Sunday, 29 November 2015

News from Outer Space, November 2015

Spectacular photos arrived from Pluto.
Snakeskin-like surface on Pluto

And from its moon, Ceres which has a dynamic surface that erases meteor impacts. 
Bright spots on Occator crater, Ceres.
Planet wide canyon on Charon
The moon, Charon, has cracking lines and a younger side that has been resurfaced as well as tar? stains at the pole.

Our sun's sunspots are flat-lining with prospects of some cooler climate ahead.  There's increased policy awareness (DARPA) of hardening infrastructure on earth from extreme electromagnetic pulses from the sun's fire.
On Mars, some sedimentary rocks are noted and the Curiosity Rover visited a small dune field.  There's further mention that Phobos can expect to decay and break up against Mars in the near future (30 million years).
The Philae comet lander woke up a bit and communicated with it's mother satellite (Rosetta) as the comet came around the sun.  They know within a couple hundred yards where it ended up on the comet.
Voyager1 has moved further beyond the solar system (beyond the heliopause) but the debate is still on about how far the system's field stretches since the whole darn thing has a bow wave as the earth does in the sun's field.
Planetary exploration now is galaxy-wide and recently inferred a field of cometary debris ( or an alien megastructure) around one sun and the outlines of a weather system on a planet of another sun. Papers like to tout stories about the first earth-like planet but they're getting ahead of themselves.
"The odd nature of the energy pulse is matched by
the odd locations of the start/finish of the pulse".
A mysterious pulse was picked up propagating through our atmosphere and others from outside the galaxy.  Astronomers are having difficulty ruling out artificial origin. It's probably natural.  Our species has advanced to the point of leaking photons and electromagnetic fields into space for a brief moment and may stop leaking such stuff within a hundred years.

Black holes are almost ho-hum these days but it was news to have come across a sun being torn apart at a black hole boundary.  This is being watched in real time.

Closer to home,  Elon Musk almost brought two rockets back to earth for recycling and Bezos brought one back.  (Not quite comparable rockets).  Perfect this and the cost of getting off-planet plunges.
A good spot to go for solar system updates is Astro Bob who specializes in things you can see with a good amateur telescope.

Drink Trivia

Rum and coke can be found on tap in Australia.

Hyderize.  You've been Hyderized if you cross the border from Canada into Alaska and down a 150 proof shot in one gulp at the Glacier Hotel in Hyder.  Comes with a certificate.  The Glacier Hotel has over $50,000 in autographed  bills on the walls and the only way out of town is back through Canada.

P.C. Asshole Tells Comedian To Loosen Up

Slyest writing ever on politically correct termagants:  Here's an excerpt only because the whole page must be savoured at McSweeney's, The Death Of Comedy.
“So a Jew, a Christian and a Muslim walk into a bar…”
“Stop, stop, stop!”
“That’s not funny.”
“But I haven’t even done the joke yet.”
“Yeah, but it won’t be funny.  .....

“And the one guy says to the other guy…”
“Wait a minute — are they gay or straight?”
“They’re straight”
“Good. Are they Christians or Jews or what?”
“They’re atheists”
“Even better. This is going to be so funny now. I can feel it. OK, go ahead and make the   joke.”
Read the whole tickler.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Democracy 2.0 Unintended consequence of universal suffrage.

The vote was given to all citizens by men who thought they'd thereby win righteous leverage over wealth and hereditary power.  They didn't foresee they too would lose control.  In the last dozen years, anyone cheaply can make a pitch to the masses and the great unwashed can pitch right back (right click, enter).  Democracy 2.0 means the middle and poor classes can decide who rules.   The elite and the merely educated who dreamed big vote tallies would give them an advantage over  insider cash, are going to be gravely disappointed.  Carson and Trump and for that matter, Fiorina and Cruz are the evidence that appealing to the masses and all the LIV people too, is here to stay.  Expect more shocks.

How many decisions do you make by show of hands?  We decide who makes the decisions by show of hands, or paper ballots actually. When the crowd has a mind of its own, the unexpected happens.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Trudeau, serial hand-hugger.

Even with the Queen.
'The "Hand Hug" is seen as an invasion of intimacy when done by people who have just met'.
The Daily Mail calls this a "patronizing handshake".   If anyone besides my dear departed grandmother did that to me, I'd say, "Get your hands off me and get the hell out of my space".

Hand Hug: The hand hug is popular with politicians, and is when they choose to wrap your hand with their left hand creating this warm cocoon protecting your hand. When done to the right person, they are perceived as being warm, friendly, trustworthy and honest, and sometimes this handshake is reciprocated creating a pile of 4 hands. However, this type of handshake is only done genuinely with people who share close bonds, as similar to hugs, this handshake is seen as an invasion of intimacy when done by people who have just met.
With Her Majesty

With the Governor General
With Blair  

Instability is the best prediction.

