Saturday, January 31, 2015

Blake Shelton - Don't Make Me

This is one of the saddest songs I know, and one of Blake's best.

Don't Make Me (Songwriters: Marla Cannon-Goodman, Deanna Bryant, Dave Berg)
Girl, when I look at you,
you look through me like I'm not even there.
I'm trying not to give up
to be strong but I'm afraid to say I'm scared.
I can't find the place your heart is hiding.
I'm no quitter, but Im tired of fighting.
Baby, I love you, don't wanna lose you,
don't make me let you go.
Took such a long time for me to find you,
don't make me let you go.
Baby, I'm begging please
and I'm down here on my knees.
I don't want to have to set you free.
Dont make me.
What if when I'm long gone
it dawns on you, you just might want me back.
Let me make myself clear
if I leave here, it's done I'm gone that's that.
You carry my love around like its a heavy burden.
Well, I'm about to take it back, are you sure it's worth it?

Baby, I love you, don't wanna lose you,
don't make me let you go.
Took such a long time for me to find you,
don't make me let you go.
Baby, I'm begging please
and I'm down here on my knees.
I don't want to have to set you free.
Dont make me.
Dont make me
stop loving you.
Stop needing you

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Nasty Adobe Flash bugs being exploited

Flash, of course, is the technology that drives most Internet video like Youtube.  It's now officially the Borepatch most Lousiest Insecure Crapware™ ever:
Another exploited zero-day vulnerability has been uncovered and patched in Adobe Flash, 24 hours after a second flaw in the popular web trinket was found being used in attack kits.

Adobe is examining yesterday's zero day, picked up by French researcher Kafeine who spotted it after analysing a version of the popular Angler exploit kit.

The vulnerability affected Flash Player versions up to and the latest

The latest zero-day, now fixed in a rare emergency patch for Windows, Mac and Linux, was being used by attackers to circumvent memory randomisation mitigations in Windows.
Yup, this means everyone needs to upgrade, even Linux nerds like me.  You can upgrade for free here.

Oh, and it seems that targeted malware is being served up via porn sites.  Not that you'd ever browse for feelthy pixels, of course, but pass it on to your friends that do.

I'm really glad I moved to Georgia

This picture is from Framingham, MA - the town next to the old Chez Borepatch when we lived up in Yankeeland:

Ugh.  Good luck to all my readers up there.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Deflategate - the Patriots did not cheat

Interesting science experiment:
An experiment performed by a team at Carnegie Mellon provides empirical support for the Patriots’ claim to have done nothing unusual. The Carnegie experimentalists inflated a batch of footballs to 12.5 psi at a room temperature of 75°F, then let the balls equalize to a new ambient temperature of 50°F, resulting in an average pressure drop of 1.8 psi. (They also wet the leather balls to simulate the rainy conditions of the game, surmising that this might allow stretching that would reduce air pressure in the ball, but this seems likely to be a minor factor.)
It seems that the cooler temperature on the field caused some of the water vapor in the ball to condense, reducing the pressure.  This implies that what happened at the Patriots-Colts game happens all the time - any maybe even more for very cold stadiums like Green Bay.  I'd guess that in sub freezing temperatures players fingers start to lose some feeling and so the situation isn't as noticeable.

"Hottest year ever" record relied on data adjustments

The recent announcement by NASA that 2014 was (maybe, kinda sorta) the hottest year on record relied on a big heat wave in South America for the record high global temperature reported.  But if you look at South America, you see a very large part of it is Amazon rain forest where there are precisely zero surface stations reporting temperatures to NASA and the other databases.

As a matter of fact, it boils down to three stations that are used to "infill" data to the bulk of the continent.  There's quite some interesting adjustments being made to the data from those stations:

As we so often see, older temperatures are adjusted downwards and recent temperatures are adjusted upwards:
So we find that a large chunk of [NASA's] hottest year is centred around a large chunk of South America, where there is little actual data, and where the data that does exist has been adjusted out of all relation to reality.
Other than that, it's awesome.

Pwn the drone

Who would have seen this coming?
Hacker Rahul Sasi has found and exploited a backdoor in Parrot AR Drones that allows the flying machines to be remotely hijacked.

The Citrix engineer developed what he said was the first malware dubbed Maldrone which exploited a new backdoor in the drones.

Sasi (@fb1h2s) said the backdoor could be exploited for Parrot drones within wireless range.
It seems that the developers didn't think about security when they wrote the software.  This is my shocked face.

U. S. Weapons Systems vulnerable

Oh good grief:
An annual report released by the Pentagon's chief weapons tester indicates that a majority of the government's weapons programs contain “significant vulnerabilities.”
Many of the bugs stem from outdated and unpatched software, said Michael Gilmore, director of operational test and evaluation for the Department of Defense, in his 366-page report released on Jan. 20.
Due to the evolving threat landscape and upgraded cybercriminal techniques it is “likely that the determined cyber adversaries can acquire a foothold in most (Department of Defense) networks” and could even “degrade important DoD missions when and if they chose to,” Gilomore said. While program managers resolved previous issues discovered in recent years, this year's report has uncovered a slew of new vulnerabilities.
Stalin would have had them shot.  This is basic blocking and tackling, and the Department of freakin' Defense seemingly isn't up to it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Just how powerful is government health care?

It is so powerful, it can force even Canada to stop being nice:
An elderly couple that has called Canada home for years is now under orders to leave the country, so they won't be a burden to the health-care system.

Michael and Janet Hollingsworth decided to move to Canada from Britain, after visiting their daughter in Saskatchewan in 2006 and 2007.

In 2012, they settled in Havelock, N.B., where they quickly grew to love their new community.


But now they may have to leave.

About a year-and-a-half ago, Michael's kidneys failed, and when they re-applied for a new visitor's visa, they were denied.
"(On) Christmas Eve, we received it in the mail stating that because of his health and everything else they wouldn't grant us a visitor's visa and we were to leave Canada immediately," Janet said.
If the government pays, this sort of thing is probably inevitable.  Way to go, "compassionate" Canada!

Bootnote: I only snark at Canada because so many people up there like to tell us how backwards and uncompassionate we are because we don't (yet) have national health care.  Sure, our system has problems (as they so often point out).  But if "Government is the things we choose to do together" then all y'all are choosing to throw an old, sick man out of your country because he's old and sick.  Not nice.  There's quite a difference between a sin of omission and a sin of commission.


Al Gore: this Soviet plan for high-density cities is awesome

And it will only cost $90 Trillion!
To stop climate change, Al Gore wants to spend a mere $90 trillion rebuilding all of the world’s cities so that everyone is living in such high-density neighborhoods that they don’t need cars. While a few curmudgeonly types might think that $90 trillion sounds like a lot of money, it really isn’t, say Gore and former Mexico president Filipe Calderon. After all, the world is probably going to spend the $90 trillion on something in the next few years anyway, so what’s wrong with spending it on this?

Gore made the proposal at an economics conference in Davos, Switzerland attended by billionaires who fly in on private jets so they can tell other people they need to get used to consuming less. Of course, neither Gore nor the other millionaires and billionaires at the conference expect to be stuck living in a high-density apartment any time soon.

This reminds the Antiplanner of The Ideal Communist City, the 1965 book that is now available for free download thanks to a group called Agenda 21 Today. In order to avoid the sprawl and traffic congestion found in those inefficient western cities, the book proposed that the Soviet Union build cities of high-density apartments allocating “not more than 225 square feet per person” to each apartment.

Click on the image to read a review of this book.

That’s exactly what the soviets did, with the result that Moscow today is the perfect smart-growth city: high densities throughout surrounded by a rural countryside.
So how'd that work out for the Soviets?  And how will today's young urban hipsters react?
As it turns out, a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders finds that even most millennials don’t want to be stuck in cities for their entire lives, the way most Soviet comrades were. While some may say the home builders are biased, they have a strong economic interest in finding out what kind of housing people are willing to pay for, so they are no more biased to the suburbs than the market as a whole.
I can't imagine what a disaster that man would have been as President.  He lives in Cloud Cuckooland.

Walmart must have started blue light specials or something

Monday, January 26, 2015

Boy, I'm glad I moved to Georgia

It looks like New England is going to get pasted:
Serious impacts from Winter Storm Juno are expected in Boston and the surrounding area early this week. A blizzard warning has been issued for the city of Boston and eastern Massachusetts, with much as 2 feet of snow being forecast.

"We're anticipating a really serious event here," said Peter Judge, spokesperson for Massachusetts Emergency Management, in an interview with The Weather Channel. "We're going to work hard to reach out to folks and make sure they understand the severity of this event."

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is on standby to co-ordinate support for coastal evacuations if necessary. The agency says that it is also ready to assist stranded drivers, provide shelters, and coordinate debris removal and utility restoration.
"This is [a] dangerous and life-threatening storm and mariners should return to port by Monday afternoon," the release said.
Airlines cancelled nearly 2,000 flights for Monday by 5 a.m. as the storm takes aim at the North East Travelers to check with their airlines before heading to Boston Logan International Airport by Massachusetts Port Authority officials because airlines are cancelling flights ahead of the storm and delays are likely.
I did my time up there.  Happy not to need this anymore.

Good luck to everyone still up there.

Keep your eye on Greece

Daniel Hannan says that the danger is not that Greece leaves the Euro and its economy collapses, but rather that it leaves the Euro and its economy thrives - setting an example for Spain and Italy.  The question then is what will the EU do to buy off and/or intimidate Greece's new government?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

What do you call a four wheel motorcycle?

A "car"

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

I'm (not) Batman

Extra nerd points if you heard Sheldon's voice say that.

From Atlanta Custom Baggers. Seen at the motorcycle show. I liked this one better:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Off to the motorcycle show

Going to look at more stuff I can't afford.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I think I'm in love

Yeah, baby!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Outdoor kitchen for the win.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Going to the RV show today

That will be a new experience, but looks like it will be fun.  Pictures later.

Friday, January 23, 2015

OK, surgery it is then

Collar bone not healing, so surgery will be February 12.  Should have done it 2 months ago.  Bah.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

2014: One of the coldest years in the last 10,000

Great overview of many of the flaws in the "2014 was the hottest year EVAH" press release from NASA.  This is a great introduction to the problems in the science and you should RTWT, but it ends with this excellent summary:
Evidence keeps contradicting the major assumptions of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis. As T.H. Huxley (1825 – 1895) said,

The great tragedy of science – the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.

The problem is the facts keep piling up and the AGW proponents keep ignoring, diverting, or stick-handling (hockey terminology), their way round them. We know the science is wrong because the IPCC projections are wrong. Normal science requires re-examination of the hypothesis and its assumptions. The IPCC removed this option when they set out to prove the hypothesis. It put them on a treadmill of fixing the results, especially the temperature record.
I think it's time to start referring to this as the "Democrat's War On Science" ...

Quote of the Day: Why Progressives are idiots

I am always amazed that supporters of such [mass] transit projects call light rail projects "sustainable".  Forget for a minute that they seldom use less energy per passenger mile than driving.   Think about all the resources that go into them.  This at first seems like a hard problem -- how do we account for all the resources that go into transit vs. go into driving.  But then we realize it is actually easy, because we have a simple tool for valuing resource inputs:  price.  Prices are a great miracle.  They provide us with a sort of weighted average of the value and scarcity of the resources (both hard, like titanium, and soft, like labor and innovation) that go into a product.  So if light rail costs 10x or more per passenger mile than driving, as it often does, this means that it uses ten times the value of resource inputs as driving.  This is sustainable?  I do not think that word means what you think it means.
The mystery of the situation, of course, is why these people think that they are smarter than you and I.  RTWT, which is actually much more brutal than I am towards Progressives.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Passwords are still lousy

The most popular password is "123456":
The most popular passwords in 2014 were also the most obvious —leading security experts to once again urge people to change their passwords.

As with 2013, variations on passwords like 123456 continue to be the most popular passwords. Other obvious choices such as “password” and “qwerty” are also in the top five.
Actually that one can be a pretty good password if you're dealing with H4x0Rz like this:

Of course, you're far too smart to fall for that.  You use strong passwords, right?  I knew you did!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I love it

Irish asked.  OK, here was my last fill up.

At the QT in Roswell, GA.  I saw a Kroger that was $1.95 a gallon, plus you get savings for your Kroger points.  You could probably get gas regularly for $1.75 to $1.85.

Add in the fact that it's 65° here, and life is pretty dang sweet.

Insurance Company's techno snitch entirely lacking in security

And when I say "entirely", I mean entirely:
Thuen, a security researcher at Digital Bond Labs who will present his findings at the S4 conference in a talk titled Remote Control Automobiles, has been figuring out how he might hack the vehicle’s on-board network via a dongle that connects to the OBD2 port of his pickup truck. That little device, Snapshotprovided by one of the biggest insurance providers in the US, Progressive Insurance, is supposed to track his driving to determine whether he deserves to pay a little more or less for his cover. It’s used in more than two million vehicles in the US. But it’s wholly lacking in security, meaning it could be exploited to allow a hacker, be they in the car or outside, to take control over core vehicular functions, he claims.

It’s long been theorised that such usage-based insurance dongles, which are permeating the market apace, would be a viable attack vector. Thuen says he’s now proven those hypotheses; previous attacks via dongles either didn’t name the OBD2 devices or focused on another kind of technology, namely Zubie, which tracks the performance of vehicles for maintenance and safety purposes.
This is my shocked face.  "Wholly lacking in security" is no exaggeration:
“The firmware running on the dongle is minimal and insecure. It does no validation or signing of firmware updates, no secure boot, no cellular authentication, no secure communications or encryption, no data execution prevention or attack mitigation technologies… basically it uses no security technologies whatsoever.”
Security wasn't an afterthought; it wasn't thought of at all.  Other than that, it's awesome.

Me?  None of those are coming anywhere near my cars.

Monday, January 19, 2015

So was 2014 the hottest year ever?

If you wonder what the answer is, you haven't been reading here long:
Nature trumpets “2014 was the hottest year on record” and cites the Japan Meteorological Agency, the World Meteorological Organization, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). However, NOAA and several other principal terrestrial temperature datasets – which are subject to measurement, coverage, and bias uncertainties and have been repeatedly revised in a questionable fashion over the past year to show ever greater rates of warming– have not yet reported their December 2014 values.

It is immediately apparent that 2014 was not “the warmest year on record.” Several previous years had been warmer, including the El Niño years 1998 and 2010.

Figure 1 also shows the rate of global warming since 1979 is the equivalent of just 1.3° Celsius per century – hardly anything to worry about.


Since 1990, when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) first predicted how temperatures would evolve in the short to medium term, the measured rate of global warming – taken as the mean of all five principal global-temperature datasets – has been just under half of the warming IPCC had predicted with “substantial confidence” that year (Figure 2).
Not to mention that the Satellite data sets report no warming at all over the last 18 years.

Given that not all of the data sets have updated for December, this might seem premature to you.  I'm certain that it's entirely coincidental that the report was issued immediately before the State Of The Union Address.  Oh hum - just more politicized junk science from the Democrats.

Steam, Steel and Dreadnoughts

A history of the Royal Navy.  Not bad.  The impact of the force draw down after the end of the Napoleonic Wars was pretty interesting - I'd never heard that before but it's really not surprising: you really don't need dozens of Ships Of The Line once old Boney was shipped off to St. Helena.  Also, a good discussion of the difference between H.M.S. Warrior (the  world's second ironclad) and the U.S.S. Monitor (the third or fourth).

The part I thought was most interesting was the lost of individual Captain's initiative between Trafalgar and Jutland.  The only explanation that makes sense is that this instinct was suppressed during the long period of peace.  There's a lesson for us there.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Why the GOP won't fix the country

They never have:
After reading the book, I don’t believe that Ike was a commie, however I believe that if I had been a Commie in the US in ’52 or ’56 that I probably would have voted Ike. Or as Welch puts it: "In April, 1957, Norman Thomas, six-time candidate for President of the United States on the Socialist ticket, stated that ‘the United States is making greater strides toward socialism under Eisenhower than even under Roosevelt.’"
There's a lot on Ike here, most of which is very unsavory.  The GOP has been a bunch of lying hypocrites for two thirds of a century.  What would make anyone believe they will change today?

Quote of the Day, Paris Terrorism Edition

How do you defeat terrorism?  Don't be terrorized.
- Salman Rushdie

I'd think he'd know something of this.  Think on this when you look on the works of Leviathan, and wont to despair.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The mirage of Technocratic planning

It's about prestige, not efficiency:
In particular, both Friedman and Epstein think we need to build more high speed passenger trains.  This is exactly the kind of gauzy non-fact-based wishful thinking that makes me extremely pleased that these folks do not have the dictatorial powers they long for.   High speed rail is a terrible investment, a black hole for pouring away money, that has little net impact on efficiency or pollution.   But rail is a powerful example because it demonstrates exactly how this bias for high-profile triumphal projects causes people to miss the obvious.

Which is this:  The US rail system, unlike nearly every other system in the world, was built (mostly) by private individuals with private capital.  It is operated privately, and runs without taxpayer subsidies.    And, it is by farthe greatest rail system in the world.  It has by far the cheapest rates in the world (1/2 of China’s, 1/8 of Germany’s).  But here is the real key:  it is almost all freight.

As a percentage, far more freight moves in the US by rail (vs. truck) than almost any other country in the world.  Europe and Japan are not even close.  Specifically, about 40% of US freight moves by rail, vs. just 10% or so in Europe and less than 5% in Japan.   As a result, far more of European and Japanese freight jams up the highways in trucks than in the United States.  For example, the percentage of freight that hits the roads in Japan is nearly double that of the US.

You see, passenger rail is sexy and pretty and visible.  You can build grand stations and entertain visiting dignitaries on your high-speed trains.  This is why statist governments have invested so much in passenger rail — not to be more efficient, but to awe their citizens and foreign observers.
A lot of the whining that we need to put the Technocrats in charge comes from people who couldn't find the actual solution if you gave them a GPS pre-programmed with waypoints.  The problem is that the Thomas Friedmans of the world don't know as much as the people actually, say, building and running railroads, but they think they do.

Technocratic government?  As Gandhi is said to have remarked about Western Civilization, that would be very nice indeed.

Dyslexics of the world, untie!


Quote of the Day

From a while back, but still relevant:
The core concepts of moving away from the free-market to a governmental run system are 1) bribes , corruption and favors being built in to the system to make it work 2) general impunity of workers for participating in this sham “rights based’ process.

My advice is to befriend governmental workers and medical care professionals in the future as our system moves more towards the “Greek” model of over-promising care to everyone and under-funding and not incenting the hard work necessary for quality care to occur. And be prepared for a wall of government workers who can rule with impunity based on arcane processes and standards not tied to the free market or any sort of accountability based system as our “investment” in government increases; the first thing these workers will do is build a system where they are put “first” before the mission that they are trying to accomplish.
The three years since this have shown that if anything, this is even more relevant in Obama's America.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

I hadn't thought about that


Four years after l'affair TJIC

Four years ago a storm was brewing in Massachussets:
I've linked several times to posts over at the blog Dispatches from TJICistan.  TJIC is an outspoken (some might say extremely so) advocate of smaller government.  He's also a firearms owner in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.  While he owns guns, it appears that he's no longer allowed to possess any:

ARLINGTON (CBS) – A blog threatening members of Congress in the wake of the Tucson, Arizona shooting has prompted Arlington police to temporarily suspend the firearms license of an Arlington man.

It was the headline “1 down and 534 to go” that caught the attention. “One” refers to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in the rampage, while 534 refers to the other members of the U.S. House and Senate.

Police are investigating the “suitability” of 39-year-old Travis Corcoran to have a firearms license
TJIC's blog is still down after all these years.  The bureaucrats won.

Foseti had a post a month previously that ironically quoted TJIC on the dynamic in play:
TJIC linking to a piece on bureaucracy:
In the long run the rule of aristocracy has been succeeded not by the rule of democracy but by the rule of bureaucracy. Let us examine this pallid aphorism a little more closely. If one does not like aristocracy one is, most probably, a democrat by preference; or the other way around. But one’s exasperation with bureaucracy is a different matter: it is at the same time more superficial and more profound than our dislike for either form of government. The democratic exercise of periodic elections does not compensate people sufficiently against their deep-seated knowledge that they are being ruled by hundreds of thousands of bureaucrats, in every level of government, in every institution, on every level of life.
These bureaucrats are not the trainees of a rigid state apparatus, or of capitalist institutions, as their caricatures during the nineteenth century showed them. They are the interchangeable, suburban men and women of the forever present, willing employees of the monster Progress
Progress!  I mean, you don't want to stand in the way of progress, do you?  Do you?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I want to vote for this guy for President in 2016

He even can discuss Adolf Hitler without triggering Godwin's Law.

Dang. I'm not going to shop there anymore ...

How "settled" science is performed

This is a blast from the past, but is strangely current:
For over a century, Einstein’s theory of relativity has been one of the unimpeachable pillars of science, so much so that the statement “nothing is faster than light” is often taken as a simple fact of life. It is a theory upon which much of modern physics is based.
Several weeks ago, scientists in Europe came across something they shouldn’t have:
…They had measured particles called neutrinos which traveled around six kilometers (3.75 miles) per second faster than the speed of light, determined by Einstein to be the highest velocity possible.
Further experimentation gave similar results.  This doesn't mean that relativity is wrong but it does suggest that what was "settled" physics is less well understood than we had thought.
What’s interesting, of course, is how much more mature physicists seem to be than climatologists.  Dissent from a scientific paradigm much more firmly established than anything in climate science isn’t greeted with howls of rage, fury and charges of heresy.  Many physicists are skeptical, as well they should be, of evidence that seems contrary to decades of experiment and analysis, but the overwhelming mood seems to be one of curiosity rather than rage.  Could these new results possibly be real?  What would this mean if it is true?  How can we check these results to see how fast these neutrinos are really moving?

This is how real science operates.
Physicists don't "hide the decline".  This tells you everything that you need to know to understand just how pitifully weak climate "science" is today.

Computer attack wrecks steel mill

Joe emails to point out the large dollar losses that can be inflicted with the click of a mouse:
Amid all the noise the Sony hack generated over the holidays, a far more troubling cyber attack was largely lost in the chaos. Unless you follow security news closely, you likely missed it.
I’m referring to the revelation, in a German report released just before Christmas(.pdf), that hackers had struck an unnamed steel mill in Germany. They did so by manipulating and disrupting control systems to such a degree that a blast furnace could not be properly shut down, resulting in “massive”—though unspecified—damage.
There are other types of plants where the consequences would be equally grave - Plexiglas polymerization in the piping would be a Very Bad Thing Indeed, for example.  Chemical plants might even go boom.

And it doesn't look like the Security Team were asleep at the switch, either.  The plant wasn't exposed to the Internet like a lot of the Power Grid:
The report, issued by Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (or BSI), indicates the attackers gained access to the steel mill through the plant’s business network, then successively worked their way into production networks to access systems controlling plant equipment. The attackers infiltrated the corporate network using a spear-phishing attack—sending targeted email that appears to come from a trusted source in order to trick the recipient into opening a malicious attachment or visiting a malicious web site where malware is downloaded to their computer. Once the attackers got a foothold on one system, they were able to explore the company’s networks, eventually compromising a “multitude” of systems, including industrial components on the production network.
My feeling is that the future will see the segmenting of networks into "ordinary business users" and "mission critical" with no connections whatsoever between them - exactly like the DoD unclassified and classified networks.  While this is no panacea, it makes it much, much more difficult to penetrate, and very likely requires physical access.  And a shout out to the retail industry: your Point Of Sale terminals should be separated from the rest of the network in exactly this way to avoid a repeat of the Target credit card breech.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Heh heh


Actually, that would make a pretty funny fortune cookie

Climate databases contain lousy data, vol XVII

Another day, another warming bias in in the data:
MISSOULA – In a recent study, University of Montana and Montana Climate Office researcher Jared Oyler found that while the western U.S. has warmed, recently observed warming in the mountains of the western U.S. likely is not as large as previously supposed.

His results, published Jan. 9 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, show that sensor changes have significantly biased temperature observations from the Snowpack Telemetry (SNOTEL) station network.


Oyler and his co-authors applied statistical techniques to account for biases introduced when equipment was switched at SNOTEL sites in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s.

His revised datasets reduced the biases to reveal that high-elevation minimum temperatures were warming only slightly more than minimum temperatures at lower elevations.
Pay no attention to that statistical technique behind the curtain!  The great and powerful Oz IPCC has spoken!

Is it too tinfoil-hattish to wonder why all the biases discovered result in warmer data?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Ford recalls SUVs because of bone headed User Interface design

Someone put the "Off" button right next to the shift buttons:
Ford has issued a recall for its Lincoln MKC SUVs, because drivers trying to operate the gearshift are shutting the car down by mistake.

As computers invade the world of motor vehicles, and car-makers replace the old ignition key assembly with a start button, it seems they're having to relearn the basics of interface design.

In the case of the Ford recall, the salient detail is: “don't put the 'gearshift sports-mode button' next to the start-stop button”.
[blink] [blink] [blink]

I'd add some snark, but this comes pre-snarked.  There are pictures at the link.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The failure of the financial institutions are not by accident

They're by regulation:
I will oversimplify here, but basically it categorized some assets as "safe" and some as "risky".  Those that were risky had their value cut in half for purposes of capital calculations, while those that were "safe" had their value counted at 100%.  So if a bank invested a million dollars in safe assets, that would count as a million dollar towards its capital requirements, but would count only $500,000 towards those requirements if it were invested in risky assets.  As a result, a bank that needed a billion dollars in capital would need a billion of safe assets or two billion of risky assets.


Anyway, what assets did the regulators choose as "safe"?  Again, we will simplify, but basically sovereign debt and mortgages (including the least risky tranches of mortgage-backed debt).  ...

And for most banks, this was mortgage-backed securities.  So, using the word Brad DeLong applied to deregulation, there was an "orgy" of buying of mortgage-backed securities.  There was simply enormous demand.  You hear stories about fraud and people cooking up all kinds of crazy mortgage products and trying to shove as many people as possible into mortgages, and here is one reason -- banks needed these things.

So with this experience in hand, banks moved out of mortage-backed securities and into the last "safe" asset, sovereign debt.  And again, bank presidents told their folks to get the best possible yield in "safe" assets.  So banks loaded up on sovereign debt, in particular increasing the demand for higher-yield debt from places like, say, Greece.  Which helps to explain why the market still keeps buying up PIIGS debt when any rational person would consider these countries close to default.  So these countries continue their deficit spending without any market check, because financial institutions keep buying this stuff because it is all they can buy.
When Greece (and Portugal, and Spain, and Italy) leaves the Euro and defaults - as it certainly will, sooner or later - it will be the sub-prime mortgage crisis all over again but ten times bigger.

Good thing we have such smart regulators working on this.  Top Men.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Crazy busy

Back later.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Jimmy Cornett - Mit der Harley durch Nevada

This is so filled with win that it made me want to squee "Fantastisch!"

The description of the video from Der Youtube:
Wir haben den Bundesstaat mit der Harley erfahren. Der Film zeigt unsere 3000 km lange Tour durch den Silver-State. Der Soundtrack zu dem Trailer stammt von Jimmy Cornett. (mehr info unter: und
Erlangend, freunde!

OMG, there goes my life

The Internet Archive has just posted 2400 DOS games from the 1980s and 1990s.  Some of these devoured hours/days/months of my life.  It looks like they're all playable in the Javascript emulator there on the site.

Rogue, Earl Weaver Baseball, Incunabula, The Oregon Trail (a gift from Mom & Dad to #1 Son, back when he was 7 or so), Castle Wolfenstein and Wolfenstein 3D, Sim City, Railroad Tycoon, ...


They couldn't build a Nursing Home that could keep him locked up

D-Day veteran who "broke out" to visit the 70th anniversary ceremonies has passed on.  His story became news at the time, and he was "adopted" by a bunch of paratroops in Normandy.  He seemed to have cut a wide swath:

When told by the media that it was being reported as the "Great Escape", he just laughed and drove on.  What a man!

R.I.P. Bernard Jordan.  Fair winds and following seas.

Hat tip: In the Middle of the Right.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

That concrete looks up to code

Good thing, too.  Someone might get hurt.

Quote of the day

Goober on "Social Justice Warriors":
You take a guy that lived his entire life in the Amazonian jungle, fighting for every meal he's ever eaten, making his own living/clothing/abode/etc at huge expense of labor, and living every day with the fear of that next cut becoming septic and killing him, or that next sniffle being the cold that brings him down, or the next monsoon not being monsooney enough and his family starving to death, and you give him a pair of Levi jeans, some tennis shoes, a first world education, and modern medicine, and HE WILL CUT YOUR FUCKING THROAT before he will let you stick him back in that jungle. 


But SJWs want to keep him there, unmolested by western "cultural pollution" like modern medicine and central air conditioning, in order to "preserve his culture", without giving him an educated say in the decision at all.  More of that SJW superiority.  

This idea of "allowing the brown people too stay in their place" smacks an awful, awful lot like "keeping the brown people in their place." 

Nice Handywork

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
- Psalms 19

The Hubble Space Telescope has taken the highest resolution image ever seen of the Andromeda Galaxy:

This sweeping view shows one third of our galactic neighbour, the Andromeda Galaxy, with stunning clarity. The panoramic image has a staggering 1.5 billion pixels — meaning you would need more than 600 HD television screens to display the whole image [1]. It traces the galaxy from its central galactic bulge on the left, where stars are densely packed together, across lanes of stars and dust to the sparser outskirts of its outer disc on the right.


This image is too large to be easily displayed at full resolution and is best appreciated using the zoom tool.
Science does not clash with faith.  On the contrary.
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers,
the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

What is man, that thou art mindful of him?
and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

- Psalms 8:3 - 8:4

Monday, January 5, 2015

All hail the Nerd King

Why did the dialog sound like the voices from Big Bang Theory?

It's not easy being a hero

The ancient Romans knew what it was to be a man.  They would have saluted this guy:
I want to start off by saying this is going to be officially ruled a murder/suicide when in all actuality it is a double suicide. My baby was trying to escape the bi-polar demons that have been swirling around in her brain since childhood and now because of my selfishness in dialing 911 she is experiencing the only thing she feared more than her illness…life support on a respirator.


I don’t care what is done with the ashes but I know Kathy loves Damariscotta Lake.


Please don’t mourn for me, my spirit will be in a much better place with my soul mate; you may even catch a glimpse of us from time to time.
Boy, this must have been a hard choice to make.  Back when Dad was in his last days from the cancer, I often thought that it would have been a mercy to give him an overdose of Morphine, but my family needed me.  Somehow, that makes me feel like a lesser man than Mark Lavoie.

Some nights the wolves are silent and the Moon howls.

Hat tip: Free North Carolina.

No global warming in 18 years and 3 months

Based on the RSS satellite data set:
Figure 1. The least-squares linear-regression trend on the RSS satellite monthly global mean surface temperature anomaly dataset shows no global warming for 18 years 3 months since October 1996.

The hiatus period of 18 years 3 months, or 219 months, is the farthest back one can go in the RSS satellite temperature record and still show a sub-zero trend.
This is the "hiatus" that is causing considerable discomfort among climate modelers.  The models have not predicted this pause in warming, casting doubt on the model's ability to accurately predict future temperatures:
Figure 5. Output of 33 IPCC models (turquoise) compared with measured RSS global temperature change (black), 1979-2014. The transient coolings caused by the volcanic eruptions of Chichón (1983) and Pinatubo (1991) are shown, as is the spike in warming caused by the great el Niño of 1998.
I have been posting for years on the questionable quality of the climate data sets, where data is "adjusted" via poorly explained methods.  The Satellite record has a number of advantages that make it (IMHO) the gold standard:

1. It is truly global (well, from 80°N to 80°S), as opposed to only recording temperatures where there is a permanent weather station.  One major complaint about the surface record is that most of the stations are located at airports and that urbanization and growth over the last 50 years has led to an "Urban Heat Island" effect as cities and their airports pave over what used to be grassy fields.  Concrete and asphalt give very different temperature readings than fields do.  The satellite records temperatures all over the globe, not just at airports.

2. Data are automatically gathered at regular times.  Some of the surface data sets (especially the "High Quality" HCN) do this, but not all stations contributing to many of the data sets do this.  "Ghost readings" occur a rather dismaying number of times; the satellite record does not have this shortcoming.

3. The raw (unadjusted) satellite data is made available each month.  Most of the climate data sets only provide adjusted ("value added") data.  I'm quite uncomfortable with the idea of changing the data after they are recorded, but this goes on all the time - but not in the satellite data sets.

The downside of the satellite record is that it only goes back to 1979 when it was brought online.  Still, this is closing in on half a century of data which is certainly enough to give us a view of what's happening right now.  What's happening is that nothing is happening, which is not at all what we had been told would be the case.

Oh, and the kicker?  There's more than a "hiatus" problem, there's also the "divergence" problem where the surface temperature data sets are increasing much faster than tree ring data sets.  Remember "hide the decline"?  The tree ring after 1960 was removed from the scientist's analysis.  Why was it removed?  Because it showed temperatures dropping.  Berkeley's Dr. Richard Muller (who believes in global warming) explains how the scientists hid the decline:

The "Science is settled"?  Not at all.  The Science is a mess, and getting messier.


The shoulder feels like it's healing slowly - 3 months after the accident it still doesn't take much to make it feel goofy.  And after the rain stopped it briefly hit 60° here in the ATL.

I'm wondering if a ride around the neighborhood to test it is as stupid as it sounds.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Damn. I'm slipping

Actually average.  Bah.  The quiz starts here for you fellow nerds.

The thought for the day

I find it very hard to argue with this:
Leftism has not won these arguments, the Left has simply punished those who argue on the other side: and when I say 'The Left' I mean particularly Leftist intellectuals in the mass media, public administration, the education system, and bureaucracies generally.


What can be concluded?

Our society is far more corrupt than people realize - why wouldn't it be? What's to stop it? But just how corrupt it is impossible to know, even approximately, since any 'evidence' consists of lies built upon lies.

Our society is far less smart than people realize, because good arguments are punished and demonized so bad arguments (or no arguments at all, but merely faked moral outrage/ scapegoat hatred) wins vital arguments by default.


In sum, we live in a world ruled by dumb liars
Happy New Year, y'all!

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi - Stabat Mater

Giovanni Battista Draghi was from the town of Pergola, from whence he got his much more famous nickname.  His career blazed brightly in the seven years of so between his first published composition and his death from tuberculosis.  You wonder what else he might have done given a longer run.

Pergolesi was born on this day in 1710.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Little Jimmy Dickens - Life Turned Turned Her That Way

Little Jimmy Dickens was a Nashville institution, joining the Grand Ole Opry in 1948.  He was discovered by no less that Roy Acuff who heard him singing on a local radio station.  His nickname came from his 4' 11" stature, but there was nothing small about his country music sound which is nothing but old school. 

Little Jimmy Dickens passed away yesterday at the age of 94.  Fair winds and following seas, Little Jimmy.

Life Turned Turned Her That Way (Songwriter: Harlan Howard)
If she seems cold and bitter
Then I beg of you
Just stop and consider
All she's gone through
Don't be quick to condemn her
For things she might say
Just remember
Life turned her that way
She's been walked on
And stepped on so many times
And I hate to admit it
But the last footprint's mine
She was crying when I met her
She tries harder today
So don't blame her
Life turned her that way
She's been walked on
And stepped on so many times
And I hate to admit it
But the last footprint's mine
She was crying when I met her
She trys harder today
So don't blame her
Life turned her that way

So don't blame her
Life turned her that way
(Image source)

Friday, January 2, 2015

The M1 Garand: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Interesting article that takes a clear eyed view of the M1.  I found this to be particularly interesting, and something that I had not heard before:
John Garand was a machinist with a passion for target shooting, and it is perhaps the result of his expertise on the factory floor that the Garand rifle enjoyed its most significant advantage over its stablemates. Where other selfloading rifle designers could not answer the question of how, exactly, their weapons could be produced in the quantities needed to arm a nation’s entire armed forces, Garand could. Garand’s designs of horizontal and vertical mill cutters enabled the Garand rifle to be produced in numbers large enough to arm every US Army rifleman.
I have always thought that the en-bloc clip was a good design: very inexpensive and light weight, it was also mechanically simpler than removable magazines.  This combination of light weight reliability would allow an infantryman to be supplied with and carry more ammunition.


Brigid hits the big time

Kirkus Review is, along with the (London) Times Literary Supplement the gold standard for serious authors, and readers who care about serious books.  Dad subscribed to both, but as a University professor he came by his love of books honestly.  This is the Big League for authors.

Brigid's Book Of Barkley just got a fantastic review in Kirkus.  This is an astonishing accomplishment for a new author, equivalent to a Spring Training walk-on pitcher pitching in the World Series.  Congratulations, Brigid!

And any of you who haven't read her book need to get the lead out and order it.


I don't typically do these, but this year I have one.  I resolve to put more miles on the motorcycle than on the Jeep, once I'm back riding.  Given how little I drive, that might only be 5,000 miles - about twice what I did last year.

Seems doable, particularly if the Big Guy still wants to meet up in Apalachicola.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Remember, only the police are well trained enough to have firearms

Peachtree City Police Chief "accidentally" shoots wife:
PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. -- The wife of Peachtree City Police Chief William E. McCollom is in critical condition after being shot by her husband Thursday morning.

Police responded to the couple's home in the 100 block of Autumn Leaf shortly after 4:15 a.m., where they found the victim, 58-year-old Margaret McCollom. She was taken by helicopter to Atlanta Medical Center.

The GBI will handle the shooting investigation. GBI spokeswoman Sherry Lang originally said Chief McCollom called 911 to say he accidentally shot his wife twice with his service weapon. After further investigation, Lang said it was determined that only one bullet had been discharged.
I think the word you're looking for is "negligently".  Unless the word is "maliciously", but so far the authorities are treating him with kid gloves.