Saturday, May 25, 2019

Your Memorial Day must read

PFC Albert Dentino was wounded in action against German tanks on the western front.  He died four days before his 23rd birthday in December, 1944.

He's known as Great Uncle Albert.  You can read his story here.

Radney Foster - Angel Flight

It was the summer of 2011, and I was flying to Dad's Memorial Service.  His funeral had been a few months earlier in New Mexico but now was the last gathering in my home town in Maine.  It was a circuitous route: AUS-ATL-DET-BAN.  I've flown a lot in my life, but I saw something on that Detroit tarmac that I'd never seen before or since.

Photo credit: Borepatch

I'll reproduce here what I liveblogged from my phone:

My flight to Detroit just touched down.  The flight attendants came on the PA asking everyone to remain seated when we reach the gate, so some soldiers returning back from Afghanistan could de-plane first.

Everyone clapped.  Everyone.

Then the Captain came on.  He said we were taking a fallen soldier home.  You could have heard a pin drop.

God Speed, whoever you are.  I can't imagine any thanks can possibly fill the void your family feels.

We're at the gate, and the plane is clapping for the soldiers again.  Out the window, you can see the cars lined up on the tarmac for our fallen hero.  Everyone's crowded around the windows.

It feels like you're in church - that you're in the presence of something holy.
There was a boy no older than ten a couple rows in front of me.  When he saw this, he took off his baseball cap:
Photo credit: Borepatch

All that weekend I thought on what I'd written about how hard the Honor Guard duty must be:
This must be a tough duty, spending all day, every day welcoming home fallen veterans.  It must take a special sort of personality to be continually surrounded by grieving families, and to take that grief as an inspiration to perfect the ceremony.  The respect they showed - especially to Mom - was very moving.

It's strange, but after the months leading up to Dad's death, and three weeks now to process the emotions, that I wasn't ready for what that washed over me when the guard slow-saluted Mom, and then knelt down to present her the flag.

This flag is presented on behalf of a grateful nation and the United States Army as a token of appreciation for your loved one's honorable and faithful service.

The Honor Guard has a hard duty, and one that may seem unimportant.  After all, it's just one more old man leaving his grieving family behind.  The kindness and respect they devoted speaks volumes of them, and the Republic.

This is the final test of a gentleman: his respect for those who can be of no possible service to him.
- William Lyon Phelps
But on that Detroit taxiway it wasn't an old man coming home to lie with his brothers, it was someone in the flush of youth.  Someone who didn't get the chance to bury his father; on the contrary, someone whose father met him on the tarmac on his last flight.

I look on this Republic, and wonder how it can possibly live up to that sacrifice.  And then I look at that ten year old boy on the plane, just some random kid on a vacation flight, taking his cap off as a sign of respect, and thanks.  And I look at all the other passengers who would normally be crowding the aisle to get off the flying bus that brought them where they ended up.  All crowded around the windows.  I don't expect that many will ever forget that moment.

I sure won't.

Memorial Day is the traditional start of summer, celebrated with barbecues and the opening of swimming pools across the land.  But that's so, so not what the day is about.  On this holiday, think for a moment about that fallen soldier, met by his father at the end of his Angel Flight.  And think on all the other fallen and what we owe to them, a debt that can never be repaid.

Angel Flight (Songwriters: Radney Foster, Darden Smith)
All I ever wanted to do was fly
Leave this world and live in the sky
I left the C130 out of Fort Worth town
I go up some days I don't wanna come down

Well I fly that plane called the Angel Flight
Come on brother you're with me tonight
Between Heaven and earth you're never alone
On the Angel Flight
Come on brother I'm taking you home

I love my family and I love this land
But tonight this flight's for another man
We do what we do because we heard the call
Some gave a little, but he gave it all

I fly that plane called the Angel Flight
Come on brother you're with me tonight
(Come on brother you're with me tonight)
Between Heaven and earth you're never alone
On the Angel Flight
Come on brother I'm taking you home
Come on brother I'm taking you home

Well, the cockpit's quiet and the stars are bright
Feels kinda like church in here tonight
It don't matter where we touch down
On the Angel Flight its sacred ground

I fly that plane called the Angel Flight
Gotta hero riding with us tonight
Between Heaven and earth you're never alone
On the Angel Flight
Come on brother I'm taking you home
Come on brother I'm taking you home
Come on brother I'm taking you home
Come on brother I'm taking you home
Ave atque vale.  Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine.  Et lux perpetua luceat eis.  Amen.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Britain's government collapses

Prime Minister May resigns after drubbing at the polls in yesterday's EU elections.  Nobody cares: viewers were furious that the BBC pre-empted a popular home improvement show for the PM's resignation speech.

Here's the reason she quit, boiled down:

It's that last set of numbers compared with all the others.  May didn't have the leadership to turn Parliament around.  Now she's gone, and may have taken the Tory Party down with her - quite an achievement, really.

And this game of rope-a-dope was a catastrophe for the EU as well.  It's certain that the next UK Prime Minister will invoke Article 50 to leave the EU immediately, but the EU Parliament will be stuck with a bunch of euroskeptic EMPs, unless they expel them all.  The optics on that are miserable.

Me, I'm enjoying the popcorn.

