Tuesday, 29 January 2013

08:41 – The cops never, ever stop looking for a cop killer. In October, 1996, a local cop, Gregory Martin, radioed in that he was making a traffic stop and requested backup. A state cop soon arrived at the scene and found Martin dead on the ground by the side of the road and no one else in sight. The morning paper says three suspects are now in custody and have been charged with first-degree murder. If they’re guilty, I hope they’re executed. Anyone stupid enough to kill a cop is too stupid to live anyway.

Barbara spent the night with her dad, and is going straight into work from there. No word yet on when her mom will be released from the hospital. Sankie is suffering from sleep deprivation and hunger. No surprise, since she hasn’t been able to sleep or eat since Dutch came home from the hospital last time. There may also be other things going on, including possibly pneumonia and a UTI. Barbara said she may be released tomorrow, but I’d be surprised. Barbara and Frances are looking into getting someone to sit with Dutch and Sankie on a temporary basis, but unless/until that happens it looks like they’ll be taking turns staying over at her parents’ apartment themselves.

Last night, Colin and I played ball and finished series four of Heartland. Barbara is home tonight, unless something changes, but will probably being staying with her dad tomorrow night. If so, Colin and I will start on series five of Heartland. Series six is running now on CBC, and I’m bittorrenting HD versions of the episodes as they air. (I keep my upload speed throttled to 0.0 KB/s, so I’m breaking no laws by downloading them; I’m not “making available” by uploading.)

The HD episodes are about 1.4 GB each, and are typically in .mkv format. The old version of DeVeDe that I use to create video DVDs doesn’t work properly with .mkv files, so I run the .mkv files through ffmpeg to convert them to mpegs, which DeVeDe handles well. I end up with six DVDs per season, three episodes per DVD. Only the first 12 episodes of series six have aired, with the final six to be aired in February and March. The good news is that series six is getting higher ratings than series five did, so there should be a series seven.

We continue to build science kits. Right now, I’m working on the new LK01 Life Science Kit.


08:59 – Barbara just sent me this video of a Border Collie trying to force an uncooperative horse to do what it’s told. Boy, does this look familiar. I see it every time I walk Colin. The only difference is that on those walks I’m the horse.


10:21 – One of the good things about my lab is that I have lots and lots of glassware and plasticware. Hundreds of individual items: beakers, graduated cylinders, volumetric flasks, funnels, stirring rods, and on and on. That means I almost always have a clean whatever-I-need. But one of the bad things about my lab is that I have all that stuff. When I use a vessel, I just rinse it and put it in the sink to be washed later. The problem is, later never comes until I have piles of stuff in the sink and covering all the counters on both sides and usually the floor, by which time cleaning up my lab becomes an Augean Stable thing. The other day, Barbara was cleaning downstairs and was about to step into my lab. She flipped the lights on, immediately flipped them back off, and just turned around and walked away.

So yesterday I decided I’d better get started on cleaning up my lab. It’ll take a while because I’m going to do it gradually. I couldn’t get to the sink in the lab, so I filled a 10-gallon (40 liter) bin with dirty glass/plasticware and carried it upstairs to the kitchen to wash it there. (Most of the stuff was already reasonably clean, so there’s no real hazard to washing it upstairs.)

The goal is to get the floor, counters, and sink in the lab completely empty and clean. That’s going to take some doing. I decided this task needed a name of its own, so I’m calling it Operation Overlord.

45 thoughts on “Tuesday, 29 January 2013”

  1. If a horse is determined to eat, it will, and to hell with everybody and everything else; I note that here the horse has figured out the pesky mutt and just moves back and forth across the road to keep chowing down. Very tolerant of the mutt, too; one swipe of a hoof and no more SBC.

    Readers here may recall my previous posts concerning our next-door fellow DOD contractor neighbor’s classroom, visible from a glass cat-walk to our building.

    Previous topics were “AIR BURST WEAPONS” and “GROUND BASED ARMAMENT SYSTEMS,” and today’s one-word subject is “WARHEADS.” It just strikes me as kinda weird to see local citizen employees sitting in a classroom and learning about this stuff when most likely none or very few of them have ever seen the end results. And they’re not just learning about them; they’re developing and manufacturing them for use against enemies of the U.S., of which we have a few bedraggled nut jobs out there but even they would disappear if we got the fuck out of the Sandbox and the Suck once and for all. So I don’t know what other enemies we need to be worried about; our conventional forces alone are enough to wipe out anybody, let alone the nuke arsenal.

