Wednesday, August 16, 2017


I have previously taken partial eclipse pictures with a variable ND filter and the Pentax's kit lens:
But I wanted to use my 100-300mm Pentax lens, so I bought a variable ND filter for the 58mm size of that lens. This was 120mm I think:
 This was 300mm:
Not the detail of a picture I took with the 5" refractor, but sufficient to show the Moon-god eating the Sun-god on eclipse day, then the corona at totality.
Autofocus doesn't seem to do a good job, but I know it is at ∞.

Even with the filter these are 1/750th of a second.

The Time Has Come to Leave Blogger for a Non-Goolag Blogging Tool

Here is a list of alternatives.  I have exported my blog as an XML file.  I would love to have an easy way to just import it, perhaps using my domain for storage.  Any suggestions on the easiest blogging platform to use?  Actually, I am powering through Yola.  It looks different from blogger of course, but I think I am getting it.  Yola free is too limiting on space.  Ditto for LiveJournal and Ghost.  WordPress has a free version if you use your their domain.  WordPress import is limited to 15MB, so that's out.  Or you can import multiple XML files; let's see if blogger will export by year.  No, it imported the whole thing!

I have successfully imported both blogs into WordPress.  I would like to  center the titles, but just adding HTML does not work.  There are a number of pages that purport to tell how to do this, but their solutions do not work.  Can any WordPress users tell me how?

Okay, I give up.  WordPress is incomprehensible; I guess I am stuck with EVIL.

Something to Share With Your Bernie-Loving Relatives

Another Statue to Remove

From Daily Wire:
Leftist Activists Demand New York Museum Take Down Statue of ‘Racist’ Theodore Roosevelt
Was he a racist?  Sure.  Almost everyone was, back then.  I do not think many statues can survive this level of ahistorical evaluation.

Never Bring a Sword to a Gunfight

Great line from The Untouchables about bringing a knife to a gunfight.  8/14/17 KEPR:
KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Police say two officers shot and killed a suspect armed with a sword at the intersection of 10th and Olympia on Sunday afternoon after the suspect struck an officer in the head with the weapon.
Police have identified the suspect as 46-year-old Hussein Hassan of Kennewick.
Officer Joshua Kuhn and Officer Jason Kiel, of the Kennewick Police Department approached the suspect following a report of someone walking down the street with a sword in hand.
At least he was using a weapon Muhammad would have used.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Waiting For A Faculty Meeting to Start

Bored out of my wits.  Anyone remember XLNT Tamales?   They ate not for sale here in Idaho. They are a pleasant childhood memory.

Trying to Machine That Adapter Harder Than I Thought

More lessons learned.   Cutting works fine.  Baking the carriage up is what is pulling the workpiece from the chuck.just enough drag to pull it out.

Better solution to my problem: buying an M29x1.0  die to put an external thread on the ends of the tube so it screws into the diagonal. To my shock and surprise,  this size is about $20.  It is 65mm diameter,  but I already have a site holder that size.

Hawaii Five-O Episode

I was a big fan of the original series.and regular readers know that I like the revival of it. 

I was shocked and thrilled by a recent episode in which the bad guy who uses an armored bulldozer to rob a gun range did not turn into gun control propaganda.  The bad guy is a gun control advocate angry that his son was killed in a mass shooting (the son being the shooter) and takes the Hawaii Supreme Court hostage to force media coverage of his demand for an assault weapon ban.   One of the justices shoots him.  Even better is that McGarrett  and Danny Williams have a reasonably fair discussion of the merits of gun control.  Danny is from New Jersey and wants to fly over the country with a big magnet to take all the guns (except his,  of course) and McGarrett points out the flaws in his reasoning and that he is allowed to defend himself; why not ordinary citizens?  And if this giant magnet is going to work,  why not start riding unicorns to work?   They also discuss how Hawaii had some of the strictest gun control laws in the country.

11 Minutes For A Body Cavity Search

Reason has a horrifying article about an 11 minute body cavity search of a young woman. It is at first glance not only wrong and criminal,  but almost unbelievable.

How Surprising: North Pole Still Ice Covered

Pen Hadow, the British explorer, is today due to start a sailing expedition across the Arctic Ocean to highlight the effects of climate change, including an attempt to reach the North Pole.
The voyage will see Hadow’s Arctic Mission expedition, which will involve two yachts, traverse regions of open water that were once permanently blocked by pack ice.
This weekend, however, scientists said satellite images suggested the North Pole would remain inaccessible except by an icebreaker.
The anthropogenic global warming farce will continue until a polar bear eats Al Gore in New York City.

"Fire and Fury": Seems to Work

The Democrats were upset that the "fire and fury" remark might lead to war with Short Fat.  Maybe the reverse.  8/14/17 Wall Street Journal:
SEOUL—North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has decided not to launch a threatened missile attack on Guam, Pyongyang’s state media reported on Tuesday, but warned that he could change his mind “if the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions.”
As one of the comments points out:
well what i saw after what is it 4 presidents from bush 1 he finally looks scared! bullys always couch their defeats with bravado! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Neo-Nazi Rally Organized By Leftist

ZeroHedge is reporting:
‘Unite the Right’ organizer Jason Kessler was reportedly an Obama supporter involved in the Occupy movement as recently as November 2016, before establishing his white supremacist group “Unity & Security for America” in January, 2017.
Per the Southern Poverty Law Center:
Rumors abound on white nationalist forums that Kessler’s ideological pedigree before 2016 was less than pure and seem to point to involvement in the Occupy movement and past support for President Obama...
Internet sleuths discovered a CNN report on Occupy Wall St. from five years ago submitted by “CNN Assignment Editor Jason Kessler.” Same guy? 
This gets more and more interesting by the hour.

