Thursday, June 30, 2022

Why Does This Phrase Make Me Laugh?

In an article about the meteor impact theory of the Younger Dryas cooling:
"Skepticism increased when it was reported that one of the lead authors of the original paper had practiced geophysics without a license."
From The Mask: "I've got a license for that."

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Annual Physical

I guess I will be annoying the gun banners a bit longer.  The treadmill and weight reduction  has improved my cholesterol and A1C.  Where my GP used to worry that I might advance into diabetes he is no longer concerned. 

I Know Many Activists Consider the Expanded Background Check For 18-21 Unreasonable

6 6/28/22 KSAT:
"SAN ANTONIO – Police arrested a man who told a coworker at an Amazon delivery facility that he planned to commit a mass shooting....

"The witness said he’s told her in the past that he was “tired of living” and that he owns a handgun and a rifle that he purchased recently.

"Aceves’ father was brought in for questioning and told investigators that Aceves had mental illness in the past and had been placed in a mental health facility twice at the age of 16.

"The father said that Aceves was prescribed medication but that he stopped taking it after a couple of years....

"Aceves’ father told police that his son had purchased an assault rifle and that family members are scared knowing he has a weapon based on his past behavior.

Federal background checks in Texas do not flag commitments to a mental institution for juveniles."

And if he had committed mass murder his previous but discontinued use of psychotropic medications would be evidence for the "SSRIs cause mass murder" crowd.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Elephant Seals

Silly creatures 

California As America's Airport Concession

You all know that everything you buy in an airport is hideously overpriced.   You cannot bring pretty much anything liquid through TSA; competition between concessions is limited; to be fair, they probably pay astonishing rents to the airport as well. 

My son's COVID-19 belated wedding reception was in San Luis Obispo.   (Most of her family is there or Madera.)  

There are things about California that I miss.  Cool ocean breezes even when noon is hot; palm trees; the views along California Highway 1 from Pismo Beach to Pacifica.

What I do not miss is how everything is priced like an airport concession.  Restaurants are at least 30% higher than Boise; soft drinks are absurd; and gasoline!

The only thing worse is airport concessions in California. 

Solar Power

The battery pack I made for my telescope a while back needed to be kept charged.  I prefer to keep it in the telescope shed rather than taking it into the house to recharge.  So I bought an 18V photovoltaic panel and hung it in the west window of the shed to charge.  While it is an 12VDC output, the cigarette lighter plug seems to limit output to 13.3VDC which is good to avoid overcharging the battery.  I think this means that I do not need a battery charge controller to prevent overcharging.  (I have one if I need it.)  I needed a 12VDC extension to get enough length.  

Yes, I know adhesive tape is not terribly good in heat.  I suppose I will loosen a couple of those screws holding the window in place and find a way to secure the panel.

Why Blue Corporations May Successfully Stop the Flow into Red States points out that woke corporations offering to relocate employees to abortion-friendly states may have more than virtue signaling at heart.  Women (or whatever you call those who can give birth) who have babies need maternity leave and health insurance for those babies.  Abortion is cheaper.   Some birthing persons actually get so attached to the Cuisinarts with legs that they decide to be perverts and raise their own children.   This means training replacements.  The comments are worth reading as RedStaters take joy that a lot of Blues may decide to stay in their no police, no prisons paradises with $6/gallon gas.

New Jersey A-G Response to Bruen

Here.  It appears that passing background check, demonstrating firearms familiarity, and three references of "good moral character " are now enough. 

Monday, June 27, 2022

Sitting in Oakland Airport


"That's a Terrible Idea.

What time?"

More Homophobic American Gun Culture!

6/27/22 Reuters:
"People bring flowers and rainbow flags to pay tribute to the victims as they take part in a spontaneous Pride parade, following a shooting at the London Pub, a popular gay bar and nightclub, after the official event was cancelled, in Oslo, Norway, June 25, 2022."

This Whole Mass Murder Has to Stop!

6/24/22 ABC News:
"A man has been found guilty of murder and attempted murder for killing five people and wounding four others in southern Norway when he attacked strangers with a bow and arrows and knives"

Schizophrenic.   No surprise. 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Pismo Beach

Seven miles of walking; dancing at my son's COVID-19 delayed wedding reception (do not laugh unless you saw me dancing).  I am exhausted. 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Do Not Be Misled by the California Attorney-General's Directive

Because of the Bruen decision:

'"permitting agencies may no longer require a demonstration of "good cause" in order to obtain a concealed carry permit."'

This does not mean every sheriff is now shall-issue.  The memo goes on to describe ways to use the "good moral character" requirement to limit issuance to those giving bribes.  This is going to require more lawsuits. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Bipartisan Bill Misreading

6/22/22 RedState published this assessment of the bipartisan gun bill that Republicans tricked the now desparate Democrats into supporting:

People assume that language to mean that a person will have the right to know the evidence against them, to confront their accuser/adverse witnesses, et cetera, before they’re stripped of their rights. That is not what that language means. A court can still decide to have an ex parte hearing, and the quantity and types of evidence the Respondent (the civil version of Defendant) can present.

They assume that because the law directly says that.  In light of today's decision, I expect the Court will impose the existing due process requirements.

Under this bill, if you occasionally sell a gun in a private transaction and you do it for a profit (not many people do it for a loss), you must register to become a Federal Firearms Licensee – which is not an easy or inexpensive thing to achieve, much less maintain. So if you’re not trying to liquidate your collection but just want to make some money, you could run into a problem.

The language requires "regular and repetitive": Do it once a year and no jury outside DC will convict and BATF knows that.  Do it every month and the dealer provision makes perfect sense.  If anything, this takes away another "gun show loophole" claim.

But hey, if you’re selling guns for criminal purposes or terrorism, don’t worry about registering as an FFL.  

Actually it is precisely prohibited without an FFL.

The legal and criminal justice systems have the necessary tools to prohibit dangerous individuals from possessing firearms – including prosecuting felonious level conduct as a felony.

True, but in some states what should be prosecuted as felonies are not.  This is why the Lautenberg Amendment happened.  A social worker I know has seen judges try to talk victims into dropping misdemeanor charges so the wife-beater will be able to keep hunting.

Groups like Moms Demand, Everytown, the Brady Center, and the Giffords Law Center will position themselves as “experts” with “science-backed” or “data-backed” positions and policies and suggest full “red flag law” verbiage to selected legislators in state capitols throughout the country. That’s been their modus operandi for years, and now that they know there’s hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding available, they’ll ratchet it up.

Yes, the "experts" will weigh in but that is already guaranteed.  And states that request those funds will now need to engage in due process.  This would eviscerate the worst of these laws.



New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms. We therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

The Bipartisan Gun Bill

The bill is here.

I read it and it is mostly harmless.   Some of it is already illegal I think or should be such as intentional supply of guns for criminal purposes for terrorists or agents of drug cartels.

Pp. 2-25 are increased mental health services funding especially for minors,

25-31 provides for upto a three day wait for checking juvenile records for crimes and mental health problems for 19-21.  With all the information that gets sealed at adulthood, this makes sense.

31-33 is a fairly minor change in defining what is the "business" of selling guns and therefore in need of an FFL.  "Predominantly earn a profit" distinguished from improving your collection or liquidating a collection.  This is already BATF regulation.

33-36 is increased funding for states with red flag laws.  I am hard pressed to imagine a state passing such laws and not spending on them already.  Someone else noticed something that I missed.  That funding is for laws that include due process.   Many of the worst aspects of these laws are lack of due process.

37-47 pretty much say that if you buy a gun for someone to commit a felony or terrorism or to an agent of a drug cartel. you are in trouble.

52-54 expands the domestic violence misdemeanor to use not just spouses, but also those in dating relationships.  It is not retroactive.

The rest seems to be bureaucratic details.

I think the Democrats were so desperate to have something to wave in the air as a victory, and Republicans could say, "We did something," that the Republicans played them.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

I Love Watching Videos by Europeans Visiting America

Okay., not all of them. There was one with four obnoxious British young men doing a road trip across America that was unwatchable.   But Eva zu Beck is loads of fun.  This video of her first impressions of Texas while she drives her highly customized camper from Mexico City to Alaska is great fun.  Her stay in a motel and eating in a traditional diner on Route 66 is apparently what she considers quite exotic.

Officer Sicknick's Death Still Being Misrepresented

 Task & Purpose:

Five people died as a result of the terrorist attack on Congress, including Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran who was shot and killed by police, and Brian Sicknick, a Capitol Police Officer and veteran of the New Jersey Air National Guard who died after reportedly being hit by a fire extinguisher.

4/20/21 CBS News:

Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died of natural causes a day after defending the Capitol during the January 6 assault, the D.C. medical examiner's office announced Monday. Sicknick was previously believed to have died from injuries sustained during the riot. 

Sicknick died from strokes, the chief medical examiner's office said in a report summary, citing "acute brainstem and cerebellar infarcts due to acute basilar artery thrombosis." In an interview with The Washington Post, chief medical examiner Francisco J. Diaz said Sicknick suffered two strokes at the base of his brainstem caused by a clot in an artery....

Despite being sprayed with a chemical substance, Sicknick's manner of death was determined to be "natural," the medical examiner's office said. In the interview with the Post, Diaz said the autopsy found no evidence of internal or external injuries, or of an allergic reaction to the chemical substance — but did say "all that transpired played a role in his condition." 

The "natural" classification is used "when a disease alone causes death," the medical examiner's office said in the summary. "If death is hastened by an injury, the manner of death is not considered natural." 


You Can See Why Gun Bans Are #1 on the Agenda

6/21/22 CNN:
"Officers who responded to Uvalde school massacre did not attempt to open doors to classrooms for over an hour, reports say"

And there are pictures of two officers with AR-15s waiting for an adult to tell them to act like men.

"Act like men": throughout human history and likely before, a man's primary biological function was to protect his offspring and generally those of his kin in the family bands that were typical.   The worst aspects of masculinity: aggression, violence, proprietary interest in mate's, are all expressions of this biological necessity.  A male who fails in his biological function may be many things but a man he is not 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Obviously, the Result of Oppressive Christian Establishment

 6/20/22 Reuters:

TOKYO, June 20 (Reuters) - A Japanese court ruled on Monday that a ban on same-sex marriage was not unconstitutional, dealing a setback to LGBTQ rights activists in the only Group of Seven nation that does not allow people of the same gender to marry.

VMWare Stopped Working With linuxCNC a While Back

 But VirtualBox seems to work.  Of course, I screwed up enough to reinstall.  I had some memory of the install on the PC in the shop asking me to create a username and password.  It does not seem to under VirtualBox.

I see why now.  I was running Live not Install.  It is not terribly reliable on boot.

It looks like I need to reinstall and then: 

sudo useradd -m clayton

sudo passwd clayton

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Projection Exponentiated

6/19/22 Not the Bee reports on a Hawaiian teacher who opposed Florida's law prohibiting teachers from age-inappropriate sex discussions K-3 and claimed Republicans supported the law because they want to show kids porn and molest them.  And guess why happened?

"HONOLULU (KHON2) — A Hawaii teacher has been arrested for sharing child pornography. Federal prosecutors said Alden Bunag sent illicit pictures and video to another teacher on the mainland and admitted to sex with a 13-year-old student."

Yes the same teacher! 

Because I Cannot Learn to Use Any CAD Program to Draw Things...

I am going old-school using what Mr. Pound tried to teach me in Mechanical Drawing class in 7th grade.  I have no T-square but while searching for one on Amazon, I suddenly realized that a combination square could do the job.  But that requires a pretty thick pad of paper.  Also, it takes a T-square with readable numbers. 
And this is marginal.   I ordered an American-made T-square made by Westcott.  It is cheaper from them but their website is not currently accepting orders and $3 vs. $5 will disappear in shipping charges.

If you wonder why I am having trouble (which surprises me greatly; calculus proofs were my last insurmountable obstacle, but lots of trivial software is post-stroke not so easy), I just started LibreCAD, drew a rectangle and could not figure out how to change length and width.

Are There gCode Experts Out There?

I am attempting to do a circular cut (actually just an arc) of diameter 10" starting at (0,1) ending at (0,0) 

g1 g20 g40 f25 

g0 x0 y1 f5 (goto 0,1) 

g1 z-.1 f25 (into the workpiece) 

g17 g3 i5 j5 (counterclockwise circle with center at 5, 5)) 

g2 i5 j5 (clockwise circle back to start g0 z1 f25 (out of the workpiece) 


It seems to go everywhere and nowhere

They Will Blame it on Systemic Racism

 6/16/22 TaxProfBlog about how the ABA is dropping the LSAT as a requirement to apply to ABA law schools.  He mentions that LSAT scores are the best predictors of later bar exam passage.  Law schools desperate for money can now admit less qualified, but BIPOC students who will drop out, or fail the bar exam, stuck with six figure student loans.  This will become yet another example of "systemic racism."

In the New York Times?

6/16/22 New York Times (behind a pay wall, open in an incognito tab to get around it):

"Mass shootings account for less than 4 percent of gun homicides in a typical year, and most gun violence in the U.S. takes a different form. So I went to Chicago, where shootings are a daily occurrence in some areas, to see what more-typical gun violence looks like....

This is what daily life looks like for many Black Chicagoans. Across the city, the murder rate for Black people is higher than it was from the 1980s through the 1990s — a violent period that drove a nationwide push for mass incarceration. Black Chicagoans are nearly 40 times more likely to be shot to death than their white peers, according to an analysis by the University of Chicago Crime Lab.

The violence is highly concentrated: Just 4 percent of city blocks account for the majority of shootings across Chicago, according to the Crime Lab.

Similar disparities exist across America. Black and brown neighborhoods suffer higher rates of poverty, and violence concentrates around poverty. The violence is so intensive that a few neighborhoods, blocks or people often drive most of the shootings and murders in a city or county. And this is true in both urban and rural areas, said Patrick Sharkey, a sociologist at Princeton."

The article points out that most Americans, even in places as bad as Chicago have little connection or concern about the real problems of gun violence.

It also argues that poverty drives the crime but then admits violence causes disinvestment which then causes poverty which then causes violence.   

I believe this is why the media give so much attention to the unusual incidents that have some connection to white Americans as part of their gun banning goals.  Gun bans are the goal; reducing the tragedies that are the norm is racism.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

I Will Not Even Quote It

6/16/22 Daily Mail reports on CDC's advice on how to have sex with someone infected with monkeypox.

You certainly cannot just pick a safer partner or decline.  Of course, the infection problem is largely confined to one very promiscuous group.

When Did Free Blacks Lose the Vote in Virginia?

 I had secondary sources on this, but just found the primary source: Hening's Statutes at Large, ch. 4, p. 134.

" XXIII. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted and declared, That no free negro, mullatto, or indian whatsoever, shall hreafter have any vote at the election of burgesses, or any other election whatsoever."

