Thursday, August 6, 2020

Parallels I Missed

Over at Spectator US, Alexander Cockburn tells the story of a bunch of Democrats and Never-Trumpers sitting down to discuss what happens if Trump refuses to admit defeat.  In the simulation, John Podesta played Biden.

Buried at the bottom of a New York Times article, the paper describes what Podesta did:

‘Mr Podesta, playing Mr Biden, shocked the organizers by saying he felt his party wouldn’t let him concede. Alleging voter suppression, he persuaded the governors of Wisconsin and Michigan to send pro-Biden electors to the Electoral College.

‘In that scenario, California, Oregon, and Washington then threatened to secede from the United States if Mr Trump took office as planned.’

This was so astonishing that Cockburn’s monocle nearly popped off reading it — and he doesn’t even wear one. The actual text of the final report is even more jarring. According to a summary of the game, while acting as Biden — rather than accept defeat — Podesta actively instigated secession, and then issued an ultimatum: Trump could only begin his second term if Puerto Rico and DC became states, California was cut into five pieces, and the Electoral College was abolished. When the ultimatum was refused, Podesta got the Democratic House (played by other Democrats) to declare Biden the president, and then watched to see how the military would react. If you think Cockburn exaggerates, here’s what the document says about ‘Game 3: Clear Trump win’ (a scenario in which Trump wins the Electoral College and the popular vote)

‘The Biden campaign encouraged Western states, particularly California but also Oregon and Washington and collectively known as “Cascadia” to secede from the union unless Congressional Republicans agreed to a set of structural reforms to fix our democratic system to ensure majority rule. With advice from President Obama, the Biden Campaign submitted a proposal to 1) give statehood to Washington, DC and Puerto Rico; 2) divide California into five states to more accurately represent the population in the Senate; 3) require Supreme Court Justices retire at 70; and 4) eliminate the Electoral College, to ensure the candidate who wins the popular vote…’

I have mentioned the parallels of 2016 to 1860 before: Republican gets a minority of the popular vote, but wins the Electoral College.  Angry Democrats start talking secession, while denying validity of the new President.  Other parallels just hit me.

 1. Democrats controlled most big cities, awash in recent immigrants, gangs, and savage criminals.  You probably saw Gangs of New York; it was not far off.  When Lincoln went to D.C., he was in disguise because local thugs the plug-uglies" were largely running riot.  When federal troops arrived, they had to fight their way through the city.

2. Slave owners were the wealthiest class of Americans, who had used their control of the Supreme Court to protect their system of oppression.

Podesta is not a minor political player, either.  I think Trump is gping to demolish Biden, so look forward to the Dems going full stupid.

Defunding Police: A White Progressive Pipe Dream

8/5/20 Gallup:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- When asked whether they want the police to spend more time, the same amount of time or less time than they currently do in their area, most Black Americans -- 61% -- want the police presence to remain the same. This is similar to the 67% of all U.S. adults preferring the status quo, including 71% of White Americans.

Meanwhile, nearly equal proportions of Black Americans say they would like the police to spend more time in their area (20%) as say they'd like them to spend less time there (19%).
So 81% of black Americans want the same or more police in their neighborhood. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Shocking Discovery

I am tired of funding China.  I am looking for a prism to teach my grandkids about spectroscopy, and therefore electron shells when the fall starts.  On Amazon "prism" of course puts Chinese made prisms at the top of the list, but adding "made in USA" to the search string gave me one just a few dollars more expensive (although not as big).  They make a cheaper one of plastic.  I am waiting for an answer if this is glass.

Even better, I searched endlessly and found the prism that I already own.  Nothing can be found after you move!

I Have Had Semesters Where No Class Was Available For Me to Teach

Usually because students preferred face-to-face.  But this semester, no problem.  I have 44 students in my online class at the college whose name we dare not say.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

I Used to Wonder Why Sports Victories Caused Riots

I mean losing I understand but when the city's team (or college's team) is victorious?  This sad headline following a black man's victory in a prizefight with a white guy is just mindnumbingly disturbing.

A Solution So Simple and Elegant That I Would Never Have Thought Of It

But consulting the collective brain of the Internet solved it.  I have a Husky 5 drawer tool chest that I bought some years ago.  After we moved into the new house, the bottom four drawers kept sliding out, to the consternation of my lady's leg. 

Was the floor not level?  No, it was perfectly level (at least to Earth gravity).

There are apparently some detents made of plastic in the drawer carriers that wear out, and no you cannot buy replacements.

Solution: put a magnet on the frame where it meets the drawer.  I put one on each side just to be sure.  I had some neodymium magnets lying around to test the concept on the bottom two drawers, and they worked so well that I ran over to Ace Hardware in  Middleton.  (it is very nice not to need a 25 minute drive to a real hardware store.)  I bought some ceramic magnets and completed another drawer.  The top drawer can wait for another day;  it does not have this problem

The drawers open easily, but they will not slide open of their own volition.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

If This is Really Someone's Name...

We were watching Psych last night and Gus uses the verb cozen, to Shawn's disgust because no one knows what "cozen" means.  I am reading yet another collection of science fiction stories and the verb "cozen" appears.  I think of myself as pretty literate but seeing this word to findtwice in less than 24 hours and having no idea what it means see we're not m.h e Googling.   It means trick or deceive or to obtain by trickery.   So imagine my surprise to find a investment firm named Cozen O'Connor  Right up there with Mel Blanc's law firm Dewey Cheatham & Howe.


I am trying to draw a fairly complex part (actually two parts that fit together), so that I can produce a fairly detailed set of instructions for machining those parts.  Drawing and dimensioning by hand is bringing back the ghost of Mr. Pound, my 7th grade Mechanical Drawing teacher.  It is not a pleasant haunting.

I need to draw several rectangles representing side and end views of this object, marking drill holes and places where I will mill away sections of a rectangular solid.  

I have never successfully  used a CAD package before.  I was able to draw a rectangle.  But how do I specify its dimensions and ideally having those dimensions appear next to the rectangle.  If I designed a CAD program, you would select the object, right click and pull a dimensions or position menu out and fill in numbers.  But that is not obvious how to do.  Even if you are not a LibreCAD user, but are familiar with other CAD programs, you might have a clue to share.

Yes, I have tried to use Fusion360 and ended up utterly stumped.  I know that in most startups where I worked, I was on the left side of bell curve, but I never thought of myself as stupid before attempting to draw stuff in Fusion360.

Found it: Typing @x,y.  So obvious if this were not a GUI.

LibreOffice Draw is easier, but how do you change the number of significant digits on measurements?

I managed to do pretty much what I wanted in LibrOffice Draw, but I still cannot figure out how to get three digits right of the decimal point.  The dimensioning line feature is not quite as simple to use as it should be: