Sunday, January 31, 2016

Fox Tossing and Other Forgotten And Dangerous Sports, Pastimes, and Games

This book was a Christmas gift from my daughter, and was so strange that I read it first.  First, what is fox tossing?  Picture a bunch of titled European nobility in the so-called Age of Enlightenment, a huge slingshot, and an absolutely terrified fox doing a furry version of an egg tossing contest!

There are many other sports that are so cruel like head-butting cats and octopus wrestling that I am glad they are gone.  New technologies were also hybridized on to existing sports, resulting in auto polo (imagine demolition derby with mallets), auto golf and a variant of golf where the first stroke was a throw from an airplane with ground players taking over.  Some variants never took off, like auto bullfighting, because the bulls were not stupid enough to chase a matador in a Model T.

One sport that tempts me is one that first occurred to me while backpacking in the Sierras when I was about 11 with my sister and cousin.  The 20 pounds I was aring seemed absurd.  I was a wimp.  My cousin had just returned from an all-expenses paid tour of the Vietnamese highlands, and 45 pounds was nothing to him, especially because there were no boobytraps or VC.

I remember thinking that inflating a backpack with helium would make this easier, but the volume of helium to produce lift is really quite large.  The sport was balloon jumping.  Imagine that instead of weighing 150 pounds, you are wearing a harness attached to a balloon with 140 pounds of lift.  How high can you jump if you only weigh 10 pounds?  Calculate the volume required, and you will see why hydrogen was preferred (1/2 the molecular weight; twice the lift) until the first balloon jumper hit the power lines.  Some jumpers apparently had too much lift for their weight and flew off until the wind took them away.

A very odd and entertaining book by someone with a most British name: Edward Brooke-Hitching.

Measuring General Antisocial Behavior

I have been wrestling with how to measure efficacy of one gun a month laws as measured by effects on the Northeastern state crime rates in response to passage and repeal of South Carolina and Virginia 1 gun a month laws, and I found myself wondering if change in gun-crime rates (murder, aggravated assault, robbery) relative to non-gun crime rates (like rape, larceny-theft, burglary, motor vehicle theft) might be a fit measure.  So I decided to see if nationally these various antisocial felony rates were strongly correlated or not.
Surprise: the following shows correlation of murder rates, rape rate,s larceny-theft rates, motor vehicle theft rates, and burglary rates to murder rates for 1960-2012:

1 0.53031789 0.734603441 0.80169651 0.934104

murder rates correlation of course is 1.00, rape rate is very poor, probably because of low rates of rape reporting in the 1960s and early 1970s. But larceny-theft is a surprisingly strong correlation, and auto theft and burglary rates are very strong. Murder and burglary are so strong that changes in one predict changes in the other with startling accuracy.

Mental Exhaustion

I spent most of Friday creating spreadsheets to test the effect of one gun a month laws on gun-related crimre rates, both in the adopting states, and the restrictive Northeastern states that claim the Iron Highway causes them grief.  What a mentally exhausting task verifying all the formulae.  Back at it now.

British Universities & Snowflake Generation

German Ingenuity & Aggression

Saturday, January 30, 2016


I am considering purchase of Tapmatic threading attachment for drill press.  These replace the dspindle, and when you release the handle on the press, they reverse direction and back the tap out.  This would speed up tapping threads, and reduce my dependence on people with strong right hands to manually turn the spindle with a tap in it.  Not quite sure what I need to order.  I guess there are adapters to fit a Tapmatic to various spindle sizes.  Not quite sure what these Harbor Freight drill presses use.  Anyone with experience with Tapmatic (an Idaho company!) or competitors?

Gigabit Ethernet Router

It won't help my ISP's performance, but file copies and printing would improve, I think, but my ThinkPad has a gigabit Ethernet port, and 100T Ethernet apparently will usually carry gigabit speeds.  There are gigabit USB 3.0 adapters for my wife's Toshiba.  My printers might be the bottleneck.  Yup.  The 1536dnf is 1/10/100 Ethernet.  The C6280 doesn't say what speed of Ethernet, but the USB is 2.0, so I doubt the Ethernet is better than 100 Mbps.

Latest versions of 1536dnf are gigabit. The Ethernet interfaces used to pop right out, but no more, so I doubt it's a heap or easy upgrade.

This might be a reason for gigabit Ethernet: networked backup drives.   Of course gigabit Ethernet might not be the bottleneck; USB 3.0 is 5Gb, but most USB 3.0  devices have trouble getting that fast.  Anyone with experience using gigabit external drives.  Does it feel like an internal drive?  Can Windows map it like a conventional drive?

How Not To Persuade News Media To Your Point of View

Emailing them threats of violence because they aren't reporting the side of the Oregon standoff that you want.  Don't be stupid.  And emails are far less anonymous than you think.

