Monday, January 22, 2018

Reorganizing The Shop

My wife cannot stand chaos,  so every few months she forces me to reorganize my shop,  and the result is almost always much better.   The chop saw is on a new stainless steel food prep table.  The mill now facts the rear garage door which we be nice when the weather improves.  The bandsaw is now on the rolling tool cart where the lathe used to be,  and the lathe is now on the workbench that used to be Chaos Central

Why Do Feminists Think Women Are Stupid?

Oxford University has extended time for maths and computer science exams in a bid to help women get better grades.
Undergraduates were given 105 minutes to complete their papers, rather 90.
There was no change in difficulty or the length of questions and female students were said to do better as a result.

Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

The Formation of the Confederation of Northwest North America

From our vantage point of 2100, the formation of the Confederation of Northwest North America was not at all inevitable or unavoidable.  A series of overreaching moves within the political and media elites of the United States of America and the Dominion of Canada, and increasingly severe cultural divisions between Western and Midwestern states and provinces combined with fortuitous individual decisions of the officials and the polities which they represented created this major realignment of political structures in North America during the 20th century.

The proximate cause was the breathless discovery by the USA's scandal-seeking news media that many of the DC political players were frequenting "dating clubs" that advertised themselves as "relive your high school dates."   These clubs provided escorts that were claimed to all be adults pretending to look like the "girls you dated in high school or junior high" but were in many cases clearly not adults.  Legal challenges soon led to New York v. High School Dates, Inc. (2050) in which Justice Williams wrote that: "The right to a fulfilling relationship regardless of popular disgust and irrational prejudice precludes state enforcement of laws that deny the right of minors to make their own choices of sexuality and employment."  The associated decision, Minneapolis Mosque Association v. Minnesota (2050)  (also known as the "What Did Mohammed Do?" case) struck down state laws setting minimum marriage ages; it was decided on First Amendment free exercise of religion grounds.  Popular outrage in much of the USA was derided on CNN and MSNBC as evidence of narrow-minded puritanism of the sort that criticized same-sex marriage and transgender bathrooms a generation before.

As the extent to which coastal populations took this as just another expansion of freedom from the closemindness of "flyover country" (a term now largely out of date, derived from a  1976 New Yorker cover titled the View of the World From 9th Avenue, but used before the Wars of Secession to refer to the perceived contempt of non-coastal America by coastal elites), some state legislatures compared it to the Dred Scott (1856) decision, which imposed, to quote the North Dakota Secession Resolution of 2051 "a single national definition of a despicable practice as a constitutionally guaranteed right on every state in the Union."

Popular sentiment fueled by increasingly vigorous and vituperative discussions on social media soon put pressure on many state legislatures to demand either a constitutional amendment overturning High School Dates and similar decisions limiting state legislative sovereignty dating back into the 1970s, or secession.  News media continued to describe these efforts as "deplorables showing their racism, Islamophobia, and misogyny."  This simply raised the level of upset, comparable to Hilary Clinton (D)'s characterization of 1/4 of Americans as "deplorables" that led to the Administrations of Donald Trump (2016-2024) and then Ivanka Trump (2024-2032).

When Texas Gov. James "Jimbo" Jorgensen signed the secession statute in late 2051, he was only slightly leading the curve.  Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas and many other Midwestern states did so shortly thereafter.  All promised reunification if the USA would add to the U.S. Constitution what became known as the "Federalism, and We're Serious About It This Time" provision.

Unsurprisingly, the national government (no longer called the federal government by the seceding states because it was no longer federal at all, but a unified national government) demanded immediate rescission of these statutes and an end to state and local harassment of national law enforcement agents, many of whom had been arrested for being agents of a foreign government attempting to violate rights of citizens of the various states.  Failure to comply soon led to to the sending of Army units into the state capitals to arrest governors and legislators for treason.  Governors called up state National Guard units that ignored federalization orders and remained loyal to their state as well as unorganized militias to defend the state governments.  Facing 15,000 riflemen, tanks from the Texas National Guard, and dozens of small aircraft dropping Molotov cocktails on I-35 near Round Rock, Col. Ray Stefanovich decided that while victory could be his, the loss of life would likely be a PR disaster and withdrew.

Similar issues occurred when federalized California National Guard units attempted to seize the Nevada state government in Carson City.  The bridges leading east from Truckee were blocked with gasoline trucks filled with hardening cement and cemented to the road surface.  Nevada militias and Nevada National Guard units kept up a sufficient firestorm to prevent California National Guard units from using alternate routes.  Admittedly these units were largely manned by persons sympathetic to the secession movement, and they may not have tried very hard to complete their mission.

Coastal states joined in the orgy of denunciation of the rebels.  California pledged its undying loyalty to the cause of Progressive Union until April 15, 2052 when most of the low-population counties of the north and eastern edges of the state as well as many of the San Joaquin Valley counties declared themselves to be Northeastern California.  Gov. Francis "Fabulous" Hernandez ordered the California National Guard to arrest the ringleaders in these counties, but for some odd reason, most National Guard units were located in Northeastern California and the phones rang, but no one answered.

The USA had decommissioned most of the nuclear warhead ICBMs as part of the Iran Bilateral Denuclearization Pact of Pres. Chelsea Clinton's ill-fated 2032-2036 Administration in which Israel was destroyed by dozens of smuggled 400 kiloton bombs, followed by the surprising incineration of Qom and Tehran.  Military bases in the seceding states generally sided with the surrounding state, sometimes because of identification by servicemembers and sometimes because of starvation, as these bases were blockaded.  In a few cases, such as Nellis Air Force Base during Las Vegas, commanders loyal to the USA were informed by their subordinates that their services were no longer required at this work location.

The secession of Northeast California could have been resolved easily with paratroops and bombing raids, but most of these counties had low density populations and terrain well-suited toi guerilla warfare.  Many of the ringleaders were former Special Forces with bumper stickers like, "Dysfunctional vet--don't bother me."  The costs in money and PR made such efforts impractical. 

