May 31, 2012

Minimal (if any) posting tonight

Rain fade — the internet is up and down like a yoyo.

I'll try later — still working on the rest of yesterday's Editorial from the NY Times — the 71 year old Sanford Levinson is an Imbecile in all definitions of the word…

Posted by DaveH at 05:20 PM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2012

An Editorial in the New York Times - perfect example of what is wrong

The editorial was written by Sanford Levinson: a professor of law and government at the University of Texas, Austin, is the author of “Framed: America’s 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance.”.

Looking at the U. Texas website linked above, Levinson is a high mucky-muck in progressive circles.

Levinson is also a clueless moonbat. A Moron (and I apologize to all of the wonderful Morons out there for lumping him in with you). He should not be teaching if this is an example of his reasoned writing.

Here is his editorial with my comments inline (a Fisking):

Our Imbecilic Constitution
By Sanford Levinson
Advocating the adoption of the new Constitution drafted in Philadelphia, the authors of “The Federalist Papers” mocked the “imbecility” of the weak central government created by the Articles of Confederation.

First of all, there are three authors of The Federalist Papers and only one of them was in favor of big government. Second, the word “imbecility” crops up five times in the 85 essays and the last reference is in #22, it does not appear in later essays — they moved on:

FEDERALIST No. 9
it has been the cause of incurable disorder and imbecility in the government.

FEDERALIST No. 15
Is respectability in the eyes of foreign powers a safeguard against foreign encroachments? The imbecility of our government even forbids them to treat with us.

FEDERALIST No. 18
By these arts this union, the last hope of Greece, the last hope of ancient liberty, was torn into pieces; and such imbecility and distraction introduced,

FEDERALIST No. 20
Imbecility in the government; discord among the provinces; foreign influence and indignities; a precarious existence in peace, and peculiar calamities from war.

FEDERALIST No. 22
The system of quotas and requisitions, whether it be applied to men or money, is, in every view, a system of imbecility in the Union

It was Alexander Hamilton who favored a central Federal Government with larger powers. In FEDERALIST No. 15 he says:

To the People of the State of New York.
IN THE course of the preceding papers, I have endeavored, my fellow-citizens, to place before you, in a clear and convincing light, the importance of Union to your political safety and happiness. I have unfolded to you a complication of dangers to which you would be exposed, should you permit that sacred knot which binds the people of America together be severed or dissolved by ambition or by avarice, by jealousy or by misrepresentation. In the sequel of the inquiry through which I propose to accompany you, the truths intended to be inculcated will receive further confirmation from facts and arguments hitherto unnoticed. If the road over which you will still have to pass should in some places appear to you tedious or irksome, you will recollect that you are in quest of information on a subject the most momentous which can engage the attention of a free people, that the field through which you have to travel is in itself spacious, and that the difficulties of the journey have been unnecessarily increased by the mazes with which sophistry has beset the way. It will be my aim to remove the obstacles from your progress in as compendious a manner as it can be done, without sacrificing utility to despatch.

In pursuance of the plan which I have laid down for the discussion of the subject, the point next in order to be examined is the “insufficiency of the present Confederation to the preservation of the Union.” It may perhaps be asked what need there is of reasoning or proof to illustrate a position which is not either controverted or doubted, to which the understandings and feelings of all classes of men assent, and which in substance is admitted by the opponents as well as by the friends of the new Constitution. It must in truth be acknowledged that, however these may differ in other respects, they in general appear to harmonize in this sentiment, at least, that there are material imperfections in our national system, and that something is necessary to be done to rescue us from impending anarchy. The facts that support this opinion are no longer objects of speculation. They have forced themselves upon the sensibility of the people at large, and have at length extorted from those, whose mistaken policy has had the principal share in precipitating the extremity at which we are arrived, a reluctant confession of the reality of those defects in the scheme of our federal government, which have been long pointed out and regretted by the intelligent friends of the Union.

We may indeed with propriety be said to have reached almost the last stage of national humiliation. There is scarcely anything that can wound the pride or degrade the character of an independent nation which we do not experience. Are there engagements to the performance of which we are held by every tie respectable among men? These are the subjects of constant and unblushing violation. Do we owe debts to foreigners and to our own citizens contracted in a time of imminent peril for the preservation of our political existence? These remain without any proper or satisfactory provision for their discharge. Have we valuable territories and important posts in the possession of a foreign power which, by express stipulations, ought long since to have been surrendered? These are still retained, to the prejudice of our interests, not less than of our rights. Are we in a condition to resent or to repel the aggression? We have neither troops, nor treasury, nor government. Are we even in a condition to remonstrate with dignity? The just imputations on our own faith, in respect to the same treaty, ought first to be removed. Are we entitled by nature and compact to a free participation in the navigation of the Mississippi? Spain excludes us from it. Is public credit an indispensable resource in time of public danger? We seem to have abandoned its cause as desperate and irretrievable. Is commerce of importance to national wealth? Ours is at the lowest point of declension. Is respectability in the eyes of foreign powers a safeguard against foreign encroachments? The imbecility of our government even forbids them to treat with us. Our ambassadors abroad are the mere pageants of mimic sovereignty. Is a violent and unnatural decrease in the value of land a symptom of national distress? The price of improved land in most parts of the country is much lower than can be accounted for by the quantity of waste land at market, and can only be fully explained by that want of private and public confidence, which are so alarmingly prevalent among all ranks, and which have a direct tendency to depreciate property of every kind. Is private credit the friend and patron of industry? That most useful kind which relates to borrowing and lending is reduced within the narrowest limits, and this still more from an opinion of insecurity than from the scarcity of money. To shorten an enumeration of particulars which can afford neither pleasure nor instruction, it may in general be demanded, what indication is there of national disorder, poverty, and insignificance that could befall a community so peculiarly blessed with natural advantages as we are, which does not form a part of the dark catalogue of our public misfortunes?

God that man could write — they all could. A perfect example of the problems with todays education system.

Anyway, Hamilton was arguing for a Central Government large enough to raise a military, stave off anarchy, establish currency (he doesn't out and out say this but alludes to it in the last paragraph) and present a common National face to the rest of the world.

This is, compared to today, a very small Federal Government and remember, of the three authors, Hamilton was the one favoring the “Big Government”

Back to Sanford Levinson's Editorial:

Nearly 225 years later, critics across the spectrum call the American political system dysfunctional, even pathological. What they don’t mention, though, is the role of the Constitution itself in generating the pathology.

Pot meet Kettle. The Constitution is not generating the pathology, the blatant non-compliance IS the pathology.

Back to Sanford Levinson's Editorial:

Ignore, for discussion’s sake, the clauses that helped to entrench chattel slavery until it was eliminated by a brutal Civil War. Begin with the Senate and its assignment of equal voting power to California and Wyoming; Vermont and Texas; New York and North Dakota. Consider that, although a majority of Americans since World War II have registered opposition to the Electoral College, we will participate this year in yet another election that “battleground states” will dominate while the three largest states will be largely ignored.

Give Me a Fscking break — this misunderstanding of Article 1. Section 2 is ass-backwards. This interpretation is dead-stupid and demeaning to the supposed intelligence of Mr. Levinson. I excerpt:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

The three-fifths rule was not to limit political power to the slaves, it was to persuade the States that allowed slaves to set them free. The power of each State was directly tied to the population. If your State had 10,000 'free Persons' and 20,000 'all other Persons', you were represented as though you had 22,000 'free Persons'. If you set your slaves free, your State would be represented proportional to your population of 30,000 'free Persons'. Again, this was to persuade slave-holding States to mend their ways. If the slaves were given no status, those States would never have signed on.

As for the Senate and its equal voting power, our Government is based on a series of checks and balances. The House is elected by the residents of the State and, until 1913 (17th Amendment — 1913, Woodrow (spit) Wilson, Pres.), the Senators were appointed by the State Government.

Since it is the House that originates spending bills, if the people of WA State decided to float a bill that gave everyone free money, the Senate could nip this run on the treasury in the bud. Now that Senators are elected by the same people that elect the Representatives, this Check/Balance is eliminated. A bug, not a Feature.

As for the Electoral College, the number of Electors that each State gets is the number of Senators (two) and Representatives it has. Completely linked to the population of that State. As for Levinson's:

the three largest states

Voting is based on population, not landmass.

It is 11PM, I am tired. I will continue with this tomorrow.

Mr. Levinson — shame on you.

New York Times Editorial Staff — shame on you.

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

The Newspaper of Record

Poignant article on the current state of affairs at the New York Times.
From John Hinderaker writing at Powerline:

The New York Times At Twilight
In New York Magazine, Joe Hagan tells one part of the story of the decline of the New York Times as a company and as a newspaper. Hagan focuses on the personal: publisher Pinch Sulzburger’s relationships with long-time CEO Janet Robinson, now departed; his recent girlfriend, Claudia Gonzalez, a Mexican marketing executive who formerly worked for the World Economic Forum in Davos; and other members of the Sulzburger-Ochs family.

The personal anecdotes are interesting, of course. But the real story here is an economic one: the drying up of advertising revenue that has brought the once-profitable New York Times Company to its knees. The paper’s most recent effort to restore profitability is its second attempt at erecting a pay wall:
With the success of the pay wall in the summer of 2011, it seemed the paper was turning a corner—which made what came afterward even worse. Between the About.com debacle and the sudden ­decline in print advertising, the paper was headed toward a 3 percent drop in revenue and an overall loss of almost $40 million in 2011. Since Robinson began as CEO in December 2004, the Times stock has lost more than 80 percent of its value. And this was significant not only for the business but also for the family that owns it. The Times has always had conflicting business prerogatives: to turn a profit, yes, but also to supply the family with what amounted to a trust fund by churning out several million dollars a year in stock dividends. At one time, the family received upward of $20 million a year, which served as a kind of Ochs-­Sulzberger operating budget. But when the dividend was suspended, the family were left with only their stock wealth and whatever they had in trust funds and savings. That was fine for Sulzberger and the five other ­family members with salaried positions at the company, but the wider family of sons and daughters, nieces and nephews were now forced to sell stock at a historical low to raise money. Most of them have admirable if low-wage jobs as academics, novelists, musicians, and psychotherapists, but the money also funded second homes and hobbies such as underwater exploration.
Not everyone would agree with the assumption that the work of academics, novelists, musicians and psychotherapists is especially “admirable,” but it is no surprise that the current generation is mostly “low-wage.” The story of the New York Times Company is, in large part, the familiar story of a family business gone bad. The paper’s financial condition is grim:
In the era of Arthur Sulzberger Jr., when newspapers have flailed under new digital realities, the New York Times Company has shrunk dramatically. Once it was a wide-ranging media empire of newspapers and TV stations and websites, and even a baseball team, that was worth almost $7 billion; today it’s essentially two struggling newspapers and a much-­reduced web company, all worth less than $1 billion (for comparison, consider that the Internet music company Pandora is valued at almost $2 billion). Despite the shrinkage, the company has retained essentially the same top-heavy management, which it has kept well compensated. Even though the paper froze executives’ pensions in 2009, as it is threatening to do with union employees, the company created two loopholes, called the Restoration Plan and the Supplemental Executive Savings Plan, which allowed certain high-earning executives to take money out anyway. As a result, Janet Robinson received an additional lump-sum payment of over half a million dollars upon exiting the Times.
As the company slides down the drain, jettisons one property after another, lays off employees and battles with its unions to reduce costs, the last thing to go will be management’s sense of entitlement.

Articles like this one chronicle the Times’s downfall while still assuming that it remains a great newspaper. I, on the other hand, think it is a lousy newspaper–unreliable, biased and editorially toxic. How much do the newspaper’s shortcomings have to do with its current financial crisis? It is hard to say. Maybe those who turned the Times into a left-wing niche publication, intended to appeal only to a small, urban and liberal-leaning slice of American news consumers, made a wise business decision. But I doubt it. It would seem that the paper could only do better if it appealed to a broader cross-section of readers. The Times is the newspaper equivalent of MSNBC; how well has the left-wing niche strategy worked for that struggling network?

If present trends continue, the Times Company will either go bankrupt or–much more likely–its last remaining properties, the Boston Globe and the Times itself, will be sold to new owners who, one hopes, will take both newspapers in a new direction. A direction which will not only make them better papers, but perhaps will also return them to profitability.

Swiped in full as it defies excerpting. Wonderful observations and comparing the NY Times to MS/NBC is apt — they made their own bed and should lie in it without grumbling.

Also, re: their pay walls. The only entity that benefited from that bone-headed move was the ever wonderful Bug Me Not website. You cannot sell advertising for pages that people are blocked from seeing…

Posted by DaveH at 09:40 PM | Comments (0)

The next 160 days -- what the mainstream media will be reporting

I love it — the November election is less than 160 days away. Talk about anticipation.

Billy Hollis writes at Questions and Observations and provides the mainstream media talking points for the next seven months:

Summary of election reporting by legacy media for the next seven months
I’m very busy these days, so I doubt that I’ll have much time this summer to weigh in on the election. But I don’t think it matters much. We’ve seen enough of these elections, and we now have the measure of the legacy media. It’s not that hard to predict a trajectory in advance.

Insert usual disclaimers here: future is uncertain, who knows what will happen, blah, blah, blah – hey, if any of us could predict the future in detail, we’d be on the beach enjoying all the money we made in the stock market.

With those caveats, here, then, is my expected approximate trajectory of reporting, straight from my patented combination of cracked crystal ball, Ouija board, and leaky 8-ball. It includes short summaries of legacy media narratives at various points from roughly a month ago up until past the election. Along about December, we can see how close I came.

(April) Obama is almost certain to be re-elected. How could anyone think otherwise? Plus, did you know Romney has a weird religion and carries dogs on the top of his car?

(early May) Obama is very likely to be re-elected. Though he has challenges to meet as a result of the problems he inherited from Bush. Plus challenges from wingnuts who take things out of context from his books. Which we are absolutely not going to talk about, especially any stuff about eating dog meat.

(mid May) Romney is a strong candidate because he has so much money, but Obama has the hearts and minds of the people, so he’ll win. The economy is showing signs of improvement, which will help Obama.

(June) Romney’s well-funded right-wing henchmen are going all out, and according to polls this will be a close race, but Obama has the advantage because of his committed base. The economy is improving slowly, despite some negative indicators, and will probably peak just as Obama needs it to.

Five more months at the site — so true…

Posted by DaveH at 09:29 PM | Comments (0)

A paranoid, antisocial asshole - the Trayvon Martin case

Initially, there was a lot of hype and race-baiting in the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case but now that more and more evidence is coming out, the optic changes drastically. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton flew down to Florida to work the crowd and generally stir things up. Where are they now when it turns out that 'lil Trayvon lived the thug life and regularly dosed out on something that can be worse than PCP.

From The Last Refuge comes Part Two (Part One is here):

Update #26 Part 2 – Trayvon Martin Shooting – A year of drug use culminates in predictable violence…
Several weeks ago, as further information and discovery came to the surface the whole framing of the original media narrative began to crumble, I stumbled over a reference to “DXM” in Trayvon’s Facebook history.

It’s nagged at me since, at various times popping to the front of my mind when Trayvon’s drug use was mentioned, was quickly lost to other distractions. A couple of evenings ago it again came to the forefront of consideration. This time I decided to dig in, do a little research, and see if there might actually be something to it.

What I found was frankly, quite stunning. So much so that it literally made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

After further reflection this drug use aspect may actually lead to the greatest understanding, and key, to the whole case. Understanding exactly where the mindset was of both Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, and what influences are now readily available and out in the public forum, a number of questions are now finding answers about that evening’s events, most importantly what precipitated and led to Trayvon Martin’s approach toward being questioned by George Zimmerman.

Made the hair stand up on my neck too. I knew about the tox report for pot but this witches brew is downright stupid and since his Facebook posts make it evident that he had been consuming these drugs for a year, his brain was fried.

Excellent, excellent reporting. And this will hit the mainstream media when?

Posted by DaveH at 03:58 PM | Comments (0)

Spain seeing the "green" light

Spain spent fifteen years seriously bankrolling some green energy development.
At the height of this, they were only getting 6% of their energy from renewables.
There was a report published in 2009 that offered a grim post-mortem.

Excerpting from their 24 bullet points:
2. Optimistically treating European Commission partially funded data we find that for every renewable energy job that the State manages to finance, Spain's experience cited by President Obama as a model reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created, to which we have to add those jobs that non-subsidized investments with the same resources would have created.

7. The study calculates that since 2000 Spain spent €571,138 to create each “green job”, including subsidies of more than €1 million per wind industry job.

8. The study calculates that the programs creating those jobs also resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy, or 2.2 jobs destroyed for every “green job” created.

10. Each “green” megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy: 8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.27 by wind energy, 5.05 by mini-hydro.

Fortunately in May of this year, their voters tossed out the Socialists

Now, they are defunding the remaining manufacturers. From Bloomberg:

Spain Cuts Payouts, Ejects Clean-Power Industry
Spanish renewable-energy companies that once got Europe’s biggest subsidies are deserting the nation after the government shut off aid, pushing project developers and equipment makers to work abroad or perish.

From wind-turbine maker Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica SA (GAM) to solar park developer T-Solar Global SA, companies are locked out of their home market for new business. These are the same suppliers that spearheaded more than $69 billion of wind and solar projects since 2004 that today supply more than 50 percent of Spain’s power demand on the most breezy and sunny days.

Saddled with a budget deficit more than twice the European Union limit and a ballooning gap between income and costs in its power system, Spain halted subsidies for new renewable-energy projects in January. The surprise move by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy one month after taking office helped pierce investor confidence in stable aid for clean energy across Europe.

We have seen the results of this spending in the above referenced report.

More:

In the 2000s, Spain copied the German clean-power aid model, as did nations from Portugal to Israel and Japan, increasing subsidies to a pinnacle in 2007. That’s when a law granted 444 euros ($556) a megawatt-hour for home rooftop solar panels feeding the power grid, compared with an average 39 euros paid to competing coal- or gas-fired power plants.

And, like anything from the Commissars at Central Planning, it fell flat on its face. They gave it ten years, it failed and it's time to shut down the last vestiges.

All of this wasted time and money spent to combat a non-issue. There is plenty of oil for the next 200 years, Liquid Thorium reactors are a profound improvement over traditional Uranium reactors and their waste only needs to be sequestered for a few hundred years (assuming that it is not being reprocessed and recycled into new fuel).

It is a shame to see that this great nation squandered their resources for such a long time but it is uplifting to see that they have turned the corner and are back to sustainable development.

Development is not a bad word when done well…

Hat tip to Anthony for the link to the Bloomberg article.

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

Facebook - worse than Meh

Glad I didn't buy into the hype. From Forbes:

Facebook's Fall: Slide Carves $21B Off Market Cap In 7 Trading Days
When Facebook went public May 18 its offering tipped the scales at $16 billion, the second-largest U.S. IPO on record. A bit more than a week later, the social network is leading a slightly more ignominious list.

In terms of market capitalization, Facebook has been the biggest loser since its debut among the companies in the Russell 1000 index, according to Bespoke Investment Group.

From May 18 through Tuesday, Facebook has lost $21.8 billion in market value (market cap is share price multiplied by number of shares outstanding). That figure dwarfs the next biggest declines over that span: $3.6 billion for Dell, $2.9 billion for Pfizer and $2.5 billion for Google, the company whose 2004 IPO was used by many as a benchmark for the Facebook launch. (Rounding out the not-top 10: Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, EMC, VMWare, NetApp and Lowe’s.)

