Wednesday, July 26, 2017

I Have Plugged in My Bluetooth Keyboard For the Phone

Not quite as pleasant as using my laptop, but easier than using my fat fingers to type on the tiny virtual keyboard on the Samsung screen.  The kitchen outlets are powered by the backup generator.  Idaho Power is saying that we should have power by 9:30.  I was putting together a mid-term online in Blackboard for my class.  I may run an extension cord to my treadmill for a while then run it to the office.

No Power

Idaho Power is not at the moment.  These are the times when backup power sounds more and more attractive.  The backup generator is keeping the well pump, preasurization pump,   and kitchen operational, but 6Kw is not enough to feed all circuits. I could run an extension cord from kitchen to office but I am hoping they figure it or sooner. There is a solar panel at work in the telescope garage, but the inverter is not a sine wave output, so not worth moving it. Unlike most of the outages we have had, this is daylit, so the PV system I blogged about a few days ago would be helpful even without battery backup. That is on my last of things to pursue shortly, perhaps after I start getting paychecks from the college.  I have exhausted my NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund grant,  so some more income is most convenient. 

Do not feel sorry for me.   My IRA had grown so fast that I am going to increase how much I take out each month.  As I explain in my "Becoming Wealthy" page, properly invested, your IRA or 401k can grow faster in retirement than you need to support an extravagant lifestyle.

Wolf Spiders

Ugly and big.  I killed one in the kitchen yesterday that I named Shelob after the 8-legged creature in Lord of the Rings.

My Inner Geek is Coming Out

Samuel Glasstone, ed., The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, rev. ed.  This is the authoritative edition of how nuclear weapons destroy things.  While full of detailed technical discussions and formulae, many parts are intentionally written for those who have no idea what an "isotope" is.  Why do buildings at ground zero for an airburst sometimes survive better than those a ways back?  The Mach effect, when the blast wave from the bomb and the reflected blast wave bouncing off the ground meet, providing a combine overpressure at the side of buildings.  An overpressure on top of a building is pushing it in the building's strongest position: resisting gravity.

Politics Makes Strange and Evil Bedfellows

Corrupt Russian and Venezuelan officials benefited from the work of the Washington-based firm that also commissioned the largely unsubstantiated anti-Trump campaign research dossier, according to testimony from a leading South American human rights campaigner submitted to a congressional panel probing the 2016 Russian election-meddling scandal.
Thor Halvorssen, head of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation, said in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee that Fusion GPS operated a smear campaign against journalists who threatened to expose a multibillion dollar fraud involving faulty South American electric power plants, the laundering of its proceeds in U.S. banks, and a kickback scheme to pay off Venezuelan officials.
“Corrupt government officials in dictatorships would be powerless if they didn’t have cronies in the business world, and these cronies, in turn, would be useless allies without enablers like Fusion GPS, who are eager to whitewash and profit from their crimes,” Mr. Halvorssen wrote in testimony that he also published on Facebook.
Who else but the Democrats would hire such a firm?

More Trouble Caused By Trump

In what's being called the largest economic development project in state history, Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn plans to build a $10 billion plant in Wisconsin that would create liquid-crystal display panels and employ as many as 13,000 people, according to the White House and Gov. Scott Walker.
The planned Wisconsin plant is expected to open in 2020 and will be part of a 20 million square-foot campus on at least 1,000 acres -- a project Walker's administration has dubbed "Wisconn Valley."
What a tragedy, some Cheeseheads will have to choose between employment and government dependency.

Sleep Apnea: Treadmill Treatment

I have battled sleep apnea for years.  I have started using the Sleep Cycle app to measure how well I sleep.  The score the nights I go to the gym is usually 78%.  I treadmill every other day.  I have worked up to 2.2 miles, mostly at 2.3 mph.  The nights that I treadmill, the scores goes to 100%, and I usually sleep through, with little or no dopiness from the previous evening's Seroquel.  I suspect the improved sleep is burning off the Seroquel.

I wonder if the increased bipolar disorder problems since the stroke is that, even though my day job was sedentary (software engineer), there was still a bit of walking around during the day: to the coffee pot, lunch room, walks during the lunch hour, from parking spot to office.  It doesn't sound like much, but it is more than I was getting until recently.

I am going to start treadmilling one mile the days that I go to the gym as well.

Not Sure the ACLU Will Allow Trump to Get His Way

7/26/17 New York Times:
WASHINGTON — President Trump announced on Wednesday that the United States will not “accept or allow” transgender people in the United States military, saying American forces “must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory” and could not afford to accommodate them.
Mr. Trump made the surprise declaration in a series of posts on Twitter, saying he had come to the decision after talking to generals and military experts, whom he did not name.
“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
Odd.  I thought  the military's mission was "decisive and overwhelming victory” against transphobia.  7/26/17 San Jose Mercury-News reports Silicon Valley's billionaires are very upset.  Amusingly, the comments are overwhelmingly on Trump's side, something I would not expect in Silicon Valley.

What is anyone thinking?  41% of transgendered and "gender nonconforming" people attempt suicide.  Maybe this will decline after the taxpayers pay huge amounts for surgery and drug treatment, but in the meantime?  Would you want to do rifle practice with someone who might decide today is a good day to end his pain?

This Could Well Sink the Democrats, Depending How Deep This Goes

7/25/17 Politico:
Imran Awan, a House staffer at the center of a criminal investigation potentially impacting dozens of Democratic lawmakers, has been arrested on bank fraud and is prevented from leaving the country while the charges are pending.
A senior House Democratic aide confirmed Awan was still employed by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) as of Tuesday morning. But David Damron, a spokesman for Wasserman Schultz, later said that Awan was fired on Tuesday.
Awan pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to one count of bank fraud during his arraignment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Awan is accused of attempting to defraud the Congressional Federal Credit Union by obtaining a $165,000 home equity loan for a rental property, which is against the credit union’s policies since it is not the owner's primary residence. Those funds were then included as part of a wire transfer to two individuals in Faisalabad, Pakistan.
If you haven't been following this story,  a bunch of Pakistanis working as IT support for Schultz appear to have at least been playing fast and loose about their pay and perhaps far worse, using their positions to gather information about Congressional activities.   Imagine of Trump had put a bunch of Russian citizens in charge of White House IT.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Today's Hit Bumper Sticker

"Extremely Deplorable"

Major Butt-Kicking Victory in DC Circuit

Wrenn v. DC (D.C.Cir. 2017) strikes down DC's "good reason" concealed weapon permit law, and creating a pretty serious circuit split on applicability of the Second Amendment to concealed carry licensing.   Perhaps most gratifying, they seem to have abandoned standards of scrutiny and gone for the categorical protection articulated in Heller. I see a major victory coming on this from the Supreme Court.  Another resounding victory by Alan Gura.

