Tuesday, July 31, 2012
  Grade entries

No, I'm not talking about universities. Well, actually I am, but in a roundabout way.

Brief piece on Marketplace last night about a back-to-the-future trend. Some rich suburbs are starting to make zoning allowance for what they call 'accessory apartments'. In this context, it's a rational adjustment to a distribution problem: some people made the mistake of building over-large houses, and others can't afford to rent or buy in the city where they work or belong.

New name, old concept. The 'accessory apt' has always been around, especially in college towns. It grew hugely with defense workers during WW2, and again with the GI Bill college boom just after WW2.

The key architectural feature that made the basement apartment practical was the Grade Entry.



The main purpose of the Grade Entry was a convenient vestibule for all the services that a middle-class home used in the 1920's. The grocery boy, iceman, milkman, furnace-stoking man and the maid... all used the Grade Entry.



The door and a small landing were at ground level (thus Grade). From the landing you'd go up 3 steps to the kitchen or down 9 steps to the basement. The servicemen could thus reach the furnace or the icebox without traipsing across the parlor carpet; and the maid or the housewife could take laundry to the clothesline with minimal steps. Fancier houses sometimes had a large enough landing to hold the icebox so you could lock the kitchen entirely.

Many homeowners took advantage of the Grade Entry's decoupling effect to set up a basement apartment for GI students or war workers. In some houses the apt is still intact but unused; in others you can spot telltale remnants of a bathroom or kitchenette.



Having students in the basement isn't always fun, but the extra money must have been worth it to the homeowners of the '40s.




Grade Entries disappeared in the '50s, as one-floor open-plan ranchers designed by utopian idiots crammed all the functions and personalities of a house into one undifferentiated space. Spokane seems to have carried on the Grade Entry later, along with the parallel tradition of detached garages. Some late-60s houses have Grade Entries, and detached garages at the back of the lot are still being built now.
 
  Time for another fucking reprint.

Today's news:

Second blackout in India in two days leaves 670 million without power



= = = = = START FUCKING REPRINT: = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =




Lately I've been moving my diet away from canned and processed food and toward fresh and home-cooked. Result has been dramatic: My digestive system is working properly for the first time.

The inspiration for this change was one bowl of chili back in 1960. As I wrote before,

I'm pretty sure my mother served canned chili and canned tamales, but she was a terrible cook and everything was the same tasteless mush with different names.

Around 1960 we went out several times to a fairly genuine Mexican restaurant in a little stucco building at Pottawatomie and Manhattan Avenue, next to the Hunter's Island bridge. I'd bet the place had been a just-outside-city-limits roadhouse in earlier times. The interior was dark and grimy, but the food was an absolute epiphany; especially the chili, which was completely unlike anything we had at home. The gustatory equivalent of suddenly seeing in sharp color after a life of blurry B&W.


Why was that one bowl of chili such a revelation? Every ingredient revealed its own taste and texture. Each piece of tomato, each bean, each bit of beef, communicated with my tongue separately, and the pieces combined to make a harmonious whole.

This week I'm trying to get rid of the one remaining canned element, the tomato soup; trying to replace it with fresh tomatoes.

As I was slicing a tomato, I realized that I'm simply following Polistra's main theme. From the start these scribblings have looked at various forms of modern tasteless mush, and pointed out the Pottawatomie Chili alternative. In most cases the mush is a fairly recent development; distinct ingredients were the rule before WW2.

The mushers tell us we can't go back. Nonsense. The old unblended version worked, and the new overcooked puree doesn't work. Humans haven't changed, and Nature hasn't changed. We can go back.

Everything in Nature is highly decentralized. Each cell, each tissue, each organ, each plant and animal, has its own boundaries and its own specific area of expertise and control. The higher levels are happy to let the lower levels run their feedback loops internally.

Engineering and programming teach us the same lesson. Global variables and rigid couplings are bad; keeping the loop, or the stress, or the resonance, inside a module is good.


= = = = =

Start with the Three Horsepersons of the Modern Apocalypse, as embodied in EU above all. Free trade, Die-Versity, and Global Warming pseudoscience.

Free Trade starts with a false assumption that "economic efficiency" is the goal of all economic activity. It then decides that the best way to maximize "efficiency" is to crunch all national economies into one massive economy. Result (and real goal) is massive enrichment of the rich and starvation of the poor.

Die-Versity starts with a wildly false assumption that all humans are identical, then proceeds to mash them together to prove the assumption. This works in a few temporary and unusual situations like a wartime Army, but it leads to chaos in most situations. Result (and real goal) is massive empowerment of the rich and constant violence among the poor.

Global Warming pseudoscience starts with three wildly false assumptions. (1) The earth is one unified blob with one average temperature; (2) This average temperature is solely and rigidly controlled by one minuscule component of the atmosphere; (3) Among the sources of this minuscule component, the only one that counts is industrial output of English-speaking nations. Result (and real goal) is massive enrichment of the rich and starvation of the poor.

And then there's the EU itself, so blazingly obvious that even the mushers are starting to admit it can't work! Rigid coupling makes the whole structure shake and crack when one element moves the wrong way.

= = = = =

Several other specific examples of mush:

Financial system, on many levels. At the institutional level, Too Big To Fail. At the monetary level, securitization. At the regulatory level, rigid coupling of SEC and banks.

Neocon imperialism. All humans are identical, which means they're all identical to the NYC elite. Thus the elite's morals and culture are the ONLY possible set of morals and culture. We must spread them to all benighted nations. We must destroy Afghanistan and Iraq so the identical human units in those identical countries can share the wondrous benefits of Betty Friedan and Manolo Blahnik and Graduate Queer Studies and Kim Kardashian. When Kim loses a fingernail, all must suffer the pain.

Mass media, working in sync with the above two. Every serving of drama, comedy and "news" is the same tasteless mush with different names. The people seen in these servings have different colors and costumes, and they seem to argue, but they all agree on everything important. Gay is good, imperialism is good, The Market is good, EU is good. Everything that tends toward distinct and recognizable pieces (separate sexes, separate religions, bounded trade, separate nations) is bad.

= = = = = END FUCKING REPRINT. = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =



CASCADING FAILURES. RIGID COUPLINGS.

NATURE IS TRYING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING.

DO YOU SEE THE FUCKING PROBLEM YET?

No, obviously you don't. Even as your vast Unified Empires and Unified Grids and Unified Theories blow up in your fucking face one after another, you still don't fucking GET IT. You apply "fixes" to tighten the chains and speed the cascades. Instead of abolishing the purely criminal Libor, you punish people who manipulate it too openly. Instead of abolishing WTO and restoring bilateral trade treaties, you punish nations that subsidize their trade too openly. Instead of breaking up the Euro, you bail out nations that manipulate it too openly. Instead of deleting the genocidal Global Warming theory, you punish people who reveal the crime.

You're going to continue unifying and centralizing and theorizing and commoditizing and securitizing EVEN FUCKING MORE, because in your fucking "mind" the problem is NOT ENOUGH FUCKING MUSH.

= = = = =

Sidenote after cooling down: I'm NOT saying that all organizations, corporations and systems are bad; NOT saying that every man should be a kingdom unto himself. Civilization obviously needs systems and grids. The modern problem is that we try to make these groupings simultaneously all-inclusive and rock-solid. You can have a large and complicated grid if its joints are loose and sloppy. Animals and plants are built that way. The Ottoman Empire was built that way, and worked well for a long time. And you can have a tight-boned grid if it's small and naturally uniform like Sweden or a municipal water company. But you can't have both at the same time.
 
Monday, July 30, 2012
  Hope from the youngsters

Northwest Public Radio did a happy report on Wash state grain conditions. And there's plenty of reason for happiness. Enough snow in the winter to help the red wheat germinate, but not too much freeze; PLENTY of rain in the spring; a brief period of miserable humid weather that wilted humans but didn't bother the grain; and now back to perfectly normal summer. Sunny, warm but not too hot, bone-dry.

On top of that, other parts of the country will have a poor crop this year. So Wash farmers will sell a better-than-usual crop at higher-than-usual prices.



The following was in the broadcast, but isn't in the brief podcast at the above link:

Young reportrix Anna King was talking to a farmer. She asked him how this year's harvest looked. He said simply, "Mama gets a new kitchen." Reportrix King burst out in a fine spontaneous belly-laugh.

Imagine the same interview with a baby-boomer reportrix like Commissar Susan Stamberg, Commissar Andrea Mitchell, or Commissar Linda Ellerbee. The farmer would say "Mama gets a new kitchen", and the Commissar would stalk off in a very loud huff, leaving 30 seconds of very dead air.

Later generations of journalists still recite tired Friedanist cliches, but unlike my generation, they don't bellyfeel Newthink. There's hope.

= = = = =

8/12: King made her national NPR debut in a brief feature on a candy factory. Again her spontaneity came through beautifully. Hope she doesn't 'overthink' and lose the magic.


