Saturday, January 31, 2015

Now it's goats against rats

In Bremerton they are calling in the goats to reduce the prevalence of rats. But the goats will be called in to do what they do best - eat blackberry bushes!

Seattle Times

Friday, January 30, 2015

Seahawk victory!!

Patriots Peanuts

We are ready for the Superbowl with the best defense in the NFL. Oddsshark

The Hawks are busy this week getting ready for the game while the Patriots are busy explaining how 11 of 12 of their game balls could be under inflated at halftime while all the Indianapolis Colts’ balls were within the rules. NESN How could anyone suspect the Patriots of cheating? Coach Belichik was fined $500,000 and a first-round draft choice in 2007 for cheating. ESPN

But the Hawks won’t win by citing history. They will win by scoring while holding back the Patriots offense.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Harvard Library - Prof Eliot's 5-foot bookshelf

The Harvard Library

The publisher P F Collier and Son over 100 years ago asked the president of Harvard to build a list of books he recommended to provide an overview of Western civilization. His list was 50 volumes - some of which are one book; others are two or three works. It is known as Prof Eliot's 5-foot bookshelf of 1910. Later Prof Eliot also did a series of fiction - seventeen volumes. (Though the original list contains some fiction.)

In print: they sold thousands of copies. Used sets are always available at Ebay.

Online - Prof Eliot’s five-foot library at Open Cultures is the overview. They lead to the following four online sources for the full set.

Eliott's FULL texts, the scanned originals are at Archive.org

Internet Archive is actually at archive.org. It has the full set in plain text, Epub, Kindle, PDF for download and html (for online reading)… and some I am not familiar with.

At Project Gutenberg. They have four formats: plain text, Epub, Kindle for download and html (for online)

And Bartleby has the full set in html for online reading:

I learned about this in Weekly Standard magazine.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Race to Alaska

ST Race to Alaska map

To Alaska by water, w/o motor.

In June, 2015 some brave souls will race from Port Townsend, WA to Ketchikan, Alaska. Human and wind power only, no motors of any kind. No support. Of course contestants will be stopping at ports along the way — it would be way less fun if they couldn’t stop — but no support boats. And they must carry normal safety gear and a GPS locator.

Simple, but a big challenge.

Race to Alaska

Seattle Times

Friday, January 23, 2015

Free speech already dead in Europe

Free speech is dead in Europe. The Islamists certainly want it dead, but it’s the Europeans who killed it.

Benny Huang at Patriot Update

… Free speech is dead in Europe and while it is certainly tempting to blame the immigrants, as intolerant as they may be, it would also be folly. The real culprits are the cowardly, hedonistic, post-Christian, post-industrial native born white majority.

The three bestial al-Qaeda terrorists who murdered twelve people at Charlie Hebdo HQ might seem like menacing enemies of free speech but they’re actually bush league amateurs when it comes to gagging people. The real pros are sitting behind desks in the various capitals of Europe. Nearly every European nation extends some guarantee of free speech to its citizens, and nearly every one of them flagrantly violates that guarantee.

… The authorities in Britain arrest people who harbor banned ideas, and believe me, I’ve got a lot of them. Clegg’s prescient countryman, Eric Blair (George Orwell) predicted this phenomenon nearly seventy years ago and gave it a name—thoughtcrime.

Thought criminals should take notice that they will find no shelter in today’s United Kingdom. Little more than a week before the cartoon jihadists spilled French blood, police in Scotland tweeted the following threat: “Please be aware that we will continue to monitor comments on social media & any offensive comments will be investigated.” Offensive to whom, exactly? They don’t say. But in a free society it shouldn’t matter a lick. Offensive comments are exactly the kind of comments that free speech is designed to protect. Innocuous comments don’t require protection.

… On the Continent, outspoken MP Geert Wilders faces criminal prosecution under “hate speech” laws for comments he made about immigration. At a rally in the Hague he asked a crowd “Do you want more or fewer Moroccans?” to which they chanted, “Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!” Mindless xenophobia? I don’t think so, though it’s also irrelevant. Free speech protects mindless xenophobia.
Nor is everyone feeling the spirit of freedom after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Swedish MP Veronica Palm contacted the police to report that another MP of an opposing party, Bjoern Soeder, might have violated Swedish law with a comment he posted on Facebook concerning the terrorist attack in Paris. “’The Religion of Peace’ shows its face,” he said, clearly indicating with his use of derisive quotes that he doubts Islam’s pacifistic nature, as many people do. His nemesis Veronica Palm declared: “This statement is offensive to a group of people and I want to see if it comes under laws against inciting racial hatred.” Ms. Palm apparently does not understand that Islam is not a race. Even if it were, free speech guarantees the right to make racist comments as well.
Are we much better? Oh, a little bit, I suppose. Anyone who thinks that free speech is alive and well in America ought to experience the suffocating environment of academia. If you happen to be on a college campus and you still think America guarantees a healthy exchange of controversial ideas then you’re probably one of the drones who keeps the rest of us line. Good for you.

Europe, however, is a decade or two ahead of us in the downward slide toward mind control. Governmental censorship has infested the birthplaces of Voltaire and John Stuart Mill.

