Friday, 25 July 2014

Bring back Exclusive. Touchy-feely Inclusive Politics is inadequate.

I like exclusive.  The nattering about being inclusive to shame people into giving up what's theirs has gone too far.  If you want to come into our country, ask permission first.  If you want to use my stuff or walk into my house, you'd better ask permission first.
Notice that diamond on my wife's finger? Be warned that you are looking at an exclusive relationship.  I won't be sharing or be shared, either.  There's no free love or open marriage here.  Exclusive, no-trespassing-by-strangers is exactly the exclusive way it's going to stay.

Inclusive is good too but watching the deliberate destruction of the US southern border shows it has gone too far.  Inclusive doesn't mean my beliefs and conclusions must be blenderized with those of our enemies until the only "right thinking" option is to think like a left-embedded professor.
Is the problem that private property
is hated by Marxists?

The same folly condemns all discrimination.  We are now urged to be indiscriminate.  The indiscriminate are unable to evaluate and choose between other beliefs and other cultures.  It so happens "Anything goes" and "They're equally valid" is an easy position to adopt but it isn't true.   I don't have to think to say, "All of the above" when presented with choices between good and evil and the ten thousand shades between.

Be exclusive and discriminate too.

BC right to raise posted speeds.

People don't leave home planning to crash yet on some highways only a few oddballs keep below the posted speed.  Since crashes are rare, posted speeds should be corrected to use the wisdom of highway planners (and the wisdom of drivers).  They advise posting the speed at which 85% of the drivers would choose to drive that road if there were no speed limit.  It's just as dangerous to have a slow driver in the fast lane as it is to have a speeding driver dodging in and out of lanes.  Roads are safer when speeds are similar for all the cars on them.   I drive below the posted speed on congested roads, when pedestrians are about, when the road is damp or icy, and when it is dark or the road is windy.  I drive above the posted speed when traffic is light, when there is a passing lane, when no people or creatures are walking near the road, whenever I can see clearly ahead more than the distance I need to brake to a complete stop. I like to get home safely but without wasting time.

So, congratulations, BC, on adjusting some speeds upwards.

Politicians are faced with interest groups who like slow speeds which drivers generally disregard because they use their own judgement about what's safe. (Really, what chance does a child have of avoiding injury when run over by a car at 10 kmph compared to being run over at 30 or 50?)
A lot of revenue is created from speeding tickets.  One Missouri town of 50 people has a police force (full and part-time) of 8 and generates most of the municipal budget from speed traps.
Remember when OPEC held the world hostage briefly and speed limits across North America were mandated lower to save fuel.  (Possibly 1% was saved).  That's another reason most speed limits are lower than they should be.

Posted speeds are helpful to assess road conditions ahead that a driver may not know about.  Making them absolute criminalizes the population that wants to use its own judgement to drive safely.  Making them absolute degrades the individual and exalts the state.

 Road signs should be a source of useful information.

Summarized from Alex Mayasi's interesting and longer article at Priceonomics.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Be humble: Chimps with a fashion fad, Snow Monkey with a stolen iphone are just a baby step away.

Whether "Homo Sapiens (the wise one) or more accurately, a featherless biped, we are not far removed from our simian cousins.  Be humble. You'll never forget this snow monkey checking out his stolen iphone.





















Link to Van Oosten's photo and story.


Then there's the chimp who started a fashion trend in her band.  She took to tucking a straw in her ear every day.  Her son followed suit every day and soon her neighbours too. For the life of me, I see no difference in nose piercing and butterfly tattoos.

Then there are the chimps who have a far better memory than we do for numbers (19 in a row, even when hidden after a glimpse).
Story at The Daily Mail

We should be humble. We are easy to deceive and lead about,
witness magic shows, hypnotists, the IPCC, and socialist
fantasy.



Back to normal: WAR

 Regretting Obama is irrelevant already.
Michael Ledeen writes 
"War is normal and peace is very unusual."  He quotes Machiavelli:  "Man is more inclined to do evil than to do good" and then adds:" There is good reason for that old Roman wisdom, "If you want peace, prepare for war".We smashed our enemies, we created military..we built and maintained a big arsenal on land, air and sea. It worked so well and lasted so long that we forgot why we were doing it."   "That happy time is done and gone, at least for now. We’d better stop whining and get about the business of winning".
"If we accept that war, and the preparation for war, is the basic leitmotif of human history, we might also overcome the parallel myth: that all men are basically the same, and all men want the same (good) things. Not so. Just ask Vladimir Putin, Ali Khamenei, and their friends, proxies, and agents. They want bad things for us, namely death and domination. And they’re not likely to change, which is why it’s very dangerous to give Khamenei more money, and try to make Putin more “reasonable.” They’re going to continue the war."




