Monday, August 30, 2021

Taliban Using Blackhawks for Hanging

Video here.  Would throwing a grenade in each helicopter been that hard?  REASON says that is not what it is.

The good news: an army this incompetent will not be hard for ten million even average intelligence militiamen to defeat.  If they were ordered to leave these weapons for the Taliban they are probably too stupid to think of anything but following orders from Slow Joe and the oh so elite Ivy Leaguers who have made themselves look ridiculous even to the journalists. 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Most Impressive Small Company YouTube Ad

Technical Question for Photographers

Some years ago, I bought a 35mm SLR from a co-worker.  The lens cap was captive to the lens by a string glued to both the lens cap and body of the lens. 

I suspect this is a common technique, because replacement lens caps are often sold with a leash (to keep them from attacking other lens caps, I guess). 

It was a translucent white  glob perhaps 1/4" diameter.  It worked very well to make sure the lens cap did not get left behind or lost. I would love to know what this might have been.  Epoxy? Silicone sealant? Whte glue (probably not, it was translucent).  I think the globular nature matters to keep the leash attached.  Detachability is not important. 

Saturday, August 28, 2021

How Dangerous Is COVID-19 to Your Kids?

In 2020, there were 1266 kids <16 killed in traffic accidents.

If you are terrified of sending your kids to school because of COVID-19, do not let them go anywhere by car.


Children do not seem to drive transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We isolated culture-competent virus in vitro from 12 (52%) of 23 SARS-CoV-2–infected children; the youngest was 7 days old. Our findings show that symptomatic neonates, children, and teenagers shed infectious SARS-CoV-2, suggesting that transmission from them is plausible.

Okay they may well bring it home, but CDC is reporting 

"Children do not seem to drive transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)."

Be careful.   Wash your hands regularly.  If you feel the need, wear N95 compliant masks (I just bought some USA made ones on Amazon MedicPro). Unlike the cheap and not-NIOSH KN95 Chinese ones these wash and keep filtering.

With Good Behavior He Will Be Out in 400 Years

I am not making fun of this guy or his actions, but of the concept of a sentence of two lives plus 120 years. 8/26/21 KTVB:

" 2018, Kinner, a homeless man with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, was staying at a Boise apartment complex when he was asked to leave for bad behavior. He returned the next day and stabbed a 3-year-old to death during a birthday party. He also stabbed eight other people. 

"In March, Kinner pleaded guilty to murder and a dozen other charges, including eight counts of aggravated battery. In June, Fourth District Judge Nancy Baskin sentenced Kinner to two life terms in prison plus another 120 years. "

At its core again is untreated mental illness leading to murder.

Unique Place Names

Good Grief, Idaho near the Canadian border.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Building the Less Chinese Power Bank

 started with the salvaged 9Ah, 12VDC lead-acid battery put in a small plastic toolbox from Ace Hardware.  It took a while but they are called "female connectors" to go on the flat battery terminals. To get them on the wires to the female cigarette lighter socket involved crushing the clamps on the female connectors.  They I verified functionality by taking this combo to my mount.  It powered up.  To make it more convenient, I drilled a whole in the top of the toolbox to push the socket through. 

The socket is 1.05" OD.  I have a 1" Forstner bit, but the socket does not quite fit and filing was not doing it, so I did an episiotomy, slicing at the edges to let the head through a tight space. 

The last time I watched a real episiotomy, I was almost sick thinking of her pain but compared to pushing our son out, this was probably unnoticed.   I put an aluminum block under to prevent insertion into the socket pushing it down. Tomorrow I graft the cigarette lighter end on the 15VDC wall work and verify that it charges.  A digital volt meter or LED is purely a luxury.  Both the female disconnect and wire nuts are Taiwanese. 

I believe the charger is doing its job.
With the charger plugged in, I get 13.2V at the battery terminals.  Unplugged 13.17V.  I assume that overcharging a lead-acid battery is deleterious in some way.  Until I put a DC voltmeter in the circuit, I will leave the wall wart unplugged.

Charging voltage.  It drops voltage fast enough that I suspect the battery is too old.  (I bought about four years ago, I think.  But unlike when I swapped the battery out of the old power bank, I can do this quickly and easily.)  From 13.1 to 12.7 V in 7 minutes with no load but the display.  Time for a new battery?  But I recharged it, and has been holding 13.3V for several hours. 

The display is currently held on by Scotch tape.  I need the next size machine screw and nut below 4-40.  Do you have two?  D&B Supply in Eagle had them 2-56 screws ($0.45 each) and nuts ($0.55 each).

I still need a couple spacers at the end of the box.  I had no pieces of acetal large enough.  Aluminum would take a long time to mill.  Milling oak chars and makes smoke.  My chopsaw just is not precise enough for a tight fit.

My wife pulled out two jewelry boxes; one required decapitation to fit adequately. 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

So California

 8/25/21 Washington Free Beacon:

California models are urging their social media followers to oust Democratic governor Gavin Newsom, who faces a recall election in less than three weeks.

Model and actress Korrina Rico said on Tuesday she was going to spend every day until the Sept. 14 election rallying influencers to speak out against Newsom, who she says has "literally trashed the state."

"If you wanna save the state of California, you need to vote yes," Rico said. "I'm calling out all the influencers right now, September 14 is the day we need to recall him."

Rico's call prompted a reply video from Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Chelsea Heath, who used her platform to bash Newsom.

"If you live in the state of California, let's please get this guy out of office," Heath said in a Tuesday Instagram post. "He's done so much damage to our state and there isn't a point of return right now, so the best thing to do is vote. I don't care if you vote Democrat or Republican, let's just get this guy out and get our state back to where it needs to be."

Which is where?  On the beach in a two-piece?  At least based on the pictures. 

Woke Astronomy

 8/23/21 Minding the Campus:

A cosmic storm is roiling the Astrophysics community. Focused on the name of a NASA space telescope, the controversy is one more in a decade-long whirlwind of accusation that has made clear to straight white men that their days of pursuing science free of guilt and obeisance are decisively over.

As an academic field, Astrophysics became ‘woke’ years ago and is now one of the most rigidly doctrinaire of the hard sciences. It has seen numerous purity campaigns against non-believers, first against insufficiently feminist-compliant men. A blog called Women in Astronomy promotes indignant tales of female suffering, profiling young women shattered when men expressed sexual or romantic interest, or deeply hurt when researcher Matt Taylor, whose team put a space probe on a comet, appeared on television wearing an ‘inappropriate’ shirt.

It gets worse from there, reminding me of the physicist Pauli:

Quite recently, a friend showed him the paper of a young physicist which he suspected was not of great value but on which he wanted Pauli’s views. Pauli remarked sadly ‘It is not even wrong.’ 

If that does not make sense to you: you can prove something right, or you can prove something wrong, but there needs to be some claim that is even provable. 

Still Scratching my Head....



Petitioner, age 34, is a resident of New York City. Petitioner has no criminal convictions and no historically recognized prohibitors to the purchase or possession of firearms. App-9-11. In 2018, Petitioner applied to the NYPD License Division for a license to possess a handgun in his home for self-defense. 2 App9. Notwithstanding this Court’s holding in Heller, that the right to possess handguns for self-defense is absolute, barring the existence a longstanding and accepted disqualifier to firearm possession (i.e., felons and the insane), the License Division denied his application. The License Division determined that Petitioner was ‘ineligible’ to possess handguns due to (i) his lack of good moral character and (ii) other ‘good cause’ to deny the application under Penal Law §§ 400.00(1)(b), (n). App-9-10. In New York City, lack of good moral character and/or ‘good cause’ to deny a handgun license application is determined by the enumerated “Grounds for Denial” found in the Rules of the City of New York, Title 38 at § 5-10. App-51-53. Relying on 38 RCNY 5-10(a), (h), (l), and (n), Petitioner was deemed ineligible and unfit to possess a handgun in his home for self-defense based on an arrest at the age of 15, which the N.Y. City Law Department declined to prosecute, untimely-paid  fines, non-criminal infractions, and his driving history. App-9-12.

Okay, he failed to pay some fines in a timely manner, was arrested but not prosecuted so they denied him a license to have a gun in his home.  It gets better.  They denied him a license.  He filed suit:

After Petitioner’s brief was fully submitted, detailing the unconstitutional analysis conducted by the district court, and just days before the City’s brief was due, the License Division emailed Petitioner directly and instructed him to pick up his handgun license at Police Headquarters. App-57. At the time of the email, there was no handgun license application pending, as Petitioner did not reapply after the City found him ineligible and unfit to possess handguns in 2019.  

So they deny a license because this guy is not law-abiding and is too dangerous to have a handgun at home.  They get sued, then issue a license to this dangerous unconvicted non-criminal.  These guys are idiots!

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

All is Not Fair in Love and Politics

 I have been surprised by the number of mass murders committed for political reasons.  What should not have surprised is how many involved the Klan.  Gunfights and sending a bomb to an opponent that killed three in Muskegon, Mich.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

if You Want to Feel Pride in America

Here is the documentary (and alas it is history) from BBC.

How the U.S. won World War 2 by outproducing Germany (and everyone else) in weapons of war.  It is a stirring paean to American industrial capitalism.  And BBC made this?

Monday, August 23, 2021

EE Question

12VDC lead-acid battery. The terminals connect to a cigarette lighter outlet to provide 12VDC power.  A 15VDC wall wart connects to a cigarette lighter plug to recharge the battery through that socket (power flows from 15V to 12V).  There is no real need for a battery minder; I just want to know when the battery is back to 12VDC so I can disconnect the charger and when it drops below say 10VDC and is therefore not producing enough current for feeding the telescope mount.  My guess that an LED on the line to one of the terminals with appropriate resistor will show when the battery is outputting 12VDC (green LED) and something lights a red LED when output drops below 10VDC. (This number does not to be exact: 9V or 9.5V would do.) Similarly, I intuit that when the charger has charged the battery to 12VDC, a green LED identifies fully charged.

But what does the circuit for the red and green LEDs identifying low and full voltage connect?  One terminal to the other with LED on that circuit? What about the fully charged LED?

Yes I am using the salvaged  battery from the telescope power back and two very inexpensive 12VDC cigarette lighter connectors.   I am sure they are Chinese, but not so much ammo for them as an entirely new unit.  It also makes an interesting do it yourself project. 