So Turkey shoots down a Russian jet.  WW1 started from less.  Putin says he told Washington the flight path and Washington passed it to Turkey.  As a NATO member, Turkey's Erdogan can ask NATO to hit back if Russia hits him.  Why the hell did he shoot down the plane in the first place?  Because Russia's target included Turkmen and because, Oil.  Putin may be right this is a deliberate provocation.  He just moved up his most advanced missile system to a Syrian port by Turkey's border.

Because Turkmen:  They were being targeted and are inside Syria and related to Turks and want Assad out.  Only Kurds and ISIS are allowed targets from Turkey's viewpoint.  Putin wants Assad in, making all three good targets.  Obama, weakly, wants Assad out and ISIS degraded while weakly supporting Kurds.  Shooting the plane while attacking Turkmen is Turkey's signal for Russia to back off. Did you watch the video of Turkmen firing at the parachuting pilots?  Did you know Russia mounted a Seals type raid and recovered the surviving pilot?  The jet was either in Turkey for up to seventeen seconds or a five mile exclusion zone inside Syria where Turkmen live and that Turkey wants to defend but no one else recognizes.  Protocol is to push back angry, not hit the kill button.

Because oil: In the last week there have been the first two bombings of the oil tankers that fund ISIS mayhem, one by the US (which dropped leaflets telling the drivers to run away) and one, less fussy, by Russia. The oil money adds up over a hundred million dollars in a year.  Who is buying this oil?  How about Erdogan's son?  Those tankers have been an easy target for ages.  (If you check the Russian story, the numbers are b.s. but the raid was real.)

How can anyone make sense of this when the facts above were heavily processed before release? Far more facts were overlooked.  Instability seems the best prediction, rather than confidence that any one outcome will prevail.    The bedrock motives of man include defending ties of blood and greed.  I highlighted Turkmen (blood) and the son's oil (greed).

UPDATE:   That the Turks shot down the jet and did so within 17 seconds – with the president, Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan, saying he gave the order to fire himself – suggests very strongly they were waiting for a Russian plane to come into or close enough to Turkish airspace with the aim of delivering a rather pyrotechnic message.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

An American View: "Canada's new, liberal Prime Minister immediately moves to cripple their energy industry"

The headline is the story.  The goal is to "formalize a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on British Columbia's North Coast". 

A quarter of our exports is petroleum.   Kneecapping the Northern Gateway pipeline and rolling over happily for the cancelled Keystone pipeline,  Trudeau the Second  can steal prairie oil for below market "sale" to Montreal and Toronto.  When you can't ship south and you can't ship west, that just leaves east towards Ottawa's voter pod.  Sounds like NEP the Second.

PM Justin Trudeau likes to be liked.  He's on safe territory here.  My cousin who goes to stop-the-tanker rallies will be delighted, but even if everyone in Canada kissies up to the moratorium, Canada will still be diminished because, Math.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

The Magna Carta rolled back the creation of National Parks

The Magna Carta has clauses constraining the government from setting aside national parks without compensation. For "government", read "king".  For "national park", read "royal forest".  The forests were game refuges, not necessarily treed expanses and were intended for the outdoor recreation of the crown.  In Canada, "the crown" has no face even though, in British Columbia, the crown owns 83% of the land.  In jolly old England of 1215, the crown was King John.

Reluctantly, King John agreed to un-create the royal forests of his day.
Clause (47) "All forests that have been created in our reign shall at once be disafforested. River-banks that have been enclosed in our reign shall be treated similarly."
This topic resonates with me personally because my maternal ancestors brought the name "Woodworth" or Wood-warden" with them from England.

Paper Gold and Real Gold Parting Ways

Noted at Zerohedge: Over a third of all the COMEX gold stored in Hong Kong was moved to mainland China this week.  So far, gold taken physically costs about the same as paper gold.  That is unsustainable because so little real gold matches up with notional gold.

From a Kyle Bass interview:
"We went and looked at the COMEX which at the time had about $80 billion in open interest between futures and futures options and in the warehouse they had 2.7 billion of deliverables. So, $80 billion in open interest and $2.7 billion in deliverables, we’re going to own it for a long time, you’re on the board, you’re a fiduciary, what do you do? Well that’s an easy one, you go get it." (He advised U of TX to take delivery of $1 billion in gold bullion.)

I cannot wear a poppy on Remembrance Day.

Obama is not a mass murderer but he has been unplugging the safety stops that hold back barbarians, like a madman roaming the holds of the Titanic and locking open the flood doors.  I've never been so angry towards a leader in my life.   When discrimination is out,  judgement is out too and the indiscriminate have the upper hand.    Trudeau and Obama are incapable of saying "Islam commends killing khafirs and Jews".    As Ann Coulter tweeted, "Donald Trump was elected president tonight".  Trump acts rudely but stands his ground.     When you read what world leaders say, discard all observations that ignore that the Paris attacks were inspired by Islam and carried out by real Muslim believers.
Obama's inscribed wedding ring which he wore
before he married too:  "There is no God but Allah
The same guy who said in 2007
that the Muslim call to prayer is
one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.”
Because of Obama's dereliction while holding exceptional power, I hate him and hate the blood which will be spilled by millions in his wake.  ISIS and its litter-mates are militarily weak but the safety barriers between us and their fervour are weak or missing.  I find I can't wear a poppy on Remembrance Day because of the wave of grief that overwhelms me.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Do All Our Leaders Need Attention? Even America's Lovable Carson Has Creepy Self-centred Home

There's the painting of Jesus putting his hand on Ben Carson's shoulder, the ginormous photograph of Ben on the wall, the marble-carved bible quote about humility,  every medal and plaque displayed, and the long photo walls of Ben with somebodies.  Carson is genuinely warm but it's creepy.  Are only giant egos, narcissists, and the attention-starved going to run for high public office?  More at the Guardian where the photos are posted

Is there always "Love of Attention"?  In Canada, our new leader wants so much to be liked that he can't speak in public without futzing every statement to see if you are going to like it before cautiously making the point.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Helmet Hoax in the Nanny State

Bicycle helmets are a fashion statement and otherwise useless.  A Canadian study found one dumb thing and three valuable things you can do to be safe.   Most valuable is to be a woman. You'll have one third (!) the injuries because you generally cycle a bit slower on quieter roads.  Next up is to cycle where cars and bikes have separate paths.  Third is to cycle in bike-dense areas where drivers and cyclists have learned to behave around each other.  (The study covered thousands of injuries per year in various provinces. including BC which has a helmet law.)

You already know the useless one: Wearing a bicycle helmet.  "Helmet legislation was not associated with hospitalisation rates for brain, head, scalp, skull, face or neck injuries" (from the Abstract).

I am fed up with people telling me what to do for my own good and charging me for it. I don't want my money spent on their priorities.  Hopefully these warriors have moved to other battlerfields, wielding the sword against microaggression, scaling the walls between washrooms and defeating free speech near university safe spaces.

People were wearing helmets before the helmet law.  The legislation increased their numbers and complicated lives while taxing individuals $30 to $300 each for a plastic hat from a private company.

Head injuries are serious.  The helmets are not.  If you're a gent, find a lady to cycle with, keep off the busiest roads and enjoy the outing.

Tip of the hat to Kate at smalldeadanimals.Image result for bicycle helmets

Friday, 6 November 2015

Media Once Controlled The Stage Lighting

When left-wing operatives with a byline* turn one spotlight onto the public stage, you see exactly what they want you to see.  The rest of the stage is dark.  Bloggers, Rebel Media, Blogging Tories, Twitter and Facebook are throwing some low cost light onto the same stage.  So are groups on the left who want highlights on their pets.  This doesn't resolve who is true and right but it lights up enough of the public stage that the public can form better informed conclusions.

 The blind-sided and the hidden players are more visible, payoffs and paybacks make the light of day.   This is what I call competition in the market of politics.  More Low Information Voters become Medium Information Voters.  We may not have more truth but we will have fairer calculations of advantage and more participants.

The Media have been called the fourth estate. They muscled in on the "three estates of the realm, clergy, nobility and commons".  They  appropriated political power by owning technology that made it easy to disseminate information, but not too easy, since not everyone could have a printing press or a TV station. The fifth estate, which is much larger than the fourth, is lighting up its narratives and gaining power. That includes the bloggers and commenters on this page.  This change is in its infancy.  The way politics is done will change to suit. over the next five federal elections.

* For this line I owe Instapundit:  "Journalists are democratic operatives with bylines".

For a parting thought, a quote from Mark Twain:
“If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed.”

Monday, 2 November 2015

Money talks. It says "Goodbye".

The stunning turnabout in capital flows, a 16% plunge in the last year, is Made In Canada.  Canadians are shipping Canuck bucks out of country, looking for better opportunity.  It's not evil oligarchs pulling their loot out. There's better money to be made elsewhere and not just because a barrel of oil is cheap.  The polls have been saying for months that Liberals were gaining ground in Canada and the NDP coup in oil-rich Alberta has put the kibosh on a lot of oil projects.

Supporting points in the linked lead article:  RBC is investing billions to buy a US bank.  Nine of ten top performing companies in the TSX have favoured buying abroad over expanding at home. Canadian Mutual Funds have been plowing wealth into global choices for the last six months.
"Canada’s basic balance - a combination of the capital and the current account: a measure of national accounts that spans everything from trade to financial-market flows - swung from a surplus of 4.2% of GDP to a deficit of 7.9% in the 12 months ending in June."
Also from Bloomberg as quoted by FP and
"Money is flooding out of Canada at the fastest pace in the developed world as the nation’s decade-long oil boom comes to an end and little else looks ready to take the industry’s place as an economic driver."
Both post the chart below from BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research.
Another factor, no fault of Canada's, is the boost the US dollar gets for being the unit of account at a time that other trade areas are handling their finances worse than the US.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Democracy ritualizes violence

From Jim Butcher's latest, h/t Instapundit.
...   "We're a civilized society, are we not?"
... "Since when, miss?  We are a democracy.. The heart of democracy is violence. In order to decide what to do, we take a count of everyone for and against it, and then do whatever the larger side wishes to do. We’re having a symbolic battle, its outcome decided by simple numbers. It saves us time and no end of trouble counting actual bodies — but don’t mistake it for anything but ritualized violence."
Battlefield by the numbers
The strategists and generals are in parties
We are the voter fodder.

Democracy lets more viewpoints be represented on the battlefield.  When a more violent group prevails, it suspends elections or lets presidents run extra terms, and fewer viewpoints are represented.   When the election rules are followed, the market for power is more efficient.

I confess having read only one of Butcher's, but just downloaded Cinder Spires, first in a new series.
Added: Read part of the book and abandoned it. A lot of text goes to developing pretend scenarios without advancing the characters.

Good news from Canada for Jeb and Hillary

A society in decline puts family members in public posts.
Viewed by American cartoonist, Bok.


And a bonus of Halloween humour, hat tip to Powerline.
Our little snowflakes are not particularly nice people.


Friday, 30 October 2015

Running against the media: NBC Temporarily Loses February Debate. Reibus shows It was worse than you thought.

The media beat Harper but in the States, maybe the balance just shifted.  Reibus' letter this morning firing NBC is posted on-line.  Besides the gotcha questions we saw, Last week, CNBC broke hidden promises.  The first question was to give each candidate an opener economics question but didn't.  (Trump got the clown campaign jibe).   Equal speaking time was promised but not delivered.  (Trace candidate Kasich, the only guy who liked the panel, had more time than Carson, Trump and Bush)  The evening's theme was promised "job growth, taxes, technology, retirement and the health of our national economy" and it wasn't.  Reibus goes on to enumerate the other failings which we already knew about, the ones the audience booed.

This is neither too little nor too late.  Reibus holds out the olive branch at the end of the first paragraph, "We simply cannot continue with NBC without full consultation with our campaigns.". Note he is saying that if the candidates, not the NRC, can be persuaded, the debate is back on track.  I expect it will.

The other network bosses are busy reading this letter with their morning jo.   Milton Friedman explained how it is with politicians and it's the same for the Journolist crowd:  "Make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing." (50 second video clip).

RNC leverage over NBC group:  "14 million people watched, easily making the much-derided debate the most-watched program in CNBC's 30-year history. Because advertisers paid $250,000 apiece, it was "also the most profitable night in the network's history,"

Added: It's unfair of me to blame the media for the whole mess since Harper's team neglected to update itself and to do so warmly.

Update:  Riebus was pushed:   "Republican presidential campaigns are planning to gather in Washington, D.C., on Sunday evening to plot how to alter their party’s messy debate process — and how to remove power from the hands of the Republican National Committee".

Not Halloween Hocus Pocus. Wrap your mind around this.

While we're making sense of October 19th, Syrian refugees booking in, and and F35's being booked out,  physicists this week removed almost the last spooky scintilla of doubt that something can be in two or more places at once until seen. "Spooky entanglement" is mainstream science, not Halloween hocus pocus.  Keep it in mind while speaking up for a better Canada. What matters today in politics isn't the big picture.
"Particles do not take on formal properties until they are measured or observed in some way. Until then, they can exist simultaneously in two or more places. Once measured, however, they snap into a more classical reality, existing in only one place."

No Lefty War Protestors showed up. Hypocrisy is not a bug, it's the game plan.

From brilliant David Burge:

Thursday, 29 October 2015

We got Obama Lite

Analyst, David Solway, writes painfully about the "spectacularly unqualified" Trudeau and our path to the Socialist Republic of Canada. The only thing he left out is the lacklustre Conservative campaign.  We didn't all vote to favour the ideas of Trudeau fils,  Some were just fed up.
 Read the rest here. citing a dozen portents.

"A nonentity whose CV would in any sane society have generated howls of laughter. ..  He is, in short, Canada's Obama, and the nation, like the U.S., will rue the day it put so reckless and inept a driver behind the wheel of national policy".
He's actually quite a nice family guy, but shallow.
Perhaps, as this old picture suggests,
he can be led about by handlers.