Friday, November 30, 2018

Transgender As Social Pressure

A social worker relative sent me this July/August 2018 Atlantic article:
Claire humored her parents, even as her frustration with them mounted. Eventually, though, something shifted. In a journal entry Claire wrote last November, she traced her realization that she wasn’t a boy to one key moment. Looking in the mirror at a time when she was trying to present in a very male way—at “my baggy, uncomfortable clothes; my damaged, short hair; and my depressed-looking face”—she found that “it didn’t make me feel any better. I was still miserable, and I still hated myself.” From there, her distress gradually began to lift. “It was kind of sudden when I thought: You know, maybe this isn’t the right answer—maybe it’s something else,” Claire told me. “But it took a while to actually set in that yes, I was definitely a girl.”...
To reiterate: For many of the young people in the early studies, transitioning—socially for children, physically for adolescents and young adults—appears to have greatly alleviated their dysphoria. But it’s not the answer for everyone. Some kids are dysphoric from a very young age, but in time become comfortable with their body. Some develop dysphoria around the same time they enter puberty, but their suffering is temporary. Others end up identifying as nonbinary—that is, neither male nor female.

Today's Reminder That Primary and Secondary Education Needs Work

Or at least DC governmenrt needs to higher from the top 99% of the graduating classes.  11/30/18 WBIR:
Clarkson, who lives in Las Cruces, and his then-fiancée visited the District of Columbia Courts Marriage Bureau on Nov. 20 to apply for a marriage license.
But, once there, the couple encountered a small problem, Clarkson said. The clerk wouldn't accept Clarkson's driver's license – from New Mexico – as proof of his identity. Rather, the clerk, who mistakenly believed Clarkson was a foreign citizen, said he would have to provide an international passport to get the marriage license.
After Clarkson objected, the clerk went to check with a supervisor, who confirmed Clarkson would need a passport.
"You know you are from flyover country when you are applying for a marriage license, give them your New Mexico driver's license, and they come back and say: 'My supervisor says we cannot accept international driver's licenses. Do you have a New Mexico passport?'" Clarkson posted on Facebook recently.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Grinding HSS Lathe Tools

I have never got the hang of this, no matter how much I read about the subject.  Now I can, because of this very entertaining machinist:

I have a number of used up (I thought) HSS lathe tools.  I just kept buying new carbide tipped tools from Sherline.  The tool I just ground, now produces a nice finish and cuts well without chatter.

And he has lots of interesting and funny videos, like making a go-kart for his kids using a chain saw engine, bicycle sprockets, and whatever was lying around his shop..

A Most Disturbing Story

A little boy.  Mom says he is Luna and wants to be a girl.  At Dad's house he dresses as a boy even when girl's clothes are available.  This being Texas, the father is required by the courts to give him this choice.  Interestingly, the article is written by an older victim of this madness:
I learned of James’ plight on a recent visit to Plano, Texas, where I spoke to teenagers about my own transgender story. I lived through a similar scenario when I was his age. I was cross-dressed for two-and-a-half years by my grandmother, who made a purple chiffon dress for me. Somewhat like James, my cross-dressing occurred under one adult’s care, but away from grandma’s I was all boy with my mom and dad. Also, just like James, I found my way into the office of a gender therapist, who quickly started me toward transition.
This  surprises me not at all.  Many years ago, my wife and I took a class in recognizing child sexual abuse.  Over lunch, a gal told us that her husband had grown up with a very macho Marine father, and a mother who had wanted a little girl.  So from a young age, she dressed him as a girl, and gave him dolls to play with.  Now he was getting ready to have gender reassignment mutilation.  (His pastor recommended this, in 1980s Orange County.)  What his mother did was clearly a form of sexual abuse; just like this tragedy in Texas.


Sexual abuse is a conservative thing.  11/28/18 Los Angeles Times:
Eric Bauman, the powerful chairman of the California Democratic Party, made crude sexual comments and engaged in unwanted touching or physical intimidation in professional settings, 10 party staff members and political activists said in interviews with The Times.

When presented with the allegations, Bauman said in a statement Wednesday that he planned to seek treatment for health issues and alcohol use.
The story goes on to tell us that Bauman is gay, so an alcohol problem is unsurprising.  Substance abuse is a common symptom of childhood sexual abuse and so is non-heteeosexual orientation.

SciShow Channel

Ultimate nerd channel, but really well done with an engaging and humorous host:

Yes, You Really Can Find Anything on the Internet

I quoted someone's comment a while back that somewhere on the Internet you can find porn of pronouns having sex.  This video might even be useful:

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Third World Sellers of Today's New Scam Keep Getting Creative

Please, I need a quick favor and I'll be glad if you can be of help.