Via No Pasaran!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Longshoremen slow down West Coast ports

For months the longshoremen were claiming they were working as normal, despite clear evidence.

Ask Tom Riggan, CEO of Chelan Fresh. His cold storage is full of fruit and only half of his orders were able to ship through the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. Chilean Fresh had to lay off 250 employees and reduce 70 from full-time to part-time. Seattle Times

Also ask Blaine Calaway of Ellensburg

Blaine Calaway, vice president of sales for Ellensburg-based Calaway Trading, which ships grains, forages and hay products through the Seattle and Tacoma ports destined for Asia mainly as animal feed.

Calaway said he has had to reduce his employees’ hours by half — at a time when his employees usually are working overtime.

The longshoremen are not on strike. True. They are getting regular pay while slowing down loading, way down. 

The Washington suppliers being hurt are losing business now - and in the future. If customers cannot get the Washington fruit or grain they ordered they will buy from competitors, competitors in other countries.

Riggan, with Chelan Fresh, said he is worried about the same thing — specifically competitors buying Red Delicious apples from Italy. One customer in Taiwan has already started supplementing the limited orders it has received from Chelan with Italian apples.

“My fear is — once someone gets their foot in the door, the next year they can be your competition,” he said.

When the labor face-off is over will the officers of ILWU Local 19 help market Washington products to regain the markets they had last year, but lost due to this slowdown?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Martin Luther King, Jr.

We honor the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. today with a national holiday. We honor him for his brave battle against racism to get equal rights for people of all races. And for the nonviolent way he did it.

But you and I are restricted from hearing his words by his family. They have ownership rights and you can’t hear or see his words unless they make money. Having a national holiday would be enough for most people, but not them. USA Today

Churches and businesses torched in Niger

Niger ninos guardando ganado

Religion of peace update. Ten dead. Churches and businesses were torched in Niger this weekend. Also a Christian school and an orphanage. An orphanage?

It was Muslims protesting the publishing in Charlie Hebdo of Mohammed cartoons. Protesting?

According to Newsmax 45 churches were torched.

According to All Africa it was 8 churches plus many businesses and five civilians dead in Niamey, and another five in Zinder.

 Photo: Kids guarding “el ganado,” the herd. From WorldRaider.com.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Italy's economy > Germany >> Luxembourg

Italy is in better shape than Germany? Not by the measures now used for big decisions.

But Laurence Kotlikoff says there is a better measure; it’s already being calculated, but not being used in the EU’s main measures. He says Europe should use the infinite-horizon fiscal gap instead of debt versus GDP.

Making Sense at PBS

… Now the Germans will be stuck. For the only way to properly measure a country’s fiscal status is via its infinite-horizon fiscal gap. And on a fiscal gap measure, Italy is in far better shape than Germany.

A country’s fiscal gap is the present value of all its projected future expenditure commitments net of all its projected future tax receipts. Whether the expenditure commitments are called one thing or another doesn’t matter to the fiscal gap. All commitments are put on the books.
Economists have been slow to realize that the official debt and its annual change – the deficit — measures fiscal language, not fiscal policy. But the profession is now clear on the point.

… 

Fiscal gaps are measured as the share of GDP needed to be raised each year in additional taxes to permit the government to meet all its expenditure commitments through time, including those labeled “debt service.” The most recent measurement of EU fiscal gaps was done in 2012 for 24 member states by the European Commission. The results are shown in Table 3.5 of the European Commission’s Fiscal Sustainability Report 2012.

Luxembourg, with its 9.7 percent of GDP fiscal gap, is in the worst shape of the included EU countries. The next biggest fiscal profligate is Belgium with a 7.4 percent gap. The Netherland’s 5.9 percent gap, the UK’s 5.2 percent gap, Finland’s 5.1 percent gap, and Spain’s 4.8 percent fiscal gap are also quite large. France and Germany, on the other hand, are close to fiscal balance with fiscal gaps of 1.6 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

As for Italy, its fiscal gap of negative 2.3 percent is the lowest of any of the 24 included countries.

This is shown in table 3.5 and graph 3.4 about page 42 of European Commission Financial Sustainability Report 2012 (PDF)

—— 

Kotlikoff also points out that many prominent economists have called on the US to use infinite-horizon fiscal gap accounting, The Inform Act

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Cringe: Kerry tells France: You've got a friend

Esteemed Secretary of State John Kerry (Did you know he served in Vietnam?) skipped the march in Paris to support freedom of the press versus Islam jihad January 9 that included 40 heads of state. So to make up for that huge error he decided to show the people of France that we in the US are with them.

He brought James Taylor with him Friday to sing "You’ve got a friend.” Cringe. It embarrasses me to watch it. The video is embedded here - Newsbusters.

But the US government-controlled media failed to mention it. Don’t they find it news-worthy when the US Secretary of State embarrasses his country before the whole world? More from Newsbusters.

