Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar

Hasbro makes Play-Doh. They also make lots of toys that cut or press Pay-Doh into shapes. You can imagine that a tube you put extrudable material into might be vaguely phallic in shape. The frosting press in my kitchen drawer is tubular, too.

Heck, the Saturn 5 rockets men went to the moon in are vaguely phallic. Bill Clinton apparently noticed the phallic nature of cigars during his time in the White House. Everything from bananas to cucumbers have been commented on for their shape.

So the parents that took a look at their kids Christmas toy and got worked up by the shape of it are probably projecting, right? And to demand that Hasbro come up with a different design and provide free replacements to their customers is just evidence of their rigidity. They're obviously using this as an opening to insert their own issues into.

The way the toy works is you wrap your hand around it, press down and the Play-Doh squirts out the end.


Janus

The Romans worshiped the god Janus from early days.  The coin shown here is from ca. 250 BC, from the still vibrant Republic.  Janus was perhaps unique to Rome - unlike most of the other members of their pantheon there is no record of a Janus-like god among the Greeks who supplied much of Rome's culture.

Janus was long associated with the new year.  Our calendar inaugurates the year with the month of January, and this tradition dates back to Julius Caesar himself, who commissioned the Julian Calendar which began with that same month.

Janus looks back and forward at the same time.  The New Year's tide is a good occasion to look on our own lives, looking back on the past year and forwards on the new.

This year is going out with a bang for me.  Yesterday the Doctor gave me the results of the cancer test.  They were not what I'd hoped.  While still not conclusive, I've shifted out of the realm of not-entirely-reliable and into the realm of more-likely-than-not.  And a 30% chance of "High Grade" cancer.  Nothing but the finest cancer for Mom's little blogger.

Coming on top of the rest of the year, I shall not shed a tear for the late departing AD 2014.  We'll see how 2015 shapes up.

There's nothing immanent.  Dad got 10 good years after his treatment for this.  But he was 15 years older than I am now when they detected it.  Do I expect another decade?  Hells yes.  Do I expect another 25 years?  Dunno.

This time of year is for reflection on the past, and the future.  Our past is past, and Longfellow was eloquent that the dead past should bury its own dead.  Our future is what we will make of it.  Most of us live our lives locked in by our past choices, repeating year after year with little change.

Maybe I'll get a bigger motorcycle.  If ten years is what I have, then I have places to go.  This journey is perspective.  If you need some, you can't do better than this.  Or this:



May each of you have a joyous and prosperous 2015, beyond all your hopes.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Why drivers should always watch for motorcycles

Heh

Obamacare's legacy: medical information hacking

Obamacare requires the use of electronic medical records (and even budgets to help that transition).  This looks to be a massively attractive target for the Black Hats:
Carl Leonard, principal security analyst for Websense, says hackers are breaking into the computer networks of health-care facilities with increasing frequency and taking valuable personal information that is often secured improperly. In August, Websense researchers reported that over the previous 10 months they had observed a 600 percent increase in attacks on hospitals (See “Hackers Are Homing In on Hospitals”). Leonard’s group now predicts that in 2015 the health-care industry will see a “substantial increase” in thefts of data.
Why are they doing it?  Like Willie Horton said about why he robbed banks, that's where the money is:
Credit card information is less valuable on the black market than it was several years ago, says Don Jackson, director of threat intelligence at the security firm PhishLabs. That market is flooded, and credit card information is becoming less useful without supporting identification information, he says.

Medical records, however, often contain both identification information, such as Social Security numbers, and financial information. This can be enough to build a near-complete picture of an individual. And such information can command hundreds of dollars from black-market customers wanting to impersonate someone for the purpose of accessing bank accounts or drug prescriptions.
Security:  not an afterthought, it wasn't thought of at all.

Nerd level 99: Achievement Unlocked

I like me some security goodness as much as the next guy, but c'mon:
Spark.io gives you a step-by-step guide to hacking a toy Sting and turning it into a device that glows blue when you are in range of an unencrypted Wi-Fi network. By disassembling your plastic Sting [sword] and incorporating the Spark Core, a tiny Wi-Fi development kit, you can hack the toy’s light and enlist it to show you when you are near an unsecure network. The best part about this hack? It only requires two things: a Spark Core and a replica Sting with lights and sound, like this one.
The "best" part?
You can also use Sting to teach owners of unencrypted networks a lesson. When the sword turns blue, push the button and slash away at the air. This prompts Sting to join the network and publishes a message: "{YOUR WI-FI NETWORK} has been vanquished!"
This is why nerds can't get dates.

Via Slashdot, where the comments are pretty funny.

There's a lot of ruin in a European common currency

Lawrence has a brilliant post about Greece and the Euro:
So we’ll see another election, and if Syriza wins we’ll see another round of demands for more bailouts and debt writedowns, with Greece threatening yet again to exit the Euro. We’ve seen this movie before. The most likely outcome is that another cabal of EU-phillic insiders in the Greek government will engineer a last-minute cave-in to demands from Brussels and Frankfurt, ram another toothless austerity measure through parliament in exchange for still more credit (and perhaps even a small symbolic measure of debt forgiveness), dissolve the government again following the inevitable public outrage, then have the Greek bureaucracy ignore even those woefully inadequate reforms, setting the stage for the farce to repeat itself in another 12-18 months, or until mean old Aunt Angela finally cuts up the credit card.
If you want to understand the slow motion destruction of the Euro, this is a fine place to start.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Government's war against Christmas (Lights)

It seems that we have far too many Government employees:
The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has created an example of regulate first and explain why later. In October they proposed new regulations to outlaw strings of bulbs, lighted lawn figures and similar items that would be declared as hazardous. The red tape deals with certifying wire sizes, fuses, and tensile strength of all “seasonal decorative lighting products.”

This includes Christmas tree lights, lighted wreaths, menorahs, outdoor strands, lawn figures of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, or Santa or Rudolph or Frosty the Snowman. Yes, Kwanzaa, too. CPSC is an equal opportunity Scrooge. The agency estimates that their proposed regulations will impact 100 million items per year with a market value of $500 million.
That's right, the Fed.Gov is fixin' to regulate your Christmas lights.
So what is CPSC’s justification for adding red tape to the red, green, blue, yellow, white and other colored displays? They report 250 deaths from fires or electrocutions by Christmas lights. That’s not 250 deaths per year; it’s 250 deaths since 1980. They had to add together 33 years of statistics to misportray danger.

That averages seven deaths per year in our country of about 320 million people. The worst single year, CPSC reports, had 13 deaths. But most (80 percent) of those deaths were back in the 1980s and 1990s. Since then, deaths have declined annually. In 2013, there was one single death attributed to fire or shock from Christmas lights. One. That also was the average from 2008 through 2013: One death per year.
If the Republicans were smart (they're not), they would cut the headcount budget of the CPSC by 20%, with the political fight over this starting up in, say, November 2015.  Let the Administration fight Christmas.

Then again, this would require a GOP that had two brain cells to rub together.

A German "Band Of Brothers"?

Interesting:
Generation War (German: Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter, literally "Our mothers, our fathers") is a German World War II TV miniseries in three parts. It was commissioned by public broadcasting organization ZDF, produced by the UFA subsidiary TeamWorx, and first aired in Germany and Austria in March 2013. The series tells the story of five German friends, aged around 20, on their different paths through Nazi Germany and World War II: As Wehrmacht soldiers on the Eastern Front, war nurse, aspiring singer, and Jewish tailor respectively. The narrative spans over five years starting in 1941 Berlin, when the friends meet up for a last time before embarking on their journeys, enthusiastically vowing to meet up again the following Christmas. The story's conclusion is set in a time shortly after the end of the war in 1945/46.

When the series first aired in Germany, each episode garnered around 7 million viewers. The Economist stated that hardly any German TV drama ever caused that much public debate.
It seems that you can get this via Netflix.  It seems that people who liked Band Of Brothers like this, too.  This is one that I'm adding to the list.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Save the planet - pave the rain forests

Heh:
There is new, direct, observational evidence that the most effective thing we could do to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere is pave over the tropical rainforests.


Don’t believe me? Look at this map of CO2 emissions by region. It’s brand-new data from NASA’s just-lofted Orbiting Carbon Observatory.
Hey, you don't want to be a Science Denier, do you?  Well, do you, punk?

Johann Strauss Champagne-Polka Op.211

New Year's Eve is this week, and so many (most?) people will be celebrating the incoming new year.  Johann Strauss wrote a fun little dance piece for this occasion.  The piece tries to evoke the popping of bubbles.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

What I got for Christmas

A friend made this for me.  I have no recollection of this, but I'm told that alcohol was involved.  Since this involved the Macarena, that may be the case.

Let's be careful out there this New Year's Eve ...

Buiding a Beretta shotgun

Nice video from Beretta.


Twenty One Feet

This is the video that was part of the decision to seek out training beyond the training I was doing with firearms.

You can't keep people 21 feet away. You stand in line at the grocery store, People pass you walking on the sidewalk or in parking lots. Other people are in the aisles at the store.

If someone is five feet away, engages you in a victim assessment exchange and then decides to pull a knife, you will never get a firearm drawn from concealment in time. It might as well be at home in the safe. The initial encounter is going to happen. If you can survive the initial attack and can turn/pass/throw/disrupt the attacker, then there may be a moment to draw and use your defensive firearm.




Dan Inosanto is an incredible martial artist. At 78 years old he continues to train and teach Eskrima, Silat, Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do, and other martial arts. He is the aggressor in the room with the officers in the first part of the video.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Two words

Honeybaked Ham. Dang, that was good. Fed a ton of people and there's a bunch left. And if there's a better dish for nibbling, I can't think what it would be.


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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Holy cow

There sure are a lot of parts in this.

May your Christmas be blessedly free of left over parts ...

Spirograph

One of the standout toys of my childhood was a Spirograph.


You had to be careful, just the right amount of pressure, one wheel pinned to the paper, but if you were careful, you could make interesting complex geometric drawings. If you are old enough (and geeky enough) you remember this toy.

Well, here it is, or at least it's close cousin, The Inspirograph. Draw them, save them, print them out. Never make a slip or skip a tooth.




Merry Christmas

Thankfully I have no memory of the big scary bear.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Have a very Calvin and Hobbes Christmas!



We sure do miss you, Bill.

Via A Large Regular which you do read every day, don't you?

Disney's Frozen will kill off Disney profitability?

I'm visiting people for Christmas, people who have small children.  Naturally, it's been a decade or more since there's been much in the way of Disney flicks at the Borepatch household, and so this was an interesting comparison of the old Disney and the new Disney.  Cutting to the chase, short Disney stock.

I always thought that Disney put out a decent entertainment product, and the kids seemed to think so, too.  However you feel for the Empire Of The Mouse, the films were almost always good adventure entertainment, one that would pull the kids in for repeat viewings.

I can't say that's true anymore, based on Frozen.  More specifically, it is but only for girls.  The ending left no place for boys to aspire to heroics, and so I doubt very much that my kids would have watched it more than once.

What that means is that if Frozen is the new model for Disney films, they're punting half of their target audience.  Of course the critics love the tough, you-go-girl theme - as do the Moms, from my experience watching the crowd watching the movie.  But the male characters are really pretty irrelevant to the story, and so it's hard to see how boys would bet sucked in to the same repeat viewing pattern that #1 Son and #2 Son had, Back In The Day.

What's quite odd is that the older Disney movies had a ton of strong and compelling female lead characters.  It's just that they had good male lead characters, too.  That seems to be gone.

It's a shame, really.  It makes me glad that my boys are older and don't have to have a load of feminist nonsense pushed down their throats in their formative years.

Another Service the Marines Provide

It's a tough job, being Santa. Someone's got to train them.


On Earth, Peace, Good Will Towards Men

Even men on the Western Front.  100 years ago today, 100,000 soldiers in the trenches of the Western Front stopped shooting each other, at least for a little while.  Instead, moved by the spirit of the season, they met in No Man's Land to exchange greetings and brandy and to play soccer.

Image from the Illustrated London News, 9 Jan 1915
The Generals were less than amused, and cracked down in following years.  Sir Iain Colquhoun was Court-marshalled for his participation.  After they convicted him someone recalled that he was related to the British Prime Minister, and so they swept it all under the carpet.

The notion is somewhat controversal:
Mark Connelly, Professor of Modern British History at the Center for War, Propaganda and Society at the UK's University of Kent believes the entire episode has been romanticized in the intervening years.
The notion of two sets of soldiers simply laying down their arms and waltzing out of the trenches ready to play an organized game of football is not one he subscribes to.
In fact he says "there is no absolute hard, verifiable evidence of a match" taking place and says the event has been glorified beyond recognition.
Historians occupy the field of battle because all the eye witnesses are now long dead.  All that we have are stories from those who remember those witnesses.



This Christmas Eve, remember those caught up in the killing fields of Flanders, and the Ardennes, or Khe Sanh.  And remember those who still stand post far from home and family tonight.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Only Ones

What police have is a vested authority. We choose to give certain powers to individuals that, in theory, take on professionally the responsibilities that make society safer for all of us. We give them power.

What happens is what always happens with power. Police are not unique. They are human, corruptible, and prone to all the same problems as the rest of us. They spend their time dealing with the problems most us don't ever see. At the very least it changes them, they are less trusting, more likely to commit suicide, and as a group, insular.

They have training, weapons, and authority. Any challenge to that authority is met with as much force as necessary to eliminate it. Once an interaction with law enforcement is begun, total compliance is the only possible route. I am not saying cops are evil. I am saying they are in a thankless job that trains them to be wary. I am saying that compliance gets you through a police interaction uninjured.

I know this. I am a neatly groomed white male in my late 50s. None the less, if I am stopped, I am polite, speak calmly, wait for instructions. If it is a traffic stop, I turn off the vehicle, roll down the window, sit with my hands open on the steering wheel. I instructed my children when they were old enough to do the same.

I understand both sides of the ongoing protests. I know there are and have been terrible abuses by some police and governmental agencies. I know there are situations that go wrong very fast and leave a policeman with a split second decision to use deadly force. We could go back and forth trading stories.

What I do not understand is why so many people think it is a good idea to create a society in which the police are are only ones to be armed.


The worst and best Christmas songs

Everyone has a favorite, and an anti-favorite.  Here are mine.

The worst, most awefulest Christmas song of all time: Christmas Shoes.  When Country music goes bad, it's from an excess of maudlin.  This dials maudlin up to 11.



It's hard to come up with a favorite, but this one is near the top:



So what are your best and worst?

The Nativity

We want things to be pretty and perfect. So much so that we ignore the reality of the story and beautify it, making it into art and yard displays.


Joseph was a carpenter, not a wealthy man. He lived in an occupied country under the rule of the Roman Empire. He engaged to Mary, a young pregnant teenager, and by what accounts we have, he did not believe the child to be his. By governmental decree, he was required to go to his family’s hometown to be counted in a census. He took the girl with him.

No paved roads, not much money for food, no place to stay. The movement related to the census would have been disruptive to everyone and created difficult traveling conditions. When he got to the town, she was in labor. There was no one to take them in, no place to stay. Just to get shelter they went into a stable.

Now a lot of us don’t have farm animals anymore, and unless you do, one rather pungent fact might escape you. Stables stink. Even the most well kept stables, which this one most likely was not. If there were sheep and cows housed there, and perhaps a camel or two, it smelled like a zoo. But it was warmer than outside, and there was a roof.

Mary went though labor and delivered a baby there. Not in a sterile medical birthing room, not even at home with her female relatives to attend to her, but in a dark stable, likely alone except for Joseph. She was perhaps 14 or 15 years old. Whatever fears and loneliness she felt are unrecorded. When the baby was born, they cleaned and wrapped him in what garments they could and laid him in a trough used to feed the animals, because that trough was off the ground and cleaner than anywhere else they had to put the baby.

They were as poor and alone as any new family you can imagine. That’s the heart of this story.


Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
–The book of Luke, Chapter 2:1-7

Monday, December 22, 2014

"Green" energy will add 40% to cost of electricity in UK

I guess that "sustainable" energy is energy that needs continuing subsidies to keep the lights on:
The cost of household electricity will rise by as much as 40 per cent by the end of the decade because of the Government’s green energy policies.
Official figures — initially withheld by ministers — show an alarming increase in the price of electricity caused by generous subsidies to wind farms as well as other policies ...
Gosh, I wonder why they hushed this up. /sarcasm
And by 2030, when thousands of planned offshore wind turbines are finally operating, the burden will be even greater, the numbers show. The average household could be paying an extra 60 per cent for electricity – equivalent to £350 more a year.
Medium-sized businesses will be hit very hard, according to the new data. On average such companies will see electricity bills rise by more than £500,000 a year – a cost likely to be passed on to consumers.
Other than that, it will be awesome.  Indeed, the very finest in electricity.  /sarcasm

Really, it's nothing less than a war waged against the middle class by the "Elite".

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dispatches from Borepatch World Domination HQ

ASM826 put me up for the evening, but plans for World
domination were a continual topic (as you can imagine).

Walmart for ammo? Check. (Note: bringing ammo to A826's Secure Offsite Facility is like bringing coals to Newcastle. But ammo makes a great stocking stuffer).

Good bourbon? Check, and check again just to make sure.

More nutmeg than cinnamon in the French Toast? Check.

Plans for a Garand Match in the spring? Check, although I may need to shoot left handed because of my shoulder. It may be a Walk On The Wild Side. The sacrifices we make for World Domination. ...


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Borepatch Kitchen Domination

Thick sliced Italian bread as a basis for french toast. Fried ham on the side. Juice. Coffee. Real maple syrup. Whatever plans Borepatch might have for world domination, it was my kitchen he took over this morning.

A Visit With My Brother

Borepatch stopped in on his way to Christmas in Virginia. We had dinner, conversation, and a little bourbon. We stayed up talking, trying to use the hours we have together. Both of us have had close calls recently, neither of us is young, and there is a sense of how finite the time is.
“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.”
 ― Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sweet




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In which I overslept before a road trip

Ugh. Doesn't happen very often, but instead of rolling at 0700 it's already past ten.


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Friday, December 19, 2014

A milestone

It looks like sometime on Monday this blog had it's one millionth page view during 2014.  I'm very grateful for all of you who keep coming back despite my best efforts.



In celebration of what is the best year yet for traffic, and as a thank you to our readers, all blog content shall be entirely free of charge for the remainder of the day.

Happy Blogiversary to Blue Sun

His blog is five years old.  Long time in this business. Plus be has over 4000 posts over that time.  He's a one-man solution to the lack of original content on teh Interwebz!

Stop by and leave him some commenty love which is better than egg nog with spiced rum!

Merry Christmas From The Family

After offering you y'all the Billy Idol video, I got the following in e-mail from a lurking reader.

Well played


Hack the coffee pot!

Who knew that Keurig had DRM (Digital Rights Management) in their little cups?  Derek Ward shows us that their DRF-fu is weak.

Coffee wants to be free, dude! Or at least less expensive. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Remember, ammunition makes a great stocking stuffer


Animated 1911

Animigraffs tells us everything about a 1911, from the grip safety to case ejection, all in animation. Here's what they have for loading.


















Here is the link to the whole thing.

Video of the Greenpeace damage to the Nazca site

Via Chris Muir, video of how they damaged the site.  Good grief.  I'd like to see the names of everyone who participated published.  Name and shame.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I'll See Your Roy Orbison

And raise you a Billy Idol. Easily one of the most disturbing Christmas videos I've ever seen.



Roy Orbison - Pretty Paper

Who knew he had a Christmas Album?


Living In The Future

Whatever else you might do with a 3D printer, it won't be any cooler than this.

A "Cyberattack" is not a declaration of war

Assuming that we still did quaint things like actually declare war.  The Czar of Muscovy ponders the Sony hack, in response to a reader who says it was an act of war:
When armed Libyan citizens attacked the Benghazi compound, which was American soil, and murdered the ambassador, that was an overt act of war. The President did nothing.