I was trying to purchase an e-gift card online for my friend. Today is her birthday but am finding it difficult to get it done. It keeps declining my card.
Please, I would like you to help me go on to purchase a Walmart e-gift card worth of 500$. Make sure you purchase it 100$ single 5 and I promise to pay back as soon as possible.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Does Anyone Rent Big Taps and Dies?

I was thinking about making a focused using an inner tube 1.25" threaded going into a 1.375" threaded tube.  This is a helical focused, which is very nice for precise focusing.  Then put the outer tube in a larger tube that slides in and out, held by a thumbscrew, to get coarse focus.  The problem is that the larger taps and dies are hundreds of dollars each. Does someone rent items like that?  Obviously if you break it you bought it, but that is a strong case for being very very careful.

Today's Machining Insight

I bought my first set of taps and dies about 20 years ago, and knew not enough at the time.  These are the tapered straight flute sets you find in DIY (Disaster is Yours) stores.  They are good for one thing: retapping through holes.  Otherwise, use spiral flute taps to remove the material.  Faster because you do not need to back the tap out to remove material every few turns.

This afternoon I returned to a hobby project that makes no economic sense: rebuilding a 3" f/4.5 reflector which was the first  (and only) telescope mirror that I have ever made.

For reasons that I blogged about in the past, a short focus parabolic mirror, especially of 3" aperture is always a bad idea.  Correcting it to a 1/4 wave parabola involves moving the knife edge on a Foucault tester such small amounts that you really should plan on machining the tester.

Anyway, today I was trying to make what must be the smallest telescope diagonal mirror holder made in Idaho ever.  (There are enough fools  elsewhere to limit this to Idaho.)  The hub which will hold the mirror assembly is .696" x .696".  There is a 17/64" hole in the center in which a 1/4" bolt will loosely ride.  There are 4 6-32 holes around it which will hold the collimation adjustment screws.  The mill made those holes easy to precisely locate.  On the drill press I completed drilling them to depth.  Then I started tapping the 6-32 holes with one of these tragic tapered straight flute taps.  This part was enough labor to make that I am terrified to break a tap, so I using just the minimum of force as I turn it, oil to lubricate it, and only about three turns at a time before backing out.  I am waiting for a spiral flute 6-32 tap to arrive before I resume this process.

I had originally planned to make this part of acetal, but attaching the legs of the spider involved  tiny  on the edges.  (You cannot epoxy acetal to anything.)  making this hub of aluminum means that I can epoxy .024" aluminum to the four sides on the hub.

When I say this makes no economic sense, I mean there are certainly optically superior small scopes that would serve the same function and at a pretty nice price.  But they would not be my work. Almost everything about this scope will be my manufacture: the mirror cell turned out of a  cylinder of aluminum. The spider. The primary mirror. Maybe even the focuser if I get ambitious.  The tube is PVC.  I am not sure I want to build a fiberglass tube this size.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Stockton 1989

I am sure most of you know this mass murderer's name.  He had a long criminal history of felonies plea bargained down to misdemeanors.  Do you have a source for that?  Here is pretty much all of it from a 1/20/1989 New York Times article.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Mass Murders and Mental Illness

I beat on SUMIFS, ADDRESS, and INDIRECT functions in Excel long enough to calculate how many mass murder deaths per 100,000 people in each decade had mental illness as a cause.  The results do suggest, even with still missing data for the 1980s and later that something is going on, with rising murder rates starting in the 1980s, when the "humane" emptying of the mental hospitals had been completed; although nothing like the 1860s and 1870s.  (If the bloodletting and suffering of the Civil War would not unhinge people, what would?)

This graph is  changing shape as I enter recent mass murders.  Crimes like this in 1985 should have started the alarm bells.

Springfield, Penn. (1985)
10/30/1985: Woman enters a shopping mall, shooting a .22 rifle.  She murdered three and wounded ten. Her mother had written newspaper articles about the need for the  murderer’s hospitalization because of her paranoid schizophrenia.  She was only stopped when a graduate student, thought it was a stupid Halloween prank and took away the rifle.  She had a long history of bizarre and frightening behavior, including stabbing a guidance counselor, and attempted murder.  Because of the recent revisions to mental health law, she was not hospitalized.
Category: public
Suicide: no
Cause: mental illness
Weapon: rifle[1]

[1] Mara Bovsun, “[redacted] went psycho and killed three innocent people at the Springfield, Pa., mall,” New York Daily News, Dec. 2, 2012,, last accessed November 24, 2018.
Acquaintances said she was always angry and nicknamed her "Ms. Rambo."
Even her mother was terrified. In July 1985, Ruth [redacted] wrote an article for a Pennsylvania paper, the Springfield Press, about life with her paranoid schizophrenic 25-year-old daughter. She had pleaded for years to keep her child locked up, but to no avail. "What do you need? Blood on the floor?" she wrote.


And as I add recent mass murders in, the "mental illness" cause has gone up to 25% of all U.S. mass murders.

Another Variant of the "We Know What Porn Sites You Visit and we Have Video From Your Webcam"

Almost word for word identical to the one I blogged about a few days ago.  I wonder if the originator of this sells the text and threat to lots of gullible Third Worlders with the promise that Americans are so gullible and afraid of being exposed as pornography consumers that they will pay for extortion in Bitcoins.  I suspect most pornography consumers do not even know what a Bitcoin is, or even that there is a webcam on their computer.

Our First Serious Storm of the Upcoming Winter

Wind, rain, hail and a bit of snow behind the garage this morning.  And those of you looking to ski Bogus Basin will appreciate this.

And this house was just repaired from a hovel with a collapsing roof to a pretty nice, although uniquely designed  house.  I believe the flipper is trying to get $500,000 for it.

 All taken at ISO 100 with a 100-300mm zoom lens mostly at 300mm.

Why I love this camera is the level of detail.  Cropped from that first picture:

Excel Has More Functions Than Any One Person Likely Ever Learn

Like all the Smalltalk classes.  Not sure if the words in this post will help other Excel users find this, but it's worth a try.

I have this spreadsheet where I subtotal each decade's mass murders.  One column contains the count of the decade's rows, in this example, rows 2-5.  The count is in in B6.  The row count is computed with =ROWS(B2:B5).  I would like to do an operation on just the cells in that decade's rows, but not including the subtotal row's cell.  The SUMIF and SUMIFS functions are very useful, if you know the range of rows and the column.  If you are doing an operation in your subtotal row, the current row number =ROW().  Put the decade's starting row number in AH6 with the formula =ROW()-B6.  Put the column  number for AD (from which I want to construct a range for the SUMIF function, in AJ6.  To get the contents of that cell, =INDIRECT(ADDRESS(AH6,AJ6)).  ADDRESS converts row and column number to a cell address and INDIRECT returns the contents of that cell.  Best of all, I can copy this formula (or a calculated range) into every subtotal row, without making it specific to that row.

Silly, But I Want It (and My Wife Wants It: My Pet Name for Her is Kitty)

Until the new European pedestrian safety standards went into effect, lots of European cars had hood ornaments: the Mercedes-Benz three pointed star in the circle; the flying kitty on the Jaguars.  My XF is part of the post-pedestrian standard and this wonderful hood ornament is gone:
It is possible to drill a hole and attach one of these, but I really do not want to mess with my beautiful car.  If there was a sticky tape base or even better, a really strong magnet (one that will damage nearby compasses strong) to hold it to the hood, I would love it.  If not, maybe I will buy one of these, mill off the bolts, and use a very strong neodymium magnet.

Spammed by Aliens

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That Was a Close One

Not sure why (but I ran AVG antivirus and Malware Bytes just in case, but both my Word file and Excel spreadsheet suddenly became corrupt and unreadable last night.  Going to the previous day's backup sounded very painful nut Microsoft has instructions on how to recover corrupted Excel files here.  And they worked!  Also instructions for creating automatic backup of the spreadsheet each time you save it, and the regular breakpoint copies as you work on it.  (I should do the same for my Word document, but the ,long delay while making the breakpoint copies was annoying.)

Thursday, November 22, 2018


I will not be blogging much, if at all.  I will be helping my wife prepare a feast in thanks for the fact that my ancestors were "early adopters" of moving to America.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Election Fraud is Real

11/20/18 San Diego Union- reports on charges filed for buying voter registration and initiative signatures from the homeless for $1 or sometimes a cigarette.

But election fraud is a Republican lie.

More Reality Averse Thinking

11/13/18 Mlive reports that the Vagina Monologues will no longer be performed at Eastern Michigan University because it is not sufficiently inclusive.  Remember, some women lack vaginas.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


I declare victory!
This adds the H column (number dead) for every row that does not have a decade in column A (either 1* or 2*) and the corresponding weapon type column has a 1.

I have since realized that it is more meaningful to see what mass murders were committed with a single weapon.  This was bit more complicated.  Here is a typical formua:
And yes, I used emacs to construct all these equations.

The Deeper I Dig into My Scrap Collection...

The more black acetal I find to list on eBay.

Monday, November 19, 2018

More Acetal Raw Materials

Here.  To my surprise, the first collection of these heavily aged Mesozoic dinosaur remains has a buyer.  I have so much of this scrap that I cannot bear to send to a landfill which is expensive enough that people are willing to buy.  I expect to produce a few more boxes of it, after pulling out pieces that I can use.

Surprisingly Good Chinese Buffet

We ate at the Great Wall on Eagle Blvd. recently.  I have often complained about the poor quality of Chinese restaurants in Idaho, not just in the boonies but even in Boise.  (Of course, if you live somewhere that a burglar alarm and a concealed weapon permit are needed, Boise is still the boonies.)  I am very impressed with the flavor and variety of dishes at the buffet.  The sweet and sour soup is a bit less sour than it should be, but the eggs rolls were awesome and the pot stickers were as good as any that I have had.

One More Excel Beg


SUMIFS sums the first range of cells, if the various range criteria (and there can be many, separated by commas) are met.  In this case, column A contains either a blank cell (for individual mass murders) or a string identifying the decade (e.g., "1830s").  From reading scads of pages about the SUMIFS function, it looks like the formula above should only sum column H if the corresponding column A is blank.  But it does not seem to do that.  Any suggestions?

Frontier Telephone

We have stopped using our land line, except to answer annoying scammers and telemarketers, so I called Frontier Telephone to discontinue service.  After trying to figure out a way to lower my bill to keep us as a customer, they put me over to the Retention Department, whose job is to talk you into keeping service.  911 will not be able to find you from a cell phone call.  Do you have a security system?  "No, we do not have crime here."  Etc. Etc.  I finally said, "Just turn off our service.  Now."  He refused to do so, and kept reading odd his script until I was yelling at him to disconnect us.  My wife had not heard me tell at anyone in a very long time.  So we went to our credit union where the auto deduct to pay for this takes place.  A very nice customer service rep named Eddie called them up and perhaps knowing that the source of the finding was on the other end, we finally got then to discontinue service and billing.

There is no excuse for this

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Removing Blood Splatter

We are still finding blood splatter from when Rosie cut herself.  Some of it wipes away with a wet paper towel, especially on gloss paint and porcelain.  But on semigloss paint, you need to use a sponge with some rough surface, and do with the direction of the splatter.

If you are covering up a crime, I doubt this will fall the luminol test.

Consequences of Voting Republican Were Worse in the Past

Ouachita Parish, La. (1876)
Before 11/29/1876: Several white men entered the Pinkston home to discourage Republican voting by Henry Pinkston, colored.  They gagged him, stabbed him, dragged him outside and shot him.  Then they cut his baby’s throat.  They shot Henry’s wife Eliza, and then one said to another “’I want some of that.’  They held my legs up, and jumped on me.”  Several of the other men raped her as well.  Then they attacked Eliza with an ax and knife, and knocked her teeth out.  (Fortunately, the ax head fell off the handle during the attack.)  During her testimony, she “unfastened her dress and exposed her breast, which was all cut up, and a most horrible sight to look at.”  She then fainted.
Category: residential
Suicide: no
Cause: political terror
Weapon: firearm, ax, knife[1]

[1] “Proceedings in the Case of Eliza Pinkston,” Clarksville[Tenn.] Weekly Chronicle, Dec. 9, 1876.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Gun Control Advocate Goes Full Kook

Free Beacon reproduces response of Rep. Swalwell (D-LaLaLand) :
The Democratic congressman's comments were prompted by a Twitter user's response to an article about Swalwell's call to force gun owners to relinquish assault weapons. The piece recounts how Swalwell "has proposed outlawing ‘military-style semiautomatic assault weapons' and forcing existing owners to sell their weapons or face prosecution."
Yup.  Use nuclear weapons to confiscate assault weapons.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Walther Recall

Important Safety Recall
NOVEMBER 2018 Walther PPS M2 Pistols

Walther Arms, Inc. has recently discovered a potential safety issue with certain PPS M2 pistols. Walther is voluntarily initiating a recall to protect the safety of its customers because under certain conditions it is possible that some of these pistols may fire when dropped.

Please do not load or fire your Walther PPS M2 pistol and contact us immediately to arrange to have your pistol upgraded free of charge.

AN3020 - AN9999
AO0000 - AO9999
AP0000 - AP9999
AQ0000 - AQ9999
AR0000 - AR9999
AS0000 - AS9999
AT0000 - AT9999
AU0000 - AU7502

If your Serial Number is not listed above it is NOT affected by the Recall.

Link to Official PPS M2 Recall Page:

Do You Recognize This Gas Mask Filter?

I am cleaning out Fibber McGee's closet.  I found a collection of gas mask filters, which when I bought the masks were represented as Israeli surplus.  The markings on the filters are in German.  And apparently made by a company called Auer,  The connector is 30mm, and has a strong resemblance to this filter for a German WW2 gas mask.  This may just be a coincidence, induced by similar needs.

If the filters are WW2 era, then the masks, bought with these filters, probably are too, and thus valuable.  Can you enlighten me?

Social Media is Our Future

Instapundit links to this horrifying 11/12/18 BBC story about two men accused on WhatsApp of kidnapping children for their internal organs:
"It appears that these criminals are involved in organ trafficking... In the past few days, children aged four, eight and 14 have disappeared and some of these kids have been found dead with signs that their organs were removed. Their abdomens had been cut open and were empty."
The flash mob brought together by WhatsApp killed them in front of the police station and set them afire.
Moments later, the crowd coalesced into a mob with one goal. The narrow gate at the entrance to the police station was wrenched open and Ricardo and Alberto Flores were dragged out. As people held their phones aloft to film, the men were pushed to the floor at the base of four stone steps and savagely beaten. Then the petrol that was brought earlier was poured on them.
Eyewitnesses believe Ricardo was already dead from the beating, but his uncle Alberto was still alive when they set the two men on fire. Video footage shows his limbs moving slowly as the flames licked around them.
Who would have thought that Mexican peasants were so connected?  And who but a watcher of "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" would think that a mob could do this?

Gobs of Acetal

Trying to sell lots of leftover acetal that were left over from ScopeRoller manufacturing.  Small pieces.  This stuff is a joy to machine because when the tools hit it, a thin sheet of formaldehyde gas produces a lubricating layer.  Taps nicely as well.   Think of it as being like aluminum but a bit too much flexibility and easier to machine. Young's modulus is about 1/20th of aluminum, similar hardness.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Belt in That Previous Posting is About to Require Replacement

I have one more inward hole.  Even if I added another  (I use a drill press for that), the long end would be flapping in a foolish manner.  The good news this morning was 207.4 pounds, about 18 pounds from where I started aggressively dieting after my second myocardial infarct.

Advantages of Being a Blogger

People send you stuff to review.  Nice stuff, generally.  This is a review of some nice stuff.  Someone at Craft Holsters wanted to send me a holster for my Colt Government Model.  Happy to oblige.  It is a traditional leather OWB pancake holster with a thumb break.  It is made in Italy, but shipped from Slovakia.  (Nice to see capitalism alive there. Even several decades of Soviet rule cannot destroy the desire to make money by making and selling stuff people want, instead of making it for the State Committee on Production of What The Glorious Workers Would Want If They Weren't So Darn Stupid.)

The second picture more accurately shows the color and finish of both sides.  Even my wife, who has a very utilitarian view of guns (protecting her and the dog from varmints and coyotes: coyotes have an excuse for their behavior) declared it beautiful, and it is.  

You will notice three belt slots, allowing two different carry positions.  Like all proper pancake holsters, it holds the gun high and tight for concealment.

It is a nice tight fit on my Colt Government Model.  This is a lefthand model, for the same reason the stroke in 2014 did little damage to my speech centers: I'm lefthanded.

I put on the sport jacket that I wear when teaching and of course the gun conceals as it should.

This is the H1 model, $56.95, which seems reasonable for a stiff (good for retention) real leather holster.  The thumb break closes between the hammer and the firing pin, as it should.  Opening it was about right for ease of opening with a quick press of the thumb.  I struggled a little closing it, but that may just be because the leather is new.  This takes you directly to that holster.

Wow! Selfies Have Value Other Than Expressing Narcissism

11/13/18 WWL channel 4:
Why had police come to his work and arrested him? Why was he being accused of these horrible crimes? Who was accusing him?
She said he broke into her home in Temple.
She said he sliced an "X" into her chest with a box cutter.
She said it happened on Sept. 20, 2017 around 7:20 p.m....
On the night of the alleged attack, he was with his mother, Erin, at a Northwest Austin hotel about 65 miles from the accuser's home.
"I'm thinking, 'this is awesome. By the grace of God, she said it happened on the day when I can say totally, 100 percent, where he was at," Erin Precopia said.
There were sworn affidavits from several people who were with him that evening.
There were pictures to prove it, and they were posted on Facebook.
Timestamped. Geo-located.
An alibi.
"Most of the time, we deal with gray matters," attorney Rick Flores said. "It's not normally black or white. But this is one of those cases where I could definitely prove he did not commit this offense."
Charges were dropped; the accuser has not been identified because she has not been charged with a crime.  Why not?  Rape was not claimed, but  Believe All Women. 

Finally, A Sensible Use for a Prius

The Drug Whose Name We Dare Not Speak

My neurologist prescribed klonepin some months back to help the speech and swallowing issues that are side effects of the two strokes in 2015.  (Bihemispheric strokes often impair speech even for those of us lucky enough to be left-handed.) 

I have spent more than a week trying to get the neurologist's office and the pharmacy to coordinate refilling it.  It clearly helps the speech and to a lesser extent, the swallowing problem.  My wife, daughter, and son-in-law all said it helped, but I was not convinced.  Being off it for two weeks had persuaded me they were right.

Anyway, I finally did the long drive to the neurologist to get a paper copy of the prescription since emails and FAX machines were clearly the enemy.  When we reached the office, the prescription had finally reached the pharmacy.  When the receptionist asked what drug, she said not to say the name, but to write it down.  At which point my wife muttered "Gub."

If you saw the greatest comedy Woody Allen ever made, Take the Money and Run, you know what scene this is

Because life imitates art, some years ago, I needed a cashier's check made out to Southern Python Gun.  Because "gun" is a word you do not want to say in a bank.  I wrote out the name of the company and the amount (for three Barrett Light .50s) and went to the bank.  The teller was insistent that the check was to be made out to Southern Ohio Gum.  Unlike the movie, at least I did not have to argue with the manager as to whether I wrote "gum," or gun."

What Used to be a Firing Offense and Crime is Now Part of the Job Description

11/14/18 Daily Wire:
A physical education teacher in Florida was punished for refusing to oversee a biologically female middle schooler who identifies as male potentially get undressed in the boys' locker room. The school, stunningly, allowed the female student to have access to the boys' locker room without so much as informing the male students who would be sharing the locker room with the girl or the students' parents.
According to a compliant letter from Liberty Counsel to Pasco County School District, the female student caught "boys (literally) with their pants down, causing them embarrassment and concern by the fact that they had been observed changing by an obvious girl," reports The Federalist.
Teachers and administrators were barred from speaking about the transgender policy, and when a male P.E. teacher refused to supervise the boys' locker room with the female student, he was reprimanded and told he would be transferred to a different school.
I'm sure they can find a replacement on the local registered sex offenders' list.

And why do anyone still have kids in public schools?

The Murder of Kashoggi

The Saudi government is prosecuting the killers.  11/15/18 New York Times:
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said on Thursday that he was requesting the death penalty for five people suspected of involvement in the killing of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi at the country’s consulate in Istanbul.
Speaking to reporters in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, a spokesman for the public prosecutor said that the 15-man team sent to confront Mr. Khashoggi had orders to return him to the kingdom, but after he resisted they decided on the spot to kill and dismember him.
Some have suggested that this might have been an internal effort to embarrass an increasingly modernizing government (about to reach the 18th century). Their version suggests angry and incompetent.

Believe All Women!

11/14/18 Daily Wire reports on a Tampa cop fired after a woman he pulled over claimed a sexual assault:
The woman, according to Escobar, York’s attorney, refused a full medical exam and would not give blood and urine samples. She insisted, oddly, that they focus on her underwear and a tampon she was using at the time of the alleged incident. The tampon was never found.
A DNA swab of her underwear, taken from the front material, found York’s DNA. Normally this would be the nail in the coffin for someone accused — and at first it looked that way for York. But his attorneys argued that the DNA — known as touch DNA — could have gotten on her underwear some other way. You see, touch DNA refers to the skin cells one leaves on an object after they have touched it. York’s attorneys argued the woman rubbed her driver’s license (which York had touched during the traffic stop) on her underwear to transfer the DNA.
Her story to investigating officers kept changing.  Worse:
One of the detectives assigned to the case never interviewed the officers who first spoke to York’s accuser at the hospital. This detective didn’t even read their reports until her deposition with Escobar, the attorney said. This detective also refused to record the accuser’s interviews because, she said, she might change her story later and this would not allow her to do so. [emphasis added]
You can see why the DA dropped the charges, and how innocent people get tried for, and convicted of rape.  If the accuser's story changes, that might create doubt as to the truthfulness of the accusation.  Not recording an interview to allow her to change her story is clearly bad police work. 

And that touch DNA evidence has all sorts of opportunity's for misuse.  We found Mr. A's DNA on the murder weapon.  Perhaps he touched it in a gun store a day or two before Mr. B came in to buy it.  Admittedly, gun stores usually wipe down the gun (at least to get the drool marks off), but touch DNA seems a pretty questionable form of evidence.

Oh and Tampa PD won't rehire this guy.  I am guessing the SJWs now run that department.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

This Has to be Fake News

11/14/18 Fox News

A man drive his truck into a courthouse while drunk to make sure police would take seriously his report that his drug paraphernalia had been stolen.  Too stupid to stay out of jail, but probably not too stupid to reproduce ala Idiocracy.

Talking to Journalists

A reporter from the New York Daily News asked some questions:
Hi Clayton,

Thanks so much for getting back to me, I hope your health progressively gets better!

I’ll send over a few questions if that okay with you… I really want to capture the increased incident of  police and armed black men. Activist seem to believe there is racism at the core of these incidents.

1.       What was your response to the shooting of Jemel Roberson two days ago?
I confess that I missed this.  The police officer clearly reacted too quickly and wrongly.

2.       Do you believe racism is something that is a factor in these shootings?
I think it is important to distinguish between racism and prejudice.  A racist would assume that a different race is intrinsically different or inferior, and often that is expressed as hatred.  Many people have prejudices based on race, sex, or other identities that may not be associated with hate.  There are times that those prejudices may have a rational basis when applied to unknown members of that group.  Let me give you an example.

Many years ago, I was walking home from college on a pedestrian path that was pretty isolated.  There was a 10 foot high concrete wall on one side, and a chain link fence with a stream and forest on the other.  Ahead of me about 50 yards was a young woman also walking away from campus.  There was no one else around.  Because I was a bit taller than her, I was slowly gaining on her as I walked this path.  After a couple minutes, I realized that she had increased her pace; soon, she was almost running. 

My first reaction was, "Why is she afraid of me?  I am a nice person; I will not hurt her.  Is it just because I'm a man?"  The answer, I am sure, was Yes.  Nasty prejudice.  But a rational prejudice.  She did not know me.  Effectively all rapists are men.  That means that men are 2x as likely to be rapists as people in general: unknown men are a disproportionate risk.  Few men are rapists; there were 124,000 rapes in America in 2015 ( in a nation of 160 million men, and because rapists are usually serial offenders, there are probably far less than 124,000 men who are rapists.

What if she assumes the worst about a man, and he is harmless (like me)?  She gets a bit of a cardio workout from trying to get away.  What if she assumes a man is harmless and he is a rapist?  The consequences may be quite severe.  So her reaction qualifies as a rational reaction to her prejudice.
Police officers are in a similar situation.  If they know that a black man that they are approaching is a criminal (based on previous interactions with that individual) they will respond one way.  If they know him to be harmless, they will not assume there is a risk.  But what about the unknown person?  A bit more than half of those charged with murder in the U.S. are black (, or about 4.5x disproportionate to the black population of the U.S.  (Victims are also disproportionately black; murder, like rape, is almost entirely within race).  Will a police officer assume an unknown black man with a gun is a threat to him?  Very likely, and based on the same rational prejudice that a woman in an isolated place feels when a strange man shows up in an isolated place. 

Adding to this fear is the widely perceived hatred of police from rap music, at least as it is portrayed in popular media.  Should this officer have waited until there was a real threat?  Yes, but when you afraid, in a very rapidly moving situation, it is easy for your fears to win the battle over your training.  Bad, but understandable.

Training methods also matter.  At one time, pistol targets in human shape were always black, for contrast.  There was concern that this might bias officers to regard a black target as a threat.  Today, most of these targets are blue, not black.  This is a positive change.

3.       What would say about the NRA’s lack of response to shooting like this ae. Roberson, Castile etc.
NRA is dominated by police officers and people on the side of the police.  They tend to avoid public statements on such cases, until the data is fully available.  Tactically erroneous, but unsurprising.

4.       Is there a divide between gun control and the 2nd amendment?
The decision DC v. Heller (2008) recognized that there are a number of gun control laws that are consistent with the Second Amendment: laws intended to disarm those at special risk to public safety such as felons, domestic violence misdemeanants, those subject to domestic violence restraining orders; the severely mentally ill.  Most of the currently popular gun control measures do not fit this framework.

5.       Is there anything else you would like to add that may be beneficial to this story?
The major victims of gun violence are black people, concentrated in cities with historically restrictive gun laws (Chicago, California, New York).  I think it no coincidence that these are the places where black people are at highest risk of gun violence.  Gun control does not cause it; nor does it prevent it very well, but gun control is cheaper than looking at the hard problems underlying this violence: lead poisoning (leaded gasoline, paint in older buildings), poor educational systems, poor or non-existent male role models.

Again, thanks so much! I’m hoping to have this story out in the next couple of hours if time permits for you.

Doctors on Guns

The American College of Physicians is recommending solutions to what it says,"continues to be a public health crisis," and "Firearm violence continues to be a public health crisis in the United States that requires the nation's immediate attention."  You would never know that murder rates are now below 1965 rates.  To quote Snopes:
FBI statistics show, in fact, that the 2015 murder rate was among the lowest of the past 47 years, and indeed the lowest of any year between 1965 and 2009.
Their requests include:
ACP supports strengthening and enforcing state and federal laws to prohibit convicted domestic violence offenders from purchasing or possessing firearms. Domestic violence offenders include dating partners, cohabitants, stalkers, and those who victimize a family member other than a partner or child. ACP supports federal legislation to require that such domestic violence offenders be reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. 
Individuals convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor should be prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms based on existing federal law. The federal government should encourage states and localities to create a process for these individuals to surrender firearms they already possess. 
Too late! 
Already federal law.  To quote ATF:
Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence
Does the prohibition on receipt or possession of firearms and ammunition apply if the person was convicted of an MCDV prior to the enactment of 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(9) on September 30, 1996?
Individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders, including temporary orders, should be prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms and be required to surrender their firearms for the duration of the order.
Both federal and state laws prohibit violent domestic offenders from owning or having contact with firearms, as firearms are often used to threaten, injure, and even kill the victims of domestic violence.  
Also requested:
The College supports a ban on firearms that cannot be detected by metal detectors or standard security screening devices, including but not limited to 3D-printed firearms. 
Way too late.   18 USC 922(p) is the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988.
It shall be unlawful for any person to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive any firearm - (A) that, after removal of grips, stocks, and magazines, is not as detectable as the Security Exemplar, by walk-through metal detectors calibrated and operated to detect the Security Exemplar; or (B) any major component of which, when subjected to inspection by the types of x-ray machines commonly used at airports, does not generate an image that accurately depicts the shape of the component. Barium sulfate or other compounds may be used in the fabrication of the component.
More evidence of their ignorance:
The College favors strong penalties and criminal prosecution for those who sell firearms illegally and those who legally purchase firearms for those who are banned from possessing them (“straw purchases”).
Straw purchases are already illegal.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has partnered with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) — the trade association for the firearms industry — in designing an educational program to assist firearm retailers in the detection and possible deterrence of “straw purchases,” the illegal purchase of a firearm by one person for another.
How seriously can you take requests for laws that are already in place?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Simple Question: Car Batteries

My backup generator has a battery that needs replacing soon.  The battery in there is an Interstate Batteries mt-26, 525 CCA, 655 CA.  I would prefer ordering from Amazon.  I know CCA indicates how many amps it can deliver for 30 seconds at 0 degrees F.  That's the only relevant number, right?  Amazon does not to list CCA!

Reasons Why You Should Never Do Anything That You Might Be Ashamed Of

Today's scam:
You can complain to the cops but nobody will help you.
I dont live in your country. It means nobody can trace my location even for 3 months.
I upload a virus on your OS.
We turned on your web-camera, during your porn-site visit.
Now I have the video material with you, caressing yourself.
Having VNC connection we downloaded your contactlist and if you ask us to stay silent I want to receive 430 $ in bitcoins.
Use this wallet address for payment
(something like a credit card number)
You have 30 hours after reading this message to complete the transaction.
There is no need to write me that you have sent money to me. This bitcoin wallet was connected to you, my system will delete everything automatically after transfer verification.
If you need 48 hours just reply on this letter with +.
All the best. Dont forget about the shame.
Don't visit sites like that, and you know this is extortion based on smoke.

Foot and Hand Warmers Make Freezing Astronomy Almost Tolerable

Almost.  I may not do much until spring.  The hand warmers seemed more effective than the foot warmers.  My fingers never numbed.  Taking a glove off to change eyepieces or put the camera in the focuser was unpleasant.
ISO 100; 1/100th sec.; prime focus.

Attempts to do eyepiece projection reminded me that I need to use the Scheiner mask to get a sharp focus, which was not worth the effort in such cold weather.
25mm eyepiece projection; ISO 100; 1/4 second.  As the magnification increases, of course, light available drops and longer exposures are required.
12.5mm eyepiece projection; ISO 100; 1/6 second. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Rosie in the Collar of Shame

We just picked her up.

Dog Horror Movie

Rosie went running under a wild rose bush yesterday and managed to tear a pretty substantial cut in her ear.  It was like CSI:ThePound when Rhonda and Rosie returned home:

When she exited the bathtub, she shook the water off, and the bathroom wall had a spray of blood on it.

The blood kept squirting out of this 1/2" long tear, so we took her to West Vet Emergency Veterinary last night. It will be a bit more than $1000 to get this fixed.  Glad we don't have car payments this month.

When Even Journalists Tell Acosta, "You Are Doing It Wrong, It's a Sign

11/9/18 SF Chronicle column by Ruben Navarette (not in any way a right-winger) calling out Acosta'a behavior:
Still, Acosta deserved the rebuke. He was arrogant, rude and sanctimonious. He was sent to cover the story, and he made himself the story. He was supposed to ask questions, but instead he tried to “challenge” the president about the refugee caravan. He asked several questions, instead of one. And when he got answers, he rejected them. He used up time that could have gone to his colleagues. He hogged the microphone, and — at his worst moment — wrestled for control of it with a White House intern, as if it were his own private property.
Someone at CNN needs to slip this guy a note. He stopped being a journalist a while back, and his recent performance — and that’s the right word — at the White House demonstrates it.
In the end, I don’t care much about how Acosta treated Trump. He has a job to do, and it involves questioning the powerful.
I care more about how he treated his media colleagues, which is to say like he was the only reporter in the room — or, for that matter, on Planet Earth. Their deadlines and live shots were just as important as his.
And I care most about how he treated that poor intern who learned the hard way that the most dangerous place to be in Washington is between Jim Acosta and a microphone.