Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest
If the type is too small, Ctrl+ is your friend

Thursday, February 28, 2019


Tangerine by Christine Mangan
Not a great story, but not bad either. I finished it, which is a rare occurrence lately. We have two women who were close friends in college, but after college they go their separate ways for a bit, but then one tracks down the other in Tangier (Morocco), where residents are known as Tangerines.

Most of the action takes place inside their heads. One woman is kind of timid and weak. Her moods and perceptions vary from one moment to the next. The other is stronger, confident and more assertive. Her moods vary as well, but she stays on track.

There are entire aspects of the situation, sections that I might consider important, that are left out, left out because they are of no concern to the participants. They have a very different view of the world, but that might be because they are wrapped up with what's going on it their heads.

The New Yorker has a review.

Picked this book up at Costco where it had a Buyer's Pick sticker on the front cover.

Homes for the Homeless

New Orleans Louisiana 1841 & 1880

New Orleans reduced homelessness by 90% (and saved a fortune) by giving homeless people homes - BoingBoing

Kind of weird that New Orleans gets credit for doing something good / right when almost every story we get about New Orleans is about what an effed-up mess it is. It sounds like the story about free housing for alcoholics that I came across a few years ago. One might think that if you have a proven solution to a problem, other cities would jump on it. But maybe it doesn't really work, long term. Or maybe the political opponents of such a solution are too strong. If this kind of scheme really works, then I wonder who the political opponents are. Protestants (with their 'work ethic' philosophy)? Soup kitchens? Liquor stores? Or maybe people are too busy fighting other, more important (meaning more money) issues and nobody has time to spend working on this one.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Pierre Bear

Pierre Bear by Patricia M. Scarry
At first glance it looks like a harmless Little Golden Book, except is that a gun on the cover? Yes, it is, and Pierre uses it to go hunting. The book is available from Amazon, you can even get a new copy, but it will cost you $400. Quite an increase from the 25 cent price they cost originally.

Patricia was Richard Scarry's wife. Richard did the illustrations. I know of him because we bought several of his books for our kids.

Via Jack, who still has his copy.


Thunderstruck by Steve'n'Seagulls (LIVE)

Steve'n'Seagulls are from Finland and will be touring the USA next monthThe comments on the YouTube page are great. My favorite: "Bro I heard ACDC covered this song". Via Detroit Steve.

Must be Finland's turn in the spotlight.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we started watching the second Season of Bordertown, which is set in modern day Lappeenranta, which is just across the border from St. Petersburg, Russia.

Akso started watching a Lindybeige video about the Battle of Bomarsund, which took place on a Finnish island in the Baltic Sea back in the mid-19th Century.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Water from Nothin'

Fog collection in the Atacama Desert, Chile - Nicole Saffie
The Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on Earth, which is why the ALMA radio telescope project is there. Fog collection is a one way to collect drinking water out of the atmosphere that doesn't require any energy. Getting a usable amount of water out of the air in the desert is a pretty good trick. But if this is a desert, then what are all those clouds doing there? I think they must be right on the western edge of the desert, that horizon looks like the Pacific Ocean.

Via Posthip Scott

Monday, February 25, 2019


LOFAR Radio Telescope, Holland
LOFAR is a new kind of radio telescope. This site contains the bulk of the antennae, but there are other smaller sites scattered around western Europe. They are all linked to a super computer which grinds the signals from all the sites into . . . something. This circular island is about 1200 feet in diameter. At first I thought this might be a picture of an meteorite impact crater, but evidently it is just the Dutch trying to make a dry spot out of a swamp.

Via Starts with a Bang!


Mean monsoon-season (June-September) precipitation (mm) for South Asia, 1901-2016. - Nir Krakauer
I never had a clear picture of the climate in India. Sometimes it's all jungle, tropical, warm & humid. Other places desert, dry as a bone. Well, India is a big place, so it makes sense that not all areas would have the same kind of climate. I mean the USA is like that we have the great southwestern desert, the near tropical swamp of the southwest, and the frozen Rocky Mountains. This is first map I have seen that gives me a meaningful picture of the climate here.

I am really surprised by band of blue along the southwest coast followed by the desert to the east, but I shouldn't be.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Be Cool, Y'all

Iaman sent me a video full of advice on not saying anything if you are ever questioned by the police. It's well meaning but essentially useless. Something you saw in a video umpteen years ago is going to have negligible effect on you compared to the immediacy of the copper in your face.

There are self-defense courses where you can learn how to defend yourself against a physical attack. I'm thinking we need some self-defense classes to teach people how to defend themselves against a verbal attack without getting arrested. These classes would need to have simulation scenarios (play-acting) which will give you some idea of what it would be like, and hopefully condition you enough that you can stay calm and say what you should say. This is something they should teach you in high school.

Durn Sexist Armies

Eceabat, Turkey - Memorial sculptures of the Gallipoli Campaign
If I am sickened by the movie Gallipoli, it now appears that it should be because the battle was sexist. - JMSMITH


True Detective Season 3 (2019) Teaser Trailer | HBO

We've been watching the third season of True Detective where we have a pair of detectives investigating the disappearance of a couple of kids. Now wait a minute, didn't the first two seasons revolve around similar cases? I mean detectives investigate all kinds of cases, like drug smuggling and murder and fraud and arson. Why are they concentrating on cases involving missing kids? I mean, how many pedophiles are there?

And then it struck me: there are liable to be a heck of a lot of them. When I was a kid, homosexuals did not exist. Well, they did, they just hid in the closet and no one ever talked about it. Now we find that there are a heck of lot more than zero. Estimates range from one to ten percent of the population. Five percent seems like a reasonable estimate. And the line between homosexual and heterosexual is not always sharply defined. Sexual orientation seems to be kind of like autism or many other human qualities: there is a spectrum of preferences. So depending on which way the wind is blowing today, the number may be as low as one percent or as high as ten. So, given our lack of solid information, five percent seems like a reasonable guess.

Given that there is variation in what people find sexually attractive, it also seems reasonable to assume that a similar percentage of people (i.e. between one and ten percent) are sexual attracted to children. There might be a similar number who are attracted to old people, but we don't worry about that so much. If an old person suffers from some psychological trauma due to being sexually abused, well they are not likely to be around causing trouble much longer. On the other hand, with kids any kind of psychological trauma they suffer is liable to cause them to turn into screwed up adults, and society will be dealing with them for a long time.

Pia Zadora ca 1980
I remember seeing a picture of Pia Zadora back when she was a big deal (which would have been back in the 1980's). I couldn't understand what the big fuss about. To me she looked like a child, big boobs not withstanding. Boobs are all well and good, but faces have always been my focus. Just to be clear, I do not find children sexual attractive. Snot nosed brats rank right down near the bottom, right alongside homosexuals.

Homosexuality has become more accepted in society at large, and as long as their activities are kept private, between consenting adults, the verdict seems to be that it is okay. If I have to think about it for more a couple of seconds, I am repulsed, but as long as it is out of sight, it is out of my mind, and I am fine.

I don't think pedophiles are going to find that kind of acceptance, and given that sexual preferences are innate, I don't think it's going to go away, so detective shows are going to have an endless supply of stories.

I do worry (just a tiny bit) that when we fix all of societies other problems (like that is ever going to happen), pedophiles are going to become even more heavily persecuted, which could lead to some serious unpleasantness.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Good Time

Good Time | Official Trailer 2 HD | A24

A thoroughly unpleasant movie full of unpleasant people, and that's putting it nicely. We have a mentally pumped up narcissist rousting his mentally retarded brother out of a therapy session and into a bank robbery that goes wrong. From then on it's a frantic effort to fix what went wrong five minutes ago, which goes wrong, so the situation just keeps getting worse, and with every disaster he redoubles his efforts to 'fix' things. It's one freaking disaster after another. It's amazing that he manages to elude the coppers for as long as he does. I, for one, was relieved when he was finally collared. Stupid shit.

P.S. I finally realized that Connie (the instigator) was totally dependent on having his brother Nick (the dummy) with him, even when it was a really bad idea. They get separated after the bank robbery and the entire rest of the film is Connie the psychopath trying to get his brother back. Like I said, psycho.

