Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Amazon is on fire?

Miguel runs down a number of potential causes for why the rain forest is burning.  He left one out:

There is no non-malicious justification for "Red Flag" laws

Do something, for the children!

We hear this all the time from gun banners.  It's almost always stupid and useless, but I am coming around to the belief that it's very often malicious.  The idea that the government can act wisely and judiciously, while sweet, is known to any thinking person to be wrong, wrong, wrong.  Remember Senator Kennedy finding himself on the no-fly list?
In August 2004, Senator Ted Kennedy told a Senate Judiciary Committee discussing the No Fly List that he had appeared on the list and had been repeatedly delayed at airports.[citation needed] He said it had taken him three weeks of appeals directly to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to have him removed from the list. Kennedy said he was eventually told that the name "T Kennedy" was added to the list because it was once used as an alias of a suspected terrorist. There are an estimated 7,000 American men whose legal names correspond to "T Kennedy". (Senator Kennedy, whose first name was Edward and for whom "Ted" was only a nickname, would not have been one of them.) Recognizing that as a U.S. Senator he was in a privileged position of being able to contact Ridge, Kennedy said of "ordinary citizens": "How are they going to be able to get to be treated fairly and not have their rights abused?"
I encourage everyone to go read that link, which discusses notable cases of No-Fly List failures.  Among the people falsely identified as terrorists were the wife of Senator Stevens, multiple Congressmen (including the 3rd highest ranking Republican in the House), Air Marshalls, active duty military (including one returning from Iraq who was denied boarding his flight home and a retired Air Force Brigadier General who was an airline pilot and who was denied boarding his own plane), and children under five years old.

The No-Fly List was intended to keep people safe, to "do something for the children".  And it's stupid and useless.  The government repeatedly fails to act wisely and judiciously.

And so to Red Flag laws.  We are already seeing exactly this same idiocy in action:
I had several readers who sent me this story (much appreciated, guys):
Just last week, a man in Florida had his firearms confiscated simply because he had the same name as a criminal. That’s right. A man was stripped of his Second Amendment right…because the police failed to differentiate a law-abiding citizen with a thug.
This is not a case of mistaken identity:
Carpenter had never met the woman in question and never lived at the address listed in the restraining order. Moreover, other than being white, he looked nothing like the man the terrorized the woman.
The man in question is 5'8. Carpenter is 5'11. The alleged drug dealer is 110lbs. Carpenter is over 200. The man has black hair. Carpenter is completely bald. Last but not least, the man in question is covered in tattoos, and Carpenter only has a few.
Seems pretty cut and dry that they have the wrong guy, doesn't it?  But he had to turn in his guns, because Reasons.  There's no way to see this as other than malice on the part of the governmental employees.

In security terms, this misidentification is called a "false positive".  While the problem isn't as bad as it used to be, it was for a while so bad that TV commercials mocked it.  Remember Windows Vista and their UAC security feature?

False Positives are a hard problem to solve, and requires diligence to keep bad things from happening.  This is why you get a second opinion if your doctor tells you that you have a disease that is expensive and painful to treat.  Few diagnoses are 100%, and you don't want to go through that if you're one of the 15% that didn't actually have the disease.

But it costs money, time, and effort to get rid of these False Positives.  The government employees clearly didn't care one bit that the guy didn't remotely fit the description.  Protecting the guy's rights wasn't a priority for them.

This is a type of malice that has been well documented in literature throughout the ages.  Pretty much everything by Franz Kafka covers this, as well as more recent works like Catch-22.  The callousness of uncaring governmental employees is legendary.

To those who would say that this isn't really personal malice on display, the question is how is this functionally different from malice?  OK, so the guy will get his day in court next month, but that's on his dime.  The government has neatly shifted the cost of their False Positive to him.

And quite frankly, this is what we see every time new gun laws are proposed.  The restrictions may not be very big or very expensive, but they always fall on law abiding gun owners.  Every time.  People proposing these laws simply don't care about that.  There's a word that describes someone who wants his fellow citizens to suffer inconvenience, expense, or worse.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

27 years ago at Ruby Ridge

Alex emails to point us to an excellent retrospective on the anniversary of Ruby Ridge.  There's a lot there that I hadn't known - the Fed.Gov paid out almost $4M to the survivors of the siege, that "Cadillac" Deval Patrick found no government wrongdoing (this was before he was Governor of Massachusetts), and that the Agents involved in the shootings all got commendations.


And Lon Horiuchi's whereabouts is currently unknown, although he seems to no longer be the marketing face of H-S Precision firearms.  The ghost of Vicki Weaver whispers to us that we should not forget her, or Horiuchi, or H-S Precision.  In that spirit, allow me to roll this out from many years back:

No man likes to live under the eye of perpetual disapprobation.
- Dr. Sam Johnston 
Mr. Horiuchi is well advised to get used to it.

If you've never heard this story, go read Alex's post and check out the Resistance Library they have there which has much food for thought.  Also think about the Deep State, and how long it's been around.  Remember, Ruby Ridge happened under the Presidency of George H.W. Bush.  Of course, we've known for a while that he's a dirty commie, and the Deep State runs deeper than anyone talks about.

Europeans think they're so very smart

And so much nicer than we are.  Oooooh kaaaay.  Here's an example from ten years ago that highlights this.

Scottish "Government" are idiots

The Scottish "Government" (it's a fake government, like the EU government) has released from prison the guy who blew up Pan Am flight 103. He killed hundreds of people, and was sentenced to "life" in prison.

Funny, he doesn't look dead.

People are predictably in an tizzy over this, and can't understand how the Scottish "government" could do this. Actually, that's pretty easy. All you need is perspective.

Scotland is like Alabama, only colder and not as friendly. Population and GDP are very similar, at around 5 million and $170B/year each. The weather's nicer in Alabama, but other than that, they're both mid-sized industrialized societies. I can personally attest to the fact that both are nice places. Edinburgh has great ancient architecture, but Montgomery is totally charming in a Mayberry-RFD-sort-of-way.

So how come you never see the Alabama government do things of such epic idiocy? Simple: the Alabama government hasn't puffed itself up to think it's a national "Government". Alabama has Georgia (not to mention every Ivy League graduate) to point out their every mistake. So who tells the Scottish "government" that they're idiots?

Besides us, of course.

And so, as a public service to the Scottish "Government", here is where they can get advice on how not to be idiots:

Office of the Governor of Alabama
+1 (334) 242-7150

No need to thank me, it's all part of being a Full Service blog. Just think of it as my little contribution to "Smart Diplomacy".

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Belief in Global Warming depends on trusting the temperature databases

A few weeks back I posted that the so-called "record" heatwave was nothing of the kind:
Oh, hum.  Here's a prediction: not a single US State will register a record high temperature during this heat wave.  None.

You want to see a real heat wave?  Look at July 1936.  ElevenStates set high temperature records that stand to this day.  That Wikipedia page is a little shifty on this, trying to hide the decline in record temperatures.  You'll see an asterisk next to South Dakota, which the Wiki page says means Also on earlier date or dates in that state.  So what was that earlier date for South Dakota?  July 1936.

Oh, and three more States set high temperature records the next month, August 1936.  That makes 14 out of the 50 States suffered record high temperatures in the summer of 1936.  That's almost 30% of the States.
The Wikipedia page confirms that no record high temperatures were set last month in the 50 United States.  No records have been set at all in the entirety of 2019 except for one: a record low temperature of -38°F in East St. Louis, IL.  That's the lowest temperature ever recorded in the Land Of Lincoln.

You'd think that with all this jibber-jabber about THERMAGEDDON!!!!11!!eleventy!! that we'd see record high temperatures, not record low temperatures.  It kind of makes you wonder what the scientists mean about "hottest ever".  I mean, how do they go about calculating this when the records were all set (hey, 15 out of 50 State records in July-August 1936 is about as close as we'll ever see to "hottest ever")?

They change the data, that's how they do it.  They "adjust" the measured ("raw") data in mystical and magical ways that they don't fully explain.  This adjustment has the effect of lowering older temperatures and raising current temperatures.  No doubt this is entirely above board and they'll get right onto a detailed explanation and justification.  Any day now.

I've been writing about this for a long, long time:
So, a major government climate data set is adjusting recent years temperature reading upward, at an increasing rate. This implies that the data as collected at the sensors is getting increasingly inaccurate - after all, we're seeing adjustments on the order of 0.5°F for the 1990s, so the sensors are clearly reading almost half a degree cold.

Does this make any sense? And notice how the sensors are "running cold", never hot, despite the fact that cities have grown much larger since 1960, and many once-rural weather stations are now surrounded by hot asphalt parking lot, rather than cooler meadow? Does that make any sense?

Let's look at this further.

The Fed.Gov says that the lower 48 states have warmed on average by 0.6° between 1940 and 1999. Of that, 0.5° is from adjustments, not from raw data. In other words, 83% of the warming is from adjustments. Well, now.

They say that they have a good explanation. Maybe they do - I'm still fighting off a bad case of "Meh", so let's ask another question: do we see anything like this other places than USHCN?

We do indeed. A week ago, a group called the Climate Science Coalition of New Zealand made a bombshell announcementall of New Zealand's reported 1°C warming between 1850 and 2000 was due to adjustments.
That last item ended up being pretty interesting.  In their court filings, the Kiwi weather bureau (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, or NIWA) claimed that they were never responsible for the database.  Not theirs at all, nosiree.  And pay no attention to their previous press releases about it all.

And so to trust:
A question that is not (yet) being asked about climate change is how would someone create a scientific consensus in the absence of solid data and computer models? Trusting trust.

Dr. Jones and the CRU team are in control of one of the main data sets that all climate scientists use in their analyses (referred to as HadCRUt; the other major one is NASA's GISStemp - note that NASA's Gavin Schmidt features prominently in the CRU emails as a member of the "Hockey Team").

What is clear about the HadCRUt (as well as GISStemp) is that they are opaque - the data sets are terribly hard to understand, poorly documented, and adjusted in a manner that is not well explained (if, indeed, it is explained at all). In the case of CRU, the original (unmodified) data is no longer available, but seems to have been destroyed.

Yet ever single climate scientist uses these data sets for their analysis of global temperature.

So, if the guardians of these data sets were to want to ensure a scientific consensus that the globe is warming, that this is a recent phenomenon, and that mankind is behind it, all they need to do is modify the data sets. All researchers pick up the modified data sets, have no (easy) way to validate the soundness of the data, and unsurprisingly produce similar results. Hey, the data show conclusively that the planet is warming. Oh noes! Thermageddon!
But Borepatch, I hear you ask, why would a scientist do this?  Well, ideology has been a motivator for as long as we've had ideologies.  But Ockham's Razor says that the simplest explanation is the best explanation, and that means money.  We know that the ClimateGate team got millions of dollars in government funding.  We know that governments have spent around $100B (yes, that's billion) on climate research.  We have seen scientists publicly discussing how this government funding is corrupting the scientific community.  We see governments proposing $50T (yes, that's trillion) "solutions" to the "problem" of global warming.

If the science really were so clear and settled, you'd think that the scientists would make their work clear.  Instead, it's a mill of statistical gobbledy-gook that makes it really hard for other scientists to unpack and to replicate.  And do you know what a scientific discovery that can't be replicated is called? Hint: it's not called "scientific".