Given the Sony hack was much less catastrophic in terms of lives lost, the President will again do nothing. Since he blamed the compound attack on a YouTube video, perhaps he will blame the Sony hack on the popularity of Korean barbecue places.
The Czar is precisely correct that nothing will happen.  I will go further and say that a US company getting hacked by someone overseas is a really really really bad reason to go to war.  It's far too easy for a clever attacker to implicate a third party, pulling us into regional conflicts that we have no business in.

And quite frankly, there's quite a moral hazard here: many people think that Sony had a terrible information security program, because they didn't want to spend the money.  Fine, that's their business decision.  However, the US Marines shouldn't be a backstop for them trimming IT costs.

Are there cyber attacks that could cross this boundary?  Sure - shutting down a major part of the power grid would qualify in my book.  But not Sony.

The inventor of the Write-Only-Memory finally speaks

Hidden in anonymity since 1972, he finally tells the tale of how he created his legendary spoof:
I worked at Signetics as an engineer from about 1967 to 1979. One of my tasks in the Signetics MOS marketing group was to create data sheets for new products.

I wrote the 25120 WOM data sheet, copyrighted in 1972, as a lark to see what a Signetics WOM specification might look like.
WOM = Write-Only-Memory, a joke datasheet for a chip where you could write data but not read it.  Note that from a security perspective, this is pretty much unhackable ...

For those of you who don't have a yellowing photocopy of this stashed away in a manila envelope, here it is:


Picture of the day

Or month.

Via Theo.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Fantasia - Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

Great Christmas lights in the original 1940 film version.


Bicycling

I have been commuting to work for years. Today it caught up with me. I am home and pretty sore, doctor's appointment on Thursday. The bike is in the shop. It could have been much worse.

Brothers in Asphalt

This morning when ASM826 was riding his bike to work, a guy in a taxi t-boned him.  He's shaken up but whole.  Nothing broken, thank God. 

A warning to our readers: it seems that this is catching ...

What happens when 75% of your country's electricity generation goes away?

I don't know, but it looks like Germany's fixin' to find out.  Their conventional power producers are threatening to stop producing power:
With just a 48-hour notice delivered by a personal phone call to Ms. Merkel on a Saturday, the CEO of E.ON, the largest German and European power producer, let it be known that the company had decided to split itself in two, one part grouping fossil and nuclear power generation and a second part encompassing the “politically correct” activities in the field of “renewable” energies. Sort of a “Bad E.ON” / “Good E.ON” move. The intention is to get rid of the “bad” part as soon as possible by putting it up for sale. At the same time, this also means the “good” part will cease to be duty bound to ensure a stable power supply under all circumstances. Obviously, such a liability is not enforceable from an entity whose only power sources are unstable wind and solar power plants. In a nutshell, the message behind this move is that the silverback of the “big four” German energy producers who group the bulk of the country’s conventional and nuclear power production is about to close shop at short notice. The others will probably follow suit.
Germany has made a big deal out of getting most of its power from solar and wind, at the expense of nuclear and conventional (coal/gas) generation.  The restrictions on the conventional sector have increased to the point that the major players are threatening to exit the market.  The major players represent perhaps 80% of Germany's generation capacity.
Outlines currently emerging suggest that:


A) Nuclear power will remain banned. More than 30 years of demonization of the technology probably cannot be reversed,

B) Plans to rein in the soaring price of electric power prices will be abandoned. A key representative of the ruling CDU party has already warned that price hikes will continue.

C) The hope of the government that highly flexible combined cycle gas-fired power plants can be deployed in large numbers to offset the highly volatile production from wind and solar plants has gone up in smoke since these entities have much higher costs than coal-fired units. They thus were the first to succumb to the market distortions brought about by the heavily subsidized “renewable” technologies.

D) The government now implicitly recognizes that in the years to come, coal and lignite fired plants will play a substantially bigger role in securing the country’s power supply than projected. The obvious hope is that it may be possible to stabilize the vessel without having to explicitly admit the core pieces of the previous strategy have to be scrapped.
I would add the following: (E) German heavy industry that replies on power as a significant cost of production (chemicals, manufacturing) will continue to relocate to the USA.

I guess this is a case study that even the Germans couldn't make GOSPLAN work.  Err, and that whole DDR thing is another case study that they couldn't make it work ...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bela Fleck - The First Noel, Oh Come Let Us Adore Him, Joy to the World

Merry Christmas, y'all!


Shocked, or You Know, Maybe Not Shocked

Is anyone shocked by the events taking place in Australia? Anyone shocked by the person now identified as the terrorist?

Here's my selfie taken when I heard about it. 


Well, according to ABCNews, the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott described the incident as "profoundly shocking".

Ugh

Fever came on last night.  After 12 hours, the fever broke, but I feel sort of flattened.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Is this Jay G's new truck?

It should be ...


Climate Justice, explained

So all this Global Warming "Climate Justice" brouhaha means precisely what?  Remember, when they say it's not about the money, it's about the principle - it's about the money:
Lima, Peru – "We are people who want to tell the truth about the climate crisis, and the truth is that we are on track to a climate disaster," asserted Alex Rafalowicz at a Friends of the Earth (FOE) press conference at the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP-20) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on Monday. So how does FOE think the world gets off the track? By demanding that rich countries fork over their "climate fair shares." What's fair? It's only fair that by 2030 the rich countries cut their carbon dioxide emissions around 80 percent and pay poor countries more than $1 trillion annually to cut theirs.
A cool Trillion a year and reducing emissions by 80% - which by necessity will tank the economy and cut standards of living by 50%.  And so we see the meaning of "justice" as Margaret Thatcher had said: they don't care if poor people stay poor as long as the rich are made poor. Of course, the standard of living in this scenario would not drop for the swells who make up the staff of Friends Of The Earth and their friends.

Sheesh.  I remember when the Left once presumed to agitate for the working classes, rather than agitate to immiserate them.  Marx would have kicked sand in their faces on the Socialist beach,

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Does your Christmas Tree have a secure perimeter?

Does it?  DOES IT??!??



Tagged "Lego" because those are the only stop action ones I've posted but this is crazy good.

Greenpeace activists desecrate World Heritage Site on a publicity stunt

Looking at possible jail time:
Greenpeace said Wednesday that its executive director will travel to Peru to personally apologize for the environmental group’s stunt at the world-famous Nazca lines, which Peruvian authorities say harmed the archaeological marvel.


The group said it was willing to accept the consequences. A senior Peruvian official told The Associated Press on Tuesday evening that his government would seek criminal charges against Greenpeace activists who allegedly damaged the lines by leaving footprints in the adjacent desert.
Click through to see the pictures of their stunt, taken by the Greenpeace PR team.  These pictures are now referred to as "evidence" ...

Ace Of Spades HQ catches up to Borepatch

AOSHQ yesterday:
I do think conservatives should seriously consider my suggestion that we pick 10 or 12 (I'm upping the number) Republican Congressmen and absolutely tank them in 2016. First, they get a primary, and if the primary fails to dislodge them, we give the seat to the Democrats. We actively vote for the Democrat. Whatever happens, we retire their asses.
Borepatch, May 2010:
People are talking about 100 Democratic seats being lost this November. I for one will consider this a failure if 20 Republicans are not also turned out into the street. I want Congress terrified of us, more terrified of us than tempted by their old comfortable ways. I want them thinking on their future.

As Dr. Johnson said, When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully. This isn't Republican vs. Democrat, that's short term thinking. Long term thinking is it's us vs. them, and we have to break them to our will. All of them.
As I said then, the problem is not the Democrats, and the solution is not the Republicans. The problem is that there's a permanent political class that has increasing contempt for the voters, and who is aided and abetted by their lackeys in the traditional media. If the Republicans are not as bad as the Democrats in this, it's not for lack of trying.

Little Big Town - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

I'm going to the Mall to shop today.  There.  I said it.

If there's a way to kill the Christmas spirit better than a sale at Macy's, I can't think what it would be.  And so today will call for extra patience and Christian Charity.  This song is a meditation of what you'd like this holiday season.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Alison Krauss and Yo-Yo Ma - The Wexford Carol


The Death of Santini

Pat Conroy has published a non-fiction autobiographical work about his father, his family, and his life. I think I would find Mr. Conroy a bit too far left politically for my taste, but he is a heck of a writer and this may be his finest work.

It has come out in paperback. I read it and give it a recommendation. If you do read it, consider the price that military families pay when a combat veteran comes come to take up his role as husband and father.


Environmentalism as moral preening

Yeah, I know that I'm kicking the puppy here, but can we finally all agree that environmentalism is nothing but NIMBY?
Take Portland, for example. The Northwest city’s modest goal is to reduce Portland and Multnomah County emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. Planners claim that, as of 2010, the city and county had reduced emissions by 6 percent from 1990 levels. However, this claim is full of hot air as all of the reductions are due to causes beyond planners’ control.

Almost two-thirds of the reduction was in the industrial sector, and virtually all of that was due to the closure in 2000 of an aluminum plant that once employed 520 people. The closure of that plant hasn’t led anyone to use less aluminum, so all it did was move emissions elsewhere.
They don't care about reduced emissions, they just don't want it there.  And if hundreds of families have to lose their livelihoods for that, well they were the Wrong Sort of people anyway.  Not the swell sort that go to wine tastings at the very well regarded localvore cafe.  Almost Kulaks.

No wonder the economy has been stagnant for 15 years.

Social Justice Warriors: tools of Corporate America?

Your Captain rants about the hypocrites at the Mozilla Foundation:
The gall of these nazi, anti-free speech assholes who dared to fire an employee for making a political donation, now go begging for money.  I literally would rather donate to the nazi party before donating to these fuckers.
Actually, while that's skirting on the edge of Godwinland, that's about right.  There's quite good reason to think that Hollywood waited until the time was ripe before they used the Gay Marriage controversy to get rid of the then CEO of Mozilla, Brenden Eich:
It’s quite a theory, and I’m not sure what to make of it, but via Instapundit I ran into the allegation that the real reason Brendan Eich was removed as the head of Mozilla wasn’t the homosexual “marriage” issue at all, but rather that he stood in the way of Hollywood-friendly restrictions called Digital Rights Managment (“DRM”) being added to the open source browser Firefox.
For the non technical press, this is a very good introduction to the security problems of DRM.  The link to Sony's shenanigans with their DRM that shipped on music CDs is worth following for one of the most infamous examples of Corporations run amok, intentionally infecting their customers with malware to try to stop MP3 copying.

And so to the title of this post.  The Social Justicce Warriors (SJWs) are filled to overflowing with righteous rage on whatever the topic is that is near and dear to their hearts.  The topic is irrelevant to Corporate America, but the chance to harness that rage to advance the Corporate agenda is plausibly too good to pass up.  It would be trivial to "leak" information on, say, a certain person's political contributions to the Right Sort of SJWs.

And then DRM is suddenly in your browser, because the guy who was fighting against Corporate America had been defenestrated.

And the Mozilla Foundation is now begging for money "to support Open Source".  Riiiiiight.

So what is plausible to conclude about the SJWs in general and the Mozilla Foundation in particular?  They're Useful Idiots for advancing the cause of Corporate America.  No thanks.  As the Captain points out, donating to Nazis at least means that you're donating to people who aren't tools of interests bigger than they imagine.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Rammstein - Nightmare Before Christmas

Fröhliche Weihnachten, biatches!

What - the NSA is monitoring the Dog Park?

Heh.


Obama gets played by the Chinese on the new Climate Change agreement

This is my shocked face:
China offered new details on its commitment to rein in greenhouse gases and called on rich nations to speed up delivery of the $100 billion in annual climate-related aid they’ve promised by 2020. Su Wei, China’s lead climate negotiator, coupled his comments on China’s commitment with a call to accelerate funding for climate aid, shifting the pressure to industrialized nations, led by the U.S. and European Union, to do their part toward reaching an agreement next year.  The “$10 billion is just one 10th of that objective,” and “we do not have any clear road map of meeting that target for 2020,” Su said. Climate aid is “a trust-building process,” he added.
I'm sure that the new Senate will get right to work on ratifying a treaty committing us to $50B/year for the rest of forever.

Doofus of the day

Man attends Court with drugs in his pocket:
A 23-year-old man who was attending a court arraignment for drug charges apparently forgot to leave the drugs in his pocket in the car.

Michael Durban, 23, was going through screening at the Marion County Circuit Court annex on Aumsville Highway SE Monday when officials at the facility discovered he was in possession of hypodermic needles and a cotton ball that likely contained heroin, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

He was being arraigned on a charge of possession of heroin and allegedly told deputies, “I got mixed up, I thought I left it in my car,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release.
Yeah, I'm sure that they were impressed that you were going to leave them in his car, Einstein.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

If The Last One Seemed Too Far Back, How About Last Saturday?

Man's inhumanity capacity for evil has no bottom. When you think you won't find something worse, you're wrong. It happens every day.

Last Saturday, in Courtland, Mississippi, Jessica Chambers was attacked by someone who poured a flammable liquid down her throat and set her on fire. She was burned everywhere on her body except the soles of her feet and died the next day. There have been no arrests thus far, so whoever did this is still out there.

Traumatized By One Death?