Read the whole article.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Extra fingers, extra hands

With a couple extra fingers you could stir coffee or open an envelope with one hand.  MIT researchers have come up with a cuff that adds two powerful fingers to your hand and moves them in sympathy with your five other fingers.  The two doctored digits can hold a jam jar while the rest of them twist off the lid.

I think many people will have enhanced bodies in the near future.  Better, longer-lasting members.  (Sounds sexy).  The rest of us will settle for our DNA recipe and a personalized set of stem cells that will renew our existing organs, keeping heart and skin in perfect health for the first hundred years or so.

The video is somewhat didactic as the Chinese-named undergrad and her Japanese-named supervisor use the gadget in a  Massachusetts lab, but you can see how it could work and seem natural too.

Readers deconstruct tut-tutting headline about speed limits.

When The Province takes a cheap shot with "Coquihalla Highway fatality follows speed-limit increase" it's refreshing to see the comment section owned by readers who find the link risible. (In other news, there's hope voters will make results-based economic choices and John Q Public will use reason to assess climate claims.)  One commenter sums it up and points to a little deception by the newspaper:
"All the comments that were initially posted about this poor excuse for reporting have been taken down and the story re-posted without the comments. There's no evidence that this accident was caused by excessive speed or the long awaited upgraded speed limits. It is simply a misinformed story written with no fact to fill space."

The same story is posted at the Victoria Times Colonist where the entertaining comments deconstruct the reporter's efforts at tut-tutting. One example from "kitty": Headlines sell papers.... in related news Bird Kills Woman (a... morbidly obese woman who ate a jumbo bucket of KFC daily!)

I've rarely seen a stream of reasoned comments so at odds with the story lede. The reporter must have thought he'd win approbation.

Jobs gone forever: Unemployment insurance turning into a pension.

This US chart shows unprecedented jumps in the wait between jobs, measured now in months instead of weeks since the 2008 recession struck.  It's not a ripple, it's a sea change.  Some jobs are disappearing forever.  The 2008 economic stall helped, feckless Obama helped, and businesses have been prodded into finding ways to do more with fewer people so they can survive.
Source at Zero Hedge























Related: The full-time job loss since June of 2007 now tops five million. The overall job loss is still 2 million, in spite of the fact the US now has a working-age population that is 14 million higher than in June 2007."

Did you read about the hamburger machine that makes better, fresher hamburgers faster than paid staff? Your choice of lean, beef and pork custom ground, blended and grilled.

The enemy of my enemy -- Egypt cheers for Israel.

 “Thank you Netanyahu, and God give us more men like you to destroy Hamas!”  (Azza Sami, a writer for government daily Al-Ahram on Twitter).  And these blunt words:   “Sorry Gazans, I cannot support you until you rid yourselves of Hamas.” (Adel Nehaman, a columnist for the Egyptian daily El-Watan, )

Alliances are fluid. The middle east will surprise us over and over.  Here's another one: Saudi Arabia Finances Most of Israel’s Weapons Build-Up Against Iran and Nuclear Agreement May Result in Israel and Saudi Arabia Attacking Iran

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The politically correct want the crown but will have to fight family, race, faith and nationality for it.

Politically correct pundits attack race loyalty and Christianity because the lesser fear the greater.  They scorn kinship and pregnancy because family loyalty trumps clique allegiance.  The PC movement has also has turned its back on the nation state, scorning patriotism, despising armies, and mocking border security.  However,  PC doesn't openly attack the nation state because their lips are latched on that government teat for funding and status.  The truth is, family, faith, ethnic background and patriotism are enemies of the politically correct.  Disguised in the term "politically correct"is the rise of situational ethics, cliques that network with social neighbours and determine truth by the praise they get from their own contact list.

The internet and social networking have given this fifth way a chance to restructure society.  It won't be going away and it isn't any better behaved when threatened than the other four.  You'll find more PC claptrap left of centre in politics but it isn't a new party, it's a metastasis of old-style group shaming.  It wants the crown of world government.

Situational ethics value situational goods,  status you get from your position vis a vis your neighbours.  This is a variation on the old kid's game, "King of the Castle".  The biggest kid in our neighbourhood would run to the top of the snow pile and chant: "I'm the king of the castle and you're the dirty rascal" until someone could push him off the peak.  "I recycle and compost and use natural fabrics and am a locavore vegetarian anti-war genius but you're a dirty rascal and a republican or conservative to boot".     "You only ban guns in schools but I ban even pointing a finger and saying 'bang' "
The King is In

Hang onto your faith.  Be proud of your ethnic roots.  Stand up for the national anthem.  Love and defend your family.  And if you in your wisdom want to rule the roost with politically-correct-brethren, go ahead and compete for the position but skip the righteous surprise when we push back to defend what we treasure.

Our civilisation is under attack, by the Islamic Reformation on one hand and Ad Hoc Shaming Networks jostling for money and power on the other.  If we defend against but one, we will lose to the other.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

China wants our logs? Get off our butts and move them out to the highest bidder .

BC law lets one log in fourteen be exported. As the Fraser Institute reports, the seller has to beg locals to pay $74/cubic m. before being allowed to sell a tiny fraction abroad at $108. The foreigners pay more because they value that log more than we do. The difference is wealth we willfully robs from ourselves.

There's a chorus of BC boosters who neither buy nor sell logs themselves but have plenty of opinion about who should. Forget those who get the vapours every time a tree falls near a media outlet. (A fevered link).  The argument that we should keep lumber milling jobs in BC sounds pretty good. The reality is we aren't prepared to cut those logs to the sizes and quantities the Chinese need. The government's own Forestry Innovation Investment marketing agency says in a one page summary that although some of our cheap 2x4 gets used in China for concrete forms, we offer 1 1/2" thick boards but they want a minimum of 1-7/8" for furniture blanks and so on. We sell hardly any high end wood to China because we can't be bothered milling it to their specs.    I ran into this once when an old Swiss gentleman came to my shop looking for roof trusses which he wanted built from metric wood dimensions unlike any I'd ever seen to fit on a metric-dimensioned shed of a size no one else in BC would bother building.
From the Fraser Institute's report on log exports:
"In 2011, B.C.’s forestry and logging sector contributed $1.77 billion to the province’s GDP (the total dollar value of all goods and services produced in B.C.). That year, coniferous logs sold domestically on the Vancouver log market for $74.28 per cubic metre while exports sold for $108.35. Only seven per cent of the 2011 log harvest was exported, despite foreign market demand for B.C. logs".
Booms in Howe Sound




















It sounds like the communist farm commune: You have to sell your product to a designated buyer at a low price and only the bit you grow on your own plot can you freely sell. Why on earth is the provincial government the gate keeper, the dog lying in the manger door that keeps the other animals from coming in and out to munch in peace? It's because, in BC, the government owns almost every hectare of land from north to south and this makes them an easy target for rent seeking.  (" When a company, organization or individual uses their resources to obtain an economic gain from others without reciprocating any benefits back to society through wealth creation" Wikipedia.)

In BC, we want our money back. We paid for teachers in June and didn't get them.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation puts it plainly: 
"It’s no different than if your barber refused to cut your hair, you wouldn’t pay them anyway – you’d want your money back." 
“Government needs to feel the cold hard grip of fiscal restraint to stay the course and negotiate a fair, affordable deal for taxpayers,” said Bateman. “This money belongs to B.C. taxpayers – not teachers or the government. The BCTF shouldn’t be rewarded with this money as part of their negotiations. This $200 million should be rebated to the taxpayers who paid it in the first place.”
Petition here.  A family of four would be entitled to $160 back.  That money was taken from us for a purpose and neither the government nor the BCTF has any right to channel it to their pockets.
a citizens advocacy group dedicated to lower taxes,
less waste and accountable government.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Right-Left Disconnect over religion: Sacred? Seriously?

Megan McArdle writes:
"While the religious right views religion as a fundamental, and indeed essential, part of the human experience, the secular left views it as something more like a hobby, so for them it's as if a major administrative rule was struck down because it unduly burdened model-train enthusiasts. That emotional disconnect makes it hard for the two sides to even debate; the emotional tenor quickly spirals into hysteria as one side says "Sacred!" and the other side says, essentially, "Seriously? Model trains?"
She further comments about the Hobby Lobby decision:: "Both sides believe that they are having someone else’s views forcibly imposed upon them". She narrows the contraception issue down to public goods for which this wonderful definition is supplied:
Public goods are not “goods provided by the government”; they’re goods that have to be provided by the government, because no one without taxing power can efficiently provide them. Police service is the classic public good because it is nonrivalrous (multiple people can enjoy it) and nonexclusive (you can’t keep other people from enjoying the benefits). If crime goes down, all of us enjoy lower crime, even if we don’t pay taxes. Defense of the borders is another classic public good, and other items such as roads and lighthouses are usually included. 
All discussion about the role of government and citizen liberty should sidestep the question, "Can it be provided by government" and should address this question: "Must it be provided by government?"
 

