Thursday, August 31, 2017
U.S. federal agencies are warning citizens anxious to donate money for those victimized by Hurricane Harvey to be especially wary of scam artists. In years past we’ve seen shameless fraudsters stand up fake charities and other bogus relief efforts in a bid to capitalize on public concern over an ongoing disaster. Here are some tips to help ensure sure your aid dollars go directly to those most in need.There's great information at the link, so RTWT. I should especially call out the warning that email phishers will troll you with links to "Hurricane Harvey disaster pix" and such things. Don't fall for the link bait, since a bunch of it contains malware.
Now there's a recall:
In what may be a first, patients with heart conditions that are using particular pacemaker brands will have to visit their doctors for firmware updates to keep their embedded devices safe from tampering.Likely the entire profit generated by that product line has evaporated.
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
The also have a password strength checker. I didn't use any real passwords but did use made up ones that would be similar form to my real ones. The check seems to give reasonable results. They say that they don't record passwords entered.
There's also the required XKCD comic.
There are two changes I'd offer to their excellent advice about passwords:
1. I actually write down my wifi password (and login information for the wifi router) and take it to the wifi router. I figure that anyone who gets physical access to my wifi device can do a factor reset on it and get in anyway, so the risk is basically nil.
2. I actually do not like to change passwords, and think that this is an area where security people have given bad advice. By making people change passwords all the time, we've made security more difficult and so people try to get around the security protections. Overall, this seems to make things worse. Instead, I choose very strong passwords, which means easy to remember but long (more than 12 characters, and I'll probably move to 15 soon). passwords. These are extremely difficult for bad guys to crack and so it really doesn't matter that the password is more than 90 days old.
But other than that, the page has excellent password advice.
It's not like there aren't a lot of weather apps, and these clowns have shown you how much you can trust them.AccuWeather is still sending precise geolocation data to a third-party advertiser, ZDNet can confirm, despite updating its app earlier this week to remove a feature that collected user's location data without their permission.In case you missed it, AccuWeather was until this week sending the near-precise location of its iPhone app users to Reveal Mobile, a data monetization firm -- even when location sharing was switched off. Security researcher Will Strafach, who first reported the issue, also accused the company of sharing a user's precise GPS coordinates under the guise of providing local weather alerts.The news sparked outrage and anger. AccuWeather responded with a forced apology, whichone leading Apple critic John Gruber called a "bulls**t response."However, tests conducted by Strafach show that the updated app, released Thursday, still shares precise geolocation data with a data monetization and advertising firm.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
The caption reads: A Houston Policeman collapses after working rescue for 48 hours straight.
There have been more and more times lately when I think that the Republic is going to Hell in a hand basket. But this is not one of them. Boy, howdy.
It got a little misty when the reporter stopped what he was doing and (properly) folded Old Glory.
God bless the first responders and all the volunteers.
The problem of a “maliciously trained network” (which they dub a “BadNet”) is more than a theoretical issue, the researchers say in this paper: for example, they write, a facial recognition system could be trained to ignore some faces, to let a burglar into a building the owner thinks is protected.Now you might be wondering why someone would do that. The problem is that the neural net software is much less complex than the training sets - neural nets have for years been the most promising (meaning results oriented) form of AI. The software is not particularly complex, and is actually designed to be general. Your AI program could be trained to analyze medical diagnosis or seismic oil exploration data, based on the training you give it.
So why would someone give bad training?
The assumptions they make in the paper are straightforward enough: first, that not everybody has the computing firepower to run big neural network training models themselves, which is what creates an “as-a-service” market for machine learning (Google, Microsoft and Amazon all have such offerings in their clouds); and second, that from the outside, there's no way to know a service isn't a “BadNet”.
“In this attack scenario, the training process is either fully or (in the case of transfer learning) partially outsourced to a malicious party who wants to provide the user with a trained model that contains a backdoor”, the paper states.
And now for the punchline: probably the biggest area of development for AI is self-driving car technology. Guess what you can do to the AI with some training?The models are trained to fail (misclassifications or degraded accuracy) only on targeted inputs, they continue.
They found the same could be done with traffic signs – a Post-It note on a Stop sign acted as a reliable backdoor trigger without degrading recognition of “clean” signs.
The question is not whether amazing software can get created. The question is how easy is it for someone to make it fail in a creative and unexpected manner. The answer, sadly, is "pretty damned easy".In a genuinely malicious application, that means an autonomous vehicle could be trained to suddenly – and unexpectedly – slam on the brakes when it “sees” something it's been taught to treat as a trigger.
Monday, August 28, 2017
He's one of the smartest guys around. This sounds like some useful reading for making organizations work better.As a deep evolutionist — Dawkins/Dennett style extended phenotype, it’s pretty clear that the human monkey (remember monkeybrains) is built to function in a ceremonial fashion. However, the modern rationalist/managerialist tradition has left that pattern behind, and asks us to do solo work and go to worthless meetings instead.Our book addresses the question of how to bring Ceremony BACK into the workplace, and our lives in general, where it belongs.
Sunday, August 27, 2017
The Internet is a strange and wonderful place.
The classical influence on rock and roll: Elvis Presley - It's Now Or Never/Eduardo di Capua – O Sole Mio
And now to the King of Rock 'n Roll, Elvis Presley. The similarities with Elvis' 1960 #1 hit "It's Now Or Never" are obvious. Actually, the song was explicitly based on O Sole Mio, and nobody every said otherwise.
In the coming weeks we will explore other rock songs that were based on classical music.
UPDATE 27 August 2017 16:55: Sir Christopher Lee sings these songs.
This is a work of fiction but will resonate with anyone who has had a family member with Alzheimer's. The main character is a young LEO in rural America, a place she never planned on moving, but did after losing her parents.
What struck me was not that but the look on her face as she realized this, realized she should know. I obviously wasn’t a bugler or a neighbor over for coffee, I was a girl with red hair like everyone else in the family, wearing a fuzzy robe that she had washed and put in my closet the night before. I will never forget the look of her at that moment. It was the most starkly exposed face I’d ever seen, a face in which unknown terrors haunted the edges; the face of a fledgling dove about to tumble from the nest.
It came into our lives quickly, one moment she was laughing, engaging in board games and puns with us, her face bright, and her wit, razor sharp. Then came those moments where everything just went sort of dim. The doctor only confirmed what Dad had suspected and kept from us for some months until he knew for sure. Alzheimer’s.
As the next two years passed, there were a few moments she was quite lucid and happy. Those moments were the hardest for all of us. In those brief minutes, she was fully aware that her mind was going, what was happening to her and how helpless she was to do anything about it.
Saturday, August 26, 2017
And since we're talking Babylonia, it demands the song with the most famous reference to Babylonia ...
That debate is evergreen, and everyone has an opinion. Mine is that it sure isn't the current Country Pop that dominates the Country music radio. Your mileage may vary, void where prohibited, do not remove tag under penalty of law.
But the question has been asked for decades. It was an old question back in 2001 when George Straight and Alan Jackson won CMA Song Of The Year. Now you might like rock and roll with a little spice from a banjo or a fiddle (I mean, who doesn't?). But the question remains: granted it's pretty, but is it art?
Murder On Music Row (Songwriters: Larry Cordle, Larry Shell)
Nobody saw him running from sixteenth avenue.
They never found the fingerprint or the weapon that was used.
But someone killed country music, cut out its heart and soul.
They got away with murder down on music row.
The almighty dollar and the lust for worldwide fame
Slowly killed tradition and for that someone should hang
(oh, you tell them Alan).
They all say not guilty, but the evidence will show
That murder was committed down on music row.
For the steel guitars no longer cry and fiddles barely play,
But drums and rock 'n roll guitars are mixed up in your face.
Old Hank wouldn't have a chance on today's radio
Since they committed murder down on music row.
They thought no one would miss it, once it was dead and gone
They said no one would buy them old drinking and cheating songs (I'll still buy'em)
Well there ain't no justice in it and the hard facts are cold
Murder's been committed down on music row.
