Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Can Donald Trump end birthright citizenship for illegal aliens?

Beats me,  I'm not a lawyer.  But Gettoputer is, and has some interesting thoughts about how this might play out.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Election predictions

A common theme here is that I do not trust the polls.  They have been increasingly inaccurate - ignoring the possibility that some of them are designed to mislead.  There seems to be an increasing resistance among the population to answering pollster calls - a New York Times poll had to call 38,000 people to get 700 who would reply.  Don Surber dissects this, and this is the key graf:
Gallup meanwhile has given up on election polling. The grand-daddy of polling admitted it cannot figure out how to get an accurate way to find out how people are voting.
Bottom line: the polls are not helpful forecasting this election.

It's made worse because the interesting race is for the House.  There are only 50 States to poll about Senate races, and there are only about a dozen that are close enough to bother.  In the House, there are maybe 50 districts that count.  Each of these districts contains 711,000 people.  To get a meaningful poll (i.e. one with a margin of error less than 5%), you might need to call 20,000 people.  The cost of polling the key House races will be perhaps ten times as expensive as polling the meaningful Senate races.

Since Senator are likely more powerful and important than Representatives, House polling is not going to happen as often, or be as thorough as Senate polling, because it's a lot tougher to justify the spend when compared to other options (say, Get Out The Vote efforts).

So the first takeaway is that nobody really knows what's going to happen in the House elections.  The polls are sporadic and of questionable accuracy, and so this is really in the realm of informed guesswork.  I have noticed that the closer we get to the election the less sure each side sounds - both the White House and the Mainstream Press/Democratic Party (but I repeat myself) have been making noises in the last couple days that seem intended to cool their supporters expectations.  Maybe the Democrats will take back control of the House, maybe not.  I don't think that anyone remotely knows.

The Senate has always looked like the Republicans would keep the Senate.  The closer we get to election, the more the Republicans look to pick up seats from vulnerable Democrats.  But again, the margin of error for some of the races is very thin, and the polls are of questionable value.  It seems certain that the GOP will pick up a couple, maybe 4 or 5.  It's unlikely they'll pick up the 9 they would need to theoretically avoid a filibuster.  I say "theoretically" because with the likes of the Susan Collins wing of the GOP there wouldn't be a solid 60 GOP votes for almost anything.

Increasing a GOP majority in the Senate will tend to weaken the Susan Collins types, though, which will help reduce gridlock there.  A thin GOP majority in the House will probably result in the rise of Susan Collins types there, and a Democratic majority will basically ensure gridlock for the next two years.

So it really comes down to the House which nobody can handicap with any sort of confidence.

Monday, October 29, 2018

I haz a sad

Nobody has ever blocked me on Twitter.  But Lawrence runs across an NPC who can't handle the truth.  Advantage: Lawrence.

I guess if I ever went on Twitter I might run into one of these idiots, but then I'd have to go on Twitter.  And so, I don't.  Advantage: me.

And this is a good time to add a post tag for NPCs.

I'm glad that the World Series is over

For Red Sox fans such as myself, this has been a season for the ages.  A franchise record in wins was followed by dominating series against the Yankees, Astros, and Dodgers.  There's a good chance that I'll not see a similar season.

But oof, these games have gone late.  It's been two weeks of not getting to bed on time (what, you think I'm going to miss them beating the Yankees in the post season?).  I'm dragging so much that I didn't post anything yesterday, even though there was plenty that was postable.

Fortunately, the season is over, and so after a couple good nights' sleep posting should be back to a regular schedule.

But now folks will have to update this:

Saturday, October 27, 2018

It's not the size of the dog in the fight

20 pound French Bulldog chases off two bears.  I love how it makes one bear go up over the fence to escape.

The bears look young, but still.  It seems that the idiot neighbors had been feeding the "cute" bears.  Pro tip for California idiots: wild animals are, like, wild m'kay?

It seems this is from 3 years ago but I just ran across it.

Longest game in World Series history

Last night's game was 18 (!) innings, running 7 hours and 20 minutes.  That's two games played back to back.  Pro tip: watching the game in bed gives you the chance to wake up every two or three innings to see the score.

Both teams pitching staffs are more or less completely disrupted now.  Tonight's game will be interesting - rather than last night's pitcher's duel, tonight could be a real slugfest as tired pitchers get knocked around.

I have to say that this is one of the things I love about baseball - even watching for 50 years I've never seen anything like this.  It's a very old game, but you're always seeing something new.  Or old - heck, one of the Dodgers got caught between first and second and run down.  We used to play "pickle" as kids.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Tony Joe White - Rainy Night In Georgia

Rest in peace.

Hat tip: Irish.

Reasons to Open Carry

Some may be good (I confess to not being a fan, but other people I respect think different).  But some reasons are bad:

Ego validation from fanbois is a bad reason.  If you're going to risk scaring the White Folks, make sure you have a good reason.