Think You Had a Rough Day?

Our neighbor's springer spaniel has delivered eleven puppies in the last eight hours.  Hoping she is done.  The father, also a springer spaniel, is sitting outside, looking very proud of himself.

And three more!  Not all have survived, but there is a resource contention problem: only seven nipples.

Is Christianity Really the Biggest Threat to LGBTs?

FBI charges an ISIS sympathizer in the Bay Area.  From channel 7 San Francisco:
"He then told confidential source number one, 'I live close to San Francisco, that's like the gay capital of the world. I'm going to handle them right, LOL,' meaning laughing out loud. 'I'm going to place a bomb in a gay club, Wallah or by God, I'm going to tear up the city.' And I quote, 'The whole Bay Area is going to be up in flames,'" the federal prosecutor explained to Judge Westmore in his argument to have Alhaggagi detained.
He also told the court how Alhaggagi took the undercover agent, posing as an ISIS supporter from Salt Lake City, on a tour of the Bay Area including the Cal Berkeley campus. The feds say he wanted to plant backpack bombs at the dorms and went along with the undercover agent to set up a storage unit where he would store supplies for his plans.
And kill the next generation of Muslim defenders?  Not well thought out.

Smart Guns Are Easily Retarded

Smart guns were for a while the hyped idea of gun controllers: the gun won't fire without a specific watch within one foot.  Think how safe such guns will be!  But they are surprisingly easily disabled  at a distancee and made able to fire without the watch--in some cases with no higher technology than magnets:



Hat tip to Shall Not Be Questioned.

Hard Choices for Progressives

The prominent atheist and apologist for evolution, Richard Dawkins, has had his presentation at Berkeley pulled by KPFA, the progressive radio station:
Dear Richard Dawkins event ticket buyers,
We regret to inform you that KPFA has canceled our event with Richard Dawkins. We had booked this event based entirely on his excellent new book on science, when we didn’t know he had offended and hurt – in his tweets and other comments on Islam, so many people. 
KPFA does not endorse hurtful speech. While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech. We apologize for not having had broader knowledge of Dawkins views much earlier.  We also apologize to all those inconvenienced by this cancellation. Your ticket purchases will automatically be refunded by Brown Paper Tickets.
While claiming to support free speech that isn't hurtful, any free speech that doesn't offend someone is hardly worth making.  Free speech, Islam: pick one.

Hat tip to Mark Steyn and Small Dead Animals.

Monday, July 24, 2017

New Racism for SJWs to Criticize

One of the big British supermarket chains put security tags on cans of moderately pricy Jamaican specialty food.  When you consider the marginal cost of tagging and then detagging at checkout, I suspect this was driven by actual theft losses, not racism.

Hat tip to David Thompson.

Improper Foreign Contacts

Stuff like thuis makes you wonder how much of the Russian collusion is projection or distraction.  7/23/17 Daily Caller:
FBI agents seized smashed computer hard drives from the home of Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s information technology (IT) administrator, according to two sources with knowledge of the investigation.
Pakistani-born Imran Awan, long-time right-hand IT aide to the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman, has since desperately tried to get the hard drives back, an individual whom FBI investigators interviewed in the case told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Trying to Bring All These Things Together

High fasting insulin levels are correlated with sleep apnea; fasting insulin levels correlated with coronary heart disease; CPAP treatment for sleep apnea reduces CHD risk, apparently because of increased oxygen to the myocardium.  I am having a hard time figuring out the relationship (if any)  between insulin level and atherosclerosis.  I have seen a paper which I blogged about concerning evidence that blood sugar levels increased risk of atherosclerosis; cannot find it now.

Ever Needed a Wire?

My wife and I have been watching White Collar on Netflix.  It is a lot of fun with some very clever (for American TV) dialog, much of it doubtless above the average viewer.  One mildly crazy character is saying, "So I said to Derrida, I'll raise your deconstructionism..."  There are many episodes where our hero, the conman with a heart of gold is wearing a wire.  Ever wanted to record a conversation surreptitiously for later use in court (criminal or civil)?  Android phones have a Voice Recorder app.  Leave the microphone part of the phone sticking above your shirt pocket, facing outward.  Hit record in the app; go in to where you need to record.  It does surprisingly well.

Keep in mind that in some states, both parties must consent.  Idaho is a one-party consent state.

The Results of Western Civilization

When explaining why the history of Western Civilization matters, I often point to the periodic table of the elements as an example of how the Western heritage of reason led to this method of deducing properties of previously unknown elements which has since provided an understanding of electron shells and bonding.  But I found another symbol of the power of Western Civilization for my PowerPoint, a bit less abstract:

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Obscure Metals

I ordered from Amazon, a sheet of solid tin, which when it arrived was tin coated steel.  RotoMetals has all sorts of exotic metals: tin; gallium; indium; lead; bismuth; and cstuff that makes me scratch my head: crab shrimp pot anode?

Dunkirk

Not enough adrenalin coursing through your blood?  This is the fix. More intense than 2001.  A story of courage and self- sacrifice that is a reminder of what film can be when you do not get trapped into making only movies based on comic books or ones whose title always ends with a number.   We saw several previews for DC and Marvel derived comics.   Some I would pay to not watch.  (Not much,  but something. )  have we really created a nation so juvenile that Justice League is a basis for a commercially successful film?

There are so many great stories of heroism,  courage, and decency out there,  and Dunkirk stands out because so much of the competition is so bad.   Corregidor, Fort Sumter, Father "We lepers" Damien, Semmelweis and childbed fever, discovery of anesthesia, Jonas Salk and polio vaccine (ending  with one of the block long lines for vaccination that I remember) ... so many good stories.