 
  Hand of Providence

I try hard to view Vulture Romney as an evil genius, but I'm coming to the conclusion that he's just really really really really dumb. Probably an IQ of 85 or so.

The "hand of Providence" accounts for Jewish success????

Listen, Mitt, you're supposed to be Christian at least by culture. Jesus told the Jews that their standard behavior was NOT in accord with the Hand of Providence, and he illustrated a new way of following God. That was pretty much his whole point.

Modern Jews have continued behaving in the same ways that Jesus accurately observed. (Still stiff-necked after all these years.) Instead of a moral code, Jews have a MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE-al code. This approach to life unquestionably leads to material success, just as a shark's approach to life leads to eating lots of fish.

If you claim to be a Christian or a Mormon or a Muslim or just about anything other than a Jew, you should be pointing out that infinite wealth and infinite power are SPECIFICALLY NOT the marks of God's grace. Humility, generosity and contentment are more in line with God's purposes.

Obviously Mitt doesn't care about Christianity or God's grace; obviously his own MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE-al code was learned from the Jews of Wall Street.
 
Sunday, July 29, 2012
  Most destabilizing

Trying to pay no attention to the fake "election" shit, but sometimes it gets too annoying to avoid.

Vulture Romney says: "Iran is the world's most destabilizing power."

Wrong in too many ways to count, but I'll try.


1. Ideally, stability shouldn't be an important variable. A powerful nation should serve the interests of its OWN PEOPLE. Sometimes the best actions lead to stability and sometimes the opposite. It's a side effect, not a goal.

2. Nevertheless, from 1861 to 1980, from Mass-Murdering Madman Lincoln through Helpless Imbecile Carter, stability was a main goal of American foreign policy. We consistently helped brutal tyrants and smashed all efforts toward self-determination. (In Lincoln's case, of course, the brutal tyrant was Lincoln himself; nevertheless, he established the rule that everyone else followed.)

3. Reagan broke the rule and took the pragmatic view. When he collapsed the Soviet Empire, he destabilized the world; but Reagan properly saw that as a side effect.

4. After Reagan, all presidents have specifically worked to destabilize the world even more. Since 1990, America is unquestionably the "world's most destabilizing power." Nobody comes close. Bush The Father destab'd Iraq. Clinton destab'd Yugoslavia. Bush The Son destab'd Afghanistan and Iraq (again). Obama is destab'ing Libya, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia and Persia. But we do NOT destabilize Yemen or Bahrain or Saudi, because our Israeli and Saudi bosses tell us not to.

5. Persia has done some destab'ing in the past, notably Lebanon in the '80s. They were happy to watch us remove Saddam in 2003, and probably steered us toward that goal. (Remember Ahmed Chalabi?) But in the current situation, Persia is SPECIFICALLY SUPPORTING THE STABLE DICTATORS. The same dictators that we were supporting (much more effectively) back in the pre-Reagan days when we sought stability first.


Good lord, this Romney idiot can't even keep up with his own party's fast-developing idiocy. He's stuck in the Carter era and doesn't even know it.

(FWIW I don't see any problem with his comments about the London Olympics. Simple truth, and his experience gives him the authority to speak on that subject. Pretty much the only time Vulture has made sense.)
 
  Purely amazing!

The Squid lady has picked up a wonderful observation. It turns out that cuttlefish (related to squid and octopus) not only sleep, they dream. And the dreaming looks just like mammalian dreaming, with twitching arms and eyes.... EXCEPT! Cuttlefish can do one thing we can't. They can communicate by projecting patterns on their skin. And the patterns show up in dreams, just as mammals growl or bark or talk in our sleep.

The original article describes it thusly:
REM sleep has been convincingly documented in two vertebrate orders (birds and mammals). ... We find suggestive evidence of a putative analog of avian/mammalian REM sleep in Sepia officinalis. Like birds and mammals, this state is characterized by phasic activation of motor circuits (against a background of quiescence) that appeared endogenous in origin, rather than exogenously driven by external stimuli. This manifests most strikingly as phasic activation of the skin chromatophores, but also includes small movements (twitches) of the arms and eyes. Intriguingly, the chromatophore activation was not random, and is thus reminiscent of the non-random nature of REM sleep motor activity. In cats, for example, brainstem lesions that remove REM sleep atonia result in stereotyped motor activity (stalking, batting at objects) during REM sleep. ... It is therefore possible that the non-random chromatophore activation observed during quiescence might be similar to patterns of activation that can occur during vertebrate REM sleep.


The video contained in the original article is all the convincing I need. The first minute is quiet sleep; the chromatophore pattern was set to match the gravel, so the cuttlefish is hard to see. When the dream starts, there's no doubt what's happening.

= = = = =

This provides another disproof (not that we need any more) of the random-evolution theory. Mollusks and vertebrates diverged a long time ago, and have very little in common. The randomists would tell us that REM sleep, which is dangerous to the individual, developed through a long chain of purely random mutations... and that it developed TWICE, identically, in types of animals that reached intelligence through entirely separate paths.

REM is dangerous? Sure. Sleeping quietly without moving is a good survival helper. You're not providing any motion cues to predators. But when you start wiggling and barking, or wiggling and color-patterning, your attempt at camouflage is all screwed up.

Come on, randomists. Time to give up.

Labels:

 
  Modern equivalent of Aryanizing

From today's "news":
She might have been one of the world's premier sex symbols, but Marilyn Monroe was plagued with well-documented personal insecurities -- among them the possibility she might be a lesbian, a new book alleges.

Every historical figure who counts as 'good' in Leninist eyes must be recast as a fag or a bulldyke. Every historical figure who counts as 'bad' in Leninist eyes must be shown emphatically as a hetero breeder.

Remind you of anything?
 
Saturday, July 28, 2012
  Systems aren't always fun

Writing this piece about the good points of Systems led to a memory....

A well-organized utility requires an immune system to protect it from viruses, hackers and free riders. Electric utilities and city water utilities have strong immune systems; the Bell landline system was the best of all until its 1980's breakup.

The internet fails miserably. You have to pay a separate anti-virus company for your security, or do without. Think public health: when many of the users are unvaccinated, the risk is vastly higher for everyone else.

Really a missed opportunity. Most people would have been willing to pay more for a net with built-in universal security. Would be faster and cheaper overall.

Back in my ham radio days I had a run-in with Ma Bell's immune system. I rigged up a rather nice ham shack in a chicken coop behind the parents' house, and ran an underground cable from the Bell entrance box to a non-standard phone in the shack. (Not as pretty as the Strowger phone that Polistra is using, but equally non-standard!)



After I'd been using the improper extension for a few weeks, we received a visit from the phone company. Since I was a kid, they didn't do anything legalistic, just forced me to disconnect the whole setup.



Wasn't a happy experience at the time, but looking back on it from a wrinkly perspective, I'm glad they had the facilities to detect and reject my 'hacking'.
 
  Jesse's fine euphemism

Now that Jesse Jackson Junior has provided a new Official Euphemism, many old phrases need to be Rectified.

Being a congressman is not all it's mood disordered up to be.

I got up at the mood disorder of dawn.

Inspector Clouseau mood disordered the case.

Hey, you'd better get mood disorderin' if you wanna keep this job!

WalMart is a good place to see plumber's mood disorders.

Jimmy mood disorder corn and I don't care.
 
  Privacy laws, tool of Satan (partial repeat)

Reprinting something from a couple years ago:

= = = = = START REPRINT:

An interesting coincidence of news stories illustrating the completely fucked-up condition of our concepts and laws relating to privacy.

(1) Spokane story last week: A couple of drunks met in a bar, ended up having sex. Afterward the female drunk decided the male drunk wasn't someone she wanted to hang around with, so she filed "date" "rape" charges against him. The police and media went along with everything the female drunk said, including a charge of Impersonating An Officer, which made it sound like the male drunk had been wearing a uniform. His name was plastered all over the media, and his reputation is now ruined forever. Few days later, the police finally leaked that there was no evidence, no uniform, just her story against his. The charge was dropped down to Lewd Conduct. (I'm not linking this one because I don't want to help spread such tyrannical fraud and prosecutorial crime.)

(2) Much more serious case: Baby beaten to death by boyfriend who is clearly not right in the head. One look at this Cooley dude and you can tell he's a Violent Imbecile in the strict sense of the word; misshapen head, strange partial baldness at age 22. In an earlier time when ACCURATE DISCRIMINATION was not illegal, his condition would have been easily recognized and the mom would have known to avoid this guy, or he would have been in an institution already. Worst part: he has a long record of REAL rape and violence, and at the time when he started living with the mom, he had just been arrested and released for a similar baby-beating that resulted in permanent injury to the baby. None of this was public, for reasons that haven't been discussed yet. I'm guessing that his "mental challenges" placed him into the category of "innocent by insanity", which pulled all of the legalities into the realm of Delicate Privacy.