Postscript: Heh:


The Queen Of The World's daughter graduated yesterday, getting her nursing degree.  I find this especially impressive considering that she did this while raising 3 young kids, helping her husband in his quest to make Chief Petty Officer*, and still ended up with very nearly a 4.0 GPA.

That's quite a lot of hard work, and TQOTW and I couldn't be more proud of her.

* It's really amazing how much the wives of the Chiefs-to-be do.  I guess it's training for how to keep the family support system running smoothly when sea duty deployments happen.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Slow Motion end of the EU has begun

Election results are notoriously ignored in the EU, but geez louise:
  • LONDON (Reuters) - Investors are on edge on the eve of elections to the European Parliament as they weigh the chances of eurosceptic groups grabbing a third of seats, a level at which analysts say they could stir more trouble for governments and the economy.
    The rise of populist, eurosceptic parties has thrust the European elections, normally a dull affair mostly ignored by global markets, to the forefront of portfolio managers' list of concerns.
    "It's clear that eurosceptics are going to get more votes than they have before," said John Taylor, co-head of European fixed income at investment firm AllianceBernstein.
    "[If they can get a third of votes] they might become a very disruptive influence when you need Europe to come together to fight things like a trade war."
Anti-EU and anti-establishment parties are on a roll in Europe, following similar results in Australia.  The EU Parliament is admittedly an empty suit, but it has to be a major embarrassment to have 30% of the MEPs from parties that despise the EU.

The globalist Left finds itself astride the march of Progress, futilely shouting "stop".

Breaking and entering, Badger style

From Blighty we get breaking news:
Quite rightly, everyone thought 29-year-old Hannah Carver was crazy when she insisted her freezer was being ransacked by the elusive critter nightly. So she set up cameras in what will surely be remembered as Britain's answer to the Patterson-Gimlin film
She was first woken by banging from her kitchen a couple of weeks ago and came down to find the floor littered with frozen food packaging. 
So the trap was laid, and the badger was filmed clawing open the freezer to gorge itself for 50 minutes on "Twister ice lollies, mashed potato, crumpets and Chinese-style pork chops" though, as Carver reported to the Portsmouth News, it snubbed the velvet luxury of scallops. 
The striped intruder, which weighs a stonking 1 Lindisfarne Gospels, gained access through a catflap.
The cat flap has since been sealed up, leaving the Badger to look elsewhere for popcycles.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Puff, puff, puff

I've found the depths of my nerdiness, and am running down trying to finish what I started.  It was this:
I was out on the Motorcycle, and while waiting in traffic saw a hand lettered sign "Used Book Sale".  Well, I'm constitutionally incapable of passing that sort of thing up, and so pulled into the parking lot.  It was the Milton (GA) Library raising money.  It was late in their display time, and so most of the selection was pretty well picked over.

Fortunately, my tastes are a little (ahem) eclectic.  I cruised over to the history section, and saw this:

That's The Story of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant.  10,000 pages of Pulitzer Prize winningoverview of Western Civilization. 
A year ago, I was already running down:
I've gotten through volume IX, The Age Of Voltaire.  Nine down, and two to go.  Unexpectedly, I've started to run down.  I cruised through the first four with relish, and Volume 3 saw me through the convalescence from the motorcycle accident.  The nurses thought I was a little unusual bringing a book like this to the daily hour long antibiotic infusions, but you can make some progress when you're stuck in a chair.  Unless you forget the damn book.  The volume on the Renaissance surprised me at how interesting it was, but that was sort of peak interest.

Since then, it's been slower going, and it's been harder to keep myself focused.  I found myself skipping over a fair amount in volume IX.  I think that it's because the earlier books covered a lot more time, and so were more of a survey - and this is why I got them.  The more recent the time period, the more detail there is.  Quite frankly, a lot of the detail isn't particularly interesting.

I guess this means that I've taken the measure of my nerdiness, and have found my limits.  I think I'm going to take a hiatus on the last two volumes for a bit.  Just not up to wading through 800 pages on Rousseau.
Well, I did take a hiatus for a while, and then got back into it.  I only have around 100 pages left in volume X which really should only be a week (or two, max) and then the final slog.  But it's a real slog.  And we have the Reign of Terror and Napoleon coming up inn the final volume and it's quite frankly hard to get myself motivated.  If I can finish by August then I will have read the whole set (for fun, at least allegedly) in six years.

Bah.  Everything interesting ended around 1600 AD.  1660, tops.  Take it to the bank, kids.

Tesla Autopilot routinely cuts off other cars

"Using the system is like monitoring a kid behind the wheel for the very first time. As any parent knows, it’s far more convenient and less stressful to simply drive yourself."
- Consumer Reports' Jake Fischer
Absolutely scathing review of Tesla's latest Autopilot software by Consumer Reports.  Sample:
Tesla vehicles have a tendency to cut off other drivers when making lane changes, according to CR's tests. After changing lanes in heavy traffic, the Model 3 "often immediately applies the brakes to create space behind the follow car—this can be a rude surprise to the vehicle you cut off,” Fisher said.
Great.  You car is a big old jerk.

Of course, none of this is a surprise to anyone who's been paying attention.

It's funny because it's true

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Gun Control

Been a while since I brought it up.  So let's have another ...

UPDATE 22 May 2019 09:31: Dick emails to day that the first picture also needs a "No Sheepdogs" sign ...

This Is Why We Built The Internet

H/T to American Digest

Monday, May 20, 2019

Flying with jerks

We've all be on a flight with That Guy - the one who's obnoxious, belligerent, and possibly drunk or high.

This was beautiful.

It's from a few years back but I just ran across it.  Like I said, it's beautiful what happened to That Guy.

Follow-Up on Chernobyl

As many of you suspected, the actual energy available in the potential steam explosion at the Chernobyl power plant was not in the megatons-of-TNT range. It would have been dramatic and it would have been large enough to disrupt the other reactors. It would have ejected a large quantity of the remaining core into the atmosphere and resulted a larger and more radioactive fallout zone. But it would not have been, as reported, in the 3 to 5 megaton range.

The best discussion on the topic I have found so far was at

It isn't the show that came up with the reported numbers, though, so I am still open to further explanation. Here's an older interview reporting the high numbers.

The world wide collapse of the Left reaches Australia

Adam Piggot muses on how the Labor party lost an "unlosable" election.  The Greens Sink Labor:
Queensland won the election for the conservative Liberal party, not because of what they did but rather because of what Labor didn’t do. Labor didn’t stand up for its heartland in the face of the Adani protests. Not only that but labor has failed to understand that its traditional working class voters in outback mining towns are more and more in a high income bracket, a situation that is only a fairly recent development. When tradies are on a cool 250K pay packet then Labor’s class warfare tax brackets suddenly don’t have quite the appeal that they once had.
This culminated in the election campaign when a worker at the Gladstone Port in Queensland politely quizzed Shorten on what he was going to do for workers who are now finding themselves in a high tax bracket. Shorten fluffed the question but his real troubles began the next day when the worker had his contract terminated by the company for daring to ask the great Labor leader an awkward question.
Labor has been infected by the Green mind virus and assumed that the majority of Australia would vote like inner-city Melbourne. But with the working class now often making more money than inner-city lefties, a threat to their new found livelihoods in the form of stopping a major coal mine was just the tip of the iceberg, as Labor intended to roll out radical Green proposals to go 100% renewable energy in Australia.
Status is a positional good - there really seems to be a zero sum game at work in status hierarchies (if one person gains status, it is as measured against the other members of that hierarchy who lose status).  This is the vise in which the Left now finds itself: as more and more of their support comes from urban, white collar workers - many of whom find themselves in jobs that have modest pay, like school teachers or government clerks - then seeing higher pay for "lower status" jobs like the trades, mining, and manufacturing (and the resulting higher financial status) is a psychological blow for their core base of supporters.

I mean, here you are with all this student debt for your Masters in Education and some low-life deplorable coal miner is making twice as much as you?

The Left has a built-in preference for policies that will damage the trades, mining, and manufacturing, so that the Left's core support base will be relatively better off as the people in these "deplorable" jobs lose income and status.  Of course, this doesn't do a thing to raise the incomes of the Left's core support base, but nobody ever said that cognitive dissonance ever lead to rational outcomes.

What is a disaster for the Left (in Australia and world wide) is that the Deplorables have caught on to the game, and are now voting as a bloc against the Left.  It's self-defense - there's no ideological congruence with "conservative" parties, but that actually makes it worse for the Left: acting in self-interest is a much stronger predictor of outcome than ideology.

And so the Left keeps losing elections that are "unlosable" - BREXIT, Trump, Brazil, Italy ... the list goes on and on.  The Green Agenda is toxic at the polls.

Quite frankly, the only places you see success for the Greens is at isolated local levels where there is essentially a single party state - California, New York, a few other places.  Unsurprisingly, these are the places facing the biggest fiscal crisis as productive (read: tax paying) members of the Deplorables decamp to friendlier locales.  If anything, this accelerates the coming collapse.  New York and California Democrats are getting short term psychological benefits for their core supporters at the cost of long term lower incomes for those same supporters.

Hey, nobody ever said that cognitive dissonance lead to rational outcomes.

Saturday, May 18, 2019


There's a new HBO drama about the core breach and fire at Chernobyl. The 2nd episode became available today. Here's the trailer.

YouTube will provide you with all the documentaries and information you could possibly watch but this drama makes it real.

Here is the story you need hear. There were huge water tanks under the reactor. They needed to be emptied before the core melted through and contacted them. If that had happened, the resulting explosion would have been between 3 and 5 megatons. Megatons. Remember the Hiroshima bomb was 20 kilotons**. It would have torn open the other reactors at the site and dispersed enough radiation to make the western Soviet Union and most of Europe uninhabitable.

Three men volunteered to enter the flooded basement under the burning reactor to find and open the valves. They succeeded. They took high doses of radiation and some reports suggest they died but from what I can find it appears they survived the initial period of acute radiation sickness.

Their names were Alexei Ananenko, Valeri Bespalov and Boris Baranov. They saved millions of lives and a continent.

UPDATE: In the comments, the physics and math question of the potential size of the explosion is generating some thoughtful questions. It may be like the old game of "telephone", where the actual risk was of the steam explosion ejecting the core material into the atmosphere along with all the radioactive water, resulting in a down wind radiation fallout equivalent to a 3-5 megaton bomb. If it had done that as well at causing the other reactors to fail, the outcome would would have been bad enough. I am genuinely curious now and want to understand. If I find a definitive answer, I'll post it.

**Edited to correct yield per Old 1811


Yes, I am a nerd - I still remember the mnemonic for the colors on the resistor.

Hat tip: Chris Lynch.

Under appreciated talents: Doris Day and Christopher Lee

Both Doris Day and Christopher Lee got type cast, and it hurt both their careers.  Day was seen as the Virgin Queen; Lee as the great Hollywood Bad Guy.  While they both excelled in these roles, their talents went much deeper.  Here are a couple of (perhaps unexpected) examples of their deeper and less remarked on capabilities.

One of Day's greatest films was, Love Me Or Leave Me.  She was so, so not the Virgin Queen:

Ten cents a dance.  Oof.

And Christopher Lee - cast as Dracula, The Man with the Golden Gun, and Saruman - his basso profundo (and very classically trained voice) never failed to impress.  He really was the actual Most Interesting Man In The World:

The world is diminished by their passing, Day this past week and Lee these four years ago.  But a short time on Youtube listening to Lee's Heavy Metal or watching Day's finer performances will be a breath of fresh air in this later day of jaded "entertainment" options.

Requiescat in pace.

Lee Moore - The Cat Came Back

Grumpy Cat is dead.  But since cats are said to have nine lives, we can hope that Grumpy Cat will be around for a long, long time.  You bet, there's a country song about that.

Lee Moore was Yankee born and bred, an Ohio boy.  He found himself in radio in West Virginia playing for coal miners in the 1930s before settling down for a long stint as a late night entertainer on WWVA AM in Wheeling.  WWVA could be heard across most of the eastern USA at the late night hours when Moore was on the air, and he built up a following among truckers and other night owls from Newfoundland to Bermuda.  Nighttime AM travels a long, long way.

Moore retired to Troy, New York and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000, three years after his death.  This was a song that he popularized (and which I remember from my youth).

The Cat Came Back (Songwriters: Harry S. Miller)
Well old Mr. Johnson had troubles all his own
He had an old yellow cat that wouldn't leave home
Tried everything he knew to do to get the cat to stay away
Even took him up to Canada and told him for to stay
But the cat came back, the very next day,
Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back
`Cause he wouldn't stay away
Well they give a boy a dollar for to set the cat afloat
And he took him up the river in a sack and a boat
Well the fishin' it was fine till the news got around
That the boat was missing and the boy was drowned...
But the cat came back, the very next day,
Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back
`Cause he wouldn't stay away
Well the farmer on the corner said he'd shoot him on sight
And he loaded up his gun full of rocks and dynamite
The gun went off, heard all over town
Little pieces of the man was all that they found...
But the cat came back, the very next day,
Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back
`Cause he wouldn't stay away
Well they finally found a way this cat for to fix
They put him in an orange crate on Route 66
Come a ten ton truck with a twenty ton load
Scattered pieces of the orange crate all down the road...
But the cat came back, the very next day,
Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back
`Cause he wouldn't stay away
Now they gave him to a man going up in the balloon
And they told him for to leave him with the man in the moon
Well the balloon got busted, back to earth it head,
And seven miles away they picked the man up dead...
But the cat came back, the very next day,
Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back
`Cause he wouldn't stay away
Well they took him to the shop where the meat was ground
And they dropped him in the hopper when the butcher wasn't 'round
Well the cat disappeared with a blood-curdling shriek
And the town's meat tasted furry for a week...
But the cat came back, the very next day,
Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back
`Cause he wouldn't stay away
Well, they took him to Cape Canaveral and they put him in a place
Shot him in a rocket going way out in space
Well they finally thought the cat was out of human reach
Next day they got a call from Miami Beach and...
And the cat came back, the very next day,
Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back
`Cause he wouldn't stay away
This song dates to 1895 (!) but was updated for the Space Age.  The song had nine lives as well, it seems.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Rest in Peace, Grumpy Cat

Found dead on May 16.  Cause of death is under investigation.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Goodbye, Doris Day

Doris Day has passed at 97.  The Guardian has a good obituary here.  I think that she was under rated both as a singer and as an actress - not at the time of her peak fame, of course, but when the revolution of the 1960s made her "girl next door" appeal passé.  She was no longer "sophisticated" enough for the Baby Boomer world.

Bah.  The lack of self-awareness among the Boomer generation is epic.  Day had a great, expressive voice as you can hear in this.

She (and Rock Hudson) starred in what is perhaps the finest Romantic Comedy of all time, Lover Come Back.  She is really funny in this - somehow she never got credit for her comedic timing.  This is an excellent New York Times review of the film.  If you haven't seen it, you're in for a real treat.

I always enjoyed both her music and her films, and thought it was a shame that she didn't get the recognition that she deserved.  Rest in Peace, Doris.  Thanks for all the great times.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Obit watch

Dwight has two for you:

Tim Conway, perhaps the funniest man to ever live.  The Queen Of The World and I are sad about his passing - we really enjoyed his comedy.

Medal of Honor recipient dies at 98, 75 years after falling on a grenade to save his buddies.

I'm on the road and crazy busy, and so will post a retrospective on Doris Day in the next day or two.  She was terribly under rated, both musically and as an actress.

ASM826 Edit: Tim Conway was one of the funniest comedians. Here's two examples from the Carol Burnett show. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

The song almost writes itself, doesn't it?