I Am Generally Sympathetic to the Hard Job That Police Officers Do

But there are standards that must be met when you give someone the authority of the government.  This 7/20/17 Australian Daily Telegraph story tells me that something failed in hiring:
Forklift driver Chris Miller, 49, has lived next door for the past two years and said he wasn’t surprised to learn Noor was the policeman making international headlines for firing on Ms Damond after she called 911 about what she thought was a sexual assault in the alley behind her house.
“He is extremely nervous ... he is a little jumpy ... he doesn’t really respect women, the least thing you say to him can set him off,” Mr Miller said.
“When they say a policeman shot an Australian lady I thought uh, oh but then when they said who it was I was like, ‘OK.’”
He said Noor, who has refused to explain to investigators what led him to shoot dead bride-to-be Damond, was a strict and ill-tempered presence in the townhouse block, where children play together in a playground in a small park between the units.
“He got into it with the kids, they were outside playing and something got stuck in a tree and he came out and he just started yelling at the kids because they were out here playing,” Mr Miller said.
“He has little respect for women he has little respect for blacks and kids,” said Mr Miller, who is African-American.
“He has an air like you just couldn’t really be around him.”
Here's the mayor trolling for Muslim votes:

Sadly True

From Iowahawk, proof that even a tweet can contain important ideas in 140 characters:
Journalism is about covering important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving.

Excuse Me While My Brain Explodes

This tweet by Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party presidential nominee last year:
Unlike the Dems, I didn't sabotage Bernie Sanders in the primaries, then try to cover my tracks with ludicrous Russia conspiracy theories.
The twits responding accuse her of being part of the Trump collusion.

Want to See How Fiercely Anti-Gun New York Police Are?

PANZELLA v. Sposato (N.Y.App.2nd 2017). I am not sure that I can do justice to this collection of differing jurisdictions.

Christine Panzella's long guns are confiscated by Nassau County Sheriff's Department after her ex-husband files for a temporary protection order for stalking. That order said nothing about confiscating guns. Whatever the problem was, the ex dropped the request. Nassau Sheriff refused to return the guns without a court order even though they confiscated the guns without cause and by their own admission, she was free to go buy more. And her pistol license was still valid!

Friday, July 21, 2017

I Can't Seem to Make Chrome's Home Button go to Yahoo.com

It seems stuck on google.com.  Is this changeable?  Figured it out.

A Reader Said That No Headline Could Capture This All

7/21/17 Los Angeles Times reports on charges against police officer:
Robert Cain, 31, was charged Thursday with two counts each of oral copulation of a person under the age of 16, lewd acts upon a child and unlawful sexual intercourse, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
It gets worse:
He is accused of sexually assaulting the cadet in three separate incidents at three different locations on June 14. That same day, three cadets were caught riding in stolen police cruisers, after leading officers on two separate chases through South L.A., sparking the investigation that revealed the cadet scandal. ...
Seven teens, including the girl, have been arrested in connection with the alleged thefts. They range in age from 14 to 18. All of those arrested were dropped from the cadet program.
The cadets stopped at least one motorist while driving the stolen vehicles, giving the driver a warning, police said.
A review of text messages between Cain and the 15-year-old girl detailed an “inappropriate relationship” and also suggested Cain was aware of the thefts of cruisers and other equipment, which included radios, Tasers and a bulletproof vest, according to the LAPD. He may have also helped facilitate them, Beck said last month. Beck has said the sex abuse did not occur on LAPD property. 
And still more:
A subsequent search of Cain’s home led to the recovery of more than 100 firearms, including modified assault rifles, police have said. Last week, he was charged with 10 felony weapons counts in San Bernardino County, including the possession of assault weapons, according to a criminal complaint. 

Google is Now Funding the Gun Control Groups

Here.  Immediately change your search engine to any competitor: Bing,Yahoo, or make an alternate suggestion.  In spite of The Intercept's characterization of it, the project Google is funding is really an an attempt to reduce violence by persuasion, not gun control

Banning the Star of David: Evidence of Progressive Tolerance

After the scandal involving the ejection of Jewish women carrying Star of David pride flags at Chicago’s Dyke March on June 28, a sister organization in the city has announced that it will follow suit by banning “Zionist displays” from its upcoming protest against sexual violence and “rape culture.”
The ban was announced this week on social media by the organizers of SlutWalk Chicago — part of an international protest movement that “fights rape culture, victim blaming, and slut shaming.” The Chicago event is set to take place on August 12.
“We still stand behind Dyke March Chicago’s decision to remove the Zionist contingent from their event, & we won’t allow Zionist displays at ours,” the organizers tweeted last Sunday — beginning several days of exchanges with other users over the policy. These were distinguished by the organizers’ continued insistence that anti-Zionism is a legitimate progressive belief, and that any linkage with antisemitism should be dismissed as a discrediting tactic.
 I can remember when Zionism was a heavily socialist movement.  I confess SlutWalk taking this on makes perfect sense, as much as any SlutWalk does.  You want women to be treated as equals and not just as sex objects?  So dress like sluts; this tells rapists that you want it,  This would be like protesting stereotypes of gays as promiscuous by organizing events in public restrooms.

Amazon

We keep getting unordered/unpaid for products from Amazon.  One was a depilatory made in China.  Would you put a chemical on your skin made in China?  Whoops, we confused the sarin and depilatory lines!

Solar Power Made Easy

This company sells a solar system that instead of requiring an electrician, you just plug the output of the inverter into an outlet.  I asked the following questions:

1. Will the power going into that circuit cross the breaker and feed other circuits?  YES.

2.  Will the 110VAC going in that outlet feed 220VAC devices on other circuits?  NO.  Ask for the 220VAC inverter, plug into a 220VAC outlet.

3. Will the 220VAC input into the 220VAC circuit cross over to the 110VAC circuits?  YES.

4. Does the grid-tie require an electrician to install?  YES.  The ones that just plug into an outlet are not grid-tie and do not.  They is a grid-tie option.

The price is higher than more traditional solar systems, but it does seem to be entirely DIY.  I might hire my ex-Special Forces handyman to put the panels up.  They also sell backup/off-grid systems.  Amazon sells the more expensive systems only.

If the KKK Made This Claim, We Would All Laugh

Algebra is one of the biggest hurdles to getting a high school or college degree — particularly for students of color and first-generation undergrads.
It is also the single most failed course in community colleges across the country. So if you're not a STEM major (science, technology, engineering, math), why even study algebra?
That's the argument Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the California community college system, made today in an interview with NPR's Robert Siegel....
The second thing I'd say is yes, this is a civil rights issue, but this is also something that plagues all Americans — particularly low-income Americans. If you think about all the underemployed or unemployed Americans in this country who cannot connect to a job in this economy — which is unforgiving of those students who don't have a credential — the biggest barrier for them is this algebra requirement. It's what has kept them from achieving a credential.
Essentially, she is arguing that poor people and especially blacks aren't capable of learning algebra.  As a former Poor-American, I reject her claim completely.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

"I'm No Fool"--Jiminy Cricket

Our dishwasher's leaking became so severe last week that we had Cody's Appliance Repair come out and estimate repairs.  It was over $500; the tech said "Go buy a new one."  Which we did; it was cheaper (slightly, including install).  I find it frustrating that most stuff is not designed for inexpensive repair.  Some years ago insurers started pushing car makers to make it easier to repair collision damage.  GM followed the request by making taillight and headlight assemblies more discrete: no need to replace a huge expensive assembly if only a few parts were broken.  Dishwashers need similar redesign and easier access to parts to be replaced.

We are waiting for Home Depot to get our new Samsung dishwasher in, and so I am washing dishes by hand.  As I was reaching into the soapy water, I was suddenly reminded of some safety films from elementary school.  One was a reminder that reaching into an opaque sink and grabbing might well get the sharp edge of a knife.  Each segment ended with Disney character Jiminy Cricket singing, "I'm no fool.  No sirree!  I'm want to live to ninety-three!"  Anyone else remember these?  Did these go away once it was determined that such education might impair nuisance lawsuit filing?

I have labelled this as "history," as a reminder that I am now beginning to remember moderately ancient history.

Portfolio Counter Dow

The Dow dropped today.  Gnashing of teeth and tears right?  No, both my IRA and personal taxable Schwab accounts rose in value, fairly substantially.  Generally, bonds fell in value, but many of my stocks increased in value.  Keep in mind when looking at your portfolio:

1. Checking its value daily will drive you crazy.

2. Just because the Dow Industrials go up or down says nothing about your portfolio.

They Seem Weak on their Concept

California  has banned state-funded travel to states that aren't sufficiently LGBT friendly.  Virginia Postrel points that they missed some much more LGBT-unfriendly places:
California’s intolerance in the name of tolerance is also selective and ethnocentric. It applies only to U.S. destinations. For many LGBT people around the world, living under Texas or Kansas law would be a great liberation. Forget high-profile offenders like Russia. What about Turkey or Singapore? A consistent policy would even deny travel funds for Poland. If the community of scholars can span regimes as diverse as China, India, and Iran, surely it can make room for North Carolina.
Hat tip to Instapundit.

Of course Apple and many other SJW companies treated North Carolina as a pariah over transgender bathrooms, while continuing to do business in Muslim countries, because it is not about the LGBTs but disapproval of conservatives.

Improving Approval of Trump

Instapundit points out the headline is deceptive.  True but misleading:
In May, 82% of Trump voters said they’d vote for him again. In July, it’s 88%. His support has actually increased by 6%. A more accurate headline would be something like Trump’s Base Happier Than In May: Support Rises 6%.
Remember the job of the Democratic Party journalists is to deceive.  Always has been.  I just cannot remember when the level of intentional deception was so obvious.  I smell panic.

The Fat-Free Diet

I have previously mentioned an increasing scientific awareness that carbohydrates, not fats, are the real enemies of good health, at least in part because the sugar industry arranged to get bogus studies published long ago, and many medical researchers bought in to the falsehoods.  An interesting article:
We’re All Guinea Pigs in a Failed Decades-Long Diet Experiment
Recently, research has come out strongly in support of dietary fat and cholesterol as benign, rather than harmful, additions to person's diet. Saturated fat seems poised for a similar pardon.
The stats back him up. Since the US government first published a set of national nutrition guidelines in 1980, rates of obesity and related diseases like diabetes have more than doubled. "Childhood diabetes was basically unheard of, and now it's an epidemic," Lustig said.
"The science that these guidelines were based on was wrong," Robert Lustig, a neuro-endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, told Tonic. In particular, the idea that cutting fat from a person's diet would offer some health benefit was never backed by hard evidence, Lustig said...
By the 1990s, when Teicholz says the epidemiological data started piling up to show that a low-fat, high-carb diet did not help with weight loss or heart disease—calories be damned—much of the damage was already done. The US public was deep in what nutrition experts sometimes call the "Snackwell phenomenon"—a devotion to low-fat and low-calorie processed snack foods, which people pounded by the bagful because they believed them to be healthy.
"This advice allowed the food industry to go hog-wild promoting low-fat, carb-heavy packaged foods as 'light' or 'healthy,' and that's been a disaster for public health," Lustig said.
Take a look at pictures of ordinary Americans in the 1940s and 1950s.  Few are really fat; many are actually a bit thin by modern standards.  Here are some papers analyzing dietary fat guidelines effects. In the British Medical Journal Open Heart:
Evidence from randomised controlled trials did not support the introduction of dietary fat guidelines in 1977 and 1983: a systematic review and meta-analysis
2467 males participated in six dietary trials: five secondary prevention studies and one including healthy participants. There were 370 deaths from all-cause mortality in the intervention and control groups. The risk ratio (RR) from meta-analysis was 0.996 (95% CI 0.865 to 1.147). There were 207 and 216 deaths from CHD in the intervention and control groups, respectively. The RR was 0.989 (95% CI 0.784 to 1.247). There were no differences in all-cause mortality and non-significant differences in CHD mortality, resulting from the dietary interventions. The reductions in mean serum cholesterol levels were significantly higher in the intervention groups; this did not result in significant differences in CHD or all-cause mortality. Government dietary fat recommendations were untested in any trial prior to being introduced.
Cholesterol levels dropped but not CHD.
From Annals of Internal Medicine:
Effects of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets
A Randomized Trial

Intervention

The low-carbohydrate diet was more effective for weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor reduction than the low-fat diet. Restricting carbohydrate may be an option for persons seeking to lose weight and reduce cardiovascular risk factors.
Low Carbohydrate versus Isoenergetic Balanced Diets for Reducing Weight and Cardiovascular Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS ONE 9(7): :
Trials show weight loss in the short-term irrespective of whether the diet is low CHO or balanced. There is probably little or no difference in weight loss and changes in cardiovascular risk factors up to two years of follow-up when overweight and obese adults, with or without type 2 diabetes, are randomised to low CHO diets and isoenergetic balanced weight loss diets. 
What is isoenergetic? Seems to mean same calorie count.  Carbos are the enemy even at the same calorie level.  You still do not want to order one of Carl's Jr.''s absurd burgers, but a steak without the potatoes seems like it will work as well as the low-fat carbo diet.  Of course, most carbos are fried or served with fat (sour cream or and preferably and butter)

High-protein foods (like steak):
The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance

Several meta-analyses of shorter-term, tightly controlled feeding studies showed greater weight loss, fat mass loss, and preservation of lean mass after higher-protein energy-restriction diets than after lower-protein energy-restriction diets. Reductions in triglycerides, blood pressure, and waist circumference were also reported. In addition, a review of the acute feeding trials confirms a modest satiety effect, including greater perceived fullness and elevated satiety hormones after higher-protein meals but does not support an effect on energy intake at the next eating occasion. Although shorter-term, tightly controlled feeding studies consistently identified benefits with increased protein consumption, longer-term studies produced limited and conflicting findings; nevertheless, a recent meta-analysis showed persistent benefits of a higher-protein weight-loss diet on body weight and fat mass. Dietary compliance appears to be the primary contributor to the discrepant findings because improvements in weight management were detected in those who adhered to the prescribed higher-protein regimen, whereas those who did not adhere to the diet had no marked improvements. Collectively, these data suggest that higher-protein diets that contain between 1.2 and 1.6 g protein · kg−1 · d−1 and potentially include meal-specific protein quantities of at least ∼25–30 g protein/meal provide improvements in appetite, body weight management, cardiometabolic risk factors, or all of these health outcomes; however, further strategies to increase dietary compliance with long-term dietary interventions are warranted.

Mutations More Common, Less Harmful Than Previously Thought

We are all mutants. The 3bn pieces of DNA that make us who we are were long thought to be constant, chiselled in granite like a classical monument, with only tiny changes made here and there. Scientists used to believe that DNA mutations were largely harmful.
By the late 1990s and early 2000s, as the first sequences of the human genome came rolling in, researchers realised that their view of mutations was completely backwards. Instead of being rarities that almost inevitably harm health, mutations litter the human genome. The average human carries around 400 unique mutations, and most of us are none the worse because of them.
Mutations are at the core of evolution; lack of knowledge of them was for many years a large problem with Darwin's theory.  Creationists have long used the apparently high lethality of mutations as arguments against evolution; pretty clearly, even if 99% of mutations were lethal or even no advantage, it would not impair evolutionary theory.  If at least some tiny fraction of mutations provide a clear advantage in some environment, that would be enough.

But if the mutations are widespread and generally have no effect, it suggests that biologists have been working with wrong assumptions for a very long time.  This is part of why arrogant assumptions about knowing how evolution works are unwise.  There is still a lot to learn.

I Sure Hope the Self-Driving Cars Are Smarter

7/19/17 CBS Philadelphia:
WASHINGTON (CNN) — It was one small step for security technology, but one giant leap in the wrong direction for robotkind.
A security robot in Washington, D.C. — lovingly named Steve — plunged down four steps into a fountain Monday.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Parodies Keep Getting Better

Today's Gun Technical Question

When you drop the magazine on an AR-15, does the button stay depressed until another magazine is inserted?  The gunsmith insists that it should.  How does your work?  \

I went back to talk to the gunsmith today to clarify.  He explained what he meant--the magazine release was not adjusted correctly for holding the magazine.  I characterized this as a "communication problem," which provides face-saving opportunity.  He insisted that if there was a communications problem, it wasn't on his side.  Anyway, I am leaving it with him.  He is still insistent that a friend who installed the rear QD mount used the wrong part, and apparently installed it wrong.  This gunsmith isn't strong on the communications part of running a business, but if he has the technical part right, this doesn't matter much.

Hitler With Worse Hair

7/19/17 Fox News:
Kim Jong Un's brutal North Korean regime shot so-called "criminals" to death in schoolyards and fish markets in a twisted attempt to create an "atmosphere of fear" throughout the dictatorship, a Wednesday report from a human rights group revealed.
The report, released by The Transnational Justice Working Group in Seoul, gathered information from more than 300 North Korean refugees who witnessed the regime's firing squad executing criminals in public areas to attract large crowds and instill fear in its citizens. 
"In ordinary areas outside the prison system, our interviewees stated that public executions take place near river banks, in river beds, near bridges, in public sports stadiums, in the local marketplace, on school grounds in the fringes of the city, or on mountainsides," the report stated. 

You Really Do Not Want to Go There

PJMedia links to antifa promotion of violence and sabotage.  Imagine the horror if the equivalent groups on the right decided to abandon the rule of law and common human decency (ideas outside the antifa universe).  I suspect the antifas and much of the progressive movement would disappear.

I Will Neither Quote Nor Link

Bill Maher made a homophobic slur (or at least any leftist would call it that) that exceeds Stephen Colbert's vulgarity about Putin and Trump.   The left has completely lost their minds!

Voter Fraud As Republican Fantasy

12/18/16 Detroit Free Press:

Detroit's election woes: 782 more votes than voters

Whether the result of machine malfunction, human error or even fraud, the unexplained voting discrepancies in Detroit last month were not sizable enough to affect the outcome in Michigan of the presidential election, according to a new Free Press analysis of voting precinct records.
In 248 precincts, there were a total of 782 more votes tabulated by voting machines than the number of voters listed as picking up ballots in the precincts’ poll books. That makes up just three-tenths of 1% of the total 248,211 votes that were logged in Detroit for the presidential election. That number was far too small to swing the statewide election results, even in this year’s especially tight race that saw a Republican win Michigan for the first time since George Bush in 1988.
Confidence-inspiring, isn't it? 

I Had No Idea 80% of Americans Are Racist Conservatives

Requiring all voters to provide photo identification at their voting
place in order to vote
Favor: 80%
Oppose: 19%

And the Washington Post Reported This!

 7/19/17 Washington Post:
Postal Service broke law in pushing time off for workers to campaign for Clinton, investigation finds

"The Changing of the Guard"

Twilight Zone episodes when not comic or profoundly disturbing were sometimes sentimental in a way that would never be acceptable to modern audiences.  "The Changing of the Guard" is one of those that still brings me to tears.  A poetry teacher at one of those prestige boarding schools where the elite used to (still do?) send their young men, is being retired against his wishes to make room for a younger generation.  He is despondent about his failure to make a difference, and suicidal.  He goes to his classroom one last time, and the ghosts of a half century of his students appear to tell him that what caused their deaths: a Congressional Medal of Honor winner from Iwo Jima, a World War I casualty, a medical researched killed by an X-ray overdose while studying cancer attribute their actions to the lessons they learned in his class, and that he has done a lot of good indirectly.