Cool Remote Support Tool

For a long time a tool called LogMeIn was free to connect two PCs together to see what was going on on another PC.  Very useful for helping a parent or sibling not too familar with computers.  Then it became something you paid for.  And everyone at heart is a dot-communist.: Everything on the Internet should be free (or at least paid for by someone else).  TeamViewer is free for personal use, and unlike Windows Remote Desktop, very easy to set up.  I put these instructions together so my 99 year old mother could install it on her PC so that I can provide support two states away.

1.Install Team Viewer.  Double click this link.
2.This webpage will come up:
3.Double click the white on green Download TeamViewer button:
4.This will appear on your screen:

When the Save File button goes from gray to black: click it.
5.In the upper right corner of your browser this icon will briefly turn green then black again.
6.After it turns black click it, and a list will appear.  Double click on the first item in the list.
7.This will appear.   

Double click the Run button.
8.A bunch of stuff will appear on the screen.  It may take a couple of minutes.  Eventually you will see this screen:

Click the Basic installation and Personal/Non-commercial use buttons, then the Accept – finish button.

9.You will be asked if you want to allow this program to change your computer.  Click the Yes button.

10.                Eventually you will see 

11.                Write down the numbers and letters in the Your ID and Password fields and email them to the person who will use TeamViewer to help you.

Friday, January 29, 2016

What Was the Origin of Trump's Upset With Megyn Kelly?

Now I know.  She accused him of sexism, and she did a pretty amazing photospread for GQ and a very explicit interview with Howard Stern (does he do any other kind?)  I can see why he doesn't take her seriously.

An Awesome Tucker Carlson Column About the GOP Establishment

Let that sink in. Conservative voters are being scolded for supporting a candidate they consider conservative because it would be bad for conservatism? And by the way, the people doing the scolding? They’re the ones who’ve been advocating for open borders, and nation-building in countries whose populations hate us, and trade deals that eliminated jobs while enriching their donors, all while implicitly mocking the base for its worries about abortion and gay marriage and the pace of demographic change. Now they’re telling their voters to shut up and obey, and if they don’t, they’re liberal
It turns out the GOP wasn’t simply out of touch with its voters; the party had no idea who its voters were or what they believed. For decades, party leaders and intellectuals imagined that most Republicans were broadly libertarian on economics and basically neoconservative on foreign policy. That may sound absurd now, after Trump has attacked nearly the entire Republican catechism (he savaged the Iraq War and hedge fund managers in the same debate) and been greatly rewarded for it, but that was the assumption the GOP brain trust operated under. They had no way of knowing otherwise. The only Republicans they talked to read the Wall Street Journal too.

On immigration policy, party elders were caught completely by surprise. Even canny operators like Ted Cruz didn’t appreciate the depth of voter anger on the subject. And why would they? If you live in an affluent ZIP code, it’s hard to see a downside to mass low-wage immigration. Your kids don’t go to public school. You don’t take the bus or use the emergency room for health care. No immigrant is competing for your job. (The day Hondurans start getting hired as green energy lobbyists is the day my neighbors become nativists.) Plus, you get cheap servants, and get to feel welcoming and virtuous while paying them less per hour than your kids make at a summer job on Nantucket. It’s all good.

When was the last time you stopped yourself from saying something you believed to be true for fear of being punished or criticized for saying it? If you live in America, it probably hasn’t been long. That’s not just a talking point about political correctness. It’s the central problem with our national conversation, the main reason our debates are so stilted and useless. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t have the words to describe it. You can’t even think about it clearly.

This depressing fact made Trump’s political career. In a country where almost everyone in public life lies reflexively, it’s thrilling to hear someone say what he really thinks, even if you believe he’s wrong. It’s especially exciting when you suspect he’s right.
A temporary ban on Muslim immigration? That sounds a little extreme (meaning nobody else has said it recently in public). But is it? Millions of Muslims have moved to Western Europe over the past 50 years, and a sizable number of them still haven’t assimilated. Instead, they remain hostile and sometimes dangerous to the cultures that welcomed them. By any measure, that experiment has failed. What’s our strategy for not repeating it here, especially after San Bernardino—attacks that seemed to come out of nowhere? Invoke American exceptionalism and hope for the best? Before Trump, that was the plan.

Read all of it.

This Bigger Monitor Really Helps

I now have a monstrous spreadsheet on one screen, and the article on the other.

Millie Became Non-Operational in the Z Axis A Couple Weeks Ago

The coupler that connects the Z motor tho the lead screw tore apart.  Must have been a bad casting although Sherline won't admit it.  Replacing the coupler was a lititle frustrating, then because I had already decided to add 4" of travel, I replaced the lead screw and column with the extended version and the saddle lock stopped working.  I reassembled it wrong.  I like the Sherline, but save your money and buy something more industrial than hobby.