#WordCrimes:Good Grammar from Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic has a cheery video ditty exposing sloppy just-about-everything written and spoken.  I have fond memories reading Fowler's "The King's English" and loving English spoken well and not so well. There's even an appearance of the Oxford comma. 
h/t Instapundit. published by VEVO.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Israel is Winning.

Short term, Israel will win a war of attrition with Hamas.  As David Goldman writes, there wasn't a free table on the terrace at hundreds of Tel Aviv restaurants at the same time as Hamas, out of weakness, was lobbing rockets their way.
There will be no Intifada on the West Bank: the Palestinian Arabs are older, more resigned and less inclined to destroy their livelihoods than in 2000. Syria and Iraq continue to disintegrate, Lebanon is inundated with Syrian Sunni refugees (weakening Hezbollah’s relative position), and Jordan is looking to Israel to protect it against ISIS. Egypt is busy trying to survive economically.
Medium term, Israel is winning in the market place and becoming a regional power.
Medium-term, the boycott and BDS threat become irrelevant. “Startup nation” is becoming market-cap nation as hundreds of Israeli firms exit the venture capital stage and become profitable, mature enterprises. There’s never been anything like this. India and China beckon with a combined market of 2.5 billion people. To the extent that the Europeans threaten Israel with sanctions, the term “Middle East” gradually will be replaced by “Western Asia.”
Israel is becoming worldwide the go-to place for military tech since their enemies have forced them to excel.  Think India, Algeria and Egypt, the UAR, Pakistan, Turkey, both the US and China.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Brain waves help smart traders. MRI proof.

In lab games with pretend risky-money deals, the few smart traders with big wins were picked and some got an MRI.  The pros seemed to follow Warren Buffet's advice: "Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy only when others are fearful".  Everyone got a turn-on in one part of their brain (nucleus accumbens where reward processing happens) when sudden rises or falls in trading showed up.  The weak ones bought into rises with "irrational exuberance".  The pros had a low buzz from this risk-reward signal but they also had a signal from a second part of the brain, the insula, which is linked to risk aversion.
Source

Extracted from the story at Science Daily News about Professor Camerer at Caltech.
There's an interesting footnote: The game regularly generated pricing bubbles even though "some economists .. have held that bubbles are rare or are caused by misinformation or hype".

Skin can smell and incense may have healing power.

Skin has one scent receptor tuned to the smell of Sandalwood.  When those smell cells are turned on, skin will heal quicker. Think: Sandalwood incense.
The source for this is a Science Daily article:
Some 350 different kinds of smell receptor have been found in noses but a few show up elsewhere including intestines, prostate, sperm and now, the skin.

The technical report: The research team from Bochum found the olfactory receptor OR2AT4 present in keratinocytes that form the topmost layer of our skin and it triggered a calcium-dependent signal pathway which typically facilitates wound healing.

Scoop on Democrats' Tame But Secretive Funding Group: Democracy Alliance is the Inner Circle.

Lawyer Hinderaker of Powerline has a political scoop that approaches Climategate in scale.  Democracy Alliance convention memos (that were supposed to be kept secret) reveal a hundred moneybags are being shepherded by Democrats to fund the funders of progressive causes. You can do some original research by scrolling down through the documents.  Their strategy is shifting from funding organizations to funding movements and parking money appropriately within movements.  At a meet-up in Chicago, Valerie Jarrett, Debbie Wasserman Schultz  and others took time to address this select little bunch.  Each name has been personally recruited and is being assessed as a fund-raising target which no doubt flatters the targets. Members have duties that go beyond paying the stiff membership and attending a convention. They are expected to do their own "private" funding of progressive groups using the Democracy Alliance template.
" It is striking how seamlessly the Democracy Alliance, with its far-left tint,
meshes with the Obama administration. Thus, the DA partners were treated to
appearances by David Axelrod and Debbie Wasserman Schultz".