The remaining counties of California, the ones with the stunning views of the Pacific, were soon given a new name.  In Tweets, press releases and videos on the newly created website, "FreeTube," officials of Northeast California claimed that they owned the rights to California and that the counties of millionaires, $400,000 a year software engineers who could not afford houses, and their desperately poor domestic help, should be called the State of Granola: Fruits, Flakes, Nuts and Pretense.

Those stunning views of the Pacific?  You can't drink salt water.  Northeast California gave San Francisco and Los Angeles 30 days notice: "We hope you have big stockpiles of Evian.  We are closing the taps from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and the Owens Valley."  While the California Aqueduct itself was unaffected, notice was served that Northeast California was now the primary use of the water behind Shasta Dam and Oroville Dam.  Silicon Valley pronounced itself up to the task of providing desalinization plants for the coast, but without the electricity from Hoover Dam and other hydroelectric plants now in Northeast California it was going to take a lot of photovoltaic panels.  A few weeks of empty pools, brown lawns, and Mexican gardeners dying of heat stroke suddenly reminded Granola why they needed to negotiate a friendly relationship with their neighbor upslope.    (The absence of warehouses of Evian soon drove 10% of Granola's remaining rational people into other states.)  Attempts were made to bring the rebel counties back into the Golden State, but after decades of being treated with contempt, the "deplorables" were disinclined to believe promises from Sacramento.

California also shared a problem with Oregon and Washington (both of which soon had calved into Eastern Oregon and Portlandia, and Eastern Washington and Western Washington).  Both had substantial international trade, but were also highly dependent on markets in the Eastern USA.  Steel and computers could be transported by ship, but produce going to the other loyal coast needed rail or truck transport.  The seceded states refused commercial air transport rights and taxed all goods travelling by truck and rail.  This provided the revenues needed on a short-term basis to operate these governments formerly dependent on federal funds.  Hydroelectricity from Bonneville Dam was suddenly much more expensive.  As Eastern Washington's Gov. Jerry Allen explained, "Hydro power is bad for the fishes.  We get that.  Okay, find your green replacement.  We can find other customers."

The Dominion of Canada's breakup had slightly less sordid aspects.  The prairie provinces had long resented Ontario's arrogant virtue signalling about energy and to a much lesser degree, the national firearms laws.  But the decision of the national government to implement a separate shari'a legal systems for Muslims seems to have been the camel's backbreaking straw.  The simultaneous  dissolution of the USA gave ideas to Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.  Again, the oil and wheat fields gave them leverage with the eastern provinces, and being the only trade path from British Columbia gave them power similar to Eastern California's grip on Granola.

Alaska had long sustained an unrealistic independence movement, limited by the reality that you can see an aggressive Russian bear from Alaska.  Negotiations soon opened with the newly freed states and provinces.  (Texas decided it was too isolated by Colorado and New Mexico to join, and was big enough by itself.)  Yukon Territory, nearly as cantankerously independent in attitude as Alaska, joined in, bringing its uranium deposits and the Northwest Territories.

The Confederation Convention met January 1-20, 2053.  The final Confederation Treaty (intentionally not called a Constitution because the USA's Constitution had turned out to be a straitjacket for Godzilla very strongly declared that "All matters of internal civil and criminal law are the prerogatives of the people and their elected legislatures.... Interstate commerce refers only to the movement of goods that cross state borders." While creating a government explicitly and ad infinitum referred to as a federal government, the powers were severely limited to foreign trade and policy and disputes between the states.  Reflecting the issues that drove the dissolution of the USA, no lifetime federal judiciary werre dreated.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Automatic Voter Registration for Illegals

Los Angeles Times reports California will now automatically register to vote those who renew their driver's licenses.  California already gives licenses to illegals.  Glad to hear that Trump's concerns about voter fraud are paranoia.

Fact-Based Polling

Why was there wide support for health care reform before Obamacare?  I believe it was because 85% of Americans had coverage and generally good to excellent health care. They felt guilty about this and assumed that many Americans were not so blessed.  I wonder if these polls would have been different had they started out with statistics on% currently covered and satisfaction% of those not covered.  Ditto for gun control surveys. Provide some information,  such as declining murder rates before asking questions.  Close to push-polling, I agree, but informed opinions are often very different.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Proof That You Can Have Too Much Money

1/20/18 CNBC:
Nicholas Cage once blew $150 million on a private island and a dinosaur skull—here's everything he bought
Worth reading in full just to make sure you don't make the same mistakes when your ship comes in.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Clear Night

So I try to roll the big reflector out, and it is pouring up a fight.   Why?  I bring out my big flashlight and see that the steel plate on which the reflector and equatorial plate are mounted is bending at the edges where the caster's are located.  This, of course, l impairs the geometry,  making the caster's reluctant to roll on what is already only a so-so smooth surface.   These were never a problem before the platform,  and it had not added enough weight to cause this.   The way the polka attorney is mounted to the plate,  however, concentrates the weight closer to the center,  increasing deflection load at the edges.   Solution: buy a much stiffer steel plate, remove and replace,  this should,be a far less stressful experience than getting the platform on the plate the first time.  I have all the dimensions,  for one thing.  I shudder to think what a 1/4" thick 30" x 30" steel plate will cost.  Perhaps try Pacific Steel for a big piece of scrap?   How thick are trench plates?

My wife, who is very mechanically, gifted, suggested putting a 1/2" piece,of plywood under it.   I have a piece that is just slightly larger than the steel plate.   Weight testing with 130 pounds on it shows no flees at all.   I can remove the existing casters from the steel plate, drill corresponding holes in the plywoof, and reinstall the caster' through both sheets.

How Does It Show?

At the neurologist yesterday someone asked my wife and I how long we have been married because it was obvious that we were very much in love.   38 years in March.

I Think the Wall is Coming

1/19/18 Idaho Statesman:

Recent assaults by tactical teams on prototypes of President Donald Trump's proposed wall with Mexico found their imposing heights should stop border crossers, The Associated Press has learned, a finding that's likely to please security hawks but raise concerns about costs and environmental damage.
Military special forces based in Florida and U.S. Customs and Border Protection special units spent three weeks trying to breach and scale the eight models in San Diego, using jackhammers, saws, torches and other tools and climbing devices, a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the rigorous testing told the AP on condition of anonymity because the information was not authorized for public release.
Each model was to be 18 to 30 feet (5 to 9 meters) high, and contractors built at or near the maximum, which is roughly twice as high as many existing barriers. Ronald Vitiello, the agency's acting deputy commissioner, said after visiting the prototypes in October that he was struck most by their height.
"environmental damage"?  Environmentalist are claiming they are too tall for birds or insects.

Curious: This Suggests Schizophrenia

His girlfriend, Marilou Danley, who was in the Philippines at the time of the attack, told investigators that Paddock's behavior started to change in the year leading up to the shooting.
"Paddock had become 'distant' and their relationship was no longer intimate," the report stated. "Paddock was described as 'germaphobic' and had strong reactions to smells."
Danley said the pair stayed at Mandalay Bay in September 2017, and he was "behaving strangely."
Paranoia.  Schizophrenics have sensory data errors that cause hallucinations, including the belief that they smell bad, leading to multiple showers per day.  Paddock was way past the typical age for onset, but those numbers are only averages.

Worse Than the 1828 South Carolina Nullification Crisis

The state’s top cop issued a warning to California employers Thursday that businesses face legal repercussions, including fines up to $10,000, if they assist federal immigration authorities with a potential widespread immigration crackdown.
“It’s important, given these rumors that are out there, to let people know – more specifically today, employers – that if they voluntarily start giving up information about their employees or access to their employees in ways that contradict our new California laws, they subject themselves to actions by my office,” state Attorney General Xavier Becerra said at a news conference. “We will prosecute those who violate the law.”
Becerra’s warning comes as fears spread of mass workplace raids following reports that immigration agents plan to target Northern California communities for deportations due in part to the state’s “sanctuary” law, which seeks to restrict local law enforcement agencies’ ability to cooperate with immigration authorities.
South Carolina refused to allow enforcement of the new higher tariff.  Becerra is threatening huge fines if you obey federal law, which makes it a crime to harbor illegal aliens.

 8 USC 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii):
Any person who—knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation;
A felony.

How Do You Know If Your Knife Is Legal?

To meet the first statutory requirement of the Gravity Knife Law, it is clear that a knife need not open by both gravity and the application of centrifugal force; if a knife opens by centrifugal force alone and the blade locks in place once released, the knife is an illegal gravity knife. ...

For instance, during questioning regarding Native Leather his deposition, plaintiffs asked D.A. Rather: "And did you ever have the circumstance arise where a knife passed the functional test with one person, but failed it with another?" (Rather Dep. 43:15-17.) D.A. Rather responded: "In a fashion. Gravity knives by law don't have to open each and every time. . . ." 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

When Even Warmists Are Pulling Back...

1/17/18 AFP quotes scientists who believe it is anthropogenic as warning:
That "known unknown" is called equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS), and for the last 25 years the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- the ultimate authority on climate science -- has settled on a range of 1.5 C to 4.5 C (2.7 to 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit).
Cox and colleagues, using a new methodology, have come up with a far narrower range: 2.2 C to 3.4 C, with a best estimate of 2.8 C (5 F).
If accurate, it precludes the most destructive doomsday scenarios.
"These scientists have produced a more accurate estimate of how the planet will respond to increasing CO2 levels," said Piers Forster, director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds.
Gabi Hegerl, a climate scientist at the University of Edinburgh who, like Forster, did not take part in the research, added: "Having lower probability for very high sensitivity is reassuring.
"Very high sensitivity would have made it extremely hard to limit climate change according to the Paris targets."

More of Trump's Maloevalence

1/18/18 Bloomberg:
U.S. filings for unemployment benefits plummeted to the lowest level in almost 45 years in a sign the job market will tighten further in 2018, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Why I Agree With Instapundit Thay An Internet of Things Is a Bad Idea

1/17/18 Weekly Standard presents a terrifying and likely possible risk of pilotless cars:
It's a calm Saturday morning in August of next year. Suddenly, across the nation, 12,000 Tesla Model S sedans start up at the same time. They engage Tesla's vaunted autopilot feature and head out onto the road. Some of them make their way to local gas stations. Some to electrical substations. And then, as they approach, they accelerate to top speed. The explosions are fantastic as the Model S batteries rupture and spark fires, which ignite anything flammable in the area. The power grid in the Los Angeles area is brought down almost immediately. Hundreds of fires rage. America is under attack. This might sound like science fiction. It's not.

CNN is So Bubblicious, They Do Not Realize How Silly They :Look

Despite President Trump’s positive health exam results, CNN simply won’t accept the White House doctor’s assessment.
Pundits who have not examined Trump parsed the results and drew conclusions likely intended to scare viewers.
Host Alisyn Camerota and medical analyst Sanji Gupta declared Trump to be “borderline obese,” predicted he would have a heart attack in “3-5 years” and Gupta concluded the president has heart disease.
Camerota held back laughs over Trump’s height, which the exam found to be 6’3″. He had reportedly been 6’2″ in the past.
“Somehow he has grown while being in the White House,” she snarked.
Because of Trump’s weight of 239 lbs., she said his Body Mass Index is “two-nine point nine.”
Gupta conceded the BMI ratio is “not a perfect ratio by any means,” but nevertheless, went on to declare Trump “borderline obese.”
“So he’s point-one away from being in the obese category,” Camerota emphasized.
After Vice President Joe Biden’s doctor panned CNN’s hysteria, Camerota went back to Gupta.
Because of Trump’s calcium score, CNN predicted the president will have a “heart attack or heart disease” in “3-5 years.”
But Gupta was more aggressive.
“So the president has heart disease,” he declared.
He passed a cognition test with a perfect score, at his request.

And the Bad News Keeps Rolling

1/17/18 Bloomberg:
U.S. factory production rose for a fourth straight month in December, capping the strongest quarter since 2010 and underscoring a resurgence in manufacturing that’s primed for further advances, Federal Reserve data showed Wednesday.

I Cannot Think of a Company That Will Be More Ungrateful to Trump

Apple will invest $350 billion in the US conomy over the next 5 years  Apple on Wednesday made a slew of announcements about its investment in and contribution to the U.S. economy in part because of the new tax law.
The headline from Apple is that it will make a $350 billion "contribution" to the U.S. economy over the next five years, although it's unclear exactly how the company came to that number.
The company also promised to create 20,000 new jobs and open a new campus.
It said it expects to pay about $38 billion in taxes for the horde of cash it plans to bring back to the United States. This implies it will repatriate virtually all of its $250 billion in overseas cash.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

First Night of the Spring Semester

Everything went well.  I did find to my surprise that a BBC video about human settlement of the New World did not hold their attention as well as my lecture.  Probably using shorter video segments would be a better strategy.  These are almost entirely students who work during the daytime although most are traditional age students, so I guess the welfare state student strategy of Obama has not worked as expected.  Only one student seemed in danger of falling asleep.  Perhaps  a long day.  I remember a 6:00 to 10:00 High Middle Ages class like that.

Never Has a Black Man With a Gun Been More Needed in a 7-11

Funny, But Perhaps More An Indicator of Blue State Madness Than a Real Economic Indicator

Like any savvy investor, I am always on the lookout for signs that the economy may be overheating, that things may be getting a bit frothy. Of particular concern are exotic businesses that pop up at the very end of economic booms, selling products or services that will be the first items struck off the shopping list once things go south. You know what I’m talking about. Fantasy Capo di Tutti Capi camps. Cribbage with the Stars. Falconry Schools for the Blind.
Recently, several enterprises matching this general description caught my eye. The Sirens of the Deep Mermaid Camp in Weeki Wachee Springs State Park down in Florida is a perfect example. Here, for $450, women can slip into a tight, taut body-sculpting spandex tail with matching fins and learn how to convincingly impersonate the mythical denizens of the deep. The two-day camp teaches aspiring mermaids how to perform a variety of sophisticated thalassa-balletic maneuvers, including the archetypal “mermaid crawl.
And he gives some other examples of too much money, not being properly invested:
Kidnap Solutions is another highly unusual business that seems to presage the end of an ebullient market cycle. The firm springs from the mind of one Raymond T. Moody, who describes himself as “a serial entrepreneur” based in Glendale, California. His “radical immersive” brand of theater offers just-plain-folks the opportunity to find out what it feels like to be abducted and held for ransom. 

Will the Last Native-Born Software Developer Turn Off the Lights?

This isn't copypasta, this actually happened over the past year at my company. Several other companies in the area are experiencing similar issues with their visas.
I'm an IT guy, a developer to be exact. I've been around the H1B issue for about 20 years and things have always gotten worse, never better. Despite Trump's fantastic rhetoric during the campaign, I didn't believe he'd make any real changes or fix anything. However, what I've seen over the past year demonstrates this is definitely not true.
My development team is probably 90 percent indian. The manager of our department is indian and the hiring managers are all indian and they have all stated pretty openly that they prefer hiring indians. Whenever there are layoffs, non-indians get cut. Whenever there is hiring, more indians get brought on board. They get paid about 40k a year less than I do, they work hard and they don't complain. I think they produce garbage quality work for the most part, but I don't think the managers care. It's slowly rotting away the quality of the software but again, they don't care.
Anyway, the typical scenario is that every year, a stack of visas goes in for renewal and about a week later they come back stamped [APPROVED]. Very easy. At the start of this year, instead of coming back approved, each application came back with a huge list of questions and requests for documentation about why the applicants were being paid so little. The lawyers were confused and assembled a huge pile of documentation for each applicant and sent it back. Every single application then came back with either more questions or a denial. EVERY SINGLE ONE is either in limbo or denied (you must go back!). I've heard this from multiple sources, including several who had their visas held up.
As a result of this, our company's HR department has quietly decided (I heard this through the grapevine talking to several department heads) to no longer hire employees that need sponsorship. I've talked with recruiters and with people I know in several other companies in the area and I've heard similar stories everywhere. Pretty much unless you're making 120k a year on a visa, you're going to get yanked. The guys like WIPRO and INFOSYS must be shitting their pants over this.
And salaries for developers are already rising as a result. Salaries have been stagnant for several years but in Q4 2017, they started going up noticeably in this area. Trump is truly making IT great again.

How Can You Tell Progressives Run Your State?

From 2013 to 2015, California had America’s 17th-highest poverty rate, 15 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Official Poverty Measure. That measure uses income levels to determine poverty, but does not consider differences in cost-of-living among states. It lists the official poverty threshold for a two-adult, two-child family at $24,036 in 2015.
During the same period, California had the highest poverty rate, 20.6 percent, according to the census’ Supplemental Poverty Measure. That study does account for cost-of-living, including taxes, housing and medical costs, and is considered by researchers a more accurate reflection of poverty. For a two-adult, two-child family in California, the poverty threshold was an average of $30,000, depending on the region in the state, according to a 2014 analysis by Public Policy Institute of California.
Looking at state poverty rates, the second highest is Florida’s 19 percent, followed by New York’s and Louisiana’s shared 17.9 percent rate. The national average is 15.1 percent using the supplemental measure.

You Know I Do Not Think Highly of Poverty Pimp Jesse Jackson

Monday, January 15, 2018

Trump's Use of This Phrase to Describe the Third World is Still Unproven

But here's a leftist using it to describe fly over country and it gets worse.  Secede No, expel California.