On Amazon Prime

Other Pic of the Day

Air Force One, above George H. W. Bush's plane from the Navy, above his Train
This is quite a shot. It would have taken some fantastic coordination to get this pic, unless it was just a fortunate coincidence. It's amazing either way. I suppose it could be faked (or photoshopped) but the grainy-ness makes it look old and therefor it must be authentic, right?

George's Navy airplane, a Grumman TBF Avenger, was shot down and lost. There are a couple dozen others that are still flying.

Via Just A Car Guy

Pic of the Day

Emergency Driveshaft Repair
This is some serious shade tree mekaniking. We have half a dozen wrongs here. Driveshafts don't twist in two unless you apply a heck of a lot more torque than they were originally designed for, which means that either they added a compound low range gearbox to the drive train, or they replaced the driveshaft with some lightweight, high-performance model that wasn't up to the job. And if (when) it does twist in two, you don't patch it back together, you replace it. And if you do patch it back together, well, I guess wrenches are as good choice as any for patch material. And who carries a welding rig on the trail? I mean this was an emergency repair performed in the back of beyond, wasn't it? Not in some guy's shop where he has access to tools and, you know, parts. Some people are just demented, though I doubt anyone was injured by this particular deviation, except, well, maybe his girlfriend who had to sit and wait for this repair to be completed. Unless his truck is his girlfriend. Then she probably enjoyed the attention.

Via Just A Car Guy

Friday, February 22, 2019

The Innocents

The Innocents Official Trailer 1 (2016) - Drama HD
Rotten Tomatoes Indie

A pretty good, low key movie about some Polish nuns. WW2 ended in Europe in May of 1945. This movie is set in December 1945, 9 months after the Russians came through Poland and pushed the Germans out. Some Russian soldiers broke into this convent and had their way with the nuns. I always kind of thought that nuns were off limits, but I guess that only applies if you are a Christian. Being as those dirty commies had no God but Stalin, such prohibitions didn't apply.

The movie is based on the experiences of Madeleine Pauliac, a French Red Cross doctor who worked in Poland after World War II, dealing with the aftermath of mass rapes by Soviet soldiers.

Roger Ebert has a review, as does AnOther.

Update September 2023 replaced missing trailer.

Dangerous Inanimate Objects

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
From Dangerous Inanimate Objects, an article on Active Response Training:
Juveniles and younger adults as a group, lacking extensive life experiences, are the easiest to influence emotionally.  For example, the surviving students at the Parkland Florida High School mass murder were ripe for anti-gun activists’ manipulation, with the reward of a funded protest in Washington D.C. (meals, transportation, lodging, etc.). Misled by adults and emotionally fired up, believing they were right, they became simple tools of dark, anti-American, anti-gun politics with motive to disarm citizens. - Ron Borsch
I have tended to consider gun control enthusiasts weak minded. I supposed that they truly believed gun control would reduce gun deaths, but being as they were in the grip of their emotions, they couldn't be blamed for their logical errors.

But now I am not so sure. I mean it is hard to discern a person's motives. Are they just being foolish? Or do they have some ulterior motive and they are just playing the fool for the benefit of those they wish to deceive? Given the bad results that gun control has produced, I don't think I can give them the benefit of the doubt anymore. If they support gun control, they are agents of the devil. They may be unwitting agents, or they might be evil incarnate, there is no way to tell. In either case the effect is the same, they are spreading lies and foolishness and need to be opposed.

It's tempting to say that all gun control advocates should be rounded up and put in a pen, but that is contrary to our principles, so I won't say that. Besides, there are a bunch of 'em. It would cost too much and it would be too much work. Going to have to settle for persuasive argument. Gawd, that sounds like a thankless task.

Thursday, February 21, 2019


Malhari Full Video Song | Bajirao Mastani

Google coughed up the lyrics, but not the translation, though it did tell me the language was Gujarati. I found another video that has the lyrics and the audio, but not the video. It has just one still image. The translated lyrics are:
(3x) Let the drums beat, let the cymbals ring, let the songs of happiness be played
        Look how badly we have defeated the enemy 
This small flame has erupted into a huge fireball (huge fireball)
The safe of my heart has become filled (with happiness) today
This black night has become rainbow coloured
Look how badly we have defeated the enemy
Our neighbourhood has become greatly decorated
Everyone here is lost in excitement
This victory of ours is so colourful and unique
Look how badly we have defeated the enemy 
(2x) Let the drums beat, let the cymbals ring, let the songs of happiness be played
        Look how badly we have defeated the enemy
So, a victory celebration. I got turned on to this by daily timewaster who posted a modified version of this video that has Donald Trump's face pasted over the lead singer's.


Ghost Gun

Ghost Gunner 3
Defense Distributed

Looking through my archives for old posts about Thompson submachine guns, I came across an old post about Ghost Gunner. I had posted a video, but it was now missing. That is not too unusual, lots of videos get taken down, usually because of a copyright claim, or because the associated account has been deleted. This time, however, it was because of a 'violation of terms of service'. The Ghost Gunner website has a video, kind of an artsy thing, but it's not on YouTube, and none of video downloaders I tried were able to get a hold of it.

This video is five years old, and there are plenty of other Ghost Gunner videos on YouTube, so I'm not sure what the violation was. Since Ghost Gunner is still in business and there are plenty of Ghost Gunner videos available, I do not care.

Update January 2021 replaced missing video with the 'artsy one' which is now on YouTube. The old video was titled "Ghost Gunner - CNC milling machine makes untracebles semi-automatics". I am getting tired of replacing missing videos. One of these days I will start downloading them and then insert them using Blogger. It's a big pain but it should put an end to this disappearing business.

A Girl & Her Chopper

Ann Hansen and her Sikorsky Skycrane
Just because Skycranes have been here before, and so have flying girls.

The Sound of Violins (Violence)

Thompson Submachinegun Stored in Violin Case
Gangsters carrying Tommy guns in violin cases is a stereotype as old as the hills, well, okay, as old as Thompson submachine guns. I always thought that the guns were stored in the case fully assembled, ready to go. Perhaps one with a shorter barrel could be, but this one is broken down. Also, it has a drum magazine, and that wouldn't fit in a violin case if it was attached to the gun.

Two movies that touch on this subject spring to mind. Public Enemies with Johnny Depp and El Mariachi (and its sequel Desperado), though these last two used guitar cases instead of violin cases.

The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name

The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name

It's not much of a song, but for some reason I keep playing it. The woman has her face painted up like barbie doll perfection, but that's kind of standard for any kind of video. It makes her nice to look at, but that can only hold my attention for a couple of minutes. Typically I will start up a YouTube music video and then go play some mindless games, so the video portion isn't even visible. I keep playing the song, so there must be something about it that I like.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Kamikaze Drone

Россия показала свой новый беспилотник-камикадзе «Куб»
[Russia showed its new Kamikaze drone "Kub"]

Could drones replace artillery? Shell fired from cannons travel much faster, but their range is limited to a couple dozen miles at most. Also, you need a cannon to fire those shells, and cannons are big, heavy, expensive, precision machines. This thing needs a slingshot, something most any backyard mechanic could put together. The drone is much more complex than a dumb artillery shell, but not as complicated as some. Since the technology that goes into drones has become commonplace, the drone itself could be put together by the same backyard mechanic.

Google translation of the YouTube blurb:
At the International Exhibition of Arms and Military Equipment IDEX-2019 in Abu Dhabi, the Kalashnikov concern presented a new intelligent weapon - the high-precision unmanned aerial system KUB-BLA.
This is stated in the press service of Rostec State Corporation, the structure of which includes Kalashnikov.
UB-UAV "is designed to destroy remote ground targets. An unmanned aerial vehicle delivers a special load on the coordinates of the target, which are set manually or in the image from the target load of guidance. This complex is a step towards a completely new combat operations. We confidently keep in the forefront among the countries-producers of such weapons,” said Rostekh CEO Sergey Chemezov.
High-precision unmanned projectile flies up to 30 minutes at a speed of 130 km per hour. The charge on this complex is delivered to the target, regardless of its secrecy and terrain, both at small and at high altitudes. This is a very accurate and most effective weapon that is very difficult to fight with using traditional air defense systems.
I'm wondering it we ought to require all drones to be registered, or at least require them to carry a radio transponder with an ID so the owner can be tracked down. License plates serve the same function on cars. More importantly, we also need a fleet of copper drones to take down any drones that trespass into airliner airspace.

Penrose Tiles On Parade

Helsinki Maths Mystery - Penrose tiles

I enjoy listening to Lindeybeige. After this video I watched his one hour video about The White Headhunter, which is a thoroughly entertaining tale. Has nothing to do with math, but that's okay.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Funeral Whalers?


Tawain! Haven't heard much about Taiwan lately ever since big brother Red China started throwing their weight around and snarfing up all the bandwidth devoted to news about Asia.

The documentary she mentions (at the 2:30 mark), Dancing for the Dead: Funeral Strippers in Taiwan is available on Amazon.

Via Randy & Jack

Monday, February 18, 2019


De-icing a Gulfstream IV, Reno, Nevada
It looks like they are using a flame thrower to de-ice the airplane, but I suspect it must be a trick of the light. De-icing a small jet like this costs about $1500. De-icing a large airliner can cost $10,000. Most of the expense is for the fluid.

F35A at Nagoya Airfield, Japan
Given the amount of heat distortion of the background, I wonder if there might be another aircraft nearby, just out of the picture.

Aerospatiale ATR-72-500 departing for Guernsey from Manchester, England
Even turboprops produce a heck of a lot of hot air as you can see from the blurring of the background here.

Vin Mariani

Vin Mariani Poster
Vin Mariani was a tonic and patent medicine was made from wine and coca leaves. It was created about 1863 by Angelo Mariani. It inspired the predecessor to Coca-Cola.

Pope Leo XII Endorses Vin Mariani
Vin Mariani wasn't successful just because it contained cocaine. Mariani engaged in extensive promotion including sending a case to a number of famous people, including the Pope.

Via Detroit Steve

Sunday, February 17, 2019


Close | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

The Hollywood Reporter sums it up pretty well:
"Few actresses portray badassery as vividly as Noomi Rapace. Achieving international fame with the Swedish trilogy of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo films in which she so memorably played Lisbeth Salander, the talented performer has still not found an equivalent breakout role in American films. That unfortunate streak continues with Vicky Jewson's Netflix thriller in which Rapace plays a character inspired by the real-life British bodyguard Jacquie Davis. Rapace gives the film her all, delivering an intense, physically demanding performance, but Close doesn't get close enough to transcending its action-movie clichés."
We have lots of action, and Noomi kicks ass, but overall the story is pretty weak. Noomi is a CPO (Close Protection Officer? Operator? aka bodygaurd) for Zoe, a young heiress. Her stepmom, Rima, is played by Indira Varma, the poisoner Ellaria Sand from Game of Thrones. Halfway through the movie it is revealed the Rima has ordered the assassination of her step daughter (typecasting much?), but then more bad guys enter the picture and at the end we are left wondering what the hell? No matter, the plot was never more than a scaffold to hang the action scenes on. The one in the fish tank in the fishing boat was new, different, cool, bizarre? Can a death be 'cool'?

Casbah, according to Zoe, means 'fortified house'.

Bromides and Bunkum

Sodium Bromide Molecular Structure
Because words do not always make for good pictures

"The word bromide was at first the name of a sedative that physicians used in the treatment of epilepsy, sea sickness and insomnia; but in the early twentieth century its reference was extended to soporific bores and their stupefying conversation.  The implication was that subjection to the bromides of a bromidic man (or woman) was very much like chemical sedation, since it induced the same feeling of numbness, lassitude, and fuddled mind. 
"As one student of the metaphorically bromidic explained, the essence of bromidic conversation is that it is both trite and predictable, and that it therefore lacks the novelty and surprise that are the soul of sparkling conversation.*  People are excited by novelty, whether in content or style, and they express their excitement in laughter, gesticulation and an eager stance.  But they are stupefied when they hear what everyone already knows expressed in words everyone has already heard, and they express their stupor with a slouch, a grunt and a glassy eye." - The Orthosphere
This is just the introduction. It gets better. You can read it all here.

Via Monday Evening

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Saturday Night

The Original Dinerant
Cheeseburgers for dinner at The Original ($120 for four, with drinks, out the door) followed by Police Story at the Hollywood Theater.

Police Story - "International Version" Trailer (HD) (1985)

Police Story starts with a car chase through a shanty town built on the side of a hill. Let us be clear - three cars plow three separate paths through the town destroying all in their way. Roads? We don't need no stinking roads. It was just so over the top that I howled. I think the boys would have shushed me, but I wasn't the only one howling.

They broke a great deal of glass doing stunts in this movie. I suppose most of it must have been sugar glass, and then the sound of real glass breaking was added. Otherwise the set would have been covered in blood.

There was a plot, and a villain, and a couple of cute girls, but mostly it was frenetic Jackie Chan stunts interspersed with Jackie Clan clowning. Very entertaining.

I've seen other Jackie Chan movies and he does some spectacular stunts. I don't know if there is anything that will stick with me, besides the car chase through the shanty town. Since I don't remember seeing that before, I suspect I may not have seen this movie before. On the other hand 1985 was a long time ago, and I have seen many movies, so maybe I did see it once before.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Weird Car

Don't think I've ever seen anything like this before.

Via Ross

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


Paid a visit to a doctor today. Talking about a minor chronic infection in the lungs. Shows us some CAT scans, points out the problem areas, very tiny, they look to my untrained eye just like everything else. For comparison, she pulls up some Google images of this disease (broncho-something or other). Huh, doctors use Google. Anyway, in these images the disease is obvious.

Now we are talking about drugs and I get to wondering how many different drugs are there? Zillions, I imagine. Some are very common and are taken by millions of people. Some are really weird and are only taken by a few people. Surely someone has a chart that illustrates this. I should see if I can find one.

Oregon House of Representatives passed a rent-control bill today. Christ on a crutch, effing morons. We continue our slide towards the abyss.

What was the population of bears in North America before the white man came? John Snow (from Game of Thrones) wears a bear skin coat. If everyone who lives in the frozen north wears a bear skin coat, what is the maximum population of people you could have? If you kill all the bears, then everyone gets a bear skin coat, but coats wear out and are going to need to be replaced. So the question is how many bears can you kill a year without having a bad effect on the bear population?

Most of the blogs on my list also have lists of blogs, some are extensive. I poke around there occasionally. A couple of days ago I decided to make an effort to follow some of them, so I have been adding them to Feedly. Once you have added them, it makes it easy to see what everyone else is taking about. Also, you don't have to see if they have posted anything recently. Feedly does that part for you. Looking over these posts the past couple of days I have discovered a couple that I like, a couple I don't like, and several that are okay, but don't really interest me.

One subject that gets my attention is stories about cops behaving badly. There is no end to them and there probably won't be. Meanwhile, for every one of those stories there are a zillion instances of people behaving badly and cops doing their jobs correctly. I don't want to hear about these individual incidents. However, if anyone manages to purge a nest corruption, I do want to hear about that.

I spent some time reading about Maria Butina. Depending on which story you read, you may think she is evil incarnate, or decent person caught in jaws of a political fight.

I really think we need a subscription fee tacked onto our internet access. Fee gets dividy up amongst all the websites you visit. Get rid of these frigging pay walls.

Gol Durn It

Face Cord of Firewood
A good small story about the frozen north.

Something I suspected, but did not know for certain:
The difference between the two is that a full cord of firewood is an amount of wood that fills a space equal to eight feet long by four feet high by four feet deep. ... A face cord of firewood is equal to a single stack of firewood that measures four feet high by 8 feet long by however deep the depth of the firewood is. - Northline Express

The Saga of Brady Hock

Agawa Train Trestle
The Saga of Brady Hock is a great story about summers along the Montreal River in Ontario, Canada.

Agawa Railroad Area
There are no roads in the area. The only way in is by train or floatplane. The railroad was originally built to haul ore and lumber, but now it only hauls tourists. At the time of the story it was still a working train.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Bag of Doom

Bag Of Doom
Dum de dum dum. Beware The Bag Of Doom! This is the bag that you carry in case you run into a manure spreader (a Shit Hits The Fan situation on steroids). Something you hope that you will never encounter, and even in a hundred lifetimes you probably won't, but if it ever happens, you will want what's in this bag. What's in the bag? Well, that kind of depends on what your version of Doom looks like. Greg Ellifritz loads his with ammunition and medical emergency trauma stuff (kill the bad guys, save the good guys).

Most emergency preparedness is done on the basis of what is likely to happen. Rain, floods, snowstorms, tornadoes and the like. Some people worry about bears and drug crazed madmen. Some people worry about a terrorist attack or nuclear war. I should do something to become more prepared.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

That's Disgusting

Yesterday it was the kind of vehicle you drive, today it's what you eat that tells us whether you are conservative or liberal.  Well, sort of. How disgusted you feel by disgusting things seems to be the gating factor.
No doubt your own political allegiances will heavily influence what you extract from the bulk of this research. If you’re liberal, you may be thinking, So this explains some of the other side’s nativism and hostility to immigration. But it’s just as easy to flip the science on its head and conclude, as conservatives might, that the left is composed of clueless naïfs whose rosy-eyed optimism about human nature—and obliviousness to various dangers—will only lead to trouble. - Kathleen Mcauliffe in The Atlanic 
Via The Unwanted Blog

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Google New World

Ford F-150 Pickup Truck
I sometimes think I need a better method of storing pictures (digital images) than just sorting them into sub-directories like I do now. Then I got to wondering how much storage space Google needs for all of their Street View images. Estimating the amount of space required seems to be a standard interview question in some obscure circles. Then I came across this little bit of info:
"We show that socioeconomic attributes such as income, race, education, and voting patterns can be inferred from cars detected in Google Street View images using deep learning. Our model works by discovering associations between cars and people. For example, if the number of sedans in a city is higher than the number of pickup trucks, that city is likely to vote for a Democrat in the next presidential election (88% chance); if not, then the city is likely to vote for a Republican (82% chance)." - PNAS
Cadillac Limosine Art Car
Well, that's weird. Could it be that people who know how to work with things prefer pick-em-ups because they are, like, useful? And people who drive cars have no such interests, prefer instead to work with people, or not do any work outside of their job? Since my truck died (the transmission gave out and I sold it for junk) I have been driving my daughter's old car. Does this mean I am going to turn into a Democrat? Younger son bought an old Ford F-150, so I have a pickup truck by proxy. Does that count?

1959 Desoto

Doris, the DeSoto girl, Washington Auto Show, 1/14/59
Ah! The good old days, when beautiful girls wore gloves, cars were shiny, every seat had an ashtray, and a six by nine speaker in the parcel shelf was the epitome of automotive audio.

This wasn't enough, so I had to go looking for more.

1959 DeSoto Firedome by Troy Palva
1960 was the last year for DeSoto.

1959 DeSoto Fireflite by Spooky21
What a fine automobile.

Friday, February 8, 2019


Poking around on the net and I come across this:
Ever since Justice Frankfurter’s outraged account of the Sacco and Vanzetti case (a marvelous model brief on how to call courts and prosecutors crooks and liars without actually saying so), judges have scrambled to declare their disapproval of eyewitness identifications. - Appellate Squawk
Felix Frankfurter
Justice Frankfurter? Are you kidding me? Isn't that another name for a hot dog? Well, yes and no. There was a famous Supreme Court Justice named Frankfurter, and he was a bit of a troublemaker, which is kind of what a good Supreme Court Justice does.

But the name is most famously related, at least in my mind, to Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Janet! Dr. Scott! Janet! Brad! Rocky! ...! (Sub. Español)

The show was just so bizarre, outrageous and rock-and-rolly. I loved it. I didn't much care for all the transsexual transvestite nonsense, but if you wear your blinders you can pretty much ignore it.

P.S. I suspect the Time Warp made The Rocky Horror Picture Show famous, but Dr. Frank-N-Furter doesn't appear in it.

Thursday, February 7, 2019


Raul Castro, Vladimir Putin & Nicolas Maduro
With all the noise about Venezuela, one might be forgiven for thinking that Maduro is near the end and democracy will soon prevail. I have my doubts. Some semblance of democracy did return to Eastern Europe after decades of Soviet control, but it wasn't a civil war that brought their freedom. The Soviet Union simply ran out of money to pay their goons. We can hope  Maduro's government will also soon run out of money, but since Russia is supporting him, that might not happen.

