And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Linkee-poo uses Apple maps to find where to cross the river and go through the woods

Just wanted to mention that while many are bemoaning the current sexual abuse scandal (as in all of the people being outed as predators - not just a single case) I applaud those who are continuing to come out. And no, I don't care exactly whom it's against. But I also don't believe complete social ostracism is warranted in all cases. It is good, however, to have this conversation (again) and maybe the needle will tick a little further to the side of equality and justice before it all dies down. I've been debating a longer post about all this, and I'm not sure I'm (the one to, or am) going to write it. For full disclosure I'll say here that I was not always the good person most of you know and I wasn't always the best person to be around. On a sliding scale I was on the lighter grey side, but I was an ass and a jerk when I was younger (not all the time, but enough of the time). I've learned to be better. I have apologized where I could. And now I try to make the world better. I am deeply embarrassed and ashamed of what I did in this regard as young man. Hopefully I'm making up for it as I get older.

"According to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, 58 percent of people celebrating the holiday are dreading having to talk politics around the dinner table. Just 31 percent said they were eager to discuss the latest news with their family and friends, while 11 percent are unsure." How much do you want to bet that a Venn diagram of that 31% is a circle within the 39% of Trump supporters. Because, yes, conservatives were more likely to say such conversations were more interesting and informative. Just from my own anecdotal experiences, conservatives are much more willing to talk about politics (note, not to change their own opinions but to express them and chide you if you don't share them) than liberals in a non-political setting. How about them Browns, eh?

"Follow-up observations (of Oumuamua)… have found that the asteroid is dark and reddish, similar to the objects in the outer Solar System. It doesn’t have any gas or dust surrounding it, like comets do, and it’s stretched long and skinny, looking a bit like an oddly shaped pen. It’s thought to be about a quarter-mile long, and about 10 times longer than it is wide. That makes it unlike any asteroids seen in our Solar System, none of which are so elongated." Rama?

"If you're eating less in preparation for huge holiday meals, don't. You're setting yourself up for an absolute disaster once those dinners, holiday parties, and other food-related gatherings finally happen." This is why the "exercise more" part is important. The exercise more statement is to keep your metabolism up. I know most people focus on the "calorie burn" part of exercise. Like, "I worked out today I can have another beer (or whatever)." While the extra calorie burn is good (seriously, most weight gain or lost is a matter of less than 300 calories a week) what you're looking for increasing you resting metabolic rate. This is where you burn the majority of calories. If you can tick that up 1 or 2 calories more per hour, you'll lose the weight.

"61-year-old DIY enthusiast and stuntman 'Mad' Mike Hughes is planning his first manned launch of a homemade, $20,000 steam-powered rocket with 'RESEARCH FLAT EARTH' written on the side on Saturday, the Associated Press reported." It's funny he has that on the side of his rocket, considering he doesn't believe in science (thinks it's like science fiction).

"Russia’s meteorological service said on Tuesday it had measured pollution of a radioactive isotope at nearly 1,000 times normal levels in the Ural mountains, the first official Russian data supporting reports that an accident had taken place." The cat is on the roof.

"The device could make hydrogen cars affordable for many more consumers because it produces hydrogen using nickel, iron and cobalt—elements that are much more abundant and less expensive than the platinum and other precious metals that are currently used to produce hydrogen fuel." It's not the first time this was done, although the capacitor is different from the battery previously used (and slightly more dangerous). You might remember a NASA prototype high flying plane which used solar power for both flight, and to electrolyze water and store the hydrogen (and oxygen) and then use fuel cells to continue flying at night. (Grokked from Dan)

"Research investigating a popular form of surgery aimed at easing chronic shoulder pain doesn't fix the problem, a careful, placebo-controlled study suggests." Rhut rho. Although not all shoulder impingement or bone spurs are created equal. Also, significant bone spurs at the acromion and distal clavicle can lead to rotator cuff injuries. So one of my questions is did they control for severity of condition?

How's that "Do No Evil" motto coming along? "Google has been collecting Android phones' locations even when location services are turned off, and even when there is no carrier SIM card installed on the device, an investigation has found." (Grokked from Dan)

"Is it OK to ask someone where to get the best food of their culture?" Well, that's a loaded question. And this article runs down some of the things one should take into consideration. For my own choices, I tend to follow the "parking-lot rule." You want to know if the ethnic food of a certain place is good, check out who is dinning at the restaurant, how popular does it seem (which is easier because you can easily count cars in the parking-lot, instead of going inside and checking out the clientele).

"A Nebraska commission approved an alternative route for the Keystone XL oil pipeline through the state on Monday, removing the last major regulatory obstacle to building the long-delayed $8 billion project." Oil spill? What oil spill? Although the vote was 3 to 2, so that's closer than I expected.

"'We’ve had a medical doctor that has said, actually based on (Ratko Mladic) diagnosed condition, any form of stress, including a trial proceeding, may increase his chance of having a stroke, a heart attack or dying,' Ivetic told The Associated Press." Aw, that's really too bad. Suck it up, buttercup. Although now I have a real desire for someone to use a boat horn behind him. Like every hour on the hour.

"Dr. Dan Lonergan says relapse is the biggest risk for patients recovering from opioid addiction. The drugs work by attaching to chemical receptors in the brain and sending signals that block pain and create pleasurable feelings. Repeated use can lead to drug tolerance, meaning increasingly high doses are needed to produce the same effect. In recovery, patients lose that tolerance so resuming the drugs can be fatal." Long-term opioid use changes the brain, but here's the kicker, when you stop, it doesn't change back. Once an addict, you're always an addict. The question is only if you're going to feed that addiction, find something else to fill it, or live with that hunger.

"Investigators believe a border patrol agent who died in West Texas after suffering extensive injuries to his head and body may have fallen down a 14-foot (4-meter) culvert, and his partner, who radioed for help, has no memory of what happened, according to a U.S. official with knowledge of the investigation." So much for the "they were attacked by hostile Mexicans" theme that was running yesterday. Of course they still could have been attacked, but I'm sure it's much less than what the president and some senators are pretending it to be.

"Last week the Washington Post reported that Congress’s Office of Compliance paid out $17 million for 264 settlements with federal employees over 20 years for various violations, including sexual harassment. The Conyers documents, however, give a glimpse into the inner workings of the office, which has for decades concealed episodes of sexual abuse by powerful political figures." Hey, I know something in the budget which we could cut, if only the idiots in charge would know how to behave as real people. "(C)ongressional employees have 180 days to report a sexual harassment incident to the Office of Compliance, which then leads to a lengthy process that involves counseling and mediation, and requires the signing of a confidentiality agreement before a complaint can go forward." I think I see a policy which also needs changing.

"The Department of Justice is suing to block AT&T's purchase of Time Warner, legally challenging a $85 billion deal that would give the telecom giant control of a media empire including CNN, Warner Brothers, HBO, and other major media brands." And while I don't think the merger should go forward (even if it's technically a vertical integration), my guess is one of the defense's main arguments would be interference from the president who has a vendetta against CNN.

"The IRS scandal came to a pathetic, whimpering conclusion earlier this month. For half a decade the scandal had kept delinquent members of Congress occupied and served up reliable programming to Fox News and other conservative media. But when Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen walked out of his office on Nov. 9, of his own volition, on schedule, his fine reputation intact, the whole greasy production quietly expired." It was all much ado about nothing? Shocked, shocked I am… (Grokked from Katheyrn Cramer)

:: waves to my Russian friends :: "Members of a Russian 'troll army' were quoted more than 80 times across British-read media outlets before Twitter revealed their identity and banned them, a Guardian investigation has shown." That's how propaganda works. Also, that's only from the accounts Twitter has been able to identify and doesn't include twitter handles that may have just cut and pasted content from those trolls. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"A group of about a dozen U.S. State Department officials have taken the unusual step of formally accusing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of violating a federal law designed to stop foreign militaries from enlisting child soldiers, according to internal government documents reviewed by Reuters." The 3 countries delisted from the official record of nations involved with recruiting children soldiers had previously received waivers from the law banning US military assistance (Iraq and Afghanistan are after all active combat zones where the US is involved), but there's a difference between "national security concerns" and just not recording that our allies are recruiting children. "Documents reviewed by Reuters also show Tillerson’s decision was at odds with a unanimous recommendation by the heads of the State Department’s regional bureaus overseeing embassies in the Middle East and Asia, the U.S. envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, the department’s human rights office and its own in-house lawyers." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"President Donald Trump returns to his private Palm Beach club Tuesday for the first time since April, and several of his dues-paying members said they plan on making a beeline there in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the president or even chatting him up over the holiday weekend, including an extravagant Thanksgiving buffet." While there's some grumbling, it looks like a financial windfall for the president.

"One of President Trump’s golf courses paid back more than $158,000 to Trump’s charitable foundation this year, reimbursing the charity for money that had been used to settle a lawsuit against the club, according to a new tax filing."

"President Donald Trump's charitable foundation, which last year admitted violating federal rules on 'self-dealing,' is in the process of dissolving, according to newly filed documents reviewed by NBC News… The move fulfills a promise Trump made last December, when he said he would wind down the Donald J. Trump Foundation to avoid conflicts of interest. New York's attorney general ordered the foundation to stop soliciting contributions in October 2016." I'm sure the admitting self-dealing and being ordered to stop accepting contributions didn't really figure into the decision to shut it down. Not at all. But I'll bet that "can't shut down while under investigation" thing might slow down the unwinding. (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

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