Like Most Such Suits, the Aggrieved Party Went Looking For A Basis to Sue

The case pits a university policy barring discrimination based on sexual orientation against the religious beliefs of a 10-member group called Business Leaders in Christ. The group sued after the state's flagship university in Iowa City revoked its campus registration in November.
The group says its membership is open to everyone, but that its leaders must affirm a statement of faith that rejects homosexuality. The university says it respects the right of students, faculty and staff to practice the religion of their choice but does not tolerate discrimination of any kind.
The group, founded in the spring of 2015 by students at the university's Tippie College of Business, met weekly for Bible study, to conduct service projects and to mentor students on "how to continually keep Christ first in the fast-paced business world." The group's loss of registration as an on-campus student organization means it can no longer reserve campus meeting space, participate in student recruitment fairs, access funds from student activity fees or use university-wide communication services.
A student member of Business Leaders in Christ, Marcus Miller, filed a complaint with the university last February after the group denied his request to serve as its vice president. Miller's request was rejected after he disclosed he was gay.
And why would disclose that except to be rejected?  Unlike the traditional equal housing or employment methods where the discrimination was never directly admitted, this was stated loudly and clearly, along with Miller's orientation.  The goal is clear: a Christ-free university.  Imagine a suit about antii-conservative bias in faculty hiring.

Glad I Have OpenOffice

A couple of my PowerPoints for tomorrow night would not print notes pages.  But I can print them (very slowly) when I open them with OpenOffice Impress.  Suddenly working.  I wonder if opening in Impress changed the format to something that PowerPoint now recognizes?

Sorry I Did Not Get a Picture Before the Unplug

My wife wanted to move the furniture in the family room, which meant disconnecting the ultimate cable mess.  Kenwood stereo receiver, speakers, cables to the wireless headphones  (think of it as 1970s SurroundSound) and TV, Sony Playststion, Sony Netflix box, with cables for HDMI connection to a laptop as needed.  We decided that the VHS VCR did not need to be reconnected.   Oh, and the Ethernet connector through the outlet.

Idaho is the Big Destination

One of the reminders is this Maserati SUV with temporary Florida tags.

Great License Plate

Not a great picture but MOTHASHP on a minivan.

Coming to Illinois in April

Southern Illinois University Law School has invited me to a 10 year anniversary of DC v. Heller symposium to be held, appropriately enough on April 19.  SIU is in Carbondale.

Cool Android App

Duolingo is an Android app that practices you in many languages. I doubt you could learn a language from scratch,  but my wife is refreshing her French and I am refreshing my German.   (I may do the same for my Russian when this app claims that I am fluent.)  The only odd aspect is that it seems to insists that present tense translates to a more natural English construction of "am" verb.   So "er isst" becomes "he is eating." 

Another Fake Hate Crime

Islamophobia at that.

CalTrans Has Its Work Cut Out For It

US 101 is closed indefinitely

Clear Night

Very clear and dark: no Moon.  The platform is definitely tracking, but I am not exactly aligned on north.  I think I will paint an arrow in glow in the dark paint in front of the garage.  M42 was awesome, but when I tried to use Sky Commander, I realized that I did not remember how to search for Messier objects in the sky.  I could not remember any that were actually above horizon and the UI is not as clear as it needs to be.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

CNC Laptop Went Splat

I suspect the generally harsh conditions of the shop or aluminum dust flying around killed it.  It starts just enough to show the boot screen then goes blank.  Likely bad mother board or display.  I was able to buy a used one for $90 on eBay.  Unfortunately, I have to have a real parallel port to control the CNC mill.  The new one has a 40GB hard drive, but I suspect that I can move the current drive over easily enough.

It was only the display that went bad, which I suspected from watching the flash of the boot screen.  An external monitor, thanks to my reader Jim Horn, who has kept this antique Viewsonic running, and I am back in business.  The Compaq NC6000, I ordered: a good backup for when this one goes belly up.  The keyboard is slowly going bad anyway.  and I doubt that I can get the built-in display repaired for $90.

So what was I trying to do, when I discovered this?  Leveling the mill.  I had a piece of wood under the mill as part of a now obsolete chaff confinement structure, which was distinctly leaning to right of level.  Removing it helped but even though the table on which the mill sits is just about level, the mill table was leaning right and forward.  Not much.  Copy paper is .003" thick.  A couple sheets folded eight times near the front of the base, and the mil table is now level.  The mill column may or may not be square to the table.  It seemed okay when it arrived; there are some adjustments you can make at some effort because you have to lay the mil on its back, which requires disconnecting cables and unscrewing bolts that hold the column to the base.

There are two mil vises that |I use.  One is a very small, precise Sherline mill.  The other is a large drill press vise that I milled to be as flat and square as I could.  There is still room for improvement; I can measure that the left side of the jaws is .027" higher from the bottom than the right side.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Awesome Video

Not sure I believe the Milky Way panic story at the start, but many Angelenos live not only in a political bubble, but a reality bubble also.

I Think Someone is Being Squeezed

An indictment against a former co-president of a Maryland-based transportation company that provides services for the transportation of nuclear materials to customers in the United States and abroad, was unsealed today for his alleged role in a scheme that involved the bribery of an official at a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation. 
 Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen M. Schenning of the District of Maryland, Principal Deputy Inspector General April G. Stephenson of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General (DOE-OIG) and Assistant Director in Charge Andew W. Vale of the FBI’s Washington, D.C. Field Office made the announcement. Mark Lambert, 54, of Mount Airy, Maryland, was charged in an 11-count indictment with one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and to commit wire fraud, seven counts of violating the FCPA, two counts of wire fraud and one count of international promotion money laundering.  The charges stem from an alleged scheme to bribe Vadim Mikerin, a Russian official at JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX), a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation and the sole supplier and exporter of Russian Federation uranium and uranium enrichment services to nuclear power companies worldwide, in order to secure contracts with TENEX. 
And what can you give us about U.S. government corruption on this?

