Thursday, April 30, 2015

Lean Meat

College kids, the other white meat?
But really, what the f--k is wrong with kids these days and, more important, the supposed adults who look after them? They act as if they are raising human veal that cannot even stand on their own legs or face the sunlight without having their eyeballs burned out and their hearts broken by a single deep breath or uncomfortable moment. I’m just waiting for stories of college deans carrying students on from class to class on their backs.
Granted, this is not a new problem, but it does seem to have become the cultural norm as of late...

Be Prepared

Coming soon to a neighborhood near you: Climate change drills?
“Through the PrepareAthon, Americans will participate in discussions, drills, and exercises focused on making sure they’re ready for these challenges,” the White House said in a blog post. “For example, local officials are hosting trainings for their communities, businesses are testing their emergency communication plans, and schools are practicing emergency response activities.”

“[W]ith climate change exacerbating many of these threats, preparedness is more important than ever,” it added. “Droughts and wildfires are becoming more frequent and severe in some regions of the country. And climate-related impacts like rising sea levels, increasingly powerful storms, and heavier downpours are contributing to an increased risk of flooding.”

The White House said the federal government was running several events to mark PreparAthon. Those include “hosting shelter-in-place drills in federal facilities” and “running hurricane recovery exercises on military bases.”
Will there be "Duck and Cool" drills?

Dead Reds

How to take care of a dead Communist:
The job of maintaining Lenin’s corpse belongs to an institute known in post-Soviet times as the Center for Scientiļ¬c Research and Teaching Methods in Biochemical Technologies in Moscow. A core group of five to six anatomists, biochemists and surgeons, known as the “Mausoleum group,” have primary responsibility for maintaining Lenin’s remains. (They also help maintain the preserved bodies of three other national leaders: the Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh and the North Korean father–son duo of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, respectively.) The Russian methods focus on preserving the body’s physical form—its look, shape, weight, color, limb flexibility and suppleness—but not necessarily its original biological matter. In the process they have created a “quasibiological” science that differs from other embalming methods. “They have to substitute occasional parts of skin and flesh with plastics and other materials, so in terms of the original biological matter the body is less and less of what it used to be,” says Alexei Yurchak, professor of social anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. “That makes it dramatically different from everything in the past, such as mummification, where the focus was on preserving the original matter while the form of the body changes,” he adds.
He's just a shell of his former self, really...

Warp Speed

Full speed ahead?
While the technology behind EM drives has been demonstrated before, the results have been disputed by some who don’t believe that it could work. But a controlled demonstration in conditions like those in space could be enough to begin the work to prove that the project could be used in practice.

Though the technology has been discussed in great length and detail on the forum and elsewhere, it is yet to undergo any peer review and the results of the recent Nasa experiments have not been released publicly.

The device works by propelling objects through space by using magnets to create microwaves, which are then sent through a device to create thrust. If it works, it could overcome the need to carry fuel for propulsion — a huge problem that limits the speed and distance that those journeying in space can travel.
I keep telling the Captain she canna take much more o'this...

Drone Tag

The age of drone graffiti is here:
The Calvin Klein billboard, one of New York City’s largest, sits at the busy intersection of Houston St and Lafayette St. The graffiti drone’s potential for troublemaking on an unprecedentedly grand scale is obvious. The billboard, which was previously graced by a topless, (perhaps) digitally-enhanced Justin Bieber, is absolutely gigantic, about six stories tall. It would have been almost impossible to tag Jenner’s face using the traditional methods. One could rappel off the top of the building or use a cherry picker, but neither option is exactly safe, or subtle, or quick enough that one could do it without cops on regular patrol spotting it. With the drone, by contrast, it took less than a minute. Still, the artist admitted, “It was a bit tense.” (Needless to say, the stunt was extremely illegal).
But given that it was Justin Bieber, perhaps it shouldn't have been...

Democracy In The UK

How they handle politicians across the pond:
One after another, the leaders of the three main parties came onto the stage in Leeds. They left after half an hour of give-and-take, having been roasted by relentless questions and expressions of disbelief from the audience. If anyone needed a clear expression of voters’ lack of confidence in their political leaders, it was there for all to see.

This was the kind of encounter that is almost never seen in U.S. politics. Politicians may do town hall meetings or take questions in coffee shops or living rooms in Iowa or New Hampshire. Occasionally someone throws a tough question, but voters are generally polite and rarely too pointed. American politicians would be stunned by the style of voters in Britain.
Mainly because many of our pols wouldn't allow it...

Back To The Neighborhood

President Obama, community organizer in Chief?
“I’ll be done being president in a couple of years and I’ll still be a pretty young man,” he said. “And so I’ll go back to doing the kinds of work I was doing before, just trying to find ways to help people.”

Obama, who will be 55 years old when he leaves office in 2017, said his post-presidential agenda includes helping children get educations and better access to the job market, and luring businesses into low-income neighborhoods. Just out of college, he worked on Chicago's South Side as a community organizer, a career choice that earned him much derision from conservative quarters.

“That’s the kind of work that I really love to do,” he said, after one child asked what inspired him to seek the presidency.
His work is done...

Meat Birds

Chickens like meat:
Chickens on an unsupplemented vegetarian diet typically fall short of an essential protein-based amino acid known as methionine, and without it, they fall ill. Worse, the birds will also turn on each other, seeking nutrients by pecking at each other, and these incidents can escalate into a henhouse bloodbath, farmers say.

“They’re really like little raptors – they want meat,” said Blake Alexandre, the owner of a 30,000 chicken operation in far northern California that keeps its birds on pasture. “The idea that they ought to be vegetarians is ridiculous.”
Birds and dinosaurs are related for a reason...

The Ethics Stop Here

Another Clinton money pipeline comes to light:
The Clinton Health Access Initiative never submitted information on any foreign donations to State Department lawyers for review during Clinton’s tenure from 2009 to 2013, Maura Daley, the organization’s spokeswoman, acknowledged to the Globe this week. She said the charity deemed it unnecessary, except in one case that she described as an “oversight.” During that time, grants from foreign governments increased by tens of millions of dollars to the Boston-based organization. Daley’s acknowledgement was the first by the charity of the broad scope of its apparent failures to fulfill the spirit of a crucial political pledge made by the Clinton family and their charities. The health initiative has previously acknowledged failing only to disclose the identity of its contributors, another requirement under the agreement. The failures make the Clinton Health Access Initiative, which is headquartered on Dorchester Avenue in South Boston, and goes by the acronym CHAI, a prominent symbol of the broken political promise and subsequent lack of accountability underlying the charity-related controversies that are dogging Clinton as she embarks on her campaign for president.
Would it be too charitable to call her a crook now?

Fish Tale

For want of a fish?
Endangered since 1993, the plankton-eating silver minnow is blamed by farmers, lawmakers and water officials up and down the Golden State for locking down billions of gallons of water that otherwise would go to them. That's because, since the smelt's listing as a protected species, biologists have tried saving the fish, in part, by withholding fresh river runoff annually to maintain smelt-friendly temperature and salinity levels.

Farmers and downstate cities -- already suffering the effects of the drought -- claim that water was allocated to them, and withholding it for a fish with no commercial purpose is bad policy.

“California fruits and vegetables are sent all over the world,” said Republican state Assemblyman Travis Allen. “When we are diverting our water to save a few pinky-size fish and leaving hundreds of thousands of acres fallow – there is something wrong with our priorities.”
Not in California...


How to make a ghost:
“Most of the research predicts that we cannot tickle ourselves because our brain precisely predicts of one hand, of my hand, touching my body or touching one or another position. However, if this is not fully integrated because I’m doing it or if I cannot correctly predict because somebody else were to touch me; in those cases of uncertainty, very often in those cases of double touch, the response is that you feel ticklish or tickled by somebody else,” said Blanke who is leading the research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland (EPFL).

Blanke’s team began by analyzing the brains of 12 patients with neurological disorders who have reported having such a secondary representation of their body, in other words a ghost sensation. MRI scans revealed abnormalities with three brain regions involved in self-awareness, movement and the sense of position in space. These brain regions together contribute to multi-sensory signal processing, important for the perception of one’s own body.
Who you gonna call when you're your own ghost?

