Sledgehammer's Cycles

Sledgehammer's Cycles
Sledgehammer's Performance and Custom Cycles

Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Sunday meditation on Grace

The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It's for you I created the universe. I love you. There's only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you'll reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.
- Frederick Buechner

Wolfwalker left a pointer to this.  It's deep theology, or evolutionary psychology (if indeed there's a difference).



Thank you, Wolfwalker.  You always make me think, but this time was special.

A Web Comic strip for the Wookie Suit crowd

Oh. My. God.  Actively Disengaged chronicles the trials and tribulations of a collection of anarchists.  It ranges from wryly humorous to side splittingly funny, like this one when one of the characters who had been taken in for interrogation by the FBI is released:


A good 25% of them make me laugh out loud, like the ones on prepping. Or this one:


Anarchists of the world, unite!  Err, or something.  If you run towards libertarian, this is right up your alley.  Finally, the Wookie Suit crowd gets a web comic all to itself.  Recommended, especially if you start at the first strip and work forward.

Happy birthday Ethernet!

The original Ethernet specification was signed on this day in 1980.  The fact that it has lasted 32 years is a statement of just how good the design was.  Having lived through the Ethernet vs. Token Ring battle, and then the FDDI vs. Ethernet battle, the fact that Ethernet continued to evolve to take on higher speed and more convenient cabling while keeping compatible with drivers across a spectrum of Operating Systems is pretty amazing.

Trivia: I think that I've worked on all the different Ethernet media types: DIX coax (with vampire taps!), BNC coax, fiber optic, and twisted pair.  Back in the 80's it didn't seem that the future would belong to Ethernet and TCP/IP, but both of those have scaled beyond what any of us expected.  Yay, Ethernet!

Dmitri Shostakovich - Suite from Hamlet

Shostakovich was a Soviet composer during the Stalin period.  Denounced twice, he survived to become a member of the Supreme Soviet.  The reason was that he was their most internationally famous composer.  His neo-classical style was easily adapted to film (as was his predecessor, Prokofiev), which is where this suite came from. 

While his Lady Macbeth was probably his most famous work, the lovely and Shakespearean Mrs. Borepatch isn't in Macbeth.  She's in Hamlet (come and see her at today's matinee in Roswell's Barrington Hall at 4:00 PM).

And so it's the Suite from Hamlet.  Enjoy.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Zero to Jackboots in 5 years

Tam coined the term and not only does it fit, we're seeing it play out in the streets of Old Europe.

Supporters of the far right Golden Dawn party celebrate their success in elections, in Thessaloniki, northern Greece. Photograph: Grigoris Siamidis/Reuters
This isn't what could be described as "far right" in American political terms.  We'd call it "fascist".  The Greek Golden Dawn party is explicitly fascist - nationalist and socialist.  There's quite simply no equivalent of this on these shores - the hyperventilating of the Usual Suspects here just shows that they are either ignorant or tools.  Here's Golden Dawn's logo:






Weimar is playing itself out on the streets of Athens:

Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party is increasingly assuming the role of law enforcement officers on the streets of the bankrupt country, with mounting evidence that Athenians are being openly directed by police to seek help from the neo-Nazi group, analysts, activists and lawyers say.

In return, a growing number of Greek crime victims have come to see the party, whose symbol bears an uncanny resemblance to the swastika, as a "protector".

...

For a lot of people in poorer neighbourhoods we are liberators," crowed Yiannis Lagos, one of 18 MPs from the stridently patriot "popular nationalist movement" to enter the 300-seat house in June. "The state does nothing," he told a TV chat show, adding that Golden Dawn was the only party that was helping Greeks, hit by record levels of poverty and unemployment, on the ground. Through an expansive social outreach programme, which also includes providing services to the elderly in crime-ridden areas, the group regularly distributes food and clothes parcels to the needy.

The European Elites are not particularly smart, and really haven't ever been - at least, the last two centuries don't offer a lot of evidence that they are smarter than anyone else.  Indeed, looking at the record of the last decade and you are left with the description of the old French Bourbon monarchs - they have learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.

But nature abhors a vacuum, and where the European elites retreat something will advance to fill the void.  The the streets of the Cradle of Democracy glow with reflected torchlight.  If they don't echo with the tramp of jackboots, the question is not why, but when?

Actually, this is why I can't watch TV*


Hijinks Ensue is a very funny geek cartoon.  What's funny is not the "hover the mouse over the comic for more funny stuff" (although they have that too), but it looks like there's a blog post for each strip.  Here's the entry for this one.

Warning: the language tends to the PG-13, although nothing that you wouldn't hear every session on X-Box 360.  The one where the D&D party gets into the wrong dungeon room because they were using the iOS 6 mapping app is very funny, although probably NSFW.  And the parent Dalek talking to the young Dalek at bedtime about whether Dr. Who is in the closet is very clever and entirely SFW.

* Actually, it's why I can't read fiction, either.

Relax, Citizen - your Government Masters are trustworthy

Tam posts on a TSA screener who got caught stealing an iPad
In a statement to ABC News, the TSA said it has “a zero-tolerance policy for theft and terminates any employee who is determined to have stolen from a passenger.” The TSA reports that 381 of its officers have been fired for theft between 2003 and 2012.
Well that's a relief!  I mean, with 45,000 screeners working ten years you've only had 381 thefts!  That's like (does some math: 381 ÷ 45,000 x 10) is a theft rate of around 840 per hundred thousand.

Compare to the heinous crime wave committed by concealed carry permit holders of 188 per 100,000*.  It's an outrage!  It's obviously way to easy to get a carry license!

Odd how we always hear from Progressives that gun owners are ready to snap and go all shootin' up the town square and everything.  And hey, that TSA thief rate is rock solid - I mean, the TSA says that they have a "zero-tolerance" policy and everything.

At this point can we just ask every Progressive who thinks that guns should be restricted and government expanded to shut up and sit down in the back of the room?  Grown ups are talking.

* North Carolina statistics, 1995 - 2011.  400,000 license holders, 1,200 revoked in 16 years.

Bobby Bare - Diet Song

Country music songs are about something that's happened to you, or to someone you know.  Boy, howdy.

At least we can keep a sense of humor about it as this song does.  It also skates close to - but not quite over - the line of what could be broadcast on the radio in 1980 (the lyrics below have the original ribald glory).

Bobby Bare has been recording songs both funny (Drop Kick Me, Jesus) and wistful (500 Miles Away From Home) for 50 years.  This isn't his best known song, but it may have the widest appeal, from a nation where most of us will find ourselves staring glumly at a plate of celery sticks.



Diet Song (Songwriter: unknown)
Breakfast, black coffee, one slice of dry toast
No butter, no jelly, no jam
Lunch, just some lettuce, two celery stalks
No booze, no potatoes, no ham.

Dinner, one chicken wing, broiled not fried
No gravy, no biscuits, no pie
And this dietin', dietin', dietin', dietin'
Sure is a rough way to die.

So pass me a carrot stick, peel me a prune
A glass of skim milk and that's all
Turn off the TV for the Big Mac commercial
It's drivin' me right up the wall.

And I'm thinkin' of french fries, sausage and waffles
Spaghetti and cookies and cake
And each night I'm dreamin' of chocolate ice cream.
And I'm starvin' to death when I wake.

Supper, two pieces of cauliflower, raw
Some beefsteak the size of a nail
One sliced tomato, a small dab of slaw
I swear I ate better in jail.

Stop eatin' that pizza right under my nose
Girl that's the least you can do
Put down that candy bar while I'm singin'
I'm starvin' my pants off for you.

You're fixin' the kids all those creamed mashed potatoes
But it's bouillon and water for me
Hey, you got a lock on the refrigerator
Lord knows where you're hidin' the key.

While I'm starvin' for food late at night
I'm starvin' for lovin' from you
But you say that when I can see my own dick
You'll be glad to look at it too.

So pass me a carrot stick, peel me a prune
A glass of skim milk and that's all
You and Jane Fonda and old Richard Simmons
Are drivin' me right off the wall.

Now when I am dead with the insurance paid
You'll look down at me and you'll grin
You'll say, well the boy tried and he suffered and died
But don't he look good when he's thin? oh my.

And this dietin', dietin', dietin', dietin'
Sure is a rough way to die...

Friday, September 28, 2012

1200 calories

That's my daily dietary allowance.  I'm one of those people that never had to diet, blessed with a metabolism that kept me a trim six foot and 185 pounds.  Then over the last few years I started gaining three pounds a year.  Living in Austin didn't help, since cooking for one tends to mean bigger portions and fattier what the heck recipes.

And so I've found myself with an unflattering spare tire, coming into the holiday season.  And so it's time to eat less and exercise more.

But dang, it's not much fun.  I haven't looked at the scale this week, figuring that it will take a while to really kick in.  Probably won't look for another week.  Then we'll see.

But yeah - the body isn't used to this, and they keep the break room at work stocked with cookies and candy and pretty much everything that I shouldn't touch.  So far, will power has been working.  Musn't grumble, I guess.

Dang, I want a pizza ...

The Buddha would say that he has the Cat Nature

Even if he is a cartoon.  Very well done capturing the Cat Nature in a cartoon, if you ask me.



Via the lovely and loves-her-cat Mrs. Borepatch.  And this is sort of like me trying to blog when Crash the Wondercat wants to be fed.

Why do we spend so much on schools?

It's Ask A Stupid Question Day.  The (not stupid) answer is here.

Calvin and Hobbes, now with bacon

because everything's better with bacon!  Imagine Calvin and Hobbes fast forwarded 26 years.  Calvin is married, and has a daughter named bacon.  One day, he introduces her to Hobbes.  You're welcome.


Hobbes and Bacon 1
Hobbes and Bacon 2
Hobbes and Bacon 3
Hobbes and Bacon 4

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Voodoo Blues

The 1950s saw a "swamp blues" sound in Louisiana.  Lightnin' Slim had a classical version.

Short sighted government

The Left perennially complains that corporations are short sighted, since they are run based on quarterly profit and loss reports for Wall Street.  The Left complains that this focuses management on the short term, rather than the long term.  While this is over stated, there's a kernel of truth in the complaint.

What the Left never does is apply that same analysis to how government runs.  There is no profit or loss, and so the metric must be different - in fact, all government organizations use the metric of avoiding blame.  Indeed, as a larval Electrical Engineer at Three Letter Intelligence Agency I was sat down and taught the "Washington Post rule" which said "Nothing printed in the Washington Post about this Agency is good for this Agency".

Fair enough - the world is how it is, and institutions are how they are.  However, the Left could still apply the "short term vs. long term" metric, in which case they would find this positively horrifying example of the wrong decision being made for the wrong reason:
There seems to be no question that Lieu Tran had problems. Specifically, bipolar disorder.
Mr. Tran was a math teacher at a local high school. In April of 2011, he was told his contract wasn’t going to be renewed. This sent Mr. Tran into a downward spiral; he contacted a friend and told that friend he’d been having “scary thoughts about shooting his supervisors”. The friend gave him a ride to a mental hospital.
At the hospital, Tran repeated the thoughts to an admissions nurse, who testified that Tran cried, got into the fetal position and punched himself in the head during her interview with him. The nurse said she called an Austin police officer.
Mr. Tran engaged in a discussion with the APD officer later that day. He spent a week in the hospital, “having his medication adjusted and participating in group therapy”.
After he was released, he was arrested by APD and charged with “retaliation”, based on what APD considered to be his threats to “buy a firearm, tying up [Assistant Principal Sheila] Reed and [Principal Daniel] Garcia, shooting them in the arm and leg and making them watch him kill their families”.
Obviously the Austin Police didn't want to be blamed if this guy went off his meds and shot someone.  They would be able to point to how they had thrown his sorry butt in jail.  Complain about that, people!

Except now they've established a horribly perverse incentive structure: go to the hospital for help treating a perfectly treatable disease* and go to jail.  So riddle me this, members of the Left: can't we say that the APD just optimized their "rate of return" for the next 2 or 3 quarters at the expense of increased risk of violence and murder 2 or 3 years out?  Isn't this precisely the complaint you levy against publicly traded companies?  And don't you keep telling us that Government is what we choose to do together?

Except it's not, because what corporations do doesn't lead to higher levels of violence and murder.  The arresting officer and the D.A. should both be fired.

I keep waiting for the same level of outrage from the Usual Suspects targeted at the public sector.  You'd almost wonder whether all of this "moral high ground" is just a bunch of tribal BS to fool the rubes.

Tab clearing

Via Aretae, we find one from the department of correlation is not causation:
But when the person asserted to me that the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was followed by safer workplaces, all I could do was mumble something about the sun doesn’t rise because roosters crow and that we would need hypotheticals and counterfactuals.

