Monday, November 30, 2015

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Michael Buble - Feliz Navidad

Set phasers to 'Troll'

Carl Stalling - Rabbit of Seville

You've heard Carl Stalling's music; he was the composer for Looney Tunes, writing one new score a week for 22 years.  The music is surprisingly complex for "children's entertainment".  This is perhaps his most famous adaptation.

While this is clearly an adaptation, his other scores were entirely original.  Giants strode the Earth in those days.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The War on Terror is not aimed at terror

It's aimed at Democracy:
At least 24 climate activists have been put under house arrest by French police, accused of flouting a ban on organising protests during next week’s Paris climate summit, the Guardian has learned.

One legal adviser to the activists said many officers raided his Paris apartment and occupied three floors and a staircase in his block.

French authorities did not respond to requests for comment but lawyers said that the warrants were issued under state of emergency laws, imposed after the terror attacks that killed 130 people earlier this month.
Ah, those convenient emergency laws.  For "safety", of course.  Relax, citizen: if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear, right?
The author and climate change campaigner, Naomi Klein, accused French authorities of “a gross abuse of power that risks turning the summit into a farce”.

“Climate summits are not photo opportunities to boost the popularity of politicians,” she told the Guardian. “Given the stakes of the climate crisis, they are by their nature highly contested. That is democracy, messy as it may be. The French government, under cover of anti-terrorism laws, seems to be trying to avoid this, shamefully banning peaceful demonstrations and using emergency powers to pre-emptively detain key activists.”
The Elites are utterly uninterested in democracy, and in fact (as shown by the immigration policies on both sides of The Pond) are doing their very best to elect a new People - one that will be more democratically supportive of their policy preferences.

This is actually the entirety of what you need to know to fully understand the Trumpening.  Europe is (as always) more ideologically committed than we re, and so is more fully screwed than we are.  They'd be lucky to get a Donald Trump.  Instead, there will be multiple fascist governments there in two years.

The paniced Elites, of course, will try to quash the elections.  That bucket of liquid is handy to douse the flames, even if it may be petrol.

Alison Krauss and Yo-Yo Ma - The Wexford Carol

It's after Black Thursday, which means that it's now officially Christmastide.  To kick the season off here are two of the greatest musical talents of our day.

Wow, Black Fridy shopping realy is tough

Even Rocky had trouble getting a TV ...

Friday, November 27, 2015

The WKRP turkey incident was based on an actual event

In Atlanta, no less:
CLARKE BROWN: The turkey drop was actually a real incident.  It was at a shopping center in Atlanta; I think it was Broadview Plaza, which no longer exists.  It was a Thankgiving promotion.  We thought that we could throw these live turkeys out into the crowd for their Thanksgiving dinners.  All of us, naïve and uneducated, thought that turkeys could fly.  Of course, they went just f*****’ splat.

People were laughing at us, not with us.  But it became a legend.
The world is not just a strange place, it's stranger than we can possibly imagine.

Top shelf snark

Waterford Whispers News looks like it's Ireland's hoe-grown answer to The Onion.  It's sharp as Irish Whisky:
THE CONTROVERSIAL Oireachtas banking inquiry into the financial collapse of Ireland’s banks in 2008 has requested a €12bn bailout in order for it to continue and complete its work.

Members believe there is a strong chance the committee will fail to produce a final report if there is not some form of banking inquiry bailout put in place to secure its spiralling costs.


“If only we had an extra few billion to finally carry this out properly,” hinted one Oireachtas member. “If we don’t get the funds we need, this whole banking inquiry could collapse… and no one wants that”.
Heh.  That's some quality mockery of the EU financial system, right there.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

An ode to the ever shortening Thanksgiving holiday

By which I mean "the ever shortening time between the end of Thanksgiving dinner and the start of shopping".  At the pace it's going, Black Friday will soon fall on Halloween.

This, of course, was foreseen back in the 1960s.  It was funny back then, in a "ha ha, only kidding" sense.  Now it's "ha ha, only serious".

Giving Thanks

To remember what the celebration was about, you have to go back and see what the Pilgrims went through their first year:
"Of the original 102 Mayflower passengers, four died before reaching Plymouth. By the summer of 1621 there were another 46 deaths among the passengers, and about 25 deaths among the crew. After the General Sickness, only 12 of 26 men with families and 4 of the 12 single men and boys survived. "All but a few" of the women survived"
They had been headed for Virginia. They ended up in Massachusetts. Survival for any of them was in doubt and without the help of the native people, they would not have made it.

 "At summer's end, when harvest was in, Governor John Carver called for a special celebration. The colonists began to gather food for a traditional English "harvest home." This festival was held throughout England at harvest's end to give thanks for the bounty and celebrate the end of the most intense period of work for farmers. The Pilgrims' celebration had a special poignancy, of course, as a counterpoint to years of terrible hardships and a testament to the creation of the kind of religious environment they desired.

The Native Americans traditionally celebrated a harvest festival similar to the harvest home. The Pilgrims invited Massasoit, who came with 90 of his people and whose hunters contributed five deer to the celebration. The Pilgrims gathered corn, wild turkey, ducks and other fowl, fish, and venison. The first Thanksgiving lasted about a week, with three days' straight of feasting with the Wampanoag. The time was filled with prayers, dances, shooting matches, wrestling, and other games.

There is no specific indication of when the first Thanksgiving was held; it is unlikely that it was held as late as November. It was held after the harvest was gotten in and before the arrival of the Fortune in November. It also was not a day specifically set aside for religious worship. The Pilgrims lived so that prayer, the Bible, and the church were part of their everyday lives. The first Thanksgiving included a blessing on the harvest and thanks to God, but it was also a party rather than a serious religious meditation, with five or six days of recreation. The invitation of the Wampanoag was not just about being neighborly; it was also to recognize the special role which the Native Americans played in ensuring the Pilgrims' survival."

As God is my witness ...

The Feast

Pieter Breugel the Elder, The Peasant Wedding
The feast has always been more for the soul than for the body.  Today's holiday is the most uniquely American of all.  A day to relax with family and friends, but one that explicitly calls on us to ponder what we are grateful for.

Me, I'm thankful for quite a lot.  It's a quiet day with just the Queen of the World and me.  I'm thankful that I'm an empty nester - the boys seem to be doing pretty well, but it was time.  Probably best for both them and me.

I'm thankful for the dog park and the puppy play that wears Wolfgang out.  I'm thankful that the move back north looks like it will go fairly smoothly.  Roswell and Camp Borepatch have been good places, but a new adventure begins.  I'm thankful that the adventure looks like it's fixin' to be a good one.

And I'm thankful for you, gentle reader.  The community that we've forged is something special indeed.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Have a happy and honest Thanksgiving

Well, maybe not as honest as this ...

I want to disconnect myself from all this emotion.  With alcohol.


Analysis of the Laquan McDonald shooting by the Chicago Police

Eric Raymond does an analysis of the video:
The fast version: I would have said this was what cops call a “good shoot” if it had stopped at the first two bullets. It didn’t. I don’t think this was murder one, but it was at least criminally negligent homicide and those who covered it up should be prosecuted along with Van Dyke.
This is a very thoughtful post on when deadly force is justified and when it - sometimes suddenly - turns into unjustified deadly force.  This is important reading for anyone who carries, so RTWT.

As a bonus, there's a link there to his analysis of the Michael Brown autopsy results and what it likely means about the shooting.  Short version: completely justified in that case.

The Science is settled!

97% of Americans aren't worried about Climate Change:
A new Fox News poll finds that in the wake of the Paris terror attacks, the issue of terrorism has become the top concern of American voters. Only 3 percent of respondents said that global warming was the most important issue facing the country today.

When asked what is currently the most important issue facing the country, 24 percent of those surveyed said terrorism. That number stood at 11 percent the last time Fox News conducted the poll. Another 21 percent cited the economy as their top concern. The issue has been at top of the list for most of President Obama’s tenure in office.
From a scientific point of view, this is clearly the wrong answer, since it doesn't provide more grant funding for climate scientists.  Oh, the humanity!

Declssified NSA COMSEC lectures

From 1973.  One-time tapes, codes, TEMPEST.  Fin stuff if you're a crypto-nerd like me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Zero to Jackboots in five two years

It's happening faster than I had thought:
Germany security guards at the main government office for refugees in Berlin have reportedly been caught on camera using openly Nazi language.

Bild newspaper has released video footage in which it alleges the guards call for asylum-seekers to be put in concentration camps.

One recording purports to show a uniformed security guard speaking of getting “swastikas in my eyes”.

“In two years, there will be a revolution here and there will be no more of all this s***. We’ll clean it all out,” the guard, who has not been named, appears to say.

“We have plenty of summer camps, and I swear to you they can be used again. On the gate: work makes you free,” he says.
Boy, we sure need to be more like Europe, huh?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Earlier in the Month

I was out for a walk on Veteran's Day. There are some veterans I know that served in combat and I always think of them when this day rolls around. I was preoccupied that day, but I did get the flags flying in the local park after the ceremony had ended. Better late than never.

The department of Homeland Derp

This is me, rolling my eyes:
The US Department of Homeland Security is running dozens of unpatched databases, some of which are rated "secret" and even "top secret," according to an audit.

An inspection [PDF] of the department's IT infrastructure found huge security gaps, including the fact that 136 systems had expired "authorities to operate" – meaning that no one was in charge of keeping them updated. Of the 136, 17 were classified as "secret" or "top secret."
Top. Men.

I know that the problem of "what's on the network" is really hard (actually, it really is).  But if your department has the word "Security" in it, it seems reasonable to think that you'd be better at it than other people.  Especially if some of the stuff is Top Secret.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

How to make money from Facebook

You're welcome.

Comcast Xfinity Wi-Fi discloses your name and home address

It also helpfully offers a map to your house for potential Internet stalkers:
The Xfinity Wi-Fi service from Comcast is disclosing the full name and home address of residential customers, which is something the company says isn’t supposed to happen. 
The disclosure of such information increases an already exposed attack surface, by allowing anyone with malicious intent to selectively target their marks. 
The following composite image shows residential customers with Xfinity Wi-Fi enabled. They are all in the same town, in the same state, and according to a public records search – none of them have ever been registered as a business. Please note: This image has been redacted by Salted Hash to remove the customer's last name, address, and the map markers which might identify their location.
Click through to see how this all shows up when you search for Comcast Wi-Fi hot spots.

I recommend that anyone with Comcast Xfinity disagree their Wi-Fi IMMEDIATELY.  Instructions are here.  Run, don't walk to do this NOW.

You will need to buy your own wifi router (probably $39 at your local big box store like Wally World).  Run an ethernet cable from your router's "WAN" port into an ethernet port on the Comcast box.  Configure your own wifi, and you will be clean from Comcast stalkers.

The reason that I am so adamant that you need to do this is that the article has enough details to convince me that someone could use this to locate you, spoof your computer's network address, and then do something to incriminate you (say, launch an attack on homeland or download child pornography).  I am convinced that the spoofing would fool whatever logging that Comcast is doing, so their lousy logging would implicate you.

And the punch line is that they just don't care.  The researchers reported this to them and Comcast hasn't done bupkis to change this.

From The Walking Dead

The jo staff work they are doing isn't anything that looks familiar. But listen to the words and it is Aikido.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

This just in

House hunting can be fun - it's all fantasy and dreams.

House buying is a pain in the tail end - it's reality, and a reality that I quite frankly don't find particularly, err, dreamy.

Pat Green - Lucky

This coming week is Thanksgiving - at least here un the USA.  This is perhaps the most deeply American of holidays.  Each of us decides what we are thankful for.  Nothing is organized, nobody sends out a list, it's gloriously decentralized down to the individual level.

It's a great opportunity for a meditation on what to be thankful for.  This meditation is good for the soul, and I hope that in a quiet moment between family, football, and feast you have a short time for this pondering.  The feast is not just for the body, it also feeds the soul.

Lucky (Songwriter: Radney Foster?):
I hope you get to be on a TV game show
And win a million dollars 'cause that's lucky
And I hope a bartender appears with a shot and a beer
Every time you holler 'cause that's lucky

And I hope you get to live in a big old crib
And a fancy neighborhood 'cause that's lucky
And you never have to fight for an invite
To the coolest parties out in Hollywood, oh that's lucky

But if you were just a regular guy
Living beneath this red, white and big blue sky
With your job, your car, your family, your friends
The love of a girl that you know will never end

Then you've already got it made every single day
Yeah, you know what it's like to be lucky

Well, I hope you get the chance for a paparazzi romance
With a supermodel 'cause, yeah man that's lucky
And I hope you're getting chased first place full throttle
In a NASCAR race, oh that's lucky

But if you were just a regular guy
Living beneath this red, white and big blue sky
With your job, your car, your family, your friends
The love of a girl that you know will never end

Then you've already got it made every single day
Yeah, you know what it's like to be lucky, yeah
Well, don't you feel lucky?

But if you're just a regular guy
Living beneath this red, white and big blue sky
With your hopes, your dreams, your faith and your prayers
Every breath you take, every moment you share

Then you've already got it made every single day
Yeah, you know what it's like
Yeah, brother you know what it's like to be lucky, yeah
To be lucky yeah, to be lucky yeah

Come on, don't you feel it?
Yeah, you're lucky

Friday, November 20, 2015

A deal for .45 ACP

It's National Ammo Day, and has .45 ACP for 26 cents/round.


Die screaming in a fire

The TV was on in the hotel room and Squawk Box (CNBC?) came on.  Their introduction?
Greeting from the most powerful city in the world.
Channel, changed.  Could you bastards be any more of a self caricature?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Coasters - Poison Ivy

Guess what I got cutting timber with ASM826 last week?  No fair peeking at the post title.

Goose. It's what's for dinner

Just saying' it's a bad idea to forget your place on the food chain.

Cities cause Global Warming

Well, local warming at least:
Some parts of the Twin Cities can spike temperatures up to 9°F higher than surrounding communities thanks to the “urban heat island” effect, according to a new study from the University of Minnesota.
The study, which was funded by the Institute on the Environment and published in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, used a network of 180 sensors deployed throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area in residential backyards and city parks to paint the most detailed picture anywhere in the world of how temperature varies with time and place across pavement-filled metropolitan areas and surrounding communities.
Recording surface air temperatures every 15 minutes from August 2011 through August 2014 across nearly 2,000 square miles and using U.S. Geological Survey data to fine-tune differences at the neighborhood level, the study uncovered several surprises. Among them:
Temperatures in the urban core of Minneapolis, St. Paul and Bloomington average 2 °F higher in summer than in surrounding areas
The differential spiked as much as 9 °F higher during a heat wave in July 2012
Urban heat island effect is stronger at night in summer and during the day in winter
In urban areas during the winter when snow cover is less pervasive, temperatures are higher than rural areas in the daytime by an average of 2 °F.
I've been posting on the subject of Urban Heat Island for years; this is a good overview.  There has been a dismissiveness from the scientific establishment about this subject, but this peer-reviewed paper seems to be getting it right.  And the conclusion is inescapable: UHI raises daily low temperature readings and the "homogenization" computer programs use this anomaly to adjust rural weather station temperatures upwards.

Do this for hundreds of cities world wide and you do indeed get Global Warming.

The data sets are a frightful mess.  That's about the only thing "settled" about Climate Science.

More old Borepatch posts on this topic here, here (this one is excellent), and here.

What Can I Do?

That's another thing people say to the grieving. "What can I do to help?" "If there's anything I can do..." and other variations.

Here's my advice. Don't ask. If the people you are talking to are anything like me, they don't know what day of the week it is, or if they left the refrigerator door open, or even if they have pants on. So don't ask, just do.

Walk out in their kitchen and clean it, do the dishes, wipe the stove.

Bring a meal. Not the first 3 or 4 days, but two weeks later and two weeks after that.

Rake the yard. Take their dog for a walk. Cut their lawn.

Be there. Show up. Let them talk about anything. They may talk about the loss, it's the 500 lb. ghost in the room. They may not.

If they are really your close friend, stay close. They are standing in a furnace, get as close to the door as you can stand while still considering your own needs.

If they are more casual friends, don't force something that isn't there, but do what you can to support them in practical ways.

Two people stand out.

Borepatch showed up last Friday night and Saturday to be with me. We sat by the woodstove, drank a little (we're older now) Glenfiddich, and for three hours he let me talk. A friendship like this is a gift.

Dan has been a rock. He's local and been there every day. There must have been times where it appeared I was insane. A friendship like this is a gift.

My Aikido community, my co-workers, friends from the gun club, our church community, all doing what there is to be done.

It cannot be fixed. It must be endured.

UK.Gov - not as stupid as you thought

Yeah, this surprised me, too:
Amber Rudd, Britain’s Energy Secretary, has officially stated energy security is Britain’s top energy policy priority, ahead of Climate Change.
Will the last person to leave Climate Change Central please turn out the lights?  We're trying to be green here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I may not give a damn ...

... but I sure am passionate.  Because Intarwebz!

What to do in a terrorist attack

Michael Yon has advice (via Isegoria):
We are at war. 
We must retrain our minds that we are not sheep to be slaughtered.
First option — unless you are law enforcement or a Soldier — is to escape. Second option is to hide. Final option, kill that son of a bitch. Bum-rush him. 
Take his rifle and shoot him in the head. 
He might be wearing a vest — when you are very close shoot his head twice and keep moving. If the rifle is out of ammo, kill him with the rifle butt or something else. Smash with all of your strength.
No time for hogtying him. There might be other terrorists and there is no time for pleasantries. Just kill him and keep your weapon pointed at potential enemies. Be very careful not to cause innocent casualties. Can be hard to do. 
Ugly advice for an ugly age.

How Did I Get Here?

I was chasing links without any real destination and found this. When you're looking at fish in a flooded basement in Bangkok, you're approaching the end of the internet.
New World shopping mall, a four story former shopping mall. Originally constructed as an eleven story building. It was found to be in breach of old town Bangkok’s four story limit on building heights. The top seven floors were demolished to adhere to building codes in 1997. In 1999 the mall burned due to suspected arson committed by a competitor in the area. The building has remained abandoned ever since. Not having a roof, the basement floor remains under several feet of water year round.

At some point in the early 2000′s an unknown person began introducing a small population of exotic Koi and Catfish species. The small population of fish began to thrive and the result is now a self-sustained, and amazingly populated urban aquarium.

More pictures at the link.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Natural Selection is a cruel mistress

And the little children all cried themselves to sleep that night.

It's Not Just Me

I don't know yet what anything means, but I have learned that the events in my life the last two weeks are far from unusual. Because I have been so open about what happened, almost everyone I speak with tells me of their own pain, their own loss, or their own fears for a loved one in some crisis.

All of us have these events. A brother 15 years into a losing battle with drug addiction, where every late night phone call may be the news. A sister that took her own life in college 25 years ago. A baby that died of SIDS who would now be a college freshman. On and on.

People get up every day and carry on. They are right here with us, walking past on the sidewalk, in our workplaces, our churches, our gun clubs, in our grocery store.

The symbol of the Catholic Church, of a crucified man raised into the sky, often leaves out a important part of that event. At the foot of that cross were three people, his mother, John the beloved, and a woman who loved him. They stood and grieved. They are the symbols of humanity.

More than half of Governors say they will not take Syrian refugees

Boy, Obama's press conference sure has some impact:
More than half the nation's governors -- 27 states -- say they oppose letting Syrian refugees into their states, although the final say on this contentious immigration issue will fall to the federal government. 
States protesting the admission of refugees range from Alabama and Georgia, to Texas and Arizona, to Michigan and Illinois, to Maine and New Hampshire. Among these 27 states, all but one have Republican governors.
They may have Republican governors but Michigan and Illinois have been Blue states for years.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pope: Put down the damned iPhone at the dinner table

Well, duh:
Pope Francis has slammed the use of smartphones and warned that they risk damaging family life. 
Speaking at the Vatican yesterday, the Pontiff noted that the dinner table is where families experience a sense of "togetherness," but that it can be ruined by over-attachment to modern technology. 
"A family that almost never eats together, or that never speaks at the table but looks at the television or the smartphone, is hardly a family," he told pilgrims in St Peter's Square. "When children at the table are attached to the computer or the phone and don’t listen to each other, this is not a family."
In other breaking news, water is wet and just fired brass is hot ...

Sunday, November 15, 2015

"He's In A Better Place"

I swear to Odin people say some stupid stuff to the grieving.

Nothin' but net

It's a little wet, but it does involve dunking.  And getting dunked in the drink if you lose your footing ...

I dunno - something seems fishy.

Err, I don't even know what to say here

Other than Jamaica could field a bitchin' snow sand boarding team ...


I don't have Borepatch's wide ranging appreciation of music, especially the classics. My musical tastes lean toward rock and roll, with a smattering of modern country. There are exceptions, of course, but they prove the rule.

 I would submit that the best of the music in my lifetime will one day be the classics of a later age.

 "Come in, she said, I'll give you shelter from the storm."

William Herschel - Symphony No.14 in D-major

Image from der Wik
To nerds, William Herschel is known for his astronomical discoveries, most important of which was the planet Uranus.  This was the first planet discovered since the ancient world, and Herschel was instantly famous.  King George III made him Court Astronomer and he followed up his planetary discovery by finding moons of Uranus and Saturn.  And infrared radiation.

And long term readers will remember seeing him here before.  He discovered a link between sunspot activity and the price of grain.  It seems (despite the "settled" climate science of today) that the Sun does in fact have an effect on the climate.

But he was a polymath in an age of polymaths.  He wrote two dozen symphonies (among many other works).  Sir William (knighted by his late Majesty) was a man of of many talents.

Happy birthday, Sir William.  Born this day in 1738.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - May the Circle Be Unbroken

Last night I went to a bluesgrass concert with ASM826 and Mrs. ASM826.  It was a local band who played for fun and tips, but it was great fun.  They ended with this, and it made me think of the visit with ASM826 and what he's been through in the last week.

He and Mrs. ASM826 have been surrounded by friends and family, and I'm glad I was able to be a part of that circle.  They're solid people, and while this is a tragedy, I'm quite inspired by their resilience.  I wonder if I would do as well in their place.  Probably not.

But the circle remains.  Times like this remind us that friends and family are everything.  May that circle be unbroken.


Paris, 11/13/2015

I used to think the world was going to wake up, but 9/11 wasn't enough. Now I wonder if all of Western Civilization isn't going to end in blood.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Wood warms you twice

[This is Borepatch, co-blogging with ASM826 from the classified off-site secure location] The other advantage of cutting and splitting your own wood is that there's extra whining about achy muscles.  No extra charge.  But ASM826 sure knows his way around a chain saw.  Me, I'm OK with a splitting maul.

[ASM826] Borepatch stopped in to check on me and I put him to work. We started the day at an old local diner. Eggs grits, hash brown, sausage and bacon. We filled the truck with wood and gave it away to a friend. They will find a pile outside their back door. Now we are home and I am paying the price for the help with the aforementioned whining.

We are going to dinner with Mrs. ASM and then heading to a bluegrass concert in a nearby town.

Life continues.

ASM826 and I took a tree down

And by "ASM826 and I", I mean "ASM826". But Dad saw to it that I was pretty good with a splitting maul.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Traffic jam

I am headed up to visit with ASM826, and so the wheels will be rolling over pavement.  It will be good to see him, even though this is a terrible reason to see him.

But long distance driving.  We shall see what the traffic is like.  A condolence will be that traffic jams have been with us for 2,000 years.

I am now an empty nester

#2 Son moved out yesterday. It's odd not to have either of the boys there - they've been a daily fixture for over two decades.

It's an oddly liberating feeling ...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Global Warming is good for champagne

Good news for holiday tipplers:
Now Champagne makers have gone a step further, claiming that global warming has been good for them.

According to Reuters;
As France prepares to host world leaders for talks on how to slow global warming next month, producers of the northeastern French region’s famous sparkling wine have seen only benefits from rising temperatures so far.

The 1.2 degrees centigrade increase in temperatures in the region over the past 30 years has reduced frost damage. It has also added one degree in the level of alcohol and reduced acidity, making it easier to comply with strict production rules, according to champagne makers group CIVC.

“The Champagne region and Germany are among the northerly vineyards which have managed to develop thanks to warmer weather,” Jean-Marc Touzard, coordinator of a program on wine and climate change at French research institute INRA.

“Even if I feel very concerned by climate change, I have to say that for the moment it has had only positive effects for Champagne,” Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, president of the group that bears his family’s name, told Reuters at the company’s Reims headquarters.
Remember, the bubbles in champagne are carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas said to warm the Champagne region of France and produce better wine.  Coincidence?  I think not.


Vaya con Dios, Betamax

Sony is finally shutting it down 40 years after introducing it.  It seems that after losing the home video format war, it dominated the professional news recording business for decades.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Paris Climate Summit to reduce US GDP by 7%, increase US unemployment by 5 Million

Everyone's talking about how the carbon reduction from these proposals (reduce emissions by 80% by 2050) will only result in a tenth of a degree less heating.  What's being ignored is what the cost will be to the US economy:
When I queried [Bjorn] Lomborg specifically about the U.S. numbers, he provided this comment:
Also, note that a reduction by 80% in 2050 will cost the US about $1.2 trillion annually in lost GDP if politicians pick all the smart solutions (carbon tax etc).  This is according to the Stanford Energy Modeling Forum 24, which ran 12 scenarios on 6 models to estimate the cost.  This is 3.8% of GDP in 2050, and experience tells us that if politicians don’t do the smart thing, the cost will at least double (so about $2.4 trillion annually or 7.6% of GDP).  Seems somewhat unlikely.
By point of reference, 7.6% is more than half of the world wide drop in GDP during the Great Depression.  During the Depression, GDP dropped by about 30% and unemployment went up 20% or so.  Assuming unemployment/GDP is about the same now as then, that would translate into an increase in the unemployment rate of 5%, on top of the fudged figure we already have.  And this will be permanent, unless the emission caps are removed (unlikely).

So a cursory reading of the proposed Climate agreement is that an extra 5 Million Americans will be thrown out of work permanently.  But hey: eggs, omlets, amirate?

Can someone please explain to me how environmentalists think they're nicer than you and me?

So much for Paul Ryan and "fiscal conservatives"

Just what's in the Transportation Bill he rammed through?
One of the main obstacles to the bill has been fiscal conservatives (and some liberals) who objected to $80 billion of deficit spending over the next six years. Many of the conservatives wanted to cut spending to be no more than gas tax and other highway revenues; the liberals wanted to raise gas taxes to cover the deficits and provide revenues for even more spending on roads and transit. Instead, the House stayed the course of spending more than is available, using various accounting tricks to cover the deficits.

What really happened is that newly minted House Speaker Paul Ryan wanted to prove his worth, so he twisted enough arms to get the bill passed. The bill even includes reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which many conservatives hated.
Color me unimpressed.I expect come next November, I shall continue to be unimpressed with them.

Semper Fidelis

Since 1775.

I am still humbled that they let me wear the uniform. Happy Birthday, Marines!

What Climate Science can learn from Mythbusters

But “MythBusters” captures the underlying mind-set of science. At a time when “skepticism” too often means rejecting any ideas one finds politically unpalatable, “MythBusters” provides a compelling example of real scientific skepticism, the notion that nothing can be held true until it is confirmed by experimentation.
Of course, the New York Times won't recommend Climate Scientists lose the models and trust the (unadjusted) data.  Of course, testing falsifiable assumptions might lead to Unapproved conclusions.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Right Stuff doesn't think much of today's generation

"The Right Stuff" is an under statement:
I had dinner with Stefan Cavallo, a test pilot for NASA (“NACA” in those days) during World War II (interview). Cavallo intentionally flew a P-51 fighter into a thunderstorm to figure out why they were breaking up on the way back from bombing runs into Germany whereas the supposedly weaker B-17s were fine. It turned out that the stresses from turbulence caused the engine internals to come apart. Gaining this knowledge meant the loss of the airplane and Cavallo was forced to bail out of the test airplane.

At age 89, in 2010, Cavallo was off the Long Island coast when the engine on his Cessna 210 failed. He dead-sticked the plane onto the beach (the media account is interesting because the journalist adds an ejection seat to the P-51 (“I crawled out” said Cavallo when I showed him the piece) and conventional landing gear (with a tailwheel) to the Cessna 210).


What does this quiet widower hero, still flying light airplanes, think of the society that younger folks have created? “Somewhere along the way younger Americans squandered what we had built,” said Cavallo, though not with any bitterness. When he looks at us he sees timid paper shufflers, aggressive divorce lawsuit plaintiffs, and a general “can’t do” attitude: “By our mid-20s nearly all of us were in what would turn out to be lifelong marriages and we already had kids. The Empire State Building was built in a year.”
Giants strode the Earth in those days.  Or Pygmies stride it today.

Go home, Harley-Davidson

You're drunk.

Those aren't Ape Hangers.  They're Neanderthal Hangers.


Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
-- Deuteronomy 6:4

The Absolute Universe is One. We call this this "spiritual energy" or Ki. Our lives and our bodies are born of the Ki of the Universe.
--Koichi Tohei Sensei.
Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 
--Mark 12:29

He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings,
and all beings in his own Self.
--The Buddha
And so on...

Do it yourself kit

They forgot to include a bottle of Bactine ...

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Military history, frozen in time

The Douglas A-1 Skyraider was first test flown during World War II, and remained on active duty until 1972 - a 27 year run.  What makes this run astonishing is that it was a propeller driven anachronism in a jet age.

Image via Wikipedia
Propeller?  Check.  Radial, piston engine?  Check.  Maximum speed a little over 300 MPH?  Check.  Straight wings?  Check.  The design was so outdated that it was called the "Spad", after the World War I fighter plane.

But it was superbly suited to a ground attack role.  It was long range (over 1,300 miles) which gave it a very long loiter time over target.  It had seven hard points on each wing and could carry up to 8,000 lbs of bombs, torpedoes, mines, or rockets (by way of reference, the B-17 Flying Fortress was rated at 8,000 lbs of bombs).  It sported extra armor which made it famous for its toughness and ability to shrug off enemy fire.

And so it kept flying sortie after sortie, because it took decades to come up with a better design to replace it.  It's comparable with the A-10, which the Air Force has wanted to kill for 20 years but which is so superbly adapted to its mission that any replacement would be a step backwards.

And it had enough air-to-air capability to shoot down several MiG-17s over Vietnam.

There is a beauty is a design that is extraordinarily well suited for the intended use, where extreme practicality assumes an esthetic all its own.  The A-1 had that in spades.  Or, well, in spads.

Sir John Blackwood McEwen - Scottish Rhapsody

Image from the Bonnie Wik
On this day in 1745 Charles Edward Stuart and 5,000 of his troops invaded England in a campaign to retake the British throne lost by his grandfather James.  The young would-be King was known as Bonnie Prince Charlie to the Scottish Highlanders who rallied to his cause.

The House of Stuart had been in exile since the Glorious Revolution of 1688 had expelled King James in favor of the Dutch William of Orange and his wife Mary, James' daughter.  The joint monarchs William and Mary lent their name to the Virginia University, and led to the dynasty of the Georges.

Britain had been at war with France for two years, and leading Tories sent a letter to King Louis XV asking for help restoring the Stuart dynasty.  Leaders of thisTory movement included Edward Gibbon, of Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire fame.  And so to the invasion.

It was doomed from the start.  The Tories had asked for 10,000 French troops and money for 10,000 unemployed English and Scottish ones, but Louis only provided half.  Bonnie Charlie's army marched deep into England but was forced to fall back in the face of three armies sent by George II, not to mention confusion and indecision among his staff.  It ended on Culloden Moor where the Highlander charge failed to break the red coat lines and the rebellion collapsed into the mists of legend.

John McEwen wrote music to remember this, from the safe vantage point of a century and a half in the future.  A professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London, he never forgot his Scottish roots.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Vince Gill - Go Rest High On That Mountain

A great song speaks straight to the listener's heart.  Vince Gill won a CMA Song of the Year and two Grammy awards for this, because it speaks to that part of the heart that never quite heals.

At least, if we're any damn good at all.

Sometimes words fail us, and all we can do is rely on art to give voice to grief.  This is about the best example of that I can think of.

Go Rest High On That Mountain (Songwriter: Vince Gill)
I know your life
On earth was troubled
And only you could know the pain
You weren't afraid to face the devil
You were no stranger to the rain

Go rest high on that mountain
‘Cause, Son, your work on earth is done
Go to Heaven a shoutin'
Love for the Father and the Son

Oh, how we cried the day you left us
And gathered round your grave to grieve
Wish I could see the angels’ faces
When they hear your sweet voice sing

Go rest high on that mountain
‘Cause, Son, your work on earth is done
Go to Heaven a shoutin'
Love for the Father and the Son

Go rest high on that mountain
‘Cause, Son, your work on earth is done
Go to Heaven a shoutin'
Love for the Father and the Son

Go to Heaven a shoutin'
Love for the Father and the Son
Rest in Peace, Michael.  Go to Heaven a shouting' love for the Father and the Son.

Riding The Waves As They Come

Here is Michael's obituary and the tribute website the funeral service provides. Here's a tiny few from the images I have been collecting for a slide show.

Friday, November 6, 2015


I don't want to just drop a bombshell and then disappear, so here's what I have to share at the moment. I'm pretty raw, sleep in two hour sets, and not trying to do anything but ride this wave that has washed over me. I don't know what to share, what to keep private.

Michael was 30. He had gotten into whitewater kayaking years ago and had many friends in that community. He had, like all my kids, grown into being an amazing person. Every parent thinks that, but here's a few of many comments I have received from his friends in the last two days. Name and places edited for privacy.

I had the most utter pleasure to work with Michael at ******* where we would regularly cut up and have the best time. When we were dead with no customers we would turn the satellite radio up as high as possible and sing at the top of our lungs. I was going through a lot of grief in school and with personal issues and he was always quick to "turn my frown upside down" with some quick wit and banter. I truly adored him. He was one of those people you meet in life and know if you went 10 years without seeing or talking to each other you could just pick back up. I am so sorry for your loss, you created one hell of an amazing man. I don't know what happened but do know that he lived the fullest life and full of love especially for his family. Is there a donation I could make in his honor or something that can help you all? Sending love and good vibes to you and family and friends.

Hi, you and I met long ago one summer that Michael worked at Camp ***** and we came to visit one weekend together. I am so terribly sorry to hear of his passing and wanted to pass along my condolences. While Michael and I have not intentionally kept in touch over the years, we have run into each other on occasion and my memories with him are nothing short of wonderful! I am sure you are inundated with people contacting you, so please do not feel obligated to respond to me by any means. I was wondering if you could provide any additional info about his passing and, when details are available, if you could please share info about a memorial service? My heart is hurting for your family and please know he was loved by so many people from all over. Your family is in my thoughts.

Hi -
My name is Emma. I was close friends with Mike some time ago. I've just learned of Michael's passing and wanted to reach out. Mike is one of my favorite friends that I met during my time at **** and I am so, so sad to hear the news of his death. He could always make me smile. He constantly made me laugh to the point of tears. I have incredible memories from the time I spent with your son. He was a great friend.
You and your family are in my thoughts. I would love to send flowers or memorials for anything you have planned. I will look out for details.
My deepest sympathies, Emma

I'm sorry to hear about Michael. He was one of my favorite people to paddle with. I was just thinking about our last green lap together, and his laughter on the shuttle ride with our shenanigans. Please let me know when the memorial service will be, and I'll spread the word to the river folk. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers, in truly sorry.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Sometimes there are no words

And so we rely on art.

Go see your folks more than just on the holidays 
Kiss all your children 
Dance with your wife 
Tell your husband you love him every night

Today is for living.  Seize the day - even now envious time is fleeing.

A Parent Should Never Have To Bury A Child

But it happens all the time.

Yesterday it happened to me.

We had fours sons.

One of them took his own life yesterday.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Quote of the Day

"UK officials don't want to ban encryption.  They want to ban encryption that *works*."

- Edward Snowden

The failure of the American education system

Yale professor cannot believe how ignorant his students are:
My students today are much less obnoxious [then I was at their age]. Much more likable than I and my friends used to be, but they are so ignorant that it’s hard to accept how ignorant they are. You tell yourself stories; it’s very hard to grasp that the person you’re talking to, who is bright, articulate, advisable, interested, and doesn’t know who Beethoven is. Had no view looking back at the history of the 20th century — just sees a fog. A blank. Has the vaguest idea of who Winston Churchill was or why he mattered. And maybe has no image of Teddy Roosevelt, let’s say, at all. I mean, these are people who — We have failed.
And this is at Yale.  So you wonder, if they never learned about Beethoven, Churchill, or Teddy, what did they learn?

I would venture to say that this is the best reason to de-fund the Department of Education.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


There are 10 types of people

Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

Happy 200th birthday, George Boole.

The Science™ is settled!

But if you say anything against it, you're fired:
A popular weatherman announced Saturday evening he has been sacked by leading French news channel France Télévisions for publishing a book which accused top climate change experts of misleading the world about the threat of global warming.
So what was his motivation to write the book?
He said he was inspired to write the book after France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius met with TV meteorologists and asked them to highlight climate change issues in their broadcasts.
“I was horrified by this speech,” Verdier told French magazine Les Inrockuptibles last month. In his book, Verdier accuses state-funded climate change scientists of having been “manipulated” and “politicised”, even accusing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of publishing deliberately misleading data.
Ya know, nobody gets fired for publishing a book disputing the speed of light.  You'd think the Scientific Establishment would be more confident about settled science.

Hat tip Rick via email, who dryly points out that the migrant crisis has Germans longing for a Second Amendment and the French longing for a First Amendment.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Soylent is people bacon!

This is so, so wrong:
Months before the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared bacon a carcinogen, American boffins may have found a solution: algae that tastes just like bacon, but without the bad bits the Doctors at WHO say could cause your untimely demise. 
The eukaryote in question is called Dulse (Palmaria sp.) and, as explained Oregon State University, is already in demand as a tasty addition to various recipes.  
The, err, plot thickens:
Thus did Dulse attain the status of a “specialty crop” at Oregon's Food Innovation Center. From that collaboration some of the algae, which apparently resembles “translucent red lettuce', found its way into a frying pan wielded by Chris Langdon, a professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at OSU. 
“When you fry it, which I have done, it tastes like bacon, not seaweed. And it’s a pretty strong bacon flavor,” Langdon says.
I must confess to being torn.  On one hand, I love me some greasy breakfast.  On the other hand, this might be killer as a "bacon" sushi ...

Offered without comment


Semper Fi, Sciline

Several years ago I was looking for a tool set called a Chapman. It is a small ratcheting handle and a collection of bits like screwdrivers and hex keys. I had borrowed one from a friend at the range and broke one of the tips and I wanted to replace it. I found it on a website called They sold tools of all sorts and varieties.
It wasn't a well laid out site and there was no online ordering, just an address and a phone number. Mixed in were references to the Marine Corps and Iwo Jima(archive). One interesting comment was "Sciline remembers, because Sciline was there".

I called the number. It must have been a small operation because Mr. Sciline answered the phone. Clearly an elderly man, he took my order for two Chapman tool sets and the expanded bit assortments. I bought one for my friend and one for me. Then I asked him if he was the veteran that remembered Iwo Jima.

We talked for almost an hour. I told him I had a been a Marine and was interested in history. He spoke of going in on D+1, of the losses, the battle, his experiences on the island, of knowing Ira Hayes and John Basilone. It was real and immediate, not glorified, but honest. This was before I had a cell phone and I was paying long distance charges, but I let him tell his story all the way. It ended with them embarking off the island when the Army took over and the remnants of his outfit were shipped out to recover and rebuild for the next operation. When the conversation wound down, I thanked him for his time and hung up.

I was going to order a tool today and thought of him so I went to the bookmark I had saved and clicked it and got this. A placeholder site talking about medical devices. Sciline was gone.

The Internet Wayback Machine showed the page as I remembered it on May 12th, 2013.(archive) After that, it was still an active website advertising the tool business in June, 2013 but all the Marine Corps references were gone. Finally, it was completely shut down in December, 2014.

Semper Fi, Sciline. It was an honor and a privilege to have spoken with you.

Of course they can

"Connected" cars are easy to track:
Connected cars that communicate with other vehicles or transport systems to improve safety and traffic flow can easily be tracked, a security researcher has shown.
In an experiment undertaken on the campus of the University of Twente in The Netherlands, two wireless sensing stations were able to pinpoint a target vehicle nearly half the time, according to Jonathan Petit, Principal Scientist at Security Innovation, a software security company.
“You can build a real-time tracking system using off-the-shelf devices with minimum sophistication,” says Petit. In a paper to be presented at the Black Hat Europe security conference in November, he describes being able to place a security vehicle within either the residential or the business zones of the campus with 78 percent accuracy, and even locate it on individual roads 40 percent of the time.
Security wasn't an after thought, it wasn't thought of at all.  And privacy?  User privacy is double-plus lunged to the designers.

My next thought is that you could combine the seemingly-easy-to-hack bit with the seemingly-easy-to-track bit for extra lulz.  Another reason to ride a Harley or a '69 GTO ...