Funny Line About the Charlottesville Riot

Any movement that burns tiki torches but doesn’t serve Mai-Tais is clearly on the wrong track.”

Amazon Dropping

Template Tool, it claims. Looks like part of a pantograph.

Every day,  another surprise.

Guessing English Is Not First Language

Searched for "machining thin wall tube" and "OEM Mental Machining" showed up.  No, not a public university.

And Higher Education Wonders Why Much of the Population Holds Them in Contempt?

Four days after James T. Hodgkinson opened fire on a group of Republican congressmen at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, Trinity Professor Johnny Eric Williams sided with anonymous blogger “Son of Baldwin,” who proposed that black emergency personnel should let wounded white people die rather than lend assistance. Baldwin posted his opinions under the hashtag, #LetThemFuckingDie.
Professor Williams linked Son of Baldwin’s statement, adopted the hashtag as his own, and posted some additional denunciations of white Americans for “their destructive mythology of whiteness and their white supremacy system.” Referring to all “self-identified ‘whites,’” he wrote, “The time is now to confront these inhuman assholes and end this now.”
When Campus Reform broke the story on June 20, it rapidly spread through the media. Trinity College put Professor Williams on leave, beginning June 26.
But after Trinity Dean and Vice President Tom Cresswell reviewed Williams’ statements, he returned with a 31-page report that found his Facebook posts were “extramural utterances” protected by Trinity College’s policy of academic freedom. Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney endorsed Dean Cresswell’s findings, and added that she doesn’t “condone the hashtag” which “offend[s] me personally” and “contradicts our fundamental institutional values.” Nevertheless, Williams has been reinstated in good standing.
Imagine a white professor posting pro-KKK sentiments far milder than that.  Would he be reinstated?  Of course not.

Intentional Riot Provocation?

Althouse has a good discussion of the evidence that Charlottesville officials withheld police intervention to gin up a riot.  Progressives want a race-based civil war.  They fantasize that every black and Hispanic will join them at the barricades to exterminate "whiteness," except for their own progressive white selves.  Does this sound like Charles Manson's plan for provoking race war that would leave him in charge?  Yes.

The problem with their plan is that most blacks and Hispanics, I am guessing, will not join in a race war for both moral and practical reasons.  Doubtless the progressive attempt will encourage racist violence, strengthening lunatic fringe white racist groups and driving fringe minority group members into joining the war, but this will just be a bloody disaster that kills off the progressive leadership.

New York Times Thinks Guam is in More Danger From Climate Change Than Nuclear Weapons

See here.  The left is insane.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Lately Learned Lathe Lessons

Love alliteration.  Turned a tube held on the inside by the chuck jaws.  If the workpiece is small enough, heat from the boring operation will expand the tube enough that the jaws will let go.  Clamping from outside collapsed the hollow part of the now very thin walled tube (bored 1.03" OD tube to .965" ID). Tomorrow, bore the .965" hole in one end, lock it the same way but keep it wet to cool, and turn the other end to .850" as several operations with significant cooling time between.

On the Sherline lathe, if chatter seems out of control, check the gib adjustment that holds the carriage to the bed and lead screw.  The gib is locked into its position by an 8-32x3/16" setscrew.  Enough use and the steel setscrew chews away the threads in the aluminum of the carriage.  My solution was tap 10-32 threads and get a 10-32x3/16" setscrew at Home Depot.  At some point, I will have to repeat, perhaps one size up.  Beyond that, replace the carriage.  Or look for an aluminum 10-32x3/16" setscrew to save the threads.

Holding thin wall tube in a chuck is nearly impossible.  I found a suggestion of using SuperGlue to hold a spacer inside so clamping is more secure, then dissolving with acetone afterwards.  Fortunately I can remove a .965" eyepiece barrel from an eyepiece that is exactly the right diameter, because that is what will go inside that end of the tube.

Remember, If You Do Not Like White Racial Identity Groups

Then do not spend time treating "whiteness" as an identity that needs crushing.

When Even the ACLU Admits Violence on Both Sides

Not sure who provoked first. Both sides were hitting each other at Justice Park before police arrived. #Charlottesville
And Trump was wrong for saying both sides were violent? Twits commenting on this are arguing that mere presence of KKK is a valid basis for violence.
The video shows a lot of thugs on both sides who need jail time, no matter how many classes they miss (as student or faculty). I would think a reality TV show "Antifa vs. neo-Nazis" would have good ratings. Sort of like Hunger Games. Not seeing much self-defense, just lots of violent aggression.

"Nazis! Why Is It Always Nazis!"

My son-in-law's reaction half the time that my wife or I mention a film we have seen.

For a very simple reason: the Holocaust and the ideologies that led up to it are among the most important and destructive in human history, and are still alive and respectable to intellectuals around the world when expressed in "progressive" or "Islamist" guise.

Two recent films: Walking With the Enemy is a fictionalized account of a Hungarian Jew who, often wearing stolen stormtrooper uniforms, helped to save a large fraction of Hungary's Jews from extermination after the Nazi-encouraged coup overthrew their nominal ally, but protective of Hungarian Jews, Regent Horthy and installed a puppet government of Hungarian fascists.  This is a powerfully inspiring story of courage and defense of human rights.  I am pleased to see something called Liberty Studios made it.  One aspect that pleased me was its recognition of the part that Christian clergy often played in saving Jews from the Holocaust; I sometimes get the impression that this is downplayed by some Jews, out of either ignorance as to the primarily non-religious motivations for the Holocaust, or as an attempt to inoculate Jews against conversion.

The other film is Defying the Nazis: The Sharps' War.  This documentary reminds me of the saying that firemen are the only sane people who run into a burning building.  Waitstill Sharps (if that first name seems odd, look at first names in Puritan England and New England) was a Unitarian minister.  He and his wife went to Czechoslovakia just after Germany annexed the Sudetenland, but before they occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia.  Their mission was to assist primarily Jewish refugees in escaping the coming horror.  Over the next few years, they participated, along with the Quakers and the Salvation Army, of saving thousands at great personal risk.  Darn impressive film.


After weeks of blistering heat,  reason.

Mad Library of Very Thin Books

Do you remember it?  Germans Who Admit They Backed Hitler; The Wit and Humor of Mao Tse-Tung and other memorably unlikely books.  Here's something for the list of underpopulated Library of Congress classifications:  Nazi Terror: A Short Autobiography of a Jewish National Socialist

Webcam Update Program

Several years ago, I had my Linux box running a program called webcam that used a USB camera to take pictures of my driveway and upload them to my web page periodically.  Anyway, I assume that such a program exists for Windows 7, but any string with webcam in it returns everything except such a program.  Is there some magic keyword that I am missing?

Sloppy workaround: figure out how to get the webcam to take a picture every minute, store it in a folder as latest, then have a batch file running every minute to do an ftp put of latest.  Just not sure how to force that picture to be taken on a schedule.

Fwink is what I used.  No longer seems to work; same for YawCam which complains "no script engine for file extension *.vbs".  WebCamFirst crashes with null pointer exception.

There no longer seem to be any free webcam programs that work, but an unlimited number of sites peddling porn through webcams.

If You Are Crazy Enough to Drive North on ID-55 on Eclipse Day

Remember you can see the Mother of All Traffic Jams Traffic Jams at the summit. 

National Socialist Progressivism

Anyone who has read the 1920 or 1924 National Socialist party platforms can immediately see that many provisions are recognizably progressive,  even if the party could best be described as heretics of progressivism. While reading progressive comments about the recent riots in Virginia, I suddenly realized another unmistakable progressive policy of Hitler's Germany.

Progressives are obsessed with white domination of our society to the detriment of people of color, women,  and LGBTs. Their solution is aggressive hostility towards an imagined monolithic group of evildoers,  and intentional preference for a victim group (everyone not a white, straight cis- male).

The National Socialists were similarly obsessed with another racial group (as the National Socialists imagined them) dominating media, the arts, science,  banking,  and commerce, to the detriment of German society, and giving preference to Jews and other perverts in employment.  Their solution was an extreme form of affirmative action for "Aryans," firing all Jews from teaching positions and other jobs to make way for the more deserving Aryans.  Affirmative Action for Aryans!  How unfortunate that this is not more generally recognized as a progressive policy.

And of course confiscation of Jewish property has its analogy in demands for reparations for slavery.

Forcing Christians or of business;  Jude on shop windows.

Who is at Fault in the North Korean Crisis

CNN article is largely devoted to various leaders blaming Trump for a crisis caused by North Korean threats to commit mass murder.   How lamestream media.

Another Amazon Dropping

I think it is a belly button ring. I notice the customs label describes it as Printed.  Customs clearly does not open all packages.

I Knew the Fashion Police Had a Limited Range of Interests

From 8/11/17 Harper's Bazaar (whose website header emphasizes Fashion, Beauty, Celebrity):
"Them"?  Is this a plural marriage thing?  Or does the author not want to admit that only women read this magazine, and put in the correct pronoun, "Him"?

What An Awesome Photo

B-52 with lightning backdrop.
Hard to believe a plane first deployed before I was born is still in active service.  If you have never seen one take off, you have missed a lot.  That used to be the only good part of driving to visit relatives in Sacramento.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Interesting Milestone

ScopeRoller uses nine 8-32 x 3/8" socket head screws for each set we ship.  In July 2016, I bought 600 of them, six 100 count boxes.  I can see the bottom of the last box.

Massive Resistance by Progressives Leads to Violence, Finally Gets Media Attention

8/12/17 Daily Mail:
Violence erupted ahead of a planned rally where thousands of white nationalists were expected to gather for an alt-right protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.
Two people were seriously injured in the clash, Virginia State police reported. A video appears to show the altercation, as a man is being dragged away by officials while a woman screams: 'Don't allow them to do this!'
Another woman with blood streaming down her face also pushes the man away from the scene of the fight.
The Unite the Right rally is being held at Emancipation Park and hundreds were seen stomping through the city, wearing militia uniforms, waving flags and chanting 'Blood and Soil' as they made their way towards the event.
Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer denounced the 'cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance march down the lawns of the architect of our Bill of Rights' and warned for residents to stay away from the rally.
Still, counter-protesters flocked to the march in retaliation against the white nationalists neo-Confederates, and alt-right activists, screaming: 'We're here, we're gay, we fight the KKK!'
The protest hadn't officially started but social media videos showed the rally was escalating as people were seen throwing objects, breaking out into fights and pepper spray being used, as officers watched from behind fences.

Read more: 
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

And neo-National Socialists are definitely heretics of progressivism.  And President Trump weighed in:
President Trump admonished the day's tragic events, saying in a press conference: 'We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, violence, on many sides... The hate and division must stop, and must stop right now.' 
Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

What Passes for Education At Stanford

8/11/17 The College Fix reports on a new Stanford class:
Stanford University is slated to offer a class this fall called “White Identity Politics,” during which students will “survey the field of whiteness studies” and discuss the “possibilities of … abolishing whiteness,” according to the course description....
“Students will consider the perils and possibilities of different political practices,” according to the course description, “including abolishing whiteness or coming to terms with white identity.”...
Ernest Miranda, a spokesman for Stanford, told The Fix via e-mail that “‘abolishing whiteness’ is a concept put forward in the 1990s by a number of white historians. Their belief was that if other white people would, like them, stop identifying politically as white, it would help end inequalities.”
Perhaps there are professors who identify politically as white, but I would guess that this has been rare since the end of the Confederacy or at least Jim Crow.  I do not know anyone who identifies themselves politically as white.  Conservative, libertarian, progressive, liberal, but white?

Historians who do so are failing to come to grips with their own racism and guilt.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

8/10/17 Raw Story:
‘She deserves the negative reputation’: DNC sick of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and ‘wish she would go away’
Even Democrats are finding her sleaziness an embarrassment.

A Commonsense Hint

Shall Not Be Questioned brought this to my attention.  7/31/17 New York Post:
An anti-drug crusader who set out to rescue a teenager from a Brooklyn drug den pleaded guilty Monday to weapons charges — but vowed to continue his battle against the scourge of drug abuse.
John Cramsey, 52, of East Greenville, Pa., and two cohorts were collared at the Holland Tunnel in June 2016 in a weapons-laden truck covered in decals reading, among other messages, “God Guns Guts Made America Free.”
He said he, Dean Smith, 53, and Kimberly Arendt, 29 – a trio dubbed the “Kooks of Hazard” – were going to rescue Jenea Patterson, 18, who died months later of an overdose....
Police recovered an AR-15 assault rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, several handguns and tactical gear in the neon green and black vehicle. 
Hint: if you are going to transport illegal, unlicensed guns into New York or New Jersey, this is rather like putting on a sandwich board that says, "Need Robbing?"

Everyone Needs Precision Machine Tools At Home

I was asking about M25x0.75 threaded tubes because I have an ancient University Optics 8x50mm right angle finderscope that lost its crosshairs at some point.  (It was part of an ungainly 17.5" Dobsonian originally constructed by several Boise families as a shared astronomy thing for their kids.  The scale of the project suggests Jack Daniels.  They eventually tired of moving a 300 pound monstrosity, and gave it to the Boise Astronomical Society.  I bought it at auction for $600--a bargain beyond belief.  Some kid or Jack Daniels-influenced adult may have touched and broken it.)

So, replace the 25mm eyepiece with a new crosshair eyepiece.  But it is .965" barrel diameter; the old Japanese telescope/microscope standard.  The only one that I could find was 18mm focal length at Telescope Warehouse, who seem to have all the obscure parts.  Instead of 8x50 it would be 11x50--still a very useful finder.  But I forgot that 18mm focal length means it needs to be 7mm closer to the objective and thus deeper in the diagonal's eyepiece tube (which is threaded into the diagonal: M25x0.75).  Not enough inward room for that to get it focused.  So I measured carefully and concluded 4mm off the the eyepiece tube would put the 18mm at the 25mm's focal point.  (The 25mm was actually 3mm out of the top of the tube.)

Removed 4mm (.157") from the top of the eyepiece tube, and the 18mm eyepiece now focuses perfectly!

Everyone needs tools like this at home.  A machine tool tax credit and machine tool stamps are needed! :-)

Remember the 1970s Joke About the Three Biggest Lies?

One was racist and another too vulgar to repeat.  The third was "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you."  My friend Dave Hardy has a new book coming out, I'm from the Government and I'm Here to Kill You: The True Human Cost of Official Negligence.  From the website:
Can government employees kill Americans by negligence, incompetence, or even intent, and escape all consequences? The answer is too often yes. A former agency attorney explains how and why, and what we must do to fix a deeply flawed legal system.
The story begins with the Texas City disaster of 1947, where the government (needing fertilizer for the Marshal Plan) decided that a certain high explosive would make good fertilizer, produced it under dangerous conditions, and shipped it to the port of Texas City. Four million pounds of it detonated. 600 Americans died, and the town was devastated.The resulting lawsuit went to the Supreme Court -- which ruled that the government could not be sued, no matter how shocking its negligence had been. The ruling remains law to this day. In case after case, federal agencies have escaped liability for their deadly errors. In fact, the legal regime actually rewards officials for dangerous behavior, and penalizes them if they try to protect your safety!

New York Times Admits Its Editorial Writers Do Not Read Their Own Paper

8/10/17 PowerlineBlog points to a tragic admission in the defamation suit by Sarah Palin against the New York Times.  The judge hearing the case observes:
[T]he Complaint alleges that the allegedly false statements of fact that are the subject of the Complaint were contradicted by information already set forth in prior news stories published by the Times. However, these prior stories arguably would only evidence actual malice if the person(s) who wrote the editorial were aware of them. This is information peculiarly within the knowledge of defendant; but on it arguably depends the reasonableness vel non of inferring actual malice.
So they apparently did not research their claim that Sarah Palin incited Loughner to commit mass murder in his attempt to kill Rep. Gabby Giffords.  That is a tragic admission of negligence--one of the necessary grounds for a public figure to win a libel suit.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Need M25x0.75 Threaded Tube

Suggestions?  1/2" to 1" long.  Unthreaded at one end is fine. .965" ID.

Regular Handgun Cleaning

Colt's Government Model manual says to clean the gun after shooting it and every three months; every month if regularly carried.  Why?  After shooting of course to remove burned powder residue and prevent corrosion (more of an issue with Berdan primers than Boxer primers, from what I have read).  Many decades ago, I had fired a Government Model just "a few" times, and did not bother to clean it.  A few months later, in a motel room in central Nevada, I racked the slide to remove a chambered round.  More accurately, I tried to rack the slide.  No motion.  With a bit more effort, it finally moved.  Burnt powder had absorbed enough moisture from the air to form a very solid quantity of semibrick.  Had I fired it in self-defense, I am unsure of whether it would have successfully cycled the action.  Now, I clean after even "a few" rounds fired.

Why every three months and monthly when carried?  Because semiauto pistols need a little lubrication to reliably cycle.  Those built to loose tolerances for very reliable functioning, like most M1911s in Government service for decades, seemed to work well at the cost of accuracy.  But lack of lubrication on the slide rails, or barrel to slide, or slide stop, may well impair function in a potentially embarrassing (or worse) way.  A carried handgun has more opportunity to pick up lint and sweat from your pocket, holster, or hand, so more frequent cleaning.

Another advantage of regular lubrication, if not barrel cleaning, is remembering the sequence.  I just finishing lubing and safety testing of my Colt Mustang, Browning Hi-Power, American Arms PX-22 (a licensed PPK copy), and Firestar 9mm.  (Just remembered: my wife's Colt .380 and my safe queen Colt Government Model.  After lunch.)  Three of those guns are children or grandchildren of John Moses Browning.  Yet each has slight variations in field stripping.  Do this regularly, and you don't forget the quirks.  And another reason: hand strength and coordination are not what they were before the stroke.  Regular exercise helps.

Remember Blazing Saddles?

Funny in a crude way, making fun of Old West racism: "Stop, or I'll shoot," as the black sheriff takes himself hostage from a racist mob.  Nevada County Scooper:
Grass Valley, CA — Protests broke out late this week as a group of activists marched in front of Grass Valley’s Del Oro Theater after the establishment announced plans to show a special weekend matinee of Mel Brooks 1974 comedy film Blazing Saddles. The protesters, who object to the use of what they see as racist themes in the iconic film, say that the movie isn’t funny, and promotes unrealistic portrayals of Irish people around the world.
“This is completely inappropriate to make fun of the Irish,” shouted Nevada City community and chemtrail activist Sairhra Ramun out in front of the Del Oro Theater on Mill Street in Grass Valley. “It is simply not funny to make fun of people based on their heritage, skin color or their faith. This has no place in Nevada County. I have spoken with many of my Irish friends, and they do not find this funny in the least.”
Is this parody?  How could you tell?  Progressives are so crazy that you can't tell.  Apparently it is parody.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Powerful Song

That Law Review Article Mentioned Below

If you see any errors or typos, please let me know.  One reader noticed a reference to Art. I, sec.  18 of the Constitution.  Art. I, sec. 8 is the list of 18 enumerated powers of Congress (none of which include Rep. Maxine Waters' behavior).  When I teach U.S. History, I have my students read that last of 18 clauses in class and ask them to show where most of our federal departments and laws come from.  The utter befuddlement and occasional anger soon leads to a discussion of the last clause,  the necessary and proper clause,  sometimes called the elastic clause (including Super Ball rubber--remember those? ).

Remember "Food Deserts"?

Black neighborhoods were short of groceries stores selling fresh and healthy foods, causing black kids to go to McDonald's and get fat.  The lack of grocery stores could not have anything to do with burned-out businesses and armed robberies driving out businesses, of course.  So the latest progressive crisis?  8/8/17 National Review:
After half a century of urban disorder in Newark, yet another disaster has befallen New Jersey’s largest city: The city’s first Whole Foods just opened. First it was arson, then it was crack, now it’s farm-fresh goat cheese. Will the horror never end? Can Newark ever catch a break? The questions are implied in a New York Times piece this week headlined with a lament from one city resident that Whole Foods, which opened its Newark branch in late winter, is “not for us.” Newark’s population is only one-fourth white, and it seems obvious that the sentiment being expressed here, as well as the use of the word “gentrification,” are what in other contexts might be called “racial dog whistles.”
Read more at:

Remember When a Sign of Progressive Thought Was Concern About Exploitation of Third World Workers?

8/5/17 Daily Mail:
Child miners aged four living a hell on Earth so YOU can drive an electric car: Awful human cost in squalid Congo cobalt mine
Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

A New Google Feature

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—At a special press conference held at the technology giant’s sprawling campus Tuesday, Google engineers revealed exciting new technology that autocorrects any errant thoughts its users are having, replacing them with positions approved by the company.
Utilizing advanced retinal scan and proprietary telepathic scanning technology, the new automatic thought correction algorithm is now live for users of Google’s search engine, Android operating system, Chrome OS, and the hundreds of other apps and services the company provides.
“Let’s say you start thinking there may be some kind of inherent biological difference between men and women,” Google employee Ryan Vo said in a live demo of the new tech. “Immediately, the thought suggestion program in any nearby Google device, app, or service will scrub the idea of inherent gender differences and replace them with the sure knowledge that there are at least three hundred different genders in existence, and always has been.”
For those unfamiliar with it, the Babylon Bee is a Christian equivalent to The Onion.

You Do Not Really Need Machine Tools to Make Guns

Bearing Arms discusses and shows a video about a guy who ended up making submachines in Britain from entirely off the shelf, non-gun parts.  The magazine catch is amazingly simple and clever  Here is one of the books that sent this guy to prison: how to make a .32/.380 machine pistol.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Publication Offer

Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy has offered to publish

Congress is considering passage of national concealed carry legislation requiring all states to recognize concealed weapon licenses issued by any state, rather like the way that every state recognizes driver’s licenses issued by another state. Are there any constitutional problems with such legislation? What practical problems might result? This paper seeks to answer those questions.

The Founder

Awesome film about Ray Kroc, and the founding of McDonald's.  I knew enough about this to recognize many parts of this as accurate. Kroc was a pretty bad guy in how he treated the McDonald brothers but he did do some pretty amazing things in organizing and creating the McDonald's franchise, and identifying the right people to hire and franchise. The McDonald brothers come across as geniuses: the Henry Ford or Samuel Colt of burgers.

Interesting closing text: McDonald's feeds 1% of the world's population daily.

Just Removed Chrome and Google From My SmartPhone

Deathe to Goolag!  What's the alternative to YouTube?

Diversity, Equality: Pick One

Instapundit points to an article by several prominent scientists about gender and race differences with respect to diversity hiring.  This is because of the Google engineer who pointed out the absurdity of Google's diversity and PC obsession.  (Yes, now fired.)  Here's the money quote:
This dogma relies on two core assumptions:
  •  The human sexes and races have exactly the same minds, with precisely identical distributions of traits, aptitudes, interests, and motivations; therefore, any inequalities of outcome in hiring and promotion must be due to systemic sexism and racism;
  • The human sexes and races have such radically different minds, backgrounds, perspectives, and insights, that companies must increase their demographic diversity in order to be competitive; any lack of demographic diversity must be due to short-sighted management that favors groupthink.
The obvious problem is that these two core assumptions are diametrically opposed.
Let me explain. If different groups have minds that are precisely equivalent in every respect, then those minds are functionally interchangeable, and diversity would be irrelevant to corporate competitiveness. For example, take sex differences. The usual rationale for gender diversity in corporate teams is that a balanced, 50/50 sex ratio will keep a team from being dominated by either masculine or feminine styles of thinking, feeling, and communicating. Each sex will counter-balance the other’s quirks. (That makes sense to me, by the way, and is one reason why evolutionary psychologists often value gender diversity in research teams.) But if there are no sex differences in these psychological quirks, counter-balancing would be irrelevant. A 100% female team would function exactly the same as a 50/50 team, which would function the same as a 100% male team. If men are no different from women, then the sex ratio in a team doesn’t matter at any rational business level, and there is no reason to promote gender diversity as a competitive advantage.
This apparently originally appeared on Quilette, which is now dead.

No wonder Google fired him:
He then went on to the University of Illinois, where he graduated in 2010 in the top 3 percent of his class with a degree in molecular and cellular biology, according to his CV.He graduated as a James Scholar and was given the Bronze Tablet, the highest awards given to graduates, he said.
Damore also pursued his Ph.D. in systems biology from Harvard University in from 2011 to 2013, according to his Linkedin profile. He is listed in the alumni section of the Harvard Systems Biology Ph.D. program, but Harvard told Wired that Damore did not complete his Ph.D. He did complete a master’s degree in systems biology in 2013, Harvard told Wired.
Quilette was indeed a victim of a DDoS attack; progressives showing their contempt for free speech.  Why am I not surprised?

I Should Have Expected This

At the 1979 total solar eclipse, I watched it from a location right next to some electric power distribution equipment.  Just as totality hit, there was an enormous flash from the equipment, as (presumably) thousands of photosensors turned on lights.  Along with what sound like irrational disaster fears in many states on the totality path, this 8/7/17 CBS Philly article has a video about how the partial eclipse is going to drop 6 megawatts from California's photovoltaic grid, requiring backup power sources to come online.

Remember When the Democrats Would Not Allow Blacks to Vote in Primaries?

Waters joined  “The Breakfast Club” radio show on Monday morning and was asked if it was time for black people to form their own political party.
“No, not at this point,” Waters said. “You have to show that you’re willing and you’re able to put the numbers together and exercise your influence.”
“We still are not voting our influence yet,” she continued. “What we should do is organize our power, exercise our power, particularly in the Democratic Party because that’s where most of us are.”
Waters then suggested that when black people are “strong enough” they may branch out into their own party.
After black people fully participate in politics, she said, “then you can raise that kind of question–whether we are strong enough to talk about organizing another party.”
Where progressive thought takes you.

That Mean Mr. Trump

A June surge in U.S. job openings to a record indicates demand for workers remained strong at the end of the second quarter, a Labor Department report showed Tuesday.
The gain in job openings underscores the need for workers in an economy that’s continuing to expand. At the same time, the pool of qualified Americans is shrinking and making some positions tougher to fill, one reason economists expect the monthly pace of hiring will eventually cool. July figures released last week showed payrolls increased more than forecast while the unemployment rate matched a 16-year low, as Americans came off the sidelines to join the labor force and many found work.
The JOLTS report also showed fewer people quitting their jobs, considered a gauge of workers’ willingness to voluntarily leave because they’re confident of finding a better job. That indicates faster wage growth, which has remained elusive in recent years, may still take time to materialize. The quits rate, which remains near its post-recession high, is among indicators of labor-market slack that Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen monitors.
Rising wages: good news for workers; even good news for those dependent on government: there's money to pay the bills.

A Reminder of the Hazards of Homeowners Associations

Thanks to a little-noticed auction sale, a South Bay couple are the proud owners of one of the most exclusive streets in San Francisco — and they’re looking for ways to make their purchase pay.

Tina Lam and Michael Cheng snatched up Presidio Terrace — the block-long, private oval street lined by 35 megamillion-dollar mansions — for $90,000 and change in a city-run auction stemming from an unpaid tax bill. They outlasted several other bidders.

Now they’re looking to cash in — maybe by charging the residents of those mansions to park on their own private street....
The couple’s purchase appears to be the culmination of a comedy of errors involving a $14-a-year property tax bill that the homeowners association failed to pay for three decades. It’s something that the owners of all 181 private streets in San Francisco are obliged to do.

My Wife Getting Her Puppy Fix

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Afternoon Amazon Droppings

Not exactly sure what it is intended for (a nicely padded zippered case),  but I think I can find a use for it.
Are there any Amazon stockholders out there concerned about your profits?  OI cannot believe I am the only recipient of Amazon Droppings.  This started recently.  Look through all changes involving JOIN or SELECT in the last month or two.

At the rate these are arriving and assuming that the rate is significantly tied to Amazon orders, I expect UPS and USPS are going to need larger trucks.

Remember, any Amazon Droppings

Are free to my loyal readers.

Amazon Droppings

Swedes Need Grenade Control

Apparently they are coming in from former Yugoslavia with big increase in use:
According to Peter Hejdström, head of police investigation in Halmstad, the explosives  — which are typically thrown by hand  — are not a problem that is restricted to the big cities, as the widespread availability of grenades in Sweden means even rural areas have been affected.

To My Fellow College Faculty

In case you wonder why your non-ivory tower acquaintances wince when they introduce you to friends: 8/5/17 PJMedia:
On the other hand, it's really, really tough to lose your college teaching job by spouting off leftist slogans. Which makes Kevin Allred a very special guy. He is a white man who, for several years, taught a course in the Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University entitled “Politicizing Beyoncé.”
Judging by all accounts, it was a perfect example of a thoroughly ridiculous 21st-century humanities course, heavy on pop culture and political correctness and light on anything remotely resembling academic or practical value. It was a very popular course with the Rutgers student body, doubtless because it was less challenging than, say, Quantum Mechanics.
(Sample student comments from Rate My Professors: “Awesome professor! Doesn't believe in grades and is very lenient. No actual homework.” “BEST. PROFESSOR. AT RUTGERS. Like the second class the computer wasn't working and he cancelled class.” “He doesn't even lecture, we watch one or two of Beyonce's music videos and then we discuss them ... super easy.” “SUPER CHILL! Like literally, he let us choose our final grade!”)...
“We were informed by Rutgers PD,” explained the NYPD in a statement, “that he made threats to kill white people.” Allred himself, in a piece published online last month, maintained that “[a]n anonymous complaint from a parent claimed I forced students to destroy an American flag, threatened every white student in class by saying I would shoot them all given the chance, then returned home and tweeted proof of my dangerous behavior.”
The tweet read as follows: “will the 2nd amendment be as cool when I buy a gun and start shooting atrandom [sic] white people or no...?”
Although the doctors at Bellevue sent Allred home, he was later visited (he says) by members of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. And Rutgers, after temporarily suspending him, gave him the heave-ho. In the aforementioned piece, in which he depicted himself (naturally) as a victim and rejected all the accusations made against him, Allred said that the whole episode “makes me want to teach harder, more ferociously, and more unapologetically than ever.”
Of course fired by Rutgers meant hired by Montclair State University.  Of course Allred is white.

Stuff like this shows the fundamental unseriousness of some departments, and that perception soon spreads to the larger institutions.  I really recommend you read the student comments at RateMyProfessors, and ask yourself, "Is this college, or young adult daycare?"

Time to Stop Subsidizing Rich People

8/7/17 The Hill points out that the government subsidizes Elon Musk's ideas:
Here’s the question I hear when I’m talking to friends in Georgia who ask me to explain Washington to them: “Why should those guys in Washington take my hard-earned tax dollars and use them to lower the price of an electric car for some movie star in Hollywood?”
That’s a good question. Given that the average household income of a Tesla Model X owner is $503,000, that the average household income of a Tesla Model S owner is $267,000, and that we can only assume the average household income of a Model 3 owner will be somewhere in six-figure territory, it’s a tough question to answer. 
If Leonardo DiCaprio – who commands $20 million per movie (and there’s nothing at all wrong with that, if Hollywood studios think he’s worth the investment) – wants to buy a Tesla electric car, more power to him. But he certainly doesn’t need to be taking money out of the pockets of middle-income people elsewhere to do it. He can afford it on his own.

Amazon Purchases

Amazon broke their really elegant search widget, supposedly for mobile apps, nut really just to annoy me.  I have a link on the upper right column now that you can use for buying things from Amazon that will put a few dollars in my pocket.  Your girlfriend or wife really needs one of these.


I understand that many of you have gone camping of late, and your campfires have produced a fairly absurd amount of smoke.  This is making astronomy difficult for me; what economists call the "tragedy of the commons."  Could each of you go out your front door and throw a couple gallons of water on those fires?  I would appreciate it.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Case For Drug Laws

Libertarians are inclined to support decriminalization based on the notion that the major parties injured by drug abuse are the users.  If only!  I spent some time talking to some social workers today.  Hospitals here in Boise often have several newborns withdrawing from meth at a time.  They use morphine to ease their suffering.  Of course, a newborn withdrawing from meth is an immediate loss of guardianship for the mother.  You obviously know a week before birth that you are pregnant and are putting your unborn child in a world of hurt.

Not sure what the long-term consequences of soaking a fetal brain in meth are, but I doubt that it is good.

Jeep Manual

Maybe I have been spoiled by Jaguar and GM.  At least they can write useful and informative manuals.  The 2016 Jeep Renegade manual is useless.  The manual on DVD is worse.  It tells you that you need a newer version of Acrobat, and after enough effort tells you that you have the newest version.  Nor can you find the files on the DVD that the packaging claims to provide--like the warranty info on the Continental tires on the car.  (The printed material says to check the DVD.)  This is is a nail puncture so big that I can hear at 40 psi, so I am sure that there is no point to pursuing a warranty claim, but it is still frustrating to see how incompetently the printed and DVD manual are done.  The online warranty location does not have the warranty information on the tires, either.  I guess Fiat/Chrysler has not adapted to the 21st century well.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Saw this on a billboard.  Went to the website.  Sounds like scam, but apparently a miracle treatment for Major Depressive Disorder, chronic pain, stroke-induced aphasia, TBI, spinal cord injury, Parkinson's, schizophrenia, and substance abuse.  FDA approved for depression.  Hideously expensive; plan on $6000-$12,000.  Essentially side effect free.

Along the way, I ran into a similar treatment device called Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) which has similarly amazing improvements and the Fisher-Wallace CES is $699.
Intended for home use.  "[R]esults are frequently seen from the first treatment."

I know someone with severe depression.  The CES sounds promising.

U.S. Army Medical Department Journal:
The purpose of this study was to examine service members' and veterans' perceptions of the effectiveness and safety of CES treatment. Service members and veterans (N=1,514) who had obtained a CES device through the Department of Defense or Veterans Affairs Medical Center from 2006-2011 were invited to participate in the web based survey via email. One hundred fifty-two participants returned questionnaires. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Participants reported clinical improvement of 25% or more from using CES for anxiety (66.7%), PTSD (62.5%), insomnia (65.3%) and depression (53.9%). The majority of these participants reported clinical improvement of 50% or more. Respondents also perceived CES to be safe (99.0%). Those individuals who were not taking any prescription medication rated CES more effective than the combined CES and prescription medication group. 
Journal of Affective Disorders:
Analysis of covariance revealed a significant difference between the active CES group and the sham CES group on anxiety (p=0.001, d=0.94) and on depression (p=0.001, d=0.78) from baseline to endpoint of study in favor of the active CES group. 

Battery/Charger Question

I have a solar charge controller charging a 12VDC AGM battery from a solar panel.  The controller has two LEDs: charging, and charged.  The charging LED is pretty much always on while sunlight hits the panel.  The charged LED never turns on.  The battery is certainly charging; I have an inverter connected to the battery and I can turn on the inverter and run AC lights, even at night, so I know the charge controller isn't powering the inverter.  How should I determine the defective part?  Would taking the battery to a dealer enable them to determine if the battery is ready to be replaced?  How do you verify that charge controller is doing it right?


Yes, just looking at them through the refractor.  Two of them only.  One huge, one just South of it, small (Earth diameter or close).  No pictures; the refractor because of the apochromat corrector, does not have enough in focus for the camera.

Amazon Search Widget Broken

It appears that Amazon both broke their existing search widget and no longer have it available.  I have updated my widget so that you can click a link to Amazon that should reward my account.

Did You Really Need This New Law?

Shall Not Be Questioned points to this 8/1/17 Sacramento Bee article about California's recently enacted Gun Violence Restraining Orders law:
California courts ordered people to temporarily give up possession of their firearms 86 times last year.
A new law, which took effect in 2016, allows family members or law enforcement officers to seek a “gun violence restraining order” against someone they believe poses an “immediate and present danger” of harming themselves or others. Generally, the suspension expires within 21 days, though in 10 cases last year, the judge held a hearing and extended the order to one year because they determined the individual was still a substantial threat.
Legislators proposed the gun violence restraining order in 2014, in the wake of a mass murder in the college town of Isla Vista where six individuals were killed by stabbing and shooting. Supporters, including the parents of slain students, argued the law would provide a tool to prevent future tragedies. (Local authorities had conducted a welfare check on the Isla Vista shooter after his parents raised concerns about his mental health.) But critics worried about officials stripping guns from people without good cause and violating the rights of individuals who have not yet committed a crime.
Now, my objection to this new law is that California already has laws to handle persons who pose an “immediate and present danger” of harming themselves or others.   California Welfare & Institution Code sec. 5150 allows any peace officer to hospitalize a person under such circumstances for three days.  The staff can hold him another 14 days for treatment under sec. 5250.  A judge can order hospitalization under sec. 5300.  There was really no need for this law.  And 86 uses in a year in a state as big as California casts serious doubt as to either its need or willingness of authorities to use it.

How Many Progressive Oxen Get Gored by This?

Friday, August 4, 2017

Excellence, Diversity: Pick One

You really do not need to make a binary choice on this; there are plenty of smart blacks, Hispanics, and LGBTs.  But the California State University system has apparently decided that this is a binary choice and are choosing against excellence.  From American Power, quoting the Los Angeles Times:
Cal State plans to drop placement exams in math and English as well as the noncredit remedial courses that more than 25,000 freshmen have been required to take each fall — a radical move away from the way public universities traditionally support students who come to college less prepared than their peers.
In an executive order issued late Wednesday, Chancellor Timothy P. White directed the nation’s largest public university system to revamp its approach to remedial education and assess new freshmen for college readiness and course placement by using high school grades, ACT and SAT scores, previous classroom performance and other measures that administrators say provide a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of students’ knowledge.
Cal State will no longer make those students who may need extra help take the entry-level mathematics (ELM) test and the English placement test (EPT).
The new protocol, which will go into effect in fall 2018, “facilitates equitable opportunity for first-year students to succeed through existing and redesigned education models,” White wrote in a memorandum to the system’s 23 campus presidents, who will be responsible for working with faculty to implement the changes....
Under the new system, all Cal State students will be allowed to take courses that count toward their degrees beginning on Day 1. Students who need additional support in math or English, for example, could be placed in “stretch” courses that simultaneously provide remedial help and allow them to complete the general math and English credits required for graduation.
Faculty are also encouraged to explore other innovative ways to embed additional academic support within a college-level course. A few other states have experimented with these approaches, and the results so far are encouraging, administrators said.
“This will have a tremendous effect on the number of units students accumulate in their first year of college,” said James T. Minor, Cal State’s senior strategist for academic success and inclusive excellence. “It will have an enormous effect on college affordability, on the number of semesters that a student is required to be enrolled in before they earn a degree, and it will have a significant impact on the number of students that ultimately cross a commencement stage with a degree in hand, ready to move into the workforce, ready to move into graduate or professional school."
Once you cut through all the pretentious gibberish, CSU has decided that requiring students to demonstrate basic competence in English and math is too hard on students who are simply not ready for college.  Let me emphasize that the CSU system is not an elite system like UC Berkeley or UCLA.   It looks like CSU, although not phrasing this in explicitly racial terms, is concerned about students coming in from high schools that are failing to adequately prepare their students.  Let's not kid ourselves: it isn't Palo Alto, or Palisades High that are the source of the unprepared students, but kids coming in from South Central and Oakland.  Tragically, these students are likely the top of their graduating classes in districts that are both underfunded and struggling to teach students who are coming from homes where education has never been a major priority.

Lowering standards is at serious risk of diminishing the meaning of a college degree.