Fortunately, I work at the Cato Institute where there are experts about almost every policy issue, so I was able to track down some analysis about OSHA in the Cato Handbook for Congress.

...

In other good news, NASA is doing a fine job of keeping the sun rising in the east.

Also,  never mistake for stupidity what is driven by malice:
There are least three obvious candidates for reducing global warming that do not require a reduction in energy use. One is nuclear power—a well established, if somewhat expensive, technology that produces no CO2 and can be expanded more or less without limit. One is natural gas, which produces considerably less carbon dioxide per unit of power than coal, for which it is the obvious substitute. Fracking has now sharply lowered the price of natural gas, with the result that U.S. output of CO2 has actually fallen. The third and more speculative candidate is geoengineering—one or another of several approaches that have been suggested for cooling earth without reducing CO2 output.

One would expect that someone seriously worried about global warming would take an interest in all three alternatives. Of course, in each case, there are arguments against as well as arguments for. But if one believes that global warming is a very serious problem and alternative solutions are costly, one ought to be biased in favor of each of them, inclined to look for arguments for, not arguments against.
In my experience, that is not how people who campaign against global warming act. They are less likely than others, not more, to support nuclear power, to approve of fracking as a way of producing lots of cheap natural gas, or to be in favor of experiments to see whether one or another version of geoengineering will work. That makes little sense if they see a reduction in power consumption as a cost, but quite a lot of sense if they see it as a benefit.
Even if you buy into the whole Carbon Dioxide is driving catastrophic Global Warming idea (which I do not, for reasons you will find by clicking on the Clint Eastwood picture on the upper right), the proposed policy responses are exceptionally interesting indeed.  And not "interesting" in a way that leads one to conclude that environmentalists are humanitarian at heart, but rather the contrary.

Since I'm a fan of "show your work", here is mine (well, work that I swiped from some dude on the Internet, but it's quite clear).

When all other friends desert, he remains.

In 1924, an obscure Professor in Tokyo got a dog.  Every day, Hachikō would trot down to the Shibuya Station to meet his master on his return from the day's labor.  Every day they would stroll back together to the Professor's home.  It was entirely unremarkable.

And then one day, the Professor didn't return.  He had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage while in his office and died on the spot.  Hachikō was waiting at the station, and waited in vain.

The next day he was waiting at the station.  And the next.  And the next.  For the next ten years, Hachikō was there waiting when the train arrived at the station.  The story captured the heart of the Japanese people, who commissioned a bronze statue of him.  It's still there outside the Shibuya Station.


Dogs are Man's best friend because we see ourselves reflected in their eyes, not as we are but as we would be.  At our best, the dog sees himself reflected in our eyes, as he would see himself:
The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog. A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground when the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only to be near his master's side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince.When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wing, and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.
If fortune dries his master forth, an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege that that of accompanying him against danger, to fight against his enemies. And when that last scene comes, and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there, by the graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful, and true, even in death.

Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson lay in a coffin, draped in an American flag, in front of a tearful audience mourning his death in Afghanistan. Soon an old friend appeared, and like a fellow soldier on a battlefield, his loyal dog refused to leave him behind.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I, for one, welcome our flying robotic overlords

I missed this from a few months ago.



I can't say that I'm pleased about this at all.  I'd go so far as to say that an Open Source hardware/software drone design effort, based on RC controls, AR weaponry, IP communications/control with IPSec encryption/authentication might attract some interesting talent.  This strikes me as something that would easily fit a distributed development/low cost/devolved authority model.

Or the Department of Homeland Security maybe should back off of the domestic drone thing.  It's not putting me at all in my comfort zone, especially with Presidential "Kill Lists".

Holy cow, the pelt of my Wookie Suit just grew three inches.

Demolition derby in 3 .. 2 .. 1 ..

It seems that there's a remote wipe vulnerability for Samsung Galaxy Android phones:
An enterprising hacker has demonstrated how a simple web page can reset various Samsung phones back to the state they left the factory - enabling a click, bump or text to take out a victim's mobe entirely.

The devastating flaw lies in Samsung's dialling software, triggered by the tel protocol in a URL. It isn't applicable to all the company's Android handsets, but those that are vulnerable can have their PIN changed or be wiped completely just by visiting a web page or snapping a bad QR code, or even bonking up against the wrong wireless NFC tag.

The tel protocol is generally used with phone numbers to provide clickable "call me" links on websites: tapping on the hyperlink in the handset's web browser opens up the dialling software and calls the number contained in the link.

...

That's benign, but try entering *2767*3855# on a Samsung Galaxy S3 and you'll be rewarded with an impossible-to-cancel factory reset before you can say shudda-bought-an-iPhone.
Apple fanboys are hereby granted permission to be smug.

So what does this have to do with demolition derby?  Simples.  Derek emails to tell us of an amazing first:
In the future, your automobile will be locked in the same cycle of never-ending software upgrades that holds sway over computers and smartphones. For Tesla Model S owners, the future is now.
Over 100 Model S drivers will receive the auto industry’s first ever over-the-air operating system update for their new sedans within the next two weeks, Tesla says. In addition to a handful of minor code changes, the mandatory upgrade to 1.9.11 will tweak the range calculator to lower the car’s estimated driving range by 35 miles.
“Some changes may contribute to the safety parameters of the car or make material improvements to the technology,” adds Tesla spokeswoman Shanna Hendriks. ”Some changes will provide the driver the option to control/turn off any added new features — such as idle creep.”
And some changes will be sumd00d pwning your car.  Because of course the Tesla engineers haven't left security as an afterthought - they haven't thought of security at all.  Or perhaps they're the first engineers in history to ignore the get to market NOW pressures and craft a rock solid security architecture.

And so it's all fun and games until a worm takes your steering and breaking away ...



Me, I think my next car will be something like this:





Hack that.

Wait, what?



The jokes about the Press doing their best to ride The One's re-election campaign just sort of write themselves, don't they?

About those polls showing Obama pulling ahead

Don't believe them for a minute.  I've gone on (at length) about specifically how the polls are weighted in favor of the Democrats.  Today is about why they're weighted that way.

We all know why they're weighted that way.  It's the Media still trying to be relevant, still trying to put their thumb on the scale.  It's what they do, and it's what they've been doing for a long while.  Remember the election of 2010?  Remember the "extremist" "fringe" that was the Tea Party?  Remember how the Tea Party rocked the election?

Remember the August Tea Party rally in Washington, D.C.?  Remember the dismissive reports from the media?  I do - I blogged it back then:

"Look around you. You’re not alone."

Why, there are thousands of you!



Remember the original definition of Bolshevik was "majority", and the term was adopted when they were in the minority. The Media says "thousands" turned out, rather than the "hundreds of thousands" who were there. They want you to think that you're Mensheviks.

This is why they hate Sarah Palin, who speaks - simply and plainly - the Truths That Must Not Be Spoken. They nitpick, because they won't address the important stuff.

UPDATE 28 August 2010 15:28: Case in point: of the first 5 updates in their "live reporting", four were negative (2 on counter protests, 1 on people being treated for heat exhaustion, and a quote from a union guy who didn't like the protest). Did they offer an estimate of crowd size? No. Did they report what the speakers said? No.

And this update is hilarious:
Palin gets huge applause, cheers. Big cheer again when she invokes the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.
What are participants wearing?
There's a man in a Revolutionary War uniform and three-corner hat. There's a woman with what looks like a fighter jet tattooed to her upper right arm.
There are a number of tea party shirts and a man in a gray T-shirt that says "10th amendment -- our last hope for the preservation of freedom" -- with an "X" over an image of the Capitol dome.
-- Amy Goldstein
Reporting on what the speaker said that got applause? No. But lots about the crowd's fashion sense. I guess that everyone in the Washington Post's newsroom was busy today, and so they sent a reporter from the "Style" section.

It reminds me of the dark joke from right after JFK's killer was shot in the Dallas Police Station:

Q. What did the Dallas Police Chief say when an elephant walked through the Squad Room?

A. Nothing. He didn't notice.

Or perhaps the old saying: If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you're misinformed.

Or perhaps the mot juste is "malinformed". It would be nice if the MSM didn't continually live down to my expectations.

UPDATE 28 August 2010 15:43: The National Park Service estimate is north of 300,000 attendees. The crowd extended all the way from the Lincoln Memorial steps to the Washington Monument. Anyone who's ever walked that distance knows that's a long way. The MSM seems to be mostly missing in action. As I keep saying, the best evidence for media bias isn't what's misreported, but what isn't reported at all. And this might explain that:
If I were part of the liberal elite, I wouldn't be as worried by the historic/racial overtones of the rally. I'd be worried about what it symbolizes: A growing understanding on the part of regular Americans that they should (and need) no longer heed the supposed "wisdom" and "moral authority" of a liberal elite that has nothing but contempt for them.
Word. The Dinosaurs smell a change on the air - and hear the crowd noise, even over on 15th Street NW - and roar their defiance.

UPDATE 28 August 2010 17:07: "Thousands". Whatever:


UPDATE 28 August 2010 22:45: The reason they're all going out of business is that they think we're stupid. Can't block the signal, dudes ...
It's like the climate databases, where the data is "adjusted" and then everyone points to the data and says ZOMG Thermageddon!!!  It's intended to marginalize opposition, to de-legitimize any opposing view.

It's designed to make you feel alone and demoralized.

Don't.  There are thousands showing up for Romney/Ryan rallies, day after day.  It's Obama who can't fill a stadium, where they have to claim a crowd of 18,000 was in an arena that seats 5,000.

Look around you.  There are "thousands" of you, and thousands and thousands and thousands.  Just not in any of the poll samples.  But show up on Election Day, and you'll (once again) rock the vote.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

If you don't eat your meat ...

... you can't have your pudding.  How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?
Students and teachers at one Kansas school put out a parody music video called ‘We are Hungry,’ in which kids complain they can’t stomach the school lunch anti-obesity efforts of The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
Philosopher Kings in action.



They really have no idea that they're acting exactly like the petty fascist princelings they used to protest againt, do they?

Inspiring leadership

This is actually quite interesting.  I think it's very easy to adapt these concepts to non-tech environments.

Government has too much time on its hands and not enough to do, Chapter CXVI

The Ig Nobel prizes have been announced - think of them as the Nobel Prize for stupid research - and the U.S. Government is a winner!
LITERATURE PRIZE: The US Government General Accountability Office, for issuing a report about reports about reports that recommends the preparation of a report about the report about reports about reports.

REFERENCE: "Actions Needed to Evaluate the Impact of Efforts to Estimate Costs of Reports and Studies," US Government General Accountability Office report GAO-12-480R, May 10, 2012.
Me, I'm taking a suitably skeptical view on this, of course.  I'm waiting for a report about reports about reports about reports that recommends the preparation of a report about the report about reports about reports.  Mustn't rush to judgement, eh?  Until then, there's just too much uncertainty.

I mean, p > 0.05 and everything.  Srlsy.

Now this is how you teach physics

Liquid nitrogen in a sealed plastic bottle, a trash can full to warm water to speed the boiling, and 1,500 ping pong balls for "just because".



That's one Professor that knows the best demonstrations always include Earth Shattering Kabooms.

Hat tip: El Reg.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A musical meditation on the election

When talking to young folk who were once inspired by Obama in 2008, this might help.



What was left when that fire was gone
I thought it felt right but that right was wrong
All caught up in the eye of the storm
And trying to figure out what it's like moving on
And I don't even know what kind of things I said
My mouth kept moving and my mind went dead
So I'm picking up the pieces, now where to begin
The hardest part of ending is starting again.


Just thinkin'.

Help a climate scientist today!

It's not all jetting off to Copenhagen for the IPCC conference, you know.  Science is hardThe poor scientists need your help.



Can't you volunteer some of your time to help climate scientists less fortunate than you?  Well, hater?  Can you?  Can you?

Another Internet Explorer critical fix

Hot on the heels of Saturday's air raid drill, Microsoft has a stunning announcement about a new security bug in Internet Explorer 10:
Hot on the heels of an update that fixed the recent zero-day flaw discovered in Internet Explorer versions 7, 8, and 9, Microsoft has released a separate patch that solves issues related to the Adobe Flash Player component of Internet Explorer 10.

...

Previous versions of IE displayed Flash content using Adobe's Flash Player plugin. But in IE 10, Microsoft has made Flash an integral part of the browser, with the goal of providing a "plugin-free" browsing experience. As a result, Flash security fixes for IE 10 must come from Microsoft, not Adobe.
[blink] [blink]

Wow, I missed this along the way.  Microsoft had been thumping their chest about not having to have a plug in for IE 10, but I didn't know that the reason was that it was because they had included the single buggiest application in the entire known Universe in their stupid browser.

This is without a doubt the single stupidest security decision since Microsoft made Internet Explorer a non-separable part of the Operating System.  And even they know this:
According to the post, Microsoft will "coordinate" with Adobe to release IE 10 patches in conjunction with Adobe's regular, quarterly update cycle. In addition, Redmond says it may issue emergency updates outside of its own monthly security bulletin cycle, should the "threat landscape" require it.
Ya think that the "threat landscape" will have as many Day Zero flash exploits next year as it did this year?  The only question left unanswered is whether the Internet Explorer Product Manager uttered the words "Hey, hold mah beer" right before signing off on this brilliant idea.

My recommendation to all readers is not no every using Internet Explorer under any circumstances.  Those on IE 8 and 9 should start planning their migration to Firefox, Opera, Safari, or other browser.

Why PBS should be de-funded

A very strange thing happened a week ago.  PBS' Newshour program did a 10 minute segment on Global Warming.  Nothing strange there.  What was strange was that they played the journalistic bit straight - they not only interviewed the ZOMG Thermageddon types, but they also interviewed Anthony Watts, of the Watts up With That blog - according to Alexa, the #1 Climate Science blog on the entire Intarwebz.

Watts, you might remember, is the organizer behind the Open Source surfacestations.org project, where volunteers have been visiting (and photographing) the weather stations used to collect climate data.  Their biggest finding has been to document (photographically) the fact that only 8% of weather stations are sited according to NOAA standards, and a full 70% of stations have siting mistakes that cause them to read temperatures off by 2°C or more.

Remember, we're trying to detect a warming signal said to be 0.7°C over the course of the entire 20th Century.  The Surfacestations team has contributed to the scientific discussion in a very meaningful way.

So why should PBS be de-funded?  After all, they played it straight with their viewers.  And their viewers went insane:
A PBS NewsHour global warming report that allowed a climate change contrarian to “counterbalance” mainstream scientific opinion is worth criticizing, according to PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler, who said he received hundreds of emails and calls about the program.

Getler said he is penning a column on the issue that is likely to be posted late today or Monday, and hinted it will be critical.

“There’s just a lot of…hundreds of emails about it,” Getler said when asked why he is writing about the issue.
It seems that 15,000 people have signed a petition to the PBS Ombudsman demanding an investigation into how a skeptical voice was allowed in a "news" piece (scare quotes intentional).

And so, PBS ought to be de-funded.  Not because it's a hopelessly twee purveyor of feel-good liberal SWPL, but because its viewers seem to expect that actual, you know, news that makes them uncomfortable should be excluded while people like me who actually, you know, respect the science should be forced to pay to keep dishing up biased feel-good un-scientific propaganda.

The sense of entitlement is all that you need to know.

A more Progressive argument is that this represents almost half a billion dollars a year.  You could take half of that to reduce the deficit that our children will have to repay, and use the remainder to fund tens or hundreds of thousands of health insurance policies for uninsured children.  Come on, Progs - do it for teh Childrenz!™

And more pragmatically, it would be a very public demonstration that losing your s*** does not advance the cause of science, or the Progressive Agenda:
The degree of intolerance and fascism among the climate alarmists is just striking – I apologize to less radical fascists for the comparison. Well, after all, Michael Mann, in an interview for Scientific American, was dreaming about a future in which it is illegal to deny "climate change".

These people simply don't belong to the Western civilization with its traditions of freedom, democracy, and enlightenment. They belong to a medieval civilization controlled by ultimate cults that can never be questioned, divine entities and beliefs that have the right to create a whole hierarchy of power here on Earth.
 "Punching back twice as hard" will, quite frankly, lead to a more intelligent Left than we have today.  A less vicious (cf Michael Mann's statement to Scientific American, above) Left will engage more on the facts, and will therefore present fewer, but stronger arguments.  This will be a net win for society.

And so, de-fund PBS.  Q.E.D.

Bootnote: You can  watch the PBS segment at PBS' website here.  I have to say that I simply can't see what's so controversial about it.  In fact, Dr. Muller comes off very badly here: his assertion that all warming since 1750 is man-made entirely novel (and not supported by any CO2 measurements that I've seen, and I've studied the history of the Industrial Revolution).  And Watts skewers him that his paper hasn't been peer-reviewed.  Muller's reply?  He put it on the Internet, and so that makes it peer-reviewed.

[blink] [blink]

I guess that means that this blog is peer reviewed.  Thanks, y'all!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

How bad is the new iPhone mapping app?

Hitler can't find the ice cream store with it.



Google has gotten under Apple's skin, for them to replace a perfectly functional mapping app (one of the key uses of a smart phone for may people) with something is lousy:


Doesn't really inspire confidence, does it?  It shouldn't:
Things aren't really off to a good start for Apple's replacement to Google Maps. Apple pushed their iOS 6 update to iPhone and iPads on Sept. 19, 2012 and it came standard with a new maps app. While the entire world is buzzing about Apple's iPhone 5 release, people are also scratching their heads when it comes to Apple Maps ... These shots of the Brooklyn Bridge would make any commuter worried to drive over it! Check out more Apple Maps fails, like incorrectly labeled cities, bridges that look like they're collapsed and other major geographical falsities ...
Incorrect information reported all over the place from the mapping app?  The only thing left to wonder is whether, when you enter the search address of "1600 Amphitheatre Parkway  Mountain View, CA" the new Apple maps app displays the result "There be dragons".


Epic, brand damaging fail.

I think I need a smoker

We took Wolfgang out to Alpharetta today, where they had blocked the street off and the vendors were out for a first nice days of Autumn festival.  Wolfgang was a star - we want him socialized around crowds of people, and everyone would come up to pet the puppy.  We ran across another German Shepherd puppy the same age (Bruno - another great name), and while they were playing a man and his wife came up to say that they had two German Shepherds, Ruger and Kimber.  Heh.

One of the vendors was selling bison, and I now have 35 lbs of frozen, cryovac'ed bison in the freezer here at Camp Borepatch.  While I was loading it into the freezer, I did an inventory.  One of the items is brisket.

That says barbeque, at least to me.  And that says that I need a smoker.  Anyone have any suggestions?  Anyone ever made BBQ bison?

No, not those stars ...


As always, hovering your mouse gives you a second punchline.