I can imagine being traumatized by one death. I can. I can imagine being so upset by it that even 13 years later that just remembering it and experiencing it again is a difficult experience.

The idea that we didn't protest and shut down the government and fill the streets and demand that our government avenge Kevin Cosgrove leaves me cold.

But we didn't.

Who cares about climate change?

Nobody:
Thanks to the blog of the irrepressible Hilary Ostrov, a long-time WUWT commenter, I found out about a poll gone either horribly wrong or totally predictably depending on your point of view. It’s a global poll done by the United Nations, with over six million responses from all over the planet, and guess what?
UN global poll
The revealed truth is that of the sixteen choices given to people regarding what they think are the important issues in their lives, climate change is dead last. Not only that, but in every sub-category, by age, by sex, by education, by country grouping, it’s right down at the bottom of the list. NOBODY thinks it’s important.
Of course, the only people who care are political shills who want to grab money and power from the oppressed masses!  Come the Revolution, they will be the first ones up against the wall.

Minard's Graphic Map

Charles Minard made a statistical graphic representation of Napoleon's attempt to take Russia. It's considered a classic example of how to display data in a format that lets the viewer immediately grasp the information. The absolute horror of the campaign is written large on this map.


Napoleon entered Russia with 442,000 men. On the original full sized graphic, each millimeter of width represented 10,000 men. Including the men diverted on the march east at the top of the graphic and rejoining the march west at the bottom, the surviving column as it leaves Russia is one millimeter wide. Ten thousand men, starving and ruined, returned to France. Troops that been conscripted from other countries are not listed here, but might have been as many as 150,000 and they suffered casualties at similar rates.  One might imagine that the Russians took some losses as well.


One campaign. In one year, starting in June of 1812 and ending by the spring of 1813.

Napoleon promptly started building a new army. It would also pay a high price a couple of years later at a place called Waterloo.

Tramautized delicate flowers

William Briggs (Statistician to the Stars!) ponders the crooked timber that is Man:
There’s a story in John Toland’s magisterial The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire (volume two) which depicts a Japanese ship transporting Western prisoners in conditions worse than on any (other) slave ship. It was dark, confined, covered in human filth, and unbearably hot. Unbearably is a strong and apt word. The men went mad and what they did to each other is difficult to relate. I won’t try. Few survived.

...

Do we need to discuss the Amalekites? The retreat from Moscow in 1812 (and again in the twentieth century)? The guillotine? Should we recall certain religious practices of the Aztecs? The scene in The Brothers Karamazov in which we learn that babies were tossed in the air to be bayoneted for amusement? The Goths? Cannibalism? The practice of sati (also spelled suttee)? Utopian scheme A, B, …?

Enough. It is impossible to be familiar with any serious literature and not realize the human race is fallen, that man is broken, that bad things have always happened and, at least in this form of our existence, always will. A vale of tears isn’t in it. Evil.

So what kind of childish naive sheltered coddled whimpering intellect would allow itself to be “traumatized” over reading about a minor criminal beating up a shopkeeper and then attempting to do the same to a policeman and getting himself killed in the attempt? Traumatized?

I’ll tell you: Columbia law students.
The rest is even better, as he demolishes the frivolous hot house flowers that inhabit today's Academy - students and Administrators.

The only thing that I would add is that many of the prisoners on that Japanese ship were the same age as the Columbia students.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Err, "Plausible"?


Last Kiss is pretty funny.

Box O' Truth

Added The Box O' Truth to the blogroll. Lots of fun stuff there. Start with the original chapters. If you want to know what .223 does going through sheet rock or plywood, this is practical testing. He's not reading about it or guessing, he's building things and shooting them.

Endless hours of fun with water jugs, buckshot patterning, engine blocks and .357s, and so on. As someone once said, "Shooting stuff is fun." Even reading about shooting stuff is fun.

Now you can play TSA in the comfort and privacy of your own home!

PervScan™ (Rapiscan) scanner for sale on eBay.  Amaze and impress your friends!  See under their clothes!  Tons of fun for parties ...

Image vie the Wik
Only $8000.  Two available.  What's the over/under on whether the image files were erased before the systems went up on eBay?

(via)

Remington 700 Triggers

The Remington 700 has been in the news the last few days. If you haven't already heard about it, Remington is recalling Model 700 and Model Seven rifles with X-Mark Pro triggers manufactured from May 1, 2006 to April 9, 2014.

The issue is that in a small number of cases rifles have fired when the rifle was moved from "safe" to "fire" and perhaps could fire when the rifle was not being handled at all. Here's USAToday's recent article on the topic.

If you let the muzzle of a loaded rifle cover anything you don't want to destroy, blaming the manufacturer is a copout. People have died and if the triggers need to be replaced, by all means let's get them replaced, but personal responsibility does not go away. If you're "cleaning" a loaded rifle and the muzzle is pointed in an unsafe direction, you're responsible for what happens.

If you drop the safety on a loaded rifle while it's pointed at another person and the rifle discharges when you didn't plan on it, you still had the weapon pointed at another person. You loaded it and you pointed it.

Now, if you have the rifle pointed out at the ground, into a berm, or into a bucket of sand in the corner of your shop, and the hammer falls when you drop the safety, I'm all for saying there's a problem with the rifle and it needs to be serviced. If you have a Remington that falls under this recall, I have done my part to share the word.

If you handle firearms of any sort, from a .22 revolver to a .50BMG sniper rifle, remember that you are personally responsible for every round you fire. When you pick up a firearm, you are responsible for where the muzzle is pointed. If it's not pointed in a safe direction, the courts may accept the argument that the gun just went off and you're not responsible. You will have to live with the truth.
Model 700 and Model Seven rifles with X-Mark Pro (“XMP”) triggers manufactured from May 1, 2006 to April 9, 2014 - See more at: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/04/11/huge-recall-remington-700-model/#sthash.1IoQfRtf.dpuf
Model 700 and Model Seven rifles with X-Mark Pro (“XMP”) triggers manufactured from May 1, 2006 to April 9, 2014 - See more at: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/04/11/huge-recall-remington-700-model/#sthash.1IoQfRtf.dpuf
Model 700 and Model Seven rifles with X-Mark Pro (“XMP”) triggers manufactured from May 1, 2006 to April 9, 2014 - See more at: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/04/11/huge-recall-remington-700-model/#sthash.1IoQfRtf.dpuf

What's a winning strategy for Rock-Paper-Scissors?

Play rock on your first "hand" if your opponent is female, paper if your opponent is male.  And there's a USA Rock Paper Scissors League.  Who knew?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Michael Bublé - All I want for Christmas is you



Bublé may be the new Mel Tormé.

Russia is financing anti-fracking environmentalists?

Says Romania:
Pointing to a mysteriously well-financed and well-organized campaign of protest, Romanian officials including the prime minister say that the struggle over fracking in Europe does feature a Goliath, but it is the Russian company Gazprom, not the American Chevron.

Gazprom, a state-controlled energy giant, has a clear interest in preventing countries dependent on Russian natural gas from developing their own alternative supplies of energy, they say, preserving a lucrative market for itself — and a potent foreign policy tool for the Kremlin.
“Everything that has gone wrong is from Gazprom,” Mr. Mircia said.
This belief that Russia is fueling the protests, shared by officials in Lithuania, where Chevron also ran into a wave of unusually fervent protests and then decided to pull out, has not yet been backed up by any clear proof. And Gazprom has denied accusations that it has bankrolled anti-fracking protests. But circumstantial evidence, plus large dollops of Cold War-style suspicion, have added to mounting alarm over covert Russian meddling to block threats to its energy stranglehold on Europe.
Motive and opportunity, as they say.  And a history of using "social justice" organizations in the West.

Do You Feel Lucky?

Every gun is loaded. Every one. All the time.

Never let the muzzle cover anything you're not willing to destroy.

A 16 year old in Michigan learned this lesson for himself a couple of days ago. His 21 year old brother is dead.

"Blackman-Leoni Department of Public Safety Deputy Director Jon Johnston tells the Jackson Citizen Patriot in an email that the younger brother went into his brother's room Saturday night and reportedly asked "Do you feel lucky?" before pulling the trigger."

The New Republic and the death of the biased MSM

There's a lot of weeping and wailing over the changes being made to the leftie rag The New Republic.  It seems that all of the staff have resigned in protest over the firing of the editor, Franklin Foer
Dozens of staff members and contributing editors at The New Republic resigned en masse Friday morning, less than 24 hours after top editors Franklin Foer and Leon Wieseltier quit over a dispute with management over the magazine's direction.
That name rang a bell.  In 2007, TNR published a story, "Shock Troops":
In a diary entry in The New Republic, Beauchamp claims he ridiculed a woman in Iraq whose face had been severely burned: "I love chicks that have been intimate with IEDs" (improvised explosive devices), Beauchamp quotes himself as saying, loudly, to his friends in the chow hall. "It really turns me on -- melted skin, missing limbs, plastic noses," he recounted. "My friend was practically falling out of his chair laughing...The disfigured woman slammed her cup down and ran out of the chow hall."

Next, he described finding the remains of children in a mass grave uncovered while his unit constructed a combat outpost: "One private...found the top part of a human skull... As he marched around with the skull on his head, people dropped shovels and sandbags, folding in half with laughter ... No one was disgusted. Me included."

Finally, Beauchamp described another soldier "who only really enjoyed driving Bradley Fighting Vehicles because it gave him the opportunity to run things over. He took out curbs, concrete barriers, corners of buildings, stands in the market, and his favorite target: dogs." Beauchamp described how the soldier killed three dogs in one day: "He slowed the Bradley down to lure the first kill in, and, as the diesel engine grew quieter, the dog walked close enough for him to jerk the machine hard to the right and snag its leg under the tracks."
An Army investigation reported that it was all made up:
An Army investigation into the Baghdad Diarist, a soldier in Iraq who wrote anonymous columns for The New Republic, has concluded that the sometimes shockingly cruel reports were false.

“We are not going into the details of the investigation,” Maj. Steven F. Lamb, deputy public affairs officer in Baghdad, wrote in an e-mail message. “The allegations are false, his platoon and company were interviewed, and no one could substantiate the claims he made.”
Specifically, the Army investigation determined the following:
  • That the incident of blatant disrespect for a disfigured woman in the FOB Falcon DFAC is a tale completely fabricated by Private Beauchamp. (The New Republic issued a correction saying the story took place in Kuwait, not Iraq.)
  • That the desecration of human remains and the discovery of a "Saddam-era dumping ground" is false.
  • That the deliberate targeting of wild dogs is completely unfounded.
  • That Private Beauchamp desired to use his experiences to enhance his writing and provide legitimacy to his work possibly becoming the next Hemmingway [sic].
  • That Private Beauchamp is not a credible source for making the allegation he wrote about in "Shock Troops." He admitted that he was not an eyewitness to the targeting of dogs and only saw animal bones during the construction of Combat Outpost Ellis. Combined with the piece of fiction that he wrote on 8 May 2006 on his blog, I find that Private Beauchamp takes small bits of truth and twists and exaggerates them into fictional account that he puts forth as the whole truth for public consumption.
The editor at the time at TNR?  Franklin Foer.  He circled the waggons, defending the story for six months before finally releasing a mealy-mouthed, weasel-worded non-retraction:
When I last spoke with Beauchamp in early November, he continued to stand by his stories. Unfortunately, the standards of this magazine require more than that. And, in light of the evidence available to us, after months of intensive re-reporting, we cannot be confident that the events in his pieces occurred in exactly the manner that he described them. Without that essential confidence, we cannot stand by these stories.
And so to the wailing and rending of garments over the departure of Mr. Foer and the threat to TNR's "journalistic integrity": bitch, please.

Don't lit it hit you in the rear on the way out, Foer.

Beware holiday shopping scams

It's the holiday shopping season, so don't forget that there are a lot of scammers out there:

If you receive an email this holiday season asking you to “confirm” an online e-commerce order or package shipment, please resist the urge to click the included link or attachment: Malware purveyors and spammers are blasting these missives by the millions each day in a bid to trick people into giving up control over their computers and identities.

An "order confirmation" malware email blasted out by the Asprox spam botnet recently.

An “order confirmation” malware email blasted out by the Asprox spam botnet recently.
Seasonal scams like these are a perennial scourge of the holidays, mainly because the methods they employ are reliably successful. Crooks understand that it’s easier to catch would-be victims off-guard during the holidays. This goes even for people who generally know better than to click on links and attachments in emails that spoof trusted brands and retailers, because this is a time of year when many people are intensely focused on making sure their online orders arrive before Dec. 25.
I've seen these myself.  Let's all be careful out there.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cold Weather and Some Free Time

That must mean it's time to cast. This started with a 25 lb. bag of #8 shot. No, I didn't melt it. I had gotten it with some other lead and it seemed a shame to just melt it and I don't currently reload for shotguns.

The guy I gave it to brought me a box of scrap lead, mostly old large fishing weights. Then I had an old dive belt, some odd lots of bullets I would never load, and a large coffee can of sprue plate lead and scraps. So I did this.


Get the kettle hot and melt the lead. Add some linotype to harden it a bit. Flux and skim. Then ladle the lead into the ingot molds. So I have the old camp stove hot, everything set up outside, and I'm dressed in heavy canvas pants, leather boots, long sleeves, a welder's apron, gloves, a cotton hat and a faceshield.

