We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, September 24. 2013
We shall continue below the fold.
Continue reading "NCIS: Tonight's the night"
Saturday, September 21. 2013
I believe Bird Dog and the missus have taken off for the famous Annual Two-Seed-In-The-Spirit Predestinarian Baptist Revival And Used Gun Sale in Woostah, Mass (only true New Englanders will know where that is), so I'm doing today's morning links.
First off, here's an official 'scoop' for ya. Sites like PJ Media and Hot Air are always linking to the latest Solyndra-type 'green' company going belly-up, with the most recent one being Ecotality, a maker of electric car charging stations. Here's a fresh one hot off the press:
That 'do nothing' link contains this gem:
So, if I'm reading the gist of the article correctly, it's better to be civic-minded than sit around playing video games. I think we can all agree with that sentiment.
Speaking of religions, here's a great article demolishing the whole 'sea levels rising' meme:
And two articles on the EPA's war on coal:
No, wait, I got that backwards. The Pope is asking Catholics not to get all worked up about such trivialities as abortion, gay marriage and contraception.
Since atheists are now included in the congregation, I presume he's talking about fringe groups like disenchanted Two-Seed-In-The-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists. Look out, Mr. & Mrs. Bird Dog — the Pope is gunning for you!
Speaking of religions, you might have read how the professional grievance-mongers want to do away with the Washington 'Redskins' name, because of its obvious horrific racist overtones. You know, along with the Kansas City Chiefs, the Atlanta Braves and, especially, the Cleveland Indians, because there's no more horrid and racist word for an American Indian to be called than 'Indian'.
Here's the best article I've read yet on the subject.
The last line of the article is one for the books.
Speaking of religions, the professional racemongers at CNN are still hard at work. After the Zimmerman trial, I noted CNN's top headline a few days later here. Well, an India-Indian woman won the Miss America pageant last weekend and a couple of lunatics came out of the woodwork making racist comments.
Blaring from the CNN headlines the next morning:
What's to note is that not one other news agency mentioned racism in their own articles that day. I'd be willing to bet even money that CNN staffers wrote a bunch of them in order to fit the preordained headline.
As I write in Of The Moon And Mushrooms, the mushroom in the above article, 'fly agaric', aka Amanita Muscaria, in conjunction with other natural phenomena, might have been the first building blocks of religion. Imagine all those Arizonans eating the things and inventing 225 new religions!
On the galactic scene, I mentioned this bad boy about six months ago and here's an update:
Think you have good eyes? Think you can spot a photoshopped picture when you see one? The following image of Putin and Obama is obviously photoshopped, but the question is, what obvious telltale sign gives it away?
President Obama rides sidesaddle.
Friday, September 20. 2013
I have an intro to him here. Carry on, Stilty!
This will cover generally cleaning your keyboard, thoroughly cleaning your keyboard, and repair.
A lot of keyboards over the years have been tossed in the trash "because the (fill in blank) key stopped working!" That's not to be confused with the Any Key not working, which we'll cover later.
If a key starts getting a little erratic or stops working altogether, chances are it's just a piece of grit that got in between the two layers of plastic sheets that reside inside the unit. The ESC key going out is the most common, just because it sits up in the corner by itself near the edge of the plastic sheets where a piece of grit could sneak in.
Amazingly, of all the pieces of computer gear, this is the one item you actually can fix yourself, and without a lot of effort. Just take a large garden hose and-, no, wait, I'm getting ahead of the story.
Continue reading "Doc's Computin' Tips: The keyboard"
Monday, September 16. 2013
The problem with the audio coming out of computers is that there simply isn't very much power, mainly because they're only designed for those little computer speakers. If you want to play a song or movie on the computer and have it sound decent, you need to use a couple of normal room speakers.
The hitch there is that normal speakers need a lot more power to get moving than a computer can provide. So the answer is to use something like this:
That's an AudioSource AMP-100 Stereo Power Amplifier, $103 on Amazon.
It's important to note when shopping for amplifiers that there are two different power ratings; RMS, the real amount of power, and 'peak power', the peak it can hit for a millisecond, which is basically worthless. If you search around Amazon for "speaker amplifier", you'll see a number of ads for a cheaper brand called 'Pyle', which cheats by advertising the peak power. Their "100-watt" unit is actually 10 watts of RMS power — which isn't much more than the computer has. So you have to be careful differentiating between the two. The AudioSource unit, above, is 100 watts RMS, or 50 watts a channel.
The speakers, themselves, also make a difference. Some older 4'-high monsters might not be near as 'efficient' as a smaller, newer 'bookshelf' model, and are going to require more power to get them to a loud level without distortion.
Along the same lines, how loud you plan on playing them enters the picture. For just your average speaker played at an average room level, 100 watts should be fine, but if you're planning on cranking them up, you'd better think in terms of 200 watts or higher. That'll also require much bigger bucks.
In all honesty, I can't officially recommend any brand over another, simply because I haven't bought one of these in decades, but the above info should get you going if you want to search around, and don't forget the user reviews at the bottom of the page.
And speaking of user reviews, there's an important point to be made if you're buying the above unit. Apparently, the 'Line 1' input has some kind of goofy feature that automatically mutes the volume if it doesn't sense any input, so use 'Line 2', which operates normally. The user reviews loved the unit but hated that feature, with a number of them bitching and moaning because they hadn't bothered to read the manual and thus didn't know that 'Line 2' doesn't use the feature.
The one other piece of equipment you'll need is this rascal:
The stereo 'mini-pin' plug on the left goes into the 'Audio Out' jack on the back of the tower and the two 'RCA cup jacks' plug into the back of the amp. Hook the speakers up to the amp and you should be good to go.
Update: Reader 'rhhardin' suggested a Radio Shack Ground Loop Isolator, so keep that in mind if you get any humming out of the speakers. It sometimes occurs when two power supplies are involved, in this case the computer and the amp.
As for there being four speaker jacks, while you could probably play four smallish bookshelf speakers at a normal volume without distortion, I wouldn't plan on anything bigger. If you don't mind snipping off the jacks of your existing computer speakers, you could wire them into the 'Speaker A' slot and put the room speakers on 'B', then switch back and forth as needs be.
Saturday, September 14. 2013
My personal feeling is, if nature can create this...
...then it can create pretty much anything.
"Oh, Doc, that's such bullshit! Evolution, create the eye? Get serious! What's next, interlocking gears?"
Well, uh, actually, yes.
Learn somethin' new every day.
Of course, not everyone might agree. My own post on the 'How we got here' question is here.
Friday, September 13. 2013
About five years ago I needed a tire for my Firebird. The guy who owned it before me apparently wasn't a very good parallel parker and the right-front was all chewed up.
Being on a Firebird, it was a pretty hefty piece of meat, so I knew it was going to be a little pricey.
I first called a Cuban buddy of mine up in Miami and asked him if he had any buds in the biz, which he did. I gave him the size, he did some inquiring, and his buddy's best price was $135. Given that the local Goodyear place wanted $168, that sounded like a winner.
But then I figured I should probably call the local tire shops and ask them if they had any 'specials' going on. You never can tell. I called two of them.
"Hi, got any specials going on?"
"Okay, thanks, bye."
Then I noticed some tiny place called something like "Bill's Tires". This time I didn't ask about any specials, just explained what I needed. Ol' Bill fumbled around in the catalog for a minute.
The shop was a block away.
Bought the tire, it looked just the others, worked perfectly.
When it all began, I would have bet you that $89 that (1) the most expensive quote I'd get would be here in our exclusive little tropical island paradise hideaway, and (2) my buddy's buddy, who owned a tire shop up in Cubantown, would have the cheapest.
$89 instead of $135. One block away.
It pays to shop around.
And, given what we've seen in past online-vs-retail stories, this next one is a little bizarre.
Continue reading "It pays to shop around"
Wednesday, September 11. 2013
♪ Oh, say can you see,
While I don't think any of these would fall under the heading of 'earthshakingly critical', there might be the odd occasion, like the above, where it would be fun to throw one or two into a comment or email.
For standard special fonts (is that an oxymoron?), like é con acento or the tilde in señor, they're all right there on the top panel of the Character Map program, found in Start Menu, Programs, Accessories, System Tools. First select 'Arial' at the top, double-click on the character you want, hit the 'Copy' button to copy it to memory, then hit Ctrl-V to paste it into the editor.
And you have zee perfect résumé!
Pic: Sorry, the artist screwed up. He thought I said special founts.