Pietro Mascagni - Intermezzo from the Opera Cavalleria Rusticana

Image via Wikipedia
It's not true that all great quotes are from either the Bible, Shakespeare, or Winston Churchill.  Likewise, it's not true that all great Italian lyrical music was composed by Verdi, Puccini, or Rossini.  Today's music is one of the most hauntingly beautiful pieces ever composed.

Pietro Mascagni began composing sacred music, but learned of a contest for one-act Operas.  In only two months he composed Cavalleria Rustican, after a popular story and play.  It was a sensation, and within a year was performed all over the world, even conducted in Vienna by no less than Gustav Mahler.  Mascagni was only 27 years old.

He went on to a very long and very successful career, but somehow never quite repeated the astonishing success of this work.  As a result, we often don't think of him when we think of Italian music, and many have mistaken this for one of the three Italian Operatic greats.  But as Churchill himself once said, there is more in Heaven and Earth than is dreamed of in your philosophy, Horatio.



The pictures here are from Mascagni's native Livorno, on the Mediterranean south of Genoa.  It looks like it's worth a journey - or at least a detour), and not just to pay homage to the great Mascagni's tomb.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Two Minute Hate on Internet Explorer

Microsoft has released a critical patch for IE, outside of their typical once a month "Patch Tuesday" cycle.  The reason is that this is a doozy, and it's being exploited.  Internet Explorer users, here are my recommendations, in order of highest security to lowest security:

1. Replace IE with Firefox.  The minor reason is that Firefox simply doesn't do ActiveX, which is a sewer of security badness.  The major reason is that the Mozilla team is much, much faster to get security updates out.  Days, not weeks.  You find Firefox here.  Or you could get Google Chrome (although Google is Evil) or Opera.  Both are a security upgrade over IE.  There's just less malware focused on Firefox, and way less malware focused on Chrome or Opera.  That can always change, but that's the current state of the 'Net.

2. If you are still on IE 7.x (or Lord help you, IE 6) upgrade to the latest version tout suite.  IE 8 is OK, and IE 9 is even better.  You get Internet Explorer downloads here.

3. Apply the danged patch to your current Internet Explorer.  This will make me sad if you do it, but hey - your browser, your security.

Me, I got an overdoes of Internet Explorer hate back in the 3.x days, switched and never looked back.  The others work great, taste great, and last a long time for your chewing satisfaction.

Look closely


If you look closely, you can see a hawk.  If I look closely, I see #2 Son and me taking Ivan the Terrier and Little One Eyed Dog on a walk, a World Age ago.
In memory's telephoto lens, far objects are magnified.
- John Updike

Zac Brown Band - Sic 'Em On A Chicken

Bluegrass is fundamentally a happy music, done for the fun of it and offering a chance for the musicians to show off by taking solos each in turn.  Well, that's the theory.  Zac Brown Band is an Atlanta band that can be described as neo-bluegrass.  It's high energy, fun music.

They've had a bunch of hits over the last 2 or 3 years (and even picked up a Grammy along the way), but this song (and video) capture the flavor of their not your usual focus grouped and over produced Nashville Country band offering.  They have more serious songs which are worth your time, but the funny is a big part of the attraction for me.  This is offered as a tip of the hat to Mike the Headless Chicken.



Sic 'Em On A Chicken (Songwriters: Zac Brown, John Driskell Hopkins)
Sic 'em on a chicken.
Sic 'em on a chicken.
Sic 'em on a chicken.
Bring out the butter and the flour we're ready to fry.

My dog Pete is the smallest dog of all the dogs in my yard
He's a mean ol' fella
Drinks Beam and water from a broken mason jar

Sic 'em on a chicken.
Sic 'em on a chicken.
Sic 'em on a chicken and watch them feathers fly

Sic 'em on a chicken.
Sic 'em on a chicken.
Sic 'em on a chicken.
Bring out the butter and the flour we're ready to fry.

I heard this awful noise coming from the woods
I heard chicken screams
Know it ain't gonna be good

Well I think we lost the chicken
I Think we lost the chicken
I Think we lost the chicken because I just heard him cry

I Think we lost the chicken
I Think we lost the chicken
I Think we lost the chicken but you can get another one for a dollar 79

Fowl play

This sounds too weird to be true, but it seems to be true:
September 10th, 1945 finds a strapping (but tender) five and a half month old Wyandotte rooster pecking through the dust of Fruita, Colorado. The unsuspecting bird had never looked so delicious as he did that, now famous, day. Clara Olsen was planning on featuring the plump chicken in the evening meal. Husband Lloyd Olsen was sent out, on a very routine mission, to prepare the designated fryer for the pan. Nothing about this task turned out to be routine. Lloyd knew his Mother in Law would be dining with them and would savor the neck. He positioned his ax precisely, estimating just the right tolerances, to leave a generous neck bone. "It was as important to Suck-Up to your Mother in Law in the 40's as it is today." A skillful blow was executed and the chicken staggered around like most freshly terminated poultry.

Then the determined bird shook off the traumatic event and never looked back. Mike (it is unclear when the famous rooster took on the name) returned to his job of being a chicken. He pecked for food and preened his feathers just like the rest of his barnyard buddies.
When Olsen found Mike the next morning, sleeping with his "head" under his wing, he decided that if Mike had that much will to live, he would figure out a way to feed and water him. With an eyedropper Mike was given grain and water.


Need to make fried chicken tonight.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Quote of the Day - one last chance edition

Scott Rasmussen brings it:
Establishment Republicans in Washington broadly share the Democrats' view that the government should manage the economy. They may favor a somewhat more pro-business set of policies than their Democratic colleagues, but they still act as if government policy is the starting point for all economic activity.

Republican voters reject this view. They are more interested in promoting free market competition rather than handing out favors to big business. They detest corporate welfare and government bailouts, even though their party leaders support them.

...

If Romney loses in November, the Republican base will no longer buy the electability argument for an establishment candidate. From the view of the base, the elites will have given away an eminently winnable election. Someone new, from outside of Washington, will be the party's nominee in 2016.

...

If he wins the White House, the only way for Romney to succeed will be to side with the nation's voters and throw out the club in Washington.
Yup.  The GOP will join the Whigs if they let this one get away by chasing their too-comfortable inside the beltway plans.  The interesting question, though, is just how much does Mitt Romney owe the Republican Establishment?  I haven't heard much about this.  Quite frankly, I don't remember them doing much for him when he was running for Governor of Massachusetts, and they didn't do anything for him in 2008 either.