Well, that all goes pretty smoothly. I'm already dressed, might as well heat up the electric pot while I'm at it. I can make some Elmer Keith 245 grain .452s.

  

I like those 245s, good stuff in .45Colt cases, but it's not something I shoot a lot of. What I'm actually I was low on was 200 grain semi-wadcutters, my regular bullet for .45ACP. My mold for those is an old Lee aluminum 6 cavity. It rolls right along, but I have never got it to just drop all six when you open the mold, I have to whack the back of the handle to get them to fall. Nonetheless, this is production from yesterday.


I water drop them and I have to let them dry, which is why they are all on an old towel. I will get to spend some time in the coming days pulling the handle on the Lubrisizer.

 



Pistol-forum.com

Pistols and every sort of information and discussion related to pistols. I found this forum doing a Google search to find out more information about Tam's recent post about her Smith & Wesson Model 21-4.

I started reading and like the focused approach. Just scratching the surface, I will share one link. This is something I am working on myself. Can you shoot as accurately and fast with just your dominant hand? How about your weak hand? What if you break your dominant arm and have to wear a cast? Are you prepared to carry weak hand?


Love Your Gun? Love Your Magazines

Bayou Renaissance Man has a new post up about magazines.

He covers all the high points and has some great information about how to care for magazines. The only thing I would like to add is that if you are have feeding, ejection, or lockback problems in a semi-automatic, don't decide you have a gun problem until you have eliminated any possibility of it being the magazines.

Classical Music is alive an well

It is a part of culture that is deeply embedded in everyday people.  All it takes is a little for it to explode out into a mass demonstration of joy.



This is the best thing you will watch today.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

SheDaisy and Rascal Flatts - Twist of The Magi

I think this is my favoritist Christmas song ever. 



This Christmas, may all your dreams come true.

Telemarketing is a cool job



Any Boston Patriots fans recognize the actor who played "Gary"?  LOL.

(via)

Honda ships 300 Millionth motorcycle

Wow:
Achieving a milestone more than 65 years in the making, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced production of its 300-millionth motorcycle. The milestone bike is a Honda Gold Wing produced at the company’s Kumamoto Factory in Japan. Honda will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the iconic Gold Wing in 2015.



Honda began mass production of motorcycles in Japan in 1949 when it built the Honda 98cc Dream Type-D. Today, Honda produces motorcycles, ATV’s and side-by-sides at 32 plants in 22 countries, including two plants in North America.
Two of those 300 million are in my garage.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Skyrim Theme with Christmas Lights

Merry Christmas season, nerds!



More on the Skyrim theme and the survival of Classical Music in the gaming world here.

Bethlehem Steel

This week they are starting demolition of the "L" blast furnace at old Beth Steel site in Sparrows Point, Maryland. That furnace used to make ten thousand tons of steel a day.

The following is from Lehigh Valley PBS, so there's some bias, but all in all, a pretty good documentary on the death of Bethlehem Steel. It is mostly focused on the works in Pennsylvania, but there is a section on Sparrows Point about half way through.


Sony Pictures hack - is it the biggest hack of all time?

100 TB (that's Terabytes) of data downloaded by the hackers.  Yikes.  It seems that employee medical information was included, as well as who makes how much money.  Oh, and scripts and complete movies.

In other news, corporate security teams continue to struggle to justify budgets.

Environmentalists weaponize science: R.I.P. Science

Via Reason, we see that an environmental group carelessly left a document up on the 'net highlighting their plans to manufacture "science" to ban a pesticide they didn't like.  Of course, they didn't have any scientific reason to dislike it, hence the 'manufacture "science"' bit:
The Risk-Monger recently came across a strategy document carelessly left on-line by activist scientists that lies at the heart of the founding of the IUCN Taskforce on Systemic Pesticides. The Addendum to this document (see page 3) spells out a rather distasteful anti-neonicotinoid campaign strategy lacking in scientific integrity. The process has been tried and tested before by activists, but their behaviour has never been so clearly articulated in writing. I thought this document should be shared so we know the type of people are standing behind the “science” defending the bees.
How did this story unfold?
  • Under the auspices of the IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, a group of activists map out a four-year campaign strategy to attack the pesticide industry and seek the banning of neonicotinoids.
  • The idea is to collect like-minded researchers, get funding to set up a task-force to attack neonics using the IUCN as a base with WWF (or some other NGO) doing the lobbying.
  • Once funding is in place for the campaign organisation, start the research, write a main high-impact report and get a few other articles published (find some big names to use).
  • On that basis, organise a broader campaign (with the support of several high-impact PR specialists) to promote their anti-neonic publication.
  • Brace for reactions and blowback from other scientists and industry.
Sentence first, then the trial.  Seems it worked for them:
They were also more successful than they would have ever have imagined, getting neonics banned in the EU 16 months ahead of their strategic plan.
Reason has a different article covering an expose of this in the London Times:
In today's Times (London) an article, "Scientists accused of plotting to get pesticides banned," reveals that four senior European scientists with links to prominent environmentalist organizations apparently hatched a plan to pollute the scientific literature with an article whose predetermined conclusions would damn the pesticides. According to a note* obtained by the Times, the four researchers carefully selected in advance the scientists who would do the "peer-review" in order to insure the publication of the cobbled together article. They further arranged to have a policy statement arguing for a Europe-wide ban on the pesticides published simultaneously.

When everything is political ("the personal is political") then there should be no respect for expert authority.  Environmentalists are destroying the credibility of the scientific community.  I guess that is to be expected, given that 99% of scientific grant funding comes from governmental organizations.  Government is political, so the grant process is political.  Climate Science could not be reached for comment.

So much for any science reporting - it's all made up.  Rest In Peace, science.  It was a good run you had before they killed you.

A blossom in the cold

The Camelia is in bloom at Camp Borepatch.





Made In the USA

This is a nice idea. A website that compiles products and companies that make things in the United States. If there's something I can use and the price is not completely outrageous, I would buy it made in the USA.

I see two problems with the site. The first is that it needs to exist at all.

The second is that it's sort of a "well, bless your heart, isn't that cute?" sort of thing. Want a drill, a grinder, a television, a telephone? Not the sort of thing the United States makes anymore. Here's the link to the Tools and Automotive section and there's exactly two items in the electronics section, neither of which is a computer, cellphone, or radio.

Is that all? Because if it is, then let's keep dancing, let's break out the booze...




Thursday, December 4, 2014

Lady Antebellum - Blue Christmas

Pretty fun version of the old standard.  Christmas with a touch of Country Swing!


We're Number 2!

The inevitable has happened. We are now the number two economy in the world. As the article notes, the last time that was true was when Ulysses S. Grant was President.