I am struck by two points in the documents:
-There's a patter about fairness and inclusiveness that sounds noble and remains unexamined. It's actually about being unfair and exclusive.
-These big shots who are flattered to join DA are being shamelessly micromanaged. The organizers are focused on lining the people up and getting tailored commitments and money from each one, like cows getting the best dairy mash and then milked by machine to the last drop.  Policy decisions are made elsewhere.

LA Farmer's Market for Medicinal Marijuana. Lefty pet causes = good.

From Instapundit comes this video link to LA's first ever farmer's market for marijuana.  The lineup was down the street and around the corner for a chance to meet the "growers of their medicine" and an opportunity for growers to get a better dollar.  Apparently many of the growers are patriotic veterans who raise a bit of medicine at home and share with others in need. Admission was restricted to people who had documentation that they could legally purchase pot.  (Yesterday Washington state began allowing pot sales to all and sundry.)  (Related:  Mexican farmers planting less pot thanks to Colorado law)

Leaning libertarian, this doesn't offend me as much as the hysterical blindness the left shows for causes they don't support.  They have an outraged NO and Dirty Tricks for anyone with religious scruples about funding abortion, celebrating homosexuality, or offering votes and immigration to an unpatriotic victim class from afar.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Nostrodamus of 2008 predicts the curse of Obama

I thought Levin's musings were a joke, a re-write pretending to date from one week before the Light Bringer's election in 2008.  Clairvoyance or logic?  "While America will certainly survive, it will do so .. as a different place". The full article is available here:.
"I sense what’s occurring in this election is a recklessness and abandonment of rationality that has preceded the voluntary surrender of liberty and security in other places. ... Some conservatives are caught in the moment as their attempts at explaining their support for Barack Obama are unpersuasive and even illogical. ...Others, reach for the usual platitudes in explaining themselves but are utterly incoherent. Even non-conservatives with significant public policy and real world experiences, such as Colin Powell and Charles Fried, find Obama alluring but can’t explain themselves in an intelligent way. 
There is a cult-like atmosphere around Barack Obama, which his campaign has carefully and successfully fabricated, which concerns me. The messiah complex. Fainting audience members at rallies. Special Obama flags and an Obama presidential seal. A graphic with the portrayal of the globe and Obama’s name on it, which adorns everything from Obama’s plane to his street literature. Young school children singing songs praising Obama. Teenagers wearing camouflage outfits and marching in military order chanting Obama’s name and the professions he is going to open to them. An Obama world tour, culminating in a speech in Berlin where Obama proclaims we are all citizens of the world. I dare say, this is ominous stuff.  Even the media are drawn to the allure that is Obama. Yes, the media are liberal. Even so, it is obvious that this election is different. The media are open and brazen in their attempts to influence the outcome of this election".
It’s as if the media use the Obama campaign’s talking points — its preposterous assertions that Obama didn’t hear Wright from the pulpit railing about black liberation, whites, Jews, etc., that Obama had no idea Ayers was a domestic terrorist despite their close political, social, and working relationship, etc. — to protect Obama from legitimate and routine scrutiny. And because journalists have also become commentators, it is hard to miss their almost uniform admiration for Obama and excitement about an Obama presidency. So in the tank are the media for Obama that for months we’ve read news stories and opinion pieces insisting that if Obama is not elected president it will be due to white racism.
The question is whether enough Americans understand what’s at stake in this election and, if they do, whether they care. Is the allure of a charismatic demagogue so strong that the usually sober American people are willing to risk an Obama presidency? After all, it ensnared Adelman, Kmiec, Powell, Fried, and numerous others. And while America will certainly survive, it will do so, in many respects, as a different place.

America will survive but how good a neighbour shall it be.  Will Canada have to fence it out?

Monday, 30 June 2014

The ocean has thousands of slow-moving mega-whirlpools moving along watery superhighways.

This discovery up-ends the models of ocean transport and its influence on climate.  There's a video.
The vortices, some sixty miles across and half a mile deep, move along pathways in the ocean about 3 miles per day.  They dip about 20 inches towards the middle and today's satellites can detect this.  They move about thirty times as much water as all the rivers of the world contribute daily to the oceans and are on a scale approaching the Gulf Stream.  The movement of heat, salt, carbon and pollution has to be re-thought.

The video is coded red for clockwise and blue for counter-clockwise.  Note there is motion in both directions within the Gulf Stream and east-to-west in many places.

The information is gleaned from Wired.com's larger article.


By The Book: Islam's "Protestant Reformation" Is Underway. Jihad And Reading skills.

From Raymond Ibrahim:
Islam has been reforming. What is today called “radical Islam” is the reformation of Islam. It follows the .. logic of the Protestant Reformation— prioritizing scripture over centuries of tradition and legal debate—but with antithetical results that reflect the contradictory teachings of the core texts of Christianity and Islam.
Islamic literacy rates have risen above 40% (See Ibrahim) and the Koran is now as available to Muslims as the Bible once was to Europe's first Protestants.  The "Back to the Quran" movement (Sola Scriptura) finds plainly stated teaching:
The Koran and Hadith call for war, or jihad, against all non-believers, until they either convert, accept subjugation and discrimination, or die.
Islam's prophet himself decreed, “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.”
The Koran allows polygamy—up to four wives—and the possession of concubines, or sex-slaves.
The Koran permits lying; the prophet himself often deceived others, and permitted lying to one’s wife, to reconcile quarreling parties, and to the “infidel” during war.

Related:  The Protestant Reformation Is Coming To Islam And You Won't Like It.
Coming for the first time in the original language
to millions of new readers.


News from Outer Space, June 2014

Some asteroids appear to be comets

Rare and massive storm on Saturn

Partial success reactivating 1978 International Sun/Earth satellite using amateurs.

Tidal forces on the moon give it a 20" bulge that jiggles about, presumably because the earth's ocean is sloshing against barriers as it strives for the moon.  It's not exactly news but there's been progress getting a measurement.

Solar wind strips electrons from objects without atmospheres.  A NASA computer model takes this to a new level, predicting what parts of an oddball shaped asteroid will have positive charges dangerous to human explorers.  There's a 20 second video.








The Higgs boson had been making news.   CERN has found quite a few more examples and is upgrading to check further.   Proof has been gathered that Higgs can decay into fermions as well as  bosons, further establishing the standard model of particle physics.  Why do we care?  From the same article in Nature.com:  
The Higgs boson is thought to be related to an invisible Higgs field that pervades all of space. As particles travel through that field, their interactions with it give them mass. The original finding that Higgs particles decay into other bosons confirmed the Higgs field can interact with bosons. Now the latest results show that the field can interact with fermions as well. The finding supports the idea that a single, Standard Model Higgs boson explains how all particles get their mass.
Key point: "Explains how all particles get their mass".
While we're on the topic, some scientists are puzzled that the universe didn't end as soon as it began, crushed upon itself because of the strength of that Higgs field mentioned above.
Connected to this is the apparent detection of gravity waves embedded in the cosmic microwave background,  left over from the first moments of our universe.

Gravity waves!  Or maybe dust.
(Mentioned in March issue) Gravity waves mapped:   "Gravitational waves .... propagate at the speed of light through 3-dimensional space. They are theorized to be generated by the collisions of black holes and are thought to have been generated in abundance by the inflationary period just after the Big Bang nearly 13.8 billion years ago.
Einstein’s equations of general relativity predict their existence.
CAVEAT:Dustiness of the galaxy is irregular and may dampen or even invalidate the signal of gravitational waves that is mentioned above.




Black holes were a fairyland concept to me in high school days but they are everywhere.  Hubblesite.org says there are about 100 million in our galaxy alone.   The discovery of the third triple black hole was reported in June.  They orbit about each other.  Great photo attached of a super-massive black hole with evidence of gravity waves.








Jupiter's famous eye has been resizing quickly.

And lastly, news that turns out to NOT be from outer space.  On earth, a major glaciation and climate shift happened 2.6 million years ago.  The sun gets blamed for most of the big stuff but this one appears to be caused by the land bridge emerging between the Americas, changing salinities, winds and circulation profoundly.

The earth seems to have been formed from the collision of two similar sized objects about 150 million years after the solar system formed instead of just 30 million.  A second planetary body within the earth still has some distinct blob signature.

March issue of News From Outer Space.





Sunday, 29 June 2014

O Canada - bright and lively. UPDATE

I love my country but can't abide our anthem's melody which drags and has no clear chord to end upon.   My suggestion for July 1st is that we sing it to the tune of Jingle Bells:


The chorus:
O Ca-na da, O Ca-na-da\
Our home and native land\
True patriot love, in all thy sons\
Command in us today.\
With glowing hearts we see thee rise\
The True North strong and free.
From far and wide, O Ca-na-da\
We stand on guard for thee\

And the verse:
God keep us glorious, free\
We stand on guard for thee\
We stand on guard for thee\
From East to Western sea!

The official lyrics.
And a link to a stirring presentation of the original at an Edmonton Oilers game, beginning just after the 2:35 mark..

Mexican Farmers Suffering Under New Drug Law. Or: "Legal Pot in the US Is Crippling Mexican Cartels"

"The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that pot farmers in the Sinaloa region have stopped planting due to a massive drop in wholesale prices, from $100 per kilo down to only $25. One farmer is quoted as saying: “It’s not worth it anymore. I wish the Americans would stop with this legalization.”"

Former DEA senior intelligence specialist Sean Dunagan told VICE News that, although it’s too early to verify the numbers: “Anything to establish a regulated legal market will necessarily cut into those profits. And it won’t be a viable business for the Mexican cartels — the same way bootleggers disappeared after prohibition fell.”
More at the O'Hara link (VICE news) where she touches on the DEA's cash flow which depends in part on pot being illegal.

The biggest rewards in society come from directing the whole thing.  That's why the state ends up with a monopoly of violence and the citizens trade it for a measure of peace.  When government jacks up the market in marijuana by making it illegal, the profits become so good that the state surrenders some of its monopoly. That control of violence migrates to cartels and street gangs to protect their market, a market that depends on a government law to make it illegal.   Distribution of goods depends on rationing or markets.  Laws that outlaw pot are the extreme form of rationing.   The response is an extreme pot market with guns and murder.
Prohibition poster of the slippery slope 

The Washington Post story says the Mexican farmers are switching to heroin  because government law still locks in high profits for them.  Appalled as I am at the thought cheap heroin everywhere, I think it's better than subsidizing criminal gangs with anti-heroin laws.  Hell, "subsidizing" is the wrong word, try "creating".

Parting thought from Dunagan's quote:

"Bootleggers disappeared after prohibition fell".

Obama joke: Guy walks into a bar with an orange for a head. Alternate lede: The Perversity of Human Nature.

Andrew Klavan reports the ultimate joke about Obama. 
The Canadian version would mention the Northern Gateway pipeline.
The opening line:
A man walks into a bar. He has an orange for a head. The bartender pours him a drink and says: “So—you want to tell me about it?”
It's a three wishes story.
First wish: A million bucks.
Second wish:  Sex with Playboy pinups.

"I went back to the genie a third time,” says the man with an orange for a head, “and I think this may have been where I made my mistake.”“What did you do?” says the bartender.
“I wished to have an orange for a head.”


Andrew explains it:
Andrew Klavan






"Consider .. the earth....., presenting us with the Promethean gift of fuels that elevate us beyond the imaginations of our ancestors. Our response? We nurture a superstitious dread of oil and coal and promulgate pseudoscientific disaster scenarios meant to teach panic and to quench the very fire of our freedom. Or consider ... that we were born into the freest, strongest, and wealthiest nation that mankind has ever known—and elected as our president a man who promised to “fundamentally transform” it."


When you shake you head at what the American electorate goes for, it's human nature you're quibble is disputing.  Remember a third of America thinks Obama didn't go far enough.   We don't have Obama but we have Canadian voters.  I'm not smarter than them.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

BC has almost no private property. Rentseekers' Paradise

The Supreme Court decision expanding property rights to native bands and money going into Stop-the-Pipeline fervour makes sense because BC is 95% crown land.  It's easy to lobby one Liberal institution instead of thousands of landholders who don't agree with you.  The Ministry of Lands and Forests brags about this state-control on their crown land page.  They should be ashamed, instead.


Source. Click to expand

Overreaching control of land assures misallocation of resources in BC.  Our private areas are strips along rivers, the Fraser delta, some farmable country in the Peace River and a pleasant chunk of Vancouver Island. The owned lands look like flecks of paint on this map of BC.


Compare crown land in Ontario.  The settled south is mostly owned by individuals.  There will be no large scale exclusion or give away here.  Northern Ontario is a different story.




Monkey on your back: How to hunt wild pigs in Africa

If you look up the expression, "monkey on your back", its origin is unknown.  No longer.  These little critters jump up on the boars as if sucked up by magnets and slow the boars down just enough that runners on foot with small hand nets can catch dinner.  The monkeys must be well paid and are obviously adapted for such mischief.  


h/t smalldeadanimals