And if temperature is at an all time high, wouldn't we see some temperature records being set?  Me, I trust the records, because it's very obvious if someone adjusts them.  There's transparency there, unlike in the rest of the climate data.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Recycling is bad for the environment

With very few exceptions (aluminum cans) recycling not only costs more but generates more pollution. So why do people do it?  It's a religious act, by people who want to be seen performing religious acts.

Weird science

From ten years ago.

Scientist: Come the Zombiepocalypse, you must quickly and mercilessly kill all the Zombies

Or else mankind is doomed. He has math and everything to prove it:
Human-zombie coexistence is impossible... Since all eigenvalues of the doomsday equilibrium are negative, it is asymptotically stable. It follows that, in a short outbreak, zombies will likely infect everyone.
Gosh, Dr. Science, how come?
According to Smith, a major factor restraining normal plagues from utterly devastating humanity is that they tend to kill their victims, after which the sufferers can no longer move about and infect others. This is one reason the frightful Ebola virus has never spread, for instance: it knocks people down and then kills them so fast that they have only a limited chance to pass it on.
Not so with zombification. Once someone has died of Z-plague, they remain a mobile carrier. The factors which have prevented humanity being rendered extinct by the Black Death, smallpox, cholera etc don't apply.
So there you have it. Scientifically proved.

So learn and survive, people. Sure, it's all a truckload of yucks now, but when all those Canadian Zombies come pouring south across the border, you'll be trying to sort out which end of an 870 is which.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Ron Goodwin and Sir William Walton - Soundtrack to the file "The Battle Of Britain"

August 18, 1940 is called "The Hardest Day", the height of the fighting in the Battle of Britain.  The British and Germans between them lost 125 aircraft that day, plus many more damaged.  But the Germans took the worst of it: not only did they lose over 130 pilots killed or captured (vs 10 killed on the British side), the blow to Hermann Goering's reputation was decisive.  He had been telling Hitler that he had RAF Fighter Command on the ropes, and yet his Luftwaffe met hundreds of fighters.

In 1969 a film was made of the battle.  You couldn't make it today - not only were there dozens of period aircraft (filmed from a B-25 that had been converted into a flying camera station), but it had an all-star cast of patriotic British actors: Sir Lawrence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Michael Redgrave, and Michael Caine were only a few of the cast.

The music score was originally by Sir William Walton (a venerable composer of the day) but United Artists didn't like it and brought in the American Ron Goodwin.  Olivier protested, threatening to have his name removed from the credits, so a compromise was struck where both scores were merged.  The result is, once again, something that would never be made today but which worked well in the film.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Don Williams - My Rifle, My Pony and Me

A couple years back, the Queen Of The World and I went on a horseback tour of Gettysburg.  Today we ride the Harley up there and take another.  The last time was from the Union lines, this time it will be from the Confederate side.  We'll trade our iron horse for the real thing, to get a view of the battle the way the soldiers of the day would have seen it.

This all reminds me of Don Williams' great old song from the film Rio Bravo.  That version was sun by Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson, but Williams voice is like silk here.  Williams sadly died a couple years ago.

My Rifle, My Pony and Me (Songwriter: Dimitri Tiomkin):
The sun is sinking in the west
The cattle go down to the stream
The redwing settles in the nest
It's time for a cowboy to dream

Purple light in the canyons
That's where I long to be
With my three good companions
Just my rifle, pony and me

Gonna hang (gonna hang) my sombrero (my sombrero)
On the limb (on the limb) of a tree (of a tree)
Comin' home (comin' home) sweetheart darlin' (sweetheart darlin')
Just my rifle, pony and me
Just my rifle, my pony and me

(Whippoorwill in the willow
Sings a sweet melody
Riding to Amarillo)
Just my rifle, pony and me

No more cows (no more cows) to be ropened (to be ropened)
No more strays will I see
Round the bend (round the bend) she'll be waitin' (she'll be waitin')
For my rifle, pony and me
For my rifle, my pony and me

Friday, August 16, 2019

Requiescat in Pace

LawDog is Back

I noticed a week ago that something whacked LawDog's muse and woke it up. He's been posting regularly and now he has a series of post for you to catch up on.

See you back here later.

The more the ZOMGTHERMADEDDON!!!11!!eleventy!! changes ...

... the more it stays the same.  From ten years ago on this blog, and nothing is changed at all:

Anthropogenic Continental Drift threatens end of the planet!

A new menace to the planet has been discovered and validated by a consensus of politically reliable scientists: Anthropogenic Continental Drift (ACD) will result in catastrophic damage and untold suffering, unless immediate indemnity payments from the United Sates, Europe, and Australia be made to the governments of non-industrial nations, to counteract this man-made threat to the world's habitats.

And for all of you darn Deniers out there, the Science® is settled! Settled I say!
This widening of the Atlantic is taking place at an astounding rate, according to indisputable IPCD scientific data. Today it costs almost a third again as much to fly an Air France jet from New York to Paris than it did in 1997, a clear indicator that the ocean has indeed increased in size in the past decade.
So sit down, shut up, and fall in line.

Hey you Deniers! Get the heck off my lawn!

Hat tip: Maggie's Farm.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Chet Atkins - Nuages

Atkins said that Django Reinhardt (composer of this song) was one of the ten greatest guitarists of the 20th Century.  Jeff Beck called Reinhardt "superhuman", which is pretty funny since the Nazis who occupied Paris during Reinhardt's career had a very different idea of that word.  Willie Nelson has played this song for a long time.  I can see why.

Trump is Literally Hitler

So Trump is literally Hitler. He's running concentration camps on the southern border. He's evil incarnate.

He's also the President, the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, the head of the Executive Branch, etc.

And the left thinks that having all the gun owners in America turn in their guns to the government is a double plus good idea? That we totally trust that this government, and any government that might ever come to power in the future, will always be benign?

I don't think so, Scooter.

I've seen what happens when the government passes a disarmament law. First the people were disarmed, then they were slaughtered. Don't tell me it won't happen here. There are already people ready to send Trump supporters to reeducation camps.


Spycraft, Google, and Donald Trump

The problem facing an Intelligence Agency is the same as the problem facing a historian studying some past civilization: what are the sources you have, and how much do you trust them?  For both the Intelligence Analyst and the Historian, sources may be few and far between.  A great example of this in history is the Heroninos Archive, a set of ancient Roman records literally rescued by accident from a trash heap.  The archive is the most complete set of documents about how a large Roman farm was run, and we almost didn't have it.

For an example of whether you can trust a source, you can't do better than Procopius.  He was the personal secretary of the great general Belisarius who tried to (and nearly succeeded) reconquer the western portion of the Roman Empire for Justinian the Great.  Procopius wrote about the campaigns in The History Of The Wars, and wrote about Justinian's many building projects in The Buildings.  Both books describe the glories and virtues of Emperor and General in glowing terms.  So far, so good.

But all is not what it seems.  In 1623 another of Procopius' books was discovered in the Vatican Library.  The Secret History is a savage description of the private lives and moral failures of the Emperor and his wife, and the General and his wife.  Procopius pours scorn on them all, sometimes in X-rated detail.

So we have Procopius' sources, but which do we believe?  Aye, there's the rub.  They can't both be true, can they?

We see this in our day.  A huge set of Google internal documents were released yesterday, describing how the company (allegedly) purposely changes search results:
A Google staffer today released documents exposing a massive censorship campaign where the ubiquitous Google search engine purposefully censored pro-life and conservative web sites, including
Google Insider Zachary Vorhies has given an interview to watchdog group Project Veritas where he discusses how he documented Google censorship of leading pro-life and conservative web sites for over a year. He made the decision to go public in an on-the-record video interview after Google went after him following the release of the information to Project Veritas.
He decided to go public after receiving a letter from Google, and after he says Google allegedly called the police to perform a “wellness check” on him.
This effects us in our daily efforts to understand the world in which we live.  What sources do we have?  Do we trust them?  I haven't trusted Google, for a very long time.  I use and recommend Duckduckgo, which combines multiple sources and which also doesn't spy on you.  But even here there's a problem, because Google results are included there - there's a ripple effect of Google censor algorithms that spreads far into the online world.  And since Google is a near-monopoly, the spread of these ripples is unknowable but presumably far indeed.

We are entering a new election cycle, one where Google is accused of manipulating election outcomes:
Google’s biased search algorithm actually flipped seats in the 2018 US midterm elections, according to a researcher who found the search engine’s “dramatically biased” results could have shifted over 78 million votes to Democrats.
Upwards of 25 percent of the national elections in the world are being decided without people’s knowledge by Google’s search algorithm,” senior research psychologist Dr. Robert Epstein of the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology told RT, calling the search engine the “deciding factor” in close races.
This is a source.  Do we believe it?  RT is the rebranded Russia Today, paid for (to some extent) by the Kremlin.  Do they have an agenda?  Certainly.  Does what they say sound like it might be true?  As the Mythbusters might put it: plausible.

Google is clearly opposed to conservative views in general, and to Donald Trump in particular.  It's been known for years (detailed in my post above) that they manipulate results in furtherance of their ideology.  This much seems clear.  How much they manipulate the results - and their ability to swing elections - is less clear.  But it's not zero.

This is a problem for us today, as it is for historians.  What if everything you hear about Donald Trump is worse than things actually are, because the sources are biased?  It's like everything you know comes from a Donald Trump version of Procopius' Secret History.  Actually, when you consider the stories in the press about him, that's perhaps not very far off the mark.

But what if everything a person hears is distorted?  The sources are unreliable, because they either are pushing an opposite agenda or they're being hidden (like a Heroninos Archive that ends up in the incinerator)?  This isn't far fetched at all - we see this in history, where it may be that everything that we know about the Byzantine Emperor Thomas the Slav is wrong, because of this very problem. (Note: if you don't want to listen to the Life and deeds of Thomas, skip to the last 4 or 5 minutes of this podcast where it discusses the reliability - actually the lack thereof - of the sources).

We know that opinion polls in the run up to elections are inaccurate.  Polls are a source, but how much do you trust them?

Quite frankly, you shouldn't trust them.  You shouldn't trust your search results - while they may not turn up biased sources, the most important sources may not turn up at all.  This is the most important thing that you should tell your friends and family.  Certainly people are trying to manipulate them, even if we don't know by how much.  In today's "Information Age", they need to have a healthy skepticism over what they see.  What sources are they seeing?  How trustworthy are they?

Oh, and tell them to use Duckduckgo instead of Google.  It's more accurate, and it doesn't spy on you.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

It Will Be On The Quiz

Alaska became a U.S. Territory in 1912. Commit that to memory, it will be on the quiz.

Update: The Territory of Alaska or Alaska Territory was an organized incorporated territory of the United States from August 24, 1912, until Alaska was granted statehood on January 3, 1959. The territory was previously the Department of Alaska, 1868–1884; and the District of Alaska, 1884–1912.

Adaptive Curmudgeon Hits the Bullseye

Adaptive Curmudgeon hits the bullseye on why Epstein's death matters and you should go read the whole thing.
I was the last Boy Scout. I believed in rule of law. I saw a glorious chance to do it properly. The bar was set low and they dove into the dirt beneath it. Fuckers!
Was it Arkancide? I don’t know. I don’t care. It was their job to keep him alive. He’s not. They blew it. It’s a disaster. I had hope and I’ve been wrong from day one.
They blew it; just as everyone (but me) expected.
Clintonite mob hit on the rich and connected? Jailers that shouldn’t be trusted to keep a hamster? Some combination of the two. Which is worse? Which is better? Why?
Argentina used to toss dissidents out of helicopters. They knew it was wrong and carefully hid their shame. Epstein died right out in the open.
This matters to you and me both. A system that killed a lawyered up billionaire can do the same to anyone on earth. He was the most famous defendant on earth, everyone assumed he was at risk, there are thousands of jokes and memes about it… he’s dead and we’re fucked. Nobody is safe.

Ten years of Global Warming blogging

Ten years ago today I put up what in my mind is my first significant post about climate science, discussing the problems in the climate data sets.  It certainly hasn't been the last - dodgy data sets is a drum that I've beaten until it broke, because this is the key central issue in climate science.  It is no less so today than a decade ago.

The science is settled, but there's no data

Ever wonder how scientists measure temperature? With all the talk about Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), have you ever thought about where the data comes from? Somebody has to collect temperature data, right? So how do they do it?

Well, how do you measure temperature? If you're like me, you look at a thermometer.

So how many thermometers are being used to measure all of this AGW? I mean, if "the science is settled", someone should have an answer, right? Well, someone does have an answer, and it's quite interesting.

There are a lot of thermometers, at weather stations around the world. There didn't used to be, though. Until World War I, there were less than a thousand. World wide. Then there was a huge expansion of the number of weather stations, to a peak of over 13,000 during the Cold War. Note that this is the count of how many thermometers are in the 3000 longest continually operating weather stations. There are a lot (maybe 10,000) of new ones, but since the AGW debate is pretty uninteresting if you only look at the last 40 years, this is where the theory will be made or broken. (Actually, the data is very interesting, and suggests strongly that the new thermometers have thrown off the averages and may indeed account for 100% of the warming trend. You should readthe series of posts here, which include not only data, but source code).

This tells us several things:

1. There are not many weather stations that have been consistently measuring temperature in the same location for more than about 60 years. Maybe a thousand, maybe a little more.

2. There are very few weather stations that have been consistently measuring temperature in the same location for over a hundred years. Two or three hundred, tops.

3. There are almost no weather stations that have been consistently measuring temperature data in the same location since the end of the Civil War - essentially around the time when the Industrial Revolution was in full swing most places in North American and Europe, and everyone started belching CO2 into the air. Maybe 30 or 40.

Think about that last one - thirty or forty weather stations. That's what this whole AGW debate is centered on. A few dozen.

OK, so there really aren't many measurement locations. For those from which we have data, where's the data? Can we look at it? Check it for mistakes? I mean, after all this is supposed to be the biggest crisis in human history, the very survival of the human race is at stake, and we HAVE TO DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW. Okay, but first can we look at the data?

Well, no. It's not that the scientists don't want to share it with you.  They don't, but that doesn't matter. You see, it seems that the original data sets have gone missing:
Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e. quality controlled and homogenized) data. The priorities we use when merging data from the same station from different sources are discussed in some of the literature cited below. 
Oh, and that last link? It's not to your run of the mill right wing tool/hater site; it's to ground zero of AGW research.  Nature has a good post about the refusal to release the data, with a very interesting comments thread. The comments are running around 20 to 1 in favor of releasing the data so it can be verified.

The story is summed up nicely by Kenneth Green:
In a nutshell, the story is this. Canadian Steve McIntyre, co-demolisher of Michael Mann’s hockey stick chart, has been after the CRU to let him review their original climate data. For those unfamiliar with Steve, he is like a dog with a bone when it comes to data, and to validating statistical methodologies used in data representation. To come to Steve’s analytical attention is a bit like coming to the attention of a 60-Minutes news crew, only a few hundred times worse, particularly if you have anything to hide.
So Steve politely (He is Canadian, after all) requested the climate data from CRU, only to be refused on the grounds that he is not in academia. That’s where the story gets interesting, because Roger Pielke Jr. (who IS in academia), put in his own request, and was also turned down. Not because he didn’t qualify, but because the CRU apparently didn’t bother keeping the original climate data used in compiling the first surface temperature record!
In other words, there is now no way to test to see whether any of the “homogenizing” that has been done to the original record biased it in any way, or whether any of the subsequent “adjustments” to the data for things like urban expansion, and such can be validated.
Maybe $50 Trillion is being asked for to "fix" the problem, but don't worry, you can trust them. I mean, it's not like they have data or anything, but it's an emergency. Srlsy.

The questions about data quality are very, very serious, and the entire AGW debate is scientifically meaningless without an examination of the data, the methods, the mathematical models (especially the statistics, which are subtle and easy to mess up), and the source code of the climate models.

This last one in particular is an area I have relevant experience in, although we look for errors that cause security vulnerabilities. However, it's a truism that there will be at least one bug per 1000 lines of source code. How many lines of code are in the models? The process of higher math will tell us how many bugs to expect. How many of these would impact the results? You simply can't know until you look at it.

You say that the science is settled? Then give me the the data.

Thanks to Don for the pointer to post about data sets. Don knows a thing or two about data.

Gun Control and 2020

Let's start with Pr. Trump's promise first.

Now, Scooter, go ahead and sign any, and I mean any, gun control legislation that infringes on the 2nd Amendment and you will hand the White House to the Democrats in 2020.

Because you were the last hope. The last one that promised something different. If there is no difference between the parties, no reason to support the supposed right over the screaming insanity that the Democrats now represent, I will go back to voting 3rd party.

How many people won't bother to vote at all?

You want to ensure your victory? Make a speech. This week. Reiterate your support for my rights. Encourage every gun owner to write their Senators and Representatives. Establish a nationwide "Support the Bill of Rights" campaign.

Or not.

Rest in peace, LTC Dick Cole

Jimmy Doolittle's co-pilot on the Tokyo raid and last of the Doolittle Raiders reports to the Last Muster at 103.  Great obituary at the Air Force Times.
And in the nights of winter, when the cold north winds blow,
And the long howling of the wolves is heard amidst the snow;
When round the lonely cottage roars loud the tempest's din,
And the good logs of Algidus roar louder yet within;
When the oldest cask is opened, and the largest lamp is lit;
When the chestnuts glow in the embers, and the kid turns on the spit;
When young and old in circle around the firebrands close;
When the girls are weaving baskets and the lads are shaping bows
When the goodman mends his armour, and trims his helmet's plume,
And the goodwife's shuttle merrily goes flashing through the loom;
With weeping and with laughter still is the story told,
How well Horatius kept the bridge in the brave days of old.

Horatius at the Bridge - Thomas Babington Macaulay

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Monday, August 12, 2019

Some people know nothing about the world

Miguel has a lot more patience with idiots than I do.  Some dim bulb tweeted that gun owners need to get out and travel the world, to learn that you don't need a gun or something.  Miguel took her on a visual tour of the world, good and hard (warning: photos of graphic violence).  He concludes by musing on the psychology that would lead a person to such dim bulbitude:
I think these idiots think everything outside the US looks like an outside Parisian cafe in the fall sitting with Pierre, the French lover or a sleepy village in the mountains of Latin America where the children bring you coffee and pastries and they all know British English.
The only thing I can add is that Paris is pretty dangerous, too.  8 dead in the Charlie Hebdo shootings in January, 2015.  Later that day 4 jews were shot and killed at the Hypercacher kosher supermarket.  In November that year there were bombings and shootings at the Stade de France that killed 131 and critically injured a hundred more, with over 400 injured total.  The next year saw a terrorist hijack a truck and kill a bunch of people on the promenade in Nice.  The same thing happened in Berlin, with 12 dead at the Christmas Market.  2016 also saw a major terrorist attack in Brussels, killing 32.  Last year it was the turn for Strasbourg's Christmas Market - 5 dead.  And what American snob gun banners simply don't know is that pure mass shootings in Europe are almost always done with legally owned firearms.

I could go on and on, but these places only look like something out of Disney.

Prescription pain killers do not lead to addiction or overdose death

So says a 20 year study in Germany:
The newer study, published last March in Deutsches Arzteblatt International, estimates that in 2016 there were 166,294 "opioid-addicted persons in Germany." The researchers add that "comparisons with earlier estimates" indicate the number was about the same two decades before then, prior to the dramatic increase in opioid prescriptions. In other words, a large increase in consumption of narcotic pain relievers did not lead to a surge in addiction, whether to those drugs or to illicit opioids such as heroin.
What's more, OECD data compiled by J.J. Rich, a policy analyst at the Reason Foundation (which publishes this website), show that deaths involving licit and illicit opioids did not rise in Germany either. In fact, both the number of deaths and the death rate declined during the same period when prescriptions were climbing.
So what does the brutal crackdown on prescription pain killers accomplish (other than to keep Americans in chronic agony)?   Well, it keeps the loot from Asset Forfeiture rolling into Law Enforcement coffers: Law Enforcement Took More Stuff From People Than Burglars Did.

The War On Drugs is stupid, and is being run by stupid people.

American Psychological Association: Why don't you skeptics believe in science?

Well, they don't put it exactly that way, but it's what they mean:
The researchers surveyed nearly 700 participants from the U.S. Half were given surveys about their belief in science (e.g., “How credible is the medical data that germs are a primary cause of disease?” and “How certain are you that physicists’ theory of gravity accurately explains why objects fall when dropped?”) and their belief in climate science (e.g., “How credible is the climate science data that ocean temperatures are rising?” and “How certain are you that global warming explains many of the new weather patterns we are seeing today?”). The other half was only surveyed about their belief in climate science. All participants reported if they considered themselves politically liberal, moderate or conservative.
“As we predicted in our pre-registration, conservatives reported a greater belief in climate science if they were asked questions first about their belief in other areas of science,” said Robinson. “For climate skeptics, it likely became awkward to report on our survey that they believed in science while at the same time, denying the findings of climate science. That dissonance led many to adjust their beliefs to show greater support for the existence of climate change.” 
So they compared climate science to the theory of gravity and germ theory.  One wonders why they didn't compare it to phrenology and phlogiston.  I mean, we're talking about a field of science that poorly predicts the world, so the theory of gravity isn't really the closest analogy.

I can't wait until these APA morons are the ones deciding whether a Red Flag law applies to you or not.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Sunday, puppy Sunday

The Civil War approaches

I wish I could be surprised at this:
I’d like you all to meet Rita. She’s an ICU Nurse at Miami Valley Hospital. She was one of the many heroes that helped save lives in Dayton following the mass shooting.
While President Trump was visiting the hospital, he was told about her hard work. He personally approached her, thanked her and asked for a photo. She was so happy and ecstatic to meet the President.
She posted the photo online and has since received numerous death threats, harassing messages and pure bullying. As a result, she deleted her Facebook and now has to be escorted in and out of work.
We may be past the point where future historians draw the line showing the start of Civil War 2.0.  And this episode is instructive about how proposed "Red Flag" laws will be enforced - only against one side.  The leftists in Dayton are free to intimidate an Emergency Room nurse with impunity, while the Organs of the State go after gun owners.  Remember TJIC?
I've linked several times to posts over at the blog Dispatches from TJICistan.  TJIC is an outspoken (some might say extremely so) advocate of smaller government.  He's also a firearms owner in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.  While he owns guns, it appears that he's no longer allowed to possess any:
ARLINGTON (CBS) – A blog threatening members of Congress in the wake of the Tucson, Arizona shooting has prompted Arlington police to temporarily suspend the firearms license of an Arlington man.
It was the headline “1 down and 534 to go” that caught the attention. “One” refers to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in the rampage, while 534 refers to the other members of the U.S. House and Senate.

