Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Recently Read

Lindsey Fitzharris, The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine.  Well, he did not make it less grisly, just less likely to have the operation go well and the patient die.  As much a biography of Lister as the science.  Very interesting and well-written. 

I had assumed from the dust jacket bio (PhD from Oxford, "lives in the English countryside") that she was British.  I was watching a PBS documentary where they interviewed her.  She's an American and a drop dead gorgeous blonde!

Hard to Believe This is in the New York Times

7/31/19 New York Times discusses assault weapons and how gun makers keep defeating bans:
Even though military-style weapons are used in few shootings, they have proven to be the deadliest, and the most visible targets for legislation.
After discussing how the bullet button defeated the 1989 ban, and the most recent revision to the law:
To replace the magazine, the gun must be “disassembled” and the firearm action opened. In theory, this requirement would slow reloading times. 
It did not take long for gunmakers and third-party manufacturers to find a way to comply with the law while still offering consumers a similar product with all the same accessories. 
Inexpensive modification kits on the market now make it quick and simple to “disassemble” the rifle.
These allow the firearm action to open slightly with the press of a button. The magazine can then be removed with a traditional release. The banned features become legal again.
Nice graphics, by the way.

In Case Someone Whines That NRA Does Not Allow the Government to Fund Gun Violence Research

They claim we won't allow the government to fund such research.  Not true.  The Dickey Amendment is public law 104-208:

Provided further, That none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control: 

This lie is repeated so often, and journalists never ask for evidence.

If Anyone Denies That Obama Claimed Foreign Birth

The nice thing about the Wayback Machine is that eveery lie ever told on the Internet is preserved.  Dystel & Goederich Literary Management's bio on one of their clients:
BARACK OBAMA is the junior Democratic senator from Illinois and was the dynamic keynote speaker at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He was also the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. He was born in Kenya to an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister and was raised in Indonesia, Hawaii, and Chicago. His first book, DREAMS FROM MY FATHER: A STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE, has been a long time New York Times bestseller.
If you have ever written a bio for a publisher, you know these are not made up by them.  They start with your version and edit.  Maybe he was lying to make himself sound better, but if someone actually believed him, that's Obama's fault.

And this video.  "Now, three years ago I visited Kenya as the first sitting American
President to come from Kenya."

Ever Wondered Why the News Media Mispredicted the 2016 Election?

7/30/19 The Hill:
While looking into this phenomenon in 2016, I contacted a number of polling groups. I knew that they “weight” and adjust their samples to make them reflect certain demographics of the U.S. population. In simple terms, if their sample ends up with too many young people, they assign greater weight to responses from older people. The methods they use to do so vary and are arcane, to say the least. For example, ABC states that it “adopted iterative weighting, also known as raking or rim weighting, in which the sample is weighted sequentially to Census targets one variable at a time, continuing until the optimum distribution is achieved.”
But one of the most interesting things I learned had to do with one big factor for which they typically don’t “weight” or adjust. It’s one that I think is arguably among the most important when it comes to polls measuring political issues: political affiliation. In other words, the national pollsters I spoke with told me that if they end up interviewing significantly more Democrats than Republicans — which is often the case — they don’t necessarily adjust the results to try to make the sample reflective of the U.S. voting population.
Wow!  You could have knocked me over with a feather.

Amy Wax: Enemy of the (Woke) People

Spectator Usa published a defense of Prof. Amy Wax who has become a target for the "woke" bunch.  They imagine racism in a call for merit-based immigration.  The defense is by Peter Wood of the National Association of Scholars, a tiny voice in defense of academic standards.  It's a hard job, but someone has to try.  By the way, I am the Grand Poobah of the Idaho affiliate of the NAS. 

Yes, Climate Change Matters

But according to Italian press reports, the attendees were expected to show up in 114 private jets, and 40 had arrived by Sunday.
The Post crunched the numbers and found that 114 flights from Los Angeles to Palermo, Italy, where Camp guests landed, would spew an estimated 100,000 kilograms of CO2 into the air.
If they really believe it, at least fly commercial.  They might even meet ordinary people!


I see Planned Parenthood in the ads now.  I suspect that this is a sign of too much automation of ad placement.

High Suicide Rates in the Western U.S.

Gun control groups claim high suicide rates in the Western U.S. are because of widespread availability of guns.  I was watching the series Yellowstone, which is compelling drama (clearly modeled on King Lear), but like everything Hollywood, awash in environmentalist propaganda and where the most decent and heroic figure is a murderer.  Anyway, part of it takes place on a reservation (where the chief is a manipulative schemer awash in his own victimization (ignoring his Harvard MBA) and using it to justify greed.

Indian reservations are indeed bleak and horrible places, largely because alcoholism is a big problem, which leads, as it does in white society, to child abuse, rape, and domestic violence.  It suddenly struck me: are high suicide rates in the Western U.S. because of high Indian suicide rates?  The highest percentages of Indians are in the Western U.S.; the Indian suicide rate is 33.8/100,000, and white suicide rate is 28.2/100,000.   It is just barely possible that gun availability could play a part in high Western suicide rates, but it is also likely that high Western suicide rates are because of high Indian suicide rates.

If I had the time, I would use CDC's Wonder tool to extract suicides by race for the Western states and see if the white suicide rate is actually higher than for the East.  It was easier than I thought:
White Suicide Rates Age-Adjusted: Northeast: 9.7/100,000; Midwest, 12.4; West 14.5; South: 14.3.[Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Compressed Mortality File 1999-2016 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released June 2017. Data are from the Compressed Mortality File 1999-2016 Series 20 No. 2U, 2016, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed at on Jul 31, 2019 11:08:19 AM]

The West is higher in white suicide rates, but within the 95% confidence interval for the South.

A little more digging: Looking for white gun suicide rates by region.  Northeast 3.3/100,000; Midwest 4.9/100,000; South 7.3; West, 4.1.[Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Compressed Mortality File 1999-2016 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released June 2017. Data are from the Compressed Mortality File 1999-2016 Series 20 No. 2U, 2016, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed at on Jul 31, 2019 10:09:48 AM]

For all races: Northeast: 3.3; Midwest: 5.8; South, 7.4; West 6.4.[Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Compressed Mortality File 1999-2016 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released June 2017. Data are from the Compressed Mortality File 1999-2016 Series 20 No. 2U, 2016, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed at on Jul 31, 2019 11:03:36 AM]

The West has high suicide rates, but not as bad as the South, and our gun suicide rate for all races is actually lower than the South.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Did Anyione See This Mass Murder?

Besides New Yorkers, I mean.

New York City, NY (1996)
12/6/1996: A demonstrator in a Rev. Al Sharpton promoted protest against a white person entered the targeted clothing and lit a fire killing seven, then killed himself.  He had a long criminal history.
Category: public
Suicide: yes
Cause: racism
Weapon: arson[1]

[1] Pam Belluck, “DEATH ON 125th STREET: THE OVERVIEW;Police Say Killer in Harlem Fire Was a Laborer and a Protester,” New York Times, Dec. 11, 1996, 1.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Again, Sabrent Exceeds My Expectations

Once again, Sabrent exceeds my expectations.  I have bought several of these hard disk enclosures over the year when I have upgraded to either a larger drive or most recently, SSDs.  The enclosure is tool free; press on end and it pops open,  There is a power switch on the case, and of course it is USB powered. 

I will preserve these Windows 7 drives for a month or so, until I am sure that there was nothing lost on the Windows 10.  Then I will make them tertiary backup drives.

Bulk Munitions is Giving Away Ammo

Go here for a chance at $200 worth of ammo.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Just Filled the Next to the Last ScopeRoller Order

Invoice 709.  I am expecting a cashier's check for the last order this week.

Madly Trying to Get the Online Class Together Before mid-August When Classes Start

Copying text from my PowerPoint slides into Blackboard; turning notes into actual sentences; expanding tangents that I normally do extemporaneously.  I am half-way through, so first week of classes should be fine.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Preparing for Class

Suddenly realized that the Democratic Party was founded by two rich slaveowners: Jefferson and Madison,

Friday, July 26, 2019

Another Near-Miss

110 meters across, 45,000 mulls from Earth.  Not sure if that is from center or surface, but either way, not something you want hitting Earth, especially because it could easily be mistaken for a small nuclear attack.

Today's Most Bizarre Email

It does not even appear to be a scam:
Hi, The following crude oil product is available for capable buyers/mandate. Products Available:JP54, D2 GAS OIL, D6 VIRGIN FUEL OIL LNG/LPG, EN 590, MAZUT M100 GOST–10585, JETFUEL A1 91/91, RUSSIAN PETROLEUM COKE. Delivery:
Vessel take over (VTO), Tank Take Over (TTO), Vessel to Vessel (VTV), Vessel to Tank (VTO), FOB/Dip & Pay, CIF Inspection:
SGS test report available. Contact: for an official soft corporate offer (SCO) Regards,Prokofy Tuzmukhamedov.Skype: Prokofy_T1OOO AYAKS PETROLIUM

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Planning to Get an Idaho Concealed Handgun License?

Let me recommend this class, taught by a friend.  Why get a license when you no longer one in Idaho?  Many other states recognize Idaho licenses and in some states unlicensed carry is a felony, which is a lifetime firearms disqualifier.
If you would like to be in the class you need to register on the NRA website.  Range time will be shorter than usual to minimize heat exposure, its supposed to be 90.

Saturday July 27
Personal Protection Handgun Course
Idaho ENHANCED Concealed Weapon License12 hour course 8am - 8pmNRA Personal Protection in the Home Course exceeds Idaho 18-3302K ENHANCED Concealed Weapon License requirement, certificate recognized by all states as firearms training (Though NOT for certain states' CCW , see list below)

$150 Course Fee includes NRA handbook, fliers & NRA Course Completion & Idaho State Police Training Certificates. Classes are small (7 at most). PAID advance registration is required to reserve your seat. Class is open to Instructor-approved citizens who have no felonies or other legal gun-ownership disabilities. Liability Release form signature required.

Course consists of approximately 4 Hours Classroom, 4 Hours on the Shooting Range, 4 Hours Legal Instruction. Includes Basic Handgun Safety, Familiarization, Hands-on Firearms Handling, Shooting Skills & Instruction. Personal security & avoiding violent confrontations will be covered in depth. Safety & Awareness are critical.Several hours will be spent on the firing range bringing student skills up to standards. Idaho State Law and Federal Law regarding firearms, concealed weapons, self-defense and after-event issues will be taught by a licensed Idaho attorney (formerly served as a public defender, a prosecutor and as an Idaho State deputy attorney general)BRING: warm jacket & hat (it gets cold and windy at the desert shooting range) and a button up shirt or turtleneck so no hot brass goes down your shirt to ‘brand’ you and make the event unsafe, eye and ear protection and handgun & at least 2 boxes of 50 rounds of factory ammunition ( Idaho law requires 98 rounds ), lunch snacks drinks notepad highlighter pencil post-its (Don't have a handgun or eye/ear protection? let me know I have a few loaners & can help you select the right one)T. ALLEN HOOVERNRA Certified Instructor                 NRA Training Counselor          (208) 631 3003                               PO Box 6232 Boise ID 83707          www.TALLENHOOVER.comTHE IDAHO ENHANCED CONCEALED WEAPONS LICENSE IS VALID IN: IDAHO ( & Idaho public colleges) ALASKA ARIZONA COLORADO  DELAWARE NEVADA NEW MEXICO PENNSYLVANIA
 DELAWARE NEVADA NEW MEXICO PENNSYLVANIA SOUTH CAROLINA VIRGINIA LOUISIANA MINNESOTA WASHINGTON WISCONSINas well as states that accept the Basic License: ALABAMA ARKANSAS FLORIDA GEORGIA INDIANA IOWA KANSAS KENTUCKY MAINE MICHIGAN MISSISSIPPI MISSOURI MONTANA NEBRASKAMICHIGAN MISSISSIPPI MISSOURI MONTANA NEBRASKA NEW HAMPSHIRE NORTH CAROLINA NORTH DAKOTA OHIO OKLAHOMA SOUTH DAKOTA TENNESSEE TEXAS UTAH WEST VIRGINIA WYOMING. VERMONT (no lisc reqd) Oregon non-reisdent licenses easy to obtain with Idaho ECCW.Total 41 states allow CCW w/ID ECCW. note: List per Idaho State Police 9/2018 - states laws change constantly, this list may not reflect current status. Yellowstone National Park accepts CCWs that are valid in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming (see website) Federal Park Service webpage indicates that which CCW holders may carry in Yellowstone park (but not into buildings of any kind)
may carry in Yellowstone park (but not into buildings of any kind) Shooting, even is self defense is prohibited, so don't unless you are being eaten, and then prepare for legal repercussions.
NRA Basic-Level Courses: Home Firearms Safety, Basic Pistol, Basic Rifle, Range Safety Officer, Personal Protection Outside the Home Become an NRA Certified Instructor:
INSTRUCTOR-Level courses, CALL for information:
NRA BIT Basic Instructor Training course $100 (the first class required) Offered weekday evenings by arrangement.
NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course Instructor course $300
NRA Personal Protection (in the home) Instructor course $350 (BIT&Pistol are prerequisites) NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home Instructor course $300 (BIT&Pistol & PPith are prerequisites) NRA RSO Range Safety Officer $125 NRA CRSO CHIEF Range Safety Officer $150 (BIT & RSO are prerequisites) NRA Basic Rifle Shooting Course Instructor course $300NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home Instructor course $300 (BIT&Pistol & PPith are prerequisites)
NRA RSO Range Safety Officer $125
NRA CRSO CHIEF Range Safety Officer $150 (BIT & RSO are prerequisites)
NRA Basic Rifle Shooting Course Instructor course $300 Group & Individual classes available upon request. Liability Release form signature required. A written test will be administered (it is possible to fail this course).Instructor reserves the right to dismiss anyone, anytime, without refund. All rights reserved. No Warranties are Expressed or Implied. Copyright 2019 Hoover Police Supply

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Took Both Our PCs to Best Buy

$100 to install windows 10,  of course we will have to reinstall all the apps.  They were having a sale on SSDs; $120 for 1TB so I am having both upgraded.  I will also have 2 TB of backup drives.  The chance of one backup drive failing is small.  Two at the same time very small.  Three at the same time?  Nearly infinitesimal.

SSDs should also be far more reliable than a hard disk; no moving parts and resistant to any shock that does not break them. Not sure, but I suspect that they use less power and produce less heat than a mechanical hard disk.

And back.  To my great pleasure, they managed to upgrade without needing to reinstall programs.  Outlook was not working on the first try on my wife's PC.  Repair fixed it.  And yes, from power button to Windows in seconds not minutes.

A few unexpected issues with at least one external USB drive not appearing on my wife's PC, but a bit of swapping USB connections magically solved.  I just ordered two of these enclosures for the two 1TB mechanical drives (how 20th century!).  I have bought a number of these and each time they seem a bit nicer.  The last one had a power switch on it.

Unfortunately, GIMP still takes forever (at least a minute or two) to load.  Looking for data files.

I needed to do a repair operation of Microsoft Office on both PCs, and reinstall VMWare Player on mine.  Not so bad.

Geek Squad

I called Best Buy.  Geek Squad will upgrade to Windows 10 using my product keys for $100 each.  That's an obvious solution.  Doing full backups on both PCs.

When Did They Repeal Moore's Law?

Both of the Lenovo laptops we own were less than $400 new, with 1TB drives, and quad core processors.  Nothing even close now except for refurbished laptops.  The Lenovo USB dock that currently lets me have three external displays works with any laptop.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Windows 10 Upgrade Day

The malware and related crap has become just too annoying.  I understand Windows 10 is better on security (always one step ahead of these creeps).  I am not waiting for the DVDs to arrive.  I am doing full backups of both our PCs then install the upgrade.

Windows 10 will not install on a Lenovo x140e.  Not yet supported.  I had no idea Lenovo was too obscure a brand.  As usual Microsoft wants us to upgrade, but cannot support a quadcore laptop with a 1TB disk.

The problem is that an upgrade from Windows 7 to 10 is too big a leap for install in place.  Microsoft had me write to a DVD and install from there.

The fun never stops: Windows 10 cannot read from the DVD drive from which it is installing (the setup to install seems to run under Windows 7, but after restarting Windows 10 has no idea how to read it).  LG has no Windows 10 drivers.  So I am doing this from a USB drive next.  No drivers needed.

Next discovery: Rufus uses a different set of defaults (should be MBR and BIOS or UEFI) than Windows 10 wants.  I have written the USB drive, but one more step:  Because I will likely have to reinstall most of my applications, I am making sure all the installers are separate from the Download directory.  In the past I have intentionally moved installers into a separate directory, but some recnt additions I had not, so I am doing that now.

If anyone at Microsoft wonders why people are sticking to Windows 7, it is because after a couple of weeks of trying to upgrade, most consumers put on the shelf. 
I am not the average PC user.  I spent 38 years as a software engineer writing in assembler language, writing device drivers, debugging BIOS problems, and writing file systems.  I have still not successfully installed Windows 10 as an upgrade, after most of eight hours of effort.
I am very close to just living with end of support on Windows 7.

An hour later: It took a couple tries and very careful parsing of the instructions, but it seems to be installing Windows 10.

No, same error message:
Any final suggestions before I just give up?  No version of Linux actually installs, even in VMWare (which at least installs Windows 10).

  1. You’re running a Windows-10 based computer that has either the April 2018 Update (Windows 10, version 1803) or the October 2018 Update (Windows 10, version 1809) installed.
  1. An external USB device or SD memory card is attached to the computer.
  1. You try to upgrade the computer to the May 2019 Update, or you have automatic updates turned on in the Windows Update settings.
According to Microsoft, this message will appear on eligible computers that are plugged with an external USB device or an SD memory card. Due to these reasons, the May 2019 update is currently blocked on eligible machines.
Maybe use the earliest ISO first.

Beyond Transspecism!

7/19/19 New York Post:
A British woman says she has several love interests, but none of them can hold a candle to Lumiere — a 91-year-old chandelier she plans to marry, according to a report.
Amanda Liberty, 35, who changed her last name from Whittaker during a prior long-distance relationship with the Statue of Liberty, is ready to finally settle down with the light of her life, the Mirror reports.
Liberty, of Leeds, who identifies as an objectum sexual, is putting the spotlight on the little-known attraction to inanimate objects, according to the outlet.
The bride-to-be said she has been in an open relationship with multiple light fixtures, but decided to get hitched to Lumiere, which she regards as female.

Democrats Expose Themselves

David Atkins is the regional director the California Democratic Party. And judging from this thread, he’s really got his finger on the pulse of America:

You know who is not grateful enough? Rural white Americans.
They are heavily subsidized, drowning in federal largesse, blessed with political affirmative action & overrepresentation, have all their bills paid by cities and blue states, but they whine and yell constantly.
The possibility that this largess (no "e", David) which is largely Social Security checks, as I understand this claim, might reflect that the left has made the cost of living too high in blue states.  This causes migration, which does not occur to these defenders of the plutocrats.

SSD Soon

I hate swapping drives.  Physically is easy, but I always worry about making a mistake on the transfer.  But I think I am going to do it. 2TB SATA-3; $207.  I will Iait a few more days.  We just paid off my wife's cancer surgery (Christian Healthcare Ministries did the reimbursement okay, but it was slow.)

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Going Deep Sky

It was not a great night.  The air was turbulent and you could see Saturn and Jupiter burbling.  (Something best done only with mutually consenting planets.)  The Sun is now setting early enough for me to pursue the fainter dark sky objects.  The big reflector has the Sky Commander digital setting circles.  These have been an occasional source of frustration.  You aim the telescope at two of several dozen bright stars and press ENTER.  It should then let you pick any of about 8000 objects, and as you rotate the mount in azimuth and elevation, it shows you how many more degrees to go. The instructions warn you to sight in stars at high magnification to reduce error.  I can see why.  I did it at 78x and the results were disappointing.  Tonight I used 222x to align on Arcturus and Polaris.

The first target was M13, a (sort of) nearby globular cluster.  I showed it one person several years ago and he described it as looking like diamonds on black velvet.  Yup.  I was not exactly on target but it was bright enough for the finderscope to hint at it,  Using the 40x eyepiece it was obvious.  At 78x, a sack of diamonds.

M57, a planetary nebula in Lyra was next.  No luck.  This surprised me because I used to find it pretty easily with my smaller reflector; it is a bit less than halfway between beta Lyrae and gamma Lyrae. 

M5, another globular cluster, was in the field at 40x; no hunting.

M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy was next.  This is a faint galaxy with a low surface brightness.  I have seen it once through another 17.5", an Obsession in the Angeles National Forest.  I was so interested in looking through that size of Obsession that I flew to LAX and rented a car.  It really looked like a spiral galaxy!  Of course it was a very dark sky, and I had lots of time to dark adapt.  Tonight I needed to move around a bit before it was in the eyepiece and our skies really are not that dark.  It was visible, but it will not be a cloud pleaser until North Korea EMPs Boise dark.

So I tried it on Jupiter and Saturn, which were easily visible with the naked eye.  Neither was exactly where Sky Commander expected.  I am thinking the asphalt is not terribly level where I have parked Big Bertha which might explain the near misses.  Tomorrow night, I will use a level.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Gun Control: Federal Style

7/18/19 Los Angeles Times:
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection watch commander at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has admitted to running an illegal gun operation, authorities said.
Wei Xu, 56, of Santa Fe Springs was arrested Feb. 5 after an investigation involving undercover officers to whom Xu sold three guns out of the trunk of his car, including an “off-roster”pistol not certified for sale in California, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
He has been on unpaid administrative leave since his arrest and will be fired, said Ciaran McEvoy, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office.
In court Wednesday, Xu pleaded guilty to illegally selling guns on the internet, some of which he obtained by using his power as a law enforcement official, and to creating a fake company to avoid paying taxes, prosecutors said. He also pleaded guilty to illegally possessing unregistered firearms and making false statements to a federal agency about his involvement with a Chinese company to get a secret-level security clearance.
“Mr. Xu’s public life as a federal officer masked his private greed and disrespect for the law,” U.S. Atty. Nick Hanna said in a news release. “Public officials promise to act with integrity when they take an oath of office, and we will zealously prosecute those who mock the laws they have sworn to uphold.”
Elsewhere, machine guns were found in his possession.  The Chinese company whose connections he hid: Can you think of a better way to destabilize America than making sure gangs had machine guns?

Thursday, July 18, 2019

SSD Drives

I have toyed with the idea of replacing the 1TB drive in my Lenovo with a SSD drive.  At these prices, it is mostly the hassle that stops me.

WD Blue 3D NAND 1TB PC SSD - SATA III 6 Gb/s, 2.5"/7mm - WDS100T2B0A  $115.  I do not need more room, but more speed is attractive, especially running linuxCNC in a VM.  Remember when hard discs were so expensive that you often found yourself backing up non-current stuff to tape?  Or am I dating myself?  (Don't need for that!  On Tinder, do you just keep swiping right -- or is it left -- hoping for someone more attractive than yourself?)

Fortunately, This Mass Murder Did Not Involve Guns

7/19/19 Reuters:
TOKYO (Reuters) - A man shouted “die” as he doused an animation studio with fuel and set it ablaze in Japan on Thursday, public broadcaster NHK said, killing at least 33 people in the nation’s worst mass murder in nearly two decades.
Japan has very strict gun control; people with antisocial tendencies find other ways to do mass murder.

Monitor Flickering

I have an antique Viewsonic monitor which several of my readers have repaired over the years usually when it just went black.  I am now getting occasional flickering of different colors, sometimes localized, sometimes broadly distributed.  I am sure that this means it is on its last legs.  Any guesses as to what is going to fail?  Would it make more sense to buy a new monitor when this fails?  I can get a 22" 1920x1080 for $80 at Amazon.

Two causes: loss of red was a loose connector on the monitor (that should have been obvious); the flicker seemed to reduce with an updated driver.  If I could find the refresh rate control, I would try that.  It seems that this is fixed at 60 Hz.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Finally, Sharing Files Between VMWare client and Windows

I have tried to get VMWare tools working so many times.  Now it works.

Windows Virtual PC

I tried to install Windows 10 in Windows Virtual PC, but it did not recognize my Windows 7 product key, so I am installing Windows 7 and debian at the same time.  They are just crawling, compared to VMWare.  I am pretty sure virtual Windows 7 will automatically upgrade to Windows 10.  (I have the automatic upgrade disabled on the host Windows 7.)

VMWare keeps your mouse captive in a virtual machine window until you Ctrl-Alt.  Windows Virtual PC requires the equally obscure Ctrl-Alt-right arrow.  At least VMWare warns you.  It also appears that whichever virtual machine starts installing from an ISO first takes priority.  Of course, only yours truly would do something as silly as install Windows 7 and debian at the same time.

Windows 7 is running in Windows Virtual PC.  The free upgrade to Windows 10 ended in 2015 (no surprise), so I bought Windows Professional 10 from for $28.50.  They are sending a DVD, but in the meantime, I have a Windows 10 product code so that I can test it out, and decide whether the GUI hacks make it acceptable as an upgrade from the soon-to-be abandoned Windows 7.

Windows Virtual PC is so slow that I am installing Windows 10 in VMWare.  Even in VMWare, Windows 10 creeps along.

I am persuaded.  I can make Windows 10 look and act enough like Windows 7.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Jupiter & Moon

All of these pictures need me to master the use of a Bahtinov mask to get a sharper image.
1/30 sec., ISO 100, 25mm eyepiece projection

The prime focus pictures of Jupiter showing its Galilean satellites suffered some weird swirl.  I think my exposure delay was too short (2s) for the scope to stop moving after pressing the button.

Some of these prime focus images are better than usual because I am now using a 2" diameter adapter for the camera.
1/200, ISO 100 2000mm f/4.5 converted to gray scale

This picture of Tycho may benefit from GIMP, but it is late and GIMP loads slowly.
1/60; ISO 100; 25mm eyepiece projection

Saturn was too close to the Moon; just washed out the sky.

Math is Racist

7/17/19 College Fix:
"Math equity” doesn’t mean 1 + 1 = 2.
The term refers to the growing insistence among educators that teaching math in the classroom comes with some inherently biased methodology that must be addressed.
Proponents of “math equity” also stress the importance of social justice issues such as race, diversity and gender in math education — a trend that’s catching on.
More professors and educators are tweeting under the hashtag #MathEquity to share strategies on the topic, and webinars and other pedagogical sessions on it abound.
“Equity-based mathematics teaching requires more than implementing new curriculum or using specific practices because it involves taking a stand for what is right,” the website for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics states.
“It requires mathematics teachers to reflect on their own identity, positions, and beliefs in regards to racist and sorting-based mechanisms. It involves noticing students, learning about the worlds they live in, and building mathematics that comes from these worlds. And finally, it involves engaging other educators in partnerships to build equity-oriented communities.”
As I commented:
Many years ago, when I was taking the required multicultural studies class, the text we were using asserted that even the boolean logic of computers was Western in origin and thus suspect of having general applicability outside the West. Glad to know our missiles and aircraft stop working in the Third World. What did Winston confront in 1984? 1+1 = whatever the Party says it does. 
Another comment I must emphasize to those whose children are still K-12:
Homeschool and teach your child to become the CEO of Brawndo.

Today's Linux Disappontments

I was not thrilled with ubuntu GUI, so I downloaded the debian KDE ISO.  It starts up in the shell with no obvious way to start a GUI.  (This is why I am skeptical of Linux.  Almost nothing is adequately documented; unsurprising for a system that makes no profit.)

I am pleased to see that Microsoft has something call Window Virtual PC, which does what it sounds like.  Trying to start it running either Windows 10 or 7 and it complained that I need a 686 version, not x64.  Everything that I have downloaded so far has been 64-bit, without problems.  So I am now downloading the 32-bit versions.

I Think This Would Be Just Perfect for Chicago Gangs: Leave It There

7/16/19 CBS Miami:
Frank Robb, the owner of Crocodilian Specialist Services in St. Augustine, took his talents as an alligator expert to the Windy City, when authorities asked for his help capturing an alligator that had been on the loose at a local park for several days.

A Reminder of Our Past Sins

The culture that put men on the moon was intense, fun, family-unfriendly, and mostly white and male
Be ashamed.  Be very ashamed.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Running Ubuntu Linux

From a USB hard drive.  First step: see if the Lenovo USB Dock works. Maybe install VMWare with Windows 10 as client.  The GUI that it defaults to is certainly different from Windows--way different. To see all your applications, click Activities in upper left corner.  I think Debian's GUI is more intuitive.

My, that was fun.  I was informed that I should do a full update of the distribution, something like "sudo apt-get update"; it turns out that 109GB free on a 111GB drive is not enough.  So I verified that I could access files on the Windows hard drive.  I double clicked a very small Excel file, expecting either a complaint about no file type associated (or optimistically) opening LibreOffice Calc.  Instead both screens went black and dead.  I am increasingly unimpressed with Ubuntu Linux.  Microsoft is in no danger.

Maybe I will install Windows 10 on this USB hard drive, and use that to see if I can live with Windows 10.

But first, I installed Oracle VirtualBox to see if the problem installing ubuntu under VMWare might not be there under VirtualBox.  I must have installed VirtualBox in the past and there is a linuxCNC client under it, but it runs so slowly as to be useless.

I thought of installing debian on the USB hard drive, but it appears that Rufus deleted that ISO when installing on the USB hard drive.  Like I said a few days ago, Linux is so hard to get working in a useful manner that I am very close to just upgrading to Windows 10, perhaps dual boot Windows 7 & 10.

Selling the ScopeRoller Business is Like Breaking Up With a Girl

I am negotiating the sale of ScopeRoller to a reader in Europe.  You have a some very good memories and a few bad memories (in this case, dealing with unhappy customers and an unfortunate interaction between a spinning drill bit and my thumb), but the fit for your life now just doesn't justify keeping it going.  You start going through stuff that you shared in preparation for shipping it its new home and you feel a sense of loss, even though you know the breakup is the right thing to do.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

How Did Epstein Become a Billionaire (Is He?)

7/11/19 New York Intelligencer discusses how real hedge fund billionaires have never heard of Epstein's firm, nor do they know of any any customers.  They suggest that whatever money is invested may be under threat of blackmail:
I think he’s engaged in blackmail. The reason I think this is that I read the Palm Beach police report when they did the search warrant. Epstein had advanced warning they were coming, so he scrubbed the place as much as he could, but he left wires and audiovisual cables for uploading video files to computers, and I guess the Palm Beach Police themselves installed some of his audiovisual surveillance equipment in his residence — it’s a service they apparently do, putting in security cameras for residents. And some of his victims, like Virginia Roberts, in her court filings, said that Epstein remarked to her that “information is king,” and mentioned that Bill Clinton was there because “he owes me a favor.” He bragged that that’s how powerful he was. So I suspect, based on that evidence, that’s it’s likely, since that’s the way Epstein operates, is he uses information to his advantage. Does he get investment money for his hedge fund that way? That’s a strong possibility. Does he not have to pay back investors maybe using the blackmail information as a threat? That’s a possibility.

Hint: If you are rich or powerful, or plan to be so, don't do anything that might be criminal or embarrassing in front of a possibly hidden video camera.  Even better:  don't do anything that might be criminal or embarrassing.  The scrubbed Wikipedia page has been unscrubbed.

Most Oppressively Stupid Thing I've Seen Since the California Assault Weapons Ban

7/3/19 MSN:
There’s an interesting discussion happening over at the Grassroots Motorsports forum right now, and presumably at many other places off-line. It’s about laws in Sacramento County stating, essentially, that almost any auto repair you do on your property is illegal. Of course, this is deeply troubling to almost everyone reading right now.
Similar laws do exist in other counties and states, of course, but since there’s been some conversation recently around the Sacramento County laws, we may as well start there. The laws in question have to do with Sacramento’s Zoning Code, the website for which has an explanation of the codes related to auto repair.
The code states that conducting “minor vehicle repair” or “minor automotive repair” is legal at a residence, and defines “minor automotive repair” as:
Brake part replacement
Minor tune-ups
Change of oil and filter
Repair of flat tires
Other similar operations...
2. Is Minor Vehicle Repair Permitted at Residences?
Yes. However, it is unlawful for any person to engage in, or permit others to engage in, minor vehicle repair or maintenance in any agricultural, agricultural-residential, residential, interim estate and interim residential zones under any of the following circumstances:
1. Using tools not normally found in a residence;
2. Conducted on vehicles registered to persons, not currently residing on the lot or parcel;
3. Conducted outside a fully enclosed garage and resulting in any vehicle being inoperable for a period in excess of twenty-four hours.
Here we have some issues. How exactly do you define “tools not normally found in a residence?” A socket set? A torque wrench? A brake drum puller? This feels like a rule that’s dangerously open to interpretation with pretty minimal supporting evidence.
Number two is clearly there to prevent people from running off-the-books repair shops, but what if you’re working on a friend’s car? And number three means you can’t do anything unless you have an actual garage, and whatever you’re doing you better get it all wrapped up inside of one day, which, as most of us who’ve dealt with one stubborn, time-sucking, hard-to-reach bolt know, is not always possible.
Of course, “Major Automotive Repair,” that is, anything not explicitly defined under “Minor Automotive Repair,” is not legal anywhere on your own property, even if you’re doing it in the sanctity of your own closed garage.
One commenter on the Grassroots Motorsports forum reported that he’d already been issued a $430 fine for working on his car in his garage: 
Call it the professional car mechanic's relief act.  Thanks to Small Dead Animals for the tip.

Friday, July 12, 2019

8-32 socket head machine screws 2" length minimum

1. Ideally, at least 2" of thread.  They do not need to be fully threaded as long as there is at least 2" of thread.  The diagonal holder adjustment needs longer screws now that I know where the mirror needs to be.  It does not appear anyone makes these longer than 1.75".  I could use a non-socket head screw, but it is too easy to lose grip on the head and drop the screwdriver.  Also, a dropped socket head wrench this size will do less damage if it hits the mirror.  (Remember the dropped wrench in that Titan II silo.)  This may be the solution, depending on the thread length of the >2.0" long screws.

2. The other item, somewhat easier to find is a 1/2" 8-32 hex head screw.  Working in the confined space of a 3" telescope tube means that I cannot used a socket head screw.  A hex head screw can be held with a small adjustable wrench while tightening down the acorn nut on the outside.  Easier solution to #2: put the acorn nut on the inside of the tube.

Boy, This Makes Me Feel Old

NASA is figuring out how to keep the Voyager spacecraft alive (for which I badly wrote telemetry software):
With careful planning and dashes of creativity, engineers have been able to keep NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft flying for nearly 42 years — longer than any other spacecraft in history.

Reasonably Clear Night But Windy

I had the 8" f/7 reflector and the slight movement of the spider to improve centering of the beam in the center of the mirror made collimation easier. I am not seeing better images, perhaps because of the wind and turbulence, Even the Moon reached its limit with the 283x eyepiece.

I do need to put some phosphorescent paint on the screws that hold the finder to make a rough target for the finder.  Black plastic against a black sky does not work.

I also want to have the aluminum end cap welded.  Parks Optical used to be the supplier of high end fiberglass telescope tubes.  I think they went under,  Parks might have retired or died.  They supplied aluminum rings to protect the ends of the tubes which are not spectacular tough.  One has cracked; probably a casting defect aggravated by too tight a fit on the end of the tube.  I am going to hit up a precision welding shop in Horseshoe Bend, run by some pro-gun California refugees,  Even a few millimeters enlargement in diameters reduces the risk of stressing the ring again.

The Parks tubes changed over time.  When I bought mine it eighed nine pounds; within a few years they were 13 pounds.  It suffered one unfortunate accident.  My wife and daughter pulled a liitle too close and damaged the tube.  I did a creditable job ptching the damage with fiberglass, epoxy,sanding and paint.  You would never know,

Squaring Numbers in Your Head

I mentioned that binomial expansion of (n+1)2 gives n2 +2n + 1, which makes this far easier to do in your head than multiplying and adding columns. Bu there is a more general solution. (n+i)2 gives n2 +2i + i2.  Now any power of 10 is easy to figure by factoring: 40 = 4 x 10 x 4 x 10 = 16 x 100. And therefore 452 is 402 + 2x5x40 + 52 = 1600 + 400 + 25 = 2000+25 = 2025.  This is really fast.

And even as the digit count grows:  2022 = 2002 + 4 x 200 + 22 = 40,000 + 800 + 4=n 40,804.  If you can factor by 2, awesome, but if you are within ten of a power of ten, this is easier.  I love figuring out techniques, which is why as a software engineer I always looked for ways to solve a requirement by building a tool which had an application to solve the problem.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Too Funny

Instapundit points to this unlikely news story at KFOR:
Logan Co. man allegedly driving stolen vehicle filled with uranium, a rattlesnake, and Kentucky Deluxe
POSTED 10:34 PM, JULY 10, 2019, BY UPDATED AT 04:14PM, JULY 11, 2019
The comments at Instapundit will cause beverage spatter on your screen.

VMWare Workstation 15 Player Crashes

On the off chance that the crashes when I tried to installl Windows 7 and Ubuntu might be related to the version, I updated to 15.1 partly because even LlinuxCNC was now crashing.  Not a solution.  Windows 7 apparently has a VM.  Trying to install it right now.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

More Credit Card Fraud

American Express wanted to verify information for a Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card.  Someone (not me) applied for one online.  They promptly notified credit reporting agencies.

I was wondering how someone obtained my Social Security Number, address, etc.  Of course, every medical provider wants it to verify identity, and with good reason.  My wife pointed out that SSNs have likely become a valued black market item because illegal aliens need them to work. 

Some years ago, someone filed a bogus 1040 with my SSN to get a tax refund which IRS mailed to me, and I later had to send back.  This should have set off alarm bells at IRS; I have not received a tax refund in decades.

But the Democrats need those illegal aliens for voting, and the owners of the RINOs need cheap agricultural and sex workers, so that is all that matters.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Another Mass Murder That Does Not Matter Because No Gun

Port Angeles, Wash. (2019)
7/5/2019: A man burned a trailer containing his wife, and three children, killing them all.  His journal entries show a carefully planned crime.
Category: family
Suicide: no
Cause: unknown
Weapon: arson[1]

As I Tell My Students...

Puritans were so concerned about sexual sin because in England dissipated noblemen would take advantage of the innocence of young women, and as soon as they started to show, abandon them to deal with the shame of bearing an illegitimate child.  This is why the rake is a recurring theme in Georgian and Victorian literature and art.  (I am thinking of Hogarth's A Rake's Progress series of engravings in the field of art.) 

Young women are not quite so innocent anymore.  This is an unfortunate but necessary accommodation to "the way of the world" (to quote Dr. Gosnell).  So billionaire rakes have to go younger.    7/8/19 AP:
Jeffrey Epstein has been ordered jailed at least until a bail hearing Thursday after he pleaded not guilty to federal sex trafficking charges.
He made his first court appearance Monday following his arrest over the weekend.Prosecutors say Epstein, a registered sex offender, is a significant flight risk and are asking that he be detained until his trial.
They say he has three active U.S. passports and has frequently traveled in and out of the country on his private jet.
The 66-year-old Epstein is accused of creating and maintaining a network that allowed him to sexually exploit and abuse dozens of underage girls from 2002 to 2005.
Prosecutors said several alleged victims have come forward since Epstein's arrest.
Trump said a few nice things about Epstein a few years ago, so the Democrat presstitutes are running with this.  But 7/8/19 ZeroHedge quotes a lawyer who would not let this case go away:
Edwards: The only thing that I can say about President Trump is that he is the only person who, in 2009 when I served a lot of subpoenas on a lot of people, or at least gave notice to some pretty connected people, that I want to talk to them, is the only person who picked up the phone and said, let’s just talk.  I’ll give you as much time as you want.  I’ll tell you what you need to know, and was very helpful, in the information that he gave, and gave no indication whatsoever that he was involved in anything untoward whatsoever, but had good information. That checked out and that helped us and we didn’t have to take a deposition of him in 2009. 
And even some Democrats (like Nancy Pelosi's daughter) are admitting:
This Epstein case is horrific and the young women deserve justice. It is quite likely that some of our faves are implicated but we must follow the facts and let the chips fall where they may - whether on Republicans or Democrats.
7/6/19 Miami Herald:
At the time, Epstein owned an island off St. Thomas. The Herald report continues: “His plane records show that during the time he was abusing young girls, he was flying former President Bill Clinton, Harvard professors and administrators, Nobel-prize winning scientists, actresses, actors, philanthropists and a who’s who of wealthy and powerful people to his island.” 
7/7/19 Fox News:
It was unclear exactly to whom Pelosi was referring, but Epstein has long been connected with high-profile figures, including Britain's Prince Andrew and former President Bill Clinton. Court documents obtained by Fox News in 2016 showed that Clinton took at least 26 trips flying aboard Epstein's private jet, known as the "Lolita Express," and apparently ditched his Secret Service detail on some of the excursions. Records showed that President Trump may have flown on the jet at least once.
The president previously called attention to Clinton's dealings with the financier.
"Nice guy -- uh, got a lot of problems coming up, in my opinion, with the famous island, with Jeffrey Epstein," Trump told Fox News' Sean Hannity in 2015, referring to Clinton's connections with Epstein. "A lot of problems." 
And why would you ditch your protective detail when going on a ride.  I mean on the Lolita Express, of course.

Democrats are using their control of social media to persuade Christians that the Republican Party is too Christian.  Consider the alternative.