Category Archives: Astronomy

Wonders And Amazements

We have so many wonders around us every day that we don’t notice and it is amazing the current events and historical occurrences that are ignored by our media.  It must be that old adage at work about hiding in plain sight as the best way to remain unnoticed.

Speaking of adages, the next time you are trying to learn the origin of one, start with the Bible.  There is a very good chance you’ll find it there.   Remember Hamlet  “our fate is not in the stars but within ourselves”?   Well, the Bard was paraphrasing Job.  There when facing the common lament that God caused some misfortune Job responded “why persecute Him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?”  How many times have you said something like “you are the apple of my eye”?   Well, take a gander at Psalms 17:8.   There really isn’t much new under the Sun.  Even that comes from Ecclesiastes.

We worry about global warming and all manner of natural disasters but are ignorant or choose not to face facts that the laws of physics and astronomical facts harbor  enormous changes in relatively short order.  The global warming debate is primarily forecasting conditions roughly a century from now.  A long time compared to a human life but a blink in the grand scheme.  You want to worry about something then try to understand the implications of precession.   That is a term that describes the wobble of the earth as it rotates on its  axis.  You know that the earth tilts at a 23 degree angle that gives us our seasons.  And as it does it also wobbles just like a top slowing down.   For several centuries and for a few more we have had our North Star found using the far end of the pot of the Big Dipper and taking an imaginary line four times that length to find it.  It has been very reliable for a long time.  But, but, but as the earth moves on its wobble the North Star is moving and a few short centuries down the road it will not be the “north” star any longer.  The complete precession takes 23,000 years but not that long to move quiet some distance.  What does that portend for our climate down the road?  No one knows for sure, but perhaps another ice age.   Neanderthals and Cro-magnons made it and hopefully homo sapiens will also.

These modern punters have such big averages per punt.   Not all that impressed with them.  Those punters back when had it much rougher to get a forty yard average for punts.  They changes the rule a few decades ago to make it easier.  The rule used to be that the kicking team could not down the ball inside the opponents ten yard line.  The punter had to be much more accurate to kick it out-of-bounds to achieve those really good numbers.  It was a penalty if the ball was touched or d0wned by the kicking team inside the ten and the receiving team got the ball out on the 20 yard line.  Not like now where the kick team can have guys run down quickly and down the ball near the goal line.  That change immediately pumped up the numbers for the modern kickers.  So when you see the averages from some old punter back in the ’40’s, ’50’s or ’60’s remember the rule he had to work under.

We notice that Apple  and Google and others are using new encryption methods to protect users’ privacy from government surveillance.    A great idea.  The Feds already have too much access to our everyday lives as it is.  I recognize the occasional need to track down a missing child or elderly person or similar emergency.   Fine, let those and other extraordinary circumstances be exceptions.  Require the Feds to go to a judge and lay out those facts and then get access, otherwise leave us alone.

I don’t recall any big feasts for Thanksgiving when I was small after the War.   We had very modest circumstances.  But we had as roof over our head and food on the table.  I guess we had a turkey or maybe a big chicken.  I do know we had pies and cakes.  Mostly even then I knew I had a remarkable Dad and Mom and I never doubted that Dad would take care of us.  I do remember when I was about 5 and we lived in a rented house with an ice box.  Yes, a real ice box where Dad brought home a block of ice every few days to put in the special drawer and my job was to empty out the drip pan every day.  Those were modest days but abundantly lived.   May each of you be so blessed.

“Barbarism is like the jungle; it never admits its defeat; it waits patiently for centuries to recover the territory it has lost”  Will Durant, American historian.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Well, the Holidays are over and the hibernation will be interrupted long enough for the current thoughts and ramblings of the gray matter…..

Another State of the Union address and again we call for the elimination of the current method of delivery.  It is pure political theatre and propaganda.  Regardless of what party controls the White House the prevailing showmanship of the delivery should be stopped.  For well over 100 years the State of the Union was a straightforward written report to Congress from the President.   We need to really tone down this useless drama show.  It should be a business meeting between the Executive and Legislative branches of government.  Put it on C-span and no applause and distractions.  Let the President and his Cabinet present facts and figures about our economy, national security and society.  Let the Congressmen ask questions and challenge the data and assumptions and proposed policies.  It should be give and take.  The Presidents written report should be no longer than 20 pages in length, anything more and you’re getting hyperbole and fluff.

Saw a shooting star the other night.  It was the first one I’ve seen in a number of years what with all the bright lights of the city and trees and roof lines.  It was quite dramatic and very bright as it descended to earth.  So large that I actually listened for a boom.  Did see one so large and close that it produced a loud boom decades ago.  Better than any fireworks display when they are that large.

Not at all surprised that so many people were having their private insurance policies cancelled due to Obamacare.  Those reading these pages remember that I said that would happen back in ’10 when the thing was passed and I actually read the bill.  It provided that the policies being grandfathered in could only be those that never changed.   “Any” change meant they no longer met the standard of a “qualified” plan as approved by the bureaucrat in charge, the HHS Secretary.  So if your premium in the plan you liked was $300 per month and it increased by $5 per month then that change would kick you to the exchanges and you had to get the government approved plans, period.

Fighting wars half-heartedly is always a recipe for disaster. Korea and Viet Nam are probably the worst examples but Afghanistan isn’t far behind with that current guy in the White House view of the military and the mission there.   The object of any military action should always be to destroy and subdue your enemy and do so with all the resources at your command.  History teaches well the old maxim that when you go against and remove the King you better get rid of all his heirs also.   If we aren’t committed to eliminating the Taliban as a force then we might as well get out completely and go back in at our pleasure when we detect specific threats.   If our guys can’t conduct aggressive offensive operations as of now then they are merely becoming targets for the attacks of the Taliban at their pleasure.

Read another detailed and thorough article this week about the probability of our magnetic field starting another flip.  That means the magnetic poles will switch places and your compass would point south, not north.  If that is beginning to occur then it makes a mockery of the concern over alleged global warming.   The process could take thousands of years and the effects on Mother Earth would be enormous.  Weather would change for sure as would the overall climate and the effects of the increased radiation from the Sun would tear apart much of our modern infrastructure built on electrical power and electronic machines of all stripe, not the least of which would be your handy computer.   The magnetic field has flipped many times over the eons and many scientist believe we over  due for another  anytime.  The magnetic field has already weakened and some view that has the harbinger of the flip.  So another item to add to your list of worries but this one is real, the danger is only a question of time, not an if.

About two weeks before we dropped the first A bomb on Hiroshima a US sub made one of the most unusual attacks of the entire War.  The sub had already sunk several Jap ships in a harbor and was due to return to base but the captain noticed a  railroad trestle right on the shore line that was used by the Japs to transport supplies to the war making factories nearby.  They couldn’t have used a torpedo but were innovative both captain and crew.  They decided a shore party could attach a explosive device to the tracks and get the next train to pass after installation.  It took several days to figure out how to do it.  They used the explosive charges that normally are used only to scuttle the ship for the pow factor.  But then they had to devise a method to make the “bomb” explode at the right time to take out the train.  They jerry-rigged a trigger from a battery and copper wires.  The trigger was to be placed under the metal rail after they dug out a small pit for the explosives and then when the train passed over it would depress the rail a bit and that would close the electric circuit and ignite the device.  In the dark of the night a couple of nights later the landing party of 8 went ashore, dug the pit and placed the device there.  As they were heading back to the sub in a rubber dingy a train pulled into sight and then onto the trestle area embankment and sure enough it worked and everything went sky high.  The Captain was already a Medal of Honor winner when this took place.   Needless to say it was the only sub to take out a train during the War.

Even the Fed is beginning to taper.  Now if we could only get Congress to “taper” also and spend less.  I don’t feel like I get a bang for my tax bucks paid, er, extorted, to the Federal government, do you?

“Liberty alone demands for its realization the limitation of the public authority, for liberty is the only object which benefits all alike,…”  Lord Acton, British historian  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Let’s Count The Ways To God

Many men over the ages have wanted proof that God exist.   They seek tangible, measurable scientifically based answers to their quest for belief.   One may disagree with their skepticism but it is understandable since God is silent and remote doesn’t make daily appearances on TMZ of SNL.   They see they problems Man has caused for one another and question how any God can exist that condones and causes such misery.   In the current very secular world there is a new round of non belief because many adopt the simplistic notion that there is no evidence of a God.   I for one came to God not only as a matter of desire to have that faith in something bigger than Man but through a rational examination of our universe.

All atheists or agnostics would concur that the laws of physics, rules of chemistry, laws of mathematics and Gaia or Mother Nature have no soul, heart or concern for the outcomes of the interaction of these fundamental laws of the universe.   Mother Nature has no purpose.  It simply exist.   She doesn’t care if a bit of matter is a solid rock or a vapor of gas or whether it explodes or merely fades away.   Gravity doesn’t care a hoot if Earth is here much less whether we inhabit it.  With that purposely and random interaction of matter, time and energy let’s take a look at a few matters that allow Man to exist at all.   We’ll start from the inside and work our way outward to the far reaches of our universe.  To be an atheist you have to believe all the following is mere chance.

The Earth has a molten core.  Many heavenly bodies do not; they are merely giant rocks (a la the Moon).

Not only is it molten but it is iron and rotates and swirls.   That motion is not essential to the existence of the earth.  That motion creates our electromagnetic field.  Without it to protect us from radiation we would not be here.

We have our poles because of the electromagnetic field and they haven’t reversed during the last eons which has allowed us to come into existence.  Poles at the equator would have eliminated prospects for life on Earth because of radiation flows from the Sun.

We have water on our surface.  We haven’t so far found another object in space with that.  Without that we would not be here.

Our water likely came from outer space by comets crashing into earth.  But earth just happened to be in the right orbit to collect those collisions.

We have lots of water.  There is nothing written in the law of physics or chemistry that we have this much.   It could have been that we only had water equal to the Great Lakes for the entire globe and that could have been at the South Pole.

We are blessed with both salt and fresh water, both of which are necessary for the diversity of life on Earth and thus us.

We have an atmosphere.  Most bodies in the universe do not or have one toxic or too thin for life of any kind.   We live only because of it and its protection.

Our surface water has tides because of the Moon.   The tides give us life.  Without tides to cleanse and renew the seas we wouldn’t be here.

The Moon is just the right distance to give us favorable tides.  Closer and they would destroy everything, farther away and the tides would  too weak to be effective.

The Earth rotates.  Many heavenly bodies rotate only barely or so rapidly to thwart life.

Our 24 hour rotation is perfect for life.  Imagine if the rotation was much slower–so slow a summer “day” lasted for a month.  That would be a hard August or January.  Life would not exist without exactly the rotation we have.

That rotation also gives us our currents throughout the oceans which in turn gives us our climate and weather.  We complain about it but fact is that our weather and climate is just right for Man.

The Earth is tilted at a 23 degree angle.  That gives us our seasons.  Again, without that we would not have the flora and fauna we do and we certainly wouldn’t be here to argue about anything.

We are the Goldie Locks distance from the Sun.  Closer and we would be Venus and farther away and we would be a frozen Neptune.   You may not like 100 degrees or 30 degrees but it beats 600 degrees or minus 300.

Our Sun is even the right age for our existence.  When it was young it was feeble compared to now and could not have supported us and in its old age it will eat us up as it expands.

There are more but that is a pretty good list of facts and events that worked out remarkably well for Man.   Literally if any of those had not occurred or happened in a different way it is a scientific fact Man would not be moving upon the Earth.   Maybe some cockroaches or moss would have developed under some other scenario but for Man to walk the Earth all the above and more had to be exactly the way they evolved for us.  Yes, some might say out of a vast universe that all those matters finally just came to hand by happenstance.   Really?   Now who is taking a leap of faith?    Someone knowledgeable in the laws of probabilities could go figure the odds.  I assure you the odds would make one of those thousand number long iteration of Pi look positively huge by comparison.

You have to walk your own path toward or away from a belief in God.  My brain and yes, my heart lead me to Him.   I posit that takes less faith that a belief that Gaia favored us by a mathematically inconceivable convergence of coincidence.

“Truth will out”  Anon.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Hopefully you are still in communication with the outside world there in your bomb shelter hiding from those N. Korean missiles….if so then here are some thoughts to mull while passing the time.

We recently wrote a blog about the Tesla story with those tax rebates and rigged batteries to limit range capacity and the Global warming cabal.  A footnote, just a couple of days later Hansen of the Goddard Institute announced his resignation from his government job.  He of the religious convictions regarding global warming.  To give you a hint of his perspective during all the time of his pontificating on the subject you might be interested to know that his new life is one of litigation.   He intends to join in a number of lawsuits by the Greenies to fight carbon and promote a carbon tax.   Those who have blindly followed him for the past decade have had a leader that is about as much scientist as L. Ron Hubbard.

We are all familiar with the three configurations of water on Earth, a solid (ice), liquid and a vapor.  But that is just on Earth.  In space in morphs into a another stage.  The ice in the comets whizzing by us when it gets close enough to our Sun will not melt as on Earth and become a liquid then vapor.  It sublimates directly into a gaseous form of the components.

One doesn’t know whether to cringe in fear or laugh out loud at the recent bloviating from N. Korea.  They do have lots of cannons and tanks and of course a few nukes lying around.   An attack would be horrible no doubt but the outcome would result in mass destruction in their own backyard.   Even if we didn’t want to do much you can rest assured the South Koreans and Japanese would respond with vigor because they would see such a conflict as a threat to their very existence.   It is harder to know how to respond because of the looks of that kid they have allegedly running the country.  Looks do matter and he looks like a cartoonish Saturday morning character on a kid’s show.  It is hard to see any redeeming physical feature in that guy.   And his best buddy is Dennis Rodman!   Hard to take someone like that seriously but I suppose we should.   He sure doesn’t have the looks or demeanor of someone with gravitas like a Churchill or a Reagan.

In case you haven’t seen the latest about the Obamacare coming soon to a hospital or doctor’s office near you, the Navigators that are supposed to aid everyone in learning how to read the 61 pages of instructions to sign up for the new pr0gram and help you move through the online version will come from the same background as the guy in the White House–they are going to be your local community organizer.  That is not a joke, check it out for yourself.  The guidelines for their selection state specifically that they should represent specific demographics in the community and speak the language of the people there.  If you live in a majority minority neighborhood and you are white then no need to apply; you don’t meet the specs.  The act says they should come from community organizations, like ACORN type folks.  Well, for one I thought everyone eligible would already be proficient in English.  It is still a requirement for naturalization.  Illegals are not supposed to be eligible.   It will pay over 20 bucks an hour and they plan on over 20,000 of these Democratic recruiters, er, Navigators.   I am sure they will do a great job of registering new voters but have some doubts about the quality of advice about which insurance is best for the people wanting help.

The unemployment rate and jobs numbers for March are out.  Both numbers are so fuzzy.  The participation rate is the lowest it has been in 35 years and that is probably the most significant number of all.  That is the number of people actually working versus those in the total workforce.  There is a better way to gauge how well or awful the economy is doing. All those numbers are based on surveys on only a few companies and households around the country and the rest is “modelling” to project the final numbers.  Each month the States send in real numbers, not estimates or survey analysis to the Commerce department that gives the total for all income taxes withheld from employees and sales tax revenues.  Yes, the self-employed aren’t in those numbers but it still covers the large majority of our population.  Those totals will go up or down depending on the health of the economy.   At least they are real numbers, not subject to manipulation or guesswork.   That total number each month would give a much more accurate picture of how we are doing than the current estimates we get.  This is not an original idea with me but it is a good one.   I like anything that is based on raw data rather than numbers that are the result of bureaucratic massaging.

Really enjoyed The  Bible shown on the History channel.  Thought it was well done.  They sure couldn’t cover all the stories in the Bible and finished in 5 episodes but wish they had substituted the story of Joseph for Samson.  His was such a great story of the rise and fall of circumstances and ultimately redemption.   So many of the best and worst of Mankind’s attributes are revealed in that story.

They found Richard III’s body recently and confirmed through DNA that it was he indeed.  He has been vilified over the centuries for his alleged murder of his two nephews after he had them held in the Tower of London when he assumed the Crown after his very short reign as regent for one of those nephews who was the son of Edward IV.   Shakespeare of course made that alleged murder famous in his play of that name.  The bodies of the nephews were indeed found about two centuries later in 1674 under a stairwell in the Tower.   There has never been any conclusive proof of the murder.  It was a turbulent time at the end of the War of Roses and many deaths and assassination among the royal contenders.  He may not have ordered their murder it is just as likely that one of his supporters did the deed with his tacit approval.   Much like Solomon condoned the death of his rebel son Absolom, until the deed was done when he was racked with grief.   Richard probably didn’t have much time for regrets though as he had to fight off rebellion from the beginning of his short two-year plus reign and the threats from France and Brittany.   Still a good murder mystery.

At Bosworth field per the Bard spake Richard III,  “A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse.”   Richard III, Act V, scene v.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents On Life Its Ownself

Hang onto those Euros and let’s explore the thoughts of the day….

Here is an idea to completely reform all our social welfare programs.  Why not simply write a check for those in need to the tune of 2o thousand a year, tax-free.  You think that sounds high well take a moment an add up the costs for all the various welfare programs that now exist for that typical family of four.   There are the food stamps, Temporary assistance for family, housing subsidies through HUD, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, disability benefits, new job training benefits, earned income tax credits and even more not listed here.  Heck promise them the money for their family, cash on the barrel head and let them decide how they want to spend it–food, clothing, shelter, Iphone, flat screen tv, or whatever they desire.  Then put a lifetime cap on it of 500 thousand.  Make it a block grant to the States to set the eligibility standards they think are best for their citizens in need.  Believe me, we would come out ahead.

Keep an eye on the Chinese navy as it continues the expansion of its operations throughout the South China Sea and beyond.  Now they are off the coast of Malaysia and show no signs of changing their aggressive course.  They have been pouring lots of new investment into their navy and have launched their first aircraft carrier.  If they build the tools they expect to use them sometime.

Can you imagine having to go almost two weeks without being able to use your bank account like they have just done in Cyprus?  Those ATM’s only give out a limited amount of money and their banks today are only allowing about $430 a day to be withdrawn for the foreseeable future.  On top of that for a while (length yet to be determined) they are not allowing checking transactions.  What a mess. All due to loose monetary policy.  Our policy could be described as a bit loose itself with the Fed printing 85 billion a month of new money out of thin air.

It also will be interesting to see what the Euro is worth in Cyprus in the coming days.  Theoretically it is worth the same as else where in the Euro zone but the problem is you have to get it out of the country to spend it and Cyprus has place severe restrictions on taking money out of the country.   There soon will be a black market of one kind or another in Cyprus as there always is when there are artificial values and restrictions placed on the price of a currency.  Just like in Argentina at the moment where there is a vast difference in the official exchange rate for their peso at the banks and what you can really get in the back alleys of Buenos Aires.

The sectarian and factional disputes among the Muslim world we witness now in Iraq, Syria and Baharain to name only a few are nothing new in that Muslim world.  From the very first decades of that religion and its expansion across great swathes of the world there were internal conflicts between different rulers of the faithful.  Each claiming their were the true inheritors of the prophet and they had different ideas about how to rule and there were vast differences in how pious and humble they were or were not.  There were revolts, assassinations and wars among those factions pretty much from day one.  Even the mighty Ottoman Empire had its opponents from within the Muslim bloc that kept its borders within check for centuries on it edges.   Remember it was only about 30 years ago that Iran and Iraq fought a pretty brutal and bloody war and they are both Muslim.  The current conflicts in Libya, Syria and Afghanistan to name only a few are not unexpected to any student of history and they will likely continue for the foreseeable future regardless of any action taken by outsiders.

The  peach trees are blooming and the dogwood and redbuds have theirs out and the wisteria is in all its purple glory.  It won’t be long before we have those hot days of summer upon us.

Most people have at least heard of the Arctic Circle but not so many really understand what it signifies.  It doesn’t mean that you are close to the North Pole even though you are closer than if you are in Kansas City.  Not that line of demarcation is where the Sun will shine for at least a while for 24 hours in summer and will completely disappear for a while during the depths of winter.  Below that degree of latitude the Sun always rises and sets even if only briefly.

Drawing a map can have real consequences especially if some of the dimensions are guess-work.  When the Pope negotiated the treaties between Spain and Portugal dividing up the world between them for future exploration and ownership it was really intended to give Spain essentially the Americas and preserve Portugal’s existing interest in India and the East Indies.  But the line of demarcation actually cut through the eastern most tip of South America unbeknownst to the participates.  Lo and behold Portugal got Brazil and they sure weren’t about to give it back once they found it was within their boundary set out by treaty.  Those clever Portuguese lawyers and diplomats won the day by accident but heck good fortune is often where you find it even if by happenstance.

“Liberalism today has become deuces wild.  It can be used to fill any hand….freedom of opportunity is the great value that must  be preserved about all others.  Unless this freedom is preserved, no other freedom will be secure.”  Thurman Arnold, America lawyer, p0litical commentator of the early 2oth century.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Let those with ears, hear……we’ll sort through the flotsam and jetsam of the world events and random thoughts of the inquiring mind….

One wonders how folks 25 years from now will try to explain to their kids what “sequester” means or was all about.  When it is googled their kids will find some reference to a writ of sequestration issued by a court and they’ll really be confused about what the Congress or President was trying to sequester and who was issuing the writ.

Interesting to note that our chief lawyer in the land, Attorney General Holder spoke just a day ago about the drastic and dreadful cutbacks as a result of the sequester and the “cuts” in federal spending.  He was predicting how difficult such cuts would be on our vital Federal programs under his purview.  What was interesting and telling was the location of the remarks.   He spoke at a local Ritz-Carlton in the DC area.  Naturally, only the Feds could talk about the need to spend, spend spend and avoid any reduction in Federal spending by doing so at a Ritz-Carlton.  Haven’t they ever heard of a local community center, a Y, or thought of using the Holiday Inn conference room?

I got the physics of what makes those jet planes lift up into the sky but it is still counter intuitive to me.   We have all at one time or another held our hand out the window of the moving car and felt the wind as the car moves lift and push our hand higher.  You would think the same thing applies to those jets moving through the sky but it is actually the vacuum created above the wings as it moves through the sky that gives the lift.  The plane moves up into the vacuum.   I got that but it still just doesn’t seem right.

You want proof that the world is a dangerous place?  Let’s  make a quick list without referring to any Google or Yahoo searches or news media of all the locales where there are active ongoing wars of one level or another.  Colombia, Mexico?, Mali, Nigeria, Congo, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Southern Philippines, Chechnya, Timor, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Burma.  How many did I leave out? And of course this doesn’t count the low-grade conflicts within some countries.

It is not the gasses or elements in our atmosphere that make the sky blue.  It is the rays (radiation) from the Sun that get refracted by those elements into the blue spectrum of the electromagnetic field that give us that bright blue sky.  At night those rays are not hitting the atmosphere and thus no refraction and a black sky.

There is nothing more peaceful to the heart than watching a toddler taking a nap holding their favorite stuffed animal.  Not to mention the momentary respite for mom to quickly get some of those chores done around the house during that short thirty minute rest time.

Just watched Maxine Waters asking questions of Bernancke.  I have a rule in life that has stood me well over the years.  Never trust anyone who wears a wig!   Man or woman.  If they are so vain or so willing to present a false front of themselves then why do you think they would be honest with you about anything else if they can’t even show who they really are.  Only exception is for those in chemo,  God Bless ’em and they can do whatever they want.    Had a professor in college who taught Philosophy of all things who wore a wig.  I guess he never really got the message about to thine own self be true.

Who are these people that spend all their time tweeting or reading tweets or making posts on Facebook?  That is not rhetorical.  Don’t they have anything to do.  With those and all the countless online sites available for all manner of interests you can sit all day doing nothing but following pointless info.  I mean who really cares what Justin Timberlake thinks about Sequestration or the Yankees?   We have always had an interest in pop culture from the old dime novels to the daily comics but those were momentary indulgences not 24 hour obsessions.    Do students study anymore and do folks on the assembly line or in the office do any work?  If they do, then really, who are those doing all that junk communicating.

Compromise if the big word these days in all the news outlets as they comment on the current political disputes regarding our debts and deficits.  Compromise is good, standing by your principles is bad.  That is the message.  How are you supposed to compromise with a policy you believe will lead to ruin?  Compromise–Britain tried that with Hitler and still didn’t delay or avoid WWII.  Even the Vatican entered into a compromise with Hitler which most don’t like to  remember.  It had  a concordant with Nazi Germany.   Compromise is necessarily a good thing.  Compromise is only ok if you agree on the end you wish to reach but have disagreements about the means to achieve that goal.  At present the two parties want completely different results and futures for the country.  Like it or not there will be a victor for that future and the loser will buckle and accommodate to that reality or there will be civil discord.   Those different versions of the future can’t co-exist so why should rational men expect a compromise at this time?   Like it has always been politics is a winner take all game.

“He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”  Proverbs 25, 28  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Well, you’ve paid the price of admission so we might as well let you in on the thoughts of the day concerning the news of the day…..

You can’t listen or watch any news source without hearing almost daily items about the problem of identity thief and the grief it can cause.  The breaches of security run the gamut from Facebook to the IRS.   Here is a novel idea–how about we go back to a cash society for the payment and settlement of debts?   It wasn’t that many decades ago that cash was the norm for receiving your wages.  The average worker whether in an office, mine or factory floor would get an envelope filled with the cash for their earnings for the week, bi-monthly payment or whatever.   Almost all purchases of any goods or services were paid for with cash on the barrel head.   You say it would be inconvenient for utility bills or other payments.  But the banks and other financial entities would quickly have “ATMs” virtually everywhere for buying money orders very cheaply for payments through the mail.   When you pay cash you don’t have to show ID or anything else.  Yeah, yeah, I know the Gen Xers wouldn’t know how to do it but it would sure solve the identity thief problem overnight.  There is a side benefit also; the Feds wouldn’t be able to track every move you made and every expenditure; your privacy would be much broader.  Think about it.

If you want a preview of a possible outcome to the current discussion about changing our immigration policy watch what happens in Italy over the next couple of months.  They have very restrictive immigration policies in place now and there is a movement by the left leaning parties there to open up citizenship to more immigrants.  Most of the arguments you hear in the US are the same as those being debated in Italy both pro and con.   The north of Italy will be opposed the most and the southern and more impoverished portion will be all for it because they get most of the central government welfare benefits paid for by the northern regions.  Keep an eye on this for your own illumination.

Those of you who stayed awake in your science class know that Polaris, the North Star, is our traditional guide to finding direction since it is a constant in the sky.  You learned that it is not  quite true north but close enough for most practical navigation purposes just like magnetic north is close enough.  But the wobble of the Earth is changing and over the next couple of centuries Polaris will move slightly and it will be just about dead on true north.  Mother Nature is helping us even if we don’t deserve it and even though She could care less.

Well, golly, we are shocked, shocked to learn that the Federal Reserve in its most recent minutes said that it kinda, sorta, sometime, maybe, would have to quit buying all those Treasury notes to fund the US deficits.   Since they are buying almost 80% of all that debt it will mean higher interest rates an even more debt.  That is if Congress and the Lefties don’t ever get the fiscal house in order.   The market is reacting as expected and moving down rather dramatically.  It will hurt lots of investors in the short-term but the sooner we let the real market of millions of people making millions of decisions every day about what to do with their money we will  have a robust economy again.    The Federal government is the worst “business” executive you can imagine when it comes to allocating resources.  Even the manipulators of the Dark Side realize they can’t do this forever.   The Fed has been pulling a curtain to hide the true effects of constant deficit spending for several years now but finally even they realize it is just a curtain and the reality is what is going on behind it.  Like quantum physics, we might not be able to see the action behind the curtain but we can sure see and evaluate the effects of those actions.

The next time you are wowed about some new building, dam, bridge or stadium we have constructed in recent days and wonder how they figured out how to build it you should also be awed by the ability of the ancients to construct great edifices.  The Roman aqueducts are an example.  They brought the badly needed water to Rome.  Often the decline in elevation would only be a couple of feet per mile or even less.  You know that water only moves down hill and so did they.  But if there was anywhere that the trough in the aqueduct where it leveled out or was only ever so slightly uphill the whole project would be worthless and the water wouldn’t move.  They didn’t have GPS or laser surveying equipment to measure heights or elevations.  They used plumb bobs, staffs and measuring chains to do all that work and got it right over a distance of miles and miles.  Now that is a truly incredible feat.   How many of our modern-day civil engineers could do the same work with that equipment?

For those who might think having women in real combat roles in the modern military you should take a bit and read Jake Tapper’s “Outpost” about the fighting in Afghanistan.  There are many other examples of what combat is truly like in the literary world.  But that is one that depicts the most modern version of combat.  Just read it and see what those men had to do to defend themselves, attack the enemy and to aid each other when wounded.  Read and reflect on the reality of those situations.  Women simply aren’t  strong enough to carry (literally) the weight, run fast enough and move ammo and other vital supplies in the quickness of time required by combat.  Yes, maybe a few can but you don’t build and army around the exceptions you build it with what is best at hand.

“My way of joking is to tell the truth.  It’s the funniest joke in the world.” Bernard Shaw.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

We didn’t even  look for things to interest us but the flow of information and misinformation from the media compels further review…..

Wow, Mother Nature revealed again how puny our doings on earth are in the grand scheme of things with that asteroid display over the Urals mountains Friday.   The reports are of hundreds of injuries and some relative severe damage to windows and structures from the sonic boom caused by the explosion of the descending asteroid.  Ironic that the news has also been ripe in the last week with the information about the passage of that large asteroid some 17,000 miles away today which in astronomical terms is whisker close.   Of course what we never remember is that each and every day we are bombarded by thousands of smaller asteroids which in turn shower us with hundreds of tons daily of debris from space. It pollutes our atmosphere and the EPA is doing anything about it!

The blooms on the Bradford Pear trees are going to burst out today or at least by tomorrow; they are on the verge.   At our latitude you can about set your calendar by them; they come out within 48 hours either way of Valentine’s Day each year.

Noticed several news items this year critical of the whole concept of the State of the Union address as a relic that should be radically changed.  It has become pure political pageantry.  I have said it should be eliminated for several decades now.  The President should issue a formal written report to Congress and have a serious working meeting for a day with top Congressional leaders where in fact they question him about the current concerns and issues of the day and the actions he purposes.  We get enough campaign speeches during the election season there is no need for another.  This should become the norm regardless of the party in power in the future.  The Congress can control this if they have the will.  After all it is they who have to invite the President to make the address in such a formal setting.  They can change the rules of the delivery of his report.

Once we got the cell phone it was only a matter of time til we reached the Dick Tracy stage of a communication device like he had.  Yep, the news now is that a couple of outfits in the biz are thinking of a “watch” smartphone.  You can phone with it, send messages, see videos and pictures and receive everything you get on the smartphone your carry in your pocket.  It was bound to happen.

Those people much smarter than me are finally also talking about the problem of our debt/money printing style of economic planning and policy and its effect on the value of the dollar.  A few decades ago well over 70% of all international transactions were denominated in dollars, today the figure is just barely over 60% and declining steadily.  Have a very strong and esteemed currency is good for our US economy even though it makes our exports a bit more expensive.  There are many more off-setting advantages to having the world standard currency.  More and more the yuan, Swiss franc and Japanese yen are used for those international transactions.  Factually, the Chinese have stopped buying our Treasuries already.  For a couple of years now they have bought them but at the same time have sold off other that matured and thus there net holdings have held steady at about 1.1 trillion.   The world markets (think Singapore, Australia, the Middle East, Japan) will one day soon turn on our debt (Treasury bills and notes) and stop buying them because they will fear even more Federal printing to cover our debt and deficits.  The interest we have to pay on those bonds will skyrocket.  You ask what does that have to do with Joe Blow–plenty, all his credit card, car loan and mortgage debt will go up even more and the Feds will likely demand even more taxes at the same time to cover the increased government expenditures.   The ONLY reason our Treasure debts are so low right now is because the Federal Reserve is buying over 80% of all of them with freshly printed made-up money on that money tree they have out in the back yard.

Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense or Surrender?

Some watch the science or history channel and see those episodes about how the Earth is doomed in the long run because our Sun will someday go nova and literally devour us as it expands.  Yep, that is true.  But we will already by long gone anyway.  The outer core of the Earth is molten iron that rotates around the inner solid core.  That movement of the iron is what gives us our electromagnetic field.  You know, the magnetic north pole and south pole.  Well, it is what also protects us from the Sun’s radiation now, today.  Without that protection we’ll not survive.  Mankind and all other forms of life worth discussing with be fried.   Just as Man doesn’t live forever, Mankind will not last forever.  We would have to leave the Solar System for another world.  That ain’t likely for lots of reason not the least of which is we won’t find another earth-like planet and it would take millions of years to get there unless you can find one of the time warp thingies.

The good and bad in man, the noble and venal haven’t really changed since recorded time.  The nature of Man is so poignantly revealed in the Bible stories.  The worst of evil, Satan, and lots of heroes but most of them as to be expected have their faults too–David, he slew Goliath, was a hero but he also had Uriah slain just so he could have his wife.  We haven’t and won’t fundamentally change regardless of modern secularist theories and that isn’t all bad because we each still have the choices to make that direct our life.  We have plenty of examples of the choices we should make even when they are the harder ones.   You just don’t go wrong doing the right thing even when you are pummeled by others at the time for doing it.
“Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil”  Proverbs 3, 7.  Good advice then and now.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

The Earth wobbles and spins and makes its orbit and we managed to find the keyboard again so let’s get to it….

Is there anything that will get a bigger or more genuine smile than a parent or grandparent seeing that little tyke with their first couple of missing teeth when they come running with that gap and tell you about the Tooth Fairy.

Unfortunately, it seems that far too many of the Liberals continue to believe in the Tooth Fairy into adulthood.  Just like the Tooth Fairy, they think money can fall off trees magically and that the money doesn’t really come from anyone.   There is only so much GDP and money to go around and it is a zero sum game–money out of the private economy is lost for production of new technology, jobs and higher standards of living.

The GPS system is ubiquitous these days and taken for granted.  So few have even the most basic understanding of it workings or history yet we have become very dependent upon it.   Lord help us if in some future war an enemy takes out those satellites with an Electronic Pulse Bomb or missile.  The program started with the US Navy wanting a more accurate and quicker method for navigation.  It requires satellites in orbit about 12,000 miles distant from Earth.  There are 24 of them today and we have 6 backups.  They send signals which are absorbed by the receiver in your car or mobile GPS.  Like radar is measures distance by speed relative to time.  It requires more than one of course to get an accurate fix.  There days your GPS device uses four most likely so they can triangulate your location.  Also those satellites have an onboard clock which is vital to its functioning.  The Satellites and the clocks are of course affected by Einstein’s theories of relativity, both the Special Theory and the General theory.  Special Theory is the one about the speed of light; General Relativity is about the effects of gravity.  Remember that clocks in motion run slower due to the Special Theory, likewise the clocks are affected by the Earth’s gravitational pull.   The little nerds figure all this out to adjust for those effects otherwise your GPS wouldn’t be nearly as accurate; they adjust the time calculations to account for the differential as the electromagnetic speed back and forth from space to Earth.   It is a concern if that system is ever lost due to hostile action.  How many, even in the military, can navigate and locate their destination with a compass or sextant or the Stars have men have done for centuries?   We have a lot invested in a very fragile and exposed method of navigation.

Feel sorry for those millions of Yankees that have never been out West to see the night sky.  Someplace where there is not a light in sight, no street light, building lights or even home lights.  The only light is that from a campfire or your Coleman lantern.  You can actually see the Milky Way with the naked eye quite clearly.  It is quiet.  The only sound is the talk with your family or friends or the scuff of boots on the ground or the sipping of hot coffee around the campfire.   Such a place is where you can feel God reaching down and making you look at that marvel of a universe and challenges the notion that is was all merely an accident of nature.  Nature ain’t a Michelangelo; it doesn’t have the concepts of beauty or majesty or worth.

We note the spate of articles about the tunnels from Mexico to the US, mostly in Calif. and Ariz. that are used to convey drugs, money and/or weapons.  Some go on and on about the how well- engineered they are and that they are quite marvelous.  Uh, pardon me, folks have been building elaborate tunnels forever.  Geez, look at all the tunnels built by POW’s during the War, or during the trench warfare of the War Between the States.  Usually they would simply enlist someone with a bit of mining experience if available and off they would go.   Motivation will prod innovation.   I doubt if any engineers were needed to construct these things.  The labor would be cheap and they have the time to keep  looking for the right direction and exit point by trial and error.   It is simply a matter of time and plenty of money and that cheap labor that builds these thing, not genius as some have claimed.

Some economic pundits worry about what will happen when the Federal Reserve starts reducing its balance sheet by selling its trove of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities because they will take enormous losses.  A few thoughts on this matter–first there will have to be buyers for those instruments and there is no question that the buyers will not pay face value for those Treasuries thus driving up the yield (buy for 90 cents but collect 100 cents on the investment for example);  this will drive up dramatically the interest rates on new Treasuries issued simultaneously; the Fed will take a loss.  Of course the loss doesn’t really matter to the Fed because it can print up all the money it wants without authority from anyone else.   The political outcry will be huge however.  Likewise the Fed and the Federal government will not enjoy the idea of the general public looking behind the curtain to see the way the sausage of an economy is run.  They might realize that the Fed is “monetizing” the Federal debt making it easier for the Liberals to continue spending and running deficits with no end, ever.  Even  the most liberal Keynesian Democrat would acknowledge though that the Fed can’t keep buying 85 Billion forever.  We’ve allowed the Government to make us all jump on the rotating merry-go-round when it was slower but now it is at warp speed and its going to be really hard to jump off.   By year’s end the Fed will have about 4 Trillion of assets versus about 900 Billion a few years ago.  Good luck to us all.

Another definition of crony capitalism–“Private profit by public servants at the expense of the general welfare is corrupt period.”  E. Kefauver, Democratic Senator and Presidential candidate.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.c0m

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Altitude Bias And Conspiracy Theories

Those arguing for strong and expensive climate change legislation and action are doing so to merely mislead the hoi polloi and advance their own secret agenda of self-preservation.  We’ll assume for the moment that there is indeed climate change and that it is caused by Man and his use of fossil fuels.  But that is small beans compared to the other planetary disasters we face in the future.

Let’s start with some basic geology and geodesy.  The Earth is not a sphere.  It is slightly off and not shaped like a billiard ball.  It is larger at the equator and flattened at the Poles and squeezed so that it is a bit pear-shaped.  Furthermore the Earth’s surface is not smooth like a billiard ball.  The Earth has high and low spots all over it.  It is more like a dimpled golf ball at the surface but the ups and down aren’t uniform.  This shape is due to the forces of gravity and the varying density of the Earth itself especially the density in its interior.   Also the shape and movement of old Earth is greatly affected by the Moon and the Sun and their gravitational influence.   The Earth has a 23 degree tilt on its axis as related to its orbit around the Sun.  Remember the Earth both spins on its axis and it also moves through space in its orbit around the Sun.   The centrifugal force of the Earth’s spin combined with the influence of Sun and Moon make the Earth bulge at the equator and thus the oceans are higher there and then that water moves “downhill” like all water does toward the Poles.  Lastly we must consider that the rotation of the Earth is slowing and the same is true for the orbit around the Sun.  Both of these phenomena are occurring now without let up and will continue for perpetuity.   The effects of all these matters will be felt first at “sea level” as we commonly define it.  Those at higher altitudes will more immune to the coming disaster for a while longer.  So what you ask as to all these facts.

Well, we do really well and have for recorded history with the 24 hour day and the 365 and a quarter day orbit around the Sun.    But how will we do with a 30 hour day or an annual orbit time of 430 days?  We all have been taught that the Sun some day will die and explode going Nova on us.  But that is projected to be so many billions of years in the future that it appears more fantasy than a reality.   The extremes of a longer day and orbit will destroy all life as we know it on Earth.  Our crops and cattle will not survive is such extremes.  The seasons will not be as we have known them.  We might get something to grow but you won’t be able to have a pastrami on rye.  The cockroaches and centipedes might do quite well if they can figure out how to move in and out of the sunlight.  We might do for a while digging underground but then Lord forbid we would have to use that evil nuclear power for all our energy needs and that just wouldn’t do.    We are truly doomed and yet the world leaders ignore this coming catastrophe and offer no hope for the future.  We have been repeatedly told to heed the “science” of climate change and those who challenge it are  dupes of the energy industry or merely ignorant meatheads.  Why you ask are the world leaders silent on this vital issue of our time to preserve Mother Earth for our progeny?    The Cabal is why.

It is so obvious to the thinking man–it is the Commie, Rich Sheik, Big Oil, Jewish, Scientology, and Elite World Leader  conspiracy at work.  Why do you think we are having a world wide economic slow down?  That excess money and economic growth is being drained off for the building of a fleet of space craft to take those privileged few to a new world in our galaxy.   They are doing this at an undisclosed secret location.  Why do you think that North Korea is still so closed to the outside world.  Even the outsiders allowed to visit can only go with minders to keep them in tow.   That is the best guess for this project’s location.   Although it is conceded that many believe it to be in a remote and inaccessible valley in the Hindu Kush of Central Asia.  These people are stealing the wealth of the middle class and working man to build a luxurious intergalactic floating resort to take them to safety.   They will even have universal free health care provided by captive doctors taken for the purpose.   The whole climate change issue is merely a giant campaign to confuse us and keep our eyes of the efforts of this Cabal.  They figure they can divert us for at least a century while they complete their planned escape to a better world.  Leaving the bulk of Mankind to a Hobbesian world of despair and certain destruction.   I say to arms and the ramparts.  This conspiracy is the great issue of our time and indeed for all time if Mankind is to continue its existence.   Are we going to allow the billionaires and millionaires to put their boots on the necks of the middle class yet again?  They should be working on a solution to our slowing rotation and orbit.  Maybe we could organize a world-wide “Jump For Life” project where will all jump off the Earth at the same time and reduce the weight and offset the slowing spin.  But we can’t count on the Cabal to initiate this life saving program they will denigrate it and call it phony science so be on your guard.  Long live the Spin Speed.

*The facts cited in this tale are all true.  Verify them yourself.  There are plenty of books, remember what they are?  Even wikipedia might get it right on them.

“The attempt to combine wisdom and power has only rarely been successful and then only for a short while.” Albert Einstein.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

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