Sunday, July 31, 2011
  Zenith of idiocy

You simply can't get any more stupid and reverse-brained than this.
Thorbjørn Jagland says Europe's leaders are 'playing with fire' if they use right-wing rhetoric when discussing multiculturalism.

Europe's leaders, including David Cameron, have been warned to adopt a more "cautious" approach when discussing multiculturalism. The Norwegian chairman of the Nobel peace prize committee has told them they risk inflaming far-right and anti-Muslim sentiment.


= = = = =

By this logic, John Brown was inflamed by the strong anti-slavery atmosphere in the South.

No, John Brown was inflamed by slavery.

= = = = =

By this logic, Hitler was inflamed by other Euro leaders criticizing Jews.

No, Hitler was inflamed by Jews.

= = = = =

By this logic, Nelson Mandela was inflamed by P.W. Botha's loud opposition to apartheid.

No, Mandela was inflamed by apartheid.

= = = = =

By this logic, Comrade Martin Luther King Boulevard was inflamed by George Wallace's oft-expressed hatred of segregation.

No, Comrade MLK Boulevard was inflamed by segregation.

= = = = =

By this logic, Anders Breivik was inflamed by Euro leaders criticizing multiculturalism.

No, Breivik was inflamed by multiculturalism.

= = = = =

In each case a radical was offended enough by an ACTUAL FACT to take dramatic action. Opinions about the fact by various political leaders at the time were mainly in favor of the offensive fact, and THAT'S how radicalization typically occurs. When you sense that your leaders are stubbornly ignoring or encouraging something that is immoral by your standards, you're more likely to go beyond speech when attempting to fix the immoral situation.


Sidenote: This sort of connects with the previous entry on non-Euclidean thinking. Nobel idiot Jagland, residing in the dead heart of the Gramscian ruling class bubble, has never allowed historical facts to enter her/and/or/his bizarre alien cranial mechanism, so s/he cannot comprehend a rational radical who responds to plain facts. S/he can only look at the situation in terms of post-modern textual deconstruction.
 
  Fall back to sanity 2

Returning to an earlier theme.



The "experts" always tell us that globalization, outsourcing, special privileges for fairies and bulldykes, Die-Versity, "climate change" pseudoscience, and other lethal monstrosities are Historically Inevitable. Modern. Progressive and Infinitely Desirable. It's not just unthinkable to turn back the clock on these genocidal trends, it's physically impossible to turn back the clock. So they say.

= = = = =

Another supposedly irreversible trend is the death of storage. [I know this is a clumsy phrase, but I can't think of a more concise way to say it.]

Refusal to store for the future is supposedly Modern and Historically Inevitable, but in fact it's atavistic, primitive and anti-human.

Many insects, birds and mammals store food by instinct. Humans spent several millenia developing all sorts of ways to store and preserve food, minerals, water, manufactured goods, money, and information. We're now working with intense fanaticism to abolish all storage. We're trying to operate only with immediately available or (worst of all) totally borrowed and imaginary materials.

(1) "Just In Time" manufacturing. Wildly vulnerable to all sorts of disruptions. If there's a bad snowstorm between your factory and the source, you have to stop production. If your source goes bankrupt or gets destroyed in an earthquake, you have to stop production. But if you operate with a large inventory of parts and materials, you'll have time to develop new sources or alter the product.

(2) Disappearing libraries. It's true that most information is vastly easier to reach by digital means, but digital is fragile. One scratch, one power surge, one Chinese virus, and it's gone. Paper is far more durable and far less brittle. A book can last for centuries, and it's still mostly readable after considerable damage from water or bugs or fungus. Major libraries should now focus more on becoming permanent repositories, less on being accessible to everyone. Paper is for storage, digital is for access. Time to bring back closed stacks. [Update: Brewster Kahle has the right idea! A true hero.]

(3) Breaching dams and refusing to build new dams. The genocidal envirokillers "protect" the Holy Aristocratic Old-Growth Infinitely Royal FISH by smashing human work, culture and communities. In saner times, breaching a dam was considered an act of war. It's still an act of war, but we're not allowed to name it. Because we're under permanent siege by the marauding enemy army EPA, many cities and agricultural areas are starved of necessary water. They may do all right in rainy seasons, but they can't outlive a drought.

(4) Living on credit. Home equity loans, derivatives, permanent government deficits, companies running on short-term loans. All fragile, all vulnerable to the slightest disturbance. If you live or function entirely 'in the black', with a considerable reserve, you can outlive a loss of income or a loss of tax revenue. You can retrench and develop new sources. If you're running constantly 'in the red', a year of drought will destroy you.

(5) The non-Euclidean mindset. (More abstract than the others, but part of the same trend.) We don't need no steenkin facts, we can run our minds on purely imaginary values. All the big corruptions of science: "Global Warming", Big Bang, quantum "physics", refuse to start from the facts and methods that have been carefully stored by previous generations of scientists. They start instead with an arbitrary postulate or theory, then build a highly complex system around it and call it science. Doesn't matter if any observable facts agree with the results. With the Big Bang there's not even a way to test the hypothesis. You just keep on building more models and equations and get more publications to advance your career. A similar disconnection from stored facts shows in the Neocon insistence on American Exceptionalism. We can safely ignore every universal law of history, we can do absolutely everything that every competent leader ever warned us against. We'll still succeed because we are a Blessed Moral Force. It doesn't matter that we have clearly and transparently failed for 50 years; we must keep going.

In other words, human capital doesn't exist. We won't use the skills and culture developed by previous generations, and we sure as fuck won't develop any skills and culture for our miserable descendants. It's all unmoored, unfounded and impermanent.

= = = = =

The deepest consequence of non-storage is qualitative. It's a difference in the soul, not the wallet.

When you're operating without storage, you're totally dependent on your government, other governments, international agencies, harsh Nature and higher-status people. You're running scared all the time. You can't trust your own skills and experience, can't afford to depart from the fast-changing official line, because you'll lose house, job, money, credit and status.

When you have a solid cushion of parts, food, water, information, or money, you're ahead of the curve. You don't need to keep up with every immediate trend, don't need to please every creditor or employer. You have room to chart your own course, develop a new product, try better ways of governing, or just relax for a while. You don't need to wait for Experts or Government to tell you what's happening; you can figure it out yourself from facts, experience and history.

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Saturday, July 30, 2011
  Risk ratio

WUWT has been covering an investigation of federal wildlife biologist Charles Monnett. It appears that WUWT got a little premature on assuming the problem was bad science; though the feds are closemouthed, it sounds more like the problem was bad management.

I'm not especially interested in this story, but thinking about it made me see something bigger.

It's absolutely logical for the feds to worry more about bad management than bad science. For one thing, each segment of the gov't has at least one Accountability Office or Auditor, and many of them are serious. Mostly, anything that looks like waste is likely to become part of some congressmutant's campaign. Congressmutants just love to mock stupid projects and pork, during the few minutes they can spare from generating their own stupid projects and pork.

So there are 535 potential shouters for a wasteful project, along with the internal auditors.

How many potential complainers for bad science?

ONE.

Only the heroic James Inhofe will complain when you commit evil science.

A few of the new Repooflicans made some noise about bad science during the last campaign, but they've all gone dead silent. Not a peep since the election from these sissy-ass traitor-ass coward-ass fairies. They're only interested in ZERO TAX FOR GOLDMAN SACHS! ZERO TAX FOR GOLDMAN SACHS! ZERO TAX FOR GOLDMAN SACHS! ZERO TAX FOR GOLDMAN SACHS!

Inhofe stands alone, as always.

Given the risk ratio of 535 : 1 it's a no-brainer. Agencies are free to spend 100% of their budget on bad science, as long as the bad scientists look really busy.

On the other side, the risk of doing good honest science, heretical science, is huge but harder to quantify. Only a few congressmutants will bother to complain, and there aren't any specific Gaian Accountability Offices, so the internal threat is small. But all the media in the world and all the universities in the world and all the post-Christian "churches" in the world will burn you for heresy.
 
  BBC on Gregoire

BBC runs an excellent feature on Wash Gov Gregoire today. The interview brings out her best qualities.

As I've observed many times here, Gregoire is a lioness protecting the people of her state. When economic or natural disasters threaten, she's at the front fighting. Though I disagree with her on several ideological points, I have to acknowledge that she's the sanest and strongest politician in this unfortunate country.
 
  Missing a chance?

It's well known by now that American universities are No Male Zones. Young men are figuring out that Your Kind Is Not Wanted Here, and are abandoning universities in large numbers. The Feds are trying to make the bigotry even stronger now.

Seems to be a real profit opportunity for some low-cost countries where bullbitches and fairies don't run everything, where actual males and females are still allowed to get along. Open a half-decent university (or expand an existing one) and loudly invite American heterosexuals. You can charge considerably less than American colleges and still make a good profit.

I'm thinking especially of Balkan countries like Turkey, Slovenia, and Hungary. All have strong intellectual traditions, relatively low cost, relatively traditional cultures, and lots of multilingual natives.

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Friday, July 29, 2011
  Kafka Awards 2011

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the category Wildly Intrusive Stark Raving Lunacy.

We have two fresh nominees as of this morning.

= = = = =

Nominee #1: Avista is sending out 'free' boxes of EZ-Crush Poison Vials to every household in Spokane. There's no safe choice. You can't bring it into your house; that would be suicide. And it's really not nice to put it straight out into the trash; the city trash guys will get a big dose of mercury each time they run the crusher, because several thousand poison-paks will be in the truck. If you call out the Hazmat crew, which is the officially recommended course of action, you'll be marked as a Wise Guy and you can expect the midnight knock.

= = = = =

Nominee #2: I got off the bus this morning, walking next to an old but active strip mall. Barber shops, tax preparers, chiropractors. Suddenly a well-dressed 50-ish man burst out of the door of a business and ran toward me, urgently gesticulating: "Why don't you get a helmet? Why don't you get a helmet? Why don't you get a helmet?" I couldn't think of any safe choice (what if he decided to push me into the street to show why I needed a helmet?) so I kept walking. He trotted alongside me, shouting "Sir? Sir? Sir? Sir? Sir? Sir? Sir? Sir? Sir? Sir? Sir? Sir?" Finally, on the principle that a barking dog will sometimes stop when you acknowledge its presence, I said "I hear you." He said "Why aren't you responding?" then sort of slumped with a mission-failed attitude and walked back toward the building.

= = = = =


The envelope, please. And the winner is: Hell, I dunno. You pick.



========================================

Later: I figured out the least-bad destination for the unwanted Gift from Avista. Took it straight from the mailbox to the backyard and buried it. Sprinkled some alleged squirrel repellent stuff over the location so they won't dig it up until the ground hardens enough to be uninteresting. (I have some extra sympathy for those critters after the hawk incident).
 
Thursday, July 28, 2011
  The final nail.

[I'm a couple days late in catching the significance of this, but wanted to note it here for my own records if nothing else.]

Up till now, all the 'discussion' on the Global Warming crime has been about time patterns of temperature. These patterns have shown the dissenters to be accurate and correct every time, and these patterns have shown the Gaian religious fanatics to be completely false every time. Still, this set of measurements was always a few steps removed from the basic problem.

Temperatures are the result of a difference between incoming heat energy and outgoing heat energy. If you try to fill a bucket with no bottom, you'll never get it done because the water output always matches the input. Similarly, if you try to fry an egg with a candle in subzero conditions, you'll never get it done because the heat input from the flame is immediately stolen by the heat output to the frigid wind. You'll only succeed if you can shelter the egg from the subzero, keep some of the heat circulating under a lid or a Dutch Oven or a house. And similarly with heating an atmosphere. If you want it to get hotter, you need some kind of lid so the sun's heat escapes more slowly than it comes in.

The temperature patterns have always been enough for me, because I'm an experimentalist, a black-box thinker. Twenty years ago I saw one graph showing that CO2 lags behind heat, and that's all I needed. If it lags, it can't be the cause. Period.

I don't care what the theory says, and I don't care how many layers or complications the whole setup has. In this case we have reliable temperature records for more than a century from many constantly rural locations, and these records show no particular trend over the last century. We also have less reliable records from urban locations that show rapid increases. This pattern tells me that whatever is happening in the last century, it's NOT GLOBAL, therefore it can't be caused by any global effect like greenhousing. If these patterns have any meaning at all, it must be a REGIONAL meaning, so we should be looking at REGIONAL causes like urban heat islands and ocean current changes.

Longer-term records by various proxies agree almost perfectly with sunspot waves, which gives you a sufficient GLOBAL cause at the longer scale.

But the temperatures aren't enough for some of the dissenters, who are apparently more theory-minded. They need to see direct evidence that the bucket has a big hole in it, that the pan has no lid. Or more precisely, that the pan's lid isn't as solid as the CO2 theory needs it to be.

Nothing will be enough for the Gaians, because they're operating outside science, logic and sanity. The only thing that will change them is a big hole in their buckets of money, power and glory. When the money and prestige start leaking madly, they'll gradually go silent. Or more precisely, the genocidal laws and agencies will continue to roar ahead full speed, slaughtering the human race with remarkable efficiency. Laws and agencies are never repealed. But the former scientists who turned evil and lent respectability to the crime will attempt to salvage whatever picoparticle of conscience remains in their psychopathic crania.

Now Roy Spencer has come up with the evidence for the theoreticians.
Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer ... U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA’s Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models.
“The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”

In addition to finding that far less heat is being trapped than alarmist computer models have predicted, the NASA satellite data show the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted.


Last nail for the 'lukewarmers'.

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  Who's the failed state?

Continuing a series of Whoses: Who's Enlightened? ... Who's Free? ... Who's Scientific? ... Who's Recovered? ... Who's Protected?

New question, longer than the rest: Who's the home base for terrorists?

Haven't you noticed a trend in recent news? The Feds are arresting quite a few Muslims in America for assisting and supporting terrorist activities. These increased arrests are a good thing any way you look at it.

But there's an important difference. Nearly all of these newer arrests are supporting Muslim fighters in other countries. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, etc.

Since we justified our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan on the pretext that both were training terrorists to work here, some other country could now justify invading America on the pretext that America is a failed state training terrorists to work there.
 
  Great bit of historical graphics!

UK Guardian has a really neat interactive map of Europe showing the gradual move toward 'right-wing' govts among current EU members since 1973.

It's a little short on instructions. You can run the timeline automatically by hitting the Play button at lower left, but you get better results by grabbing the timeline slider and moving it back and forth manually. The early years look a bit strange because the map shows each current member in color for all years, even when those members weren't countries yet. So Slovenia, Slovakia and the Baltics appear to be separate countries in 1973, though they weren't independent at that time.

Also, the Euro definition of Right-wing is different from the American. In Euro, Right-wing has more of a nationalist and anti-immigration flavor, and both wings favor welfare provisions for the poor. In US, Right-wing currently means "refuses to support own country with taxes", and both wings favor infinitely generous welfare provisions for Goldman Sachs.

In short, Euro 'right-wingers' are closer to FDR, which means they're closer to me. Thus I'm happy to see such nearly universal coverage, and such a consistent trend.
 
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
  Hummingbird!

Looking out the front door to check on the lawn sprinkler.

Huh? Is that a mouse in the grass? No, it's a mouse in the air! It's holding perfectly still 3 feet off the ground, drinking from the sprinkler.

It sees me. Pang! It disappears backwards without any visible acceleration or flight. Perfectly still then perfectly gone.

Possible explanations for the observed facts: (1) It's a tiny water-powered UFO wearing a mouse suit. (2) It's a hummingbird.

First is more fun, second is more likely.

Haven't seen a hummingbird since 1992, but then I haven't been paying any damn attention to outdoors until this summer!






= = = = =

Later the same morning: What's with the birds today? Now I've got some kind of hawk perched on the top rail of the chain-link fence in back. In stark contrast with the cute hummingbird, the hawk is calmly ripping apart a carcass [small bird or squirrel, hard to tell] with its talons and eating the choice bits. Never seen a hawk before (except in a zoo) and really wish I hadn't looked closely at this one. Gonna be hard to 'unsee' the image. ... Later: Fortunately the hawk carried its kill when it flew away, didn't leave the bloody remnants wedged in the fence.

And next day: Squirrels are completely absent today. Normally they're ubiquitous in the cool morning hours. Feeding, fighting, fucking. Not one squirrel is visible today. Zero. Bet the carcass was a squirrel.

And five days later: A handful of squirrels are finally starting to venture out this morning, but they're sticking firmly to the ground so far. Plenty smart.

And two weeks later: Still only a handful, acting like strangers. Looks like the 'regular crowd' has fully abandoned this neighborhood. Selfishly I miss their entertainment, but Darwinically I'm glad they have a community sense of survival. Luckily, hawks don't have anti-discrimination agitators like Al Sharptalon to enforce Diversity against the squirrels. In the animal kingdom, prey are free to leave a neighborhood en masse after it becomes too vibrant. Human prey are not free to leave, even while the vibrant community is tearing out their guts.
 
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
  Sleeping through nothing: one year after



It's been roughly a year since I cut off the cable TV. Through most of that year I turned on the TV only to watch AFV on Sunday. Now I haven't even plugged in the one-eyed monster since June. Miss it? Nope.

After a year, what's different?

First, the quantity and target of my outrage. When I was hooked on cable, I wasted a lot of blood pressure on the miserable antics of Comrades Shep Smith, Anderson Cooper, and Wolf Blitzer. Now I spend less time overall in pissed mode, and it's directed at more appropriate targets. Even though I've always tried to avoid the partisan puppetry, it's a lot easier to think objectively without the heart-speeding backbeat and whooshing sounds and endless meaningless Breaking News! of the cable format.

Mostly I've fallen back into my old default Soviet-citizen mode, which is vastly more sane. There's absolutely nothing you can do about all this idiocy. Voting is useless, expressing opinion is useless. Might as well tend your own garden and warily observe the lunatics from a distance.