    We got us several inches of wet snow up here yesterday and overnight and today it will probably all melt; temps rocketing into the thirties and forties and rain tonight.

  2. Actually, that BC is being very patient with the horse, attempting to use the lead to control it. When a herdee refuses to cooperate, BC’s escalate, up to and including nipping at the feet/hooves. BCs are also incredibly fast and agile. That horse wouldn’t have a prayer of kicking or stomping the BC.

    The other night, Barbara and I were watching Wild at Heart, a Brit TV series set on a wildlife reserve in south Africa. Colin was watching too. When he spotted the herd of elephants, I could just see what was running through his BC brain: “Look at the size of those sheep!”

    I don’t know that anyone has ever tried using a BC to herd elephants, but I’d bet the elephants would cooperate. BCs just don’t give up until they get what they want.

  3. My family used to own a horse. We rescued it from a pony riding stable that was going to retire her to the glue factory. Seems horses get old and cranky, just like people. We never saw that side, as she was ridden only slightly. But when she was being ridden, and she wanted to go home, she went home. You either went willingly, cut her mouth cruelly with the bit, or she scraped you out of the saddle by whatever convenient low branch she could find. But she went home. She knew the route, she knew her stall (and she would stay in her stall even with the gate left open), and off she would go. She was a nice enough horse that she would give you another chance in the saddle, but any attempts to turn her path would be met with another branch.

    We also had a donkey, and both horses and donkeys can “lock” their knees. The only way to move them once they do that, is with a crane or bulldozer.

    Indian elephants would probably allow themselves to be herded by a BC. African bull elephants, I think, would attempt to make dog pancakes. I’m guessing BCs will be fast enough to thwart the attempts, and smart enough to stop trying to herd them after a while.

  4. We had a couple of border collies on our ranch that we used to move cattle from one field to the next. We would just open a couple of gates and say to the dogs “get the cows”. Off the dogs would go herding the cattle through the gates to the next pasture.

    The dogs were good with dumb animals such as sheep and cows. But when faced with another intelligent animal the results were mixed. Our two horse basically ignored the dogs and did what they wanted. To move the horses it was necessary to entice with food or use a rope. More than once one of dogs would be seen flying through the air after being met with the wrath of the horse.

    And somewhere along the line the dogs figured out that having your picture taken would take your sole. The dogs would cringe, run and hide at the sight of a camera.

  5. My money remains, mostly, on the horses, mules and elephants. We’ve also witnessed at close hand up here large buck deer and moose who couldn’t possibly care less that humans or dogs are near them and/or want to get by or move them along. With all due respect, of course, to Colin and his BC colleagues. Cows, sheep and oxen may be another story.

  6. Maybe, but when two animals encounter each other, each of them thinks either, “That thing is afraid of me” or “That thing isn’t afraid of me, so I’d better be afraid of it”.

    I’ve watched BCs herding cattle, including bulls. The cows will cooperate unless they’re a lot dumber than the average cow. The bulls generally won’t cooperate and may attempt to stomp the shit out of the BC, but the BC generally persists until the bull is headed the way the BC wants it to go. I’ve never heard of a BC being stomped to death by a bull. Every once in a great while, a BC screws up and gets kicked by a cow or a horse, but it doesn’t happen very often. They’re too damned quick and too damned smart.

  7. Regarding downloading of TV & movies: If 0ne sat outside a Starbucks or McDonalds with a laptop or tablet, could they be traced? Just curious as I am not about to spend the afternoon at one to grab a movie.

  8. A BC vs. an Indian elephant would be fun to watch. IMX, they completely ignore dogs and even their mahouts unless they are in the mood. Weird damn animals and spooky smart, too. Best comparison is the Ents from Lord of the Rings (the book): they just suffer our presence because other thoughts occupy their minds.

  9. Slim, yes but not without some effort. Assuming you are not cloning the MAC address and doing so every time you connect up somewhere they could be eventually matched up to a known location and owner.

