Monday, 18 November 2013

09:13 – The high today is to be 68F (20C), but that’s the last of the warm weather for a few days. Tonight is to be below freezing.

Meanwhile, there are not one but two comets visible in the pre-dawn sky, ISON and Lovejoy. ISON is very low in the east, and Lovejoy, which is nearly as bright, is considerably higher. Here are finder charts for the two of them. ISON is currently a dim naked-eye object, around fifth magnitude. Both are visible with binoculars. ISON has been hyped as the comet of the century, possibly to be visible during the day. We’ll see what happens. I remember Kohoutek, back when I was in college. It was touted as comet of the century, to be visible during the day. Technically, that was true. At maximum brightness, Kohoutek was brighter than Jupiter, which is visible during the day, if you know exactly where to look for it. But the implication of the news reports at the time was that Kohoutek would be as bright as the moon, which is 12 or 15 magnitudes brighter than Kohoutek turned out to be. Personally, I think these comets are a sign, sent to tell the world that Obamacare is a disaster.

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26 Responses to Monday, 18 November 2013

  1. bgrigg says:

    “Obama is a disaster”

    Fixed that for ya!

    I’m formally apologizing for our Toronto, ON mayor Rob Ford. His antics have taken the eyes off of Obama’s Big Lie about health care. Instead of lampooning Obama for his lies (he’s also not going to actually close Guantanamo), the late night comics are picking the low hanging fruit of a Canadian idiot.

  2. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Speaking of Toronto, Barbara and I have started watching Murdoch Mysteries on Amazon streaming. We’d seen season 1 four or five years ago on DVD, but (shockingly) Barbara agreed to start by rewatching season 1 because she couldn’t remember much about it.

    I’d forgotten that (apparently) natives pretty much pronounce Toronto with only two O’s, as in “tronto”.

  3. Chuck W says:

    I’ve never heard a Canadian from there pronounce the last “o” as “toe”. Bill says “Tronna” is closer. Since I have both relatives and friends up there, I have to say that sounds right. I am often checking streams from radio stations all over the world, and one thing I have noticed is that Toronto stations hardly ever use the word “Toronto”. They may identify neighborhoods in traffic reports, but their radio regulatory agency does not require identifying the location like the US FCC does. So it is rare to ever hear anyone on the radio up there actually say the word “Toronto”.

  4. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Most of the actors in Murdoch Mysteries, which is set and shot in Toronto, pronounce the second and third O’s distinctly, with the final O long but with less emphasis than the second O. Some of them pronounce it US-style, with all O’s pronounced and emphasis on the second syllable. Of course, it’s a joint production with Grenada, and there are actors from Canada, the UK, and the US.

  5. bgrigg says:

    Toronto, or “Tronna”, or even just “TO” (pronounced as “Tea-Oh”, is one smallish former city in an amalgam of other smaller former cities, so you hear it when something actually happened in the original city’s boundaries, with broad exceptions like news about the mayor. Who, by the way, was elected mostly by the suburban voters, and not the Downtown Liberals who are his greatest opponents. The Left offered far too many choices and split their votes to a sure loss. An event likely not to be repeated, unless Ford immediately falls on his sword and checks himself into rehab. Whereupon we will line up (as good Canadians always do) to hug him.

    After all, our first Prime Minister was a fall down drunk, and our most likely next PM is a former (?) pothead. It’s almost tradition to be addled while in power. Former BC Premier Gordon Campbell was arrested and pleaded no contest to drunk driving while on vacation on Maui, and we re-elected him twice after that!

    While on the subject of Ford, I have half a mind that he was setup. He could easily have been slipped something in a drink (he obviously doesn’t know how to say “no”), and been recorded hallucinating, actually out of his mind, with the intent to extort money. The other people in these videos are certainly not the types you would expect a person like pasty white guys like Ford to associate with, other than politically in a vain effort to garner votes. He either couldn’t pay enough, or he couldn’t remember and refused, so they shopped it to Gawker and the rest is tawdry history. Otherwise, Ford is just a big stupid fucking idiot. Both, I think, are entirely possible.

    edit I say ToeRonTo, which is the “official” pronunciation. I also say “Harvard” instead of “Hahvudh” /edit

  6. Chuck W says:

    My relatives all say “uh” for that last vowel at the end. Which actually is consistent with Germanic pronunciations, as vowels at the end of words are most often pronounced “uh”—as in eee-KAY-uh (which more people are saying around me nowadays instead of eye-KEY-uh), shoe-luh (Schule), rose-uh (Rosa), eh-luh-NOR-uh (Elenore), FEEL-uh (viele), etc.

