Monday, September 30, 2013

In re: the government shut down

I'd say something, but it's already been said.



Take it down, I don't give a s**t!

New proxy study: no global warming seen

And by "no" I mean none at all:
There's interesting news on the climate beat this week, especially given the background of the just-released IPCC AR5 report - which blames humanity for warming the planet. A new, comprehensive study examining temperatures in the Eastern Mediterranean region over the last 900 years indicates that global warming and associated climate changes actually haven't happened there at all.

...

According to a Helmholtz Centre announcement highlighting Dr Heinrich's latest research:
For the first time a long temperature reconstruction on the basis of stable carbon isotopes in tree rings has been achieved for the eastern Mediterranean. An exactly dated time series of almost 900 year length was established, exhibiting the medieval warm period, the little ice age between the 16th and 19th century as well as the transition into the modern warm phase ... [however] the modern warming trend cannot be found in the new chronology.
Heinrich and his colleagues write:
The twentieth century warming trend found elsewhere could not be identified in our proxy record, nor was it found in the corresponding meteorological data used for our study.
This isn't the first time that this has happened.  Given the very strange manipulation of the historical thermometer record, and the very poor siting of weather stations (leading to the vast majority reporting overly warm data), it's entirely possible that there is no warming going on.

Which, by the way, would dovetail very well indeed with the current solar cycle sunspot drought.

The more you look into the data behind the climate science debate, the less confident you will likely be in any claim to our understanding the global environment.

Better to die bravely

Wow.  Peter hits it out of the park*:
If you resist with a commitment to win you may well prevail, especially if you are armed and trained. If you lose it is still better to die fighting in place than to be taken prisoner and have your head cut off with a dull knife while your screams gurgle through your own blood as we have witnessed on numerous videos from the “Islamic practitioners of peace,” as well as the Mexican drug cartels.

. . .

How will you respond if you are confronted by evil as some of us have been in the past and some of us will be in the future? If you have not decided ahead of time what you will do, you will likely do nothing. Those who fight back often win and survive. Those who surrender never win and often die a horrible death. Have you made your decision? Remember, no decision is a decision to do nothing.


Again, more at the link.  I highly recommend clicking over there to read the entire article.

I fully endorse the conclusions of the second article.  Never give up;  never surrender.  Fight back, because if you don't, you may never be able to fight again - and when you're gone, who'll defend your loved ones?

Evil is and will always be among us.  We must resist it whenever and wherever we encounter it, otherwise we make ourselves complicit in its spread.  Don't be afraid to do so, even if it may cost your own life.  As Shakespeare said:

… a man can die but once: we owe God a death … and let it go which way it will, he that dies this year is quit for the next.

Better to die bravely, defending what is good and right and just, than to allow those who are evil to murder you without lifting a finger to defend yourselves and/or your loved ones.

* As a South African, perhaps "hits it for six" is a better analogy?

The New Jerusalem

I must say that I quite enjoyed the year we sojourned in Her Britannic Majesty's Scepter'd Isle.  The kids were small (and so were portable) and so we went all over the place.  It's said that Americans think that 100 years is a long time and that Englishmen think that 100 miles is a long way.  Because the company I worked for gave us the "Magic Petrol Card" (basically a credit card for gasoline where the bill went straight to them), and since I (as an American) thought nothing of driving 100 miles, we saw all parts of Blighty.

But one of my strongest memories of that year was when I when to the Real Ale Festival (motto: "we don't wear anoraks any more but we're all drunk").  You paid your 15 quid to get in and then drank wherever there was a spicot, from all the small brewers.  I ended up in the basement with 100 drunk English Real Ale enthusiasts singing along to a bloke playing this on the Wurlitzer:



The Ruling Class smiles in disdain when they hear this song.  They smile like this because quite frankly, they're not very smart:
In Britain, the closely-related Evangelical movement used the term “New Jerusalem,” which I’m afraid never really made it across the pond, but expresses the vision perhaps best of all. I always picture the New Jerusalem (“in England’s green and pleasant land”) as involving a lot of enormous concrete tower blocks, with the Clash’s “Guns of Brixton” playing somewhere on someone’s ghetto-blaster, and a forty-year-old grandmother screaming at her junkie daughter, but I’m not sure this is how they saw it in the 1890s.
Me neither.  But then, they didn't for a moment imagine what their intellectual descendents would have become:
Today, perhaps the simplest definition of Universalism is that it’s the belief system taught in American universities (at least, Federally funded universities). But, again, it is fundamentally a Christian sect, and its moral and political tenets will find echoes in Massachusetts and upstate New York at any time since the 1830s. Hawthorne’s Blithedale Romance, for example, is a satire of hippies – written in 1852. All that’s missing is the patchouli.

Universalists, as descendants of Calvin’s postmillennial eschatology, are in the business of building God’s kingdom on Earth. (The original postmillennialists believed that once this kingdom was built, Christ would return – a theological spandrel long since discarded.) The city-on-a-hill vision is a continuous tradition from John Winthrop to Barack Obama.
Intellectually, I have an advantage (having been educated in the 1970s while the flame of intellect still flickered in the Academy).  But the old school learning of reason, argument, and dialectic no longer has a place in today's Education Factories:
As anyone who’s majored in Marxist-Leninist Studies knows, it’s very easy to construct an edifice of pseudo-reason so vast and daunting that working through it is quite impractical. And this edifice is much more free to contradict common sense – in fact, it has an incentive to do so, because nonsensical results are especially subtle and hard to follow.


Whereas when the word of God contradicts common sense, the idea that it might not actually be the word of God isn’t too hard to come by. In other words, if faith A contains any fallacies, they are effectively camouflaged, whereas the “and God says” steps in faith B’s syllogisms are clearly marked and brightly colored, and faith B pays a price in skepticism if God’s opinion is obviously at variance with physical reality.
Because the Education Factories promote SCIENCE!!!!!!

Err, or something.  But whatever that "something" is, don't you dare say that it's Intellectual Indoctrination or a naked exercise of politics in a politicised environment, or oppressing things like free speech or (dare I say it) Intellectual Freedom.

Because SCIENCE!!!!!  And YOU'RE AN OPPRESSOR!!!  AND PATRIARCHY!!!!

Sigh.  Don't get in the way of the construction of the New Jerusalem, or you'll find yourself on the receiving end of this.  Because there's no reasoned discourse that can be had here, only a religious conversion.  Here's what you're up against:
I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England's green & pleasant Land
Strike "England's" and add in "Earth's" and you know precisely what you're up against.  This isn't "Science vs. Religion" it's "Cult vs. Religion".  Fought by people as indoctrinated as the people at Jonestown.  Except today it's actual, you know, religious people who are saying not to drink the Kool Aid.
However, in the struggle between Universalism and Revelationism, the former always wins. Because the Universalists control the mainstream educational and information system, this is really not at all surprising. But since, as we’ve seen, it is not rational for a reasonable observer to choose justification by reason over justification by revelation, a political system in which the Universalists are the Globetrotters and the Revelationists are the Generals is almost certain to be one which systematically propagates lies.

We’ve already seen a few of these lies, and we’ll see quite a few more.
*cough* IPCC Assessment Report Five Summary For Policymakers *cough*

Here's the problem for the Universalist Cathedral: the Internet is undermining their ability to control education and information dissemination.  Without the Internet, we'd have Cap And Trade, as governments (aided and abetted by a Universalist media) imposed a tax on, well, everything.  Nowadays, the Universalists are finding that Global Warming is a losing cause.  That makes them sad.

You - yes, you - have made the baby panda cry.  I hope that you're happy.

But while you're pondering your panda-saddening crimes, your should go read Mencius' whole post.  For Mencious, it's pretty accessible and still makes intellectual sense.  Or you'll make Panda Cry again.

Is "fundamentalist" a hate term?

Or is it a statement of fact?  Well, it depends:
Strangely enough, the left here in the West has never thought that fundamentalist Muslims were bad people, even though they hate fundamentalist Christians, who are much milder.

...

Once in place, they institute a reign of terror against anyone (mostly women) who refuses to accept their rules. Bennoune makes it clear that many countries where this happened were places were the Muslims were moderate. (This is what Sole Woyinka said about his native Nigeria, too. See here.) Either the women wore no headscarves, or they wore different ones from those which the fundamentalists wanted them to wear. They lived in harmony with Christians or even secularists. They had their own traditions about how Islam worked, which may have included local saints (as in Mali) or else a Sufi strain (as in Chechnya). But suddenly everyone’s lives were made hellish by all the new rules. Women have to cover up. Women can’t use cellphones. One can’t listen to music or watch sports. Or, in one place, one can’t drink water standing up or use pressure cookers [54]. Or women are blamed for natural disasters if they don’t cover up [119]. Those who object are often beaten or else threatened and even killed. In Mali, there have been lots of amputations.
You see, it depends.  Fundamentalist Islamists oppress women, kill secularists and "blasphemers", and perform mass amputations.  Eggs, omelets.  But those they oppress are brown, and a long way away, and so American "Progressives" give them a pass.  Can't be judgmental, can we?  I mean, it's not like those evil fundamentalists in Fly Over country who might not make TV commercials with gays.

I mean, that's oppression.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Roast garlic rosemary chicken with root veg and apple crisp

Back later.  Not that I don't love all y'all, but I have the family to get fed.  Surprisingly, it's taking rather a long time to get the chicken to that perfect "golden brown and delicious" point.

Oh, and I took the motorcycle on the highway today.  At 70 MPH it still had something left.  Next weekend I think I may take it up to the Georgia Mountains.  Helen is having its annual Oktoberfest.  If you haven't been to a defunct-Georgia-Gold-Mining-town-cum-Alpine-tourist-village - on a motorcycle or not - you're missing out.

Saving money at the super market

I just got back from Kroger, and drove home in a cloud of smug.  I picked up food for the family for around $20/day.  It would have been less, but I got a lot of meat (on sale) that's going into the freezer.  We'll eat well - roast chicken, hamburgers, and (home made) pot pie.  And Apple Gallette, sort of like a french apple pie only awesomer.  I'll post a recipe.

The way I did this was a new shopping algorithm.  Every time I pick and item and have it in my hand (ready to drop into the shopping cart) I ask myself these questions:
  • Do we really need this, or is this an impulse buy?
  • If we need it, is there a different brand that's cheaper?
  • If it's a good price, do I save in the long term by buying more and saving the rest? (say, freezing meat)
And so a $1.59/lb whole chicken became three $0.89/lb whole chickens, two of which are in the freezer.

But I really shouldn't be too smug, because the Chiefio has been posting on how to eat really cheaply, while still eating well (e.g. paella - my one splurge was a pineapple and bacon sausage that would be really, really good in a paella).  The posts are long and information-dense, but if you want to save serious money at the grocery store, they're important reads.  It dovetails nicely with prepping as well.

Car yogurt and cheap eats

A Variety of Low Cost Meals

Meals By The Numbers

On tap for today

I need to teach #2 Son how to parallel park.  Fortunately we have a large driveway and I can set up a car there.  If I'm feeling confident I might even set up the motorcycle behind it so that there's actually something to run into.

But got to get that lad to his driver's test, and he needs to practice under pressure.


UPDATE 29 September 2013 16:56: He's doing better than in the picture above.


That's a plastic trashcan with a garden rake in it playing stand in for a second parked car.  Kind of weird watching your kid do it without all your danged advice.

Johann Sebastian Bach - Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir

Image via Wikipedia
Today is Michaelmas, the feast of St. Michael the Archangel.  St. Michael was a big deal - he was the Almighty's General - and so his feast day was appropriately a big deal down through the ages.  Readers of the Roman Catholic devotion will certainly hear about the Archangel at today's mass*.

Michaelmas was not just a pretty big holy day, but falling nearly on the Equinox it served double duty  as a harvest festival throughout much of Western Europe.  You can imagine that this made it one of the most important celebrations between Easter and All Saint's Day.

It was, in fact, such a big deal that no less that J. S. Bach was commissioned to write this cantata for Michaelmas in 1724.  It follows the liturgy of the day (sort of; it pretty much skates past Revelations), but after an appropriately sober opening ends with an almost festive air.



* Readers of the Greek Orthodox devotion will celebrate this feast in November.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Eric Clapton - Tulsa Time

What's "Southern Rock"?  It's said that music is a little better with a little Country in its Rock, and a little Rock in its Country.  And so we find our Saturday Redneck introduced to Eric Clapton.

Back In The Day, there weren't musical genres, and more importantly marketing types to segment and re-segment the musical market.  Back In The Day you'd hear all sorts of bands on the radio, from Credence Clearwater Revival to Johnny Cash.  Eric Clapton keeps that spirit alive today.  He cuts across genres, from rock to blues to country to salsa.  He's the living incarnation of music is music, and does it with his friends.

His friends today are Albert Lee, Jerry Douglas, and Sheryl Crow.  I'm afraid that if you don't know who these people are we probably can't be friends anymore.



And there are only 39,000 views of this on Youtube?  Sorry Youtube, we can't be friends anymore.

Friday, September 27, 2013

I didn't know that JayG played drums

But hey, you can do a lot worse than playing with Emmylou Harris and Albert Lee at the Royal Albert Hall.



There's quite a good view of him at about 3:45.  Rock on, Jay!

This may be the last IPCC report

Not only are governments angry at the climate science establishment, the media is starting to ask the right questions:
Yesterday, a reporter asked me how the IPCC came up with the 95% number.  Here is the exchange that I had with him:

Reporter:  I’m hoping you can answer a question about the upcoming IPCC report. When the report states that scientists are “95 percent certain” that human activities are largely to cause for global warming, what does that mean? How is 95 percent calculated? What is the basis for it? And if the certainty rate has risen from 90 n 2007 to 95 percent now, does that mean that the likelihood of something is greater? Or that scientists are just more certain? And is there a difference?
.
JC:  The 95% is basically expert judgment, it is a negotiated figure among the authors.  The increase from 90-95% means that they are more certain.  How they can justify this is beyond me.
.
Reporter:  You mean they sit around and say, “How certain are you?” ”Oh, I feel about 95 percent certain. Michael over there at Penn State feels a little more certain. And Judy at Georgia Tech feels a little less. So, yeah, overall I’d say we’re about 95 percent certain.”  Please tell me it’s more rigorous than that.
.
JC:  Well I wasn’t in the room, but last report they said 90%, and perhaps they felt it was appropriate or politic that they show progress and up it to 95%.
.
Reporter:  So it really is as subjective as that?
.
JC:  As far as I know, this is what goes on.
The final IPCC Assessment Report 5 (actually, just the Summary for Policy Makers) is now out.  The IPCC hasn't exactly covered themselves in glory here - it's contradictory and evasive.  It seems that the IPCC tried to stonewall everyone in this report - to hide the decline, you might say - and everyone is seeing through their antics.

