Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Czar says goodbye to his dog

You will not read a more bitter-sweet story today.

Last crewman of the Enola Gay takes off on his final flight

Stretch emails:
RIP Theodore Van Kirk
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Van Kirk a few years ago. He kindly autographed a photograph for me.
Had it not been for him and the crew of the Enola Gay and the Bock's Car my Uncle Robert, Uncle Jack, Uncle Jim and Father-in-law Joe would have been in invasion of Japan. Operation Olympic, Oct. 1945.
Given the JCS estimated over 1,000,000 casualties (1/4 Million fatalities) my cousins and THEIR children owe a great deal to Mr. Van Kirk and his cohorts.
And millions of Japanese owed their lives to that mission as well.  War Department estimates of Japanese civilian casualties in the planned Operation Downfall ran as high as ten million.  This is a fine tribute to a man who I had not known lived only a few miles from Camp Borepatch:
Like many World War II veterans, VanKirk didn't talk much about his service until much later in his life when he spoke to school groups, his son said.
"I didn't even find out that he was on that mission until I was 10 years old and read some old news clippings in my grandmother's attic," Tom VanKirk told the AP in a phone interview Tuesday.
Instead, he and his three siblings treasured a wonderful father, who was a great mentor and remained active and "sharp as a tack" until the end of his life.
"I know he was recognized as a war hero, but we just knew him as a great father," Tom VanKirk said.
Bravo Zulu, sir.  Bravo Zulu.  Fair winds and following seas.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Eat less and exercise more?

Nah.  Give me a pill.

The doctor's office called today with results from the blood work.  Surprisingly, I have an infection (non symptomatic), and so they want me to do a round of low level antibiotics.  I can't remember the last time I took those, which I guess means that I've been generally in good health.

The surprise was that my cholesterol was way up.  Strange, because my weight has been stable and my diet really hasn't changed.  They want to put me on a pill, which I'm resisting.  So their resident nutritionist is going to give me a call.  That can't hurt, I guess, although I can imagine the recommendation will be to watch my intake of things I like.

But this led me to wonder - is there a link between increased cholesterol and stress?  Low and behold, yes:
Stress can have a powerful, indirect effect on your cholesterol too. If you overeat, smoke, or turn into a couch potato in response to high anxiety, you're giving in to unhealthy lifestyle habits that can raise levels of bad-guy LDLs and erode levels of good-guy HDLs. Gaining excessive weight, eating a diet high in saturated fats, smoking cigarettes, and avoiding exercise can all deep-six healthy cholesterol.
Well, well, well.  Looks like I need to do more on the elliptical machine.  Oh, and cutting back on the stress would be OK, too.

New film on J.R.R. Tolkien's and C.S. Lewis' friendship

I many have to go see this:
British fantasy literature has two towering figures: J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia. The two were longtime friends, and now their relationship will be the subject of a new movieTolkien & Lewis, an $18 million drama, will be produced by UK-based production outfit Attractive Films and directed by Simon West, known for The Expendables 2Con Air, and a certain Rick Astley music video.

Attractive describes the movie as “a drama fantasy set in war torn Britain in 1941 revealing the faith, friendship, and rivalry between J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.”

The two writers had a lot in common: Both taught at Oxford, both fought in World War I, and both preferred not to spell out their names. Their relationship was friendly for years, but turned famously fraught. Through late-night conversations, Tolkien, a religious Catholic, convinced Lewis to return to the faith; Lewis’ writing took off afterward, and he’s now best known for his books that are instilled with Christian themes, like the Narnia series and The Screwtape Letters. But Lewis then became a much-criticized unofficial spokesman for Christianity, which strained his relationship with Tolkien and Oxford. And while Tolkien struggled over the Lord of the Rings manuscripts for years, Lewis’ Narnia books were bestsellers.
The story of their friendship is bittersweet, and neither author would have achieved what he did without the other's influence.  Tolkien described that to his daughter Priscilla, in a letter written shortly after Lewis' death*:
So far I have felt the normal feelings of a man my age - like an old tree that is losing all its leaves one by one: this feels like an axe blow near the roots.  Very sad that we should have been so separated in the last years; but our time of close communion endured in memory for both of us.
No offense to Lewis, but I think that the Lord Of The Rings is the greatest (meaning psychologically deepest) novel of the entire 20th century.  Much of that I suspect is due to Lewis' repeated and generous encouragement to Tolkien.

Hat tip: Patriactionary, a blog with a totally awesome name (and dare I say, on that Tolkien might have liked?)

* Transcribed from The Letters Of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Data mining tells us that chicks dig good looking jerks and guys like bikini hotties

I'm sure that caught you unawares.  The online dating site OKCupid has been doing some experiments, like not showing any photos of its users to see if it changed dating behavior:
When the site restored photographs to the site, it found those conversations dried up: "It was like we’d turned on the bright lights at the bar at midnight," Rudder said. Those who stuck with it and went on a date generally reported they had as good a time as if they'd met someone with a full profile, although Rudder notes that women who dated attractive men had slightly worse dates – which he attributed to them being more likely to be "assholes."

The second experiment stems from when OKCupid users were asked to rate profiles on the attractiveness and the personality of a stranger. The study found that profile text accounts for less than 10 per cent of the perceived attractiveness of people.

For example, we're told one profile had no text at all, just a picture of a nubile young lady in a bikini. Despite the lack of anything other than a picture in her profile she apparently scored in the top 99 per cent for personality. Yes, it seems we really are that shallow, it seems.
So chicks dig good looking jerks, and men think that bikini hotties have great personalities.  Don't think you needed to do any data mining for those conclusions.

Monday, July 28, 2014

So Science™ isn't politicized?