Awesome tip of the hat to Calvin and Hobbes

Lex Luthor and The Joker get their Calvin and Hobbes on.


The "Global Warming Consensus" polls

A number of you have left comments expressing frustration about Mitt Romney's seeming lack of fire in his campaign.  He's just not running a lot of ads, especially compared to Obama who has been running perhaps $100M in ad buys over the last 2 or 3 months.  The comments have mostly been along the lines of "light a fire under it, Mitt".

While I am not much of a Romney fan, I see this as an example of his competence.  You don't do well in business over the course of decades if you don't have plans and metrics, expected results and ways to assess effectiveness.  First up, Romney's target: independent voters have still not made up their minds:
Republicans are the partisan group most likely to be paying close attention to news about national politics, with the 48% who are doing so similar to the 50% in 2008 and up significantly from 38% in 2004. Independents and Democrats are less likely than Republicans to be paying close attention, with their levels of attention similar to 2008 and 2004.
Trend: Attention to National Political News -- by Party
Only a third of independents have been paying attention to the race.  Any ad that Romney might have run a month ago would have had no impact, because the voters he wants to reach weren't tuning in.  Six weeks from the election, this will change, and we can expect to see an ad blitz aimed squarely at independents.

I expect that a lot of conservatives will consider the ads to be weak beer.  I expect that Romney knows what he's doing here.  He's kept his powder dry and now that the target is at point blank range, he'll unload volley after aimed shot volley.

Second, the Obama campaign has been running ads, and pretty red-meat ads for the Democrats at that.  This is a very bad sign indeed for the Democrats.  An incumbent President running a very expensive ad campaign months before the election - and he still can't break 47% in the polls?  And it's much, much worse than that:
The polls, which show the two men tied and never far enough from each other to inspire confidence, do not capture the disgust people have with our President. Other polls do show it: how is that 47% of the country appears to support the President, but more than two-thirds think he is doing a pathetic job? Or that three-quarters think our country is headed for disaster? Or that almost two-thirds believe that Americans need to get off the dole?

The polls say the election will be close. But those that predict a Romney victory seem to have much better evidence. Whatever: the point is that everywhere we go, we are seeing open, blatant defiance of the Obama philosophy. People are tired, angry, and worn-down by this President, and while most Americans evidently think he’s probably not a bad guy personally, they realize he’s made things terribly, terribly worse.
The polls are the Global Warming Consensus of the political season - very weak evidence upholding the consensus is loudly touted and strong evidence opposing the consensus is suppressed.  The "peer reviewers" in the Journolist media are in full scramble, and will pump their boyfriend candidate up even if it means they have to change the definition of peer review.  But it won't help.  Gallup again, this time on the media itself:
Americans' distrust in the media hit a new high this year, with 60% saying they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. Distrust is up from the past few years, when Americans were already more negative about the media than they had been in years prior to 2004.


Trend since 1997: In general, how much trust and confidence do you have in the mass media -- such as newspapers, TV, and radio -- when it comes to reporting the news fully, accurately, and fairly -- a great deal, a fair amount, not very much, or none at all?
And how do we know that the distrust is a result of bias towards the Democrats?  Because the Democrats (and only the Democrats) trust the media:
More broadly, Republicans continue to express the least trust in the media, while Democrats express the most. Independents' trust fell below the majority level in 2004 and has continued to steadily decline.

Trend: Trust in Mass Media, by Party
No hiding this decline.  And so after months of expensive advertising, Obama barely has his head above water.  Except he really doesn't, and Romney is going to start going straight after the swing vote.  The media will continue to howl, but as far as the independents less than a third trust them.  It will be the media strutting and fretting their hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.  Indeed, a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Like a Kabuki play, the outcome of this election is scripted.  I simply don't see what can stop Romney.  The only question is whether the Republicans will pick up the Senate.

News flash: I seem to be chatty

Hard as that may be to believe.  Seems a couple days ago I put up my 6,000th post.  I'm pretty sure I'm well over a million words here.

As the Missus could tell you, the problem is not getting me to talk.  The problem is getting me to shut up.  But you knew that anyway.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Someone has a girl friend

5 month old Wolfgang with 4 1/2 month old Maisy. Puppy love at the dog park.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday night blues

I sometimes post great old blues on Thursdays - don't know why it's that day, just worked out that way.  Tonight is different - great young blues, from a 13 year old girl.  Yes, it starts out with the cheesy reality show schtick.  Stick with it until she starts singing.  It's worth it.



Girl can sing.  Damn.  And it holds up well against the irreplaceable Nina Simone, especially at 13 years old.

How security really works

(Image source)

Free Shakespeare in the park

The lovely and knows-her-lines Mrs. Borepatch is in Hamlet, at Barrington Hall in downtown Roswell, GA.  It's Friday and Saturday evenings starting tomorrow (21 September) and going through October 6.  Curtain is a 8:00 PM.  There's also a Sunday matinee on the 30th at 4:00 PM.

It's quite an interesting production.  The Missus is playing Polonius, the long winded and not as smart as he thinks King's counsellor.  Usually this is played by a man, but the Missus is modeling the character on Hillary Clinton, and it works spectacularly well.  The Hamlet and Ophelia characters are a bit goth and angsty, but it works much better than you'd think.  The actor playing Hamlet is particularly good.

Wolfgang has been providing perimeter security at rehearsals.

And it's free (well, $5 suggested donation), and outdoors in the park.  And afterwards you can hit one of the spots on Canton street for an apres show cocktail.

Barrington Hall is at the intersection of Marietta Highway and Roswell Road, so it's impossible to miss:


View Larger Map

And because it's Hamlet, I have to post Hamlet's Facebook Page once again.



The Media is destroying Barack Obama

The irony here is rich.  In their desperation for an Obama victory, the Media is driving him into a hole.  In this, they are likely following the lead of the Obama Campaign whose strategy is that since Obama has no accomplishments that the voters like, they will distract the country with LOOK A SQUIRREL!!!1!!one!

And so we lurch from one this time it will really end Romney's campaign event to the next: Romney is a felon, Romney doesn't pay taxes, Romney killed sumdood's wife, Romney's "gaffe" that our embassy in Egypt shouldn't have apologized for Americans exercising their right to free speech, Romney's "gaffe" that people who like government dependency won't vote for him.  And that's just the last month; if I weren't so lazy I could give you twice as many examples of ZOMG HE'S DONE FOR NOW!!!!