My First Mulitasking Operating Systyem

I have mentioned learning to program on an IBM 1401.  This computer processed class scheduling, attendance records, and grades for the entire Santa Monica Unified School District.  I used my knowledge and access to get myself moved from one section of German to the other because the girl that I was obsessed with was going to be in that section.  Another one of the computer lab rats, Curt, claimed no knowledge of how he had dozens of absences from P.E. and still received an A.

Anyway, the data processing coordinator for the district somehow rescued a computer pound puppy.  It was an odd dual minicomputer system named MINITS (for Miniature Time Sharing System).  It used two Interdata minicomputers, a Model 3 and Model 4, sharing a common 32K RAM space.. A model 4:

The dials on the left and the push buttons at bottom allowed you to enter data into various memory locations, such as when you needed to put the boot code in to load the OS from the drum.  This was a slow process.  One friend, Curt, demonstrated his ability to enter the boot sequence accurately with his toes.

  I do not know if the Model 15 was an Interdata supported product, or something Cerf's team created. The Model 3 was for control of the teletype terminals and modems.

That's a model 33 teletype.  It printed and accepted keyboard input at 10 characters per second (we finally managed to find a 30 character per seconds modem and CRT to attach).  Yes that is a  paper tape punch and reader, which used this stuff:
There are indeed more than 8 rows.  One is a parity bit, and the other is some other out of band signaling information that I have forgotten.  Slow!  I once did a three pass assemble* of the Interdata Model 4 OS from paper tape as my first summer job after graduating.  (That was 12 hours of profound boredom, fixing paper tape jams and tears.  Why three passes?  No hard disk to store intermediate results, like symbol tables)

Anyway back to MINITS.  This was one of Vint Cerf's brainchildren.  The idea was a relatively cheap timesharing system.  We had scads of listings for the operating system, BASIC interpreter, and some of the utilities and games, printed out on a drum printer that was attached to the Univac 1108, that was supposed to be the mainframe to which this would be attached.

The hardware was unique.    It had a large magnetic drum that did two things: every few milliseconds as the drive reached its zero track position, it generates an interrupt that told the operating system, "It is time to give another user some time."  (Clock generated interrupts?  Not sure when these appeared on other minicomputers.)  Also when it came time to swap users, the entire user context (the current contents of his BASIC program or whatever else a user was running, which I believe went from X'5800' to X'8000') would be written to the drum.  The OS would then load the next user's context and give him execution time.

How much time?  The OS had a concept of Terminal Control Block, which specified how many milliseconds he was allowed and the priority of his terminal's task.  By adjusting these numbers on the fly, you could annoy the heck out of a remote user.  (Imagine typing a key on the teletype and waiting a second or two for the echo to print on the paper.)  There was one in the math lab several thousand feet away, and another attached by 110 baud modem at Lincoln Junior High, some miles away.  We also borrowed a teletype to take home on weekends, for breaking into ARPAnet; more about that some other day.)When there were problems, either because someone was manipulating the remote user's TCB or because of hardware problems, the Lincoln math teacher responsible for this learning project, Mr. Winkenhower, would call us to find out why he was not having any luck. 

Anyway, I learned a lot about how operating systems worked in 11th and 12th grades.  The Control-V key would drop you into a debugger where you could by accident do enormous damage requiring a hard reset, including re-entering the boot sequence through the front panel.  The right set of common keystrokes would change RAM in areas that were lethal to the OS.  It was needed, however, to fix some problems on occasion so we could not just disable it.  A fellow student, Curt, and I wrote a utility in Interdata assembly language and then hand compiled it (we had no assembler program) that would do all the  necessary functions but otherwise block access to the debugger.*

I also learned how to redirect the illegal instruction interrupt, which would drop you into the debugger.  At some point I decided to be clever and build an illegal instruction driver that would recognize instructions that were part of the Interdata Model 70 instruction set (think short relative jumps) and it would simulate these perfectly.  Then I foolishly started adding these instructions into the OS.  It came to a near complete standstill as basic OS functions would keep running through the illegal instruction ISR.

*Computers execute instructions stored in RAM as binary numbers usually expressed in hexadecimal.  X'5A' was the Interdata AHM (Add Halfword to Memory) instruction.  (
I remeber because they used many of IBM 360 mnemonics and architecture; 16 general registers all of which except 0 could be index registers; and where X'5A', was a 32 bit add of memory to register on the 360, X'5A' was AHM 16-bit add of memory to register on the Interdata),   It not being very easy for most people to remember all the numbers, we generally wrote in assembler language.  AHM 5,VALUE would add the 16 bits at symbol VALUE to register 5.  The program that converted these easy to remember mnemonics into binary was called an assembler.


I had one of these as a child.  I do not remember the TV ad.  It used rolls of caps and was a blast until the pot metal used in the cap firing mechanism broke.

Building Your Own Nuclear Reactor?

I have bought chalcopyrite (Bronze Age copper ore) and cassiterite (Bronze Age tin ore) as well as tin and bronze online of late for my Western Civ class, and I am as usual amazed by what you can buy on eBay, like cadmium rods:
8.5oz (240g) Pure Cadmium Metal Sticks 99.9962% Element Sample Rod (~1/4 kg)
Okay, really tiny.  How big a reactor were you going to build?

The Las Vegas Mass Murder Just Gets More Mystifying

The warrants released Friday also produced a puzzling email exchange that Paddock appeared to have with himself.

One instance where investigators identified two email account attached to him — and — an exchange began with "Try an ar before u buy. We have a huge selection. Located in the Las Vegas area."

Later that day, an email was received back from that read "we have a wide variety of optics and ammunition to try."

Then Paddock sent an email to that read: "for a thrill try out bumpfire ar's with 100 round magazine."