Seen on the Book of Faces by the Queen Of The World, who is patient when I rant about self-driving cars.

Friday, May 10, 2019

AirBnB: Let the buyer beware

Spycam found in AirBnB rental:
An Airbnb "superhost" has been arrested and jailed after a guest discovered a camera hidden inside an internet router placed in the bedroom. 
The perv had picked on the wrong woman. Yunfei (her online alias) works in IT security and always checks hotel rooms that she stays in. She became immediately suspicious when she arrived at the apartment in Qingdao in China's Shandong province. 
"I found a motion sensor monitor at the flat's entrance and two in the two bedrooms, which is odd since the flat had not been renovated for smart-home automation," she told the Beijing Youth Daily. 
She stuck stickers on the sensors and turned them toward the wall before embarking on a deeper search, checking the TV and smoke detectors for hidden cameras. It was when she spotted the internet router in the bedroom, facing the bed, that she began to get really suspicious however. 
One of the lights that indicates an Ethernet connection to one of the ports in the back was slightly different to the others. On closer inspection it turned out that the four-port router had five lights. She found a picture of the same router online: it only had four lights.

Wolfgang gets a raincoat

The Queen Of The World got Wolfgang a new raincoat, since it's now far too warm for a winter coat but the smell of wet dog is not our favorite.  She calls him the "Morton Salt Dog" which I think is hilarious.

Actually, it's what we call a "slicker" up in Maine.  Of course, they say "slickah" but that's because it's Down East.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

World War II Field Kitchen

Via #2 Son, here's a great overview of the WWII Field Kitchen.  It's a lot more interesting than you might think.  As they say, amateurs talk strategy but professionals talk logistics.  A logistics system that gets hot chow in the troops even at the front is something that will help you win.

I hadn't known that they ran on gasoline.  That would eliminate the need to find firewood and would almost eliminate smoke (don't want the Bad Guys to use your kitchen chimney to walk the artillery in), but you obviously need gas.  Nobody had a gasoline supply like we did, so I expect other army's field kitchens were very different.

Adam Corolla explains the Big Bang to Neil deGrasse Tyson


Linux on the Desktop - it's finally here

For the last 20 years we've heard that the next year will be the year that Linux comes to the desktop - each and every year, we heard it.  Well, it actually looks like it's here, because Microsoft is shipping it:
The biggest news of Microsoft's annual developer get-together, Build, this year was the arrival of the Linux kernel as part of Windows Subsystem for Linux 2. Oh, and a new tab-happy Windows Terminal? It's in GitHub. 

Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 

The Windows Subsystem Linux (WSL), which lets you run Linux programs on a Windows box, has seen some serious love from Microsoft as its engineers attempt to demonstrate their commitment to open source and Linux.
And it's even GPL'ed.  By Microsoft.
Just stop and think about that for a second. It means when you come to run a program, the Windows kernel will either interface with it directly if it's a Windows application, or allow the Linux kernel to manage it if it's a Linux application. Now you can run Linux software truly natively on the world's largest desktop OS platform, developed by a company that once declared Linux "a cancer."
I did not expect the future to be so weird.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

A dozen years of bloggy goodness

Old NFO has been blogging for 12 years.  Go leave him some commenty love!

The Boeing 737 MAX situation, explained

In the beginning was the plan.
And then came the assumptions.
And the assumptions were without form.
And the plan was without substance.
And darkness was upon the face of the Engineers.
And they spoke among themselves saying,
"It is a crock of shit and it stinketh."
And the Engineers went unto their supervisors and said,
"It is a pail of dung and none may abide the odor thereof."
And the supervisor went unto their managers and said,
"It is a container of excrement and it is very strong, such that none may abide by it."
And the managers went unto their directors, saying,
"It is a vessel of fertilizer, and none may abide its strength."
And the directors spoke among themselves saying to one another
"It contains that which aids plant growth and it is very strong."
And the directors spoke among themselves, saying to one another
"It contains that which aids plant growth and it is very strong."
And the directors went unto the vice presidents, saying unto them,
"It promotes growth and is very powerful."
And the vice presidents went unto the president, saying unto him,
"The new plan will promote the growth and vigor of the company, with powerful effects."
And the president looked upon the plan and saw that it was good.
When I was a newly minted engineer, this was one of the things passed around (as photocopies - kids, ask your parents).  I was pretty green, and so thought it was breathlessly cynical.  I had a lot to learn about how information deteriorates through an organization structure.

It looks like this happened at Boeing:
Boeing engineers knew about the problem in 2017 – months before the fatal Lion Air and Ethiopian Airways crashes. The company only revealed this to US Federal Aviation Authority regulators after Lion Air flight JT610 crashed in October 2018, claiming in this week's statement that "the issue did not adversely impact airplane safety or operation". 
"Senior company leadership was not involved in the review and first became aware of this issue in the aftermath of the Lion Air accident," added Boeing.
Reading between the lines, it seems pretty clear that Boeing expects major lawsuits, and is preparing to try to throw their software vendor under the bus.  I expect that this won't work - after all, it's really saying that "hey, we really don't know what our vendors are up to" - and quite frankly is shouldn't work.  If Boeing's lawyers are successful and their software vendor gets sued into bankruptcy then Boeing has a whole bunch of critical software without a supplier to do changes and maintenance on it.

