Gun Thread: 10-19-2014 [WeirdDave] [Ace of Spades HQ]

Y-not: WeirdDave pointed this Gun Thread at me and requested demanded I format it and post it for him. I tried peeing on myself to make this scary Gun Thread go away, but that didn't work! Neither did "sheltering in...

Sunday Football Thread [Ace of Spades HQ]

You know what to do....

Weekend Open Thread: Amazing Animal Anecdotes [Y-not] [Ace of Spades HQ]

I need a break from DOOM. How about you? We have a lot of animal lovers in the Moron Horde, so here's a thread about amazing animals and how they communicate with us. Do you guys know about "Alex" the...

Sunday Morning Book Thread 10-19-2014: Doom and Gloom [OregonMuse] [Ace of Spades HQ]

Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread. The only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Or kilts. Kilts are OK, too. But not tutus. Heh. I...

Early Morning Open Thread - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse] [Ace of Spades HQ]

Good morning. A short, fascinating clip about the discovery of the Ebola virus: Rarely seen footage shows how scientists first discovered Ebola in 1976: http://t.co/xYA7Bm3oBH— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) October 19, 2014 Alas, that ain't nothing! Check this out: Funny....

Overnight Open Thread (18 Oct 2014) [Ace of Spades HQ]

The President teases what is to come after the midterms. Laws are for little people. Obama quietly begins unilateral immigration reform by inviting in 100,000 Haitians to be your new neighbors. Doom! A year of living on the brink....

How A President Should Behave [CBD] [Ace of Spades HQ]

This is independent of his politics, which may be awful beyond compare (Wilson, Johnson, Carter, Obama) or marvelous in the main* (Washington, Coolidge, Reagan), or a mixture (almost all of them). But there must be a visceral, heartfelt connection to...

Weekend Open Thread: Best Music Era [Y-not] [Ace of Spades HQ]

*Reposted because of enstompening.* So I was poking around on You Tube and stumbled onto a real gem of a movie: "Rhythm and Blues Revue." I'm going to put the link to the full movie below the fold... OUT OF...


Rob Oakeshott, whose two terms as the independent member for Lyne were so successful that he had no need to stand for re-election in 2013,…

His condition was updated to “alive” [DamianPenny.com]

1990: man mysteriously disappears without a trace.

2000: his grieving wife reluctantly has him declared legally dead, and begins collecting his pension.

2010: man reappears, claiming he had amnesia. Now he has commenced legal action to recover the pension:

…four years ago — 20 years after he disappeared — he came home. Bright said it wasn’t for a reunion.

“All he talked about was money,” she said.

Court documents show her husband filed a petition to prove he’s Winston Bright and to win back his pension, CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang reported.

He was not only alive but well, and teaching in San Diego with a new identity — “Kwame Seku.”

In his court filing, the “missing” man said, “I was never returned home but rather found myself in California with no recollection of how I got there or who I was.”

Seku said he suffered from amnesia, but his son A.J. said he isn’t buying it.

“You don’t just walk down the black and catch amnesia,” he said.

I’m not sure how this will play out, but by revealing he was alive all along, Mr. Bright/Seku has opened himself up to a potential claim for child support arrears:

Leslie said if Seku proves he is her husband, she’s taking him to divorce court. She said they’re still legally married and he owes her a lot — money to cover years of child support, for starters.

That’s Apple [Daring Fireball]

Matthew Palmer:

But look behind the exploded iMac. Behind the new ‘TCON’ there’s a girl holding her father’s hand. Not brought to the centre of the frame, not inflated to be the story of the video, just a consequence of this device being in their home. That’s incredible storytelling.

That’s Apple.

You either think things like this matter in product marketing, or you don’t. If you do, you’re a lot more likely to appreciate the details in Apple’s actual products themselves.

I also think it’s worth pointing out how good the special effects are in these videos. I was kind of blown away by the shot where the cameras moves and zooms in on individual pixels. Impressive CGI work.

Apple in One Image [Daring Fireball]

Avinash Kaushik:

There are many signals that allow one to come to that conclusion. For me the latest one was the above slide from Apple’s keynote today. It represents that Apple family of products. Pause. Look at it. Think about it for a few seconds.

Isn’t it an amazing slide?

There are 50,000 ways to represent Apple products. But, there is perhaps only one incredible way to do it. It is above.

I thought the same thing yesterday when I saw this slide. If I recall correctly, they even showed it a second time. It’s a brilliant visualization.

The commenters on Kaushik’s piece, however, disagree. Worth a read. (Via Ben Thompson.)

Christian Bale ‘in Talks’ to Play Steve Jobs in Sorkin/Boyle Movie [Daring Fireball]

He’s got the look and the intensity. Who knows if a good movie can be adapted from Isaacson’s shitty biography, but that’s good casting.

Thursday Threads: Mobile Device Encryption, Getty Images for Free [Disruptive Library Technology Jester]

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Just a brief pair of threads this week. First is a look at what is happening with mobile device encryption as consumer electronics companies deal with data privacy in the post-Snowden era. There is also the predictable backlash from law enforcement organizations, and perhaps I just telegraphed how I feel on the matter. The second thread looks at how Getty Images is trying to get into distributing its content for free to get it in front of eyeballs that will end up paying for some of it.

Feel free to send this to others you think might be interested in the topics. If you find these threads interesting and useful, you might want to add the Thursday Threads RSS Feed to your feed reader or subscribe to e-mail delivery using the form to the right. If you would like a more raw and immediate version of these types of stories, watch my Pinboard bookmarks (or subscribe to its feed in your feed reader). Items posted to are also sent out as tweets; you can follow me on Twitter. Comments and tips, as always, are welcome.

Apple and Android Device Data Encryption

In an open letter posted on Apple’s website last night, CEO Tim Cook said that the company’s redesigned its mobile operating system to make it impossible for Apple to unlock a user’s iPhone data. Starting with iOS8, only the user who locked their phone can unlock it.

This is huge. What it means is that even if a foreign government or a US police officer with a warrant tries to legally compel Apple to snoop on someone, they won’t. Because they can’t. It’s a digital Ulysses pact.

The next generation of Google’s Android operating system, due for release next month, will encrypt data by default for the first time, the company said Thursday, raising yet another barrier to police gaining access to the troves of personal data typically kept on smartphones.

Predictably, the US government and police officials are in the midst of a misleading PR offensive to try to scare Americans into believing encrypted cellphones are somehow a bad thing, rather than a huge victory for everyone’s privacy and security in a post-Snowden era. Leading the charge is FBI director James Comey, who spoke to reporters late last week about the supposed “dangers” of giving iPhone and Android users more control over their phones. But as usual, it’s sometimes difficult to find the truth inside government statements unless you parse their language extremely carefully. So let’s look at Comey’s statements, line-by-line.

I think it is fair to say that Apple snuck this one in on us. To the best of my knowledge, the new encrypted-by-default wasn’t something talked about in the iOS8 previews. And it looks like poor Google had to play catch-up by announcing on the same day that they were planning to do the same thing with the next version of the Android operating system. (If Apple and Google conspired to make this announcement at the same time, I haven’t heard that either.)

As you can probably tell by the quote I pulled from the third article, I think this is a good thing. I believe the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of government control over communications, and Apple/Google are right to put new user protections in place. This places the process of accessing personal information firmly back in the hands of the judiciary through court orders to compel people and companies to turn over information after probable cause has been shown. There is nothing in this change that prevents Apple/Google from turning over information stored on cloud servers to law enforcement organizations. It does end the practice of law enforcement officers randomly seizing devices and reading data off them.

As an aside, there is an on-going discussion about the use of so-called “stingray” equipment that impersonates mobile phone towers to capture mobile network data. The once-predominant 2G protocol that the stingray devices rely on was woefully insecure, and the newer 3G and 4G mobile carrier protocols are much more secure. In fact, stingray devices are known to jam 3G/4G signals to force mobile devices to use the insecure 2G protocol. Mobile carriers are planning to turn off 2G protocols in the coming years, though, which will make the current generation of stingray equipment obsolete.

Getty Offers Royalty-Free Photos

The story of the photography business over the past 20 years has been marked by two shifts: The number of photographs in circulation climbs toward infinity, and the price that each one fetches falls toward zero. As a result, Getty Images, which is in the business of selling licensing rights, is increasingly willing to distribute images in exchange for nothing more than information about the public’s photo-viewing habits.

Now Getty has just introduced a mobile app, Stream, targeted at nonprofessionals to run on Apple’s new operating system. The app lets people browse through Getty’s images, with special focus on curated collections. It’s sort of like a version of Instagram (FB) featuring only professional photographers—and without an upload option.

Commercial photography is another content industry — like mass-market and trade presses, journal publishers, newspapers, and many others — that is facing fundamental shifts in its business models. In this case, Getty is going the no-cost, embed-in-a-web-page route to getting their content to more eyeballs. They announced the Getty Images Embed program a year ago, and have now followed it up with this iOS app for browsing the collection of royalty-free images.

ArchersOmni: 2014-10-19 [The Archers Omnibus]

Phoebe's on the move, and Adam discovers the truth.

"Eire viva España"- sign RTE and REE petitions! [DX International radio]

Fight the cuts to Radio Exterior de España on shortwave and also the proposed end to Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE 1) on 252kHz  long wave.

Please sign these two petitions, links below.

"We are requesting that RTE keep its broadcasting services to the Irish in Britain. This move was done with no consultation with its listeners, and will be a significant loss to the whole Irish community." https://www.change.org/p/rte-don-t-cut-off-the-irish-in-britain

The petition against the closure of Radio Exterior de Españ is at http://tinyurl.com/ka2vegt Although the station has been taken off of the air, Radio Exterior de Españpresenter Alison Hughes asked people to sign this petition to the Spanish government, to try and reverse the decision.

Black magic and the Great Beast [Armed and Dangerous]

Something of significance to the design discussion for the Great Beast occurred today.

I have finally – finally! – achieved significant insight into the core merge code, the “black magic” section of cvs-fast-export. If you look in merge.c in the repo head version you’ll see a bunch of detailed comments that weren’t there before. I feel rather as Speke and Burton must have when after weeks of hacking their way through the torrid jungles of darkest Africa they finally glimpsed the source of the Nile…

(And yes, that code has moved. It used to be in the revlist.c file, but that now contains revision-list utility code used by both stages 1 and 2. The black magic has moved to merge.c and is now somewhat better isolated from the rest of the code.)

I don’t grok all of it yet – there’s some pretty hairy and frightening stuff happening around branch joins, and my comprehension of edge cases is incomplete. But I have figured out enough of it to have a much better feel than I did even a few days ago for how it scales up.

In particular I’m now pretty sure that the NetBSD attempt did not fail due to an O(n**2)/O(n**3) blowup in time or space. I think it was just what it looked like, straight-up memory exhaustion because the generated gitspace commits wouldn’t fit in 4GB. Overall scaling for computational part (as opposed to I/O) looks to me like it’s roughly:

* O(m**2) in time, with m more related to maximum revisions per CVS master and number of branches than total repo or metadata volume.

* O(n) in space, where in is total metadata volume. The thing is, n is much larger than m!

This has implications for the design of the Great Beast. To match the implied job load, yes, serial computation speed is important, but the power to rapidly modify data structures of more than 4GB extent even more so. I think this supports the camp that’s been arguing hard for prioritizing RAM and cache performance over clock speed. (I was leaning that way anyway.)

My estimate of O(n) spatial scaling also makes me relatively optimistic about the utility of throwing a metric buttload of RAM at the problem. I think one of the next things I’m going to do is write an option that returns stats on memory usage after stages 1 and 2, run it on several repos, and see if I can curve-fit a formula that predicts the stage 2 figure given Stage 1 usage.

Even without that, I think we can be pretty confident that the NetBSD conversion won’t break 32GB; the entire repo content is 11GB, so the metadata has to be significantly smaller than that. If I understand the algorithms correctly (and I think I do, now, to the required degree) we basically have to be able to hold the equivalent of two copies of the metadata in memory.

(In case it’s not obvious, I’m using NetBSD as a torture test because I believe it represents a near worst case in complexity.)

I’m also going to continue working on shrinking the memory footprint. I’ve implemented a kind of slab allocation for the three most numerous object classes, cutting malloc overhead. More may be possible in that direction.

So, where this comes out is I’m now favoring a design sketch around 1.35V ECC RAM and whichever of the Xeons has the best expected RAM cache performance, even if that means sacrificing some clock speed.

Spending the “Help Stamp Out CVS In Your Lifetime” fund [Armed and Dangerous]

I just shipped cvs-fast-export 1.21 much improved and immensely faster than it was two weeks ago. Thus ends one of the most intense sieges of down-and-dirty frenzied hacking that I’ve enjoyed in years.

Now it comes time to think about what to do with the Help Stamp Out CVS In Your Lifetime fund, which started with John D. Bell snarking epically about my (admittedly) rather antiquated desktop machine and mushroomed into an unexpected pile of donations.

I said I intend to use this machine wandering around the net and hunting CVS repositories to extinction, and I meant it. If not for the demands of the large data sets this involves (like the 11 gigabytes of NetBSD CVS I just rsynced) I could have poked along with my existing machine for a good while longer.

For several reasons, including wanting those who generously donated to be in on the fun, I’m now going to open a discussion on how to best spend that money. A&D regular Susan Sons (aka HedgeMage) built herself a super-powerful machine this last February, and I think her hardware configuration is sound in essentials, so that build (“Tyro”) will be a starting point. But that was eight months ago – it might be some of the choices could be improved now, and if so I trust the regulars here will have clues to that.

I’ll start by talking about design goals and budget.

First I’ll point at some of my priorities:

* Serious crunching power for surgery on large repositories. The full Emacs conversion runs I’ve been doing take eight hours – goal #1 is to reduce that kind of friction.

* High reliability for a long time. I’d rather have stable than showy.

* Minimized noise and vibration.

Now some anti-priorities: Not interested in overclocking, not interested in fancy gamer cases with superfluous LEDs and Lambo vents, fuck all that noise. I’m not even particularly interested in 3D graphics. Don’t need to buy a keyboard or mouse or speakers and I have a dual-port graphics card I intend to keep using.

Budget: There’s $710 in the Help Stamp Out CVS In Your Lifetime fund. I’m willing to match that, so the ceiling is $1420. The objective here isn’t really economy, it’s power and buying parts that will last a long time. It’d be nice to go four or five years without another upgrade.

OK, with those points clear, let’s look at some hardware.

First, this case from NZXT. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways: 200mm low-velocity case fans for minimal noise, toolless assembly/disassembly, no sharp edges on the insides (oh boy do my too-frequently-skinned knuckles like that idea). USB and speaker ports mounted near the top right corner so they’ll be convenient to reach when it sits on the floor on the left side of my desk. Removable cleanable filters in the air vents.

To anyone who’s ever tinkered with PCs and cursed the thoughtless, ugly design of most cases, the interior images of this thing are sheer porn. Over on G+ someone pointed me at a boutique case design from Sweden called a Define R4 that moves in the same direction, but this goes further. And I want those 200mm fans badly – larger diameter means they can move enough air with a lower turning rate, which means less noise generated at the rotor tips.

Doubtless some of you are going to want to talk up Antec and Lian Li cases. Not without reason; I’ve built systems into Antecs and know Lian Li by reputation. But the NZXT (and the Define R4) go to a level of thoughtfulness in design that I’ve never seen before. (In truth, the way they’re marketed suggests that this is what happens when people who design gamer cases grow up and get serious.) Suggest alternatives if you like, but be aware that I will almost certainly consider not being able to mount those 200mm fans a dealbreaker.

Processor: AMD FX-8350 8-Core 4.0GHz. The main goal here is raw serial-processing power. Repository surgery generally doesn’t parallelize well; it turned out that multithreading wasn’t a significant win for cvs-fast export (though the code changes I made to support it turned out to be a very good thing).

So high clock speed is a big deal, but I want stable performance and reliability. That means I’d much rather pay extra for a higher rated speed on a chip with a locked clock than go anywhere near the overclocking thing. I would consider an Intel chip of similar or greater rated clock speed, like one of the new Haswells. Of course that would require a change in motherboard.

Speaking of motherboards: Tyro uses an MSI 990FXA-GD80. Susan says this is actually a gamer board but (a) that’s OK, the superfluous blinkenlights are hidden by the case walls, and (b) having it designed for overclocking is good because it means the power management and performance at its rated speed are rock solid. OK, so maybe market pressure from the gamers isn’t so bad in this instance.

RAM: DDR3 2133. 2133 is high speed even today; I think the job load I’m going to put on this thing, which involves massive data shuffling, well justifies a premium buy here.

Susan recommends the Seagate SV35 as a main (spinning) drive – 3TB, 8.5msec seek time. It’s an interesting call, selected for high long-term reliability rather than bleeding-edge speed on the assumption that an SSD will be handling the fast traffic. I approve of that choice of priorities but wonder if going for something in the Constellation line might be a way to push them further.

Susan recommends an Intel 530 120GB SSD, commenting “only buy Intel SSDs, they don’t suck”. I’m thinking its 480GB big brother might be a better choice.

Susan says “Cheap, reliable optical drive”; these days they’re all pretty good.

The PSU Tyro used has been discontinued; open to suggestions on that one.

Here’s how it prices out as described: NZXT = $191.97, mobo $169.09, CPU $179.99, 32GB RAM = 2x $169.99, SSD = $79.99, HDD = $130.00. Total system cost $1092.02 without PSU. Well under my ceiling, so there’s room for an upgrade of the SSD or more RAM.

Let the optimization begin…

UPDATE: The SeaSonic SS-750KM3 is looking good as a PSU candidate – I’m told it doesn’t even turn on its fan at under 30% load. At $139.99 that brings the bill to $1232.01.

Harnessing depression: One Ars writer’s journey [Ars Technica]

Aurich Lawson / Thinkstock

Last November, my father took his own life. I'm frequently aware of the fact that the depression which helped drive him to that dark fate lives on in my genes. That's a doozy of a legacy to inherit, but it's one that has not been wholly negative for me.

Getting to the point where I could write this article involved a series of debates. I debated talking about my father’s suicide; I debated “outing” myself as a depression sufferer; I debated not talking about it and what that meant. I decided in the end that I would be the worst kind of hypocrite if I believed that dialog about depression was essential but was unwilling to start that dialog myself. I hope that my story can help others understand why the traits that cause depression have been both a plague and a gift to so many.

Nothing's easy when talking about depression. Navigating this sensitive topic is fraught with traps and taboos that can make Israel the good option at dinner discussion. But this dialog is important, and hopefully we can lift the grim veil that hangs over this subject before disaster strikes someone we know and love. Even as it goes underreported, suicide now kills more people than car accidents in the US.

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The real space oddity, Chris Hadfield, is down-to-Earth [Ars Technica]

NEW YORK—What do you do after you’ve achieved the ultimate goal of your avocation—not once, but three times? That’s the question facing Chris Hadfield, who capped 25 years of NASA service by commanding both the International Space Station and an audience of millions on YouTube and Twitter. Hadfield gave a partial answer recently during a public talk at the American Museum of Natural History: get as many people as possible to understand the experience and try to use that to keep the public supporting a program of space exploration.

Hadfield may be an unassuming looking man—he’s got nothing like the imposing build of astronaut and former football player Leland Melvin—but you don’t get sent to space three times without having an imposing set of talents. He said that, in addition to the expected job skills, he spent time in a Texas emergency room, stitching up and intubating people as part of the preparations to handle anything that might come up while in space. And millions saw his musical and photographic skills on display since.

Now you can add “performer” to Hadfield’s long list of accomplishments. He wove together a series of anecdotes into a coherent, compelling show, gesturing animatedly and lying back on the floor to demonstrate the Soyuz launch posture. Parts of it might have been scripted or at least well practiced, but there were others that seemed spontaneous. While an orbital photo of San Francisco was on the screen, someone from the audience had to tell him that both the bridge and the large park were named Golden Gate. At that point, he called everything visible "Golden Gate" something or other, including New York’s Central Park when it appeared in the next picture. He was also just as easygoing and clear when handling questions from the audience.

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Gigabit cellular networks could happen with 24GHz spectrum, FCC says [Ars Technica]

Even The Flash can't deliver gigabit speed data networks.

The Federal Communications Commission is starting to plan for cellular networks that can send users gigantic streams of data, but there are technical challenges to be solved and years of work ahead.

A Notice of Inquiry issued unanimously by the commission on Friday identifies frequencies of 24GHz and above as being able to provide gigabit or even 10Gbps speed. This would be a major change because today’s cellular networks use frequencies from 600MHz to 3GHz, with so-called “beachfront spectrum” under 1GHz being the most desirable because it can be used to deliver data over long distances. AT&T and Verizon Wireless control the most beachfront spectrum.

"It was long assumed that higher spectrum frequencies—like those above 24 GHz—could not support mobile services due to technological and practical limitations," the FCC said in a press release. "New technologies are challenging that assumption and promise to facilitate next generation mobile service—what some call '5G'—with the potential to dramatically increase wireless broadband speeds."

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NSA asks itself: is it ok for CTO to also work for former head’s firm? [Ars Technica]

Keith Alexander, the founder of IronNet Cybersecurity, served as the director of the NSA for nearly a decade.

The National Security Agency is now conducting an internal investigation of a top official’s part-time work for a private cybersecurity firm, according to Reuters.

That company, IronNet Cybersecurity, was founded by Keith Alexander, who served as the head of the spy agency from August 2005 until March 2014. IronNet Cybersecurity has since begun offering protection services to banks for up to $1 million per month.

Last Friday, Reuters, citing Alexander himself and other intelligence officials, reported that NSA CTO Patrick Dowd can work up to 20 hours per week for IronNet Cybersecurity.

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Saving money on roaming is still hard—or, how a new startup failed me [Ars Technica]

These are the items Attaché Arrivals sent me in the mail, in three separate packages. (The red sugar bowl normally lives on my dining table.)
Cyrus Farivar

Every time I go to Europe, I make a mental list of things that I need to take with me: electrical adapters, a small stash of euros, and local SIM cards. In a tiny SD card case, I even keep a paper clip and SIMs from various countries (Germany, United Kingdom, Iceland) to ease travel.

But if I’m going to a country I haven’t been to before, I have to do my research. I ask friends and check PrepaidGSM.net to find out what provider offers the best mobile data service. Then, I have to figure out where and how to get a local SIM. In short, it’s a pain.

That's why I was thrilled to learn about Attaché Arrivals, a new San Francisco startup. As Ars reported in May 2014, Attaché Arrivals aims to make this entire process simpler by selling SIMs to customers before they leave home. Users would theoretically save money on exorbitant mobile roaming fees charged by their US providers by renting these foreign SIM cards through the company. The SIM comes with various other items (such as a plug adapter for European Union outlets) to help make the journey smoother.

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Icebergs off the Florida coast? [Ars Technica]

Grooves in the seafloor off South Carolina carved by icebergs.
Jenna C. Hill

“Snowbirds” they are called—people who escape snowy winters in the northern US by seasonally migrating to second homes in Florida. Probably about the last thing they would like to see while walking along the beach is the ice following them south. At certain times just a handful of millennia ago, it turns out, they might have been surprised to find icebergs floating by the beaches.

When Earth’s climate was colder and an ice sheet covered Canada, impressive flotillas of icebergs were occasionally launched into the Atlantic during incidents known as “Heinrich events.” Each time a batch of icebergs and glacial meltwater were vomited out, the area around the North Atlantic experienced climatic consequences. It’s thought that the infusion of freshwater gummed up the conveyor belt of Atlantic Ocean circulation, disrupting the transport of heat throughout the entire ocean basin.

Heinrich events are usually seen in ocean sediment cores as layers of gritty sediment dropped from melting icebergs onto the fine mud of the seafloor. That’s even been seen as far south as Bermuda. Closer to North America’s eastern coast, trenches carved by the undersides of large icebergs have been spotted in the mud off Nova Scotia, New Jersey, and even the Carolinas.

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Ex-Google lawyer nominated as patent office director [Ars Technica]

Michelle Lee, at right, signing a memorandum with the director general of IP Australia in September 2014.

Michelle Lee, formerly Google's chief patent lawyer and currently acting director of the US Patent and Trademark Office, has been nominated by the Obama administration to be the next permanent USPTO director. Lee will be the first head of the patent office to have a background at an Internet company.

Lee's nomination comes months after the administration floated the name of Philip Johnson, a lawyer at Johnson & Johnson who was an outspoken opponent of patent reform. The idea of nominating Johnson evaporated after a negative response from tech companies.

Choosing Lee has won praise all around, although the pro-reform forces are likely happier than the anti-reform forces given her background at Google. Lee was one of the first corporate lawyers to be vocal about the problem posed by "non-practicing entities," also known as patent trolls.

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Man sues Comcast, claims ISP got him fired over billing dispute [Ars Technica]

Conal O'Rourke remains frustrated and baffled at his year-long saga with Comcast, which resulted in his losing his job.
Cyrus Farivar

The California man who publicly accused Comcast of getting him fired from his job at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) after he complained to the highest levels of Comcast about his year’s worth of billing errors, has made good on his threat to sue his former ISP. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Francisco late Thursday.

Among other accusations, Conal O’Rourke is suing Comcast on allegations of violating the Cable Communications Act by disclosing his personal information to his employer, defamation, breach of contract, emotional distress, and unfair business practices.

“We don’t normally comment on pending litigation and as we have said, there were clear deficiencies in the customer service that we delivered to Mr. O’Rourke," Jenni Moyer, a Comcast spokesperson, told Ars in a statement.

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Mysterious campaign appears to be latest salvo in net neutrality battle [Updated] [Ars Technica]

This piece originally appeared in Pro Publica.

This story has been updated to include a comment from the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.

On a recent Monday evening, two bearded young men in skinny jeans came to a parklet in San Francisco's trendy Hayes Valley neighborhood and mounted what looked like an art installation. It was a bright blue, oversized "suggestion box" for the Internet.

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OS X 10.10 Yosemite: The Ars Technica Review [Ars Technica]

Yosemite banner
Aurich Lawson / Thinkstock

When the book is finally closed on the product line known as OS X, last year’s release of OS X 10.9 Mavericks may end up getting short shrift. Sure, it brought tangible energy saving benefits to Mac laptop owners, but such gains are quickly taken for granted; internal changes and new frameworks are not as memorable to customers as they may be to developers and technophiles. And while Mavericks included many new user-visible features, and even new bundled applications, the cumulative effect was that of a pleasant upgrade, not a blockbuster.

But for all its timidity and awkwardness, Mavericks marked a turning point for OS X—and in more than just naming scheme. It was the first OS X release from the newly unified, post-Forstall Apple. If iOS 7 was the explosive release of Jony Ive’s pent-up software design ethos, then Mavericks was the embodiment of Craig Federighi’s patient engineering discipline. Or maybe Mavericks was just a victim of time constraints and priorities. Either way, in last year’s OS X release, Apple tore down the old. This year, finally, Apple is ready with the new.