While the MSM won't throw them under the bus, it's very likely that the media will never go to bat for them with the vigor they used to.  The same goes for governments.  The public will likely ignore the whole thing, meaning that government won't be interested (no votes there) and the media won't be either (you won't sell any papers with ZOMG THERMAGEDDON!!!11!!eleventy!!!).

It's really a pathetic end to the whole sordid affair, if you ask me.

Heh

Pistolero will like this one. Although she's basically from Arkansas.  But still.


Farce the Music delivers.

Spot the security problem


This reminds me of Seth Goddin's epic rant about marketing, "This is broken":



I think that the lousy fence is in the "not my job" category.

Did you know ...

... that when it's 8:00 PM on the US East Coast, it's 8:00 AM in Beijing?  This means that when you need to have a 2 hour videoconference with a group of engineers in China, you have a late night.  So since I came home late and tired, here's a cute video of a sleepy kitten.



It's the Internet.  It has cute kitten videos.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Motorcycle Diaries, No. 5

The scene: An office building at the end of the day.  There's a cop (no doubt off-duty, and hired by the office complex) directing traffic so that workers can pull out safely onto the busy road.

A guy rides out of the parking garage on a motorcycle.  A guy in a suit.  He pulls up to where the cop is directing traffic.  The cop motions for him to wait.

The cop says to him, "Nice day to ride a bike."

"Sure is," I replied.

(exeunt)

You'd never have that conversation in a car.

* Standard disclaimer: If you came here by searching for Che, you do know that he condemned teenagers to execution and then enjoyed watching, don't you? If you don't, let your Google-fu lead you. He was a sick, murdering bastard who killed children. Yeah, and a bit dreamy, anti-establishment for ignorant Lefties. You're not one of them, right?

The death of climate science?

Well, at least the gravy train as we know it.  There's an intersection of two events that looks suddenly to be putting at risk the billions of dollars of grant money for the current scientific establishment.  Item 1, the soaring costs of green energy:
The German conundrum is reminiscent of the early supersonic fighter aircraft that shot itself down with its own cannon. Merkel and the Greens have lofted a huge array of poisoned arrows that are rapidly descending upon their path. They survived the bullet of the election. Their own poisoned arrows may be another matter.

Supporters of giant wind farms and huge solar installations are full of happy talk about “clean energy,” “free energy,” “replacing carbon sources,” and other self-deceiving delusions. When their ideas are tried in the real world and allowed to play out for a decade or two, the end result is giant rusted junkyards of failed dreams.
German electric rates are twice the rates in the USA.  German chemical manufacturers are planning big new plants in the USA, to take advantage of cheap natural gas from fracking.  The German Greens got expensively paid off (to get their political support), and now the true costs are becoming apparent.

Item 2, it's no longer possible to hide the decline:
There is much in the news about how IPCC will handle the growing discrepancy between models and observations – long an issue at skeptic blogs. According to BBC News, a Dutch participant says that “governments are demanding a clear explanation” of the discrepancy. On the other hand, Der Spiegel reports:
German ministries insist that it is important not to detract from the effectiveness of climate change warnings by discussing the past 15 years’ lack of global warming. Doing so, they say, would result in a loss of the support necessary for pursuing rigorous climate policies.
According to Der Spiegal (h/t Judy Curry), Joachim Marotzke, has promised that the IPCC will “address this subject head-on”. Troublingly, Marotzke felt it necessary to add that “climate researchers have an obligation not to environmental policy but to the truth”.

Unfortunately, as Judy Curry recently observed, it is now two minutes to midnight in the IPCC timetable. It is now far too late to attempt to craft an assessment of a complicated issue.
The IPCC chose to continue the rope-a-dope strategy that they pursued last time, sweeping inconvenient truths under the carpet.  This is perhaps the best evidence that there's little to be had from the IPCC establishment - it's about grant funding and nothing but the grant funding.

But 17 years without warming is cutting the legs out from under them.  Governments are demanding answers to why the models missed in such a fundamental way, because the policies that they implemented based on past IPCC analysis hare being seen as increasingly painful.

I get the distinct impression that politicians are angry, because they think that they've been played for suckers.  That is a new development, and one that does not bode well for the IPCC and the "Consensus" scientific establishment.

A photo of the Duke of Wellington


Pretty cool:
The photo itself taken in 1844 was a remarkable bridge across centuries. Memories of Elizabeth the First or the English Civil War were as fresh and recent to Wellington (born 1769) as Wellington or Lincoln is to us. The photo was different from latter paintings and engravings based upon it — unlike the kindly old man which smiled down from the paintings, the photo showed a crankier, more determined Wellington — a face you truly expect from the Victor of Waterloo.

Global warming: due to urbanization?

One of the unexplained (indeed, dismissed) topics in the "consensus" science is the Urban Heat Island.  Basically, this says that cities have warmer night time temperatures because all the buildings and roads absorb heat during the day, and this heat is radiated at night.  Specifically, the claim is that this raises the daily minimum temperature recordings, because the day's low temperature is most often at night.

Daily high and low temperatures are averaged for a composite "daily temperature".

The problem is that cities have grown dramatically all over the world.  Skeptics say that this is a significant bias in the reported climate data sets.  There's a very good discussion of this subject, showing a major difference in 20th Century climate between urban and rural areas:
Because tree ring temperatures disagree with a sharply rising instrumental average, climate scientists officially dubbed this the “divergence problem.”9 However when studies compared tree ring temperatures with only maximum temperatures (instead of the average temperatures that are typically inflated by urbanized minimum temperatures) they found no disagreement and no divergence.10 Similarly a collaboration of German, Swiss, and Finnish scientists found that where average instrumental temperatures were minimally affected by population growth in remote rural stations of northern Scandinavia, tree ring temperatures agreed with instrumental average temperatures.11 As illustrated in Figure B, the 20th century temperature trend in the wilds of northern Scandinavia is strikingly similar to maximum temperature trends of the Sierra Nevada and the contiguous 48 states. All those regions experienced peak temperatures in the 1940s and the recent rise since the 1990s has never exceed that peak.
Remember, the whole "hide the decline" episode was triggered by scientists trying to cover up this "divergence" between tree ring proxy data and temperature readings.  And the plot thickens when computers massage the data:
It soon became obvious that the homogenization process was unwittingly blending rising minimum temperatures caused by population growth with temperatures from more natural landscapes. Climate scientists cloistered in their offices have no way of knowing to what degree urbanization or other landscape factors have distorted each weather station’s data. So they developed an armchair statistical method that blended trends amongst several neighboring stations,17 using what I term the “blind majority rules” method. The most commonly shared trend among neighboring stations became the computer’s reference, and temperatures from “deviant stations” were adjusted to create a chimeric climate smoothie. Wherever there was a growth in population, this unintentionally allows urbanization warming effects to alter the adjusted trend.

...

In the good old days, weather stations such as the one in Orland, CA (pictured above) would have been a perfect candidate to serve as a reference station. It was well sited, away from pavement and buildings, and its location and thermometers had not changed throughout its history. Clearly Orland did not warrant an adjustment but the data revealed several “change points.” Although those change points were naturally caused by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), it attracted the computer’s attention that an “undocumented change” had occurred.
Translation: the warming signal in the data may be mostly (or even entirely) due to urbanization, not to carbon dioxide. 

The data sets are frightfully bad.  There's very poor transparency, whether by accident or design.  Indeed, the CRU even lost their raw temperature data, only retaining the "value added" (adjusted data).  The bottom line is that the numbers are cooked, and so headlines referring to "hottest decade" are meaningless.  If you really want to understand what's happening in climate science, you should read this post in its entirety. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I'd never thought to put horseradish in a bloody mary

Sounds pretty good, though.  And replacing the black pepper with Old Bay would be pretty good, too.


Important security rule: back up your data

Data backups are something that a lot of people play fast and loose about, but it's terribly important:
Roni Lahav and her three-year-old son Idan were asleep last week in their home on Kibbutz Gan Shmuel in Israel when thieves broke into their house and stole cash and electronics, including the iPad that had the last recorded videos of Roni’s late husband Yuval who died of cancer two years ago when he was only 32-years-old.

Lahav is now appealing to the thieves via Facebook writing that while the loss of the money is no big deal, she’d like them to return the iPad. Yes, the device was valuable, but its content to her was priceless.  “On the iPad there were videos of Yuval and Idan, Yuval my husband died two years ago of cancer,” Lahav writes. “In the videos, he’s dancing with him and happy, just a few short months before Yuval died…I didn’t have a chance to back it up anywhere and it’s the only thing that’s important to me.”
And the rule with backups is that two is one and one is none.  You should have multiple, separate backs/locations for data that's really important.

The NSA has likely broken Internet security

This article is very persuasive.

The gist of it is that NSA recommended changes have grossly weakened Internet encryption.  The changes were noticed by tech nerds at the time, but were considered "weird" rather than malicious.  Everyone gave the NSA the benefit of the doubt.  Now the Snowden leaks have people reassessing that.

The problem is that the NSA has very good cryptographers.  The idea that they'd make an inadvertent mistake in a core component of a crypto system is hard to believe.  Especially when the "mistake" very well might let them read everyone's encrypted data.

The infuriating thing is that now that the cat is out of the bag, other people will be trying to use this to break encrypted traffic.  This is what's used to protect financial transactions, for example - there's a big motivation for the Bad Guys to break this, too.

Quite frankly, it's hard to see how the NSA can ever recover the trust of the tech community.  I don't expect that anyone there will willingly cooperate with them, unless there's a big government contract involved.  What the NSA used to get for free based on good will is now likely only available for hire. 

Tanks for the memories

Ever seen a British Mark IV tank from the Great War?  You can if you go to Australia*.  This one is named Grit, and is nearly a century old.  She was a female model, armed with machine guns rather than cannon.  By war's end, the Brits realized that tanks should be both male and female (hermaphroditic?), with both artillery and machine guns to maximize effectiveness.



Probably the best tank of the War was the Renault FT.  Certainly it was built in very large numbers.  This one has been restored and now actually runs.



The only surviving German A7V tank is also in Australia** but there are replicas.  It was a terrible tank, and there were only a couple dozen ever produced, but they did actually meet the British Mark IVs in the world's first tank battle at Villers-Bretonneux where three Mark IVs met three A7Vs.  The Brits won the day, with one A7V destroyed, although one Mark IV threw a track.



But the A7V was not considered a success.  Indeed, most of the Kaiser's Army used captured Mark IV tanks, rather than the A7V.  Still, cool to see a reproduction actually running.

* Well, other places too.  But not too many other places.

** Worth a journey, if you're a tank aficionado.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

They don't write 'em like this anymore

Well, maybe Willie still does, but this is a real keeper.



Norah Jones did a great version.


Marvelous goofiness

One of the marvelous things we discovered that year we lived in the UK was the Ordnance Survey maps, one of the best and most detailed road atlases I've ever seen.  If you like maps, these are something that you'll appreciate.  Those maps took us pretty much everywhere over in Blighty.

Well, the Ordnance Survey people got a summer intern who put the entire map of the UK into Minecraft.


It's marvelous goofiness.  You can download the file if you want (warning: it's pretty big, as you'd imagine).  Well done to the Ordnance Survey folks and their intern.

Politicians 0, Climate Scientists 1

Even when the Press is acting like a home town sports reporter, the truth still comes out:
Germany's Federal Ministry of Research would prefer to leave any discussion of the global warming hiatus entirely out of the new IPCC report summary. [I'll bet they would. - Borepatch] "In climate research, changes don't count until they've been observed on a timescale of 30 years," claims one delegate participating in the negotiations on behalf of German Research Minister Johanna Wanka of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). The Ministry for the Environment's identical stance: "Climate fluctuations that don't last very long are not scientifically relevant."
Remember when it was 15 years?  The noise you hear is the sound of goalposts being moved.  It's so bad that even scientists aren't taking it anymore:
Germany's highest-ranking climate researcher, physicist Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, in Hamburg, is fighting back against this refusal to face facts. Marotzke, who is also president of the German Climate Consortium and Germany's top scientific representative in Stockholm, promises, "We will address this subject head-on." The IPCC, he says, must engage in discussion about the standstill in temperature rise.

Marotzke calls the claim that a temperature plateau isn't significant until it has lasted for over 30 years unscientific. "Thirty years is an arbitrarily selected number," he says. "Some climate phenomena occur on a shorter timescale, some on a longer one." Climate researchers, Marotzke adds, have an obligation not to environmental policy but to the truth. "That obligates us to clearly state the uncertainties in our predictions as well," he says.
Who you going to believe, a political flack or a climate scientist?  Hey, what would the head of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology know about climate, anyway?  Has he ever published in the peer-reviewed journals?  Oh, wait ...

And this bit is delicious:
Climate researchers, Marotzke adds, have an obligation not to environmental policy but to the truth.
That noise you hear is the sound of "consensus" shattering into a million pieces.  The response of the Climate Establishment?
Environmental policymakers within the IPCC fear, though, that climate skeptics and industry lobbyists could exploit these scientific uncertainties for their own purposes. The IPCC's response has been to circle the wagons. To ensure it remains the sole authority on climate predictions, the panel plans not to publish the complete report for some time after the release of the summary and not even release transcripts from the negotiations in Stockholm.
I'm sure that rolling back transparency is exactly the way to deal with things. Nothing builds trust like a good stonewalling.  And this is the sort of thing I never thought I'd see in the MSM:

This despite the IPCC's promise for more transparency after hair-raising mistakes in the last assessment report -- from 2007 -- emerged three years ago and tarnished the panel's credibility. One result of that scandal was a commitment to avoiding future conflicts of interest. Yet scientists who previously worked for environmental organizations still hold leading roles in the creation of the IPCC report. This includes at least two "coordinating lead authors" who are responsible for individual chapters of the report.
Despite the rear guard effort, the truth is finally coming out.  The article is so brutal as to include this diagram, comparing the climate model's predictions to the observed temperatures.  Never thought I'd see this in the Press.



(via)

A note on privacy

It's not just the NSA that spies on you.

It's a little different when a company does it than when the Fed.Gov does, but remember most of these companies work with the NSA.

French "youths" occupying the HQ of the French Socialist Party?

Un petit peu de leurs action directe, n'est-ce pas?



Funny, I must have missed this last July.  No doubt it was all over the Media. Strangely, I had to find coverage on CBN (pretty good coverage, if you ask me).



Génération Identitaire is the reaction of young French citizens to a steady diet of PC conneries.  They are explicitly nationalist, aiming to preserve French culture against what's going on throughout the EU today.  As you can see from the first video, they're (*ahem*) quite energetic. Quite:

Source: Génération Identitaire
They're also pretty good at new media.  The Powers That Be will struggle to block that signal.

Tam once said that Europe has shown that it can go from zero to jackboots in five years.  I don't expect that Génération Identitaire is fascist, although no doubt many in France would like to paint them as such.  There's no doubt, though, that action begets reaction.  How strange that so many on the Left, now that they have taken power, seemingly have forgotten Marx' dialectic.  But as Trotsky might have put it: it doesn't matter whether you are interested in the Dialectic; the Dialectic is interested in you.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The greatest man in baseball today ...

... wears Yankee pinstripes.  I say that as a life long Red Sox fan who's suspicious of everything Yankees related.  But the story of what pitcher Mariano Rivera does is nothing short of astonishing.  It's perhaps the most inspirational sports story I've heard in ten years.

This is the sort of inspiration you remember from your childhood, before you become jaded and cynical from the repeated instances where your "heros" failed to live up to the hype.  Rivera takes that cynicism and shatters it into a million shards.  For once, the hype fails to live up to the man.

Via Chris Lynch.

iPhone 5's fingerprint recognition hacked

Well that didn't take very long:
haos Computer Club has claimed that they have managed to break Apple’s TouchID using everyday material and method available on the web.


Explaining their method on their website, the CCC hackers have claimed that all they did was photograph a fingerprint from a glass surface, ramped up the resolution of the photographed fingerprint, inverted and printed the fingerprint using thick toner settings, smeared pink latex milk or white woodglue onto the pattern, lifted the latex sheet, moistened it a little and then placed it on the iPhone 5S’ fingerprint sensor to unlock the phone.
Apple says this won't happen, but there's a video demonstration.



The Chaos Computer Club sums the issue up:
CCC spokesperson, Frank Rieger, said “It is plain stupid to use something that you can´t change and that you leave everywhere every day as a security token.”
Word.

Satelite data: no global warming in 202 months

That's 16 years and 10 months.


The least-squares linear-regression trend on the data from the RSS satellites since November 1996 shows there has been no global warming at all for 202 months (16 years 10 months). In a few more months, unless an el Niño comes along in January, its favorite month, RSS may be the first dataset to show 17 full years with a zero global warming trend.
The nice thing about the satellite record is that it's truly global, measuring temperature all across the globe.

Cats and dogs, living together

I'm afraid I'm a little wiped out.  And so here is a Jack Russell Terrier who's best friends with a tiger.



All I can say to the terrier is that you can do everything right and still get bit.  Don't ask me how I know.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The weather forecast for today

Is for cute.




Serious accumulations of cute may occur in some locations.



Seen at JapanFest, along with Samurai in armor. Didn't get a picture of them, but they weren't particularly cute.

The iPhone 5 NSA version

Heh.


"All Non-Commissioned Officers are professional liars"

The Pritzker Military Library has a very interesting presentation given by Staff Sergeant David Bellavia, author of House To House.  He not only tells the tale of how he won a Silver Star in the battle of Fallujah, but he gives a quite insightful talk on social motivation and how that makes the Infantry work.  Very highly recommended.

Bellavia is also quite funny.  I hadn't known that he had been a theater major and quite likes Broadway Musicals.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, especially if you have a Silver Star and a Bronze Star.

Black Dyke Band - "How Great Thou Art"

Classical music is alive and well, outside of the Symphony Hall.  One of the best examples of this is the U.K.'s Black Dyke Band, which dates back to 1816 (!), sponsored by John Foster, owner of the Black Dyke Woolen Mill in Yorkshire.  Foster was a French Horn player as well as an Industrial Revolution entrepreneur, and so sponsored the band.

They're still playing, and winning awards as you see in this video (likely shot with a hand held camcorder):



Readers from the UK may recognize the band as the ones providing the music for the late, great, and much lamented (no longer filmed) Ground Force television show from the BBC.  Every Englishman sees in himself a bit of the Country Squire, and Ground Force set out to make him into precisely that.  Family or friends would connive to get the person away from the house for two days.  During that time, the Ground Force team would swoop down and spend £1000 and two days labor to transform the yard into an amazing later day Zanadu,  It was marvelous television if you like gardening, home improvement and seeing things that you could plausibly do to your own place.

Needless to say, the lovely and green-thumbed Mrs. Borepatch and I were huge fans when it aired here in the Colonies on BBC America, Back In The Day.  It was a very sad day indeed when it went off the air.

But back to the music, which was provided by the Black Dyke Band.  The music was outstanding, and has made the band famous beyond the borders of Yorkshire.  A hint of what Ground Force (and its music) is here, but only if you click through, because the BBC thinks you suck and hates you (none of this is available for embedding).  I recommend that you actually click through - even though Auntie Beeb sucks and doesn't Get It - because if you've never seen Ground Force, you're in for a treat.  I particularly remember loving the Portmellon garden (the last one at the link) because it made a spectacular seaside garden.  The music was particularly fetching on this one.

The music is worth paying attention to, as it's uniformly and outstandingly matched to the show.  As far as I recall, all the music for the show was provided by the Black Dyke Bank.  They also did the music for the Top Gear spoof of Ground Force, which is well worth watching while you're waking up with a Sunday morning cup of coffee.  Removing unwanted plants with a shotgun, indeed.



"Will it grow by 5:00 this evening?"  Heh.  And there's a cameo of the band in this one:



The music in this one is spot on as far as Ground Force is concerned.  And "You can't prune a tree with a shotgun."  "Oh yes I can."



The way they hide from the owner when he returns to the disaster area is perfect to the original Ground Force.  This post may be a bit odd for long time readers, but you know that "odd" sort of runs with the territory here I hope.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Seen at the office

Goodness, that's one elusive creature.




Roswell is infested with deer. If you're good with a bow, you can hunt in the city limits. Heck, looks like you can tag out before your Monday morning staff meeting.

The response to technological surprise

Often, the response is to classify the embarrassing outcome.  World War II saw the Japanese Army intercept American walkie-talkie traffic on Okinawa, leading to the ambush of and almost wiping out of the 193rd Tank Battalion.

The most important truth of this battle was that American troops suffered a technological surprise. The Japanese were listening to the SCR-300, SCR-500 and SCR-600 series frequency modulated (FM) radios of American infsntry, tanks and artillery forward observers at Kakuza Ridge (and other battles through out the Pacific in 1945) with Japanese Type 94 (1934) Mark 6 walkie-talkie radio that was issued to every Japanese infantry battalion.

MacArthur’s forces in Luzon and Mindanao discovered this fact when artillery forward observers in Luzon started hearing Japanese Army radio traffic and attempts to spoof artillery calls for fire that failed with mutual cursing in broken English between American and Japanese units.
So why was this hushed up?
The second fearful symmetry was discovering that the military and political elites of Truman Administration were no different from our current elites in using wartime classification and post-war lies of omission to hide their mistakes from history. It is quite clear that American knowledge of Imperial Japanese monitoring of our FM communications would have played a huge role in the cancelled invasion of Kyushu, but our elites did not want to admit anything about it.

How many other things were they unwilling to talk about and buried?
The question, of course, is how many things are being hushed up right now for precisely the same reasons.  And this sure sounds right:
Last, there are two lessons for American military and political elites here.

1) Technological surprise can happen at any time. The Chinese use of internet to penetrate American military (Think US Army’s digital “blue force tracker” to nuclear firing orders) and civilian infrastructure communications plus the growing availability of operational research data analysis software to non-state actors needs to be taken much more seriously.

2) The biggest technological surprise of this research is that both 20th and 21st Century elites can no longer hide their mistakes.
This is a very interesting analysis of bureaucratic inertia.

If you have mice in your data center

This should keep them out of the cable tray.


Seems legit.  Sadly, our data center at work is infested with mice.  Big ones, too:


Charlie Nagatani and the Canonballs - Cowboy Up and Party Down

(via)
I'm taking #2 Son to JapanFest today, so maybe I'll learn how to say "Hey, y'all" in Japanese.  That could turn out to be handy if I ever find myself in the thriving Japanese country music scene.

That's right, there's a big Japanese country music scene.  There's even a music festival, Country Gold, that attracts 20,000 people a year.  It was started 25 years ago by Charlie Nagatani, who headlines the show with his band, the Canonballs.

Charlie also has a bar in Kumamoto (capital city of the southern island of Kyushu) where you can strut your stuff:
Kumamoto is famous for its ancient castle, distinctive cuisine and Suizenji garden. But among the American community in Japan, Good Time Charlie's Bar is another popular Kumamoto attraction.


Last month, I visited the bar to hear Charlie Nagatani and his band playing American country music for an enthusiastic audience. Japanese men and women dressed in jeans, boots, and bandanas danced to his music or clapped time from their seats. I ordered a nice cold Coors beer, but Kentucky bourbon and Tennessee whiskey and soda seemed to be even more popular choices.
This may seem weird, but is very Japanese:
"Some people like the music. Some like the horse. Some want nature. Me, I like everything. I'm in it for the whole country experience," says Johnny Tsuji, whose headpiece sports a rattlesnake snout, and who cherishes the days when he can dress like a cowboy. "In Japan, you know, we can't wear this on the street. We hide it away until there's an occasion."

Shigeru Yoshihiko and his wife have come to Country Gold five straight years. They handmade their star-spangled line-dance outfits, and even played country music while their 3-year-old was being born. "We love the sound," says Mr. Yoshihiko. "It was a special birth."
Here's part of a Japanese TV documentary which has Charlie and the Canonballs performing at Country Gold.  This is real country - Charlie and the band have performed at the Grand Ole Opry more than a dozen times.  While I don't have a translation of what's being said, this will give you the flavor of Country Music, Japanese style.


Friday, September 20, 2013

The making of the song "Angel Flight"

If you've never heard the term, I explain it here.  It's the flight where we bring our fallen soldiers home.  Radney Foster recorded a song about it in 2009, and a damn fine one it is.  This is how it came to be written.


Why Hollywood is in trouble

Their big budget formulaic rehashes can't compete with video games.  Even formulaic rehashes are beating them like a rented mule:
GTA 5 sold more than $800 million worth of copies in its first day on store shelves. Those are the highest first-day retail figures in Take-Two history, the publisher announced today, and that doesn't even count digital sales on PSN and Xbox Live.
That's more than Star Wars has grossed.  Remember, Star Wars took 36 years to get not quite that much revenue.  Grand Theft Auto 5 did it in a day.  And GTA5 isn't even for sale everywhere yet (Japan and Brazil, to name two).  And it's the fifth game in the series - not exactly the freshest of offers.

Remember when the Democrats were all about the "absolute moral authority" of the parents of dead service members?

Maureen Dowd wrote a famous column in the New York Times back in 2005, coining the term:
But his humanitarianism will remain inhumane as long as he fails to understand that the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute.
I'm sure she has another column filled with outrage all queued up about how the Democrats walked out of the Benghazi hearings without listening to the parents of the dead service members:
During the second portion of a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing about Benghazi Thursday on Capitol Hill, the majority of Democrats on the Committee left the room and refused to listen to the testimony of Patricia Smith and Charles Woods. Ms. Smith is the mother of Sean Smith, an information management officer killed in the 9/11 Benghazi attack. Charles Woods is the father of Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, who was also killed.
Yanno, I can't keep it straight about when grieving parents have absolute moral authority and when they don't.  I guess it's complicated or something.

484 plus 2

From this place, and from this day forth begins a new era in the history of the world, and you can all say that you were present at its birth.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Image via Wikipedia
Frederick der Grosse was an entirely unsympathetic man.  He sneered at the populations that he conquered, saying that the Poland that he partitioned with Russia and Austria was the "worst governed principality in Europe, excepting only the Turks."  He compared the Polish peasants to the Iroquois (perhaps this was true, because in 1760 the Iroquis Nation might have kicked a** on the Polish army).

The Prussian Army was feared in late 18th Century Europe, even though it had been 35 years since Frederick had personally led his famous oblique order of battle, crushing the Austrians at Rossbach.  This was only one of the decisive victories that led to that most coveted of Royal monikers, der Grosse (the Great).  It was only six years since the Grosse Koenig was in his grave when Prussia invaded France.

The Prussian army of 1792 advanced carefully and prudently, as war was fought at the time - even in the New World, as George Washington had shown only a decade hence, when he did more or less what they did, only against General Cornwallis at Yorktown.  But Washington didn't have to face Revolutionary France.

It wasn't even the extreme Jacobin government of the Terror and guillotine fame, rather it was the Assembly Nationalle that was trying to sort out a Constitutional Monarchy.  The Duke of Brunswick, ably mis-aided by Frederich William (Prince of Hohenlohe-Kirchberg) changed history on this day in 1792.

The French Army was in turmoil, as was the Kingdom itself.  However, the Prussians had invaded, and were sweeping towards Paris itself.  The core of the Royalist French army (in traditional white French uniforms0 joined with enthusiastic revolutionary volunteers (in new, revolutionary blue uniforms) and soundly thrashed the invaders at the battle of Valmay. As George Washington's regulars might have put it, the Prince of Hohenlohe-Kirchberg's forces skedaddled, putting an end to the invasion of the fledgling French Republic.  300 French and 184 Prussian dead were left on the field, for a total of 484.

But that wasn't the end, it was the beginning.  The uncertain French Revolution was crystallized into a national, patriotic movement from this battle.  The King and Queen joined the dead of Valmy, taken by the tumbrils through the streets of Paris to their date with Madame Guillotine.

It was perhaps the smallest tactical loss that was ever a massive strategic defeat, fought on this day in 1792.  The true winner of Valmy was Napoleon, who visited the tomb of Frederick der Grosse in 1807, fifteen years after the battle of Valmy.

There's a new UN IPCC climate report coming out Real Soon Now. Here's what you need to know.

The report is going to say - wait for it; wait for it - that ZOMGTHERMAGEDDON!!!1!!!eleventy!!!

Oooooh kaaaaaaaay.  Here's what you need to know.

The report  (IPCC AR5, or IPCC 2013) is based a "consensus" that is based on Model predictions.  So the first question is how have previous IPCC reports' predictions fared against the actual, you know, observed data?  Long time readers already know the answer:


This is the fifth Assessment Report (AR5).  AR1 (from 1990) said that temperatures would have risen by 0.75° by now - they've actually risen by 0.25° - assuming that you trust the surface temperature record, which I don't.*  But even with this, you're looking at ~ an 80% miss in projections.

Later Assessment Reports haven't missed as badly, partly because they were adjusted down from AR1, and partly because they haven't had as long to run.  A shorter time interval gives you a lower percentage deviation from predicted.  Still, the 2007 AR4 predicted that we'd have seen almost twice as much warming as even the unreliable surface temperature record shows.

So what gives?  This isn't just a miss, this is a massive miss.  Especially for something where the "Science is settled".  Georgia Tech's Judy Curry brings the second piece of the puzzle which gives you a remarkably complete view of the problem:
My blog post on the Fyfe et al. paper triggered an email from Pat Michaels, who sent me a paper that he submitted in 2010 to Geophysical Research Letters, that did essentially the same analysis as Fyfe et al., albeit with the CMIP3 models.

...

Drum roll . . .  the paper was rejected.   I read the paper (read it yourself), and I couldn’t see why it was rejected, particularly  since it seems to be a pretty straightforward analysis that has been corroborated in subsequent published papers.

...

My own personal reaction to the rather lengthy [peer] reviews (12 pages worth) is that all of the reviewers rejected the idea that IPCC model projections could be compared in such a way that led to the conclusion that indicate cause for concern regarding the consistency between climate model projections and observed climate behavior under conditions of increasing anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions.
I'm shocked, shocked that the peer reviewers rejected an actual, you know - scientific - comparison of the model predictions to the actual, you know - observed - temperatures.  If that were to be discussed in public, well, that might be wholly unfortunate:



And so the twitter (pithy) reply to people who sneer at you that the "science is settled" is "That's what Major Strasse said."  And everyone knows how that came out:



Soo we will hear that the IPCC AR5 Report has been shot.  No doubt this will be an excuse to try to round up the Usual Suspects.  You know, I get the feeling that this is the beginning of a beautiful scientific friendship.



Thursday, September 19, 2013

Big Walter Horton - All Star Boogie and That Ain't It

Willie Dixon said that "Shakey" Horton was the best harmonica player he'd ever heard.  Like with many Bluesmen, he died too young.



Attentive readers will remember him playing with John Lee Hooker in The Blues Brothers.

A prediction from 1994

Well it was satire, not a prediction.  Damnitall.


Click through to embiggen.  The Clipper Chip is dead, long live Prism! (via)

Now we see what "Common Sense Gun Control" means

So, let's recap what we know about the latest shooting incident and the subsequent calls for new gun control laws.

1. Victim Disarmament Zones are the problem

The Aurora Theater, the Newtown school, and the Washington Navy Yard all shared something in common: carrying weapons for self defense was prohibited in each of these.  Robb gives a personal anecdote about this:
At 19 years old, I would sit in the cockpits of fully armed Cobra helicopters with the express knowledge of how to arm and deploy an honest to God shitstorm (and even the knowhow to disable the Weight On Wheels sensor so that I could do so while parked on the ground). I was trusted with this. I was trained for it. I was actually pretty damned good at it.

And yet, I was not allowed to carry a gun on base.

Because I couldn’t be trusted with it.

These are the fruits of the anti-gun labor. A Marine, trained in the art of rifles, with a Secret clearance, fully background checked and given access to real, military grade hardware, could not own something as simple as a handgun while on base.
The Navy Yard had Marines stationed there, Marines who had at one point deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.  They couldn't do anything because they were not allowed to have ammunition:
"My son was at Marine Barracks -- at the Navy Yard yesterday - and they had weapons with them, but they didn't have ammunition.   And they said, 'We were trained, and if we had the ammunition, we could've cleared that building.' Only three people had been shot at that time, and they could've stopped the rest of it."
2. The gun used is irrelevant

Ignore the wildly inaccurate early reporting that the Navy Yard shooter had an AR-15.  Ignore Piers Morgan's ranting.  Now everyone knows that the shooter had a pump action shotgun.  And yet we hear calls for the same old "ban 'assault' rifles".

I used to think that the strategy of the gun control advocates was to try to ban guns used in shootings.  Over time, this would whittle away at the available options for shooters.  At the extreme, most types of guns would be banned.

Now I think that they don't even care.  There was a shooting?  Ban the AR platform.  The shooter used a shot gun?  Ban the AR platform.  Because guns suck.

The details of any of these events is entirely irrelevant, as the end goal is pre-determined and non-negotiable.

3. Negotiating with gun control advocates is a waste of time

Given their unwillingness to address the current failures of their preferred policies (item #1) and their unwillingness to enter a rational conversation about which guns are the problem (if in fact this is even the question, which it's not) (item #2 above), it's pretty clear that there is no possible compromise that should be considered by pro Second Amendment advocates.  The "common sense gun control" proposals are, as The Bard put it, a tale told by an idiot; full of sound and fury, and signifying nothing.

I know that "compromise" if valued above all by the establishment, but it's very hard to see how "compromise" in this case is anything other than a stalking horse for Progressive dogma.

Hypocrites

HYPOCRITE, n. One who, professing virtues that he does not respect, secures the advantage of seeming to be what he despises.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
I used to be a Democrat.  I used to hold elective office in the Democratic Party Apparat.  County Council, as a matter of fact.  I'm registered Independent - as I've been since the 1980s - but have never been a Republican, and have no plans to change that.

I grew up pretty liberal, as childhood friend 2cents could tell you.  Quite frankly, I'm one of the millions who think that they didn't leave the Party, the Party left them.

And that makes a difference.  While I think that the GOP is the Stupid Party, when I look at what the Democratic Party has shrunk to, the only word that comes to mind is "evil".  I mean that quite literally.

They have sold their souls to those who used to be considered their worst enemies.  They've shaved much of their souls off, and burned them as an offering on the altar of Wall Street and the Banksters.

Where I came from, that used to be called hypocrisy.

I was trained not just as an Engineer, but as an Economist, and so I understand the theories of technological advancement displacing unskilled labor, and the theories of international trade and advantage.  Indeed, I've spent my career in an industry that has benefited from that trade and America's differentiated value as we built the Internet.

And yet I never forgot that Dad was born on a kitchen table, and grew up dirt poor in the Depression.  That runs deep, to my bones - which is why I'll never be a Republican.

And yet I look at the Democratic Party, the party of Silicon Valley, Hollywood and the Recording Industry, Wall Street and Goldman Sachs, and I want to vomit.  Bill Clinton destroyed the soul of the Party; NAFTA was only the start of a long and (literally) sordid list of betrayals where bit by bit, the Party's soul was gradually sliced off until the only thing left was appetite.

Democrats love him because he won elections, but he destroyed the Middle Class.  If you haven't already, go read my last post which puts a human face on this destruction.

NAFTA was intended to pad the bottom line of the Fortune 500.  It came at the expense of the Middle Class.  The Fortune 500 contributed large amounts of money to his campaign, and to the Democratic Party.

Repeat for the Bank bailout.  Repeat for the Federal Reserve monetizing the debt and causing an inflation that the Government no longer tracks (they changed how it's counted to make it go away).  Repeat for the EPA refusing new oil drilling permits and refinery permits, causing gasoline prices to double (oops, energy isn't included in the inflation indices any more).  Repeat for SOPA and the galaxy of Intellectual Property laws that would criminalize the Middle Class, saving the RIAA the expense of tort law.

Now add in Obamacare which is gutting the 40 hour work week, and the push for "immigration reform" - bringing in between 12 and 20 Million more workers that are willing to work for lower wages than unemployed former Middle Class Americans.  Because the Powers That Be in the Democratic Party smell new votes.  Not Middle Class votes, but hey - eggs, omelets, right?

And throughout all of this, you hear an endless litany of "the Democratic Party is the party of the little guy".  The biased Media never calls them on any of this.  And I (and presumably you) are racist wingnut h8trs because we see the betrayal for what it is:

Evil.  These are real people, with real lives and dreams.  Those are being destroyed by the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party is impoverishing the Middle Class, all the while claiming to be sticking up for it.  I have data.
O coz, coz, coz, my pretty little coz, that thou
didst know how many fathom deep I am in love! But
it cannot be sounded: my affection hath an unknown
bottom, like the bay of Portugal.
- Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 4 Scene 1
Replace the word "love" with the word "contempt" and you will know my feelings for my former party precisely.

What's the Matter with Kansas?  What's the matter is that the good citizens there haven't strung up every Democratic politician from a lamp post.
My mother gave birth to me on the kitchen table that I ate off until adulthood.  I have always considered the humble conditions of that birth to be a distinction, one to be proud of.  In spite of the humbleness of that birth, I was able to become a university professor, author of several books and many articles, and to be blessed with marriage to a wonderful woman and father to three fine sons.  Having accomplished that from such a birth had given me bragging rights.
- Dad
He made a shift from being a Republican to a pillar of the Democratic Party because of this.  I've made the shift away from the party for exactly the same reason.  I'm not cynical or evil enough to stomach what the party has become.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The face of unemployment

Globalization is presented in a very sterile manner.  That's because the people who benefit from it are the Intellectual Class - the Harvard Business School types, the Banksters, the Intellectual Class hangers on.  Lots of dusty figures and graphs.  It's left to the artists - in this case, a latter day Woodie Guthrie - to give it a human face.



When I was a lad, Woodie Guthrie was a hero of the Left, a man who stuck up for the Little Guy who was oppressed by the Powers That Be.  Nowadays, this is right wing hate music.  Just because.

Quite frankly, there's nothing that more clearly demonstrates the decadence of the Left.  And nothing that more clearly demonstrates why I hold them in contempt.  It's all upper middle class SWPL self-interest, and I say this as someone who's been sort of upper middle class for a long time.  The people in this video are our neighbors.  Where, o where is Hollywood and the Left?  The World wonders.

Actually, we don't.  That's where the contempt springs from.

UPDATE 18 September 2013 21:09: The plant in the video was the Goodyear factory in Union City, TN.  It closed in 2011.

There's an easy solution if you want to Open Carry in a coffee shop

Open your own coffee shop. Your business, your call. You want to deal with protests by anti-gun folks, God bless you. You want to risk driving away customers who (for better or worse) are nervous around guns, that's what being an entrepreneurial risk taker is all about.

Heck, you could even make your employees carry rifles. Just show a little class and make sure they're Garands. Because then your M1s will do your (political) talking for you.

You take the risk, you decide. Starbucks is taking the risk in their stores, so I don't see what the problem is with them deciding.

Why is English the language of the world?

Old NFO has a hilarious post about the idiosyncrasies of the English language:
You think English is easy??

I think a retired English teacher was bored…THIS IS GREAT!
Read all the way to the end, this took a lot of work to put together!

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse
He has a lot more, basically demonstrating that English makes no sense.  I even added my own poor comment on how English is illogical and self-contradictory.  But the question is brought to the fore: why was it English that has become the World's Language?  Because that's precisely what it has become:



This series, The Story Of English, is one of the best things I've seen on TV.  It's hosted (fabulously) by the great Robin MacNeil, and makes the point that answers the question: while there's a "correct" form of English* it's seen as more than a little bit stuffy - even quite simple "pigeon" English is easily understood by large numbers of people.

In short, the language is adaptable to a fault.  You might say that as we adapt the language to maximize it's adaptability because we worship adaptation.  Verb, object, noun - all in a single word.  That sound you just heard is heads exploding at l'Académie française.

I once went to a company training session.  One of the other students was from Belgium, and told me that while there were three official languages recognized as Belgian by the Belgian government (French, Dutch, and German), Belgians only learned two: their native tongue and English.  You see, they could converse with fellow native tongue speakers in that language, but they could communicate with all Belgians in English.  You might call it a lingua franca.  Again, the noise is Académie française heads exploding.

In particular English is the language to learn in the emerging world.  The reason is that it opens doors to the upwardly mobile, and so is a language of status.  This is a long, long way from the Old English of Anglo-Saxon days, as recounted by J. R. R. Tolkien (scholar of Anglo-Saxon literature).  This is a little dated (California dynamism?) but covers the dynamism of the language.





This is highly, highly recommended - as is the book that went with the series (no, you can't have mine, but you should be able to find it for small money on Amazon).  If you are remotely interested in why a backwater language from the Dark Ages European Periphery became the international language of air travel and business, you can do a lot worse than a few hours on Youtube with this.

* Well, what incorrect people consider to be "correct".

Mocking the Lightbringer - TheOnesDay® No. 23

It's Wednesday, time to mock the Left's Plasticine Jesus.  This pretty well sums it up after the last week:


Remember Alinsky's rules, folks.  Mockery is a powerful weapon to undermine the egos of the too self-satisfied.  And make them live up to their own ideals - I plan on showing this to lefties who were all about "Smart Diplomacy" 5 years ago.

And if I were evil, for added snark I might ask whether the placement of Obama's hand relates to the "Reset" (actually mistranslated as "Overload") button.  But that would be really evil.  I'd be ashamed of myself if I ever did anything like that.

Emergency patch for Internet Explorer

If you use Internet Explorer (the world wonders "why"), you really need to read this.  Microsoft has taken the unusual step of releasing a workaround to a security flaw that's in all versions of IE.  They've produced the fix because the Bad Guys are exploiting this in the wild with a "Day Zero" attack - an attack for which there's no patch.

If you use Internet Explorer, get thee hence to Microsoft, click the "Fix It" icon that you'll see above the "Fix This Problem" link.

You should know that applying the fix may limit some of the IE functionality that you know and love.  It also limits the IE functionality that the Bad Guys know and love.  'nuff said.  Microsoft will provide a proper fix in next month's "Patch Tuesday".  Oh, and Apple Fanbois can stop your smirking.  Don't think I don't see you.

Hat tip: Brian Krebs.  If you groove on security, you should follow his security blog.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Pirates of the Mississippi - Street Man Named Desire

20 years don't change much.



A song for our times, and earlier ones.  The chorus lyrics Saddam Hussein still has a job but I don’t are the only thing dated about this.  Artists connect us with the timeless, if they're good.  Three chords and the truth, indeed.

NSA monitoring terrorists and "others"

Excellent post by Ken at Popehat:
I am not — at least not yet — classified as a terrorist, cybercriminal, or human trafficker. So I suppose I am the "other." I want to learn to use strong crypto effectively, and encrypt my professional and personal communications from government spying.

I am the other because I do not trust my government in general, or the people working for its security apparatus in particular.

I am the other because I believe the Security State and its representatives habitually lie, both directly and by misleading language, about the scope of their spying on us. I believe they feel entitled to do so.
That's just the warm up.  RTWT.

A word to the wise on Apple's (or anyone else's) new fingerprint reading tech

Don't use it, ever.

The reason is two fold.  First, there's no way to know whether or not your biometrics being collected by Apple or some other company.  There's no way to know whether some other program or app (either on your PC or on your phone) can get access to your biometrics.  Even if the EULA (End User License Agreement, you know that thing where you clicked "Yes, I have read and agree to these conditions" even though you didn't read it and don't understand it) says that data won't be collected, there's no way to tell if the company will change the EULA in the future (and almost certainly would "grandfather" your agreement).

In short, you don't know who will get your biometrics, and you probably can't know.  Heck, I can't know, and this is sort of my business.

Second, one thing about passwords that everyone has always agreed upon (and your fingerprint is basically your password, right?) is that passwords should be changed regularly.  Good luck with changing your fingerprint.  People also agree that you shouldn't use the same password on multiple devices or computers.  Once again, good luck about picking another finger print.

When you combine these two issues, there's a non-zero risk that you will be giving person or persons unknown the data that they will need to be able to impersonate you in the future.  This is an incredibly bad idea.

It's one thing for Apple to know by iTunes playlist history.  It's something entirely different for them to be able to be me.  Do I think they would?  Probably not (probably).  Do I think that this would be considered a valuable data asset by them?  Damn straight.  Companies go out of business all the time, and this information would be of considerable interest to those attending the Chapter Seven liquidation.

So don't do it.