  7. OFD says:

    The Obummer WH probably paid Ford off to put on a show. Obummer is busy now screwing around with gun rights again and finding out what his boss in Moscow wants him to do next for the “holidays.”

    Got a tech/science/engineering question for y’all, bearing in mind I’m a moronic English major:

    What is your succinct yet comprehensive response to the layman who asks about the viability of the Peak Oil argument/theory, i.e., that we’ve either already had the peak or will experience it in the next few years, followed by a rapid deceleration of oil production in the world and subsequent mayhem?

    (I tend to think that our coming collapse, however bad, will more likely be a result of financial house-of-cards stuff and the destruction of the fiat currency system and U.S. dollar.)

  8. Lynn McGuire says:

    What is your succinct yet comprehensive response to the layman who asks about the viability of the Peak Oil argument/theory, i.e., that we’ve either already had the peak or will experience it in the next few years, followed by a rapid deceleration of oil production in the world and subsequent mayhem?

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    40% of the natural gas wells in the USA are shut in right now and have been all year. If we do not have a hard winter then it might become 50% and a drop in the price of natural gas below $3.

    If there is a peak oil production in the world, it will be because of self limiting governments not allowing fracking. There are some very promising shale formations in Europe (Netherlands and Germany) and Mexico going fallow right now due to bureaucratic inertia. China and Russia are gearing their fracking programs up now.

  9. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    What is your succinct yet comprehensive response to the layman who asks about the viability of the Peak Oil argument/theory, i.e., that we’ve either already had the peak or will experience it in the next few years, followed by a rapid deceleration of oil production in the world and subsequent mayhem?

    “You’re a moron, with no understanding of science. Why don’t you go watch Dr. Oz or Oprah and play with yourself?”

  10. OFD says:

    “You two must be paid shills for the big oil companies and the banks, then, and are secretly stashing beaucoups piastres in your offshore accounts!”

    Caint watch Dr. Oz or the Big O ’cause no tee-vee here. Too old to do the other. Sad times upon us….

  11. Lynn McGuire says:

    So what was really bright last Thursday night, about 10pm in the western sky from Southeast Texas?

    And, Obamacare is an unqualified success. Obama is proving how idiotic the federal government can be. It will get even better.

  12. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    So what was really bright last Thursday night, about 10pm in the western sky from Southeast Texas?

    Depending on where, exactly, in Southeast Texas, I’d guess San Antonio.

  13. Lynn McGuire says:

    I was guessing that it was Venus. I doubt that Mars is that bright. It was a bright pinpoint of light that did not move so it was not the ISS.

  14. Rolf Grunsky says:

    Well, I call (and have always called) it Toe-ron-toe but Toranna is not uncommon.

    Ford is simply a fucking idiot. He’s a big fucking idiot. He’s 300 pounds of fucking idiot. Of all the candidates in the last municipal election he was the least idiotic of the whole fucking bunch. This city is in desperate need of adult supervision. Ford did not need to be setup. The man has been a disaster since he took office. I could go on at great length about his lack of judgment but I will spare you. I’m a downtown voter, I voted against all the others. The only way that I would hug Ford is if I was holding a knife. There are some rumours that John Tory may consider running for mayor. If so, he’s the first competent candidate since David Crombie (our “Tiny Perfect mayor” — he was very short) many , many years ago.

    I enjoyed Maureen Jennings’ Murdoch novels. The original Murdoch Mysteries were based on four of her novels and were excellent. Then the series started and whatever science there might have been has evaporated into fantasy. I’m embarrassed to watch. But I do watch, I find references to areas of the city interesting. Most of the locations that are referred to (street names and such) are actually east of the current downtown area. Many of the exteriors are in fact shot in smaller towns in southern Ontario and not in the city itself. I was at a talk that Jennings gave at local library where she explained some of the logistics involved in the production. This was several years ago before the show became insufferably silly.

  15. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yes, Barbara and I watched the original 2004 series, which was excellent. When we started watching the 2008 series with Yannick Bisson my bogosity meter peaked during the first episode or two. At least it’s not as bad as Bones.