There are, however, a handful of oddball fonts that only reside in some offbeat font set or in only one common set in an odd place on the panel. The hitch is that we only have the default Windows fonts to work with, which basically means Arial, Verdana, Tahoma and Times New Roman. If you use a special font from a different font set and the reader doesn't have that particular font on their system, it won't be displayed.
B → R B □!
Be there or be square!
The adventure continues below the fold.
Continue reading "Doc's Computin' Tips: Special fonts"
Tuesday, September 10. 2013
As the earth continues its petty refusal to cooperate with the warmists, we've been having loads of fun watching them get more and more desperate. We've recently had terrorism, violence, war, $80 trillion in damage and the North Pole turning into a picturesque lake officially linked with AGW, and then I noted in my post last Sunday how they're also elevating the scare tactics.
Today's clever ruse is brought to you by the good folks at RealClearPolitics, and a nice — if not downright informative — piece it is. It's always good when some science guy does his best to dispel misinformation.
Genuine Controversies in Science
That last one, however, only gets ½ point because of a personal story. My mom fell off a horse when she was 9 and suffered a small neck pain for something like 55 years. She tried everything, from neurologists to acupressure, as well as a couple of chiropractors. One day a friend mentioned some old semi-retired guy who had performed some chiropractic miracle on a friend of hers. My mom went to see him. After the second visit, she was cured forever.
And no, Virginia, the Hadron Collider won't cause a black hole to gobble up the earth. And, I'm sorry to say, cold fusion is pure bunk. Nuclear power, however, is quite safe. Finally, yes, GMOs, or genetically-modified organisms (food in this case), are perfectly healthy.
Oops, wait, I forgot one. It was slipped into the #9 slot and I accidentally clicked past it.
Climate Change Is Largely Manmade
As it clearly states:
Uh, hold on a sec, will ya? Something about that is ringing a bell.
Oh, right, that "past few decades" part. The past few decades is how long it's been since it has warmed up. I remember now.
But an excellent try, nonetheless, RealClearPolitics, and a big gold star for the 8½ items you did get right. As I said, it's always admirable when someone steps up to the plate and tackles the tough ones.
Even if it is only a fake-out to couch the real message.
Kim recently came out with an article titled 5 Bad Tech Habits -- And How To Break Them, so I thought I'd skim through the piece and toss in a few tidbits. She's right on all of them, but some need a bit of elaboration or clarification. I suggest you read the article first.
From the top:
1. Forgetting to clean
She's 100% correct about using some kind of handy-wipe for anything with buttons on it, like a phone or keyboard. You get the the littlest bit of something like 409 under the buttons or keys and it'll turn into a thick sludge over time. I spray 409 onto a paper towel for the chore, but you have to be careful not to use too much.
As for maintaining a clean keyboard, I adhere to a rule I've been using almost from the beginning. If I get up and actually do anything, like step outside and touch something or lift up a box or whatever, I give my hands a quick rinse before returning to the computer. I'm not trying to be antiseptic; just knock off whatever's on the surface.
We'll dive below the fold for the rest.
Continue reading "Doc's Computin' Tips: Bad tech habits"
Monday, September 9. 2013
1. He gave the UN inspectors complete run of the place in their investigation. Compare that to Iran giving the UN nuke inspectors extremely limited access.
2. He was already handily beating the rebels back and thus had no reason to throw himself into the spotlight and incur international wrath.
You know how those crime shows are always focusing on motive?
And there's a secondary meme that's evolved in recent days that I believe is off the mark. This blurb from the Washington Times incorporates both:
In my opinion, it has nothing to with a 'distaste for more war' and everything to do with the following. Even site favorite James Taranto is on board the 'Assad Did It' bandwagon, and, as sharp and focused as he is, he seems to have completely overlooked the one key word in his column here. Let's see if you can spot it:
Alleged. And, James, if something is only alleged, then only a total moron would take such devastating and possibly far-reaching action on it. Far-reaching, that is, if you count Iran closing down the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation.
The bottom line is that Americans don't like going to war over an alleged anything.
Another media-driven misconception that's been there from the start is that the rebels are 'moderates' and thus are the good guys. Kerry's used the word "moderates" in every speech he's given on the subject. But such is hardly the case.
And here's yet one more meme the protectionist media is pushing, the 'reluctant' president:
So I guess Libya doesn't count.
