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".

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

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.

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.

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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Natural Selection is a cruel mistress

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

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

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 ...

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.


Friday, November 13, 2015

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.

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.

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.

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.

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


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 ...

Sunday, November 1, 2015

How do you go out of business selling ammunition during an ammunition drought?

The last 7 years have been essentially a continuous panic buy season for ammunition.  While it's gotten a little better the last year, before that it was empty shelves for years as every cartridge box got grabbed as soon as it left the loading dock.

So how to explain this?

The text in the lower left hand says "Auction of Pierce Munitions".  So how did Pierce go Tango Uniform selling ammo during the biggest ammo shortage of all time?  They slept with the enemy:
You might be a little miffed if you found out a gun or ammo company was donating serious money to virulently anti-gun politicians’ re-election campaigns, right?
Of course, companies have every right to donate to whomever they want, so too we have the right to spend our money with whomever we want.  And the makers of “Ted Nugent Ammo” probably aren’t going to be on that list after you find out they donated $7,500 to N.Y. Governor Cuomo’s campaign fund.
ALBANY (NY Daily News)— National pro-gun groups have largely holstered their checkbooks since the passage of Gov. Cuomo’s tough gun control law early last year.
…Surprisingly, the biggest donation, $7,500 from Buffalo-based bullet maker Pierce Munitions, went to Cuomo in June of last year — six months after the gun law passed.
A little further digging found that their check, (numbered 1594 for those keeping track) “ANDREW CUOMO 2014, INC.”
That was August last year.  Customers walked away, and they shut their doors.  You can bid of the last bits of their carcass if you have the dough.

Hat tip: Ralph via email.


The Onion writes about China's biggest computer security problem:
BEIJING—Despite devoting countless resources toward rectifying the issue, Chinese government officials announced Monday that the country has struggled to recruit hackers fast enough to keep pace with vulnerabilities in U.S. security systems. “With new weaknesses in U.S. networks popping up every day, we simply don’t have the manpower to effectively exploit every single loophole in their security protocols,” said security minister Liu Xiang, who confirmed that the thousands of Chinese computer experts employed to expose flaws in American data systems are just no match for the United States’ increasingly ineffective digital safeguards
I'm only laughing on the outside.

Amilcare Ponchielli - Dance of the Hours

The clocks were set back this morning (you are done with that, right?) for Daylight Savings Time.  Classical Music anticipated this with a piece that you almost certainly know, from a composer you very likely don't.

Amilcare Ponchielli was an Italian composer from the 19th Century.  Never enormously successful, he made a living writing mostly operas.  His most successful was La Gioconda which contains this.  Walt Disney picked up Dance of the Hours from that opera and used it in the 1940s film Fantasia.

You've almost certainly heard this, and very likely the companion piece by Allan Sherman's take.