Butt-hurt Climate Scientist® is butt-hurt about the political situation:
The climate change debate that has raged in the public forum in Australia—and, in similar form, in the United States—has unfortunately been governed more by politics, ideology, and money than by facts. For example, much to my dismay, after appearing on a television program in Australia, on which I ended up debating a senator from the governing Liberal Party on issues that included climate change, I offered to come to his office to show him data on climate trends, including sea level rise and ocean acidification, with the hope that the data might affect the policies he advocated. He told me that he wasn’t interested in such a discussion, because he had a constituency that supported his current opposition to carbon emission controls, and that is what mattered to him.
You don't say.  And why might that be?  Perhaps the cost to Aussie consumers?
Prime Minister Tony Abbott's conservative coalition government rose to power last year on the promise of getting rid of the tax, assuring voters that removing it would reduce household electricity bills.
Perhaps our brace Climate Scientist® would argue that the cost of energy will not rise when it is taxed?  That argument would be a novel one, and seemingly one that the Australian voters are not buying.  But Our Hero continues:
Of course, as a scientist, I feel particularly strongly that the public is ill served by politicians who ignore empirical evidence while making and speaking out on policy.
Let me fix that for you, putting it into terms that the Australian Senate (and voting public) no doubt considered:
Of course, as a scientist Senator, I feel particularly strongly that the public is ill served by politicians scientists who ignore empirical evidence while making and speaking out on policy.
Observe the climate models, where over 100 different computer simulations have made predictions of rapid warming that simply have not been seen.  These models are increasingly wrong, and essentially none of them have predicted that warming has not only stopped, but has stopped for 17 years:

Policy, meet empirical evidence.  Of course, the Climate Science® establishment has an answer to that:
The publisher of Environmental Research Letters today took the bizarre position that expecting consistency between models and observations is an “error”.

The publisher stated that the rejected Bengtsson manuscript (which, as I understand it) had discussed the important problem of the discrepancy between models and observations had “contained errors”.

But what were the supposed “errors”? Bengtsson’s “error” appears to be the idea that models should be consistent with observations, an idea that the reviewer disputed.
Translation: pay no attention to the models diverging from reality.  The Great and Powerful Climate Science® establishment has spoken.  But please, let's continue with our butt-hurt scientist™:
Oklahoma Republican Congressman James Lankford’s amendment prohibited funding for "proposing or implementing any executive order related to the 'social cost of carbon.'" In this way, the Energy Department would presumably be prohibited from embarking on studies that might calculate the possible benefits of legislation that limits carbon dioxide emissions or the economic risks associated with climate change.  
Maybe the voters in Oklahoma don't have any more confidence in the busted climate models than the voters of Australia, and a similar lack of appetite for Green boondoggles with the corresponding higher costs and higher taxes?  Maybe the voters of Oklahoma think that the scientific research they are being asked to pay for should benefit them, not cost them?
A second amendment by Arizona Republican Paul Gosar prohibited funding for the Energy Department's Climate Model Development and Validation program. One of the things that climate change deniers often pull out of their hats when arguing against acting to stem climate change is a claimed skepticism about the validity of existing climate models. I have recently countered one such skeptic on television here in Australia by accepting this skepticism—and then challenging him to present what his models predicted.  (Of course he didn’t have any).
Err, dude - did you see that graph?  The climate models suck.  All of the climate models suck.  ALL. OF. THEM.

And how to say this politely?  I'm not paid by the taxpayer to make a computer model that doesn't suck.  You (or the other Climate Science® establishment) are.  We pay you a fucking LOT of money to come up with a lot of climate models.  THEY. ALL. SUCK.

And you sneer "So what's your model?  Hee hee, hee hee, hee.  Bevis, he doesn't have a model!"

I want a fucking refund from you, you poser.  But let's continue with the poser's scientist's complaint:
A third science-defunding amendment, this time pushed by West Virginia Republican David McKinley, would prohibit the Energy Department from supporting climate change activities associated with the National Climate Assessment and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. 
That's right: The Energy Department would be prohibited from responding to the two landmark reports that reflect the best international scientific scholarship available on climate modeling and the possible impacts of human greenhouse gas production, locally, nationally, and internationally.
The "best international scientific scholarship?"  You mean from the University of East Anglia (lead authors of the IPCC reports)?  The ones who did the whole "hide the decline" thing?

Let's sum up: all of the models are wrong, the Climate Science® establishment waves their hands saying nobody would expect the models to tract to reality, and the "best international scientific scholarship" relied on by the IPCC are busy hiding the decline.  None of this is in dispute.

And butt-hurt Climate Scientist® wonders why elected bodies world wide are reluctant to keep funding this same cluster fsck?  Look, I can understand how some Government funding gets diverted to hookers and blow, but the rest is just wasted on the current establishment.

More climate hookers and blow, please.  Let me sum up once again:
Of course, as a scientist Senator, I feel particularly strongly that the public is ill served by politicians scientists who ignore empirical evidence while making and speaking out on policy.
No need to thank me, Dr. Krauss, it's all part of being a full service climate blog.

A century ago, a whole generation was butchered and damned

Image via Der Wik
One hundred years ago, the Empire of Austria-Hungary declared war, which started Europe's slow suicide.  Four years and an hundred days later, the guns fell silent on the Western Front, after a whole generation was butchered and damned.

You are about to be bombarded with a maelstrom of history, which means Generals on horseback.  There's no worse way to learn what happened than from historians* - rather, you should listen to songs that sing the unwritten history that really matters.  As a public service, here is the Great War as a song cycle:

Act I: Man's essential humanity has not yet been suppressed:

The first is a song about the human feeling which had not yet been extinguished by the Powers That Be. December 1914 saw something unique in trench warfare: the Christmas of 1914 showed that the human heart still beat on the front lines:
All our lives, our family our friends told us it we were crazy.  Couldn't possibly have happened to us.  Then we heard your song on the radio and said "See? See? We were there."
That the ones that the ones who call the shots
won't be among the dead and lame,

and on each side of the rifle we are the same.

Act II.  Futility.

So many men died for so little gain that the ANZAC invasion day is a national holiday in Australia.  The invasion became a cliche of wasted effort and wasted lives, as this song captures in its full bitterness:

So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
and they sent me away to the war.


And in five minutes flat we were all blown to Hell.
Nearly blew us back to Australia

I see the old men marching, all tired stiff and sore.
The forgotten heroes of a forgotten war.

Act III.  Cynicism. 

What do you say to the dead?  Only the poets can answer.

But here in this graveyard it's still no man's land
the countless white crosses in mute witness stand
to Man's blind indifference to his fellow man
and a whole generation who was butchered and damned

 Act IV.  Wie sagst die auf Deutsche?

Just remember that "All Quiet On The Western Front" was written by a man with the nom de plume Erich Remarque.  His christian name was Erik Kramer.  He was a kraut, through and through.  Just remember, they bled the same color as we did.