Luck Of The Irish

How much does George Soros owe?
While building a record as one of the world’s greatest investors, the 84-year-old billionaire used a loophole that allowed him to defer taxes on fees paid by clients and reinvest them in his fund, where they continued to grow tax-free. At the end of 2013, Soros—through Soros Fund Management—had amassed $13.3 billion through the use of deferrals, according to Irish regulatory filings by Soros.
Congress closed the loophole in 2008 and ordered hedge fund managers who used it to pay the accumulated taxes by 2017. A New York-based money manager such as Soros would be subject to a federal rate of 39.6 percent, combined state and city levies totaling 12 percent, and an additional 3.8 percent tax on investment income to pay for Obamacare, according to Andrew Needham, a tax partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Applying those rates to Soros’s deferred income would create a tax bill of $6.7 billion. That calculation is based on publicly available information such as the Irish regulatory filings, which provide only a partial glimpse into Soros’s finances. The actual tax bill would be affected by factors specific to the billionaire. Soros declined to comment, according to Michael Vachon, a spokesman, as did Anthony Burke, an IRS spokesman.
Hey, George-pay your fair share!

Uh Oh, Oreos

No cookies for you:
Moon said the school was just trying to promote healthy eating but Pearson said that effort has often been inconsistent. During this year's Easter holiday, for example, she said the school asked students to bring in candy for the celebration. Her daughter also receives jelly beans as a snack when she stays for after-school care, Pearson said.

"They say I can't decide what to feed her but then they sometimes feed her junk food," Pearson said. "Why am I being punished for Oreos when at other times I am asked to bring candy?"

The child was offered an alternative snack, Moon said. But Pearson said this was not the case and her child came home hungry.

"She is not overweight by any means and I usually try to feed her healthy," Pearson said, noting her daughter's lunch also included a sandwich and some string cheese. "It’s not like I was offering cookies to the entire class and it's not like that was the only thing in her lunch."
It would have been healthier than one of Michelle Obama's lunches...

The Left's Right Flank

Why liberals can't gain traction:
The left wing of the Democratic Party just isn’t big enough to support a challenge to the left of a mainstream liberal Democrat like Mrs. Clinton.

That might seem somewhat surprising if you’re an affluent, secular, well-educated person living along the coasts, in places like Bethesda, Md., Berkeley, Calif., or Montclair, N.J., where the party really is dominated by the uniformly liberal voters who love Elizabeth Warren and harbor at least some reservations about Mrs. Clinton. From that vantage point — which happens to be the same as that of many political journalists — it often looks as if Mrs. Warren could even defeat Mrs. Clinton.

But the Democratic primary electorate is nothing like these liberal enclaves. Elsewhere, the party includes a large number of less educated, more religious — often older, Southern or nonwhite — voters who are far from uniformly liberal.

The majority of Democrats and Democratic primary voters are self-described moderates or even conservatives, according to an Upshot analysis of Pew survey data from 2014 and exit polls from the 2008 Democratic primary.
Maybe the Party leadership should remember that...

Too Sexy For The Tubes

When is being hot too hot?
After receiving about 360 complaints about the campaign, mostly that it objectified women, the Advertising Standards Authority has also launched an inquiry into whether the ad is offensive…

The ad campaign, which promotes Protein World weight-loss products, is due to end a three-week run on London underground. The vast majority of complainants argue that the ad is offensive, irresponsible and harmful because it promotes an unhealthy body image.

“Although the ad won’t appear in the meantime, we’ve launched an investigation to establish if it breaks harm and offence rules or is socially irresponsible,” said the spokesman.
Irresponsible, or just offensive to ugly women?

Robo Russian

In Russia, robot controls you:
“The Russian Army is set to receive mind-controlled exoskeletons,” Sputnik reported. “The wearable robots will be controlled by brain waves and will increase the strength and endurance of the serviceman wearing it by several times.”

Russian soldiers equipped with the new gear, according to Sputnik, would be able to carry more than 600 pounds of gear. Their endurance, it added, would also be greatly increased.

And the mind-control part? Sputnik quoted Aleksander Kulish, identified as the head of medical equipment development and manufacturing at Russia’s United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation, as saying, “I think that in about five years we will introduce a neuroelectronic interface which will control the exoskeletons and artificial limbs through the electrical potential of a human brain.”
You will be terminated, comrade?

Last Ride

What really happened?
Sources said the medical examiner found Gray's catastrophic injury was caused when he slammed into the back of the police transport van, apparently breaking his neck; a head injury he sustained matches a bolt in the back of the van.

Details surrounding exactly what caused Gray to slam into the back of the van was unclear. The officer driving the van has yet to give a statement to authorities. It’s also unclear whether Gray’s head injury was voluntary or was a result of some other action.
Plus, this:
Court records examined Wednesday by The Baltimore Sun show the case had nothing to do with a car accident or a spine injury. Instead, they are connected to a lawsuit alleging that Gray and his sister were injured by exposure to lead paint.

Paperwork was filed in December allowing Gray and his sister, Fredericka to each collect an $18,000 payment from Peachtree Settlement Funding, records show. In exchange, Peachtree would have received a $108,439 annuity that was scheduled to be paid in $602 monthly installments between 2024 and 2039.

In her documents, Fredericka Gray checked “other” when asked to describe the type of accident. She also said that the date of the accident was “94/99″ and that she was a minor when the case was settled.
The truth will slowly out...

How To Save The Hugos

One possible answer:
The Hugo Voter Project is a new effort to build on this idea, and provide a continuing source for randomly-awarded “scholarships.” The details are still a little unsettled, but the basics are these:
The scholarships themselves are awarded using a transparent and verifiable random process.
The applications for the scholarships don’t include any ideologically identifiable information — just what’s needed to actually provide the membership.
The funds collected are 100 percent disbursed as memberships or to benefit the Worldcon. Internet economics make it feasible to do the administration, at least this year, on an out-of-pocket basis.
If by any chance the amount of funding exceeds the number of people who apply for scholarships — which seems unlikely — then the funds will roll over for next year or be donated to the current Con Committee. In no case will any contributed funds go to anything but memberships or the Con Committee.
The effect is to open the Hugos to many people who might otherwise not have voted. In the future, if this is successful, it would be run early enough to allow scholarship members to nominate as well as vote.
True diversity begins at the ballot box...

My Morning Snob

I guess he's not all that popular back home:
Although the Kentucky-based group’s unique sound has made it difficult for them to find commercial success on the radio, James insists that he won’t be switching to pop or country music anytime soon.

"Having a hit would be awesome, but I don't know if it's meant to happen," he tells Rolling Stone. He’s more concerned about producing quality music than about creating a chart-topping single, calling pop radio such a waste of time. But he has even harsher feelings about modern country music.

"I feel like modern country is deliberately dumbing down the human race," James declares. "They're deliberately making people take glory in being uneducated and racist, and it's just sad. I think it's absolute mind control."
Drugs can have that effect, too...

Lost In Orbit

It kind of makes you miss the Space Shuttle:
The unmanned Progress vessel, loaded with 3 tons of goods, began tumbling shortly after its launch Tuesday from Kazakhstan.

Kelly said the craft will fall out of orbit and re-enter the atmosphere sometime soon. He's not sure exactly when.

The capsule is expected to burn up in the atmosphere, as is the case for all Progress carriers, once they have delivered their shipments and are filled with trash.

"We should be OK," said Kelly, one month into a planned one-year mission, which will be a record for NASA. "The program plans for these kinds of things to happen. They're very unfortunate when they do."
Yes, but they used to be somewhat more reliable when we could do it...

Oh, There They Are

So that's where they went:
The Treasury’s Inspector General for Tax Administration announced overnight that it had recovered roughly 6,400 Lerner emails that Congress has yet to see and that it will examine them as part of Congress’ bipartisan investigation that also includes the Senate Finance Committee.

Roughly 650 of the recovered emails are from 2010 and 2011, while most of them are from 2012.

During those three years, Lerner led the IRS division that targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.

The inspector general has found about 35,000 emails in all as it sought to recover emails from backup tapes.

“We welcome the Inspector General's recovery of these Lois Lerner emails,” the IRS said in response to the IG announcement. “This is an encouraging development that will help resolve remaining questions and dispel uncertainty surrounding the emails.
I'll be they're pleased...

Into The Breach

And here comes Bernie Sanders:
The self-described "democratic socialist" enters the race as a robust liberal alternative to Hillary Rodham Clinton, and he pledged to do more than simply raise progressive issues or nudge the former secretary of state to the left in a campaign in which she is heavily favored.

"People should not underestimate me," Sanders said. "I've run outside of the two-party system, defeating Democrats and Republicans, taking on big-money candidates and, you know, I think the message that has resonated in Vermont is a message that can resonate all over this country."
Be still my beating heart...

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Snacks have Ears

Your chips are listening:
The technique involves computations on pixel-to-pixel differences over time that effectively magnify small movements. Those worried about the potential eavesdropping or spying applications of the technique can take comfort in the fact that it works best with very high rate, memory intensive video capture — but not too much comfort. As shown in the video, it is possible to get a much better than expected result with a regular consumer camera by taking advantage of artifacts resulting from a "rolling shutter" capture.
"Sir, we have a warrant for your Pringles..."

Sludge Beer

Some beer makers already do this:
“We need to be judging water by its quality, and not by its history,” said Mark Jockers, a spokesman for Clean Water Services, which runs four wastewater treatment plants in the Portland suburbs. “The water we’re producing is significantly cleaner than what the safe drinking standards are for water that comes out of taps across the United States.”

The utility plans to release 300 gallons of highly purified water in early June to roughly 20 home brewers from the Oregon Brew Crew, the state’s oldest home-brewing club. A panel of experts will judge the beers in late July or early August. The victor wins $100, five others will get $50, and their kegs will be taken to an international water conference in Chicago. Though state regulators have approved the safety of the water, the beer won’t be sold at stores or bars.
Unfortunately, regular beers will...

Holding Pattern

No, younger voters aren't deserting the Democrats:
Just 21 percent of voters in this age group described themselves as “politically engaged.” In 2011, a plurality of young people polled in Harvard’s survey of millennial voters predicted that Barack Obama would lose his reelection bid. Those voters also were generally described as disengaged in the political process. But when they finally tuned in, they backed the Democratic candidate.

There’s every reason to believe that this familiar pattern will recur in 2016.

“Foreign policy and immigration rate as much more important issues for older voters than younger voters,” read a September, 2014, release from Pew Research Center. “Young voters are much more likely than older voters to consider the environment when casting their ballots: 64% of 18-29 year old voters say this will be very important to their vote, compared with only about half (51%) of voters 50 and older.”

That same poll found that voters age 18 – 29 join Democrats, college graduates, and African-Americans as the only subgroups in which a majority of respondents who approved of the Affordable Care Act.

On the issues, Democrats continue to enjoy the support of more young people than do Republicans. It’s a historical constant, a likely outgrowth of America’s progressive tax code, and a phenomenon isn’t going to disappear by this time next year.
It's still your kids' party, even if it doesn't really care about them...

Hug It Off

No hugging, anywhere!
Because U.Va. lumps together touching, "however slight," and intercourse when it comes to sexual assault, requiring "affirmative" consent for both. ("Affirmative consent" is a misleading term, and does not include many forms of consent that occur in the real world, and are recognized by the courts, as I explain at this link. The new policy further warns that "Relying solely on non-verbal communication before or during sexual activity can lead to misunderstanding and may result in a violation of this Policy."
You can't touch that...

Apples And Orange Hues

The Apple watch doesn't like tattoos:
The issue stems from the way that the Apple Watch senses your heartbeat. According to Apple, the back of the Watch rapidly flashes green and infrared light at your skin, which gets absorbed or reflected by your red blood. When your heart beats, there is more blood in your wrist, and there is less blood between beats. By sensing the timing between your heartbeats, the Apple Watch can calculate your heart rate.
As it turns out, solid-colored tattoos -- particularly red ones -- also absorb the green light and reflect red light. Black tattoos, which absorb both green and red light, can also screw up the Apple Watch's heart rate sensor.
Are you having a heart attack, or is it just your tat?

Trick Shot

You don't have to be good, just accurate:
In February, the “smart bullets” — .50-caliber projectiles equipped with optical sensors — passed their most successful round of live-fire tests to date, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.

In the tests, an experienced marksman “repeatedly hit moving and evading targets,” a DARPA statement said.

“Additionally,” the statement said, “a novice shooter using the system for the first time hit a moving target.” In other words, now you don’t even have to be a good shot to hit the mark.
Experience not required?

A One-Sided Conversation

She'll talk to you later:
Two people exited the building ahead of Hillary. One was clearly Secret Service. The other was a woman in a red dress. Both exited well of ahead of her, and neither one was looking back or listening to her. No one walked out beside Hillary, and no one followed close behind her either. She appeared to be talking to herself.

When a reporter interrupted Hillary’s “conversation” to ask a question about the riots in Baltimore, Hillary waved in the direction of the interruption to her monologue but kept walking without responding to the question.
You don't have to be crazy to run for President, but it helps...

Poop On Display

It's literally a crap museum:
The museum, which opened this week inside a medieval castle in the village of Castelbosco near the city of Piacenza, was created by Gianantonio Locatelli, a local farmer.
He runs a herd of 2,500 cows that produces 30,000 litres of milk a day, which is then turned into Grana Padano, a hard cheese similar to Parmesan.
But they also produce around 100,000 kilograms of dung a day, a quantity that Mr Locatelli struggled to dispose of.
Working on the adage that where there's muck, there's brass, he built an elaborate waste treatment plant which converts the manure into methane, fertiliser and even raw materials for the production of bricks and plaster.
The recycling project was so successful that he decided to showcase it as a museum.
He has also collected excrement-related artefacts from around the world, putting them on display in the 14th century castle where he lives with this family.
They include a lump of fossilised dinosaur faeces, jars of faeces, art works inspired by human waste, ancient Roman medicinal cures that featured animal excrement, and a collection of dung beetles, which were held in high esteem by the ancient Egyptians.
But bring your own air freshener...

All Is Climate Change

Naturally it's not their fault:
Arreaza blamed capitalism and climate change for the growing energy crisis. “This is, of course, linked to global warming and the excessive industrialization of capitalism, which never stops, nor has ever stopped, for the effects that it can have on the climate, on society and on Mother Earth,” Mr. Arreaza said in public statements quoted by The Wall Street Journal.

The Venezuelan government has blamed capitalism almost without fault in response to all the nation’s scarcities, though opponents of the socialist state suggest that government mismanagement is a far more significant factor in their economic decline.
Our own EPA is evidence of how this works...

Thug Life

Thugs is thugs:

Propaganda On Crutches

Is the Left finally in a downward spiral?
Their mania for soft ideological conformity suggests a mechanism for this decline. They are growing so accustomed to living in an ideological “safe space” that they will no longer understand what it means to debate their positions, much less how to win the debate.

The most powerful historical precedent for this is the totalitarian creed of the Soviet Union—a dogma imposed, not just by campus censors or a Twitter mob, but by gulags and secret police. Yet one of the lessons of the Soviet collapse is that the ideological uniformity of a dictatorship seems totally solid and impenetrable—right up to the moment it cracks apart. The imposition of dogma succeeds in getting everyone to mouth the right slogans, even as fewer and fewer of them understand or believe the ideology behind it.

This is the Paradox of Dogma. To return to the question we started with: if you try to shut down public debate, is this a way of ensuring that you win—or an admission that you have already lost? The answer is: both. It might ensure that you win in the short term. But over the long term, it abandons the field to those who do believe in ideological debate.
You can only control the argument for so long...

Don't Talk About The Weather

In China, weather reports you:
A new regulation from the Chinese Meteorological Administration bans amateurs and enthusiasts from publicizing their own weather reports, saying that only official authorities are allowed to offer such forecasts.

The regulation, which goes into effect Friday, covers any weather predictions involving “clouds, wind direction, wind speed, air temperature, humidity levels” as well as visibility and more. Those who distribute false or manipulated weather information and “create a negative impact on society” with such reports are liable to be fined as much as 50,000 yuan (around $8,000).

Amateur weather nerds span history and the globe, from Thomas Jefferson’s meticulous catalogues of the temperature and precipitation at Monticello to the many modern-day hobbyists at the U.K.’s Royal Meteorological Society. Weather obsessives in the U.S. were fiercely upset, for example, when in 2012 the consumer-facing Weather Channel announced plans to buy the Weather Underground, a beloved crowd-sourced platform built by weather-loving amateurs.

Shanghai-based recreational meteorologist Ni Shun, who shares his predictions on various social media platforms, said he thought the regulation was aimed at hobbyists with a hunger for fame who exaggerate forecasts to terrify people. “For example, saying that a level-six typhoon is coming, which easily makes people get scared,” he said.
If they want fake forecasts they should go to Al Gore...