It looks like Boeing itself is in panic mode here.  Every move they make to try to get out in front of this seems to be digging themselves into a deeper hole.  Err, or deeper into their vessel of fertilizer.

But self-drivign cars will be totally safe.  This sort of thing would never happen there.  Nosiree.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

More Than You Know

I was looking through some pictures from WWII this evening found what must have been an early prototype in cup design. Click to enlarge.

It was an important moment that went unrecognized at the time and was only found by your humble scribe due to the magic of the internet.

Here it is enhanced and enlarged.

As Comrade Stalin was famously quoted to say, "You can't make revolution without coffee."

Is Tesla the new Enron?

Very interesting analysis.  Tesla shades right up to (and often over the line) over and over again.  Elon Musk has enough of the PT Barnum in him to keep the investors pouring cash into his company, but the question is how long until the bloom is off the rose.

And then how big will the collapse be?

That's some fancy shooting, right there

Jerry Miculek hits a target at 1000 yards with a revolver.

Hat tip: Libertyman, via email.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Millers Falls Tools

The rabbit hole started with a video. It's a narrated tour of the Millers Falls Tools factory in 1943. They made hand tools, like Stanley and others, for most of the 20th Century. It takes a while, but about halfway thru this video, you get a tour of the production.

 I went looking for more information and found a complete history. They made hand tools, screwdrivers, chisels, files, and hacksaws and more, as well as power tools. All high quality and labor intensive production. There's a full history with biographies and plant pictures.

The facilities weren't updated, they fell behind. It all got sold, then sold again. Finally it was just a name. There was no more U.S. production. Today, you can still buy something with the Miller Falls Tools logo, but it is made by Hangzhou Great Star Industrial Co., Ltd in Hangzhou, China.

If you want to see the legacy, eBay has a wide selection of Millers Falls Tools.

Climate Science good news, and bad news

I've been complaining about the lousy state of the climate databases for basically the entire lifetime of this blog.  Here's one from 9 years ago:
Don emails to point out an article examining an astonishing statement from NOAA, the US Weather service:
The following remarkable statement now appears on the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) site:
For detecting climate change, the concern is not the absolute temperature — whether a station is reading warmer or cooler than a nearby station placed on grass — but how that temperature changes over time.
The root of the problem? NOAA’s network for measuring temperature in the United States has become corrupted by artificial heat sources and other issues.
My post title reflected the lackadaisical attitude of the Fed.Gov climate Pooh-Bahs: "Accuracy, schmacuracy."

Well, the good news is that NOAA seems to have taken the problem of poor station siting seriously, and has been funding an official study of the problem.  The results are in and (surprise!) poor siting does indeed impact temperature readings:
A field experiment was performed in Oak Ridge, TN, with four instrumented towers placed over grass at increasing distances (4, 30, 50, 124, and 300 m) from a built-up area. Stations were aligned in such a way to simulate the impact of small-scale encroachment on temperature observations. As expected, temperature observations were warmest for the site closest to the built environment with an average temperature difference of 0.31 and 0.24 °C for aspirated and unaspirated sensors respectively.
Well, duh.  But now it's Science®.  Better late than never - now let's see the impact on reported 20th Century warming.  The science seems pretty unsettled.

In the bad news department, the IMF wants $6T/year for "Climate Change" infrastructure.  How about "no"?  Or wait until there's been a scrub of the 20th Century reported warming to see what the impact of bad siting has been?

Chewbacca read The Book Of Barkley

This is a very cool story.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Quote of the Day - Kentucky Derby edition

This QotD goes to The Queen Of The World, from the Book of Faces:
With all the controversy surrounding yesterdays HORRIBLE Derby decision, there’s one very interesting point receiving no recognition at all. 
Neither of the top 2 horses in this race were what we’ve come to know or expect in the Kentucky Derby. One was a 65/1 long shot and the other was a $16,000 claim horse!  This just proves you can buy what’s considered to be the best bred horses available, buy top facilities, hire top trainers, and the best jockeys, but what you can never buy (or create) is that one thing that makes these 2 horses so special: the heart of a champion. 
There’s no denying they have that.  (Example: what happened to three Baffert horses?)
Pretty smart, right there.*  For  those that don't follow the ponies, Baffert is sort of the New York Yankees of horse racing - long term success, well funded, the favorite in many of the races his horses enter.  It's interesting that the Machine lost to these horses.

* She's not just a pretty face, she's also exceptionally insightful.  I mean, she married me, amirite?


That's outstanding.  Here's the reference:

Jean-Frédéric Edelmann - Piano Quartet in D major

The French Revolution was much more radical than the American Revolution, even though it came only 15 years later.  Doubtless this was due to the difference between the pragmatic American approach compared to the French tendency to enshrine philosophy.  The Cathedral of Notre Dame was rededicated as the Temple of Reason, after all.  The Revolution tapped a lot of intellectuals to help run the Revolution, before it devoured them during the reign of terror.

Jean-Frédéric Edelmann was one of those.  Born in the Alsace, he taught piano and made a living composing and performing.  He became prominent enough that he joined the Jacobin club and was appointed to be administrator of the new Department of Bas-Rhin.  Kind of an intellectual big shot.

Alas, that proved to be his undoing.  Robespierre descended into paranoia and pulled the rest of the government with him.  Edelmann was in the wrong clique and found himself denounced and arrested.  A few days after Bastille Day in 1794 the tumbrel came to take him on his date with Madame Guillotine.

Jean-Frédéric Edelmann was born on this day in 1749.

Is the Kentucky Derby crooked?

I guess that this is more properly phrased as "Is Churchill Downs crooked?" - Churchill Downs is the racetrack in Louisville, KY that hosts the Kentucky Derby.  They also handle the wagers placed on the race, both at the track and remotely (they heavily advertised their betting app during the TV coverage of the race).

When it comes to gambling, there's an old saying - the House always wins.  Churchill Downs is the House.

I don't blame the owner of Country House, the second place horse who complained about obstruction - although Maximum Security did not obstruct Country House, and none of the owners of the horses allegedly "obstructed" complained.  Country House's owner saw a chance to complain himself into the $3M winner's purse, and did so.

But what was the motivation behind the folks at Churchill Downs?  Me, I'd like to see the payouts they would have had to make for Maximum Security at 9-2, and the payouts they actually made on Country House at 65-1.  Sure, the odds were a lot longer on Country House, but the wagers were way heavier on Maximum Security.  The suspicion is that Churchill Downs scored millions of dollars by overturning the winner.

Libertyman left a comment to yesterday's post about the race:
You don't think things involving gambling may, just may, be fixed?
Motive and opportunity.  Makes you wonder.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Kentucky Derby prediction

The Queen Of The World and I like Maximum Security* and have our money where our mouth is.  The track looks really sloppy, but he runs well on sloppy tracks.  We're not the only ones - he's the favorite at 4-1.

* Me, liking security?  Duh.

UPDATE 4 May 2019 18:54:  Yay, Maximum Security.  He was on sale in December for $16,000 (!!!) and just won the $3M purse.  I wish I tossed a couple bucks on Country House at 65-1 who came in second.  Yowza.

UPDATE 4 May 2019 19:15:  Oh good grief - the claim of foul against Maximum Security is nothing but sour grapes.  There's no way that Maximum Security impeded Country House.  And Country House's owner was a (ahem) Maximum Douchebag when he was interviewed.

UPDATE 4 May 2019 19:22:  It looks like Maximum Douchebag was successful.  I call foul - it sure doesn't look like a foul to me (heck, Maximum Security was ahead the whole race).  There's no way you can say that Country House "won" the Kentucky Derby.

On the plus side, at least I'm not a bookie, having to pay off all those 65-1 bets.

UPDATE 4 May 2019 20:58:  Holy cow, Facebook and Twitter are blowing up over this.  It's becoming the George Brett Pine Tar incident of horse racing.  People will be talking about this for the next fifty years.  The Derby folks clearly are not smart enough to know that they need to protect their brand from ultra competitive participants.  Country House's owner threw a Hail Mary pass, and there was no downside to him in doing so.  There sure was a downside for the Derby folks in letting him get away with it.  Boy, howdy.

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real - Carolina

Yes, he's the son of that other Nelson fellow.  Growing up in his father's shadow hasn't seemed to hurt Lucas Nelson, though.  He's become quite a songwriter - writing a bunch of the soundtrack for the remake of A Star Is Born, and he and his band regularly tour backing Neil Young.

This song is just fun.

Lord I love you Carolina
I like you beach and your beer
I park my bus up on the levee
Next to a sandy pier
I like your waves and your women
I like to dance all night
If my baby doesn't love me
I'm going to Carolina tonight 
If my baby doesn't love me
I'm going to Carolina tonight 
I'll give her two more hours
To let her clear her head
I'm gonna roll me up a number
Waiting naked in bed
I'll take my Texas time
Because I'm feeling alright
Well, if my baby doesn't love me
I'm going to Carolina tonight 
If my baby doesn't love me
I'm going to Carolina tonight 
Well, if my baby doesn't love me
I'm going to Carolina tonight

Friday, May 3, 2019

Magic Dick and the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue - Whammer Jammer

I hadn't known that Magic Dick Salwitz had a patent on a harmonica design (the "Magic Harmonica").

Must read on the culture wars

Aesop has some insights that are a must read.  It's the first defense of Hollywood in the culture war (from our side) that I can remember, and he states his case well.  Predictably some readers take issue with his arguments, and he follows up here.  This is the pull-quote:
You get the culture you build and nurture, and that's what gets you the civilization amidst which you (and generations yet unborn) will live.
Anyone cheering pulling down the Parthenon and burning Notre Dame is a Visigoth, no matter how they dress it up. 
Anyone who can't find $10 once in a blue moon to see a good flick is sure as hell not going to man the barricades and put their own life on the line when a cultural conflagration opens up in earnest. It's like saying I won't pay for a seawall now, but come the day, I'll take a sandbag down to the shore to stop the tsunami.
The part about India and China being long term irrelevant to Hollywood's bottom line was pretty interesting, and another thing I heard first from Aesop.

This is important stuff.  We do well to challenge our own prejudices before the other side does.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

RIP Peter Mayhew

Actor Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in the Star Wars movies, died today at age 74.  British by birth,  he lived in Texas and with his lovely wife was very active in animal rescue, volunteering at a Rhodesian Ridgeback rescue in their community.

He was a good friend to many and will be missed.

1984 Was A Planning Guide

No need to understand history when you can erase it.