In the affidavit, investigators said they believed the communications may have been related to the eventual attack. Authorities have said Paddock used a "bump stock," a device that can make semiautomatic guns mimic the rapid fire of automatic weapons.

But FBI investigators appeared perplexed by the exchange.

"Investigators have been unable to figure out why Stephen Paddock would be exchanging messages related to weapons that were utilized in the attack between two of his email accounts. Conversely, if the Target Account was not controlled by Stephen Paddock, investigators need to determine who was communicating with him about weapons that were used in the attack," according to a warrant.
I sometimes send emails from one of my accounts (on my cellphone) to my personal email at home to remind myself of things that I need to do.    But those emails seem more commercial in nature.

If Many African Countries Aren't So Bad, Why Are We Getting Immigrants?

Trump's choice of language is offensive, but making it among Democrats was clearly intended for leaking.  He knows many Americans share that view.  If these places are so wonderful, why are citizens of those countries so intent on immigration?

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Baby Reflector (Continued)

I keep battling with design issues.   The core problem is that the adjustment screws for the diagonal have to be accessible from above,  so the place where the spider holds the diagonal holder cannot be larger than about 5/16".  So the existing spider will not do.  I need a spider that has a holder a little smaller.

Apparent solution: Cut a .3" x .3' x 1" piece of aluminum,  drill and tap a 1/4"-20 hole through it. 

I tried to machine that size, but I could not machine such a small piece. The mill vise jaws are a bit too tall.  Using parallels was too hard.  Enough height to clear the jaws meant not enough grip to hold the workpiece. Ordinarily I use parallel flats UNDER the workpiece to prop the workpiece up, but that requires props thinner than the workpiece. Even with all the scrap around the shop, I could find nothing,  so I am going to cut them out of pieces of bar stock that I buy. 

But I need to replace the chop saw blade first.  It is a year and a half old, and doing a terrible job making smooth cuts.  Of course the nut that holds the blade is a little rounded from using monkey wrenches, so I need to buy a 1/2" end wrench today.  Yes,  I am amazed that I do not have one.  Then a lefthand nut.  No, the nut has a hex key inside that will not turn!  This is a terrible design; hold down a locking button while turning the hex key, so you do not have a free hand to use a rubber mallet to knock the wrench hard enough to break whatever corrosion is holding in place.  I guess I will go to Home Depot tool repair.

Swayze Optical (a widely recognized mirror maker) has a very clever way to make a spider at  Instead of his suggestion, I am using hacksaw blades. They are thin, springy,  and cheap.

Good News: You Really Did Not Need to Learn Statistics in College

Not very easy to quote this piece of dreck from where I currently am located,  but the argument is that statistics are racist and promote white supremacy.
The second part of the paper draws on the tenets of Critical Race Theory (CRT) to set out some principles to guide the future use and analysis of quantitative data. These ‘QuantCrit’ ideas concern (1) the centrality of racism as a complex and deeply rooted aspect of society that is not readily amenable to quantification; (2) numbers are not neutral and should be interrogated for their role in promoting deficit analyses that serve White racial interests; (3) categories are neither ‘natural’ nor given and so the units and forms of analysis must be critically evaluated; (4) voice and insight are vital: data cannot ‘speak for itself’ and critical analyses should be informed by the experiential knowledge of marginalized groups; (5) statistical analyses have no inherent value but can play a role in struggles for social justice.
And why does the government find this trash?

Mainstream Media: You Are Failing

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 46% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Fifty-three percent (53%) disapprove.
The latest figures include 30% who Strongly Approve of the way Trump is performing and 43% who Strongly Disapprove. This gives him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -13. (see trends).
Gallup has announced that it is ending its daily presidential tracking poll which means Rasmussen Reports is now the only survey firm still tracking presidential job approval on a daily basis
Any guesses why Gallup is dropping this?  Not getting the "right" numbers for Democrats to go fetal?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Peasants Revolt

I watched this last night and I was very impressed.  I learned a lot that was new to me.

Tony Robinson was the host for Worst Jobs in History, sort of Dirty Jobs through history.  I use a segment for my Western Civ class to remind students that as bad as asking, "Would you like fries with that, sir?" may seem, it isn't being a tanner, or executioner, or Anglo-Saxon peasant.

In case it isn't obvious, the English nobility regarded the peasants the way our elites look at us: barely human creatures that exist to supply taxes, repair their Ferraris, and produce food and manufactured goods to meet their material needs, while they enjoy the life that they are entitled to.  The description of the event that finally drove them into revolt, how the tax collectors determined whether girls were married women (and thus subject to the poll tax) was to run their hands under their skirts to do a virginity test reminds me of Weinstein and friends.  The peasants had the advantage of being armed enough to confiscate government arms to augment their own weapons.

Why am I tempted to write a novel about The Deplorables Revolt?

Just Found a Picture of My First Word Processor!

If You Still Use Twitter, Why?

Is This the Punchline?

1/9/18 Fox News:

Maeli Alvarez-Aguilar, 26, was taken into custody on a petty merchant theft charge after walking out of the Rines Market IGA store in Indiantown on Dec. 15, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office told Fox News on Tuesday.
An arrest affidavit viewed by said Alvarez-Aguilar “removed a full rack of ribs from his waistband.”
A further search uncovered nine pieces of fried chicken, two packs of hamburger buns and some mashed potatoes, and police said Aguilar-Alvarez – who smelled of booze and was intoxicated – swiped the items from the store.
Alcohol is a bad idea for many.  The comments over at Instapundit are unsurprisingly witty:
"... further search uncovered nine pieces of fried chicken, two packs of hamburger buns and some mashed potatoes"
I'm really disappointed that "there's a party in my pants" wasn't worked into the story.