  16. Chuck W says:

    Thursday was the moon. Winter Halo. My son saw it about midnight on his way home from tutoring math students in the education capital of Hoosierland.

  17. bgrigg says:

    “This was several years ago before the show became insufferably silly.”

    I had to read your post twice before I was convinced this was aimed at the TV show and not the Toronto City Council.

    I complete agree Ford was the least idiotic of the candidates, and that he didn’t “need” to be setup, only consider that setting him up gets rid of him faster than waiting for his eventual loss at the polls. Which I figure would have been (at least!) one more term. Ford Nation actually exists.

    I am reminded of the adage “Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel”, which warns politicians about picking a fight with the media, who can publicize their opinion like no-one else can. In Ford’s case, his public feud with the Toronto Star (and others) is a great example of that. However, Ford also owns a printing company, and also buys ink by the barrel.

    Grab some popcorn. This show is going to get even sillier. I just heard he’s going on TV tonight, courtesy of the Sun News Network, to come clean. The rumor is that this could become a weekly show called (no surprise) “Ford Nation”. Told ya it was real!

  18. Lynn McGuire says:

    Winter Halo, huh.

    Hey Bob, Krugman continues to agree with you that the Euro is in trouble:

    “When Greece hit the skids almost four years ago, some analysts (myself included) thought that we might be seeing the beginning of the end for the euro, Europe’s common currency. Others were more optimistic, believing that tough love — temporary aid tied to reform — would soon produce recovery. Both camps were wrong. What we actually got was a rolling crisis that never seems to reach any kind of resolution. Every time Europe seems ready to go over the edge, policy makers find a way to avoid complete disaster. But every time there are hints of true recovery, something else goes wrong. ”

    “And here we go again. Not long ago, European officials were declaring that the Continent had turned the corner, that market confidence was returning and growth was resuming. But now there’s a new source of concern, as the specter of deflation looms over much of Europe. And the debate over how to respond is turning seriously ugly. ”

    Germany is getting ready to get the long end of the stick and apparently does not want it.

    And the USA is in a permanent slump according to Krugman:

  19. Chuck W says:

    Re: peak oil. I am not really a contrarian, but everybody thinks I am, because I almost always have a different view than others. I just look at things and see stuff they don’t.

    Nassim Taleb is the closest person I have found that looks at the world somewhat similarly to me. His book The Black Swan pretty much describes himself. Although I am nowhere near as book-learned as he, he points out that almost the entirety of civilization looks backwards at normal, average activity to project the future. Predictions are bound, eventually, to fail, using that method. Because, he notes, it is the totally unexpected and completely unpredictable—outside the realm of the ‘norm’—that changes things radically, not the ordinary things within the confines of the Gaussian Bell Curve that people generally look to, in order to predict the future.

    Who could have predicted a bunch of Muslims with roots that the US funded—so they should be friendly, right?—would have driven airplanes into some tall buildings in a major metropolis? That single event has changed my life—our lives—more than the assassination of a President did.

    When I was a kid in grade school, the scare mongers said we would run out of oil before my generation had kids. Obviously they were wrong. Now they have pushed it to 2020?—THEN we will REALLY start running out of oil. For sure this time! That is about the time my kids’ kids will start having kids. Wow, they were far off in the last prediction, but next time they will nail it. Really. No kidding.

    A couple decades ago, I spent quite a few years making TV commercials. Many of them relied on a thing they call “the worry factor” to spur sales. The ad men would create some imaginary but plausible problem, then push their product as a way to solve it. That is all the so-called ‘peak oil’ is. A worry factor for people to manipulate you. Same as global warming is for Algore. The planet has been here before. It did not die then, and will not now.

    Were it me, and the peak oil believers were liberals, it is a chance to tweak them. Go along with it. “Yeah, ain’t it great! We won’t have to do anything to stop global warming. Mother Nature will stop it for us by turning off the oil tap!”

  20. OFD says:

    Some of the peak oil believers are pretty right-wing; they anticipate, as do I, a collapsing financial system which may bring down most of industrial civilization, increasing ethnic and racial strife, and secession-by-default eventually. They’re focusing on the oil supply as either dwindling fast and/or being prohibitively expensive to extract over the next ten years. I am not scientifically equipped to evaluate the likelihood of that and recognize that any information we get from the gummint or MSM is likely tainted. I am, however, capable of doing basic arithmetic, and I see the giant house of financial cards collapsing at some point. And it could happen very suddenly, too.