Stalling Along

The legacy of Obamanomics:
During the Obama years, thanks to his big government policies, the US economy has stalled. Today the quarterly GDP was announced. The GDP for the first quarter of 2015 braked more sharply than expected at only a .2% pace. The US economy has grown an anemic 9.6% during the Obama years (excluding today’s dismal number).

Of course, Obama’s record on job growth is also much worse that President Reagan’s record.

Net job growth has declined under Obama. By the end of the second year of their terms as president, economic growth under Reagan averaged 7.1% , under Obama an anemic 2.8%.
Reagan took a recession and helped end it. Obama seems determined to see one of his own making through to the end.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


A nation turns its lonely eyes to:
After weighing whether he’d have the cash and resources to take on the Clinton machine, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has decided he’s gonna go for it.

The self-proclaimed socialist will announce his presidential bid on Thursday, Vermont Public Radio reported.

VPR said Sanders won’t announce his run with much pomp — just a statement, followed by a campaign rally a few weeks down the road.

Though an independent in the Senate, Sanders will be running for the Democratic Party nomination.

Sanders is scheduled to speak this evening at Howard University in Washington on his plans to “lower student debt, make college affordable and reverse the decline of the American middle class,” according to his office.
You can just feel the excitement...

Dueling Cellos

It's 2CELLOS doing their version of Michael Jackson's "They Don't Care About Us":

Arm's Length

Controlling someone's arm with your brain:
Neuroscientist Greg Gage asks two volunteers on stage to demonstrate how it’s possible as part of a recent TED talk he delivered.

“It’s not a parlor trick; it actually works,” the TED video’s description said on YouTube. “You have to see it to believe it.”

Gage attaches electrodes to one woman’s arm and measures the signals sent from her brain to make her arm move. He then attached electrodes to another man’s arm. The signals sent from the woman’s brain are then sent to the man’s arm. The audience watches in awe as she is able to control his arm with her brain.
Women already do this constantly with men in other ways...

Don't Think

Can thinking actually be bad for you?
Researchers at Stanford found that activity in the cerebral cortex promoted the growth of high-grade gliomas; they account for four out of every five malignant brain tumors, and a Stanford press release notes survival rates for those with the cancer have barely budged in the last three decades.

To test the suspected link, the researchers implanted human glioma tumors into the brains of lab mice and then used light to increase brain-cell activity adjacent to those tumors.

That increase did spur faster tumor growth, and the behavioral relationship—in which an organ's "primary function" fuels a tumor—is an unusual one. As lead author Michelle Monje puts it, "We don't think about ... breathing promoting the growth of lung cancer."
The next pain you feel may be more than just your brain over-exerting itself...

The Boys

More critics and audiences disagree:
But while critics blasted “Little Boy,” many in media — including Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly, among others — have praised it as a “well done” film that sets a new and positive standard for family movies.

In addition to this positive praise, the 3,575 audience members that took the time to assess “Little Boy” on Rotten Tomatoes as of Tuesday gave it an average rating of 4.4 out of 5, which constitutes an 88 percent favorability rating.

It is these latter numbers that producer and star Eduardo Verastegui, whom TheBlaze interviewed last week about his life, career and Christian faith, is focusing on, saying in a statement issued to TheBlaze that he’s not at all dissuaded by movie critics’ negativity.

“While I always respect and learn from the views of film critics, my first audience for my movies is always the people and I am thrilled that the people are responding so well to ‘Little Boy,’” he said. “We made this movie because as first generation immigrants we love America. Even with her faults, America is the greatest country on earth.”
This is what the anti-Hollywood looks like...

Play Ball

What if they gave a ball game and nobody came?
The surreal scene stems from the ongoing unrest in Baltimore. Rioting over the death of Freddie Gray, a man who died a week after an arrest in the city, catalyzed protests which turned violent. Monday night witnessed youths hurling rocks at police, arson, and widespread looting.

“After consultation with Major League Baseball and city and local officials, tomorrow’s game between the Orioles and the Chicago White Sox will begin at 2:05 p.m. ET and will be closed to the public,” the Orioles announced in Tuesday press release.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, an MLB source said Wednesday’s game will be the “first contest played without fan admittance” in the league’s history.
Without fan attendance is another matter...

Skill Set

Who says TV can't be educational?
Throughout the series, Ferriss takes on a new and intimidating skill for each episode — from tactical shooting (more on his views on guns later) to parkour and “urban escape.” As he writes on his website, “It’s about how to conquer fear in any skill and 10x your learning speed.”

Lest you think the scenes are staged or exaggerated for dramatic effect like some current TV shows, Ferriss told TheBlaze he has a plethora of torn muscles and an overall “demolished” body to prove that he really pushed himself to the limits to create a show unlike anything currently on traditional television.

“I wanted to only create television that I would want to watch, and I watch very little TV,” he said.
Live, and learn, vicariously through Tim:

Granny Workout

You're never too old to stay in shape:
The conventional resistance exercises we use are the leg press, lat pulldowns, barbell bench press, standing barbell press, partial barbell deadlifts, and squats to a box. More innovative things developed especially for her situation are what we refer to as “movement problems.” These are Gus’s version of “functional training” — they take the place of sports-like movements as typically used in an athlete’s program.

Gus has some macular degeneration, and claims to be fairly blind — I have my doubts as to the extent of her blindness, since she can see me eating all the way across the gym. To improve her ability to move like a younger person, we have her walk around the gym in ways that challenge her ability to negotiate the room, while being sure to keep her safe during the process. She walks across different surfaces at different levels — we have several elevated platforms on the floor — in different rooms between her sets under the bar.
I'm about halfway there. I can only hope I'm still as active when I'm in my 90's.

All Education Is Local

A liberal's view of education, explained:
Martin: The presumption of this question is that this is a single country made up of a whole lot of different people. The question is if there ought to be some objective to education, whatever that is, I am not stipulating what it is for the purpose of this question. How do you establish for a country, what all children need to know? What is the vehicle for teaching them that?

Parent: Your question seems to be set around the premise of us being a democratic society instead of being a Republic. I think that is where education may have went wrong. Maybe even in yours. Education should be handled right here at the state level without federal involvement.

Martin: Well, I would, you know, when I went to school I did take that part of history.

Parent: Sure, but the premise of the question was nationally.

Martin: I would argue that the war of northern aggression settled the issue about whether you are 50 different states or one national government. The fact that we have got a federalized system of government is totally different than the issue of 50 sovereign states. So, that got resolved in 1864. So, my question is, given the fact (inaudible) how do you create in an inclusive way, generally speaking, how do you create an educational system that assures that all children, no matter where they come from, have the ability to know what they need to know to be productive human beings for the 21st Century.

Parent: That is where you and I would completely disagree. Sounds like you are more of a globalist and I am more of a localist. I think education should come from the local level.

Martin: Okay, we disagree.
Having an education doesn't necessarily qualify you as an historian...

Diversity By The Bay

White liberal San Franciscans deal with their self-made existential crisis:
So is San Francisco headed for a time when it becomes an affluent, white enclave surrounded by an ethnically diverse population? “I saw that in the report, and it was definitely eyebrow raising,” says Fred Blackwell, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation, a community advocacy organization. “We may be entering into a kind of community crisis.” . . . A less diverse city “is not necessarily a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Blackwell said. “But it is concerning.”
Well, when you push out those who can't afford to live there, this tends to happen...

The Failure Principle

Identifying the cause:
"What it is, is young boys, the young folks in the community showing decades old anger, frustration, for a system that has failed them. This is bigger than Freddie Gray, this is about the social economics of poor, urban America and these young guys are frustrated and upset. Unfortunately they're displaying it in a very destruction manner. When folks are undereducated, unfortunately they don't have the same intellectual voice to express it the way other people are doing and that's why we see the violence today," Mosby said. "There's a symptom of something going on here and what I'm trying to articulate to you is when we look at communities like this in urban America, lack of education, lack of commercial development, lack of opportunities, it's the socioeconomics."

"This is a culminations of a lot of things, decades old of failed policies, decades of lack of development," he said.
Any guesses as to which party created those policies?

The Money Changers

Getting your foot in the door at Hillary's State Department paid off:
Federal records show that Microsoft and Oracle were lobbying Clinton’s State Department on, among other issues, immigrant work visas. Oracle was also lobbying in pursuit of legislation dealing with penalties for aiding espionage. Dell was concerned with tariffs imposed by European countries on its computer products. VeriSign was lobbying on cybersecurity and Internet taxation. SalesForce was lobbying on cloud computing, security controls and electronic privacy issues.

Three of the technology firms that paid Bill Clinton while lobbying Hillary Clinton’s agency also received lucrative State Department contracts. Microsoft received almost $4 million in such contracts after receiving none the year before Clinton joined President Barack Obama’s Cabinet. Oracle received $6.5 million in State Department contracts, a large increase from prior years. Dell secured contracts worth more than $28 million, up from just $2.5 million in the year before Clinton became secretary of state.
Favors all around...

Sweet Jayne

Remembering Jayne Meadows:
In film, Jayne appeared in many roles, including 1946's Undercurrent alongside Katharine Hepburn. Her one woman show, "Powerful Women in History" -- which toured the United States for seven years -- earned her the International Platform Association Award. Jayne received the Susan B. Anthony Award for her continued positive portrayals of women in her acting.

Jayne's husband of 46 years, Steve Allen -- the first host of "The Tonight Show" -- passed away in 2000.

Jayne's son, Bill Allen tells ET that Jayne was immediately charmed by Allen when she met him, even telling her sister Audrey Meadows -- who passed away in 1996 and notably starred as Jackie Gleason's wife on "The Honeymooners" -- "If that man isn't married he soon will be...and to me."
RIP to one of Hollywood's last Golden Age leading ladies.

Space Destroyers

It's different when the space is, well, your entire city:
“I was asked a question about the property damage that was done, and in answering that question I made it very clear that we balance a very line between giving protesters — peaceful protesters — space to protest. What I said is, in doing so, people can hijack that and use that space for bad. I did not say that we were accepting of it, I did not say that we were passive to it, I was just explaining how property damage can happen during a peaceful protest. It is very unfortunate that members of your industry decided to mischaracterize my words and try to use it in a way to say we were inciting violence. There’s no such thing,” she said.

“What we did was manage a peaceful protest in the best way possible and when it got violent and destructive we responded to that. We have an obligation to protect people’s First Amendment rights. We also understand through the best training and best practices that we have to do everything we can to de-escalate, and those were the tactics that were deployed yesterday. Did people exploit those tactics or that space that we gave, that we facilitated to have people protest for bad? Yes, they did. But we didn’t endorse it.”
Space is space...

Preaching To The Choir

It really is a religion:
A taxpayer-funded graduate fellowship at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is examining 17 faith-based institutions that have implemented "sustainability initiatives" in the hopes of developing workshops to teach pastors and other religious leaders how to change the behaviors of their congregants.

"Climate change-which affects traditional faith-based efforts to improve human health, mitigate poverty and redress social inequity-is inspiring religious organizations to advocate for clean air and water, restore ecosystems, and conserve resources," a grant for the project, which began last fall, states. "This project seeks to understand the empirical experiences of faith-based environmental efforts within communities."

"Through what motivations and processes do congregation level sustainability initiatives emerge?" the grant asks. "What factors facilitate and/or hinder implementation of these initiatives? What environmental and community outcomes are perceived to have been achieved through these initiatives?"
Hear the word of the climate changers...

You Owe, They Own

How unions take care of things:
In the 25 states without right-to-work laws, unions can take mandatory “fair share” or “agency” fees from workers who decline union membership. Those fees often amount to hundreds of dollars per year.

Unions can’t spend agency fees directly on politics, but taking fees from nonmembers frees unions to spend more from members’ dues on political activism for “progressive,” big-government policies.

Agency fees inflate union membership, as well — workers who want to opt out must consider they’ll have to pay the union — regardless of whether they join.
Ya wanna "join," don't ya?


I was never this good:
Collin Burns was participating in the final round of a competition at Central Bucks West High School in Doylestown, and though his result isn't yet listed on the World Cube Association's website, a WCA rep told Mashable yesterday, "We can confirm that this is (or will be soon) the new official WCA world record for the 3x3x3 single solve category. To our best knowledge, it has been performed in an official competition, with all the rules being followed, even the scramble has been checked for its correctness." Burns, the current US National Champion, is the first American record-holder since 2006.

The previous world record was 5.55 seconds, set by a Dutch teen, Mats Valk, in 2013. As Business Insider noted last year, the record holder prior to Valk was an Australian teen, Feliks Zemdegs, who still holds the record for fastest average solve time, at 6.54 seconds—and Zemdegs also holds the No. 3 through 8 records behind Burns and Valk.
It's all in the wrist...

Bill's Bucks

Bill Clinton's quite lucrative speaking deal:
Goldman Sachs reportedly paid Bill Clinton $200,000 for a speech in 2011 just months before the investment bank started to lobby Hillary Clinton’s State Department, according to an International Business Times report.
According to the Times, the “discovery that Bill Clinton accepted a six-figure payday from Goldman Sachs just before the bank sought the ear of his wife’s department” will amplify even more the scrutiny “of the Clinton family’s often overlapping personal, philanthropic and official business interests.” That scrutiny, the Times notes, has reached a “fever pitch amid leaks” from Government Accountability Institute President and Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Peter Schweizer‘s forthcoming book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.
But...but...Koch Brothers!

Walker, Wisconsin Ranger

Scott Walker punches back:
“I said even if you’re a liberal Democrat, you should look at (the raids) and be frightened to think that if the government can do that against people of one political persuasion, they can do it against anybody, and more often than not we need protection against the government itself,” Walker told the radio station.

“As (the National Review) pointed out, there were real questions about the constitutionality of much of what they did, but it was really about people trying to intimidate people…” Walker said.

“They were looking for just about anything. As I pointed out at the time, it was largely a political witch hunt.”
Call them out for what they are.

Welcome To Fun City

It's literally her first day on the job:
"As our investigative process continues, I strongly urge every member of the Baltimore community to adhere to the principles of nonviolence," Lynch said in a statement. "In the days ahead, I intend to work with leaders throughout Baltimore to ensure that we can protect the security and civil rights of all residents. And I will bring the full resources of the Department of Justice to bear in protecting those under threat, investigating wrongdoing, and securing an end to violence."
Welcome aboard, Ms. Lynch...

Jurassic Confusion

Life will find a way:
Chilesaurus was a therapod – belonging to the group of two-legged carnivorous dinosaurs that included everything from Tyrannosaurus rex to Velociraptor.

It had strong arms like an Allosaurus, but only two fingers like a tyrannosaur. Both fingers were blunt. Most of the skeletons found were the size of a turkey, although a few bones suggested Chilesaurus could grow to three metres long.

Even more peculiar was Chilesaurus’ hips. All dinosaurs are split into two branches based on the shape of their pelvis – Saurischia (including the meat-eating therapods and giant long-necked sauropods) and Ornithischia (everything else, including Triceratops and Stegosaurus). While Chilesaurus’ hips looked very ornithischian, it’s relatives are all saurischians.

Finally, Chilesaurus was a plant eater. And its teeth were very similar to long-necked sauropods. It’s feet, on the other hand, resembled those of earlier giant plant eaters.
Did somebody-or something-jump the genetic gun?

Questions And More Questions

How not to make a guest feel welcome:
SCHIEFFER: I’m going to start with probably the most vocal opponent of same-sex marriage and that is Tony Perkins. He is the president of the Family Research Council. And, Mr. Perkins, I’m going to say this to you upfront. You and your group have been so strong in coming out against this — and against gay marriage that the Southern Poverty Law Center has branded the Family Research Council an anti-gay hate group. We have been inundated by people who say we should not even let you appear because they, in their view, quote, “You don’t speak for Christians.” Do you think you have taken this too far?
"You can't be controversial, this is CBS!"

The Comeback Kid?

Does NBC want him back?
"Andy believes viewers want him (Williams) back," the source said. "The feeling is that (Williams') problem seems to be more with the media and other reporters than his viewers — if Andy can figure out a way to get him back on the air he will do it."

Lack, a long-time Williams pal, returned to NBC in early March, and as chairman of NBC News will have the final say over the anchor's fate. He and Williams go back a long way — he served as the president of the news division from 1993 to 2003 and had a hand at positioning Williams for the "Nightly News" position in the first place.
Brian Williams, please come home?

The Malik Effect

The physics of boy band breakups:
The advice of British cosmologist Stephen Hawking to heartbroken fans is to follow theoretical physics, because Malik may well still be a member of the pop group in another universe.

The physicist took a break from speaking about his work as one of the world's leading scientists to answer the question from one upset fan during a talk at Sydney Opera House at the weekend.

"Finally a question about something important," Hawking, who appeared via hologram, said to loud laughs from the audience.

"My advice to any heartbroken young girl is to pay attention to the study of theoretical physics because, one day, there may well be proof of multiple universes.

"It would not be beyond the realms of possibility that somewhere outside of our own universe lies another, different universe and, in that universe, Zayn is still in One Direction."
Whether that's good or bad depends on your POV...

Corinthian Collapse

Live by the market, die by the market?
Corinthian was one of the country's largest for-profit educational institutions. It collapsed last summer amid a cash shortage and fraud allegations.

The Education Department contends that Corinthian failed to comply with requests to address allegations of falsifying job placement data and altering grades and attendance records. It agreed to sell or close its campuses under pressure from the department.

The closures left many current and former students frustrated and with questions about what they mean for their education going forward.

"I would like to know if I am allowed to transfer my credits, if the credits even mean anything," said Dominique Avila, 35, who withdrew from Heald College's campus in Roseville, Calif., late last year and was trying to get her transcripts transferred to another school. "What does that mean as far as my debt goes?"
Pretty much the same as most college students...

On The Job

Lester Holt likes his job:

Empathy For The Devil

Conservatives do care more:
Do rightists also caricature their opponents? Yes, but not to anything like the same extent. A 2012 study by Jesse Graham, Brian A. Nosek and Jonathan Haidt asked conservatives and liberals to answer a series of questions as themselves, and then to answer them in the imagined personae of a typical conservative and a typical liberal. It found that the liberals were the least able to accurately to guess their opponents’ views, seeing conservatism as a kind of moral failure.

They’re not playing to the gallery. They’re not sloganizing. They genuinely believe that we conservatives went into politics because we hate the poor. Their conviction is so solid that facts crash against it as waves against a rock. Again and again, leftists will line up behind policies that hurt the general population in order to reward vested interests: the bailouts and the TARP boondoggle, the alternative energy scams, the trade barriers that favor privileged industries, the regulations that drive up prices. The practical consequences of these policies matter far less to their advocates than the opportunity to signal their good intentions. And if their intentions are good, ours must be bad.
"Heroes" always need villains...

The Air Up There

Creating oxygen on Mars:
“We’re going to build a small instrument that will generate oxygen on Mars. It will be the prototype of a much larger ‘factory’ that will provide astronauts with oxygen at some point in the future,” says Morten Bo Madsen, the head of the Mars group at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen…

“MOXIE works like a sort of fuel cell in reverse. A fuel cell produces energy by melting together hydrogen and oxygen to produce water. Instead, we’ll be using energy to remove an oxygen atom from CO2,” says Madsen.
But won't the Martians accuse us of global warming?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Phony Foundation

The Clintons' funny money catches up with them:
“The Clinton family’s mega-charity took in more than $140 million in grants and pledges in 2013 but spent just $9 million on direct aid,” notes the New York Post. “The group spent the bulk of its windfall on administration, travel, and salaries and bonuses, with the fattest payouts going to family friends.”

Good charities are supposed to put at least 75 cents of every dollar collected toward their mission. To put it mildly, the Clinton Foundation’s 6 cents on the dollar is well below that threshold. The Foundation’s “atypical business model,” as Charity Navigator very delicately put it, “doesn’t meet our criteria.”
But it does meet Hillary's...

Hot Birds

Time for fried wings:
Birds are killed when they fly through the towers, which can reach 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a Wall Street Journal article published in February of 2014. At the time, the publication noted that regulators knew some birds would die, but didn’t expect the dozens of avian deaths during the project’s construction and testing phase. They’re reaching the conclusion of their two-year study on the solar farm’s effects on birds.

Nevertheless, this isn’t an isolated incident. A solar panel farm in Nevada was frying birds flying through the facility. In one test, engineers and biologists noticed trails of smoke emanating from burning birds.
Going green can be hazardous to their health...

Baltimore Eats Itself

Another day, another riot:
“Today’s looting and acts of violence in Baltimore will not be tolerated,” Hogan said in a statement. “In response, I have put the Maryland National Guard on alert so they can be in position to deploy rapidly as needed. I strongly condemn the actions of the offenders who are engaged in direct attacks against innocent civilians, businesses and law enforcement officers. There is a significant difference between protesting and violence and those committing these acts will be prosecuted under the fullest extent of the law.”
Earlier today, a group of protestors clashed with police officers. Arrests were made in the incident, but unfortunately, some officers were hurt.
When your city is under siege, who do you call? Who, indeed?

Worst Government Boss

Who's the worst to work for?
The annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, conducted by the Office of Personnel Management to measure employee perceptions about workplace conditions, designated the DHS as the worst agency and Customs and Immigration Enforcement, a division within the department, as the least desirable spot to hold a job.

The label doesn’t come as a surprise – DHS frequently is cited in the survey as one of the worst places to work within the federal government. Since 2013, the agency’s perception has grown worse.

Joining DHS at the bottom of the scale is the Department of Veterans Affairs, an agency with well-documented problems over the past several months, and the Department of Labor.

On the opposite end, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of State ranked the highest.
Granted, given the competition, that's probably not saying much...

The Physics Of Reform

Is there any way we can do this here?
...regulatory transparency got a considerable boost Thursday when the Red Tape Reduction Act (C-21) received Royal Assent and became law. Minister Tony Clement, who has championed the bill, can be proud that Canada is now the first country in the world to require that for every new regulation introduced one of equivalent burden must be removed.

C-21, has been operating as policy for several years already, which means that the costs of new rules must be quantified and equal or greater costs removed. It essentially caps the cost of rules coming directly from regulations. Government rules can also come from legislation and policy so the one-for-one rule is not a cap on the cost of all government rules. Still, it is a very good start.

Why is this so important? Regulation, both necessary and unnecessary (red tape), are a huge hidden tax on all Canadians. The latest estimate from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business suggests that regulation costs $37 billion a year. To be clear, not all of these costs could or should be eliminated. But Canada’s small business owners suggest that about 30 per cent of these costs, $11 billion, could be eliminated with no negative impact on human health, safety or the environment. This number seems reasonable given that British Columbia has reduced its regulatory requirements over the past decade by over 40 per cent with no one arguing the cuts had any serious negative impacts.
Maybe more of our politicians need to take science courses...

Words Of Warning

Bobby Jindal on religious liberty:
“Corporate America needs to be careful because the same radical left that doesn’t want us to have religious liberty rights does not want us to have economic liberty rights. The same radical left that doesn’t want us to have religious liberty rights wants to tax and regulate these companies out of existence. They think profit is a dirty word.”

An impassioned Jindal acknowledged that activists and corporate interests were successful in bullying Indiana leaders, “But I’ve got news for them,” he said. “We’ve got legislation in Louisiana. We’ve already got a Religious Freedom Act. We’ve got legislation this session to protect people of faith and of conscience who hold the traditional view of marriage and they might as well save their breath because corporate America is not going to bully the governor of Louisiana when it comes to religious liberty.” The crowd at the conservative event erupted in applause.

“They need to understand there is no freedom of speech or freedom of association without religious liberty,” Jindal continued.”
Sadly, some of them don't...

Gender War Lessons

Why the transgender activists lose the argument:
Leftists have made a cause of transgenderism, but transgenderism makes a nonsense of many leftist tenets. For instance, leftist feminism depends on the assumption that there is no inherent difference between men and women and that therefore any inequality in their lives must be the product of bigotry and should be corrected by law. But if there is no inherent difference between men and women, what can it possibly mean to be transgender? When Jenner tells an interviewer: “I am a woman,” how does he know? Since, until he started fiddling with it, his body was a man’s body, he can only mean that he feels a mental or spiritual difference within him that he identifies as womanly. I only wish that more feminists felt that!

But if there is a difference between men and women — and, like, duh — it is entirely possible that in some matters the difference favors men. Men, for instance, may be better at scientific thinking, or cracking stupid jokes that are somehow hilarious, or writing great poetry, or abusing themselves and others for purposes of sexual gratification without any emotional blowback. Once you admit there is a difference, it is not cruelty or bigotry to note the results of that difference or to behave in accordance with them, always taking variations in individuals into account.
Individualism matters! Pass it on.

Big Government Broadband

Why the government should stay out of the broadband business:
ObamaCare, anyone? Veterans Administration? Postal service? Trains?

The federal government is over $18 trillion in debt. It clearly stinks at doing…well, just about everything.

Twenty states watched local governments throughout the nation fail spectacularly over and over again at being Internet providers. Often residents of entire states end up on the hook to bailout the failed local government attempts. So these twenty decided to pass laws to limit the damage.

The only question is – what are the other thirty states thinking?
that they'd be left alone on other matters if they played along? That's not how it typically works, unfortunately.

Northern End-Run

Yes, they did:
In a blog posting Sunday, Maura Pally defended the foundation’s work and reaffirmed its commitment to transparency. Pally’s statement comes amid growing scrutiny of the foundation as Hillary Rodham Clinton embarks on her presidential campaign.

Pally said the foundation expected to refile some of its tax forms because it had “mistakenly combined” government grants and donations. She said the foundation would “remedy” any errors, but stressed the total revenue was reported accurately.

Pally also described the foundation’s work with the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, which she said received funding from a separate organization in Canada. She said that partnership does not disclose its donors as provided under Canadian law.
Always go where the law is most convenient...

Big Guns

What could go wrong?
The 2nd Cavalry Regiment is requesting that 81 of its 8-wheel-drive Stryker infantry carrier vehicles be equipped with 30-mm. automatic cannons -- double the caliber of the 12.7-mm. guns they already carry, the military news website Breaking Defense reports.

The House Armed Services committee is already setting aside money for the upgrade, which the Army approved Wednesday, according to a memo obtained by the website.

The upgraded cannons would give the Strykers added firepower against other light-armored vehicles.

The 2nd Cavalry Regiment, based in Vilseck, Germany, had been deployed to the Baltic States to deter aggression following Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea region, Breaking Defense reports.
Big guns lead to bigger guns. It's guns all the way down...

A Cold One

Would you rather eat it, or drink it?
“It’s a crass, corporate greedy move to put a brand name like Ben & Jerry’s on a beer,” said Bruce Lee Livingston, executive director of the group Alcohol Justice, in remarks reported by USA Today. “It’s bad for children—who will start looking at beer as the next step after ice cream.”

I’d be surprised if ice cream-flavored beer appealed to anyone, let alone children, who are prohibited by law from buying the product. (Maybe it’s my personal bias against anything boasting a salted caramel flavor.) But let’s suppose Livingston is right, and the pairing is a gateway drug. If we assume that, why stop there? Let’s take this sort of reasoning to its logical conclusions—and look at Ben & Jerry’s ice cream itself.
Ice cream-the gateway drug?

Bone Shaker

Oh, please:
I am shaken to my bones by the e-mails, texts, postings and phone calls of the past few days. I made a terrible mistake. I was ignorant, naive and much too quick in accepting a request to co-host a dinner with Cruz at my home without taking the time to completely understand all of his positions on gay rights. I’ve spent the past 24 hours reviewing videos of Cruz’ statements on gay marriage and I am shocked and angry. I sincerely apologize for hurting the gay community and so many of our friends, family, allies, customers and employees. I will try my best to make up for my poor judgement. Again, I am deeply sorry.
"Please don't boycott me, I have a hotel business to support..."

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hubble's 25th

Happy birthday, Hubble:
The original price tag of $400 million eventually ballooned to $2.5 billion — a massive cost overrun even for NASA. The agency was betting that once the telescope experienced “First Light,” it would be seen as worth the investment.

It wasn’t.

The company in charge of manufacturing, shaping, and polishing the 2.5 meter mirror assembled a measuring device incorrectly, leading to an error in polishing of about 1.3 millimeters. There were several opportunities to catch the error before launch, but the company — PerkinElmer — failed to do so. When the telescope took its first photos a month later, scientists realized to their horror that the Hubble was nearsighted.

The project became the butt of jokes and Congress was outraged. But NASA came up with a fix for the mirror — complex “spectacles” that would clear up about 98% of the image problem. In December 1993, after training for two years for the complex and dangerous mission, legendary astronaut Story Musgrave and six others rendezvoused with Hubble in space and installed the correctives.

The result was awe-inspiring.
Indeed, and we are better off for having had our eyes opened wider than ever before.

Green Fingers

Somebody's been cooking the books:
Writing in the Telegraph, Christopher Booker explained: “Figures from earlier decades have repeatedly been adjusted downwards and more recent data adjusted upwards, to show the Earth having warmed much more dramatically than the original data justified.”

In order to determine whether or not the data from the weather stations has been skewed, the Global Warming Policy Foundation has assembled an international team of experts including eminent climatologists, physicists and statisticians, to analyse the data and settle the matter.

The inquiry is being chaired by Professor Terence Kealey, former vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham. Launching the inquiry, Professor Kealey said: “Many people have found the extent of adjustments to the data surprising. While we believe that the 20th century warming is real, we are concerned by claims that the actual trend is different from – or less certain than – has been suggested. We hope to perform a valuable public service by getting everything out into the open.”
Dishonesty is not the best policy...

Tools Of The Trade

He's definitely not his brother:
Inside their hotel rooms here, top fundraisers for Jeb Bush will discover a brochure encouraging them to use complimentary electric cars made by Tesla, long a Republican Party bugaboo because of its federal tax subsidies.

They will find lime green yoga mats and a copy of the eco-friendly, left-leaning “Modern Farmer” magazine (Headline: “Can plant factories save us from climate change?”).

And they will be surrounded by flamboyant Floridian kitsch, from white shag pillows to Taschen books celebrating Andy Warhol.
The hipster of the family?

Blue Core Battles

Don't like Common Core? You're obviously racist:
In 2013, Duncan famously said that it was “fascinating” that Common Core opposition came from “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — [realize] their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.” He later apologized — blaming “clumsy phrasing” — but since that time he’s learned to make the same point, just more subtly…

The federal government is flexing its muscles to protect an allegedly state-run program. Liberals are treating other liberals like they’re racist. Even the teachers’ unions are calling Common Core’s rollout “botched” and walking back their “once-enthusiastic” support for the program. It looks like the education technocracy is every bit as ineffective as the rest of our national technocracies.
And if more professed liberals would realize that, then the bigot card wouldn't work as well...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ronald Who?

Some sort of an actor?

The Russians Are Hacking

In Russia, mail reads you:
White House officials said that no classified networks had been compromised, and that the hackers had collected no classified information. Many senior officials have two computers in their offices, one operating on a highly secure classified network and another connected to the outside world for unclassified communications.

But officials have conceded that the unclassified system routinely contains much information that is considered highly sensitive: schedules, email exchanges with ambassadors and diplomats, discussions of pending personnel moves and legislation, and, inevitably, some debate about policy.
Somebody needs to update their security settings...

Ancient Trigger Warnings

Lessons about intellectual tyranny from a dead white guy:
Why would a call for more women in engineering provoke a hideous outcry? Because, Plato might say, although the longing to close the wage gap is strong, it is not as strong as the longing to protect and privilege the meaning of experience. It is an attack on the primacy of meaning for people like Sommers to propose that sociology (which today is almost synonymous with the study of how to politicize meaning) must be sacrificed to increase monetary equality. By giving up the study of sociology in favor of playing the patriarchal game by its own rules, the logic runs, women risk achieving marginal higher wages at the cost of dismantling the apparatus of social justice.
True equality always comes with a price, social justice warriors...

Red Ink

Written in blood, literally:
“Obviously when you do something like this it becomes a statement, and the reader will take away from it whatever they want to take away from it,” Colacion told the Daily Star. “But what we want to do is just kind of celebrate this rich culture, which impacts all of us every day, especially in the arts.”

Lebanon became home to large numbers of Armenians fleeing the Turks during World War I. While many emigrated during the Lebanese civil war, several Beirut neighborhoods remain centers of Armenian culture.

So just how do you publish in blood? The magazine approached five notable Lebanese-Armenian artists, from musicians to designers.
Did they talk to Sam and Dean?

Teacher's Bad Day

Class, dismissed:
After what he calls a semester of disrespect, backstabbing, lying, and cheating, Horwitz had all he could take.

"Yesterday I reached the breaking point," he said.

He sent a lengthy email to his Strategic Management class explaining that they would all be failing the course. He said the students proved to be incompetent and lack the maturity level to enter the workforce.

"It became apparent that they couldn't do some of the most simple and basic things they should have been able to do," said Horwitz.
All products of the lower education system...

For Shame

No shame, no fear:
“There’s no body shaming going on. Genuinely, 100 per cent this was driven by talking to our female customers and asking them what they want.

“As for the vandalising of our posters, a lot of what we have seen has been PhotoShopped, so they’re not even real defacements. I’d be alarmed if people are actually clamber across train tracks to deface posters and put their lives at risk.

“My position is: we won’t stand for that and TFL [Transport for London] are working with us on this. We are compiling admissions of vandalism against us and we will look into them. I don’t see us having any problem with us reporting individuals for vandalising our property. The law on this is clear.”

And in a comment that will surely pour vinegar into the protester’s wounds, Staveley claims the protest has actually helped his company’s brand profile and increased sales.

“I couldn’t have dreamt or hoped of having our advert reproduced more times across the news networks and social media as it has been done,” says Richard. “This protest has been absolutely phenomenal for us and entirely counter-productive for them.
These things usually are...

Common Enemy

The Clinton Foundation needs an independent audit, says...Common Cause?
“As Mrs. Clinton herself observed earlier this week, voluntary disclosure is not enough,” said Common Cause President Miles Rapoport. “A report in Thursday’s New York Times indicates that the Clinton Foundation violated an agreement to identify all of its donors. The foundation’s omissions create significant gaps in the information that voters need to make informed decisions at the polls.”

And to further guard against potential conflicts of interest, the foundation should stop accepting donations from foreign governments and ​foreign corporations, he said.
When an issue puts them on the same side as Ted Cruz, you know something's rotten in Clintonia...

Jenner Comes Out

Bruce Jenner's other secret:
When Sawyer asked if Jenner cheered when Obama became the first president to even say the word “transgender” in a State of the Union address, the 65-year-old replied that he “would certainly give him credit for that.”

“But not to get political,” Jenner continued, “I’ve never been a big fan, I’m kind of more on the conservative side.”

“Are your a Republican?” Sawyer asked in response, to which Jenner replied, “Yeah! Is that a bad thing? I believe in the constitution.”

“Do you think that would be an unsettling thing for some people in the conservative wing of the party?” Sawyer asked.

“I’ve thought about that,” says Jenner, adding that neither political party has a monopoly on understanding.
Neither do so-called liberals...

Covered In Red

I knew it was good for something:
There’s no more money coming from Washington after the state exhausts the $1.1 billion it received from the federal government to get the Obamacare exchange up and running. And state law prohibits Sacramento from spending any money to keep the exchange afloat.

That presents an existential crisis for Covered California, which is facing a nearly $80 budget deficit for its 2015-16 fiscal year. Although the exchange is setting aside $200 million to cover its near-term deficit, Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee acknowledged in December that there are questions about the “long-term sustainability of the organization.”

Mr. Lee’s disquieting assessment actually jibed with a 2013 report by the state auditor, which stated that, until the state’s health insurance exchange actually started enrolling Californians in health plans, its “future solvency” was ”uncertain.” Thus, Covered California was listed as a “high-risk” issue for the state.
Maybe that's why the state's Democrats said no thanks...

Liar Gate Part II

They're not done with Brian Williams yet:
An NBC News internal investigation into Brian Williams has examined a half-dozen instances in which he is thought to have fabricated, misrepresented or embellished his accounts, two people with inside knowledge of the investigation said.

The investigation includes at least one episode that was previously unreported, these people said, involving statements by Mr. Williams about events from Tahrir Square in Cairo during the Arab Spring.

The two people with knowledge of the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions, said the episodes under review included details of the incident in Iraq in 2003; statements Mr. Williams made about a missile attack while he was traveling in another helicopter over northern Israel in 2006; and the circumstances under which he received a fragment of a helicopter that crashed during the mission to kill Osama bin Laden in 2011.
He got bin Laden himself. At least, that's what he believes...

Friday, April 24, 2015

Men Of Steel

A Superman movie starring Nicholas Cage?
The project, known as Superman Lives, was loosely based on the “Death of Superman” story arc from the comics. It would have starred Nicholas Cage as the man of steel, and followed a script first authored by Kevin Smith.

Now, director Jon Schnepp takes viewers on a journey behind the scenes of the film that might have been in The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened? Schnepp interviews Tim Burton, Kevin Smith, and several others involved in the development of this odd comic book film which never came to fruition.
Well, at least Cage got to be Ghost Rider...

Neck Of The Gods

How to cure a hangover, ancient style:
The alcohol victim would have strung together leaves from a shrub called Alexandrian chamaedaphne (Ruscus racemosus L.), possibly wearing the strand around the neck, the text revealed.

Though people in the ancient world believed Alexandrian chamaedaphne could ease a headache, whether the cure really worked, let alone on a drunken headache, is unknown.
But at least you'd have your own laurels...


So here's the latest TV "experiment":
In today’s announcement, FYI instead focused on the fact that someone at some point decided seven years marks the point in many marriages at which couples become “restless and dissatisfied” and might wonder why they’d signed up with this guy instead of the doctor their mothers wanted them to marry. In the series, four couples “at a crossroads in their relationship” — FYI did not say if they’ve all been married seven years — get the chance to shack up with a stranger for two weeks in an “experimental marriage.”

They will eat, live and, yes, “sleep” with these total strangers, the network said.

As with WE tv’s recently pulled-due-to-lousy-ratings reality series Sex Box, relationship experts will help guide the Seven Year Switch couples through the process, FYI said. At the end of what the network explains is a monthlong experiment, each of the married couples will reunite and decide whether to divorce or renew their vows.
Which is probably about as long as this project will last...

Who Killed Ronald?

How not to save the Big Mac:
A burger chain serves up the sandwich version of meat & potatoes — the very antithesis of “progressive” anything. A fast-food burger is supposed to be simple, hearty, wholesome, perhaps-not-entirely-healthy fare designed for families on a budget and on the go.

It’s not wraps. It’s not tofu. It’s not sprouts. It’s a burger and fries, ably prepared from decent ingredients at a price that encourages people to indulge.

A fun meal with the kids is decent, fast, inexpensive dining on American food. There’s nothing “progressive” about it. And any attempt to force that square peg into the round hole of our hungry mouths is doomed to failure.
That hasn't stopped them from trying...

Me And My Drone

Let your drone walk your kid to school:
A Tennessee father who followed his eight-year-old daughter to school with a drone has now decided to ground it in the wake of the attention his flight has garnered. According to WVLT, a Knoxville, Tennessee television station, Chris Early decided to launch a drone to monitor his child’s walk to school after she requested that she be allowed to walk on her own
Also useful against bullies...

The Retired Dead

No more money for dead people:
Officials say the Social Security Administration holds the official federal database listing deceased individuals, but that other agencies are not updated frequently and that most inspector generals with other government agencies lack access to the list, which leads to a number of federal agencies issuing erroneous payments to dead people.

The Act would give all appropriate federal agencies the right to access a complete and current list of deceased individuals.

“Social Security’s death records are in disarray. They show millions of people over 112 years of age as alive when they’re actually dead. They mistakenly mark tens of thousands of living people each year as dead when they are alive,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). “By cleaning up Social Securitys Death Master File and sharing it with other federal agencies, we can protect taxpayers and ensure their money isn’t being wasted fraudulently on the deceased.”
It would also help if their votes weren't used for the living...

Big Magma Valley

There's something lurking underneath Yellowstone:
The reservoir was found by University of Utah seismologists who completed what’s considered the first, most detailed picture of the “continuous volcanic plumbing system under Yellowstone,” postdoctoral researcher Hsin-Hua Huang said in a statement.

“That includes the upper crustal magma chamber we have seen previously plus a lower crustal magma reservoir that has never been imaged before and that connects the upper chamber to the Yellowstone hotspot plume below,” he said.

This upper crust chamber, which was previously known, could fill the Grand Canyon 2.5 times.

The scientists emphasized that their research doesn’t mean the volcano carries an increased danger nor is it closer to erupting. They simply used more advanced techniques to get a better picture of the system as a whole.

“The magma chamber and reservoir are not getting any bigger than they have been, it’s just that we can see them better now using new techniques,” study co-author Jamie Farrell said.
Why does that not make me feel any better?

Unfair Play

Some politicians are more equal than others: In the case of Clinton’s email probe, Comey relates numerous issues with Lynch’s actions that ...