Category Archives: Mother Nature

Viral Pride and Prejudice

Sorry for Austen aficionados but this isn’t about a bodice busting romance during a great plague.  Just goes to show that nothing is more dangerous than 10 year old arranging the bride’s prized family crystal set unless it is an old codger turned loose with a keyboard.  Each generation comes along and has its own unique prejudices and sense of pride in what they think they are. What they think they are  will be viewed quite differently by the following generations who will downplay their accomplishments and gleefully note every shortcoming perceived or real.  Also each generation can’t resist the temptation to assess their group as the most significant, noteworthy, informed, brightest and morally upright there has ever been.  A few take a darker approach and believe their generation will be the last in line due to moral decay.  See Sartre and many of the “Lost Generation” writers of that ilk and going back to Machievelli and Voltaire.

But the overriding theme of each generation is that their “times” are really, really important and mark a great departure in the advancement or decline of Mankind.  Everything they experience is BIG.  Notice our headlines of today?  New normal.  Never be the same.  Never seen anything like this before.  Unprecedented.  Will be fundamental changes.  Remember Hugo summarized it pretty well–the best of times and the worst of times.  Thus is has ever been and will forever be.  We reside in neither a utopia but we also are not standing on the edge of the river Styx awaiting the Grim Reaper.  This is not the most important time in the history of Mankind contrary to today’s headlines.  Each generation seems compelled to believe that those who came before were not as bright and socially aware as they are.  They actually think because they can plug into google or wikipedia that they are smarter than Isaac Newton or Eratosthenes and assuredly more morally upright because neither of them was into social justice.  Our toys and tools have changed dramatically over the eons but the heart and mind of Man is the same as described in the book of Job or by Livy or  Dante.  You, me and our era are not the be all and end all.  We are merely a way station on the journey of Mankind.  There are only a handful of events that truly have eventful impacts for generations.  The Napoleonic Wars and the Congress of Vienna did indeed determine the history of the civilized world until WWI–a century.  Then after WWI and the peace treaty along with Wilson’s grandiose mental cobwebs set the course of history that we still mostly endure.  The Middle East difficulties of today have their origin in that process.  As important as those events were they did not fundamentally change who we are or how we go about our daily living.

When CNN or yahoo news proclaims momentous headlines and predicts everything will be different this time please use some discretion.  Nothing serious is every written in the popular press or media.  They after all are seeking clicks, likes, and headlines quoted by others.  Read real history or current essays. Are the editors and producers of our modern media really the smartest people in the room?  God help us if they are.  We have truly sunk to a low estate.  Just use that magnificent brain God gave you.  Don’t be mentally lazy.  Usually behind every great advancement there has been a huge dose of skepticism and curiosity.

The Roman Empire was a big deal.  We still read about it after 2000 years.  I don’t know exactly how the Covid-19 virus will play out except I am extremely confident students will not be studying it 1000 years from now.

Oops, those guys in the white suits are coming after me again.  Better sign off for now.

God Bless, olcranky

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Science, probabilities and Virus

If you are merely awake much less alert you have heard by now countless reports in all media of the horrific dangers of Covid-19.  We are being inundated with numbers, stats and models and modeling.  Some are merely anxious others appear to be terrified.  Let’s cut to the chase and talk about what really frightens us–death.  We have all been sick at times during our lives.   We don’t going around every day in numbing fear of getting sick.  It is dying that scares the bejeebers out of us. The story line is that we all need testing and lots of it, into the millions and the tracking of our bodies by government.  Let’s look at some history of science and modeling and probabilities for perspective and a more informed understanding of what we are trying to discern from all that data.