  21. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yeah, there’re a lot of cards in that house, but I think you tend to forget the millions of concrete pillars that I’ve mentioned before. Things aren’t going to collapse if I can help it. How about you guys? You gonna let things collapse if you can prevent it? Multiply that by millions and millions of competent people.

  22. SteveF says:

    What is your succinct yet comprehensive response to the layman who asks about the viability of the Peak Oil argument/theory

    Depends. If it seems to be an honest question I’ll discuss ease and cost of extraction, different flavors of crude, and side effects of different extraction methods, so far as I know them. And mention that we’re a decade or two past the peak as predicted in the 1970s or 80s.

    If the questioner seems to “know” the answer and is using the question as an attack, well… “Fuck your grandmother. I mean it. Dig up your dead grandmother and fuck her and see how much oil you can get out of her corpse.” The questioner was looking for a fight, so it would be churlish of me not to give it to him.

  23. SteveF says:

    You gonna let things collapse if you can prevent it?

    I haven’t decided.

    – I think the world is drastically overpopulated, like by a factor of 10 or more.

    – Much of the population is stupid and would not be able to survive without charity. This includes individual dumbasses as well as populations which have bred well above the ability of their land to feed them and above their skills to trade for food from abroad.

    – The power structures are deeply entrenched. The parasite class is deeply entrenched, both as individuals and grievance groups in the US and as entire nations or cultures being supported by foreign food and medical aid.

    – As the population grows and especially as the ratio of parasites to producers grows, the effects of a collapse will become more severe. This is echoed in economic history, where little booms and busts cause localized pain but national attempts to control the busts cause increased stresses and serious collapses when things finally escape control. Similarly, dams and levees trade frequent nuisance flooding for catastrophic floods every few decades.

    Even without my first point, I’m not sure that preventing a collapse is the moral course. I’m trying to convince myself that the high road isn’t to work to bring on the collapse tomorrow, rather than wait for a worse collapse in a decade.

  24. Lynn McGuire says:

    being prohibitively expensive to extract over the next ten years

    OK, we are in danger of this. All of the easy oil and natural gas is gone. I wish I could find the graph that showed the cost of finding and producing oil in terms of produced barrels to used barrels equivalents. I know that we are under 20 barrels produced per barrel of oil used. I suspect that we are actually very close to 10 barrels / barrel.

    However, as the barrel produced / barrel used ratio drops, this is actually good for employment in the oil patch. These jobs are typically high skilled and high paid. Not bad for the economy.

    Here is a USA oil production from 1992 to 2013. Natural gas and liquified natural gas (LPG – propane, butane) is adding another five million barrels per day equivalent to this graph.

    I do expect the USA to convert most of the heavy machinery from diesel to natural gas over time. A gallon of diesel has 127,000 btus and costs $3.50 for a cost ratio of 0.000028 $/btu. One thousand cubic feet of natural gas has 1,030,000 btus and costs $3.50 for a cost ratio of 0.0000033 $/btu. Natural gas is 1/10th the cost of diesel right now on a energy basis. Economics like those will be looked at very much for new large trucks, locomotives, etc. The problem is delivery, liquid is cheap to deliver and vapor is expensive. This is why I am seeing so much interest in LNG (liquified natural gas).

  25. Lynn McGuire says:

    – I think the world is drastically overpopulated, like by a factor of 10 or more.

    Here you go (Noah trailer):

    Oh wait, God said that he would never flood the entire planet again. Gonna need another method to cut the population. Actually, just getting rid of China and India would cut the world population by a third.

  26. Lynn McGuire says:

    Hey OFD, the IEA are oil peakers also, “U.S. expected soon to be crowned world’s oil king”.

    “The International Energy Agency, which advises governments on energy issues, said America’s ascendancy as the world’s oil king is coming sooner than expected, and that North America’s need for oil imports will all but disappear by 2035.”

    “But the Middle East, boosted by a surge in Iraqi production, is expected starting in the mid-2020s to take back its role as the world’s oil powerhouse as America’s shale oil output peaks and then starts a decline.”

    Note that they do not talk about the current 200 years of PROVEN natural gas reserves in the USA. Our kids, grandkids and their progeny are truly blessed for generations to come here in the USA.

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