    I doubt anyone would ever go to that trouble.

  10. Most oxen don’t have the balls to fight back…

    Jim’s comparison of elephants to Ents is as intended, though Tolkien was more familiar with African elephants. Deeper thinkers than we think. He saw similarities between them, bark to hide and their slow and ponderous movements. Each has a sense of suspended time to them.

    I’m still trying to figure out why dogs think a camera would steal “their soles” as they don’t often have footwear.

  11. “… three suspects are now in custody and have been charged with first-degree murder. If they’re guilty, I hope they’re executed.”

    Let’s also hope they have the right three people in custody and that their guilt is proved well beyond a reasonable doubt during a fair and open trial before they are executed, or simply left to rot in a hole for the rest of their lives. I also dread the worst perp of a group like this turning state’s evidence on his accomplices and walking while they get axed.

  12. Assuming you are not cloning the MAC address and doing so every time you connect up somewhere they could be eventually matched up to a known location and owner.

    Provided Starbucks keeps a log of the MAC addresses that connect. I seriously doubt that Starbucks is doing so but I have no way of verifying. The initial page that you access does have a consent form that you must acknowledge before continuing. I guess with that, if they could find you, Starbucks could send you to the Feds.

  13. I’m still trying to figure out why dogs think a camera would steal “their soles” as they don’t often have footwear.

    OK, steal their spirit, their life essence. I don’t know. Roll with me here and don’t snivvle over the details. 🙂

  14. Spirit. Life “essence.” Let’s try “soul.” There. That wasn’t so hard, was it? Now jump off that soul train and get on the clue train with the urban dictionary and let’s find out exactly what “snivvle” means; I quite readily confess that I had never seen or heard that word before today, but here’s Ray with it:

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=snivvle

    Oh my. I quite think “quibble” would have been a better choice here, not as nasty.

  15. I did, too, but thought I’d be a wiseass again. Story of my life. Gets me in trouble all the time, but can I stop? Nope.

  16. You know, after listening to the clowns in DC today about creating 11 million new voters (it could be 30 million by the time we are through), I think that the USA needs to go back to the original concept of a voter.

    Landowners in the USA should be only people allowed to vote in the USA. You should not be able to vote without presenting a property tax paid slip. Then and only then should a person be allowed to vote.

    Otherwise, bread and circuses will be the rule of the day. Now that the populace has found out that they can get free stuff from the feddies, the handwriting is on the wall.

    The demorats have been talking about turning The Great State of Texas blue. I now know how they are going to do it. Looks like they will have 5 million new voters in Texas for the next federal election cycle.

  17. That was the plan all along, Lynn, dating back to when Ted Kennedy was orchestrating the scam. And we will never, ever, see property-qualified voting here; not until there *is* a revolution and civil war, i.e. a total format and reboot of the system.

    In essence, we ordinary American Mundanes have been stabbed in the back repeatedly by our social and political elites.

  18. I remember in the time of Reagan that that was the last immigration amnesty.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_Reform_and_Control_Act_of_1986
    It seems that senator Simpson was wrong. I wonder what else he was wrong about?

    Don’t get me wrong, I have known several illegal immigrants over the years. Most of them are hard working people. A few of them are scary (hard drinkers). If they want to be inhabitants and citizens of this great country, there is a line back in their country. Why do they get to jump the line?

  19. Uh, oh. Duke Energy truck in the alley right beside Tiny House. We are having super-high winds of 30+ mph. Hope he isn’t going to do anything to take our power down.

  20. … listening to the clowns in DC today about creating 11 million new voters

    You see it that way too – this is what it’s really about. My wife asked me why, if there is going to be an amnesty, the people don’t just get green cards. My answer exactly what Lynn wrote: this is really all about the votes.

    Meanwhile, the Republicans continue to make fools of themselves. What was that fossil McCain rattling on about? He looked and sounded like he was on drugs, his speech was worthless. Whatever one thinks about Obama, he is a gifted speaker. Putting zombies like McCain anywhere near him makes him look even better.

  21. @Lynn: The column you link to pushes all the wrong buttons for me:

    “I fear that this nation and this planet are in the midst of a great apostasy, or falling away from belief and faith in God”

    The guy can’t keep his politics and his religion separated. This is exactly the problem the the stupid party: They can’t focus on fiscal issues, because they keep getting sidetracked by the religious right. If a columnist can’t support his political views without appealing to religion, then they actively harmful to any attempt to get politics back on track. Don’t these guys understand the reason for the separation of church and state – namely – that not everybody shares their particular set of beliefs?

  22. Exactly. The Religious Right has destroyed the Republican Party. The only way it’ll recover is by rejecting the RR.

  23. I did, too, but thought I’d be a wiseass again. Story of my life. Gets me in trouble all the time, but can I stop? Nope.

    And well played I might add.

  24. “Hi OFD, do you own a fiddle?”

    Nope. I like Charlie but that end-times uber-Prod thing turns me way off, esp. the unqualified support for Israel which is always a big thing with these guys.

    “Why, SteveF: It almost sounds as if you are describing a….tyranny.” Indeed. And remember what that dude yelled as he hit the stage at Ford’s Theater? (MIL got Mrs. OFD and me, as an Xmas gift, tickets to see “Lincoln,” as she evidently hasn’t gotten the word yet on how much I loathe and despise that creature, and a gift certificate to a nice restaurant so we can have a “date night.” So I suppose I should play along with this. A brief review may follow here later.)

    “…We are having super-high winds of 30+ mph. Hope he isn’t going to do anything to take our power down.”

    Not to be tiresome with our ‘weather here is worse’ claims, but the gusts overnight and this morning, with rain downpour, were 55-65 MPH, which I believe is gale-force. We get these coming at us from the south end of the Lake. Stuff gets blown all over the ‘hood, even when we tie and nail it down. Some days I swear it’s like being on board a ship.

    “…What was that fossil McCain rattling on about? He looked and sounded like he was on drugs…”

    McCain is a problem for us veterans; he did his time at the Hanoi Hilton and the accounts conflict in that he got beat up and tortured but then he also got special treatment because of his dad. Then later he was involved in financial chicanery back in his home state where people other than he went to jail. Nowadays, yeah, he’s off-center and making a fool of himself repeatedly, the Repubs’ answer to Joe Biden, apparently.

    “The only way it’ll recover is by rejecting the RR.”

    I don’t want it to recover. Good riddance to bad rubbish. And it wasn’t only the RR that tanked those jokers; it was also the country-club entitlement cadres at the top.

  25. Well, the Libertarian Party is pretty much what the Republican Party used to be. Small government, non-interventionist, personal freedom and responsibility, and so on.

  26. And has the proverbial snowball’s chance of ever amounting to a hill of beans at the national level. Every time they start to get some momentum the leadership bogs down in arcana from various schools of political and economic ideologies. They generate zero interest among the vast hordes of tee-vee-addicted sheeple.

  27. Hm, didn’t a bunch of people stay home last November rather than vote Libertarian? I think their best hope is to infiltrate the Republican Party and kick out the RR and CC types.

  28. No, our best hope is to jettison the current mess of a system and build a new one, hopefully based on the original Articles of Confederation here, but I ain’t holding my breath for that. The current system is riding for a very hard fall, and probably during the next “president’s” term of office.

  29. I don’t ever think that kind of breakdown is in the cards. The thing that drove my great grandfathers from Germany was war and the economy. When the US can no longer compete economically with other forms of government, then and only then, will there be change. Whether we will all be dead or in jail is another matter. But with stuff like the St. Louis school privacy invasions, we sound more like Mao’s China than the land of the free. We HAVE been the home of the brave since the mid-1700’s. Brave kids being sent to their crippling and demise by idiots who would not dare to send their own kids there.

  30. As I’ve said, I don’t expect a cataclysmic breakdown, just things steadily getting worse and worse. Kind of like the slide into dystopia in Atlas Shrugged.

    I wonder if there’s a John Galt lurking out there even now.

  31. I am just baffled about why anybody wants one person to be the leader, president, king, savior. Why, if people want freedom, leave it to an individual, who is sure not to represent the whole effectively? Our President has waaay too much power. He should be nothing more than a functionary who signs laws as the final step to being implemented—more like what the Swiss have.

  32. I agree with Bob on things getting steadily worse; where we differ just a bit is that I think a cataclysmic breakdown has a better chance of happening than he does. It won’t take but one or several events to trigger it.

    “Our President has waaay too much power.”

    That’s why it’s been called the imperial Presidency; and also why we’re supposed to have a balance of powers between the three branches; it see-saws over the last two centuries, but currently the Congress is the weakest of all and evidently prefers it that way so that they may enrich themselves at our expense. If they did their job, they’d limit the President and SCOTUS way more than they have been doing.

  33. I tend to agree with our host: a slide into dystopia. However, such slides are often punctuated with periods of violence.

    Gun control seems a likely flashpoint. As long as the police continue their policy of “no knock” raids, eventually they are going to hit a few people who defend themselves (entirely justified, as any band of criminals can call out “police” while bashing down your door). After a few such incidents, there may be a serious effort at collecting guns, which will meet with a serious effort to keep them. This could happen tomorrow, or next year, or not for ten years.

    There are other possibilities as well. Lots of powder laying around, waiting for the right spark to set it off.

  34. I just don’t see a powder keg eruption, riots,—or even much resistance at all. Americans are too much like the Germans. There is a saying in Germany that, if there were a revolution, everyone would line up in orderly fashion to buy tickets to watch. Even in the riots in Watts, Detroit, and elsewhere, there was no push against the government; those people just destroyed their own houses and cities.

  35. I don’t agree. Americans are nothing like Germans, or at least many of us aren’t. We have a culture of individualism and entrepreneurial spirit that is matched nowhere else in the world. Not all of us, certainly, but many of us. Enough of us.

  36. What Bob said, and also in response to this:

    “…Even in the riots in Watts, Detroit, and elsewhere, there was no push against the government; those people just destroyed their own houses and cities.”

    May I respectfully submit and with no offense intended that the denizens of Watts and Detroit in no wise compare in anti-government independence and potential ferocity as the lawful firearms-owning subset of the U.S. population.

  37. Except for me. I’m meek, mild-mannered, shy, and unassuming.

  38. Actually, I want to add more power to the presidency of the USA. A line item veto.

    And a Balanced Budget Amendment to USA constitution. The line item veto and the BBA could be in the same amendment for all I care. Of course, some idiot federal judge would try to invalidate both.

  39. Don’t hold your breath. And this president, like previous rulers, likes to use that Executive Order stuff.

    Believing we have any kind of normal, rational, representative party system democracy now is akin to believing in the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. What we have here is a corporate fascist oligarchy, which has seriously been in the making since 1947.

  40. What we have is a plutocracy. Almost all members of the House and Senate are rich waaaay above the average middle-class. (See that chart of personal worth I linked to some time ago, which I cannot now find.)

    You are right that whatever commonality we once had with Germany is gone; life in the two countries is the difference between night and day. But I disagree that the independence that was crucial to this country in previous eras is useful to where we are headed (aside from the fact that Germany possesses plenty of independent-minded entrepreneurs). My opinion is that independent spirit will hold us back and is the main reason the political scene is so contentiously vapid. And entrepreneurs are being crushed at every turn of the screw by government—both national AND local. We have several examples right here in Tiny Town, where businesses that would have contributed several jobs, were stopped dead in their tracks—in one case because an existing sign on a property the owner bought, does not meet code for set-back, and the local Sheriff was ordered to shut him down. Start-up funds were limited and the sign is one of those big ones mounted on a 2 foot diameter cylinder, like gas station signage, so the guy just backed out of the business. The sign is still there and the property is vacant. This happens over and over here, and in neighboring towns.

    We may have tons of law-abiding gun owners, but I posit that there will NEVER be an insurrection that brings the US political system down—or even to accountability. It will always be the stupid rioting to destroy their own assets, while the gun owners watch it on TV and suffer the Patriot Act in torpid silence. The founding fathers may have thought they provided for the overthrow of oppressive government, but it has not actually worked out that way. Far from it.

    As far as the line-item veto, I would much rather see amendments that prevent legislation from being passed without debate, and limit legislation to one focused purpose and preventing all riders from being attached to any legislation. I will never forget my 11th grade history teacher showing us the rider to legislation that exempted Joe Kennedy, his empire, and family from Federal income tax in the early ’60’s. As if he needed or deserved that.

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