Youtube loses $70B in market cap

Pull quote: "You know what made Youtube great?  Youtubers."

And yet Youtube is getting rid of (or at least de-monitizing) lots of conservative voices.  While the pelt of Alex Jones' wookie suit may be luxurious indeed, he had a ton of followers and a lot of ad revenue for Youtube.  Not anymore.  Multiply by all the other folks who have been banned/shadow banned/de-monitized, and you're talking real revenue.

It's sort of a "growth by subtraction" strategy.  Sure, this makes the Left happy, but it's not like they spend any more time or money (ad clicks) at Youtube.  Folks on the other side?  They spend less time and clicks at Youtube.

Tagged under The decline of the Progressive West because, well, you know.

Brigid's new book is out

Go on and order it - you know you want to.  And this is her fifth book.  Wow.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Congratulations to Peter Grant

Now a US Citizen.

Of course it happened when I was off-line traveling.  If you haven't already, go leave him some commenty love.

Back now

The Queen Of The World and I are back from seeing Mom for her birthday.  Her memory is pretty much gone, as the dementia takes its toll, but the QOTW has a particular way of holding conversations with her that Mom really likes.  A lot of what Mom says doesn't make much sense, but the QOTW keeps the conversation going.  I don't think that anyone else does that, and Mom really likes her for it.

After taking care of Mom's affairs, we took some time to do a little sight seeing.  Albuquerque is a dramatic location, and we hiked out to see the petroglyphs.  Climbing up from Boca Negra we saw this:

We went to Santa Fe to put flowers on Dad's grave.  The VA cemetery there is beautiful, and Dad liked to say that he would have a million dollar view.  He does.

But it was a pretty emotionally draining trip.  I get the sense that my visits to Albuquerque will wind down over the next couple years: Mom is declining, and while still in good health for a 90 year old, the end will be delayed but not forever.  There's still more to show the QOTW, though.  Maybe I can get her out to the Balloon Festival which is a sight to see.

Blogging will get back to a more regular schedule now.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Roadside America

I was camped in Tomoka State Park in Florida for the past several days. It's a nice park, good buffers between sites, lots of things to do, close to the beach, and great park amenities like washer/driers, power in the sites, and nice shower houses.

The park is also the site of the statue of Chief Tomokie. It's a kitschy 1955 rendition of a statue commemorating Chief Tomokie, a local chief that drank from a sacred spring, was killed by a maiden, and then avenged by his braves. It was made from concrete mixed with brick dust and reinforced with bamboo. A big deal at the time, the Florida Symphony Orchestra played at the opening. A reflecting pool was dug in front of the artwork.

Here's the earliest picture I could find. The Chief is still holding a spear, the water is flowing from the goblet, all the other figures are still holding their bows and arrows, and the reflecting pool is present.

 As best as I can determine from exhaustive research 20 minutes with Google and reading some of the better results, there's no truth to the legend, the name is meaningless, and every member of the local indigenous people was dead by 1700.

It's typical roadside Americana. Made for tourists in the post-war travel boom in the years before the interstate highways streamlined travel and eliminated most of the roadside attractions along with the towns and motels.

It's in ruins. Money set aside twenty years ago to stabilize and repair the work were vetoed by the governor. The park filled in the reflecting pool and put up a fence to keep people out from under the chunks of material that look ready to fall. Most of the secondary figures are gone. The accompanying museum of the artist's other work has been closed. Here's a couple of the pictures I took.

Less a monument to a Native American than a reflection of a time in America that I can remember, it deserves to be preserved. Roadside America had this to say.

Saturday, April 27, 2019


Will be busy for a bit. Everything's good but bloggy no goody.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

ATF flouts 5th Amendment

I guess that chewing at the Second isn't enough:
A US judge gave the cops permission to force people's fingers onto seized iPhones to see who could unlock them, a newly unsealed search warrant has revealed. 
Specifically, Judge Judith Dein, of the federal district court of Massachusetts, gave agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) the right to press Robert Brito-Pina's fingers on any iPhone found in his apartment in Boston. The bloke was suspected to be trafficking guns, hence the application for a search warrant. In fact, anyone nabbed at the property would be forced to use their fingers to unlock any cellphones seized at the home, according to the court filing.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Heck, why not let them waterboard everyone?

This is why you should never use your fingerprint (or face) to unlock your phone:
What is notable about the warrant, surfaced this week by Law360, is that law enforcement is drawing a clear distinction between forcing someone to place their fingers on a phone to unlock it and forcing them to give officers the passcode to unlock it. The first is physical; the second is mental, and brings with it both Fourth and Fifth Amendment issues.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

737 Max incidents hit Boeing's bottom line

Boeing misses its 1Q earnings target:
Following the multiple Boeing 737 MAX crashes, analysts were very closely watching what Boeing would report for its Q1 earnings, and more importantly what it would forecast for the rest of the year. Moments ago Boeing did not disappoint, or rather it did, when it reported an across the board miss with both revenues and EPS coming in far below expectations and profits tumbled, while as a result of the limbo left in the aftermath of the 737 MAX fiasco, the company announced it would suspend it annual forecast while putting its stock buyback on indefinite hold.
The lack of guidance on future earnings is really interesting.  The implication is that they don't yet know the scope of their safety fixes or how they will be received by their customers.