Ouch! It will be interesting to see where it settles out. I am betting somewhere in the $8—$10/share range.

Posted by DaveH at 09:18 AM | Comments (0)

Crap - RIP Doc Watson and Leo Dillon

Two luminaries passed in the last couple of days.

From North Carolina station WRAL:

Musicians honor Doc Watson's influence
You could hear the mountains of North Carolina in Doc Watson's music. The rush of a mountain stream, the steady creak of a mule in leather harness plowing rows in topsoil and the echoes of ancient sounds made by a vanishing people were an intrinsic part of the folk musician's powerful, homespun sound.

It took Watson decades to make a name for himself outside the world of Deep Gap, N.C. Once he did, he ignited the imaginations of countless guitar players who learned the possibilities of the instrument from the humble picker who never quite went out of style. From the folk revival of the 1960s to the Americana movement of the 21st century, Watson remained a constant source of inspiration and a treasured touchstone before his death Tuesday at age 89.

And from book publisher TOR Books comes this obituary for Leo Dillon:

Leo Dillon 1933-2012
Illustration has lost another giant. Leo Dillon, husband and life-long collaborator of Diane Dillon, passed away on May 26th. Together they created a remarkable array children’s books and book covers.

While their style could change to meet the needs of any project, you can always recognize a Leo and Diane Dillon painting by its exquisite sense of design and decorative qualities, and the joy of celebrating all races and cultures. They have stated, “We all have a lot in common. It is our beliefs that divide us. We have little control over what life brings us but we can change our thoughts.”

They have won Caldecott medals, Coretta Scott King Awards, Society of Illustrators medals, and countless other recognitions for picture books. They may, however, be better known to Tor.com readers for having put a face to the New Wave of sf/f fiction in the 60s and 70s. The Dillons created many covers for Harlan Ellison and for the Ace Specials under Terry Carr. Their association with science fiction remained strong throughout their career and garnered them both a Hugo and a Spectrum Grand Masters medal.

Our thoughts are with Diane Dillon and their family and friends. Leo and Diane once stated, “Art in its many forms has survived to inform us of lives long gone. Art inspires, lifts our spirits, and brings beauty to our lives. We wish to pay homage to it and the people who created it.” The Dillons have, unquestionably lifted the spirits and inspired generations of people, and will continue to do so for generations to come.

Be sure to read the comments as other people talk about their meetings with the Dillons. Leo and Diane have a blog with a lot of their artwork online: The Art of Leo and Diane Dillon

Posted by DaveH at 08:27 AM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2012

31 acronyms and what they mean

A fun list from Mental Floss:

31 Acronyms and Initials All Spelled Out
For the past few weeks, every time I saw an acronym or initials, I took a picture. You know the brands, authors, and pieces of legislation, but do you know what all those letters stand for?

1. BMW
BMW means Bayerische Motoren Werke, which translates to “Bavarian Motor Works.”

2. L.L. Bean
The company was founded by Leon Leonwood Bean.

29 more at the site…

Posted by DaveH at 10:39 PM | Comments (0)

All hail our mastermind overlords - the ICLEI

Agenda 21 is a spear-point of the United Nations poking the USA in its side trying to infiltrate.
If we sign off on it, we can say goodbye to our sovereignty.

Here is the United Nations website. All fluffy bunnies and unicorns.

Here are a few sites that are more critical of Agenda 21:

From The Blaze:

Is the Soros-Sponsored ‘Agenda 21’ a Hidden Plan for World Government? (Yes, Only it Is Not Hidden)
What is Agenda 21? If you do not know about it, you should.

Agenda 21 is a two-decade old, grand plan for global ’Sustainable Development,’ brought to you from the United Nations. George H.W. Bush (and 177 other world leaders) agreed to it back in 1992, and in 1995, Bill Clinton signed Executive Order #12858, creating a Presidential Council on ‘Sustainable Development.’ This effectively pushed the UN plan into America’s large, churning government machine without the need for any review or discussion by Congress or the American people.

‘Sustainable Development’ sounds like a nice idea, right? It sounds nice, until you scratch the surface and find that Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development are really cloaked plans to impose the tenets of Social Justice/Socialism on the world.

At risk from Agenda 21:
•Private Property ownership
•Single-Family homes
•Private car ownership and individual travel choices
•Privately owned farms
The Agenda 21 plan openly targets private property. For over thirty-five years the UN has made their stance very clear on the issue of individuals owning land.

An excerpt from this 2009 article at American Thinker:

Undoubtedly, residents of any town, county, or city in the United States that treasure their freedom, liberty, and property rights couldn't care less whether it's called Agenda 21 or smart growth. A recent example of this can be found in Carroll County, Maryland, where a smart growth plan called Pathways was drafted by the County Planning Department. The plan, if enacted, proposed a breathtaking reshuffling of land rights:
•Rezoning of thousands of acres of beautiful, low-density agricultural farmland and protected residential conservation land into office parks
•Down-zoning of agriculture land to prevent future subdivision by farmers
•Up-zoning of low-density residential land around small towns into higher density zoning to permit construction of hundreds or possibly thousands of inclusive housing units, including apartments and condominiums
•Inclusive housing with placement of multi-family construction on in-fill lots within existing residential single family communities
•Endorsement of government-sponsored housing initiatives (subsidies) to ensure healthier, balanced neighborhoods
Carroll County, Maryland is one of 1,168 cities, towns, and counties worldwide that are members of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) - Local Governments for Sustainability, which is an international association of local governments as well as national and regional local government organizations that have made a commitment to sustainable development. The ICLEI mission statement closely resembles that of Agenda 21. In fact, the ICLEI has Special Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council and coordinates local government representation in the UN processes related to Agenda 21.

Which brings me to this post — the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives

This organization is the very tip of the spear — this is what urban planners sign on to and proceed to make our lives miserable.

I looked at their list of international members and saw the following names from Washington State:

Cities:
Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Bellingham, Bothell, Coupeville, Edmonds, Everett, Issaquah, Kirkland, Lacey, Lynnwood, Mercer Island, Oak Harbor, Olympia, Port Townsend, Redmond, Renton, SeaTac, Seattle, Shoreline, Spokane, Tacoma, Tumwater

Counties:
Clallam County, Island County, King County, Skagit County, Snohomish County, Thurston County

A couple of surprises and a couple of slam-dunks. Everett, Oak Harbor, SeaTac are all conservative military cities — odd to see them adopting this globalist agenda. Port Townsend (which I dearly love) is about as progressive as you can get so no surprise there. Ditto Olympia and Mercer Island is in a class by itself being the city where Stanley Dunham's parents moved for the Marxist school (Stanley being B. Obama's mom): Mercer Island High School:

Mercer Island High School was a hotbed of pro-Marxist radical teachers. John Stenhouse, board member, told the House Un-American Activities Subcommittee that he had been a member of the Communist Party USA and this school has a number of Marxists on its staff. Two teachers at this school, Val Foubert and Jim Wichterman, both Frankfurt School style Marxists, taught a critical theory curriculum to students which included; rejection of societal norms and questioning authority, attacks on Christianity, the traditional family, and assigned readings by Karl Marx. The hallway between Foubert’s and Wichterman classrooms were called ‘anarchy ally.’

They are still neck deep in it:

Stanley Dunham Scholarship Fund
The Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund empowers young women to realize their potential as leaders and active world citizens. A college scholarship is awarded annually to a Mercer Island High School senior who has demonstrated her commitment to the promotion of inter-cultural understanding and the social and economic rights of women.

Sorry for the rambling post but, I am glad to see that Whatcom County is not listed and this odious organization is now on my radar. If I see it coming up for vote for Whatcom County. I will be very vocal in my opposition.

Posted by DaveH at 09:24 PM | Comments (1)

Senator Kerry - Senator Kerry to the courtesy phone please

John (Lurch) Kerry had a yacht built a few years ago but failed to pay taxes on it. July 24th, 2010 and November 5th, 2010

From today's Boston Herald:

Unclear sailing for John F. Kerry
Summer is back in New England and you know what that means — backyard barbecues, traffic tie-ups on the Cape, and the return of one of the most storied sailing vessels on the high seas — U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry’s yacht.

The Herald Truth Squad made a surprise inspection of the $7 million Isabel last week while it was docked in tony Newport, R.I. — a strange location considering it’s the place that landed Kerry in hot water two summers ago.

That’s when the Herald reported that the Massachusetts Democrat was avoiding a six-figure sales tax bill by keeping the luxury yacht in Rhode Island, rather than Massachusetts. The senior senator sustained major political damage, but Kerry eventually paid up and moved the Isabel to his home base of Nantucket.

Kerry’s office told the Truth Squad last week that the Isabel is still registered in Nantucket, and was apparently just making a stopover in Newport.

And the upshot:

After the tax scandal broke two years ago, Kerry said he would immediately pay all sales and excise taxes to Massachusetts.

But when the Herald called the Nantucket tax collector’s office last week, there was no record of any bills or payments in Kerry’s name.

But taxes are for the little people. He is our elected representative — just how is he working for us. What is he doing to benefit the United States.

Posted by DaveH at 01:57 PM | Comments (0)

Riding the Dragon

André Kuipers is a Physician working for the European Space Agency and he is currently serving on the International Space Station.

From his about page:

About André Kuipers
ESA astronaut André Kuipers is the second Dutch astronaut to fly in space. In 2004 he flew on mission DELTA, an eleven day mission to the International Space Sation (ISS). In 2011 he will return to the ISS, this time for 5,5 months. Kuipers is married, has three daughters and a son. He likes flying, diving, skiing, travelling and history. After high school Kuipers studied medicine at the University of Amsterdam. He worked as a doctor at the Dutch Royal Airforce. In addition he researched spatial disorientation in pilots and space sickness with astronauts. In 1991 he started work at the European Space Agency as coordinator of physiological space-experiments.

He maintains an English language Blog here: André Kuipers logboek

Here is his post on working with SpaceX's Dragon as it docked with the ISS:

Dragon attached to ISS, a milestone for spaceflight
Last Friday was a special day on my mission. Don and I docked the SpaceX’s cargoship Dragon to the Space Station. Dragon brings new equipment for the crew. On the 31st of May it will return to Earth with supplies from the others and myself. The Dragon mission is the operational highlight of my mission. But it is also a milestone for international spaceflight. This is the first time that a commercial spacecraft has flown to the ISS and docked with the Station. You could say a new era of spaceflight has begun. Soon private companies will take people to and from space.

Dragon launched on 22 May from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. We followed the launch from monitors as we were already flying above Ireland by the time the rocket lifted off. Over the last few days Dragon flew closer and closer to ISS. It even flew around our Space Station to demonstrate that the system works and flight control could intervene if necessary. We installed a special targeting mechanism and a camera in front of Node-2′s window. We needed them to dock the Dragon.

Be sure to check out the photo album — this is groundbreaking work. A private company is getting into space and doing it well.

It is a fun time to be alive!

Posted by DaveH at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2012

California - the top ten list

From Human Events:

Top 10 examples of California zealotry
1. Taxifornia
With the state staring at a $16 billion budget shortfall, California Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown is seeking voter approval in November for a $9 billion tax hike initiative that would add three percentages points to the top income tax rate, making it the highest in the nation at 13.3 percent. Perhaps, California lawmakers should look to Texas, where the legislature closed a major budget gap by cutting spending.

2. Bullet train folly
The state is moving ahead with, and even expanding, a plan to construct a high-speed bullet train linking San Francisco to Los Angeles via the Central Valley. Given the fact that California’s fiscal system is in free-fall, has anyone in Sacramento given thought as to how to pay for this boondoggle? Sure, the feds will help with the initial $68 billion price tag, but the rail will require large annual state subsidies in perpetuity.

Eight more at the site.

To quote the wonderful Benjamin Franklin:

When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.
Posted by DaveH at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)

Job opening!

From the UK Telegraph:

China cruise liner crashes into bridge
Captain Guo Lai, at the helm of the Pearl No 7 line in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, eastern China, also reportedly failed to take account of the fact that the £28 million ship - 518ft long and 98ft wide - was sitting higher on the water because there were no passengers or cargo on board.

Some witnesses said that the bridge, which is built over the Oujiang River, swayed slightly after the collision.

Yang Tao, chief engineer of the bridge's owner company, said the city's maritime safety department is investigating the cause of the collision.

Apart from the chimney, the ship did not suffer any major damage, although it returned to the shipyard for repairs.

The photo at the site makes me wince. Should have known better…

Posted by DaveH at 08:12 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2012

Tired and hoarse

The race was a lot of fun. Got up at 6AM and I am not a morning person so I am tired but I will be on board next year for sure.

There was a cap at 500 racers and we had the full 500 this year. With the canoe part of the leg, there were 1,000 racers and the 500 bicyclists trickling in as well as all the ancillary support people, friends and family so it was a good size crowd.

The guy who brought the PA system does mobile DJing professionally (Sunset Music DJ) so we had OK coverage but he blew one of his amps so it wasn't quite as loud for part of the waiting area and people didn't think about this so they continued to chatter and socialize. The key waiting area was covered perfectly. It was a bit odd to hear my voice reverberate through the valley — very evident echo.

Did the announcing and didn't get on the air but it was great to watch Rick and Diane run the radios and get a feel for working an event like this — traffic control from several stations. I would not have wanted to be in the “hot seat” anyway — setting up a base station and building a rack to hold the radio in my truck for now.

Had dinner in town and now having a glass of wine or two and forcing myself to stay up to at least 11PM so my sleep schedule is not thrown off.

My typing is crap now — lots of typos so I am tired…

Posted by DaveH at 08:10 PM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2012

Crap - it always starts quietly. Meet patient zero.

Arm yourselves, the Zombie Apocalypse is starting
From this simple article in USA Today:

Report: Officer kills naked attacker chewing man's face
A Miami police officer on Saturday fatally shot a naked man who was chewing on the face of another man on a downtown causeway off-ramp, police and witnesses said.

The Miami Herald reports that gunshots were heard at about 2 p.m. on the MacArthur Causeway off-ramp, which is near the newspaper's offices. Witnesses said that a woman saw two men fighting and flagged down a police officer, who came upon a naked man mauling the other man. The newspaper quoted witnesses as saying that the officer ordered the naked man to back away, and when he ignored the demand, the officer shot him. Witnesses said that the naked man continued his attack after being shot once, and the officer shot him several more times.

We knew it was coming and some of us have prepared.

On the West Coast, my only real concern is air travel but the infected are too stupid to buy a ticket or to negotiate an airport.

Keep your loads hot and your powder dry.

Posted by DaveH at 11:31 PM | Comments (0)

Quaking in my boots - Iran's new helo

From DefenseTech:

Introducing Iran’s Newest Attack Helos, Wait a Second…
Continuing it’s tradition of reverse engineering and fabricating its stockpile of 40-year old American weaponry, Iran announced that it is about to unveil its first ever domestically produced Cobra attack choppers.

Yup, nearly 50-years after the U.S. introduced the Cobra, Iran has figured out how to make its own. Kinda reminds me of Iran’s Saeqeh fighter jet — a Northrop F-5 knock of featuring some Iranian modifications and a paint job that resembles the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels’ color scheme. The Iranian army flies American-made AH-1J Sea Cobras — some of which have been rebuilt in Iran as the Panha 2091 — that were delivered before the 1979 revolution.

Iran’s locally-grown Cobras will be armed with “different types of home-made caliber guns, rockets and missiles,” according to Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency. Yup, “different types of home-made” weapons. Apparently, these home-made weapons and other modifications to the Cobra design will make it “preferable to Apache Choppers (sic).” I’m shaking.

The Cobra was introduced in 1967. Not a bad helo as helos go but seriously outdated. Iran will upgrade the avionics and engine but they are still limited by the basic overall design — maneuverability, etc. Plus, the airframe stands out like a sore thumb on radar…

More on this variant of the Huey here at Wikipedia: Bell AH-1 Cobra

Things like this make me positive that Russia is behind their rush to Nuclear weapons and that we need to get back to a hard-line relationship with them. They are pragmatists and if we show enough balls, they will back down.

Their interest in the area is the oil — they started with grooming Yasser Arafat and funding this Egyptian son of a Dentist into being the “leader” of the “palestinian” “people”. The Russians are still very much active here. Considering that the oil is running out (40 years tops before the fields need to sit idle and replenish), it's almost like the head of the KGB dinosaur was cut off but the body is still operating.

I say wall the whole area off (except for Israel!) and toss in a cell phone with a note attached: Whosoever survives, give the Western world a call in 2062.

They could have been great but they chose the path of idolatry and madness.

Posted by DaveH at 10:53 PM | Comments (0)

Drizzle and Fog

Weather forecast for the race tomorrow. Today was drop-dead gorgeous but there are supposed to be some clouds moving in tonight. No sign of them yet though.

Had the final meeting tonight — I love well-organized meetings and this was a perfect example. The attendees were a combination of the WECG and the Whatcom Search and Rescue Council so they were both into zero-bullshit communications. Some really good people there even though I have only been with these groups for two meetings.

Very early day tomorrow so fixing a couple sandwiches, loading up my cooler and heading up for an early bedtime.

Maybe a few posts but not much…

Posted by DaveH at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2012

Asshat of the year

From the New York Daily News:

This breakfast club is closed: Manhattan lawyer sues posh spa for yanking morning cereal and yogurt, but ends up with egg on his face
A Manhattan attorney who sued a Wall Street health club because it quit serving free breakfast has to fork over $440 after a judge ruled that his lawsuit was toast.

Richard Katz was a member of the posh, exclusive The Setai Wall Street Club and Spa from December 2009 until October 2011, paying $5,000 in annual dues.

He demanded more than $100,000 in damages from the Financial District facility because starting in August 2011, he says, the club busted up his morning workout routine when it broke a promise to provide yogurt and juice alongside coffee.

Katz also wanted $5,000 in damages because, he said, spa manager Amanda Wells had “libeled” him by sharing a copy of an email that she had sent to Katz in which she cancelled his membership and said he had “blatantly harassed (her) in a threatening manner for the duration of this year….”

And the case?

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Ellen Coin dismissed the case without written comment and ordered Katz to pay $440 to the club’s lawyers.

Wells’ attorney, Ryan Karben, said that at a recent hearing the judge skewered Katz saying “he should be ashamed of himself” for filing the suit.

Karben praised the judge’s decision, saying “it’s embarrassing to the profession” when lawyers file suits like this because they can do it “without it costing them a thing.”

Serves him right. I am wondering if this guy is enough of a putz to appeal.

I love Karben's comment: embarrassing to the profession indeed…

Posted by DaveH at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

Penn Jillette on Obama and the current drug policies

Nails it…

Posted by DaveH at 02:03 PM | Comments (0)

Catching a Dragon by the tail

Kudos to all involved. The first commercial flight from Earth to the orbiting International Space Station went off without a hitch.

From NASA Commercial SpaceX blog:

Dragon Berthed to Space Station
The SpaceX Dragon capsule was securely bolted to the Harmony module of the International Space Station at 12:02 p.m. EDT.

More (with photos) at the link.

The current regime may have dropped the ball on the Space Shuttle but the time is right for private entrepreneurs to step up to the plate.

Posted by DaveH at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)

RIP - Sam J. Porcello

Sam J. Porcello?

From Time Magazine:

RIP, ‘Mr.Oreo’: Man Who Invented Oreo Filling Dies At 76
Heaven just got a little more stuf. Sam J. Porcello, the food scientist credited with inventing the Oreo cookie’s creamy, pasty, stick-together filling, died last week at age 76. He had been employed at Nabisco for 34 years and through his work made life a little sweeter for everyone.

Porcello’s official designation at Nabisco, the parent company of Oreo, was “principal scientist” — a far cry from the Willy Wonka vision that comes to mind when you discover the man was also known by the much more delicious sounding moniker of Mr. Oreo. Porcello was one of the world’s foremost experts on cocoa, the raw material of chocolate, and the go-to guy for all Oreo related matters at Nabisco. “My father was proud of what he did,” says Curtis Porcello, one of his two sons told the New York Daily News. “He’d come home and tell us all what he was working on.” During his tenure at Nabisco, Porcello created not only the “stuf” in the Double Stuf Oreos, but he also developed the chocolate-covered and the white chocolate-covered Oreo. In fact, Porcello held five patents relating to Oreos. We can only hope that they are all printed on chocolate and written in vanilla icing.

Used to live on the things as a kid. I'll have to buy a pack today in rememberence…

Posted by DaveH at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)

Gearing up for Ski to Sea

Spending today getting stuff ready for Sunday's Ski to Sea race.

First time participant in the ham radio link so want to make sure I have all of my ducks in a row.

Should be a lot of fun — looking forward to it!

Heading into town later — meeting up with Lulu and then a prep meeting tomorrow.

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

May 24, 2012

Cool online database - pure-gas.org

Ethanol has been mandated by the EPA but it wreaks havoc on older engines and is especially toxic to smaller engines (yard and garden as well as outboard motors and generators). Ethanol absorbs water from the air and has less power per unit volume.

Shows what a few million $$$ from Archer Daniels Midland's lobbyists can do (they do corn big-time).

Just ran into the Pure-Gas website and found a couple local sources for Ethanol-Free gasoline.

5,200+ stations listed.

Posted by DaveH at 10:32 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2012

Quite the archaeological discovery in Peru

From Science Blog:

Spectacular Tomb Discovered in Peru
A team of archaeologists from the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) has discovered a spectacular tomb containing more than eighty individuals of different ages. This discovery – provisionally dated to around 1000 years ago – was made at the site of Pachacamac, which is currently under review for UNESCO World Heritage status.

Pachacamac, situated on the Pacific coast about thirty kilometres from Lima, is one of the largest Prehispanic sites in South America. Professor Peter Eeckhout – under the auspices of the ULB – has been carrying out fieldwork at the site for the past 20 years. The 2012 season resulted in some particularly remarkable discoveries.

The Ychsma Project team undertook to record and excavate a series of Inca storage facilities (15th-16th c. AD), as well as a more ancient cemetery which had been detected during exploratory work in 2004.

It was here – directly in front of the Temple of Pachacamac – that the most important discovery was made. A scatter of later period burials was found to conceal an enormous burial chamber 20 metres long ; miraculously, it had survived the pillaging of the colonial period – which was particularly intensive on this site – and was completely intact.

To find something like this intact is great — opens a window into their culture.

Posted by DaveH at 03:15 PM | Comments (1)

Japanese debris

Interesting news — from Washington's Olympic Peninsula Daily News:

Japanese tsunami debris: Lots of flotsam by October, ocean expert warns
Beachcombing will get a lot more interesting this October.

That's when the bulk of the flotsam unleashed by the Japanese tsunami of March 2011 will begin to arrive on the North Olympic Peninsula, oceanographer Curt Ebbesmeyer told an audience at Peninsula College in Port Angeles on Monday night.

He also conducted a workshop in Sequim on Tuesday (see story, Page A9).

Ebbesmeyer and his colleagues believe that the leading edge of the main debris field will hit the Washington coast as ocean currents shift this fall.

Some flotsam is expected to spill into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

“I'd be watching for it,” Ebbesmeyer said.

“In my view, we're in a six-month countdown to October.”

Curt Ebbesmeyer co-authored a delightful book: FLOTSAMETRICS AND THE FLOATING WORLD: How One Man’s Obsession with Runaway Sneakers and Rubber Ducks Revolutionized Ocean Science

From Kirkus Reviews:

Lively as-told-to autobiography of a scientist who studied flotsam—floating trash—and revolutionized the study of the world’s oceans.

Ebbesmeyer graduated college as a mechanical engineer in the mid-1960s and went to work for Mobil/Standard Oil, which financed the doctorate studies that made him the company’s first oceanographer. Years of traveling the world gave him an intimate knowledge of how ocean movements affect oil rigs, but he grew increasingly fascinated by sea currents and eddies and began to focus on beaches, more specifically on debris deposited there. An epiphany came in May 1990 when a Pacific storm knocked five containers filled with thousands of athletic shoes off a cargo vessel. Nearly a year later, the shoes began washing up along the West coast of North America. With the help of a surprisingly large and cooperative fraternity of beachcombers, Ebbesmeyer tracked the progress of the shoes up and down the coast and as far as Hawaii, producing a groundbreaking study of ocean currents. With the help of maritime and environmental journalist Scigliano (Michelangelo’s Mountain: The Quest for Perfection in the Marble Quarries of Carrara, 2005, etc.), Ebbesmeyer spins a fascinating tale. Even readers with little interest in ocean science will be riveted by the author’s chronicle of the epic travels of oceanic trash; the entertaining explanations of how floating debris guided Christopher Columbus and the Vikings to safe harbors; the horrific stories of men adrift at sea; how flotsam may have triggered the origin of life; and frighteningly, the warnings of the threat that an increasing avalanche of plastic waste poses to the oceans.

A captivating account of the man who turned beachcombing into a science.

He also maintains the fun Beachcombers Alert! website.

Posted by DaveH at 02:13 PM | Comments (0)

Top ten

A list of the top ten stings and how they feel — from The London Daily Mail:

The 10 most painful stings on the planet, by the self-sacrificing man who tried 150 different varieties in the name of science
Most of us will have felt the pain of a bee sting. Luckily most of us will have avoided the dreaded pain of a tarantula hawk or a fire ant.

Justin Schmidt felt all three of these - and 147 other horrible, burning sensations - after a dedicated life-long career devoted to insects.

On numerous fieldwork trips, The University of Arizona entomologist would find himself digging up living colonies of creatures, who in turn were not happy with this destructive human scooping them into bags - and promptly sank their fangs, stingers or pincers into him.

Still, no pain, no gain, and Schmidt turned his experiences into the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, ranking 78 species in a list which, while subjective, was put together by the man who must surely know best, ranking their pain on a scale of 1 to 4.

Number ten: Sweat Bee

Light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.

Number one: Bullet Ant

Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail grinding into your heel.

The Daily Mail story is new but this list was originally published in 1984.
It has an entry in Wikipedia: Schmidt Sting Pain Index

Posted by DaveH at 01:27 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2012

Bob would have been 78 on the 23rd.

Google is doing an awesome Doodle for Bob Moog's birthday.

Take some time to dig as it is deep — a full synthesizer and multi-track recorder.

More here: Moog Foundation

I had the joy of meeting him once when he gave a talk at Microsoft.

He revolutionized music.

Posted by DaveH at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

Here's how you do it - Ford

From The Bellingham Herald:

Ford to get blue oval back after second upgrade
Ford Motor Co. is getting its blue oval logo back.

Moody's Investors Service raised Ford's debt ratings to investment-grade Tuesday for the first time in seven years. The upgrade means that all of Ford's U.S. assets, including factories, the blue oval and the trademarks for the F-150 pickup and Mustang sports car, are back in the company's hands and will no longer be used to secure the company's debt.

Ford never stopped using its logo or factories, but posted them as collateral in 2006 in order to get a $23.5 billion loan and avoid bankruptcy. Executive Chairman Bill Ford, the great grandson of company founder Henry Ford, said Tuesday that giving up the rights to the oval was “enormously emotional for me personally and for my family.”

“This is one of the best days that I can remember,” Bill Ford said in a conference call with reporters.

What happened:

Ford lost its investment grade status in 2005 when it was racking up billions in losses as the SUV boom went bust. The company decided that a massive restructuring loan was worth risking its logo. The influx of cash helped Ford to revamp its cars and trucks and - unlike rivals GM and Chrysler Group - avoid bankruptcy protection.

Ford began its turnaround in 2006 when Bill Ford fired himself as CEO and hired Alan Mulally from aviation giant Boeing. The automaker used the billions it borrowed - which Mulally often calls a “giant home improvement loan” - to close plants, shed brands and cut its global workforce by one-third.

Ford has paid back much of that debt. The company had $13.7 billion in debt at the end of the first quarter and expects to lower that to $10 billion by 2015. In March, it resumed paying a dividend, which it hadn't done since September 2006.

That is how you do it — Ford bit the bullet and fixed themselves. They emerged leaner and stronger. Government General Motors and Chevrolet drank the big-government kool-ade and took the bailout. This does nothing to encourage any real structural changes in their organization and when the govt. largess runs out, they will be back in the same heap-o-crap™.

I had been a long time Chevy owner (40 years) but when it was time to upgrade my Dakota truck, I went to Ford and am extremely happy. My F-350 is a wonderful truck to drive and has some engineering features that I really love. Trouble-free. I would buy another one in a heartbeat.

Posted by DaveH at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2012

Back home at the farm

Picked up the 300 pounds of beef this afternoon. I had purchased 40 pounds of dry ice so it was safe for a couple of hours. Ran some errands in Bellingham, had dinner in town and now at home.

Have two nice and very full freezers — let's hope that these do not fail like my last one. Still wincing over the loss of 300 pounds of grass-fed beef and organic pork.

Included in my order were about fifteen pounds of nice meaty soup bones — I have one package thawing out and will do beef-barley soup tomorrow. It is 47 out and pouring buckets — good soup weather…

The dogs are blissed out in the living room gnawing on some dog marrow bones they included.

Posted by DaveH at 08:46 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2012

The Avengers

Got turned on to a new Chinese restaurant tonight. My favorite went through a couple of identity changes and then went out of business. This place was really good and focused on healthy food with lots of options.

The movie was a lot of fun — the casting was excellent and the special effects were very well done. It was curious that there were about fifty different efects companies working on the project but the overall look was continuous. And Joss Whedon writing and directing? That sealed the deal. With the exception of the Christian Bale / Heath Ledger Batman, this was the best comic to screen adaptation.

Make that a tie.

Stay until the absolute end of the credits for a cute scene.

Posted by DaveH at 10:59 PM | Comments (0)

More goodness greatness from Bill Whittle

Well put. More of Bill's video essays can be found at Declaration Entertainment.

Posted by DaveH at 05:46 PM | Comments (0)

A quiet day

Hanging out at Lulu's house with her son. The other guy is coming over in a few minutes and we are going out to see The Avengers (in 2D please) and get a bite to eat.

Everyone is in a state of shock but coping. Time will heal…

Heading South tomorrow to pick up my half-beef.

Posted by DaveH at 05:32 PM | Comments (0)

So much for the "Ring of Fire" eclipse

It is fully overcast and raining. The last three weeks were delightful and now there is a #@$% weather advisory for rain.

Looks like it is going to last through the Ski-to-Sea race next weekend too.

I was looking forward to seeing the cookie monster taking a chunk out of the sun.

Posted by DaveH at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2012

The best of times / The worst of times

Yesterday, ten months ago, Lulu and I first met.

We had been spending today out at the farm, ran up to Canada, had a nice dinner and in general, enjoyed a delightful day.

Got a phone call about an hour ago — her son is 21 and is close with two other guys about the same age.

One of them had some personal demons but nobody considered them to be serious.
Tonight, this guy killed himself and the other guy was the one to find the body.

The next couple of weeks are going to really suck.

Suicide is a hard thing to deal with — on the one hand there is the sorrow for what the person had to have been going through but on the other hand, there is the selfishness they exhibited. B was 22 or 23 and had his whole life ahead of him. Smart, articulate and a very good musician.

Like I said, the next couple of weeks are going to really suck…

Posted by DaveH at 11:43 PM | Comments (0)

Cool use of Bokeh

Bokeh? Read here: Everything You Wanted To Know About The Magical Shaped Bokeh

Check out this video from Gramatikk:

Hat tip DIY Photography

Liking the music! You can download for free at his publishers website: Pretty Lights Music
Hit the donate button…

Posted by DaveH at 08:37 PM | Comments (0)

Not a perfect Launch but not a bad Abort either.

The SpaceX Dragon mission to the International Space Station was due to launch this morning but they scrubbed just before final ignition.

From Popular Mechanics:

The Heartbreak of a Launch Abort
An aborted rocket launch is a frustrating thing to watch. From a causeway linking Merritt Island to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, I watched with a small crowd of other journalists at the blearingly early hour of 4:55 am, waiting for the launch of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket. The early launch time was one of the narrow windows available to line up the Dragon with the orbit of the International Space Station, where it was scheduled to dock four days from now. And it certainly seemed as if all systems were go for this one. The countdown over the PA system went all the way to t-minus .5 seconds, and the first burst of ignition illuminated the pre-dawn sky for a moment…but only a moment, and then we all discovered that it had been called off.

Early analysis pegged the cause for the mission abort as a high-pressure reading in Engine 5 of the Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX is playing it awfully safe on this mission, officially titled COTS-2, which is designed to demonstrate that an unmanned Dragon spacecraft can safely dock with the ISS and deliver supplies. If successful—or at least, if eventually successful—the Dragon could carry manned missions to ISS within the next few years, eliminating NASA’s current reliance on Russian spacecraft to bring American astronauts into space. But before the Dragon is even allowed to approach the ISS on the COTS-2 mission, it will have to go through a day’s worth of test maneuvers in space.

A lot of data will have been collected and will be analyzed and the next launch will be that much closer to success. The people at SpaceX are doing some amazing work. They will be attempting another launch on Tuesday, May 22nd at 3:44 AM Eastern. Good work and God Speed!

Posted by DaveH at 06:18 PM | Comments (0)

Back from Canada - eh?

We went up for the day — shopped at IKEA and got a nice day-bed for the music room and some kitchen stuff: canisters, etc… Swung by Rona (their home center chain) and got two nice toilets to replace the old ones here.

Got a couple spuds in the oven and waiting for two steaks to thaw.

Doing some speck and melon for appetizer. (Got the speck from a local dealer for these people: La Quercia.)

Posted by DaveH at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2012

Now this will be interesting

Cool project — from Science Insider:

Supervolcano Drilling Plan Gets Go-Ahead
A project to drill deep into the heart of a “supervolcano” in southern Italy has finally received the green light, despite claims that the drilling would put the population of Naples at risk of small earthquakes or an explosion. Yesterday, Italian news agency ANSA quoted project coordinator Giuseppe De Natale of Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology as saying that the office of Naples mayor Luigi de Magistris has approved the drilling of a pilot hole 500 meters deep.

The Campi Flegrei Deep Drilling Project was set up by an international collaboration of scientists to assess the risks posed by the Campi Flegrei caldera, a geological formation just a few kilometers to the west of Naples that formed over thousands of years following the collapse of several volcanoes. Researchers believe that if it erupted, Campi Flegrei could have global repercussions, potentially killing millions of people and having a major effect on the climate, but that such massive eruptions are extremely rare.

The project’s organizers originally intended to bore a 4-kilometer-deep well in the area of the caldera late in 2009, but the plan was put on hold by then-mayor Rosa Russo Iervolino after scientists expressed concerns about the risks.

A lot of volcanic activity in that part of the world. The Greek Island of Santorini has quite the volcano. Part of a chain called the Hellenic Volcanic Arc.

Posted by DaveH at 04:32 PM | Comments (0)

Solar Eclipse this Sunday

Starts on the West Coast at 6:30PM and peters out in Texas.

The path of totality is about 200 miles wide starting in Northern California. I will not see totality but there should be a nice chunk taken out at my location.

A fun one as it is an annular eclipse. The moon is further than normal from the Earth so it doesn't entirely block the sun — instead of totality we get a Burnin' Ring of Fire.

Lots of data and links to other solar sites at Anthony Watts' Watts Up With That

Posted by DaveH at 04:16 PM | Comments (0)

A blast from the past - Apple ][

From Byte Magazine — May 1977:

System Description: The Apple-II by Stephen Wozniak
The Apple-I, my first video oriented single board computer, was designed late in 1975 and sold by word of mouth throughout California and later nationwide through retail computer stores. I think that the Apple-I computer was the first microprocessor system product on the market to completely integrate the display generation circuitry, microprocessor, memory and power supply on the same board. This meant that its owner could run the Apple BASIC interpreter with no additional electronics other than a keyboard and video monitor. The Apple-I video computer board was originally intended as a television terminal product which could also operate in a stand alone mode with out much in the way of memory, although it did have a processor, space for 8 K bytes of 4 K dynamic memory chips, and its shared video generation and dynamic memory refresh logic. Apple- I was sold as a completely assembled and tested processor board with a price under $700 at the retail level.

The latest result of my design activities is the Apple-II which is the main subject of this system description article. The Apple-II builds upon this idea by providing a computer with more memory capability, a read only memory (ROM) BASIC interpreter, color video graphics as well as point graphics and character graphics, and extended systems software.

Five pages of goodness complete with diagrams. A couple very neat software hacks to simplify the hardware design and make it cheaper. Very open system too — lots of people made money building plug-in cards and writing software.

Posted by DaveH at 04:06 PM | Comments (0)

Facebook

Meh…

I didn't bother buying any.

Nice to see the founders get such a chunk of change but it is already at its peak.

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

Well that was a bust - Welding Rodeo

Not as well attended as last year. Only eight teams and no manufacturers booths that I could see. There was a blacksmithing demo with a couple local smiths so I hung out there for an hour.

Saturday may be more popular but I am planning to head up to Canada then — shopping run to IKEA and picking up two standard-flush toilets.

Internet continues to be dodgy…

Posted by DaveH at 02:56 PM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2012

Minimal posting tonight

The intar-tubes have been bouncing up and down like a yo-yo.

Don't know how much surfing and posting I'll be able to do.

This means I might actually have to do some work around the house or go play some music. (shudder)

Posted by DaveH at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2012

The Senate Speaks

From The Washington Times:

Obama budget defeated 99-0 in Senate
President Obama's budget suffered a second embarrassing defeat Wednesday, when senators voted 99-0 to reject it.

Coupled with the House's rejection in March, 414-0, that means Mr. Obama's budget has failed to win a single vote in support this year.

Hat tip to Zero Hedge for the link.

And the only Senator to not vote (hence the 99) was Senator Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) who is recovering from a stroke.

Posted by DaveH at 10:24 PM | Comments (0)

The dead have risen - and they are voting in Florida

From J. Christian Adams, PJ Media's Legal Editor:

53,000 Dead Voters Found in Florida
I have learned that Florida election officials are set to announce that the Secretary of State has discovered and purged up to 53,000 dead voters from the voter rolls in Florida.

How could 53,000 dead voters have sat on the polls for so long? Simple, because Florida hadn’t been using the best available data revealing which voters have died. Florida is now using the nationwide Social Security Death Index for determining which voters should be purged because they have died.

Here is the bad news. Most states aren’t using the same database that Florida is. In fact, I have heard reports that some election officials won’t even remove voters even when they are presented with a death certificate. That means that voter rolls across the nation still are filled with dead voters, even if Florida is leading the way in detecting and removing them.

But surely people aren’t voting in the names of dead voters, the voter fraud deniers argue. Wrong.

More at the site. There was a big problem with felons and the dead in the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections. Before the 2000 election, Florida purged 100,000 false voters from their rolls. They tried the same thing in 2004 but the hostile media coverage prevented them from doing this.

Makes me glad that I have the Zombie Killah at the ready.

Posted by DaveH at 10:02 PM | Comments (0)

Glad I moved out of the city

From the Chicago Tribune:

4 Guardian Angels knifed trying to stop Red Line robbery
Four members of the volunteer security patrol known as the Guardian Angels were stabbed while trying to nab a man who pistol-whipped a rider on a Red Line train on the Near North Side, police say.

The four suffered minor cuts during the confrontation around 11:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Clark and Division stop, police said, citing preliminary information.

The Guardian Angels were on the platform, waiting to get on a train, when they spotted a man hitting a passenger and taking his iPhone 4S, police said. They intervened and a second man pulled a knife and cut three of the Guardian Angels on their arms and the fourth on the head, authorities said.

The robbers ran off and grabbed a cab, police said.

Wednesday evening police released CTA surveillance photos of the suspects and asked for the public's help in finding them.

We are getting instances of gang activity in Bellingham and surrounding towns. I cannot imagine what it would be like to live in Detroit or other eastern city. I would certainly have Zombie Killah within reach at all times…

Posted by DaveH at 07:45 PM | Comments (0)

High times in Darby

First off, Darby is located five miles Southwest of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
When I grew up in Pittsburgh, it was a nice small town but it is a hell-hole now.
From the Wikipedia entry for Darby, Pennsylvania:

As of the census3 of 2000, there were 10,299 people, 3,405 households, and 2,393 families residing in the borough. The population density was 12,624.5 people per square mile (4,849.3/km²). There were 3,999 housing units at an average density of 4,902.0 per square mile (1,883.0/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 36.37% White, 60.00% African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.87% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.51% from other races, and 2.04% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.95% of the population.

More (Census data for households):

30.0% had a female householder with no husband present

The resultant crime rate:

The Pennsylvania State Police reported that the crime rate (per capita)in 2011 compared to the per-capita rate for Delaware County as a whole was six times for violent crimes (homicide, robbery, and assault, not including sex crimes), twenty-four times for property crimes (including arson), but only two times for drug offenses (not including alcohol offenses).

From The Delaware County Times:

Robbers help Darby cops make big marijuana bust
A sophisticated irrigation system, commercial grow lights, fans, humidifiers and timers allowed a 52-year-old pot farmer to grow a bumper crop with a street value of about $200,000 in a tiny row house on Glen Avon Road, police said.

Police confiscated 212 pot plants and numerous mason jars filled with potent marijuana buds — worth between $5 and $1,500 each — from Daniel M. Thomas’ home, police said.

If it weren’t for three armed invaders who forced their way into Thomas’ house Monday night, what appeared to be a lucrative pot growing operation would still be in business.

More — from Police Chief Robert Smythe:

According to Smythe, Thomas has lived in the neat row home in the 1100 block of Glen Avon Road, once owned by his late parents, for decades. He’d never been in trouble, as far as Smythe knows, and police had never been called to the house.

More:

According to Smythe, Thomas told him he had hurt his back, had applied for disability and was supporting himself in the interim by growing marijuana.

That is until three black males wearing surgical masks burst into his home at about 9:40 p.m. Monday.

According to Smythe, Thomas and a friend were sitting in the dining room when the armed suspects entered the house. The masked men robbed them of their wallets and cellphones and demanded to know “where the money was,” according to the affidavit of probable cause. Thomas allegedly told the men to take whatever they wanted and the suspects began filling trash bags with weed. They carried the loot out back and began loading it into a truck, according to court documents.

One of the suspects was overheard saying, “We hit the jackpot,” Smythe said.

While the suspects were out back loading the truck, Thomas’ friend decided to take off. He ran to his pickup truck, which was parked out front, then drove around toward the alleyway. One of the suspects was sitting on Thomas’ motorcycle while another was carrying jars filled with pot, the affidavit states.

The friend told police he drove toward the two men. As he did, the suspect holding the jars began shooting at him. As bullets pierced the truck, Thomas’ friend, whose name is not being disclosed, continued toward the suspect on the cycle. He followed him until the suspect lost control of the motorcycle, crashed and fled on foot. The friend drove home, parked his truck then returned to the scene in another vehicle.

I personally don't smoke pot but have zero problems with other people smoking and growing it. There is so much money being made with commercial grow operations that I really wonder who in our government is being bought off and bribed to keep it illegal. The government could raise a lot of revenue by taxing its sale.

I wonder just how much effort is being spent to find the home invaders. Mr. Thomas should have spent more time in the gun shop and on the range…

Posted by DaveH at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)

Sounds like a fun read

From Splitsider comes this review:

The Novels of John Swartzwelder, the Most Prolific Simpsons Writer Ever
John Swartzwelder is the J. D. Salinger of comedy writing. The prolific Simpsons writer (he's written 59 episodes of The Simpsons, far more than any other writer, even when the show is quickly approaching five hundred episodes) is as well known to his fans for his eccentricities as his writing.

He was allowed to send his scripts in from home because the other writers couldn't stand his chain-smoking. When he could no longer smoke in restaurants, he bought his favorite booth from his favorite diner and had it installed in his home.

Swartzwelder's final Simpsons was in 2003, and since then he has written a novel a year, all self-published, when realistically, he could barge into any publishing house and declare “I've written 20% of all Simpsons episodes” and be handed a contract. I read all eight of Swartzwelder's novels in a row and have put my impressions together here, hopefully in a way that's slightly less absurdist than Swartzwelder's prose.

The Time Machine Did It: This book is a verbal cartoon; a literary Marx Brothers movie. In its way, Time Machine is actually more cartoony than The Simpsons. There's no pathos, no moral, just screwball, anything-for-a-laugh comedy. The protagonist is Frank Burly, a private detective who freely admits that he's not very observant, which is kind of a problem in his field. To reach his office, prospective clients have to walk past the offices of three more competent detectives.

Burly is hired by Thomas Dewey Mandible the Third, “a scraggly, smelly specimen” who claims to be a multi-millionaire. Mandible woke up one day to find that everything he owned (including his mansion and his stocks) have been stolen, but he has hired Burly only to return a small statue. To prove how serious he is, Mandible gives Burly not just one, but five blank checks.

After some snooping, Burly realizes that it all has to do with a stolen time machine, housed inside of a briefcase and invented by a Professor Groggins, who got the idea from watching science fiction movies (a theme Swartzwelder will revisit in the future). It turns out that the hard part of inventing is actually thinking up the idea. But once things like disintegrating rays and teleporters have been thought up by television writers, building real ones are surprisingly easy.

And like Chekov said, if you introduce a time machine in the first act, it has to go off by the midpoint. Time Machine's most creative scenes are the ones where Burley finds himself trapped in the 1940s. Unlike the later Frank Burly novels, The Time Machine Did It ends with Burly being surprisingly resourceful and clever, actively bringing about the resolution.

Seven more reviews at the site — looks like some fun summer reading.

Swartzwelder has his website here: Kennydale Books
His books are available on Amazon.

Posted by DaveH at 07:01 PM | Comments (0)

Got the tee-shirt

Some people are just plain dense — from the ever wonderful Not Always Right:

Detached From (Digital) Reality
I work for an online retail store. When customers send orders to addresses different from their card, we e-mail them a Word document form. This form requires they fill it out and e-mail it back to us.

Customer: “I don't understand. I've sent this form to you several times now.”
Me: “Sir, I saw your e-mail, but the form wasn't attached to it.”
Customer: “Attached? How do you do that?”
Me: “What program or e-mail provider do you use?”
Customer: “I don't know. I just write e-mails.”
Me: “Well, is your e-mail through Outlook, or is it something in a browser, like AOL, Yahoo, or Gmail?
Customer: “Yahoo.”
Me: “Okay. Well, you need to look for-“
Customer: “Hold up! I don't even have my e-mail open. Why do I need to do this? I used your program and sent you the file.”
Me: “What program, sir?”
Customer: “Microsoft Office. And now it's opening a bunch of files! 1, 2, 3, 4…20!”
Me: “Did you click on our file a bunch of times?”
Customer: “No! I just clicked on what you sent me! Your program is really stupid.”
Me: “Sir, that's not our program. We sent you a document. The program to open it is someone else's.”
Customer: “Well, your 'document' has a virus! There are 20 things on my screen now!”
Me: “It's not a virus, sir. Just close those windows down, and we'll start from scratch…”
Customer: (a few minutes later) “There. I filled out the form. You should have it.”
Me: “Sir, did you save it and attach it to the e-mail?”
Customer: “What do you mean? I filled it out! You should have it.”
Me: “You have to save it and attach it to the e-mail.”
Customer: “That's stupid! Your program should just send it to you!”
Me: “Sir, again, that's not our program. That is just a Word document that you save your information in.”
Customer: “You should use a program that just lets you fill it out and it sends the information.”
Me: “Sorry, our documents don't do that.”
Customer: “This is ridiculously complicated. I'm about to cancel my order!”
Me: “If you wish to do that sir, it's up to you.”
Customer: “I mean, how do you run your business? I have a Master's in Computer Science! If I can't figure this out, who could?!”

Owned a computer store in Seattle for ten years and yes, there are people that stupid out there…

Posted by DaveH at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

Some good news

From the Bellingham Herald:

DOT: Crews will reopen road to Artist Point this summer
The road to Artist Point will be opened this summer, after being closed all of 2011 because of heavy and late snow.

Washington Department of Transportation crews measured the snow depth and status Wednesday, May 16, and made the determination.

It hadn't been officially announced by DOT as of Wednesday morning, but a Bellingham Herald reporter with the crew relayed the news from the mountain.

No estimated date for reopening the road was immediately available.

Artist Point, at the end of Mount Baker Highway more than 5,000 feet above sea level, is a popular viewpoint that features 360-degree views of Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker. It's a jumping-off point for numerous stunning mountain hikes.

The road to it usually is open from July to the first substantial snowfall of the year in late September or early October.

It has been closed since Oct. 25, 2010.

Very good news — this is a big draw during summer and summer is the busiest season of the four. This is when we make our money for the year and last years revenues were down about 20% — people didn't visit our area.

Posted by DaveH at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2012

Nothing tonight

Had to run into town for a meeting and errands. Busy day today and tired.

Internet was down this afternoon — odd as the weather was perfectly clear so there was no rain-fade.

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

The Laser was once a laboratory curiosity

and now it is ubiquitous.
Meet Graphene — from The Economist:

A much-vaunted new material may change telecommunications
GRAPHENE, a form of carbon that comes in sheets a single atom thick, has gained a reputation as a wonder material. It is the best conductor yet discovered of heat at room temperature and is 40 times stronger than steel. It is also a semiconductor whose electrical conductivity is 1,000 times better than silicon’s. This means it could be used to make devices far more sensitive than is possible now, leading some to predict that it will one day become the material of choice for computer chips. There was little surprise, therefore, when Andre Geim (pictured above) and Konstantin Novoselov, two physicists who were investigating graphene’s structure, won the 2010 Nobel prize for their work.

Actually converting the wonders of graphene into products has been tough. But Frank Koppens and his colleagues at the Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona think they have found a way to do so. As they describe in Nature Nanotechnology, they believe graphene can be used to make ultra-sensitive, low-cost photodetectors.

Photodetectors are devices which convert light into electricity. They are used in digital cameras, night-vision gear, biomedical imagers, pollution sensors and telecommunications. A typical photodetector is made of a silicon chip a few millimetres across onto which light is focused by a small lens. Light striking the chip knocks electrons free from some of the silicon atoms, producing a signal that the chip’s electronics convert into a picture or other useful information.

Silicon photodetectors suffer, though, from a handicap: they are inflexible. Nor are they particularly cheap. And they are not that sensitive. They absorb only 10-20% of the light that falls on to them. For years, therefore, engineers have been on the lookout for a cheap, bendable, sensitive photodetector. Such a device could have many novel applications—wearable electronics, for example. With a little clever engineering, graphene seems to fit the bill.

By itself, graphene is worse than silicon at absorbing light. According to Dr Koppens only 2.7% of the photons falling on it are captured. But he and his colleague Gerasimos Konstantatos have managed to increase this to more than 50% by spraying tiny crystals of lead sulphide onto the surface of the material.

These crystals are so small (three to ten nanometres across, a nanometre being a billionth of a metre) that they are known as quantum dots, because at dimensions measured in nanometres the weird effects of quantum mechanics start to manifest themselves. One such is that the size of a quantum dot affects the colour of the light it best absorbs. The larger the dot, the redder that light; the smaller, conversely, the bluer. This allows Dr Koppens and Dr Konstantatos to span all wavelengths from ultraviolet to infra-red, greatly increasing the utility of any photodetector that might emerge. Infra-red, for example, is important in telecoms and night-vision applications. Visible wavelengths, by contrast, are needed for cameras and solar cells.

This is very cool — it will allow cheap InfraRed cameras (decent ones now start at around $7K and go up and up and up) and better digital cameras.

The abstract is here: Hybrid graphene–quantum dot phototransistors with ultrahigh gain

It is a fun time to be alive!

Posted by DaveH at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2012

Wine wine, fruit of the vine

Major wine fraud — fun to read as although I can taste the difference, a decent bottle of $8 red is fine for my table. It's about people and food not some esoteric nuance. Got better things to do with my time, money and nuance.

From New York Magazine:

Château Sucker
Even at Rudy Kurniawan's coming-out party in September 2003, there were questionable bottles of wine.

A score of Southern California’s biggest grape nuts had gathered at the restaurant Melisse in Santa Monica that Friday for a $4,800-a-head vertical tasting of irresistible rarities provided by Kurniawan: Pétrus in a dozen vintages, reaching as far back as 1921, in magnums.

Although Pétrus is now among the most famous wines in the world, it gained its exalted status relatively recently; before World War II, it was virtually unheard of, and finding large-format bottles that had survived from the twenties bordered on miraculous. Paul Wasserman, the son of prominent Burgundy importer Becky Wasserman, is something like wine royalty, but before this event, the oldest Pétrus he had tasted was from 1975.

Nonetheless, two bottles left him scratching his head. The 1947 lacked the unctuousness of right-bank Bordeaux from that legendary vintage, and the 1961 struck him as “very young.” He briefly entertained the idea of “possible fakes”—’61 Pétrus in magnum has fetched up to $28,440 at auction—and jotted, in his notes on the ’47, “If there’s one bottle I have serious doubts about tonight, this is it.”

But in the rare-wine world, doubts are endemic; murkiness is built into a product that is concealed by tinted glass and banded wooden cases and opaque provenance and the fog of history. At the same time, the whole apparatus of the rare-wine market is about converting doubt into mystique. Most wealthy collectors want to spend big and drink famous labels, not necessarily ask questions or hear the answers. Guests at tastings don’t want to bite the hand that quenches them. Auctioneers may not want to risk losing consignments by nitpicking ambiguous bottles. Winemakers don’t like to talk about counterfeiting, for fear of the taint. Also, one thing not high on the FBI’s list of investigative priorities: billionaires getting snowed by wine forgers. It’s clear to everyone on this rarefied circuit that wine fraud is rampant. It’s also clear not many insiders feel an urgency to do anything about it.

A long story but a fun detective story and a good read. Kurniawan did have a good palate and memory.

The reveal:

Which is why what happened on April 25, 2008, was unprecedented. Ten minutes into the Acker auction of Rob Rosania’s Champagne-focused cellar at Cru, a long-haired man entered the room and took a seat near the back. It was Laurent Ponsot, maker of a coveted Burgundy featured in 22 lots in the auction. Domaine Ponsot only started making its Clos St. Denis in the eighties, but the catalogue included Kurniawan-consigned vintages from 1959 and 1945. Barzelay had alerted Ponsot, and told Kapon he needed to pull the lots; Ponsot decided to attend the auction to make sure they were withdrawn.

Emphasis mine — oopsie… And then, there was this:

The FBI had been building its own case against Kurniawan, and had determined that he had been living in the country illegally since 2003, when his application for asylum had been denied. Now concerned that he was a flight risk, they filed for an arrest warrant. At dawn on March 8, a half-dozen FBI agents arrived at his house in Arcadia.

And Busted:

Kurniawan answered the door in his pajamas. The only other person in the house was his elderly mother. Hours later, when the FBI searched the house, they found thousands of wine labels for top wines, including 1950 Pétrus and 1947 Lafleur, Lafite, and Romanée-Conti. There were hundreds of old and new corks, and a mechanical device for inserting them. There were lead capsules and sealing wax and rubber stamps with vintages and châteaux names, such as 1899 and 1900 Latour and 1992 Screaming Eagle. There were glue and stencils and pattern scissors and warm white Ingres drawing paper. There were detailed instructions for fabricating labels for 1962 Domaine Ponsot Clos de la Roche. There were bottles of cheap Napa Valley wine markered with the names of old Bordeaux wines they were apparently intended to impersonate, and there were more bottles soaking in the kitchen sink, their labels ready to be removed.

Stick with the $8 daily plonk and you will be happy. Splurge for $15 for special events and maybe $30 for really special events. Anything more is a serious case of diminishing returns.

These house of cards scams — as well as Ponzi scams — are about as stupid as you can get.
#1) - There is no exit strategy — there is no way to gracefully unwind the scam that you have created and built. Its only exit is down.
#2) - You will always get caught. There is no way to stay small and under the RADAR. #1) will see to that. Eventually, you will get to the point where someone will put two and two together and call your bluff…

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

Now this could be big

From Your Jewish News — an offshoot of the BC Canadian Vancouver Sun:

Jerusalem hospital shows off vaccine that destroys cancer in 2 shots
Early human test results suggest a vaccine can train cancer patients' bodies to seek out and destroy tumour cells.

The therapy, which targets a molecule found in 90 per cent of cancers, eventually could provide an injection that would allow patients' immune systems to fight off common cancers including breast and prostate cancer.

The first results of trials in people, at the Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem, suggest the vaccine can reduce levels of disease. The human work is so preliminary it has yet to be published in a scientific journal.

This could be incredible if it pans out. The problem with Cancer is that there are several thousand of them and they are all different. We get something that works for a swath of 20 or 30 and the rest of them just get a tummyache and go back to killing their host (never said they were intelligent).

A guaranteed Nobel Prize in Medicine for the team if this pans out.

Let's see now, Jews have about 166 Nobel Prizes and the Arabs have 8.
Says a lot for their love of education and powerful work ethic.

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

Half Beef

Just ordered my half beef (320 pounds) from Del Fox Meats. This is the company that provided the wonderful rib-eye steak that I had last weekend.

I'll have a full freezer in about a week. That pencils out to about $900 but it will last for a year or more and nicely compares to the beef that retails for $4 to $15/pound.

Salivating…

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

May 13, 2012

Nothing much tonight

Worked a lot in the garden today — the raised beds had laid fallow for about five years what with my hip and deteriorating marriage so it is very cathartic to get them back online and stuff planted. Looking forward to eating my first salad.

Got the hops planted (Cascade and Chinook) and ordered tobacco seeds a few days ago. I used to smoke a pipe and do the occasional cigar — I am more thinking of having it around as a trade-good. There is a spot on the south side of the animal barn that gets hammered with sunlight.

Sprayed Roundup on the landscaped areas near the house — cleaning them out and turn Lulu loose in a few days. The county is doing their annual tree maintenance so there should be a lot of wood chips available for mulch soon.

Heading out to the garage (soon to be glass studio) to move some stuff around. I have too much crap (at times, but sometimes it is not enough.)

Posted by DaveH at 07:48 PM | Comments (0)

Born to Run

Nice story on Craig Breedlove at the New York Times:

A Man With an Irresistible Urge to Run Wide Open
Craig Breedlove was practically a household name in the 1960s, a result of his bringing the unlimited land-speed record back to the United States. In becoming the first to officially push the mark past 400 miles an hour, he dethroned a decades-long dynasty of capable British teams.

In 1963, Breedlove stepped into a death-defying struggle among homegrown hot rodders to grab ever-faster speed records. In the process, he became the first to set the record over 500 m.p.h., and only a year later to break the 600-m.p.h. barrier as well.

Today, the persistent British again own the record — now at 763 m.p.h. — and Breedlove, at age 75, is organizing a team for an attempt to recapture it, with a goal of 800 m.p.h. Speaking last fall at the Simeone Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, where he accepted the annual Spirit of Competition award, he told of growing up in Southern California at a time when fast cars were becoming part of the fabric of American life.

He started young:

At 13, Breedlove persuaded his parents to help him buy a 1934 Ford coupe for $75, promising not to drive it until he got a license. To fix up this derelict, he worked in a local body shop for 50 cents an hour. His high school shop teacher donated a supercharger for its V-8.

Breedlove took his coupe to a sanctioned meet on the El Mirage dry lake bed in the Mojave Desert northwest of Los Angeles, where he set a course record of 148 m.p.h. While he would go on to race cars that were far less conventional, he did not turn his back on production cars, setting records in the 1960s with a Cobra Daytona coupe and American Motors AMXs.

Wow — speed of sound is 768MPH at STP — Breedlove is going to be dealing with some major stability problems as well as just getting the thing fast enough.

Posted by DaveH at 02:59 PM | Comments (0)

RIP - Donald "Duck" Dunn

You may remember him from this famous Blues Brothers line:

He was one of the major studio musicians.

His home page and Wiki entry.

An obituary at The Washington Post:

Legendary bass player ‘Duck’ Dunn of Booker T. and the MGs dies in Tokyo at age 70
Donald “Duck” Dunn, the bassist who helped create the gritty Memphis soul sound at Stax Records in the 1960s as part of the legendary group Booker T. and the MGs and contributed to such classics as “In the Midnight Hour,” ‘’Hold On, I’m Coming” and “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay,” died Sunday at 70.

Dunn, whose legacy as one of the most respected session musicians in the business also included work with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd’s Blues Brothers as well as with Levon Helm, Eric Clapton, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, died while on tour in Tokyo.

News of his death was posted on the Facebook site of his friend and fellow musician Steve Cropper, who was on the same tour. Cropper said Dunn died in his sleep.

Actually, not a bad way to go — on tour and in your sleep. He left a lot of awesome music.

Posted by DaveH at 02:38 PM | Comments (0)

Auction

Got another thing in less than one month. This auction:

PENINSULA PLYWOOD GROUP, LLC - FORMERLY K PLY INC.

It's being held in Port Angeles — a delightful port town about 45 minutes away. Most of the items are of no use to me — I do not need a:

1966 Kimwood Smithway 4-head sander, auto tracking and tension controls, 150 hp on heads, Allen Bradley 1336 plus adjustable frequency drives, scissor lift infeed, powered in and out rollcases, hydraulic unit, accumulating stacker, gravity rolls, blowpipe

But… it's items like this that really pique my interest:

Shop items to include welders, anvil, acorn table, Little Giant 100 lb hammer, drill presses, pattern burner, grinders, steel stock, shop press, vises, tooling, steel tables, chain hoists and jibs, precision measuring tools and hand tools

The acorn table especially…

Posted by DaveH at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)

Welding Rodeo

Now that the good weather is here, the fun events are being scheduled.

There is the Ski to Sea race at the end of this month but I was reminded today that the Bellingham Technical College's 11th Annual Welding Rodeo is this coming weekend — May 18th and 19th. Friday is amateur and high-school teams and Saturday is professional welders. I go to this every year and it is a lot of fun. The College's Culinary Arts program caters the food on Friday so lunch is delicious and cheap.

The week after the Ski to Sea race is the Bellingham Highland Games

It is going to be a busy but fun month.

As for right now, I'm going to get a bite to eat and work in the garden. Lulu is feeling a bit poorly so she is hanging out inside reading.

Posted by DaveH at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2012

How about spreading HIS wealth around

France just elected an avowed Socialist as President.
Now the numbers are starting to come out — from the London Evening Standard:

Socialist Hollande owns three homes on the Riviera
France's new Socialist president owns three holiday homes in the Riviera resort of Cannes, it emerged today.

Francois Hollande, 57, who “dislikes the rich” and wants to revolutionise his country with high taxes and an onslaught against bankers, is in fact hugely wealthy himself.

And his Presidential Plan (do not forget, this man is a true Mastermind):

He intends to set a top tax rate of 75 per cent, and to increase France’s wealth tax — moves which have already seen rich people threatening to leave the country and move abroad including to London.

Meanwhile, Mr Hollande wants to pour public money into France’s public services, creating thousands of jobs.

Beneath contempt. Idiot. Pssst — Laffer Curve. You do not have a revenue problem, you have a spending problem.

The only tempering aspect is that this nation was collectively stupid enough to elect him. Politics can be a good emetic as we are finding out…

Posted by DaveH at 09:49 PM | Comments (0)

Quite the list

From Doug Ross:

President Barack Obama's Complete List of Historic Firsts [Updated]
• First President to Preside Over a Cut to the Credit Rating of the United States Government

• First President to Violate the War Powers Act

• First President to Orchestrate the Sale of Murder Weapons to Mexican Drug Cartels

• First President to issue an unlawful “recess-appointment” while the U.S. Senate remained in session (against the advice of his own Justice Department)

• First President to be Held in Contempt of Court for Illegally Obstructing Oil Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico

• First president to intentionally disable credit card security measures in order to allow over-the-limit donations, foreign contributions and other illegal fundraising measures.

• First President to Defy a Federal Judge's Court Order to Cease Implementing the 'Health Care Reform' Law

• First President to halt deportations of illegal aliens and grant them work permits, a form of stealth amnesty roughly equivalent to “The DREAM Act”, which could not pass Congress

• First President to Sign a Law Requiring All Americans to Purchase a Product From a Third Party

• First President to Spend a Trillion Dollars on 'Shovel-Ready' Jobs — and Later Admit There Was No Such Thing as Shovel-Ready Jobs

• First President to sue states for requiring valid IDs to vote, even though the same administration requires valid IDs to travel by air

• First President to Abrogate Bankruptcy Law to Turn Over Control of Companies to His Union Supporters

• First President to sign into law a bill that permits the government to “hold anyone suspected of being associated with terrorism indefinitely, without any form of due process. No indictment. No judge or jury. No evidence. No trial. Just an indefinite jail sentence.”

• First President to Bypass Congress and Implement the DREAM Act Through Executive Fiat

• First President to Threaten Insurance Companies After They Publicly Spoke out on How Obamacare Helped Cause their Rate Increases

• First President to Openly Defy a Congressional Order Not To Share Sensitive Nuclear Defense Secrets With the Russian Government

• First President to Threaten an Auto Company (Ford) After It Publicly Mocked Bailouts of GM and Chrysler

• First President to “Order a Secret Amnesty Program that Stopped the Deportations of Illegal Immigrants Across the U.S., Including Those With Criminal Convictions

• First President to Demand a Company Hand Over $20 Billion to One of His Political Appointees

• First President to Terminate America's Ability to Put a Man into Space

• First President to Encourage Racial Discrimination and Intimidation at Polling Places

• First President to Have a Law Signed By an 'Auto-pen' Without Being “Present”

• First President to send $200 million to a terrorist organization (Hamas) after Congress had explicitly frozen the money for fear it would fund attacks against civilians

• First President to Arbitrarily Declare an Existing Law Unconstitutional and Refuse to Enforce It

• First President to Tell a Major Manufacturing Company In Which State They Are Allowed to Locate a Factory

• First President to refuse to comply with a House Oversight Committee subpoena

• First President to File Lawsuits Against the States He Swore an Oath to Protect (AZ, WI, OH, IN, etc.)

• First President to Withdraw an Existing Coal Permit That Had Been Properly Issued Years Ago

• First President to Fire an Inspector General of Americorps for Catching One of His Friends in a Corruption Case

• First President to Propose an Executive Order Demanding Companies Disclose Their Political Contributions to Bid on Government Contracts

• First President to Preside Over America's Loss of Its Status as the World's Largest Economy (Source: Peterson Institute)

• First President to Have His Administration Fund an Organization Tied to the Cop-Killing Weather Underground

• First President to allow Mexican police to conduct law enforcement activities on American soil

• First president to propose budgets so unreasonable that not a single representative from either party would cast a vote in favor (“Senate unanimously rejected President Obama's budget last year in 0-97 vote”, “House Votes 414-0 to Reject Obama’s Budget Plan”, The Blaze)

• First President to press for a “treaty giving a U.N. body veto power over the use of our territorial waters and rights to half of all offshore oil revenue” (The Law Of The Sea Treaty)

• First President to Golf 90 or More Times in His First Three Years in Office

But remember: he will not rest until all Americans have jobs, affordable homes, green-energy vehicles, and the environment is repaired, etc., etc., etc.

Quite the legacy 'ya got there Barry. Something to be very proud of.

The 120+ comments on Doug's site offer some additional Historic Firsts.

Imagine what he could do if he had another four years…

Posted by DaveH at 08:44 PM | Comments (0)

Well that was a bust

Had a leisurely breakfast and then spent 90 minutes driving down to the Amateur Radio Hamvention and Fleamarket. Got there around 1:30 and found everybody packing up their vehicles and all the tables taken down and stowed. I was there two years ago and it ran until around 3:30 or so so I figured we would have some time to browse.

Next year.

On a plus note, we discovered this place: Del Fox Meats.
Picked up two ribeye steaks for $4.99/pound and they were probably the best steaks I can remember. We went to the counter, they brought out the round and sliced off our order while we watched. I cooked them on my Traeger, let them rest for five minutes and Oh. My. God.

They also sell half-beef so I am driving down sometime in the next week or two to pick up one. Grass fed, grass finished. Fill my freezer for $2.79/pound.

We took the back roads coming back home. Life is good.

Posted by DaveH at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)

RIP - D.C. Cox

Just found that a good friend had passed away three weeks ago. Never met him fact to face but we emailed back and forth quite a bit over the years. I knew he was having health issues but his death (at 63) came as a surprise.

There is a nice obituary at the Wisconsin Baraboo News Republic:

D.C. Cox
Durlin C. Cox, 63, of Baraboo, passed away peacefully on April 25, 2012 at the Casa De La Luz Hospice in Tucson, Ariz. D.C. was born Feb. 27, 1949 in Baraboo, and was the first born of Orville and Darlene (Burris) Cox. He graduated from Baraboo High School and went on to study at the University of Wisconsin. D.C. owned and operated his business, Resonance Research, building and supplying Van de Graaff generators and Tesla coil inventions to businesses and museums around the world. He was blessed with great intellectual ability and creativity. D.C. served his country as a Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam era. He was kind in spirit and a generous uncle. He will be remembered for his scientific mind and pioneering spirit in the world of research, inventing, electronics and physics; his accomplishments as a demolitions expert; his skill at the billiard table and love for the game of pool; his passion for the martial arts, holding a 10th degree black belt in Judo; his love of piloting airplanes, snow skiing and his enjoyment of great cars.

I have a large coil which I built with some parts I purchased from him and with a lot of his tips and suggestions. Have never run it since moving up here — I'll have to put it together and do a nice long run in his memory. The neighbors already think I'm a bit strange…

Posted by DaveH at 06:11 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2012

Staring down the barrel

I will feel a little bit more comfortable in a few days.
From SpaceWeather:

CHANCE OF FLARES, EARTH-DIRECTED:
NOAA forecasters estimate a 75% chance of M-class solar flares and a 20% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours. Any eruptions are likely to be geoeffective because the source, sunspot AR1476, is directly facing our planet.

Just like a venomous snake — gorgeous but deadly. I had written about AR1476 a few days ago here. It is now staring at us point blank — I love auroras but another Carrington would really cramp my style…

Here is a realtime chart of the last three days from the GOES satellite:

3-day GOES X-ray Plot

As famed Seattle Restaurateur Ivar Haglund would say: Keep Clam
More on Ivar here

Posted by DaveH at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)

Gear Acquisition Syndrome

As a long time sufferer, I can sympathize with people's problems.
Not only computers, I also collect metalworking stuff, photography stuff, music stuff and now, embarking on a Ham Radio collection.

The people at the Guitar Squid website have put together a 12-step program for G.A.S.:

Guitar Squid’s 12 Step Program for Gear Junkies
G.A.S. is a major problem for many guitar players. Thousands suffer from the syndrome each year, most often seeing the effects through a slimming of wallet size, and in the problems it causes in their relationships with significant others. G.A.S. is a growing problem that should probably be stopped before it gets out of hand. Well, maybe … the results still aren’t that conclusive. Whatever. We’re here to help!

Do you suffer from G.A.S.? Are you a gear junkie? The Squid put together a 12 step program specifically for you. Here’s a guide describing the 12 step process to recovery, along with some of The Squid’s notes to show you that while the road to recovery may not be easy, it’s a process we all have to go through.

Visit the site — well done!

Posted by DaveH at 07:10 PM | Comments (0)

Just wow

Today is the first really great weather this spring — got up to 74° and not a cloud in the sky.

There is a place a few miles up the road where there are great thermal upwellings. A bunch of hang glider people have the key to the logging roads for the mountain and frequently you will see many people in the air (they land at a County Park two miles up the road.)

Today we were sitting outside having our usual pre-dinner martini and there were eight Bald Eagles riding the thermals just chillin' and hanging out. Got the binoculars and spent 30 minutes watching them.

Posted by DaveH at 05:59 PM | Comments (0)

Word

Swiped in full from Velociworld

The Coriolis Economy
JP Morgan has announced $2 billion in losses in the last six weeks. I knew Jamie Dimon was a douche bag when Bill Pullman played him in Too Big To Fail.

Once again our populist purveyors of prevarication will blame this on capitalism run amok. But these Wall Street greedheads aren't capitalsits in the strict sense of the word. They are crony capitalists. They donate in extremely egregious amounts to Democrat politicians who in turn feather these cronies' nests with bailouts when their insane gambles invariably go tits up. Risk management was replaced by moral hazard decades ago, to be sure, and chickens don't roost in foxholes, but Wall Street didn't crash in 1987, it belched, shed its prototype versions of extreme risk like junk bonds, and grew again. Now it is merely a collection of miscreants who move in and out of government service in between stints on each others' boards, awarding each other tens and hundreds of millions in salaries and bonuses.

Who are the true capitalists? Main Street. The strip malls of America. Not the mega-malls with their pricey chain stores. The moms and pops, the crazy couple who quit their corporate jobs to open a Murphy bed store. The lady who has a $1200 a month rent nut selling fucking birdseed. I admit I cannot fathom the business models of many of these people, but I know and have known many of them, and they struggle, but they manage to pay their mortgages and rents, educate their children, and somehow save a little bit. They are insane heroes to me.

And they used to prosper at times, and hire, and provide jobs. This is all funneling down the toilet now, counter-clockwise I suppose. It is a Coriolis economy. If you work for a Fortune 500 now, enjoy it. I can see the target on your back from here. And I wouldn't put too much faith in your defined-contribution plan, either. There is not a major corporation now that isn't neck-fucked, and borderline criminal. When many of them implode, possibly as early as August, the last people left will be the human resources screwheads and the diversity counselors.

My advice? I don't have any. Other than stay out of the way when Wall Street and Main Street finally find themselves facing off in the octagon. Wall Street's only MMA move is to withhold credit. Main Street's only MMA move is to hide their money in a mattress. Learning a trade might be useful. I'd opt for plumbing, because hot's still on the left, and there will be a ton of shit flowing downhill very, very soon.

What he said…

Posted by DaveH at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

Gorgeous day today

We were planning to drive up to Canada today but I doubt if we will make it out of our driveway.

Not a cloud in the sky and 68° — spending the day working in the garden and doing some deferred maintenance at the farm.

Just hanging out…

Radio Hamfest and swap-meet tomorrow south of here — that will be the extent of our travels.

Posted by DaveH at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2012

Merchants of Despair

Just finished reading this and it is an incredible read. The author — Robert Zubrin — has written an impeccably researched and documented (49 pages of citations for 248 pages of text) work on the pseudo-scientific 'theory' that the key to solving the worlds problems is to cap or reduce population growth despite boots-on-the-ground solid evidence that the more people living, the better off everyone is. Yes, there will still be people living in abject poverty as long as there are corrupt governments but even these people are enjoying better medical care, access to technology, better food, better opportunities for education, a longer lifespan and much lower infant mortality rates.

Thomas Malthus was the first person to voice this toxin back in 1798.

There is a nice interview of Dr. Zubrin at Frontpage Magazine:

Merchants of Despair
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Dr. Robert Zubrin, president of Pioneer Astronautics and a Senior Fellow with the Center for Security Policy. A well-known innovator in the fields of aerospace and energy, he has a PhD in Nuclear Engineering, 10 patents, numerous publications, and 8 books, including The Case for Mars and Energy Victory. His latest book is Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism.

FP: Dr. Robert Zubrin, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Let’s begin by you telling us what you mean by “the cult of antihumanism.”

Zubrin: Thanks Jamie.
Antihumanism is a belief system which holds that humans are destroyers, essentially vermin whose activities, aspirations, and numbers must be severely constrained, and that therefore someone must be empowered to do the constraining. Essentially it is an argument for tyranny, oppression, and ultimately genocide.

FP: Why would anyone choose to embrace such beliefs?

Zubrin: Well, you must understand that such arguments have always been gratifying to those seeking to enhance their power or justify their oppression of others. Therefore they use their positions of influence in society to make them fashionable, or “politically correct,” to use an originally Stalinist term that is now all the rage.

FP: It appears that much of modern-day environmentalism is antihumanist, as you’ve defined it, but antihumanism has been around for some time, right?

Zubrin: Yes. In the book I trace it back 200 years, starting with Malthus, the seminal founding father of the theory of limited resources, and then trace it forward through its subsequent development through numerous interrelated forms, including Darwinism, eugenics, German militarism, Nazism, xenophobia, the population control movement, environmentalism, technophobia, and most recently, the incredibly demented climatophobic movement, which seeks to justify mass human sacrifice for the purpose of weather control.
There was a time when humanity looked in the mirror and saw something precious, worth protecting and fighting for—indeed, worth liberating. But now, we are beset on all sides by propaganda promoting a radically different viewpoint. According to this idea, human beings are a cancer upon the Earth, a horde of vermin whose aspirations and appetites are endangering the natural order. This is the core of antihumanism.

FP: Tell us about Al Gore’s antihumanism.