The Media thinks that they're helping Obama with all of this, keeping the focus off of the economy.  They're not.  They're killing him with kindness.


The problem is that this election will hinge on voter turnout.  The Democrats have a big problem here, because their base is pretty demoralized - the disappointment that Obama couldn't live up to how he sold himself in 2008 is so thick that you can cut it with a knife.  And so the distractions, trying to paint a fundamentally decent man as an ogre.  Nobody with half a brain really believes it, and so while a lot of the base will rally to the cause, it's rolling the rock uphill.

Image via The People's Cube
"Well so what" I hear you ask.  Why is this bad for Obama?

Remember, this election is all about turnout.  The media is doing its usual heavy-handed (ham fisted, really) moralistic scold routine, just like they did with Chick-Fil-A.  Remember what happened?


That's the crowd that turned out to support the evil Chick-Fil-A corporation.  In Chicago.  It was like that in California, too.

The media is energizing the Republican base, and likely a fair number of independents as well.  For every Democrat who sighs at the tarnished unicorn tinsel and trudges to the polling station, there will be a GOP voter whistling while he shows up to vote against The Won.  Probably more than one.

Like I said, the Media thinks that they're helping the Democrats.  They don't have any idea that they're sinking his ship, and probably the first inkling they'll get about it is when turnout runs much ahead of projections all day on election day. The Media have been using their power for years, to try to shape the Republic to a more pleasing form.  The country has been catching on.  The Media is about to get a lesson on just how powerful their influence is, good and hard.
There's letters seal'd, and my two schoolfellows,
Whom I will trust as I will adders fang'd—
They bear the mandate, they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work;
For 'tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petard, an't shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon.

- Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3 Scene 4

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The evil at the heart of Leftist Philosophy

I use the word deliberately.  Having formerly been on the left hand side of the aisle, I know all too well the seductive flattery that is the core of their sales pitch: Just believe these things and you will be a smarter person.  A better person.  Better than those who do not believe these things.

It's easy to fall for those flattering whispers, to buy in to the ideology without thinking about what those things imply.

In a must-read post, A Girl And Her Gun describes how she was talked down to by one of those Moral Exemplars.  Her reply is worthy of being engraved in marble, with gilded letters:
This commenter tries to deceive us into thinking that he is kind and benevolent and that he wants peace for all people. That all people are equal and therefore all deserve the same treatment regardless of their behavior. Kumbaya and all that.

Here is what I want you to understand, he does not think all people are equal and deserve to live a peaceful life. He believes that bad guys have the right to kill and good guys have the right to die. He believes your life and mine are less valuable. He believes that in allowing yourself to be killed the bad guy now has the opportunity to due process(found in a separate comment on same post). In the end his entire argument is that no one has the right to be murdered, but if there is a choice between good and evil, evil should get his day in court.
Her reply is precisely what liberals need to hear: they're not better, and nicer, and smarter.  They stand with evil - as Orwell masterfully described those who flinched, and sided with the fascists:
Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help out that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, 'he that is not with me is against me'.
They are objectively evil.

They need to stop, and if they're called on it, some of them may stop and listen.  Maybe not many, but this is exactly the emotional kind of argument that they make, and so we will be transmitting on a frequency that they are receiving.  Combined with a "I know that you're not evil, so why are you willing to support it" separation of objectively evil and intentionally evil, this is an area where the smarter sort of leftists will stop and think.

I know - I've been there myself.

RTWT.

The mathematics of Romney's victory

I've been predicting a Romney victory for quite some time now.  This has been based on a stated distrust of the polls: specifically, an overweighting of Democrats in the samples.  I've been using a (made up) rule of thumb that the polls overstate Obama's support by 5-7%.

Well, here's proof, in hard numbers:
Of all the polls you have seen, there is one poll that has gotten no attention, it is a poll that has been taken monthly, it is a poll that Doug Ross spotted and promoted on his site. It is the Rasmussen Poll of party identification.

They have party identification results online dating back to 2004. Here are the 2012 numbers through August:

Interestingly (and in great contrast with almost all of the polls you see), this post shows the same poll for 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 so there is historical perspective.  It compares the results of the elections in those years to the party affiliation polls from those years.

The short answer: the election results matched the poll predictions precisely.  You really need to RTWT.

Now look at the average of this year's polls, which look like they sample D+5 on average.  That's exactly backwards - according to this, they should be sampling R+9.  So rather than Obama up by 3 (margin of error), Romney is actually up by 6 (way outside the MoE).  And quite frankly, my prediction of Romney 346, Obama 192 is looking like I'm considerably overstating Obama's chances.

There are of course two issues here:

1. This is a national poll, while the returns that matter are State by State (Electoral College).  We can extrapolate this to the States, but we're kind of going a bit out on a limb.  Of course, that's exactly what I did in my prediction of 346-192 Romney.

2. The votes that matter are the ones that are cast in November, and party identification is quite frankly not as important as turnout.  The post I linked to does a very good job of covering historical turnout compared to these polls, but once again we're extrapolating - as will happen when you're talking about any poll.

At the end of the day, I'm confident in these numbers.  There's plenty of corroboration - polls of whether the country is on the right track or the wrong track reliably come in with large majorities saying "wrong  track" (the latest is something like 55 wrong track vs. 39 right track).  Perhaps two thirds of respondents say that the state of the economy is the primary thing they will consider at the polls this year.  None of this is good for Obama.

Add in my take that the Media has pretty well destroyed their credibility - trust in the media has been declining for more than a third of a century - the only rational conclusion is that this will be a landslide year for Republicans.  And so, I'm updating my projection to Romney 359, Obama 179.  This is based on a 10% shift of current polling numbers at Election Projection.  That means that only "Strong Obama" and "Solid Obama" actually go (D), and everything else goes (R).


Or more properly said, 179 Electoral Votes are won by Obama, and 359 E.V.s are won by "Not Obama", because this election is - like 2010 - a referendum on the Administration of Barack Obama.  I quite frankly don't believe that 37% of voters identify as Republican in any meaningful way.  I absolutely can believe that they identify as someone energized to vote the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave out.

So there you have it - predictions, now with moar data.  I may be wrong here, but I've tried to show my work.  You can make your own electoral map, if you want.

Note that I do not say that a Romney victory (especially of this magnitude) would be A Good Thing.  On the contrary.  But the numbers are the numbers, and they don't look good for the Democrats.