I really am thrilled to have the extra 4" of Z travel.  I can now use a 2.5" finishing mill on 3" high workpieces.  Like this:

In the event you have disassembled the saddle lock from the leadscrew and it won't lock, remove leadscrew, and reinsert it into saddle lock with no gap between lock lever and other brass piece.  Friction between brass pieces provides the lock.

Why American Software Engineers Can'T Get Jobs

From Wall Street Journal:
Neal Grunstra, president of Mindbank Consulting Group, a temporary-staffing company, calls this "looking for a unicorn." Mr. Cappelli's favorite email came from a company that drew 25,000 applicants for a standard engineering position only to have the HR department say not one was qualified. One job seeker said "he had been told he was perfect for a given position—except for the fact that his previous job title didn't match that of the vacancy," a title unique to the prospective employer.

I Was Beginning To Have Second Thoughts About Trump

But the Hildebeast's campaign manager persuaded me:
Democrats aren’t laughing about Donald Trump anymore. He has them all but admitting defeat.

In a stunning admission, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager predicts in an email that Donald Trump will become president if he wins the Republican nomination.

“If Donald Trump takes the Republican nomination, our party will lose more than the presidency,” Robby Mook writes to supporters.

“Years of progress will be ripped away. Obamacare will be repealed. Marriage equality will be rolled back. Get excited to visit the wall on the Mexico border — and get ready to pay for it if President Trump can’t magically get Mexico to cough up the cash for it.
This was an email trying to terrify Clinton supporters to part with their millions to defeat Bernie Sanders, but I suspect Mook thinks Trump victory is a realistic threat.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Windows 10 & HomeGroups

I mentioned yesterday that Windows 10 was having trouble with HomeGroups.  Weirdly, both of my Windows 7 PCs are having no problem joining the vgroup and sharing files.  They are on the same LAN and no complaints about NAT.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Denmark: Liberal Utopia

I understand why progressives hate guns; they might lose control of the government if they get too out of control.  But why punish use of non-lethal weapons?  This story from Denmark reminds us where Obama and friends want to take us:
A 17-year-old girl who was physically and sexually attacked in Sønderborg will herself face charges for using pepper spray to fend off her assailant. 

The teenager told police that she was attacked in central Sønderborg on Wednesday at around 10pm by a dark-skinned English-speaking man. She said the man knocked her to the ground and then unbuttoned her pants and attempted to undress her. 
The girl was able to save herself from further assault by using pepper spray on the attacker, but now she may be the one who ends up in legal trouble. 
“It is illegal to possess and use pepper spray, so she will likely be charged for that,” local police spokesman Knud Kirsten told TV Syd.
 Or is it that progressives believe she should lie back and think of multiculturalism?

Don't Be A Hater

That's reserved for Democrats!  From Michigan Capital Confidential:

Professor Susan J. Douglas, a department chair at the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and Arts, wrote a column this week for the liberal website entitled, ‘It’s Okay To Hate Republicans.’

Douglas, who is chair of the Communications Studies program, opened her article with the line, “I hate Republicans.”

The article includes a photo of three U.S. Senators who are Republicans, with the caption, “It’s okay to despise these men.”

Douglas, whose university pay was $178,786 last year, did not respond to a request seeking comment.
Does she hate them for being well-paid?  So much for low academic salaries.

My Wife Says It's Dangerous To Give Me Time To Think

Rather like a bored predator.  Last night, I returned from the gym so tired I forgot to take my Metformin which reduces blood sugar levels by telling the liver to ignore the pancreas' signal to dump sugar into the blood forcing existing blood sugar into the cells for metabolism.  The downside of this reduction in blood sugar is reduced thinking.  So today, my brain was roaring along at almost normal pace, and I found myself wondering if there was a connection between bipolar disorder and blood sugar-related problems like diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD).  Sure enough:

The age-, race-, and sex-adjusted prevalence of CVD was significantly greater among subjects with BD-I versus controls [odds ratio (OR) = 4.95, 95% confidence interval (CI): 4.27–5.75] and versus subjects with major depressive disorder [(MDD); OR =1.80, 95% CI: 1.52–2.14], as was the prevalence of HTN (OR = 2.38, 95% CI: 2.16–2.62 versus controls, OR = 1.44, 95% CI: 1.30–1.61 versus MDD; p < 0.0001 for all). Controlling additionally for marital status, education, income, obesity, smoking, anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders did not substantially alter these findings. The mean age of BD-I subjects with CVD and HTN was 14 and 13 years younger, respectively, than controls with CVD and HTN.

Results:The analysis of 60 patients showed a prevalence of
the metabolic syndrome of 16.7% (ATP-III), 18.3%(adapted ATP-III) and 30.0%) (IDF), respectively. A total of 6.7% of the patients met criteria for diabetes and 23.3% for pre-diabetic abnormalities. 
Conclusions:The metabolic syndrome and glucose abnormalities are highly prevalent among patients with BD.They represent an important risk for cardiovascular and metabolic disorders. Assessment of the presence and monitoring of metabolic abnormalities and its associated risks should be part of the clinical management of patients with BD.
I suspect that I am not the only person with mild bipolar disorder who uses sugar to feel better and get something done.  (The old saying: "An engineer is a device for converting coffee into software" is also true for sugar.)  But there are long-term negative results from too much sugar in the blood.

Very Big News

1/27/16 Washington Post:
For the first time, scientists have pinned down a molecular process in the brain that helps to trigger schizophrenia. The researchers involved in the landmark study, which was published Wednesday in the journal Nature, say the discovery of this new genetic pathway probably reveals what goes wrong neurologically in a young person diagnosed with the devastating disorder.

The study marks a watershed moment, with the potential for early detection and new treatments that were unthinkable just a year ago, according to Steven Hyman, director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute at MIT. Hyman, a former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, calls it "the most significant mechanistic study about schizophrenia ever."

"I’m a crusty, old, curmudgeonly skeptic," he said. "But I’m almost giddy about these findings."

The researchers, chiefly from the Broad Institute, Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital, found that a person's risk of schizophrenia is dramatically increased if they inherit variants of a gene important to "synaptic pruning" -- the healthy reduction during adolescence of brain cell connections that are no longer needed.
The synaptic pruning theory has been around for a long time, but why and how has been the question.   This is believed to be why it hits in teens and 20d; it's a point where your brain stops growing, and the normal pruning process may get carried away.
In patients with schizophrenia, a variation in a single position in the DNA sequence marks too many synapses for removal and that pruning goes out of control. The result is an abnormal loss of gray matter.

The genes involved coat the neurons with "eat-me signals," said study co-author Beth Stevens, a neuroscientist at Children's Hospital and Broad. "They are tagging too many synapses. And they're gobbled up."

The Institute's founding director, Eric Lander, believes the research represents an astonishing breakthrough. "It’s taking what has been a black box...and letting us peek inside for the first time. And that is amazingly consequential," he said.
If you don't why this matters not just to those who have families where this gene is a source of grief:

From my book My Brother Ron (2014):

A 1991 estimate was that it costs the United States about $65 billion in direct and indirect costs,[i] declining to $62.5 billion by 2002.[ii]  In spite of the enormous number of patients who are not actively treated, schizophrenia treatment consumes about 2.5 percent of all U.S. health care expenditures, or about $50 billion a year.  Schizophrenia is also responsible for more than 10 percent of all disabilities — not just mental disabilities.  Government disability payments to schizophrenics in 2005 totaled more than $8 billion.[iii] 
The $19 billion in direct costs includes the criminal justice system dealing with a few spectacular and terrifying crimes, and a myriad of infractions, arrests, and short periods of observation.[iv]  A 1999 study found that 16.2 percent of state prison inmates, 7.4 percent of federal prison inmates, and 16.3 percent of jail inmates, were mentally ill.[v]  As of 2002, about 26,000 inmates in state prisons across the United States who were convicted of murder were also mentally ill.  A detailed examination of Indiana prison inmates convicted of murder found that 18 percent were diagnosed with “schizophrenia or other psychotic disorder, major depression, mania, or bipolar disorder.”[vi] 

[i] R. J. Wyatt, I. Henter, M. C. Leary and E. Taylor, “An economic evaluation of schizophrenia-1991,” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 30:5 [September 1995], 196-205, abstract available at, accessed August 16, 2006.
[ii] J.P. McEvoy, “The Costs of Schizophrenia,” Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 68 Suppl. 14:4-7 (2007), abstract available at, last accessed June 9, 2012.
[iii] National Quality Measures Clearinghouse, “Schizophrenia: percent of patients with severe symptoms or side effects and no recent medication treatment change to address these problems,” February 25, 2008,, last accessed February 29, 2008; U.S. Social Security Administration Office of Policy, “Annual Statistical Supplement, 2006,” Table 5.A4,, last accessed March 9, 2008; Samuel L. Baker, “U.S. national health spending, 2005,” August 26, 2007, last accessed March 9, 2008.
[iv] R. J. Wyatt, I. Henter, M. C.Leary and E. Taylor, “An economic evaluation of schizophrenia-1991,” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 30:5 [September 1995], 196-205, abstract available at, accessed August 16, 2006.
[v] Paula M. Ditton, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Mental Health and Treatment of Inmates and Probationers,” (Washington: U.S. Department of Justice, 1999), NCJ 174463.