Sunday, April 23, 2017

The French first round

"High turnout as France votes in first round of presidential election"

"Polls will be closing in much of France in 20 minutes, at 7 pm. In Paris and other large cities, polls will close at 8 pm."

Live coverage..

"Professor Says Male Student’s Paper Was So Triggering She Had Trouble Distinguishing Him From Her Rapist"

Via Instapundit:   A feminist professor said she was so triggered by a male student’s paper that “I began to have trouble distinguishing him from the man that [raped me].”

Writing anonymously in Inside Higher Ed, the professor described a lesson on rape culture she included in her gender class, saying she was frustrated with male students skeptical that it exists.

But one male student’s paper left her “thrown back into a pit of traumatic, fragmented memories,” she wrote.

The student cited a men’s rights advocacy group, referenced a case where a woman raped a man, questioned whether feminism was relevant, and said that concerns about gender inequality were overblown.

The professor thought the paper was not well sourced, and that the argument wasn’t sufficiently supported. But that wasn’t all.

(Link to more)

"How Carl Sagan Ruined Science"

Via Twitter:  I am a Carl Sagan fan from way back. His 1980 TV miniseries “Cosmos” hit me at just the right age and inflamed a lifelong love of science. But we’ve had nearly 40 years to assess the long-term effects and see how Sagan unwittingly contributed to a trend that muddled public understanding of science. This weekend’s so-called “March for Science” is a perfect example of what went wrong.

All you really need to know about the “March for Science” is that it is scheduled for Earth Day. The organizers may say the march is nonpartisan and has a variety of goals, but it’s mostly just about global warming. It’s not just about whether global warming is actually happening, or whether it is caused by human activity, but about a specific political program for dealing with global warming.

To be sure, there are other goals involved in the march and some contention, even among the organizers, about the extent to which the march should embrace causes like “diversity.” So the goals run the gamut from the left to the far-left. And that’s the problem. The “March for Science” is an attempt to equate the Left’s political goals with Science Itself, claiming the intellectual and moral authority of science for the Left’s agenda.

You can see why they would want to do that. The Left’s latest worker’s paradise—this time in Venezuela—is finishing up the usual devolution into mass poverty, starvation, dictatorship, chaos, and gang warfare. Given this ongoing track record of destruction, the Left has to seize on the illusion of moral authority however it can.

This is an old campaign—the Communists used to claim that they represented “scientific socialism”—but its modern form was largely shaped by Sagan, by way of “Cosmos.” He is remembered as a great popularizer of science, explaining the achievements of physics, mathematics, and astronomy in glowing, inspirational terms. But he faced the basic problem of all such popularizers.

Science has its own unique language and methods: the language of mathematics and a method of systematic observation and experimentation. The reason science tends to be opaque to the public is because it ultimately requires that they understand its language and learn to use its methods. But how do you communicate the history and meaning of science to those who don’t yet speak its language? You turn science into something they can understand. You make it into a narrative, a story.

Sagan mostly turned it into a story about brave and honest scientific pioneers fighting against the forces of superstition and obscurantism. He made it into a narrative of good guys versus bad guys, of the forces of light and progress against closed-minded reactionaries. This was sometimes oversimplified, but it wasn’t entirely wrong; the religious authorities who persecuted Galileo definitely weren’t the good guys. But Sagan fell into the temptation to make this narrative about science fit just a little too closely with the agenda of conventional late-twentieth-century liberalism, so he used “Cosmos” as a platform for the Cold War-era moral equivalence of the “anti-nuclear” movement and homilies about environmentalism.

“Cosmos” is an interesting intellectual time capsule, because it was broadcast just at the point when predictions of global environmental catastrophe were tipping between global cooling and global warming. So he presented the two as equally likely scenarios that required further study (and, of course, massive government funding).

But he dropped his guard at this point, forgot his own admonitions about following the evidence wherever it leads, and indulged the conceit that science would just happen to line up neatly with his own political preferences. What he didn’t do was entertain the possibility that human beings aren’t destroying the planet or cruising toward planetary catastrophe. He did not even consider this null hypothesis as a possibility.

It was a glaring hole in scientific objectivity, and it set the path for the popularizers of science who would follow in his footsteps. He had fixed the narrative in place, and they followed it.

(Link to more)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

"Trump to hold rally on night of White House correspondents' dinner"

The Hill:  President Trump will hold a rally in Pennsylvania the night of the White House Correspondents' Association dinner, he said Saturday.

"Next Saturday night I will be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania. Look forward to it!" Trump wrote on Twitter.

The announcement comes after Trump decided earlier this year that he would skip the annual dinner in Washington, D.C., breaking with longtime political tradition of the president attending the event alongside lawmakers and celebrities.

The dinner is on April 29 at the Washington Hilton.

(via Drudge)

How President Trump spent his Saturday afternoon.

Trump Uses Saturday to Visit Walter Reed and Present Injured Soldier with Purple Heart Medal

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump spent their time on Saturday visiting Walter Reed Hospital. During the visit President Trump awarded Sergeant First Class Alvaro Barrientos a Purple Heart.
Sergeant First Class Alvaro Barrientos was injured in Afghanistan recently.

Who loves you baby.....New York that is...!

We had a very tough day yesterday. We were out all day at a doctors office and it was like being in steerage in the Titanic. Then coming home a tractor tailer burst into flames and it took an hour and a half to get somewhere that should have taken fifteen minutes. What a shit storm.

We were both exhausted. We like to sit in the living room after dinner to wind down after the days activity to catch a couple of shows on Hulu. Without cable we tend to binge watch stuff. Recently we have been watching this Brit comedy/drama Atlantis that is pretty funny. But it only had two seasons so we didn't want to burn it off too quick. Luckily one of our favorites shows started a new season on Amazon Prime. Bosch.

This is the series based on the famous novels by Michael Connelly about Harry Bosch an LA detective. It revels in all the cliches. He's a rebel. Troubled. Listens to jazz. Fights with his bosses. All the usual bullshit you have seen a million times before. But it is really well done for the genre and I really recommend it.

So we start watching it and right off the bat the wife falls asleep because we were exhausted. Which means I have to shut if off. I can't keep watching it and have her miss it. This has happened before and it never works out well. So I turn it off and start flicking around. What do I find. Kojack.


These two pots of small habanero bushes are grown from seeds inside grocery store habanero chile pods. The pods were dried and turned to little bits for a powerful floral chile flavoring. It's used in near trace amounts smaller than 1/16 teaspoon. 

Genetically this plant is perennial although it is treated as annual. I expected them to bloom last year near the end of the season but they didn't develop fast enough. Both pots were overly densely planted, about 1/3 died wintering inside. 

There were five blooms but no wind and no insects to pollinate so I did that by hand with a Q-tip. Two broke off by my handling and two other flowers fell by themselves, this is the only chile so far. If the flower can hang on after pollination then this pod develops rapidly within a few days. 

When it ripens it will be orange. 

But right now it's a baby and I imagine it gazing back in wordless wonder settled in warm satisfaction that is readable on its little baby chile face by the smile held in tremendous contentment.

"Come on, stop it! You're killing me over here."

It's quite an effort. To be born.

It is aggressive. Assertive. Forceful. Creative.

One time I read a strange thing in a metaphysics book that was interesting to me sufficiently to cause me to read all the woman's books. Actually, I read all the books available at that Dalton's in the whole metaphysical section including all the most wacky ones written by an aging actress from a famous acting family. It amounted to four shelves of wildly strange books. 

This was Jane Roberts. She and her husband played with an Ouija board and that led over time to Jane channeling an entity named Seth. 

Jane, or the entity Seth, said something like, "Birth is aggressively assertive. A flower blooming,  forcing itself into physical reality, creatively assembling from available material, is more aggressive than death which is submissive." 

Strange idea. But I used that one time. 

I must have internalized it.

Here's a brief story for you. It was the oddest thing.

I shouldn't recall it all the way because it's a bummer. It doesn't do good to dwell. It's not how to progress. Nevertheless, this odd thing did happen and it is relevant to the point.

All along coping with unanticipated difficulties one after another debilitating in series then a bright spot opened and everything looked tremendous and bright. I took a train to Glenwood Springs for a weekend in celebration of good fortune, of life itself, and on the way back at Denver I broke my left femur at the hip on the terminal platform and that accident lead to a brief hospitalization and a few weeks in a nursing home and a good deal of therapy.  

All that seems like four lifetimes ago. And I mean it. This is all very far behind me.

Up to then it had been all private rooms. And it was here too at the nursing home until half way through they brought in a man who would be my roommate. 

He was older than myself by a few decades.  His accident had changed his plans considerably and he was having a good deal of difficulty adjusting. He was depressed. He told me that he was bummed out because he did not want to go through his retirement handicapped. It messed him right up. He felt like just dying.

He found me to be a curiosity. 

Get that. Plain, normal, simple, straightforward simpleminded me. For some reason I had his attention. I do not understand why he even bothered discussing his emotional transitions with me. They have professionals there for that. And then maybe those professionals put him in that room with me for a reason. 

I think maybe he was curious how I handled his similar situation given I'm in a similar boat except a few decades younger. I think he was curious how I managed emotionally to see if he could muster a similar attitude.  I don't know. 

We role model types must be very careful. You never do know what goes on in peoples' minds. If he is a religious type, in his worked up emotional state he might imagine me having been positioned in that room by higher power specifically to deliver to him his needed spiritual information or inspiration. Who's to know?  In that moment Jane Roberts philosophy occurred to me. I leaned upon it heavily and said, "Look, dying is easy, you just resign to it. You give up. You let go. Dying is not hard. It is not a challenge. Living is challenging. No matter your condition, age or station, living is the assertive forceful challenge while dying is passive release of control." I spoke as if I knew what I was talking about although I don't and he didn't challenge anything I said.

This guy I found today read Jane Roberts's metaphysical discussion differently. He sums up her discourse on this as aggression vs. violence. By his reading, aggression is forceful constructive energy while violence is the opposite. 

Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and more!


"Ex ‘SNL’ Star: Show ‘Gave Up on the Obama Thing’"

via InstapunditPharoah opened up about his time on the venerable sketch series during an April 13 chat on Hot 97’s “Ebro in the Morning” show. The comedian got fired from “SNL” in August, but his Obama character got his pink slip much earlier.

“For the last year and a half they did no Obama sketches at all. They just were like, ‘oh, we don’t know what to do…’ I said, ‘just let me do my characters and we’ll be fine.’ They didn’t wanna do that,” Pharoah said.

“I feel like they gave up … gave up on the Obama thing,” he continued.

“SNL” became increasingly progressive during the Obama years. Few sketches skewered the first black president. The show’s writers ignored Obama’s considerable ego, his lofty pronouncements nor the fallout from the 2013 PolitiFact Lie of the Year – “If you like your health care plan you can keep it.”

While conservatives pounced on the president via social media “SNL’s” professional scribes just couldn’t find much to mock.

The performer says many of his “SNL” skits went viral, snaring millions of views on the increasingly important One sketch earned more than 30 million views.

“I would always have things that would go viral. It’s what kept me relevant all of these years,” he said.

That wasn’t enough to save his job. He thinks his willingness to speak up for himself and nudge the show toward a more diverse cast, also played into his dismissal.

“I’m fiery. I’m not a yes nigga. That’s not me,” he said. That attitude, he says, plus his personal plea for more diverse co-stars, nearly got him fired months before his eventual termination.

"Where is the Republican Attack Machine on the Shutdown?"

Via Instapundit: Democrats are always so much better at spinning their nonsense than Republicans are. They whine, attack, and rally the troops every time there’s a big battle to be fought, while Republicans think somehow people will come around to their point of view. And Democrats do it in an organized fashion guided by a well thought out, long-term plan that nevertheless seems spontaneous. Republicans focus solely on today’s news cycle and think they can win the PR war via President Trump’s tweets.
The newest battle — the growing struggle over funding for the government, which runs out in a week — is a perfect example of this communications incompetence.

The newly elected president wants funding for the wall with Mexico, the issue that was the banner for his campaign. Democrats won’t give him a penny for it. They don’t even want to give him cash to enforce existing immigration law. He wants to increase defense spending, but Democrats are resisting. What’s more, despite having lost an election, they have demands. Americans voted to end Obamacare, but Democrats are insisting that subsidies not only continue but be enshrined forever as entitlements.

So why aren’t Republicans running around their districts and states and flooding cable TV, shrieking and close to tears about the prospect that “intransigent” and “ideological” Democrats want to “shut down the government” for their own “partisan political gain”? You know, the crap Democrats say all the frigging time.

See, here’s how this kind of BS is done, as demonstrated by a master you’ll recognize.

Friday, April 21, 2017


linky poo

The late Lemmy did a PSA on drugs a few years before he died:
Sometimes the straight people are right. And they’re right in the fact that one drug will lead to another ‘cause you meet more people who are doing drugs, you know?

A Place For Sixty To Reflect

Overheard at Lem's:
Sixty Grit said...
III/V, baby - those were the groups we used. Si, indium, aluminum, gallium. those were the ones I had direct experience with.
April 21, 2017 at 7:31 PM

Carbon, silicon, and germanium align vertically in the Periodic Table like a stack of mid-verse rhymes. I say "mid-verse" because they're not at the end of the periodic verses -- the noble gases are. Further below, the rhyme continues with the heavy metals tin and lead, making a vertical pentad of elements.

Carbon, tin, and lead were long-known but silicon eluded discovery until the early 19th-century. This seems astonishing because silicon is the second most abundant element in the earth's crust behind oxygen. The simple combination of silicon and oxygen, SiO2, is the inorganic analog of CO2 and is otherwise known as sand or, when pure, quartz. Elemental silicon was long suspected and early 19th century chemists were convinced that some new element must be present as an oxide in silica -- the problem was finding something to free it from oxygen. Voltaic piles -- which had then recently helped reveal metallic sodium and potassium -- were too weak. Berzellius used a two-step process, first treating quartz with HF to generate SiF4 and then treating the SiF4 with potassium metal. Recently discovered potassium metal was needed. The Germans still call silicon Silizium, giving it the metallic suffix -ium.

Another German (a very bad one) developed a carbo-centric Periodic Table which contains more chemical subtlety than I can master: