Monday, October 31, 2011
  It's Aphid Day!

[ Reprinted from last year; the bugs are a month late this year. I was about ready to give up on them! Summer started a month late this year, which may be why they reached the swarming stage a month late? ]

Every year in Spokane the end of summer is marked by the swarming of tiny white-winged flies.

Insects don't waste much time in adulthood; lots of bugs live several years as larvae and only a few days as adults.

These flies take it to an extreme. Adults are minimally equipped to get in the air and reproduce. They don't have as much brain power as other flies, nor do they have hard shells. Instead of flying purposefully, they drift with the wind like seeds, and die as soon as they bump into anything even at near-zero drifting speed. Result: for a couple of days, your face and clothes are covered with semi-liquid insects.

Despite their lack of navigation, they must have some kind of superior instinct or 'community intelligence', because picking the last warm day is much harder than picking the first warm day of spring. Termites and ants don't need to calculate their swarming day; they only need a simple neuron to detect when temperature rises past a certain threshold, plus an emitted pheromone to trigger the avalanche.

But how do these flies determine that today is not just warm, but the last warmth for their generation? They must be sensing something besides temperature.

At any rate, they serve as a reliable sign for us, even if our supercomputers can't match their calculations.



Polistra has put it into folk-wisdom format:

White flies swarming, no more warming.

= = = = =

[Artistic note: the swarm in the animation turned out nicely, but Polistra's head looks steroid-swollen and South-Park-ish for unknown reasons. Maybe she's allergic to the bugs.]

[Technical note: According to some sources, these bugs are smoky-winged ash aphids, Prociphilus americanus.]


 
  Must hear

The Satanist/Leninist poison vendors are roaring this week with two genocidal topics: the 7 billionth baby, and "Noted Skeptic" Richard Muller's standard pack of lies about carbon. Muller is a "Noted Skeptic" in the same way that Rosa Parks was a "tired maid" and Betty Friedan was an "ordinary housewife" and Anita Hill was a "conservative Republican" and David Souter was an "unknown quantity". In fact, all were hardass Commie activists from the start, and the standard Commie lie about their "sudden conversion" or "sudden growth" doesn't work any more.

The dubious "fact" of the 7 billionth baby serves as a platform to launch a week of pro-abort propaganda, coming at the issue from many different angles, always concluding with ALL HUMANS MUST BE KILLED AT BIRTH! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!

One notable exception, created by one amazing man. In this interview, BBC's hardline Satanist/Leninist host talks with Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, head of the UN Population Fund.

Most amazing: Osotimehin works for UN, but is NOT a Leninist by any means, though he may be an old-fashioned socialist. How did a sane and factual man get into a high position at the UN? No matter how it happened, we are blessed by his presence!

He understands population accurately: there's nothing special about 7 billion, and there's no shortage of food. There is a terrible shortage of organization and storage, especially in the poor countries, and the situation has grown tragically worse in the last few years because Goldman Sachs pushed food prices up in poor countries in order to obscenely enrich Goldman Sachs. (Osotimehin didn't say that explicitly, but it's true anyway.)

BBC's Gramscian devil kept trying over and over and over to get Osotimehin to agree with genocide, but Oso stayed firmly with facts. He was ready for all questions, and finished with an analogy I hadn't heard before: If you gathered all 7 billion people together as if for a group picture, they would all fit into a metropolitan area like Los Angeles. In other words, we're just not all that damned important compared with the size of living Nature.

Our overall mass, AND our overall 'emissions' of various chemicals, are about 1/1000 of the overall mass and emissions of bacteria. To a first and second approximation, the earth is bacteria. To a third approximation, the earth is bacteria and fungi. Big critters like us are just interesting decorations. Of course, big critters like us actually consist more of bacteria and viruses than our "own" cells anyway.
 
Sunday, October 30, 2011
  Best article of the year.

Must Read.

Janet Daley in UK Telegraph pulls the whole EU mess together.
Far from being an antidote to the ideological delusions of the past century, a trans-national superstate is the same sort of utopian, unnatural, ahistorical folly that earlier generations attempted to foist on the recalcitrant populations of Europe. Its doctrine of “co-operation” is simply coercion by another name. It relies on unswerving belief and enforced conformity, just like all the “year zero” political movements that ended in totalitarianism and terror in the past. The one hope is that the great mass of the people, unlike most of their political leaders, seem to understand all this quite clearly. It remains to be seen whether they will have to go out on the streets to make their case.


See Polistra's main points in the last few years.

The one new aspect of the EU: it has assembled and maintained a classic evil empire without any battleships or bombs, without any divisions of infantry and tanks. When a set of Satanic ideas holds absolute dominion over all the schools, all the financiers, all the lawyers, all the economists, all the "scientists", all the churches, and all the media, you don't need no steenkin divisions. When FACTS are unspeakable and unthinkable, when every level of authority can only move in the Correct direction, you don't need no steenkin bombs.
 
Saturday, October 29, 2011
  Third generation

England has changed the rules for succession, allowing the first-born child to inherit the crown regardless of gender.

The timing is interesting. Obviously the rule is built for William, whose first child is a girl; but it will probably take several decades before that generation gets near the throne.

Wonder if the timing is a not-so-subtle hint to Charles the Microwit? "Elizabeth doesn't have much time left. We're making rules right now for the sake of William and his kids, not for you. Please abdicate your inbred idiot arse now, to clear the path for William."
 
  Russia gets it right

Russia has abandoned the spring forward, fall back dance for Daylight Time. They have chosen to stay on the Forward step, which would not have been my choice... but one way or the other, stability is best. Medvedev correctly lists a number of health problems caused by shifting time. None are major, but still it's a completely avoidable source of stress.

The original supposed reason for the switch is long since vanished.
 
Friday, October 28, 2011
  Instant chaos. Just add water.

News from Vancouver, Wash:
The Evergreen School District is telling Vancouver parents it has no problem with a male substitute teacher who dresses like a woman as long as he follows the dress code that prohibits outfits that are too short, too tight or low cut.

... The sub filled in Wednesday at a humanities class at Wy'East Middle School. Some kids who were laughing and making jokes were pulled out of class.


Bye-bye civilization. Hello chaos.

By god, it's time for sharia. I'd welcome sharia right about now.

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  Lucid interval

Been working hard on courseware, not much spare brainpower for other realms. For some reason a halfway decent thought popped up when I was commenting at Uncommon Descent this morning. Might as well copy it here for my own reference if nothing else.

The context is Steven Pinker's recent claim that overall human violence is going down in the last century or so.

Seems false from many different angles. My angle:

In the 20th century mass-produced violence overwhelmed individually crafted violence, just as mass-produced stuff overwhelmed individually crafted stuff. Small-scale warlords were priced out of the market. As Germany, Russia, China, and America roared into various parts of the world with huge forces and huge bribes, the warlords found that their resources were consumed by the big powers, and found that the local appetite for violence was either totally suppressed or mercenarized by the big powers.

After the Cold War ended, some of those warlords resumed serious fighting, but others found an outlet for their power-hunger in illegal commerce of drugs and weapons. See IRA or Taliban for examples.
 
  And a rare bit of sanity (provisional!)

Probably won't get anywhere, but an interesting idea. A city councilman in Los Angeles is proposing that the city gov't should deal only with banks that invest in local small businesses:
Los Angeles Councilman Richard Alarcon is pushing a "banking responsibility ordinance" that would require banks doing business with the city to invest in the community.

Alarcon: ... We have a responsibility to take care of our constituents. And that includes not just looking at a specific transaction, but looking at the reinvestment into our community. Are we going to do business with a bank that doesn't invest in our small business community? Are we going to do business with a bank that ripped off thousands -- and tens of thousands, if you will -- of people in the foreclosure crisis? Are we going to work with a bank that doesn't contribute to local charities? No.

Interviewer: Now I understand that you're getting some support from this Occupy Wall Street, or Occupy L.A., movement to push this idea forward?

Alarcon: They brought it to a head. The measure had been dwindling through the city system for over two years, and it re-surged when we incorporated it into a resolution to support the Occupy L.A. movement -- which by the way, received a unanimous vote at 12-0.

A distinctly Populist idea. Somewhat reminiscent of North Dakota's state bank. Think locally, act locally. Disconnect from 'global' concerns.
 
  And another act of treason

AP news item:
[Treasonous] Appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. says it will cut 5,000 jobs in an effort as it faces soft demand and higher costs for materials.

The jobs to be cut are mostly in North America and Europe. They include 1,200 salaried positions and the closing of the company's Fort Smith, Ark., plant.

The company expects the moves will save $400 million by the end of 2013.

Whirlpool also says its third-quarter net income more than doubled to $177 million, or $2.27 per share, from $79 million, or $1.02 per share. Adjusted earnings of $2.35 per share fell short of analyst expectations for $2.75 per share.


Short of analyst expectations.

