Monday, July 31, 2017

Stem Cell Therapy Works

Son of a friend served his country in Iraq, and came back with damaged, porous hips, by some reports from sitting on depleted uranium shells in his tank.  VA successfully transplanted spine stem cells to one hip, and that hip is repairing.  Ready for the next hip!  PTSD problems as well.  Seem to have gotten past the Cal. Nat. Guard demanding return of improperly given enlistment bonus that was holding up VA care.  (It's California; why admit that they screwed up.)

Antisocial Media

For whatever value Facebook has for keeping track of your friends,  social media seems like more of a loss to our society than a gain. How does Facebook AND Twitter make money?   I never see any advertising, so where he is the money coming from?  Aliens mining the text?

So Helping Trump Get Elected Didn't Work?

7/31/17 New York Times:
But then, in quick succession, came the expanded sanctions passed by Congress, Mr. Trump’s indication that he would sign them into law and Moscow’s forceful retaliation.

Skynet Is Coming

Days after Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg's understanding of artificial intelligence (AI) was limited, the social media company has reportedly shut down one of its AI systems because "things got out of hand." The AI bots created their own language, from the scratch and without human input, forcing Facebook to shut down the AI system. The AI bots' step of creating and communicating with the new language defied the provided codes.
According to a report in Tech Times on Sunday, "The AI did not start shutting down computers worldwide or something of the sort, but it stopped using English and started using a language that it created." Initially the AI agents used English to converse with each other but they later created a new language that only AI systems could understand, thus, defying their purpose.
This led Facebook researchers to shut down the AI systems and then force them to speak to each other only in English.
In June, researchers from the Facebook AI Research Lab (FAIR) found that while they were busy trying to improve chatbots, the "dialogue agents" were creating their own language. Soon, the bots began to deviate from the scripted norms and started communicating in an entirely new language which they created without human input, media reports said.

On My List of Least Surprising News Stories

7/31/17 U.K. The Sun:
'GREAT HIGHS, TERRIBLE LOWS' Elon Musk is ‘bipolar’ and suffers from ‘unrelenting’ stress, he reveals in astonishingly honest tweets
As I have blogged in the past, the genes for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are shared.  Exactly why you develop one or the other is uncertain, but the enormous productivity of bipolars who do not go off the high end of hypomania is doubtless what keeps the schizophrenia gene in the pool.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Disturbing Story of Inbreeding and Polygamy

From the Daily Mail:

Fundamentalist LDS community has very rare genetic defect that causes retardation,  among other disabilities. The article makes it sounds like polygamy is the major issue,  but primarily because it makes inbreeding unavoidable. I am sure the polygamy and incest laws will be struck down one of these years as Bronze Age superstition.

Observing Saturn

We had some friends up last night.  Katie is my daughter's best friend from elementary school; Chris is her Australian husband.  They now live in Mountain View, a place ill-suited to people not already billionaires.  We dragged out the 5" refractor last night.  As usual, the Moon provided lots of oohs and aahs, but Saturn never ceases to amaze.  At 220x, the rings are not only quite visible, but for brief moments of non-turbulent air, Cassini's Division was clearly visible at the ansae of the rings.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

I Am Disappointed

Amazon wants to be this century's Sears, Roebuck & Co.  But the Sears catalog used to sell cars and houses (as kits).  Amazon isn't doing so (yet).

Apple's Not the Liberal Institution It Claims to Be

I have mentioned before that when Apple stopped doing business in North Carolina because the legislature overturned local transgender bathroom laws, they were still doing business in countries that execute homosexuals.  Now 7/29/17 New York Times:
HONG KONG — China appears to have received help on Saturday from an unlikely source in its fight against tools that help users evade its Great Firewall of internet censorship: Apple.
Software made by foreign companies to help users skirt the country’s system of internet filters has vanished from Apple’s app store on the mainland.
One company, ExpressVPN, posted a letter it had received from Apple saying that its app had been taken down “because it includes content that is illegal in China.”
Another tweeted from its official account that its app had been removed.
A search on Saturday showed that a number of the most popular foreign virtual-private networks, also known as VPNs, which give users access to the unfiltered internet in China, were no longer accessible on the company’s app store there.
Remember progressives see totalitarianism as a feature, not a bug.

Extending Medicare?

One of the oft-stated hopes of Obamacare supporters if the GOPe ever decides to do what they have promised to do for years, repealing Obamacare, is to expand Medicare or Medicaid to cover all the uninsured.  One problem with this fairly benign proposal is the numerous news stories like these which popped up on for "medicare fraud"; I was afraid to enter "medicaid fraud":
These 10 people assisted in a million-dollar Medicare fraud. Now they’re paying for it
Ten owners of Miami-Dade assisted living facilities were sentenced last week for their role in a Medicare fraud scheme by the owner of Hialeah’s Florida Pharmacy. Most received a year and a day in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.
Each ALF owner sentenced by U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke last week assisted pharmacy owner Maria Serrano in a million-dollar scam that used patients as pawns.
In court documents, Serrano admitted to paying kickbacks to the ALF owners for sending Medicare or Medicaid receiving residents to Florida Pharmacy for prescriptions and durable medical equipment. The ALF owners also would return to Serrano any unused prescription drugs already paid for by Medicare or Medicaid. Serrano would resell those drugs and submit false claims to Medicare and Medicaid.

Vanderbilt hospital to pay millions over Medicare fraud allegations

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is paying $6.5 million to settle a yearslong case over Medicare fraud allegations. 
Three physicians formerly employed by the health system claim that VUMC's surgery scheduling practices from 2003 to 2011 violated Medicare billing regulations. The case was filed under seal in 2011 and became public in 2013.
Neither the federal government nor the state government intervened in the process. But under the False Claims Act, Medicare will receive most of the money from the settlement. Some will go to state agencies. Whistleblowers also receive a portion of settlements. 
Evans can rightly claim big win in Medicare-fraud case
Rep. Stacey Evans, D-Smyrna, is running for governor of Georgia, and she’s touting a major Medicare fraud case she argued with her private law practice in a campaign video.
She argued a civil lawsuit she argued alongside three other firms representing the U.S. government against DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc., a leading provider of dialysis services in the United States. They represented two whistleblowers.
The lawsuit alleged that DaVita was knowingly generating unnecessary waste when administering drugs to dialysis patients, then billing Medicare for the waste.
The company did not admit wrongdoing, but paid $450 million in settlements to resolve the claims.
Cuban at center of massive Medicare-related money-laundering case arrested in Spain
A Cuban businessman wanted in Miami for the past five years in one of the nation’s biggest Medicare-related money-laundering cases was arrested in Spain on Friday, authorities said.
Jorge Emilio Perez de Morales, who was indicted in 2012 on a conspiracy charge of laundering $238 million in illicit Medicare payments through South Florida, is expected to seek a bond in Spain and challenge his extradition to the United States.
Man Accused in $132 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme Is Building $6.8-Million Home
 Greed is often the great motivator in multi-million dollar Medicare fraud cases.
Now, meet health care executive Mashiyat Rashid, 37, of West Bloomfield, who is accused of being very greedy and orchestrating a $132 million Medicare fraud scheme. 
Authorities allege that he blew money on courtside NBA tickets, stuffed secret storage units with cash and is currently building a $6.8 million home in Franklin that includes an indoor subterranean basketball court, according to Robert Snell of The Detroit News. As part of the suspected scheme, prosecutors allege that he recruited homeless people as patients, sent phony bills to Medicare, subjecting drug addicts to unnecessary back injections and prescribed powerful pain medication that ended up being sold on the street.
"This was a crime of deceit. His fraud was brazen," Justice Department trial attorney Jacob Foster said Wednesday during Rashid’s bond hearing. "This was about the thousands and thousands of beneficiaries who were taken advantage of in order for [Rashid] to line his pockets."
Texas Co. Owner Gets 4 Years In $374M Medicare Scam
Law360, Dallas (July 26, 2017, 4:27 PM EDT) -- A Texas federal judge on Wednesday sentenced a home health care company owner convicted of health care fraud to four years in prison, rejecting an argument from prosecutors that her role in an alleged $374 million Medicare fraud scheme merited a harsher sentence. 
Charity Eleda, 56, has already spent 15 months in county jail after her April 2016 conviction for taking part in what federal prosecutors describe as one of the largest health care frauds in the country. Eleda was allegedly part of a scheme run by Dr. Jacques Roy through which he certified 11,000 patients for unnecessary home treatments through Medicare.
Eleda, a registered nurse and co-owner of Charry Home Care Services Inc., was convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, four counts of health care fraud and three counts of making false statements. She’s accused of recruiting patients for purported home care at a Dallas homeless shelter, even paying a man she knew was addicted to drugs to recruit other homeless people to visit her for treatment. 
Do private insurance companies get scammed?  Of course.  But it isn't taxpayer money going to those crooks.  Anytime you have huge wads of money available, it attracts scum.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Today's Amazon Droppings

My term for stuff neither ordered from nor paid for that just arrives from Amazon, world's largest database query failure.

Something went wrong with the picture.  It is a box of hundreds of shrink wrap rubes of all sizes 

Too Many Puppies

The Perfect Ringtone to Show You Mean Business

The ringtone for your phone.  From here.

The Morning Greeting

Phlox, I believe, on the road out of our subdivision.

M4 Owners, Want This?

The gruff and brusque gunsmith did his job.  The part below is a rear QD loop for M4s.  It was installed on my fixed stock AR-15, where it interfered with the recoil buffer assembly enough to make it non-operational.  (Fortunately, no governments required overthrowing during that time.)  It cost me about $20, I think. If you have an M4 and would like this part, I will be happy to mail it to you.

Justice System Failure

Defrocked priest Paul Shanley, one of the most notorious figures in the Boston clergy sex abuse scandal, was released from prison Friday after serving 12 years for child rape.
Shanley, 86, now faces 10 years of supervised probation.
Shanley, a once beloved, charismatic "street priest" who was defrocked after dozens of men came forward to accuse him of molesting them when they were children, was freed after experts told prosecutors that he does not meet the legal criteria for civil confinement as a sexually dangerous person....
Carmen Durso, attorney for four Shanley victims in civil cases against the Boston archdiocese, said Shanley traded on children's faith in powerful adults and teens' guilt and fear of homosexual pleasure for decades.
Shanley, who once toured the country giving lectures favoring sexual activity between children and men, was allowed to roam parishes for three decades.
What I have read is that he was one of the founders of the North American Man-Boy Love Association.

Segregation Returns As a Progressive Policy

Minnesota public schools are being encouraged to adopt a transgender policy concerning locker and restrooms:
Privacy objections raised by a student in interacting with a transgender or gender nonconforming student may be addressed by segregating the student raising the objection provided that the action of the school officials does not result in stigmatizing the transgender and gender nonconforming student,
So, for the 0.2% of the population's perceived needs, the much larger fraction of the population will be moved elsewhere.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Remember: Without Guns, We Will All Be Safe From Madmen

Man charged with attempted murder after bulldozer hits home
Two people escaped without injuries after a man allegedly crashed into their home with a bulldozer.
Esterhazy RCMP said it happened around 9:15 p.m. Tuesday at a home in the R.M. of Calder, west of Highway 8.
The driver of the bulldozer – a 59-year-old man also from the R.M. of Calder – was arrested at the scene. He was taken to hospital by EMS with minor injuries, according to RCMP.
Police said the house sustained “significant damage.”
The driver was charged with two counts of attempted murder, in addition to two counts of uttering threats, four counts of mischief, one count of assaulting a police officer, one count of intimidating a justice participant and two counts of breaching of an undertaking.
Hat tip to Small Dead Animals. 

Love This Cartoon

The Raging Success of Democratic Control of California

7/25/17 Pasadena Star-News:
More than 37 percent of California households have so little cash saved that they couldn’t live at the poverty level for even three months if they lost a job or suffered another significant loss of income.
That’s the grim assessment of the 2017 Prosperity Now Scorecard. The report was compiled by Prosperity Now, a Washington, D.C.-based organization seeking to help people — particularly people of color and those with limited income — achieve financial security and prosperity.


The scorecard also shows that 46 percent of households in the Golden State didn’t set aside any savings for emergencies over the past year, a higher percentage than the national rate of 43.7 percent.

It doesn’t help that 21.1 percent of California jobs are in low-wage occupations. The scorecard found that 21.4 percent of Californians experienced income volatility over the past year, a situation that most often results from irregular job schedules.
As I pointed out last year  income inequality is greater in CA, O, and WA than in ID.  This is a pretty good indication that either Democrats can't fix this, or do not want to.

Down to 56 States (Or Maybe 54)

Today Show's Eclipse Map
Notice some states were not progressive enough to enjoy it.

Today's Surprise Gift From

A stainless steel replacement band for the Apple Watch.  I told Amazon a few days ago that if they can't figure out how top sending stuff that we neither ordered for paid for, could they start sending 2 carat diamond rings?

The Popularity of Obamacare

Pollster Scott Rasmussen says:
July 27, 2017: If the individual mandate were to be repealed and Americans were no longer required to purchase the Obamacare-mandated levels of health insurance coverage, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) believes that 15 million Americans would no longer purchase such coverage.[1]
Some, including Jonathan Gruber, believe that the CBO is overestimating the impact of repealing the mandate. Gruber was one of the architects of the healthcare law.[1]
Politically, the impact of these projections is significant since the individual mandate has long been the most unpopular part of Obamacare. Recent polling shows that two-thirds of Americans would like to see it repealed.[2] For many, the idea of the government forcing anybody to buy anything is in conflict with America’s commitment to individual freedom.
Additionally, if the CBO projections are correct, there are 15 million Americans who would directly benefit from the repeal. Typically, when people are directly impacted by a law, their support or opposition is more intense than that of more casual observers.
Why would people object?  Because the deductibles (often $5000 per year) on Obamacare plans make them into  catastrophic coverage only.   They are not really very useful unless you have $5000 sitting around, which few Americans do.

This set of numbers show:
The only item from the Obamacare requirements asked about in this poll that most reject is the individual mandate. Two-thirds of the public want to eliminate that part of the ACA.

All Cultures Are Equal in Value

7/27/17 Reuters:
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani police have arrested 25 members of an informal village council accused of ordering the rape of a 16-year-old girl as revenge for her brother's alleged sexual assault of another girl.
The Supreme Court also requested a report on the case, which echoed a notorious case from 2002 in which another teenager was gang-raped on a local council's order.
"A total of 29 people were involved in this ghastly crime, and we have 25 of them in our custody," Multan City Police Officer Ahsan Younus told Reuters by telephone on Thursday.
Earlier this month, a local council in the southern city of Multan was called after a family accused a 16-year-old boy of raping a 13-year-old neighbor.
The council ruled that the sister of the boy should be handed over to the victim's brother to be raped. The punishment was carried out on July 17 after her family handed the girl over.
I am sure that some SJW feminist will insist that this is common in the West as well, but I cannot think of an example.

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?


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

It seems stuck on  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.


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


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.