The mail bombs, explained

This is funny as heck:
Brian Stelter: What happen?

Chris Cuomo: Someone set up us the bomb.

Ander Copper: We get signal.

Don Lemon: What?

Chri Cumo: Main screen turn on.

Brian Stelter: It's you!

Orange Bad Man: How are you gentlemen?
All your base are belong to us.
You are on the way to destruction.

Don Lemon: What you say?

Orange Bad Man: You have no chance to survive make your time. Ha ha ha...
For those of you were weren't following Internet memes circa 1999, this is the back story:

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Open Carry Larping

Tam points out examples the way that only she can.  Sal chimes in as only he can.

UPDATE: Aesop has some thoughts here, and expands on them here.  Key graf:
Just because you haven't tried something doesn't mean you ought to.
Maybe learn a lesson from common sense, and from the example of the 5000 other Open Carry fucktards from coast to coast who've BTDT. 
So, in answer to WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO EXPAND GUN RIGHTS IN FLORIDA?, the answer isn't "Nothing", it's "Reminding the OC Crusaders that acting like fucktards is acting like fucktards, and harms gun rights for everyone, everywhere."
Oh, and "Rambonehead" is the word of the day.

Manufacturing the finest hockey sticks since 1998

Dr. Michael Mann - he of climate "Hockey Stick" fame - is a scientific fraud.  Worse, he's a one-trick pony: all his frauds are done exactly the same way. He's not even a good scientific fraud as all of his hockey stick games are busted the exact same way.

For those of you who have not been following along at home, I originally posted about this ten years ago in a post called Scientific Fraud:
Orson Scott Card discussed this some time ago.
What's crucial is that Steve now understands why the "censored" data sets are smaller than the ones Mann used. The full source data includes those misleading results that shouldn't have been used. But the "censored" data sets leave it out.
This means that Mann knew exactly what he was doing. This was not an accident. Mann ran the program on the data without the misleading numbers, and then he ran it with the misleading numbers. What he published was the results that made his ideological case. 
This is background to the "Jesus Paper" post. It's more accessible (not much discussion of statistics, for example), and more entertaining, but both describe the same fraud. I'd like to think that this is an isolated incident, but it's not.
I didn't have any idea just how "not isolated" this was.  First, a little background.  1998 saw the publication of a blockbuster scientific paper, one that showed that a climate that had been stable for a thousand years had suddenly begun to overheat.  Dr. Mann was the lead author, and this is the famous image from the article:

This picture was not only used in Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth", it was sent to every household in Canada by the Canadian Government.

As my post from 2008 says, it was a fraud, and Mann knew it was a fraud.  But he's done it twice more since then.  I'd like to explain how so you see just how deep the rot goes.

The picture above does not rely on thermometer data, since the thermometer wasn't invented until the 17th century.  Instead, it is proxy temperate data, relying on measurements of other things that are related to temperature: ice cores, corals, and most especially tree rings.  You can get more background on this here.

The problem is that trees are not thermometers.  While a wide ring may mean that the temperature was warm, it may mean other things - more rainfall after a period of drought, more sunlight after a taller tree in the forest fell, etc.  You can get a lot more on this subject (and how it is abused) here.  Yes, I've been writing about this for a long time.

One thing that effects tree ring proxies is the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  Some species of trees are effected more than others by this.  It has been well known for decades (really since the 1980s) that bristlecone pine trees use atmospheric carbon dioxide as fertilizer and so cores from these trees can't be used accurately as temperature proxies.  Well guess what Mann did in his 1998 paper?

Mann got busted by a fellow named Steve McIntyre, who has busted each of Mann's papers.  He has a must-read article that slices the guts out of Mann's old and new papers.  Here's the bit about the 1998 deception:
Mann had, of course, done a principal components analysis of his North American tree ring network withoutstripbark bristlecones – an analysis not reported in his articles, but which could be established through reverse engineering of his now notorious CENSORED directory – see CA post here. ) These non-descript PCs further illustrate the non-HSness of the Mann et al 1998 North American tree ring network without strip bark bristlecones.
Figure 2. Plot of five principal components in MBH98 CENSORED directory i.e. without Graybill stripbark chronologies, mainly from bristlecones, but a couple of limber pines. 

Do you see a hockey stick?  I don't.  Mann had to add the bristlecone pine proxies to get the graph at the top of this post.  He had two data files, one of which was labeled CENSORED, that did not include the pines.  He published the other one.  So he knew what he was doing here.  Read the links above for a lot on the old 1998 paper.

One fallout from this was that the National Academy of Sciences had a panel look into this, and in 2006 said ix-nay on the istlecone pine-bray.  The science, you might say, is settled on this.