(Sidenote: The purpose of cable is to turn all public rage against the Other Party so you don't notice that both parties are identically evil. I wonder if they've colluded to pick annoying hosts like Shep and Wolf as specialized getters for the opposing rage?)

= = = = =

Second, I've been producing less graphics here, and a lot more text. This was unintended and rather unfortunate, since I enjoy doing pictures and animations. But it seems that the loss of high-pressure visual input from TV lowers the compulsion for visual output. Or something like that.

= = = = =

Confession: I marked the one-year anniversary by finally taking the set-top box back to Comcast this morning, which was necessary to officially cancel the TV service. In other words, I've paid about $800 to a high-profit corporation for a service I wasn't using. This is a shameful admission for a self-proclaimed miserly curmudgeon, and there isn't any real excuse. It was a difficult bus trip to a bad part of town, but a rational miser would have decided to take a taxi rather than continue spending $70 a month for nothing!
 
  Took the wrong path, obviously

Headline in UK Independent:
Anders Breivik is insane, says his lawyer.

Massacre gunman Anders Breivik is insane and appears to have no idea of the worldwide revulsion at his acts, his lawyer said today.


Perfect description of our ruling class. Invade countries because you feel like it; shoot civilians by the thousands, starve peasants by the millions, deprive your own people of jobs, economic security and cultural comfort. Run your economic policy to enrich China and Goldman, run your foreign policy to empower Israel. Ignore the worldwide revulsion at your acts.

It's too bad Breivik couldn't find a way to get into the ruling class in an English-speaking country. His natural talents would have made him a leader among leaders, and most of his ideology would have fitted right in. He's a nearly perfect neocon. Agrees with BushClintonBushObama except on immigration, and I'll bet a few weeks of high-status cocktail parties would have smoothed out that one rough patch.
 
  We laugh

We always laugh at the primitive idolatry of tinhorn dictators like Chavez and Dear Leader Kim. In such countries, all media, all commentators, all artists are kept busy glorifying the Great One. Any commentator who doesn't cheer loudly enough is at best ignored, at worst killed. KIM IS GOD! KIM IS GOD! KIM IS GOD!

How primitive.

In our country we have Total Freedom! We have Individual Liberty! We have The Free Flow Of Ideas At Market Prices!

Half of the media and artists are kept busy glorifying The Dear Leader Who Carries The R Flag: BUSH IS GOD! OBAMA IS SATAN! BUSH IS GOD! OBAMA IS SATAN!

Half are kept busy glorifying The Dear Leader Who Carries The D Flag: OBAMA IS GOD! BUSH IS SATAN! OBAMA IS GOD! BUSH IS SATAN!

And you know what's the best part of all? The Great Ones are identical! Both are Lifetime Guaranteed to carry out the same agenda! Thus our two sides don't need to worry about whether they've got it right; no matter which side they cheer for, it's the SAME! Wow! Isn't that just perfectly Exceptional?

Our system is GREAT! BEST POLITICAL SYSTEM IN THE WORLD!!! WE'RE NUMBER ONE!!!

Our system is vastly more intelligent, rational and productive!!! This is Robust Debate!!! This is Democracy!!! This is Government By The Consent Of Goldman!!!

We have every right to laugh at those benighted clumsy tinhorns, by God. They haven't figured out the smooooooth way to run an absolute dictatorship.
 
Monday, July 25, 2011
  More chondrichthyan saltations

A few days ago I was thinking about the tendency of software and other products to reach a peak and then turn sour:
A common phenomenon among human developments: the product reaches a peak of quality, then gets worse. The reason varies. Sometimes the creators just use up their ideas. More often the product redirects toward a specialized audience with lots of money and high status, abandoning its original broad but uncool audience. Usually a bad idea.

Nearly all the programs I use for work and play have gone past their peak; in each case I paid for the update, gave it a good try, said GARRRGGGHHH! THIS IS AWFUL!, reverted to the peak version, and stopped watching for later updates. Usually the past-peak version is bogged down with completely pointless new "features" while failing to solve known bugs and problems.

Today, listening to the fake debt-ceiling puppet theater, it occurs to me that Congress fits this pattern nicely.

Every year Congress creates a new "feature" that gives a cornucopia of grandiose unearned wealth and privilege to a few high-status people, but amounts to a wildly expensive bug for everyone else.

Aside from the annual new bug, Congress never solves any existing bugs. To the rest of us, Federal bugs are business-destroying regulations and culture-destroying "court" decisions. To Congress, Federal bugs are just great talking points to be used against the "opposing" brand. The main job of Congress is to preserve and maximize all existing bugs, in order to blame them on the "other" brand.
 
Sunday, July 24, 2011
  Backwards as always

Apparently the mayor of Oslo said in response to the attempted revolution: "Greater security is not the answer. We need to teach greater respect."

The statement as it stands is ambiguous, so I'm not going to attribute rightness or wrongness to the mayor until it's clarified.

But American Commies have interpreted it their way, all turned around and backwards and upside down and evil as fucking always.

They think it means "We need to teach uncool Ofay Honky Neanderthal Bible-Thumpers to show greater respect for cool holy saintly angelic perfect Muslims." They also say this is refreshing, that you'd never hear a request for respect from American leaders.

Are you fucking kidding? THE ONLY MOTHERFUCKING THING WE HEARD from the idiot enemy-serving Bush Administration was that Americans need to show more fucking Respect and fucking Sensitivity toward the people who attacked us. This is how I knew Bush was the enemy, though it took me waaaaay too long to figure it out.

Let's see if we can untangle this.

First, one basic fact about human nature. A few people are naturally violent, prone to do harm to everything around them without reason or cause. These folks end up in institutions rather quickly, so they aren't part of the main picture. Most people are not automatically violent. Most people get pissed off, sometimes enough to do violent things, when they feel they have been disrespected. When they have no way to achieve some kind of status, no way to receive attention and affection. When there's nothing to lose. This feeling may be genuine, or it may be the result of manipulation and propaganda by leaders who want to create chaos.

Example of the manipulated version: Bastards like Jesse Jackson have cultivated the idea that American blacks are constantly disrespected, even though a quick look at any situation will show you that American blacks are near the top of the status ladder. Every white girl wants to be fucked by a black stallion, every white boy wants to talk and move like a black stallion. You can't get higher than that.

Example of the plain unmanipulated version: The classic school massacre. Those boys are always uncool, with no hope of ever becoming cool. They get carried away with adolescent absoluteness, decide there's nothing to lose, take out the cool kids and then take themselves out.

Oddly enough, idiot Bush was partly correct in his recommendation. He wanted us to show respect toward the people who were turning to violence, in order to remove their feelings of dissed-ness. This would have been pretty good advice in a smaller personal situation, but he entirely missed the fact that Muslim outrage was largely generated and manipulated by highly intelligent leaders who had long since passed the point of persuasion. In that warlike situation, sensitivity was nothing more than weakness.

The current crop of Commies are now telling us that the way to prevent Christians and Nationalists from getting pissed off is to show more respect toward Muslims. This is utterly insane, but drearily predictable. It's the same old Benjamin Spock tabula rasa lunacy. "We can make children behave by setting a good example. If they see us treating the Muslims nicely, they will also treat the Muslims nicely." Nope, that will only make it worse. Obviously and observably, some Christians are pissed off because Muslims seem to be getting preferential treatment. Giving Muslims EVEN MORE preferential treatment will make the Christians EVEN MORE pissed.

If you want to calm down the pissed-off people, you should give them more respect, in a form that they can feel and understand. Most importantly, the respect must be permanent and real. If it's temporary and false, the later removal of the façade will then show the dissed-and-pissed people that they were being treated with callous contempt and condescension (as always), and they will get even more pissed.

This used to be understood by most people. Used to be common sense. No longer. Common sense has left the building forever.
 
  Wrong place, wrong time

Revolution is necessary in some places and times. Unfortunately Norway in 2011 isn't one of them. The smaller countries of Europe have been moving rapidly toward healthy Nationalism. In those countries democracy actually works. Populist parties of various flavors have gained complete power in some, influential plurality in others.

Now the Nationalists will be discredited, and the grotesque mutant monstrosity of the EU will gain even more tyrannical power, will gobble up everything in the region. The Gramscian secular internationalists will roar into bloody triumphal vengeance against all Nationalists and Christians.

By contrast, the Arab world and the English-speaking world are places where revolution is the only possible way to solve the problem. In the Arab world democracy never began. In the Anglosphere it has totally and demonstrably failed. Secular internationalist governments have completely lost the consent of their people. We have already seen various forms of revolt in the Arab world, not yet in the English-speaking world.

= = = = =

A bit later: Breivik's attempted revolution suits the ends and purposes of the EU perfectly. You couldn't have asked for a better trigger to bring the Green Curtain smashing down on all those little countries. Now EU will be able to associate all Nationalists with horrific violence. In the countries where Nationalists have gained power through PERFECTLY PEACEFUL AND NORMAL DEMOCRATIC MEANS, they will be replaced by 100.00000% orthodox Gramscians who will then happily open up all borders and surrender all sovereignty to the almighty Brussels and omnipotent Gaia.

Because it's so perfect, I'm going to assume an agent provocateur was involved somewhere along the way, though we'll never be allowed to know. We're never allowed to know anything, but we can observe things. One thing we can observe is the immediate and constant hammering on Breivik's "Christian fundamentalist" faith, even though his own manifesto shows him to be more of an Odinite (like Hitler and McVeigh) than a Christian. Also, the standard stories are omitting the fact that he was heavily using steroids, which would account nicely for a huge compulsion to do violent things. Without the steroids, the idea that Nationalist beliefs directly cause mass murder is more plausible.

= = = = =

Later, from Reuters:
Police had believed Breivik acted alone after losing faith in mainstream parties, even those that have gained popularity and parliamentary seats on anti-immigration platforms in otherwise liberal, tolerant European nations, including affluent Norway.

The attack was likely to tone down the immigration debate ahead of September local elections, analysts said, as parties try to distance themselves from Breivik's beliefs and reinforce Norwegians' self-image as an open, peaceful people.

Norway's immigrant numbers nearly tripled between 1995 and 2010 to almost half a million. Arguments that many were drawn by generous welfare handouts spurred the growth of the Progress Party which became Norway's second biggest in parliament after the 2009 election on a largely anti-immigration platform.

Provocateur behind this. Unquestionable. Norway was about to join the set of peacefully elected Nationalist governments, and it had to be stopped.
 
Saturday, July 23, 2011
  Winehouse

The only modern pop star who sounded good to my ears and looked good to my eyes.

Had a solid straight '40s back-of-the-throat voice, comparable to Martha Mears.

Instantly distinguishable from the wiggly wispy top-of-the-head voices of all other modern singers.

Had the perfect look of a '60s tough girl, without being retro or ironic.

Unfortunately she also combined the bad habits of the '40s and '60s stars, with predictable results.
 
  Some progress?

The big commercial TV/radio networks have mostly stopped pushing the Carbon Cult. NBC was the last serious advocate, but since it was purchased by Comcast it seems to have lost its zeal.

Good example in this morning's reports on the big heat wave covering much of the country. (But not the northwest! We've been running about 10 degrees colder than average since November, and we're breaking record date-lows this summer.)

ABC radio interviewed a meteorologist who talked in strictly scientific terms, confining himself to facts. He said "This has happened before", and pointed to the '30s and '50s.

Just right. Nature runs in cycles, and the best we can do is to analyze their waveforms so we can try to predict what comes next. We simply can't pry out all the possible causes with any certainty. There's no way to do a controlled experiment. We can make a fair guess by matching other waveforms with the one in question, and in this case the sunspot waveform is a remarkably good match. Nothing else comes close.

= = = = =

NPR has sometimes done a good job of balancing the facts against the Carbon Myth, but not this morning. They interviewed some asshole Crimatologist who said "With small-scale phenomena like a heat wave, the challenge for science is to find how carbon dioxide causes it."

NO. THIS IS NOT SCIENCE. THIS IS CONSPIRACY THEORY, RELIGION, APOCALYPTIC CULTS. THE "CHALLENGE" FOR A PARANOID CULT IS TO FIND HOW THE CULT'S FAVORITE BOOGIEMAN CAUSES EVERY BAD EVENT. MASONS, JEWS, ILLUMINATI, WHATEVER. SUBSTITUTE "THE TRILATERAL COMMISSION" FOR "CARBON DIOXIDE" IN THIS CRIMATOLOGIST'S INSANE BABBLING, AND YOU'LL SEE THE PROBLEM.

Of course if you're equally blinded by the same fanatical zeal, you won't see the problem no matter how well it's explained, so this is pretty much pointless.
 
  More happiness

Part of the British gov't is trying a move that sounds good on paper....
The Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O’Donnell, has asked leading civil servants across government to assess the impact Coalition policies will have on the happiness of the population and to consider options for increasing individuals' satisfaction with their lives. ... Last November, Mr Cameron announced that a new wellbeing measure would be developed as an alternative to the traditional economic assessments of national progress, such as GDP.

So far so good. Any public or private service ought to satisfy its customers above all. The Anglosphere govt's have been satisfying super-rich speculators (whose happiness is directly and purely measured by GDP and stock averages) while totally neglecting their actual customers. Any little scrap of attention to the millions of non-speculator customers could improve things!
Plans could include improving the mental health of the workforce so people with depression and other illnesses find jobs, protecting parks and green spaces, and reducing pressure on children and families.

Whoopsie! Already getting silly. Got the causation exactly backwards as always. Working folks are depressed because their accustomed jobs have disappeared forever. Helping them find jobs is pointless; there aren't any jobs. First you need to bring back the jobs.

The economist Lord Layard, who has helped design the wellbeing index survey, warned that successive governments had become too focused on economic competition with rivals such as India and China.

Now we're sounding good again! Free Trade is a competition using the enemy's rules, a competition that we can't hope to win.
He criticised the Coalition’s decision to reduce funding for university courses in the arts and humanities in favour of science and engineering degrees, which are seen as more economically valuable.

Whoopsie again! Dead wrong again. We don't need more arts and humanities. The SINGLE SOLE SOLITARY UNIQUE PURPOSE OF ARTS AND HUMANITIES SINCE 1910 IS TO GENERATE SUICIDAL UNHAPPINESS. PERIOD. PERIOD. PERIOD. IS THAT ENOUGH GODDAMN PERIODS FOR YOU? PERIOD. PERIOD. PERIOD.

After we start to open up more jobs (by removing all environmental laws, imposing tariffs and blockades on China, closing and confiscating Wall Street, and restoring a normal interest-based banking system) the proper step in education is to train working-class people for high-tech manufacturing and artisan work. In the short term, this should involve adult trade schools, some of them leading to more serious university work in science and engineering. Later the training should move down into the last 4 years of public education, which are now utterly wasted by preparing students to study the suicide-generating Arts And Humanities.

= = = = =

Overall, Lord Layabout does a beautiful job of diagnosing the current problem, but his prescription is poison.
 
Friday, July 22, 2011
  ?Why is punctuation at the end



A rather cute bit of linguistic research has established the earliest known use of a punctuation mark denoting a question.
The symbol, a double dot resembling the modern colon, is known as the "zagwa elaya," or "upper pair." Its function as a question mark was pinned down by Chip Coakley, a manuscript specialist at Cambridge University.

By studying the biblical manuscripts at the British Museum in London, Coakley was able to solve the mystery of the two dots, which has puzzled grammarians for decades, and described his finding as a "significant footnote in the history of writing."

The zagwa elaya is written at the start of declarative sentences to indicate their function as questions, something which would otherwise be ambiguous.

It is not used in questions with interrogative words, the equivalents of "wh-words" in English.

"Reading aloud, the same function is served by a rising tone of voice -- or at least it is in English -- and it is interesting to ponder whether zawga elaya really marks the grammar of the question, or whether it is a direction to someone reading the Bible aloud to modulate their voice," Coakley said.

I'd never thought about this before. If punctuation is going to serve any intonational purpose, it really needs to be at the start of the sentence, like the key signature on a musical staff. Spanish is the only modern language that follows this bit of logic, with its upside-down question and exclamation at the start of the sentence.

As a pitch indicator, the mark is nearly always superfluous in English. We use a rising intonation only for yes-no questions, not for the how/what/where type. Yes-no questions always start with the verb (or the left part of a two-word verb) so the need for a rising intonation is obvious after you read the first word.

Examples:
Did you fix the computer? Was he there on time? Has the moon reached full?

Without the mark at the end, you still know exactly what to do.
Did you fix the computer. Was he there on time. Has the moon reached full.

The only exception is a fairly rare and Germanic construction for a conditional clause: Had he only asked me, I could have helped. This can be mistaken for a yes-no question until you read most of the sentence.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011
  Why do I let myself look at this crap?

More of the usual New Atheist crap. I really ought to know better than to look at it, but it's irresistible like a car crash. Now that I've seen it I have no choice but to haul it away to the junkyard.

Column in LATimes:
Before John Lennon imagined "living life in peace," he conjured "no heaven … / no hell below us …/ and no religion too."

No religion: What was Lennon summoning? For starters, a world without "divine" messengers, like Osama bin Laden, sparking violence. A world where mistakes, like the avoidable loss of life in Hurricane Katrina, would be rectified rather than chalked up to "God's will." Where politicians no longer compete to prove who believes more strongly in the irrational and untenable. Where critical thinking is an ideal. In short, a world that makes sense.

Okay, let's recycle it.

= = = = =

World without "divine" messengers sparking violence.

Well, the Islamic fighters have certainly marked up a sizable kill record. The Religion of Peace website, which keeps a 'ticker' running, reports 17845 deaths on that score in the last 10 years.

Doesn't come close to the Mexican gang war of the last few years with 40,000 deaths, and it's microscopic compared to any of the atheist dictators. Dear Leader Kim, the last real Stalinist, does better than that every month.

For high-quality mass murder, hire an atheist.

= = = = =

Katrina mistakes rectified rather than chalked up to "God's will."

The poor levee maintenance and poor governance that made Katrina into a super-disaster had nothing to do with preachers and everything to do with good old fashioned corruption and incompetence in Nawlins and DC. Some preachers (of Christian and Gaian denominations) later attributed Katrina to our sins, but those preachers didn't cause decades of non-maintenance by good old boys who pocketed Federal money.

And the Corps of Engineers has been working hard to rectify the errors since 2005, with much less interference from the good old boys. All levels of government did actually learn something from Katrina.

= = = = =

Where politicians no longer compete to prove who believes more strongly in the irrational and untenable.

I agree that it would be wonderful if politicians stopped worshiping Gaia, stopped competing to destroy national industries and economies in order to propitiate the irrational and untenable and violently anti-scientific "theories" of the Planet Goddess.

Of course the writers aren't talking about Gaia, because Gaia is their god. No, they're talking about one question in the last Republican primary debates. But that question had no relevance to any sort of action by politicians. Believing in evolution or creation doesn't lead anyone to double the energy bills of poor people. Believing in Joseph Smith or Jesus Christ doesn't lead anyone to shut down all the electric plants in an entire country. Only Gaia can do those things. Gaia is omnipotent.

= = = = =

Where critical thinking is an ideal.

Yes, as it was in Stalin's Russia or Hitler's Germany or Pol Pot's Cambodia.

Face it, no government in the last century, religious or atheist, democratic or dictatorial, has been able to handle facts or think logically. Only some monarchies in earlier centuries showed a real respect and application of rationality.

= = = = =

I guess my real irritation is that these arguments are not just INVALID, they're OLD and TRITE. With names changed to fit the times, they're the same talking points every village atheist has been using for a hundred years. They're the same talking points I used when pointlessly arguing with my Christian friends in high school. Yet these INVALID OLD TRITE arguments always show up in 'respectable' newspaper columns as if they're fresh thinking. Do you ever see equally OLD and TRITE arguments for Christianity in major newspapers? Nope. No arguments for Christianity at all.
 
  Learning something?

NRO reports that Rick Perry strongly criticizes Obama for shutting down the Shuttle.
Unfortunately, with the final landing of the Shuttle Atlantis and no indication of plans for future missions, this administration has set a significantly different milestone by shutting down our nation’s legacy of leadership in human spaceflight and exploration, leaving American astronauts with no alternative but to hitchhike into space.

Hey! This is progress! A Repooflican declares that public services should remain public! Criticizes Obama for privatizing a public service!

Well then, can we expect Repooflicans to start supporting mass transit as well? After all, mass transit helps lots of ordinary Americans to work and live their lives, while space transit only helps a few very unusual people to indulge a very unusual fetish. Those people are rich enough to indulge on their own. Obama has quite properly decided to let them do it, while the Repoofs want taxpayers to continue subsidizing this bizarre and unproductive luxury.
 
  Blank zones and the Three Horsepersons

Thinking about rosebushes and blank zones led to a broader realization about our murderous ruling class.

I've already identified the Three Horsepersons of the Modern Apocalypse, which are helpfully listed together by EU and UN bureaucrats every time they open their filthy Satanic mouths. Global Warming, Free Trade, and Diversity.

And I've seen that the Three HP are designed to achieve Infinite Riches for the ruling class and Death to the masses, through the vehicle of share prices and derivatives.

The roses helped me to solve another riddle: What mental defect causes people to pick these particular modes of destroying the world?

Egalitarianism is obvious as the driver for Diversity and Free Trade. Diversity is just the Procrustean enforcement of egalitarianism. Free Trade is a bit less direct: When you assume that all people have the same cultural resources and the same economic goals, you will claim that Free Trade 'raises all boats' despite 100% evidence that it enriches the rich and impoverishes the poor. But egalitarianism doesn't seem to connect with Global Warming.

(Incidentally, I doubt the top-level rulers actually believe this shit; they know good and goddamn well what they're doing. But the lower-level participants, the scientists, teachers, and bureaucrats, do fervently believe.)

= = = = =

Here's how the roses helped me to see the connection of egalitarianism to Global Warming.

First, look at an imaginary situation where both rosebushes behave the same. Snow covers them in winter; they recover in spring; bloom in summer; and dry out in fall.



Ordinary people, and honest scientists, would conclude that the two rosebushes are identical, at least in their response to winter conditions.

= = = = =

Second, the real situation. Snow covers them in winter. When the snow is gone, the left bush retains its vigor but the right bush has died. In summer the left bush blooms while the right bush miraculously starts growing again. In fall both dry out.




Ordinary people, and honest scientists, would draw one inescapable conclusion from this pattern. With the bushes only six feet apart on the same side of the house, they must have the same sun, rain and soil. Thus the real rosebushes must be different plants, at least in their response to winter conditions.

Ruling class Satanists would be mentally unable to draw this simple conclusion. Their unshakable axiom that both roses are the same would force them to think in epicycles, trying to find all sorts of odd exceptional reasons why the right bush died in every hard winter while the left bush survived every hard winter. Since there aren't any valid external reasons, they would eventually have to create a blank zone, declaring that one of the bushes simply doesn't exist for the purposes of our calculations. (The analogy would work best if the undying bush is blanked, but the analogy is already stretched to the breaking point!)

Now apply this to the world. We have the same major driving forces for all parts of the world: sunspots, orbital changes, and ocean cycles. Yet some parts of the Arctic and much of the Eastern Hemisphere seem to be accumulating heat in an unusual way, while the Antarctic and the Western Hemisphere seem to be cycling in a normal way with no accumulation of heat.

We have different rosebushes. No other conclusion is possible for an ordinary mind. Only a diseased mind, hopelessly infested with the Apocalypse virus, will blank out half the world in order to claim that the whole world is accumulating heat, when the evidence shows that different areas behave differently under the same primary external forces.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011
  Tech note on Windows 7 keyboard oddness

Writing this to create one direct Google reference to the subject!

After switching to a nice new computer with Windows 7, I've been having a really strange problem with keystrokes. When typing in an editor or browser or web-based systems like this one, no problem at all. But in several of my older 32-bit apps, the keyboard would type four correct characters, then switch to typing consecutive numbers.

For instance, I'd try to rename a file from X.TXT to GOODNAME.TXT but the screen would show GOOD12345678 instead of the desired result. Or I'd be using the keyboard 'shortcuts' in a graphics program, and after the first four operations the screen view would start rotating madly. This appeared to be an entirely separate problem, until I remembered that the various perspectives are assigned to number keys.

The solution was found here in Techsupportforum. It's not Windows 7 as such, though I suspect it does apply to 32-bit progs running in a 64-bit system.

The real problem is a Comcast security add-on called Guarded Identity, which picks up all keystrokes and does something or other with them, allegedly to prevent hackers from watching. Uninstalling Guarded Identity solves the problem immediately and entirely. Now I'm back to my usual fast workflow! Great relief!
 
  Quantum roses

Humans have an amazing ability to notice things and an even more amazing ability to unnotice things.

Last winter was a bad one, and in March I regretfully cut the rosebush on the east side of the porch down to the ground. At that point it had no live canes remaining. The bush on the west side continues to survive every winter with no trouble. It would probably take over the house if I let it.

Today I noticed that the east side rosebush has miraculously recovered from complete death and absence! It's about 3 feet tall, not blooming yet but all green and growing.

In declaring the east side bush dead, I must have created a 'blank zone' in my attention. The bush is directly under the mailbox, so my eyes have been looking at that bush without seeing it every time I check the mail.

The resilience of Nature is a wonder, but the vagaries of human thought are a different sort of wonder.



[Footnote 1: This is the second 'resurrection' for that bush, but the previous 'death' wasn't nearly as complete.]

[Footnote 2: As long as I'm doing Nature Notes, one more observation: Very few insects this year. Presumably the long hard winter and freezing spring cut their populations. All the plants have perfectly intact leaves; normally by late July the bugs would have chewed them pretty thoroughly.]
 
  Not even Stalin

Some Gaian fuckhead named Jones was paid to do a report on the BBC's scientific objectivity. High Priest Jones found, to nobody's surprise, that the BBC is intolerably open-minded and objective, presenting "the views of tiny and unqualified minorities as if they have the same weight as the scientific consensus". Predictably, he mixed "global warming" with doubts about vaccines.

As far as I can tell, the BBC has never given one picosecond of positive airtime to the truth about Gaia, and I've been listening to them regularly for 50 years. BBC is All Warming All The Time.

How do you improve that record, as High Priest Jones demands? How do you devote less than 0.0000000000% to an opposing view? How do you devote more than 100.00000000000% to screechily praising and violently enforcing Glorious Official Party Doctrine? It's physically impossible. And how do you describe 0.0000000000% and 100.00000000000% as "the same weight"? It's utterly insane.

Old Uncle Joe never reached anywhere near this level of absolute censorship. He liked to have a little token opposition in Pravda for appearance's sake, and on many issues allowed relatively open discussion. Only Dear Leader Kim hits the BBC's target of absolute purity.

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  Three-way Wendi

The idiot partisan circus is showing its true clown-car form in discussing the Murdoch pie-throwing incident.

Republicans are instinctively and suicidally defending their worst enemy Murdoch, the man who defanged and deballed their intellects, the man who pushed them into the most absurd and tabloidish vacuity. And they're defending Murdoch's Chinese heiress Wendi with special vigor.

You can see it clearly in the comments on this delightfully wicked column in UK Telegraph. The author sees the incident clearly; lefty or non-partisan commenters enjoy the piece while conservative commenters stoutly defend the heiress.

Aside from

(1) the stupid and gullible love of the Murdoch media,

there are two other factors involved:

(2) Obviously, money. Wendi represents raw Randian greed, red in tooth and claw, beloved by all Repooflicans. She is maximizing her inheritance with all ten Mandarin fingernails. Note that NewsCorp stock went up after her tigress act. Coincidence? Nah. That's why she did it.

(3) Not so obviously, China. The real motherland of Repooflicans, the country that automatically deserves to receive all our wealth and jobs (after Goldman takes its cut, of course). If Wendi had been French or Latvian, no cheer for you.
 
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
  Two ways to starve the beast

The fairyboys at NRO have been wailing and gnashing their fine Royal Doulton teeth ... ever so delicately of course ... over the death of some entity named Dorothy. Derb has gone so far as to attempt ritual suttee over Saint Dorothy's funeral pyre [built, of course, with the finest selected lignum aquila heartwood, appraised by Sotheby's Pyrewood Ltd at 3 million gold guineas per Imperial board foot.]
Now the extravagance is about to be curtailed. As when a firm goes bankrupt, some creditors will get paid, some won’t. It’s a matter of priorities.

So who gets paid and who gets stiffed? That’s what this is going to come down to, nolens volens.

I say stiff the geezers. Not many of us are productive, anyway. Sure, a few of us did great things in the past — worked hard, took chances, fought in wars — but that’s water under the bridge. The world belongs to young people. If our government benefits are a drag on the economy, I say cut ’em. If our wizened hearts, livers, and lungs have reached their spec limits, let’s go out with dignity.

Is there any honest, patriotic geezer who isn’t troubled by the thought that his own demands on the public fisc for his own stodgy comforts and creaking ailments are reducing the opportunites for young people to live and work in a vigorous national economy?

This doesn't make a lick of sense from any angle, but it's especially annoying from a supposedly Reaganite perspective.

You want to starve the beast, right? Well, there are two ways to starve a beast.

(1) Don't put food in his cage.

(2) Steal the food that's already in his cage.

Under High Priest Grover, the conservatives have settled into an absolute and sole insistence on (1), ZERO TAX FOR BILLIONAIRES!!!!!! ZERO TAX FOR BILLIONAIRES!!!!!! ZERO TAX FOR BILLIONAIRES!!!!!! ZERO TAX FOR BILLIONAIRES!!!!!! ZERO TAX FOR BILLIONAIRES!!!!!! ZERO TAX FOR BILLIONAIRES!!!!!! ZERO TAX FOR BILLIONAIRES!!!!!!

Look at it in a practical sense.

Which of the two starving methods is more available to the ordinary citizen?

The only legal way you can avoid taxes is to become poor and have lots of kids, or become super-rich and have lots of investments. I assume the chanting of the Groverite mantra gives you the delusion that you are already rich, or perhaps the delusion that you will inevitably become rich. Like the Prosperity Gospel of Jim and Tammy Faye.

But for ordinary folks, stealing the beast's food supply is much more practical. All you have to do is claim Social Security at 62, then live as long as possible to drain the Federal account as much as possible. Use as much Medicare as you can. Starve that fucker! Get some of your own back, dammit!

The more we take, the less remains for tyrannical murderous foreign wars and the tyrannical domestic suicide mission of the EPA.
 
Monday, July 18, 2011
  Spoke too soon

Well, just after I called all journalists liars, an almost unprecedented and highly welcome exception pops up. PBS Frontline, working with McClatchy, has been looking carefully at the government's suiciding of Bruce Ivins to cover up the real culprit in the 2001 anthrax letters. They've found two new and critical problems with the FBI's lie:

(1) Ivins's lab didn't contain the necessary equipment to prepare the material found in the letters. That's pretty conclusive all by itself, I'd say! If he had done the work elsewhere, you'd expect to find a few particles in his home and car, but none were found there.

(2) Producing the material in the letters would have required a huge amount of initial bacterial culture: several hundred Petri dishes. An industrial-scale operation, which needed to run almost instantly. (The first letter was received just 7 days after the Twin Towers attack.) One man couldn't have done that in his spare time when none of the other researchers happened to be watching. In fact it's highly dubious that any number of workers could have planned and executed the operation in 5 days; the anthrax must have been manufactured in advance.

Overall the FBI has exactly zero evidence against Ivins, and their case isn't even a well-designed snow job. That's why Ivins had to be suicided.
 
  Exception to Law of Diminishing Versions

A common phenomenon among human developments: the product reaches a peak of quality, then gets worse. The reason varies. Sometimes the creators just use up their ideas. More often the product redirects toward a specialized audience with lots of money and high status, abandoning its original broad but uncool audience. Usually a bad idea.

Nearly all the programs I use for work and play have gone past their peak; in each case I paid for the update, gave it a good try, said GARRRGGGHHH! THIS IS AWFUL!, reverted to the peak version, and stopped watching for later updates. Usually the past-peak version is bogged down with completely pointless new "features" while failing to solve known bugs and problems.

A new exception to the trend: Firefox 5. I'd been sticking with 3.6 because 4 was AWFUL. Last week my old XP machine fried and I finally switched to a new Win 7 machine that had been gathering dust on my desk for a year. (Another GARRRGGGHHH reaction, but the update was mandatory in this case.) Firefox 3.6 won't work properly in Win 7. I already knew FF4 was AWFUL, so I hesitated to try FF5. Amazingly, FF5 returns to the good tabbing of 3.0, makes it even better, and also works in Win 7.

Bravo to the Mozilla folks for actually listening to the customers. Especially ... well no, unsurprisingly ... because Mozilla is a non-profit operation. Only non-profit operations pay attention to customer needs in the bizarre world of modern capitalism. (See Polistra's earlier rant on this subject.)

[Whew! Got through the subject without once mentioning chondrichthyan saltations.]

= = = = =

Update 11/11/11: Another major app bites the peak dust. While starting the latest revision of my courseware, I thought it would be good to compile the C++ code with Microsoft's latest Visual Studio 2010. My program had been running solidly on XP, 2000, Vista, and Windows 7. Downloaded and tried VS2010. My program crashes when compiled with VS2010. MS had issued a Service Pack, so I installed that, but no help. It appears that the C++ code generated by VS2010 does not include the destructor function for classes, which is a huge error. So I downloaded VS2008, which I'd used before, and everything is fine now. I can go ahead and make the various needed revisions, and hope that I'm not driving my own product over the peak!
 
Sunday, July 17, 2011
  Must read

Today's column by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.

I'd only quibble with one point: YAB treats the tendency toward violence as mostly learned. It's not. Like all other human temperaments, talents and tastes, it's mostly inherited. If you pick up a bad combination of gene variants, you're going to enjoy violence no matter how your parents behave. If you pick up a good combination, you're going to avoid violence no matter how your parents behave.
 
  Grand Blueprint again

Polistra has been following an emerging theme in biology. More and more evidence is piling up in all sorts of ways, pointing to the idea of a Grand Blueprint. Life didn't gradually build from inorganic chemicals to its current level of complexity by a near-infinite set of completely random steps. Instead, it looks like the full range of complexity was present in an original DNA blueprint, and all existing lines of animals, plants and protists are simply selected scraps from the full blueprint. The scraps have been modified along the way, and new genes have been added; nevertheless, the main direction is simplification, not complexification.



A dramatic and clear statement of the new direction appears in a New Superstitionist feature [subscription only] about the fading line between bacteria and other cells.
To have one trait possessed by complex cells - membrane-bound DNA - could be a coincidence. To have two seems unlikely. What's more, most members of the larger group that G. obscuriglobus belongs to ... have proteins that are very similar to those that control endocytosis in eukaryotes. The big question is whether this is a case of parallel evolution, or whether complex cells and bacteria shared a common ancestor capable of endocytosis.

If there is a common ancestor, the implications are huge. It means the shared ancestor, known as the last universal common ancestor, or LUCA, must have been much more complex than previously assumed. ... This would turn our picture of how life evolved on its head.

Rather than being "primitive" cells, modern bacteria may be streamlined, simplified versions of a more complex ancestor. Perhaps they are not so much prokaryote as "post-karyote."

I'm still puzzled that the Intelligent Design folks haven't focused hard on this set of developments. ID'ers seem to be whirlpooling around an unproductive cul-de-sac of statistical details, trying to refine a measurement for complexity or something like that.

= = = = =

Artistic note: the cartoon would be more accurate with strongly overlapping 'selection zones', showing that most living things have most genes in common, but it's more readable this way.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011
  Why does this analogy survive?

At least once a day you'll hear something described as "the size of a Volkswagen".

This was valid briefly from about 1950 to 1970, when VWs had a constant size and shape and were distinctly smaller than most American cars. But it's useless before and after those years.

Before 1950: The basic Beetle was about 160 inches long. When it was developed in the early '30s this wasn't notably small. For instance, a 1932 Plymouth four-door sedan was 166" long, and Model Ts were only 138" long. The VW was much smaller inside because it was low and streamlined, while the typical American car was upright and square.

After 1970: Many American cars returned to the earlier dimensions, similar to the Beetle. Now lots of them are shorter than a Beetle, and lots of cars with the VW brand are giant SUVs.

Considering the imprecision of any analogy, "About the size of a car" would do in just about all circumstances.
 
  Competing cults

We have two competing cults now in the DC Occupation Government.

1. Gaia, by far the longest-lasting and most firmly established. Gaia says any CO2 causes apocalypse, and all else follows from that axiom.

2. Groverism, fairly new and much less universal, but equally fanatic. Groverism says any Tax causes apocalypse, and all else follows from that axiom.

In most of our allegedly "legislative" discussions, Gaia dominates. All policies must serve to tear down American industries and move them to China, in order to prevent even one molecule of CO2 from desecrating this unfortunate land.

In the more recent "debt" discussions, Groverism dominates. All policies must serve to tear down American infrastructure so there will be no point in trying to restore or rebuild our industry or economy, in order to prevent even one molecule of Tax from desecrating this unfortunate land.

And between the two of them, they licked the country clean.
 
Friday, July 15, 2011
  Mother-in-law, cliff, Cadillac

A little-noticed bit of news that will have a large effect:
The U.N. agency regulating international shipping decided Friday that new cargo and transport vessels must meet energy efficiency standards and cut carbon pollution. ... About 50,000 cargo ships carry 90 per cent of world trade, and most ships are powered by heavily polluting oil known as bunker fuels.

First mixed-feelings: Heavy fuel oil produces a lot of real pollution. Controlling its use will genuinely clean up the air. Should I be bothered that the Carbon Crime serves as the atrociously bad reason for this good result?
Small island states that lend their flags to merchant ships also were reluctant, since one way toward greater efficiency is to build larger ships that could prove too big for their port facilities.

Second mixed-feelings: The habit of using 'trick nationalities' for shipping leads to lots of real problems with poor safety, poor working conditions, etc. If this forces shipping to operate more often from real countries, it will be good.

Third mixed-feelings, which is so important that the mixed-ness no longer matters: These rules will make shipping considerably more expensive, which will be a purely good thing. Cheap shipping (especially from those trick nations) has made outsourcing attractive since 1980. If shipping gets expensive again, producing things here in America will become the more attractive choice.

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  Insult

On ABC radio, someone talking about the Debt Ceiling Puppet Theater:

"The American people have come to think of Congress as a dysfunctional cesspool."



[Artistic note: I've always wanted to use the word Sirrah, which is the only halfway living English word that retains a pejorative suffix.]
 
  Like Watergate?

Some commentators have said the Murdoch thing is similar to Watergate. They're right, but for all the wrong reasons as usual.

What happened in Watergate: Nixon was a lot like JFK in most ways. Both were firmly anti-Soviet but also devoted to 'progressive' causes in America. Both enjoyed playing political dirty tricks, both recorded all conversations in the Oval Office. The difference: JFK was Popular, Nixon was a Nerd. Nixon made the mistake of assuming he could get away with the dirty tricks because JFK had done the same and more. Nope. You can only get away with shit if you're Popular. Nerds can't get away with anything.

What happened in the Murdoch scandal: Murdoch is a lot like all other media bigshots. Hardline leftist, wildly pro-fag, wildly pro-Gaia, super-hardline Wall Street. In other words, the heart of Gramscian darkness. All "journalists" have always hated the truth with a purple passion, and all have always used dirty tricks to acquire the vicious and bizarre lies they love to print. Murdoch thought he could get away with the same thing everybody else was getting away with. At this point I'm not sure what triggered the current piling-on. The hacking stuff isn't new; it's been openly discussed in British media for several years. Perhaps a major speculator noticed a vulnerability in NewsCorp's share price and pulled strings to cash out his short with a maximum drop.

In both cases the result is good though it happened for the wrong reasons. Nixon needed to go because he was serving the Left beautifully (affirmative action, environmentalism, abortion) while pretending to be a 'conservative'. Murdoch needed to go because he was serving the Left beautifully by running the false flag operation of Fox News.

Sooner or later the Left will be sorry they forced Murdoch out, just as they have come to regret forcing Nixon out. Sooner or later they'll realize that False Flag Fox was doing them a great service. False Flag Fox constantly pushes 'conservatives' into absurd and counterproductive positions (eg ZERO TAX FOR BILLIONAIRES! ZERO TAX FOR BILLIONAIRES! ZERO TAX FOR BILLIONAIRES! ZERO TAX FOR BILLIONAIRES!) that are easy to mock and easy to defeat. False Flag Fox also colludes with the openly Leftist parts of the media to violently silence all Nationalist and Populist sentiments.
 
Thursday, July 14, 2011
  Might be valuable, but not the way they want.

Gov Brown of Calif has signed a law requiring schools to include "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, as well as the disabled, into the existing list of underrepresented cultural and ethnic groups listed in the state's inclusionary education requirements."

The LGBTQQABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ part of this is just absurd, and students will understand its absurdity without any trouble. If the books are honest, students will learn that fags have always been big in the theater, which won't be news to anyone. That's all. I have no damn idea how you'll include "transgender people" in a history book, since they didn't even exist until 30 years ago. Unless you want to count the eunuchs who supervised Ottoman harems, or the castrati sopranos of the Renaissance. And I suspect those won't be counted.

The disabled part is not silly, and if taught honestly will force students to realize something important. People with physical limitations have made great contributions to science, industry, art, entertainment and politics in the past. Their contribution is drastically less in the present, thanks to Rezident Bush and Comrade Bobdole's Glorious Soviet Achievement, the ADA. The purpose of ADA was to transform disabled folks from useful citizens to loyal litigators for the rapid advance of Communism, and it has succeeded quite well. Textbooks will, of course, say the exact opposite, but any student who looks at the facts will understand the truth.
 
  Sitters and rovers: More basic than you think

In the last few years the public and scientific understanding of human temperament has been recovering from the grotesquely false egalitarian / chemical mindset of the 20th century.

From NYTimes last month:
But the Zoloft ad’s insinuation aside, it’s also possible the young woman is “just shy,” or introverted — traits our society disfavors. One way we manifest this bias is by encouraging perfectly healthy shy people to see themselves as ill.

This does us all a grave disservice, because shyness and introversion — or more precisely, the careful, sensitive temperament from which both often spring — are not just normal. They are valuable. And they may be essential to the survival of our species.

Theoretically, shyness and social anxiety disorder are easily distinguishable. But a blurry line divides the two. Imagine that the woman in the ad enjoys a steady paycheck, a strong marriage and a small circle of close friends — a good life by most measures — except that she avoids a needed** promotion because she’s nervous about leading meetings. She often criticizes herself for feeling too shy to speak up.

What do you think now? Is she ill, or does she simply need** public-speaking training?

Before 1980, this would have seemed a strange question. Social anxiety disorder did not officially exist until it appeared in that year’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual ... It was not widely known until the 1990s, when pharmaceutical companies received F.D.A. approval to treat social anxiety with S.S.R.I.’s and poured tens of millions of dollars into advertising its existence.

As usual the subject used to be understood correctly and normally, then got distorted by the medical conspiracy between leftists and Big Pharma.

Now we're taking back the lost territory ... and even using the old correct concept of temperaments to explore new areas.

This study, reported in New Superstitionist is extremely interesting, and leads to all sorts of speculations about the Grand Blueprint of DNA.
Personality and the ability to make difficult choices seem like human characteristics, but other animals had them long before we came along. Even the beadlet anemone can boast these traits, and it doesn't even have a brain. Yet individual anemones have distinct personalities, and they can make decisions in a remarkably nuanced way.

...

Briffa headed out to the south-west coast of the UK and found colonies of beadlet anemones living in the tidal zone. He decided to look at one aspect of their behaviour: how they respond to threats. He threatened 65 anemones by squirting them with a jet of sea water from a syringe. In response they retracted their tentacles, closing the hole on their top surface that serves as both mouth and anus. Briffa measured how long they stayed that way before reopening.

Each anemone was tested three times over the course of a fortnight. Briffa found individuals were highly consistent, even when he factored out differences in water temperature, which slightly affected their behaviour.


Goes on to explain that some anemones are consistently shy, tending to stay withdrawn for a longer time, while others are quicker to extend their tentacles.

Beadlet anemones have no brain or central ganglion, just a simple nerve net. And they aren't divided into boys and girls; they reproduce solely by budding. Thus the presumed sources of behavioral difference in higher animals ("Social Constructs" and "testosterone poisoning") are absent. Also, the presumed Darwinian 'purpose' of variations, to create more genetic diversity, is meaningless here because reproduction is not sexual.

Sitters and rovers are clearly an intrinsic and universal part of the original design.

= = = = =

** Footnote: Interesting that the NYTimes author evinces a biased misunderstanding of introverts even while discussing a biased misunderstanding of introverts. Nobody "needs" a promotion. Rovers feel a compulsion to move up the status ladder, sitters don't. If the lady in the ad is a real sitter, she's probably content in her current niche, probably understands that a promotion would lead to discomfort.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011
  Grandma had this right as well...

BBC is running an experiment or test open to all, on the subject of status and stress. The basic idea is that low-status people suffer more stress-related problems like heart attacks, because low-status people have less control over their situation. Supposedly this is "new" and "counter-intuitive". Apparently modern conventional wisdom holds that the top dogs get the coronaries and ulcers.

Maybe it's counter-intuitive now, but it wasn't always.

Down Our Way was one of those mysterious syndicated radio series that have been miraculously preserved and digitized from the original transcription disks. Down Our Way was a combination of homespun wisdom and purely heavenly music. The actors and singers are unidentified; I suspect they were network 'utility' performers.

In this episode, old bachelor Ben is feeling especially low, and his hypochondriacal Symptoms are acting up something fierce. Happily married Jenny decides to raise Ben to the top of the status stack for a day to prove a point to her husband Eli. Everyone goes along with the plan, accepts Ben's decisions without demur, listens to his opinions without condescension. Ben isn't quite sure what's happening, but he knows that he feels strong and solid, and his Symptoms have disappeared. No internal pains at all. Jenny's husband Eli, normally the alpha, becomes accident-prone and ill even though he knows what's happening.

Counterintuitive? Not to Grandma. Wasn't counterintuitive to me, either ... though I figured it out rather late in life.
 
  Raking clouds

Bleah. Summer made a brief appearance for a couple of weeks, and now we're back in March again. 12 hours of rain, totalling .6 inch so far. At least there's no wind.



This is the weirdest picture I've ever seen in 30 years of watching radar! (Screencap from NWCN.com)

Reminds me of a cloud rake. How do those 50-mile wide ripples form?
 
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
  Sir! We got us a convoy. Sir!

Puzzling. Yesterday and today, while I was holding down the Safeway bus bench, convoys of hefty military equipment passed by on NW Blvd. All highly specialized vehicles, from 6x6s to backhoe-thingies, all painted in camo, all riding on huge flatbeds pulled by semis. They were coming from the west. The trucks yesterday turned south on Ash/Maple, which typically means you're heading for I-90. Today they turned north on Ash/Maple, which doesn't make any sense at all if you know Spokane. (Oh... maybe they're trying to head eastward on Wellesley but had to detour around the construction.)
 
  Big Chief Lives-In-Bubble

David Brooks is always frustrating. He's an astute observer of political trends, and his diagnoses of Repooflican party failures are spot on. Yet while he can see how brand-R fails to speak to the white working class, his blind assumptions show that he hasn't been anywhere near actual working class people in many decades.

Example 1:
"A quick question: What is the starting taxi fare in your city? If you are like most upper-middle-class people, you don’t know. If you are like many struggling people, you do know."

Nope. Struggling people can't afford taxis. In many smaller cities there's no taxi service at all, and in bigger cities taxis are mainly patronized by older middle and upper-class folks who can't drive but can't bear to ride mass transit.

Example 2: "The world economy is a complex, unknowable organism. Most of us try to diversify our investments and balance risk and security to protect against the unexpected."

Well, if by "us" you mean Americans, this is ridiculous. Most of us are in debt with no investments at all, and those who have a small nest-egg (like me!) don't feel the need to "balance risk and security". I don't gamble in any sort of casino, whether Indian, Italian or Jewish. Only the very rich can afford to risk significant sums for greater returns.
 
Monday, July 11, 2011
  FedFlix: a good resource

FedFlix is based at Archive.org, and mainly organized by National Technical Info Service. It's a huge load of Federal and State films, well-indexed and easy to search, with 'fat spots' in three distinct eras.

After 1990, it's mostly C-Span videos of congressional hearings and such. The newest I can find is only two weeks old.

Fairly sparse from 1970 to 1990.

In the '60s a big set of military recruiting and training films related to Vietnam, plus some anti-Communist school films.

Before that, it's much more random but abundant. WW2 military, plus lots of commercial and corporate propaganda that was commissioned or contributed to the Feds. Seems to start in the New Deal, not much before that.

At the moment about 7000 clips, but constantly growing at the new end from C-Span.
 
  Wild illogic from Weepy Wino

Boehner:

"The American people will not accept and the House cannot pass a bill that raises taxes on job-creators."

= = = = =

Completely absurd. If rich people were creating lots of jobs, you could plausibly make this argument, though it wouldn't necessarily be valid. You could say "The situation is working. Let's not change it."

But rich people ARE NOT creating jobs. In fact, NOBODY, RICH OR POOR, is creating jobs this year. Furthermore, big corporations (home of big money) have not created jobs IN AMERICA for twenty years. They've made lots of jobs in China, India and Mexico.

There are lots of reasons for the lack of job creation. Bugsy Bernanke's casino, the uncertainty of Obamacare, insane EPA regulations, fear of litigation, patent trolls. But the one thing we can say for dead certain is that TAX RATES ARE NOT PART OF THE PROBLEM.
 
  Epenthetic transport

I've been taking a different bus for my near-daily shopping trips this summer, since the usual bus is detoured by street construction and doesn't hit the nearest stop. The alternate route is actually better in most ways: less walking and more riding, gives me a chance to see a wider variety of people in less familiar neighborhoods. Especially the female variety of people. I may stick with this route after the detour is done.

Observed an interesting phenomenon. The Coeur d'Alene Casino runs a private van route into the downtown area, stopping at a few key locations to pick up poor folks who enjoy losing their money to Indians. The Casino van has become an accidental and unsynchronized extension of the Spokane bus system. An older lady got off the Casino van and scurried across the street to the STA stop where I was sitting. While we waited, she explained the system: there isn't an official bus from CDA to Spokane, so she gets from home in CDA to her appointments at the VA hospital by taking a taxi to the Casino, riding the Casino van to the Safeway, then catching the bus to the VA. Complicated but cheaper than owning a car.

Reminds me of some other tacked-on transport arrangements back in the '70s. When I was office manager for a construction company in Okla, I took care of shipping our equipment and materials. UPS and FedEx hadn't developed yet, so the main choices were EFD and Mistletoe Express. EFD began as a route delivering movies to theaters in small towns across Kansas and Missouri; Mistletoe began with a few trucks carrying the Daily Oklahoman paper to cities across Oklahoma. Both had expanded to carry general freight along with their basic mission, but you had to know the details and schedules of each system. You couldn't just call them and expect "anywhere anytime" shipment.
 
Sunday, July 10, 2011
  EXCELLENT.

The British government is an oddly mixed bag. Some parts of it are rolling straight into Hell, while other parts of the Cameron admin are recapturing big chunks of territory for civilization.

For the latter, consider the new rules for public schools:
Under the rules, schools are told to:

• Consider calling in police to prosecute pupils who make serious false allegations against staff;

• Resolve the vast majority of accusations made by pupils within a month and ensure unfounded claims are not included in teachers’ records;

• Punish pupils for misbehaviour and bullying committed outside schools, including at evenings and weekends;

• Search pupils’ clothing, bags and lockers for drugs, alcohol, weapons and stolen goods without their consent;

• Consider forcing all pupils to undergo airport-style screening checks as they enter school even if they are not suspected of carrying weapons;

• Require all parents to sign “home school agreements” and apply to the courts for £50 spot fines or parenting orders if sons or daughters regularly misbehave or skip classes.

Some of the most comprehensive guidance covers the use of “reasonable force” to restrain pupils.

This can include standing between pupils or physically blocking their path, guiding children by the arm or holding youngsters to get them under control.

Staff should “always try to avoid acting in a way that might cause injury, but in extreme cases it may not always be possible to avoid injuring the pupil”, the document says.

Physical force can be used to break up fights, stop children attacking classmates or teachers and to remove disruptive children from lessons or school events.

Schools do not need parents’ permission to use force and must not automatically suspend staff who are accused of using excessive force against children, says the guidance.


Bravo, bravo, bravo.

Remarkably complete and uncompromised. Removes all legal obstacles to good school discipline. (Doesn't solve the cultural problems, but the teachers can start to help the culture if they're no longer strangled by legalistic idiocy.)

Especially the parts about prosecuting false accusers and encouraging the use of force against dickheads and bullies. About damn time.

Best part: the rules will only need to be used once or twice per year in each school. When false accusers and dickheads see one of their evil tribe receiving full counterforce, they (and their dickhead parents) will miraculously figure out how to behave in a civilized way.

Will America ever return to civilization? Nope. Lawyers won't allow it.
 

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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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