I included this link in my last Syria update:
And two fresher ones:
And, to his credit, Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air, who's been 100% certain it was Assad from day one, might be changing his tune:
The most amusing part of the entire drama, of course, is watching the squishy liberal media dance around the issue. Saddam Hussein gasses 250,000 Iraqi Kurds, Bush wants to stop him, and that's a bad thing. Assad gasses his people, Obama wants to stop him, and that's a good thing. Gosh, I wonder what the difference in those two wildly-opposed attitudes could be?
Then you throw in the doubt of who really gassed the citizenry and, if it actually was al-Qaeda, now you're saying we should fight on the side of al-Qaeda?
So it's good to know who the real culprit is.
And then we have the most jaw-dropping and unexpected headline in the history of the world:
It's a brand new day, folks.
Sunday, September 8. 2013
Pic: Just back from his vacation, the big guy feels fresh and invigorated.
As I've noted in past NASA posts, I've been a huge fan of the space program from the beginning, and have watched all of the major launches over the years. When Story Musgrave and his valiant crew fixed the Hubble back in '93, I was hitting the sack at 9 in the evening and getting up at 3 to watch it live.
Then the bad news started trickling in.
The problem is that they've had half a century to deal with the first problem, and that ol' 'treadmill routine' just isn't cutting it. And they're just as clueless — if not just as helpless — with the second problem.
So it's actually kind of sad to see articles like these floating around, misleading people into thinking that whole 'space exploration' business is doable at this point in time:
"Well, we're all blind and too weak to lift a finger — but we made it!"
It was 1973 and I was working at a high-end stereo shop in Keene, NH. Owning a 12-string, I was obviously very intimate with guitar-tuning. This was the dawn of PC chips, remember, and suddenly one came out that could 'read' audio frequencies. It occurred to me that you could incorporate twelve of them to look for a specific frequency and send a plus or minus signal to a mini-servomotor attached to each tuning key, telling it to turn one direction or the other. You'd strum the guitar once and they'd all kick into gear.
He's threatening you.
Since it's Sunday and we're just horsing around, I'll run through his little list, just for practice:
Tornadoes — We're currently at a 10-year low in twister activity — despite an ever-mounting rise of 'killer carbon', CO2.
Hurricanes — Also at an historic low, and some global climatologists are now starting to think that warmer waters reduce the number and strength of hurricanes.
Droughts — Our current drought is nothing compared to the barn-burner of the Dust Bowl 30's.
Coastal Flooding — Ah, you can always tell somebody who grew up in a landlocked state. It's like he's never even seen an oceanside beach. He's picturing the entire surrounding land mass as being at or near sea level, whereupon a few-feet rise in ocean level would devastate everything for miles around. Yet San Francisco, for example, surrounded on three sides by water and obviously one of the first to be washed away, is 15 feet above sea level.
Hold on, this just in:
Where we we? Oh, right.
Wildfires — We have definitely seen bigger and bigger wildfires in recent times, and will continue to do so. And it has everything to do with poor brush management and the poor clearing of old timber and not maintaining a proper airborne fleet and nothing to do with the weather.
Mass Extinctions — As I point out in my own AGW treatise, the funny thing about the "species dying off" meme is that we have absolutely no friggin' idea how many species there are. So, if you don't have a starting number, how do you know when there are "less"?
But the real point is that there isn't any reason to think masses of species will die off simply because it gets a bit warmer. Colder, yeah, but warmer? And for those on the cusp who actually do die out, a lesser species will find the warmer temp a boon and flourish. Nature's real big on that 'balance' stuff.
On a personal note, however, I have to thank the AGW crowd for giving me the opportunity to write the above 6,531-word dissertation, one of my finest pieces. They also gave me the opportunity to create an entire new environmental movement. So thanks, global warming crowd.
I couldn't have done it without you.
This morning there was a manatee here in the channel. I'm pretty sure it was Oscar, the big male, not Periwinkle, the gal. That's them up above.
Yet no one told me there was a manatee around. I didn't overhear anyone outside the boat mention it, nor did I spot it with my eyes.
So, how did I not only know there was a manatee outside my boat, but probably its gender?
You'd never guess.
Because they scratch their backs on the barnacles on the underside of the boat. And Oscar is a bit louder than Periwinkle because he's bigger.