Zubrin: Al Gore is trying to turn antihumanism into a global cult. Just have a look at this quote from his book An Inconvenient Truth:
“The climate crisis also offers us the chance to experience what very few generations in history have had the privilege of knowing: a generational mission; the exhilaration of a compelling moral purpose; a shared and unifying cause; the thrill of being forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict that so often stifle the restless human need for transcendence; the opportunity to rise…When we rise, we will experience an epiphany as we discover that this crisis is not really about politics at all. It is a moral and spiritual challenge.
In short, the purpose of the global warming crusade is not to change the weather, it’s to organize a mob in support of totalitarian policies.
It is revealing that Gore chose the words “An Inconvenient Truth” as the title of his book. That phrase could be the virtual chorus line for all the antihuman movements for the past 200 years who used pseudoscientific arguments to demand that people harden their hearts to the human misery the purported to be necessary. I.e.
Thomas Malthus: It is an inconvenient truth that “the Irish must be swept from the land.”

Charles Darwin: It is an inconvenient truth that “the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world.”

General Friedrich von Bernhardi (German General Staff, author, Germany and the Next War, 1912): It is an inconvenient truth that “war is necessary because it eliminates the weak.”

Madison Grant (Author, The Passing of the Great Race, 1916): It is an inconvenient truth that “indiscriminate efforts to preserve babies among the lower classes often results in serious injury to the race…It is an inconvenient truth that “the laws of nature require the obliteration of the unfit and human life is valuable only when it is of use to the community or race.”

Henry Fairfield Osborn (1932): It is an inconvenient truth that “overpopulation and underemployment mat be regarded as twin sisters…the United States [with 112 million people in 1932] is overpopulated at the present time.”

Rudolf Hess (1933): It is an inconvenient truth that “National Socialism is simply applied biology.”

Adolf Hitler (1941): It is an inconvenient truth that “the law of existence prescribes uninterrupted killing, so that the better may live.”

Fairfield Osborn (author, Our Plundered Planet, 1948): It is an inconvenient truth that “the problem of the pressure of increasing populations…cannot be solved in a way that is consistent with the ideals of humanity.”

Paul Ehrlich, (author, The Population Bomb, 1968): It is an inconvenient truth that “the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people…We must shift our efforts from the treatment to the cutting out of the cancer.”

John Holdren and Paul Ehrlich, (authors Global Ecology, 1971): It is an inconvenient truth that “when a population of organisms grows in a finite environment, sooner or later it will encounter a resource limit. This phenomenon, described by ecologists as reaching the ‘carrying capacity’ of the environment, applies to bacteria on a culture dish, to fruit flies in a jar of agar, and to buffalo on a prairie. It must also apply to man on this finite planet.”

The Club of Rome (authors Mankind at a Turning Point, 1974): It is an inconvenient truth that “the world has cancer, and the cancer is Man.”

Alexander King, (founder, The Club of Rome, 1990): It is an inconvenient truth that “DDT…has greatly added to the population problem.”

Quite a bit more at the website and the book is an incredible read.

I knew fragments of the story but Dr. Zubrin has pulled them together.

Check your local library if you don't want to spend the money for the book but read it. You will have your eyes opened…

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

Another article on Vidal Sassoon

Quite the Man.
From Tablet Magazine:

Vidal Sassoon, Streetfighter
Rabbi Israel Elia, head of the venerable Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in London’s Maida Vale district, remembers the day when he met Vidal Sassoon, one of the congregation’s most celebrated sons. Elia had been quietly working in his office on a spring morning two years ago when an anxious colleague relayed the news that a film crew had gathered outside the building. The rabbi went to investigate.

“At the head of the crew, there was a smartly dressed man with delicate, graceful features,” Rabbi Elia recalled yesterday. “He walked over to me and introduced himself as Vidal Sassoon. He was making a film about his life and career.” Pointing to an annex at the side of the synagogue, Sassoon explained that the building had housed the orphanage where he spent his childhood.

“So I took him inside,” Elia said. “He told me, ‘I want to show you where my dormitory was.’ We entered a room and he looked around. He was excited: ‘Yes, this was it, this was the dormitory.’ I looked at him and said ‘Vidal, your dormitory is now my office.’ He threw his arms around me and hugged me, telling me about the kindness of our community, how his accomplishments would not have been possible without that generosity.”

Early life:

Sassoon was still in diapers when his father walked out on his mother, Betty. Destitute and unable to cope, Sassoon’s mother learned that there was an orphanage at the Spanish and Portuguese synagogue, approximately two miles away. One day in 1933, she turned up with the young Vidal in tow and placed him in the care of the oldest Jewish community in England.

His streetfighting:

In the immediate post-war years, London’s Jews faced a new threat from the remnants of British Union of Fascists, a Hitlerite party led by Sir Oswald Mosely, whose black-shirted followers had regularly clashed with Jewish immigrants in the East End during the 1930s.

Sassoon recalled England’s hostile political atmosphere earlier this year: “Anti-semitism was absolutely rife,” he said in a podcast for the Holocaust Memorial Museum. “I mean, it was nothing for another kid to say to you, ‘Dirty Jew.’ And although England was a good place to be, especially with Churchill and the fight against the Nazis, there was always that sense of the Jews being second-class citizens.”

In 1947, the fascists again began menacing London, this time under the tutelage of Jeffrey Hamm, head of an organization of thugs calling themselves the “Association of British Ex-Servicemen.” For Sassoon, this was not a fate to be accepted lying down.

As a response to Hamm’s provocations, a gathering of young Jews known as the 43 Group—named for the number of people in the room at their founding—announced that the fight back had begun. Among them was the slender, if wiry, Sassoon. As Hamm’s followers gathered on street corners bellowing that “not enough Jews were burned at Belsen,” Sassoon and his comrades, armed with knives, coshes, and knuckledusters, set about breaking up fascist meetings. In another interview, Sassoon remembered turning up for work one morning with a black eye. “I just tripped on a hairpin,” he explained to the worried customer who had just settled into a barber’s chair for a haircut.

Emphasis mine — I love it! And he didn't stop on the streets of London:

In 1948, as the British Mandate was drawing to a close, Sassoon arrived in Palestine where he joined the Palmach in the fight for Israel’s independence. In the manner of the young men and women who had flocked to Spain in the previous decade to fight on the Republican side during the Civil War, Sassoon’s decision to participate in the Zionist struggle for independence, like that of the other volunteers who came from Europe and America, was rooted in a commitment to Jewish pride and honor.

“That was the best year of my life,” Sassoon later told a British newspaper. “When you think of 2,000 years of being put down and suddenly you are a nation rising, it was a wonderful feeling. There were only 600,000 people defending the country against five armies, so everyone had something to do.” Sassoon served in combat. “I wasn’t going over there to sit in an office,” he told the Jewish Chronicle. “I thought if we don’t fight for a piece of land and make it work, then the whole Holocaust thing was a terrible waste. But this way at least we got a country out of it.”

That is some serious stones…

Posted by DaveH at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)

Holy crap that was fun

Just got back from the meeting. There were about 40 people and six other graduates from my Radio class. The President started off with about 45 minutes of a very well run administrative meeting with a couple presentations from other members. Mostly the upcoming Ski to Sea race. We broke for ten and then proceeded to do a lab on Digital Radio Communications (Packet Radio).

There were three “Go Boxes” with Packet Radio systems set up and wired inside and we also used the main radio shack and the emergency van. I ran a multi-line BBS for ten years and the Packet system reminded me a lot of the various mail networks that pre-dated the internet, specifically FidoNet

The club meets at the Whatcom County Search and Rescue headquarters so all of this equipment was there for us to use.

We spent about an hour working with the equipment sending traffic back and forth. The instructor for my group was a lot of fun and really sneaky — when we were focused on the computer screen, he would come around and nudge the frequency off a bit or unplug part of the equipment and then have us diagnose why we could not connect successfully.

My first on-air use of my KF7VNY callsign.

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

No more posts today

We are going out for an early dinner and then off to my first meeting with the Whatcom Emergency Communication Group. They are the ones that ran the Amateur Radio class that I took and of the local Ham clubs, they are the ones that are closest to what I am interested in.

There is a monthly meeting tonight at 19:00 and since I am planning to work with them at the upcoming Ski to Sea race, I need to be there. The race is on May 27th, a little over two weeks away. For a fun read, check out the story of one of the first participants: Harvey Haggard

Lulu and I are heading up to Canada tomorrow to do some shopping. Buying two 'normal' toilets (I am on a septic system and need a good flush — the two that came with the house are 40 years old and non-standard. Parts are not available to maintain them.) and stopping at the Abbotsford IKEA and Costco for some kitchen smallwares and furnishings.

Posted by DaveH at 02:34 PM | Comments (0)

Learned a new word today

The word is Ballistocardiography <— this link is to the Wikipedia definition.

Here is a paper describing a Ballistocardiograph.

An excerpt:

A BCG suspension table for displacement or force recording was designed and built in our Department of Physiological Sciences. A rigid, rectangular, metallic framework taken from an old clinical examination bed was used. Four nylon cords (80-kg load capacity each) were affixed to the upper framework at its four corners by means of four adjustable screws for a final suspension distance of 60 cm. A wood table (200 × 40 × 2 cm) was hung by the four nylon cords and perfectly balanced and leveled in the horizontal plane by the adjustable screws. All four nylon suspension cords were placed strictly perpendicular to the table. To reduce the bulk that will be impelled by the force vectors the wood table must be light enough, ≥10 times less than body weight; in the present case, the table was 3.8 kg. The surface of the BCG table must also be rough enough to ensure that the body impulse generated by the cardiac force vectors will be totally transmitted to the table without the body sliding. The surface of the table can be made rough enough by sandpapering.

Cool idea!

Posted by DaveH at 02:23 PM | Comments (0)

Yet another bubble - Education

And it's us taxpayers who will be on the hook.
From Investor's Business Daily:

Taxpayers On Hook For $850 Billion In Student Loans
With a possible higher-education bubble looming, taxpayers are on the hook for about $850 billion in student loan debt.

Exactly how much of that the federal government would have to bail out if the bubble bursts is unknown, but with delinquency and default rates rising, it could be substantial. Yet Congress may exacerbate the problem with current efforts to maintain lower interest rates on student loans.

The amount of outstanding student loan debt has skyrocketed from about $440 billion in late 2008 to about $1 trillion today.

Of that, $500 billion is owned directly by the Education Department, according to Sallie Mae data. Another $350 billion was originated by private lenders with a government guarantee under the now-defunct Federal Family Education Loan Program. Sallie Mae estimates that the DOE will originate $113 billion in student loans this year vs. just $7 billion from the private sector.

“I think this data — $1 trillion in outstanding debt and a lot of it held by the federal government — is fairly persuasive evidence of a bubble,” said Jonathan Robe, a research and administrative associate at the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.

Why aren't we hunkering down? Cheap student loans just encourages the colleges and universities to raise their tuitions and use that money to offer more amenities to attract students who borrow more money and… A classic death spiral.

Then when little Johny cannot find relevant work with his advanced Generic Studies degree, he is saddled with $200K+ in debt and no realistic long-term means of repayment. Would you like fries with that?

Posted by DaveH at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)

Like this wont get overturned in a heartbeat

From Yahoo News:

Viewing child pornography online not a crime: New York court ruling
In a controversial decision that is already sparking debate around the country, the New York Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that viewing child pornography online is not a crime.

“The purposeful viewing of child pornography on the internet is now legal in New York,” Senior Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick wrote in a majority decision for the court.

The decision came after Marist College professor James D. Kent was sentenced to prison in August 2009 after more than 100 images of child pornography were found on his computer's cache.

More:

“Merely viewing Web images of child pornography does not, absent other proof, constitute either possession or procurement within the meaning of our Penal Law,” Ciparick wrote in the decision.

See a copy of the court's full ruling on the child pornography decision.

The court said it must be up to the legislature, not the courts, to determine what the appropriate response should be to those viewing images of child pornography without actually storing them. Currently, New York's legislature has no laws deeming such action criminal.

Nitpicking. Supposed, like any smart computer user, he didn't want to be caught with incriminating files on his drive. What to do? CD-ROM or thumb drive and then watch them offline — the images are still saved in the cache and bingo, you in fact did download them. They just didn't bother to look for the disk.

The case originated when Kent brought his computer in to be checked for viruses, complaining that it was running slowly. He has subsequently denied downloading the images himself.

Now that is downright stupid — should have used CCleaner or some other software to clear the cache.

Hope he enjoys his years in the Graybar Hotel. I don't imagine the other inmates would be especially outgoing to a convicted kiddie-porn collector…

Posted by DaveH at 02:01 PM | Comments (0)

Now this is wonderful news

From Yahoo/AFP:

Fed clears China's first US bank takeover
The United States on Wednesday opened its banking market to ICBC, China's biggest bank, for the first time clearing a takeover of a US bank by a Chinese state-controlled company.

Just days after high-level US-China economic talks in Beijing, the Federal Reserve approved an application from Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to buy a majority stake in the US subsidiary of Bank of East Asia.

The transaction will make ICBC the first Chinese state-controlled bank to acquire retail bank branches in the United States.

And of course, our masterminds in Washington are spinning this as a good thing:

The broad expansion of China's footprint in the US market comes amid a series of financial reforms in China that could begin to open the lucrative market to US firms.

After the May 3-4 meeting, the US Treasury noted China had made “encouraging progress” on a number of issues sought by the Obama administration, including taking steps toward a more open and market-oriented financial system.

Of course the Communist Chinese will agree to anything we want — just let them gain a toehold on our banking system.

The Fed said Wednesday that the ICBC proposed acquisition, which is “relatively small,” would not have much of an impact on the banking market.

It's called the Camel's nose you moron.

Less than 200 days until the election. Time to clean house (and Senate)

Posted by DaveH at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2012

Free Cellphones - our gubbinment at work

From The Daily Caller:

Ark. congressman wants to disconnect $1 billion free cell phone program
No one likes paying cell phone bills. What if you could get a free phone with a calling plan whose cost was paid by the federal government? What if you could have eight free cell phones? You can, and people do, Rep. Tim Griffin told The Daily Caller. The annual bill runs over $1 billion, and he’s trying to stop it.

The federal government started the Lifeline program to provide phones to low-income Americans. It originally provided only landlines, but cell phones were added several years ago.

“That’s when the program absolutely exploded and has become a nightmare,” Griffin said in a phone interview with TheDC. Calling it “Uncle Sam’s unlimited plan,” the Arkansas Republican has proposed a bill that would scale back the program to its original form: landlines only.

“People are not only getting [one free cell phone], they’re getting multiples. There are reports of people getting 10, 20, 30 — just routinely getting more than one, selling them, storing them up, whatever,” Griffin said.

“And they’re not just phones that are able to dial 911. They’re smartphones. They’re the type of phones that you and I pay hundreds of dollars a month to have contracts for.”

And it is coming right out of our own phone bill:

“And if you want to know where the money is coming from, just look at your cell phone bill: a line called the ‘universal service fund.’ I’m sure you, like I, have often wondered how a simple phone bill has pages and pages of fees and charges and stuff that you have no idea what it’s for. Well, this is one of those lines.”

I looked at my most recent bill and my monthly is $57 and the Universal Service was $1.81 - 3.3%

And there is no oversight:

The Federal Communications Commission, the government agency that is in charge of Lifeline, has also called for an overhaul of the program to deal with fraud and abuse. The FCC’s proposed changes call for a database to keep track of who already has phones, to prevent any one person from gaming the system. The proposed overhaul would also institute “a one-per-household rule applicable to all providers in the program.”

They did not do this initially? I recently got my Amateur Radio License (KF7VNY) and had to jump through all kinds of hoops. Here the FCC is just handing them out like candy…

Brings to mind the 3% Federal Excise Tax on Cell Phone bills that was repealed in 2006.
It was instituted to fund the 1898 Spanish-American War.
In 2006 the IRS allowed people a partial refund:

Telephone Tax repealed
I had written about this tax last January: The 3% Federal Excise Tax on your telephone bill…

From the TaxProf Blog:
Can You Hear Me Now? IRS to Refund $15 Billion of Telephone Taxes to Consumers
The Treasury Department and IRS announced this morning that after losing in five circuit courts of appeals, the Government is throwing in the towel and will no longer seek to enforce the 3% excise tax on long-distance telephone calls enacted during the Spanish-American War of 1898 as a luxury tax on wealthy Americans who owned telephones. The IRS will will issue $15 billion in refunds to consumers for long-distance telephone service taxes paid over the past three years:
  • No immediate action is required by taxpayers.
  • Refunds will be a part of 2006 tax returns filed in 2007.
  • Refund claims will cover all excise tax paid on long-distance service over the last three years (time allowed given statute of limitations).
  • Interest will be paid on refunds.
  • The IRS is working on a simplified method for individuals to use to claim a refund on their 2006 tax returns.
  • Refunds will not include tax paid on local telephone service, which was not involved in the litigation.

Hat tip to Q and O for the initial link.

Posted by DaveH at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

Doing business in France - employees

Think we have it bad here? Try doing business in France.
From Bloomberg Businessweek:

Why France Has So Many 49-Employee Companies
Here’s a curious fact about the French economy: The country has 2.4 times as many companies with 49 employees as with 50. What difference does one employee make? Plenty, according to the French labor code. Once a company has at least 50 employees inside France, management must create three worker councils, introduce profit sharing, and submit restructuring plans to the councils if the company decides to fire workers for economic reasons.

French businesspeople often skirt these restraints by creating new companies rather than expanding existing ones. “I can’t tell you how many times when I was Minister I’d meet an entrepreneur who would tell me about his companies,” Thierry Breton, chief executive officer of consulting firm Atos and Minister of Finance from 2005 to 2007, said at a Paris conference on April 4. “I’d ask, ‘Why companies?’ He’d say, ‘Oh, I have several so that I can keep [the workforce] under 50.’ We have to review our labor code.”

What braying ninny of a 'mastermind' thought this up. How on God's Green Earth did it seem like a good idea. Were they incapable of thinking through and seeing the unintended consequences and how people in the real world would route around the damage. Someone this stupid probably wasn't elected — they are a clueless functionary appointed by some long gone bureaucrat.

Hat tip to Maggie's Farm for the link.

Posted by DaveH at 09:54 PM | Comments (0)

A huge loss

Someone really needs to step forward with some cash.
From CNN:

Black history 'undertaker' loses treasures
Nathaniel Montague spent more than 50 of his 84 years chasing history, meticulously collecting rare and one-of-a-kind fragments of America's past. Slave documents. Photographs. Signatures. Recordings.

Montague — Magnificent Montague, as he's been known since his days as a pioneering radio DJ — amassed an 8,000-piece collection reflecting names from the well-known to the forgotten to those history never thought to remember. It's valued in the millions; some call it priceless. One assessment of just five of the pieces puts the total value of those treasures alone somewhere between $592,000 and $940,000.

“I shudder to even fantasize what it could go for,” said appraiser Philip Merrill, who performed the assessment.

For decades Montague carted the collection of African-American artwork, artifacts and ephemera around the country with his family as he took jobs at radio stations in New York, Chicago, Oakland, and Los Angeles, and then finally to Las Vegas, where he moved 12 years ago after closing a station he built from the ground up in Palm Springs, California.

The Montague Collection was his prized possession, but because of financial woes he has lost it. It is now up for auction.

“I have not been able to maintain the collection for the last couple of years,” Montague said. While working with his wife of 56 years, Rose Casalan, to archive and prepare the collection for sale, he took out a loan to help pay for the archiving, found himself overextended financially and declared bankruptcy. His collection was seized, and it is now in the hands of a trusteeship charged with selling it to satisfy his debts, including a judgment for $325,000 plus interest and court fees.

If no one steps up to buy the collection in its entirety, Montague's life's work could be dismantled and sold off in pieces to pay his creditors.

Unnh — Jesse? Al? You have both made yourselves very wealthy hustling the race card. You are both getting on in years and have big enough egos that 'leaving a legacy' is an attractive idea. This would be an excellent place to start.

So what are you going to do?

Failing that, Oprah?

How about the Smithsonian Museum, specifically their National Museum of African American History and Culture. They just broke ground for a spiffy new building scheduled to open in 2014.

- . -

- . -

crickets

- . -

- . -

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

Well crap - Thomas Kinkade

He died a month ago and the coroner's report is in.
From MyWay/Associated Press:

Coroner: Valium, alcohol killed painter Kinkade
Artist Thomas Kinkade died from an accidental overdose of alcohol and prescription tranquilizers, but his heart had grown so enlarged he had been vulnerable to a fatal heart attack at any point, according to a detailed autopsy report released Tuesday.

The self-described “Painter of Light” died on April 6 of an acute combination of ethanol and Diazepam intoxication, or in common terms, of alcohol and the tranquilizer marketed as Valium, the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office said.

More:

“His heart was so big that at any time he was vulnerable,” O'Hara said. “Apparently he had given up drinking and maybe he had just started again. His levels were definitely in the toxic range.”

Several other drugs, including two other prescription tranquilizers, were present in his bloodstream. Kinkade's urine contained gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, or GHB, which occurs naturally in the human body but can also be used as the so-called date rape drug.

O'Hara said the painter also had suffered several remote blunt force injuries.

“He had a bruise of his abdomen that was healing, a bruise under his scalp, a hemorrhage under his head, as well as multiple healed rib fractures,” O'Hara said. “He took a tumble at some point.”

Not a good way to go — he was never a “fine artist”, rather an excellent illustrator and fantastic self-promoter.

Posted by DaveH at 08:14 PM | Comments (0)

Feeling stupid with myself

Was doing paperwork this afternoon while Lulu was napping.

Had to refill my stapler (why yes, a Swingline 747 Rio Red Business Stapler of course) and as it snapped shut, I drove a staple leg clean through the tip of my left index finger. Gently throbbing as I type some two hours later. Makes typing a bit interesting as it throws off the rythem…

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

An interesting life - Vidal Sassoon

From MyWay/Associated Press:

Hairstyling pioneer Vidal Sassoon dies at 84 in LA
Vidal Sassoon used his hairstyling shears to free women from beehives and hot rollers and give them wash-and-wear cuts that made him an international name in hair care.

When he came on the scene in the 1950s, hair was high and heavy - typically curled, teased, piled and shellacked into place. Then came the 1960s, and Sassoon's creative cuts, which required little styling and fell into place perfectly every time, fit right in with the fledgling women's liberation movement.

Sassoon died Wednesday at age 84 at his home on Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles, police spokesman Kevin Maiberger said.

More on what he did:

“My idea was to cut shape into the hair, to use it like fabric and take away everything that was superfluous,” Sassoon said in 1993 in the Los Angeles Times, which first reported his death Wednesday. “Women were going back to work, they were assuming their own power. They didn't have time to sit under the dryer anymore.”

More:

Sassoon's hair-care mantra: “To sculpt a head of hair with scissors is an art form. It's in pursuit of art.”

He did a lot of famous models hair — I can not imagine what it must be like to be giving a hair cut to someone involved with a modeling campaign with several million dollars at stake; whether it is a designers showing or an advertising photo or video shoot.

He had quite the personal life as well:

He sold his business interests in the early 1980s to devote himself to philanthropy. The Boys Clubs of America and the Performing Arts Council of the Music Center of Los Angeles were among the causes he supported through his Vidal Sassoon Foundation. He later became active in post-Hurricane Katrina charities in New Orleans.

And:

A veteran of Israel's 1948 War of Independence, Sassoon also had a lifelong commitment to eradicating anti-Semitism. In 1982, he established the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Quite the man.

Posted by DaveH at 07:43 PM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2012

Parking issues

I do not know the story behind this but it is a fun few minutes:

The info for the video is worth reading:

Drill Sergeant Catches IDIOT in the act of parking illegally in a Handicapped Spot (GRAPHIC)
I got permission from the “Drill Sgt.” to reuse this video if your interested in helping catching Idiot's parking illegally in a Handicap spots Handicappedfraud.org was launched as a community service effort to end the misuse of handicapped parking spaces and placards. The disabled have run out of places to park, as their designated handicapped parking spaces are being taken by fraudulent individuals. Our cities are being robbed of serious metered parking revenue by this abuse as well. The police are far too valuable and busy to stake out parking lots to ticket handicapped parking violators. The abusers go largely unpunished. It's time for our community to become the ambassadors for our cities, and report handicapped parking violators when they see it.

Remember that we can not know somebody's personal situation. Many handicapped people are hassled over their lack of a visual disability by well meaning citizens. Posting your handicapped parking violator report will allow the DMV to do their job, and keep you out of a personal confrontation. We have received hundreds of emails from handicapped individuals applauding this effort, and want to continue to serve them and our communities in a peaceful and positive way.

The HandicappedFraud iPhone application is the fastest and easiest way to report placard and handicapped parking abuse.

http://www.handicappedfraud.org/

The Sgt nor I have any affiliation to handicappedfraud.org

Cheers,
Rick

This is a personal issue as I know a number of handicapped people and my Mom was confined to a chair for the last 15 years of her life. When I first moved to Bellingham, there was one smug little a**hole who shopped at Costco that had one of the SMART4TWO cars — they would park in the wonderfully wide aisle between two of Costco's handicapped stalls.

The moron did not think that some cars have ramps that come out from the side and that space that is marked off with yellow stripes does not denote “MY PERSONAL PARKING SPACE”.

My Mom and I once spent about 45 minutes talking while sitting in her van (with the engine running of course) waiting for the idiot to come out and find that we were blocking 'his personal space'. I had been fulminating for 45 minutes and had a nice rant going. Deployed the ramp and demonstrated why that cordoned off space was essential to my Mom's mobility.

Educating the stupid is an uphill battle but it has its moments :)

Posted by DaveH at 10:31 PM | Comments (0)

Ten Thousand

Heh…

Today's XKCD caught my eye. Randall Munroe is one of my favorites.

Be sure to hover your mouse cursor over the image to read the img alt tag.

Posted by DaveH at 09:29 PM | Comments (0)

YES! Lugar out, Mourdock in.

From Breitbart:

Lugar loses Indiana primary to tea party rival
U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar has lost to a tea party-backed challenger in Indiana's Republican primary, ending a storied political career that spanned nearly four decades.

Tea party-backed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock won the Republican nomination Tuesday. He spent much of the campaign portraying Lugar as too moderate for the conservative state.

Lugar is a classic statist mastermind. He doesn't even keep a house in Indiana; he lives in D.C. full-time. Talk about being completely out of touch with his constituency. He was Republican but In Name Only — a RINO.

Thank you for your service but good riddance…

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

The first accurate Atomic Clock

A film produced by the NPL Film Unit in the 1950s explaining the principles behind the first accurate atomic clock, designed by Louis Essen and built at the National Physical Laboratory in 1955.

Posted by DaveH at 04:06 PM | Comments (0)

Elizabeth Warren - a case of mistaken identity

Harvard Law Professor and Massachusetts Senatorial Candidate Elizabeth Warren has been coming under fire. She claims that she is 1/32nd Cherokee. The problem that Ms. Warren is having is that the truth always comes out and it certainly has in her case.

From Breitbart:

Elizabeth Warren Ancestor Rounded Up Cherokees For Trail of Tears
For over a quarter of a century, Elizabeth Warren has described herself as a Native American. When recently asked to provide evidence of her ancestry, she pointed to an unsubstantiated claim on an 1894 Oklahoma Territory marriage license application by her great-great grand uncle William J. Crawford that his mother, O.C. Sarah Smith Crawford, Ms. Warren's great-great-great grandmother, was a Cherokee.

After researching her story, it is obvious that her “family lore” is just fiction.

As I pointed out in my article here on Sunday, no evidence supports this claim. O.C. Sarah Smith Crawford had no Cherokee heritage, was listed as “white” in the Census of 1860, and was most likely half Swedish and half English, Scottish, or German, or some combination thereof. (Note, the actual 1894 marriage license makes no claim of Cherokee ancestry.)

But the most stunning discovery about the life of O.C. Sarah Smith Crawford is that her husband, Ms. Warren's great-great-great grandfather, was apparently a member of the Tennessee Militia who rounded up Cherokees from their family homes in the Southeastern United States and herded them into government-built stockades in what was then called Ross’s Landing (now Chattanooga), Tennessee—the point of origin for the horrific Trail of Tears, which began in January, 1837.

This new information about Ms. Warren’s true heritage came as a direct result of a lead provided to me by William Jacobson over at Legal Insurrection, who in turn had received the information from one of his readers. Jacobson, who has questioned Warren's explanation for her law faculty listing, calls this discovery “the ultimate and cruelest irony” of the Warren Cherokee saga.

Jonathan Crawford, O.C. Sarah Smith Crawford’s husband and apparently Ms. Warren's great-great-great grandfather, served in the East Tennessee Mounted Infantry Volunteer Militia commanded by Brigadier General R. G. Dunlap from late 1835 to late 1836. While under Dunlap’s command he was a member of Major William Lauderdale’s Battalion, and Captain Richard E. Waterhouse’s Company.

These were the troops responsible for removing Cherokee families from homes they had lived in for generations in the three states that the Cherokee Nations had considered their homelands for centuries: Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

A bunch more at the site.

Maybe she can apply for work at wherever Ward Churchill is working these days.
Would you like fries with that?

Posted by DaveH at 03:17 PM | Comments (0)

Interesting little "experiment"

From GPS World:

Massive GPS Jamming Attack by North Korea
Large coordinated cyber attacks from North Korea near its border with South Korea produced electronic jamming signals that affected GPS navigation for passenger aircraft, ships, and in-car navigation for roughly a week in late April and early May. To date, no accidents, casualties, or fatalities have been attributed to jammed navigation signals aboard 337 commercial flights in and out of South Korean international airports, on 122 ships, including a passenger liner carrying 287 people and a petroleum tanker. One South Korean driver tweeted “It also affects the car navigation GPS units. I am getting a lot of errors while driving in Seoul.”

South Korea experienced similar electronic attacks in March 2011, and in August and December of 2010, all of which were blamed on the North. The South Korean Defense Ministry said it is developing anti-jam programs to counter the attacks, which are being launched by what it termed a regiment-sized electronic warfare unit near the North Korean capital Pyongyang, and battalion-sized units closer to the inter-Korean border.

“Despite disruption in GPS, there is no serious threat to the safety of flights because planes are using other navigation devices,” claimed a Transport Ministry spokesperson. Officials say planes can use other navigation devices like very-high-frequency omni-directional range (VOR) and inertial navigation systems.

“We have traced the jamming signals to the direction of Kaesong,” said a Korean Communications Commission deputy director. Kaesong lies roughly 10 kilometers from the border between the two countries, and roughly 50 kilometers from downtown Seoul, Incheon International Airport, and the Yellow Sea.

It is unknown how long the jamming may continue, or when it might resume if halted. In March 2011, GPS jamming signals from the North lasted for 10 days during an annual U.S.-South Korea joint military drill. The motivation for North Korea to develop and employ anti-GPS technology would appear to come from its fear of attack by GPS-guided cruise missiles that might target key sites within the country. Clearly, any such military capability would require regular testing.

What a wonderful regime. They are also the major source of counterfeit US currency.

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

A letter to the Editor

From Joe Bastardi at WUWT:

Letter to the editor: A wish for Dr. Michael Mann to clear some things up from an errant PSU grad
Being I am branded as a “denier”, I am having trouble dismissing the relevance of the tree ring studies that challenge the hockey stick, in light of the magnitude of the weight against co2 having any relevance to the climate.

I am hoping Dr. Mann can clear some things up for me, a PSU meteo grad that as I understand is no longer welcome in our department because of my outspoken stance on the climate change issue. A response here can also enlighten the other Neanderthals, some of them apparently devious enough to fool entire departments so they have PHDs, as to the latest “situation” with you and Andy Revkin. Andy, I am hoping this is not too “divisive or toxic”.

Bastardi completely eviscerates Mann's hockey stick.

Joe is someone who knows a bit about this subject:

Joe Bastardi – Chief Forecaster
Formerly the Chief Long Range Forecaster at Accuweather, Joe Bastardi is an institution in the science of weather prediction. Many companies across a multitude of industries, from energy to retail, have profited from his forecasts. His exceptional skills are rooted in a comprehensive understanding of global oscillations and in-depth analysis of historical weather patterns. Mr.Bastardi’s analog approach, which finds similarities between current and historical weather patterns, allows him to make an accurate forecast, sometimes in defiance of computer model consensus.

During his 32 year tenure at Accuweather, Mr. Bastardi built a large private client services business. Additionally, Mr. Bastardi was well known for his blog featuring the popular videos “The Big Dog” and “The Long Ranger.”

His reputation for making bold and accurate forecasts has landed him on major television programs including Fox News Live, ABC World News, The O’Reilly Factor, The Colbert Report, CBS’ The Early Show, Imus in the Morning, and several others.

Mr. Bastardi graduated from Pennsylvania State University and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Meteorology.

Computer model — meet reality…

Posted by DaveH at 02:41 PM | Comments (0)

Low-tech / No Tech

Two wonderful online magazines.

Check out Low-tech Magazine and No Tech Magazine

Posted by DaveH at 02:30 PM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2012

Big doings at CRU

The scientists at the Climatic Research Unit are liars.
So says (and proves) Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit:

Yamal FOI Sheds New Light on Flawed Data
Phil Jones’ first instinct on learning about Climategate was that it was linked to the Yamal controversy that was in the air in the weeks leading up to Climategate. I had speculated that CRU must have done calculations for Yamal along the lines of the regional chronology for Taimyr published in Briffa et al 2008. CRU was offended and issued sweeping denials, but my surmise was confirmed by an email in the Climategate dossier. Unfortunately neither Muir Russell nor Oxburgh investigated the circumstances of the withheld regional chronology, despite my submission drawing attention to this battleground issue.

I subsequently submitted an FOI request for the Yamal-Urals regional chronology and a simple list of sites used in the regional chronology. Both requests were refused by the University of East Anglia. I appealed to the Information Commissioner (ICO).

A week ago, the Information Commissioner notified the University of East Anglia that he would be ruling against them on my longstanding FOI request for the list of sites used in the Yamal-Urals regional chronology referred to in a 2006 Climategate email. East Anglia accordingly sent me a list of the 17 sites used in the Yamal-Urals regional chronology (see here). A decision on the chronology itself is pending. In the absence of the chronology itself, I’ve done an RCS calculation, the results of which do not yield a Hockey Stick.

In today’s post, I’ll also show that important past statements and evidence to Muir Russell by CRU on the topic have been either untruthful or deceptive.

A bit of backstory here: YAD06 – the Most Influential Tree in the World

Cherry-picking at its most egregious.

Hat tip to Anthony for the link.

Lots more at both sites. One of Anthony's commentors — MattN — sums it up nicely:

Yep. Sloppy initial work. Then groupthink. Then small fibs, then larger fibs to cover. Then “it doesn’t matter”.
And Science dies a little…
Posted by DaveH at 08:35 PM | Comments (0)

Say hello to AR1476

A big sunspot is coming our way — from Space Weather:

BIG SUNSPOT:
One of the largest sunspot groups in years rotated over the sun's northeastern limb this weekend. With a least four dark cores larger than Earth, AR1476 sprawls more than 100,000 km from end to end, and makes an easy target for backyard solar telescopes.

The active region is crackling with impulsive M-class solar flares. Based on the sunspot's complex 'beta-gamma' magnetic field, NOAA forecasters estimate a 70% chance of more M-flares during the next 24 hours. There is also a 5% chance of powerful X-flares.

“This one is going to be fun as turns to face us!” predicts Friedman. He might be right.

This puppy is big. Keeping fingers crossed that we do not have another Carrington Event.

Posted by DaveH at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

Occupy Cleveland not a terrorist group - NOT!

Sucks to be you — from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Suspect in bridge bombing plot signed lease on Occupy Cleveland warehouse
One of the five self-described anarchists arrested last week for attempting to blow up a local bridge signed the lease for a West Side warehouse where about a dozen members of the Occupy Cleveland group live.

In a one-hour recording of a Friday evening general assembly meeting of the group posted on its website http://occupycleveland.com/live-stream/, occupy leaders expressed concern about Anthony Hayne's name being on the lease, which strengthens his link to the group.

“We have a person facing terrorism charges on the lease of our warehouse,” said one of the leaders. “If this gets into the media, it would be a disaster.”

Emphasis mine. Heh… And Hayne is not a choirboy:

At the time of his arrest, Hayne was wanted by Cuyahoga County for violating his probation. In January, Hayne pleaded guilty to theft and breaking and entering a Lakewood restaurant and stealing $2,000. He was placed on probation for 18 months. A judge issued a warrant for his arrest in April.

He served a year in prison starting in 2007 for beating his wife.

I do not think that these morons can claim any moral high ground…

Posted by DaveH at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)

Trying to stay relevant - Noam Chomsky

From Zuccotti Park Press comes a pamphlet:

Occupy
By Noam Chomsky
“Easy to read, affordable, loaded with photos and practical advice for activists, “Occupy is another vital contribution from Chomsky to the literature of defiance and protest, and a red-hot rallying call to forge a better, more egalitarian future…. an excellent read.”

It must be a strange thing to look back on your career and see that your work only appealed to the naive and the mentally ill.

The Zuccotti Park Press also “publishes” work from convicted cop killer Mr. Jamal and unrepentant terrorist and Marxist Angela Davis,

Posted by DaveH at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

RIP Chick Callenbach

Ernest was the author of Ecotopia. Died of cancer on April 16th 2012.

He left a file on his computer — Tom Engelhardt has it — from Tomgram:

Epistle to the Ecotopians
By Ernest Callenbach

[This document was found on the computer of Ecotopia author Ernest Callenbach (1929-2012) after his death.]

To all brothers and sisters who hold the dream in their hearts of a future world in which humans and all other beings live in harmony and mutual support — a world of sustainability, stability, and confidence. A world something like the one I described, so long ago, in Ecotopia and Ecotopia Emerging.

As I survey my life, which is coming near its end, I want to set down a few thoughts that might be useful to those coming after. It will soon be time for me to give back to Gaia the nutrients that I have used during a long, busy, and happy life. I am not bitter or resentful at the approaching end; I have been one of the extraordinarily lucky ones. So it behooves me here to gather together some thoughts and attitudes that may prove useful in the dark times we are facing: a century or more of exceedingly difficult times.

How will those who survive manage it? What can we teach our friends, our children, our communities? Although we may not be capable of changing history, how can we equip ourselves to survive it?

I contemplate these questions in the full consciousness of my own mortality. Being offered an actual number of likely months to live, even though the estimate is uncertain, mightily focuses the mind. On personal things, of course, on loved ones and even loved things, but also on the Big Picture.

But let us begin with last things first, for a change. The analysis will come later, for those who wish it.

Visit the site and read the rest. Callenbach actually had a decent vision — not like the raving Marxists running the environmental movement today.

Posted by DaveH at 12:34 PM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2012

Nothing much tonight either

Spent a long day working in my garden (it had sat fallow for a couple of years) and moved one of my chicken coops down to the community garden. There are already a couple of birds living there so this will be a major lifestyle upgrade for them!

Refurbishing an old computer of mine for the local Water Co-op. Their machine is over ten years old and about the only good thing to say is that it had Windows XP installed. Installing this one with Win7 and some goodies (CCleaner, etc…) This one is three years old and I tend to buy pretty hot machines so this will last them a long long time. They are using QuickBooks Pro for accounting and billing.

Also donating one of my HP Workgroup Laser Printers (an 8100). I love these machines — they originally sold for $5K on up, are built like a tank, cost a fraction of a penny per page and last forever. This one will duplex and print up to 11*17. Actually handles envelopes pretty well too. I buy them at auction for $25 to $50 — nobody wants them because they are big. Their loss.

Long day tomorrow too — we are in for a stretch of great weather so looking to get the garden whipped into shape. Sprayed RoundUp today and will plant on Tuesday.

Posted by DaveH at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2012

Oh Yeah - forgot to mention this stupid good deal

I was in the Bellingham Costco today and they had the new Canon PowerShot A1200 for sale for $69.
Yes, a 12.1 MPx camera kit for $69!!!

On the off-side, it only has a 4X optical zoom and when recording video, it's 720p and not 1080p. No image stabilization either.

On the plus side, it's a 12.1 MPx camera for under $70 and it takes two AA size batteries and not some proprietary rechargeable unit. If you run out, you can pop in some new batteries; you aren't forced to buy several $30 specialty batteries and keep them all charged.

What I bought it for was to run the amazing CHDK software (Canon Hack Development Kit). I have a Canon G11 that I dearly love and carry with me all the time and CHDK runs really well on it but I want to be able to do things like leave it outside for extended time-lapse runs and I am not going to do this with a $400 camera. I will breathe a lot easier with a $70 camera.

There is no port of CHDK for the A1200 yet but it just hit the shelves so I'll wait a month or two.

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

Nothing tonight

Worked on a friends website all day today and then working on some music software tonight.

Weekends are generally slow news-wise anyway.

Posted by DaveH at 09:59 PM | Comments (0)

The Other

Bill Whittle:

Posted by DaveH at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)

Occupy Wall Street

Sean Hannity takes ten minutes and interviews an Occupy Wall Street “leader”


Talk about useful idiot…

Posted by DaveH at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2012

The Big Lie

Why am I feeling my spidey-senses tingling — from local radio station KGMI:

County Planners Prioritize Ag Lands
County planners are looking at making some possible changes to how agricultural lands can be used in Whatcom County.

Planners and consultants met last night at Cornwall Church to discuss a plan for rearranging parcels of ag lands to make sure that farmers don't build on land that is most valuable for growing.

Samya Lutz with Whatcom County Planning and Development Services says the reconfiguration would shift future development potential to areas that are least valuable as farmland.

Lutz says farmers would not gain or lose any development rights under the proposal, they would just get shifted around.

She also says the plan would also have no affect on property values.

The County Planning Office is noted for being top-down nanny-statist. They grab power, centralize it and then our property taxes go up to fund their activities. I know a lot of local developers and each one of them hates dealing with planning…

Posted by DaveH at 08:49 PM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2012

Quote of the day - Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.

From here — nineteen others to read.

Just remember, the bourgeoisie is us, the taxpayers.

Obama is creating two classes, the recipient class and the elite who 'manage' them.
It failed spectacularly in Russia, ditto China, North Korea anyone? Cuba? Bueller? Anyone???

But what's 100 Million dead kulaks when you have the high moral ground and a spiffy narrative.

Posted by DaveH at 10:54 PM | Comments (0)

The health benefits of raw milk - NOT!

From the US Food Safety blog:

21 sick from raw milk in Oregon; again ‘people missed the boat on one of the great advances in public health – pasteurization’
Oregon health officials suspect two more illnesses are part of a raw milk outbreak traced nearly three weeks ago to a farm near Wilsonville.

William Keene, senior epidemiologist with Oregon Public Health, told Lynne Terry of The Oregonian the two adults had both consumed raw milk from Foundation Farm, including one person who continued to drink it after being warned about the outbreak.

This shit (literally) is dangerous — more:

Four children who drank the milk were hospitalized with acute kidney failure, which is associated with E. coli O157:H7. As of Friday, they were still in the hospital, Keene said.

Kidney failure is not a case of the sniffles. E. Coli is bad stuff and it can be neutralized completely through pasteurization. Sad that there are so many silly people out there — maintaining these dietary practices change being infected with E. Coli from a vanishingly small “if” to a downright scary “when”.

Posted by DaveH at 09:56 PM | Comments (0)

A breath of fresh air from Daniel Hannan

From the UK Telegraph:

Europe's crisis is about to get a whole lot worse
Here's your starter for ten. The European People's Party is the largest bloc in the European Council, as measured by voting weight; can you guess the second largest?

Congratulations to anyone who plumped for the European Conservatives and Reformists, who edge ahead of both the Liberals and the Socialists.

Euro-Lefties have been having a thin time of it recently. Only three per cent of EU citizens live under socialist or socialist-led governments. That, though, is about to change. France, where the state already consumes 56 per cent of GDP, and whose budget was last in balance in 1974, seems likely to elect François Hollande on a platform of 'growth, not austerity'. (Who knew it was that easy?) Greece, which also votes on Sunday, is inclining toward a pack of communist parties; the politicians there who talk openly of the need for cuts currently command less than seven per cent in the polls. Romania, too, is about to install a Leftist ministry, following the defeat of the last government's austerity platform. As other elections follow around Europe, we can expect more of the same.

What will be the impact? Europe will accelerate all the policies that brought it to its present unhappy condition: wastrel spending, unsustainable borrowing, punitive taxation, deeper integration. Voters are in no mood to accept less generous perks and pensions. They'd rather be told that the money can somehow be got out of the rich. A politician who admits the truth – namely that the rich have nothing like enough to pay for all the things that modern governments want to do – is liable to have dead animals lobbed in his direction.

More at the site.

It will be interesting to see what happens if François Hollande gets elected. He is an avowed socialist. France and Germany are the two 'healthiest' nations in the EU and if France goes down, the whole house of cards will soon follow.

Posted by DaveH at 01:04 PM | Comments (0)

Oopsie - a bit of corruption at the top

From the FBI:

Former Acting Director of Intelligence for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Pleads Guilty to Role in Fraud Scheme
James M. Woosley, 48, the former acting director of intelligence for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), pleaded guilty today to defrauding the government of more than $180,000 in a scheme involving fraudulent travel vouchers and time and attendance claims.

And it's not just the one bad apple:

Four others earlier pleaded guilty to charges related to the scheme: Ahmed Adil Abdallat, 64, a former ICE supervisory intelligence research specialist, pleaded guilty in October 2011; William J. Korn, 53, a former ICE intelligence research specialist, pleaded guilty in December 2011; Stephen E. Henderson, 61, a former contractor doing work for ICE, pleaded guilty in January 2012; and Lateisha M. Rollerson, 38, a former assistant to Woosley, pleaded guilty in March 2012. Abdallat pleaded guilty in the Western District of Texas, and the others pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia.

All told, the actions of the various defendants cost ICE more than $600,000.

More than half a million of our tax dollars squandered by these mokes. That is our money they pissed away.

The Charging document is available online here.

And the joke of it is that he will walk away with a slap on the wrist…

Posted by DaveH at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)

Desecration of books

I am very much a bibliophile. I have zero desire for an eBook (Kindle/Nook/Whatever).

This news from China gives me the willies — from China Daily:

Ads to appear on book covers
Publishers have started printing advertisements on book covers in a move to help their industry sustain development and survive.

The book, My Son, Yo-Yo, written by the mother of renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and released in March, was the first book to carry an advertisement, said Li Baozhong, deputy director of the Publishers' Association of China.

On the back cover, beneath a sentence describing the love between a mother and her children, is the logo of a well-known Chinese textile manufacturer.

Li's association signed a deal in 2011 with Jinghua Aobo, a Beijing-based advertising agency, to promote products and services on book covers.

Jinghua Aobo has signed agreements with more than 100 publishers across the country, and plans to place advertisements on the covers of 10 more books shortly.

However, all cover advertisements will be sayings related to public service in line with the theme of the books. Commercial enterprises that advertise can only display company logos and not products or prices, said Li.

For every copy of a book with an advertisement sold, Jinghua Aobo will pay the publisher the equivalent of 1 to 2 cents, Li said.

Is nothing sacred? This is a perfect example of the camel's nose under the tent.

Posted by DaveH at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

A transit of Venus

I'll be looking this up and getting more information but this is a once in a life-time event (literally).
From Science Daily:

Venus to Appear in Once-In-A-Lifetime Event
On 5 and 6 June this year, millions of people around the world will be able to see Venus pass across the face of the Sun in what will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

It will take Venus about six hours to complete its transit, appearing as a small black dot on the Sun's surface, in an event that will not happen again until 2117.

More:

Transits of Venus occur only on the very rare occasions when Venus and Earth are in a line with the Sun. At other times Venus passes below or above the Sun because the two orbits are at a slight angle to each other. Transits occur in pairs separated by eight years, with the gap between pairs of transits alternating between 105.5 and 121.5 years — the last transit was in 2004.

Missed 2004 — where I live was in the sliver of land where it was not visible. CBC news had some photos but link rot has set in and they are no longer available.

Hoping for better luck this time around — 2117 is a bit of a wait…

Posted by DaveH at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2012

Down the tubes

Say buh-bye to our space program.

We now depend on the Russians to get to the International Space Station.
The USA spent $72B, the Russians $12B, Europe $5B, Japan $5B and Canada $2B
And now, we no longer have the ability to visit — we have to depend on the Russians. (Thanks Barry!)

And now this — from USA Today:

Report warns of weather satellites' 'rapid decline'
Predicting the weather is tricky enough. Now a new government-sponsored report warns that the USA's ability to track tornadoes, forecast hurricanes and study climate change is about to diminish.

The number and capability of weather satellites circling the planet “is beginning a rapid decline” and tight budgets have significantly delayed or eliminated missions to replace them, says a National Research Council analysis out Wednesday.

The number of in-orbit and planned Earth observation missions by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is projected to drop “precipitously” from 23 this year to only six by 2020, the report found.

That means the number of instruments monitoring Earth's activity is expected to decline from a peak of about 110 last year to fewer than 30 by the end of the decade.

“Right now, when society is asking us the hardest questions and the most meaningful questions, we're going to be even more challenged to answer them,” said Stacey Boland, a senior systems engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and a member of the committee that wrote the report. “We'll slowly become data-starved here.”

To channel my inner Steve Martin: Excuuuuuuuuse Meeee!

The US Government and State Governments spend 0.3% of their budgets (2012 figures) on Space flight, research, and supporting activities.

They spend 16.2% on Pensions, 17.2% on Health Care, 15% on Education, 10.8% on Welfare and 14.4% on the Military.

Space (and science in general) is not where we should be cutting.

I am not suggesting that we pull the rug out from under Granny but if we stop creating new generations of 'entitled' voters, we would get Government spending knocked back into real numbers in 10 years.

You have a pension now — fine; you will keep it. Coming into the workforce now? There are some new rules. All of these entitlement programs are recent — last forty years or so. We survived well before then.

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

Now this will be fun

From Gizmodo:

This Treasure Hunter Says He Has Located Bin Laden’s Body
That smiling guy is Bill Warren, the Californian treasure hunter who claimed he was searching for Osama Bin Laden's dead body back in June 2011. He didn't find him then, but now he claims he has located the cadaver.

Talking to Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Warren says he has no doubt about where Osama is:
I've located where they threw him away. I'm the only one with this information. He's 200 miles to the west of the Indian city of Surat.
Warren —- who claims he has discovered more than 200 shipwrecks during his career as a treasure-hunter -— says that bin Laden's body is still at that same location, deep under water. His thought is that, since the Navy weighted down the bag, the body hasn't moved from where it was dropped. He is now trying to rent Russian deep diving equipment to locate his payload, and to conduct DNA tests once he finds him.

At least, that's what he believes. He says he pinpointed the drop point from photos recently released by the US Navy.

The article concludes with the obvious:

But who knows, maybe Bill will prove himself right this time. Or maybe the body will not be there because Osama bin Laden is alive and well, playing cards and drinking mai tais with Elvis and Marilyn, in that secret government paradise island in the middle of the Pacific.

Hell, I'd pony up $100 just to feed the corpse a BLT sammitch. Mmmmm Bacon!

Posted by DaveH at 10:32 PM | Comments (0)

Another useless hack butting in where he should not be

Talk about major asshat — 'Senator' John Kerry is over in Egypt playing at diplomacy.
From The Jewish Press:

Senator Kerry in Talks with Muslim Brothers Presidential Candidate
Senator John Kerry, head of the Senate foreign relations committee, arrived in Cairo Tuesday evening, as part of his tour of the region, to hold talks with Egyptian officials about the “democratic transformation” of Egypt, according to the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA. Kerry and his Egyptian hosts will be discussing the presidential elections due late in May, and the conflicts in the region, including Syria, the Sudan and Israel.

According to Al Ahram, Senator Kerry and US Ambassador to Cairo Ann Patterson will meet with Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate and head of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Mohamed Mursi, at the FJP headquarters on Wednesday.

The guy has never worked a day in his life. He married into money and is Livin' La Vida Loca off of her ketchup dollars. He is one of our elite masterminds in Washington who know how to manage our lives better than we do. His presidential run a few years ago show the content of his character.

A bit more about the Muslim Brotherhood can be found here at Discover the Networks:

Founded in 1928 by the Egyptian schoolteacher/activist Hasan al-Banna (a devout admirer of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis), the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) — a Sunni entity — is one of the oldest, largest and most influential Islamist organizations in the world. While Egypt historically has been the center of the Brotherhood’s operations, the group today is active in more than 70 countries (some estimates range as high as 100+). Islam expert Robert Spencer has called MB “the parent organization of Hamas and al Qaeda.” In 2003, Richard Clarke – the chief counterterrorism advisor on the U.S. National Security Council during both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations – told a Senate committee that Hamas, al Qaeda, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were all “descendants of the membership and ideology of the Muslim Brothers.”

Lots more at the site. These people are the worst of the worst. To think that we can open diplomatic relations with them is downright foolish in the worst Carterian sense of the word. They will view this as weakness on our part, they will cut us some slack to show how 'tolerant' and 'understanding' they are and all the while, they will be massing forces to commit acts of terror in the USA. They are masters of public relations and spin. They are also pure evil and need to be shut down for good.

John F. Kerry is a fool tool.

Posted by DaveH at 09:56 PM | Comments (0)

Smart doggie

Wonderful fifteen-minute video on canine intellegence.
From a Nova show aired February 9, 2011 on PBS with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson hosting:

A tip 'o the hat to Bayou Renaissance Man for the link.

Posted by DaveH at 09:40 PM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2012

Green Fail

Great breakdown on the 'Green' companies which have been given money by the Federal Government (this is our tax dollars folks…)

From American Thinker:

Obama's Epic Green Fail
As we get into the campaign season (has Obama ever left it?), some recollections of what President Barack Hussein Obama said and has done (courtesy of Peter Schweizer and Ashe Schow) are both humorous and instructive. Humorous because you have to laugh at what Obama has said and done to keep from crying. Instructive because this is what we can expect from Obama (and more) if he gets re-elected.

A partial list:

  • SunPower, after receiving $1.5 billion from DOE, is reorganizing, cutting jobs.
  • First Solar, after receiving $1.46 billion from DOE, is reorganizing, cutting jobs.
  • Solyndra, after receiving $535 million from DOE, filed for bankruptcy protection.
  • Ener1, after receiving $118.5 million from DOE, filed for bankruptcy protection.
  • Evergreen Solar, after receiving millions of dollars from the state of Massachusetts, filed for bankruptcy protection.
  • SpectraWatt, backed by Intel and Goldman Sachs, filed for bankruptcy protection.
  • Beacon Power, after receiving $43 million from DOE, filed for bankruptcy protection.
  • Abound Solar, after receiving $400 million from DOE, filed for bankruptcy protection.
  • Amonix, after receiving $5.9 million from DOE, filed for bankruptcy protection.
  • Babcock & Brown (an Australian company), after receiving $178 million from DOE, filed for bankruptcy protection.

A lot more here.

Looks like we are recapitulating Spain's fifteen-year experience with 'green' energy where for each person hired for a green project, there was such an adverse effect to the 'normal' economy that 2.2 jobs were lost. Primary report here (PDF). More here, here and here.

Posted by DaveH at 09:59 PM | Comments (0)

Nerd heaven

A local Ham group is having their annual festival this following weekend.

I have been to this one before — lots of fun!

Posted by DaveH at 09:39 PM | Comments (0)

Getting ready for a big one

From 38 North:

North Korean Nuclear Test Preparations: An Update
Recent press reports on the impending North Korean nuclear test have been ambiguous. Some have quoted reliable sources that a test is imminent. Others have stated that there are no obvious signs that a test will happen soon. The most recent commercial satellite imagery available of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test facility supports the contention that preparations are continuing and that the North Koreans are preceding as if the test go-ahead decision has already been made. The imagery does not, however, give any indication of when that detonation may take place.

Satellite pictures from April 18, 2012 are the latest in a series of photos that document continuing preparations for an upcoming nuclear test. A March 8, 2012 image shows that North Korea dumped spoil material—excavated from the test tunnel—and created two adjacent teardrop shaped mounds, together covering an area that is 300 square meters greater than observed in 2011 (indicating that the tunnel has been expanded since then) (see figure 1). Overall, some 8,000 cubic meters of rubble have been excavated at the site covering 4,000 square meters. The photo also reveals a dark-toned material situated adjacent to the tunnel entrance which may be stemming material intended to eventually seal the tunnel, but is more likely mud impeding work at the site.

Looks like initial reports are correct.

Posted by DaveH at 09:29 PM | Comments (0)

A little bit more than I planned

Just spent $400 on the new Ham Radio including mounting kit, antenna, wire, external speaker, shipping, etc…

I was looking at around $200 total but this gives me a lot more capability of operation. There is a knee around the $300 price where the feature-set just gets major silly.

This will give me the ability to work directly with another station, work through any of the local repeaters, use digital communications, automatic position reporting (built-in GPS receiver). The unit can be programmed through a computer (USB interface). I ordered the truck-mount kit as well.

The actual real value is amazing. I was into radio as a kid and back then, you were looking at several thousand dollars of 1960's money to get a fraction of what is being shipped to me now.

As I said, one of the main drivers for getting my license is because public services are spread pretty thin on the ground out where I live. I will be joining the Whatcom Emergency Communication Group (my instructors were all members) and will be participating in a few of their events.

Just what I need — another hobby… (:)

Posted by DaveH at 07:43 PM | Comments (0)

Happiness...

…is walking into the local Gun store and having the guy behind the counter greet me by name.

Looking at a semi-automatic rifle of decent caliber and also something for carry.

Posted by DaveH at 05:21 PM | Comments (0)