Police are investigating the “suitability” of 39-year-old Travis Corcoran to have a firearms license
And just like that he lost his second amendment rights for exercising his first amendment rights.  Think it will be different with Red Flag laws?  As I wrote back then, a decade ago:
It would be one thing if the law were applied equally to all.  It's not, and it will be applied disproportionately to us, because we hold views considered by some in power to be Double Plus Ungood.  Lefties in particular, this is your moment.  You say that you stand for good governance.  Prove it.
Well, they've showed what their idea of "good governance" is.  Good and hard.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Range Report - STEN gun

The summer of 1940 was a dark time for the British Empire.  The "Miracle of Dunkirk" had rescued 300,000 of their army troops from certain capture by the Wehrmacht, but they had to leave essentially all their equipment behind.  The British Army looked around for inexpensive and quick to produce weapons for the returned soldiers and new recruits.

They bought Thompson sub machine guns in as large a quantity as they could get (or afford), but it wasn't nearly enough.  In desperation, they turned to Maj. Reginald V. Shepherd and draftsman Harold Turpin, who designed this dandy little gun at the Royal Armory at Enfield.  Their initials (S and T) along with the first two from Enfield (EN) gave the gun its name.

It was the opposite of the Thompson, which was nose bleedingly expensive due to the extensive machining required in its manufacture.  With only 47 separate parts, Shepherd's and Turpin's gun was made out of stamped steel, with almost no machining required and only a little welding.  Basically any metal shop in the realm could knock the STEN out, and they were cheap as chips - the first ones only cost 15 shillings - maybe $10 in 1940s money.

As you'd imagine, it was butt ugly.  Nothing but stamped metal, a handgrip that's, well, unique (although not uncomfortable), and a pipe stock instead of the "shoulder thing that goes up".

But in the dark days after Dunkirk, it was an Ugly Duckling.

Nice shot by The Queen Of The World, catching multiple expended brass cartridges in the air.

This gun was not designed for long range, aimed fire: instead, it was purely a short range weapon for putting a lot of rounds down range.  It did this admirably.  The indoor range I shot at was 25 yards, but the STEN wasn't going to be accurate past 100 yards anyway.  I usually try to take pictures of the sight picture but here it was beside the point - a front post welded on the barrel and a peep rear sight probably wouldn't have been used in action anyway.  Certainly at close range it did the job:

Yeah, it's a Nazi Zombie.  80 rounds didn't take long at 500 rounds per minute.  And they probably didn't weigh much more than ten rounds of 12 gauge, although as T-Bolt says a shottie is the worst anti-zombie weapon ever.  For a swarm of zombies, you could do a lot worse than a STEN.  You see, it's a very easy gun to fire:

There is essentially no felt recoil, and there is no muzzle rise at all.  I wasn't even really braced like you normally would for hand held automatic fire, and I didn't need to be.   When it counts, the Ugly Duckling turns into a swan.  If I practiced with 500 - 1000 rounds then I expect I could keep all 80 rounds in a palm sized area at that range, and I'm not a particularly good shot.

And did I mention that they were cheap as chips to manufacture?  You could probably pick up everything you needed to make one at Home Depot, for $50.  The action is dead simple, firing from an open bolt - when you pull the trigger the bolt slides forward, stripping the next round from the magazine, chambering it, and firing it.  The recoil pushes the bolt back, ejecting the case, and driving the bolt back until it is stopped by the recoil spring.  Lather, rinse, and repeat until the rounds are all expended or you let off the trigger.

The "grip" is, well, unique.  It's a little stamped plate welded to the gun.  It's a lot more comfortable than it looks, and when I was shooting the gun I didn't even notice.  You can see the select fire lever (basically a thick wire) right above the trigger.  There's no safety, other than the safety that you keep stored between your ears.

The magazine loads from the left side which would be handy if you wanted to hit the dirt to avoid incoming fire.  The magazine itself fit pretty loosely and if you held onto it then you'd get a lot of failure to feed jams.  I held onto the 2 inch magazine insert port which is (again) stamped metal welded onto the gun.  The esthetics were nothing to write home about but it worked really well.

You can also see the rear peep sight and the front post.  In all honesty they probably could have left these off the gun for as useful as they would be.  It would no doubt have saved another shilling that way.

The Queen Of The World took me to shoot this at The Machinegun Nest in Frederick, MD.  I'm not usually a fan of automatic fire as there's really no hope for much accuracy and you have to pay for the ammo (well, unless you're at Uncle Sam's Summer Camp; Dad used to talk wistfully about shooting the M3 "Grease Gun" in his Army days).  But TQOTW paid for the ammo, so it was surprisingly guilt free. And with absolutely no muzzle rise, the accuracy made it even more guilt free.  It was a fabulous birthday present.

If you're in the area, I highly recommend The Machinegun Nest.  It's very well organized and there's a good selection of both automatic and semi automatic guns to rent.  The supervision was excellent to keep even novices out of trouble.  Also, they have Date Night on Fridays, so our young Gentlemen readers can take their young Lady friends to a unique experience.  Don't be afraid of trying the STEN, ladies - it looks like an Ugly Duckling but shoots like a swan.

The standard disclaimer:
I'm not any kind of gun or shooting expert. I like shooting, and shoot a fair number of different guns, but I'm really a dilettante. Your mileage may vary, void where prohibited, do not remove tag under penalty of law.

I don't do scientific, repeatable tests. There's no checklist, although that's not a bad idea. I write about what I like and don't like, but it's pretty much stream of consciousness. Opinion, we got opinion here. Step right up.

I'm not a shooting teacher, although I do like to introduce people to shooting.Maybe some day I'll take the NRA teaching class, but until then, you get a dilettante's view. You'll get opinion here, but if you get serious about shooting, you'll want to get someone who knows what he's doing to give you some pointers. It can help.

And oh yeah, shooting things is fun.

Sure He Did

Epstein hung himself. In a cell, while on suicide watch.

UPDATE 10 August 2019 14:01 (Borepatch):  Seen on Reddit:

Friday, August 9, 2019

The seductive mirage of "We have to do something!"

There is an excellent debate in the comments at Comrade Misfit's place, about what do to about mass shootings.  I particularly like her proposal to restrict the first amendment (it's at least trying to address the "copy cat" issue).

But as enjoyable as the debate is (it's intelligent and respectful; that's quite a salon she hosts over there), the whole premise is flawed.  There's nothing that you can do to stop mass shootings.  That's a pessimistic premise, but it's true.  The United States isn't the top of the list for mass shootings, not even close.  The top five countries for mass shootings all have much more restrictive gun control laws that are on the books here.

It's a seductive mirage, the idea that smart people implementing smart policy can eliminate (or even reduce) horrible events.  But unless everyone else in the world is a dummy - and the people proposing "solutions" are the only smart people around - then why would anyone think that the new proposals will work where everything has failed before?  The failures have been global in scope, across different societies.  The failures have been total.

Or maybe Mitch McConnell is an actual Philosopher King and his nifty new gun control proposals (due out next month, we're told) are just the tick to World Peace.  That would sure be something.

But maybe he's just a run of the mill idiot, like most of the folks proposing things that have been tried in various forms around the world, and come up empty time and time again.  Maybe the world is a lot more complex and unpredictable, maybe human psyche is a deep - and sometimes dark - well of unknowable.  Maybe the smartest thing that we could do is to not do something stupid.  After all, a lot that seems intelligent is actually pretty stupid.

Nah.  Cocaine Mitch is on it.  The future's so bright, we have to wear shades.  All is for the best in the best of all possible policy proposals.

Cody Wilson pleads guilty

It looks like a plea bargain to something less than a felony, but the reporting leaves a lot out:
Wilson, through a tentative plea agreement his lawyers reached with Travis County prosecutors, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of injury to a child in exchange for a recommended sentence that will keep him out of prison but require him to register as a sex offender for seven years while he serves deferred adjudication probation. Wilson, who forfeited his firearms last year when he was released from jail on bond, will not be able to own a gun while he’s on probation.
So it looks like this was not a felony, and presumably after the seven year period he's in the clear.  Or not - who knows?

It also looks like this is unlikely to have been a government setup - he was trolling Internet boards on his own.

Both sides are not equally at fault in the gun control debate

It's not often that I disagree with Peter, but this just isn't right:
What is "true" is what conforms to how they think the world should be - whether or not the world really is that way.  If it's not the way they want the world to be then, even if it's factually true, it's not "the truth" - which, of course, only they possess.

You can see that right now in the clamor for more gun control in the wake of the three mass shootings last week.  Factual discussion of whether or not their proposals will actually work is neither here nor there - in fact, it's a waste of time.  The extremists on both sides - those who want more gun control, and those who insist that not one more gun law is acceptable - all want it their way, and they want it now, and they refuse to even consider any alternative.

The moonbats on the left are as guilty of this as the wingnuts on the right.
This isn't remotely right.  The claim of moral equivalence simply doesn't fit, for two reasons:

1. Gun controllers are trying to take rights away from gun owners.  Gun owners are simply trying not to lose their existing rights.  Morally, these are entirely different categories.

2. Gun controllers have a long and sordid history of pushing lies to further their goals.  The government agencies charged with enforcing the laws as written have a long and sordid history of blatantly breaking those laws.  Gun owners are likely the most law abiding group of citizens you can find, although that may be breaking down (very large majorities of gun owners in New York and New Jersey have simply refused to register their AR pattern rifles).

One group simply wants to be left alone.  The other uses falsehoods, misrepresentations, hiding contrary facts, and lawlessness by the Organs of the State.  There's no moral equivalence between these groups.  None.

No more gun control laws, period.  The "Universal Background Check" law will lead to backdoor registration, even with the Organs Of The State saying that they won't build a database for sure you guys.  "Red Flag" laws will be weaponized by Antifa and the thugs on the left to disarm their political opponents - and these kooks see half (or two thirds?) of the country as their opponents.  No "Assault Rifle" ban - even the Department of Justice said that the 1994 one didn't keep anyone from (legally) buying one, and they also said that the law had absolutely no impact on crime rates.

How's this for a crazy idea?  How about the government starts enforcing the existing laws on the books?  How about the Air Force starts updating the background check database when they dishonorably discharge someone?  How about the Broward Sheriff's Department figures out that after a couple dozen complaints about a violent student, they send him for a psych exam?  How about the school does this once they expel him, rather than readmit him?  The list of failures by public servants - and the butcher's bill that goes with that - is long indeed.  It's a waste of time to add another law that the Powers That Be will ignore - but which will be used against law abiding citizens, sure as God made little green apples.

And so I'm afraid that I can't agree with Peter on this.  I'm not remotely like the folks on the other side of the debate.  They're on the attack, and it's a dishonest attack.  I'm just sticking up for my rights against that dishonest attack.  I will not consider any "alternatives", because there are no honest alternatives on offer - only more lies and fakes.  No more gun control laws, ever.