And that is what any teacher can hope for.  I have a few teachers over the years that made all the difference: Miss Shackleton who made science exciting and fascinating to me; Mr. Friedman, my 9th grade English teacher whose torture of sentence diagramming made me able to write clearly; my 12th grade physics teacher, Merton Burkhard.

A few years back, the mother of one of my American History students invited my wife and I over for dinner.  She told me that she had worried her son would not graduate high school.  Somehow, my class had lit a fire under him.  Last I heard, he was at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey.  You never know how many other students had transformational moments unless their ghosts show up in your classroom.

Fire and Brimstone

A fire at a former sulfur plant.  Really quite beautiful.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Wonder Why the Tea Party Formed?

Because too many Republicans in Congress are fundamentally owned by the same corporate interests that own the Democrats.any Senator who voted against repeal and replace needs to lose the next primary. Let Obamacare collapse;  our slogan: "Democrats built a defective bridge;  you and the insurers own it. "

Time to let any Republican senators know that a Democrats lost in 2016 because their voters saw little reason to turn out. The same can happen to those unwilling to repeal Obamacare, especially after years of promises to repeal it.

Twilight Zone (Again)

I am still watching and enjoying this series (including episodes I either never saw or have forgotten).  It is a curious and engaging mixture of science fiction, social commentary, and what at first glance seems like fantasy.

In my book My Brother Ron, I describe schizophrenia (depression and hallucinations often leading to delusions) as a Twilight Zone episode that never ends.  The episode that I just watched (The Dummy) is clear: the ventriloquist is suffering hallucinations that his dummy is alive, leading to delusions and drunkenness.  Schizophrenia as a cause of his problems is discussed with his agent.  Even when far removed from the trunk in which the ventriloquist has locked Willie, he can hear Willie's voice, and see his shadow.  Even the ending sequence where the faces of dummy and ventriloquist have switched can be read as reality as seen by the ventriloquist.

The Pain of Rebalancing

Every so often, it is good to examine your portfolio.  In my case, there are a number of stocks that I purchased for their high dividend yield.  Some have risen a bit in value, others, such as SPH and FTR, have dropped a good bit.  So does it make sense to take my losses and reinvest that money in a mutual fund?

Curiously, what made those high-dividend stocks so attractive is often even more the case at the lower stock price.  At SPH's current $24.02 price, the annualized dividend yield remains 14.64%.  FTR now at $14.31 still has a 16.72% yield.  One tragedy of my portfolio, AT, has dropped dramatically because they stopped paying dividends some time back, amid allegations of intentional misrepresentation of their earnings.  The question is whether to shoot this dog and reinvest that money, or hope for the stock price to rise.

Dog shooting is often done at the end of the year, because capital losses offset capital gains (up to a $3000 capital loss for the year; beyond that point, the loss carries over to subsequent year capital gain calculations).

Monday, July 17, 2017

No Aurora Luck Last Night

But being out at 11:00, it was awe-inspiring how bright the Milky Way was.

While Prepping For Western Civ, I Was Suddenly Inspired

Exactly how iron was first smelted has long been a question for paleometallurgists.  Copper smelting is pretty obvious: heat chalcopyrite (CuFeS2) and the sulfur burns off and sulfur dioxide leaves.  The bonds holding copper and iron break, and the copper melts.

Cassiterite, the Cornwall tin ore, is SnO2; heat it and the tin oxygen bond breaks, giving molten tin.

 Iron ore requires carbon in the fire because the heat that breaks the iron-oxygen bond can recreate the bond before the oxygen leaves; add carbon and it leaves as carbon dioxide, giving molten iron.  But why would you just happen to make a very hot fire with carbon and iron ore?  It has been speculated that the Egyptians accidentally smelted iron while extracting gold from magnetite sands (the black stuff the magnet picks up in the sandbox).

I have a simpler explanation.  The slag left over from smelting chalcopyrite is mostly iron, some other impurities in the ore and likely some insufficiently melted copper.  If you wanted the last bit of copper goodness out of the slag, what would you do?  Heat up the slag in a very hot fire; maybe throw some charcoal in for extra heat.  Along with copper dripping out, you might well get molten iron.

Another Democrat Official Caught With His Hand in the Cookie Jar

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/times-watchdog/mayor-ed-murray-sexually-abused-foster-son-child-welfare-investigator-found-in-1984/

Seattle's mayor described as "prominent gay rights activist" was removed from Oregon's foster parent program in the 1980s because case workers decided allegations of sexual abuse of a foster child had sufficient evidence to believe the child.  Prosecutor decided it would be a hard case to win, not that it did not happen.

Another Obama Pardon Whoops

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/2-iranian-men-charged-with-hacking-vermont-software-company/

7/17/17 Seattle Times reports indictment of two men working with one of Obama's pardons who hacked into a defense contractor to steal software on behalf on Iran.must just have been a bizarre coincidence. Has there ever been a President who has done as much damage as the 0?

A Completely Absurd Set of Binoculars

http://www.ebay.com/itm/322107206107

Absurdly good optics quite too big to hold.

Could Someone Explain This?

A reader pointed me to this odd statement in the Oregon Revised Statutes concerning the crime of female genital mutilation:
Note: 163.207 (Female genital mutilation) was enacted into law by the Legislative Assembly but was not added to or made a part of ORS chapter 163 or any series therein by legislative action. See Preface to Oregon Revised Statutes for further explanation.
I can't find any explanation for this.  How can the legislature pass a law with a chapter and section number and have it not be part of that chapter?  This claims to explain, but I still don't understand its effect.

I Thought a Terabyte Disk Drive Was Cool

Yottabyte (1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 Bytes)
Xenottabyte (1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 Bytes)Shilentnobyte (1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 Bytes)Domegemegrottebyte (1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 Bytes)
Once we work around the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, we can plug in the masses and vectors for every object in the universe; store that in our Xenottabyte drive and calculate the future.

Many years ago, I attended an Intel technical conference about the then not quite released 386 processor.  One of the techies saidthat it had a potential address space of 270 bytes, which he insisted was sufficient for all reasonable needs, until some gamer insisted he needed more room.

Bad Parenting

Do not store your needles and heroin in your child's diaper bag.  I am told the attempts to discourage prescription drug abuse in the Boise area are bringing heroin back.  The core pain needs addressing, which is often child sexual abuse.

Ever Wonder What Drives the Antifa Crowd

The German government has been gathering information about those arrested for political violence.  7/17/17 Daily Mail:
The vast majority of left-wing protesters arrested on suspicion of politically-fuelled offences in Berlin are young men who live with their parents, a new report found.
The figures, which were published in daily newspaper Bild revealed that 873 suspects were investigated by authorities between 2003 and 2013.
Of these 84 per cent were men, and 72 per cent were aged between 18 and 29.
More than half of the arrests were made in the Berlin districts of Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg and Mitte, mostly during demonstrations.
A third of them were unemployed, and 92 per cent still live with their parents.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4200272/92-Berlin-left-wing-activists-live-parents.html#ixzz4n6m76XQV
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
I suppose if the sum of my life was unemployed and still dependent on my parents at that age, I would be pretty bitter and easily pointed to just about anyone: capitalists, Jews, Communists.  It worked for the National Socialists in the early 1930s.


This Is Such a Statement About the Obama Administration, Global Warming, and Academic Malfeasance

From last year, but still disturbing: a feminist theory of glaciology:
Abstract
Glaciers are key icons of climate change and global environmental change. However, the relationships among gender, science, and glaciers – particularly related to epistemological questions about the production of glaciological knowledge – remain understudied. This paper thus proposes a feminist glaciology framework with four key components: 1) knowledge producers; (2) gendered science and knowledge; (3) systems of scientific domination; and (4) alternative representations of glaciers. Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.
Funded by this grant from your taxes. 

Looking at some of the referred journal articles cited is just more infuriating:
Journal of Northern Studies
The Gender of Ice and SnowAbstract [en]In this article, the author studies the North and the Arctic as an imagined space, made up of a coherent group of interrelated elements coloured by aesthetic, political and ethical values that transcend it. He pursues his analysis through (a) accounts of missionaries, exploration and sea-faring navigation, (b) novels, narratives and collections of poetry from the literatures of France, French Canada (1840–1947) and Québec (1948 to the present day), and (c) a few works from world literature as well as Nordic and Inuit mythology, in order to understand the gendered nature of four personified elements which are part of the imagined space of the North and the Arctic, i.e. “icebergs,” “frost,” “ice” and “snow.” He concludes, from a gendered perspective, that this material is obviously produced mainly by men and transmits male values, even if some women have also contributed to this cultural construction, and that the personifications function as a focal point, allowing the reader to enter a complete world of images, colours, and values.


As Good As the Onion At Its Peak

A new, exclusive CNN investigative report revealed Thursday that millions of American voters may have potentially colluded with the Trump campaign to elect Donald Trump as President of the United States.
While Russia has been accused of interfering in the election, the breaking report indicates that the collusion may have extended to a significant portion of the U.S. population—“as many as 60 million citizens, and possibly even more.”
“The conspiracy goes much deeper than anyone expected,” Jake Tapper said on his news segment The Politics Lead. “We’re talking tens of millions of people involved in this secret plot to make sure Hillary didn’t make it into the White House and to prop up Donald Trump as the winner.”

Snopes Calls Out the MSM

What’s remarkable is the extent to which false claims about the President revolve around body language, nonverbal gestures and symbolism, all phenomena that are notoriously open to interpretation. These lies and misrepresentations are also often based on snapshots — visual evidence presented without proper context.
Take, for example, the claim that Trump was the only world leader at a G7 summit in May not to take notes, based on a photograph posted to Twitter by French President Emannuel Macron. Here Trump was portrayed as unprepared and out of his depth on the world stage, with a “ten-second attention span”. However, the claim was entirely untrue, with other images and video of the meeting showing that Trump did indeed have notes and a pen. Not only that, but the very image used to make the false claim clearly shows two other world leaders sitting with no note-taking paraphernalia. In this case, even the cherry-picked evidence chosen to make the point undermines it.
Or, from the same G7 summit, the claim that Trump was caught on video raising his middle finger to Italian PM Paolo Gentiloni. Here we have Trump, contemptuous of other world leaders, once again risking international incident with his short temper and foul manners.
Except that he didn’t. The original source of the claim is revealing — the Twitter account of GiveHimTheFinger.com, an anti-Trump website that encourages his opponents to send the White House postcards designed as a middle finger.  A longer video of the discussion shows that Trump and Gentiloni spoke cordially before the incident, which undermines the implicit logic behind the claim — that Trump was expressing anger or distain for Gentiloni. Indeed, no one has ever explained why Trump supposedly flipped him the bird, and so Occam’s Razor comes into play here.While it is possible, of course, that Trump had such a mercurial change of heart about Gentiloni that he went from sharing warm words with him to publicly insulting him in a matter of minutes, is it not far more likely that the US President just had an itchy head?
And then there’s Newsweek’s claim that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi “evaded” Trump’s “notorious… bone-crunching power handshake”, about which there has been a seemingly endless supply of every imaginable kind of analysis.“In his visit to the White House Monday,” wrote Tom Porter in June,  “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi neatly sidestepped the challenge, swooping in for two bear hugs with the president during a joint press conference in the Rose Garden.” What’s missing from this account, in a theme repeated throughout this collection, is historical context, either by deliberate omission or due to the author’s lack of awareness.
Modi, as has long been noted, is famous for hugging world leaders, a gesture he bestowed upon Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, as well as the last two presidents of France, among others. Rather than being an example of yet another world leader “fighting back” (as the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland has described what are essentially firm handshakes), this was an example of India’s prime minister continuing to greet another world leader in the way he always has.
Lack of historical context and cherry-picked evidence also played a role in another particularly egregious episode, in which Occupy Democrats placed a photograph of Pope Francis frowning beside Trump, next to one of the Pontiff grinning beside Barack Obama.
“See the difference?” the caption asked. Of course: Pope happy, Pope sad. But proper context (and basic common sense) would make it clear that no meaning whatsoever can be gleaned from these two snapshots.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

I Love the Creative and Unexpected Stuff My Readers Send

An organ that uses stalactites for music.  This video explains it:


Here is a sample:

Aurora Borealis

News reports are indicating that a massive CME a few days ago may give auroras into Idaho, Washington State, Michigan, upstate New York. At least 11:00 PM.  Perhaps even into California.