Anyway, Mann has a new paper out, which - surprise! - shows a hockey stick.  And guess what?  Mann manufactured the hockey stick the exact same way that he did twice before:
The PAGES (2017) North American network consists entirely of tree rings. Climate Audit readers will recall the unique role of North American stripbark bristlecone chronologies in Mann et al 1998 and Mann et al 2008 (and in the majority of IPCC multiproxy reconstructions).  In today’s post, I’ll parse the PAGES2K North American tree ring networks in both PAGES (2013) and PAGES (2017) from two aspects:
  • even though PAGES (2013) was held out as the product of superb quality control, more than 80% of the North American tree ring proxies of PAGES (2013) were rejected in 2017, replaced by an almost exactly equal number of tree ring series, the majority of which date back to the early 1990s and which would have been available not just to PAGES (2013), but Mann et al 2008 and even Mann et al 1998;
  • the one constant in these large networks are the stripbark bristlecone/foxtail chronologies criticized at Climate Audit since its inception. All 20(!) stripbark chronologies isolated by Mann’s CENSORED directory re-appear not only in Mann et al (2008), but in PAGES (2013). In effect, the paleoclimate community, in apparent solidarity with Mann, ostentatiously flouted the 2006 NAS Panel recommendation to “avoid” stripbark chronologies in temperature reconstructions. In both PAGES (2013) and PAGES (2017), despite ferocious data mining, just as in Mann et al 1998, there is no Hockey Stick shape without the series in Mann’s CENSORED directory. [red bold text is my emphasis - Borepatch]
A picture is worth a thousand words.  Bristlecone pine proxies are shown in red; other proxies are shown in blue, green, and yellow here.

Other than the red bristlecone pines, so you see any hockey stick?  I don't.  Remember, everyone knows that you don't use those as temperature proxies because (duh!) the NAS said they weren't fit for purpose that way.

And this was peer reviewed (so much for peer review, I guess) and published in Nature magazine - one of the top scientific journals (so much for scientific journals, I guess).

We hear that there is consensus among scientists that the climate is dramatically warming and we all have to pay trillions of dollars to the UN because of this (no, I'm not making this up).  Does that scientific consensus include the conclusion that it's just dandy to ignore the National Academy of Science guidelines on bristlecone pine as a temperature proxy?  If yes, then just what do we mean by the term "science"?  If no, then how did this pass peer review and get published in Nature?  For like, the third time?  What else has gotten past peer review that is now part of the "consensus" that is based on a crock of hooie?

Actually, to ask these questions is to answer them, especially the last.  The conclusion - if you actually look at the underlying science - is that Climate Science as practiced today is a swamp of fraud.  Don't believe me?  Here's another post from the archives: NASA Scientists: 'We're not allowed to publish papers that go against the 'scientific consensus'".

UPDATE 25 October 2018 11:26: A quick dig through my archives shows that I'm not the only one who has been writing about this, or using the term "corrupt".  Boy, howdy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Quote of the Day, World Series Edition

One of the greatest baseball quotes is from Reggie Jackson.  After hitting a game winning home run at Fenway he was interviewed by the Press.  He said, "They told me we needed an insurance run and so I hit one to the Prudential".

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Where's your Eco-God now???

Electric car runs out of juice.  Calls AAA.  They use a diesel generator to charge it up.

This is a major ecological faux pas.  Everyone knows that electric cars should be powered by coal, not diesel.

Snotty New York Times writer is snotty

Ignore the actual state of the science, the arrogance and lack of self-awareness on offer from the Grey Lady is remarkable:
NYT asks Geologist and Moonwalker Dr. Harrison Schmitt about UN IPCC report:
The New York Times’ Nicholas St. Fleur: “…as one of the leading climate change deniers, when there was a huge report that just came out last week [talking about] the risk and what is going to happen … as soon as 2040. I’d love to know if you see any irony in your views on people who denied man walking on the moon vs. your views on climate change.”
Schmidt game a quite gentle and dignified reply, one that was much gentler than the NYT jerk deserved.  You can read it at the link.  I prefer the commentary that has resulted (the link here goes to an actual climate scientist, one who is even more appalled by this than I am):
Now, Sinclair's is already a bad enough insult. Imagine that you're the most recent one among the 12 moonwalkers in the homo sapiens species – some microorganisms have walked the Moon with them. You have some good reasons to think that you're pretty important. You also have a special kind of certainty about the proposition that men have really walked on the Moon – because you were one of these 12 apostles. And now, an arrogant left-wing journalist demands you to admit that if you have walked on the Moon, every piece of arbitrarily fishy left-wing pseudoscience must also be true.
It's not science, it's some strange religious cult.  It's actually hilarious that its congregants don't have any idea that it's a strange religious cult.  I guess that's the arrogance and lack of self-awareness that I was talking about,

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Kosaku Yamada - Symphony in F "Triumph and Peace"

Image via ウィキペディアへようこそ
On this day in 1600, the battle of Sekigahara ended centuries of Japanese feudal war as Tokugawa Ieyasu defeated the last of his rivals to become Shogun.  250 years of peace followed, unusual for the Japanese islands.

254 years later, Commodore Perry sailed into Tokyo bay.  The isolated Japanese shogunate swiftly reorganized in the Meiji Restoration, and Japan modernized at a remarkable rate.  Industry, transportation, the military - all shed their old traditional ways and embraced the latest western technique.  Society also adapted in the same way.  The traditional music of the high society made room for the music of Mozart, Bach, and especially Beethoven.  Japanese musicians studied in the west, returning with the latest musical fashion.

One of these was Kosaku Yamada.  He studied in Berlin where his name became a source of amusement to the germans (the german transliteration of his name was "what cow", and so he sometimes went by the Czech equivalent "Kôsçak").  But he learned his skill well, and introduced a great deal of western music to Japan: Debussy's Afternoon of a faun, Sibelius' FinlandiaDvořák's New World Symphony, and Wagner's Siegfried.

He also composed 1600 pieces, many of them german style lieder.  But he composed longer pieces like operas and symphonies.  This one seems entirely appropriate for Sekigahara and the triumph and peace it brought.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

It's funny because it's true

Seen on

For those of you who haven't run across the NPC meme, this is a good introduction.

Your daily "Awww"

10 cute puppies.

Stephanie Quayle - Drinking with Dolly

A while back, The Queen Of The World saw in the local fishwrap that a local watering hole was hosting some live music by an up-and-coming country artist.  We went up there, but alas only 45 minutes early.  The place was already packed, with a line out the door.

It's actually pretty easy to understand.  Stephanie Quayle was tagged by Rolling Stone magazine as one of "The Top 10 artists to watch".  This song was her first to chart, but she has been on a roll lately  - her song "Winnebago" landed her a tour sponsorship (sponsored perhaps not surprisingly by Winnebago and KOA).  The Queen Of The World particularly likes her song "Post-it Notes" which she wrote about how her husband leaves little post-it notes all over the house for her.

I like her neo-traditionalist style which I find cuts through the clutter of today's Country Rap/Bro-Country manufactured music.  It's something that will be appreciated by fans of George Straight, Alan Jackson, and (dare I say it) Dolly Parton herself.  This song is an unapologetic tip of the hat to the great ladies of Country.

The Queen Of The World will watch Quayle's career with great interest.

Drinking with Dolly (Songwriters: Victoria Banks, Rachel Proctor)
Sometimes I think I was born too late
Came into the world in the wrong decade
I swear if I could
I'd go back to the good ol' days
Buy me a '69 cadillac
A Coke in a bottle and a new 8 track
And sing every word of Harper Valley PTA

Oh oh if I could hit rewind

I'd go drinking with Dolly
After the Opry
Pour one for Tammy too
Put on my rhinestones
Paint up my nails
Kick up my dancing shoes
Hey there Loretta
Put a quarter in the jukebox
We'll sing along with you
And talk about men
Cuz that's what women do

Share a few secrets
And a cigarette
Say a few things that we might regret
Tell it like it is 3 chords
And the cold hard truth
I bet they'd have a little advice to share
How to tame my man
And tack up my hair
Cuz you might as well look good
While you're out paying your dues

Oh oh if I could turn back time

Oh oh I bet we'd have a real good time

Drinking with Dolly
After the Opry
Pour one for Tammy too
Put on my rhinestones
Paint up my nails
Kick up my dancing shoes
Hey there Loretta
Put a quarter in the jukebox
We'll sing along with you
We'll raise up a glass
Wish Patsy could be here too
To talk about men
Cuz that's what women do

Yes they do

Friday, October 19, 2018

Donald Trump understands what's important about Climate Science

Trump's interview on 60 minutes was extremely interesting when he was asked about climate change:

I think that his reply was spot on: Scientists also have a political agenda.

I've spent ten years here on this blog posting about what the science actually says (if you're new to this, you can go here for a high level summary).  What I've finally come to realize is that nobody really cares about the science.  Sure, I care, but you know how nerdy I can be.  Very few other people think at all about the science.  They don't want to think about the science.  For most people, this is about politics, and Trump cuts right to the heart of this matter: how much legitimacy do climate scientists have?

I have come to the conclusion that the following hypothetical dialog between us and the typical dirty hippy is the right approach:
Dirty Hippy: You're one of those climate change deniers, aren't you? [Note: this is the most droolingly stupid accusation I can imagine.  As if anyone believes that the climate doesn't change all the time]
Me:  [sneeringly] What do you know about climate science?
Dirty Hippy: The scientists say we're changing the climate.  I believe them.
Me:  Should you?  Are they trustworthy?  Do we have any reasons to think maybe they're not?
Dirty Hippy: Um ....
Me:  Do you remember when their emails got leaked?  Remember the email where they said they did a trick to hide the decline in temperature?
Dirty Hippy: Um ....
Me:  This isn't what I'm saying, it's what they said.  They said they used a trick to hide the decline in the temperature.  You don't know anything about this, but you trust the "Hide The Decline" scientists.  Why do you trust people like this?  Is it that you don't care how crummy the science is as long as it gives you the result you want to see?
Me:  Dude, that's not scientific.  It's scienterrific!  [it's fun to use your best Tony The Tiger voice here]
This short presentation explains how they hid the decline.  It's by Dr. Robert Muller, director of the Berkeley Earth Science Temperature research group.  He's a scientist, and one who thinks that increasing carbon dioxide leads to higher temperatures (i.e. he's not a "climate denier" [rolls eyes]).  But he dissects what the Hide The Decline folks did.

His key conclusion as a scientist?  Now I have a list of people whose papers I won't read.

The kicker?  This crowd is the one that the IPCC relies on for its Assessment Reports - the "scientific consensus".

And at this point you'll notice that I've spent a thousand words saying what Trump said in six.  But hey, if you think this has been wordy, go read my post about what the science actually says!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Killed by Socialized healthcare

Forbes actually publishes a story about the slow-motion collapse that is the UK's National Health Service.  Here's the key graf:
The United Kingdom's National Health Service, which celebrated its 70th anniversary on July 5, is imploding. 
Vacancies for doctor and nurse positions have reached all-time highs. Patients are facing interminable waits for care as a result. This August, a record number of Britons languished more than 12 hours in emergency rooms. In July, the share of cancer patients who waited more than two months to receive treatment soared. 
Yet enthusiasm for government-run, single-payer health care continues to build in the United States. The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that 70 percent of Americans now support Medicare for All. Virtually all the major candidates for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020 have come out in favor of banning private insurance coverage and implementing a single-payer system instead.
I have a whole post category for Killed By Socialized Medicine which goes way, way back.  And this sums the wretched NHS up, for the dim bulbs on these shores who want to replicate it here:

Actually, this really does sum up the situation.  The issue isn't healthcare, the issue is control.  Statist pricks want life and death control over the population, the better to keep them in line.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Big Chief Sitting Bull****

The Internet Meme factory has been in overdrive on Senator Warren.  Here are some of my favorites.

Here's another reason not to bring an Alexa type device into your hoe

UPDATE: That should be "home", not "hoe".  I'm leaving the title unchanged because it's kind of funny, especially with the comments. /UPDATE

As if you needed another reason, but this one is a doozy:
In a paper to be presented today at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) in Berlin, Germany, computer scientists Gierad Laput, Karan Ahuja, Mayank Goel, and Chris Harrison describe a real-time, activity recognition system capable of interpreting collected sound. 
In other words, a software that uses devices' always-on builtin microphones to sense what exactly's going on in the background.
So now Alexa won't just know what you're saying, it will know what you're doing.  And they'll use that information for - what?  Of course, all the Fanbois who get these damned things have carefully gone over the license agreement before clicking "Accept", amirite?

Damn.  Doesn't anyone remember Homer's story about the Trojan Horse?  It was considered a classic when I was young.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Now *that's* scary

UN Scientists: give us $48 Trillion or the planet gets it

The latest out of the UN IPCC is that they need $2.4T a year for 20 years in order to keep the temperature from rising by more than 1.5° C.
The IPCC’s modelled pathways show that $2.4 trillion must be invested in new clean energy every year from 2015 through 2035, which, Bloomberg notes, is an almost sevenfold increase from the $333.5 billion invested in renewable energy in 2017. That is an aggregate investment of $48 trillion. The interest bill alone (at say 5%pa) would be $200 billion per month – more than the whole world currently spends on childhood education and environmental protection combined. 
The report (C2.7) says that “the literature on total mitigation costs of 1.5°C mitigation pathways is limited and was not assessed in this report”. Others have calculated massive additional expenditure on energy efficiency, electricity transmission and storage, CCS and other carbon dioxide removal (CDR). But even these estimates do not attempt to put a price upon the “unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” called for by the IPCC.
The "literature is limited" is pretty funny, with the astronomical sums demanded.  So how does the science hold up on this?  Judy Curry has a long and detailed analysis, but this is the key bit:
IMO, even with erroneous attribution of extreme weather/climate events and projections using climate models that are running too hot and not fit for purpose of projecting 21st century climate change, the IPCC still has not made a strong case for this massive investment to prevent 1.5C warming.
The "Science is Settled" even when it's based on computer models "running too hot and not fit for purpose".  But turn over your money and freedom right now or we'll call you a climate denier or something.  Yawn.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Well, at least they're giving us a choice

People are turning to search engines other than Google

People are smart:
Google has long been eyed with suspicion, and incidents such as covering up potential data leaks does nothing to help. Privacy and security have increased in importance for the average internet user, and this has seen people moving away from Google and investigating the alternatives.
One beneficiary of this shunning of Google is DuckDuckGo. The privacy-focused search engine has enjoyed a 50 percent surge in usage over the last year, and it can now boast a new record of 30 million daily searches.
I use Duckduckgo almost exclusively, since they are very clear that they do not track me.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

B-17 and B-24 engine startup and taxi

What was interesting was the B-17 looked kind of clumsy on the taxiway, while the B-24 seemed to steer in a precise way.  Up in the air, the roles were reversed, with the B-17 turning from an ugly duckling into a swan, while the B-24 looked like a goony bird.

The camera video couldn't remotely keep up with the speed of the propellers, and so they look like they're spinning backwards here.

Alexander von Zemlinsky - Die Seejungfrau (The Mermaid)

If ever there was a person who was entitled to name-drop in classical music, it was Alexander von Zemlinsky.  Born in Vienna in the later days of the Austro-Hungarian empire, he ended up fleeing the Nazis and settling in America.  But he seems to have known just about everyone who was anyone in classical music.

He studied composition under Anton Bruckner.  Brahms came to his concerts and was so impressed that he pulled strings with his publisher to get Zemlinsky's music printed.  He was in an orchestra with Arnold Schoenberg, who ended up his brother-in-law.  Gustav Mahler conducted the premier of one of his operas.  He wanted to marry Alma Schindler, who ended up marrying Mahler (amonng others) and who was immortalized by Tom Lehrer.

This piece is titled after Hans Christian Andersen's tale of the little mermaid.  It was thought that the music was lost soon after its 1905 debut, but it was discovered in 1984 and is one of Zemlinsky's most often performed works.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Lyle Lovett - If I Had A Boat

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin is in a fight for reelection.  Polls show the race tied against a somewhat flawed opponent.  This story will not help Joe's chances:
Manchin bought a 65-foot yacht, which he named "Almost Heaven", in October 2013 for $700,000. Manchin later transferred ownership of the yacht to Country Roads Marine LLC—a West Virginia-based LLC—that Manchin and his wife incorporated and are listed as members and officers, recordsshow. Manchin docks the boat on the Potomac River in Southeast D.C. and resides in it while he is in the city.
However, since 2013, Manchin has failed to report ownership of Country Roads Marine LLC, which FACT says is a "serious violation of Senate Ethics Rules," given they require senators to list "outside compensation, holdings, transactions, liabilities, positions held and gifts received" on their financial disclosure reports.
That's a lot of money.  I wonder how he saved that much on a Senator's salary?  I'm guessing that a lot of folks in West Virginia are wondering that too - which would be why he tried to hush this up.

Oh, well, if he loses he can always take the boat out on the sea.  Take us away, Lyle!

If I Had A Boat (Songwriter: Lyle Lovett)
If I had a boat
I'd go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I'd ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat

If I were Roy Rogers
I'd sure enough be single
I couldn't bring myself to marrying old Dale
It'd just be me and trigger
We'd go riding through them movies
Then we'd buy a boat and on the sea we'd sail

And if I had a boat
I'd go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I'd ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat

The mystery masked man was smart
He got himself a Tonto
'Cause Tonto did the dirty work for free
But Tonto he was smarter
And one day said kemo sabe
Kiss my ass I bought a boat
I'm going out to sea

And if I had a boat
I'd go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I'd ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat

And if I were like lightning
I wouldn't need no sneakers
I'd come and go wherever I would please
And I'd scare 'em by the shade tree
And I'd scare 'em by the light pole
But I would not scare my pony on my boat out on the sea

And if I had a boat
I'd go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I'd ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat

Friday, October 12, 2018

B-24 Takeoff from Frederick Airport

The B-24 "Witchcraft" is the only fully restored and flying B-24 Liberator in the world.  It visited Frederick airport as part of the Wings of Freedom Tour.  Here it is taking off.

It's a bit like a flying boxcar, not as elegant as the B-17.  But it's a LOT roomier on the inside.

B-17 takeoff at Frederick Airport

The B-17 is a surprisingly elegant aircraft, when seen both sitting still and when in motion.  The B-24 is list a boxcar, but the Flying Fortress is graceful.

Seen at the Frederick, MD airport today.  More later.

UPDATE 12 October 2018 16:56: Changed to Youtube embed for video.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Why are there so many douchebags on Twitter and Gab?

I'm never on Twitter but I have been spending some time on, and twice in the last week have found myself in arguments with people who seem to have the education level of a fruit fly.  Last night was someone telling me that fascists aren't socialists and that libertarians are fascists.

I don't know if it is the 300 character limit of the posts that makes people into idiots (or attracts them), but it's a big turnoff.  While I am often too wordy, at least I show my work in my posts here.  The commenters here are unfailingly polite and intelligent.  I can't figure out why the Twitter/Gab is so widely infested with douchebags.

At least Gab has a "Mute" button which blocks someone you aren't interested in reading.  I think I will get a lot quicker on the trigger there in the future.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Proper Prior Planning

Prevents Poor Performance.

Good luck to the Florida Panhandle

The Weather Channel crew evacuated because of Hurricane Michael.

I hope this one isn't as bad as it looks, but it looks pretty bad.

Old Warbirds Tour

For those of you in the Washington DC metro area, the Wings Of Freedom Tour is landing today at Frederick (MD) airport:
In the ground tour are a B-17, B-24 and P-51. The Wings of Freedom Tour visits 110 cities a year all over the country. The B-17 is one of only nine in flying condition in the United States. The B-24J is the sole remaining example of its type flying in the world. The P-51 Mustang was awarded the a grand champion award for restoration. Flight experiences are normally scheduled before and after the ground tour times. Continues through Oct. 12

I plan of taking some time off and heading up there to drool all over these things.  For those of you in the area, they are here through Friday although the walk through tours end at noon on Friday (they end at 4:00 today and tomorrow).  Those of you with more cash burning a hole in your pocket than I have can take a ride.  $400 for the B-25, $450 for the B-17 or B-24 and $2200 (!) in the Mustang (the TF-51 two seat trainer version).

Shoot me an email if you plan on coming Friday morning and we can meet up.

Hat tip: The Queen Of The World, who finds awesome stuff.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving, eh?

To our readers in Canada, have a great Thanksgiving holiday.  Down here they're still harvesting corn near Castle Borepatch, so it's a bit early for a harvest festival.  Still, we shall hoist a Molson's your way and start planning on breaking out the back bacon and long underwear.

Just how bad are the climate temperature databases?

We are told by Scientists® that the Science® is Settled.  Meanwhile, I've been complaining for almost ten years about the poor quality of the temperature databases that are used to reach that conclusion.  Now the first ever, systematic audit of the most important of the climate databases has been done (as a PhD thesis).  The results are worse than even I expected:
  • The Hadley data is one of the most cited, most important databases for climate modeling, and thus for policies involving billions of dollars.
  • McLean found freakishly improbable data, and systematic adjustment errors , large gaps where there is no data, location errors, Fahrenheit temperatures reported as Celsius, and spelling errors.
  • Almost no quality control checks have been done: outliers that are obvious mistakes have not been corrected – one town in Columbia spent three months in 1978 at an average daily temperature of over 80 degrees C.  One town in Romania stepped out from summer in 1953 straight into a month of Spring at minus 46°C. These are supposedly “average” temperatures for a full month at a time. St Kitts, a Caribbean island, was recorded at 0°C for a whole month, and twice!
  • Temperatures for the entire Southern Hemisphere in 1850 and for the next three years are calculated from just one site in Indonesia and some random ships.
I love how the average temperature of St. Kitts was freezing - so it must have been below freezing for half of the day.  And the highest recorded temperature in history was 58°C (Death Valley, July 10, 1913) - the 80°C (176°F) would have killed everyone in the town.

But shut up and pay up.  Because reasons.

Remember, this is the most prestigious temperature data set used today.  The IPCC relies on it for their regular reports.  Oh, and this is from the group that hid the decline:

I think that this is my first post (from 2009) criticizing the temperature data sets.  Interestingly, it touches on what Dr. Muller discusses in the video, and it was from 3 months before the ClimateGate revelations broke.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Sgt. York took the machine gun nest 100 years ago

It's quite a story.  And I agree 100% on this:
Some people may ask why we don't have heroes like this in today's military. The answer is that we do still have such men but the media today just doesn't celebrate them like they used to.
I hadn't known that he had tried to re-enlist in World War II.  Overweight and out of shape at 54 years old, the Army didn't take him in the combat units but they did commission him as a Major in the Signal Corps and he did speaking tours throughout the war.  So we should call him "Major York" - except he was commissioned as a Colonel in the Tennessee National Guard so it's really "Colonel York".

I also hadn't known that he used his earnings from the Gary Cooper 1941 film about him to found a Bible School.

His was a much more interesting story than I had imagined, and it's too bad it took so long for me to learn it.

Obama program spent $90M to create jobs for 55 Afghan women

Smartest President ever, or something:
The U.S. government has blown almost $90 million on a doomed project to help Afghan women enter the workforce with a big chunk of the money going to a Clinton-aligned “development” company that reaped big bucks from Uncle Sam while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. The cash flows through the famously corrupt U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID), which is charged with providing global economic, development and humanitarian assistance. In this case USAID allocated $216 million to supposedly help tens of thousands of Afghan women get jobs and gain promotions over five years. Known as “Promoting Gender Equity in National Priority Programs,” the endeavor was launched in 2014 and tens of millions of dollars later it’s proven to be a major failure. 
Someone must be pocketing the cash because the costly program has helped between zero and 60 women. This isn’t a joke, though it sounds like a bad one. All the dirty details are laid out in a scathing federal audit released this month by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). Investigators found that around 55 women got “new or better” jobs in three years and they can’t even fully credit the U.S.-backed program for the women’s prosperities.
But hey, at least the Clintons got some coin so it's all good, amirite Lefties?

Hat tip: The Queen Of The World.

Recommended Reading for Columbus Day

This is a Columbus Day post I wrote in 2008, but which seems evergreen.  You can get Dr. Landes' book on Amazon, no doubt at a deep discount (it was published in the 1990s).

Obligatory Imperialist Post

Because it's Columbus Power-Mad Dead White Dude Day.  Insty posted about Admiral of the Ocean Sea (great book) which gives you a great Columbus overview, but entirely misses the Power-Mad Dead White Dude thing.

As a public service, here's something that you should read if you really want to make a liberal's head explode like the fembots in Austin Powers. Or understand why the world's economy is the way it is.  The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, by David Landes. The title is intentionally taken from Adam Smith, but Landes focuses less on describing economics per se, and more on the constraints that a society puts on their economy.

It traces the history of economic development over the last 1000 years, and asks some very politically incorrect questions:
  • Why did China, the world's richest and most powerful country in 1000 AD not only lose her lead, but lose it so badly that it was dismembered by the European (and later resurgent Japanese) powers?
  • Why did India, fabulously wealthy and populous, not conquor the west, rather than vice-versa?
  • Why did England, an undeveloped backwater as late as 1500 AD, ultimately lead the Industrial Revolution and become the world's most powerful country?
  • What explains the vast differences in economic development between the USA and Canada, and other New World countries? After all, in 1700, Mexico's GDP per capita was $450, not far short of the colonies' $490 (1985 dollars). In 1989, Mexico's GDP per capita was $3,500, vs. $18,300 for the USA.
No, it wasn't "western imperialism" by dead white dudes. Landes' politically incorrect thesis is that society counts, and some societies foster faster economic growth than others. He uses many, many examples.

The quote for this [2008] election season, if we're smart enough to listen, is about the post-Cold War economies:
Among the heaviest losers in this period of record-breaking economic growth and technological advance were the countries of the Communist Socialist bloc: the Soviet Union at the bottom of the barrel, Romania and North Korea almost as bad, and a range of satellite victims and emulators struggling to rise above the mess. Best off were probably Czechoslovkia and Hungary, with East Germany (the DDR) and Poland trailing behind. The striking feature of these command economies was the contradiction between system and pretensions on the one hand, performance on the other. The logic was impeccable: experts would plan, zealots would compete in zeal, technology would tame nature, labor would make free, the benefits would accrue to all. From each according to their ability; to each according to his deserts; and eventually, to each according to his needs.

The dream appealed to the victims and critics of capitalism, admittedly a most imperfect system - but as it turned out, far better than the alternatives. Hence the Marxist economies long enjoyed a willful credulous favor among radicals, liberals, and progressives in the advanced industrial nations;
You'll hate this if you think that economics a la John Kerry and Barack Obama is the shizzle flippity floppity floop.

Contradiction between pretension and performance: nice phrase, that. For an example, see Patrick, Deval. For extra credit, compare and contrast Obama, Barack.

Dang, I think I must have just got my Hate Speech on, right there.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Pharaoh Rameses the Great had a passport

Who knew?

This goes back to the 1970s, when a French museum wanted to run a CAT scan on the mummy.  Egypt, recalling decades of looting by European powers seemed to think that issuing a passport to the mummy might make it easier to get him back:
It was his poor condition that prompted Egyptian authorities to seek help preserving him in the mid-1970s. They found their experts in France and reluctantly decided to transport the 3,000-year-old mummy to Paris.
ramses ii head
In order to leave the country, however, even a three-millennia-old king has to follow the rules. Egypt required anyone leaving the country, living or dead, to have the proper papers. Ramses II was issued a passport. Seemingly the first mummy to receive one, Ramses had his occupation listed as “King (deceased).” The government didn’t want him to get a passport for publicity, but believed it would afford them legal protections to ensure his safe return. Countless artifacts and mummies have been plundered and stolen from Egypt, and museums in Europe didn’t always respect Egyptian claims.
Like I said, who knew?

Sarah McLachlan - Prayer of St. Francis

St. Francis, painted shortly after his death
Today's music is unusual for Sunday, as it's not classical.  But stick with me because there's quite an interesting story to tell.

This past week saw the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.  The Franciscans were early adopters of harmony in their sacred music, most notably the Office (or Historia) of St. Francis which dates to the 1230s AD and which is still sun by the Franciscans today.

Well, the Historia was composed by Julian of Speyer, a Fransciscan who was almost certainly know to the Saint himself.  Julian was from the German city of Speyer - alert readers will recognize a recent post here about the world's oldest bottle of wine which was discovered in a Roman grave in Speyer.

And so by coincidence I posted about wine from Speyer on the eve of the feast of St. Francis, whose music was composed by a guy from where the wine came from.

Alas, I can't find any of Julian's music online.  Instead, here is an unusual (for this blog) but hauntingly beautiful song about St. Francis.  Enjoy!