Friday, August 25, 2017
On the plus side, at least the bricked TVs aren't remotely hackable for a change.Thousands of owners of high-end Samsung TVs have complained after a software update left their recently acquired £1,400 sets with blank, unusable screens.The Guardian has been contacted by a number of owners complaining that the TVs they bought – in some cases just two weeks ago – have been rendered useless by an upgrade sent out by Samsung a week ago.Others have been posting furious messages on the company’s community boards complaining that their new TVs are no longer working.The company has told customers it is working to fix the problem but so far, seven days on, nothing has been forthcoming. The problem appears to affect the latest models as owners of older Samsung TVs are not reporting the issue.
The future is stupid.
Thursday, August 24, 2017
The number one issue facing cybersecurity firms is a "chronic shortage" of qualified staff.They predict a shortage of over 3 million practitioners by 2021. And this doesn't count military postings, where the problem is even worse.
That's according to the founder of market analyst Cybersecurity Ventures, Steve Morgan. "The single biggest trend, globally, is that there are chronic work shortages of qualified cyber security staff. It's an absolute epidemic," Morgan told supply-chain blog Channelnomics.
Morgan's company in 2016 gathered feedback from executives listed highest on the company's list of 500 top cybersecurity firms, many of whom pointed to the same problem.
You my younger readers (or older readers looking to change jobs), you don't need a degree in cyber security to get into the field. I've posted before about how to do this, and there's more on it here. You can study in your spare time using online resources. Industry certification tests are not particularly expensive, and that's what employers look for.
One last point: cyber security is likely to be the last IT job outsourced to Bangalore.
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
I'm thinking the ongoing investigations, personnel replacements, and stand downs we hear about are not the whole story.
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Monday, August 21, 2017
ISO eclipse glasses in front of the iPhone. I dont expect the camera algorithm planned on that use case.
The eclipse cast crazy crescent shaped shaddows. Before maximum the creacents pointed one way, after they pointed the other way.
But this was very cool. Another thing checked off of my bucket list.
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Friday, August 18, 2017
I bought this bottle of shower gel on sale, as sort of a fun gift for my Dad, just because the name sort of cracked me up and I figured it would be good for a smile. Anarchy. Unleash Chaos.
Then I opened it and unleashed something. But it wasn't chaos.
Once, when my brother was going deer hunting and I opened up the bottle of Tinks, deer in estros scent and took a big whiff, to see what it smelled like.
I do believe most of my nose hair incinerated, my retinas briefly detached and there was a compression somewhere between C-11 and C-12 as I attempted not to throw up.
This was worse.
Thinking it was just me, I ran it past a gal friend for a test sniff as I stopped to drop off some books I'd borrowed. " Wow, that's horrible" she said (and some special words she learned from Scandinavian relatives) Her retired husband then offered his nose for a test and then promptly offered me a bottle of fine scotch to get it out of the room and bury it.
Maybe, when one of the red hazmat bins is empty. . .no, safer to bury it.
Scent is a deeply personal thing, and certain scents bring do bring back memories.
Brut was beyond popular when I was growing up, one of the first to use a celebrity endorsement to persuade men that grooming wasn't for wimps. Famed heavyweight boxer Henry Cooper was the original "face" of Brut, urging men to "splash it all over" long before David Beckham had his first shave. I think there were little machines in the bathrooms in bars you could go into with a fake ID and have something with Kahlua and the guys would go douse themselves with it or so I heard as I don't know I was at choir practice. . .
I wasn't a big fan of Brut. But I worked at the airport after school, pumping gas, driving this humongous truck with lousy brakes that was full of flammable liquid between large pointy moving objects and Samoans racing baggage carts. And Dad freaked out if I drove the VW Bug on the freeway.
So I smelled like kerosene, which sort of canceled out the Brut smell. Besides, I was holding out for my grade school girl crush, Illya Kuyakin, so teenager boys in Brut didn't stand much of a chance.
Dad gave that up for Old Spice which he has worn ever since. When I go home, he gives me a big hug and I can still smell it on his sweater, that "Dad" smell that's both reassurance and comfort.
Most advertise themselves to smell like "fresh glacier extinguishing a giant fores fire full of deer in heat" or such things.
I think the perfect man natural scent would be some sort of mysterious combination of, coffee, bacon, woodsmoke, and dark beer (with a slight undertone of 20-year-old British Motor Car Wheel Bearing Grease.)
But boy, are there some bad ones out there.
Russia makes some particularly vile ones though they'd be good with a twist of lime and some ice,
And there's one I can't remember the exact name of, from a small central European country that smelled like the bottom of the sea. The place where fish poop a lot, not the Aerial the little redhead Mermaid happy place.
Masters Island Breeze - be careful you don't get any on your skin.
Black Magic (various grooming products) - If you see it? Kill it! Kill it with Fire!
And I'd avoid Anarchy, for now.
This is retarded. To help you understand this, here is a parable:
Let me try to make the decline of history more concrete by way of an analogy. Imagine that you had fallen asleep in 2005 and stayed asleep until 2150. Further assume that when you woke up in 2150, everyone loved the Iraq War. Not just Rumsfeld-style liked it, but fucking loved it. They loved it so much, that if you dared to question the righteousness of liberating the Iraqis from bondage, you’d be considered unfit for civil conversation. Intellectuals in 2150 prove their intellectual-ness by signaling to each other they support the Iraq War more than other people. In other words, by 2150, mainstream opinion on the Iraq War would be such that Donald Rumsfeld in 2005 would – by 2150 standards – be considered only moderately pro-war.
We have all sorts of historians today rewriting the history of that period, because Reasons.** Color me unimpressed.Regardless of what you think about the Iraq War in the present day, you’d have a pretty low opinion of history as practiced in 2150.
As it turns out, there are a ton of primary sources from the day that are available to us, that we can use to check today's historical narrative. That war was a defining event for the people of the day, and like the Greatest Generation's memoirs of World War II there were many, many who wrote of their experiences in the American War of Southern Independence.*** We can use these memoirs to see just how retarded today's narrative is, if we are careful.
We want to choose quality sources, of course. There are quite a lot that can immediately be discarded as hopelessly biased - pretty much everything from Jubal Early and the "Lost Cause" school, for example. But how can we tell reliable sources from propaganda?
We want to look for a number of things: We'd like someone who understood history and how it is documented; a professional historian would be ideal, as he would be writing at least in part for future historians. We'd like someone who participated directly, of course, ideally fighting against the side that he defends in his writing. As lawyers like to say, this "admission against interest" gives a lot of credibility. And since the claim here is that modern historians lack credibility, we want credibility uber allies in the memoirs we choose from the time.
Is there such a source? There is.
Charles Francis Adams, Jr. was a Harvard history professor, and first President of the American Historical Association. Grandson and Great-Grandson of Presidents, he was from that Massachusetts Adams family, He is more properly referred to as General Charles Francis Adams, having served in the Union Army during the war.
And so to today's charge of Treason leveled against Robert E. Lee, what can we learn from General Adams? After all, Adams ticks all the boxes in what we are looking for in a credible source from the day.
Adams wrote a book (actually the transcript of a speech he gave to the Phi Beta Kappa Society - another box for us to tick!) that is available for free download today: Shall Cromwell Have a Statue? You can download it yourself (it's a pretty easy read), but Fosetti covered this years ago:
The essay begins by questioning whether or not England should build a statue to Oliver Cromwell. The purpose of the essay is really to discuss whether or not the US should build a statue to Robert E. Lee. (Please keep in mind that Mr Adams fought on the Union side against Lee).
Adams' answer is unequivocally "yes."
He goes through a long argument about how Lee was not a traitor. For if we wish to call Lee a traitor, we would have to call Washington, Cromwell, William of Orange and Hampden traitors as well. Lee was loyal to his state, which was where he believed his primary loyalty lay.
You can read Fosetti's review (or better yet, Adams' book) and learn what one of the best sources of the day believed. Or you can keep calling Lee a traitor and keep sounding like a retard. Alas, my view of the world is so jaded lately that I suspect that I know how many people will choose. That's why I have a tag for "Decline of the Progressive West".Then Adams tries to make a distinction between Virginia's decision to secede and other Cotton States' decisions to secede. The latter states seceded when Lincoln won the election. Virginia did not. Virginia believed in secession (as did everyone who ratified the Constitution, according to Mr Adams). Virginia was willing to let the other states peacefully secede, but did not wish to secede with them. Only after the US government tried to re-supply Sumter, an act of war against a sovereign state (i.e. South Carolina), according to the logic of Virginia and the original understanding of the Constitution, did Virginia rebel. According to Virginia, the North had effectively changed the Constitution at that point and Virginia seceded to defend the original Constitution. Mr Adams understands this argument but sees it as hopeless outdated and out-of-touch. Nevertheless, he sees it as consistent. Lee then went with his state.
* I use the term deliberately, to smoke out people more focused on use of unapproved language than on actual thoughts and meanings.
** I think there's something to the idea floated yesterday on Instapundit that as long as the South voted Democrat, historians were happy to present a different history. Now that the South reliably votes against the Democrats, it's book burning time:
But there’s also this: “Don’t overthink this, because it’s quite simple, really. When Democrats’ national position depended on unwavering support from ‘the Solid South,’ we got lots of pro-Southern propaganda: the Lost Cause, Gone With The Wind, Disneyfied Uncle Remus, etc. As a vital Democrat constituency group, southerners, even practical neo-Confederates, were absolved of all sins as long as they stayed in line.” If the south were still a vital constituency today, Democrats would sound like Bill Clinton did in the 1990s.*** It wasn't a Civil War because the Confederate States did not want to take over the north. "War Between the States" is ambiguous, losing the underlying motivations.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Authorities in the nation's capital are searching for a vandal after the Lincoln Memorial was spray painted with explicit graffiti early Tuesday.
The National Park Service said it was working to remove the graffiti after it was discovered at about 4:30 a.m., FOX 5 DC reported.Actually my take on Mr. Lincoln is that he pretty much lived the advice from the graffiti, but this is getting out of hand.
The graffiti, which was done in red spray paint on a column, appears to say “F*** law."
Hat tip: Chicago Boyz.
That vibe isn't because of the clashes of baseball bat armed groups of opposing socialists, it's because of the paralysis of the major political parties. The Republicans seem terrified about this and are hastening to tar everyone up to and including the Tea Party as Nazis; the Democrats - at an historically low point in their power across the Republic - are gleefully throwing gasoline on the fire. Both parties are terribly weak, and everyone sees it.
But Nature abhors a vacuum, and the vacuum of political will is no exception.
It's not true that Voltaire said "If you want to know who rules over you, ask yourself whom you may not criticize." But it's a true statement nonetheless.
He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.Lenin once said that everything in politics is Who, Whom? Who rules, and whom do they rule? A conquered people are always deprived of their history, and especially their heroes. The statues are being removed, and so we can tell who is the victor and who is the vanquished. But only some heroes are being removed. Others are quite safe.- George Orwell, 1984
Meanwhile, the half of the country that voted for a change in last year's election is beginning to wonder if change will be allowed. I wonder what will happen when they learn the answer.
* The idea that Nazis are "right wing" is absurd.
But no matter, the Confederate memorials are coming down. A couple of years ago it was the battle flag, now it's time for the next step. All across the country, big diesel powered erasers are going to remove history.
It won't stop there, of course.
The book burning is coming.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
However, it's Kubrick's interest in jazz-loving Nazis that represents his most fascinating unrealized war film. The book that Kubrick was handed, and one he considered adapting soon after wrapping Full Metal Jacket, was Swing Under the Nazis, published in 1985 and written by Mike Zwerin, a trombonist from Queens who had performed with Miles Davis and Eric Dolphy before turning to journalism. The officer in that Strangelovian snapshot was Dietrich Schulz-Koehn, a fanatic for "hot swing" and other variations of jazz outlawed as "jungle music" by his superiors. Schulz-Koehn published an illegal underground newsletter, euphemistically referred to as "travel letters," which flaunted his unique ability to jaunt across Western Europe and report back on the jazz scenes in cities conquered by the Fatherland. Kubrick's title for the project was derived from the pen name Schulz-Koehn published under: Dr. Jazz.
The Intarwebz are a wonderful place.
UPDATE 16 August 2017 17:28: Here's a short documentary on how Reinhardt survived the War.
Sure, it's not exotic and dangerous like Bison chasing tourists at Old Faithful. It's Maine - the way Life should be*.
* Well, that's what the sign on I-95 says.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Amazon has "proactively" recalled solar eclipse glasses that "may not comply with industry standards" before darkness descends on the US next week, August 21.
To directly observe its awesome power without destroying their eyes, stargazers can use special filtered glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 safety standards.
The American Astronomical Society has a list of tested and certified eclipse glasses. If you (like The Queen Of The World and I) plan on going to see the eclipse, you should double check the glasses you have.But the American Astronomical Society based in Washington DC has warned that some companies have been printing the ISO logo and certification label on faulty glasses and handheld viewers "made with materials that do not block enough of the Sun's ultraviolet, visible, and infrared radiation to make them truly safe". Some manufacturers were also allegedly displaying bogus test results on their websites.
Monday, August 14, 2017
The problem is, people don't consider that we have to get OUT of that driveway to a very narrow street. After the giant four door 4 x 4 truck and I moved in after getting transferred to our office here, there were a couple of mornings I had to wait until the neighbors that park on the street left to get out. The house across and one down had been a multi unit rental (basement, first floor, and second floor) after the previous single owner retired and moved, putting it up for sale. There were several parties living there with multiple vehicles. There's plenty of open space further down, but that entails driving further, even if it's not any further away from their door. I made sure everyone got homemade baked goods, an introduction to the bat truck and an explanation as to how much space I need to get out without whacking their vehicles. Other than having to sometimes put out cones when someone had a family member or sleepover date visiting on a weekend, everyone had been awesome.
Yesterday, rather than consider the thought of going through THAT learning curve again and having to use leave because I am late to work - when I came home and the new owner and what looked like (from the resemblance) either adult sons or little brothers were standing outside waiting for a contractor (since it's been a rental, I'm sure there's a bit of work before it's move in ready) - I HAD A PLAN!
I normally back in - in one fluid movement, as it makes it easier to get out in the a.m. Having been a jet pilot for many years, I can usually back that truck in very quickly and very efficiently, in one try (unlike the Reno airport in the snowy/icy winter where you just use differential power to SLIDE into the gate and hope you get it right).
Yesterday, while they all looked on, I deliberately took about 4 wide tries at it, less than gently stomping on the brakes, and on the last one deliberately taking the truck THROUGH the lawn (that will buff out) and intentionally almost hitting one of the spruce trees, before finally, getting the truck backed in with a screech of brakes.
Today, all the new neighbor's vehicles and those of their family were parked WELL down the street, away from my driveway.
My work here is done.
This is huge - if you can't trust the data, you can't trust the results. The science is settled? Orlly?
Sunday, August 13, 2017
This is what comes to mind when someone says "your family home". We moved frequently enough that I don't have a childhood memory of another permanent place. This was "home".
A big New England farmhouse. A fair amount of property that went with the house, some planted in pines, some fields overgrown with brambles and berry bushes, a few apple trees going wild, an old graveyard under big oaks far back in the woods. A lot of land for a boy to explore.
I found this picture in the course of my scanning project and it brought me to a standstill, lost in a reverie of my childhood and the America I grew up in.
Friday, August 11, 2017
Actually, the morning should be fine; the prep work last evening was the uncomfortable bit.
The last one was 6 months ago, and they found (and removed) something sort of big and sort of strange. Today is to check that they got it. Hopefully it will be in and out, and good news from the doc. I expect that if it's not good news it would be pretty bad news, so we've all learned the importance of a proper maintenance schedule, haven't we.
Blogging has been off for a bit and will continue to be off for a bit.
UPDATE 11 August 2017 12:50: Back home with a clean bill of health. A little woozy still, but don't need another "oil change" for three years. Go team me!
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
The landscape of the desert. The feel of machinery against our shoulder. The smell of oil and might on the breeze. I had a chance to re-visit a resting place of old aircraft.
In the desert just outside of the city of Tucson is a a place where old airplanes go to die. Davis Monthan Air Base and it's resting grounds. A business trip had me down that way so I made the effort to go visit. The"Boneyard" in the desert has been a fascination, a place where titans of the air rest before going on their way to the aviation afterlife.
The Air Force calls the desert facility "Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center" (AMARC), many visitors refer to it as "the boneyard". We are probably both right. Here the U.S. Air Force mothballs planes until they either need them again or it's time to salvage them for parts. Whenever the U.S. sells surplus planes to foreign governments part of the sales pitch is that there will always have a ready supply of spare parts. Some are turned into pilotless drones and used for missile target practice. Many, too many have all the earmarks of being skeletal.
There's enough information on the place on the web and numerous aviation blog posts, so I won't get too wordy here, but suffice to say there's about every military plane ever made here, including the leviathans of the site; 100 plus B-52s, all that remain of nearly 400, slowly being destroyed as part of the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaties, and the force reduction treaties. These bombers are chopped up using a 130 ton blade, then left for a week or more to allow the Russians to photograph and confirm their destruction. I have watched several airmen view a documentary of those aircraft being dismembered and I know, that had they been alone, they would have been crying, tears for the incredible creativity as well as the terrible destruction that man is capable of.
I could picture these craft in their prime, in the flight line each morning as each bird began its wandering life. As men bustled about, shafts of light struck polished metal in thin lines of gold, bending and then twisting over the cowlings as if rendered molten by the touch. The engines still slept, hushed by an absent hand and watched over by a gentle breeze. As always, there would be one aircraft off on its own, having a heavy (maintenance) check, bearing the ground with the excitement of a disenchanted philosopher.
Today, all is still, their only remaining the shells of what was once thunderous with life.
Just beyond the remaining Buffs, where the bus turned to make its way back to the museum, are two parks of odd looking equipment. The equipment is the tooling and jigs for the B-1 and B-2 bomber production lines. One day those bombers will take up residence under the clear blue Arizona sky, and there might still be B-52s to keep them company.
I can almost hear the echoes of the words shouted over the sound of the ramp. "Clear Two" is shouted out just before that first engine rumbles to life in that that strong confident tone that is used when heavens fall and justice is served, unheard words that now hang on the air as gentle as dew, as hard as molten lead.
It's mysterious, exciting, the kind of place where as a kid your dreams went. It's even more mysterious as night falls on the Sonora Desert. There, the aircraft stand like ghostly sentinels upon the hard earth, under unfathomed sky. They loom, over tiny scrabbles of cactus and the small desert creatures. They wait, on hard earth splayed with the tracks of tiny feet, and larger feet, making their own shadows of violent shade until the unrestrained stars come out at night. Their forms, so silent, yet with so much to tell.
Some of the airmen that flew many of these aircraft have died already, so many aircraft, so many souls on board. As I think about that, their empty bodies float in my mind, light, unfettered by gravity, I became aware of my own heartbeat in the setting sun, the labor of my lungs against my chest. Form is emptiness. Emptiness form, I say as with warm and eager breath I take in the landscape, as my mind grasps just how real, how tangible these husks of aircraft still are, even as some of their crews are but dust.
The sound of thunder echoes across the boneyard, nature's taps playing as the sky weeps for the dead with crystal purity.
These thoughts were broken by the chatter of some of the other tour members. For a moment I wanted to hush them, as this was a solemn place. To tell them to be quiet. . . . . or something. Something about interfering with the shuttered windows of these forms, the dark alleys of an airplane's final resting place and the sky's remembrance of such places, filled with the elemental silence of those who have flown away.
This is a key element in the manufacture of the batteries needed for electric cars and solar/wind farms. It's mined in the Congo, and like "blood diamonds" the locals use child slaves to get it:
When Sky News investigated the Katanga mines it found Dorsen, working near a little girl called Monica, who was four, on a day of relentless rainfall.
The article is pretty sickening, but includes this tidbit:Dorsen was hauling heavy sacks of rocks from the mine surface to a growing stack 60ft away. A full sack was lifted on to Dorsen’s head and he staggered across to the stack. A brutish overseer stood over him, shouting and raising his hand to threaten a beating if he spilt any.
The planned switch to clean energy vehicles has led to an extraordinary surge in demand. While a smartphone battery uses no more than 10 grams of refined cobalt, an electric car needs 15kg (33lb).The wages of "green" energy: exploitation of 4 year olds.
And subsidies. Elon Musk has pulled down $5B in government subsidies. That's our money, going to fuel what's happening in Congo.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Potent, climate warming gases are being emitted into the atmosphere but are not being recorded in official inventories, a BBC investigation has found.
At this point I'm starting to wonder if there are any reliable climate data at all.