To signal the Mac’s newfound confidence, Apple has traded 10.9’s obscure surfing location for one of the best known and most beautiful national parks: Yosemite. The new OS’s headline feature is one that’s sure to make for a noteworthy chapter in the annals of OS X: an all-new user interface appearance. Of course, this change comes a year after iOS got its extreme makeover.

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Police Find Remains Believed to Be Missing UVA Student Hannah Graham [The Other McCain]

Virginia authorities have not yet officially confirmed that the remains found Saturday in Albemarle County are those of Hannah Graham, but it appears that suspect Jesse Matthew will be facing a murder charge in the case of the missing 18-year-old student: The remains were found around noon near Old Lynchburg Road in Albemarle County, said […]

FMJRA 2.0: We’re An American Band [The Other McCain]

– compiled by Wombat-socho Lawyer: Convicted Sex Teacher Has ‘Significant Psychological Issues’ Political Rift Batshit Crazy News Watcher Of Weasels Noisy Room Trevor Loudon The Right Planet Regular Right Guy Walker Ministries Bookworm Room Independent Sentinel Virginia Right Texas Lesbian Democrat Reveals Her Party’s Anti-Christian Agenda Hogewash That Mr. G Guy Regular Right Guy Batshit […]

The Liberation Theology Pope Proves Conquest’s Second Law [The Other McCain]

Here are two sentences that caught my attention: When word that [Cardinal Raymond Leo] Burke was on his way out [from the Apostolic Signatura] began circulating last month, it signaled that Francis would take major steps to reshape the church. It coincided with the selection of a new archbishop of Chicago, Blase Cupich, who Catholic progressives celebrated […]

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard [The Travelin' Librarian]

My lovely wife got me a keyboard for my birthday: The Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard. It’s bluetooth and works with Android, iOS and Windows. It’s also very lightweight, compact, and comes with a detachable cover/tablet stand. This is going to come in very handy.

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard 2

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard 1

The post Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard appeared first on The Travelin' Librarian.

Meanwhile, the White House science office wants your ideas for ‘massless exploration and bootstrapping a Solar System civilization’ [AEIdeas » Pethokoukis]

Well, you certainly can’t accuse the Obama administration of being obsessed with the day-to-day crises on hotspots. Tom Kalil, deputy director for Technology and Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, offers this blog post, “Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization.”

In one of my meetings with NASA, a senior official with the space agency once observed, “Right now, the mass we use in space all comes from the Earth. We need to break that paradigm so that the mass we use in space comes from space.”

NASA is already working on printable spacecraft, automated robotic construction using regolith, and self-replicating large structures. As a stepping stone to in-space manufacturing, NASA has sent the first-ever 3D printer to the International Space Station. One day, astronauts may be able to print replacement parts on long-distance missions. And building upon the success of the Mars Curiosity rover, the next rover to Mars — currently dubbed Mars 2020 — will demonstrate In-Situ Resource Utilization on the Red Planet. It will convert the carbon dioxide available in Mars’ atmosphere to oxygen that could be used for fuel and air — all things that future humans on Mars could put to use.

There’s interest outside government as well, with various private companies that see a potential business in mining of asteroids and celestial objects for use in space.

Recently, I caught up Dr. Phillip Metzger, a former research physicist at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center who has recently joined the faculty of the University of Central Florida, to discuss the longer term goal of “bootstrapping a solar system civilization.” …

Have ideas for massless exploration and bootstrapping a Solar System civilization? Send your ideas for how the Administration, the private sector, philanthropists, the research community, and storytellers can further these goals at massless@ostp.gov

The post is certainly worth reading for that conversation between Kalil and Metzger, the NASA guy — even if you don’t have any ideas to offer for massless exploration and such.

Stocks, shmocks | The US economy doesn’t look like an economy anywhere near a recession [AEIdeas » Pethokoukis]

What is the volatile stock market saying about the economy? Recall this analysis from economist Mike Darda in a post earlier this week:

If financial market turbulence is going to have broad-based macroeconomic repercussions (shocks to the money demand function not accommodated by the Fed), we would look for it to show up in confidence and jobless claims data. Claims will tend to rise 20% year-to-year on a four-week moving average basis heading into a recession whereas the Conference Board’s Present Situations Index tends to fall 15 Index points or more.

1.) The initial claims numbers report from yesterday showed a drop of 23,000 to 264,000 during the week ending October 11, reaching the lowest level reported since April 2000. That’s good.

2.) Today’s consumer confidence number, though from the University of Michigan survey not the Conference Board, was strong. From JP Morgan: “The survey’s current conditions index was unchanged at 98.9 in October while the more important expectations index popped up 3.0 points to 78.4, getting back up near its high for the expansion.” That’s good, too. Also, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, “climbed to 51 this month, the strongest since November 2012, from 41.5 in September,” with falling gas prices getting a lot of the credit.

So does the global market selloff mean anything? Here is Scott Sumner:

The global stock/oil/bond yield plunge is at least partly due to expectations of slower nominal GDP growth. I know of no other economic news could explain a sudden decline of this magnitude. One plausible theory is that investors are losing confidence in the ECB, and/or the slowdown in China. … With the S&P now trading around 1800, a recession in the US next year seems very unlikely, albeit slightly more likely than a month ago. More likely the Fed will once again be wrong about its 3% growth forecast for “next year” for the umpteenth consecutive time. … Monetary policy in all the major economies has tightened somewhat in the past month. However the degree of tightening may well be less than many people assume. Again, we simply don’t know, but could easily find out if we wanted to. Nobody (including the economics profession) seems to care.

Of course, a contrarian might find the headline of this post to be unsettling.

Atlanta Fed’s Lockhart: The ‘second machine age’ is here, and workers better get ready for massive automation [AEIdeas » Pethokoukis]

The Federal Reserve has been behind the curve on the issue of automation and jobs. When Fed chairman Ben Bernanke mentioned “robotics” in a June 2013 commencement address, he was the first central-bank boss to use the word in a speech since Alan Greenspan in 2000. But the Fed is catching up. Back in January, economists John Fernald of the San Francisco Federal Reserve and Charles Jones of Stanford’s business school wrote a paper, “The Future of U.S. Economic Growth,” that offered some fascinating speculation on how artificial intelligence and machine learning will affect workers.

Along those lines, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart has this to say in a new speech:

A recent McKinsey article entitled “The Great Decoupling” starts with the statement, “As machine learning advances at exponential rates, many highly skilled jobs once considered the exclusive domain of humans are increasingly being carried out by computers.” The same article quotes from a recent book by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee called The Second Machine Age.

That’s a useful phrase, so I’ll borrow it. We can quibble about the meaning of highly skilled, middle skilled, and low skilled, but I’ll argue that the second machine age has seen the automation of many middle-skill jobs. It has contributed to the phenomenon of job polarization and middle-class income stagnation. Job polarization refers to the decline of mid-level positions relative to higher-level and lower-skilled jobs.

We are seeing a wide range of relatively low- and middle-skill vocations under siege. As examples, I would point to production-line manufacturing positions, waiters, retail checkout clerks, hotel check-in personnel, and customer service staff. Maybe, before long, the list will include drivers.

The process of substitution will likely be gradual, but I find it hard to believe the trend will reverse. If you accept as reality the persistence and growth of automation, robotics, production algorithms, and digitization in general, I don’t think it’s difficult to imagine what jobs will increasingly require as hard skills and consequently what strategic workforce development will entail.

Here are some thoughts: Most workers will deal with a digital interface device of some kind. Familiarity with technology and the literacy and numeracy skills to operate such a device will be essential.

In a world where much that is routine and repeatable is done by machine, human work will call for problem analysis and troubleshooting, critical thinking where judgment and discretion are required, and fine, customized work involving customer or colleague interaction and communication. Making emotional connections is human work. Workers will need lifelong learning skills to adapt to changing job requirements dictated by the pace of substitution of technology for what they used to do.

Education is an important policy response. But this new machine age will also mean a rethink of tax, regulatory, and welfare policy, too. At least some policymakers are starting to recognize this. And how will automation affect monetary policy? Lockhart didn’t say, unfortunately.

Follow James Pethokoukis on Twitter at @JimPethokoukis, and AEIdeas at @AEIdeas.

All the Presidents' Drinks. [Althouse]


John Adams. Adams loved alcohol, starting almost every morning with a hard cider. Then porter beer, rum and copious amounts of Madeira....

Martin Van Buren. Drank so much whiskey that it earned him a nickname, “Blue Whiskey Van.” He also enjoyed something called Schiedam (a gin-like Dutch specialty unique to New York’s Hudson River Valley)....

Millard Fillmore. Fillmore rarely drank wine or served it to others. However, this lightweight once admitted to sampling enough old Madeira that he was “slightly fuddled.”...

Chester A. Arthur. When a representative of the Temperance movement tried to pressure Arthur into a no-liquor policy in the White House, he thundered: “Madam, I may be the president of the United States, but what I do with my private life is my own damned business!”...

Out-olding the nouveau old. [Althouse]

Buzzfeed has a listicle titled "20 Things New Yorkers Older Than 40 Did/And will never do again. It was a great time to be a New Yorker," and there's some pushback in the comments from the older than old:

May I humbly request that this be retitled to 20 Things New Yorkers Older Than 30 Have Experienced? Most of these are from the late 90's or close by and as a 33 year old New Yorker I've experienced...
There was this lovely camaderie between 81-year-olds:
My heart aches to know so many things about New York City are gone forever. My father was born in Yorkville and my mother on Wooster Street in the Village, which is now part of NYU dorms. Saw my first play, The King and I, at the St. James and realized, at 18, that Yul Brenner's baldness could be very sexy. Worked five years in the Woolworth Building downtown, which once was the tallest building in the U.S. For seafood you couldn't beat The Captain's Table in the Village, and for chicken pot pie, The Waverly Inn, also in the Village. Pork chops on an open grille? Peter's Backyard on Tenth Street. Ice skating in Rockefeller Plaza on Saturday mornings and then on to the Automat for those little brown pots of baked beans. I stayed at the Barbizon Hotel when it was still "women only." I have traveled around the world, working for four airlines, and New York City thrills me to this day when I fly over it (not sure if you can still do this after 9/11). Anyone care to guess my age? It is 81! Oh, and I was born, of all places, in Brooklyn!
I'm also 81. Lived in Yorkville, the Village, East Village, finally Soho. Left in 1970. My favorite at the Waverly Inn was the veal ala marsala, $2.
Hey, they are contemporaries of Holden Caulfield! It was the mention of ice skating in Rockefeller Plaza that made me think of this. Caulfield is a fictional character, but we may say that he was "born," nonetheless, and calculate the year as 1933, which would make him 81 today, if he stayed alive. In "Catcher in the Rye," we see his New York City, presumably the city of those Buzzfeed commenters.

Would Holden Caulfield have read Buzzfeed... and commented?

Did Holden Caulfield ever eat the veal ala marsala at the Waverly Inn? What did Holden Caulfield eat in "Catcher in the Rye"? There's breakfast:
I had quite a large breakfast, for me — orange juice, bacon and eggs, toast and coffee. Usually I just drink some orange juice. I’m a very light eater. I really am. That’s why I’m so damn skinny. I was supposed to be on this diet where you eat a lot of starches and crap, to gain weight and all, but I didn’t ever do it. When I’m out somewhere, I generally just eat a Swiss cheese sandwich and a malted milk. It isn’t much, but you get quite a lot of vitamins in the malted milk. H. V. Caulfield. Holden Vitamin Caulfield.
Now, there's a thing New Yorkers did and will never do again: worry about being too skinny. And if you're worried about getting fat, consider the Holden Caulfield diet, just a Swiss cheese sandwich and a malted. In fact, after that skating at Rockefeller Plaza, Holden Caulfield does eat a Swiss cheese sandwich and a malted. Another Holden Caulfield diet idea is be depressed:
So I went in this very cheap-looking restaurant and had doughnuts and coffee. Only, I didn't eat the doughnuts. I couldn't swallow them too well. The thing is, if you get very depressed about something, it's hard as hell to swallow.

How to say something perfectly dumb. [Althouse]

It's easy to say something dumb, but it takes something special to say something as dumb as "Not sure when @SenRandPaul became a doctor, but says Ebola can spread from a person standing 3ft away #uhmm." That, from a CBS producer named Katy Conrad, who was being sarcastic about when Rand Paul, who is a doctor, "became a doctor." Well, I think you just have to get lucky to say something that perfectly dumb.

"'Dadcore?' 'Momcore?' What the heck are these trendy lingoes?" [Althouse]

Asks someone at Metafilter, linking to a Glamour article titled "Move Over, Normcore — Dadcore Is Here. What It Is, Plus 3 Takeaways to Apply to Your Non-Dad Closet."

Someone pointed out the obvious, that the "-core" suffix comes from "hardcore," but how did "-core" get into "hardcore" in the first place? "Hardcore" does not appear in the (unlinkable) Oxford English Dictionary, and "hard core" is only a "draft addition":

hard core adj. and n. (usu. as one word) orig. U.S., (a) adj. denoting harsh, aggressive, or extreme versions of various types of popular music (originally punk, now also rap, techno, etc.), typically faster, louder, or more experimental than related forms, and determinedly less mainstream; (b) n. any of various forms of popular music (often a variety of an established genre) regarded as particularly extreme, aggressive, or experimental.
But we use "hardcore" far beyond that music meaning, most notably for porn, but it's widely used, certainly by me. Some examples from the 10 years of this blog:
If you're hardcore enough to burn [artwork worth millions], why are you not hardcore enough to lie to the police?...

Ironically, this professor is teaching that it's all about power and you need to use hardcore tactics to win, and the student seems to have learned this lesson well. The edited video, dumped on the internet is a hardcore tactic, flipping the power on the old white guy....

I'm not purporting to interpret this scripture and won't argue about how it should really be read, but I think there is a scruple about calling attention to charity that some people might be hardcore about. Posting even anonymously on a website that is only about advertising charity could be taken as wrong. I note Jesus sounds rather hardcore about it and puts the stakes very high....

One of the reasons "We Won't Get Fooled Again" is a great song is because of the complicated ambivalence expressed by the character who sings it. A hardcore politico cannot use those words, even though a hardcore politico is likely to hear that song and mistakenly believe it expresses what he believes....

An innovative idea for a new law school would to use an old style hardcore Socratic Method approach. It's actually hard to find Kingsfield-type lawprofs any more; everybody's already competing to be the most nurturing. I'd like to see a school compete for students and faculty by offering a retro hardcore method....

If one of the hardcore righties had won the Republican nomination, I would probably have gone for Obama. But Mitt Romney got the nomination, which is what I had been hoping for (after Mitch Daniels decided not to run)....

What's toxic about debate, disagreement, and hardcore argument? When was feminism ever supposed to be about being nice to anybody?...

Would East and West Pakistan be one country today if the government hadn't been so hardcore about Urdu?...

If you were a fan of "Fraggle Rock," you may remember that the Fraggles called Doc's workroom "outer space," and if you're an incredibly hardcore fan of the Althouse blog, you may remember that that there is a room in my house that we call "outer space." We've been calling it that since the '80s....

Tom Ford is more hardcore about men in shorts than I am....

You may imagine that Madison is a place where government nannies coddle the populace, but when it comes to facing winter, we are hardcore northerners. No whining. Be tough. Deal with it. We don't submit to Nature. We're having a Snow Action Day....

It's all about the clavicle, the clavicle that you've etched out through hardcore exercise and stringent dieting....

I wouldn't want all nine [Supreme Court Justices] to be flexible pragmatists. Having a hardcore originalist or two in the mix is a moderating safeguard. But don't give me five of them!...

I came away surprised that some people, especially the libertarians, were hardcore, true believers, wedded to an abstract version of an idea and unwilling to look at how it played out in the real world.
There's also "softcore," a word I'm using for the first time on this blog right now, oddly enough. "Softcore," a less useful word that "hardcore," is reserved as a contrast to "hardcore." It's a back-formation, like "underwhelm," not a real word in itself. And I say that acknowledging the contestable reality of hardcore as a word in itself.

Whatever happened to Primo Communist Flitworth? [Althouse]

I'm reading Simon Winchester's "The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible," the part about Robert Owen, born in Wales in 1771, who came to America with ideas of utopian socialism he'd developed in Scotland. He met "with President Monroe, took tea with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, and gave two public lectures in the Capitol. John Quincy Adams, the president-elect, came to both talks, and was so taken that he had Owen build a scale model of his proposed New Harmony building and display it at the White House." New Harmony failed:

As is so often the way with utopias, factions developed — no fewer than ten had formed within just two years of Owen’s arrival, and all began bickering, squabbling, and arguing for various rewritings of the commune rules, each splinter group jostling for ideological supremacy. In the end, a demoralized and disillusioned Owen, shocked at a brand of waywardness he had never experienced back home among the Scots, returned to Britain. His confidence was sorely shaken: his ideas for the universal betterment of the working classes began slowly to evaporate, and he became steadily ever more marginalized and ridiculed a figure.
That paragraph ends with a footnote, and it is in that footnote where we encounter the most perfectly silly name I have ever seen:
Robert Owen’s final grand gesture was the creation of an immense and ruinously expensive cooperative community in Hampshire called Queenswood, in which seven hundred people lived, their inner quadrangle illuminated by “koniophostic light,” with conveyor belts bringing food from central kitchens to their dining halls. Couples moved in. A first baby born at Queenswood was formally named Primo Communist Flitworth. But the community never really prospered and closed after only a short while. Owen then changed gear once again and provided valuable help in settling the rival US-Canadian claims to Oregon territory, then tried in vain once more to sell his socialist ideas in Paris, where he died in 1858 and was buried in the grounds of a deconsecrated church.
What happened to Primo Communist Flitworth? Was he not worth a flit? Did he have some informal name that he used and blended into the general populace. He's the 19th century's Zezozose Zadfrack Glutz. Who did he become when he disaggregated himself from the commune that gave him his stigmatizing name? A nobody?

Saturday, mid-October. [Althouse]

A walk in the woods:


Ducks, observed from a footbridge:


Stopping for linner:


"For many, minibars have a forbidden quality to them. So seductive. So taboo. So expensive." [Althouse]

"I’m sometimes fearful if I even open the mini-fridge door I’ll get slapped with a fee. That’s why, when I read the Loews Regency now offers guests the opportunity to 'Milk the Minibar' and eat and drink everything in it, I knew I had to exorcise my demons. I had to consume an entire goddamn minibar."

What that was like.

"Ever notice how drunk the models for J. Crew are?" [Althouse]

A perfectly pitched critique.

I wish I could have figured out how to be this funny and pithy about the maddening lassitude of catalog models. It's not just J. Crew, but just about every women's fashion catalog I get in the mail. The models all look like they can barely stand up, like they're about to collapse or need to lean on something. Their mouths droop open and their eyes are glassy. They're the oppose of fierce (which is another fashion cliché, just not the one used in catalogs). Why does blithering weakness sell clothing?

Anyway, bundling this criticism into the simple notion that the models are drunk keeps it light and hilarious. I salute you Drunk J. Crew. (Via Daily Mail.)

Bry Jensen Island Connoisseur Bio! #60days [Bry Jensen]


My name is Bry, and travel is in my blood.

From a very early age, my parents instilled a sense of wanderlust in me. They taught me the value of travel, not only for the experiences that would become treasured memories, but for the exposure to other cultures, differing world views, lifestyles and perspectives that would shape who I am. As a result, my passion for travel is unparalleled and has guided many major decisions, such as the life-defining backpacking trip across Europe I took as a fresh high school graduate, not one week after graduation. This was a goal I had set with many friends in our first high school year, but I was the only one to follow through and actually go – and at 17, this trip absolutely shaped my values, my views on the world, my independence, and my unquenchable desire to see every place I can see on this earth…

Holocaust Memorial, Berlin Birthday in Italy! Rome! Surfing in Hawaii! My Hero! Newport Beach Cuba! Prague Hawaii Scared silly on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror! Isla Mujeres Paris! Stratford Upon Avon Grand Canyon Athens Tulum Mexico Hawaii! First time in Mexico Disneyland Chinatown Hawaii First time in Mexico Munich Germany Whistler Mountain Italy Mexico Grand Canyon! Surfing in Hawaii!

I have been lucky to visit over 20 countries in my life thus far, and therefore have a wealth of experience in traveling, foreign cultures, personal safety, and the value of interacting with locals. I feel very comfortable being away from home, and immersing myself in a world I have never known. I am a very responsible adult with good moral character; I do not drink or do drugs, and never have in my entire life!

lngwknd 515I am a fitness model and personal trainer, so I am in very good physical condition and love to be active. I am up for any type of excursion or physical activity, and I will try anything! I love to surf, I love to climb, I love to swim, and I certainly love to dance, but it can be an amusing sight. I am also very passionate about history and culture; I have a bachelor’s degree in history, and consider a location’s past to be fundamental to its character. Understanding local history enriches any traveler’s journey, and allows them to truly appreciate the wonder and magnitude of their surroundings, anywhere. For this reason, I am a dedicated and diligent traveling historian, always sure to uncover the most fascinating aspects of any place I visit, and to share them. Due to my academic background, I have become an experienced reviewer and writer. I have been a contributing author to a successful book called Real Talk Real Women, had articles published in several fitness magazines, and have had many of my academic papers nominated for awards and scholarships. I also currently review books on a new popular book-blog.

I am very familiar with social media. I currently have over 9,000 fans on my Facebook fan page, near 1000 on Twitter, I have managed brand presence for a social media company, I am active on nearly every social media platform, and am always willing to expand to new ones. Additionally, I have experience with presenting myself publicly, both over social media and to large crowds.

Though by now it may not need to be said, I am an intensely passionate person, and I love to share my enthusiasm with the world. I am very sociable and love meeting new people, and every new place I am able to visit in my lifetime is a blessing. To say this opportunity would be a dream come true would be a grievous understatement, and not do justice to the immense excitement this project inspires in me. If I were chosen to be the Island Connoisseur, I would represent with my heart and soul!

I hope you’ll vote for me!

Distribution Release: HandyLinux 1.7 [DistroWatch.com: News]

Arnault Perret has announced the release of HandyLinux 1.7, a novice-friendly distribution that features an intuitive start menu with application launchers and Internet bookmarks - based on the stable Debian GNU/Linux 7.0. According to the release announcement (in French only, even though the distribution supports English besides the....

Development Release: Parsix GNU/Linux 7.0 Test 3 [DistroWatch.com: News]

Alan Baghumian has announced the availability of the third and final test release of Parsix GNU/Linux 7.0, a desktop distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux 7.0 and featuring GNOME 3.12 as the preferred desktop: "The last testing release for Parsix GNU/Linux 7.0, code name 'Nestor', is out now. Parsix....

Development Release: Porteus 3.1 RC1 [DistroWatch.com: News]

Jay Flood has announced the availability of the first release candidate for Porteus 3.1, a set of minimalist, Slackware-based live CDs with a choice of KDE, LXQt, MATE and Xfce desktops: "The Porteus community is stoked to announce that the candidate release of Porteus Desktop edition 3.1rc1 is....

Slip, Sliding Away [hogewash]

You remember all that talk about how legalizing gay marriage wouldn’t require priests, ministers, or rabbis to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies in violation of their religious beliefs. There wasn’t going to be any slippery slope, or so we were told.

Two ministers in Idaho are facing up to 6 months in jail and up to $1000 in fines for each day that they continue to refuse to perform a same-sex wedding that a gay couple requested last Friday.

Are You Pondering What I’m Pondering? [hogewash]

Zort! Brain … if my name were spelled with a Z instead of a P, people might think I was made of cheap metal.

Truthiness and Social Pollution [hogewash]

WaPo reports that the National Science Foundation is funding a project to analyze Twitter data to detect what the project researchers deem as “social pollution” and to study what they call “social epidemics,” memes that spread throughout pop culture. The “social pollution” targeted includes “political smears,” “astroturfing,” and other forms of “misinformation.”

Hmm. A government-funded initiative is going to “assist in the preservation of open debate” by monitoring social media for “subversive propaganda” and combating what it considers to be “the diffusion of false and misleading ideas”? The concept seems to have come straight out of a George Orwell novel.

Read the whole thing.

The feds are spending your money to monitor your political speech on Twitter. There may be a better way for you to spend your cash. Tar and Feathers are available from Amazon.

Mars Orbiter and Comet Siding Spring [hogewash]

This afternoon, Comet C/2013 A1 (AKA Comet Siding Spring) will pass within about 140,000 km of Mars. That’s less than half the distance between Earth and the Moon and less than one-tenth the distance of any known comet flyby of Earth. Siding Spring’s nucleus will come closest to Mars around 18:27 UTC (2:27 pm ET) moving at around 56 km/s.

Video Credit: NASA

Mars Orbiter and Siding Spring

Are You Pondering What I’m Pondering? [hogewash]

I think so, Brain … but wouldn’t the zombies go for you first?

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day [hogewash]

The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin watched his Kimberlin v. Walker, et al. nuisance lawsuit fall apart in state court. Five of his seven counts were shot down in summary judgment. What that means is that, given the undisputed facts agreed to by both sides, he had no case as a matter of law. The other two counts were so unsupported by facts that the judge stopped the trial after TDPK rested his case and granted us defendants a directed verdict.

I’ve written in the past about how the results of the state case should affect the Kimberlin v. The Universe, et al. RICO Madness through the doctrine of collateral estoppel. However, the directed verdict in the state trial has caused another problem for TDPK. Because we never had to put on our defense, he has no idea what we would have presented. He is completely in the the dark about the nature, depth, and quality of the evidence we amassed. He has no idea what insights our investigations have given us. He has no idea what leads we are prepared to follow up if the RICO Madness gets into discovery. He has no idea who we intend to depose. He has no idea what documents we already possess.

popcorn4bkIf TDPK had a clue, he’d be filing a motion to dismiss the RICO suit against all the defendants. I sincerely doubt that his ego will allow him to do the wise thing. I fully expect that he will ride the RICO Madness down in flames. I also expect that Hogewash! will chronicle the crash.

Stay tuned.


Quote of the Day [hogewash]

What the world really needs is more love and less paper work.

—Pearl Bailey

Charles Murray on Ayn Rand [Marginal REVOLUTION]

Charles Murray has a good piece on Ayn Rand, critical in parts but especially insightful about why Rand’s books continue to be so inspirational and influential:

Ayn RandRand expressed the glory of human achievement. She tapped into the delight a human being ought to feel at watching another member of our species doing things superbly well. The scenes in “The Fountainhead” in which the hero, Howard Roark, realizes his visions of architectural truth are brilliant evocations of human creativity at work. But I also loved scenes like the one in “Atlas Shrugged” when protagonist Dagny Taggart is in the cab of the locomotive on the first run on the John Galt line, going at record speed, and glances at the engineer:

He sat slumped forward a little, relaxed, one hand resting lightly on the throttle as if by chance; but his eyes were fixed on the track ahead. He had the ease of an expert, so confident that it seemed casual, but it was the ease of a tremendous concentration, the concentration on one’s task that has the ruthlessness of an absolute.

That’s a heroic vision of a blue-collar worker doing his job. There are many others. Critics often accuse Rand of portraying a few geniuses as the only people worth valuing. That’s not what I took away from her. I saw her celebrating people who did their work well and condemning people who settled for less, in great endeavors or small; celebrating those who took responsibility for their lives, and condemning those who did not. That sounded right to me in 1960 and still sounds right in 2010.

Second, Ayn Rand portrayed a world I wanted to live in, not because I would be rich or powerful in it, but because it consisted of people I wanted to be around. As conditions deteriorate in “Atlas Shrugged,” the first person to quit in disgust at Hank Rearden’s steel mill is Tom Colby, head of the company union:

For ten years, he had heard himself denounced throughout the country, because his was a ‘company union’ and because he had never engaged in a violent conflict with the management. This was true; no conflict had ever been necessary; Rearden paid a higher wage scale than any union scale in the country, for which he demanded—and got—the best labor force to be found anywhere.

That’s not a world of selfishness or greed. It’s a world of cooperation and mutual benefit through the pursuit of self-interest, enabling satisfying lives not only for the Hank Reardens of the world but for factory workers. I still want to live there.

…In scene after scene, Rand shows what such a community would be like, and it does not consist of isolated individualists holding one another at arm’s length. Individualists, yes, but ones who have fun in one another’s company, care about one another, and care for one another—not out of obligation, but out of mutual respect and spontaneous affection.

Ayn Rand never dwelt on her Russian childhood, preferring to think of herself as wholly American. Rightly so. The huge truths she apprehended and expressed were as American as apple pie. I suppose hardcore Objectivists will consider what I’m about to say heresy, but hardcore Objectivists are not competent to judge. The novels are what make Ayn Rand important. Better than any other American novelist, she captured the magic of what life in America is supposed to be. The utopia of her novels is not a utopia of greed. It is not a utopia of Nietzschean supermen. It is a utopia of human beings living together in Jeffersonian freedom.

Also worth reading is this superb piece by Robert Tracinsiki, All an Ayn Rand Hero Really Wants is Love.

The Ebola risk premium [Marginal REVOLUTION]

Underpaid or overpaid?:

They’re looking for the few, the proud — and the really desperate.

For a measly $19 an hour, a government contractor is offering applicants the opportunity to get up close and personal with potential Ebola patients at JFK Airport — including taking their temperatures.

Angel Staffing Inc. is hiring brave souls with basic EMT or paramedic training to assist Customs and Border Protection officers and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in identifying possible victims at Terminal 4, where amped-up Ebola screening started on Saturday.

EMTs will earn just $19 an hour, while paramedics will pocket $29. Everyone must be registered with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.

The medical staffing agency is also selecting screeners to work at Washington Dulles, Newark Liberty, Chicago O’Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta international airports.

There is more here, via Matthew E. Kahn.  How much does the regular (non-Ebola) staff earn?

Idaho City Threatens to Jail Ministers for Not Performing Gay Weddings [The PJ Tatler]

Officials in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, are threatening an elderly couple who run a wedding chapel with jail time unless they perform wedding ceremonies for gay couples.

Donald Knapp and his wife, Evelyn, both ordained ministers who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, have declined to host gay weddings based on their religious beliefs. The city is basing its claims on their “non-discrimination” statute now that the courts have cleared the way for same sex marriages in the state.

Alliance Defending Freedom has filed suit against the city and is asking for a temporary restraining order to prevent authorities from carrying out their threat.

“The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “Many have denied that pastors would ever be forced to perform ceremonies that are completely at odds with their faith, but that’s what is happening here – and it’s happened this quickly. The city is on seriously flawed legal ground, and our lawsuit intends to ensure that this couple’s freedom to adhere to their own faith as pastors is protected just as the First Amendment intended.”

“The government exists to protect and respect our freedoms, not attack them,” Tedesco added. “The city cannot erase these fundamental freedoms and replace them with government coercion and intolerance.”

The Hitching Post Wedding Chapel is across the street from the Kootenai County Clerk’s office, which issues marriage licenses. The Knapps, both in their 60s and who themselves have been married for 47 years, began operating the wedding chapel in 1989 as a ministry. They perform religious wedding ceremonies, which include references to God, the invocation of God’s blessing on the union, brief remarks drawn from the Bible designed to encourage the couple and help them to have a successful marriage, and more. They also provide each couple they marry with a CD that includes two sermons about marriage, and they recommend numerous Christian books on the subject. The Knapps charge a small fee for their services.

Coeur d’Alene officials told the Knapps privately and also publicly stated that the couple would violate the city’s public accommodations statute once same-sex marriage became legal in Idaho if they declined to perform a same-sex ceremony at their chapel. On Friday, the Knapps respectfully declined such a ceremony and now face up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines for each day they decline to perform that ceremony.

“The city somehow expects ordained pastors to flip a switch and turn off all faithfulness to their God and their vows,” explained ADF Legal Counsel Jonathan Scruggs. “The U.S. Constitution as well as federal and state law clearly stand against that. The city cannot mandate across-the-board conformity to its interpretation of a city ordinance in utter disregard for the guaranteed freedoms Americans treasure in our society.”

There is little likelihood that any judge in America would uphold the city’s interpretation of the non-discrimination statute. In their eagerness to bend over backwards and show how tolerant they are, city fathers have trampled on the Constitution and threatened to severely curtail religious freedom.

This story comes on the heels of news from North Carolina that several magistrates who can legally perform weddings have resigned rather than marry a gay couple.

Islamic State Renews Assault on Kobani [The PJ Tatler]

After a week-long lull in the fighting, Islamic State forces have renewed their assault on the Syrian border town of Kobani, attacking the Kurdish defenders from three sides.

Dozens of mortars were fired into the city and two car bombs exploded near Kurdish positions. US-led air strikes bombed targets outside of the city, according to eyewitnesses watching from the Turkish border.

Islamic State doesn’t appear to be able to mass troops for a final assault because of coalition air power. But it is believed they already have about 9,000 fighters in the city itself.


Raids on Islamic State around Kobani have been stepped up, with the fate of the town seen as an important test for U.S. President Barack Obama’s campaign against the Islamists.

NATO member Turkey, whose forces are ranged along the border overlooking Kobani, is reluctant to intervene. It insists the allies should also confront Assad to end Syria’s civil war, which has killed close to 200,000 people since March 2011.

“We had the most intense clashes in days, perhaps a week, last night. (Islamic State) attacked from three different sides including the municipality building and the market place,” said Abdulrahman Gok, a journalist in Kobani.

“Clashes did not stop until the morning. We have had an early morning walk inside the city and have seen lots of damaged cars on the streets and unexploded mortar shells,” he said.


The Observatory reported two Islamic State car bombs hit Kurdish positions on Saturday evening, leading to casualties. A cloud of black smoke towered over Kobani on Sunday.

A fighter from one of the female units of the main Syrian Kurdish militia in Kobani, YPG, said Kurdish fighters were able to detonate the car bombs before they reached their targets.

“Last night there were clashes all across Kobani … this morning the clashes are still ongoing,” she said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Observatory said 70 Islamic State fighters had been killed in the past two days, according to sources at the hospital in the nearby town of Tel Abyab, where Islamic State bodies are taken. Reuters cannot independently confirm the reports due to security restrictions.

The Observatory said some Syrian Arab fighters from the Revolutionaries of Raqqa Brigade, who are fighting alongside Kurdish fighters, had executed two Islamic State captives.

“One was a child of around 15 years old. They shot them in the head,” he said.

Islamic State have also used executions throughout their campaigns in Syria and Iraq, killing hundreds of enemy combatants and civilians who oppose their cause, according to Islamic State videos and statements.

Seventy dead in two days is a high casualty total and it raises the question what price IS is willing to pay to capture the town. The month long siege has cost them several thousand casualties and with coalition air power proving to be a powerful obstacle to success, they are already engaged in a conflict of diminishing returns.

But the propaganda value of capturing Kobani would be great. It would maintain an aura of invincibility with jihadists around the world as well as exposing the Obama policy in Syria as a hollow reed. That alone is probably worth the cost of continuing the assault.

NY “Safe Act” Strips 34,500 of Constitutional Rights, Stops Not One Mass Shooting [The PJ Tatler]

In the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary slaughter in Newtown, CT, New York State passed an “an expansive package of gun control measures” which read like a Progressive fantasy: ban “assault weapons,” create a list of dangerous mental patients and confiscate their guns.

As today’s New York Times details, several problems arose on the road to peaceful Utopia. But, Progressives can delight in the news that they’ve compiled a list of 34,500 Americans who no longer have 2nd Amendment, 4th Amendment or 14th Amendment rights. For these folks, New York State is a Constitution-free zone.

Under the “Safe Act,” county officials were to screen and forward names from mental health workers to a state agency. But those county employees did not, generally, have direct contact with the patient, nor did the bureaucrats in Albany. The county workers, quickly overwhelmed with the volume of submissions, began rubber-stamping. The much-touted government oversight became at best cursory, at worst, nonexistent.

Only 278 among the 34,500 were found to have gun permits, and guns were seized from an unknown number of them. But only New York City requires permits for long guns anyway, so a person on that list may go shopping elsewhere, and the government will not know about his purchase. In addition, there’s no way for law enforcement to know whether they’ve confiscated all of a person’s weapons. So, essentially, the program may seize SOME guns from people in a designated zone (NYC), but only if they obeyed the law by getting a gun permit.

Of course, if you have a mental health issue and you treasure your natural, God-given 2nd Amendment right to self-defense, then the law discourages you from seeking professional help with the threat of confiscating your property and your security.

This is all fine with the Progressives who love to keep their women defenseless, their poor, disadvantaged thugs unperforated and out of jail, and their government ruling with an iron fist — but above all, who love to be SEEN as doing something about a problem.

Gun control supporters argue a wide net is appropriate, given the potentially dire consequences.

Even if just one dangerous person had a gun taken away, “that’s a good thing,” said Brian Malte, senior national policy director of the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence.

Now, Mr. Malte fails to consider the possibility that he may have taken that gun away from a person who then has to confront a pistol-packing burglar in his home, armed with nothing but a Salad Shooter, or a Swiffer mop.

Gov. Cuomo signs Safe Act

New York Governor Mario Cuomo signed the Safe Act in 2013, which has created a Constitution-free zone for 34,500 Americans, and has stopped not one gun crime or mass shooting.

The dangerous truth about all of this “gun control,” is that none of it will save a single life. Worse, it will delude a certain portion of the population into thinking that they, and their children, are safer — after all, we passed the “Safe Act.”

What the law has done effectively is to create tens of thousands of second-class citizens, branded as dangerous without criminal charge or conviction, by a faceless system of bureaucrats who don’t know them at all.

Oddly enough, Progressives refuse to enact the very legislation that could actually prevent more mass shootings by eliminating the free-fire ranges created by unarmed citizens in “gun-free zones.” They also turn a blind eye to the much higher death toll racked up by inner-city thugs, shooting each other and defenseless passers-by, with illegally-acquired handguns.

The list I’d like to see the government compile (he says, facetiously) is the tally of gun-control advocates who own weapons, or who employ armed security personnel.

After all, just because they’re Progressive, and therefore abandon wisdom and rationality, doesn’t mean they’ve abandoned self-preservation.

Speculation Runs Rampant About Mission of X-37B Space Plane [The PJ Tatler]

The Air Force’s X-37B space plane has just returned from a two year mission and speculation about what that mission was is running wild.

The aircraft — a mini version of the Space Shuttle at 29 feet long and 15 foot wingspan — officially says the craft carried out experiments in advanced guidance, navigation and control, thermal protection systems, and aircraft electronic systems, which is about as general as you can get.

But specifics have been lacking which has set off an internet storm that includes conspiracy theories about top secret surveillance programs, developing bombing capabilities, and even anti-satellite warfare. That last is an area the US lags behind China and Russia as it is thought that both countries have carried out experiments in crippling communications and surveillance satellites from the ground.

ABC News:

Weeden, now a technical advisor for the Secure World Foundation, said speculation seemed to run rampant specifically because so little has been disclosed.

“Because it is a secret military space plane, there is tons and tons of speculation about what it’s doing in orbit,” Weeden said.

Popular online theories included that “it’s testing the ability to drop bombs in orbit or covertly going up and disabling satellites,” he said.

Weeden said looking at past instances of American spacecraft, he believes the spacecraft is more likely involved in something less shocking.

“What I think is more practical is that it’s setting up technology for surveillance,” said Weeden, who pointed out the military has relied heavily on satellite surveillance for decades.

Weeden also said the fact that the spacecraft can be reused and can return unmanned can allow faster turnaround on experiments.

Weeden said the ship might provide a kind of fast-track space for the military to try out new equipment in orbit before it is sent via satellite. If new equipment breaks on a satellite in orbit, it can be difficult to fix. However, if it breaks in on a returnable spacecraft, engineers can make changes before it returns to orbit.

Of course, the question that would be uppermost in everyone’s mind is just who the government wants to surveil.  Since the NSA and affiliated agencies don’t appear to be slacking off in their mania for our communications, you have to believe they are inventing more and better ways to keep track of us.

But whatever the X-37B was up to out there, it’s still a cool piece of technology.

Obamacare Deductibles Forcing Patients to Forgo Preventive Care [The PJ Tatler]

One notable problem with Obamacare insurance policies that has been commented on extensively is the higher-than-average deductibles that make seeking routine health care an expensive proposition.

In fact, according to this New York Times story, the sky-high deductibles — double what many consumers carried in their old policies — is preventing them from getting preventive care that could lead to serious health issues later.

About 7.3 million Americans are enrolled in private coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and more than 80 percent qualified for federal subsidies to help with the cost of their monthly premiums. But many are still on the hook for deductibles that can top $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for families — the trade-off, insurers say, for keeping premiums for the marketplace plans relatively low. The result is that some people — no firm data exists on how many — say they hesitate to use their new insurance because of the high out-of-pocket costs.

Insurers must cover certain preventive services, like immunizations, cholesterol checks and screening for breast and colon cancer, at no cost to the consumer if the provider is in their network. But for other services and items, like prescription drugs, marketplace customers often have to meet their deductible before insurance starts to help.

While high-deductible plans cover most of the costs of severe illnesses and lengthy hospital stays, protecting against catastrophic debt, those plans may compel people to forgo routine care that could prevent bigger, longer-term health issues, according to experts and research.

“They will cause some people to not get care they should get,” Katherine Hempstead, who directs research on health insurance coverage at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said of high-deductible marketplace plans. “Unfortunately, the people who are attracted to the lower premiums tend to be the ones who are going to have the most trouble coming up with all the cost-sharing if in fact they want to use their health insurance.”

So…ISIS Now Flying 3 Captured Fighter Jets [The PJ Tatler]

Long-term campaign getting longer?

Iraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State in Syria are training members of the group to fly in three captured fighter jets, a group monitoring the war said on Friday, saying it was the first time the militant group had taken to the air.

The group, which has seized swathes of land in Syria and Iraq, has been flying the planes over the captured al-Jarrah military airport east of Aleppo, said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the report and U.S. Central Command said it was not aware of Islamic State flying jets in Syria.

These days it would seem that there is quite a bit that various United States government officials aren’t aware of and it is probably safer for the public to err on the side of, “OMG, do you people know ANYTHING?!?”

Obviously, three fighter planes with some hastily trained pilots does not an air force make, but ISIS doesn’t exactly seem to be reeling at this point.

10-Year-Old Girl Seeks to Become Gun-Rights ‘Inspiration’ [The PJ Tatler]

Good for her.

Meet Shyanne Roberts, a 10-year-old competitive shooter who is out to prove something: Children with guns don’t always mean disaster.

“I want to be an inspiration to other kids and be a leader,” said the girl. “Kids and guns don’t always mean bad things happen.”

Shyanne competes alongside junior shooters, who are participants younger than 18, and even adults. Last year, she beat out adult women to place second in the Women’s Division of the New Jersey Ruger Rimfire Challenge.

On October 31, she will square off against 200 of the top women shooters at the Brownell’s Lady 3-Gun Pro-Am Challenge in Covington, Georgia. Shyanne is the youngest competitive shooter registered at the female-only event, according to the match director. The top shooter has a chance to win $5,000, as well as items from a prize table of guns, ammo and more.

The Franklinville, New Jersey, girl, who now has more than 20 sponsors, started learning gun safety when she was 5. After she could recite the rules and had grasped what guns can do, around age 6, her father started taking her to a gun range. Dan Roberts is a certified firearms instructor and a single dad. He has custody of Shyanne and her younger brother.

What the media bubble anti-gun nuts don’t understand is that the safe use of firearms is a fact of life in a lot of American homes from a very young age. I got my first rifle when I was six and grew up around people who all owned guns and knew how to handle them properly. When I first started going on the road, I found it very strange to meet people who not only didn’t own a gun, but had never fired a weapon. The experience that Brad Pitt recently described is a very normal American one.

Shyanne Roberts has some unique talent but her early involvement with shooting is a classic American family story that is all but ignored by the relentless anti-gun lobbyists and media types. Comprehensive gun legislation hasn’t been failing because of Republican obstruction, it’s failing because it is un-American and very unpopular with the citizens who are unwilling to see their rights gutted by an out-of-touch political ruling class.

Fed Chair Yellen Becomes Big Education Shill in Speech [The PJ Tatler]

Pimping the Party line.

Yellen said recent decades have been marked by “significant income
and wealth gains for those at the very top and stagnant living standards for the majority.” This hurts social and economic mobility, she added.

Yellen added there are four “building blocks” to increase opportunity for those with smaller incomes and fewer assets.

“Two of those are so significant that you might call them ‘cornerstones’ of opportunity,
and you will not be surprised to hear that both are largely related to education,” she said. “The first of these cornerstones I would describe more fully as ‘resources available to children in
their most formative years.’ The second is higher education that students and their
families can afford.”

Yellen sounds more like a Bill de Blasio aide here than one of the more powerful unelected people in America. It’s the typical progressive tripe about spending on education at an early age and “FREEEEEEE COLLEGE!” OK, she didn’t actually say free college, but as we saw with the Occupy morons, that’s how it is most often interpreted by the participation trophy types.

One of the more demonstrably false notions repeated by progressives is that we don’t spend enough on education. If you woke Barack Obama up from a deep slumber he’d mutter, “Education spending…” before being fully conscious. It is their go-to for almost everything. As those of us who paid attention in school way back when even less money was being spent on it know, we the taxpayers spend plenty on education. It is just wasted by the thoroughly awful people at the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and their minions. Big Government and Big Labor have done nothing to education in America other than find new ways to make sure an ever-decreasing amount of each taxpayer dollar gets to students.

Then they want more to do less.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Vietnam-based Viettel enters East African market [PCWorld]

Vietnam-based mobile telecom operator Viettel is set to start operations in Tanzania, aiming to expand into other countries in the East Africa region.

The Tanzanian government last week announced that it had awarded Viettel a license to build and operate a 3G mobile phone network in the country. The operator is expected to use Tanzania as a path for further investment in Africa. Viettel has already indicated its intention of entering the Kenyan telecom market through a possible purchase a 70 percent stake in Telkom Kenya.

Initially, Viettel wanted to enter the Kenyan market through the acquisition of yuMobile but dropped the bid. Orange Telecom has indicated that it will shed its ownership of Telkom Kenya and leave the Kenyan telecom market because of stiff competition resulting from the sale of yuMobile to Safaricom and Airtel.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Tor-based anonymizing router gets pulled from Kickstarter for rules violations [PCWorld]

Anonabox, a piece of home networking equipment designed to allow you to connect to the Internet anonymously, had raised nearly $600,000 in pledges on Kickstarter—blowing its $7500 goal out of the water. But on Friday, Kickstarter suspended the project, according to Ars Technica

Wired reports that Kickstarter put a stop to the project because it felt that August Germar, the creator of the Anonabox, misled contributors when he stated that he built all the hardware himself—a violation of Kickstarter's rules.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Will Black Voters Turn Out This Year? Why Should They? [Power Line]

(John Hinderaker)

There is a lot of buzz today about this article in the New York Times: “Black Vote Seen as Last Hope for Democrats to Hold Senate.”

The confidential memo from a former pollster for President Obama contained a blunt warning for Democrats. Written this month with an eye toward Election Day, it predicted “crushing Democratic losses across the country” if the party did not do more to get black voters to the polls.

“African-American surge voters came out in force in 2008 and 2012, but they are not well positioned to do so again in 2014,” Cornell Belcher, the pollster, wrote in the memo, dated Oct. 1. “In fact, over half aren’t even sure when the midterm elections are taking place.”

That last line sounds like a takeoff on the old joke, Democrats vote on Wednesday. But the broader point is no doubt correct: President Obama was re-elected in 2012 despite his poor record in office because of a historic turnout by African-Americans. There was no similar surge of black voting in 2010, and Republicans swept. Much the same will happen this year unless Democrats succeed in their efforts to motivate African-American voters, which the Times article goes on to describe.

But the Democrats may have a problem here that goes beyond the nuts and bolts of driving turnout. Barack Obama is not on the ballot this year, but as he himself has insisted, his policies are. It is easy to understand why black voters consider Obama to be their guy and support him loyally, but do they have the same motivation to vote for a continuation of the policies of the last six years? Blacks have been hurt more than anyone else by the Obama administration’s economic policies; their labor force participation continues to be alarmingly low. And vastly expanding importation of low-skilled workers, as the Democrats want to do, will further devastate the black working class.

So if blacks don’t turn out this year in the numbers they did in 2012, the reason won’t necessarily be that they don’t know when the election is. It may be that lots of them, like the rest of us, would just as soon see different policies implemented in Washington.

Is it safe to laugh? [Power Line]

(Scott Johnson)

The omniscient Glenn Reynolds picked up the image below from a Twitter feed. If Obama’s own incompetence isn’t making him “seethe,” this photoshopped image just might do it. I’m filing this under Laughter is the Best Medicine. All I can say is thanks, I needed that.


New frontiers in freedom [Power Line]

(Scott Johnson)

I may be mistaken, but it has seemed to me for quite a while that the campaign for gay marriage is about something other than “freedom” or “acceptance” or equal “rights.” The point of the campaign seems to me to force us to get our minds right, to borrow the resonant phrase of the jailers in Cool Hand Luke. The proponents of “marriage equality” demand our inner assent. Disapproval is prohibited. If sexual practices are akin to racial characteristics there is a logic to the reorientation that the new civil rights regime means to engineer.

Consider the case of Donald and Evelyn Knapp:

[A] case has arisen in Idaho, where city officials have told ordained ministers they have to celebrate same-sex weddings or face fines and jail time.

The Idaho case involves Donald and Evelyn Knapp, both ordained ministers, who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel. Officials from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, told the couple that because the city has a non-discrimination statute that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, and because the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Idaho’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the couple would have to officiate at same-sex weddings in their own chapel.

The non-discrimination statute applies to all “public accommodations,” and the city views the chapel as a public accommodation….

The Knapps certainly don’t represent the end of the road we’re on. New frontiers in freedom beckon.

Government case implodes as its former lawyers allege fraud against Holder DOJ [Power Line]

(Paul Mirengoff)

The New York Observer reports that two former Assistant United States Attorneys say the Holder Justice Department engaged in deceit and corruption of justice in connection with the DOJ’s litigation against Sierra Pacific Industries, a California lumber company.

As a result of the allegations, a federal district judge has ordered the recusal from the case of every judge in the Eastern District of California. He reasons that the court may have been defrauded by the government, thus requiring the appointment of an outside judge to handle the matter going forward.

The Holder DOJ brought the case against Sierra Pacific for allegedly being responsible for a wildfire that destroyed 65,000 acres in California. Sierra Pacific maintained that the fire started elsewhere and that state and federal investigators and DOJ attorneys lied about the origin of the fire so they would have a “deep pocket” from which to collect millions of dollars.

Nonetheless, as litigants confronted by the power of the federal government are wont to do, the company settled the case. It agreed to pay $55 million to the United States over a period of five years and to give up 22,500 acres of land.

But now two former DOJ lawyers in the office that prosecuted the action corroborate Sierra Pacific’s claim that the DOJ’s case was based on fraud and deception. Using information provided by these lawyers, Sierra Pacific told the federal court that “the United States presented false evidence to the Defendants and the Court [and] advanced arguments to the Court premised on that false evidence or for which material evidence had been withheld.”

In addition, the United States “prepared key. . .investigators for depositions, and allowed them to repeatedly give false testimony about the most important aspects of their investigation.” The United States also “failed to disclose the facts and circumstances associated with the. . .lead investigator’s direct financial interest in the outcome of the investigation arising from an illegal bank account that has since been exposed and terminated.”

One of the former DOJ lawyers says he was removed from the original prosecution by his boss, David Shelledy, chief of the civil division in the United States Attorney’s office, because he “rebuffed” pressure to “engage in unethical conduct as a lawyer.” According to the Observer, Eric Holder will this week award Shelledy the Department’s highest award for excellence.

It figures.

Another former DOJ lawyer left the prosecution team stating: “It’s called the Department of Justice; it’s not called the Department of Revenue.” He reportedly told defense counsel that in his entire career, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Naturally, the allegations of these former prosecutors made a big impression on the court. As noted, the chief judge of the District, Morrison England, Jr., ordered the recusal of all the Eastern District judges from the case due to evidence that the government defrauded the court. He referred the case to Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, so Kozinski could appoint a judge from outside the Eastern District to handle the case.

In a related case, a California state judge found that the investigation and prosecution of this matter by the state involved “egregious,” “pervasive,” and “reprehensible” abuses that amount to “government corruption.” The state court case “betray[ed] the primary purpose of the judicial system—to reveal the truth,” the judge stated.

The Department of Justice exists to promote justice, not to collect money by winning cases. A lawyer representing a private individual may have to take positions he considers unmeritorious in order to serve his client. Even so, such a lawyer cannot advance his client’s interest through fraud.

A government lawyer should never take an unmeritorious position. If doing so is required to win a case, the government shouldn’t pursue the case. Unlike a private party, the government has no valid interest in winning cases it doesn’t deserve to win.

This view is anachronistic, of course. Government lawyers are as ambitious as private lawyers — maybe more so because they are more likely to be shooting for a judgeship or a move into the lucrative world of private practice. Many government lawyers are also zealots.

Thus, the modern government lawyer has no compunction about trying to sell arguments with scant support in the law or the facts, and there isn’t much anyone can do about it. But when ambition and/or ideology induce government lawyers to rely on facts they know have been invented or to fail to meet the legal obligation to disclose facts, the line has been crossed.

It isn’t surprising that, in the lawless, leftist crony-favoring environment of the Holder DOJ, Sierra Pacific appears to be the victim of a lawless prosecution. The case against it fits a pattern of abuse.

In this instance, David Shelledy, who drove the prosecution against Sierra Pacific, reportedly had a history of resisting the disclosure in environmental cases of evidence the DOJ is required to disclose. The Department’s office of professional responsibility is said to have rejected his positions on this issue in previous cases.

But the Holder DOJ did not rein Shelledy in. And now, it is about to award him for “excellence.”

Shelledy is thus the very model of a Holder DOJ attorney. And if the reports of his conduct in the Sierra Pacific case are accurate, that’s a disgrace.

Tom Friedman Gets One Right [Power Line]

(Steven Hayward)

Maybe this needs to be filed under the “even a stopped clock is right twice a day” department, but Tom Friedman actually wrote an interesting and probative column a couple days ago about what’s going on with the falling price of oil, and I’m still picking myself up off the floor in amazement. Here are the three key paragraphs:

Is it just my imagination or is there a global oil war underway pitting the United States and Saudi Arabia on one side against Russia and Iran on the other? One can’t say for sure whether the American-Saudi oil alliance is deliberate or a coincidence of interests, but, if it is explicit, then clearly we’re trying to do to President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, exactly what the Americans and Saudis did to the last leaders of the Soviet Union: pump them to death — bankrupt them by bringing down the price of oil to levels below what both Moscow and Tehran need to finance their budgets. . .

The Russians have noticed. How could they not? They’ve seen this play before. The Russian newspaper Pravda published an article on April 3 with the headline, “Obama Wants Saudi Arabia to Destroy Russian Economy.” It said: “There is a precedent [for] such joint action that caused the collapse of the U.S.S.R. In 1985, the Kingdom dramatically increased oil production from 2 million to 10 million barrels per day, dropping the price from $32 to $10 per barrel. [The] U.S.S.R. began selling some batches at an even lower price, about $6 per barrel. Saudi Arabia [did not lose] anything, because when prices fell by 3.5 times [Saudi] production increased fivefold. The planned economy of the Soviet Union was not able to cope with falling export revenues, and this was one of the reasons for the collapse of the U.S.S.R.”

Indeed, the late Yegor Gaidar, who between 1991 and 1994 was Russia’s acting prime minister, observed in a Nov. 13, 2006, speech that: “The timeline of the collapse of the Soviet Union can be traced to Sept. 13, 1985. On this date, Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, the minister of oil of Saudi Arabia, declared that the monarchy had decided to alter its oil policy radically. The Saudis stopped protecting oil prices. … During the next six months, oil production in Saudi Arabia increased fourfold, while oil prices collapsed. … The Soviet Union lost approximately $20 billion per year, money without which the country simply could not survive.”

I have no idea whether the dynamics of the current oil market are the deliberate result of Obama Administration policy, but what I find more interesting here is Friedman’s retrospective ratification of the Reagan Administration’s deliberate policy to squeeze the Soviet Union economically back in the 1980s. Back in the day, liberals argued that the Soviet Union decided to throw in the towel on the Cold War because of the enlightened liberalism of Mikhail Gorbachev alone, and discounted any effects of deliberate Reagan policy. (We know that the Reagan Administration worked on the Saudis to help us crush Soviet oil revenues.) And now here’s Friedman saying that’s what happened after all, though he leaves Reagan out of it.

Wonder what Friedman’s successor will be saying about George W. Bush 25 years from now. I have a guess.

Former RNC Chairman Calls NRCC Ad “Racist” [Wizbang]

Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele is criticizing a political advertisement that the National Republican Congressional Committee is running in support of Republican Congressman Lee Terry of Nebraska. Appearing on The Round Up with Steve Kornacki, Mr. Steele said the following about the ad: You say to yourself, what is the point of this ad? I mean, in the context of the case or the situation, yeah, okay, the member of the house supported the law. But then to put it in this frame, says something very racist in my view. To watch the YouTube copy of Mr. Steele’s

Hey, Let’s Watch Obama Undercut His Administration’s Own Spin [Ed Driscoll]

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:



Of all the weekends to cancel the obligatory Saturday golf game, this would have been a good one, not the least of which because his administration and its steno pool inside the New York Times worked to craft what is effectively a press release on Obama “seething” over how he and his administration have botched the Ebola crisis — one year after the disastrous rollout of his signature socialized medicine bill. (Fun fact: On this date a year ago, the otherwise Obama-friendly Huffington Post ran the headline, “Obamacare Website Failure Threatens Health Coverage For Millions Of Americans.”

Glenn Reynolds rounds up Bobby Jindal’s complete four-step plan for how the increasingly semi-retired president acts during one of his administration’s many clusterfarks; apparently interim steps 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, and 4.5 can be summed as: Fore!

Meanwhile, Roger L. Simon posits that administration officials will find an obscure video to blame for Ebola when they make their rounds on the Sunday talk shows tomorrow. Paraphrasing historian Robert Conquest’s Third Law of Politics, which states that “The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by
assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies,” Roger wonders how the ghost of Andrew Breitbart got inside the controls of the administration’s evermore wobbly machine.


Read Guido’s Column in the Sun on Sunday Online [Guy Fawkes' blog]

Labour have reported Craig Oliver for smearing a journalist in breach of the strict Special Advisers Code of Conduct. Details only in Guido’s column in the Sun on Sunday. Don’t miss out on:


  • The staff and nonsense of wannabe Tory leader Phillip Lee


  • Nigel woos Platell
  • O-Patz finds Wood

Click here to read Guido’s column for free with a free 30-day trial…

Tagged: Dead Tree Press, Media Guido, Sun

How Many Digits in a “Large”? [IMAO]

On Ebola, CDC director Thomas Frieden said “we’re confident that we won’t see a large number of cases from this”.

Don’t worry, the government has it under control. After all it’s not something complicated like, you know, rolling out a web site.

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Finally! A Fun Use for RC QuadCopters [IMAO]

First-person-view racing. It’s like the Podracing in Star Wars Episode I except without all the stupid CGI, annoying sound effects, and Jar-Jar.

[Drone racing star wars style Pod racing are back!] (Viewer #784,062)

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It Works for Everything Else, Right? [IMAO]

Fearing Ebola, five schools in Dallas are set to install remote temperature monitors in order to detect fevers among students.

Seems kind of expensive. Why not just post “Ebola-free zone” signs?

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Link of the Day: Hope You Didn’t Have Plans for the Rest of the Day [IMAO]

[High Praise! to Nathan Friend]


The fun in this assumes you are at least passing-familiar with the Spirograph drawing toy.

I’ve actually used one, in all its frustrating glory, so I love that you don’t have the heartbreaking misery of gear slippage with this.

Anyway, I want to point out that on the left hand side, there is a grey bar, whose purpose is not intuitive. Slide that up and down to reveal more gears.

Also, I have no idea how to put the little gear on the outside of the ring. If anyone figures that out, leave a comment.

[Think you have a link that's IMAO-worthy? Send it to harvolson@gmail.com. If I use your link, you will receive High Praise! (assuming you remember to put your name in the email)]

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Pushbullet + FCM = WIN! [Full Circle Magazine]


If you’d like to know the very second FCM is out, and on all of your devices then install Pushbullet and subscribe to the Full Circle Magazine channel: https://www.pushbullet.com/channel?tag=fcm

I’m not sure if I can push a 15MB PDF through Pushbullet, but I’ll give it a first try when FCM#90 is out (31st).

There’s also a Pushbullet subscribe button on the site.

VirtualBox 4.3.18 Has Been Released With Lots Of Fixes [Full Circle Magazine]

Virtualbox 4.3.18 has been released and bringing many different fixes for major operating systems such as Ubuntu Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. The potential misbehavior after restoring the A20 state from a saved state has been fixed, virtualbox does not crash anymore in linux hosts with old versions of the linux kernel, a few remaining warnings in the kernel log if memory allocation fails have been fixed and the GNOME Shell on Fedora 21 is not prevented anymore from starting when  handling video driver display properties.

Thanks to this maintenance release Ubuntu users have now the possibility to use legacy full-screen mode under Unity without experiencing multi-screen issues. Another important issue related to Unity that has been fixed with the release of 4.3.18 version is the quirk  in full-screen mode Unity panels caused by mini-toolbar code changes in last release.



Submitted by: Oltjano Terpollari

schema.org - where it works [Coyle's InFormation]

In the many talks about schema.org, it seems that one topic that isn't covered, or isn't covered sufficiently, is "where do you do it?" That is, where does it fit into your data flow? I'm going to give a simple, typical example. Your actual situation may vary, but I think this will help you figure out your own case.

The typical situation is that you have a database with your data. Searches go against that database, the results are extracted, a program formats these results into a web page, and the page is sent to the screen. Let's say that your database has data about authors, titles and dates. These are stored in your database in a way that you know which is which. A search is done, and let's say that the results of the search are:

author:  Williams, R
title: History of the industrial sewing machine
date: 1996
This is where you are in your data flow:

The next thing that happens (and remember, I'm speaking very generally) is that the results then are fed into a program that formats them into HTML, probably within a template that has all your headers, footers, sidebars and branding and sends the data to the browser. The flow now looks like

Let's say that you will display this as a citation, that looks like:
Williams, R. History of the industrial sewing machine. 1996.
Without any fancy formatting, the HTML for this is:
<p>Williams, R. History of the industrial sewing machine. 1996.</p>
Now we can see the problem that schema.org is designed to fix. You started with an author, a title and date, but what you are showing to the world is a string of characters are that undifferentiated. You have lost all the information about what these represent. To a machine, this is just another of many bazillions of paragraphs on the web. Even if you format your data like this:
<p>Author: Williams, R.</p>
<p>Title:  Williams, R. History of the industrial sewing machine</p>
<p>Date: 1996</p>
What a machine sees is:
<p>blah: blah</p>
<p>blah: blah</p>
<p>blah: blah</p>  
What we want is for the program that is is formatting the HTML to also include some metadata from schema.org that retains the meaning of the data you are putting on the screen. So rather than just putting HTML formatting, it will add formatting from schema.org. Schema.org has metadata elements for many different types of data. Using our example, let's say that this is a book, and here's how you could mark that up in schema.org:
<div vocab="http://schema.org/">
<div   typeof="Book">
    <span property="author">Williams, R.</span> <span property="name">History of the industrial sewing machine</span>. <span property="datePublished">1996</span>.
Again, this is a very simple example, but when we test this code in the Google Rich Snippet tool, we can see that even this very simple example has added rich information that a search engine can make use of:
To see a more complex example, this is what Dan Scott and I have done to enrich the files of the Bryn Mawr Classical Reviews.

The review as seen in a browser (includes schema.org markup)

The review as seen by a tool that reads the structured schema.org data.

From these you can see a couple of things. The first is that the schema.org markup does not change how your pages look to a user viewing your data in a browser. The second is that hidden behind that simple page is a wealth of rich information that was not visible before.

Now you are probably wondering: well, what's that going to do for me? Who will use it? At the moment, the users of this data are the search engines, and they use the data to display all of that additional information that you see under a link:

In this snippet, the information about stars, ratings, type of film and audience comes from schema. org mark-up on the page.

Because the data is there, many of us think that other users and uses will evolve. The reverse of that is that, of course, if the information isn't there then those as yet undeveloped possibilities cannot happen.

Federally Funded Study to Examine Your Dangerous Free Speech [Patterico's Pontifications]

There appears to be one sane person on the FCC, and he is raising alarms about the way the federal government is using your taxpayer money to study the alarming ways in which you are using your so-called right to free speech:

If you take to Twitter to express your views on a hot-button issue, does the government have an interest in deciding whether you are spreading “misinformation’’? If you tweet your support for a candidate in the November elections, should taxpayer money be used to monitor your speech and evaluate your “partisanship’’?

My guess is that most Americans would answer those questions with a resounding no. But the federal government seems to disagree. The National Science Foundation , a federal agency whose mission is to “promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; and to secure the national defense,” is funding a project to collect and analyze your Twitter data.

The project is being developed by researchers at Indiana University, and its purported aim is to detect what they deem “social pollution” and to study what they call “social epidemics,” including how memes — ideas that spread throughout pop culture — propagate. What types of social pollution are they targeting? “Political smears,” so-called “astroturfing” and other forms of “misinformation.”

Named “Truthy,” after a term coined by TV host Stephen Colbert, the project claims to use a “sophisticated combination of text and data mining, social network analysis, and complex network models” to distinguish between memes that arise in an “organic manner” and those that are manipulated into being.

But there’s much more to the story. Focusing in particular on political speech, Truthy keeps track of which Twitter accounts are using hashtags such as #teaparty and #dems. It estimates users’ “partisanship.” It invites feedback on whether specific Twitter users, such as the Drudge Report, are “truthy” or “spamming.” And it evaluates whether accounts are expressing “positive” or “negative” sentiments toward other users or memes.

A federally funded study of online political discourse that owes its name to a term used by a leftist? What could go wrong?

The Truthy team says this research could be used to “mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate.”

Hmm. A government-funded initiative is going to “assist in the preservation of open debate” by monitoring social media for “subversive propaganda” and combating what it considers to be “the diffusion of false and misleading ideas”? The concept seems to have come straight out of a George Orwell novel.

. . . .

Some possible hints as to Truthy’s real motives emerge in a 2012 paper by the project’s leaders, in which they wrote ominously of a “highly-active, densely-interconnected constituency of right-leaning users using [Twitter] to further their political views.”

And there we have it. They’re spending your money to warn the world about the way you are expressing your political opinions. In this way, they can keep false and misleading ideas from being spread — you know, like those “false” claims that ObamaCare could lead to government rationing and death panels, or that Ebola exposure could result from being three feet away from someone for a prolonged period of time.

We must keep such lies from spreading and infecting the public. And we must use taxpayer money to do it.

It is for the greater good, citizen.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Rand Paul Is Politicizing Ebola By Accurately Citing the CDC [Patterico's Pontifications]

Debbie Wasserman Schultz appeared on Fox News Sunday today and furthered the “Rand Paul got Ebola transmission wrong” canard. (H/t Colonel Haiku.) The video is at The Daily Caller; I initially embedded it, but it’s one of those annoying auto-start videos. At 8:41, Schultz says:

When you have Republican Senators like Rand Paul, who’s a doctor, who should know better, who are saying that you can be three feet from someone who has Ebola and actually get it, I mean, that’s an example of how Republicans are politicizing this.

As I showed in this post, Rand Paul simply repeated what the CDC says. It is a fact, beyond any rational dispute, that the CDC defines a “low-risk exposure” to include being within “three feet” of an Ebola patient for a “prolonged period of time.” To attack Rand Paul over this, when he is simply accurately citing the CDC, is the height of ignorance.

Unfortunately, host Chris Wallace didn’t seem to know this — or, if he did, he allowed this misinformation to go unchallenged. But, as Patterico readers, you know it — even if Sunday talk show hosts don’t.

Bill Maher: Nurses Got Ebola Because Stupid Texans Ignored Federal Government [Patterico's Pontifications]

Bill Maher sneeringly blames the rubes in Texas for the nurses catching Ebola. Apparently the federal government gave them perfect advice, but the Texas idiots didn’t follow it because (affect exaggerated Texas accent) they hate them some revenooers and federal government types, yee haw!

At around 2:00 you get to hear Maher saying this:

Then one guy comes here from Liberia. One guy. And we couldn’t keep that contained because those morons in that fuckin’ hospital in Dallas — sorry. Excuse me. I said I wouldn’t get this upset, but I did. Because they you know love their freedom down in Texas. [Said in hick accent:] They don’t like rules and regulations and tellin’ us what to do and revenuers and the federal government. What could go wrong? This.

There is, of course, not a shred of evidence that people in Dallas were ignoring federal regulations because they were hicks who wanted to show their independence from the feds. But it’s a chance to use the event of a deadly disease to make a factually distorted attack on hicks and get a few laughs in the process — and how can you pass that up?

Meanwhile, a doctor who worked with the nurses says they followed the federal protocol, but that the federal guidelines were inadequate:

Speaking to WFAA-TV, Dr Weinstein insisted the two nurses – along with the rest of the team – had followed CDC guidelines, which, at the time, did not include the use of a full respiratory mask.

When asked why Miss Pham and Miss Vinson caught Ebola, he said: ‘I think that these two nurses took care of a critically-ill patient at a time when he was not in control of his body fluids.

‘And at a time when the recommendations from the CDC (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention) that we were following did not include the full respiratory mask.’

That’s just what a Texan would say, eh, Bill? I bet he even used a funny accent when he said it, too.

P.S. It ought to go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: the hospital would have been better off if they had exactly the sort of skeptical attitude towards the federal government that Maher mocks, and had instituted more guidelines more stringent than the CDC’s. Hospitals across the nation are now doing exactly that — even in places where they don’t talk funny.

UPDATE: Incorrect information on the CDC web site about protective measures has been quietly whitewashed — but the evidence has been preserved.

Police Flatten Tires of Guy Speeding to Take Pregnant Wife to Hospital [Patterico's Pontifications]

Then again, they didn’t know that’s what he was doing:

FORT DODGE, Iowa– Police started to pursue a speeding SUV on Highway 7 near the town of Manson in Calhoun County, but the car’s occupants had a good reason for going over the speed limit.

Ben and Rachel Kohnen were heading to the hospital in Fort Dodge at about 4:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. He admits that he was going about 30 miles over the speed limit when they passed the officer.

“He starts following me and he turns on his lights an my wife says we can’t pull over. The baby is coming now,” said the driver, Ben Kohnen of Pomeroy.


As they approached the outskirts of Fort Dodge, authorities were waiting for them.

“They had thrown out the tire spikes and so all four tires, I run over those and all four tires go flat,” said Ben Kohnen.

The Kohnens say they were ordered to the ground and held at gunpoint until police realized this was an emergency. Rachel was rushed to the hospital and nearly 10 pound, Hazel, was born an hour later.

Apparently the wife tried calling 911 but was too hysterical to be understood.

Opine away. Consider not assuming perfect knowledge on the cops’ part as you do so.

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Texas Voter I.D. Law In Upcoming Midterm Elections [Patterico's Pontifications]

[guest post by Dana]

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning decided that Texas can continue enforcing its controversial voter identification law for the upcoming Nov. 4 midterm elections. This in spite of challenges by the U.S. Dept. of Justice. There was no explanation of the ruling provided from the court’s majority. Dissenting were Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Writing a scathing dissent, Justice Ginsburg opined:

The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters.

Last week, President Obama appointee U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ruled that the law would discourage and deter minority voters, the majority of whom are black and Hispanic, as well as referring to it as an unconstitutional poll tax. Justice Ginsburg continued the line of thought:

The potential magnitude of racially discriminatory voter disenfranchisement counseled hesitation before disturbing the District Court’s findings and final judgment. Senate Bill 14 may prevent more than 600,000 registered Texas voters (about 4.5% of all registered voters) from voting in person for lack of compliant identification. A sharply disproportionate percentage of those voters are African-American or Hispanic.

(As a reminder, Texas allows for seven forms of acceptable identification. Also, if voting by mail, one does not have to submit a photo ID.)


Benjamin Mako Hill: Another Round of Community Data Science Workshops in Seattle [Planet Debian]

Pictures from the CDSW sessions in Spring 2014Pictures from the CDSW sessions in Spring 2014

I am helping coordinate three and a half day-long workshops in November for anyone interested in learning how to use programming and data science tools to ask and answer questions about online communities like Wikipedia, free and open source software, Twitter, civic media, etc. This will be a new and improved version of the workshops run successfully earlier this year.

The workshops are for people with no previous programming experience and will be free of charge and open to anyone.

Our goal is that, after the three workshops, participants will be able to use data to produce numbers, hypothesis tests, tables, and graphical visualizations to answer questions like:

  • Are new contributors to an article in Wikipedia sticking around longer or contributing more than people who joined last year?
  • Who are the most active or influential users of a particular Twitter hashtag?
  • Are people who participated in a Wikipedia outreach event staying involved? How do they compare to people that joined the project outside of the event?

If you are interested in participating, fill out our registration form here before October 30th. We were heavily oversubscribed last time so registering may help.

If you already know how to program in Python, it would be really awesome if you would volunteer as a mentor! Being a mentor will involve working with participants and talking them through the challenges they encounter in programming. No special preparation is required. If you’re interested, send me an email.

Petter Reinholdtsen: Debian Jessie, PXE and automatic firmware installation [Planet Debian]

When PXE installing laptops with Debian, I often run into the problem that the WiFi card require some firmware to work properly. And it has been a pain to fix this using preseeding in Debian. Normally something more is needed. But thanks to my isenkram package and its recent tasksel extension, it has now become easy to do this using simple preseeding.

The isenkram-cli package provide tasksel tasks which will install firmware for the hardware found in the machine (actually, requested by the kernel modules for the hardware). (It can also install user space programs supporting the hardware detected, but that is not the focus of this story.)

To get this working in the default installation, two preeseding values are needed. First, the isenkram-cli package must be installed into the target chroot (aka the hard drive) before tasksel is executed in the pkgsel step of the debian-installer system. This is done by preseeding the base-installer/includes debconf value to include the isenkram-cli package. The package name is next passed to debootstrap for installation. With the isenkram-cli package in place, tasksel will automatically use the isenkram tasks to detect hardware specific packages for the machine being installed and install them, because isenkram-cli contain tasksel tasks.

Second, one need to enable the non-free APT repository, because most firmware unfortunately is non-free. This is done by preseeding the apt-mirror-setup step. This is unfortunate, but for a lot of hardware it is the only option in Debian.

The end result is two lines needed in your preseeding file to get firmware installed automatically by the installer:

base-installer base-installer/includes string isenkram-cli
apt-mirror-setup apt-setup/non-free boolean true

The current version of isenkram-cli in testing/jessie will install both firmware and user space packages when using this method. It also do not work well, so use version 0.15 or later. Installing both firmware and user space packages might give you a bit more than you want, so I decided to split the tasksel task in two, one for firmware and one for user space programs. The firmware task is enabled by default, while the one for user space programs is not. This split is implemented in the package currently in unstable.

If you decide to give this a go, please let me know (via email) how this recipe work for you. :)

So, I bet you are wondering, how can this work. First and foremost, it work because tasksel is modular, and driven by whatever files it find in /usr/lib/tasksel/ and /usr/share/tasksel/. So the isenkram-cli package place two files for tasksel to find. First there is the task description file (/usr/share/tasksel/descs/isenkram.desc):

Task: isenkram-packages
Section: hardware
Description: Hardware specific packages (autodetected by isenkram)
 Based on the detected hardware various hardware specific packages are
Test-new-install: show show
Relevance: 8
Packages: for-current-hardware

Task: isenkram-firmware
Section: hardware
Description: Hardware specific firmware packages (autodetected by isenkram)
 Based on the detected hardware various hardware specific firmware
 packages are proposed.
Test-new-install: mark show
Relevance: 8
Packages: for-current-hardware-firmware

The key parts are Test-new-install which indicate how the task should be handled and the Packages line referencing to a script in /usr/lib/tasksel/packages/. The scripts use other scripts to get a list of packages to install. The for-current-hardware-firmware script look like this to list relevant firmware for the machine:

export PATH
isenkram-autoinstall-firmware -l

With those two pieces in place, the firmware is installed by tasksel during the normal d-i run. :)

If you want to test what tasksel will install when isenkram-cli is installed, run DEBIAN_PRIORITY=critical tasksel --test --new-install to get the list of packages that tasksel would install.

Debian Edu will be pilots in testing this feature, as isenkram is used there now to install firmware, replacing the earlier scripts.

Sebastian Kügler: Next means Focus on the Core [Planet openSUSE]

Uzair Shamim: openSUSE 13.2 – Screenshots, it’s time to share yours! [Planet openSUSE]

Hey all! So in the continued effort to get the wiki ready for the next openSUSE release, I am going to ask all of you to help out and try to take some screenshots for the page. Basically, all you need to do is take screenshots for the parts listed on this page, upload them to the wiki and on this page replace the link to the 12.3 image to your new 13.2 image. Don’t forget to change the file description to 13.2 if it says 12.3! Eventually this page will be moved so that it replaces the current distro screenshot page.

Pavel Machek: N900 nfs root [Planet openSUSE]

So you'd like to develop on Nokia N900... It has serial port, but with "interesting" connector. It has keyboard, but with "interesting" keyboard map, you mostly need full X to be useful... and it is too small for serious typing, anyway. You could put root filesystem on SD card, but that is disconnected when back cover is removed. And with back cover in place, you can't reset the machine.

Ok, so NFS. Insecure, tricky to setup, but actually makes the development usable. I started with commit 4f3e8d263^ (because that should have working usb networking according to mailing lists).. and with config from same page. Disadvantage is that video does not work with that configuration... but setting up system blind should not be that hard, right?

Assemblying minimal system with busybox from so I could run second-stage of debootstrap was tricky, and hacking into the resulting debian was not easy, either, but now I have telnet connections and things should only improve.

Peter Cannon: Oggcamp14 – Friday night at The Plough. [Planet openSUSE]

The_PloughHaving walked 10 mile I finally arrived at The Plough shagged out and hungry. The pub is actually really nice, a typical English country pub at the centre of a village.

The pub had been warned of our descending on their premises and the ‘Library room’ had been reserved for us. After passing hoards of geeks outside on the grass area, it was a warm and lovely evening, ravenous I ordered Chilli Burger and Chips. (burger again?)

Barstaff: “Where will you be sitting?”
Me: “Anywhere you like I’m starving, just tell me where to sit.”
Barstaff: “Why don’t you sit there and I’ll bring your food to you.”

I duly sat opposite the bar as instructed. After a few minutes a blond-haired women who I suspect was the landlady suddenly barked at me;

Landlady: “If you’re going to sit there I’m opening the back room!”
Me: “Pardon me?”
Landlady: “It’s not fair for me to close off the back room if you’re all going to spread yourselves out all over the place.”
Me: “Excuse me, I was told to sit here? I have ordered some food.”
Landlady: “Well you’ll have to eat it in the back room.”

IMG_20141004_135414Rather stunned at this alternative style of hospitality I dragged my aching legs into the Library come back room. Now I don’t drink alcohol normally but I make an exception for Oggcamp and consumed copious amounts of Hadleys real ale (I think that was what it was called) in fact we drank so much real ale we drank every last drop in the pub!

I think the pub owners and staff were overwhelmed by the amount of people there, most of us bought double the amount of whatever drinks we wanted as getting served was a complete nightmare. I did have another run-in with the landlady sadly, due to how busy the place was nobody collected any of the huge dirty plates. I brought mine back and plonked it on the beer tray on the bar which didn’t go down well I’m afraid but in my defence it was taking up valuable beer space on the table.

I love the Friday night it really is fantastic. You get to meet all your friends old and new, talk about loads of things most of which you cannot remember the next day. I spoke with loads of people yet sadly the only one I can really remember was Charlie a two-year old girl who blew me away with her ability to count to 10 both in sign language and normally and was able to recite the ABC!

Oh there was one other, and this was weird. I’d invited my mate Anthony Newman AKA antiphase along. I’ve known him on-line for something like seven or eight years maybe more so it was the first chance to meet him in the flesh as they say. So I’m sat there gobbing off as usual pint in hand and Anthony appears in front of me.

Me: “Oh wow! you made it! Fecking awesome!”
Anthony: “I’ll just get a beer.”

I never saw him again the whole evening! I searched the place high and low, feck knows where he went. People tried to help with “What’s he look like?” All I could say was “How the fook would I know I met him for 20 seconds for the first time in my life!”

As the classic saying goes “Once the beer ran out we all ran out” four or five of us staggered off up the country lane back to the Travelodge.

I forgot to put the Adam Sweet story in. Oops!

Can I just point out I’ve known Adam for years and he is in fact my mate before anyone gets out their pram.

So Adam was chatting up these two girls, you know the sort of thing “Oh yeah I had a recording contract……..” clearly he was hoping for a ménage à trois. As we was leaving I leant between the two girls, placed my hand on Adam’s arm and said “Mate, your misses says can you hurry up back to the car as your kids are starting to play up.”

The girls walked off and Adam seemed as if he was going to cry for some reason?

[Pictures by George Doscher released under CC]

Oggcamp14 – Day 1 The event.

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Randall Ross: Ubuntu Contributors' Guide [Planet Ubuntu]

I spent a few minutes this morning writing the comprehensive Ubuntu Contributors' Guide.

Here it is in all its glory:

Yes, that's really all there is to it. It's simple.

As obvious as this seems, there are people (names withheld) that will want you to believe otherwise. I'll elaborate in a future post.

When you encounter them, please forward a copy of this flow chart. Tell them Randall sent you.

In the fight against hate speech, subversive propaganda and the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, Federal Government to place monitors in Newsrooms across the country [Darleen Click] [protein wisdom]

I’m sure the New York Times, LA Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, et al, will welcome such Truthy overlords …

Oh, wait, that would be against the First Amendment, right? Nevermind. Let’s just have the Feds monitor private citizens instead, m’kay?

If you take to Twitter to express your views on a hot-button issue, does the government have an interest in deciding whether you are spreading “misinformation’’? If you tweet your support for a candidate in the November elections, should taxpayer money be used to monitor your speech and evaluate your “partisanship’’?

My guess is that most Americans would answer those questions with a resounding no. But the federal government seems to disagree. The National Science Foundation , a federal agency whose mission is to “promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; and to secure the national defense,” is funding a project to collect and analyze your Twitter data.

The project is being developed by researchers at Indiana University, and its purported aim is to detect what they deem “social pollution” and to study what they call “social epidemics,” including how memes — ideas that spread throughout pop culture — propagate. What types of social pollution are they targeting? “Political smears,” so-called “astroturfing” and other forms of “misinformation.”

Named “Truthy,” after a term coined by TV host Stephen Colbert, the project claims to use a “sophisticated combination of text and data mining, social network analysis, and complex network models” to distinguish between memes that arise in an “organic manner” and those that are manipulated into being.

But there’s much more to the story. Focusing in particular on political speech, Truthy keeps track of which Twitter accounts are using hashtags such as #teaparty and #dems. It estimates users’ “partisanship.” It invites feedback on whether specific Twitter users, such as the Drudge Report, are “truthy” or “spamming.” And it evaluates whether accounts are expressing “positive” or “negative” sentiments toward other users or memes.

The Truthy team says this research could be used to “mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate.” [...]

Some possible hints as to Truthy’s real motives emerge in a 2012 paper by the project’s leaders, in which they wrote ominously of a “highly-active, densely-interconnected constituency of right-leaning users using [Twitter] to further their political views.”

Let me repeat … this is being done by the National Science Foundation.

And scientists wonder why the rubes are questioning their alleged dedication to non-partisanship on a host of issues?

Yeah, right.

h/t Glenn Reynolds

It’s come to this: Government tells Christian ministers to perform same-sex marriages or face jail, fines [Darleen Click] [protein wisdom]

Now where are the staunchiest among us who said this would never ever, pinky promise, happen?

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit and a motion for a temporary restraining order Friday to stop officials in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, from forcing two ordained Christian ministers to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples.

City officials told Donald Knapp that he and his wife Evelyn, both ordained ministers who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, are required to perform such ceremonies or face months in jail and/or thousands of dollars in fines. The city claims its “non-discrimination” ordinance requires the Knapps to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies now that the courts have overridden Idaho’s voter-approved constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman. [...]

The Hitching Post Wedding Chapel is across the street from the Kootenai County Clerk’s office, which issues marriage licenses. The Knapps, both in their 60s and who themselves have been married for 47 years, began operating the wedding chapel in 1989 as a ministry. They perform religious wedding ceremonies, which include references to God, the invocation of God’s blessing on the union, brief remarks drawn from the Bible designed to encourage the couple and help them to have a successful marriage, and more. They also provide each couple they marry with a CD that includes two sermons about marriage, and they recommend numerous Christian books on the subject. The Knapps charge a small fee for their services.

Coeur d’Alene officials told the Knapps privately and also publicly stated that the couple would violate the city’s public accommodations statute once same-sex marriage became legal in Idaho if they declined to perform a same-sex ceremony at their chapel. On Friday, the Knapps respectfully declined such a ceremony and now face up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines for each day they decline to perform that ceremony.

“The city somehow expects ordained pastors to flip a switch and turn off all faithfulness to their God and their vows,” explained ADF Legal Counsel Jonathan Scruggs. “The U.S. Constitution as well as federal and state law clearly stand against that. The city cannot mandate across-the-board conformity to its interpretation of a city ordinance in utter disregard for the guaranteed freedoms Americans treasure in our society.”

h/t Pablo

rifftrax: Hawk the Slayer (RiffTrax Preview)... [Join me, won't we?]


Hawk the Slayer (RiffTrax Preview) http://www.rifftrax.com/hawk-the-slayer

If you took a Dungeons & Dragons adventure written hastily by an 8th grader during study hall and turned it into a movie, you’d wind up with something a lot like Hawk the Slayer. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if that’s how they actually got the script. But this movie has something that no D&D adventure can claim: Jack Palance. A whole lot of Jack Palance. Specifically MEGA-EVIL Jack Palance, playing a character named Voltan. He yells, kills, yells, whisper-threatens, whisper-yells, kills, and mostly just yells his way across the countryside. Seems no one can stop him until his brother Hawk - yes, his brother, despite being about 40 years younger - gathers an elf, a dwarf, and a giant to take him down. Not as much dignity as a Fellowship of the Ring, more of a… Crew of the Stuff.

Keen-eyed fans may recognize the dwarf from our release Prisoners of the Lost Universe. Also, the actor playing Hawk went on to portray Jack’s dad in Lost — hmmm, Prisoners of the LOST Universe, LOST, time to dig up your old Lost conspiracy theories because there’s something happening here, IT’S ALL CONNECTED.

Join Mike, Kevin and Bill for a heaping helping of Jack the Palance and Hawk the Slayer!

Northern white rhino death puts species on brink of extinction [CBC | Technology News]

Northern white rhino named Suni

A rare northern white rhino has died in Kenya, a wildlife conservancy said on Saturday, leaving just six of the animals left alive and bringing the famed African species one step closer to extinction.

Close outs: Grundig G2 and RadioShack digital recorder [The SWLing Post]


Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Mike (K8RAT), who notes the Grundig G2 is now being sold at close out pricing.

Universal Radio is currently selling the G2 for $54.98 while Amazon has a price of $52.95.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of the Grundig G2. It packs a lot of features and has good audio for the size, but tuning through the shortwave bands is somewhat cumbersome and the listener is limited to 5 kHz steps. Still, this radio also doubles as a stand-alone MP3 player and even records. FM reception is very good.


I also noted that Blinq.com and Amazon have a Radio Shack 4GB Desktop Digital Voice Recorder (Model #1400214) on sale. While I’m not at all familiar with this recorder, the price is very attractive. It has a line-in (great for recording directly from a radio’s line out jack), SD card expansion, and very simple controls–reminiscent of old school cassette recorders.

I have no idea how well it performs as there are very few reviews on the ‘net, but with pricing in the $20-25 range, it seems like a bargain. I love the simple controls mounted on the face of the recorder.

Blinq.com is selling the RadioShack recorder for $24.99 shipped, Amazon.com actually has one left (at time of posting) for $19.99.

Has anyone ever used this digital recorder?

People Mag: Ebola Patient Thomas Eric Duncan Was “Caring, Compassionate Man” [Weasel Zippers]

Except for that small problem of knowingly placing thousands of lives in danger. Via People: Thomas Eric Duncan was remembered Saturday as a big-hearted and compassionate man whose virtues may have led to his infection with Ebola in his native Liberia and subsequent death as the first victim of the disease in the United States. […]

Fauci: Ebola Protocols Now Will Be No Skin Showing, Our Bad… [Weasel Zippers]

They previously put out this nonsense, protocol that may have led to the healthcare workers infected. WASHINGTON (AP) — Revised guidance for health care workers treating Ebola patients will include using protective gear “with no skin showing,” a top federal health official said Sunday. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and […]

‘Progressive Socialist’ Who Claimed He Had Ebola Tries To Lick Conservative Protesters At Hillary Rally [Weasel Zippers]

Another insane leftist. He echoes all the Left’s talking points on this, “how bad privatization is”, as if that had anything to do with anything in this case. Via Daily Caller: An elderly man calling himself a progressive socialist accosted a group of about two dozen conservative students who were protesting outside a building where […]

DNC Chief: Dems Are Going To Hold Senate [Weasel Zippers]

Um, Debbie? Obama SAID that his policies are on the ballot, why are you contradicting him? Via Fox News: Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, leader of the Democratic National Committee, said Sunday that her party will keep control of the Senate next month, suggesting that GOP efforts to drag President Obama into races is a failed strategy. […]

Pentagon: 101 Airborne Troops On Ebola Mission Will Not Get Full Protective Gear [Weasel Zippers]

They’re not going to be in contact with any of the people, but they’re able to go in and out of camps? Via Nashville Public Radio: Troops from the 101st Airborne Division leading the military response to Ebola in West Africa will only need gloves and masks to protect themselves from the deadly virus, so […]

Obamacare ‘Bronze Plan’ Premiums Expected To Jump An Average Of 14% In 2015 [Weasel Zippers]

But most may not realize this until after the election… Via Washington Times: Obamacare “bronze” plan owners may be in for a shock next year. Investors predict the cheapest healthcare offering under the Affordable Care Act could jump nearly 14 percent in price. In an analysis of expected rates for the biggest 15 cities in […]

Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards: Killing My Baby “Wasn’t A Difficult Decision”… [Weasel Zippers]

Coming from the head of America’s largest abortion mill, why am I not surprised? Via LifeNews: The head of the nation’s biggest abortion business disclosed today that she herself had an abortion and apparently it was no big deal to take the life of her unborn child. Planned Parenthood does over 330,000 abortions on an […]

Edola Protection Guidelines On CDC Website Riddled With Mistakes [Weasel Zippers]

These instructions were on the CDC website, until they were ripped apart by doctors yesterday. The ‘instructions’ have since been removed. Suppose the doctors and nurses at the Dallas hospital were relying on these for proper protective approach? This is from CDC web page for Ebola personal protective equipment. Notice exposed skin at face & […]

Yazidi Virgins Given As “Gifts” To Islamic State Leaders… [Weasel Zippers]

Islamic State commanders ‘using Yazidi virgins for sex’ – Telegraph Islamic State (Isil) jihadists separated virgin women from the Yazidi minority sect in Iraq to take as sex slaves, according to a group that monitors Isil in Syria. Earlier this month, Isil’s English-language online magazine Dabiq confirmed rumours that “thousands” of Yazidi woman and girls […]

Oopsie, ISIS Jihadis Revealing Locations, Info When Posting On Social Media [Weasel Zippers]

JDam incoming… Via Daily Mail: Jihadi fighters have been told to remove metadata from their tweets and stop posting names, locations and identifiable photographs to stay one step ahead of Western spies. Radical group, Isis, has had a prolific social media output, but leaders are concerned that fighters have been inadvertently leaking data through their […]

Ferguson Protests Have Cost Taxpayers $5.7 Million . . . And Counting… [Weasel Zippers]

If sanity prevails and Officer Wilson is not charged I’m guessing that number could go a whole lot higher. FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOV.com) – The massive police response to Ferguson in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown on Aug. 9 will take nearly $1.5M from the Missouri state budget. According to the Missouri […]

A Complete List Of Every President’s Favorite Drink [Weasel Zippers]

I didn’t know Jefferson was such a wino. Via NY Post: Founding Father or one-termer, Democrat or Republican, almost every president shared something in common: They drank. In his new book, “Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt: The Complete History of Presidential Drinking” (Regnery), journalist Mark Will-Weber tells the history of presidency through booze. Here, he […]

Elitist Lib Barbra Streisand Attacks Koch Brothers In DCCC Fundraising Pitch, Thanks “God” For Obamacare… [Weasel Zippers]

Just hearing Barbra Streisand’s name make me gag. Via DCCC email: Dear Drew, Have you seen Congress lately? It’s a mess. And it’s only going to get worse if people like Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers continue to treat corporations better than people. That’s why I wanted to make sure you saw President Obama’s […]

Report: Officer Wilson Told Grand Jury Mike Brown Punched Him Repeatedly While Trying To Take His Gun, Left Swollen And Cut… [Weasel Zippers]

Which would have given Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson more than enough cause for lethal force. If he is charged it will be a travesty of justice. It’s worth noting there is no mention of a widely reported claim that Officer Wilson suffered an “orbital blowout fracture to the eye socket,” but it doesn’t matter […]

Seriously? Obama Is Really Really ‘Seething’ Over His Ebola Response [Weasel Zippers]

Great take on the “Obama routine”. Via Las Vegas Review Journal: In the latest “the dog ate my homework” excuse for the incompetence of the White House comes this story in the New York Times. It begins: “Beneath the calming reassurance that President Obama has repeatedly offered during the Ebola crisis, there is a deepening […]

Bye Bye Baghdadi: Kurds Announce Islamic State Routed From Kobane [Weasel Zippers]

Via Rudaw: Islamist militants have been pushed out of Kobane and fighters of the Peoples Protection Units (YPG) are now in control of the town, a Kurdish official in Kobane told Rudaw. “There is no ISIS in Kobane now,” said Omar Alush, co-chair of the TEV-DEM movement in Kobane. Alush said that following the recent […]

More Money, More Money, More Money…. [Weasel Zippers]

Obama did the “let’s throw another layer of government on it” by appointing an “Ebola czar”, when he already had departments and an effective czar dedicated to deal with emergency response for this particular type of situation. Now comes the accompanying obligatory plaint: “We need more money”. Billions have been thrown at the CDC and […]

Ebola Lie: U.S. Military Will Not Have Contact With Ebola Patients; Ebola Truth: They Will Handle Infected Specimens [Weasel Zippers]

So they wouldn’t “contact the infected person”, just his specimen? Alrighty, now… Via Breitbart: Over 500 American troops are in West Africa, and according to Maj. Gen. Darryl Williams, commander of U.S. Army Africa, said on October 16 while briefing reporters in the Pentagon by telephone from Liberia, none will directly be treating Ebola patients. […]

Peak Zombie [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]

Blog: Regarding Peak Zombie

This is my intro for Dead of Winter. I thought it may spark an interesting discussion about what I call Peak Zombie:

I think I was a freshman or sophomore in high school the first time I saw Dawn of the Dead. It hit me the way certain things can only hit a child’s fragile, eggshell mind: it was gory, and disturbing, and pretty scary. It also made me wonder what I would do if I found myself in the…

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"If we think of the douchebag as a social identity as much as an accusation, as a subject with a..." [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]

“If we think of the douchebag as a social identity as much as an accusation, as a subject with a distinctive persona locatable within the categories of race, class, gender and sexuality, then we find that the term carries a remarkably precise definition.
The douchebag is someone — overwhelmingly white, rich, heterosexual males — who insist upon, nay, demand their white male privilege in every possible set and setting.
The douchebag is always a white guy. But he is more than that. The douchebag is the demanding 1%, and the far more numerically significant class of white, heterosexist men who ape and aspire to be them. Wall Street guys are douchebags to be sure, but so is anyone looking to cash in on his white male privilege.
This narrowness of categorization — perhaps unique in the history of America’s rich history of racial and sexual slurs — is what makes the word douchebag such a potentially useful political tool.”


Douchebag: The White Racial Slur We’ve All Been Waiting For — Medium

This is a great, interesting, insightful, long read.

Something tells me that this boulder has a lot of heavy thoughts... [WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR]

Something tells me that this boulder has a lot of heavy thoughts weighing on its mind.

Design The Next AMSAT Satellite! [AMSAT-NA]

At the 2014 AMSAT Space Symposium AMSAT Vice President – Engineering Jerry Buxton announced the plan for the next generation of AMSAT satellites. “The door is open for everyone, to submit their ideas. AMSAT Engineering has a long term strategy and this is the first step.”

The Engineering long term strategy includes the following goals

  • Advancement of amateur radio satellite technical and communications skills
  • Enhance international goodwill
  • Grow and sustain a skilled pool of amateur radio satellite engineers
  • Establish and maintain partnerships with educational institutions
  • Develop a means to use hardware common to all opportunities

With respect to the last goal Jerry said “Within the bounds of the type of satellite it takes to achieve any of the various orbit opportunities, let’s consider in those plans the possibility of developing a platform that can suit any and all orbits.  Perhaps a modular CubeSat, using a common bus as we did in Fox-1, which gives great flexibility in building and flying different sizes and configurations of CubeSats with simple common-design hardware changes.”

Submissions should be thorough and contain the following information.  The purpose of the proposal is not just in suggesting an idea; being an all-volunteer team AMSAT needs your help in carrying out the idea.

  • Design
  • Implementation – CubeSat platform
  • Estimated timeline
  • Cost – volunteer resources, commercial (COTS) units
  • Launch – how does it get to orbit
  • Strategy – how it fits into AMSAT’s Engineering long term strategy

As mentioned above the idea should be based on the CubeSat platform. This is the standard through which we will look for launches in the foreseeable future.

In considering your proposal, Jerry encourages you to contact him for more details on the criteria. In particular, if you plan to include a university as a partner to provide experiments or other support and you are not representing that university, please contact Jerry for assistance in working with our existing partners or establishing a new partnership.

“Being amateur radio operators, it is easy for us to fall into a particular trap because of our history of communicating with other amateurs throughout the world” says Jerry. “Specifically, most people who are not already involved in the world of satellite technology are unaware of or simply overlook the provisions of the current ITAR and soon to be EAR export rules particularly with regard to deemed exports which requires governmental permission to discuss satellite projects with foreign nationals.”

While all amateurs are invited to submit ideas, U.S. amateurs must take particular care of they choose to become involved in a collaboration which includes individuals from other countries. It is permissible to receive ideas and proposals from outside the U.S., but it is not permitted for U.S. Persons to export or share design ideas with other countries unless they have taken the proper steps to insure compliance with ITAR and deemed export rules.

Additionally, those wishing to work on proposals should use care in presenting themselves in their contacts. While the goal is for AMSAT to build and launch the satellite, it is not an AMSAT project until it is accepted by the AMSAT Board of Directors. It is acceptable to represent yourself as members of a project team that plans to submit a proposal to AMSAT for a future satellite project, as the AMSAT name is well known.

“It is not our intention that ideas be submitted to AMSAT-NA which would be more appropriately handled by an AMSAT organization in a country where AMSAT is established. AMSAT-NA is seeking ideas from amateurs in North America and will certainly consider ideas from amateurs in countries which do not have an established AMSAT organization or relationships with an existing AMSAT organization.”

The deadline for submissions is May 30, 2015. After the submission date the ideas will be screened for completeness and then reviewed by a board consisting of the AMSAT Engineering Team, AMSAT Senior Officer and Board of Directors representatives, and aerospace industry members. The review board may modify or consolidate ideas and will consider which meet the criteria to become a project based on feasibility, cost, and the ability to bring value to the amateur satellite community. The review process is expected to be completed in September 2015.

For those ideas selected to become a project which satisfy the requirements for an ELaNa launch, the idea authors will be asked to work with the AMSAT Engineering Team on an ELaNa proposal.

The Engineering Team will then work on the details of execution for the selected  project(s) and present a proposal to the AMSAT Board of Directors in October 2015 for final approval to begin work. Once approved, any ELaNa proposals will be submitted in November 2015 and the project(s) will move forward.

Now is the time for YOU to begin working on the next AMSAT satellite!

More bodies found in Nepal trekking disaster [Asia/Pacific – France 24 - International News 24/7]

The death toll in a blizzard that engulfed trekkers on a popular hiking route in Nepal rose by nine on Saturday to 39, as a helicopter search spotted more bodies stranded in the rugged, snow-covered Himalayan terrain.

Fresh violence in Hong Kong as protesters battle police [Asia/Pacific – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Violent clashes erupted early on Sunday in a Hong Kong protest hotspot as unarmed pro-democracy activists once again confronted riot police despite the confirmation of talks between protest leaders and officials early this week.

Lebanon puts brakes on Syrian refugee entry [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Lebanon has all but sealed its borders to refugees fleeing Syria's bitter civil war, overwhelmed by an influx of over one million people who have fled the fighting, officials said Saturday.

In pictures: Runners brave heavy smog at Beijing Marathon [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Tens of thousands of runners braved heavy smog at the 34th Beijing International Marathon on Sunday, where pollution levels soared to 16 times the recommended level.

Missile boat crisis ends as Germany gives Israel €300m discount [Top stories – France 24 - International News 24/7]

Germany has agreed to sell missile boats to Israel at a price hundreds of millions of euros below full value, reversing an earlier decision to withhold the discount due to the construction of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories.

Op-Ed: ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ an injustice to our father’s memory [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

Two demonstrators in New York protesting the Metropolitan Opera House's decision to produce "The Death of Klinghoffer," Sept. 22, 2014. (Raffi Wineburg)

Two demonstrators in New York protesting the Metropolitan Opera House’s decision to produce “The Death of Klinghoffer,” Sept. 22, 2014. (Raffi Wineburg)

NEW YORK (JTA) — On Oct. 8, 1985, our 69-year-old wheelchair-bound father, Leon Klinghoffer, was shot in the head by Palestinian hijackers on the Achille Lauro cruise ship. The terrorists brutally and unceremoniously threw his body and wheelchair overboard into the Mediterranean. His body washed up on the Syrian shore a few days later.

Beginning on Oct. 20 for eight performances, a baritone portraying “Leon Klinghoffer” will appear on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera and sing the “Aria of the Falling Body” as he artfully falls into the sea. Competing choruses will highlight Jewish and Palestinian narratives of suffering and oppression, selectively presenting the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The four terrorists responsible for his murder will be humanized by distinguished opera singers and given a back story, an “explanation” for their brutal act of terror and violence. Opera-goers will see and hear a musical examination of terrorism, the Holocaust and Palestinian claims of dispossession — all in fewer than three hours.

Since the Met Opera’s decision to stage “The Death of Klinghoffer” by composer John Adams became public several months ago, much has been said and written about our father. Those opposed to the opera’s appearance in New York have elevated his murder at the hands of terrorists into a form of martyrdom. To cultural arbiters and music critics, meanwhile, his tragic story has been seen merely as a vehicle for what they perceive to be artistic brilliance.

For us, the impact and message of the opera is much more deeply felt and tragically personal.

Neither Mr. Adams nor librettist Alice Goodman reached out to us when creating the opera, so we didn’t know what to expect when we attended the American debut at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1991. We were devastated by what we saw: the exploitation of the murder of our father as a vehicle for political commentary.

Over the years we have been deeply distressed with each new production of “Klinghoffer.” Critical views of Israel permeate the opera, and the staging and props of various productions have only amplified that bias. To have it now produced in New York — in our own backyard — by the country’s most prestigious opera company is incredibly painful.

We have always been strong supporters of the arts, and believe they can play an important role in examining and understanding significant world events. “Klinghoffer” does no such thing. It presents false moral equivalencies without context and offers no real insight into the historical reality and the senseless murder of an American Jew. The opera rationalizes, romanticizes and legitimizes the terrorist murder of our father.

Long ago we resolved never to let the last few minutes of Leon Klinghoffer’s life define who he was as a man, husband and father. Opera patrons will only see Leon Klinghoffer presented as a victim — he was so much more.

Our father was an inventor who loved to work with his hands. After his stroke, he continued to use his one good arm to repair anything that needed fixing. Every Saturday night he and our mother, Marilyn, would get dressed up and go out dancing. Family and friends meant everything to him.

He was on a cruise with our mother, celebrating their 36th anniversary with a group of lifelong friends who summered together on the Jersey shore, when terrorists took over the ship, announced a hijacking in progress, and separated the Jewish passengers from those on board.

The terrorist thugs who murdered Leon Klinghoffer didn’t care about the good, sweet man our father was. To them he was just a Jew — an American in a wheelchair whose life they considered worthless.

As the years have passed, we have tried to ensure that his murder would not be forgotten or, worse, co-opted or exploited by those with an agenda. We believe his ordeal should continue to serve as a wake-up call to civilized society about the dangers of terrorism. We have dedicated our lives since the tragedy to educating people about the danger of terrorism, and putting a personal face on victims and their families through the Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer Memorial Foundation of the Anti-Defamation League.

Our father was one of the first American victims of Middle Eastern terrorism. Today with the memory of 9/11, the reality of al-Qaida and ISIS, and countless other attacks and threats, Americans live under the deadly threat of terrorism each and every day.

Terrorism is irrational. It should never be explained away or justified. Nor should the death of innocent civilians be misunderstood as an acceptable means for drawing attention to perceived political grievances. Unfortunately, “The Death of Klinghoffer” does all of this and sullies the memory of our father in the process.

(Lisa and Ilsa Klinghoffer of New York City are co-founders of the Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer Memorial Foundation of the Anti-Defamation League, which they established with their late mother, Marilyn, in 1985, to raise awareness about the evils of terrorism.)

Anti-Semitic graffiti in Spain due to media coverage of Gaza, watchdog group says [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — A Spanish pro-Israel group said the recent spraying of anti-Semitic graffiti in Toledo was the result of media coverage of the latest Gaza war and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Madrid-based Action and Communication on the Middle East lobby group, or ACOM, made the assertion over the weekend in connection with the Oct. 4 spray-painting of dozens of epithets on Jewish heritage sites in the Old City of Toledo. Two days later, police arrested a 32-year-old in connection with the graffiti, lavanguardia.com reported.

“Spanish media coverage of the last Gaza war and the Israeli conflict in general has encouraged such actions,” Daniel Fernandez of ACOM wrote in a statement on Friday. “Spanish public TV’s coverage, coupled with general ignorance in Spain about Israel, could serve to incite just about anyone.”

The reports about the Toledo vandalism did not name the suspect or indicate whether the actions were believed to be connected to Israel.

One of the epithets was spray-painted on the foot of a statue of Samuel Levi Abulafia, who in the 14th century founded Toledo’s El Transito Synagogue. It read “No Jews!” and featured dollar signs. Abulafia, or Samuel Levi, served as treasurer under Peter I, the King of Castile, until his death in 1360 in Seville, where he was tortured on trumped-up charges of treason.

In July, the Jewish community of Madrid said it would sue a celebrated Spanish author, Antonio Gala, who in a July 23 Op-Ed in the El Mundo daily cited Israel’s attacks in Gaza to justify the mass expulsion of Spanish Jewry during the 15th and 16th centuries, among other atrocities committed against Jews.

Later that month, 100 Spanish celebrities, including Academy Award winners Pedro Almodovar, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, endorsed an open letter accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza.

Fewer than 100 Jews live in Toledo, which prior to the Spanish Inquisition was home to one of the Iberian Peninsula’s largest Jewish populations.

Palestinian girl dies after being hit by settler driver [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Palestinian girl died after being hit by a car driven by a Jewish West Bank settler who fled the scene.

Einas Khalil, 5, died hours after being struck near the central West Bank town of Sinjil, located northeast of Ramallah. Another 5-year-old Palestinian girl also was injured.

Residents of the Palestinian town accused the driver, 29, of the Yitzhar settlement, of deliberately hitting the girls, who were walking home from kindergarten.

The driver told police he did not stop after striking the girls because he feared for his life due to the crowd that had gathered around the injured girls, according to Ynet. He stopped in the nearest Jewish community, Ofra, where he reported the accident and turned himself in.

Israel Police said a preliminary investigation showed that the incident was an accident, according to Ynet.

Argentine far-left leader gets prison term for threatening Jewish rally [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — The leader of the Argentine far-left group Quebracho was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison for threatening a Jewish community demonstration.

Fernando Esteche was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty that day to charges of intimidation and violence against the 2006 protest in front of the Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires.

Local Jewish groups said their rally was “against terrorism and in favor of peace.” The Quebracho group held a counterdemonstration supporting Hezbollah and against the State of Israel in reaction to the Israel-Lebanon conflict at the time. Esteche said he was protesting Israel’s “massacre against the Palestinians.”

The day of the demonstration, Esteche told the Argentine media that “we come here to repel the fanatics and to prevent the same type of aggression and arrogance that they carry in the Middle East and they want to do here with fundamentalist youth in Argentina.”

Esteche, who serves on the faculty at the National University of La Plata’s journalism school, has spoken publicly against Israel in demonstrations and in the media.

He was sentenced in a summary trial of two criminal cases involving protests and intimidation: the counterdemonstration at the Iranian Embassy and another against the International Monetary Fund in 2004.

After been threatened by “sticks and insults,” the Jewish demonstrators were forced to leave the site of their August 2006 rally.

The local Jewish political umbrella DAIA expressed satisfaction with the sentence.

Israeli rowing team debuts in world’s largest event [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

BOSTON (JTA) — For the first time, an Israeli rowing team is being represented in the Head of the Charles Regatta, the world’s largest two-day rowing event.

The event was being held Saturday and Sunday on the Charles River in Cambridge, Mass.

The annual event attracts over 11,000 athletes from around the world and 400,000 spectators who line the banks and bridges of the river near Harvard University.

The Israeli team consists of Irina (Roni) Vorvoreanu, Moran Samuel, Daniel Rutenberg, and Reuven Magnagey, along with their coach, Robert Nuckowski.

Due to injuries and eligibility issues, only Vorvoreanu raced in the event. The 16-year-old has rowed for Israel at the junior world championships. Samuel is a para-rowing champion who before suffering a stroke at 24 was a member of the Israeli national women’s basketball team.

The team’s participation was arranged through a collaboration between Israeli and American businesspeople, the Boston chapter of the Israeli American Council, Combined Jewish Philanthropies and the Consulate General of Israel to New England.

Samuel and other team members were scheduled to speak at a public program in a Boston synagogue and attended a Brandeis University screening of “Two Who Dared,” a film by Joukowsky’s brother, Artemis, about Joukowsky’s grandparents, who rescued thousands of Jews during World War II.


Israeli follower of fugitive rabbi drowns in Belgian river [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — A follower of Rabbi Eliezer Berland, an accused sex offender who fled Israel, drowned in Belgium while swimming in a river near Antwerp.

The body of Nissim Levy, 27, was buried last week in his hometown of Ashkelon, the news website ashqelon.net reported Saturday.

Levy was in Belgium to be near Berland, head of the Shuvu Bonim religious seminary. Last year Berland fled Israel amid allegations that he sexually assaulted at least two female followers, including a minor.

Berland, who is living in a southern suburb of Amsterdam with scores of his supporters, apparently was in the Antwerp area for the weekend.

Israel has requested his extradition from the Netherlands, where Berland was arrested last month at the airport upon his arrival from South Africa. Since fleeing Israel, he has taken up residence in the United States, Switzerland, Morocco and Zimbabwe, often with dozens of followers.

Levy’s body was sent to Israel with help and funding from the Shomre Hadass Jewish community of Antwerp, according to the Hebrew-language Behadrei Haredim news website.

His family also contacted another Jewish community, the haredi Orthodox congregation Machzikei Hadass, for assistance, the website reported, quoting an unnamed member of Shuvu Bonim who claimed that the congregation declined to help.

Rabbi Pinchas Kornfeld of Machzikei Hadass denied the claim, telling JTA, “The deceased’s family asked us for assistance and we offered to cover all expenses for burial in the Benelux, but we also said that we would need a third party to cover the costs attached to sending the body to Israel, which are substantial.”

Anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on Temple Mount [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Graffiti equating the Star of David with a swastika was found painted on the Temple Mount.

The graffiti in blue paint was found Sunday in at least three places on the Temple Mount, according to reports. Israel Police are investigating.

Two days earlier, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech in Ramallah that Jews should be prevented from entering the Temple Mount and that Palestinians should protect the site, home to the Al-Aksa Mosque.

“It is our sacred place, Al-Aksa is ours, this Noble Sanctuary is ours. They have no right to go there and desecrate it,” Abbas said Friday.

On Saturday, Abbas called Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount “a herd of cattle.” He also said that he would take legal action to prevent Jews from ascending to the site, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims.

The Temple Mount has been the site of tension over the recent Jewish holiday period, as well as conflicts between Palestinians and the Israel Police.


Pope Paul VI, first pontiff to visit Israel, moves closer to sainthood [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

ROME (JTA) – Pope Paul VI, the first pontiff to visit Israel, has moved a step closer to sainthood.

Pope Francis beatified Paul VI at a Vatican ceremony Sunday at the close of a synod of bishops.

Paul VI, who reigned from 1963 to 1978, opened the Roman Catholic Church to formal dialogue with the Jewish world.

He visited Jerusalem in January 1964 on a brief trip to Israel and Jordan. It was the first time a reigning pope had visited the Holy Land, but at the time the Vatican did not recognize Israel as a state — Israel and the Holy See established full diplomatic relations in 1993 — and Paul did not pronounce the word “Israel” in public during his tenure.

Paul’s trip came more than a year before the landmark Nostra Aetate declaration of 1965, which opened the way to Catholic-Jewish dialogue and was one of a number of reforms enacted at the Second Vatican Council.

Vatican Radio described Paul as “the pope who steered and implemented the Second Vatican Council” and whose decisions “were often met with psychological resistance from those around him for moving with the times.”

Francis visited Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority at the end of May, in part to mark the 50th anniversary of Paul VI’s trip.


Israeli-Arab doctor killed fighting for ISIS [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A doctor who worked as a resident at a hospital in southern Israel was killed while fighting for ISIS.

The family of Othman Abdal-Kian, 26, from the Bedouin village of Hura, near Beersheba, confirmed to Ynet that he had been killed fighting for the jihadist group.

Abdal-Kian had been doing his residency at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon since February after studying medicine in Jordan.

The hospital confirmed to the Israeli media that he failed to show up in May at the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, where he was supposed to do an elective month, after which the hospital learned he had joined the Islamic State.

“Security forces turned to us in their investigation of his disappearance and then we found out he joined the Islamic State,” the hospital said in a statement.

He reportedly traveled from Israel to Turkey and then into Syria.

Earlier this month Ahmed Habashi, 23, an Israeli-Arab man from the Galilee in northern Israel, was reported killed while fighting in Iraq for ISIS.

More than a dozen Israeli-Arabs reportedly have joined ISIS in recent months, according to reports.

Rudy Giuliani among N.Y. pols to protest Met’s ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

(JTA) — Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be among several New York politicians who are expected to protest at the premiere of “The Death of Klinghoffer” at the New York Metropolitan Opera House.

Among the politicians expected to join the rally are Reps. Eliot Engel and Peter King along with former Govs. George Pataki and David Paterson, the New York Observer reported.

There will be a “heavy police presence” at the opening, according to the New York Post, which citing police sources.

Critics charge that the production is anti-Semitic, hostile to Israel and sympathetic to terrorists.

A coalition of groups organized the protest, which will be held across the street from the Met. The organizers include the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Zionist Organization of America, StandWithUs, the Catholic League and several New York City synagogues.

The opera tells the story of the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro by Palestinian terrorists and the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, a 69-year-old Jewish-American passenger in a wheelchair. The opera by John Adams debuted in 1991.

Klinghoffer’s daughters, Lisa and Ilsa, released a statement Sunday via the Anti-Defamation League that will be featured in the opera’s playbill.

“We are strong supporters of the arts, and believe that theater and music can play a critical role in examining and understanding significant world events,” they wrote. ” ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ does no such thing. It presents false moral equivalencies without context, and offers no real insight into the historical reality and the senseless murder of an American Jew. It rationalizes, romanticizes and legitimizes the terrorist murder of our father.”

The daughters said the family was not consulted by the composer and librettist, and had no role in the development of the opera.

The ADL has said that while “The Death of Klinghoffer” itself is not anti-Semitic, “there is a concern the opera could be used in foreign countries as a means to stir up anti-Israel sentiments or as a vehicle to promote anti-Semitism.”

Under heavy criticism, the Met decided in June to cancel a planned global simulcast of the opera in November. But it stuck to its decision to stage the show in New York.

Last month, thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the Met on its Opening Night Gala chanting “Shame on the Met!” and “Say no to the show!” in protest of the Met’s decision to produce the controversial opera.




The Coming Effort to Persuade You That You Really Like Hillary [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

In the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

The Coming Attempt to Persuade You That You Really Like Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton is already making a preemptive strike against any critical media coverage in the coming years:

Hillary Clinton, eyeing a second presidential bid and constantly at the center of intense press coverage, lamented Tuesday that modern media scrutiny has made it more difficult to be a leader today.

“We have created very difficult hurdles for people who want to serve, who believe they can lead, to do be able to do so. And the media has intensified that,” the former secretary of state said at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, sponsored by the tech company Salesforce.

Clinton said she had watched Ken Burns’ documentary on the Roosevelt family, noting that reporters kept hidden Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s handicap. Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio at age 39 in 1921 and was largely confined to a wheelchair as president.

“Instead of, in a democracy, doing what we should to be doing, which is giving people information so they can be decision makers,” Clinton said reporters today are only interested in “the best angle, quickest hit, the biggest embarrassment.”

@Drawandstrike offers a series of Tweets, preparing us for the two years of the media “build[ing] Hillary up into the Awesome Special Champion You Can Trust With Ever-Growing Government Power.”

Every presidential campaign tries to build a heroic narrative around the life story of their candidate. Sometimes the material is there – think John McCain enduring the years of torture as a POW in Vietnam, and not coming out embittered or enraged or broken with despair. Sometimes the campaign has to stretch. I tried to lay out a heroic narrative for Mitt Romney back in August 2012; I think his campaign really didn’t try particularly hard in this area, other than some portions of his convention speech. (He was a young, barefoot, street-brawling vigilante who later in life gave away his inheritance, physically grabbed state officials who tried to skip out on hearings after accidents, and rescued drowning people on his jetski. He’s Ward Cleaver crossed with Bruce Wayne.)

The media tends to do this in a rather ham-handed way. Sometimes it comes in the cookie-cutter “This Democrat in a Red State Smashes All the Stereotypes” profiles. Sometimes it comes in increasingly heavy-handed attempts to persuade you that the offspring of the Chosen Messiah Candidate is particularly special and admirable:

That particular cover story in Fast Company tried to dance around its obvious mission of glamorizing a young woman whose adult life consists mostly of stepping through doors opened by her parents’ power and meandering through the highest levels of high society without actually doing much.

Over on NRO this morning, I look at the intensely depressed national mood and point out that the country could use someone with a bit of a heroic shine these days.

Is Joni Ernst No Longer the Underdog Candidate in Iowa? [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

In addition to Colorado, Iowa is another state where the conventional wisdom may need to change. The political media treats it as a neck-and-neck race or Republican candidate Joni Ernst as a slight underdog. But this morning Quinnipiac finds her up 2, which may not sound like much, and indeed, Quinnipiac’s last poll in late September showed her ahead by 6. But she led in five of the last seven polls over Democrat Bruce Braley, and one of the other two was tied.

And note this detail in Quinnpiac: “By a 47 – 41 percent margin, Iowa likely voters have a favorable opinion of Ernst. Braley gets a split score, with 42 percent favorable and 44 percent unfavorable.”

The favorite?

Grimes, Davis, and the Great Democratic Rural Hopes [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

It is the time of year when leaves fall from the trees and races fall from the national committee’s priorities list.

Republicans went through their sad moment a few days ago when the National Republican Senatorial Committee pulled their ads from Michigan, an ominous indicator for former secretary of state Terri Lynn Land. If the NRSC is going to spend an additional $6 million trying to help Thom Tillis in North Carolina, those resources have to come from somewhere.

Now the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is pulling the plug on its television ads in Kentucky, to help Allison Lundergan Grimes: “The DSCC had not reserved time for the final three weeks of the race and, as of today, is no longer on the air.”

Grimes follows a long and not-so-proud tradition of Democratic candidates running in traditionally red states who were heralded by the national media as signs of a changing era, helping usher in an era of a permanent Democratic majority. Call them the Great Democratic Rural Hopes. The national media loves to write these sorts of stories. They’re usually pictured on a farm or at a state fair. The headline is some variation of, “You may think that [insert Southern or Midwestern state here] is Republican territory. [Insert candidate name here] is about to prove you wrong.”

The glowing profiles go on to showcase how the candidate grew up on a farm, goes to church, wears cowboy boots, offers some kind of pro forma claim to want a more efficient government, and then veers into standard anti-corporation populism. Their campaign commercials feature them shooting a lot, but they’re often leaving some wiggle room for the nebulous “common-sense gun reform.” If they’re not managed by “Mudcat” Saunders, they’ve at least read his book.

Sometimes the Great Democratic Rural Hopes go on to win. Sometimes they have decent careers. Very rarely do they genuinely signal a shift in a state’s identity, and quite often they end up flopping, a greater indicator of what the national media wants to see in these states than what’s actually going on.

Bill Clinton and Al Gore technically qualify as Great Democratic Rural Hopes, although the irony is that Arkansas and Tennessee shifted more to the Republicans after 1992.

A reasonably successful Great Democratic Rural Hope includes Mark Warner in Virginia, and we can put former senator Jim Webb of Virginia and Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius in the “somewhat successful” category. (The cabinet is where rising stars go to disappear, isn’t it? Has anyone seen Julian Castro lately?) North Carolina’s John Edwards certainly got this treatment. Georgia governnor Roy Barnes was set to get this until he lost his reelection bid in 2002.

Every once in a while, you see a Blue State Republican get roughly the equivalent coverage — Scott Brown, Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie — although in the case of Christie, the profiles tend to emphasize how moderate and sensible and centrist this Republican is compared to all of those scary, extremist ones elsewhere.

Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis also got the treatment this year. This year Alison Lundergan Grimes raised more than $11 million; Davis raised more than $13 million. Lucky for Republicans that media hype helped persuade Democratic donors to give money to their longshot campaigns instead of races where it could have made a bigger difference.

The Left, Hoping the Lack of a Surgeon General Becomes a Huge Issue [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

Since the Ebola outbreak began to dominate the news cycle, you’ve heard liberals contending that the lack of a surgeon general is some sort of major impediment to the U.S. government effort to control the disease. As the Washington Post summarized,

Vivek Murthy, the president’s nominee to be the next surgeon general, was too politically outspoken for some. He was an Obama supporter and an advocate for Obamacare. But he also said gun violence in America is a public health issue. So senators, including some Democrats, withheld support.

Today on Ronan Farrow’s MSNBC program, the host invited former surgeon general Richard Carmona, who served under President Bush, on the program. The former surgeon general offered a bluntly harsh assessment that Murthy was “a young man who has great potential, but just a few years out of training, with no public health training or experience” and “a resume that only stands out because he was the co-founder of Doctors for Obama.” Carmona made similar comments on Fox News a few days ago.

“So substantive objections as well as well as partisan ones,” Farrow said quickly, moving on from the interview.

Later in the program, Farrow asked Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News whether Republicans would pay a price for opposing Murthy.

Farrow: Both Ted Cruz and Rick Perry oppose that nomination of Dr. Murthy. Tell me, how have Senators Cornyn and Cruz’s opposition played politically? Is that something that could backfire when we’re in the midst of this Ebola response that would seem to necessitate a surgeon general being in place?

Slater: Not likely, Ronan. Not here in Texas. Let me tell you, this is a political no-brainer for a Republican in a state like Texas — you vote for an Obama nominee, even in a crisis situation, a difficult like this, you vote against the NRA. The NRA wins every time. So don’t look for Cornyn or Cruz to be rallying around a new surgeon general, unless it’s someone the NRA doesn’t oppose.

Naturally, a few minutes later, Farrow asked Slater, “Looking at this nationally, how likely do you think it is that Ebola will become a political football heading into the midterms?”

Is Cory Gardner Still an Underdog in Colorado? [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

Is Cory Gardner still an underdog in Colorado?

Here’s the Denver Post’s latest poll:

“There has been movement to Gardner that is unmistakable and what had been nominal advantage for Udall has been erased,” said Jay Leve at SurveyUSA.

A 10-point lead among independents in a September poll that favored Udall disappeared. It’s now tied at 40 percent, the poll found. And a 13-point gap among woman that favored Udall is now seven points.

The Next Big Wedge Issue: Stopping Flights from Ebola Countries [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

Meet the next big issue before Election Day:

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they are concerned about an Ebola outbreak in the United States, and about the same amount say they want flight restrictions from the countries in West Africa where the disease has quickly spread.

A new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News shows 67 percent of people say they would support restricting entry to the United States from countries struggling with Ebola. Another 91 percent would like to see stricter screening procedures at U.S. airports in response to the disease’s spread.

“Those horrible anti-African racists!” Er, 60 percent of Democrats want these restrictions, 76 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of independents.

Some Republican candidates were already making this point:

Mr. Cotton is among a number of Republican Senate candidates calling for a ban on flights from West African countries grappling with Ebola. On Monday, Rep. Steve Daines, a Montana Republican running for the Senate, said he had signed a letter to Mr. Obama calling for travel restrictions. His office also said he had called earlier this year for full funding of the NIH for work on “infectious diseases such as Ebola.” Obama administration officials have said a travel ban would impede aid to the region.

In all likelihood, this will become the next issue where red and purple state Democrats insist they disagree with the administration, but with no real consequence to this decision. Last night Senator Mark Warner said the screening process at airports has been insufficient.

This may suddenly be a very big issue in Virginia:

A woman who dropped by a South Richmond clinic with a low-grade fever Monday found herself being evaluated as the city’s first potential Ebola patient and was transferred to VCU Medical Center last night after being isolated most of the day at the clinic where she had sought treatment.

NRSC Feeling More Confident About Tillis in North Carolina [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

Somebody at the NRSC feels good about Thom Tillis:

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is planning to reserve more than $6 million in additional North Carolina airtime Monday, sources tell POLITICO.

The article says the committee is “seeing overnight tracking numbers that show the race tightening.”

It’s worth noting that the Libertarian candidate, Sean Haugh, continues to draw a significant percentage of voters. In the latest Survey USA poll, Tillis actually leads head-to-head with Hagan, 46 percent to 45 percent. But when the Libertarian candidate is an option, Hagan leads, 44 percent to 41 percent.

Haugh — “Libertarian” — not only supports term limits, but (tongue-in-cheek?) calls for term limits for “aides, bureaucrats, journalists, and anyone in the political class.” That may be a good idea or a bad idea, but it’s hardly a limited-government idea to impose new rules on who can participate in the political process.

He also wants to “stop all war” and this is his response to U.S. military action vs ISIS:

Somebody has got to look you dead in the eye and remind you that killing people is wrong. And I guess that somebody has got to be me. . . . If you want an excuse to keep on killing, you’ve come to the wrong guy. Killing people is wrong, period. Somebody has got to be smart enough to see the results and realize that we’ve got to try another way. Somebody has got to be moral enough to be the first to stop the killing. And it’s got to be us . . . 

The people you see on the news are not abstract concepts. Those dead bodies are real. Real human beings who have been murdered to advance some government policy of ours, whether it’s in Mosul, or Gaza, or Ferguson, or Nogales.

It’s long past time we tried different, peaceful solutions. I’m Sean Haugh, and I am not at war.

Maybe Tillis’s messaging in the closing weeks ought to be something that can peel off a portion of the Libertarian demographic? His desire to eliminate the federal Export-Import Bank? Concerns about NSA abuses?

Gay marriage and drug testing for those collecting public benefits are out, obviously.

Clinton Charges University $225,000 for Speech on High Cost of Tuition [National Review Online - The Campaign Spot]

Only Hillary Clinton can take a $225,000 speaking fee from a public university and then, in the speech, lament how high the cost of higher education is.

“Higher education shouldn’t be a privilege for those able to afford it,” she said, seeming to not grasp that one reason tuition may be high is that universities think it’s a good idea to spend nearly a quarter of a million dollars to pay a multimillionaire to speak on campus.

America Rising noted:

When she lands in Vegas she will be paid $225,000 to give brief remarks. Following the event, Clinton will take a motorcade to a Democratic party event where she will lay the foundation for her 2016 campaign on the UNLV Foundation’s dime with Nevada politicos like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Her evening will end at a presidential suite that was required as part of her speaking contract.

“For $225,000, I expected to see live tigers.”

NIH Official Contradicts NIH Head's Claim That Budget Cuts Caused Ebola Crisis [National Review Online - The Corner]

National Institute of Health director Francis Collins should not have suggested that increased spending would have averted the ebola crisis, according to one of the top NIH officials responding to the disease.

“I don’t agree with that,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Meet the Press.

Collins told the Huffington Post that “we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this” if the agency hadn’t lost some of its funding in recent years.

Fauci acknowledged the spending cuts have resulted in less “robust” research, but he disagreed with the larger point. 

“You can’t say that,” he said. “I think you can’t say we would or would not have this or that. Everything is slowed down. But I wouldn’t make that statement.”

George Will Reopens Settled Science on Airborne Ebola [National Review Online - The Corner]

After a week in which official assurances on Ebola transmission have proven false and Republican Kentucky senator Rand Paul, a medical doctor, has been ridiculed for a statement about how the deadly hemorrhagic-fever virus spreads, Fox panelist George F. Will Sunday cited a University of Minnesota report indicating that airborne Ebola infection could be a threat.

On Fox News Sunday, Will quoted a U. of M. Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy report affirming “scientific and epidemiological evidence that Ebola virus has the potential to be transmitted via infectious aerosol particles both near and at a distance from infected patients.”

“We’re getting used to people declaring scientific debates closed, over and settled,” Will concluded. “They rarely are.”

Fox panelist Juan Williams then closed the debate with a stage sneeze that got a round of laughter.

Wasserman Schultz: Democrats 'Have Your Back.' Priebus: Obama Doesn't Even Have Wasserman Schultz's Back [National Review Online - The Corner]

Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.) said Sunday that the Democrats will retain control of the Senate, that President Obama’s unpopularity is not a problem for the party, and that voters understand that Democrats “have your back.”

“We’re going to hold the Senate because over the next couple of weeks and leading up to even today [sic], the one issue voters are going to ask themselves, Chris, is ‘Who has my back?’” Wasserman Schultz, head of the Democratic National Committee, told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. “And on issue after issue, Democrats have stood up for jobs, for the economy, for investing in education and health care. Those are the issues that voters are talking about. And Republicans have engaged in trying to take their health care away, to oppose the minimum wage.”

The economy is in fact the top issue cited by voters in a recent Associated Press-Gfk poll. But the Obama presidency — during which the president’s party has constantly controlled the Senate and during the first two years of which the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress — has now seen the longest period of economic stagnation since the Great Depression, long ago surpassing such dismal wealth-creating eras as the Carter administration and the post-war recession of the Truman era.

In a jocular but pointed exchange, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus scoffed at Wasserman Schultz’s claims.

“You guys are losing everywhere, and the president hasn’t had anybody’s back. He hasn’t even had your back,” Priebus said, in an apparent reference to reports that Obama and the Democrats have soured on Wasserman Schultz’s leadership of the DNC.

Wasserman Schultz countered that the Republicans have had to pour campaign money into “blood-red states” including South Dakota, Kansas, and Georgia.

Fauci: Clipboard Guy Should Have Geared Up for 'Public Relations Appearances' [National Review Online - The Corner]

In the midst of a full-Ginsburg tour of Sunday talk shows, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the man recently recorded not wearing protective gear while transporting an Ebola patient should have suited up, but only for “public relations . . . appearances.”

“You’re talking about direct contact with body fluid,” Fauci said during a softball interview with Candy Crowley on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. “So the risk of that person walking next to him is essentially zero. The perception of people in hazmat here and someone in not [sic] can be misleading. But he should have, just for public relations . . . appearances.”

Clipboard Guy was shown during the transportation of Ebola patient Amber Vinson and was identified as a “protocol supervisor” after a public outcry. Vinson, who apparently contracted the deadly hemorrhagic fever virus from the late Thomas Eric Duncan, is known to have traveled by commercial airplane after she began manifesting Ebola symptoms and was even advised by an official at the Centers for Disease Control to fly on a plane full of passengers after reporting a fever.

During his friendly chat with Crowley, Fauci made repeated slighting references to the panicky nature of the public and the risk of scaring people — though in fact there has been virtually no evidence of widespread public panic over Ebola, and the American people seem to have been alarmed mostly by constantly shifting official stories about the outbreak and quarantine-breaking by arrogant establishment-media celebrities.

Ted Cruz Slams Obama Plan to Install Attorney General with Voted-Out Senators [National Review Online - The Corner]

Senator Ted Cruz blasted President Obama’s recent decision to install a new attorney general during the lame-duck Senate session between next month’s election and the swearing-in of the new chamber in January.

“Under no circumstances should a partisan attorney general be confirmed during a lame-duck session,” the Texas Republican said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “We should not be confirming an attorney general during a lame-duck session with a bunch of senators who have just been voted out of office. The confirmation should occur in January or February, when we have the new Senate where every senator will be accountable to the voters. I don’t think we should be meet for a lame duck at all, because lame ducks are really where Washington imposes its agenda instead of listening to the American people.”

Cruz, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, expressed optimism that the Republican party may gain a majority in the elections. “Nothing’s certain in politics,” Cruz said, “but I think it’s far more likely than not that we will retake the Senate and retire [majority leader] Harry Reid.”

After Lampedusa [National Review Online - The Corner]

In October 2013, hundreds of would-be illegal immigrants were drowned when their boat sank off the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Tragically they were not the first to drown on such journeys, something that had been referred to by Pope Francis during the course of a visit to the island some months before.


The choice of Lampedusa for his first official trip outside Rome was highly symbolic for the pontiff, who said news reports of the deaths of desperate people trying to reach a better life that had been like “a thorn in the heart”.

The pope said a great deal more than that, quite a bit of it, as so often with this pontiff, either highly manipulative or very poorly judged (the former, I would guess: Francis is a shrewd man and no stranger to the demagogic arts). As I noted at the time, “Theodore Dalrymple” (Anthony Daniels) took a look at some of those comments. Here’s an extract, but read the whole thing:

In his homily, the Pope decried what he called ‘the globalization of indifference’ to the suffering of which the tragedy of the drowned was a manifestation and a consequence. Our culture of comfort, he said, has made us indifferent to the sufferings of others; we have forgotten how to cry on their behalf. He made reference to the play of Lope de Vega in which a tyrant is killed by the inhabitants of a town called Fuente Ovejuna, no one owning up to the killing and everyone saying that it was Fuente Ovejuna that killed him. The West, said the Pope, was like Fuente Ovejuna, for when asked who was to blame for the deaths of these migrants, it answered, ‘Everyone and no one!’ He continued, ‘Today also this question emerges: who is responsible for the blood of these brothers and sisters? No one! We each reply: it was not I, I wasn’t here, it was someone else.’

The Pope also called for ‘those who take the socio-economic decisions in anonymity that open the way to tragedies such as these to come out of hiding.’

With all due respect, I think this is very loose thinking indeed of a kind that the last Pope would not have permitted himself. The analogy between the two situations, the murder of the tyrant in Fuente Ovejuna and the death by drowning of thousands of migrants, is weak to the point of non-existence. After all, someone in Fuente Ovejuna did kill the tyrant; no one in the west drowned the migrants. Is the Pope then saying that Europe’s refusal to allow in all who want to come is the moral equivalent of actually wielding the knife?

By elevating feeling over thought, by making compassion the measure of all things, the Pope was able to evade the complexities of the situation, in effect indulging in one of the characteristic vices of our time, moral exhibitionism, which is the espousal of generous sentiment without the pain of having to think of the costs to other people of the implied (but unstated) morally-appropriate policy…..

In a recent article for The Spectator, Nicholas Farrell updates the broader story:

Foolishly, last October Italy’s left-wing government became the first European Union country to decriminalise illegal immigration [In fact, it began moves in that direction: the law was not formally amended for another few months] and deploy its navy at huge expense to save ‘illegal’ migrants crossing the narrow Sicilian channel in open boats from North Africa (Libya mainly) in order to bring them to Italy and thus the European Union — where most remain. Few get sent back: sent back where, exactly?

The decision to open the floodgates came in a moment of national moral panic after 366 people drowned in a single boat which caught fire and sank a stone’s throw from an idyllic beach on the island of Lampedusa, an exclusive resort favoured by the right-on rich. The dead included a mother who had given birth during the voyage and was still attached to her newborn child when divers found their bodies trapped inside the sunken vessel.

The policy change, driven by a perverted mix of human decency and political correctness, was pure folly: it has acted as a green light to wannabe boat people everywhere, whose numbers soar as the chaos in Africa and the Middle East escalates. The result is an exodus of biblical proportions out of Africa into Italy. So far this year, more than 100,000 boat people have arrived in Italy — two thirds of them brought ashore by the Italian navy. That is more than double the number who arrived in 2011, the previous record year. It is estimated that the total by the end of 2014 will surpass 200,000. So far this year Italy has deported only 10,000.

How many, I wonder, will Vatican City take?


Italy’s boat people used to originate mostly from sub-Saharan Africa; but — thanks to ‘Mare nostrum’, as the new policy is called — they now also come from the Horn of Africa, Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Iraq. The word is out: to get to Europe, get to Italy (via Libya)….

Meanwhile, in the Mediterranean, thousands die crossing from North Africa to Italy in flimsy, unseaworthy vessels. A ticket, they say, costs between €1,000 and €2,000. The boat people do not just die by drowning. Those with cheaper tickets, confined to the locked hold of the boats, often die from carbon monoxide poisoning from the engine. Others die from stabbings and beatings as a result of the frequent fights that break out on deck.

According to the UN High Commission for Refugees, 1,600 boat people have died since June — 25 a day, roughly — crossing from North Africa to Italy. That figure is undoubtedly just the tip of the iceberg….

Ted Cruz: Ebola Experts Are Repeating Obama's Talking Points [National Review Online - The Corner]

As CNN’s Candy Crowley furiously argued the Obama administration’s case in the Ebola outbreak, Texas senator Ted Cruz dismissed the expert advice coming from supporters of the federal response to the crisis.

“The doctors who are saying this are working for the administration and repeating the administration’s talking points,” Cruz said on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday. “And their arguments don’t make sense.”

“What is unfortunate is watching the Obama administration treat this as yet another political issue rather than as a public health crisis,” Cruz said. “For the same reason, you’ve seen virtually no attention from the administration on the need to secure the southern border.”

Ted Cruz: Neither Obama Ebola Story Makes Sense [National Review Online - The Corner]

Senator Ted Cruz said on Sunday that neither of the Obama administration’s explanations for not banning incoming flights from countries with active and uncontrolled Ebola outbreaks makes sense.

Speaking with Candy Crowley on CNN’s State of the Union, the Texas Republican and potential 2016 presidential candidate pointed out that federal public-health authorities’ boast of having set up screening at five airports is meaningless because those five airports do not include Dallas Fort-Worth, final destination of the late Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of Ebola in a Dallas hospital after transmitting the deadly hemorrhagic fever virus to at least two other people — the first known domestic human-to-human transmissions of Ebola in U.S. history.

Cruz also pointed out that the screenings are ineffective because they detect only carriers who are demonstrating symptoms.

“Ebola unfortunately has a 21-day incubation period,” Cruz said, “where the patient has no demonstrated symptoms and walks right through the screening. Mr. Duncan, the one patient we know who did come from Liberia to America, would have walked right through the screenings.”

The Euro zone Crisis, Again [National Review Online - The Corner]

Much of the recent stock market turbulence can be put down to renewed concerns over the euro zone crisis that ended in (depending on who you choose to be believe) 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 or 2014. Demand has been crushed, growth has stalled, large swathes of the currency union are at or near deflation and Germany itself is faltering.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Liam Halligan takes stock of where things stand:

Last week’s turmoil on global markets, which saw Greek bond yields pushed above an eye-watering 9pc, mean the eurozone crisis is back. As sovereign borrowing costs across several member states spiralled – not just Spain, Portugal and Italy, but France too – yields on 10-year German bunds plunged to an all-time low of 0.72pc, as panicked investors searched for safety.

This sharpening divide, or “yield-divergence” in the jargon, means that vast multibillion euro sums are being bet, once again, on the prospect of a eurozone break-up.

In my view that necessary moment (even its first stage: the creation of a Northern Euro) remains very far off, but there’s no doubt that the unease is back, as it should be, not least thanks to the economic and political flaw that was the euro zone’s original sin.

Halligan explains:

Long before 2007, it was clear to anyone with a reasonable knowledge of failed monetary unions throughout the ages, that the eurozone suffered from a deeply-ingrained flaw. A single currency shared by separate national democracies can only hold together with regular and substantial fiscal transfers between member states. And such transfers will only be remotely legitimate if the ultimate aim is to unite and become one country.

Well, that’s what those running the show want (de facto, if not de jure), but we should note the low bar that Halligan is setting: all he is talking about is the euro zone ‘holding together’, for it to flourish, well….

To return to an example I have used before, Italy has been in a full political and monetary for more than a century and a half: And Naples is still not Milan. How long will it take Athens to become Berlin?

In any event, the peoples of the euro zone rightly do not want this sort of “ever closer union”, and they are, as Halligan notes, becoming more vocal about saying so:

Germans are increasingly wondering why they should bail out profligate “Club Med” nations, while peripheral countries that have taken the pain of tough budgetary reforms now openly complain about “core” countries that use their political clout to refuse.

Marine Le Pen’s Front National attracted 26pc in the latest opinion polls. Le Pen – who openly advocates eurozone exit – would beat incumbent President François Hollande in a two-headed run-off for the Elysee. Even in Germany, where a sense of obligation to the “European project” runs deepest, the anti-euro Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) won 7 of the 96 seats in the European elections in May. In the tight coalition politics of Germany, the entry of AfD into the Bundestag, which seems inevitable, will seriously complicate Berlin’s Parliamentary arithmetic…. The [Chavezista] Syriza party, which opposes bail-outs and any form of adherence to related fiscal discipline, could soon come to power in Greece.

And in Spain, there’s Podemos, and so it goes on….

Back to Halligan:

 A lot of people now argue that the eurozone is only in a mess because the ECB has been “unimaginative” compared with other major central banks, resisting the urge to engage in massive monetary expansion. Ergo, if the Germans loosen up, and allow big-time euro-QE, everything will be fine.

Such an argument, while it serves the banks and investors that get rich on QE, while allowing politicians to bury their problems, is wrong on so many levels.

Legally, for example, and, for that matter, democratically, but back to the economics…

The eurozone is flirting with deflation not because QE hasn’t been big enough, but because Europe’s zombie banking sector remains awash with bad debts, resulting in a lending contraction every single month since the start of 2012.

That’s what lies behind the eurozone’s economic torpor, not a lack of virtually printed money. Rather than insisting on painful debt write-downs, and forcing a necessary restructuring of the banks, the ECB – massively panicked by the prospect of a single currency meltdown – now looks set to hose down its banking sector with yet more virtually printed money instead, just in time for the stress tests.

That will boost asset markets, of course, but do nothing to prevent Europe’s ongoing economic stagnation. It won’t solve the underlying structural problems of the single currency – problems that will ultimately result in a break-up.

One size, still not fitting all. 

Sympathy for the Devil [National Review Online - The Corner]

I have the “Masterpiece” column in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal, on Kit Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus:

The central event of “Doctor Faustus” is well known: a deal with the devil. In this first “Faustian bargain,” the title character sells his soul in exchange for living his next 24 years “in all voluptuousness.” This is the opposite of deferred gratification. It’s deferred damnation, and Marlowe’s play about power, knowledge and fate fueled a narrative tradition that runs through Milton’s Satan and Goethe’s “Faust” to “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by the Charlie Daniels Band.

Marlowe didn’t invent Faust. The legend of John Faust, who was apparently an actual person, arose in Germany. Marlowe borrowed from a translated account of his life. For demonological inspiration, the dramatist drew upon the Bible and folklore. Even so, his Mephostophiles is something new in literature. He is a three-dimensional devil, the sinister trickster of convention and also a fully intellectual and even sympathetic figure.

A Green Mess [National Review Online - The Corner]

With the  right of the Tory party mutinous, and clear signs that the Conservatives’ support in their rural hinterland is drifting away, the decision by David Cameron to fire environment minister Owen Paterson, a leading figure on the Conservative right who also appeared to “get “ the countryside, earlier this year made little political sense.

Predictably enough, Paterson has taken advantage of the freedom that his firing has brought him, proclaiming a series of inconvenient truths about Britain’s environment policy and, for that matter, environmental policy-making.

EUReferendum’s Richard North discusses this here and here at some length, noting Paterson’s opposition to the wind turbines that are so loathed in the countryside:

In the Global Warming Policy Foundation lecture on Wednesday, Mr Paterson said of wind farms that “this paltry supply of onshore wind, nowhere near enough to hit the 2050 targets, has devastated landscapes, blighted views, divided communities, killed eagles…”.

… He went on to say that wind turbines had devastated ‘the very wilderness that the ‘green blob’ claims to love, with new access tracks cut deep into peat, boosted production of carbon-intensive cement, and driven up fuel poverty, while richly rewarding landowners”.

This, Mr Paterson also said, is “the single most regressive policy we have seen in this country since the Sheriff of Nottingham”….

North continues:

Readers here do not need to rehearse Mr Paterson’s arguments, but it can never be said too many times that the current energy policy is unattainable – and at a cost of £1.3 trillion, which is roughly the size of the national debt….

We hear quite a bit—and rightly so— about what the current Conservative-led coalition has done to fix the British economy, but the ever-increasing costs of its climate change policy ought not to be left out of the equation.

Back to North:

Even if Britain and the whole of the EU were to stick to our emissions targets (which we surely won’t), and to hit them (which, actually, we can’t), we would still not come anywhere close to what we are told is needed to save the planet. This is for a very simple reason: the rest of the world won’t do it. Last year, carbon emissions per head in China exceeded those of Britain for the first time, and China has more than 20 times as many heads as we do. The EU is responsible for less than 10 percent of global emissions, so when we set our targets we knew – and said – that we were in no position to stop global warming. The point was to set a lead which others would follow.

They haven’t…

Isn’t it rather extraordinary, [British journalist Charles] Moore concludes, that no mainstream party has dared to point any of this out? Don’t they know there’s an election on? Is it surprising that voters think: “They’re all the same?”

When it comes to orthodoxies of contemporary environmentalism there’s quite a bit to that: There’s a reason that UKIP is winning the support that it is. 

The Outcome of the Synod Drama? A Shoulder Shrug [National Review Online - The Corner]

From John Allen, at Crux:

ROME – Heading into the 2014 Synod of Bishops on the family, the granddaddy of all controversial issues was the idea of allowing Catholics who divorce and remarry outside the church to return to communion.

After two eventful weeks, featuring at times intense debate, the only thing that can be said with certainty is that there simply is no consensus in the synod.

As a result, many sources say the most probable conclusion out of this gathering is that the idea needs further study, which is often a bureaucratic euphemism for saying we’re divided and don’t know what to do.

His conclusion: “If the Synod of Bishops does recommend submitting the issue of communion for divorced and remarried Catholics for further study, one thing seems clear: It will continue to be debated for the next 12 months, and will likely be a hot-button issue again the next time the bishops gather in October 2015.”

That is likely an understatement.

— Michael R. Strain is a resident scholar and economist at the American Enterprise Institute. You can write to him on Twitter at twitter.com/MichaelRStrain.

NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN - English News at 21:01 (JST), October 19 [English News - NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN]

Going postal? [Public Libraries News]


What appears to be the first post office run by a public library has opened in Stradbroke in Suffolk.  Writtle Library in Essex already has a post office inside it but it is run separately by post office staff. Stradbroke post office, on the other hand, will have its own library staff providing the post office, as an income generation exercise, service to the community and as a way of increasing footfall … and you thought having to do badges for disabled parking was a stretch.




“.. Part of “information literacy” must be, whatever your view, an understanding of the actuality and implications of digital monitoring by government and corporates, about “free” access restricted by technocrats and for political expediency.  All this reinforces the matter of ethics in our profession. We say these are at the heart of our work; they underpin our policies and views; encompass our career plans.In a time when public librarians are challenged daily to make cuts, when libraries are deposited on the backs of volunteers with no choice, when book funds, training budgets and outreach capacity are slashed, the opportunities to remember our fundamental purpose are rare beacons – Get Online programmes, health information campaign, reading programmes, CILIP’s Professional Knowledge and Skills Base.  Just how easily we could forget our ethical values. Let’s not do that; and let’s ensure that those who make facile decisions about libraries know of such special things.” part of email by John Dolan to PLN regarding post on social justice and surveillance.

  • SCL publishes 3 invitations to tender - Society of Chief Librarians. “SCL published three invitations to tender for projects that will further develop the Universal Offers. Please see the attached documents for more information and details on how to respond to the tenders. Deadline for receipt of tender proposals: 4th November 2014 @ 5pm Universal Learning Offer ITT Learning Offer Universal Information Offer ITT_workforce_development_evaluation Digital Leadership Skills Workforce Development Programme ITT_Digital_Leadership_Skills
  • Young readers in Carshalton win visit from top children’s author - Reading Agency. “Reading for pleasure brings children many rewards, but young readers at one lucky  library in Carshalton (London Borough of Sutton) are in for a real treat, after winning a UK-wide competition celebrating the first-ever Chatterbooks Week (11-18 October),via national charity The Reading Agency’s ever-growing network of Chatterbooks reading groups for children.”


  • 15 vintage photos of libraries on wheels – Ebook Friendly (USA). Photos of some very old mobile libraries.
  • Two libraries in the Netherlands are using quick response codes in a project to encourage reading – Mobile Commerce News (Netherlands). “The program works by giving kids the ability to be able to record themselves on video as they tell other children why they should read a certain book – particularly their very favorite book. Unique QR codes are then attached to the published books so that children visiting the library can scan them using a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. Once the barcode has been scanned, it displays the video that helps to promote a certain book and that will, hopefully, get other readers excited about reading it.”
  • The Aspen Institute Releases New Report: “Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries” – Library Journal (USA). “explores how public libraries can respond as the digital age increases the demand for high-speed information access, changes in our education systems, innovative job training models and additional community services to help people and communities compete in the new economy. The report is part of the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The multiyear dialogue brings library professionals, policymakers, technology experts, philanthropists, educators and civic leaders together to explore the future of public libraries.” see also D.C. public library system highlighted in Aspen Institute’s national report – Washington Post. “DCPL’s MapStory program is showcased as an example of how libraries can succeed as 21st-century curators”
  • Unsung Heroes: Stories from the Library - Research for Life (Global). “From information literacy training to building infrastructure and outreach, librarians are critical to building a healthy research culture in the developing world and they are often the “unsung heroes” in the research ecosystem. For this reason, Research4Life has commissioned a special booklet, “Unsung Heroes, Stories from the Library” – narratives from individuals around the world who have in reality become the unsung heroes of research in their institutions.”

UK local news by authority

  • Birmingham – RIBA Stirling Prize: Why the Library of Birmingham deserves to win top architecture award - Birmingham Mail. “We’ve put together this gallery of photos which highlight its spectacular architecture and show why we think the Library of Birmingham deserves this year’s RIBA prize.
  • Brent – Shut-down library in Brent could be reopened after campaigners strike a deal with council – Get West London. ““Before the election, there was an offer from the council for something like this to happen, and now it is at a much more formal stage and Councillor James Denslow who we have been dealing with is really enthusiastic.” The campaigners now need to present a business case to the council to formally showcase their plans and prove that they could run it in a viable fashion. It is understood that the only condition for the council in giving the Friends group the building rent free would be that it may be required in the future for usage as a temporary classroom, however it is hoped that that will not be necessary.”
  • Cambridgeshire – Job losses and service cuts warning as council considers slashing budget - Hunts Post. “Job losses and massive cuts to frontline services are on the horizon as county councillors prepare to look at proposals to slash £32.6million from the budget over the next three years … 1.6m over three years by reducing the cost of larger libraries”
  • Cornwall – Bodmin library set for a new chapter? - Cornish Guardian. 44% cut in budget. “The local authority says savings can be made by devolving the running of libraries to town and parish councils, and community groups, and increasing the use of volunteers to supervise the book lending service in their areas. Libraries are now being offered to town councils, and Bodmin is one of the first to express an interest in taking over the building and managing the facility in the town.” … “Bodmin town councillor Ann Kerridge, who is also vice-chairman of Cornwall Council, said Bodmin would need to see exactly what was on offer before it commits to managing the library.”
  • Devon – Cuts ‘start to bite’ in Ilfracombe as Jobcentre phone line is withdrawn - North Devon Journal. “Ilfracombe town councillor Mike Edmunds said it was the latest in a line of cuts which threatened libraries, youth services and community hospitals”
  • Devon – More self-service facilities could be the future for Devon libraries - Mid Devon Gazette. “Among the ideas was that the council could implement self-service facilities at many of libraries by using computer technology to allow people to take out and return books, a system already popular in Denmark.”
  • Devon – Proposed changes to Devon library services given cautious welcome - Express and Echo. “proposed changes to library services in Devon have been given a cautious welcome by Exeter councillors. At last week’s cabinet meeting, Roger Croad, Devon’s cabinet member with responsibility for libraries, went out of his way to say that there were no plans to close any of the county’s 50 libraries.”
  • Dorset – Workforce planning courses available for local cultural organisations - Blackmore Vale. “The course is for representatives from voluntary and community organisations that provide cultural activities and services including museums, libraries, visual and performing arts, places of heritage and galleries.”
  • East Lothian – New permanent artwork for Musselburgh Library – East Lothian Courier. The “Library has been selected as one of five libraries in Scotland to benefit from a new permanent artwork as part of Book Week Scotland 2014. The artwork will be created by Glasgow-based artist Emma Ewan and will be inspired by Dear Library, a poem written by best-selling Scottish author and playwright Jackie Kay as part of Book Week Scotland’s Love Your Library! campaign.”
  • Greenwich - Librarians on strike over staff cuts, reduction of service and pay - Union Solidarity International. “Library assistants in Greenwich are today taking strike action over staff cuts, reduction of service and pay. The strike by 84 Unite members will be followed by a work-to-rule from tomorrow. The dispute revolves around Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) – the social enterprise company awarded the contract in 2012 to run the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s library service – saying that it will not replicate any pay rises that are awarded to local government workers, which was previously the case until a change in the law. Unite believe that reductions in front-line staff numbers will have a negative impact on the service provided to Greenwich residents. Unite estimate 12 staff have been lost since GLL took over in 2012.”

GLL Reactive statement regarding proposed Unite Strike 14th October 2014 We can confirm that there have been no redundancies of front line staff employed since we began operating libraries in Greenwich from May 2012, and there are still several posts being actively recruited for. The number of casual workers within Greenwich libraries has in fact decreased by 5% since GLL took over the contract. We are committed to offering more, better-paid jobs to front line workers and over the period, we have up-skilled the service and improved career paths for our staff. We have also increased library opening hours. Ferrier Library was closed prior to the handover to GLL, and the mobile service continues to operate as normal. GLL are awaiting the outcome of national pay negotiations prior to setting its localised pay rate” [Quoted added on 16th October at GLL's request - Ed.]


“I was surprised to read this editorial comment on the Hertfordshire consultation in Public Libraries News on 12 October. ["Reports are being received of very little publicity within branches of these cuts, including unstaffing 17 out of 46 of them - Ed"] We have ‘Have Your Say’ displays in all our libraries stating the proposed tier for that library, promoting the strategy document and the questionnaire (available in hard copy, large print and easy read versions as well as online), and advertising the 53 drop-in sessions in libraries and mobile stops around the County, where library users can discuss the proposals with senior managers and County Councillors.” Hertforshire – part of email from Andrew Bignell, head of Libraries and Heritage Services.

  • Liverpool – Councillor comes under fire at Liverpool libraries public meeting - Liverpool Echo. “tensions rose as campaign group Old Swan Against the Cuts challenged Old Swan ward councillor Gary Millar to reveal whether he would vote to close Old Swan library. One member angrily asked Cllr Millar: “Will you vote to close Old Swan library? Will you vote to take the books out of my child’s hands? Will you vote to rip the heart out of this community?” Cllr Millar responded that the meeting was not meant to be a political meeting”
  • Northeast Lincolnshire – Can library-saving group prove a real page-turner? – Grimsby Telegraph. “Grant Thorold and Humberston Libraries could soon be run by a community interest group called “Your Community Hub”. Until now the not-for-profit group has remained anonymous. But as the deadline for expressions of interest to take over council libraries came yesterday, the organisers of the group said they were passionate about keeping libraries going for their respective communities. Your Community Hub is run by husband and wife team Nathan and Melissa Taylor and friend Emma Harper.”
  • Northumberland – Northumberland County Council will close Seahouses library - Chronicle. “A library will close its doors due to fears extreme weather could cause the roof to collapse. Seahouses library will be closed by Northumberland County Council after its health and safety team reported serious defects. The library shares the same site as Seahouses First School and talks are now under way with the school regarding the demolition of the library building and action to make the site safe.” … “The Seahouses Development Trust has now offered to host a library within its community centre which is nearby and has parking and disabled access. It will provide a limited supply of books and public computer access computers.”
  • Oxfordshire – Mobile library visits facing the chop due to lack of interest – Henley Standard. “The county council is planning to scrap stops where its library vehicles have very few or no visitors, including 28 in the Henley area.  These include four stops in Henley, three in Goring and two in Shiplake.  In a statement, the council said: “Oxfordshire County Council is committed to delivering a comprehensive, high quality and efficient library service and bringing mobile library services to people who may struggle to get to a library building, such as young people and their parents or carers, older people and those with disabilities. “We have recently reviewed our mobile library service and found that, while the service is clearly valued, many of the current stops are not very well used.”
  • Powys – ‘Town of Books’ library to be hit by cuts – Hereford Times. “plan to cut the Town of Books’ library’s opening hours by 20 per cent, has come under fire from Hay-on-Wye’s county councillor. ” .. “The other option that had been considered would have seen smaller branches closing their doors for good, as the council look to take £350,000 out of the library budget ahead of April. ” … “Cllr Ratcliffe added that an asset transfer which would see the running of Hay Library by another organisation, such as the town council, may also be considered. The library is currently used as a base for several community groups, and also the location for Cllr Ratcliffe’s monthly surgery. It is also one of the few places where broadband internet is accessible for free in the town.”
  • Reading – Struggling Reading Borough Council leisure IT system to be replaced - Get Reading. Softward has been “driving staff mad” but “somebody at the borough council – and the committee did not find out who it was – decided the system could be extended for use in the borough’s leisure centres and libraries.”
  • Sandwell – Library consultation gets underway - Sandwell Council. “”Libraries provide a great service and are popular with local people. In recent years, we have opened new libraries in Blackheath and Oldbury and invested in West Bromwich Central Library. “However, we have to be realistic – we need to save a further £700,000 from the library budget over the next two years and must look at every option. “The major costs of the service are staff and buildings, but the closure of any library is an absolute last resort and I am hopeful we can find another way. “There are three main suggestions, including working with volunteers and community partners, moving libraries to shared premises or bringing other services into libraries to reduce running costs, and providing multi-use centres for for local people.”
  • Staffordshire – Fears for libraries’ future in ‘cash-driven’ changes - Express and Star. “Cannock Chase council leader George Adamson said there were many holes in the county council’s proposed ‘re-shaping’ of library services. And he claimed the cuts were financially driven after a decision made in December last year that £1million savings would have to be made in library services by 2016-17.”
  • Suffolk – Stradbroke Library Post Office opens this week – Suffolk Libraries. “Suffolk’s newest post office will open in Stradbroke Library this week. The post office will open when the library opens at 2.30pm on Tuesday 14 October. The opening follows several weeks of work to install the new post office counter and other fittings to accommodate the post office in the library which is based at Stradbroke Court House. Library staff have also had specialist post office training during the closure. Post Office Ltd approved Suffolk Libraries’ application to run the post office in February and it is believed to be the only post office in the country which will be run by a library service.”

“Stradbroke has been without a post office for around two years and Stradbroke Courthouse and Library Trust also have further plans to develop the building by opening a café and providing studio space for a community radio station, storage for a village archive and new toilets. Local artist Christine Cooper has also created a painting to celebrate the library, post office and café opening which features Ann Kerr and Mike Readman, both strong supporters of the library and courthouse community hub project, who have sadly passed away in the past two years.”

  • Swindon – Don’t move library - Swindon Advertiser. ” write to express my deep concerns regarding the current proposed situation of the West Swindon Library, i.e. to be removed from its prime visible location on the ground floor to the floor above where it would be not be visible to the community, and is not easily accessible for prams, pushchairs, mobility scooters and all who are physically handicapped. To dismiss the vital importance of this library because it is more commercially viable is totally void of respect, understanding and consideration towards the dire needs of the community.”
  • Vale of Glamorgan – New chapter in fight against controversial plans to slash Welsh county’s library service - Wales Online. “Various charges at libraries have been increased, while the amount of money spent on new books is to be reduced from £220,000 to £195,000. Opening hours are also likely to be changed, with libraries opening later and closing earlier.”. Volunteers being considered. “In recent years the Vale’s library service has seen a decline in both visitor numbers and book issues. This reflects a national trend as reading habits change and more people access books and library services online”
  • Wandsworth – Campaign launched after leaked Wandsworth Conservative Party document reveals possible cuts – Guardian series. ” “The residents I met were furious that Conservative councillors have considered closing Northcote and Battersea Park Road libraries, as well as the local leisure centre. “They even considered stopping graffiti cleaning and dog foul patrols. One resident asked me, ‘is anything safe’?”
  • York – Library set to open up its ‘gold box’ archive - York Press. “York Explore Library Learning Centre on Museum Street will reopen on Monday, January 5, after a seven month £1.5 million refurbishment project” including “world-class archive and local history centre”.

US to hand over Marine who is suspect in murder of transgender Filipino sex worker [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

The United States says it will comply with a Philippine prosecutor's order to produce a murder suspect and four other US Marines in the investigation into the killing of a transgender Filipino sex worker.

British police to join Thai investigation into murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller [ABC Radio Australia Pacific (English International)]

Thailand has agreed to allow British police to join an investigation into the murder of two backpackers on a Thai island, after local authorities came under criticism for their handling of the case.

Bobby Jindal: Ebola crisis enters Phase II of Obama plan [RedState]


Great insight from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal:

BATON ROUGE – Following a story in the New York Times today reporting that President Barack Obama is said to be showing “deepening frustration” and “anger” behind closed doors because of his administration’s lackluster response to the Ebola crisis, Governor Bobby Jindal declared that “we’ve reached the ‘I’m so mad’ stage of the President’s crisis management plan.”

Governor Jindal said, “We have reached the ‘I’m so mad’ stage of the President’s crisis management plan. There are four stages of the President’s crisis management plan. Stage one: I got this. Stage two: I’m so mad. Stage three: More money will fix the problem. Finally, stage four: Republicans are obstructing.

“We’ve seen this process play out time and time again. The opposite approach is to start leading from the beginning of a crisis and not pass the buck. Now, we have an Ebola czar after the President’s own staff recognized the leadership void. The reality is that when there’s a crisis, you don’t need a czar, you need a President who will take charge.”

He is exactly right. The Wall Street Journal has documented how Obama routinely gets mad when his administration screws the pooch (a near daily occurrence) but only after the news of the screw up makes it into the media.

On Nov. 14, 2012, Mr. Obama didn’t have to declare his anger when defending Susan Ricethen the United Nations ambassador and now the national security adviser, from attacks against her by Sens. John McCain (R., Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) over her statements about the Benghazi attack.

“If Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. John McCain51%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard51% and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Lindsey Graham49%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard49%, and others want to go after somebody? They should go after me,” Mr. Obama said during a White House press conference. “And I’m happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador who had nothing to do with Benghazi? And was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received? And to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.”

And after his gun-control efforts died in the Senate in April 2013, Mr. Obama lashed out at the nation’s gun lobby and called the vote “a pretty shameful day” for Washington.

A few other instances of Mr. Obama publicly expressing his anger:

Feb. 27, 2014During remarks for his My Brothers Keeper initiative, Mr. Obama spoke of being angry growing up because he didn’t have his father around.

“I didn’t have a dad in the house,” he said. “And I was angry about it, even though I didn’t necessarily realize it at the time. I made bad choices.”

April 15, 2012: After the Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia, Mr. Obamaoffered conditional anger.

“If it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course I’ll be angry,” he said at a press conference.

May 27, 2010: Mr. Obama said he was upset about watching the BP BP.LN +2.02% oil spill.

“And I know that doesn’t lessen the enormous sense of anger and frustration felt by people on the Gulf and so many Americans. Every day I see this leak continue I am angry and frustrated as well.”

March 18, 2009: When executives at AIG, which was in the process of being bailed out by the federal government, were to be awarded million-dollar bonuses, Mr. Obama said there was no need to tamp down public outrage.

“I don’t want to quell anger,” he said. “I think people are right to be angry. I’m angry.”

Update: In an interview that aired Sunday, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said Mr. Obama is “madder than hell” about the problems facing the Department of Veterans Affairs. “Nobody is more outraged about this problem right now” than the president, he said.

If Obama has accomplished a single thing in his presidency (other than trashing out economy and foreign policy) he has raised the bar of presidential incompetence to the point that Jimmy Carter looks like George Washington by comparison.


The post Bobby Jindal: Ebola crisis enters Phase II of Obama plan appeared first on RedState.

Nate Silver’s dishonest critique of travel bans [RedState]

ebola lagos airportNate Silver, of fivethirtyeight.com, has apparently received the White House memo asking its bootlicks in the media to push back on the demand sane people are making for a travel ban on countries with an active Ebola epidemic. To make his case, in the words of William F. Buckley, he acts like a pyromaniac in a field of strawmen.

Duncan’s case has sparked calls to ban flights to the United States from the countries hardest hit by the recent Ebola outbreak — Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — possibly along with others in West Africa. While some of these arguments have been measured, others seem to convey the impression there are thousands of passengers arriving in cities like Dallas each day from flights originating in these countries.

There aren’t. We searched on Kayak.comExpertFlyer.com and airline websites for direct flights from West African nations (as the United Nations defines the region) to destinations outside the African continent. Specifically, we looked for flights available for the week from Jan. 2 to Jan. 8, 2015, a time period far enough in advance that such flights are unlikely to have sold out.

There are no regularly scheduled direct flights to the U.S. from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone — and very few from other countries in West Africa. There are far more flights from West Africa to Western Europe instead. Duncan’s case was typical. Before arriving in the United States, he connected through Brussels.

Next we are told:

All of those cities, of course, offer abundant connections to the United States. There are about 280 flights each week from London to New York alone, and thousands more involving other transatlantic city pairs.

A traveler from West Africa could also connect through the Middle East. There are as many flights to Dubai from the region each week (37) as there are to the United States, along with regular connections to Istanbul, Doha and Beirut.

And from there we get to his conclusion

But for a ban to be even halfway effective, it would need to be much more sweeping than banning the handful of direct flights from West Africa to the United States. It seems unlikely that travel from Europe or the Middle East will be halted. But the next Ebola patient may be on a flight from London, not Liberia.

Silver has found 37 direct flights to the United States per week that originate in West Africa. That is interesting trivia but hardly relevant. If you accept, as Silver obviously hopes you do, the premise that a travel ban means banning direct flights, then you are left with the conclusion that Silver’s puppeteers in the administration want you to reach: a travel ban is futile unless you essentially ban all flights into the United States. But that isn’t the case. In fact, only a moron would offer that argument.

Fact: the land borders of those nations with active Ebola outbreaks have been closed by their neighbors.

Fact: there are extensive air travel restrictions in effect that limit the ability of people to travel from Ebola outbreaks. For instance, to deal directly with Silver’s doomsday scenario

Countries that have implemented Ebola-related travel restrictions:

  • Gambia has banned the entry of flights from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
  • Gabon has banned the entry of flights and ships from countries affected by Ebola.
  • Senegal has banned flights from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
  • Cameroon has banned flights to and from Nigeria.Chad has suspended all flights from Nigeria.
  • Nigeria has suspended flights to the country operated by Gambian national carrier Gambia Bird.
  • Côte d’Ivoire has now lifted the ban on passenger flights from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Details of airlines that have restricted flights to Ebola-affected countries:

  • Air France suspended flights to Sierra Leone from 28 August.
  • The Togo-based carrier Asky Airlines has suspended flights to and from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
  • Arik Air (Nigeria), Gambia Bird and Kenya Airways have suspended services to Liberia and Sierra Leone.
  • British Airways has extended their suspension of flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone until 31 December.
  • Emirates Airlines has suspended flights to Guinea.
  • Korean Air suspended flights to and from Kenya from 20 August.
  • Senegal Airlines has suspended flights to and from Conakry (Guinea) until further notice.

So, to use Silver’s methodology, a US ban on direct flights from selected countries would mere augment the extensive international travel restrictions already in place. If effect, we would be cooperating with the international community rather than consciously circumventing the international effort to stop the spread of Ebola.

But Silver’s entire argument is silly in the extreme.

According to the CDC, to the extent that we trust anything they say anymore, nearly 1100 people from countries with an active Ebola outbreak. (We really have to assume that is a floor not a ceiling number.) Why does the CDC talk about people and Silver talk about flights? Because because people carry Ebola not airplanes. And because Silver is playing the role of a dishonest hack in this particular instance.

The first step on a travel ban is to refuse entry to anyone from a nation with an active Ebola outbreak. This is easy to do. For people to travel internationally, they need passports. If they wish entry to the United States most must have an entry visa. There are a small number of countries whose citizens are allowed entry to the US without a visa. None of those countries are in Africa.

The next step is screening other passengers from the region both by questionnaire and by examination of passports for exit visas from affected countries.

Getting back to the case of Mr. Duncan. If a travel ban had been in effect his Liberian passport would have resulted in him not being able to board an aircraft from Monrovia in the first place as the plane would not have been flying to the US. If he had used an indirect route, his Liberian passport would have resulted in him being denied a boarding pass at any airport in the world. If,by some miracle, he did get on a flight, his Liberian passport would have resulted in him being turned back when he landed in the United States.

Will this catch 100% of the possibilities? No. But nothing will. I would submit stopping 1000+ people a week who are fleeing nations with an Ebola outbreak… and who possibly know they are infected and are seeking medical care in the US rather than in a hospital in Monrovia… is a positive start. It reduces the number of entrants. It slows their rate of travel so if they are infected they will be showing more symptoms. AND it cooperates with the international community.

In summary, a US travel ban on passengers from affected countries would be a) extremely easy to implement and b) have minimal effect on international travel.


The post Nate Silver’s dishonest critique of travel bans appeared first on RedState.

Tech at Night: The government wants your data protected, except when it doesn’t. [RedState]

Tech at Night

Sometimes the government cheers the idea that your data is being protected from the bad guys. Other times, the government grumbles and complains.

It turns out they’re fine with your data being at risk, as long as it means government can get to it whenever it wants. Funny, that.

It’s true though. Government is cheering ‘kill switches’ on phones that would prevent unauthorized access after a theft.

But when Google and Apple seek to encrypt your data, which would protect your data far better than even a kill switch would. But encryption also keeps out government snoops, so they’re freaking out.

Don’t trust government on cybersecurity regulation. They want you secure, but not too secure. Remember that the next time the Democrats call for laws after a corporate break-in.

WaPo approves of the Obama-Google nexus, as the administration keeps on hiring Google people, but imagine if we changed ‘Google’ to ‘Koch Industries’ and think about what the left-wing reaction would be.

Sirius continues to lose in court in its fight to ignore copyright on pre-1972 recordings.

First it was Uber. now it’s AirBNB that government is targeting to help cronies.

Google is bragging about some anti-copyright infringment steps.

The post Tech at Night: The government wants your data protected, except when it doesn’t. appeared first on RedState.

Georgia Trends and Ebola [RedState]

Last night’s show, we went further in depth on the President’s handling of Ebola. We also explored more on Georgia’s Senate race.

The post Georgia Trends and Ebola appeared first on RedState.

In Idaho, Christian Pastors Ordered to Perform Gay Marriages. You Will Be Made to Care. [RedState]

It is one of the tenets of the current movement toward gay marriage. They get to get married, Christians are forced to provide goods and services if they demand it, but — and this is the key caveat of it all — but Christian ministers will not be forced to wed gays because of their religious concerns.

That was last week. This is this week where the government of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho is forcing two Christians pastors to marry gays.

Libertarian atheists who hate Christians and don’t like to admit it will find their exception at this point. Donald and Evelyn Knapp run the Hitching Post, wherein they perform marriages. “Yes,” say the libertarians, “it’s a business so they must provide accommodation.”

For the rest of us, the Knapps are Christians. They run their Hitching Post as a ministry and their weddings are religious affairs with quotes from scripture, etc.

That does not matter.

According to the state, the Knapp’s must provide gay marriages if they are to marry anyone at all.

You will be made to care. The Knapp’s will be made to care. And all the people who said this would never happen will move the goal posts.

The post In Idaho, Christian Pastors Ordered to Perform Gay Marriages. You Will Be Made to Care. appeared first on RedState.

In The Mail [Small Dead Animals]

In 2016 the United Kingdom is a decayed subsidiary of the European Union. A group of entrepreneurs plans an insurrection...

Reader Tips [Small Dead Animals]

Tonight you're in for the biggest thrill ride of your life, as Ivor Cutler recounts Life in a Scots Sitting Room #2, Episode 1.

If you start hyperventilating, try breathing into a paper bag.

The comments are open, as always, for your Reader Tips.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Media Party [Small Dead Animals]

This is aardvarking unbelievable.

The online webpage of Toronto newspaper the Star is running a free 4-minute promo-piece/campaign ad for Justin Trudeau that auto-plays when you click on the link to what appears to be a newspaper article.

The blatant campaign ad - because that's what it is - is titled "Justin Trudeau's intimate conversation with Susan Delacourt". It's a curious title, because Delacourt is not seen or heard once in the entire four minute promo piece, which has on-screen chapter headings, brief moments showing Trudeau reading from his own memoir, and a video-scrapbook of lovingly presented images, processed with the Ken Burns effect, set to Trudeau's practiced, pandering voiceover.

This raises some serious questions.

How much did the Star pay for the production of this very professional looking, thinly-veiled campaign ad masquerading as an adjunct to an article about Trudeau's memoir? Does the Star have its own paid highly professional video/film production team on standby capable of making such a polished piece, or did they pay an outside production company to make it?

One would have to assume for the unknowing moment that the Liberal Party didn't produce or pay for it, or for any part of it, and that the Star didn't use or consult with even one single member of Trudeau's team to help write or craft or produce the video. But the Star broadcast it on the internet for free, with no trace of any reportage, or any commentary other than Trudeau's, under the guise of a "News / Insight" article. In doing so, is the Star acting as a journalistic organization, or as a member of Trudeau's election team?

If a news organization broadcasta over the internet a fawning, hagiographic puff-piece-slash-campaign ad, with a cloying, saccharine, daytime TV- music soundtrack, what does it say about the impartiality and quality of the rest of their "news" reporting?

Welcome to the Media Party Consortium's current modus operandi: Networks collude behind-the-scenes to try to keep paid Conservative ads off the airwaves if the ads use even one second of footage of Justin Trudeau. Almost simultaneously, scores of pundits, many of them from the print divisions of those same broadcast organizations, decry and vilify Conservative attempts to solidify long-standing legal precedents of fair usage of such footage. Now, a national newspaper broadcasts over the internet, and almost certainly produces and pays for, a clip that gives every appearance of being little more than an extended Justin Trudeau ad.

Anyone see a pattern here?

[Correction: an earlier version of the post had the ads also appearing in other newspapers. This was based on a glance at online search results, and appears to be incorrect. I apologize for the error.]

Q&A with Michael Kelly on crowdfunding the Year’s Best Weird Fiction [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

After reading Michael Kelly‘s posts about the organizational work needed to reward the contributors to the crowdfunding campaign behind the critically acclaimed anthology Year’s Best Weird Fiction Vol. 1, I contacted him for his comments on his work as series editor and on the complications of crowdfunding an anthology in the ebook era. Here are his […]

The post Q&A with Michael Kelly on crowdfunding the Year’s Best Weird Fiction appeared first on TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics.

Weekend Links: iBooks Author updated. Importance of Pseudonymous activity [TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics]

On the Importance of Pseudonymous Activity (Dear Author) On Saturday, author Kathleen Hale was given a platform on the Guardian, one of the most venerable book outlets in the English speaking world. Using that platform, she chronicles a months long stalking campaign to a Goodreads reviewer who Hale charactered as her number one critic. *** […]

The post Weekend Links: iBooks Author updated. Importance of Pseudonymous activity appeared first on TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics.

Yahoo! finally! releases! Flickr! app! for! iPad! BUT! shuns! Windows! fans! [The Register]

Purple Palace got selective hearing, much?

Yahoo! has finally developed a Flickr app for Apple's iPad – but the move has upset Microsoft Windows' fans who have accused the Purple Palace of having "selective hearing" about its userbase.…

Whisper chief: 'We're not infallible but strive to do right by our anonymous users' [The Register]

ILLEGAL ACTIVITY? 'Limited info is shared with Feds'

Whisper's CEO Michael Heyward responded late on Saturday to claims that his company's anonymous messaging app was quietly tracking the location of its users.…

Speeding, snowy SPACE ALIEN set for CLOSE SHAVE with Mars [The Register]

NASA to observe Comet Siding Spring whizz past Red Planet TODAY

Pic  A cosmic rock that is older than mankind is expected to come within 87,000 miles (139,500 km) of Mars today.…

Are you a gun owner? Let us in OR ELSE, say Blighty's top cops [The Register]

Populist campaign goes off at half cock

Downrange  The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has announced a legal tweak intended to allow police officers to turn up at the homes of gun owners, without warning, and demand to inspect guns stored on the premises. A new Crimestoppers hotline is also in operation to encourage people to dob in gun owners they suspect of wrongdoing. However, as even the police themselves admit, gun crime is falling.…

'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts [The Register]

UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'

The Tory-led government is hoping to push through amendments to existing legislation in England and Wales to crack down on trolls who post malicious comments online.…

Steve Jobs' bio man tackles geeks who 'created the digital revolution' [The Register]

The Innovators: Explained

Page File  This is an enthralling but slightly flawed read written by Walter Isaacson – of Steve Jobs' authorised biography fame.…

Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future [The Register]

We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers

CoTW  What's more important: Angry Birds or the Space Shuttle? According to one Register commentard, it's the former. No, really - and yes, it's time for Comment of the Week once again.…

Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ... [The Register]

Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead

Worstall @ the Weekend  As is ever the case, by the time squares have caught on to the value of whatever hipsters have been doing this week, the latter are off doing something else entirely. Much the same happens with economic fashions: it takes time for those not actually involved in the subject to grok to what the cool kids are saying and by the time they do actually grasp it it's all entirely out of date.…

'George Orwell was an OPTIMIST. Show me a search history, I'll show you a perv or a crook' [The Register]

Hm. Do optimists really have more fun?

QuoTW  Google researchers came clean about a nasty little security vulnerability they discovered in SSL 3.0 this week, though not before El Reg first caught wind of it.…

Want a more fuel efficient car? Then redesign it – here's how [The Register]

43mpg from a Jaguar XJ-S

Crawling from the Wreckage  Cars are mass-produced consumer products sold to users who mostly know very little about them. They are optimised to make a profit for the manufacturer, so low build cost is paramount for most manufacturers – which automatically excludes many design and engineering ideas that would raise efficiency. John Watkinson has been busy in the garage and applied those concepts to his own vehicle and found that they work.

'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?' [The Register]

Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing

eXpat Files  Welcome once again to The eXpat files, our Vulture Weekend feature in which readers who've well and truly left the nest explain what it's like to ply their technological trade in another land.…

Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots [The Register]

We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already

TV Review  El Reg's resident Doctor Who fans – Brid-Aine Parnell, Gavin Clarke and Jennifer Baker – have come together to discuss the plot of tonight's episode, Flatline.…

Apple's new iPADS have begun the WAR that will OVERTURN the NETWORK WORLD [The Register]

It'll get properly serious once Google comes in

Analysis  Well, Tim Cook has cried "havoc" and let slip the SIM dogs of war. For several years Apple has sought to replace the hardware SIM card, and hand itself ultimate control over which mobile network the consumer can choose. With the latest iPads, it has finally implemented the strategy.…

This trailer turns 'Wall-E' into an animated version of 'Interstellar' [The Verge - All Posts]

Wall-E is one of Pixar's finest films, but what if that adorable little robot was just a bit more... epic? A teenaged filmmaker named Bobby Burns has decided to do just that by giving the film the Christopher Nolan treatment. The trailer swaps Wall-E's heart-warming tone for that of Nolan's upcoming space opera, Interstellar. That means the fate of mankind rests in the hands (claws?) of the endearing Wall-E instead of a grizzled astronaut played by Matthew McConaughey. In all seriousness, though, the trailer speaks volumes to the power of editing and sound. With some carefully-selected scenes from the film and some Hans Zimmer-selected music blasting in the background, this trailer is a pretty good imitation of Christopher Nolan's style.


Continue reading…

Latest leak gives best look yet at Motorola's Droid Turbo [The Verge - All Posts]

Motorola's next Verizon-exclusive Android phone hasn't been announced, but a number of leaks have left very little to the imagination. Now we're getting our best look yet at the device, called the Droid Turbo. An official press image, obtained by prolific leaker @evleaks, shows the device in both its red and black getups. Unfortunately, the phone just isn't very good looking, though these press images do make the black, Kevlar-equipped phone look a bit less ugly. Nevertheless, what's inside the phone is very promising. It's expected to have a quad HD display, a Snapdragon 805 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. That's not to mention the killer spec: a gargantuan, 3,900mAh battery. That thing should be hard to drain.

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Beats celebrates LeBron's homecoming with another epic commercial [The Verge - All Posts]

You can try shutting Beats out of the NFL, but there's nothing you can do about the company's impeccable advertising. The new NBA season gets underway this month, and Beats has teamed up with the league's biggest star, LeBron James, for its latest campaign. This long-form ad — which isn't the first to come from Beats — focuses entirely on James' homecoming and his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. And yes, you'll see Beats‬‬ earbuds showcased prominently the whole time; Beats very much wants everyone to know that LeBron wears them while training.

But beyond the product placement, we see LeBron's intense gym regimen intertwined with flashbacks to his past: the Spring Hill apartments that served as his first "stable home", LeBron...

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Google opened Nexus Player pre-orders before receiving FCC certification [The Verge - All Posts]

When it comes to the living room, it seems Google just can't catch a break. Pre-orders for the company's latest effort, the Nexus Player, started briefly on Friday, but there was a bit of a problem. The Asus-made device hadn't yet been approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). As a result, Google was embarrassingly forced to shut down pre-orders just as soon as they began.

As a message on the Google Play store explains, "This device has not been approved by the Federal Communications Commission. It is not for sale until approval of the FCC has been obtained." Among other duties, the agency certifies devices that emit electromagnetic radiation, and such products must be approved before going on sale in the US.


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Snapchat just ran its first ad and it's for 'Ouija' [The Verge - All Posts]

Making good on CEO Evan Spiegel's announcement earlier this month, Snapchat ran its first ad this weekend. The brief spot was a sponsored story for the upcoming horror film Ouija, and it's safe to assume that more ads of that stripe are on the way.

Snapchat promised earlier this week that its first ads wouldn't be "creepy," and the end result seems to be fairly unobtrusive — more in line with the teasers that have popped up on other platforms like Instagram and Vine. However, some users were a little creeped out by the movie popping up in their feeds:

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The Verge Playlist: Brian Eno [The Verge - All Posts]

There was a New Yorker article, published over the summer, explaining how musician-producer Brian Eno allowed randomness to take control of his work, which by now has directly or indirectly touched some of the greatest bands in the popular music canon — he's produced albums for David Bowie and Talking Heads, and created solo works that are strange little gems of their own. The article went on to argue that certain projects may have been worse off for having Eno's sensibilities — ambient tones, electronic instruments, some other elements I can't easily identify — in the mix. Maybe. Things get pretty weird with the guy around. But it's never a novelty: for all the randomness, there's a method, even with the odd track best described as...

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Watch Jony Ive explain Apple's design process in a rare public interview [The Verge - All Posts]

Earlier this month, Apple chief designer Jony Ive appeared on stage for a rare interview during the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit. You can now watch the 25-minute-long interview on YouTube. Ive is characteristically deliberate with his words as he answers a number of questions posed by Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter. While Ive does let loose at one point, summarily criticizing those who mimic his designs, most of the interview provides a simple but intriguing view into a man who often keeps far from the public eye.

Ive certainly doesn't let loose any of Apple's closely-guarded secrets, but he does reveal a few details about the design process. A small team of roughly 17 is involved in the company's core industrial design efforts,...

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Flickr's iPad app is exactly what you'd expect – and that's a good thing [The Verge - All Posts]

Flickr finally has an iPad app — just four and a half years after Apple's tablet first hit store shelves. Fortunately, Flickr fans should be happy with the results. The new app takes cues from Yahoo's revamped Weather, Finance, and Mail apps, which means lots of big, pretty photos, transparent menus, and skinny, sans serif fonts. That means it's an attractive app, and it turns out it's good at doing its job, too.

High-resolution photos are front and center, and they sure look good on those Retina display iPads. If you're a Flickr user, everything you'd expect is here. You can comment, fave, and share photos. In addition, you can view the detailed information pages for photos to geek out on the camera settings used to take that killer...

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The Quality Of Metal 3-D-Printed Objects [Transterrestrial Musings]

Looks like it’s about to exceed any other fabrication technology: “We can now control local material properties, which will change the future of how we engineer metallic components,” Dehoff said. “This new manufacturing method takes us from reactive design to proactive design. It will help us make parts that are stronger, lighter and function better […]

Judith Curry’s WSJ Op-Ed [Transterrestrial Musings]

She rounds up the (hysterical and unhinged) reactions: Climate science has been thrown into disarray by the hiatus, disagreement between climate model and instrumental estimates of climate sensitivity, uncertainties in carbon uptake by plants, and diverging interpretations of ocean heating (in the face of a dearth of observations). ‘Certainty’ arguably peaked at the time of […]

Curing Alzheimer’s [Transterrestrial Musings]

…with a ketogenic diet? Ketone esters are in a class of supplements called “generally recognized as safe” or GRAS by the FDA. They are expensive, difficult to find, and taste nasty (I’ve smelled some, and it was a bit like salty urine). There are no long term studies of the safety of these supplements in […]

Being Bullied As A Geeky Kid [Transterrestrial Musings]

“Lessons I learned.” Good advice, from Annalee Newitz.


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Swift Blog - Apple Developer XML 2014-10-19 14:07 2014-10-19 14:17
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