Weit in der Champagne im Mittsommergrün
Dort wo zwischen Grabkreuzen Mohnblumen blüh'n
Da flüstern die Gräser und wiegen sich leicht
Im Wind, der sanft über das Gräberfeld streicht
Auf deinem Kreuz finde ich toter Soldat
Deinen Namen nicht, nur Ziffern und jemand hat
Die Zahl neunzehnhundertundsechzehn gemalt
Und du warst nicht einmal neunzehn Jahre alt

Ja, auch Dich haben sie schon genauso belogen
So wie sie es mit uns heute immer noch tun
Und du hast ihnen alles gegeben:
Deine Kraft, Deine Jugend, Dein Leben

Hast du, toter Soldat, mal ein Mädchen geliebt?
Sicher nicht, denn nur dort, wo es Frieden gibt
Können Zärtlichkeit und Vertrauen gedei'n
Warst Soldat, um zu sterben, nicht um jung zu sein
Vielleicht dachtest du Dir, ich falle schon bald
Nehme mir mein Vergnügen, wie es kommt, mit Gewalt
Dazu warst du entschlossen, hast dich aber dann
Vor dir selber geschämt und es doch nie getan

Ja, auch Dich haben sie schon genauso belogen
So wie sie es mit uns heute immer noch tun
Und du hast ihnen alles gegeben:
Deine Kraft, Deine Jugend, Dein Leben

Soldat, gingst du gläubig und gern in des Tod?
Oder hast zu verzweifelt, verbittert, verroht
Deinen wirklichen Feind nicht erkannt bis zum Schluß?
Ich hoffe, es traf dich ein sauberer Schuß?
Oder hat ein Geschoß Dir die Glieder zerfetzt
Hast du nach deiner Mutter geschrien bis zuletzt
Bist Du auf Deinen Beinstümpfen weitergerannt
Und dein Grab, birgt es mehr als ein Bein, eine Hand?

Ja, auch Dich haben sie schon genauso belogen
So wie sie es mit uns heute immer noch tun
Und du hast ihnen alles gegeben:
Deine Kraft, Deine Jugend, Dein Leben

Es blieb nur das Kreuz als die einzige Spur
Von deinem Leben, doch hör' meinen Schwur
Für den Frieden zu kämpfen und wachsam zu sein:
Fällt die Menschheit noch einmal auf Lügen herein
Dann kann es gescheh'n, daß bald niemand mehr lebt
Miemand, der die Milliarden von Toten begräbt
Doch finden sich mehr und mehr Menschen bereit
Diesen Krieg zu verhindern, es ist an der Zeit

Act V.  You have no idea.

Remember, they were young once.  Full of dreams and ambition.  And then the whistle blew, and it was over the top ...

And then it was over, with the armistice. And yet it wasn't.
Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda,
will you come a waltzing, Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by the Billabong.
Will you come a waltzing, Matilda with me?

* That's a hard thing to write given that Dad was a historian, but he would be the first to agree with this post.  He had a different three songs, but those were from the Vietnam War, and the cycle of awareness that captured the American pubic from those artists. That was the inspiration for this post.  I think he would approve of this post.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ten years ago in baseball history

Jason Varitek sparks what would end as the greatest come-back season in Baseball history.

I'd forgotten just how short the fight was.


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - scenes from the Nutcracker ballet

Image via La Wik
A lot of all y'all may think that ballet is frou-frou.  Well, it did keep Degas in business, but there's more to it than that.  Consider: the ballerinas have steel-toed shoes.

A friend was telling me about her niece who had once danced with the Atlanta Ballet.  It's quite a hard business to get into, actually a lot like professional sports - many start training as children and put in long hours because of the love of the thing.  But few make it to the Big Leagues.  A lot drop out along the way because injuries can be quite serious, ending promising careers before they even begin.

And before you tell me that yes, but it's still frou-frou, let me just say Louis XIV, the Sun King himself danced the ballet.  L'etat, c'est moi: I am the State and the State damn well better dance if it knows what's good for it.  Err, the translation is a little bold, but you catch my drift.

And so instead of frou-frou, it's perhaps better for the casual ballet observer to think of the dances as baseball innings, or football downs.  You have great athletes (yes, there's no other term for the performers), great music, and - especially in today's selection from the Nutcracker - a set of different dances that you can think of as third and long (Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy) or first and goal (Russian Dance).  While it might seem declassé to analyze the art on display this way, this gives the dancers the due that they've earned for the really brutal training and weeding out that they've been through.

And steel toe shoes are hot.  If I'm lying, I'm dieing.

Hopefully my friend will still talk to me after this post ...

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Your moment of Zen

There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.

- Baruch Spinoza, a totally badass philosopher

Who says nerds don't know how to partay?

Well, for some value of "partay" ...

Recommended Reading: The Book Of Barkley

The finest writer that I know is my friend (actually my sister-from-another-mother) Brigid.  Her's is a quite unusual talent which can not just touch your soul but which can make you think, all at the same time.  The simultaneous fusion of both right brain and left brain action is why she's a daily read for me.  Sui generis, indeed.

Her book of stories about her late, faithful companion Barkley is now out.  It's a cycle of life, one that starts at the beginning, with puppy Barkley's lonely evening in a strange and different place:

The power was off all night, but we were OK. I cooked burgers out on the barbecue, and with a breeze blowing off one of the Great Lakes, we were reasonably cool, even those of us wearing fur coats.

With the house in darkness but for a camping lantern and candles, and good ventilation from outside, I just decided to go to bed early. I put him in his crate, all fixed up with a soft shirt inside that I'd worn so it would smell familiar, and I climbed into bed. The window was cracked open; the only sound was the soft silver tinkle of glasses, as the neighbors cleaned up from their impromptu cookout in the shared drive. A flash of faded light broke the space between us, not the power coming back on, just someone's headlights, and he stirred with a gentle cry.

There was no ignoring that sound, a plaintive little cry of loneliness, the anguish of a helpless creature who doesn't understand what he so terribly misses. He'd never slept in a crate, always with his Mom and brothers and sisters.

I wasn't sure exactly what to do; it had been a long, long while since I was around a puppy, and I wasn't sure exactly what he needed. Food, water, go outside? What is it when we grapple with our pet’s innate needs and we perceive how congruent and consistent they are, those canine companions with which we share a future, a home, and all the stars above it. They just want to be safe and be loved, no different from us.

I got up, opened his crate and picked him up. I lay down on the sofa, Barkley on my chest, nuzzled up to something making him think "well, these don't come with food, but they are soft" and went contentedly to sleep.
And ends, well, at the end, with Brigid's lonely evening in a strange and different psychological place:

But those first few weeks, there were no dreams. Last night, alone while my husband was on the road, one finally came.  In my dream, I got up from sleep, wandered out into the hall and there he was, standing there in the bright morning light.  I knew I was dreaming, and I also knew he was gone from this world, I stared at what, to me in my slumbering musings was a ghost Barkley.
I felt tears well up, then I noticed that look on his face, a look of guilt and somewhat pride, an, "Oh No, look what I just did!”  and "Wow, that's the biggest one yet," all in one expression.
There in the shadowed corners of the room, where the rug was indelibly stained from such earlier occurrences was a big fresh pile of dog vomit.  Ghost Barkley had come back to leave me a little gift.
I woke up, to an empty room and clean floors, laughing as, from outside, the sound of the winged birds of morning began.
But the best part of the book is in the middle.  It's about Barkley, of course, but more importantly it's about life, and love, and loss, and all those things that make us fully human.  Parts of this book have a beauty that is almost painful to read, as they play on those Great Questions: what is it fully to be human, as we would wish to be?  What is it to live the Good Life?  What is it to leave that Good Life?

The Great Questions, of course, do not have answers.  That is not their purpose.  They exist to break us out of our mundane, daily existence, to fuse that left brain challenge that makes us really think with the right brain song that touches us in that part of the soul that tells us who we are.
I've not read many books that do this as well as Brigid's, and I envy those of you who have yet to read this - you have all of the anticipation that I felt when Brigid sent me a review copy.  If you don't enjoy it as much as I did that I'm afraid that we can't be friends anymore.

The Book Of Barkley is available through Amazon.  If you hit that link then you'll also help support this blog.  But even if you don't, get the damned book.

Vince Gill with Alison Krauss and Union Station - High Lonesome Sound

Bluegrass for the win.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Cheap technical education

#1 Son is almost all the way through his Cisco CCNA book, and we're getting ready for him to actually take the exam.  He still has a little trouble with subnetting/route aggregation, but that means he's not converting the IP addresses into binary (everything becomes simple then).

But as a reminder to my readers who may be looking to break into an industry that has high pay, if you are a bit technical this is something that you can do, too.  No need for fancy College (or the tuition for same).

Here are some posts I've done on the subject:

Why and how to teach yourself security

Free Technical Education

I, nerd

Not exactly a poker face

Someone in Camp Borepatch has been getting up on the kitty condo and eating Crash the Wondercat's food.  The investigation continues ...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

On life

It can be bittersweet.

An 18th Century English folk ballad sung by Mary Chapin Carpenter.  Doors open, doors close; only we remain sometimes.
Fare thee well
My own true love
Farewell for a while
Im going away
But Ill be back
Though I go 10,000 miles

10,000 miles
My own true love
10,000 miles or more
The rocks may melt
And the seas may burn
If I should not return

Oh don’t you see
That lonesome dove
Sitting on an ivy tree
Shes weeping for
Her own true love
As I shall weep for mine

Oh come ye back
My own true love
And stay a while with me
If I had a friend
All on this earth
You've been a friend to me.
I like to say that nobody sings sad like Emmy Lou Harris.  Except maybe Mary.

Charlie Musselwhite - The Blues Overtook Me

Fast women and whisky made this po' boy wild.

Worldwide survey: 58% think that climate change is being used as an excuse to raise taxes

Government and Scientific Establishment legitimacy collapses; Mother Gaia and Hippies hardest hit:
People all around the world, responding to a survey by Ipsos MORI, have generally agreed with the ideas that scientists don't really know what they're talking about when it comes to the climate – and that governments are using environmental issues as an excuse to raise taxes.

These not-so-green views were transmitted as part of Ipsos MORI's new Global Trends 2014 survey, which can be seen here. Respondents were asked to respond "agree", "disagree" or "don't know" to various statements.

On balance the people of the world concurred with the statement "even the scientists don't really know what they're talking about on environmental issues", with only 42 per cent disagreeing and 48 per cent agreeing. Disbelief in scientific climate expertise was strongest in China, Japan and Germany. In Britain, the US and Australia, people were less sceptical, with those populations pretty much evenly split as to whether scientists know what they're on about regarding the environment.

The survey respondents also strongly endorsed the idea that "the government is just using environmental issues as an excuse to raise taxes", with 58 per cent in agreement and just 31 per cent disagreeing worldwide.
Americans are not even as skeptical as Europeans.  For once I agree with our Ivy League nobility that we should be more like Europe.

This is  my shocked face.

Greenpeace supporters in open revolt over executive who commutes by Jet

Props where props are due:
More than 40 staff members and campaign leaders from Greenpeace Netherlands are still demanding that international program director Pascal Husting be dismissed. Husting came under fire last month for his choice to fly between his home in Luxembourg and his workplace in Amsterdam, the Volkskrant reports.

The staff members penned a letter to Greenpeace director Kumi Naidoo and Husting, writing that Naidoo should “considerate his position”, adding that the damage they have caused to the environmental organization can only be remedied by their departure, the paper writes.

The letter was not published, but spread amongst employees and signed by almost all important campaign leaders and staff members. The only missing signature is that of Dutch director Sylvia Borren who believes that dismissal is unnecessary.
Actually, good for them.  I don't agree with most of their policy proposals but I respect the integrity they are showing here.


Record cold in Australia

I blame Global Warming:
If you are lucky enough to be reading this from the comfort of your blankets, it might be best to stay there, as Brisbane has hit its coldest temperatures in 103 years.
Not since July 28 1911 has Brisbane felt this cold, getting down to a brisk 2.6C at 6.41am.


“The average for this time of year is 12C, so Brisbane was about 9C below average, it is pretty impressive really, to have the coldest morning in 103 years is a big record.”
The coldest place across the state was Oakey which got down to -6.1C, which was the coldest temperature for the town since 2011.
Warmists roll their eyes when we post this sort of thing, muttering "weather, not climate", and then turn around and breathlessly post hyperventilating hysterics for every record high.  So I'll just pour a nice hot cup of schadenfreude and serve with a hot buttered mockery.

Hat tip: 2cents via email

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I am so doing this

Crash the Wondercat could use a little exercise.

Final thoughts on Halbig and Obamacare

Now that they passed the bill, Nancy Pelosi is finding out what's in it.

I crack myself up sometimes.  If I ever tweeted, I'd tweet this.  For a longer, in-depth (dare we call it "Borepatchian"?) analysis, this is outstanding.  Borepatchian, in fact.

At the doctor

Just for my annual checkup.

Doc: "You need to eat less, drink less, and exercise more. "

Me: "I want a second opinion."

Doc: "OK, you're ugly, too."

I'm here all week. Try the veal.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

UPDATE: Damn, I like this doctor. That's a new experience for me.

Halbig v. Burwell, en banc hearing, and the future of Obamacare

Buddy 2cents (an actual bona fide lawyer, but don't hold it against him) emails to point out this:
President Obama’s old Harvard Law professor, Laurence Tribe, said that he “wouldn’t bet the family farm” on Obamacare’s surviving the legal challenges to an IRS rule about who is eligible for subsidies that are currently working their way through the federal courts.
“I don’t have a crystal ball,” Tribe told the Fiscal Times. “But I wouldn’t bet the family farm on this coming out in a way that preserves Obamacare.”
Tribe, of course, is famously progressive in his views, and he's not exactly all sunshine and kittens about Obamacare's chances.  My thought was that the DC Court of Appeals is one of the most left leaning in the land, and an en banc hearing (where all the judges sit on the case, not just three) might give a different result.  I asked his opinion, and here is his opinion as a lawyer:
Moot point.  And if anything, I would put more money on the 4th Circuit taking THAT case en banc.  The 4th Circuit is more conservative than the DC Circuit is liberal.  Either way, there will be a split of the Circuits before too long.  The Supremes will end up deciding this one.  And I cannot see how this Court could do anything other than decide the same way as the DC Circuit did.  The statue is clear on its face.  Harry Reid’s office kept submitting the same language.  No one ever questioned it.  On top of that, as you may recall, SCOTUS only upheld HCA as an exercise of Congress’s power to tax.  The IRS has no power to interpretively impose new taxes.  They have NO power to tax.  Finally, revisionist history aside, the language of the statue very much fits Congress’s intent.  Let us not forget that, when the passed Obamacare, it was assumed by one and all that the States would jump right in and set up exchanges.  The Federal exchange was only envisioned as a stop gap back up plan.  Of course, politics, the economy and everything else intervened.  As a result, the obvious rush to participate has ended up with only 16 states setting up their own exchanges.  And Lord knows that this is not the first time that Congress wrote a law screwed up because they drew an erroneous conclusion resulting in a failed prediction.
So there you have it.  Things are not looking good for Obamacare at all.  It's not dead, but it looks like it's coughing up blood.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

About all that carbon dioxide in the air ...

It's said (by Science™) that we've gone from 300 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in pre-industrial times to 400 ppm today.  The implication is that industrialization is the cause of the increase.  But is it?

New paper: only 15 ppm (i.e. 15% of the increase) is from fossil fuels.  Hey, you don't want to be a Science Denier, do you?

Quote of the day: open carry edition

Call me crazy, but I feel one of my responsibilities as a gun rights advocate is to show people that gun owners are reasonable, responsible people who aren’t a threat to the innocent. If I were to, say, walk into Chipotle carrying an AK at the combat ready, I’m pretty sure I’d accomplish the exact opposite. And I really couldn’t blame regular Joe for being afraid of me. Think about it, guys. If a cop walks into Chipotle with a rifle, people will get scared. If a soldier walks into Chipotle with a rifle, people will get scared. If some unknown guy walks into Chipotle with a rifle, especially if he’s carrying it at the combat ready, people are going to get scared. In America, carrying a rifle into a restaurant isn’t a normal act. Right or wrong, it scares people. And you won’t make people less scared of guns by intentionally scaring them with guns.


Peaceful open carry rallies where gun owners safely carry long guns slung across their backs on public land? I’m down with that. Blatantly ridiculous, orchestrated confrontations where open carriers walk into private businesses with rifles at the combat ready, just to piss people off, knowing that all they’ll do is create more enemies? No thanks.
So please, open carriers, stop “defending my rights”.
Hat tip: Elusive Wapati, who has some comments of his own.

105 year old throws out first pitch

Her Oceanside retirement community, Fairwinds, had planned an outing a few months ago to Sunday's Padres game. One of the staff members at Fairwinds asked if McKee, their oldest resident, could toss the first pitch since it would be just a few days after her 105th birthday, which was Wednesday.
It worked out perfectly. The Padres honor the military at Sunday home games, and McKee's husband, Harry, was a veteran and a baseball lover. He died six years ago. So now, it will be an honor for both of them. From the U-T San Diego:
“He would be so proud,” she said about her upcoming pitch. “He would not be surprised at all. He always knew I was up for an adventure.”
Hat tip: 2cents, via email

Monday, July 21, 2014

My attitude about the airliner over Ukraine and the border mess

It's the path on the left, for the reason stated.

But hey, that's just me.  I'm a lousy news consumer, and this is also pretty much why I avoid Twitter like the plague.


In which I agree with Thomas Frank

Frank, of course, is the dim bulb who penned the idiotic What's The Matter With Kansas.  But he diagnoses the Obama legacy pretty well:
In approaching this subject, let us first address the historical situation of the Obama administration. The task of museums, like that of history generally, is to document periods of great change. The task facing the makers of the Obama museum, however, will be pretty much exactly the opposite: how to document a time when America should have changed but didn’t. Its project will be to explain an age when every aspect of societal breakdown was out in the open and the old platitudes could no longer paper it over—when the meritocracy was clearly corrupt, when the financial system had devolved into organized thievery, when everyone knew that the politicians were bought and the worst criminals went unprosecuted and the middle class was in a state of collapse and the newspaper pundits were like street performers miming “seriousness” for an audience that had lost its taste for mime and seriousness both. It was a time when every thinking person could see that the reigning ideology had failed, that an epoch had ended, that the shitty consensus ideas of the 1980s had finally caved in—and when an unlikely champion arose from the mean streets of Chicago to keep the whole thing propped up nevertheless.
The rest of the article, of course, is Frank pushing the same tired old leftie nostrums.  But this moment of clarity on the current situation - propping up the whole rotten system - is entirely on target.  Although Thomas would do better if he read Borepatch - especially this.


International Cat Diplomacy

Nixon famously used "Ping Pong Diplomacy" to normalize relations with Red China* in the 1970s, sending a ping pong team to the PRC and using the good will from the resulting television reports to thaw international relations.

Well, I've been busy on this, too.  I've been having a lot of videoconference calls with the team in Beijing.  Since I work from home (and they mostly do too - at least when the call is late in the evening their time) Crash the Wondercat has been making a habbit of hopping up on my lap and so appearing in the call.

Well, on the last call a cat there in Beijing jumped up on a lap there, and Crash and he engaged in a bit of International Cat Diplomacy.  It's a strange and wonderful world we live in, sometimes.

Happy birthday, air conditioning!

Living as I happily do in the heart of Dixie, this is a big deal:
In Buffalo, New York, on July 17 [conflicting dates, July 21 is given also - Borepatch] , 1902, in response to a quality problem experienced at the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing & Publishing Company of Brooklyn, Willis Carrier submitted drawings for what became recognized as the world's first modern air conditioning system. The 1902 installation marked the birth of air conditioning because of the addition of humidity control, which led to the recognition by authorities in the field that air conditioning must perform four basic functions:

1.) control temperature; 2.) control humidity; 3.) control air circulation and ventilation; 4.) cleanse the air.
I can't imagine what things would be like without AC.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Getting older is a bitch

The Geek in Heels finds sequels describing mid-life crises for literary characters.

Heh.  Lots more.

Johann Christoph Pepusch - Concerto for Violin, Strings & Basso Continuo in A minor

Sometimes it seems that all the English composers of the early 18th century were actually German, come to the court of the new Hannoverian monarchs.  John Christopher Pepusch was one such, born Johann Christoph in Berlin.

Perhaps best known for his arrangement of The Beggar's Opera, he represented the best of the late baroque.  He also founded the Academy of Ancient Music, dedicated to performing pieces that were at least 100 years old.  That organization petered out, but has been revived and is active today.

Friday, July 18, 2014

My NSA mix tape

Claire asks:
Via jed: Artist sends the National Spy Agency a super-encrypted “mixtape.”


So what would be on your freedomista mixtape?
Well, Okay then.

Johnny Rivers knows their secret pain - that they'll never look as good as he does:

Wynonna knows that you're up to something.  So does Ft. Meade.  They know the truth when they look into your eyes read your metadata ...

Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned, or the NSA looking at a Linux geek running a TOR exist node.  They know what you did last night:

And no school like the Old School.  You got me in a tizzy, little busy body:

Self-driving car failure modes

There's quite an interesting discussions in the comments section to yesterday's post about self-driving cars.  A number of people are clearly doing more thinking than the technologists and bureaucrats pushing this concept on a (mostly) unwilling public.  It's worth your time to see what a good security brainstorming session looks like.

I want to expand on this here, because it seems that the biggest obstacles are not technical, but rather social.  Here are some, in no particular order:

1. Self-driving cars will never be cool.  The lure of the open road has left Americans spellbound for generations.  The nerd playing X-Box 2025 will never be as cool as this, ever:

The Rebel lacks a cause, but meekly complies with all traffic ordinances.  I think it's quite a serious mistake to bet against cool.

2. You can't get rid of non-self driving cars.  Look at this car:

This car is not cheap, and more importantly is only driven infrequently as a hobby.  So think about who owns a car like this - it's not some backwoods redneck, it's someone with serious wealth.  If there's one thing that is abundantly clear it's that rich people don't take well to the Government taking away their hobbies.  So the self-driving car systems will be forced to deal with non-self driving cars.

3. Government Agencies exist to collect power for the Government Agency.  We can expect that they will be the biggest backers of mileage limits.  Make people fly more, so you will need more TSA screeners.  The proof?  TSA is already trying to get into the train travel and roadblock business. 

None of these are technology objections, they are societal limitations on deploying a system that will live up to the billing.  The system simply cannot improve road use, or mileage, or safety, because society won't let this happen.

Tastes like chicken

No, really.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Johnny Winter - Live From Montreux

Thanks for all the great music, Johnny.  Rest in peace.

A cloudy outlook for self-driving cars

Over at Gormogons, GorT muses on the prospects for self-driving (autonomous) cars, and thinks that it's more or less inevitable that these will come to dominate the market.

The Antiplanner looks at President Obama's recent call for mandatory use of this technology and delves into the downsides:
First, V2V [Vehicle-To-Vehicle communications - Borepatch] and V2I [Vehicle-To-Infrastructure - Borepatch] communications pose serious security risks for travelers and cities. With V2V communications, an automobile that suffers a fender-bender would communicate to all nearby vehicles that they ought to take a different route to avoid congestion.

That sounds good, but what happens when someone hacks the system and puts out radio signals in a hundred or a thousand critical urban intersections that effectively shut down traffic in an entire city? As one expert at the driverless vehicle symposium observed, “just think of the opportunities for chaos!”

Second, V2I communications will allow the nanny state to monitor and control when and where you travel. For example, PC Magazine observes that V2I is “so accurate a revenue-hungry town could write tickets for doing 57 in a 55 zone.”

Worse, suppose your state decides to cut per capita driving in half, which isn’t far fetched considering that in 2008 the Washington legislature passed a law mandating such a reduction by 2050. With V2I communications, the government could decide you have driven enough and simply shut off your car.

Third, what happens when all cars are dependent on V2I systems that the government can’t afford to maintain? The federal government is notorious for funding capital projects and then providing inadequate money to maintain them, and state and local governments are little better.

Finally, V2V and V2I communications will be unnecessary added expense to auto ownership.
Speaking professionally, the security risks are way, way worse than even this (pretty good) overview gives.  The idea of targeted attacks is very plausible, particularly if (as is likely) the comms systems are Internet-enabled (say, via OnStar).  Even if they are not directly Internet-enabled, they look to almost certainly be on the same comms bus with systems that are Internet-enabled.

This will be a very high value system to compromise, which tells you everything that you need to know to understand the nature of the attackers it will attract.  It ain't going to be Bobby Scriptkiddie.

And mandatory government tinkerable systems seem to be a stretch until issues like NSA metadata collection and use are resolved, which looks to be just a little before the heat death of the Universe.  Given that people's faith in the Government to be (a) competent and (b) non-malicious is asymptotically approaching zero, just how would Congress pass a law like this and survive the next election?

But it gets even worse - there will have to be controls over who can tinker with these systems, or Charlie Carowner will just disconnect the damn thing some Saturday.  So only licensed mechanics will be lawfully able to do this.  OK, how many mechanics are there in the good old US of A?
There are approximately 763700 people employed as an Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics.
How many of these would be able to be bribed or intimidated to get access to the systems (i.e. facilitate compromise of the system)?  Consider a threat scenario when a large organization (Government Agency, Union, Special Interest Group, etc) really wanted to gather information on a particular individual.  Could you bribe a mechanic to add some code for, say, $25,000?  That's rounding error for these organization's budgets.

But GorT brings an even stronger reason why this is almost certainly not going to become widespread anytime soon:
There really is a bottom line as to why Google and other companies are looking into it: data.  The data that could be collected from the cars, passenger ids (for anti-theft / authorized usage) and travel patterns would be huge.  Toss in there the ability to market those passengers and it becomes even more enticing.
Google and Facebook are burning down any level of trust that they may once have had, because GorT is exactly right - the your data is worthless to them if they can't monetize it.  It's one thing to see pictures of your BFF's baby niece, it's another kettle of fish entirely for Google to know exactly where your car is (and if you are in it) every second of every day.

Why on earth would anyone ever want one of these cars under those circumstances?  So that you don't have to drive home after a couple too many beers at the pub?  Get a cab.

Right now you get free Internet search (and maybe email) - you get something of value from Google.  What of value do you get for letting them follow you around everywhere you go?

The potential downsides are so, well, creepy - and so hard to explain to your Mom without it sounding creepy - that these products will almost certainly be toxic in the marketplace.  And that's without adding in the Government-revenue-grabbing/busybody-in-your-bidness/NSA-stalker overlay of added creepy from the Fed.Gov.

Until the Government and Silicon Valley do a much better job of showing that they can be trusted with this sort of data, or showing that there is a much better ("killer app") benefit to the car owner, this isn't going anywhere other than the drawing board.

The Halt and Catch Fire birthday cake

All of that win has to be a little fattening, don't you think?

It's OK, tires give it positive buoyancy

One way or another.  Err, ether sprayed into the cylinders will dry that out, right?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

So with all this Global Warming, how many of the world's weather stations saw cooling over the 20th century?

A third:
As far as I remember, this is the first time when I could quantitatively calculate the actual local variability of the global warming rate. Just like I expected, it is huge - and comparable to some of my rougher estimates. Even though the global average yields an overall positive temperature trend - a warming - it is far from true that this warming trend appears everywhere.

In this sense, the warming recorded by the HadCRUT3 data is not global. Despite the fact that the average station records 77 years of the temperature history, 30% of the stations still manage to end up with a cooling trend. The warming at a given place is 0.75 plus minus 2.35 °C per century.
Emphasis mine.  And notice that the uncertainty in the warming rate is three times what the warming rate is.
Even if you imagine that the warming rate in the future will be 2 times faster than it was in the last 77 years (in average), it would still be true that in the next 40 years or so, i.e. by 2050, almost one third of the places on the globe will experience a cooling relatively to 2010 or 2011! So forget about the Age of Stupid doomsday scenario around 2055: it's more likely than not that more than 25% of places will actually be cooler in 2055 than in 2010.
We're always sneered at for missing the distinction between weather and climate.  Cooling experienced over 1500 weather stations over the course of 77 years seems to fall into the bucket of "climate".

You know, if the theory of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming were as solid as we're told, evidence supporting it would be falling off of the roof eaves and littering your driveway in the morning.

Aw, now you're making me blush

Lovely spammer emails:
I came across your site while looking through business and trade related blogs.
Wow.  Just imagine if you'd have been looking for firearms and Internet security!  You'd have found me there, too!
We think that our products would be a perfect fit for you and your readers since we share the same advocacy of helping people get to realize their full potentials and help them to do greatly do what they do best.
Do be do be do.  I sure am glad I help all of you go greatly.
And I like the fact that your commentaries are beyond amazing.
Sure are.  And the bloggers here are exceptionally good looking, too.  Thanks so much for cluttering up my inbox.

Halt and catch fire

There's a long tradition of geek humor - most of it incredibly cynical of technology's failures.  The Jargon File is perhaps the greatest compendium of this oral tradition, and includes gems like this on Magic Smoke:

magic smoke: n.

A substance trapped inside IC packages that enables them to function (also called blue smoke; this is similar to the archaic phlogiston hypothesis about combustion). Its existence is demonstrated by what happens when a chip burns up — the magic smoke gets let out, so it doesn't work any more. See smoke test, let the smoke out.

Usenetter Jay Maynard tells the following story: “Once, while hacking on a dedicated Z80 system, I was testing code by blowing EPROMs and plugging them in the system, then seeing what happened. One time, I plugged one in backwards. I only discovered that after I realized that Intel didn't put power-on lights under the quartz windows on the tops of their EPROMs — the die was glowing white-hot. Amazingly, the EPROM worked fine after I erased it, filled it full of zeros, then erased it again. For all I know, it's still in service. Of course, this is because the magic smoke didn't get let out.

Compare the original phrasing of Murphy's Law.
One of the jokes that I remember from back in the '80s* was the Assembly Code instruction HCF: Halt and Catch Fire.  You would program this when you really, really wanted the system to stop - and maybe even let the Magic Smoke out.

Well the AMC Television network has created a show "Halt And Catch Fire".  I don't watch much TV, but may need to Tivo this.  From IMDB:
Set in the early 1980s, series dramatizes the personal computing boom through the eyes of a visionary, an engineer and a prodigy whose innovations directly confront the corporate behemoths of the time. Their personal and professional partnership will be challenged by greed and ego while charting the changing culture in Texas' Silicon Prairie.

* You damn kids, get offa my lawn!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bachelor cooking with #2 Son - Lumberjack Beanhole Baked Beans

Yeah, I need to do this with #1 Son as well, but he's up in Yankeeland visiting his friends, so #2 Son and I made dinner.

Maine Lumberjack Beanhole Beans

I first had this probably in the late 1960s, almost certainly at a Cub Scout dinner.  I loved it then, and it's one of the dishes that I still love (Dad used to make it, and maybe that's what inspired me to make this with #2 Son - I used to make it with Dad).

So what's a beanhole?

Back in the Old Days of the 1820s - 1950s, lumberjacks would head out into the Maine woods without much in the way of heavy equipment.  Or light equipment.  Or refrigeration.  You get the idea.  It was a Man's world in the deep forest, where they would cut down trees with axes and 2 man saws, and horse them (with actual horses, hence the expression) to the river to float down to the saw mill.  I actually went to the last log drive on the Penobscot* river, back in '71 or '72.

So what do you eat when you're out in the woods for a month?  Beans.  But you need to doctor them up to make them good, which is what we do here.  The beanhole was essentially a Maine luau - you dig a hole, build a fire in it, let it burn down to coals, put the wrapped (well, contained in a Dutch Oven) food it, cover it with earth, and leave it all the day.  At the end of the day you dig up your hot dinner.


2 big cans of baked beans.  This is the basic foundation upon which we will build.  If you're a purist, you can use dried beans (which is what they used, Back In The Day), but that's a lot more work and this is bachelor cooking, remember?  Extra points if you have B&M Baked Beans (from the South Portland, ME factory), but you probably can't get those outside New England.  I used Bush's.

4 slices of bacon, sliced into 1/3" "lardons" (wee little bacon matchsticks)

1 polish sausage, cut into 1/2" lengths

1 large onion, minced with Madame Guillotine.

2 tablespoons of ground coffee.  Yes, ground coffee.  This is the secret ingredient, and you will not want to skip this.

(optional) 2 tablespoons Rudy's BBQ rub (or equivalent).  #2 Son likes it.  So do I.  Your mileage may vary.

(optional) 1/4 cup maple syrup.  I find that it gets too sweet, but if you're cooking for kids, this will likely make it very much like what I had at that Cub Scout dinner, so many years ago.

You won't need salt or pepper because the beans will have plenty.


In a big dutch oven, fry up the bacon and reserve in a dish.

Fry the polish sausage not to cook (it will almost certainly come cooked) but rather to brown.  This is important - browning meat is one of the best tricks you can teach a young bachelor, because you add a lot of flavor.  Reserve with the bacon.

Pour out most (all but a tablespoon) of the bacon fat, and brown the onion.  You want brown, not wilted.  I go past the golden brown stage to the brown brown stage.

Add the beans and scrape the bottom vigorously to get all the crusty bits into the mixture.  This "pan scab" has a ton of flavor.  Do not skip this step or you'll make Baby Epicurus cry.

Add the coffee, (optional) rub, and meat.  Cover.  Bang it into a 350° oven for 45 minutes to an hour.  I guess you could serve it with some sort of vegetation if you want.  Hey, onion is a vegetable, right?

Invite all of #2 Son's bachelor friends over for manly Lumberjack Beanhole baked beans.  Watch to make sure they don't steal your beer (they're still 18).

* Hilariously, Blogger's spell check suggest "Pentecost" as a correction for "Penobscot".  The lumberjacks would have laughed at that.

NIST: don't trust NSA

Well, well, well:
The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been urged to hire more crypto experts so it can confidently tell the NSA to take a hike.

A report (PDF) from NIST's Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology (VCAT) – which scrutinizes and advises the institute – scolds NIST for being too reliant on the NSA's cryptography expertise. VCAT cited the adoption and backing the use of the dodgy Dual EC DRBG algorithm, an NSA-championed random number generator that was later found to be flawed [PDF].


"NIST may seek the advice of the NSA on cryptographic matters but it must be in a position to assess it and reject it when warranted," the report suggests. "This may be accomplished by NIST itself or by engaging the cryptographic community during the development and review of any particular standard."

The report goes on to suggest other transparency measures, including the use of open competitions to build new standards and maintaining better documentation on how standards are developed.
NIST is, of course, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the folks who set standards like the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).  In the past, NSA has been very influential in the standards committees.

The problem is, there are two sides to the NSA: a data protection side, and a data collection side.  The Snowden revelations showed just how little care is being spent by the data protection side.

And now NITS has figured that out.

Why the satellite temperature data is infinitely better than the surface record

Long time readers know that I've been quite critical about the data quality of the climate databases, and particularly critical about the adjustments to the recorded temperatures that account for much (or perhaps all, it's hard to say) of the warming in the 20th century.

There is a long and detailed post at Judity Curry's blog about how the adjustments are done, and why:
Having worked with many of the scientists in question, I can say with certainty that there is no grand conspiracy to artificially warm the earth; rather, scientists are doing their best to interpret large datasets with numerous biases such as station moves, instrument changes, time of observation changes, urban heat island biases, and other so-called inhomogenities that have occurred over the last 150 years. Their methods may not be perfect, and are certainly not immune from critical analysis, but that critical analysis should start out from a position of assuming good faith and with an understanding of what exactly has been done.
So far, so good, although I'm quite sceptical about how Urban Heat Island adjustments are made.  I'd like to see these broken out separately, because recent temperatures should be adjusted downwards for UHI, which means that other adjustments (for Time Of Day, etc) would have to be significantly higher than they would appear to be.  But that's just me.

But this whole topic underlines how much better the satellite data are:
  1. It's a truly global measure because it will record temperatures over open ocean and other places you can't put a weather station.  No infilling is needed.
  2. The same instruments measure all locations, so are immune to many of the biases that weather stations are prone to.
  3. Time Of Day issues should not be a concern.
  4. Any instrumentation changes are the result of replacing a satellite and so appear globally, not in only localized data.
The problem, of course, if that satellite data (RSS and UAH) only go back to 1979, and so is mute on the magnitude and sign of the 20th century's climate change.  We do know that there's been zero warming for 17 years and 10 months, per RSS.

But my biggest problem is with the overall philosophy, summed up in this paragraph:
Diligent observers of NCDC’s temperature record have noted that many of the values change by small amounts on a daily basis. This includes not only recent temperatures but those in the distant past as well, and has created some confusion about why, exactly, the recorded temperatures in 1917 should change day-to-day. The explanation is relatively straightforward. NCDC assumes that the current set of instruments recording temperature is accurate, so any time of observation changes or PHA-adjustments are done relative to current temperatures. Because breakpoints are detected through pair-wise comparisons, new data coming in may slightly change the magnitudeof recent adjustments by providing a more comprehensive difference series between neighboring stations.
And so to the real dispute here.  I don't so much object to the data as reported as to the assumption that it is valid for a scientist to modify observational data after it was recorded.  That just feels wrong to me.  And it's what this whole ZOMG THERMAGEDDON thing is about.

And it is the most important reason that I like the satellite data.


35 years ago today the Nation saw a display of leadership not equaled until the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave: Jimmy Carter's "Malaise" speech.  It contained such electrifying ideas as this:
I'm asking you for your good and for your nation's security to take no unnecessary trips, to use carpools or public transportation whenever you can, to park your car one extra day per week, to obey the speed limit, and to set your thermostats to save fuel
What a sad sack.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

If real life were like Soccer fouls

I laughed and laughed.  Yes, it's obvious.  It's that funny.

And I even enjoyed the World Cup this year, but this is very well done - especially the last one.

Hat tip: Coyote.