidden under a coal mine using heavy industrial machinery. They believe that this frozen-in-time fossilized forest was covered under gigantic amounts of ash that fell from the sky for days.

So far, they have identified six groups of trees, some of them 80 feet tall. Some of them are Sigillaria and Cordaites, but they also found large groups of a type called Noeggerathiales, which are now completely extinct.

During the Permian, which extends from 299 to 251 million years ago, there weren't conifers or flowers. Plants reproduced like ferns, using spores, and the modern continents were still joined in a single mass of land called Pangaea. This geologic period happened at the end of the Paleozoic era, after the Carboniferous.

During this time there were also animals. This is when the first groups of mammals, turtles, lepidosaurs and archosaurs started to roam the Earth. Scientist believe that the Permian—and with it the entire Paleozoic era—ended with the largest mass extinction ever, which obliterated 90 percent of the marine and 70 percent of the terrestrial species.

Just wow!

Posted by DaveH at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2012

Hope and Change

From The Washington Times:

Violent crime in D.C. surges in 2012
Violent crime so far this year in the District has spiked sharply — a 40 percent increase that includes twice as many robberies at gunpoint than at this time last year.

Across the city, all police districts are reporting increases in violent crime, and all but one have had double-digit percentage increases, according to internal Metropolitan Police Department documents. The documents contained preliminary crime data for the city as of Thursday.

Unemployment for teenagers in DC is over 25%

Posted by DaveH at 07:05 PM | Comments (0)

Cool news - Santorum on the rise

My choice for presidential candidate is Rick Santorum.

From Gallup:

Santorum Surges to Tie Romney
Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are now statistically tied for the lead in Republican registered voters' preferences for the 2012 GOP nomination — 32% to 30%, respectively. Newt Gingrich, who led the field as recently as late January, is now third, favored by 16%, while Ron Paul's support has dwindled to 8%, the lowest level yet seen for him in 2012.

Santorum has the conservative track record whereas Willard does not.

Posted by DaveH at 06:59 PM | Comments (0)

Nice work if you can get it

From The Washington Examiner:

Michelle's ski trip marks 16 Obama vacations
First lady Michelle Obama’s weekend jaunt to Aspen, Colorado for a President’s Day ski holiday with her daughters Sasha and Malia makes the 16th time members of the first family have gone on extended vacations during their three years in office.

Their stay at the home of a major Chicago fundraiser for President Obama makes the fifth time the first lady and her daughters have taken a break from Washington on their own. Only once has Obama had a long weekend out of town and alone, celebrating his 49th birthday in Chicago in August 2010.

Accounting for trips out of Washington for several days, the total number of vacations Washington Secrets tabulated is 16, 10 where the family was together, such as for Christmas and summer vacations, one by the president and five by the first lady. Not included were Camp David visits or trips like the first family’s New York City date night in May, 2009.

But of course, they bring up Bush (it's all his fault):

According to presidential watcher Mark Knoller of CBS, George W. Bush, at this time of his presidency, had made 30 visits to his Texas ranch spanning all or part of 220 days. The Obama’s vacation day count is less than half of that.

What they fail to note is that the Crawford Ranch was another White House. Bush worked, he met with dignitaries there unlike the champagne wishes and caviar dreams of the current regime. More on Craford from these two articles at the New York Times (here and here)

After 24 hours on Mr. Bush's ranch here, punctuated by hours of private discussions and a barbecue dinner on Tuesday night that included lessons in how to dance the Cotton-Eyed Joe, the two presidents emerged this morning to visit the local high school.

What followed was a remarkable sight. For nearly an hour, the leaders of the two largest nuclear powers answered questions from the students on women's rights, the details of reducing their nuclear arsenals and their sudden race to put together a government in Afghanistan that represents a cross-section of the country's fractious tribes.

And

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit last week to President Bush's ranch in Texas was punctuated by an unannounced, last-minute surprise: Mr. Bush invited his house guest to sit in on his highly classified morning intelligence briefing, the daily global review of terrorist threats, loose nukes and brewing hot spots.

Just a few weeks before, Prime Minister John Howard of Australia got similar insider treatment at the ranch: he was given a precious seat at the table for Mr. Bush's strategy session with the American negotiators with North Korea.

And:

Whether all of this will work is anyone's guess. Mr. Bush first used the ranch near Crawford for diplomatic ends when he entertained Presidents Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Jiang Zemin of China and Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. In retrospect, Mr. Putin's visit was the high-water mark of United States-Russia relations: Mr. Bush's aides even taught Mr. Putin and his wife the country-western dance “The Cotton-Eyed Joe.”

Quite the difference…

Posted by DaveH at 06:10 PM | Comments (0)

In town for the next couple of days

At Lulu's house for the next two days — still dealing with the Condo and will be working there all day tomorrow.

It was Seamus who died last evening — I was unable to find a backhoe to borrow so his body is sitting in the bucket of the tractor eight feet off the ground. I'll dig his grave on Wednesday when I get back home. It is scheduled to stay cool so there should be no problem. Not like he is inconvenienced in any way…

Posted by DaveH at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2012

The new Ten - Commandments that is

I love Victor Davis Hanson's thought process — here, he nails another one.
From Works and Days:

The New Commandments on the Barn Wall
If you think our quiet lives of desperation can sometimes become a bit much, relax. Here are some guidelines to soothe your frustration — a few commandments that make sense out of today’s nonsense.

1) Wealth and poverty are now more relative, than absolute, conditions. The ancient idea of the limited good once again rules. Someone who has more, by definition, took unfairly more from someone else with less, one who nobly chose not to do that in turn to others. Fairness, not poverty, is our national obsession. My 48-inch screen television gets wonderful reception and offers sharp quality, but only if I know that someone else does not (and should not) have a 52-inch screen. I liked my Accord until I found out “he” parked a BMW next to me. But at least I can console myself that I choose not to do the sort of things that the BMW owner succumbed to. As is true in every peasant-minded society, wealth is as collectively scorned as it is privately lusted after.

I really like #8:

8) Neanderthals need nerds. The cool gang banger who is knifed on Saturday night suddenly in extremis worships the surgeon who stitches up his liver and kidneys — a target whom he would otherwise have robbed earlier that Saturday afternoon. The thug who strips the copper wire from our streetlights nonetheless assumes a nerdish engineer will keep designing the wiring scheme that runs his car’s CD. For the good life to go on, each illiterate punk demands one corresponding graduate student at MIT to take care of him. When the former outnumber the latter, then civilization usually winds down.

Just say no. Or raise your prices.

The Neanderthals (and the dear Dr. Hanson is probably insulting some wonderful Neanderthals) will just increase their activities to compensate for the added demand and commensurate price increase — gotta love the free market…

Posted by DaveH at 10:40 PM | Comments (0)

Breaking the ice

The United States only has one functioning icebreaking ship.

Holy crap!

From Popular Mechanics:

Why the U.S. Must Build More Icebreakers Now
When politicians argue over President Obama’s new 2013 budget proposal, one thing that should escape criticism is the $8 million to be spent on designing a new polar-class icebreaker for the Coast Guard. The hard part will follow: It will cost nearly $1 billion to actually build the ship, and it’s $1 billion that Congress needs to find.

The United States is the world’s colossus when it comes to every other kind of military hardware, yet it has just one functioning icebreaker: the medium-strength USCGC Healy, which is primarily used for research. The ship made headlines recently for breaking open a route to the Alaskan town of Nome to aid in the delivery of much-needed fuel. It was a great mission, but it may have left an overly upbeat impression of American capabilities. The country also owns two heavy-duty icebreakers: One of the aging vessels is being decommissioned, and the other is being refurbished after years of disuse. That’s not good enough. While it’s encouraging to finally see some progress being made in the current budget proposal, the problem is far from solved—and the United States has national interests in icy waters.

Obama has gutted the military, he has gutted NASA (we no longer have the ability to put a human into space — no repairs of satellites like the Hubble and we pay the Russians to carry us to our own space station), and now this.

A bit more:

China, a country with no Arctic coast, is building icebreakers—and that should get America’s attention. It’s one thing for Russia, with the world’s longest Arctic coastline, to operate a couple dozen of the ships. (Fortunately, they’re available for leasing, at a price.) It’s understandable, maybe, for Finland, Sweden, and Canada to surpass the United States in this area. But why is China constructing an 8000-ton vessel capable of breaking through 4.5 ft of ice at a steady clip, to join the XueLong, its existing ice-class vessel?

The article explains why China's interest.

One more bit:

When the Healy churned its way to Alaska to help deliver fuel, its maintenance schedule was thrown off. As a result, scientific projects may have to be delayed this summer. To deliver supplies to America’s McMurdo Station in Antarctica each year, the NSF has been relying on foreign-flagged vessels. As PM reported last July, Sweden’s move to pull its icebreaker Oden off the McMurdo job put the entire 2011–2012 research season in jeopardy. NSF scrambled and eventually was able to commission a Russian vessel.

Obama and his advisers are morons — we do not have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem and all of that spending is going to feed The Vote Pump and not to real problems.
Time for a fresh set of eyeballs and a bit of spine.

Posted by DaveH at 10:20 PM | Comments (0)

Very cool technology - Cancer Breath Test

From MIT's Technology Review:

Cancer Breath Test Enters Clinical Trials
Someday soon a breath test could do more than just tell if you've been drinking. Metabolomx, a startup in Mountain View, California, recently completed a clinical trial that shows that its breath test can spot lung cancer with 83 percent accuracy and can also distinguish between several different types of the disease, something that usually requires a biopsy. The accuracy of the test matches what's possible with low-dose computerized tomography imaging of the lungs.

Existing tests for lung cancer—the leading cause of cancer death worldwide—cause too many false positives, which means patients face unnecessary biopsies or exposure to radiation from imaging, and none are currently approved by Medicare. A breath test promises much simpler, safer screening.

Chemical results of a tumor's metabolism are dissolved in the blood, and can end up in the breath. Trained dogs can identify breath samples from patients with lung cancer with 98 percent accuracy. Researchers have been working on a noninvasive cancer breath test for years, but have struggled to make one that is simple, reliable, and portable enough. A method called gas chromatography-mass spectrometry can detect metabolites in the breath, but it can't be done at the bedside, and requires some expertise to operate.

Very cool — I love that the dogs have such a high accuracy. And then, you have Oscar — I would not mind going out with Oscar on my chest purring (at age 110 at least please…)

Posted by DaveH at 09:58 PM | Comments (0)

Awww crap - RIP Seamus or Kiwi

It's too dark to tell which one it is but one of my sheep died this evening. Dear dear creatures. Seamus had always been very stand-offish but in the last six months had gotten to the point where I could hand feed him some treats and scritch his head a little bit. Kiwi was always a love bug. They were about ten years old — maybe a year or two older which is old for a sheep — the general life expectancy is about 10-12.

My flock is growing older and I will miss each and every one of them to the depths of my heart.

Borrow a neighbor's backhoe tomorrow and dig yet another grave at the farm.

Posted by DaveH at 09:26 PM | Comments (0)

Fun with magnets

Spent today working at home getting a bunch of little projects blasted out. Cleaning the garage, paid bills, etc…

One of the things I wanted to do was make a set of rubber pads for one of my vices — that way, I could clamp things and not mar their finish. I used a chunk of horse stall mat — recycled tires, about 5/8” thick and perfect amount of 'give'. I have a bunch of neodymium 'super' magnets (fun to play with) so I drilled some 1/2” holes in the mat and used some E6000 “craft adhesive” (great stuff!) to glue them in. I was working really neatly and gluing three magnets in each of the two pads. A little squirt of E6000 in the bottom of the hole and press the magnet in.

The glue was fluid enough that it allowed the magnets to slide around and on each pad, one magnet popped out and attached itself to a neighbor. These were spaced an inch apart so I was not expecting it.

Needless to say, the pads are covered in E6000, I am peeling strings of it off my fingers and the pads are not quite as neatly done as I had hoped. I have some thin leather that I'll glue over the tops of the magnets so my little disaster will not be so obvious.

Gorgeous day today — a dusting of snow on the mountains and the town of Glacier got some last night but nothing on the ground here. Got a tri-tip steak thawing out, just finished a salad and the toaster oven just let me know that my baked potato is ready (ding!). Dinner and then out for a few beers at my local…

Posted by DaveH at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)

A life well lived - RIP John Fairfax

From the New York Times:

John Fairfax, Who Rowed Across Oceans, Dies at 74
He crossed the Atlantic because it was there, and the Pacific because it was also there.

He made both crossings in a rowboat because it, too, was there, and because the lure of sea, spray and sinew, and the history-making chance to traverse two oceans without steam or sail, proved irresistible.

In 1969, after six months alone on the Atlantic battling storms, sharks and encroaching madness, John Fairfax, who died this month at 74, became the first lone oarsman in recorded history to traverse any ocean.

In 1972, he and his girlfriend, Sylvia Cook, sharing a boat, became the first people to row across the Pacific, a yearlong ordeal during which their craft was thought lost. (The couple survived the voyage, and so, for quite some time, did their romance.)

A bit more:

For all its bravura, Mr. Fairfax’s seafaring almost pales beside his earlier ventures. Footloose and handsome, he was a flesh-and-blood character out of Graham Greene, with more than a dash of Hemingway and Ian Fleming shaken in.

At 9, he settled a dispute with a pistol. At 13, he lit out for the Amazon jungle.

At 20, he attempted suicide-by-jaguar. Afterward he was apprenticed to a pirate. To please his mother, who did not take kindly to his being a pirate, he briefly managed a mink farm, one of the few truly dull entries on his otherwise crackling résumé, which lately included a career as a professional gambler.

Mr. Fairfax was among the last avatars of a centuries-old figure: the lone-wolf explorer, whose exploits are conceived to satisfy few but himself. His was a solitary, contemplative art that has been all but lost amid the contrived derring-do of adventure-based reality television.

And his end years:

In recent years, Mr. Fairfax made his living playing baccarat, the card game also favored by James Bond.

Baccarat is equal parts skill and chance. It lets the player wield consummate mastery while consigning him simultaneously to the caprices of fate.

This is just the briefest of excerpts — there is a lot more in the obituary.
I remember following his Atlantic and Pacific journeys in high school.

Posted by DaveH at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

Heh - Obama flip-flopping

From Rolling Stone magazine comes yet another broken promise:

Obama's War on Pot
Back when he was running for president in 2008, Barack Obama insisted that medical marijuana was an issue best left to state and local governments. “I'm not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue,” he vowed, promising an end to the Bush administration's high-profile raids on providers of medical pot, which is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia.

But over the past year, the Obama administration has quietly unleashed a multi­agency crackdown on medical cannabis that goes far beyond anything undertaken by George W. Bush. The feds are busting growers who operate in full compliance with state laws, vowing to seize the property of anyone who dares to even rent to legal pot dispensaries, and threatening to imprison state employees responsible for regulating medical marijuana. With more than 100 raids on pot dispensaries during his first three years, Obama is now on pace to exceed Bush's record for medical-marijuana busts. “There's no question that Obama's the worst president on medical marijuana,” says Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “He's gone from first to worst.”

The federal crackdown imperils the medical care of the estimated 730,000 patients nationwide – many of them seriously ill or dying – who rely on state-sanctioned marijuana recommended by their doctors. In addition, drug experts warn, the White House's war on law-abiding providers of medical marijuana will only drum up business for real criminals. “The administration is going after legal dispensaries and state and local authorities in ways that are going to push this stuff back underground again,” says Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Drug Policy Alliance. Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, a former Republican senator who has urged the DEA to legalize medical marijuana, pulls no punches in describing the state of affairs produced by Obama's efforts to circumvent state law: “Utter chaos.”

A lot of this is due to the growth and overreach of the various agencies but Obama is telling them what to do and returning control to the states was a plank of his campaign platform.

What part of:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

do these people fail to grasp.

Posted by DaveH at 09:45 AM | Comments (1)

Back online

Heavy rain yesterday so the internet was up and down like a yo-yo.

Working at home today — bills and paperwork so I'll post some.

Posted by DaveH at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2012

Bad blogger - no biscuit

Another long day — went into town but plans with Lulu changed so I didn't work at the condo and am back home tonight. Working here for a few days and then into town again.

Meeting with a potential buyer for the store tomorrow — they already own a nearby convenience store so I am disinclined to sell to them; the store has a very distinct character that makes it a favorite and to change that would be to kill the business.

Posted by DaveH at 09:15 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2012

Another long day

Worked at the farm today, then went out to the new East Whatcom Regional Resource Center (EWRRC) to meet with the committee that is responsible for its use. Wanted to talk to them about a community radio station.

Went out for a few beers after and one of my favorite local bands was playing.

Off to town tomorrow to load up on damp drywall and do a dump run. Fun fun fun…

Posted by DaveH at 10:44 PM | Comments (0)

Ships at Sea

Very cool website:

Marine Traffic

Tracks all ships in realtime — zoomable Google map.

Posted by DaveH at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2012

That is it for the night

I get a Chinese energy treatment every Wednesday and sometimes they knock me out.
This is one of those times — good stuff. I will probably sleep for 12 hours and spend the next five days feeling really really good.

My practitioner used to do acupuncture but now specializes in this which is what the Chinese used to do before they started using needles. Takes a lot more training and ability but is very powerful.

They view the needles as something that a rural doctor can be trained to use in a few months — useful but not as effective.

Posted by DaveH at 09:51 PM | Comments (0)

Stick a fork in it - LightSquared is toast

Very good news — from the New York Times:

F.C.C. Bars the Use of Airwaves for a Broadband Plan
A proposed wireless broadband network that would provide voice and Internet service using airwaves once reserved for satellite-telephone transmissions should be shelved because it interferes with GPS technology, the Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday.

The F.C.C. statement revokes the conditional approval for the network given last year. It comes after an opinion by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which said that “there is no practical way to mitigate the potential interference at this time” with GPS devices. The telecommunications and information agency oversees telecommunications policy at the Commerce Department.

The news appears to squash the near-term hopes for the network pushed by LightSquared, a Virginia company that is majority-owned by Philip Falcone, a New York hedge fund manager.

Not mentioned is that Falcone is a major Obama contributor/bundler. LightSquared would have used the same frequencies as our GPS network. All tests proved that there was major interference with GPS operation.

More from InsideGNSS:

NTIA and FCC Agree: No Practical Way to Fix LightSquared’s GPS Interference Problem
The GPS community received a Valentine’s Day message from U.S. regulators today (February 14, 2012): there is “no practical way” to mitigate potential interference posed by terrestrial transmissions from LightSquared’s proposed wireless broadband network.

In a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genechowski, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) head Lawrence Strickling said his agency’s independent evaluation of tests and analysis over the last several months led to this conclusion.

And the good news is that this is forcing some standards in the general GPS community:

A Nudge Toward GPS Receiver Standards
A section late in Strickling’s eight-page letter indicated the NTIA’s inclination to push the interference issue further in the direction of establishing GPS receiver standards that, outside of the aviation community, do not exist.

Strickling noted the PNT ExCom’s stated intent to develop new GPS spectrum interference standards that will “help inform future proposals for non-space commercial uses in the bands adjacent to the GPS signals. . . .” Such efforts, he said, “will serve as the basis to protect such GPS receivers used by civilian and military federal agencies from outside interference, as well as the basis for standards for the development and procurement of GPS receivers to support their various mission requirements.”

Good riddance to bad tech…
Posted by DaveH at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2012

Some taxing numbers

From CNS News:

Obama Cites Rising Gas Prices – Up 83 Percent Under His Tenure – Among Reasons to Extend Payroll Tax Cut
President Barack Obama listed rising gas prices as among the many reasons to extend the payroll tax cut Tuesday, flanked by individuals the White House promoted as being affected by $40 per paycheck the average American would lose if the tax cut is not extended at the end of February.
But…

The payroll tax funds Social Security. Cutting the tax would reduce funding to Social Security by $119 billion over the next year, on top of the $105 billion reduced from funding in 2011.

Sure, we had high prices ($4.15) under Bush's leadership too but they brought the prices back down ($1.79 on January 18th, 2009 - day before Obama's swearing in). Obama is doing nothing. He signed over several billion dollars to Brazil to drill and we don't get the oil, China does.

From The Washington Times:

China gets jump on U.S. for Brazil’s oil
Off the coast of Rio de Janeiro — below a mile of water and two miles of shifting rock, sand and salt — is an ultradeep sea of oil that could turn Brazil into the world’s fourth-largest oil producer, behind Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

The country’s state-controlled oil company, Petrobras, expects to pump 4.9 million barrels a day from the country’s oil fields by 2020, with 40 percent of that coming from the seabed. One and a half million barrels will be bound for export markets.

The United States wants it, but China is getting it.

Less than a month after President Obama visited Brazil in March to make a pitch for oil, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was off to Beijing to sign oil contracts with two huge state-owned Chinese companies.

Simply clueless.

Posted by DaveH at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

When not if

Back in 1859, solar astronomer Richard Carrington saw a very bright flash on the surface of the sun. That next day all hell broke loose.

It can happen again — from Anthony at Watts Up With That:

Homeland Security takes on The Carrington Event
While we worry about future threats like global warming, and present threats like Iran’s escalating nuclear program, the sun’s propensity for belching out monstrous solar flares (like the Carrington event of 1859) could almost instantly create a world without modern conveniences, or even electricity. The sun could literally “bomb us back to the stone age”.

Imagine a world without iPhones, and you’d understand why Homeland security rates New York and Seattle the highest for likelihood of major social unrest. Humans don’t do well in the dark. DHS has taken notice.

Here is an excerpt from an article on the event from NASA:

Just before dawn the next day, skies all over planet Earth erupted in red, green, and purple auroras so brilliant that newspapers could be read as easily as in daylight. Indeed, stunning auroras pulsated even at near tropical latitudes over Cuba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, El Salvador, and Hawaii.

Even more disconcerting, telegraph systems worldwide went haywire. Spark discharges shocked telegraph operators and set the telegraph paper on fire. Even when telegraphers disconnected the batteries powering the lines, aurora-induced electric currents in the wires still allowed messages to be transmitted.

Anthony then links to a report from The Department of Homeland Security (PDF)

Sobering reading — the key take-home point is that you do not want to be living in a large city and they call out Seattle and New York City as being the two worst ones.

Posted by DaveH at 02:08 PM | Comments (0)

The religion of peace

From the London Daily Mail:

Iranian bomber blows off his legs in Bangkok as grenade he hurled at police bounces off tree and explodes at his feet
A bungling Iranian bomber blew off his own legs when he hurled a grenade at Thai police outside a Bangkok school - which bounced off a tree and then exploded at his feet.

A bizarre sequence of explosions in the capital of Bangkok started this morning when a stash of explosives blew off the roof of a house occupied by three Iranians.

Two of the men quickly ran away while Saeid Moradi, who was seriously wounded, staggered out and tried to wave down a taxi.

Covered in blood, the driver refused to take him, and so he hurled a grenade at the vehicle. When police arrived on the scene he then tried to throw another at officers - but it bounced off a tree, landed at his feet, and blew off his legs.

Moradi, who was taken to hospital, injured four people in the blasts which come the day after Israeli diplomats were targeted in simultaneous car bombings, also believed to have been carried out by Iranians.

And this is not an isolated incident:

Thailand has rarely been a target for foreign terrorists, although a domestic Muslim insurgency in the country's south has involved bombings of civilian targets.

Israel and the U.S. warned their citizens to be alert in the capital, but Thai authorities said the country appeared to have been a staging ground but not the target of any attack.

It comes the day after Israeli diplomats were targeted in simultaneous bomb plots which were also blamed on Iran. It is not known whether the attacks are linked.

Wonderful people. Go here: The Religion of Peace and scroll down.

Posted by DaveH at 01:24 PM | Comments (0)

Could have told you that

From United Press International:

Electric cars in China bigger polluters
Electric cars in China are having an impact on pollution more harmful to health than gasoline vehicles, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, analyzed the emissions and environmental health impacts of five vehicle technologies in 34 major Chinese cities.

While electric cars have been seen as environmentally friendly, the researchers determined they are in fact responsible for more overall harmful particulate matter pollution than gasoline cars, a university release reported Monday.

The reason, they said, is because for electric vehicles, combustion emissions occur where electricity is generated rather than where the vehicle is used, and in China 85 percent of electricity production is from fossil fuels with about 90 percent of that from coal.

“An implicit assumption has been that air quality and health impacts are lower for electric vehicles than for conventional vehicles,” civil and environmental engineering professor Chris Cherry said. “Our findings challenge that by comparing what is emitted by vehicle use to what people are actually exposed to.”

The researchers say they discovered the power generated in China to operate electric vehicles emits polluting particles at a much higher rate than gasoline vehicles do.

Why is it that the people crying for 'green' technologies don't look one step beyond the first stage of their designs. The unintended consequences are always out there…

Posted by DaveH at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2012

Nothing today either

Been working at the farm, got hay for the critters and heading into town tomorrow to do some bank stuff and to meet up with my sweetie.

Posted by DaveH at 09:22 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2012

Order in the court

From the Knoxville News Sentinel:

Court of secrecy:
It was a Thursday night in January 2010 when the phone rang at the Andersonville home of then-Knox County Sheriff's Office courtroom security officer Meredith Driskell.

“He said, 'I'm coming to get those pills.' He told me to put them in a brown paper bag. I told him no … but he told me I was going to,” she recalled when contacted by the News Sentinel. “So, I put them in a brown paper bag and handed it to him, my husband, who hadn't been in the room. I said, ‘Don't look inside. The judge is coming to get this.' “

“The judge” was former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner. He wasn't officially her boss. Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones was, but Baumgartner still held the power to have her fired.

More:

A News Sentinel investigation showed that, despite ongoing warning signs and sounded alarms about Baumgartner's sobriety, he continued for at least three years to draw some of Knox County's most high-profile cases and made legal decisions still lauded by many to this day. Now, hundreds of cases could be at risk, and Knox County's judicial system is in a state of turmoil as a result.

A long story and a twisted tale. The guy was a Judge but also a raging alcoholic and pill popper and was shielded by the Knoxville political machine.

I would expect this in Chicago or Miami but not in Tennesee…

Posted by DaveH at 06:29 PM | Comments (0)

How it's done in New Orleans - Mayor Ray Nagin

Heh — could not have happened to a more incompetent moron. From Reuters:

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, the colorful and controversial spokesman for the city after the devastating Hurricane Katrina in 2005, is under investigation by federal authorities, a source with direct knowledge of the probe said
The source told Reuters on Friday that several people linked to Nagin or the New Orleans city administration during his two terms as mayor ending in 2010 were cooperating with the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI.

The investigation includes whether Nagin received favors or items of value from vendors to the city in return for contracts they received while Nagin was in office, the source said.

Nagin, who was in Minnesota for a speaking engagement on Friday, spoke to a WWL-TV reporter at the New Orleans airport on his return. Asked about allegations he benefited personally while in office, he said:
“They're three years old, and they keep coming up. I only want an opportunity to finally deal with them. Hopefully we can have an honest, open approach where truth and justice can prevail, but I'm starting to worry about that now,” Nagin said.
A Justice Department spokeswoman in Washington had no comment. The U.S. attorney in New Orleans, Jim Letten, did not return a call requesting comment. A spokeswoman for FBI Special Agent in Charge David Welker declined to comment on whether an investigation is underway.