One of you suggested these adorable digital voltmeters.  (Chinese of course.)  Simpler than connecting diode and resistor.  They draw 30mA, so with my 9Ah battery they should take 300 hours to drain.  I can also disconnect the battery if not in use.

The female connectors for the battery turn out to be Taiwanese!  Not only not from an enemy, but from a nation that needs to be working on nukes and IRBMs, right now, before the Big Guy sells them out.

3%ers and Oathkeepers: Thanks for Giving Us President Biden

I know that was not your intent, but the disruption successfully destroyed any chance of a challenge in the House.

My wife and I watched a New York Times video about Jan. 6th and yes, it was a pretty biased and carefully selected set of videos, but mob action is never pretty. This event will be used to tar Trump, Republicans, and conservatives for many years.

Yes, BLM/Antifa was held to a very different standard for violence against police and government buildings, but what were you expecting? The rules for us are different and you should have known that.  When the time comes where armed resistance to genocide or political oppression becomes necessary, baseball bats and bear spray will not be the weapons to use.  

In the meantime, remember that the most powerful weapon to distinguish yourselves from Antifa is obedience to laws and clearly lawful self-defense. 

Biden's either incompetent or malicious withdrawal are just going to build on traditional mid-term opposition party rebound.   The Democrats know they will lose the House next year (and maybe the Senate).  I am hoping the Trumpian wing of the party will be strong enough to align with the RINOs trying to score points for the 2024 election to do some serious investigation of what happened on dozens of stupid/corrupt deals and policies. 

I Went Over Some of This a Few Days Ago

 8/22/21 Epoch Times:

Over the past few weeks, the American public has been told by all the leading news outlets and commentators that white America is on its death bed as the country moves to a rainbow future led by an explosion of growth among Hispanics and Latinos.

While this is in line with the presently popular narratives of the coming demise of America’s white oppressors, it is not at all in keeping with the facts. Indeed, the U.S. Census Bureau seems to have turned to magic in order to make the numbers fit the narrative.

For the 2020 Census, the Bureau reports a total U.S. population of 331 million, up about 6 percent from 308 million in 2010. Of these 331 million inhabitants, 204 million are said to be white. Another 31 odd million are white with some racial mixture making for 235 reported white Americans. The purely white number is reported to be down by a bit over 8 percent, but the number of mixed-race whites is up by nearly 10 percent. Thus, depending on to what extent mixed-race whites consider themselves more or less white, the decline in the white share of the total population is not really known but ranges from 8 to 3 percent.

That is just the appetizer for this report. The main course is the treatment of Hispanics and Latinos. Why we reserve a slot in the Census for them is a mystery. Hispanic and Latino are not racial identifications. A Hispanic person is someone with a Spanish speaking background and a Latino is one with a background of speaking one of the languages of Latin origin that include French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, and Romansh. These languages are spoken by people of many different races. What is the point of identifying some people by race and others by language? It seems to be comparing apples and oranges....

The problem is with the construction of the Census Bureau’s survey and its interpretation. The 2020 survey gives elaborate choices to responders that were not available to responders in earlier surveys. For instance, a responder in 2020 could say he/she is all white or white in combination with some other race. This choice was not available in earlier surveys. Thus, a person who might have reported him/herself as white in 2010 might have changed that to combination white in 2020. The number of people would not have changed, but the number of whites alone would show fewer in 2020 than in 2019. The story line would become that whites are dying out when in fact the numbers haven’t changed that much.

Did I Miss This?

8/21/21 Daily Mail reports on a new University of Waterloo study that found cloth masks were far less effective than N95 masks at controlling spray and only slightly better than nothing at all:

"The blue, cloth surgical masks that have become popular during the pandemic were found be only 10 percent effective as it doe not cover the face properly....

"Yarusevych team added that ventilation tests revealed even modest ventilation rates provide about the same level of protection as the highest quality masks."

As I have mentioned; the WHO found no evidence they reduced spread of influenza. With this level of ineffectiveness at preventing aerosol dispersal, I am not surprised.  What amazes me is this:

" Earlier this month, President Joe Biden's former COVID-19 advisor and top epidemiologist warned Americans 'that many of the face cloth coverings that people wear are not very effective'.  

"Michael Osterholm spoke with CNN saying that people need to start wearing N95 respirators which are more effective against COVID-19."

How many of you have N95 masks?  Where can you buy them?  Here are instructions from Singapore General Hospital. 

Royal Navy is Not Narrow-Minded About Alcohol on Board Unlike Our Navy

8/23/21 Daily Mail:
"A Scottish Royal Navy sailor who drunkenly tried to force a female colleague to give him oral sex on a nuclear submarine has escaped being thrown out of the military. 

"Able Seaman Calvin Denver, 28, had been drinking with others in the mess of the Trident missile-armed vessel for over five hours when he started harassing the woman."

I presume they have sobriety tests before the guy with the keys goes back on duty.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

The Only Honest Methods of Complaining About Western Cultural Appropriation*

Petroglyphs, smoke signals, cuneiform on clay tablets, single page woodcut printing, shouting really loud.

There is one exception: if written in Korean (who appear to have created movable type even before Gutenberg).

*Cultural appropriation=complimenting other cultures by using their best ideas and ignoring suttee, refusal to create safe water sources, and keeping women illiterate and politically powerless. 

Deer in the Headlights

8/20/21 Financial Times does not allow excepting text, but the headline quotes a former CIA official that the Biden Administration are like "deer in the headlights."  No, like the deer looking back in pain at the taillights. 

Friday, August 20, 2021

In the Atlantic Of All Places

By Anne Applebaum, whose history of the Gulag Archipelago I recommend even if she is anti-Trump.

She argues that liberal democracy (tolerance, religious and civil freedoms, a capitalist underlying economy) is worth defending and the Taliban are very nearly the perfect example of liberal democracy's antithesis: a system of fierce misogyny and brutality.  

Even if Afghanistan was impossible, there are nations sufficiently advanced that we need to stand together against its enemies: Europe and Taiwan listed explicitly.   

I fear Biden's incompetence makes this increasingly difficult as the untenable position into which Biden has placed our NATO allies raises questions as to whether being allied with us is either safe or useful.

How to Win Friends and Influence People


Thursday, August 19, 2021

Good News From Kabul

 8/16/21 Reuters:

KABUL, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Taliban fighters in the Afghan capital, Kabul, started collecting weapons from civilians on Monday because people no longer need them for personal protection, a Taliban official said.

"We understand people kept weapons for personal safety. They can now feel safe. We are not here to harm innocent civilians," the official told Reuters.

Only the guilty women who are not wearing burkhas, or not marrying men against their will or women who have college educations. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Thoughtful Examination of the Afghanistan Failure

In The American Mind.  It echoes many of my thoughts (which were not my thoughts immediately after 9/11).  Worth reading in full.  This was written by someone who was in the National Security Council when some of these well-intentioned policies were developed.  Islam and liberal democracy are incompatible. 

CNN Does Journalism

8/18/21 CNN criticizes Biden for continuing Trump's withdrawal from Afghanistan plan Biden saying he had no choice.  But CNN points out that Biden reversed course on the Iran nuclear deal without any problem.   When the hard left loses CNN, that is news. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Megachurches Are Not a Solution

This is from my wife's blog but it describes my feelings perfectly why politics is necessarily (or at least should be) downstream from Christianity.  We cannot improve the morality of a society through political action alone.  At best, politics can slow down the popular culture's degradation of what remains.

A nation of righteousness is solely built on hearts that are transformed by Christ, for He is our Righteousness.  We have to be guided by His light in order to create light; His wisdom, to create wisdom and His love to create love in all we do.


My greatest fear today is the evolution of the mega-church, where individuals come in to a large worship center, the lights darken, and the congregation becomes a crowd.  Everyone is enveloped in a sense of self-focus:  I am worshiping God as opposed to We are worshiping God together as His Body.  

The lights come up and the focus is now on the pastor.  He alone dispenses the Word; have we been in the Word at all this week, and come to church already fed?  Or do we rely on him to feed us in a fun and exciting way, that will make personal Bible study later on seem rather boring by comparison?  His stories, his analogies, his jokes seem to make the Word interesting; just sitting there at home, simply reading the Word, is comparable looking at the sheet music, as opposed to going to a symphony. 

Why Masks Matter

 From WHO, "Non-pharmaceutical public health measures for mitigating the risk and impact of epidemic and pandemic influenza" (2019):

So if WHO says masks do not work on influenza (which is closely related to COVID-19) and both Fauci and WHO initially discouraged masking, what changed?

Masking tells our elites how afraid we can be made and also signals to the little people who follow rules (unlike Gov. Newsom and Whitmer and ex-President Obama) that they need to go along.

I Sense a Loss of Confidence in President* Legitimacy

U.S. flag and the Jolly Roger.  Even some Democrats are becoming upset with the Kabul madness.

But No Mean Tweets!

Watching the video of an Afghani trying to escape by clinging to a USAF jet and the jumpers from the Twin Towers 20 years ago reminds me that Islam is the religion of really bad falls.

Trump also planned withdrawal from Afghanistan but does anyone think he could have planned it worse than Biden and his woke generals?

All those people who hated Trump over fear of repeal of Roe v. Wade and transgender rights can now pride themselves on the rape and murder of educated Afghani women and execution of LGBT Afghanis.  I hope they feel PRIDE.

How to Interest Academics in the Taliban

 8/17/21 Inside Higher Education:

Mujaddedi's thoughts were focused on the displaced people he and fellow AUAF students had helped earlier that day -- the children without food, the women without access to toilets -- and on the future of his country. He worried that the progress of the last 20 years and the rights that had been gained for women and for members of minority groups would be rolled back.

“I don’t want it to go away; I don’t want it to be demolished. All my worries are about the dignity of Afghans, about the beautiful country that we have, about the educational development that we have made so far,” Mujaddedi said Saturday night.

Kabul fell to Taliban control the next day.

“Basically, all over,” Mujaddedi said Monday. “Afghanistan moved 20 years to the past.”

Officials at AUAF, which was established with U.S. development funding in 2006 in the wake of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan as the country’s first and only private, secular, coed nonprofit institution, did not respond to messages on Monday. The university’s website was down, and its Twitter and Facebook accounts appeared to have been deleted....

The rapid takeover by the Taliban raised particular fears about women’s rights, which were severely curtailed during the Taliban’s previous five-year rule of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. The Taliban forbade almost all education for women and girls during its reign.