History note: In 1970 Taylor burst on the scene with the song Sweet Baby James and was an instant sensation. It’s acoustic and quiet… and influenced a generation.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Our Pacific Northwest maritime heritage

NW heritage fishing dory

For us maritime fans there is a site showing present and past… attractions, lighthouses, organizations and ships/boats. It has a wealth of information. For example, 24 lighthouses (must be all of them?) and 29 museums. I didn’t know there was a maritime museum in Raymond; we drive through there when we go to Astoria or Long Beach.

Northwest Maritime Heritage site

Greenbay's strategy weapon

WSJ Green Bay  Catan

Greenbay's strategy weapon

No. It’s not cheese. Greenbay Packers players bide their time with a tough game - Settlers of Catan. A group of them play whenever they can.

Wall Street Journal - subscription required.

(Sometimes the pay wall can be bypassed by a Google search: "Green Bay’s Board-Game Obsession”.)

They are very, very serious:

But [backup quarterback] Flynn said the players take it so seriously that when he stopped by to play for the first time after a win last month, he was shocked by what happened when he attempted to turn on some celebratory music.

“I was just trying to play some music—some Pearl Jam, and [Bakhtiari] wouldn’t let me. He wanted to hear the players talk and strategize. He was very serious,” Flynn said. “They take it to a different level.”

Graphic: Wall Street Journal

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Insider says to replace Obama's people in White House

Leslie Gelb is a Demo insider and he is fed up. He says Obama’s team has failed, but not only have they fail, they can’t see that they failed.

He says to fire all of his inner core, especially in the White House…. including John Kerry (“Do you know who I am?”*).

Daily Beast

The failure of Obama or Biden to show up in Paris made clear that most of the president’s team can’t be trusted to conduct U.S national security policy and must be replaced—at once.

Here’s why America’s failure to be represented at the Paris unity march was so profoundly disturbing. It wasn’t just because President Obama’s or Vice President Biden’s absence was a horrendous gaffe. More than this, it demonstrated beyond argument that the Obama team lacks the basic instincts and judgment necessary to conduct U.S. national security policy in the next two years. It’s simply too dangerous to let Mr. Obama continue as is—with his current team and his way of making decisions. America, its allies, and friends could be heading into one of the most dangerous periods since the height of the Cold War.

Mr. Obama will have to excuse most of his inner core, especially in the White House. He will have to replace them with strong and strategic people of proven foreign policy experience.

* That’s what Kerry says when he treats people in Massachusetts like dirt.

Quick release of felony criminals in King County?

Dow Constantine needs to save money on jails and justice. So he wants to quickly release those arrested for felonies. !?

Even Mayor Ed Murray opposes.

Seattle Times

Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas is among those opposed to the book-and-release plan.

“Washington state has the highest property-crime rate in the United States of America,” Thomas said. “The way to deal with that is not less accountability by letting people out of jail but is looking for ways to effectively address the issue.”

Thomas cited an analysis by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs indicating that there were over 12,000 auto thefts in King County.

“That’s more than Snohomish, Pierce, Clark, Spokane and Thurston counties combined,” Thomas said. “The majority of the property crime is happening in King County, and we need to address that.”

Property-crime suspects, Thomas said, “need to be held in custody until they see a judge, even if it’s just a few days.”

Thomas said he and other law-enforcement leaders need to “get to work to come up with solutions to address the issue.”

“We can’t have this happen,” he added.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Dems lost because they didn't sell their tax increases

Go, guys! Make your case for tax increases. Louder!

They say they lost to the Republicans in November because…. I can’t make their case; quotes below

Wash Times

House Democrats, fresh off massive election losses, say the problem is they didn’t make a bold enough case for tax increases and wealth transfer to the poor. They rectified that Monday with a speech by Rep. Chris Van Hollen proposing tax increases on the wealthy with the money going straight to tax cuts for the poor and middle class.

And many more ideas. Why didn’t they do these things when they had control?

And reading their list clearly one of their key goals is to increase the complexity of our tax code. They have little handouts all over the place.

Americans have the right to be stupid - John Kerry

Consider the source: "Americans have the right to be stupid"

-- John Kerry at a news conference at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin February 26, 2013. Reuters

This weekend we saw that esteemed Mr. Kerry claims the right also. Instead of walking with 40 heads of state in Paris in solidarity with the victims of jihadist bombings in France, Kerry was in India. Why didn’t he attend? Seattle Times

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Top ten volcanos for 2014

Nishinoshima Japan

Even the runners up are interesting. Erik Klemetti has a blog about volcanoes at Wired. He held a poll for the top ten volcanic events of 2014. The competition is rough; even #9 Mt Etna has lava spattering.

#7 Nishinoshima Island in Japan today is ten times its size one year ago; yes, the lava built it up to ten times the size. The lava approaching the town of Pahoa on Hawaii’s Big island is #6.  #5 Kelut, Indonesia forced 100,000 people to flee. And there are four even better.

Eruptions at Wired

Photo: Nishinoshima Island, Japan. The warmer colors are the current flow! Photo from Japan Coast Guard

Friday, January 09, 2015

500 miles in a self-driving car - boring

They need it to be dull, of course. The non-driver knows what to do, but never has to do anything - while on a highway.

Wired