They deserve the government they elect…

Posted by DaveH at 06:21 PM | Comments (0)

Fun times in Greece

Coming down to the wire — from the Athens News Live news blog.

Lots of buildings on fire and reports that police have run out of tear gas & have asked for more supplies to be brought. This is us in ten years if we do not act wisely this November.

Some of the comments are perfect:

“It was a fine country before these parasites got their greedy fingers into it. Ever noticed how the police always protect the politicans, never the people?”

A shame that the people there can not (or will not) see the writing on the wall. They see that Greece is in trouble but they will not give up anything themselves. It's going to get much worse before it gets better…

Posted by DaveH at 05:14 PM | Comments (0)

Y.A.L.D.

Yet another lazy day

Lulu headed back into town — she is interviewing for two part-time positions so needs to focus. We had a wonderful two days and I'm off to the 'Lake House' for a few days tomorrow or Tuesday. Commandeer her son to help me move the kitchen cabinets from the condo into the trailer and off to the dump.

Heading out for coffee and then to pick up some hay for the critters and then work in the forge for a few hours.

Water board meeting tonight — our annual general meeting is next month so we need to get ready for that.

Posted by DaveH at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2012

Quite the ride - Felix Baumgartner

From Popular Mechanics comes this nice Q&A session:

Felix Baumgartner’s 120,000-Foot Space Dive: It's On
In August 2010, Popular Mechanics’ cover story featured Red Bull Stratos, the name of Felix Baumgartner’s mission to set the world record by surviving a jump from 120,000 feet that would accelerate him to speeds beyond the sound barrier. But a lawsuit delayed Baumgartner’s attempt—until now. Red Bull Stratos confirmed this week that the jump is back on and scheduled for this summer. Baumgartner talked with PM about the mission, the tech, and what it’s like to wait two years for one big day.

That will be an amazing jump — 120,000 feet is 22.7 freakin' MILES! And the guy will be falling faster than the speed of sound after the first thirty seconds of descent.

Sounds like he has a great team (including the current record holder) and is training well.

God Speed Felix!

Posted by DaveH at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

Awww crap - RIP Whitney Houston

From Associated Press:

Whitney Houston, superstar of records, films, dies
Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music's queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, died Saturday. She was 48.

Beverly Hills police Lt. Mark Rosen told reporters outside the Beverly Hilton that Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. in her room on the fourth floor of the hotel. Her body remained there and Beverly Hills detectives were investigating.

“There were no obvious signs of any criminal intent,” Rosen said.

Houston's publicist, Kristen Foster, said the cause of death was unknown.

Sad to go so young — God's choir just got a new soloist.

Posted by DaveH at 08:29 PM | Comments (0)

Lazy day today

Lulu and I went to a local restaurant for breakfast and then headed up the mountain to watch part of the Legendary Banked Slalom race.

Got a couple ribeye steaks thawing out and spending the afternoon adjusting the lock strikes on a few doors. The doors (all hardwood) have settled a bit and the new locks don't quite line up…

Posted by DaveH at 04:10 PM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2012

Food carts

Hitting the obscure stuff now — nice article on the history of food carts in New York City as well as the company that has been building them since 1898.

From Edible Geography:

Food Cart Factory
The oldest bike manufacturer in the U.S., Worksman Cycles, also happens to be the home of two American food vending icons: the Good Humor ice cream tricycle and the New York City hot dog cart. What’s more, if you live in New York city, chances are that your last delivery pizza or egg roll traveled to your door in the front basket of a Worksman bike, and if, instead, you live in the Connecticut suburbs, you may well have enjoyed a cold Bud purchased from a Worksman-made drinks trolley during your evening Metro-North commute.

Fun article and some great photos of the carts then and now.

It would be fun to have one of the trikes for commuting around my little mountain hamlet. I spend a lot of time in the same ten mile circle.

Posted by DaveH at 10:09 PM | Comments (0)

Sounds of yesterday

Some amazing technology being used to recover some of the first recorded sounds.

From The Smithsonian:

Playback: 130-Year-Old Sounds Revealed
In the early 1880s, three inventors—Alexander Graham Bell, Chichester Bell and Charles Sumner Tainter, collectively making up the Volta Laboratory Associates—brought together their creativity and expertise in a laboratory on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C., to record sound. In one experiment, Nov. 17, 1884, they recorded the word “barometer” on a glass disc with a beam of light. This disc and about 200 other experimental recordings from their laboratory were packed up for safekeeping, given to the Smithsonian and, with a few exceptions, never played again.

In 2011, scholars from three institutions—National Museum of American History Curators Carlene Stephens and Shari Stout, Library of Congress Digital Conversion Specialist Peter Alyea and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Scientists Carl Haber and Earl Cornell—came together in a newly designed preservation laboratory at the Library of Congress to recover sound from those recordings made more than 100 years ago. Using high-resolution digital scans made from the original Volta discs, they were able to hear the word “barometer.”

The museum’s collection has about 400 of the earliest audio recordings ever made, including the 200 from Bell’s Volta lab. A reflection of the intense competition between Bell, Thomas Edison and Emile Berliner for patents following the invention of the phonograph by Edison in 1877, these recordings, along with supporting documents, were offered to the Smithsonian by each inventor in his lifetime.

“These recordings were made using a variety of methods and materials such as rubber, beeswax, glass, tin foil and brass, as the inventors tried to find a material that would hold sound,” said Stephens. “We don’t know what is recorded, except for a few cryptic inscriptions on some of the discs and cylinders or vague notes on old catalog cards written by a Smithsonian curator decades ago.”

Now, through a collaborative project with the Library of Congress and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the mystery of what is on these recordings is being unraveled. To date, the team has successfully submitted six discs—all experimental recordings made by the Volta Laboratory Associates between 1881 and 1885—to the sound recovery process.

The recordings in the museum’s collection are in fragile condition due to their age and experimental nature. Until now, the technology to listen to the recordings without damaging the discs and cylinders was not available. The noninvasive optical technique used in this project to scan and recover sounds was first studied by Berkeley Lab in 2002–2004 and installed at the Library of Congress in 2006 and 2009. The process creates a high-resolution digital map of the disc or cylinder. This map is then processed to remove evidence of wear or damage (e.g., scratches and skips). Finally, software calculates the motion of a stylus moving through the disc or cylinder’s grooves, reproducing the audio content and producing a standard digital sound file. For more information, visit www.irene.lbl.gov.

A wonderful peek into the history of recording. Come a long long way…

Posted by DaveH at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)

Japan then, Japan now

Some amazing photos of Japan from immediately after the Mag9 quake a year ago and the same scene now. A lot of rebuilding and clearing has been going on.

From the Toronto, CA National Post:

See how Japan has rebuilt in the 11 months since the earthquake and tsunami
Japan’s Reconstruction Agency will be inaugurated Friday, almost 11 months after an earthquake and tsunami devastated the country. The agency will streamline the process to help municipalities, set up special reconstruction zones and provide subsidies for disaster-hit local governments.

An collection of amazing photos — Japan is resilient. It makes me wonder how resilient we would be if something like this happened here. Another New Madrid or such.

Posted by DaveH at 09:17 PM | Comments (0)

Pure crony capitalism

I used to look up to the guy but Warren Buffet is playing too close a role in this regime.
From the Washington Free Beacon:

Buffett’s Bank of America
Warren Buffett’s stake in Bank of America Corp. increased in value by $154 million after President Obama and the U.S. Justice Department announced a $25 billion foreclosure abuse settlement with the five largest U.S. banks Thursday, records show.

Buffett invested $5 billion in Bank of America (BofA) on Aug. 25, 2011. As part of his investment deal, Buffett gained warrants that allow him to buy 700 million shares of Bank of America stock at a strike price of $7.14 a share. However, on Dec. 19, 2011, it was reported that Buffett was $1.5 billion underwater on his stock warrants, with shares of BofA stock trading at $4.94. But on Thursday, after President Obama personally announced the details of the settlement, BofA stock closed at $8.13 a share. The stock opened Friday morning at $8.31 and reached as high as $8.35 a share.

If Buffett had exercised his warrants Friday morning, he would have made $847 million. $154 million of that profit would have been related to the foreclosure deal.

This is not the first time Buffett has profited from Obama administration policies. In November 2011, it was reported that President Obama’s two-year postponement of the deadline to determine the future of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would force North Dakota oil producers to rely more heavily on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. holding company purchased the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad Corp. in a total package worth $44 billion in 2009.

Buffett has personally contributed $5,000 to Obama this election cycle, while Berkshire Hathaway has contributed $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee.

The Magic Kenyan makes his cronies very rich while screwing over this nation. The oil that was going to flow from our friend Canada to our Texas refineries? China.

From the Washington Examiner:

Canada's Harper talks oil with China as U.S. faces $4 gas
Just as he promised he would do if the United States rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, Prime Minister Stephen Harper headed to Beijing earlier this week on a four-day trade mission in which he is expected to seek a deal to sell millions of barrels of Canadian oil to China. Since China is aggressively pursuing energy deals around the world to support its economic expansion, expect Harper to come home with an official signature on the dotted line.

Harper is accompanied on the mission by dozens of Canadian business executives, including several from Syncrude, the consortium that produces thousands of barrels of oil daily from the Athabasca oil sands. That's the place the Keystone XL pipeline — proposed by TransCanada, another north-of-the-border energy giant — would have funneled 700,000 barrels per day to the United States, if not for Obama's rejection. Some portion of the estimated 20,000 new jobs that would have been created here will also be exported to China.

Meanwhile, here in the United States, besides continued high unemployment, drivers endured the most expensive January gas prices ever, according to the Los Angeles Times. “January is typically a month of falling gasoline prices because fuel demand falters in the slower travel weeks that follow the year-end holidays,” the Times reports. “Not so this year.”

The nationwide average price of regular gas was $3.37 per gallon last month, compared with $2.71 in January 2010 — a 24 percent increase. And things are going to get tougher for gasoline buyers because prices traditionally rise in February and March as spring approaches. That's when refiners must switch over to more expensive federally mandated formulas that result in slightly lower emissions. According to USA Today, energy experts expect prices to be in the $4-per-gallon range this summer.

Thank you so very much Barry.

Posted by DaveH at 07:54 PM | Comments (0)

How's that global warming working out for you

From Yahoo/AFP:

Hungary orders Danube closed amid big freeze
Hungary closed the Danube to river traffic Friday due to thick ice, bringing shipping to a near standstill on Europe's busiest waterway, as the continent's cold snap death toll passed 540.

“Shipping was ordered stopped overnight Thursday to Friday because of conditions created by icing along the Hungarian part of the river,” Istvan Lang, who heads the national technical supervisory body OMIT said.

“All ships still underway must immediately head for the closest harbour,” Lang, quoted by MTI news agency, said.

Hungary's navy had to send its biggest icebreaker, the Szechenyi, to try to ram through the frozen river at Budapest.

“I've not seen so much ice on the Danube since 1985,” said its captain, Dezso Kovacs.

The freeze had already forced other countries along the Danube, including Austria, Croatia, Serbia, and Bulgaria, to suspend river traffic.

The 2,860-kilometre (1,780-mile) river, which flows through 10 countries and is vital for transport, power, irrigation, industry and fishing, was nearly wholly blocked, from Austria to its mouth on the Black Sea.

Why do some people wring their hands over a possible 10°F increase in temperatures when a 10°F decrease proves to be so fatal. And of course, moving from hydrocarbon and nuclear power sources to “green (spit) renewable” sources has made things so much better:

Serbia's government reduced power supplies to 2,000 companies it said were not vital to everyday life and appealed to consumers to cut energy use by 10 percent.

But consumption hit 162.67 million kWh per day — which local media said was around 10 percent more than the same period last year.

When will people wake up…

Posted by DaveH at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)

Over the hump

Nothing special happening today but I feel as though all of the recent bad stuff is past and that the next couple months will be nice smooth sailing. A weight has been lifted.

The flood in my Mom and Dad's condo is taken care of, the bad furnace motor and bad well pump are a memory, Jen and I signed the final divorce papers yesterday and I mailed out everyone's W-2s from the bakery and Grace is finally showing signs of being housebroken…

Lulu is coming over in a couple hours to spend the weekend — the ski area is hosting its annual banked Slalom race which draws people from all around the world.

Bringing in some firewood from the woodshed — still have well over two cords left so we are fine.

Posted by DaveH at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2012

5-Hour Energy

Really interesting story about the guy who invented and promoted the little 5-Hour Energy drinks you now see everywhere.

From Forbes:

The Mystery Monk Making Billions With 5-Hour Energy
In one corner of Manoj Bhargava’s office is a cemetery of sorts. It’s a Formica bookcase, its shelves lined with hundreds of garishly colored screw-top plastic bottles not much taller than shot glasses. Front and center is a Cadillac-red bottle of 5-Hour Energy, the two-ounce caffeine and vitamin elixir that purports to keep you alert without crashing. In eight years 5-Hour has gone from nowhere to $1 billion in retail sales. Truckers swear by it. So do the traders in Oliver Stone’s 2010 sequel to Wall Street. So do hungover ­students. It’s $3 a bottle, and it has made Bhargava a fortune.

His company, Living Essentials, is the biggest player by far in the ­energy-shot market, and not because 5-Hour is so delicious. Chalky cough syrup is more like it. The reason Bhargava has won is that he plays tough. Sitting in that cemetery are a dozen or so neon copycats with names like 6-Hour Power and 8-Hour Energy. Each has been sued, bullied or kicked off the market by Living Essentials’ lawyers. In front of each are little placards with a skull and crossbones drawn in felt-tip pen. Bhargava points at the gravestone of one of his late competitors and says with a chuckle, “Rest in peace.”

The privately held Living Essentials doesn’t report revenue or profits, but a source with knowledge of its financials says the company grossed north of $600 million last year on that $1 billion at retail. The source says the company netted about $300 million. Checkout scan data from research firm SymphonyIRI say that 5-Hour has 90% of the energy-shot market. Its closest competitor, NVE Pharmaceuticals’ Stacker brand, has just over 3%.

Yet Bhargava, 58, is so under the radar that he barely registers on Web searches. His paper trail is thin, consisting primarily of more than 90 lawsuits. This is his first press interview. “I’m killing it right now,” he says, adjusting a black zip-up cardigan from behind the table of a soulless conference room in a beige low-rise building in a suburban business park in Farmington Hills, Mich. “But you’ll Google me and find, like, some lawyer in Singapore.”

Vague and inscrutable is how ­Bhargava likes things. The names of 5-Hour’s parent company, Living Essentials LLC, and that company’s parent firm, Innovation Ventures, are purposely bland. “They were intended as placeholders, and they stuck,” he says, smiling.

I love this guy! Classic entrepreneur. A long (three page) article and a fun read.

Posted by DaveH at 09:37 PM | Comments (0)

The big slog - day two

Heading out to the condo to finish the kitchen demo and to rent a dehumidifier for a week or two.

A trip to the dump and then home for a meeting at the local community center regarding a radio station.

These folks: Prometheus Radio Project have done an amazing job over the last ten years pushing the Local Community Radio Act through Congress. Licensing openings should be starting sometime later this year.

Posted by DaveH at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

Your moment of cuteness for today

This is at the Woodland Zoo in Farmington, PA (just outside of Pittsburgh).

I would so love to get a brown bear cub but you have to get them when they are really young so they imprint properly otherwise they will have behavioral problems when they get older.

Posted by DaveH at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)

It has been a long 34 years

But finally, the USA has licensed a new nuclear power reactor.
From MS/NBC:

US licenses first nuclear reactors since 1978
It's been 34 years — and several nuclear accidents later — but a divided federal panel on Thursday licensed a utility to build nuclear reactors in the U.S. for the first time since 1978.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's chairman, Gregory Jaczko, opposed licensing the two reactors at this time even though he had earlier praised their design.

“There is still more work” to be done to ensure that lessons learned from Japan's Fukushima disaster last year are engrained in the reactor design, he told his colleagues. “I cannot support this licensing as if Fukushima never happened.”

“There is no amnesia,” responded Commissioner Kristine Svinick, speaking for the 4-1 majority and noting that the industry has been directed to adopt those lessons.

The licensing covers two reactors estimated to cost $14 billion that the Southern Company wants to add to its existing Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia. Preliminary work has already begun and plans are for the first new reactor to be operating in 2016.

It is odd that they would cite Fukushima Daiichi in their concerns. It came online in 1971 which means that the initial design was started sometime in the early 1960's which means that the design is a good 50 years old. Think about what changes computers have done in 50 years. Television and radio receivers. Automobiles.

The reactors coming online today are based on ten year old designs and the technology has improved a lot. In Japan, the Fukushima Daiichi reactor was a meltdown while the Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant which came online 13 years later in 1984 not only survived but served as a community evacuation center and suffered only a small fire and some water splashing out of the spent fuel rod pool.

The MS/NBC article has some more and concludes:

Nuclear power provides about 20 percent of all electricity in the U.S.

Worldwide, more than 60 reactors are being built, including more than two dozen in China alone.

Readers will know that I am a big fan of Thorium for reactors — a simple foolproof design and the waste only needs a few hundred years isolation (and the waste can easily be burned in the reactor if we get over Pres. Carters stupid reprocessing ruling). Of the two dozen reactors being built in China, some of them are LFTRs and they are being designed by a guy who learned this at Drexel University.

Where is the vision?

Posted by DaveH at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2012

A class act - RIP Nello Ferrara

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Nello Ferrara, 93, invented Lemonheads, saw MacArthur in occupied Japan, sang with Sinatra
Nello Ferrara was a singer who liked to serenade people.

But to snackers with a sweet tooth, he was better known as the inventor of spicy-hot Atomic FireBalls and lip-puckering Lemonheads.

Mr. Ferrara, the chairman of Chicago’s Ferrara Pan Candy Co., died Friday at his home in River Forest at age 93.

The company produces treats including Red Hots, Black Forest Gummy Bears, Boston Baked Beans and Jawbusters.

Mr. Ferrara came up with the idea of spicy-hot Atomic FireBalls in 1954, after serving in Occupied Japan in the post-atom bomb era, according to his son, company CEO Salvatore Ferrara II.

Nello Ferrara was a young attorney when he worked on a U.S. Army war crimes tribunal in Tokyo. He often saw the jut-jawed, hard-charging General Douglas MacArthur.

“They worked in the same building,” Salvatore Ferrara II said. His father told him the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers “was his own man. You did what he said, and that was it. He was pretty stern.”

Nello’s father, the original Salvatore Ferrara — who was from the Rome-Naples region — founded the company in Chicago in 1908, selling the candy-coated almonds known as “confetti” that signify good luck at Italian weddings.

I was a big Lemonhead (candy not band) fan for a long long time — going to buy a box tomorrow for lunch just for the remembrance. Read the rest of the obit — Mr. Ferrara was an amazing man. I would take one of him over 1,000,000 of the Occupy nn self-centered morons.

Posted by DaveH at 09:08 PM | Comments (0)

A new encyclopedia of the Tlingit language

Oopsie… From Sitka, Alaska station KCAW:

New Tlingit encyclopedia baffling to scholars, speakers
A new encyclopedia of the Tlingit language has teachers in Sitka scratching their heads. The massive work by New Zealand scholar Sally-Ann Lambert is extraordinarily detailed, and the product of years of effort.

The problem is: The language in the book is not recognizable by contemporary scholars, or Native Tlingit speakers.

In a world as small as that of Tlingit scholarship, the appearance of Sally-Ann Lambert’s “Hlingit Word Encyclopedia: The Origin of Copper” came as quite a surprise.

So did the appearance of Sally-Ann Lambert, who traveled to Sitka in mid-January to launch the book.

No one had heard of her: Not the Alaska State Museum, the Sealaska Heritage Institute, or the very active group of Tlingit language teachers in the Sitka Native Education Program.

Nancy Douglas is the Cultural Program Director at the Sitka School District:
“For those of us that have been studying Tlingit for forty-plus years and working with elders, I think it was surprising not to have heard of her or her work. We’re a pretty tight-knit community when it comes to language-learning, and open to sharing our points of view with everybody and networking with those of us that are language teachers and language learners. So, I guess it was surprise that drew me in to going to the book launch.”

A bit more:

Lambert was born in New Zealand, but grew up in Samoa, where she developed an aptitude for language. Lambert turned her attention to Tlingit when she acquired a copy of a book by the late 19th/early 20th century ethnographer J. R. Swanton.

I think often I’m led spiritually, and I don’t make my decisions with the full knowledge of the situation. Basically the book was given to me with Tlingit Myths & Texts by John Swanton, and Tlingit language is fortunate to have that resource.”

Swanton is indeed a classic, early ethnography of Tlingit, and a good starting point for the study of Tlingit culture, from a western perspective. “The Origin of Copper” is one of the stories he recorded, and Lambert uses it as a basis to parse the grammar and culture of the Tlingit.

This probably wasn’t the best strategy.

Emphasis mine — talk about capacity for understatement and hubris — to spend so many years on the project and not attempt any simple fact checking is unreal and will throw all of her other attempts into serious question.

The whole story reminds me of the ever so wonderful book: English As She Is Spoke

From the Wikipedia article:

English As She Is Spoke
English as She Is Spoke is the common name of a 19th century book written by Pedro Carolino and falsely additionally credited to José da Fonseca, which was intended as a Portuguese-English conversational guide or phrase book, but is regarded as a classic source of unintentional humour, as the given English translations are generally completely incoherent. Carolino added Fonseca's name to the book without the latter knowing about it. Fonseca had written a successful Portuguese-French phrase book, which Carolino adapted.

The humour appears to be a result of dictionary-aided literal translation, which causes many idiomatic expressions to be translated wildly inappropriately. For example, the Portuguese phrase chover a cântaros is translated as raining in jars, whereas an idiomatic English translation would be raining buckets.

Mark Twain said of English as She Is Spoke that “Nobody can add to the absurdity of this book, nobody can imitate it successfully, nobody can hope to produce its fellow; it is perfect.”

The text in Google eBook format and in various formats from Project Gutenberg

Posted by DaveH at 08:46 PM | Comments (1)

Rope, tree - some assembly required

What a toxic piece of humanity — an infamous internet troll is found and questioned:

Posted by DaveH at 08:43 PM | Comments (0)

Busy day today

Spending the evening at Lulu's house. Spent eight hours today ripping out the kitchen cabinets in my Mom and Dad's condo. This is where the frozen pipe was and the cabinets (and the drywall behind them) sustained the most damage.

The remediation company took their toys away this afternoon as the rest of the place is nice and dry. Now begins the long process of rebuilding…

The kitchen was a bit dated so I am planning on taking the insurance money and adding some more and luxing the place up a bit — cast concrete countertops, nice cherry cabinets, a good gas stove. If I put in $10K of upgrades, I should realize maybe $50K of increase in resale value. That curve only goes so far so I am not going overboard.

Taking the trailer to the dump tomorrow, renting a dehumidifier and heading back home for a meeting tomorrow evening. Talking to people about a community Radio station.

Posted by DaveH at 07:59 PM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2012

The Zombie Killah

Been having some fun with the new Zombie Killah. I am going to be doing a trigger replacement and changing the stock — post photos after the conversion.

Looks like I'm not the only person thinking about Zombies — from Amazon: Zombie Preparedness kit

Good deals on survival and food…

Posted by DaveH at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

Busy day today

Setting up the shelving in the garage and doing the last of the locksmithing — the locks in the house were top quality but they are now 35-40 years old and not reliable. Finishing off replacing house, shop and DaveCave™ Each building will have its own keyset in case I want to loan them out.

Temps are in the mid-50's. Got the doors and windows open airing out the house — wonderful stretch of weather for the last week.

Got some tri-tip cuts simmering with canned tomatoes, onion, celery and carrot in the slow cooker — dinner bell in about three hours…

Posted by DaveH at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

February 06, 2012

Danger Will Robinson

A week late but the voice of Robbie the Robot passed away. IMDb has a nice writeup:

Dick Tufeld
The first words heard in the Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea tv series belonged to Dick Tufeld: “This is the Seaview, the most extraordinary submarine in all the seven seas”. The first words heard in the Irwin Allen's Lost In Space tv series belonged to Dick Tufeld: “This is the beginning, this is the day, you are watching the unfolding of one of history's great adventures…” Tufeld was also heard at the start of several episodes of Irwin Allen's The Time Tunnel: “Two American scientists are lost…”

Tufeld's totally unique energy charged deep voice put viewers in the right frame of mind for what was to come. Irwin Allen tv was about showmanship and Tufeld was a true showman. Tufeld and Irwin Allen had crossed paths long before “The Big Four” Irwin Allen tv shows of the 1960s. However, when Irwin asked Tufeld to do a “Robot voice” for Lost In Space, Irwin found it hard to explain the type of voice he wanted for the robot and Tufeld almost missed out on getting the job because he could not understand what Irwin wanted. However, it all worked out in the end.

By the 1990s, the Lost In Space fan base was big enough to keep Dick Tufeld very busy. He went around the world talking about Lost In Space, in 1996 he even went as far as Australia to talk to fans, and in 1998 he was able to do his “Robot voice” once again in the Lost In Space motion picture…oddly enough he sounded much the same as he did in the 1960s.

Used to watch all of these shows religiously. Still waiting for my personal submarine and my jet-pack. I want my damn jet-pack!!!

Posted by DaveH at 09:44 PM | Comments (0)

Cueing up the Twilight Zone theme song

Let's see — you have a team of Russian scientists stationed in the middle of Antarctica and they are drilling down through about 2.5 miles of ice to reach Lake Vostok. The lake has not been exposed to our atmosphere for 20 million years. The Vostok Station holds the worlds record for lowest temperature on the planet: -129 Fahrenheit. The team is about 40 feet from reaching the lake and, being in the Southern hemisphere, winter is starting to set in.

OK — and now, you lose all contact with the team. For five days.

From FOX News:

Russian scientists seeking Lake Vostok lost in frozen 'Land of the Lost'?
A group of Russian scientists plumbing the frozen Antarctic in search of a lake buried in ice for tens of millions of years have failed to respond to increasingly anxious U.S. colleagues — and as the days creep by, the fate of the team remains unknown.

“No word from the ice for 5 days,” Dr. John Priscu — professor of ecology at Montana State University and head of a similar Antarctic exploration program — told FoxNews.com via email.

The team from Russia's Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) have been drilling for weeks in an effort to reach isolated Lake Vostok, a vast, dark body of water hidden 13,000 ft. below the ice sheet's surface. The lake hasn't been exposed to air in more than 20 million years.

Priscu said there was no way to get in touch with the team — and the already cold weather is set to plunge, as Antarctica's summer season ends and winter sets in.

“Temps are dropping below -40 Celsius [-40 degrees Fahrenheit] and they have only a week or so left before they have to winterize the station,” he said. “I can only imagine what things must be like at Vostok Station this week.”

The team's disappearance could not come at a worse time: They are about 40 feet from their goal of reaching the body of water, Priscu explained, a goal that the team was unable to meet as they raced the coming winter exactly one year ago.

What tentacle?

Posted by DaveH at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)

Light posting tonight

Broadband is up and down like a yoyo

I'll be surfing some but probably not posting.

Posted by DaveH at 08:50 PM | Comments (0)

Happy 101st birthday

On this day, Ronald Wilson Reagan was born 101 years ago.

Probably the greatest president in the last two hundred years. Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter share the bottom three slots with B. H. Obama.

Posted by DaveH at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2012

Wonderful quote from Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

From his larger post at Watts Up With That:

When I visited the House of Lords’ minister, Lord Marland, at the Climate Change Department a couple of years ago, I asked him and the Department’s chief number-cruncher, Professor David Mackay (neither a climate scientist nor an economist, of course) to show me the Department’s calculations detailing just how much “global warming” that might otherwise occur this century would be prevented by the $30 billion per year that the Department was committed to spend between 2011 and 2050 – $1.2 trillion in all.

There was a horrified silence. The birds stopped singing. The Minister adjusted his tie. The Permanent Secretary looked at his watch. Professor Mackay looked as though he wished the plush sofa into which he was disappearing would swallow him up entirely.

Eventually, in a very small voice, the Professor said, “Er, ah, mphm, that is, oof, arghh, we’ve never done any such calculation.” The biggest tax increase in human history had been based not upon a mature scientific assessment followed by a careful economic appraisal, but solely upon blind faith. I said as much. “Well,” said the Professor, “maybe we’ll get around to doing the calculations next October.”

They still haven’t done the calculations – or, rather, I suspect they have done them but have kept the results very quiet indeed. Here’s why:

Read the whole post.

Posted by DaveH at 03:23 PM | Comments (0)

Business as usual

Would someone just make all this crap stop!

From The Hill:

Sierra Club took $26M from gas industry to fight coal-fired plants
The Sierra Club disclosed Thursday that it received over $26 million from natural-gas giant Chesapeake Energy Corp. between 2007 and 2010 to help the group’s campaign against coal-fired power plants.

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said Thursday that he learned of the funding shortly after beginning the job in 2010 and moved to end the arrangement.

He discussed the funding on the Sierra Club’s blog Thursday after Time magazine broke the news of the Chesapeake-Sierra relationship earlier in the day.

Here’s Brune:
At the same time I learned about the donation, we at the Club were also hearing from scientists and from local Club chapters about the risks that natural gas drilling posed to our air, water, climate, and people in their communities. We cannot accept money from an industry we need to change. Very quickly, the board of directors, with my strong encouragement, cut off these donations and rewrote our gift acceptance policy.
The revelation could nonetheless become a political sore spot for the Sierra Club, one of the nation’s biggest and most influential green groups.

It comes as environmentalists are increasingly battling hydraulic fracturing, the controversial natural-gas method that Chesapeake and other gas producers are using widely.

Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy again — what is it that these people actually do that is good for us. Just a bunch of watermelon (green on the outside, red on the inside) obstructionists.

Posted by DaveH at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

Grasshopper escapements

Was reading the entire internet from start to finish and came across this little mechanical marvel — the Grasshopper escapement.

Wiki entry: Grasshopper escapement

A nice youtube video: Grasshopper Escapement Clock by Cyrus Biscardi

And the amazing public clock: Corpus Clock

The BBC has this article on its dedication (by Dr. Steven Hawking no less): Hawking unveils 'strangest clock'

The web page of the builder is here: John C. Taylor

Fascinating stuff. Well, I reached the last page of the internet — time to clean out the garage a bit. Lulu and I just took an introductory class in fused glass and we both fell in love with the medium. Our styles are quite different but we each have fun. Looking at putting a small glass workshop in the garage.

Posted by DaveH at 02:02 PM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2012

After the deluge

Enjoying a stretch of really nice weather this last few days and it should be continuing through next Tuesday. Sunny days with temps in the high 40's and clear cold nights.

Heading out to get some more hay for the critters and work in the forge this afternoon.

Posted by DaveH at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2012

Just wonderful

What with all that has been happening, I picked up an infection of the System Check malware yesterday and spent two hours cleaning and restoring the system.

Whomever writes these things need to be strapped to the front of a cannon and have several pounds of pea gravel fired through their torso. After I spend two or three hours with them in a room with a baseball bat…

Posted by DaveH at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)

February 01, 2012

I ♥ media, I want to ♣ Flash to the ground and steal its lunch money.

I have a basic home media setup with an older receiver, an older CD/DVD player that now just gets used for audio CDs, a dedicated computer running WinAmp and holding a bunch of ripped CDs, a BlueRay player, DirecTV box and a flat-screen. Oh yeah, an input for an iPod for the receiver. Nothing fancy.

I have played with “universal remotes” from time to time — have a lot of them in a box somewhere. Recently read online that the Logitech Harmony 650 was a sweet unit and saw them for sale at Costco. Impulse purchase — so sue me.

Got it home and trying to set it up — it required me to set up a username and password and to download a 10MB install file. I then visit the configuration web page and get to the screen where it says

What's next:
1. Collect your model numbers
2. Add your devices
3. Add your activities
4. Sync your remote to your account

and it just hangs without letting me know why.

I have had compatibility issues with Adobe Flash before so I visit their site and see the following:

Adobe Flash Player 11.1.102.55
Note:Flash Player does not support 64-bit versions of Windows XP and Vista.
Flash Player 11 now includes support for Windows 7 64-bit

Yes, I am running 64-bit Vista — it is now stable and although I much prefer Win7 to Vista I cannot afford to upgrade every one of my computers every time a new OS comes out. My main systems are Win7 but this media machine is Vista.

I check to download an earlier version of Flash but am only presented with 32-bit options for Vista.

I understand that Flash at one time served a need and there is an entrenched base of Flash code out there but Adobe really needs to put some better programmers onto this product. Their current code is abject crap and a fscking joke for this company.

Shame on Adobe for letting such a piece of shite out the door.

Shame on Logitech for hamstringing what looks to be a great product by requiring their users to trip over this showstopper.

If I ran Logitech, I would ditch Flash/Adobe ASAP and rewrite the code in Visual Studio or even (shudder) Java. I had to download a 10MB file to initiate installation — that is a lot of definition files for various pieces of equipment. They could have made this a stand-alone EXE and I would have been happy.

No, they had to go with pretty pictures instead of functionality.

I will try this again with my laptop but I am sitting here fuming…

Posted by DaveH at 10:25 PM | Comments (0)

Where's the beef

Cost of beef is on its way skyward — from the Philadelphia, PA CBS affiliate:

Soaring Beef Prices Force Shoppers To Find Other Foods
At Cappuccio’s Meats in the Italian Market, the cuts of beef are cutting into the profits.

“Every week when I talk to my suppliers, I’m amazed by how much it’s going up,” said owner Domenick Crimi.

Beef prices soared more than 10 percent last year according to the Department of Agriculture, and they will likely go up at least another 5 percent this year.

“It bumps up a bit, comes down a tiny bit, then it bounces again, and when it bounces, it goes up another dime, 15, 20 cents,” said Crimi, “and sometimes that’s in a week.”

There are two major reasons:

A drought across Texas and Oklahoma has made food and water scarce for cattle, which has kept herds small. The Department of Agriculture says there are 91 million cattle nationally, the smallest herd since 1952. Add to that the rising cost of feed and rising beef exports, and the price of beef in the states is surging.

When you drive up the price of corn, this will trickle down to a lot of other markets. The government needs to get out of the alternative energy market…

Posted by DaveH at 05:14 PM | Comments (0)

ACORN and Eric Holder

This just keeps getting better and better — from Investors Business Daily:

Congress Warns Holder Over Acorn Payola
Thanks to IBD, Congress is finally probing the administration's shakedown of banks over alleged “lending discrimination.” At issue is backdoor funding of Acorn clones.

Last week, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith fired off a three-page letter to Attorney General Eric Holder warning that his recent punishment of Bank of America's mortgage unit seemed political. In fact, he may have abused his power.

As IBD first reported Jan. 4, “BofA Must Pay Excess Settlement Funds To Acorn Clones,” the $335 million lending-bias deal requires BofA to fork over a chunk of the payout to leftist groups not connected to the suit.

The unusual term is part of a secret Justice program to redistribute millions in settlement cash to third parties instead of alleged victims.

Critics told IBD it's a “political backdoor” to subsidize Democrat-tied bank shakedown groups.

A bit more:

The corrupt group, which has re-emerged under other names after coming under investigation in 2009, continues to receive federal funds. Acorn Housing Corp. got some $700,000 in federal money after changing its name to Affordable Housing Centers of America.

Last year, Holder also ordered two AIG-owned banks to pay a minimum of $1 million to “qualified organizations” that help “African-American borrowers.”

More recently, he ordered C&F Mortgage Corp. of Virginia to reward such groups. As of 2010, some $7.6 million was waiting to be handed out from his unsupervised grant program. Recipients aren't restricted in how they use the money. In 2008, Acorn bankrolled get-out-the-vote operations for Obama.

What with Fast and Furious, I wonder if Holder is this corrupt or just plain stupid. Mixture of both…

Posted by DaveH at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)

About that Egyptian Spring

Everyone was happy about the overthrow of the Egyptian government thinking that some nebulous 'democracy' was going to result.

The stupid — it burns!!!

From The Washington Post:

Egypt justice minister returns letter from US envoy about citizens barred from travel
The Egyptian justice minister returned a letter Tuesday from the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt asking him to re-examine the issue of Americans barred from leaving the country.

The snub is the latest in a spat between the allies over a politically charged Egyptian investigation into foreign funded groups.

Egyptian security forces raided 17 offices of 10 pro-democracy and human rights groups last month then barred at least 10 foreigners, including six Americans, from leaving the country.

Among those stuck in Egypt is Sam LaHood, son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. On Monday, three of the Americans took refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

Nothing spells 'democracy' like raiding human rights groups…

And then, there is this little gem:

At the same time, the long-banned Muslim Brotherhood is leading Egypt’s newly elected parliament, seated last week.

Their motto is:

Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.

Nice people (more here, here and here)

Posted by DaveH at 03:53 PM | Comments (0)

Some good Union numbers

From Mike Antonucci writing at Hot Air:

Are Unions Literally Dying Off?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual report on union membership and if you squinted really hard, you could find some good news for labor organizations in it. There were 49,000 additional union members in 2011, and the unionization rate fell only one-tenth of a percentage point, to 11.8 percent of the total workforce.

A bit more:

The AFL-CIO boasted of the 15,000 new members in the 16-to-24 age group, while failing to notice that number is down more than 200,000 from just four years ago. The leftist publication In These Times saw the BLS numbers as a mixed bag, and commented they “give little hint of the future.”

On the contrary, the numbers give us a rather large hint of the future, and herald a slow, lingering death for unions of all types without a change in organizing strategy.

The Baby Boomers naturally have comprised the bulk of the U.S. workforce for many years. As the workforce has aged, you would expect union membership to age as well. However, an examination of the last ten years of data reveals that union membership is aging at an accelerated rate relative to the rest of the workforce.

In 2001, 6.3 percent of union members were below that age of 25. Last year, only 5 percent were. That’s not encouraging, but the other end of the spectrum is truly alarming. In 2001, 14 percent of union members were 55 years of age or older. Last year, 23.3 percent were. Almost half a million working union members are 65 or older. During the last 10 years, not only did unions lose more than 1.5 million members, but 1.1 million additional members entered the 55-and-over age group.

This creates a demographic storm that unions have not faced in recent memory. Over several decades they have been unable to increase membership at the same rate as the growing workforce. Now, even as the overall size of the workforce slows or stalls, they will find themselves needing to grow at a rate to replace retiring and deceased members.

As I have said before, Labor Unions had their place 50-100 years ago but they have fallen victim to Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy:

Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people”:
First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.
The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

So true…

Posted by DaveH at 03:42 PM | Comments (0)

Wheels coming off the AGW bus

From Anthony at Watts Up With That:

Briggs schools the “Bad Astronomer” on statistics
That letter signed by 16 scientists saying there’s “No Need to Panic About Global Warming” to the Wall Street Journal has caused a great disturbance in the farce. At last count there were no less than 19 blog rebuttals plus one new WSJ op ed piece trying to convince the alliance that all is well. It didn’t work.

But, they know the AGW Alliance Death Star has been compromised before its mission can be completed, the Rebellion has seen the plans and the Alliance knows it is only a matter of time before “the consensus” blows apart. Reports are that “Michael Mann has been tweeting furiously“, but the reinforcements he’s bringing in may not be able to stop the Rebellion as its ranks swell with ordinary people.

Here at WUWT, we had our best day ever on January 31st with 229,000 views from ordinary people, exceeding the heady days just after Climategate 1 and Copenhagen. People are coming in out of the cold to embrace the warmth and declare it good, while laughing at the folly of the alliance.

Meanwhile, the Bad Astronomer (Phil Plait er, not Jim Hansen) has been spinning in low orbit trying tell alliance forces that the past 10-15 years of stalled temperature rise are just a statistical illusion.

William Briggs, Statistician to the Stars, schools Plait on what statistics really is and writes:
Remember when I said how you shouldn’t draw straight lines in time series and then speak of the line as if the line was the data itself? About how the starting point made a big difference in the slope of the line, and how not accounting for uncertainty in the starting date translates into over-certainty in the results?

If you can’t recall, refresh your memory: How To Cheat, Or Fool Yourself, With Time Series: Climate Example.

Well, not everybody read those warnings. As an example of somebody who didn’t do his homework, I give you Phil Plait, a fellow who prides himself on exposing bad astronomy and blogs at Discover magazine. Well, Phil, old boy, I am the Statistician to the Stars—get it? get it?1—and I’m here to set you right.

Much more at the site. Talk about cherry-picking.

Full post at William's site: Bad Astronomer Does Bad Statistics: That Wall Street Journal Editorial

Posted by DaveH at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)

The benefits of having a Teachers Union

From the New York Post:

Disgraced teacher is worth $10M, makes $100,000 a year, does nothing, & refuses to leave
Hell no, he won’t go.

In a defiant raspberry to the city Department of Education — and taxpayers — disgraced teacher Alan Rosenfeld, 66, won’t retire.

Deemed a danger to kids, the typing teacher with a $10 million real estate portfolio hasn’t been allowed in a classroom for more than a decade, but still collects $100,049 a year in city salary — plus health benefits, a growing pension nest egg, vacation and sick pay.

Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Cuomo can call for better teacher evaluations until they’re blue-faced, but Rosenfeld and six peers with similar gigs costing about $650,000 a year in total salaries are untouchable. Under a system shackled by protections for tenured teachers, they can’t be fired, the DOE says.

“It’s an F-U,” a friend of Rosenfeld said of his refusal to quit.

“He’s happy about it, and very proud that he beat the system. This is a great show-up-but-don’t-do-anything job.”

Accused in 2001 of making lewd comments and ogling eighth-grade girls’ butts at IS 347 in Queens, Rosenfeld was slapped with a week off without pay after the DOE failed to produce enough witnesses at a hearing.

But instead of returning Rosenfeld to the classroom, the DOE kept him in one of its notorious “rubber rooms,” where teachers in misconduct cases sat idle or napped. As The Post reported, Rosenfeld kept busy managing his many investment properties and working on his law practice. He’s a licensed attorney and real-estate broker.

Since the DOE closed the teacher holding pens in June 2010, those facing disciplinary charges were scattered to offices and given tasks such as answering phones, filing and photocopying.

But Rosenfeld and six others whose cases have long been closed are “permanently reassigned.” Rosenfeld reports to the Division of School Facilities, which maintains DOE buildings, in a warehouse in Long Island City.

Asked what work he does, Rosenfeld laughingly told his friend, “Oh, I Xeroxed something the other day.”

One of the commentors nailed it:

WHY AREn't THE OWSERS AT HIS DOORSTEP? HE IS A 1%ER+ OH WAIT HE IS A UNION MEMEBER AND I AM SURE AN obama SUPPORTER…

Heh — nothing like a little cognitive dissonance. Union but 1%

Posted by DaveH at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

Life in the workers paradise - Cuba

From Reuters:

Cuba reports big increase in food prices
Cubans paid almost 20 percent more for food in 2011 as economic reforms, reduced imports and stagnating farm production touched off price inflation at the country's many produce markets.

The National Statistics Office reported on its website (ONE.CU) that meat prices rose 8.7 percent while produce prices were up 24.1 percent, for an average of 19.8 percent.

The report was bad news for President Raul Castro, who has been loosening the state's grip on farming and retail food services and sales as it seeks to reform its Soviet-style economy by allowing more private initiative and market forces to kick in.

The changes are part of more than 300 reforms adopted by the ruling Communist Party last year to “update” the economy, which authorities have warned will entail a difficult transition.

Yet more proof that big government is the way to go. A bit more:

President Castro has made agricultural reform and increased food production a top priority since taking over for ailing brother Fidel Castro in 2008.

But agricultural output increased just 2 percent last year, after falling 2.5 percent in 2010 and remains below 2005 levels.

At the same time, Castro has cut food imports to reduce spending by the debt-ridden government. Because of low farm output, Cuba imports a budget-busting 60 percent to 70 percent of the food it consumes.

Importing 60% to 70% of their food? There must be some amazing masterminds in their Department of Agriculture. How about just letting the farmers sell their crops and letting the consumers buy them.

No wonder they all want to move here…

Posted by DaveH at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)

High technology

From Albuquerque, NM station KRQE:

Sandia Labs' bullet doesn't miss
Engineers at Sandia National Laboratories have invented a bullet that guides itself to the target.

Sandia has wide expertise at miniature technology, and the bullet works like a tiny guided missile.

The patented design doesn't shoot straight. Instead of a spiral rotation, the bullet twists and turns to guide itself towards a laser directed point. It can make up to thirty corrections per second while in the air.

Jim Jones, distinguished member of technical staff, and his team of engineers at Sandia Labs think the .50-caliber bullets would work well with military machine guns so soldiers could hit their mark faster and with precision.

“We've tested gunpowders to see if we can get muzzle velocity for military interest,” Jones said. “We've tested various electronic components to see if they would survive the launch.”

No idea what the cost per round would be but this is really cool technology.

Posted by DaveH at 01:31 PM | Comments (0)