Therefore 5000 real people lose their jobs.

If this makes sense to you, please kill yourself now.
 
Thursday, October 27, 2011
  Another act of war

NWCN news item:
Crews on Wednesday blasted a hole in a nearly century-old hydropower dam in Washington's south Cascades, marking another step in efforts to restore habitat for threatened and endangered fish in the Pacific Northwest.

The more than 12-story Condit Dam on the White Salmon River is the second-tallest dam to be demolished in U.S. history. Its two turbines produce about 14 megawatts of power, enough for 7,000 homes, but its owner, Portland-based utility PacifiCorp, elected to remove the dam rather than install cost-prohibitive fish passage structures that would have been required for relicensing.

The Gaian Occupation Government roars ahead with its war of total destruction, started in 1989.

Marching forward, forward, forward to make Americans MAXIMALLY VULNERABLE to every possible contingency. Removing all stable sources of energy, removing water storage that guards against floods and drought, eliminating storage of money in savings accounts, disarming and confusing airline passengers to facilitate hijacking, eliminating all production of real value.

Replacing all this with empty ideology, false theories, meaningless "debate" of recorded talking points, gambling on a monumental scale, and unimaginable riches for the privileged class.

GOG marches on, unstoppable and unresponsive, completely insulated from all dissent.

America is fucked.

= = = = =

Bit later: Northwest Public Radio does an even-handed report on this grave tragedy, letting us hear the fucking Gaian fanatics cheer their own demise and destruction, but also letting us hear a county commissioner who speaks the plain truth.
But not everyone in the area is in a giddy mood. Klickitat County Commissioner Rex Johnston says he felt "almost sick." Johnston can't believe people would voluntarily get rid of a non-polluting renewable source of electricity.

"To be destroying any green energy producing form of energy like a hydroelectric dam...That's as good as it gets as far as I'm concerned. That's just a shame to see it go away," Johnston says.


Bravo, Johnston! One sane man in a virulent lethal wolfpack of suicidal/homicidal wacked-out psychopaths.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011
  Little frustrations

Long as I'm grousing about slight frustrations, here are a few more.

(1) In April I had the trees removed from my yard. The move was justified because the preceding 12 months, 4/2010 through 4/2011, had been exceedingly windy. (Most likely because of La Niña). Almost every day was 10-20 MPH, and serious tree-busting storms were happening every couple weeks.

Turns out the exact day when the trees were cut down marked the end of that mode. Since that day, local wind has returned to a more average routine: most days calm, 10-20 once a week, serious wind once or twice per season. Rationally the frequency shouldn't make any difference; serious winds still occur, and now I don't need to worry about them. Also, I've been enjoying the open and sunny yard, and the absent trees will make it much easier to rake the roof when Big Niña brings Big Sñow. One of the trees was blocking half of the back roof, and the others formed obstacles for the long rake handle. So I have no reason for frustration, but it still intuitively feels like shutting the barn door after the horse was taken.

[Later update: The wind returned massively in July 2014 and November 2015, taking down lots of trees and houses. I survived because I'd cut down those trees in 2011. It was ABSOLUTELY WORTH THE TROUBLE AND EXPENSE.]

(2) Unlike the first, this peeve is fully justified.

What happened to white keyboards?

For many years I'd used a Fujitsu keyboard that was Just Right. Perfect ergonomics, perfect visibility. When I bought a new computer this year, the Fujitsu's PS2 connector was obsolete, and for some reason a PS2 to USB adaptor didn't work with it either. So I looked through my spare keyboards and ordered a couple new ones, and finally found a Logitech model that has a good enough arrangement and feel. It's not Just Right, but it serves. Trouble is, all new keyboards are black with white letters. In the dim room light that I prefer, this combination is hard to see. The limitation got serious lately when I (finally) started on the latest courseware revision. Lots of text editing, lots of graphics work, all requiring fast hits on the Function keys. On the black keyboard in a dim room, the F keys are hard to spot. I had to buy a little LED lamp to illuminate the board, but that shouldn't have been necessary.

The only white USB keyboards are either Apple-format, reduced keycount, or weird Salvador Dali shapes. Absolutely zero white keyboards with standard specifications. What's going on? Can't be a matter of cost. The natural color of ABS plastic is white, so it costs more to dye it black. Jesse Jackson lawsuit, maybe?

= = = = =

Later update on keyboards (June 2012): Found a USB to PS2 converter that actually works. This fact isn't well advertised or documented, but most of the USB/PS2 adapters are useless. They simply carry the wires from one plug to the other, which almost never works. The converter that works contains a chip that transfers the signals properly between the two protocols. Now I've got my old perfect Fujitsu white keyboard running again, and my hands and eyes are MUCH happier!


(3) Windows 7 is pure ratshit. This new Dell computer came with W7/64. Nominally, the machine is about 4 times more powerful than my old one. Should be faster, right? Wrong. (1) Nothing runs faster. (2) The audio system turns off sometimes, requiring a reboot. (3) Many programs crash several times per day. The whole fucking machine crashes about once a day. (4) The file system has zoomed backwards to sometime before DOS was developed. You can't open more than 15 files at once unless you fiddle with a registry value. (5) Often Windows refuses to open the file you want; you have to open some other file in the same directory first, then you can open the file you want. (6) There seems to be a limit on length of filenames. When doing mass-production graphics work in PaintShop, I was accustomed to loading up 20 or 30 images at once, checking and comparing them, modifying the ones that needed it, and saving. This worked fine on my old XP computer. Never a problem. Now I can only reliably load 3 files at a time, depending in some irregular way on the length of the filename. (7) And just to make it even more wonderful, you can't mix file types in a multiple selection. You have to load only BMPs or only GIFs or only JPGs. (8) The file listing shown in file-open boxes is usually out of date. I didn't notice this until I started beta-testing my courseware and keeping a version log. When you put a newer version of one file into a folder, Windows just keeps listing the earlier version no matter how many times you hit Refresh. I didn't notice this before because I normally use one of those Norton Commander things for file actions, and the NC thing refreshes properly. It does EVERYTHING properly, which indicates that the correct filenames and times are still available to other apps, but Win idiotically refuses to use them in its own Explorer and file-open.

Great work, Microshit! One Great Leap Backwards, wiping out 20 years of incremental improvement, bringing the PC back to the great old days of Hollerith punch cards!
 
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
  Aw poop. No lights.

A huge aurora developed last night, reaching most of the Midwest, as far south as Arkansas. But nothing showed here in Spokane. There was a vague red glow in the clouds for a while, but that might have been a reflection of the orange streetlights.

Seeing the lights again is a sort of bucket-list thing; I'd been hoping to catch them easily at this northern latitude.

I saw them once before, in Kansas in 1957. Turns out I should have stayed in Kansas if I wanted to see them again! Slightly frustrating.

Bit later: Hmm. Comparing with this report from the NW coast, maybe that vague reddish glow was the Lights after all. Photo is about the same color and coverage as what I saw. Not impressive, though. Wouldn't even catch your attention if you weren't already thinking about auroras!

= = = = =

The media coverage of this solar event is screwed. Typically NOAA will give an advance warning of a solar storm, and most TV stations and websites around here will put up articles like "Watch for the Northern Lights tonight!" and "Watch for huge electronic disruptions!" Nothing ever happens after those articles. The aurora is typically seen in Norway but not in America.

This event seems to have taken NOAA by surprise, so no warning and no articles. Despite that, it may well be the most widespread aurora in living memory, spanning from South Carolina to California.

= = = = =

Sort of parallels the media coverage of comets. There have been several widely publicized comets in my lifetime, none of which were worth looking at. Ikeya-Seki was much ballyhooed in 1965; several of us nerd types got up "impossibly early" one morning (probably 6 AM!) and drove up to a high vantage point near Tuttle Creek. One of us had a telescope, and we were well-prepared with altitude, azimuth and all that. Nothing. No comet visible.

Same thing with Kohoutek in '73 and Halley in '86. Big news, no visible comet.

But one that didn't make the news was hugely dramatic. For reasons now forgotten, I was helping some friends of the family drive from Kansas to New York in April 1970. Around 2 AM I was taking my turn at the wheel, going straight east on a drab flat section of old US40 in Illinois. I caught something bright to the left; thinking it might be a car trying to pass, I turned to look, and immediately realized what it was. I swerved onto the shoulder, recovered, and shouted COMET! The others woke up. I tried to show them the comet and tried even harder to explain what had happened, because COMET! is probably not the most commonly shouted word in a swerving car at 2 AM. They grumbled and went back to sleep. Later I figured out this was Comet Bennett. Not a household name, to say the least, but it was the only easily visible comet in living memory.
 
Monday, October 24, 2011
  Do dissidents help?

Couple days ago Polistra called out the honest scientists (if any exist) for failing to disown the murderous corruption of the Global Warming cult.

A parallel but larger situation exists in Economics, where the transparently false theories of neoclassical economics, disprovable in a few seconds, serve as the unquestioned foundation of all the world's current problems. (Including the Carbon Cult, which is partly a subset of the Economics Cult.)

= = = = =

Critical question: Among people with real power, who is dissenting from the two evils?

= = = = =

With the Carbon Cult, absolutely zero scientists with real power have disowned the genocide. A tiny handful of retired scientists, none famous, have come out publicly against it, but nobody who is currently in a position to receive or distribute grant money. Nobody at all. Tenure works perfectly to enforce rigid orthodoxy. And only one non-scientist with power is publicly arguing the case for truth: James Inhofe.

So the list of meaningful opponents has exactly one heroic name on it.

James Inhofe.

= = = = =

With the Goldman Cult, the situation is considerably better, or so it would seem.

None of the "A-list" economists have dissented, but several currently working economists of mid-sized repute (eg Yves Smith, John Medaille, Dean Baker) have exposed the crime in books and articles.

Best of all, several current board members of the Federal Reserve (outside NYC, of course) have been writing and speaking parts of the truth for several years, and even using their votes on the Fed board to push for decontrol of interest rates and re-regulation of speculators. Two important prosecutors (Eliot Spitzer, Cyrus Vance jr) have been working to build cases against fraudulent banksters. Spitzer was kicked out by a honeytrap, but Vance is still working, and lower-level prosecutors seem to be pursuing cases.

= = = = =

So, looking at the constants and variables, we see that the Carbon Cult has exactly one consequential dissident, while the Economics Cult has at least a dozen active and powerful dissidents.

But this difference is not reflected in the relative strength of the Cults. The Carbon Cult is definitely starting to fade, mainly because it consumed its own foundation. The Economics Cult shows no sign of fading, no sign of change in official response. The governments that deregulated in the '90s are still paying trillions in tribute, rewarding the Cult for its trillion-dollar theft; the governments that had enough sense to hold onto their regulations are still remaining sensible.
 
Sunday, October 23, 2011
  Legalism leads here

BBC reports on a not-quite-serious debate between American and Brit scholars over the legality of the 1776 Declaration of Independence. From the British viewpoint it was pure treason. You can't really argue with that legalistically.

This shows the serious danger of the current EU-US focus on "war crimes" and similar legalistic concerns. We're worrying about whether Qaddafi was given "due process", whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean; and lots of leftists consider Bush's war against Iraq to be a "war crime". Of course they don't consider the NATO/US war against Libya to be a "war crime", because it was supported by a Democrat.

Applying legal standards to wars and revolutions is a category error. A logical fallacy.

Laws are meant to be applied by an existing government, against the people who are subject to that government.

Wars are interactions between two existing governments, and revolutions are replacements of existing governments by new ones. Within the context of those interactions and replacements, laws simply have no meaning.

After the war or revolution is done, the winners make the laws and the losers are no longer in a position to do anything. That's brute reality.

The only question we can meaningfully ask about a war or revolution is: Was this trip necessary? Was it helpful to the people involved? In the case of the 1776 Revolution, the answer is emphatically NO.
 
Saturday, October 22, 2011
  They're right about one thing

The Carbon Cult is still screeching its murderous message, but it's no longer getting anywhere at the level of international treaties and huge governmental programs.

Some countries and states (eg Australia and California) are roaring ahead toward Hell faster and faster, but most of the countries that had been pulling the train have either turned off their engines or switched onto sidings for a rest.

The Cult's underlying message was about the limits of human knowledge (justifying the Precautionary Principle) and the limits of capitalism (justifying total armed robbery by the Wall Street Mafia).

Turns out their Hell Train has bumped into exactly those two limits... in a way they didn't foresee.

They didn't foresee that their total limitation of knowledge by ruthlessly censoring all paid media and paid universities was insufficient to silence the legions of unpaid bloggers and thinkers.

The unpaid "skeptics" understood the limits of knowledge in a different way. We understood the proper humility of science, and understood that a grotesquely false claim based on abstract mathematics could be disproved in a few seconds by reference to well-measured data and proper logic.

The Cult didn't foresee that their total manipulation of stocks, derivatives and insurance companies was insufficient to overcome the finite supply of real value in the world. They forgot that stocks, options and derivatives ultimately require real value as a base.

Worst of all, the Cult didn't foresee that their own draconian restrictions on mining and drilling and manufacturing were drastically reducing the supply of real value. They didn't foresee that their subsidies on fraudulent wind and solar "energy" were diverting money from research that could have increased the pool of real value or the supply of skilled human capital. They didn't foresee that their biofuel requirements would cause parts of the world to starve, riot and revolt, giving the world's rulers a much more serious problem to worry about.

In short: The Carbon Cult's psychopathically grandiose pursuit of money, power and glory could only work in a world with lots of spare money, lots of spare power (in both senses!) and lots of spare glory. Their own actions ushered in the era of scarcity they had been warning us against.

They depleted the supply of money, power and glory, so the ordinary people and the power-brokers have lost patience with the Carbon Cult, have lost tolerance for swallowing infinite quantities of toxic shit to appease a nonexistent evil Goddess.

As the quote up there in the title icon says, "Nothing arbitrary, nothing artificial can endure." An artificial attempt to limit all knowledge to the false abstract theories that aggrandize the Cult, an arbitrary attempt to channel all money into false abstract derivatives that enrich the Cult, has not endured.
 
Friday, October 21, 2011
  You know it's a depression when....


The Washington agency that processes unemployment claims is planning layoffs of their own.

The Employment Security Department issued notice Friday that it will cut 222 jobs in January. Agency spokeswoman Sheryl Hutchison says more layoffs are expected next summer.

Nuff said.
 
  Language update for October




Professor Polistra has shoveled out another load of verbal shit: new terms and misused words.

= = = = =

Underrepresented.

A long euphemism for poor. "The recyclers in Buenos Aires mainly live in shanty towns. They are the most underrepresented people in the city."

= = = = =

The Disenfranchised.

A longer euphemism for poor. "The people here are the disenfranchised. They don't have the means to travel to New York for the protest."

= = = = =

Insufficiently Provisioned.

The longest euphemism for poor! Used by Professor Phil Scraton in discussing the Traveller criminals.

= = = = =

Space used metaphorically:

"Steve Jobs took all of those music companies who were afraid of the digital space, and gave them..."

"In the cosmetic space, perfumes are hot. In the Internet space, iPhones are hot...."

"Ellen Zentner, working more in the fixed-income space of economics..."

= = = = =

Sketchy.

Seems to mean incomplete or rough or a lot of other things. At the moment it's a fresh visual metaphor. Will undoubtedly become trite later on.

"If you don't have government-provided day care and you're forced to rely on private care that is sketchy..."

Ski resort advertises "More time on the mountain, less time on sketchy mountain roads."

= = = = =

Confronting as adjective.

"I used various views which are confronting in various ways." Seems to be a variant on transgressive, used solely by avant-garde "artist" types. Means that the "artist" has enforced rigid unyielding Establishment orthodoxy in the most violent and inquisitorial way, while pretending to be a Rebel Outsider. (Dammit, at least the original Inquisitors were honest about their intentions.)

= = = = =

Define as middle-voice verb.

"We've heard from Miranda, who is disenchanted with the church and defines as Queer." Seems to be a variant on identifies.

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  Hope they don't get stupid

Western media and political forces are pushing the new Libyan government to adopt "democracy" and "human rights" for the usual insane bizarre suicidal Western reasons.

I truly hope the rebels don't get sidetracked by idiotic Western expectations of "democracy"; hope they're smart enough to see that "democracy" and "human rights" have killed Europe and America.

Their entire reason for fighting was to make Libya a better place for ordinary Libyans to live and work. They shouldn't be forced to make Libya a good place for Jews, Christians and homosexuals; those groups already have other places to live.

The rebels will need to rule very firmly for a long time to turn the government around and eradicate the leftovers of Qaddafi’s regime.

Elections will only allow Qaddafi’s loyalists to resume power. See Manweller's Rule.
 
  "Interested in science"

Via Uncommon Descent, a mostly unsurprising article about the personalities of scientists. The article is proposing a new sub-branch of psychology to study this, which is purely unnecessary. Lots of good writers have been analyzing this for the last hundred years. With one interesting exception, the characteristics mentioned here agree with the long series of observations by philosophers and essayists.

The unsurprising part:"Neuroscientists have observed the brain correlations of scientific reasoning, discovering, for instance, that people pay more attention to data that concur with their own personal theories."

Basic human nature, not peculiar to scientist types.

The exception: "In meta-analyses of personality studies of scientific interest and creativity, he has teased out a contradiction: People who are highly interested in science are higher than others in conscientiousness (that is, such traits as caution and fastidiousness) and lower in openness to experience. Meanwhile, scientific creativity is associated with low conscientiousness and high openness."

Lower in openness is the unexpected part. Historically, being open to new experience has always been the most important requirement for doing science.

In recent times Big Science has become more religion than science, based on strict adherence to predetermined abstract theories handed down by the priesthood, and purely unfriendly to observation and experience.

When open-to-experience youngsters come to understand this new emphasis, they leave the field of science in disgust.

Thus I'm wondering how the quality of "interested in science" was defined by these authors. Do they mean kids who like to play with chemicals and examine critters in creeks? Or do they mean graduate students who have already been selected by the priesthood for orthodoxy? If the latter, no contradiction. These are people who will do well in the professional world of modern religious "science", but they are not really scientific personalities.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011
  California finishes suicide

Calif completes its Cap-N-Trade plan.

Horrible news for innocent citizens who can't afford to leave Loonyland, but good news for the non-suicidal parts of America.

Lots of companies will be looking for sane locations now, and the handful of sane states will be able to pull in some of those companies.
 
  You fuckheads, that's the GOOD part.

Cain's 999 plan has some bad tendencies toward regressiveness, but it has one EXTREMELY GOOD consequence: By taxing all sales, it finally puts a sort of tariff on Chinese shit. Not a very strong tariff ... probably won't change the incentives much ... but at least it will finally bring in some Federal revenue from treasonous "American" corporations that choose to destroy America. Tariffs were originally meant to be the main source of Federal revenue, and were in fact the main source until Madman Lincoln decided to tax income along with burning down half the country, murdering 600,000 people and shredding the Constitution.

Some commentator on Bloomberg News [the Heart Of Gramscian Darkness] noted this tariff-like aspect of 999 a moment ago. And with perfect Satanic predictability, the Satanic commentator saw good and evil precisely backwards. He said "Cain's plan is dangerous because it smacks of Protectionism."

You egregious evil disloyal anti-American traitorous fuckhead, Protectionism is the one thing we need above all.

Ideally we need to set up a full naval blockade against China and India. Nothing in, nothing out. All traitor corporations that have benefitted from outsourcing jobs and production should be closed down, their executives jailed for life, and their criminal assets confiscated and redistributed to Americans whose jobs were stolen.
 
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
  Comrade Corwin dead. Good riddance.

Comrade Norman Corwin died at 102. Comrade Corwin was a Stalinist from the start. During WW2 he wrote obnoxious pompous pro-American dramas because Stalin was our ally. After the war he wrote obnoxious pompous anti-American dramas because Stalin was our enemy. After the Soviets smashed all resistance to their subversion with the Army-McCarthy trial, Comrade Corwin joined the resurgent cadre of Soviet writers who turned most of radio and TV into a toxic witch's brew of bleak despair and moral confusion, explicitly designed to destroy Western civilization.

Good riddance to evil Commie rubbish. Should have died much earlier. No doubt he's partying now with his good buddy Comrade Roy Cohn in the Tenth Circle of Hell, which is wholly owned by Roy.
 
  Odd exception

Wonder what's happening behind the curtains with this development?
British medical researchers have condemned a Europe-wide ban on the patenting of stem cell inventions derived from human embryos...

Scientists expressed their dismay at the decision, saying the ban will act as a huge disincentive for investment in a critical area of research that promises to revolutionise medicine in the coming decades. They said the ban means that their discoveries, often made within universities with public funding, are unlikely to be developed into practical treatments for NHS hospitals because companies will not be prepared to take the investment risk without a guarantee of intellectual property protection.

The judgment [by Euro Court of Justice in Luxembourg] makes no mention of the morality of using human embryos for stem cell research but it comes to the same conclusion as the Catholic Church in its opinion that it is not right to destroy human "test-tube" embryos for commercial gain.

Professor Austin Smith, of the Wellcome Trust Centre ... said: "We are funded to do research for the public good, yet prevented from taking our discoveries to the marketplace where they could be developed into new medicines. The benefits of our research will be reaped in America and Asia."

Always fun to watch factions of the Left battling each other. Especially fun to hear commie "scientists" talking about their High Church EU in the same words they previously reserved for their 666 Vampire Devil, George Dubya Bush.

But in this case there's something truly strange and inconsistent. EU is always always always on the side of mass death and total genocide in all possible areas of life and science. When an EU court makes a decision that appears to agree with ordinary human morality, there must be some other agenda working under the surface. Bribery by Chinese stem-cell companies? (And come to think of it, was that also the real reason for Bush's oddly complex decision on stem cells?)

Later thought: No, probably not Chinese influence. Most of the Chinese stem-cell work doesn't use embryonic cells anyway, so they wouldn't need to push EU and US to avoid embryonic. In fact such a bribe would be counter-productive, because it would push EU and US researchers to do research that was not murderous. As long as the Western "scientists" were staying within their Mengele comfort zone, they weren't competing with China.
 
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
  The power of 70-year-old advertisements

Every night I sleep with a familiar playlist of old-time radio shows, usually starting with something fairly fresh and amusing to distract just enough of my mind to get to sleep. The later parts of the playlist remain constant for long periods because I only hear them when I wake up for whatever reason. Most of this 'static' playlist is episodes of Info Please, always satisfying even when familiar. Best regularly scheduled show in the history of radio and TV.

The later years of Info Please were sponsored by Heinz, which seems to have been a happier arrangement than the earlier Lucky Strike account. [Supposedly Lucky Strike kept pressing the panelists to smoke their product on stage; the three regular panelists, all cigar men, wouldn't descend to puffing a sissified weed, so everyone was dissatisfied.]

Heinz wrote some classic advertising texts, different each week and often downright lyrical. With food tightly rationed, these ads must have been more nostalgia than invitation at the time. This one-minute segment on tomato soup is an excellent example, clipped from a 1943 episode.

In the past year or so, these ads were only nostalgia for me as well. My digestive system was stormy, and I'd narrowed down my diet to the blandest possible food. Last month, after hearing a complete description of acid reflux by Dr Zorba on NPR, I decided to start taking an acid blocker. Works beautifully! Since then my innards have been calm and windless, and I've been sleeping much better.

So I've finally succumbed to the Heinz ads and resumed cooking old favorite combinations of various vegetables in tomato soup.



Mmmmmmmm.
 
  Another optimistic note

This is interesting.
Two-thirds of New York City voters agree with the views of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators who have taken over a Lower Manhattan park to protest corporate greed, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday.

By 67 percent to 23 percent, respondents said they agreed with the group's views ...

"New Yorkers, even Republicans, back the Wall Street protesters on at least two things they're talking about, a get-tough attitude toward banks and Wall Street and continuation of the state's millionaire's tax," Carroll said.

I need to revise my attitudes toward New Yorkers in general. Maybe they're human after all.
 
Monday, October 17, 2011
  Econned



Been reading Econned, a new book by Yves Smith. Explains in great detail, with plenty of stories, how the "scientific" theories of economics have been used as the basis for the 30-year reign of evil in Western capitalism. Verifies most of the things I've been seeing from the outside, such as the replacement of profit motive by share price and the totally criminal attitude of the bankers.

Smith gives a commonsense explanation for the superiority of non-profit or privately held companies over share-based companies. I'd been seeing the effects of the difference: when your aim is higher share price, you merge, acquire and manipulate instead of serving customers. Smith discusses those consequences at some length and also gives the basic cause, which I hadn't understood. When you're privately held, you're using your own money for capital, and you care what happens to your own money. When you're market-based, you're using Other People's Money for capital, and you don't give a shit what happens to them. (Yet another example of the broken circle, the total failure of the feedback loops that used to form the 'invisible hand'. Without negative feedback any organism or organization is doomed.)

[Incidentally, great verification of the difference on NPR's Talk of the Nation program today. Question is "Who's Hiring?" Answer is: Not small businesses. They're either too small to have employees, or they're failing at the same rate as they pop up. No net growth. And certainly not evil treasonous share-based corporations; they're stealing American jobs and shipping them to China and India as fast as they possibly can. The only net growth is in mid-sized privately held companies, which are running steadily and growing slowly. Because they're small enough to have personal connections to employees and customers, they serve both well.]

The problem with business and government being 'blinded by science' is a lot worse than I thought! One example:



This equation represents the value of a derivative that was sold to quite a few suckers who should have known better. The suckers weren't old ladies in Palm Beach, they were investment departments at banks and insurance companies who presumably knew something about math.

I could see in about 5 seconds that the resultant payout of the derivative was always exactly zero at the time when it was invented. (In the last couple years it could be nonzero because LIBOR has become a tiny number, but that wasn't anticipated.)

Parsing it out: [LIBOR X 1/LIBOR] = 1. [LIBOR to the 4th x LIBOR to the -3rd] = LIBOR. So the middle part equals [1-LIBOR], which was always a negative number until rather recently. Multiply and divide this negative number by various positive stuff (NP, 7, days, 360) and you still have a negative number. The maximum of 0 and any negative number is always 0.

Basic algebra, not fancy calculus. It's painfully obvious. And yet: "The client was paying $4 million a month for three years for the privilege of having a perfectly worthless contract."

The situation exactly parallels the "global warming" scam, where equations and data that can be immediately spotted as false continue to bamboozle every government, every university, and every media outlet in the world.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011
  An optimistic note

Let's hope egregious satanic mutant Strahan is right!
Greece is going to default, one way or another, that much is clear. The bigger question is whether it will also leave the euro and what that would mean. What is so far underappreciated is that a Greek exit would have appalling consequences for the climate.

Consummation devoutly to be wished!
The climate always takes a back seat when economies turn sour, but the impact of a euro break-up would be profound. ... A euro break-up is likely to shatter the EU, and with it the hard won architecture of climate policy.

For a start, the Emissions Trading System would be unlikely to survive. True, the ETS has been widely criticised as ineffectual, but the system at least imposes an international framework which could be strengthened and expanded. That would all be swept away, along with any obligation for countries to deliver their 2020 targets on emissions, renewables and energy efficiency.

Yay!

Of course when Strahan says "the climate", he actually means "infinite money, power and glory for mass-murdering pseudoscientists and all-consuming Wall Street speculators."

Besides breaking up the climate Mafia, the fall of the monstrous EU would be a heaven-sent wonder in every possible way.

The EU has been Axis Headquarters for the Three Horsepersons of the Modern Apocalypse: "Global Warming" pseudoscience, Diversity, and Free Trade. All three are poisonous and deadly in various ways. All three give infinite power and riches to the elites who are already rich and powerful. All three steal power, money, work, dignity and life from the poor and working class in every miserable country infected by their evil.

If EU blows up, the world will have a significantly better chance of recovering from these terminal diseases. Without the single intellectual center of evil, the elites in each Euro country will find it easier to behave rationally, easier to give more consideration to the unique desires of their own people for a goddamn normal life.

It will only have an indirect effect on US and Australia, but our evil elites will at least be deprived of their external support. When they decide to kill more poor people, at least they won't be able to say "Everybody's doin it, doin it, doin it."
 
  The full story in a few paragraphs

Paul Craig Roberts explains everything, concisely and completely.
 
  An actual decision!

This is definitely newsworthy:
The U.S. is abandoning plans to keep U.S. troops in Iraq past a year-end withdrawal deadline, The Associated Press has learned. The decision to pull out fully by January will effectively end more than eight years of U.S. involvement in the Iraq war, despite ongoing concerns about its security forces and the potential for instability.

This will be the first time since 1993 that our troops have actually departed from a country instead of occupying a new one every month or so.

The simple fact of making a goddamn correct decision is also highly unusual for the modern DC government. Normally, any decision to waste more, consume more, kill more, destroy more, commit national suicide faster, is automatic; but any decision that leads to sanity or health is utterly impossible.
 
Friday, October 14, 2011
  Major, I think we're not in Fox any more

Today's On Point featured a highly informative discussion about the most recent Repooflican debate. Major Garrett, formerly with Fox, declared his independence firmly in this discussion. He gave a precise and complete diagnosis of the Wall Street disease, and the divergence of Repooflican candidates from the accurate judgment of most Americans.

My fairly close transcription:

Host Tom: Do these things live on separate continents? Do the Tea Party and Occupy sort of hook up at some point? How do you see that resonating?

Major: Sure. I think it's a commonality of economic anxiety, expressed in different ways and with different villains. For Tea Party the villain is taxation and regulation. For Occupy, the villainy is that we don't manufacture as much as we used to, and that we have a tremendous amount of brainpower devoted to the mechanistic side of capitalism, to making money out of the movement of money without creating well-paying jobs or building things in this country.

I think in broad strokes, those are the levels of concern. What I found fascinating and factually repellent about Newt and Bachmann's answers to Karen's questions, is that they want to associate ONLY the Community Reinvestment Act with the entire real estate and economic collapse. You simply can't blame all of it on that one government action. Remember, in 1999 we repealed Glass-Steagall, the depression-era law that made banking in this country, for lack of a better term, very boring. It was very constrained. You couldn't have insurance companies and banks doing securitization. All of that was broken [in 1999]. Three Republicans wrote that law [repealing Glass-Steagall]: Tom Bliley of Virginia, Phil Gramm of Texas and Jim Leach of Iowa. And the Clinton administration supported it, lobbied for it, and wrote it into law. And that made banking very exciting. And exciting banking brought us CDOs and credit default swaps. So you have two actions in Washington. Lowering standards for mortgages to increase home ownership, which everyone thought was a good idea, and these new creative investment tools, allowed by the deregulation of the banking industry, which allowed you to package them and sell them to global investors.

Tom: ... But all the Republicans are still saying this was entirely about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Chris Dodd and Barney Frank ...

Major: Which is a completely one-sided and utterly partisan view of the actual history.

Tom: I totally get it. And you've laid it out well. But what's resonating here? These are politicians. They're reading something.... do you think we've got an electorate that's sharing your view that we've been Done Wrong by Wall Street?

Major: Yes. I really do. If you say that everything Wall Street has done is
completely justified and defensible, you're going to lose touch with a wide swath of America.


There's a man who understands the damn situation, by god.
 
  Sorta obvious, but just for the record....

I've written this in comboxes at more widely read places, but figured I should put it here as well.

The Occupy Wall Street folks are plainly useful idiots. Doesn't take much thinking to spot the connection.

If a recognizable group of people is going to dissent from the orthodoxy of Wall Street and Economics, what kind of group would give Wall Street real trouble? And what kind of group would make Wall Street look wonderful?

Easy to pick.

Strong dissent by major businessmen and academics would make Wall Street nervous. Wall Street's captive media (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC) would have to work hard to crazify such people.

Strong dissent by unwashed hippies who say crazy things would make Wall Street deliriously happy. No media work needed, just show them on TV.

Betcha $100 you'll find Big Hedge money quietly backing the Occupy folks.

The deep tragedy here is that Occupy's substantive complaints (well, to the extent you can sift them out from the usual hippie dross) are exactly correct. Their diagnosis of Wall Street as the exclusive source of the virus that killed America is on the dot.
 
  Never paranoid enough

Repooflican politicians consistently fail to understand what they're up against. It's been the same since Nixon, who stupidly thought he could get away with the same shit that JFK and LBJ had gotten away with.

Now Gov Perry of Texas has foolishly commissioned a "scientific" report on the effects of "climate change" on the coastline. With perfect predictability, the "scientists" spewed their standard set of lies, scams and genocidal crimes. Then Perry's bureaucrats removed the lies, scams and crimes from the report, leaving only truth.

Result:
The scientists said they were disowning the report on the state of Galveston Bay because of political interference and censorship from Perry appointees at the state's environmental agency.

By academic standards, the protest amounts to the beginnings of a rebellion: every single scientist associated with the 200-page report has demanded their names be struck from the document. "None of us can be party to scientific censorship so we would all have our names removed," said Jim Lester, a co-author of the report and vice-president of the Houston Advanced Research Centre.

Also drearily predictable.

If Perry had understood in advance the plain and observable fact that modern "science" is nothing but a criminal syndicate, he wouldn't have bothered to ask a pack of Soviet Mafiosi to write a report for him.

= = = = =

Yes, I know that several areas of science are not criminal. But those branches have not risen up in revolt against the many areas that are either criminal or totally unscientific. When the honest and rigorous branches of science loudly and unanimously disown the Satanic evil of Economics and Climatology, and the bizarre religious nonsense of Cosmology and Quantum "Physics", then science will deserve to be called honest. Until that happens, it's all criminal by action or by silent assent.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011
  RIP R

Derb at NRO mentions a fact that hasn't popped up in any of the usual news sources: Dennis Ritchie, the R in K&R, died last week at the age of 70.

Note the sharp difference between the obit coverage of Steve Jobs and Dennis Ritchie. Jobs was a promoter who invented nothing; Ritchie co-invented the C language and the Unix operating system. Ritchie's work was massively more important to the history of technology than Jobs's work. But he didn't wear turtlenecks and didn't appear in Superbowl ads, so we don't know he existed and don't know he died.

Jobs is given credit for making the computer more accessible to ordinary users. Ritchie made the computer more accessible to programmers. Existing high-level languages (COBOL, FORTRAN, BASIC) were designed to protect the hardware from the programmer. They kept you at a safe distance, with the same bureaucratic feel as submitting punched cards to the Official Electric Brain Supervisor. C allowed you to muck around in the hardware directly. For the first time you could do powerful things as well as dumb things.

Personally speaking: I mentioned last week that Apple had zero effect on my life and career. By contrast, C was a critical step in my career. In 1983 I was switching from electronics to programming, and had already done some good original work in waveform analysis using Basic and assembly language on PCs. When Basic began to fade and C became available, I resisted for a little while but finally dove in with both feet. Can't honestly say C was ever fun or magical, but it was the necessary key to a serious career in graphics programming.

Perhaps a good epitaph would be a paraphrased famous passage from K&R's reference: Guaranteed to be suitably aligned for any type of heavenly object.
 
  Kaptur gets it right

More free-trade deals. OH BOY! MORE JOBS SHIPPED OVERSEAS! MY FAVORITE!

Kaptur: "Every single year we have a trade deficit with South Korea now. Why do we want to make it worse?"

Yup.

However: these particular treaties aren't as bad as some others, because they're bilateral agreements with one country at a time. That's the old-fashioned form of trade agreement, easier to modify and easier to supervise. Monster global agreements are the most serious problem. They create free-standing bureaucracies that inevitably end up serving China above all.
 
  Tonkin Gulf yet again

Well, FBI has created another "terrorist plot" out of thin air.

Doing their job perfectly. FBI are the only inventors and innovators left in this miserable brainless shell of a former country.

And heeeeere we go again.

Three wars aren't enough. Must have four! Must have five! Must have 190! Must invade everyone in the universe and occupy them forever! Must waste trillions of American dollars and consume thousands of American lives to defend Saudi interests! Must waste trillions of American dollars and consume thousands of American lives to defend Israeli interests!

How do I know this is a fake? Quite simple.

Persia is smart, mature and sophisticated. Persia has been playing international games for 5000 years. Persia has not attacked another nation since 700 AD.

On the other hand, America is fucking stupid, fucking infantile and wacked-out lunatic suicidal genocidal crazy bonkers. America has been attacking other countries over and over and over and over and over and over for no visible purpose since 1945, and losing every motherfucking time.

Only America could invent something like this and then believe it would convince anyone.
 
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
  New toy (Summa)



Needed some consolation during the past few weeks of illness, so started 'building' a digital model of an Olivetti Summa, which had been a constant presence in offices in the '70s when I was doing clerical work.

After I started 'building' the model from pictures on Ebay, I couldn't resist buying the pictured item. Excuse: needed more detail for the digital model. Real reason: Nostalgia.

Secretaries of that era were equipped with fingernails, jewelry and cigarettes, all of which left marks on plastic machines. This Olivetti looks brand new, unmarked and unburned, and still works perfectly. I suspect it was either a store demonstrator or an unused spare.

When I placed it to the right of my computer keyboard for measurement and detailed examination, an interesting perceptual phenomenon happened.

Normally an unfamiliar item in the near visual field will give me a momentary surprise for a few days: "Huh? Whassat? Oh yeah, that's the new toy."

In this case the opposite happened. When my peripheral vision caught the Summa, the brain said "Ah. There you are. Been missing you all these years!"

Seems that my baseline template of the world was formed in the '70s. Most dreams are situated in locations from those years and populated with characters I knew in those years. During those years, an Olivetti always occupied the right side of my visual field when I was at work. A typewriter was in the middle, where the computer keyboard is now. So the Olivetti completes the workplace template.

= = = = =



A quick guide to the functions, since there doesn't seem to be a similar guide online at the moment.

Starting from left:

The lever with a right-pointing arrow is the single backspace. Each pull of this lever removes one digit from the right side of the currently entered number. (The needle in the place-dial then moves to the right, which is pretty much useless.)

The C key is Clear, removing the entire current number.

The key with a triangle is the 'notation' key. If you want to put a number onto the tape without adding it into the sum, enter the number and hit this key. (This might be used for a category number to identify the next dollar amount.)

The X lever does a crude form of multiplication by holding the last-entered number. When it's pulled down, you can add or subtract the last entered-number repeatedly.
(Bookkeepers didn't need to multiply often; they mainly summed up the debit and credit columns of a daily journal or monthly ledger. A multiplication was rare enough that you could do it by hand without losing a lot of time. If your job required more multiplying and dividing, you merited a fancier machine such as the Divisumma.)

The number keys are self-explanatory. The single-dot key is zero, and the double-dot enters two zeroes at once, for convenience in dollars and cents. (I never used the double-dot; it was easier to just hit the big zero key twice.)

Hit the minus key after entering digits to subtract this entry from the sum.

Hit the plus key after entering digits to add this entry to the sum.

The lever on the 'backsplash' is the totaling lever. Push up (diamond) for a subtotal, down (star) for a grand total.

= = = = =

Artistic note for Poser types: Finally released this, along with more 1960s office stuff, on my ShareCG page.

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  Biofuel kills Harrisburg

The city of Harrisburg is filing bankruptcy because of a failed 'biofuel' project that was supposed to be all nice and green and profitable, but turned out to be a huge loss.

This seems to be a recurring theme with biofuel shit. Recently the Univ of South Carolina had to abandon a wildly expensive trash-to-energy generator when it was not only useless but explosive.

Spokane has been running a waste-to-energy plant for 20 years, without explosions or total bankruptcy, but it's been a losing proposition most of the time.

Clearly it's an all-around bad idea at the municipal scale. On the scale of a single industrial plant, it's usually a good idea, but hardly new. Manufacturers have been powering or heating their plants by burning leftover wood scraps for 200 years. They didn't call it biofuel, they just called it efficient use of resources.

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  Area Woman Hurt By Flying Carpet

Scheherezade in Spokane?

Nope, it's more prosaic. Pretty good windstorm yesterday, not quite strong enough to bring down any trees. But it was enough to blow a piece of carpet off the roof of the courthouse, knocking down a woman walking below. Fortunately she's not seriously injured, just some bruises. Still, it makes a unique Onionesque headline!

What was a piece of carpet doing on the roof anyway?
 
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
  Evans gets one right, two wrong

Noted via Uncommon Descent, an interesting survey piece in LA Times.

Author John Evans, a sociologist, gets one important thing right and says it loud and clear, running strongly against the grain of the usual secular asshole:
I recently conducted survey research comparing the most conservative of Protestants ... with those who do not participate in any religion. The conservative Protestants are equally likely to understand scientific methods, to know scientific facts and to claim knowledge of science. They are as likely as the nonreligious to have majored in science or to have a scientific occupation.

Bravo Evans! This is crucially important, because the secular monsters like Dawkins and Grayling insist that you can't have science, can't even have civilization, unless everyone learns and chants the perfect orthodox doctrine of anti-theist lunacy.

Fact of life: your internal beliefs about evolution and cosmology have precisely zero correlation with your ability to perform any task at all, scientific or otherwise. You can repair cars or chop vegetables or sequence DNA or classify bacteria without "knowing" that all life is random.

The only people who need to agree with Dawkins and Grayling are Dawkins and Grayling (and their fellow genocidal anti-civilization propagandists) because their income depends on writing incitements to chaos. Everyone else in the world is engaged in constructive endeavors.

But Evans goes off-track after his wonderful start.
Besides, conservative Protestants don't think of their own views as inconsistent, and they have a long-standing way, going back to at least the mid-19th century, of dividing the scientific findings they believe and don't believe. They tend to accept scientists' claims that are based on direct observation and common sense and to reject those based on what might be called unobservable abstractions.

That's not a conservative Protestant attitude, that's the complete definition of a scientific attitude. Real scientists stick to direct observations, extended carefully by instruments and math. If you accept anything based on unobservable abstractions, you are no longer doing science. You're doing faith or speculation or something else, but surely not science.

== When you say God created the universe, you are asserting an untestable proposition.

== When you say the Big Bang created the universe, you are asserting an untestable proposition.

== Both are religious axioms, strictly outside of science. You're free to believe either one, but you are not free to claim that one of them is scientific.

And then Evans skids entirely out of reality:
[Reconciliation] isn't futile. Understanding what concerns the "other side" would help. Those wishing to affect public policy on issues such as climate change, for example, need to make it clear to conservative Protestants that the science of global warming is based more on direct observations than on analytic abstractions, that it is more like determining the average body temperature of a human than where humans came from.

Nope. The pseudoscience of global warming is based on falsifying facts and tweaking equations to fit a predetermined religious axiom. It is unscientific in exactly the same way that "Young-earth creationism" is unscientific.
 
  Self-imposed blindness

I don't think any sane human still believes the old Yes, Virginia stuff... "If you read it in the newspaper it's so." The web wiped out that idea long ago.

Yet every now and then a surprising example of self-imposed blindness pops up.

This month the National Weather Service radar for Spokane is being upgraded, so the NWS website doesn't show you a radar image. Several other online sources depend solely on NWS, and they also show "Radar Unavailable" in one way or another.

Some of the local radio and TV weathercasters are going along with this lack, saying things like "Well, we can't really tell what's going on."

No excuse for that.

Originally journalists were supposed to find the information for us. That was their occupation. That was the reason we paid them. They've long since abandoned that goal, serving instead as a useless conduit for mostly false info from a single locked-in source.

We know that we can always find the information better than they can.

In this case it doesn't take a lot of work. You can still get a perfectly functional radar image at Weather.com. I don't know how they do it; maybe they have their own private radar; but it's just as accurate as always. When Weather.com shows green here, it's raining here. When Weather.com shows no green here, it's not raining here. Works every time.
 
  Need a new assumption

Lots of headlines this morning about how an agreement to fix Greek debt has moved "the market" upward, always with the unstated assumption that this is good for "the economy".

Come on, face facts. Everyone knows by now that "the market" has zero correlation to the real economy of goods and services.

It would be nice to see journalism based on this realistic premise, instead of constantly assuming that the Wall Street Cock Erection Index (commonly called The Dow) is the only valid measure of everything.

That mistaken assumption is a major part of our trouble, a major source of bubbles and TARP and all the other shit. That mistaken assumption enables insiders and traders to blackmail the public and the government into taking actions that will move certain share values up or down, on the false basis that these actions are needed to "save the Economy."

We're committing suicide to enrich a few obscenely rich people.

= = = = =

Couple days later: And one of those obscenely rich people has illustrated the point perfectly in last night's Dartmouth debate. Hellhound Romney called TARP "essential" and said: "I won't need to ask questions about the economy. I've been in the economy for most of my career." No you haven't, you monstrous Gaia-loving China-loving traitor, who should have been drawn, quartered and hanged for treason a long time ago. You've never been in the American economy for one microsecond. You've been in the Wall Street Mafia all your Satanic life. You're a Made Man in the Mafia. You've bought and sold companies and lives, and you've shipped thousands of jobs to your dear beloved loyal motherland China.

By contrast, Cain has actually worked in the American economy, managing a chain of restaurants that are good places for ordinary people to eat and work. And unsurprisingly, his plan for the economy makes sense, might even help ordinary people! I'm starting to appreciate Cain. Earlier he seemed to be just quoting the standard Repooflican mantras, but he's got some seriously good ideas.
 
Monday, October 10, 2011
  Another aptronym!

This is a great week for aptronyms.

News item from UK Telegraph about a meteorite near Paris.
Scientists said it was the first such space rock ever to have been found so close to the French capital and one of only about 60 meteorites to have landed in France in the past four centuries.

It is thought the meteor struck the house a few weeks ago when the Comettes were on holiday, which explains why they did not hear it crash landing.

They were only made aware of its presence when the roof started leaking.

"We got the roof tiler round and he was astounded," said Martine Comette, 32. "He said: 'You need to be Superman to break a tile like that! It must be a meteorite.'"

 
Sunday, October 09, 2011
  Score one for English

BBC item:

The new nation of South Sudan has decided to make English its official language, even though it doesn't have many fluent speakers of English. Since the area encompasses 150 tribal languages and very few people can write in any tongue, some sort of Lingua Franca is desperately needed. Picking English instead of Arabic asserts their Christian identity against the mainly Islamic north, and probably makes the nation a bit more friendly to foreign investors.

Good move! Not because English is superior, but because every move to assert local religion and culture against the pressure of international or regional fashion is good.
 
Friday, October 07, 2011
  In Misteromney's Neighborhood...

In Misteromney's Neighborhood, truth is nonsense.
"This is America's moment," he declared. "We should embrace the challenge, not shrink from it, not crawl into an isolationist shell, not wave the white flag of surrender, nor give in to those who assert America's moment has passed. That is utter nonsense."


Can't resist a line-by-line response.

Will Iran be a fully activated nuclear weapons state, threatening its neighbors, dominating the world’s oil supply with a stranglehold on the Strait of Hormuz?

Well, Persia hasn't attacked anyone at all since 700 AD. Why do you expect them to start now? The only aggressor in the modern world is us.

In the hands of the ayatollahs, a nuclear Iran is nothing less than an existential threat to Israel.

Maybe so, but Israel is not part of the US. Israel is a SEPARATE COUNTRY. If Israel doesn't have enough nukes to take care of itself by now, it's not our goddamn problem.

By 2015, will Israel be even more isolated by a hostile international community? Will those who seek Israel’s destruction feel emboldened by American ambivalence? Will Israel have been forced to fight yet another war to protect its citizens and its right to exist?

Maybe so. Who gives a fuck? None of our business.

In Afghanistan, after the United States and NATO have withdrawn all forces, will the Taliban find a path back to power? After over a decade of American sacrifice in treasure and blood, will the country sink back into the medieval terrors of fundamentalist rule and the mullahs again open a sanctuary for terrorists?

Probably so. None of our business. If Afghanistan becomes a sanctuary for terrorists, they will still have to make their way over here before they can do any damage. If we had been stopping immigrants and protecting our borders on 9/11 and thereafter, none of those terrorists from Saudi and Yemen and Pakistan could have done anything to us. If we don't start protecting our own borders now, it will be purely our own fucking fault.

Next door, Pakistan awaits the uncertain future, armed with more than 100 nuclear weapons. The danger of a failed Pakistan is difficult to overestimate, fraught with nightmare scenarios: Will a nuclear weapon be in the hands of Islamic Jihadists?

Probably not. But if it does, the same applies. None of our business. They can't get here unless we let them. And we can stop immigration and control the ports; we just haven't tried yet.

China has made it clear that it intends to be a military and economic superpower.

Already happened, asshole. And you MASSIVELY HELPED THEM, you monstrous traitorous enemy-adhering fuckhead.

But of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. This isn’t our destiny, it is a choice. We are a democracy. You decide.

"You decide" is valid if the word "you" is defined as Goldman Sachs. Valid but moot, because Goldman has already decided. Goldman will keep Obama, who is an even more loyal servant than Misteromney. Misteromney is merely the acceptable backup choice in case some state accidentally counts "votes" or otherwise blows the fix.

But I am here today to tell you that I am guided by one overwhelming conviction and passion: This century must be an American Century. In an American Century, America has the strongest economy and the strongest military in the world. In an American Century, America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world.

Okay, cunthole. Explain to me HOW the ordinary American has benefited from the single-superpower status. During the years when we have been USA! WE'RE NUMBER ONE! USA! WE'RE NUMBER ONE! USA! WE'RE NUMBER ONE! the ordinary American has lost income, lost jobs, lost wealth, lost cultural stability, and lost his sons in endless pointless wars, which YOU want to continue and expand.

Shut the fuck up, traitorous China-loving fuckhead Romney. In a sane country you would have been hanged a long time ago. Your father looks down from Heaven and hates you.

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  Driving while celled: Nothing new!

I'm especially hot about dickheads who use their Cellular Mobile Telephones while driving, because I got knocked down by such a dickhead exactly three years ago. Happy to see most states are now adopting strong laws against the practice.

Turns out the problem is not new, even though the free-standing cellphone is fairly new. Mobile car-mounted phone systems have been around since 1946, with special operators serving an elite population of doctors and executives.

A Fibber McGee episode in 1954 may have been the first recognition of the phenomenon in the realm of entertainment, and the first depiction of an accident caused by a car phone!

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Sidetone: The Bell Tel article linked above also includes an nice informative history of the cell phone, and another fine aptronym:

"Something better — cellular telephone service — had been conceived in 1947 by D.H. Ring at Bell Labs, but the idea was not ready for prime time."
 
  Raw-ass nonsense as always

This year's Stalin peace prize:
"We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society," the prize committee said.

Committee chairman Thorbjørn Jagland said he hoped the prize would bring more attention to rape and other violence against women as well as women's role in promoting democracy in Africa and the Arab and Muslim world.

Raw nonsense. In every place where "democracy" developed, it was men who developed it. When "democracy" decays into soft totalitarianism, it's always women who play a major part in the decay. (Not that "democracy" is actually a good thing or a worthy goal, but the Stalin Prize folks seem to think it is.)

As for peace, the examples are more limited, but think of Elizabeth I, Victoria, and Catherine the Great. Empire builders and war makers in the same top class with Alexander, Darius and Caesar. Or try to find the difference between Golda Meir and Menachem Begin. Equally bellicose.
 
  No it's not.

The Satanist-Leninist poison vendors are chanting today that Afghanistan is the "longest war we've ever fought".

Nope. That's still Vietnam. We had troops there from 1959 to 1975, and significant numbers actively fighting from 1963 through 1975. The troop count before 1965 was not as large as our current contingent in Afghan, which may be why it's not considered to be a "war"; but I don't know how you can draw sharp lines in messy wars like these. In both cases we started with "unofficial" special ops guys for a while, then ramped up gradually to large numbers of regular fighters.
 
Thursday, October 06, 2011
  Jobs

All the media are howling this morning over the body of an important Communist who shipped lots of American jobs to China.

They ought to be howling over the dead jobs, not the dead Jobs.

In 1983 my employer required me to buy an Apple II. Tried it, hated it, sold it. Replaced it with a Radio Shack Color Computer, which was vastly cheaper, more flexible, and easier to use. Since then I haven't owned anything with the Apple brand, haven't owned, handled or needed a Portable Cellular Telephone or any of the manifold variations on Portable Cellular Telephones. I use a real telephone about once a month, and that's enough jibber-jabber for me.

I'll grant you that the Mac was a tremendous advance, but it wasn't Apple's invention. It was developed by Xerox.
 
  Litmus

The 'Occupy Wall Street' protest has offered a fine opportunity for Populist-sounding types on the Repooflican side to show us their true colors. And indeed they have.

The Tea Party, which claimed at one point to be representing Main Street against Wall Street, has kicked the Occupy movement hard.

Gotcha. Not that I'm surprised. It was clear from the start that Tea Party was a false flag operation by Wall Street. (Some of the charter members appear to have been real Populists, but by the time it started growing it was a branch of Goldman.)

Now Herman Cain, allegedly pro-Main Street, has called the Occupy folks "anti-American".

Gotcha. In your mind, Wall Street IS America, so any insult to Wall Street is an insult to America.

Needless to say, no point in even checking the litmus paper of the non-Populist types such as Goldman Sachs dba "Mitt Romney", Goldman Sachs dba "Rush Limbaugh", Goldman Sachs dba "Fox News", etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. Every word they say is perfectly predictable in advance, no chance of the tiniest surprise.

On the exact opposite hand, Buddy Roemer firmly supports the Occupiers. Now there's a REAL Populist, there's my candidate.
 
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
  Just plain good

Here's a purely heartwarming story from North Carolina. Almost makes you think this miserable land will muddle through somehow... if the younger generation can grab power before we finish smashing everything to bits.

Interesting dialect from the female reporter, with glottal stops substituted for medial /t/ in Cockney style. I'd noticed that before in a friend from NC, but didn't know if it was local or purely personal. Must be local.

But what's with the constant use of meters instead of yards? Did Idiot Jimmy's metrication somehow linger in NC?
 
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
  It's not just the big boys.....

From Spokesman-Review: A bank failure has revealed a truly astonishing and obnoxious set of criminal practices among small-town banks.
The Bank of Whitman’s failure has left other regional lenders stuck with piles of insider loans that could lead to millions in losses.

Recent court filings and public records disclose that RiverBank, of Spokane, for example, loaned large sums of money to employees of Bank of Whitman for stock purchases in the Colfax-based institution that federal and state regulators closed in early August. Many of those loans, which critics say were pre-arranged between the lending institutions, are now in default.

A top state regulator considers such practices fairly common among some lenders, but a lawyer defending the Bank of Whitman employees against collection efforts calls the loan program a failed “scheme” that was designed to add shine to bank balance sheets and asset portfolios.

Some Bank of Whitman employees were required as a condition of their employment to borrow money to buy shares of their own bank, said Spokane attorney Bob Dunn.

“We’re talking about employment blackmail here,” he said.

A Bank of Whitman manager, Kyle York, said he was ordered by top bank executives, including former CEO James Tribbett, in December 2006 to buy 3,500 shares of the holding company’s stock at a price of $101 per share.

To fund the purchase, York was presented blank loan documents from RiverBank to borrow $353,843.

To repay the loan, York would be awarded sufficient bonuses and dividends to make the payments.

As Whitman’s financial condition eroded and its stock was rendered worthless, the bank stopped making the agreed-upon bonus payments to York. Those actions left York on the hook to repay a loan on a worthless asset.


It's all about share price. Profit is irrelevant, responsibility is irrelevant, legality is irrelevant, customers are irrelevant, employees are irrelevant.

Share price rules all.
 
Monday, October 03, 2011
  Language oddity



Professor Polistra hasn't been around for a while, and this time she has something a bit different from the usual update on new and obnoxious words. This one is an old oddity that goes in an unexpected direction.

Listening to an Info Please episode, Prof P heard a mention of the old pronunciation of wind. This seemed to be an odd exception to normal English orthography, and it seemed reasonable that wind later fell into line with other words.

But after a quick look through similars, she realized that the old pronunciation was perfectly regular within a special pattern or rule. Before 1750 or so, wind rhymed with ALL other -ind words! More recently, it became the sole EXCEPTION to this special pattern, while the other -ind words remained special.

But it's only a partial exception, since the etymologically unrelated verb wind (what you do to a clock) stayed inside the special pattern.

= = = = =

Second: BBC announcers continue to provide phonological fun with British or just plain sloppy pronunciation.

Mr Barack Obama = Mistah Beddick O. Bammer
Peripheral highway = Peddy Pheddical Highway
Mr Tim Geithner = Mistah Tom Geithnah

Cavalier sloppiness is a long British tradition, especially when pronouncing Wog Words. Top-level American announcers have always tried hard to get close to foreign pronunciations, and wouldn't say peripherical for peripheral.

= = = = =

Third: A picture-perfect aptronym.

From a NWPR story about the latest efforts by anti-Darwin anti-science human-killing Endangered Species loons, and a rational but overly gentle pro-science response by a forest industry trade group.
Ann Forest-Burns represents the timber industry group American Forest Resource Council. She says she's glad the US Fish and Wildlife Service is settling the question of whether the rare snails and slugs warrant protection. But Forest-Burns is worried about possible effects on logging if forest-dependent snails are labeled "threatened."

"Everything deserves to have its place. The problem is when we don't know what to do about its place and how to help it."

The USFWS decision responds to litigation from the Center for Biological Diversity. The environmental group sued the federal government to force a look at hundreds of potentially threatened species.

Hmm. Wonder why Ann Forest-Burns decided to help prevent forest fires? It's a mystery.

And another aptronym. BBC science feature on new theories about fish evolving into air-breathing critters. Author: Victoria Gill. (The actual article is highly interesting, offering more evidence toward the notion of the Grand Blueprint.)

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Sunday, October 02, 2011
  Bleah 2

Haven't been writing much because I've been getting ill. When the long dry weather finally turned to wet yesterday, my sinuses popped open, pouring lots of nasty stuff down the throat with lots of inflammation and coughing and fever. Mainly horizontal today; will see if tomorrow improves.

The underlying source is probably displaced stress. Been waiting since August for a start-work order from my publisher; they seem to be having budget problems and can't get organized. Rationally I shouldn't be worrying about this, because I'm safe enough financially whether they want me to continue or not. But rationality doesn't stop an expert worrywart.

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A useful and non-intuitive hint from ehow.com: Don't bundle up when you have a fever. That just holds the heat in like an oven. Wear one layer of clothing, or use minimal blankets in bed. This will be uncomfortable, but the goal is not comfort. The goal is to shed heat.

I was bundling up earlier today, and the greenhouse effect happened. Switched to ordinary clothes and one blanket, and the fever is dropping.


= = = = =

Next morning (Mon): After a good long sleep with one blanket, the fever is gone and the lungs are mostly clear. I can take a deep breath without coughing. About 60% back to normal, but still sort of weak and foggy.

Afternoon: fever returned, coughing returned, but still better than first day. Always good to sense progress.

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Third day: (Tue) Fever gone in morning and hasn't returned. Lots of coughing in morning, mostly gone by afternoon. Morning coughing was more 'productive' and wet than before, seems to have done a better job of pulling the nasty stuff up and out. Still weak and foggy, but most signs are improving at this point. Let's see if we can avoid relapse.

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Fourth day: (Wed) Still no fever; coughing is down to occasional; but feeling purely awful. Had to take a taxi to the store instead of usual walk/bus. Decided to test a theory, based on Dr Zorba Pastor's NPR show yesterday. The origin of this illness (including some other odd incidents in the last couple months that I haven't written about) fits Zorba's description of GERD perfectly. I hadn't realized that GERD can also affect the lungs through irritation of the vagus nerve. Got some generic acid-blocker pills at the store. Took one; an hour later the belly-burn disappeared, and with it the general sense of illness but not the mucus.

= = = = =

Fifth day: (Thu) Acid blocker let me sleep 6 solid hours for the first time in many weeks! Woke up feeling generally normal. Still occasional coughing, but no other problems. Even the brain-fog is gone, which had been worrying me.

Thank the lord for generic Pepcid! I wouldn't have thought a boiling digestive system could cause all these strange and varied problems over several months, but a constantly jangled vagus nerve can mess up nearly everything. Lungs, epiglottis, larynx, general function.

= = = = =

Finally, 10th day: All over. After the mucus was gone, there were still several days of annoying dry coughs, with no obvious purpose. Now it's decisively finished.

Judging by Wikipedia descriptions, this mysterious rare tropical ailment was something known as a 'common cold'. Fits all the parameters. Sort of embarrassing to admit this. I suppose it's down-home commonplace for most folks, but it was unknown and a little scary for me. I haven't had any colds since childhood; all my down-home commonplace illnesses have been in the digestive tract.
 

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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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