During the War the Eighth air corp was taking tremendous losses from the German defenses and the high command was determined to make ever effort to reduce that loss ratio.  The B-17 was the basic bomber we used and it was rugged and well armed and the squadrons flew in box formations to maximize the firepower of the .50 cal machine guns mounted in each plane.  In spite of that the losses were quite bad.  As only the military can do and especially during the War they mounted an investigation and analysis to determine what could be done to the  planes to increase the odds of survival from missions.  Where should they strengthen the planes or add more armor?  They brought scientists, engineers and folks from the manufacturers and the assembly plants to do a study.  After each mission they would photograph, note, chart and measure each damaged part of the skin or other parts of the plane.  They itemized whether the damage came from flak, cannon or machine gun fire from German fighters.   They accumulated in a short period of time mounds of data.  Regardless of how hard they worked to make the data reveal a coherent pattern that would lead them to conclusions to act on they were baffled.  They could not come up with any effective recommendations.  Finally they brought in another fellow whose name I do not recall nor his background but I think he was a mathematician.

They showed him their reams of data and then let him take a look at what they were doing to inspect planes upon arrival from a mission.  The story is that in less than a day he straighten them out.  He told them they would never find what they were looking for with their current testing and analysis because, wait for it, they were testing and analyzing the wrong thing.  They were looking at and examining the planes that survived the mission.  He told them to find what they wanted they would have to look at the planes that were shot down.  Those were the planes after all that would reveal whatever weaknesses there were in the design.  Not the survivors.  Duh.

Any lessons for us today?  Do we really need to spend such enormous sums of money as some propose testing healthy 30 somethings with no symptoms and destroy the entire economy at the same time?  I do not dismiss the seriousness of Covid-19 but would like to see us focus on the real problem as opposed to ” might be” problems.  Test us old folks and anyone with actual symptoms.  But calls for millions and millions of test–what for?  What new or useful will we actually learn.  The real problem is death due to Covid-19.  Shouldn’t we focus on death rates and the factors causing the death which would include all underlying health concerns and apparently age.  (Disclaimer–me and the child bride are both 77).   How about more autopsies.  All the info I can find indicates that the overwhelming majority of deaths does come from the elderly and those that are already sick with some other serious ailment.  Last I could find researching the matter something like over 90% of deaths were people 80 or more of age!  Here’s a warning for you kids, old people die.  What cogent information will we glean testing tens of millions of perfectly healthy young folks?  I would bet that we would learn that most young people are healthy with or without the Covid-19 infection–tada.   Information about the spread and rate of spread is ok if its done within reason.  It is not the spread or the disease itself remember–we just don’t want to die.   The smartest people in the room may have IQ’s much higher than mine or yours but that  doesn’t mean they can’t also suffer from hysteria.  Recall also the truism that people view any situation through the prism of their profession.  Infectious disease experts would prefer we all live in plastic bubbles then no one would ever get sick.  Of course you might starve to death in the mean time.   We all have our prejudices about society and life and they have theirs.  Listen to them. Evaluate their advice, challenge it and their methods and conclusions.  After all that is the very foundation of science and the scientific method.  It can be kind ugly at times but that is how a free society works.

The hawk and the wren are both birds.  One is a predator and the other a song bird.  The world is better for both of them being here.  Here’s hoping we’ll study the right problem, collect pertinent data  and reach the right conclusions and take sensible action.

Random thoughts around the campfire.  Olcranky

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Resilience

Our news cycles are a constant drumbeat of alleged omens of doom.  Ebola, climate change, wars, earthquakes, urban decay and dying honeybees are only a few of dangers we face supposedly that will lead to our destruction or extinction.  I have some good news.  Homo sapiens is a tough dude.  You think things are rough in our era of the early 21st century then you have no appreciation of the history of Man.  The facts are that we have created many dangers to our existence over the millenia and Mother Nature has thrown the kitchen sink out us many times and yet here we are.

If you think ISIS is a terrible danger to our future then remember our ancestors managed to survive one way or another the Huns and Vandals destruction of the Roman Empire and what everyone would have defined as civilization at that time.   The Great Plague of the 14th century wiped out anywhere from a fourth to a third of the population and left a devastated countryside.   Many understandably believed that was the End Days of earth.   But again we trudged forward.  Each generation of Man without fail concludes that it is the most important of all ages and that if it fails significantly that all Mankind will tumble….such is vanity, all is vanity.

Was it  50 million or 100 million killed in the 20th century wars? But all was rebuilt and now we argue over the desserts on the table rather than the basic foodstuffs to sustain survival.  despite the predictions of a Sartre or Bertrand Russel or Rachel Carson even more of us are here and living better, far better than anytime in recorded history.

Even if the worst predictions of climate change are accurate if will not be something that our progeny won’t be able to handle and survive.  The coastlines have receded and waxed for a long time and our ancestors managed all those geographical difficulties; that is a truism or you and I wouldn’t be here today having a debate about climate.  In historical perspective it was only a blink of the eye when we had our last Ice Age.  Can you try to imagine what that did to our ancestors?  The seas retreated dramatically.  You could walk from Britain to the Continent on dry land.
The Ice sheets reached down to the Loire valley and to modern Manhattan and formed the Great Lakes.  All those folks dependent on the seas for mussels and other sustenance had to relocate and then in another joke of Mother Nature everything reversed and the waters of the seas rose again dramatically and what was inland become coastline again.  They had only primitive tools and their brains to survive such upheavals and yet they did.  There were no canals, bulldozers, cranes and computer projections to aid them or any type of machine tools.

Next time you see some thugs on TV trying to demonstrate their toughness and give those intimidating stares do remember that they pale in resilience and courage to all our ancestors.   Those past gene donors  over the history of Man were the true tough guys.  They figured it out whatever the challenge, improvised and fought tyranny in the end for us to enjoy the fruits of this century.  The shame is to not live up to their same standard with the determination to control our own destiny whatever the circumstances of fate put in our way.

“Theirs but to do or die”  Tennyson….www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Coming out of a winter hibernation and a move so its time to crank up the word machine and brush off the mental cobwebs…..

Moving ain’t fun.  A fundamental truth.  Especially true if you have been in the old homestead for a long time.

The Russians call the Ukraines in Kiev Nazis.  Even some of the media has picked up on that theme and talks about the Ukrainians who fought with the Nazis during the War leaving the clear impression that the Ukrainians were true Nazis at heart.  The truth is much more complicated.  Stalin during the ’30’s literally starved to death untold millions of Ukraines.  The exact number will never be known.  In addition many of the Ukraines like the idea of owning their own piece of dirt as had been their tradition for centuries.  When the War and the Germans came it is true that many of the Ukraines joined the German army to fight against the commies and Stalin.  That did not make them fans of Hitler or the Nazis but simply people who were faced with two difficult choices but decidedly believed the Nazis were the lesser of the two evils and the Germans fostered that notion with hints of some autonomy.  They weren’t Nazis, they were Ukrainians fighting communism.

If Monica wants to be taken seriously then she should have avoided that picture spread with her lounging on the couch.  Didn’t exactly portray the image of a mature gal not trying to exploit her prior persona of the Linda Lovelace of the White House.

When will the civilized world quit pretending that Africa is a legitimate part of the world community?  The latest episode in Nigeria is only representative of their dysfunction.  There is not only Nigeria but we have Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Cameroon, the Congo, Uganda, Chad and Libya to name merely the most outrageous places.  The West needs to stop sending any kind of aid.  Those people have the resources to do quite well.  It is up to them to make the countries and world they want.  We can’t import decency or democracy.  Their militaries by turn are cowardly, incompetent, tyrannical or corrupt.   They need to live in a house they built, not one provided by the Peace Corp.  Can anyone honestly say that the generosity and sympathy of the West has made any significant difference in the last 60 years?  That is three generations.  How would letting them fend for themselves possibly be any worse than the current situation.

Remember that science is never “settled”.  The very nature of the beast is questions and then more questions after apparent answers are found.  Not my brilliant observation but from David Deutsch.  He refers to the dire predictions due to  global warming, prophecies, not science.  Just for you consideration, he is an Oxford don, world renown physicist, philosopher and member of the Royal Society, not exactly marginal thinker or denier.  He would no doubt be apoplectic being called a “denier”.  Check out his The Beginning of Infinity.  Pretty heavy going but worth it in the end.

The current rate for a 10 year Treasury note is about 2.5%.  That rate is strictly a function of the market manipulation of the Federal Reserve.  What do you think  the rate would be if the Fed was neutral and let the market alone determine what the proper rate should be?  Maybe 2% or maybe 6%.  Whatever you think it would be the difference between a true market rate and what the Fed is dictating now means that there are some serious losers in the market due directly to their policies.  Those losers aren’t so-called fat cats on Wall Street necessarily but there are some of them too.  For every trade on Wall Street remember that there is a seller for each buyer whether for stocks or bonds.   Pension plans and unions are some of the biggest investors along with endowments of major universities on Wall Street.  Current losers are the seniors for sure and the savers among us.  It makes those in their mid years to start eating their seed corn rather than save because there is no incentive or reward for saving  in the near term.  Supposedly the Fed works for our benefit but its hard to discern that benefit.  Seems more like the inmates are running the asylum or Dr. Frankenstein let loose on the financial system and sure enough he has created a monster he can’t control.

We’ve all known someone who talks too much.   They will never shut up.  Worse they think you are interested in everything they have to say;  even the stuff that is stupid,  logically inconsistent or borders on that line between outright lies and embellishment.  Why does such a thought evoke images of daily briefings or speeches from the occupant of  the White House of today?

We are approaching  the 70th anniversary of D-Day.  I wonder what the average heart rate was for those boys jumping out of a C-47 or down the ramp from a LST?   It had to be a terrifying experience and their bodies reacted accordingly.  We should be very thankful that they were able to overcome that fight or flee syndrome all men have in face of extreme danger.   I not only tip my hat to them but am grateful and worry whether this generation is worthy of the sacrifice they made.

Strange we don’t hear a peep about the antarctic ozone hole or the impending ice age that were all the rage 30 years ago based on “settled” science.  Although the Yankees might have thought they were in at least a mini ice age last winter.   But, lo, spring came again as it has since the earth began spinning and circling the Sun.

“The instinct of ownership is fundamental in man’s nature”  William James, American psychologist and philosopher. 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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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

The surprise isn’t that history repeats but that folks are surprised when the same thing occurs again and they think it is something new.

If you  searched or stumbled across the back pages of the news today you may have seen the article about the arctic sea ice.   Since spring of this year we have seen repeated stories about the allegedly alarming reduction in the arctic sea ice and as a harbinger of global warming doom.  Yet, today in the small print we note that the sea ice there has actually increased by 30% this year.  But the media types immediately in the same articles continue the warming that the “models” show that the ice will decline rapidly.  Where’s Groucho when you need him–who you going to believe your lying eyes or what these smart folks tell you?

Both the message and the messenger are important on the major issues of the day.  Syria is a case in point.   Hitler was a great messenger regardless of his evil.  His message was evil for the most part.  Yet it can’t be denied that he could sell the message extremely well.   Check out those old videos of his speeches.  He was very effective with his audience and that is what counts.   In Syria we have the bad combination of a terrible message and an ineffective and arrogant messenger.    The I, Me, My guy in the White House is so egocentric that he makes the issue all about him.  That wears thin after a while and has in this instance.  There needs to be a compelling message and that hasn’t been presented.  Exactly what are we attempting to achieve in Syria?   Whatever that may be, do the facts at hand regarding the combatants there and their goals match up with any vital interests of the US?

Harry Truman was not my guy.  Didn’t like him but he did speak plainly which is appreciated.  At least you knew the devil and his designs.  When faced with a similar conundrum about picking sides between two abhorrent foes he was direct.  When Hitler invaded Stalin’s play pen old Harry said clearly that he didn’t like either of them and he hoped that would slaughter each other.  This was before he become vice president.  At least he knew evil when he saw it.

Vladimir Putin, the great peace maker.    That is something for an old KGB hired hand and ruffian.   I believe he has read his Machiavelli more carefully than our guy.

After a long hot summer it is hard to believe that in only a few weeks some parts of the country will see the first flights of Canadian geese heading south.

We are all familiar with  the basic story of William the Conqueror and his conquest of England and the Battle of Hastings in 1066.   The Normans were on the move during this period of history.  What very few know is that a relative of his Robert Guiscard was during the same time frame conquering and liberating much of central and southern Italy and Sicily.  He and his quite small army threw out the Muslims from Sicily and areas of southern Italy and at the same time dominated Rome and the Pope.  The Pope was glad to have him because he was Christian and was fighting the Muslims and restoring the prestige and power of the Church.  Old Robert also was about gaining power and dominion over as much land as he could.  He even expelled the Byzantine empire from those central portions of Italy.  His children were married off to cement alliances and his 12 sons aided in the conquests.   Those independent Italian  principalities lasted well into the 19th century.  Napoleon’s son become the King of Naples centuries later.  Robert never had more than 10,000 Normans to accomplish all this.  He formed alliances with local groups who had their own  reasons to want the Muslims out and have different rulers in other areas that weren’t dominated by Constantinople.

It is a truism of investing that you don’t buy or sell stocks of feelings or emotions.  But I guess those green tree -huggers slept through that part of the class.  They are still buying Tesla even though the stock is selling at a negative, yes, negative 89 times earnings.  And about 80% of their “earnings” come from selling those energy tax credits to others, not selling and making a profit on  cars.   Good luck to you if you are one of those investors.  Sooner or later morning comes and one has to face the reality of the day, not the dreams of the night.

The Great Pyramid of Cheops is the largest.  The square base is aligned correctly on a north /south and east/west setting.   From the chamber of the Pharaoh buried in the middle there are two passage ways that run at about a 45 degree angle up to the surface hundreds of feet about ground level.  The one facing south points directly at the belt of Orion; Orion was the Egyptian Osiris God.  The one pointing north faces true with the North Star.   Clearly those two markers in the sky were very important to them for whatever reason.  We’ll likely never know for sure why but we know when they constructed these huge structures that those stars were very important.  They went to a lot of trouble to make those alignments happen.

Even as late as this summer Bernancke has continued to insist that the Federal Reserve is not monetizing the debt.  That simply means printing up new money to cover the Federal deficit.  Let’s see, they have been buying 45 billion per month of US Treasuries for well over a year.  The US has run a deficit over or near one trillion dollars for 5 years now.  The Fed now owns more US Treasuries than even China even though some politicians keep talking about the Chinese being our largest creditor.  The Fed is buying about 75% of all US Treasuries trying to keeping rates low. Those rates have jumped dramatically this summer from 1.4 in May to near 3.0 as of today.   Would the US treasury have been able to borrow all those trillions without the Fed at such low rates?   And remember when the Fed “buys” treasuries it does so with a keystroke on a computer, not real money.  But not to worry we’re aren’t monetizing the debt.

“The law is silent during war.”  Cicero.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

If you can spare a dime, I’ll give you two cents worth of unvarnished wisdom in exchange…or at least stoutly stated opinions on life and the world.

What is it with all this dithering at the White House about which side to choose in Egypt?  There are clear lines of demarcation.  The Muslim Brotherhood is the enemy of democracy as we know it and are definitely prone to violence and suppression.  The Generals are a bunch of angels but at least there would be much more stability under their rule and a greatly reduced risk of violence and terrorism being spread from Egypt or indeed fomented by the Brotherhood.   In the real world you have to deal with those in power and those more closely aligned with your own country’s interest.   That doesn’t make the Generals are best friends forever but they are clearly the best alternative.  Get on with it and support them and foster as much influence as we can in that region.  The other course is self-destructive to our own interest unless we want even more terrorist attacks.

Go back a few months to those headlines in the Spring about the global warming threat de jour.  You may recall that we were scheduled, due to global warming per the Al Gore ideologues,that we were going to have a really bad hurricane season with 11 predicted and four making landfall; also we were to have a very bad wildfire season and a significant increase in tornadoes.  The facts so far this year–zero hurricanes, and in spite of the real problems for those directly affected, the wildfire season is much less than a normal year so far and lastly, even the NOAA folks have acknowledged that the tornado season has been remarkably quiet even with the tragedy in Moore.   I predict boldly we will have extreme weather somewhere ever year.  Giant blizzards and searing heat waves and outbreaks of hurricanes and tornadoes.  Thus it has ever been in recorded history and thus it will be.   Oh, the IPCC draft also owns up to the standstill in warming worldwide for the last 16 years.   According to the wizards of smart it is the Sun (duh), ocean bottoms heating up or even as they admit, maybe, just maybe they overestimated the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere.   Stay tuned, the report will change when the politicos at the UN get their hands on it.

Like bureaucrats everywhere ever time the Fed when it gets caught doing something generally viewed as wrong they simply re-define the issue.  Bernancke with a straight face says he is not monetizing the national debt.  Yet for two years now the Fed has been buying 75% of all the Treasuries issued.   But he says that is monetary policy and investing and not simply allowing the US government to spend money it doesn’t have by printing more money every time it buys those Treasuries to fund deficit spending.   It would be different if real investors from around the world were buying up those Treasuries and putting real money into the coffers but the Fed with a keystroke on its computer merely creates money out of thin air.

It is still hot as the devil, but you can look at the calender and take hope.  Fall is approaching and the start of school, high school football and the hunting season.  When all those get going it just feels cooler.

All that hype about Musk’s hyperlink or hyperloop transportation made us smile.  That idea has been around for decades.   Any casual reader of science fiction will have come across descriptions of such transportation methods.  They all involve a tunnel and the carriage being suspended by magnetic opposing forces or air and they always travel in their own self-contained system because you couldn’t have two of those carriages traveling at those speeds passing each other.  The wind vortex would dislodge them.   It is a quite old idea and very feasible with one huge caveat.  The cost would be prohibitive.   Like the New York subways system on steroids but the tunnels even more structurally secure and the carriages would have to be more or less bullets in motion.

Anyone besides me remember that phrase the guy in the White House repeated ad nauseam in the run up to the passage of the Obamacare law where he stated over and over that “the average family will save $2500.00 a year in premiums”.    All those who expect to save that much be advised we are meeting in the phone booth on the corner next week.  Have ANY of you or any of your friends or relatives reported to you they are going to be saving $2500.00 next year on their health care?

In view of the alleged gas attacks in Syria I read like you did that our military was “updating” its target list for Syria to attack the manufacture or distribution of gas weapons.  I suppose we’ll never get away from political spin and propaganda.   They issue such press releases and nonsense to give the great unwashed the impression they are doing something special in response to those alleged gas attacks.  Some facts and clarity–it is the military’s job to constantly “update” potential targets around the world.  That is their job.  Don’t know if they do it daily, weekly or whatever but the process is always ongoing.   The Air Force and Navy intelligence guys are doing that as part of their regular duties.    And no doubt our drones are watching carefully for any signs of gas weapon deployment daily.   There is no “updating” going on just the routine duties of our guys in uniform.

“Truth is the greatest of all national possessions.  A State, a people, a system which suppresses the truth or fears to publish it, deserves to collapse.”  K. Eisner  19th century Bavarian journalist.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

We’ll do some politics and history to celebrate the 4th and our heritage…..

The announcement that the employer mandate in Obamacare will be delayed for at least a year raises several troubling questions, not the least of which is the legal authority of the President to take this action on his own.  The Obamacare act uses the word “shall” to implement this provision on Jan. 1, 2014.  Will this usurper ever bend to the injunctions of the rule of law?  What higher duty does any President have than to see that the laws are “faithfully executed”?  We need to remain a nation of laws, not diktats of mere men.  Regardless of the merits or demerits of the Obamacare act we must preserve our adherence to the rule of law or we are swimming in deep waters of turmoil.  Sure hope someone will challenge this delay in the courts.

In shouldn’t be surprising that the guy in the White House would ignore the laws he finds inconvenient to advancing his radical liberal agenda.  Look at his non compliance with two circuit court opinions on his alleged “recess” appointments to the Labor Board and his total failure to enforce the existing immigration laws.  He unilaterally granted special status to those illegals he deemed worthy by executive order over a year ago.  This was contrary to the existing law of the land.  Let Congress pass the laws and if he wants different laws then ask for them.  He is asking us to bow to his diktats like serfs of old.

It was with mixed emotion that I attended the 4th of July parade in my neighborhood.  I want so much to  have pride in the nation and its leaders.  But our current direction is not anything I can support.  I don’t want Big Brother or Big Sister dominating my life.   It is hard to have pride in a nation that believes me and my fellow countrymen are incapable of taking care of ourselves.  If they don’t trust us to do the sensible and moral thing then why should we trust them?   Neither condescension nor dominance is the right path for leadership of a free people.  Those work only in the totalitarian states.

Boy are all those European nations really doing the Casablanca routine with their shock and dismay that the US is spying on them.  Give me a break.  Intelligence gathering goes on all the time even among the closest allies.  During WWII our diplomats and yes, spies, gave confidential reports all the time on the intentions and actions of Great
Britain and for sure the Soviets.   Doesn’t mean we don’t like them or trust them but sometimes self-interest gets in the way of even mutual goals.  I am not offended that the British or Swiss poke around as much as they can to discern the intentions of the US.   Hell, most of the time we can’t discern the intentions of our own government.   Just like the inspector in Casablanca who was “shocked, shocked” to learn of illegal activity, nothing will come of this one and it will fade away.  After all would those feigning outrage want us to reveal everything we know about their spying on us?

You should be reminded that even before the Declaration of Independence in July 1776, that we had already fought very significant engagements against the British in open rebellion in Boston.  Bunker Hill, Washington’s appointment as commander and the withdrawal of the British from Boston had all already occurred.  The British had moved their strategic location to New York by this time.  The Declaration is a great document and rightly revered by those who love personal freedom but it was really stating the obvious.

The Summer Solstice comes about June 21 each year and is our longest day.  Intuitively one would think that would also coincide with the hottest time of the year.  The days have been lengthening for months at that point and after that date the days begin their steady shortening for the rest of the year.  Why is it that July and August are the hottest time of the year when the length of the day is already in steady decline?   Most places in the northern hemisphere by mid August are 45 minutes to an hour shorter than they were in mid June yet it is hotter.

When worrying about global warming take a peek at some history before you reach any conclusions.  First, the current drought in the US in NOT the worst in memory.  You read that false headline all the time when there is an article about global warming and it goes without challenge.  I don’t have to read or research this allegation, I lived it.  Yes, we do have a drought underway in the Southwest but so far it is peanuts compared to the drought we had from the late ’40’s to the late ’50’s.   This latest drought has only been about 3 years so far.  In the mid ’50’s if you drove thru the Southwest you could see dead cattle, horses, goats and other live stock literally lying in the pastures.  I did with my own eyes more than once.  Nothing of that sort is occurring yet at this time.  In 1939 and again in 1940, at the beginning of the War they had really hot summers in England.  Some predicted then drastic changes.  Churchill had special linen suits tailored due to the extreme heat.

Likewise during WWI there were many examples of extreme weather.  There was lots of scientific discussion of the cause and many very smart people speculated that the weather changes were due to the huge artillery barrages from the trench warfare on the Continent.  It is true that millions upon millions of tons of artillery rounds were fired by both sides throwing dust and debris into the air which was carried by winds and that included the toxins from those shells, such as cordite.   I have enormous respect for science but do like to make sure it is science unbiased by a political agenda.   Study, look at details, be sure to separate conclusions from fact and reach your own conclusion.  Don’t trust for God’s sake computer models.  Those are just computations based 0n human input with all the foibles of humanity.

“Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work”   Proverbs 24/29.   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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