“Now the Taliban have seized control of Kabul, a new reign of terror for people living in Afghanistan has begun,” the European Parliament said in a news release Monday. “For Afghan women and girls, this means systemic and brutal oppression in all aspects of life. In Taliban-controlled areas, women's universities have been closed, they are denying girls access to education, and women are sold as sex slaves.”...

Victoria Fontan, vice president of academic affairs at AUAF, spoke to FranceInfo about evacuation efforts.

"We burned the university's servers, all the documents we were able to take before leaving, such as the lists of professors, students," Fontan told the publication (translated from French). "We especially do not want to leave information on the people who were able to help us." 

Wow!  Removing the Mean Tweeter has consequences.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Bringing In the Harvest

I Need a Plastic Box About 2.5" x 4" x 6" Inside Dimensions With a Handle

I suspect a plastic ammo box would do it.  (It does not need to carry much weight.)  I am recycling the lead-acid battery into a home rolled battery pack.  I will use a battery clamp to 12VDC outlet to put an outlet outside the box.  Then I will replace the coax connector on the current recharger with a cigarette lighter plug to recharge it.  A battery jump starter produces a huge temporary charge.  I only need a low but consistent power.

A brand name or source would be nice.

Why Use Poison? Go Exotic

 Adopted orphan sought to inherit from wealthy father.

Forensics of poisoning had advanced a lot by the 1920s.

Those Ignorant People Who Will Not Vaccinate

 Several public health professors have been keeping track of the COVID vaccine hesitants through May, 31.  The results blow away the prejudices of the elites.  You know: ignorant, poorly educated white people (Trump voters). 

 Hesitancy among non-binaries (18.2%) was higher than males (16.6%) or females (13.2%).  Native Americans (25.3%) and Multi-racial (29.2%) were more hesitant than whites (15.8%).

The big surprise is by education.  PhDs (23.9%); were the most likely to be hesitant followed by high school dropouts (20.8%).  Professionals (JD, MD) were 12.3%.  The least hesitant by education level were Master's degrees (8.3%).  My guess is that the high school dropouts are ignorant of how vaccines work, and the PhDs think they are smarter than everyone else.  

By region the South is way ahead on hesitancy (34.5%) compared the the Mountain states (17.9%) and Midwest (18.1%). Of couse, the South is strong in poorly educated people so this may be the reason.

Let me also emphasize the size of the sample: for PhDs n=14,970.

NBC News reports 1 in 4 healthcare workers are not vaccinated.

Panic Over COVID in Drinking Water

 I recently heard that bottled water has become hard to buy in Tri-Cities, Washington because of COVID-19 in the public water system.  This seemed implausible.  According to EPA:

Is drinking tap water safe?

EPA recommends that Americans continue to use and drink tap water as usual. The World Health Organization (WHO)has stated that the, “presence of the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking-water supplies and based on current evidence the risk to water supplies is low.”1 Additionally, according to the CDC, COVID-19 is mainly thought to spread between people who are in close contact with one another. Read more from the CDC about transmission of COVID-19. Further, EPA’s drinking water regulations require treatment at public water systems to remove or kill pathogens, including viruses.

Searches using keywords of COVID-19 and Tri-Cities found no matches.  This is the sort of panic that the left loves; terrify people until, in the words of Rahm Emmanuel:

You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before. 


Saturday, August 14, 2021

Real or Mockumentary?

Chicken People is so much like Best in Show and A Mighty Wind that I was convinced it was a mockumentary.  But apparently not:  there are some really strange competitive chicken breeders out there 

Gutsy. Count on the Court Hearing a Suit

8/11/21 Texas Department of Family and Protectivr Services declared:

“genital mutilation of a child through reassignment surgery is child abuse, subject to all rules and procedures pertaining to child abuse.”

I have long considered this sort of surgery (especially on children) among the most bestial acts.  Once performed regrets are too late, and the NHS's experience is that large numbers of thosesexual mutilated it regret it and want to undo.  But there are limits on what you can do in this area.  This sort of stuff makes other forms of sexual deviance seem normal.  Homosexuals can and do change their behaviors and orientation.  (I have a friend who went back to college as a gay man, met a lesbian, they fell in love, and married.

Sexual mutilation is forever.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Those Astronomy PowerPacks

One of my local readers opened up one of the units and removed the socket.  It showed when plugged in to be charging.   That bending the charging connector caused it to charge but putting the socket back on the PCB solved nothing suggests that the pressure was bending the PCB in some interesting and useful way.

I had thought of salvaging the lead acid battery  and putting a 12VDC socket with that battery in a box.   Then I could recharge from a battery charger.  Only 12 VDC input so it would not be fast but it would not overcharge.  Now that I am home, it occurs to me not to build anything.   I will reassemble the unit, attach a battery charger clamps to the external 12 V terminals  and see if it charges.  If so I will attach a 12VDC charger plug to the existing charger(which produces 15VDC) and recharge through the cigarette lighter plug.  This is simple enough that even i can do this.

UPDATE: we did not put the battery back in place after replacing the socket on the PCB.  No wonder it was not charging!

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

 Latin for "Who guards the guards"?  The idea is a government powerful enough to protect you needs to be guarded against as well.  This is the reverse.  8/5/21 Fox News:

The homelessness crisis in the city of Seattle has become so dangerous that not even the King County Sheriff’s Department can keep its professional staff safe.

Citing the "unsafe environment around the courthouse, administration, parking garage and corrections facilities," King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht ordered most of her non-commissioned staff to abandon their offices Tuesday and work to 100% remotely. The order was effective immediately. The staff who must remain in the office are employees who have routine and necessary in-person interactions with the public.

The Sheriff’s office is located in the downtown Seattle complex that houses the King county courthouse and is close to a homeless encampment in City Hall Park.

If the sheriff cannot protect its own people? 

American Racism

 8/12/21 New York Times:

The United States grew significantly more diverse over the past decade, as the populations of people who identify as Hispanic and Asian surged and the number of people who said they were more than one race increased, the Census Bureau reported on Thursday. [emphasis added]

We are such a racist nation that we are mixing our pure Aryan blood with the inferior races.  (Do I really need to add a /sarc tag here?)

Galaxy A12 Compass Addon?

My wife and I recently bought Galaxy A12 phones and discovered SkyMap does not work because this phone has no magnetomer. Is there any way to add such a feature through the USB connector?

I Complained Awhile Back About Fine End Mill Producing a Rough Surface on Edge Milling

I tried varying feed rate without success but the 3/4" rough mill produced a beautiful finish.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Trust the Experts

 8/11/21 NPR:

"For the delta variant, the R0 is now calculated at between six and seven," Wenseleers says. So it's two- to three-times as contagious as the original version of SARS-CoV-2 (R0 = 2 to 3) but less contagious than the chickenpox (R0 = 9 to 10).
So why did the CDC say the delta variant was "just as transmissible as" the chickenpox?
For one, the leaked document underestimated the R0 for chickenpox and overestimated the R0 for the delta variant. "The R0 values for delta were preliminary and calculated from data taken from a rather small sample size," a federal official told NPR. The value for the chickenpox (and other R0s in the slideshow) came from a graphic from The New York Times, which wasn't completely accurate.

Do Masks Help?

8/11/21 City Journal:
Surgical masks were designed to keep medical personnel from inadvertently infecting patients’ wounds, not to prevent the spread of viruses. Public-health officials’ advice in the early days of Covid-19 was consistent with that understanding. Then, on April 3, 2020, Adams announced that the CDC was changing its guidance and that the general public should hereafter wear masks whenever sufficient social distancing could not be maintained.

Fast-forward 15 months. Rand Paul has been suspended from YouTube for a week for saying, “Most of the masks you get over the counter don’t work.” Many cities across the country, following new CDC guidance handed down amid a spike in cases nationally caused by the Delta variant, are once again mandating indoor mask-wearing for everyone, regardless of inoculation status. The CDC further recommends that all schoolchildren and teachers, even those who have had Covid-19 or have been vaccinated, should wear masks.

The CDC asserts this even though its own statistics show that Covid-19 is not much of a threat to schoolchildren. Its numbers show that more people under the age of 18 died of influenza during the 2018–19 flu season—a season of “moderate severity” that lasted eight months—than have died of Covid-19 across more than 18 months. What’s more, the CDC says that out of every 1,738 Covid-19-related deaths in the U.S. in 2020 and 2021, just one has involved someone under 18 years of age; and out of every 150 deaths of someone under 18 years of age, just one has been Covid-related. Yet the CDC declares that schoolchildren, who learn in part from communication conveyed through facial expressions, should nevertheless hide their faces—and so should their teachers....

t’s striking how much the CDC, in marshalling evidence to justify its revised mask guidance, studiously avoids mentioning randomized controlled trials. RCTs are uniformly regarded as the gold standard in medical research, yet the CDC basically ignores them apart from disparaging certain ones that particularly contradict the agency’s position. In a “Science Brief” highlighting studies that “demonstrate that mask wearing reduces new infections” and serving as the main public justification for its mask guidance, the CDC provides a helpful matrix of 15 studies—none RCTs. The CDC instead focuses strictly on observational studies completed after Covid-19 began. In general, observational studies are not only of lower quality than RCTs but also are more likely to be politicized, as they can inject the researcher’s judgment more prominently into the inquiry and lend themselves, far more than RCTs, to finding what one wants to find....

With these different methods of analysis in mind, it becomes easier to evaluate the 14 RCTs, conducted around the world, that have tested the effectiveness of masks in reducing the transmission of respiratory viruses. Of these 14, the two that have directly tested “source control”—the oft-repeated claim that wearing a mask benefits others—are a good place to start.

A 2016 study in Beijing by MacIntyre, et al. that claimed to find a possible benefit of masks did not prove very informative, as only one person in the control group—and one in the mask group—developed a laboratory-confirmed infection. Much more illuminating was a 2010 study in France by Canini, et al., which randomly placed sick people, or “index patients,” and their household contacts together into either a mask group or a no-mask control group. The authors “observed a good adherence to the intervention,” meaning that the index patients generally wore the furnished three-ply masks as intended. (No one else was asked to wear them.) Within a week, 15.8 percent of household contacts in the no-mask control group and 16.2 percent in the mask group developed an “influenza-like illness” (ILI). So, the two groups were essentially dead even, with the sliver of an advantage observed in the control group not being statistically significant. The authors write that the study “should be interpreted with caution since the lack of statistical power prevents us to draw formal conclusion regarding effectiveness of facemasks in the context of a seasonal epidemic.” However, they state unequivocally, “In various sensitivity analyses, we did not identify any trend in the results suggesting effectiveness of facemasks.”...

A 2010 study by Larson, et al. in New York found that those in the hand-hygiene group were less likely to develop any symptoms of an upper respiratory infection (42 percent experienced symptoms) than those in the mask-plus-hand-hygiene group (61 percent). This statistically significant finding suggests that wearing a mask actually undermines the benefits of hand hygiene.

A multivariable analysis of this same study found a significant difference in secondary attack rates (the rate of transmission to others) between the mask-plus-hands group and the control group. On this basis, the authors maintain that mask-wearing “should be encouraged during outbreak situations.” However, this multivariable analysis also found significantly lower rates in crowded homes—“i.e., more crowded households had less transmission”—which tested at a higher confidence level. Thus, to the extent that this multivariable analysis provided any support for masks, it provided at least as much support for crowding.

Other RCTs cited demonstrate that masks are not demonstrated to be effective.  A few show at best that masks are inferior to social distancing and regular handwashing.  What started out as a recognized bad idea soon became public health theater (like TSA after 9/11).  Now it is just the exercise of raw power to scare the fearful and remind us peasants that only the elite are exempt from rules.

But the children.  8/10/21 NPR has a big scary headline:

Nearly 94,000 Kids Got COVID-19 Last Week. They Were 15% Of All New Cases

Buried in the article:
One big question for parents — whether delta is making kids sicker than previous strains — still has no clear answer.
But the numbers appear to show that severe illness, hospitalization and death are rare in children infected with the coronavirus.
In states where data was available, less than 2% of all child COVID-19 cases required hospitalization and 0.00% to 0.03% were fatal.
"I'm not seeing any patterns that suggest the virus is more virulent or more serious or more severe in children than it was before this variant appeared," Maldonado added.
Still, the growing number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 could further strain an already overburdened pediatric health care system.
Many children's hospitals are not only dealing with patients who've contracted the coronavirus but also kids with issues indirectly related to the pandemic. Many children have developed mental health problems stemming from social isolation, and others deferred medical care during the peak of the outbreak last year.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Star Party Last Night

American Heritage Girls is a Christ-centered alternative to Girl Scouts made increasingly relevant as Scouting has gone fully woke.  They asked the Boise Astronomical Society to send up a volunteer with a telescope.  Rhonda and I stuck our hands up.

I had been a little concerned that a forest might be an obstacle.  The Sun was in clouds preventing Sunspot viewing.  The Moon was lost in the trees.  But after about 10:30, both Jupiter and Saturn were visible.   As usual you could hear the gasps when either children or adults saw Saturn.  Jupiter is also pretty magnificent especially when they can see the Galilean satellites.   I was also able to show the quadruple star Epsilon Lyrae.  You could just make out that each of these stars is in turn a double star.  I was not expecting this from a 5" refractor but even at 25x you could see it.

The 5" f/9 refractor and mount just barely fit in the Jaguar.   The last time I did a star party I used the Corvette but did not know the polar axis unscrew from the mount.  This greatly simplified getting everything on the trunk.  The telescope went in the back seat.

I had never used a laser pointer as an aid on objects light-years away.  It worked beautifully producing an easily visible marker to point to stars like Vega, Polaris, Arcturus and circling entire constellations.  I had forgotten how awesome a really dark sky is.  And I needed to wear long pants for the first time in months!

A great evening!  We hate dinner at Cougar Dave's in Donnelly.   A bar with hopes of being a restaurant but a fine Reuben sandwich in between the clicking of billiard balls.

This is Shameful

08/09/21 Portland Oregonian:

Gov. Kate Brown signed a law to allow Oregon students to graduate without proving they can write or do math. She doesn’t want to talk about it.

Boyle said in an emailed statement that suspending the reading, writing and math proficiency requirements while the state develops new graduation standards will benefit “Oregon’s Black, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color.”

For generations American public schools educated the children of immigrants who spoke little or no English, blacks even in Southern states where funding and hours per year were inferior to what white kids enjoyed and still produced literate and numerate high school graduates.  While not all became scientists, authors, or scholars, enough did to say that even with rough starting material, they were generally successful.   Now Oregon is using COVID-19 as an excuse for their failure to teach basic skills to BIPOCs.  Is there any greater indictment of the failure of progressive thought than for it to admit that what reactionary and racist systems could do, they cannot?

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Never Make Fun of Soviet Government

 Especially in Moscow, Idaho.  From Redoubt News:

Moscow, Idaho–“I knew our justice system had gone wobbly, but if this kind of political prosecutorial harassment can happen in Idaho over something as trivial as stickers, God help anybody dealing with serious issues,” Nate Wilson said. 

Wilson’s two teenage sons (now 19 and 14) are ten months into their prosecution by the City of Moscow and Latah County for posting non-damaging stickers on poles without permission in downtown Moscow. Wilson himself is being prosecuted as an accessory.

City of Moscow, Latah County Prosecutors, and MPD seem to have taken several missteps in the prosecution.

City Attorney, Elizabeth Warner, originally charged the Wilsons with 13 misdemeanors each. But after the story made headlines, charges have been reduced to a single misdemeanor count each. For the adults, a single misdemeanor still carries a maximum sentence of six months in prison and creates a permanent criminal record. The sticker incident happened back in October of 2020. 

The charges are based on city ordinance, Title 10 Section 1-22 which prohibits the posting of any, “notice, sign, announcement, or other advertising matter” on fences, buildings, or poles. 

In Moscow history, the city has never issued a single citation or prosecuted anyone based on this ordinance, although yard sale signs, stickers, and “advertising matter” are regularly posted on poles throughout the city as a routine mode of public communication.

Rory Wilson, 19, who was a recent member of Bill Lambert’s “Mayoral Youth Council”, and his younger brother, 14, were stopped by Moscow Police after they had received a report that someone was posting stickers on poles around downtown Moscow. The stickers bore a hammer and sickle and read, “Soviet Moscow – Enforced Because We Care.” The stickers were created as a political protest of the now infamous and illegal arrests that MPD made at a peaceful psalm sing outside City Hall in Sept. 2020.

Neither teenager was Mirandized by the police although the boys were both in custody and interrogated. Police allege that Rory was upset and had to be handcuffed on the sidewalk until he calmed down. An accusation that Rory and his brother find laughable. According to the boys, an officer stopped them and asked for ID. Rory responded that he didn’t think Idaho was a “stop and identify state”. This upset the officer, who responded by handcuffing Rory and forcing him to the sidewalk, where he was then interrogated. His juvenile brother was taken away from him, told he did not have a right to remain silent, and was interrogated alone against a squad car. Their father was asleep at home at the time.

Wilson said, “Magically, despite the number of mic’d up officers and patrol cars involved, MPD has refused to hand over a single recording of the incident from body cams, body mics, or dash cams. We have been told that all those recordings somehow ‘do not exist’. So, my sons are now in the unfortunate position shared by so many young men around the country—it’s their word against the word of police.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Who Are the Unvaccinated?

 Conventional wisdom is that this is a Republican thing.  This report identifies blacks and Hispanics as disproportionately not vaccinated:

As of this week, 70% of the adult population in the United States have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. While this progress represents a marked achievement in vaccinations that has led to steep declines in COVID-19 cases and deaths, vaccination coverage—and the protections provided by it—remains uneven across the country. With the growing spread of the more transmissible Delta variant, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are once again rising, largely among unvaccinated people. While White adults account for the largest share (57%) of unvaccinated adults, Black and Hispanic people remain less likely than their White counterparts to have received a vaccine, leaving them at increased risk, particularly as the variant spreads.

Oh yeah, core Republican voters. 

How Do You Score That?


Saturday, August 7, 2021

Electrical Repair

I have a gadget used for powering telescope mounts.  It is basically a rechargeable 12V battery with a variety of output formats, of which only the 12V cigarette light outputs matter to me. The recharger input looks like this. 

I have two of them for long evenings.  Both of these units are a bit cranky about position of the input plug.  It usually requires some pushing in various directions to get the charging LED to light up at full brightness and thus do full speed charging. (Right now, one is pressed against the wall providing enough force to charge it.) 

I believe the problem is the input port.  The plugs on the two units are identical.  This could be a fault of the input port or wiring behind the port.  I would prefer to repair rather than replace.  The battery inside seems to work well and hold a charge.   Let me rephrase that: I would prefer that it be repaired so I do not do it.  I have already replaced the lead-acid battery on one of these several years ago and it was almost more dexterity than I possess.

Why not buy new? It is about $80. Made in China of course.   I would prefer to buy non-Chinese; it would be cool to have an American maker.  Until some Americans decide to make these, repair is therefore not putting money in our next hot warfare enemy's treasury.

Is there anyone who feels like they would like to take one apart, identify the problem, and perhaps find a way to make some money in American made telescope power sources?

Alternative strategy.   I have a 12V motorcycle battery.  A battery clamp to a 12V cigarette lighter converter gives me the storage.  A wooden carrying case makes it portable with a permanent home for the converter and connectors for the recharge.  It does not have the light of these power banks, but I use a flashlight.  I have a battery charger that I can use to recharge the battery.  It is not quite as elegant as the power banks and the charger is almost certainly Chinese but I already have it.

The battery is 700Wh, and weighs as you would expect.  When these power banks cease to charge or work, I can buy a less heavy, lower capacity battery and the converter cable.

Even simpler.  A 12V cigarette lighter plug to 12V battery clamp cable to connect the battery charger to the 12V female socket.  One less set of exposed battery cables to short out or trip over.

So where do you find a non-Chinese 12V female cigarette lighter plug.  American is not essential.   Do the Chinese just outcompete every other country or buy out competitors in other nations?

This Schumacher unit is made in Mexico.  We are not going to war with Mexico.  The more jobs we create in Mexico, the less need to cross illegally in pursuit of jobs.  It is 15 pounds compared to 8 for the current units but will likely need charging less frequently.  I has no cigarette lighter port so I would need to graft one onto it.  But at that point, bungee cords across the charging plug seem to be doing the job.  Once these completely fail, I will buy the smallest sealed battery that I can find with at least 240 WH capacity, attach a cigarette lighter socket, put it all in a wooden box with a handle.  Use a battery clamp to cigarette lighter adapter and recharge it as needed from a battery charger.