The only thing missing is the "Ahh-hh-hh!"
I have bought dozens of these over my life (albeit not for $99.99):
And then there's the "useless" empty plastic 'Project Box' from Radio Shack, just waiting to be stuffed with batteries and switches and relays and all kinds of fun electronic goodies:
Best of all, compared to the Best Buy price, the $14.99 Radio Shack wants is a steal!
Well, I always like to get the sad news out of the way first, so our first article this morning is about that Israeli spy bird that was caught by Egyptian authorities a few days ago as it tried to peck out its report on a miniature telegraph: Stork Detained as Spy in Egypt Found Dead
That's the third Israeli spy bird that's been captured in the last few years, by the way. One's first impulse might be to think, "Geez, won't those Israelis ever learn?" — until you stop and ponder how many of their spy birds haven't been caught.
There are some good tips here: Top Credit Card Mistakes
On the subject of safeguarding your ass, be forewarned: Some junk mail unsubscribe options are actually phishing scams
Clue: Both countries are on the same island.
Because if there's one thing this country really-really needs, it's more drunken teenagers on the road. If this is one of those goofy Libertarian things, please cancel my subscription to Libertarian Gazette immediately.
But wait. Not only do you not have GPS, but you also have to fly at night. Remember all that "nor gloom of night" stuff? Well, here you are.
So, how do you navigate across country at night? Easy. You simply follow the lighted arrows.
(hat tip to Feebs for the link)
This is, of course, supposed to be a scathing indictment of California squandering money on lavish pension plans and the like — and that might very well be true and Harvard would be the better choice. Except that: The cheat goes on at Harvard
So, hmm. Move to beautiful sunny California and make lots of money, or hang out with cheaters in frigid Massachusetts and make less money. Tough choice!
Like I said, sad.
Into each life a little rain must fall.
Yes, even here in the happy-go-lucky political section we occasionally have to face some cold hard facts and admit that not everything coming out of Washington these days is all peaches and cream.
Worse, I have terrible news here about two of everybody's favorite Washington characters.
Even worser, they're both women. So brace yourselves.
Tissue dispensers for your copious tears are available in the lobby.
Friday, September 6. 2013
When it comes to the heading of 'Inventions', I think the sublime moment is this:
As I note in the piece, what's particularly baffling about it all is that we have natural axle-ready 'wheels' around us in nature, i.e., an eroded pebble in a stream bed or a sawed-off piece of tree trunk with a knot in the middle which pops out. So you'd think it would have evolved naturally, like fire, without any historical point of reference you could point to. But nope.
So, if you had to boil it down to one single moment, the great architects of the Egyptian empire seeing the wheel for the first time gets my vote.
When it comes to the cosmos, I'd go with this:
He then turned it upon the sun.
Our sun is a star.
With that pesky Sun-Earth business out of the way, this moment pretty much answered everything else.
Yes, Virginia, that's what those twinkling little lights are. Yes, each one could have planets revolving around it just like ours.
Was there anything else on your mind?
Still, though, they had their fancy telescopes and circular slide rules and heliospectrographs to prove their points.
How about some sticks, eyes, feet and brains?
When it gets right down to it, I think this is possibly the grandest moment in the history of the world.
And what a beautiful, innocent age (1980) it was back then, back before AGW turned the word 'scientist' into something just below 'used car salesman' on the evolutionary scale of things.
"But Eratosthenes was a scientist."
Back when he said it, it meant something.
As for an anti-malware program, I'm still a fan of the Zone Alarm Internet Security Suite, although it appears from a few reviews I read the other day that there are a number of quality programs out there these days, so there doesn't really appear to be a 'best'.
As for the freebie programs, like AVG and Avast, I'd be worried that it'd turn into a case of 'you get what you pay for'. As far as I can tell, while they get high marks for anti-malware prevention, they don't monitor browser activity in real-time. It should be noted that hackers are so smart these days that you don't actually have to click on a box to get infected. Just visiting the site will do it. So, real-time browser monitoring seems important. Using a freebie also raises the question, if you aren't going to spend computer money on a quality anti-malware program, just what are you going to spend it on?
The biggest problem with the new wave of 'smart' viruses is that, should they manage to slip by your present program and infect your system, they won't allow any other anti-malware programs to be installed. I've seen two computers with the problem in the last few years, both not allowing either Zone Alarm or Norton Anti-Virus to be installed.
For that problem, it appears the best program out there at the moment is Malwarebytes, which should install and hopefully find that bad boy. It's only hitch is that it deems every non-officially-sanctioned program a threat, including patches and 'keygen' programs, so be careful that it doesn't remove anything legitimate. It's not a real-time anti-malware program, just a file scanner.
And on a few different subjects:
The two most common 'messages' in the boxes these days are the "Might be infected!" variety and either a Flash or Java 'You need to update!' box. Avoid both at all costs.
On the subject, here's a question for you. Let's say you're a clever hacker and you put two buttons on the box, "OK" and "CANCEL". Wouldn't you make them both install your nastyware on their systems?
Now what about that little 'close' box on the upper-right of the box? If you were a clever hacker, wouldn't you make that also do the dirty deed?
When that box popped up on Fark the other day, I immediately hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete, opened Task Manager, right-clicked on the browser's entry on the first panel and selected 'End Task'. That closed down both the browser and the 'warning' box without clicking anything on the site. That's the proper way to avoid such intrusions.
Any questions, give a holler in the comments.
First, the bad news: Hollywood Legend Jack Nicholson Retires From Acting
Either way, the first article mentioned that Sean Connery had recently retired, which I didn't know: Sean Connery Turns 80, Reiterates His Permanent Retirement
That's too bad. He's always been a fave. Looking over the twelve Connery movies in my collection, I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite, but I have a particular fondness for The Rock because he was pretty old by that time but still kicked butt.
Naturally, I left a comment:
On the subject, although the author doesn't mention Sarah Palin by name, he continues her theme of "Let Allah sort them out": Syria is Allah's war, Mr. Obama
This time they set up some poor Frenchman as the fall guy, those clever bastards.
Yep, and we're already feeling its effects: Atlanta cold snap: Why is it sweater weather in the South?
Then there are those poor bastards in Peru: Peru snow state of emergency extended to more regions
And although this guy is a Warmist, some good points are made: Why Science and Politics Don’t Mix
And here's how the Prez is sneaking things through: Obama's Stealth War on Global Warming
So it's nice to see him dumping all that silly, outdated 'morals' and 'ethics' stuff. And if 2,000 years of Catholicism gets washed down the drain in the process, well, there's no stopping progress.
"Who am I to judge them?"
The Pope said that.
And then there's Hillary: Republicans may boycott CNN, NBC presidential debates
Some of you economic majors out there might be able to pry apart the one, tiny little flaw in this otherwise great piece of right-wing propaganda.
Food stamps are $200/mo. After buying the expensive sushi, lobster and coconut water, he had just used up half of his monthly allotment in one day.
The implication of the article, of course, is that he does this every day, never quite explaining how one can live like a king by spending half his monthly allotment for one meal.
In other words, just like the rest of the MSM, Fox News thinks you're an idiot, and certainly the blogger who wrote the article fits that description to the letter.
These awards aren't handed out to just anybody, y'know.
Finally! After all that ugly stuff up above, it's always nice to hit the political section where good news always abounds.
I have two pets, by the way. Well, they're not exactly 'mine', but they visit me regularly. The male is Oscar and the female is Periwinkle.
So I've got that going for me.
Thursday, September 5. 2013
What'll they think of next!
If you happened to catch my Dixie Lily video post a while back, whoever put the clip together did a superb job of matching up the accompanying pics with the song's lyrics.
Using the free Windows program 'Movie Maker', this is fairly easy to do and obviously (glancing at pic) a barrel of fun. As long as you've got the song, the rest is up to Google Images.
For the long, arduous process (1. Load pic 2. Drag pic to timeline), we shall dip below the fold.
Continue reading "Making a music slideshow"
Pic: Farmhand Jeanie lends a hand with the arduous chores. What a trooper!
Well, I suppose you read a few weeks ago how the government finally revealed that it's been secretly harboring alien beings at its famous 'Area 51'. No, wait, I got the story backwards. They haven't been secretly harboring aliens over there. Yeah, like anyone would buy that. Area 51 report won't stop Hollywood and those who want to believe
He think there are 60.
As we've noted a few times recently, Northern Colorado is seeking to become the 51st state.
And now we have...
At this rate, we'll be at 60 in no time!
When it comes to the popular sport of drone hunting, there's a little 'friendly rivalry' developing between a couple of everybody's favorite nation-states:
Let the games begin!
What these Mainers forgot to ask is whether or not we down here in the South even want them moving here. As it turns out, the answer is a resounding NO!, so this looks like a win-win situation for everybody.
According to the article, they have two basic programs. The one with the leg irons and electroshock therapy looks like best choice for the money. Quicker, anyway.
— Do you deny that global warming is man-made?
— Do you deny the earth is warming naturally?
— Do you deny the earth is warming at all?
If so, then you're one of those dreaded Deniers: Time for the BBC to ban the 'D' word?
Well done, Internet.
Speaking of ugly: Postal Service looks to end at-your-door mail
And what makes it ugly is that the Republican leading the charge is the famed Darrell Issa, he of the tough congressional hearings. I even highlighted him with two video clips here.
So, to sum up, once again a large company is unable to trim its ranks due to union restraints and thus has to cut costs another way, one which impacts us both directly and painfully.
Painfully, that is, if you're Mrs. Hutchins, age 88, suffering from terrible arthritis and now has to hobble a quarter-mile to get her mail.
Finally! Like her or not, one thing everyone admits is that it's nice to see a woman in the White House with a little fashion sense. Or, to put it in question form; just how many of Barbara Bush's outfits do you remember? Point proven.
So, imagine how refreshing it is to see our First Lady finally doing something about the building's drab exterior: Michelle Obama To Paint White House Green
Personally, I'd go with the hunter. It'll weather better and go nicer with the surrounding foliage. But I don't claim to be an expert on the subject.
Wednesday, September 4. 2013
First, start playing a rock song (or anything with a good bass track) in the background.
— Open Control Panel, 'Sound'
— Click on 'Speakers', 'Properties'
— Click on the 'Enhancements' tab
— Check the 'Loudness Equalization' box, then 'Apply' down below. It should either stay the same or get a bit louder. This feature plays quieter-than-normal songs slightly louder to compensate.
— If you don't have a subwoofer on your system, you might want to check the 'Bass Boost' box, then 'Apply' and see what you think. It might lower the overall volume a tad but the bass will be louder.
To make sure the overall volume of the system is up, there should be a little speaker icon in the SysTray on the right side of the Task Bar. Click on it and slide the volume all the way up.
With that taken care of, it's time for a system test. Ideally, we want a sound file that will test low frequency response, high frequency response, transient response, tracking and speaker balance.
Thankfully, there's a cut on the 1974 National Lampoon Stereo Test And Demonstration Record that satisfies all of these grueling parameters. Turn your speakers way up, make sure you're right in between them, and listen carefully:
"Well, good luck!"
The entire album can be downloaded here, although be forewarned that the above stands alone in its majesty — rusty, vibrant tang and all.
Tuesday, September 3. 2013
The reason that was given was, due to some confusion in the cockpit, the autopilot was assumed to be taking care of the aircraft's speed, which it wasn't. So, they lost altitude quickly at the end and clipped the edge of the runway.
But that doesn't really answer why the pilot was trying to land so near the edge of the runway in the first place, what with a long, expansive landing strip in front of them. And this is especially true in S.F., where there's no pre-runway to safeguard against such things, because the runways jut out into this big watery thing called a "bay".
But upon watching the following video, pointed out to me by my buddy Feebs, I was suddenly reminded of a nasty experience I once had, which might just answer that elusive why.
For airplane buffs, this is a very interesting video showing the last number of minutes of an airliner landing at SFO from inside the cockpit.
A few things to watch for:
— I like they way they label it "Silicon Valley, CA". Silicon Valley is a euphemism for an area loosely composed of parts of San Jose, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale.
— Since we presume they didn't do any editing-out in this thing, both the 'Landing' and 'Shutdown' check lists are stunningly short.
— There's an interesting moment when the computer calls out "200" feet, and it appears the pilot actually has to give it the verbal command to "continue" for things to progress as normal. I presume he's actually talking to the co-pilot, following routine, but you'll see what I mean about it appearing like he's talking to the computer.
— It's also interesting how bouncy the cockpit is once they touch down. You don't get that feeling at all from the rest of the plane, but these guys are seriously a'shakin'.
— And how in the world do the pilots see those baton-waving directional guys way down on the ground? For the final 'stop' command, do they raise some guy way up on a crane in front of the cockpit? Well, not exactly.
What they're going to do is fly in high over S.F. heading southward, go down to the South Bay (Silicon Valley), turn around and head back up to the airport over the bay.
It was at San Carlos airport, mid-way down the Peninsula, and I was being given a demo ride by an instructor. I was about 30 or so, had just come into a small inheritance, and wanted to fulfill a lifelong dream of getting a pilot's license.
We took a Cessna 172 up, up and away, flew over the coastal range that runs down the spine of the Peninsula, cruised out over the Pacific, did a few basic acrobatics, and headed back home.
And there was the edge in front of us, and the pilot came in low, over water, aiming for the very rim of the runway. At the last moment, I was 99.99% positive we were going to hit it with the wheels, cartwheel over and die.
Whoomp! We landed safely and I immediately (1) signed up for lessons with (2) the condition that it not be that guy. It honestly scared me like I've seldom been in my life.
And just why was he trying to get so close to the edge, when there was figuratively miles of runway in front of him?
Because getting close to the edge was the only challenge in sight.
In my Culture in the Cockpit post, I noted how sometimes airline disasters can almost be directly attributable to countries with militaristic backgrounds whose Air Force pilots then turn to commercial aviation, and how that "don't question authority" mindset can often be their undoing.
But this is different.
Place yourself in the Asiana plane, as a junior pilot wanting to impress his superiors by just nailing that edge. Except that this time the autopilot doesn't have your back.
This wasn't a cultural crash.
This might have been nothing more than pride.
A short-but-sweet dissertation on those bad ol' chemicals: Chemophobia Shouldn't Be On The Menu
As most people would agree, the main problem with Northern Colorado becoming the 51st state is having to redo all of those flags and coffee mugs and stamps and all the rest. Who needs the aggravation? It seems a simpler solution would be to ask: Could Colorado County Become Part of Wyoming?
And, from a very long article covering drones from A to Z, we have:
And from this article:
So now we have UAS, RPA and UVS — and that's just from three articles!
Here's that bad boy now:
Speaking of guns and bad boys, Obama's trying to pull an end-around on Congress: Inside Obama’s war on guns: Rick Perry decries effort to disarm Americans
I'm so bad at art that I can't even doodle well.
Of the caffeine front, we have: 5 Weird Ways to Get Your Caffeine
One odd thing is that they didn't mention the brilliant idea I had years ago. As I mention in my mocha post, I've never liked coffee in the slightest — but I love its effects. So, my nimble mind thinks, why not buy caffeinated water and make the ice cubes for my ever-present Ginger Ale out of it! Alas, my brilliant plan was shattered like ice because it's too expensive. It was something like $3 just for one regular little bottle.
Not to mention those poor bastards over at the hurricane center: No Atlantic Hurricane by August in First Time in 11 Years
Personally, I blame The Gore Effect. "More and more violent weather" was one of the core themes of his outburst a few weeks ago, and, well, here we are.
That Michelle Obama is a real hoot, isn't she? Compare her to, say, Hillary's days in the White House, and how she spent them trying to harm the nation by pushing HillaryCare through. In my book, the proper role of the First Lady is to take some 'harmless' subject like "do more exercise" or "kids eating better" and push that, as well as just getting out there and mingling with the common folk, giving them the feeling that our government really is comprised of actual human beings, not just some remote voice on a news clip. It's the same reason townhall meetings are so appreciated. Actually seeing and interacting with your 'voice in Washington' makes a difference.
From this viewpoint, then, this is kinda cool: Michelle Obama releasing rap album (but she doesn't sing)
Naturally, the right-wing bloggers — ever eager to defile her because she's a hated Democrat — are outraged because, as one Townhall blogger put it, rap is "a genre known for its demeaning lyrics towards women and inappropriate language", even though it's obvious this is nothing of the sort.
We have spoken in the past of what a meaningless word 'racism' has become in recent years, but condemning an entire genre of a certain race's style of music actually is being racist, Townhall.
Last Friday, 90% of the Maggie's male readership was forced to admit that Michelle Goddam Obama can do more push-ups than they can. As I noted, you can't fake push-ups; this lady practices what she preaches. There's a fun slideshow here of her in various athletic situations, including busting ass on the track and boogalooing with the best of them.
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