What many people do not realize is that slavery developed over time.  Curiously, the same year, Ch. 2, p. 119:

Up to this point, free blacks served armed in the colonial militia. 

South Carolina still had free blacks voting in 1702 (p. 400) or at least this complaint was made by opponents of one political faction.  If that was not true, it seems a silly accusation to make.

V. Provided always, That such free Negros, Mulattos, or Indians as are capable, may be listed and emploied as drummers or trumpeters: And that upon any invasion, insurrection, or rebellion, all free Negros, Mulattos, or Indians, shall be obliged to attend and march with the militia, and to do the duty of pioneers, or such other servile labour as they shall be directed to perform.Free negroes, Mulattoes, and Indians, how employed.
      VI. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That if an exempted overseer, or miller, or any free Negro, Mulatto, or Indian, other than as before excepted, shall presume to appear at any muster whatsoever, the party so offending, shall for every such offence, forfeit and pay one hundred pounds of tobacco, and shall immediately give security to the said commanding officer, for paiment of the same: Which fine or fines shall be disposed of in such manner, and to such uses as the other fines herein after-mentioned. 

Friday, June 17, 2022

There Are Times I Think the Woke Are More Comcerned About Themselves Than Us Sleepers

6/16/22 Legal Insurrection:

Meanwhile, WHO is investigating reports of monkeypox virus in semen.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and its media supporters are doubling down on insanity.

At the beginning of 2020, there was a concerted effort to force everyone to use socially approved terms for the novel coronavirus, which was initially termed the “Wuhan Flu” due to the likely possibility it originated in the research labs of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Now, scientists are pressing for the rebranding of monkeypox, claiming it is discriminatory and stigmatizing."

Against who?  Monkeys where it was first identified.  No; I get it.  Because 60 years ago racists likened blacks to monkeys calling it monkeypox will stigmatized blacks.  When was the last time you saw or heard someone draw that comparison?  Even at 65, this was only a history book thing.  Maybe the woke crowd is less woke than the rest of us.

Tater is Not Long For This World

Lethargic not eating.  Not in pain but I doubt he will survive the weekend. 20 years for a cat is pretty amazing.  He has led a pretty pampered existence except for the mouse he tried to eat that bit his ear deeply enough to require surgery. 

He decided to do the Monty Python bit, came out of heated house, said "I'm not dead yet" and ate some dinner.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

46 Biolabs in Ukraine

 This Defense Department fact sheet seems to be the source of the wild conspiracy theories:

  • The United States has also worked collaboratively to improve Ukraine’s biological safety, security, and disease surveillance for both human and animal health, providing support to 46 peaceful Ukrainian laboratories, health facilities, and disease diagnostic sites over the last two decades.  The collaborative programs have focused on improving public health and agricultural safety measures at the nexus of nonproliferation. 

"Layers of Fact-Checkers"

News organizations like to pretend that are professional journalists and are therefore trustworthy, not sources of disinformation.  You may recall that when Dan Rather ran an utterly false story about George W. Bush's 1970s Air National Guard service with a memo that bloggers proceeded to demonstrate was created with Microsoft Word, which did not exist for another decades.  CBS responded with talk about layers of fact checks, contrasted with people blogging in their pajamas.  That is why PJM was originally PajamasMedia.

To their credit, 6/16/22 USA Today just pulled a number of news stories:

After receiving an external correction request, USA TODAY audited the reporting work of Gabriela Miranda. The audit revealed that some individuals quoted were not affiliated with the organizations claimed and appeared to be fabricated. The existence of other individuals quoted could not be independently verified. In addition, some stories included quotes that should have been credited to others. 

As a result, USA TODAY removed 23 articles from its website and other platforms for not meeting our editorial standards. The headlines of the articles are listed below. Miranda has resigned as a reporter for USA TODAY and the USA TODAY Network.

How much of those stories is false?  Who knows.  But with all the other news stories that turned out to be false, or based on false claims from anonymous sources (RussiaGate), and Weather Channel weather reporting:

Today show kayaking in ankle deep water:


I Need a Catchy Phrase

 6/11/22 New York Post:

"Over $200K being spent on drag queen shows at NYC schools, records show

New York is showering taxpayer funds on a group that sends drag queens into city schools — often without parental knowledge or consent — even as parents in other states protest increasingly aggressive efforts to expose kids to gender-bending performers.

Last month alone, Drag Story Hour NYC — a nonprofit whose outrageously cross-dressed performers interact with kids as young as 3 — earned $46,000 from city contracts for appearances at public schools, street festivals, and libraries, city records show."

My wife's reaction was, "Could you be spending that on making your schools secure?"

My first reaction was, "You must be doing a great job preparing all your students, including the BIPOCs, for college, if you have money free for that."

My second reaction: Drag queens are insulting parodies of women, like white men wearing blackface in minstrel shows long ago.  Neo-Nazis dress up as international Jewish bankers (bulbous, hooked nose appliance, nice suit, briefcase with $100 bills half caught in the edges of the case) reading, "How We Degrade and Impoverish the Goyim."  Help me come up with a catchy phrase for this.  This is strictly a thought experiment; progressives would likely invite them.

"Nazi Pajama Party"?

6/16/22 Daily Mail:

"Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has hit out at those outraged by drag queens hosting educational events for young children, saying that they should be in 'every school'.

Dana Nessel spoke out on Wednesday against 'fake issues' such as drag queens hosting reading and dancing events at schools and libraries that are dividing people, adding that 'drag queens are fun' and 'make everything better.' "

The Democrats are about to find out how this is not a fake issue.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Another Shocker

 I discovered that I installed the declination motor upside down on the Losmandy mount, blocking the polar scope (which unsurprisingly sits inside the polar axis).  This required a ball-end hex key.  Ace had a set made in USA!  Eklind Tool Co., Franklin Park, IL,

Everyone Needs a Good News Day!

 My wife's Jeep had squealing brakes.  These being the factory brakes with 101,000 miles, the first assumption is that the wear sensors on the brake pads are telling you it is time for brake pads.  So I took it in to Star Automotive & Tire.  Now, if you have any dishonesty, squealing brakes means "it needed new brake pads" (or pads and rotors if especially crooked).  At first he thought they were new brakes because of much life is left in them.  The brake pads overheated at some point which is why they intermittently squeal.

No need for a brake job, and a trustworthy mechanic!

Amazing Film

 Knowing (2009), starring Nicholas Cage.  It starts out as a science fiction thriller as an MIT cosmologist tries to figure out why a sheet of numbers from a 1959 time capsule are very precisely predicting the location and number of deaths from major tragedies while a colleague is becoming concerned about a planet-threatening solar superflare.  Then it transforms into a very touching story of the Apocalypse.  I am sure many fundamentalists, if they saw this film would be upset.  The Rapture turns out to be way more selective than most have prophesied.

An unusual mixture of film types, this is for sure.  How many Apocalypse/science fiction/romance films are filmed in Massachusetts?  It was great fun to watch; both language and violence are well within any family-friendly standards.  It is pretty intense, however.  Even the handgun the protagonist buys to deal with what he mistakenly believes is a terrorist attack never gets fired.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

I Have Never Enjoyed Reading an Article This Much

It is in The Intercept.   Progressive organizations have been so busy with internal sniping over equity, microaggressions, and perceived workplace abuse that they are failing to get the job done of destroying Western Civilization. 

This should surprise no one.  Much of being a progressive, woke or both is self-esteem problems focused outward on the Oppressors (pick whoever you most envy).  Give them some money and power and they find Oppressors inside their own progressive groups.

This is why Communist parties spend so much time destroying each other once in power.  The participants either hate themselves or feel bad about themselves and must therefore destroy someone.  Without real enemies, you imagine them and thus create real enemies. 

Monday, June 13, 2022

Six Mass Shootings Over the Weekend!

You have doubtless seen some breathless variant on NPR or antisocial media.  The Gun Violence Archive which includes justifiable shootings in its archive lists six.  Three had no deaths.  Some sound suspiciously like gang incidents.   Like this one in Boyle Heights in Los Angeles:
"rapper's birthday party at a warehouse; poss teen vics, 2 security guards shot; at least 3 males; multiple shooters. ALT: 1400 block of S Lorena St, Grande Vista"

Now this does not mean gang shootings are unimportant, but they are not generally the mass public shootings that scare middle class white people who are the gun banner constitutency.

Is White Supremacy a Reason for Mass Murders?

 Crime Prevention Research Center:

The news media and entertainment television keep pushing the notion that most mass public shootings are done by white supremacists. Who is a white supremacist is actually fairly difficult to determine because many of the classifications are based on solely whether the person visited neo-Nazis or white supremacist website.

The Government Accountability Office has a report identifying white supremacists and neo-Nazis from 2000 through 2016. There were 52 mass public shootings over that period and the GAO identifies four of them who are either white supremacists or neo-Nazis (7.69%). Over the 1998 through May 20, 2021, there were 82 mass public shootings and between 7 and 9 attacks that involved people who were white supremacists, neo-Nazis, visiting neo-Nazis or white supremacist websites, or anti-immigrants (8.5% and 10.97%). One of these racists, Patrick Wood Crusius, who did the El Paso, Texas, mass public shooting, was an environmentalist extremist. He didn’t want immigrants because he thought they would have more children, which would harm the environment.

Mass Murders, Interrupted

 Crime Prevention Research Center has a list of mass murders interrupted by armed civilians, most of which were news to me.

The Washington State Supreme Court Has Decided the Law Must Be Applied Differently Depending on a Person's Race

 Washington v. Palla Sum (Wash. 2022):

Our precedent has always required that the seizure inquiry be made in light of the totality of the circumstances, and we have never stated that race and ethnicity cannot be relevant circumstances. However, we have not explicitly held that in interactions with law enforcement, race and ethnicity matter. We do so today.

A police officer asked a person passed in his car who owned the car.  The driver was unsure, although it turned out to be him.  (Some questions are hard when passed out at the wheel.) 

Sum provided a false name and date of birth. The passenger gave his true name and birth date. ...

Sum drove at a high rate of speed through a stop sign and multiple red lights before ultimately crashing in someone’s front yard. Deputy Rickerson handcuffed Sum and read him the Miranda1 warnings.

I could have sworn the 14th Amendment required equal protection of the law regardless of race.  Apparently:

Sum petitioned for review, reiterating his previous arguments and further contending for the first time that “there is no justification—aside from unacceptably ignoring the issue of race altogether—for courts considering the totality of the circumstances to disregard the effect of race as one of the circumstances affecting evaluation of police contact.”

So there is one set of rules for white people and different rules for BIPOCs.  Somewhere, Strom Thurmond is smiling. 

A little more explanation.   If an officer in Washington State asks for your ID, this is a seizure.  He apparently needs a warrant or probable cause to do so if you are a BIPOC but apparently not if you are white. 

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Making an Equatorial Telescope Mount

I have been toying with this idea for several reasons:

1. I would like a very portable equatorial mount that is not Chinese and not several thousand dollars.  The Losmandy GM8 is a fine mount but still pretty heavy and pricy for something that needs to hold a 10 pound scope.  The other non-PRC choices are Takahashi and Astro-Physics, both top notch and priced accordingly; not very portable either.

2. It is an interesting design and machining project.  To quote from a Brit who rolled his own:

"On the downside, everybody will know you are completely mad. There is a depressing number of modern astrophotographers who look upon DIY and custom modifications as a bit odd and think everything should just work out of the box like a washing machine. These people tend to buy lots of equipment, complain loudly when it doesn't work and produce mediocre results at best. We don't like these people much."

I would likely look for a really simple solution that drives stepper motors for both axes.  If I get in deep enough I might go through the gearing pain of a traditional (1960s) worm gear driven RA drive, where you gear down 3600 rpm to 1 rev/day.

This is mostly notes for myself and a chance to watch my brain at demented work.

I have built a basic German equatorial mount before using pillow blocks mounted on 1/4" x 1" plywood and 1/2" shafts.  Everything is exposed and looks ugly.  I can buy 1/2" bore roller bearings that are 1 1/8" OD.  Slide them perhaps with some pressure into the two ends of a 1 1/8" ID 1/4" wall aluminum tube.
The shafts are obviously stainless steel...or are they?  If aluminum shafts were available they would reduce weight and ease drilling and tapping holes; the loads involved are not enormous. I could buy aluminum rod and turn it down on the lathe until I could use a heat gun on the bearings and dry ice on the shafts to get a press fit.

Secure the bearings in place with bolts into very shallow tapped holes in the outer wall of the bearing or perhaps just held in by clamping pressure.  1/2" shaft through the bearings.   

Machine circles that press into the ends of the tube over the shaft.  Leave enough margin around the shaft to on occasion add some lubricating oil down the shaft.

Where the north end of the polar shaft meets the declination axis tube, drill a hole through one side of the declination axis tube that allows the polar axis to meet a plug on the other side where four bolts screw into the end of the polar axis.

The construction of the RA and declination axis assemblies is nearly identical.   The "bottom" cover in both cases is thicker to support the worm gear or stepper motor attachment.   The tolerance between shaft and hole is much finer to reduce oil leakage.   It will still be occasionally necessary to remove the lower cover to remove any oil build-up.

A lesson learned from the Cave Optical mount, gone 15 years now, is a Teflon washer between the declination axis and the cover at top of polar axis housing.

The saddle uses a similar design to the declination axis attachment.   The declination axis goes into a blind hole with four bolt holes in the saddle to bind the saddle to the axis's tapped holes.  The saddle can be a standard Vixen style saddle or perhaps make my own.  It is a pretty simple piece of work.

Counterweights: I am not sure if there are barbell weights with 1/2" bore but if not drilling 1/2" hole through cast iron cylinders of 3" length is simple enough.  The locking thumbscrew is the hardest part; you need a 1/4"-20 thumbscrew that is at least 1.5" long to screw into a tapped hole in the side of the counterweight.   Stainless steel counterweights might be nicer from an appearance standpoint and stainless steel is slightly denser than cast iron.  Drilling stainless steel is no fun..

Obviously all the aluminum tubes and axes will be polished down to 1000 grit both for appearance and to go into the bearings without too much force.

The polar axis housing needs to mate to a cap that goes on a tripod or column.
Traditional technique is a tab on the bottom of the housing that fits between two "ears" just slightly wider than the tab.  A bolt hole through the left ear and the hole in the tab and the right ear is a tapped hole.  A bolt through the left ear hole and tab hole tightens down to prevent unwanted polar axis movement.   (The polar axis points at celestial north, generally Polaris for my lifetime.)  

On the north side of the ears is a fence with a tapped hole.  A thumbscrew (and a pretty big one at that) pushes the tab when the bolt is not locking the ears onto the tab until you get the desired latitude.   (The tab has to be an interior cylinder so I guess that program needs to work.) Alternatively, I machine the tab with a 90 degree angle in the top so that bolts through the legs go into tapped holes in the polar axis housing at the tangents.  Either way, I would probably use four 1/4"-20 bolts in tapped holes to hold the tab to the polar axis housing. 

The tab needs degree markings which means use of the rotating table to mark one degree marks.  I am not sure that I can engrave readable numbers next to the lines, but I can make the 10 degree and five degree lines different lengths and perhaps put three, four, and five depressions next to 30, 40, and 50 degree lines.

The cap is 4.5" diameter with the bottom 0.5" turned down to 4" so it slides into a 4" ID 1/4" wall tube.  There are three 1/4"-20 tapped holes in the 4" diameter part of the cap.  

The tube is 40" long with three 1/4" holes around the top in which thumbscrews insert to lock into the tapped holes in the bottom of the end cap.  A dust cap is bolted into the bottom of the column to keep spiders and other creepy crawlies out.  

The legs are an interesting problem.  The simple solution is use 36" long 1/2" wide rectangles held into the interior of the tube just below the dust cover.  I tap two 1/4"-20 holes in the end of each leg and 1/4" holes in the bottom of the column. Thumbscrews hold the legs in place while allowing quick disassembly for trunk transport.  (This is another Cave Optical design.)  Round lightening holes in the legs also give it a 1950s spaceship legs look.  

I think the entire mount, column, and legs could be 15 to 20 pounds.  (You take the counterweights and OTA off to move it.)

I probably want the CNC rotating table before I make this; my inner cylinder excavating program; and a lot of detailed drawings before I start.

Yes I am enjoying this back of the envelope designing way more than drawing it all out and machining it will be.

As should be obvious from the time, I cannot fall asleep without thinking about this.  The declination axis carries the counterweight but most modern mounts make the counterweight shaft non-integral with the axis so you can reduce the transport size of the mount.  At the point where declination mount exits the housing drill and tap a 3/8"-16 hole.  The counterweight shaft gets threaded 3/8"-16 male.   You can now unscrew the counterweight shaft.  You can also adjust the length for whatever OTA you are using.  You could carried away and make a two or three part counterweight shaft, each threaded into the next, depending on how many counterweights you need.

Setting circles are needed if this does not end up with digital controls.  This is one of pet peeves.  Traditional mount setting circles are coarse: 1 degree markings in declination: 5 minutes in right ascension.   

The setting circles will be cut from six inch diameter aluminum discs, 2" thick.  Once mounted in a CNC rotating table, the program uses a center drill to cut short lines every .5 degrees and every 4 minutes.  Longer lines at 5 degrees and 20 minutes.  At hour and 10 degree lines (even longer) the center drill scratches numbers.  There is software to cut in whatever font you want but it is not good for really small fonts so use right angle numbers sort of like old Nixie tube displays.  0 is square, 1 is a single line, 2 is a straight line then a diagonal then another straight line.  Pretty? No but plenty readable.  

These are a loose fit on both axes with a .5" extension in which a set screw is placed.  The declination set screw is locked down because this setting circle does not ordinarily move.  The right ascension set screw is very lightly touching perhaps with a small piece of Teflon between set screw and axis to allow drag but also ready rotation with slight effort.  (Another Cave Optical design.)

Lots of good suggestions in the comments. Tubes for the axes give most of the stiffness of a solid cylinder and save some weight.  Of course with 1/2" OD, you need a pretty thick wall to avoid deformation by the counterweight clamps.  I think 1/8" wall would be sufficient but this saves very little weight.  If it does not seem much of a gain go to 1/2" solid.  For larger axes such as 1" OD, a 1/4" wall is much stiffer and a bigger weight reduction but this seems bigger than needed for a tiny mount.

Another possibility: stainless tube 1/2" OD 1/16" wall.  I believe this would be lighter than 1/2" solid and pretty darn rigid.

Because the declination axis is only going to the end of the housing, the counterweight shaft can be 1" OD to allow use of 1" ID barbell weights.   They still need to be tapped for locking screws but they do not need boring.  They might not be as pretty as stainless steel.

A Bipartisan Deal on Gun Control That is Mostly a Win

 6/12/22 Breitbart:

A bipartisan group of senators announced a deal on gun control legislation Sunday in the wake of recent mass shootings — though the compromise excludes President Joe Biden’s “assault weapons” ban and a raised minimum age for rifle purchases.

 The deal includes Republican priorities such as expanded mental health services and school safety. It nods to Democratic priorities by adding expanded background checks for those under the age of 21, who will now have juvenile records screened before gun purchases.

This oversimplifies it but still not bad.  It gives funds to state and tribal governments to enforce red flag laws but does not mandate them.  Domestic violence mi9sdemeanants and those subject to restraining orders are added to NICS.  Why were they not already there?  These are already firearms disqualifiers.

Under 21 Enhanced Review Process
●     For buyers under 21 years of age, requires an investigative period to review juvenile and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement.

 To be blunt, sealed juvenile records can hide a lot of stuff best visible to law enforcement.  This is why gangs in California often have minors do the murders.

Penalties for Straw Purchasing
●     Cracks down on criminals who illegally straw purchase and traffic guns.

Strawman purchases are already a five year prison sentence. 

The Democrats settled for very little to have something that no Republican can call a loss of rights.

Civil Defense Letter Responses

 Whoever opens Sen. Crapo's letters reads them competently.  From his response:

Beginning in 1961, the U.S. government provided grants for the creation of nuclear fallout shelters in schools, hospitals and in certain state and local government buildings. These shelters were stocked with roughly two weeks’ worth of shelf stable food and water. However, in 1971, the U.S. government began to phase out the stocking of shelters as the fear of nuclear attack began to wane.

I agree that effectively countering U.S. enemies will take a deliberative, whole-of-government response. The increasing interconnectedness of our world requires that Congress and the Administration regularly asses and develop methods to ensure Americans and our homeland remain protected. I appreciate you taking the time to share your suggestions with me regarding the construction of additional nuclear fallout shelters. These recommendations are helpful to me as we move forward in the 117 th Congress.

Unfortunate Discovery

I went to a public astronomy event yesterday to show people the Sun.  Yes, with a solar filter.

The alt-az mount and the length of the Televue tube meant that I could not get the scope high enough to aim at the Sun.  Fortunately, the crowd at provided an adjustment strategy for the mount.

Rotating the azimuth assembly holding 60 degrees and reinstalling the bolts allows access to the zenith:

Friday, June 10, 2022

The Crazy Just Keeps Getting Crazier

6/8/22 The Atlantic:
"It’s June again—that time of year when Americans wake up each morning and wait for the Supreme Court to resolve our deepest political disagreements. To decide what the Constitution says about our bodily autonomy, our power to avert climate change, and our ability to protect children from guns, the nation turns not to members of Congress—elected by us—but to five oracles in robes."

Wow!  The same bunch that has relied on the Court to strike down state laws on miscegenation, birth control, abortion, sodomy, same-sex marriage and a state constitutional initiative on LGBT discrimination is now upset that the Court is taking precedence over legislative decisions?

I Would Love to Know the Theory of This

6/9/22 New York Post:
"A Missouri woman who claimed she caught a sexually transmitted disease when she had sex with her boyfriend in his vehicle has been awarded a $5.2 million settlement from her now-ex-partner’s car insurance company."

Now, I could see how his renters or homeowners insurance might cover this as part of his personal liability -- which includes on many policies libel and slander but not copyright infringement (as I discovered when Righthaven shook me down with the scheme that eventually bankrupted them).  But car insurance?  Was this collision?  (In a slow and controlled way, I suppose).  At least they did not the car maker for failing to make a car where sex was impossible. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Looking Over Pictures From Before the Stroke

 I can't believe that I built this 20" diameter tube, most of the internal parts, and managed to get it on that protesting Celestron CI-700 mount by myself.

Democrats Scream Gun Control But Will Not Prosecute

6/7/22 California Political Review reports on now former S.F. DA's firearms prosecutions.  The short version is that few felony firearms arrests were prosecuted and those that were usually received a few days in jail:


"At just 25, Jamisi Calloway has a long and violent record. On March 8, 2021, Calloway was arrested for possession of an assault weapon, being a felon with a firearm, and carrying a concealed weapon. He was sent to diversion, which he “successfully” completed on June 29.  Despite whatever efforts were made to rehabilitate him in diversion, less than six months later, on Nov. 19, 2021, Calloway was arrested in the viral Louis Vuitton smash-and-grab rampage. This time, he was charged him with possession of a firearm with a prior felony, carrying a loaded firearm, carrying a concealed firearm, carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle, and resisting arrest. Calloway was arrested on a warrant March 9, 2022, but according to the San Francisco Superior Court calendar, no hearings were scheduled between the end of Dec. and that March arrest, and he’s currently out of custody."

Proof That We Need Idiot Control

 6/8/22 Washington Post:

Montgomery County Police Department officers were dispatched and arrested Roske without incident while he was still on the phone with 911, according to the affidavit. In his suitcase and backpack were a Glock 17 with two magazines and ammunition, pepper spray, a tactical knife, a hammer, a screwdriver, a crow bar, zip ties and duct tape, along with other gear.
After his arrest, according to the affidavit, Roske told police he was upset over the leaked draft of an opinion that would overturn the constitutional right to abortion and also over the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Tex. He thought Kavanaugh would support looser gun laws. He decided to kill Kavanaugh and then himself, according to the police officer, thinking it would give his life purpose.

I am here to protest loose gun laws by attempting to murder someone with a gun. :-)

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

It Sounded and Looked Like a Rattlesnake

I was surprised that two shots with a .22 did not cause immediate death.  My wife made a pretty decent center of mass hit (as best that can be measured on something they is profoundly not rectangular) and another near the tail.  Yet even a few minutes later it was still wiggling and hissing.

The girls were just barking madly at it while it hissed and rattled.  Oddly, no one called the police.  California this is not.

It looks like a bull snake but they make a simulation of a rattle to scare off predators.