I can understand Russia's interest in Venezuela: they have huge reserves of oil, as big or bigger than Saudi Arabia. Plus Maduro's government is of a similar, pseudo-communist, bent, so they are somewhat simpatico. Since the economic situation there has gotten very bad, and the West has universally condemned Maduro, Russia is his only friend. Let's not forget that the Western running-dog imperialists (to use an old, communist phrase) persist in sticking their fingers in Ukraine, so I can see why Putin would enjoy messing about in Venezuela. Tit-for-tat, so to speak.

But the problem isn't just Maduro. He isn't going to be able to maintain his position without support, specifically from the military. The Atlantic has a story by Moisés Naím from two years ago that paints a more complete picture of the situation. It's ugly.

Removing Maduro from power could be done peacefully if we could somehow cut off his support from Russia. I don't see how we can do that. We might be able to do some horse-trading, stop mucking about in Eastern Europe so much, especially the Ukraine, but I doubt that will happen. The political support for Eastern Europe is much stronger in the West than it is for Venezuela, which is mostly a jungle filled with wild-eyed revolutionaries, as we all know.

Don Henley - All She Wants To Do Is Dance (Official Music Video)
Don Henley

Update November 2021 replaced missing video.
Update June 2023 replaced missing video.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Quote of the Day

Via Irons in the Fire
"The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will make you an athiest, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you." - Werner Heisenberg
Everything is fine when you are dealing with ordinary, everyday matter. It's when you go looking for the limits that things get squirrely, as this video demonstrates.

How Hot Can It Get?

Michelin House

Michelin House, London
Built in 1911, no longer owned or used by Michelin. I don't quite know what to make of the architecture, garish? Electic? Whatever. I do like the stained glass window of the Michelin Man at the top center.

Via Brian Micklethwait.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Basic Credit & Debt Education

Max Levchin: Affirm Is Like A Power Tool

I dunno about this. On one hand, it's from Forbes, so it's hardcore, imperialist running-dog propaganda. On the other hand, it's a kind of pie-in-the-sky, social-liberal feel-good, help the underdog project. I mean, it might work and it might do some good, or it might collapse and then get taken over by the payday loan sharks.


Danish researcher Thomas Silkjaer is using Google's BigQuery to map publicly available information about XRP cryptocurrency addresses. The craters represent some of cryptocurrency's largest exchanges.
I found this picture in a Forbes story about the crypto-currency universe. I don't know that it actually tells you anything, but it's good that someone is at least trying to make some sense out of it.

Blockchains exist in the cloud, that is, all the data lives on anonymous servers housed in warehouses (or someone's basement) scattered all over the world. Well, maybe not in North Korea. Cloud-computing makes sense, as long as you have reliable communications. I mean, I use it. I try and keep most of my stuff on Google Drive, saves me from having to make backups, which I was never very good at. Plus it doesn't cost me anything, other than privacy, but somebody is paying to use it:
"When it comes to cloud computing, Google is far behind Amazon and Microsoft. Last year Google pocketed an estimated $3 billion in revenue from cloud ser­vices. Amazon and Microsoft, meanwhile, generated about $27 billion and $10 billion, respectively." - Michael del Castillo

Sunday, February 3, 2019


HAPPY! | Season 1: Official Trailer #1 | SYFY

We've started watching this series. It's pretty wack-a-doodle, as you can tell from the trailer. A big stew pot of every trick in a TV-detective-show writer's arsenal. Plus we've got Detective Stabler from SVU.

Crimean Bridge

Crimean Bridge crosses the Kerch Strait
The Crimean Bridge crosses the Kerch Strait which connects the Sea of Azov with the Black Sea. The bridge connects Crimea to the Russian mainland. Since the Soviet Union dissolved, Russia's access to their large naval base at Sevastopol has been problematic, hence the annexation of Crimea and the construction of this bridge.

Крымский мост: 27 месяцев строительства за 3 минуты. Таймлепс. 
[Crimea Bridge: 27 months of construction in 3 minutes. Time lapse.]

The construction and installation of the arches (starting at the 1:27 mark) reminds me of the way the Sauvie Island Bridge was constructed here in Portland.

The Crimean Bridge is 11 miles long which makes it the longest bridge in Europe and Russia. It was completed last year.

The Ukraine and Russia are still squabbling about Crimea, this bridge and the eastern Ukraine, and that will no doubt continue for the foreseeable future.

Via RT.