= = = = =

Privacy is a tool of the devil. Stalinists (eg Blackmun, Friedan, Buckley) have used it with great precision to open some doors and close others. In each case where civilization requires us to be informed about others, Stalinists have closed the door, and in each case where civilization requires curtains, Stalinists have torn the curtains asunder.

= = = = =

Update Sept 2011: A murder at the Univ of Idaho offers the most egregious example of deadly Diversity and deadly Privacy working together. Ernesto Bustamante had the Right Kind Of Name, so his quota-filling qualities took precedence over his obvious and murderous psychopathic tendencies. Everyone knew he was fully crazy, everyone knew he was a killer, but the University needed him for a quota, and most of all the University was ferocious about enforcing privacy laws. A sane employer within a sane country would have placed Bustamante in an insane asylum long ago. But we are not living in a sane country. Bustamante's Diversity and Privacy could not be violated, so a promising young woman no longer has any Diversity or Privacy or Life.

= = = = = END REPRINT.

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

Now we have another 'update' verifying the beauty of Privacy Laws.

From UK Telegraph:
Holmes, 24, had been taking a doctorate in neuroscience at the university medical school, but told officials that he was dropping out early last month.

He had been visiting Lynne Fenton, the medical director of student mental health services. He also sent her a notebook in which he had reportedly drawn images depicting a shooting spree, but package was found unopened in the post room.


Nuff said.

It's too bad Holmes wasn't contemplating something really atrocious and serious, like denying The Eternal Truth Of Global Warming, or advocating Protectionist Trade Policies, or observing that People Are Different. Those horrible unthinkable unspeakable crimes would have been instant Red Flags for the psychiatrist, requiring her to notify the authorities immediately. Oaths and privacy laws be damned, it's Full Speed Ahead when a heretic threatens to speak.
 
  Die-versity fools a fool

[sarc on] Boy, I sure do wish those pesky KKKristians hadn't recalled Gayor Jim West back in 2005. He was such a wonderful fellow, and undoubtedly would have been an outstanding Gayor of Spokane if only those pesky KKKristians hadn't run a narrow-minded bigoted nasty KKKampaign to recall him. [sarc off]

Read this whole story, including the sidebars.

The immediate event is just a sad story of a rich lefty who believed everything her television told her about Racial And Sexual Die-Versity. She acted on her television's strong beliefs in Racial And Sexual Die-Versity, and lost all her money.

Justice, I guess. The story doesn't say if the rich lefty learned anything. Probably didn't.

The connection to (now deceased) Gayor West is somewhat incidental, but offers a window into a huge and wildly disgusting world of Repooflican sodomite crime and fraud that we avoided when West was removed from office.
 
  For the record

Suspicious occurrence just now. I got up at 3 as usual, started coffee, and sat down at the computer. At 3:15, heard a car pull up in front of the house. Figured it might be the newspaper carrier, who generally shows up around 4. But I didn't hear the usual sound of the paper sliding into the mailbox-type thing, so I opened the door and looked out. Seemed to be a recent small SUV or minivan, red or 'burgundy' in color. From the shape of the headlights and taillights (and a little assist from Google), I'd say it's a Chrysler T&C from 2011 or 2012. It continued to sit there idling. After I appeared at the door, they turned off the headlights and continued idling. I turned on the porch light and stuck my ugly head out the screen door. This seemed to have an effect on them, and they quietly pulled away, still without lights.

= = = = =

Later: the paper guy showed up at 3:45 in his noisy old sedan, thus verifying that the quiet minivan had nothing to do with newspaper delivery.
 
Thursday, July 26, 2012
  Flash drought

NPR says some states had a cold wet spring followed by an unusually dry summer.
The unusually hot dry weather that has gripped the nation will not let up its stranglehold over the next few months, federal weather forecasters said Thursday.

And that means the heartland's "flash drought" will linger at least until around Halloween and even spread a bit farther north and east.

If drought means anything at all, it means a PROLONGED PERIOD of dry weather. The official definition is slippery, but emphasizes at least one year, preferably two years, before you start calling it a drought.

If any dry period of any length can be a "flash drought", then let's have Flashmas every day!

A weekend is "flash unemployment."

A missed meal is "flash starvation."

A sleepless night is "flash torture."

Coughing on a swallow of water is "flash drowning."

The bare patch in my yard is "flash desertification."

Cussing when you stub your toe is "flash Tourette's."

Lighting a match is a "flash forest fire."

A gunshot is a "flash world war."
 
  Ignorance as usual

Always nice to see an admission of bone-solid ignorance by an idiot "journalist".

In this case, Excellent Horse-like Lady Totenberg was interviewing Scalia.

Excellent Horse-like Lady Totenberg: Covering women under the 14th Amendment?

Scalia: Well, come on. Covering women under the 14th Amendment [laughs]. Women were always covered under the 14th Amendment. What are you talking about? Were they entitled to due process of law? Could you send them to jail without a trial? Without a jury? Come on, women were always covered by the 14th. ...

Excellent Horse-like Lady Totenberg: If they are tried by jury, [it] certainly [was] not a jury by their peers, not when women were not on the jury.

Scalia: Well, where does the Constitution talk about a jury of your peers?

Excellent Horse-like Lady Totenberg: It doesn't talk about it in the Sixth Amendment?

Scalia: It talks about a jury, right to trial by jury. Doesn't talk about peers.

Excellent Horse-like Lady Totenberg: No peers?

Scalia reached for his pocket copy of the Constitution at this point, finding it was not there. Neither of us was 100 percent sure. But I checked when I got back to the office, and he was right.


I doubt that "neither of us" was sure. Scalia obviously knows the document and knows just where to look.

This isn't exactly a surprising discovery. Most of us who actually read the document have noticed that "jury of your peers" isn't in there. And it shouldn't be there, since the 1776 revolution eliminated official ranks of nobility.

"Innocent until proven guilty" isn't in there either, nor is "stare decisis", nor "minority rights", nor "independent judiciary", nor "one man, one vote", nor "co-equal branches", nor "judicial review", nor the requirement that guns are only for militias, nor any of the other toxic ratshit that our elites and media claim to be "in the Constitution."

The rule is simple and universal. When an Expert tells you that X is "unconstitutional", you can be dead certain that X is implicitly encouraged or explicitly required by the Constitution. When an Expert tells you that X is "required" by the Constitution, you can be dead certain that X is implicitly discouraged or explicitly prohibited.



Okay, okay. I'm sorry.
 
  iPhones and outHouses

Why does Apple dominate the market for smartphones? Because Apple made a system first. Unlike other phone-makers, Apple had an existing system (iTunes) to distribute content.

Broadly speaking, businesses grow and succeed best when they are more like landlords than merchants ... when the customer has to keep paying something like rent at frequent intervals to stay connected to the system. With a well-organized system, a two-way loop develops. The customer is unwilling or unable to switch to another system, and the business constantly learns about problems or bugs.

Bell Telephone was probably the first big player with an all-rent system. You didn't own your phone or the wires, you just paid Bell every month for the service AND the instrument.

Edison used the same trick: he sold you the electricity, and he also sold or rented the appliances that used the electricity.

At one time grocery stores, dairies, and newspapers had a similar connection through their delivery systems. You had two-way personal communication with the grocery boy or milkman, which kept you tied to the merchant and gave the merchant feedback on the needs of his customers. These systems have nearly disappeared.

Big systems require government collaboration or assistance, which provides a two-way (often unhealthy) communication with the gov't. Railroads, telegraph, telephone, electricity: all need right-of-way or easements. Apple's system depends on the Internet, which was begun by government; more specifically it depends on microwave communication, which is explicitly licensed by FCC. Apple is able to build its system on the backs of these two gov't systems without paying rent or buying easements. It's a free rider. (In other words, "Hey, Steve Jobs! You didn't build that!")

= = = = =

This got me thinking: What was the first system? Easy answer: Water and sewer. More than 2000 years ago, the Romans, Babylonians, and Mayans had fully-formed water and sewer systems with indoor plumbing.

And what was the last system to be completed? Water and sewer, at least in American cities. By 1970, everyone had electricity and everyone who wanted a phone had a phone. Not so with water and sewer. For instance, a large section of Bowling Green was still using pumps and outhouses in 1969. Some of those outhouses still remain, used as garden sheds. The last urban outhouse known to be 'active' was also in Bowling Green, where one stubborn old lady didn't like utility connections. She had somehow acquired an official exemption. After she died in 1988, the last outhouse disappeared.

Septic tanks are less obvious but far more widespread. My house had a septic tank until 2004; the suburb of Spokane Valley (pop 70,000) was all septic until 10 years ago, and is still being sewer-ized.

= = = = =

Followup here.
 
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
  Satan's sweet little BF

I note that Satan's best boy buddy "Mayor" Bloomberg is sticking to his mass-murdering assault rifles on "sugary drinks", despite protests by large numbers of sane normal humans.

Protests are pointless. Satan's dear darling bedmates always get what they want.

Every scrap of logic and experience runs solidly against Bloomberg. Lots of people have said the same thing already, but I've gotta join the chorus:

Fucking sugar is NOT THE FUCKING PROBLEM.

Our generation consumed TONS of sugar. When I was a kid, I put 5 or 6 teaspoons of sugar on my already-sugary breakfast cereal, added 5 or 6 teaspoons to iced tea, drank lots of Coke and Dr Pepper with supposedly 20 teaspoons per bottle. Most of us did the same. Certainly unhealthy. It ruined our teeth, but it didn't make us fat and it didn't make us diabetic.

Fat kids were rare, maybe two in each classroom. Diabetic kids were exceedingly rare, maybe one in each school. They had to drink a very special type of soda that was only available by prescription. Yes, diet soda was a prescription medication. Does that adequately describe the FUCKING UNIVERSALITY OF FUCKING SUGAR?

I didn't gain a pound. Stayed resolutely scrawny from birth until around age 35. So why did I start to grow a belly at 35, with no change of diet? Male menopause (fading of testosterone) was undoubtedly part of it; but 35 was also the age when I STOPPED RIDING THE FUCKING BICYCLE. Before then, I'd biked every day for transport and fun.

GET IT? GET IT? GET IT? IT'S NOT FUCKING SUGAR. IT'S EXERCISE. EXERCISE. EXERCISE. EXERCISE. EXERCISE. EXERCISE. EXERCISE. EXERCISE. EXERCISE. EXERCISE.
 
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
  Refreshing but still misses the main point

NPR has a great interview with Anthony Fauci of CDC, about the recent hoohaw surrounding Bird Flu research.

Why great? Because Fauci skipped the Official Bureaucrat Game. Standard procedure is to prepare one carefully vetted sentence and keep repeating it soporifically over and over and over and over and over and over and over, while the idiot "journalist" asks a series of unrelated pointless idiotic questions.

Fauci actually tried to communicate with the listeners, tried to convey the full picture instead of one carefully vetted soundbyte, and irascibly corrected the idiot "journalist" whenever she made a bad assumption.

Unfortunately, the most important point still didn't get across. Here's the point:

The current "secrecy" hoohaw proves that the earlier "pandemic" hoohaw about Bird Flu was a fraud.

Think.

This virus has been in birds forever. Viruses are the absolute Grand Masters Of Mutation, so it's been running through gene combinations quickly for maybe a million years. Out of that million years, humans have been intimately involved with chickens and ducks for a few thousand. Until 50 years ago, most Americans either kept chickens or lived next door to someone who kept chickens. In many parts of the world, universal proximity is still the default.

Means, motive, and opportunity. Thousands of years, close contact, most of humanity. Yet the "just-right" mutation for human-to-human transmission never happened spontaneously.

It happened after genetics researchers, presumably knowing which genes would be most likely to work, created the mutation artificially.
 
  Finally a helpful dream

The tricky part of 'working like an author' comes in the intervals between assignments. The publisher always runs in Hurry Up And Wait mode. I've been in Wait phase for two months now, when I could have been getting a jump on the next project. Publisher can't decide which format will be best for online courseware.

This makes my brain itch. Just like the muscles or the immune system or the digestive system, brains start chewing on their own parts when inadequately occupied.

Finally decided to stop waiting, stop chewing, and get a jump anyway. So this week I've been figuring out how to use the combination of HTML5 and Javascript, which is quickly becoming the Only Game In Town for e-learning. Whatever the publisher decides, it's likely to involve some version of this combo.

I'm bothered by the way this system works; seems to require writing a separate bit of code for each page, which strikes me as inefficient. My existing courseware is all in one piece, with a single EXE that contains the necessary code for all the various tricks used in the lessons.

= = = = =

This morning I woke from a strongly plotted dream with lots of interesting locations and one rather sexy character. The plot: I was ordered to design a new automobile with complete modularity. For instance, the engine would begin with two cylinders, but you could easily tack on more cylinder modules to make it a V-32 if you wanted a V-32. I enjoyed this assignment, because modularity is exactly what I'm all about. Nations, religions, businesses and ethnic groups are separate and unique. Let each item express its unique qualities! Don't mush everything together!



Okay, dream. Got the point!

= = = = =

Incidentally: An excellent free learning tool for both HTML5 and JS is provided online by W3Schools. Teaches in the best possible way, with actual examples that you can edit and try.

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Monday, July 23, 2012
  Good time for a reprint

Seems like a good time to reprint this entry from 2010.

START REPRINT = = = = =


New book by Robert Whitaker. A real eye-opener.

Basic theme: Psychiatry has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the drug companies, serving only to sell drugs. This development was not natural or accidental.

Whitaker details the history of the conspiracy, beginning in 1975 (hmm, why does that year sound familiar?). At that point psychiatry was in a crisis, because internal whistle-blowers like Hans Eysenck and Thomas Szasz had publicly and scientifically revealed that the profession was doing absolutely no good. Other therapy systems had grown up in the '70s, some effective and some not, but all functioning without the need of an MD degree. The prosperous priesthood was in danger. Something had to be done.

Their solution was to propagate the theory of "chemical imbalance", which was unproved at the time and still unproved. (Hmm, why does this sound familiar?)

The APA insured that no competing theory could gain credence by de-funding and de-certifying and beating heretics. (Hmm, why etc.)

At this point the shrinks got lucky. L Ron Hubbard's cult of Scientology came along at just the right time; Scientology is weird and fanatical and litigious, but it happens to be correct in its harsh criticism of psychiatric methods. An ideal foil for the APA. (No Hmm here. Though the Warmists use the same techniques to discredit their enemies, they've never been lucky enough to find or create a powerful-and-kooky enemy.)

And the APA then locked its theory into place by addiction. (Not available to the Gaians at all, for which I'm thankful.)

Whitaker shows how it works:


This is a clinical trial of Xanax vs placebo for panic episodes, both accompanied by some real (ie talking) therapy. Unsurprisingly, talk therapy helps with or without the drug. Note that talk+Xanax is only marginally better than talk+placebo. The important difference comes after the pills stop. The talk+Xanax patients immediately get worse than they were at the start, while the talk+placebo patients remain calmer than before. For them, the talk therapy was a real cure.

Here's Whitaker's main point: This curve is typical of all modern psychoactive drugs, and it's the key to modern psychiatry. If you can improve patients permanently by a few weeks of talking, you make a little money and then lose control. But if cessation of therapy makes your patients dramatically worse, you make money for a lifetime and you have permanent control.

Net result of all this: An epidemic of "disorders" which always get worse.
David Healy is a prof of psychiatry in North Wales. ... He compared outcomes of the mentally ill in North Wales a century ago with outcomes today. The population of the region hasn't changed in this period [so numerical adjustments aren't needed.] The common belief, Healy notes, is that the old asylums were bulging with lunatics. Yet from 1894 to 1896, there were only 45 people per year admitted to the North Wales Asylum. Furthermore, as long as the patients didn't succumb to TB or some other physical disease, they regularly got better over the course of three months to a year and went home. In addition, the overwhelming majority of patients admitted for a first episode were discharged as "recovered" and never again re-hospitalized.

Today, the assumption is that patients fare much better than they used to, thanks to psychiatric medications. However, in 1996 there were 522 people admitted to the psych ward at the District General Hospital - nearly twelve times the number admitted to the Denbigh asylum a century earlier. Seventy-six percent of the 522 had been there before, part of a large group of "recyclers". Though patients spent a shorter time on each visit than in 1896, only 36 percent were discharged as recovered. Patients today are clearly more chronically ill than a century ago, with modern treatments setting up a "revolving door".


Whitaker sums up in the last chapter:
For the last 25 years the psych establishment has told us a false story. It told us that schizophrenia, depression and bipolar illness are known to be brain diseases, even though it can't direct us to any scientific studies that document this claim. It told us that psychiatric medications fix chemical imbalances in the brain, even though decades of research failed to find this true. It told us that Prozac and the other 2nd-generation psychotropics are safer and better than the 1st-generation drugs, even though the clinical studies had shown no such thing. Most important of all, the psychiatric establishment failed to tell us that the drugs worsen long-term outcomes.


One point Whitaker doesn't pound heavily enough: Most of this legalized and deadly addiction is directly or indirectly paid by tax dollars. Whether within asylums or paid by SSI or Medicaid, most of the people who are enslaved by the shrinks and the drug companies are not paying for their own services. We're spending hundreds of billions to fight unprescribed drug traffic at the same time we're spending hundreds of billions to create prescribed drug traffic. Loony.

= = = = = END REPRINT

Current comment: Of course it's not really loony. Big Pharma and Big Psych make Big Money, so they engage Big Government to squash the foreign competition. Probably the only industry where we show a healthy degree of protectionism, and naturally it's for evil results. We can't do anything right unless it's wrong.
 
Sunday, July 22, 2012
  Wo ist Heimat? Hier.

Yesterday I celebrated the retreat of the invading Midwest air, defeated by native desert air in a fierce battle.

Calling the midwest an unwanted invader caught me by surprise ... the words popped out without planning. Made me realize that my definition of Heimat has changed recently. For 21 years Heimat remained in the Plains, and Spokane was just this place where I happen to reside at the moment.

Yes, 21 years of 'at the moment'.

Now Heimat is right here. Not Spokane as a city, but this neighborhood.

Why? Because I started walking every day.

The cities that previously counted as Home (Ponca and Manhattan) were Home because I walked and biked all the time. Because I knew every block at ground level. Because I knew which sights, sounds and smells were familiar, and which were suspicious. Until this year I didn't have the same cat-like territorial knowledge about the current location. Now I do.




= = = = =

Artistic note: the orange cat is not generic ... he's a real cat who seems to cover more or less the same territorial range that I do. He often appears in my yard, stalking squirrels and birds. He fails every time. The birds fly away and dive-bomb him, shouting "CAAAAT! CAAAAT! CAAAAT!" The squirrels stand above him on the powerline, indicating his location in multisyllabic squirrelchatter. But he keeps trying, and I suspect he'll catch a critter someday.
 
  Opposite poles

Two new entertainment offerings, one from Egypt and one from North Korea.

= = = = =

From Egypt:
A TV channel managed solely by women wearing the niqab or the full-face veil has been launched in Egypt. Now devout women who wear the veil have the opportunity to find themselves a job.

According to the channel’s owner Abu Islam Ahmad Abdallah the idea behind the project is to give veiled women a face and a voice, help them find a ground where they could work without being discriminated.

The niqab was banned from Egyptian television screens for years by Hosni Mubarak. "A veiled woman applied for work at a TV channel but didn't get the job. How come in that environment women wearing the niqab are victims of discrimination?" he said. "For this reason, I decided to start a channel and help pave their way in the hope that others follow my lead," Abdallah said.


= = = = =

From North Korea:


Excellent Horse-like Lady. Pop song by Kim 3's girl friend, with purely modern tune and instrumentation, but conveying 100% perfect antique Stalinist doctrine. Diligently Fulfill People's Five-Year Cotton Quota! Diligently Sacrifice Self to Realize People's Industrial Plan!

= = = = =

The Egyptian offering is a true flowering of democracy in the best sense. A very large part of Egypt's own people were repressed by Mubarak, who was too busy whoring after IsrAmerica's power and money. Now they get a chance in mass media.

The NoKo offering is vastly more familiar to Americans. Using modern and colorful needles to inject officially mandated toxic ideology. It's Seth MacFarlane. It's Family Guy and American Dad. It's Fox. It's CNN. It's TheOnion. It's Seinfeld and Ellen and Whoopie and Glee. It's everything in this miserable fucked former country.
 
Saturday, July 21, 2012
  Bye-bye, Missouri.



Finally. Three weeks of icky sticky Missouri swamp air was pushed out by normal desert air.

The fight to expel the invader was dramatic. Yesterday featured several waves of Missouri-style thunderstorms. When the last storm swept out, clear air was instantly revealed behind it. You could almost see the hand of God snatching the filthy blanket away, leaving bright dry coolness.

After three weeks of warm miserable sleepless nights with a constant threat of lightning and thunder, this morning is delightfully cool and crisp.

Good riddance, midwest swamp. I knew you only too well for 40 years, and the reunion wasn't any fun.
 
  Against the tide

Some parts of the current British gov't are trying hard to restore sanity. I noted earlier some efforts by the education ministry to bring back discipline in schools. Now a bureaucrat in the welfare area is breaking loose from the standard egalitarian model. Louise Casey has stated openly that PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT:

Louise Casey, the head of the Government’s troubled families unit, says the state should “interfere” and tell women it is irresponsible to keep having children when they are already struggling to cope.

Miss Casey warns that the state must start telling mothers with large families to take “responsibility” and stop getting pregnant, often with different, abusive men.

Miss Casey also believes that there needs to be a shift throughout society in attitudes over behaviour. “I think we should be better at talking about things like shame and guilt. And not being afraid to call a criminal a criminal.”

Best of luck, Casey. You've got all the forces of status, "morality", church, school and media lined up against you.

A similar effort in America ... well, it wouldn't happen at all ... but imagining for the sake of argument that an American bureaucrat said the same things ... would be killed off instantly. Everyone knows who those "different, abusive men" are. Al Sharpton, Emperor Of The Universe, would instantly kill the bureaucrat and remove the president who appointed her.
 
  Fabulous comrades

BBC has a story about a little dispute stirred up by the latest Chinese dictionary.

Commie officials always refer to each other as 'Comrade' instead of Mr or Dr or whatever. At some point in the past, Taiwanese writers started referring to mainland fags as 'Comrade', apparently as a way of twisting the noses of mainland Commie officials. Later, the mainland fags adopted the usage themselves.

The new dictionary omits this particular usage, and mainland fags are screeching at the imagined insult.

BBC's closing sentence, though it sounds bland and objective, is a perfect distillation of the bizarrely malfunctioning modern "mind".

"Gay activists in China see this as proof that Chinese morality is not moving with the times."

Think about that. Morality, if it means ANY FUCKING THING AT ALL, means SPECIFICALLY AND EXACTLY a law that DOES NOT MOVE WITH THE FUCKING TIMES.

Morality is mostly innate (the social-mammal rules we share with dogs) and partly explicit, but all of it is PERMANENT. You can consult a book written 5000 years ago, and its guidance will still be good.

To the modern mind, the purpose of "morality" is to enforce this week's high-status tyranny. Note carefully that this is not "moral relativity"; it's emphatically not a loose or liberated way of life. It's a rigidly enforced orthodoxy that changes constantly, a magnetic pole that dances around with dizzying speed, requiring constant studying of the noble works of Kim Kardashian and Seth MacFarlane to "move with the times."

Just as O'Brien so patiently explained to Winston Smith.

= = = = =

Afterthought: Orwell foretold Leninist morality in the broad sense, but Huxley predicted Seth MacFarlane precisely. Bernard and Lenina worked in a vast entertainment factory, helping to produce books and movies that titillated the masses with fake outrage and fake nonconformity, all in the service of This Week's Correct Values.
 
Friday, July 20, 2012
  Sounds good, but disproved in 30 seconds

Yeah, another quick disproof. This one initially sounds plausible, unlike most envirocrap....
Pregnant mice exposed to diesel exhaust pollution gave birth to offspring with a significantly higher rate of obesity and insulin resistance in adulthood.

"It is becoming clearer that our environment profoundly affects our health in ways that are little understood," said Bolton. "We believe these data have important implications for health disparities as a consequence of socioeconomic conditions, in which low income neighborhoods tend to be disproportionately exposed to high levels of pollution, which we hope will inform policy and regulation decisions."

Hmmmmmm. Isn't Europe vastly more Dieselized than America?

Yes:
For now, Europe leads the world in diesel prevalence. About 50% of the vehicles in Europe have diesel engines, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. Belgium, Luxembourg and France are the most diesel-friendly countries in Europe these days, with a near-80% penetration.

...

Despite its success in Europe, the technology has been slow to catch on in the U.S., hovering around 3% of total sales.

Well then, the Frogs must be the fattest and most diabetic people in the world, right?

Wrong. By one scale, France has 9% obesity, while US has 31% obesity.

Whatever is causing the difference, it sure as hell isn't diesel exhaust.

When discussing obesity, why don't we look at the obvious first? The French comparison gives us the simple answer, as usual:

Over-processed food and no exercise ---> fat.
Fresh food and exercise ---> thin.

Of course we could get the same answer by comparing modern Americans with 1940 Americans.

The author of the rat study is clearly working for "Environmental Justice." He wants to remove all industry from places where poor people live, in order to deprive them of all the jobs they're qualified to do. He wants even more ways to send all jobs to China and all money to the Bank Mafia. He wants to enrich the rich and starve the poor.
 
Thursday, July 19, 2012
  Shouldn't have surprised me

News today mentions that Canada's per-capita wealth now beats America. Not surprising, and this one momentary comparison isn't the whole story.

Canada and Australia were exempt from the 2008 crash BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T REPEAL THEIR 1930s SECURITIES LAWS.

US, UK, and other parts of Europe crashed because WE DID REPEAL OUR 1930s SECURITIES LAWS. It's no mystery. We allowed the Bank Mafia to kill us for fun and profit, while Canada and Australia kept their Bank Mafias under control.

I looked up Canada's securities laws to see if they're parallel to our Glass-Steagall, and found something that did surprise me. In fact Canada doesn't have a national law on the subject; each province has its own! Most were passed in the 1930s, but they seem to have come before Glass-Steagall. [Online info is skimpy.]

Actually this shouldn't have surprised me. Canada still has federalism, and we don't. Canada's provinces still have the kind of sovereignty that our states had in the distant past, before Mass-Murdering Psychopathic Madman Lincoln turned the country into a brutal bloody absolute totalitarian dictatorship by killing 600,000 Americans directly and starving a million ex-slaves indirectly.

Simple fact: Decoupling always works better than rigid coupling.

When authority is diffuse, it's much harder for a giant power to throw the whole system into collapse. America had one national securities law. So it was easy for the banksters, acting through Phil Gramm, to kill the whole country by deleting one law.
 
  Oh, that's cute.

BBC "reports" this morning on a big iceberg that has broken from the glaciers (or Glassy-Ahs in British) of Greenland.

"Scientists say the Glassy-Ah has now receded further than at any time since the Industrial Revolution. ... provides more proof of Climate Change."

Very clever.

Sea level has been rising STEADILY since the Industrial Revolution:


And that's a small part of a much longer upward trend:


So it's perfectly reasonable that Glassy-Ahs have been receding overall during this period. We've been pulling away from a bloody ICE AGE for the last 20,000 years, which means BY DEFINITION that Glassy-Ahs are receding and sea level is rising.

When ice recedes constantly and steadily for a long time, the measurement at any moment will automatically be "further than any time since the Industrial Revolution". It will also be further than any time since the Battle of Hastings, or since Cleopatra, or since Mohammed, or since Jesus, or since the Ming Dynasty, or since I woke up this morning, or since ANY OTHER FUCKING TIME IN THE LAST FUCKING 20,000 YEARS.

It's trivially true, and it tells us exactly NOTHING about what's happening right now. Doesn't tell us that KKKarbon is killing us all, doesn't tell us that KKKarbon is not killing us all. Tells us NO FUCKING THING.

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  Just what we need.

Black bulldyke robots! Oh boy! Just what we need!
Bina48 was made by uploading a real person's mindfile - or a compilation of memories, beliefs and feelings.

Her hardware was made by robot designer David Hanson over the course of three years for a cool $125,000 at the behest of the Terasem Movement Foundation's president and Bina's partner, Martine Rothblatt.

Mr Duncan said he didn't know if Bina48 identified as a lesbian, like her 'mother.'

... Another application of the technology is education.

'Students can learn about Abraham Lincoln by talking to his avatar,' he suggested. Other greats, like Gandhi, Martin Luther King or Susan B. Anthony could be accessible to history students across the globe.

Right. I'm sure piles and piles of students will identify with an ugly black woman who acts like a truck driver.

Incidentally, Mr Duncan isn't quite up on his Great Commies Of The Past. Susan B. Anthony is no longer a member of the Commie Bulldyke Pantheon since it was learned that she was anti-abortion.

In the long run, this won't make much difference, but to the extent it becomes known, it will be a good development. It will be cheered by the black commie bulldykes who infest TV, and actual humans will find it utterly repulsive. The disgust will keep other androids from being accepted.

If you want androids to gain more acceptance, do a 'mindfile' of Kim Kardashian or Nikki Minaj. Added advantage: Small file size!
 
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
  AARP on Spokane... right for wrong reasons

AARP has included Spokane on its list of 10 most livable cities for oldies. I'd say they're right, but not for any of the reasons they list.

They mention lots of touristy crap, which is never interesting to actual residents of a city. And they include athletic stuff like skiing, which is for rich youngsters. All irrelevant for the intended audience.

Some features that are actually relevant for wrinklies on a limited income:

(1) Good and fairly cheap bus system. Makes it possible to live without a car, if you can handle a little walking. Doing without a car is THE PRIME INGREDIENT of cheap living. (Also forces you to get more exercise!)

(2) Active downtown, and nice old-fashioned shopping districts with restaurants. (eg NW Blvd, Garland, South Perry)

(3) Low crime in most neighborhoods. Crime tends to cluster in certain areas.

(4) Mixed-up housing patterns. Means you can find a cheap house in a good neighborhood; you don't have to spend $200k to find security.

(5) Three usable seasons. Winter is pure hell, but the other three seasons are mild. With relatively low humidity and few insects, you can spend time outdoors most of the year. And if you're operating on Old People's Time, you get the best part of a summer day.

(6) Hydroelectric power means low electric rates, for now anyway. As the genocidal EPA murderers continue to grind America to a pulp, this will undoubtedly disappear.

(7) Good hospitals and doctors if you need them.

= = = = =

I get along quite nicely on total expenses of about $10k a year. In other words, I spend about $30 a day instead of AARP's target $100 a day.

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  Random crap

Completely random.

(1) I noted recently that both of our "parties" like to quote the egalitarian ideal, but both understand genetic reality at ground level. I was trying to think of a catchy way to express their common devotion to the all-are-equal myth. It came to me this morning.

The common point is "Anyone can become..."

For the 'R' team, "Anyone can become rich. It just takes hard work. That's why we need ZERO TAXES."

For the 'D' team, "Anyone can become poor. It just takes one missed paycheck. That's why we need TOTAL WELFARE."

The 'D' side is a little closer to truth, but both are essentially wrong.

You can only become rich if you have the right combination of attractiveness, forcefulness, and discipline, or if you inherit the money. Working hard will marginally increase your income within your natural boundaries, but it won't change your natural boundaries.

It's much easier to become poor by accident, but natural caution and discipline can eliminate some of the accidents.

(2) A local Green wacko who has unfortunately infested City Council for several years is now running for State Rep. I might vote for him just to be sure he infests Olympia instead of Spokane. One state legislator does much less damage than one city councilman.

His yard signs illustrate poor use of fonts. Each sign is a simple rectangle containing two lines:



At first sight it says "Election Snyder." This doesn't make sense, so my second thought was that he was appealing to the local Bosnians. But electjon only looks Slavic, it isn't a real Serbo-Croat word. I finally sussed out that the sign was using a font change instead of a space.

(3) I really need to buy a digital camera. Animating or Photoshopping local observations is fun, but sort of pointless when they could be photographed more easily!
 
  Mysterious unimaginable structure

Interesting historical find from the Mayan era in Guatemala:
According to UC’s Ken Tankersley, “It’s likely that the overall system of reservoirs and early water-diversion features, which were highly adaptable and resilient over a long stretch, helped Tikal and some other centers survive periodic droughts when many other settlement sites had to be abandoned due to lack of rainfall.”

Water collection and storage were critical in the environment where rainfall is seasonal and extended droughts not uncommon. ... At Tikal, they collected literally all the water that fell onto these paved and/or plastered surfaces and sluiced it into man-made reservoirs. For instance, the city’s plastered plaza and courtyard surfaces and canals were canted in order to direct and retain rainwater runoff into these tanks.

To help purify water as it sluiced into the reservoir tanks via catchment runoff and canals, the Maya employed deliberately positioned “sand boxes” that served to filter the water as it entered into the reservoirs.

Water management by the Maya included irrigation, which directly impacted how many people could be fed and overall population growth. Accordingly, it is essential to understand the array of canals and reservoirs at Tikal, which conserved water during the annual dry season and controlled floodwaters during the rainy months. These practices allowed the Tikal Maya to sustain relatively high population densities for several centuries.

What a weird wild radical idea. I have trouble imagining it. A structure that magically holds water when there's too much rain, magically purifies it for drinking, and magically releases it when there's not enough rain? I wonder if we could learn something from this? No, we couldn't.

We won't learn from anything. We're fucked.
 
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
  Tinkerbell's status stack

A mini-flap in Seattle over one of Tinkerbell McKenna's campaign staff. Kathlyn Ehl, a young recent Poli Sci grad, put out some snide comments via Twitter before joining the campaign.

One of the flapped comments:
"Shut up and speak English" #asians

The other:
"If it takes you an entire green light to walk in front of my car, get a wheelchair" #toooldtowalk

You don't finish a Poli Sci degree at UW without absorbing the precise order of the Correct Status Stack. Note that Ehl made fun of groups near the bottom, as you'd expect from any bully.

"Asians", or more precisely Orientals, haven't bothered to get into politics and don't have any equivalent of Al Sharpton. Orientals prefer to use quiet economic power. Thus it's acceptable to bully them.

Oldies are heavily involved in politics as individuals, but not as an Identity Group. Most top officials are old enough to draw SS, but they don't parade that fact. Al Sharpton himself is old, but he doesn't represent Oldies.

Tinkerbell McKenna's limp-wristed response indicates that he also understands the Status Stack. If any of his staff dared to make fun of top-status groups like blacks or fags, the staff member would be in jail.

= = = = =

Update next day: Tink got rid of the assistant after all. Shows common sense and understanding of the world. Basic fact of life: Candidates who wear the 'R' shirt get much closer scrutiny by the media. This wouldn't happen in a sane country, but America isn't a sane country. If you want to be free to say anything you want, there's a simple solution. Run as a 'D'-shirt candidate, and you're immune from scrutiny. (Sidenote: I don't understand why anyone bothers to run as 'R'. The two shirts have identical agendas; the only difference is how the media treats you. If everyone wore a 'D' shirt, the media would be forced to find more substantial forms of judgment, such as character.)
 
Monday, July 16, 2012
  Negative quake?

Was awakened early this morning by a big THUMP.

Sounds that wake you are not completely heard; sometimes you can mentally 'replay' the sound to get more detail, but usually not. With that limitation, the sound reminded me of three possible sources: a car crash, a falling tree, or a small earthquake. A car crash of that intensity would bring sirens and other activity, but I didn't hear any of that afterward. There's no wind tonight, and tree-cutters aren't usually active at 2 AM, so a falling tree is unlikely. Earthquake is thus the least unlikely of those three known sounds.

I looked at the NW Seismic Network webpage to see if any quake is on the map yet. No, but they don't record small quakes immediately, so I need to check later.

However: the webpage showed something more interesting than a minor quake.


A negative magnitude.

I'm sure it's a computer glitch, but it made me think. What would a negative magnitude mean? Well, the Richter scale is part math and part subjective, so we can't say for sure. If it were pure math, a negative magnitude would mean a time of unusual stillness. Specifically, a "-0.5 quake" would represent a moment when the earth's movement was only 32% of its typical baseline wiggling.

The formula would be:

Actual amplitude = 10^(-0.5) * Baseline amplitude.

= = = = =

Later: the NW Seismic map was updated, but no quakes anywhere around here, not even the negative kind. Maybe the Thump was a car hitting something after all.
 
  No duh, as they say

News item in UK Telegraph:

The G20 group has started an inquiry to determine if the world oil price is rigged to benefit speculators.



Good. While you're at it, study whether the sun is warm, and whether rain is wet, and whether plants are green, and whether you're a pile of psychopathic genocidal murderers.

We need all those studies to settle all these long-standing puzzles. Nobody has ever been able to figure these questions out.

Pulling out of /sarc mode, the real problem is that we not only know the truth, we know in advance what this particular study will conclude. Since the Mafia is "investigating" itself, the Mafia will conclude that world oil prices are purely set by unadulterated economic forces. Nothing there but honest supply and demand.

Same thing with LIBOR. We're busy "investigating" various attempts to "corruptly" influence LIBOR, and we're cleverly avoiding the main point. Plain fact: LIBOR was invented in 1984 as a tool of corruption. Its single sole solitary purpose is to enable the banksters to control every aspect of the economy without lifting a finger. Banks got along without LIBOR for hundreds of years; made lots of profit in those centuries. They could get along without it again.

The only proper answer is to restore the 1936 securities laws. Eliminate the entire mess of speculation and derivatives. Confiscate all of its ill-gotten loot. Start from scratch. Create banks that pay interest on deposits and charge interest on loans.
 
Sunday, July 15, 2012
  Cheating carrots

My recent return to vegie and home-cooked food was basically motivated by digestion and quality control. I'd been using Campbell's "chunky soup", but found the recipe and quality were unreliable. Most batches contained onions, not listed in the ingredients. Some of the ingredients were clearly bad stuff.

When I started returning to fresh, I happened to pick up a package of "baby" carrots, because they didn't require any cutting. The last time I'd done any real cooking was at least 10 years ago, and I wasn't sure of my cutting skills.



Last week's package of "baby" carrots looked strange and tasted worse. Contained some form of toxin; not enough for all-out food poisoning, but enough to irritate the tongue and leave a bad taste and weird feeling for a couple days.



I looked up the subject on the web, and was surprised to find that "baby" carrots aren't actually "babies" at all. They're actually the carrot equivalent of sausage or Masonite. They're mechanically cut into a carrot shape from parts of a low-quality full carrot!

In other words, they're an attempt to snatch quality control from the hands of the customer.

So, now that I'm sure of my cutting skill, I switched to real carrots and regained quality control.


And my innards are fine again.

 
  Why not take the short road?

Bill Gates is putting lots of money into genetic research to develop 'legume-like' varieties of wheat and corn, capable of using soil bacteria to obtain their own nitrogen. He wants to make farming easier in places that can't afford fertilizer, and also to eliminate the toxic runoff from fertilizer.

Why bother to make 'legume-like' wheat when you can simply get flour from actual legumes?

From a 1912 book, Alfalfa Farming in America:



I had to look up gems. They're apparently a type of cookie still popular in Britain:
It's 1850 and in the town of Reading, Berkshire, emerging biscuit giant Huntley and Palmer is experimenting with some new biscuit technology. However, the new biscuits emerge from the oven having actually shrunken. Thomas Huntley likes the resulting mini biscuits which are christened Gems and they sell well. Sixty years later in 1910 they added icing and children's birthday parties would be incomplete without these mini biscuits from then on.

It's clear from modern sources that alfalfa has more nutrition than corn or wheat. The alfalfa 'flour' uses more of the plant than just the seeds, thus leaving less wastage. Wonder why it never became popular?



= = = = =

Bit later: A BBC feature reports that some African farmers have solved the problem on their own. They plant corn along with various legumes, or rotate corn and legumes. Obviously gives less corn in the short run, but less fertilizer means more net income to the farmer in the long run. If the legume crop is a salable food like chickpeas, it will also give income.

= = = = =

And still later: A different periodical from around 1912 claims that the story about Creighton University was a hoax. After a century it's hard to tell which is right; the debunk was clearly written by wheat and corn men, and protesteth too much about all alternatives to wheat and corn.

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  Harry Reid gets it right!

Strong words from a man who normally goes along with all forms of idiocy.

"I think they should be ashamed; I think they should take the uniforms, pile them up and burn them, and start over. If they have to wear nothing but a singlet, with USA hand-painted on it, that's what they should wear. We have people in the textile industry who are desperate for jobs."

Singlet is a peculiar antique word for t-shirt, but Reid is still right.

It appears that Vulture Romney's management of the 2002 Olympics left the games with a lasting tradition of Chinese outsourcing.

Vulture himself declined to comment on his tradition, falling back into his normal brainless "Have to ask my lawyers about that" mode.

This particular outsourcing is especially egregious because athletic clothing is the only type of apparel that's still made in America in any quantity!
 
Saturday, July 14, 2012
  They really believe Nature over Nurture

Random thought.

Both "sides" of our national-suicide Establishment claim to believe egalitarian nonsense. Both will insist that humans are identical at birth, and differences arise because of external factors. The "sides" don't pick the same external factors (one picks marriage, the other picks education) but they're both stubbornly wrong, solidly anti-reality.

And yet when the political rubber hits the road, both "sides" show that they solely trust innate differences.

If they really believed in external factors, they'd use carrots and sticks that would persuade the entire "identical" population. They'd propose actual solutions that would improve life for the majority of Americans.

But they don't have to do that, because they know exactly how each ethnic and economic type will vote.

In state and local "elections", they draw districts to contain only one type, thus guaranteeing the correct result.

In presidential "elections" (i.e. Florida "elections"), there's only one district, and it's permanent. They can't redraw the borders of Florida, so they resort to chemical engineering. They know exactly how each ethnic ingredient will affect the result, so each "side" tries to open the valves from the tanks containing its own ingredients, and each "side" tries to shut the opposing valves.
 
  It's not the heat, it's the humidity.

News item: Sidewalks in Cheney, south of Spokane, are buckling this summer.

The daily highs this year are slightly below typical, so you can't blame 'heat' as such.

As mentioned before, this summer is unusual in the source of the heat. Instead of the usual desert air, we've got icky sticky Missouri air. With the usual Arizona air, nights cool down to 55. With St Louis occupying the area, nights only get down to 70. Much harder to sleep, and my air-conditioner has to work a lot harder with limited success.

Cement is a fairly slow absorber and releaser, so the accumulation of heat over a couple of weeks is bound to be greater when there's no release at night.

= = = = =

Bit later: I went downtownish to the NW Blvd Safeway this morning, as usual on Sat. The difference was dramatic. Typically downtown is a little bit warmer than my part of town; this morning, with St Louis firmly in control, it's A LOT WARMER. Absolutely oppressive. Is UHI stronger with high humidity?

= = = = =

Afternoon: I think one of the squirrels has been overcome or stroked by the heat. I looked several times from 3PM to 6PM, and he's been sitting sideways on top of a fence. He moved to different spots on the fence, but still sits in an odd position. I don't know specifically how squirrels get out of heat; most mammals seek shade and dig a little hole. There's good shade under a bush exactly below where he's sitting, and squirrels are certainly good diggers. Not much I can do about the poor critter.

= = = = =

7/20: We've had this Midwestern swamp for three weeks now. Big storm coming this aft, and we may finally break out of the swamp after that, with at least a week of normal Spokane summer predicted. Just noticed another Missouri thing: Crickets! Presumably they're always around here in small numbers, but I've never heard them before. They must need temperature + humidity to start singing.
 
Friday, July 13, 2012
  We CAN go back.

NPR reports a small but promising return to an old idea.
It's been almost 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson declared a "War on Poverty." But today, the poverty rate in the U.S. is the highest it's been in 17 years, affecting some 46 million people.

Needless to say, the but really should be therefore.

A few people are trying something "new":
The result was the Family Independence Initiative, a nonprofit now run by Miller. Its purpose is to encourage low-income families to form small groups and help each other figure out how to get ahead.

The families meet monthly and keep journals, charting their progress on income, savings, education — all the signposts of a successful life. For this, each family gets a laptop computer and an average monthly stipend of $160. The key is that the families also get to set their own goals.

Old idea. Before WW2 every conceivable ethnic and occupational group, including blacks, had Benevolent Societies and Lodges. The Benevolent Societies were not just social clubs. They collected regular dues and used the pooled value to make [what we now call] microloans, and to provide some degree of health insurance and old-age security. Unlike government welfare, lodges provided moral guidance along with the money; a wasteful member had to straighten up if he wanted help.

Social Security began to remove the need for the societies, then the genocidal "anti-discrimination laws" of the '50s and '60s made them semi-illegal, then LBJ's total welfare killed them off entirely. Immigrant groups like Koreans and Cubans still manage to run lodges in an informal way, which is exactly why they succeed while others fail.

We CAN go back.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012
  Yes, you don't get it.

Krugman is always frustrating. His heart is in the right place, but his brain isn't fully connected.
Consider the extended version of the “magneto trouble” metaphor I use in my recent book. Keynes argued that the Great Depression could be thought of as a failure in the car’s electrical system; so let’s think of it as a situation where your car won’t run because it has a dead battery — that is, you could get it running again with a fairly trivial and easy intervention: just buy a new battery, which costs only a tiny fraction of the expense of a new car.

In saying this I am not denying that there may be other problems with the car, perhaps even big ones. Maybe it needs new brakes, or a new transmission, and these had better be dealt with soon.

Still, what sense can it possibly make to say that therefore you shouldn’t start by replacing that dead battery?

I really don’t get it.

Exactly, city boy. You don't get it.

As Polistra has pointed out before, Krugman only uses half of the Keynes idea.

Keynes thought gov't should be like a dam, storing water in wet times and releasing it for use in dry times. Using the electrical flow analogy, the treasury is the battery. When the car [country] is running, the generator [productive activity] charges the battery. The battery [treasury] then holds a charge so you can start the car [country] when it has been stopped or stalled.

In other writings, Krugman seems to understand the idea, but he has not practiced both sides of Keynes. In good times a genuine Keynesian should be pushing hard for heavy taxes on the rich; should be constantly telling the rulers that they will be DEAD if they don't store up money. When bad times come, a genuine Keynesian shouldn't be pushing for stimulus; he should be saying "I told you so. It's too late now."

Krugman wants to replace the battery [the treasury] so it can provide a charge to get the country going now that it's stalled. But that won't work.

I once got marooned in the Okla Panhandle because I was trying to run a truck by Krugman's rule. The old company-owned '55 Ford flatbed (like this) had a good battery, but its generator burned out shortly after I left Ponca with a full load and a trailer. I was able to nurse it from Ponca into Dodge City with several external charges. Delivered the stuff that was needed in Dodge, and took the truck to a Ford dealer. They didn't have a generator for such an oldie, so I bought a new battery (as Krugman recommends!) and a charger, and started back home to Ponca with stops at gas stations every hundred miles. Around Laverne the new battery decisively failed because it wasn't getting a steady charge. I had to call the boss to fetch me. He wasn't happy.

Thus proving Krugman wrong.

Returning to the economic version: I was trying to run a country without a manufacturing sector. Instead of charging the treasury from taxes, I was borrowing from other countries. The method sort of worked for a while, enabling me to limp along slowly. Finally the treasury went decisively bankrupt and the country came to a complete halt. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

= = = = =

Fussy irrelevant tech sidenote: Both Keynes and Krugman are misusing the word magneto. Generators and magnetos are different ways of producing current. Early cars didn't have starters or batteries or a real electric system. Lights were oil or acetylene lamps, and you cranked the engine to start it. A magneto gave short pulses of current at the right moment for each spark plug, and the spark coil turned those pulses into high-voltage pulses. Cadillac introduced full electric systems in 1913, with a generator supplying a steady voltage, electric lights, and a battery to store charge for the next start. Everyone else followed suit immediately because cranking was wildly inconvenient and a constant source of injury.
 
  Money talks

Local authorities ran a huge raid on several "spa" outfits that had been operating for 30 or 40 years. The "spas" were obviously cathouses, but had not caused any trouble.

Well, why? What was so urgent? Why did they need a paramilitary SWAT operation involving 200 city, county, federal, and tribal cops, to arrest the old Korean ladies who ran the "spas"? The whores and johns were not arrested.

Best guess comes from putting together a couple of facts.

From an early news report:
Complaints from Northern Quest Casino officials about prostitution activity prompted the Airway Heights Police Department to conduct undercover strings of suspected prostitutes who in turn agreed to work as confidential informants.

And now today:
A former prostitue who was allegedly involved in the crim ering says money floweed for the owners of the busted spas. She says she made up to $1,000 a day herself. Jane Doe, as we're calling her, worked at Joe Jeans, Oriental Spa and Starlight.

"[The owners] tell the tax people they pay us $50 a day, and they pay taxes off of that, but that's not what we're really making a day," she said.


We're emphatically not talking about "sexual slavery" when the owners are paying the whores up to $1000 a day. We're also not talking about the kind of prostitution that leads to street crime, because the "spas" have always been run in a quiet and organized way.

Hmmm. What's the big deal then? Ah, got it. The old Korean ladies raised the prevailing wage for whores. The tribal mafia that runs the Casino got pissed. And when the tribal mafia says jump, local authorities do an Avedon-quality leap.
 
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
  A sailerish thought

I'm sure Sailer has done a better job on this point, but if I try to find what he's written I'll spoil my fraudulent sense of originality.

Struck me that Repooflicans have given us three nominees in a row who are almost guaranteed to be bad leaders. Bush the Son, McCain, and now Romney. Why guaranteed? They are weak sons overshadowed by a powerful father.

Such men desperately want to be in charge but usually make poor leaders. The wanting explains how they end up as Presidential candidates, because the job has become utterly crazy and undoable. No sane man would want it.

A son of an absent or dead father is more likely to be a good leader, because he had to take charge of the family.

For some reason the Dems seem to pick the latter more often, but not always.

Obama and Clinton are classic examples. Both had absent fathers, both had to take care of Mom at some point. Both have plenty of faults, but pick up the leader's role naturally.

Gore was a weak son, so it's not surprising that he tied Bush in the 2000 election. Kerry apparently had a normal father (stable but not overshadowing) so he doesn't fit either of these categories.

= = = = =

The difference shows up elegantly in the latest exchange of speeches by Obama and Romney on tax cuts.

Romney says: "I'm rich. Don't tax me! WAAAAAHHH! WAAAAHHH! WAAAHHH! Don't let the nasty man tax me! ALL MINE! ALL MINE! ALL ME! MEEEEEEEEEEEE! WAAAAAHHH!"

Obama says: "I'm rich. Tax me."

Baby vs adult.

(Of course neither one will actually raise taxes, but I'm just talking about personality here.)
 
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
  Yet another 30-second disproof

I don't know why they keep doing this crap. In their latest misuse of statistics to create destructive lies, the Carbon Cultists claim that "In La Nina years, Texas droughts are much stronger since the fast increase of CO2."

Okay, time to consult good old NCDC again.

Texas annual precip, entire state, for the last century.



Before anything else, do you see any increase in droughts in recent years?

Look at the green decade-length filter. I see strong or long dry periods around 1910, 1918, 1925, 1955, and right now. The right-now dry period looks the same as the '55 period so far; can't tell if it's going to start back up or go farther down.

I've added faint orange-ish bars for the moderate and strong La Nina years. (There were some weak LN's before 1955, but no mod or strong.) The LN years seem to agree pretty well with dry years, but the agreement is NOT any stronger now than it was at any other time. Both up and down peaks appear to be moderating (returning to the mean) since 1998, decidedly not increasing.

So where's the correlation? Might be there in the invalid and false models, but it sure as hell isn't there in the GODDAM FACTS. I spelled it that way because I strongly suspect that Texas's main problem is fast population growth and slow dam growth. I looked at this in detail before, comparing with Okla.

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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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