Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Japan Issues "Accidental" Missile Alert

Okay, I could see that people wanted to believe that it is possible to issue an accidental alert in Hawaii. No matter that any software I would write would at least require the tech to enter his password and click a "Yes, I Am Sure I want To Send This Warning" button.

Are you willing to be believe it happened twice in one week in different countries? Because Japan did it too. 

They are testing their systems.

Are you sick of Telemarketers?

Jolly Roger Telephone Company has an AI bot that will answer the telemarketing calls for you.  It keeps talking to them to keep them on the line, driving up their cost.  It records the call and then emails you a recording "so you can have a laugh".

They post the call of the day on their web site, for your amusement.  They have a bunch of different bots, including the lonely senior citizen, the distracted soccer mom, the alcoholic, and others.  Pretty funny stuff.

Dear Emily Post...

Is it more polite to call Mexico a hellhole than it is to call Haiti a shithole?

Because here's Sen. Lindsay Graham speaking about border security in 2013 and suggesting that we treat countries on our southern border differently:

Monday, January 15, 2018

Epic troll is epic


Should have said "Hold mah beer" ...

Hawks setting wild fires

From the "The World is stranger than we imagine" files comes this from Australia:
It's pretty hot in Australia right now. A brutal heatwave that's incinerated temperature records threatens devastating bushfires – and to make matters worse, authorities have to contend with an ancient breed of flying arsonists that may as well be miniature dragons.

A new study incorporating traditional Indigenous Australian ecological knowledge describes the largely unknown behaviour of so-called 'firehawk raptors' – birds that intentionally spread fire by wielding burning sticks in their talons and beaks. 
These flying firestarters are spread across at least three known species – the Black Kite (Milvus migrans), Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus), and Brown Falcon (Falco berigora) – but while their hell-raising may be observed in Indigenous knowledge, that's not so elsewhere.
Damn punk hawks, always smoking behind the school ...

How it All Ends - A Brigid Guest Post after Two Much White Wine


Sunday, January 14, 2018

A millennial job interview



Found by the Queen Of The World.  Funny as hell, right there.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Tinfoil Hats and Hawaii

Hawaii got a warning this morning that there was an incoming missile. This was a take cover now, this is no drill, missile inbound warning.

The official story is that it was a mistake. So sorry, my bad, pushed the wrong button.

Maybe. Or maybe it was an opening test, let's just give them 15 minutes of thinking it real and see how the populace of 2018 reacts.

Or, if you're really into the Reynolds Wrap™, maybe there a missile launched. We managed to intercept it, using some technology we'd rather not discuss publicly, and the easiest, perhaps reflexive, response from the government was to just say "Swamp Gas!" and push the neuralizer.


LOL


Found at Sal The Agorist.  Hat tip (and many thanks) to James for the email pointer.

Warning: it doesn't matter whether you're conservative, liberal, or libertarian - he's very likely to piss you off.  But he's funny as all get out.

Ray Stevens - Gitarzan

I took down the Christmas lights at Castle Borepatch.  Losing my redneck cred, right there.  So here's a good old redneck song to redeem my reputation.

Ray Stevens wrote humorous songs that tickled the country's funny bone back in the '60s (this one and "Ahab The Arab") and '70s ("The Streak").  Guitarzan hit #8 on the Hot 100 chart in 1969.  Interestingly, he had a serious side, and won a Grammy in 1971 for "Everything Is Beautiful".



Guitarzan (Songwriters: Ray Stevens, Bill Everette)
He's free as the breeze,
He's always at ease.
He lives in the jungle
And hangs by his knees,
As he swings through trees
Without a trapeeze,
In his BVD's.
A-hoo hoo! 
He's got a union card
And he's practicin' hard
To play the gitar.
Gon' be a big star,
Yeah he's gonna go far.
An' carry moonbeams home in a jar! 
He ordered Chet's guitar course COD,
Makes A&E an' he's workin' on B.
Digs C&W&R&B an' an' me an' a chimpanzee
Agree that one day soon he'll be,
A celebrity.
Get it!
Get it!
Get it!
Get it!
OWWWWWWWWW! 
Gitarzan!
He's a guitar man!
He's all you can stand,
Give him a hand,
Gitarzan! 
(Tarzan yell)
(Coughing) 
He's gotta girl named Jane,
With no last name.
Kinda homely and plain,
But he loves her just the same.
'Cause she kindles a flame,
And it drives him insane,
When he hears her sing.
She really does her thing.
It's here claim to fame,
Come on, sing one Jane: 
Baby, baby, Whaooooo Baby!
(Scatting)
Whaooooo Baby! 
Well, they gotta pet monkey,
He likes to get drunky,
And sing boogie woogie,
And it sounds real funky,
Come on, yo' time, boy,
Sing one monkey,
Here we go, 
(Monkey grunts)
Lets hear it for the monkey!
Whooooo!
(He He He He) 
On Saturday night they need some excitement,
Jane gets right and the monkey gets tight,
And their voices unite, in the pale moon light,
And it sounds alright, yeah, it's dynamite,
It's outta sight.
Let's hear it, right nnnnnnnnow! 
Gitarzan!
And his jungle band!
They're all you can stand,
Give 'em a hand, Gitarzan!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Watching the Climate Science® sausage getting made

This is nothing that we haven't suspected for a long time, but is richly documented here:
Short summary: scientists sought political relevance and allowed policy makers to put a big thumb on the scale of the scientific assessment of the attribution of climate change.
Bernie Lewin has written an important new book:
The IPCC is the UN organizations that puts together Assessment Reports every 5 years (we're due for AR6 in a couple years).  These reports are supposed to document the current best understanding of climate science.

What is particularly interesting is how long ago all this started.  What's not surprising is that the driving force back then was a scramble for research grant funding by scientists:
The peak of interest in climate among atmospheric scientists was an international climate conference held in Stockholm in 1974 and a publication by the ‘US Committee for GARP’ [GARP is Global Atmospheric Research Programme] the following year. The US GARP report was called ‘Understanding climate change: a program for action’, where the ‘climate change’ refers to natural climatic change, and the ‘action’ is an ambitious program of research.
[There was] a coordinated, well-funded program of research into potentially catastrophic effects before there was any particular concern within the meteorological community about these effects, and before there was any significant public or political anxiety to drive it. It began in the midst of a debate over the relative merits of coal and nuclear energy production [following the oil crisis of the 1970’s]. It was coordinated by scientists and managers with interests on the nuclear side of this debate, where funding due to energy security anxieties was channelled towards investigation of a potential problem with coal in order to win back support for the nuclear option.
This was almost 50 years ago, which is plenty of time for a scientific bureaucracy to grow up around this topic.  Remember, where you have bureaucracy, you have Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy:
Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people":
 First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration. 
Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.
The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.
Now think about the often repeated "Scientific consensus" on global warming.  Think on the funding that feeds the scientific bureaucracy.  How on earth could there not be a consensus?

Of course, that consensus says precisely nothing on whether global warming is true or not.

RTWT.  It's long, and detailed, and damning.

Haiti

Trump shouldn't have said it, at least not in such plain language.

But for all the outrage, he's not wrong. Haiti is a terrible place. Compare it to the Dominican Republic which is the other half of the same island and draw your own conclusions.

If the U.N. wants to condemn something, it shouldn't the President who was impolitic enough to speak the unvarnished truth. They should condemn the government of Haiti, go in, take over, and rescue the next generation of Haitians. The cleanup alone will take decades. Rebuilding the government, educating the populace, and creating a sustainable economy could occupy the U.N. for the rest of the century.

And just to be clear, if I was a Haitian, I'd be trying to get to the United States too. We'll know that the U.N. effort was successful when people from the United States are trying to sneak into Haiti.


Some statistics:

Poverty

  • Haiti ranks 168 out of 187 on the 2014 Human Development Index (UNDP 2015)
  • Gross National Income per capita (at Purchase Power Parity) is $1730. The average for Caribbean/Latin American developing countries is $14,098. (World Bank 2014)
  • 59% of the population lives on less than US$2 per day (World Bank 2012)
  • 24.7% lives in extreme poverty on less than US$1.25 per day. (UNDP 2013)
  • Over two-thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs. (CIA Factbook 2014)

Education

  • 50 percent of children do not attend school. (World Bank 2013)
  • Approximately 30% of children attending primary school will not make it to third grade; 60% will abandon school before sixth grade. (UNICEF 2008)
  • Only 29 percent of Haitians 25 and above attended secondary school. (USAID 2015)
  • Almost 80 percent of teachers have not received any pre-service training. (USAID 2015)
  • Half of public sector teachers in Haiti lack basic qualifications. (USAID 2015)
  • 90% of primary schools are non-public and managed by communities, religious organizations or NGOs. (USAID 2007)

Health & Nutrition

And because a picture is worth a thousand words:



Thursday, January 11, 2018

On Sustenance - Home Economics Memory from Brigid

How many of you that visit here remember seeing or taking  home economic classes in school in 70's and early 80's? After that it became gender neutral "bachelor living" where one learned how to make dip out of Velveeta and use Velcro. (I had to figure out Southern biscuits with peppered bacon gravy on my own).

The whole "home economics" idea, which in my day was only for female students, was not intended to make women a slave to the kitchen but rather came about from a change in how women shopped for their family.  Before the 19th century, except for the most privileged of the wealthy, women were producers of household items, including food and clothing, rather than consumers. So the early home economics classes focused on education for purchasing decisions, as well as health and hygiene in the home. What actual knowledge was imparted was often  limited  though, by school budgets and the quality of the teachers.  I have friends of my same age group that learned nothing more than how to make things out of hamburger and cans  Not in my home ec class. We learned to make things the way generations ago did.
I had the grand dame of home economic teachers, Miss Heidenreich. She was in her sixties, never married. She was sparsely thin and about 7 feet tall but perhaps that was just my recollection in 7th grade.  At first, we were all sort of afraid of her, she was so tall, straight and stern, she just loomed at the front of the classroom, there in a grey dress.  But then we watched, at least I did, as she moved as she talked, gathering raw materials of food or cloth, coordinating the efforts.  Then, when she demonstrated the finished product of what she wanted us to do, the look in her sparkling blue eyes was one of not just joy, but quiet triumph.

I recognized a bit of that.  Most of us were lucky in that we were raised by Mom's themselves raised in the 40's and 50's when money was tight and things were made to last. My Mom came through lean times in the Depression, her Dad killed in a logging accident, with no insurance, leaving a widow and three kids to feed. My grandma somehow got my Mom through college, unheard of in that day, wherein Mom got a job that paid enough to put her two younger brothers through, while Grandma worked full time as well.  She and my grandma both then, learned to work with that same efficiency of movement,  that might be considered detached would you not recognize it as simply being the beautiful efficiency of machinery.
My grandmother would not even recognize a grocery store of today and my Mom would be appalled at the quick and cheap clothing made that falls apart within a few months of wear.  She made all of her and my clothes herself, except for jeans and T-shirts, my sweaters hand knitted as well as an assortment of scarves and winter hats.  There was also an assortment of 70's crocheted vests that looked to be more for hanging a houseplant, than for wear, but that was the fashion.  Those clothes did not wear out but were cleaned, pressed and handed down to a younger cousin (except for that one dress that ended up with a bicycle tire track up the back, and no, don't ask).

If an item of wear, needed repair, Mom knew how to do it.  I however wasn't too keen on learning.

You see, I liked to cook, because, I like to eat.  I'd spend hours with my Mom, helping prepare the meal, if only to set the table while I watched her work. To me, cooking was like playing with the chemistry set, how fun to see how things are formed, how ingredients interact and take on whole other forms, and even better if you can eat the results.   But I had no interest in sewing, crocheting or knitting, making decorative pillows or embroidering a tea towel. I'd rather be out in the shop with my Dad or playing with model trains or control line aircraft. To say that I discovered that if you don't FEED your Betsy Wetsy Doll, she doesn't wet, gives you some idea of my mindset with "girl stuff".
I did make a valiant effort to knit a winter neck scarf for my Dad. But that was just because I loved him.  After several months, ripping inferior work out and starting over again, and again, I had a piece only 3 x 5 inches square.  I gave up, knitted the edges together and it became a tube dress for someone's Barbie.

Let's just say I was not too excited about Home Ec. that first year, though I respected my teacher as I was taught to.  I just kept quiet, and sewed my silly pink apron with my name embroidered on the pocket.  I did buttons and hems, though I got a D in "snaps" just because I was obstinate.  I learned how to darn a sock.  I sort of giggled at that, as in my home you said "darn" instead of "damn".  Actually "damn" would have been the more appropriate word to what I did to those socks.

But Miss Heidenreich taught us all of the basics. Unlike other classes, we weren't learning how to make casseroles with soup or 101 ways to use canned Crescent Rolls. The cooking was not anything out of a can, and there were some things we learned to make that were not very popular with us.  What 8th grader wants to make and eat stewed prunes or unseasoned boiled chicken for meat and broth.  What about brownies and pizza? But later, many years later, caring for the elderly, such things came in useful.  I could cook for restricted diets, I could make bread, I could make a white sauce instead of an expensive can of cream soup. I could make a variety of economical dishes with just a bit of meat or eggs or beans for protein.  I could make a cake missing key ingredients, butter, milk or eggs. (but not all three, that is known as a hockey puck).
Miss Heidenreicht would watch constantly, bright but insulate, letting us make our way, only stepping in when flames were involved, or there was a need to staunch blood.  But she was not popular with all the students as she was a stern task-masker, expecting you to work hard, to listen and to apply what she had taught you. She taught like my parents taught, but not all kids had the benefit of that experience.

She frowned on idleness and those girls that wore jeans to school, instead of neat slacks or dresses.  She dressed plainly, her dresses unadorned but for a bit of lace or a small necklace of pearls, the fabric starched into submission.  But she was not unkind, not even batting an eye when one jean-clad girl came in with green hair from a "let's add some ash blond highlights at home" disaster, only offering her extra praise for her strudel to keep her from crying.  Based on Miss Heidenreich's age, I only understood as an adult, what hardships she may have seen as a  young woman, Depression-era families sometimes starving, only the strong, resourceful and skilled surviving and thriving. It made me think differently of her home economics class, and what I came away from it with.

She was my teacher just that first year, retired and replaced by Mrs. Potter, of whom I have no real memory but for a friendly smile and the "Dante's Nine Circles of Hems".  By Ninth Grade, I'd learned enough, I thought and put in a bid to take Auto Shop instead of Home Ec.  That was met with a resounding slam of a car door.

I made my case, I knew how to make dinner, I needed to know how to change my oil and pack a wheel bearing. I was told I needed to take the "girl" classes. Shop class was only for boys.  I was told I was stubborn, I believe the term "as a mule" was heard (to which I pointed out to the administrators that unlike a horse, a mule is too intelligent to break its leg for glory running in a brief, pointless circle).  I was shot down, though there was one female friend and classmate, now an engineer, like her father, who won out and got to attend the agriculture class where she castrated a calf in a moment which gave me hope for the next generation.
So I dutifully sewed my outfits, made taffy and tarts and finally in the last sprint for independence, opted out of most of my courses, taking them at the local college, going full time in the summer.I wasn't old enough to drive but I made it there by bike and by bus or Dad's trusty steed.  I was indeed the only college freshman in a "training bra" (don't get me started on how that term started, it's not like you train them for tricks or anything "Sit",  Stay!", though getting older, they do know "roll over").

My days of home ec were over.  At the time I was happy for that, yet now, I wish I'd paid more attention, as more skills of prepping and preparing as well as knowledge and the economies of the kitchen would have served me well as I entered my 20's and 30's.

This Sunday morning, I'll be lighting the fire of a 70-year-old stove that's DIY maintenance and upkeep. The house will be cold, extra blankets used at night instead of bumping up the heat.  As the stove puts heat into the back of the house, activity picks up as if propelled by the increasing warmth. After reflection, prayer and thanks, there will be a plumbing project to finish, bread to be baked, and somewhere, a sock or two that needs damning.  Outside, branches scrape and rasp against the house, the frost on the window a portent to how cold it can be for the unprepared, as winter light lay upon the ground like a pale scrap of starched grey cloth.
But like many things in homes I've lived in before, I could afford to pay to have someone do all of this, buy all this. But I choose not to. I and my family would rather do more for ourselves, with minimal help from others, putting our money into tangibles which will keep us housed and safe, where days of struggle to survive, of sparse broken meals, do not threaten.  I  find such great satisfaction in saying "I made this"  or "I saved this much",  making something out of nothing, building not a house, but a home with pieces of the past, carefully mended, and always treasured
I look at all the blogs out there, many on my sidebar, of men and women, resourceful people, who have learned how to grow, store, can and prepare healthy meals for themselves or their family; manage land, tend a farm, some with help of other family members, some completely on their own, even as they teach these skills to others. Their skills aren't limited to the kitchen but include the field and the workbench. I have learned a lot from them, to add to what skills I grew up with.
Taking care of your family, your needs and safety, with no handouts and your own resources and skills is something to be admired.  All are things I wish were still stressed in school now.  Those that learn themselves, the men and women that do so and then pass on that knowledge to others, give me hope for the future.  I do think Miss Heidenreich would be proud.