Trump's Oppression of the Poor Continues

1/11/18 Bloomberg:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is boosting its starting hourly wage to $11 and delivering bonuses to employees, capitalizing on the U.S. tax overhaul to stay competitive in a tightening labor market.
The increase takes effect next month and will cost $300 million on top of annual wage hikes that were already planned, the world’s largest retailer said Thursday. The one-time bonus of up to $1,000 is based on seniority and will amount to an additional $400 million. The company is also expanding its maternity and parental leave policy and adding an adoption benefit.
$11/hour isn't great wages, but for many low skill, ,.low education Americans (both many of their employees and customers) that is an improvement.

DREAMers May Be a Negotiating Point for Trump

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Seven immigration agents filed into a 7-Eleven store before dawn Wednesday, waited for people to go through the checkout line and told arriving customers and a driver delivering beer to wait outside. A federal inspection was underway, they said.
Within 20 minutes, they verified that the cashier had a valid green card and served notice on the owner to produce hiring records in three days that deal with employees’ immigration status.
The well-rehearsed scene, executed with quiet efficiency in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, played out at about 100 7-Eleven stores in 17 states and the District of Columbia, a rolling operation that officials called the largest immigration action against an employer under Donald Trump’s presidency.
The employment audits and interviews with store workers could lead to criminal charges or fines. And they appeared to open a new front in Trump’s expansion of immigration enforcement, which has already brought a 40 percent increase in deportation arrests and pledges to spend billions of dollars on a border wall with Mexico.
A top official at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the audits were “the first of many” and “a harbinger of what’s to come” for employers.
Unlike some Republicans who wanted vigorous enforcement against individual illegals, Trump is pursuing the magneta: employers who knowingly or negligently hire illegals.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Their Slogan Should Be "Don't Be Stupid"

They have already passed Evil.  From the lawsuit by James Damore and others against Google on p. 27, n.3:
For instance, an employee who sexually identifies as “a yellow-scaled wingless dragonkin” and “an expansive ornate building” presented a talk entitled “Living as a Plural Being” at an internal company event.
What's a dragonkin?   I had to look it up:
A person or persons who believes they are, in some sense, a dragon. This "belief" is a new fad (especially among the 14 year age group), generally used to help explain their own state of affairs.
Yes, 14 year old age group--or Google employees (at least emotionally) .  Dragon and "ornate building."  What is in their water?

Sadly that is the only humorous part that I have found.  The rest is like being on an elite university campus--no humor or sense.


Shall Not Be Questioned pointed me to this National Review article:
In April 2014, America was transfixed by an armed standoff in the Nevada desert. On one side was a collection of dangerous, out-of-control armed men who were deliberately provocative, prone to saying unhinged things in a single-minded quest to destroy their enemies, and who lied time and again to cover their misdeeds.
On the other side was Cliven Bundy.
Read more at:

Time's Up Soon! Time's Up Soon! (Repeat Ad Absurdum)

Not new, but Climate Depot reproduces several decades of warnings that time is up to prevent disaster.  In 1982, we had two decades.  Prince Charles, a strong argument against royalty, in 2009 said we had 96 months before the tipping point, now says 35 years.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Easily Fixed

Americans lack of knowledge about their personal finances costs them an average of $1,171 per person, according to a survey of more than 1,500 people released this month by the National Financial Educators Council. And nearly one in five estimated that their lack of know-how cost them $2,500 or more.
“If we extrapolate these results across the 240 million adults residing in the US, we can estimate that – collectively – lack of financial knowledge cost Americans more than $280 billion dollars in 2017,” the report revealed.
So what is it that Americans don’t understand about their money? Data released by Wells Fargo — which surveyed 2,300 adults — in October sheds some light on four basic financial questions that people couldn’t answer. The financial firm asked both millennials (ages 20-36) and boomers (ages 53-71) these questions. Boomers, overall, did better than millennials. Here’s a look at the questions and what they scored.
The questions are disturbingly simple.

Even Trump Haters Are Calling Oprah for President For What It Is

1/8/18 New York Post  After praising her accomplishments:
But none of this makes her fit to be leader of the free world. And just because the precedent has been set with Trump — to horrible effect — doesn’t mean the Democrats should run a charismatic celebrity with zero credentials. Not Tom Hanks, not The Rock, not Oprah Winfrey....
In 2006, Winfrey endorsed one of the most anti-intellectual products of the decade: A book and video called “The Secret,” which promises that anyone can have anything they want as long as they visualize it. Conversely, if tragedy or poverty befall you, it’s your fault. “The Secret” went on to sell 20 million copies internationally.
“I’m thrilled for the success of ‘The Secret,’ ” Winfrey told Larry King in 2007. “I think that the message needs to go further . . . it is very true that the way you think creates reality for yourself.”...
Winfrey also gave a platform to Jenny McCarthy, the former Playboy Playmate-turned-vocal-anti-vaxxer. In her 2007 appearance, McCarthy claimed that her then-toddler’s son autism was caused by a measles, mumps and rubella vaccination — a wholly unproved and unscientific assertion, one Winfrey largely ceded to her guest.
“My science is named Evan, and he’s at home,” McCarthy said. “That’s my science.”
That’s actually the opposite of science — it’s an anecdotal assumption — but Winfrey left that statement unchallenged, making McCarthy a regular guest and signing her to a talk show deal.
"[T]he way you think creates reality for yourself."  Reality is not shared?

Remember When Cliven Bundy Was a Loon?

1/8/18 Los Angeles Times:
It started four years ago, when Cliven Bundy and his sons refused to pay federal grazing fees and stared down government agents in an armed standoff outside their Nevada ranch.
The Bundys dared the federal government to arrest them. The government did, charging them with a range of felonies.
On Monday, a federal judge in Las Vegas set them free.
The decision left federal prosecutors swallowing another defeat at the hands of a family whose defiance has become a rallying cry for Westerners who believe the federal government has no business managing public land. Four times now — in high-profile cases in Nevada and Oregon — the Bundy family and its allies have beaten the federal government in court.
If you doubt civil war is coming, read the comments on that article. Hat tip: Shall Not Be Questioned.