Female Genital Mutilation

A very depressing article from one of the Canadian papers about the failure of the now progressive, feminist government to take action to prevent or punish FGM.  The article does correctly identify that this is not specifically an Islamic practice, but I suspect the desire not to offend Muslims,  an important part of the progressive coalition, or appear insufficiently multicultural, is probably the reason.
https://www.thestar.com/news/fgm/2017/07/14/canadian-girls-are-being-taken-abroad-to-undergo-female-genital-mutilation-documents-reveal.html

Interesting Ammo Survey

A couple weeks ago, I was surveyed on the phone by what turned out to be Winchester.  They wanted to know about recent and anticipated future ammo purchases.   I suspect the dramatic reduction in demand since Obama has them trying to figure out what to build in the near future. I would expect increased supply will drop prices.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Too Many Choices

Why does Pentax feel the need to offer 8 zillion similar DSLRs?  The KS2 is attractively priced, 20 megapixels, HD video, ISO 51200. The K30 and K50 are very similar. There needs to be a chart!

The Maldives Just Disappeared

Small Dead Animals points to this clipping from a 1988 newspaper article about how all 1200 islands of the Maldives would be underwater in 30 years.  The power of scientific prediction!

Progressives Arguing For War

7/14/17 The Hill reports on CNN anchor's Russia fatigue.  What is amazing are some of the progressive comments:
Fact: Russia attacked our country
Fact: That is an act of war
Conclusion: We MUST retaliate and bomb Putin's intel agencies TODAY!

Tempest in a Teapot

7/15/17 AP:
In his first public interview about the meeting, Akhmetshin said he accompanied Veselnitskaya to Trump Tower where they met an interpreter. He said he had learned about the meeting only that day when Veselnitskaya asked him to attend. He said he showed up in jeans and a T-shirt.
Veselnitskaya brought with her a plastic folder with printed-out documents that detailed what she believed was the flow of illicit funds to the Democrats, Akhmetshin said. Veselnitskaya presented the contents of the documents to the Trump associates and suggested that making the information public could help the campaign, he said.
“This could be a good issue to expose how the DNC is accepting bad money,” Akhmetshin recalled her saying.
Trump Jr. asked the attorney if she had sufficient evidence to back up her claims, including whether she could demonstrate the flow of the money. But Veselnitskaya said the Trump campaign would need to research it more. After that, Trump Jr. lost interest, according to Akhmetshin.
“They couldn’t wait for the meeting to end,” he said.
So Russians offered evidence of criminal activity by the DNC but Trump, Jr. didn't pursue because there was not sufficient evidence without some digging.  This is hardly criminal.

Friday, July 14, 2017

You Think? And What Does That Tell You?

Video surveillance footage of crimes committed on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) service by minority youths is being withheld by San Francisco authorities due to their concern that the videos might perpetuate racial bias and stereotyping. 
In three months time, at least three robberies have transpired at the San Francisco station by groups of teenagers. One such attack, on April 22, was committed by some 40-60 teens, reportsKPXI-TV. 
“I think people are genuinely concerned — they are fearful about the stories that have come out about the recent attacks, the assaults, the thefts,” explained a member of the BART board of directors, Debora Allen. 
Yet, authorities are refusing to release footage of the crimes. 
So, when Allen pressed for the rationale behind withholding the important evidence from the public, she was eventually told the release of the videos “would create a racial bias in the riders against minorities on the trains.”
But being a victim of crime by minority youth won't?  Many years ago, I worked with a guy who became a raving racist after  three black men broke in and gang-raped his wife, then stole everything in their home, including wedding pictures.  (What fence will take those?)

A Deeply Disturbing Article By Someone Very Sympathetic to Islamic Refugees

I've Worked with Refugees for Decades. Europe's Afghan Crime Wave Is Mind-Boggling.  Read the whole thing.

When Did Sexual Harassment Become Progressive Policy?

I mentioned a few days ago how the Army is telling female soldiers they may have to share showers with transgenders who still have all their boy parts.  Twenty years ago, this would have been sexual harassment.  Now it is progressive policy.

Very Specialized Market

20oz Stainless Steel Silver Water Bottle - got cassiterite?


In case you think cassiterite is an STD: no it's the ancient world's tin ore. Without it, the City of Troy might not have survived Agamemnon's army.

Yes, my science fiction novel and prep for teaching Western Civ this fall are leading me in strange directions.

Too Funny to Not Share


Hat tip to Small Dead Animals.  Trust me, you will laugh.

Nanotechnology Goes Biological

One of the hopes is that we will be able to store data at smaller and smaller scales, both for improved capacity ("Here's your 400 TB flash drive; don't sneeze vore it will fly away.") and speed: imagine data stored in atom relationships.  This 7/14/17 Smithsonian  article is about storage at the molecular level:
That’s why researchers have been on a quest to find more durable data storage, like diamonds and even DNA. Now for the first time, reports Gina Kolata at The New York Times, scientists have encoding a brief movie in the DNA of living cells using the CRISPR–Cas gene editing technique—a move that could lead to cellular recording of health data. They published their results this week in the journal Nature.
The concept behind DNA data storage is relatively simple. While digital files are essentially stored by recording a series of the numbers 0 and 1, DNA can store the same data by encoding the information into its four nucleobases, A, G, C and T.
As Robert Service at Science reports, scientists have been doing just that since 2012, when geneticists first encoded a 52,000-word book in DNA. Though initially inefficient, over time the technology has improved. In March, a team of researchers reported they had encoded six files, including a computer operating system and a film into synthetic snippets of DNA.
For this latest study, the researchers chose a film of a galloping horse recorded by British photographer Eadweard Muybridge in 1878, one of the first motion pictures ever recorded, captured in an attempt to figure out if running horses ever had all four feet off of the ground.
Researchers used the CRISPR-Cas system to transfer the DNA to the bacteria. This system harnesses the power of the bacterial immune defenses to alter the bacteria's DNA, explains Ian Sample for The Guardian. When viruses invade, bacteria sends out enzymes to cut apart the virus' genetic code. And it incorporates fragments of the virus DNA into its own structure to remember the invader in case of future attacks. Scientists can manipulate this system, controlling which bits of DNA hitch a ride into the bacterial genome.
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/movie-encoded-living-dna-first-time-180964058/#vIBhBPyiDp3JKEir.99Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGvFollow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter